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Full text of "Jurgen; a comedy of justice"

THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

AT CHAPEL HILL 




ENDOWED BY THE 

DIALECTIC AND PHILANTHROPIC 

SOCIETIES 



UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 



10001095477 



This book is due at the WALTER R. DAVIS LIBRARY on 
the last date stamped under "Date Due." If not on hold it 
may be renewed by bringing it to the library. 



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



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Jurgen 



n — ' 

BOOKS by MR. CABELL 

Biography ; 

Beyond Life 

Figures of Earth 

Domnei 

Chivalry 

Juecen 

The Line of Love 

Gallantry 

The Certain Hour 

The Cords of Vanity 

From the Hidden Way 

The Rivet in Grandfather's Neck 

The Eagle's Shadow 
The Cream of the Jest 

Scholia ; 

The Judging of Jurgen 

Taboo 

Joseph Hergesheimer 

The Jewel Merchants 

The Lineage of Lichfield 







A Comedy of Justice 



By 

JAMES BRANCH CABELL 



"Of jurgen eke they maken mencioun, 
That of an old zvyf gat his youthe agoon, 
And gat himself e a shirte as bright as fyre 
Wherein to jape, yet gat not his desire 
In any countrie ne condicioun." 



NEW YORK 

ROBERT M. McBRIDE & COMPANY 

1922 

THE LIBRARY 

i HE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA 

ATCHAFELHILL 



Copyright, 1919, by 
James Branch Cabell 



Printed in 

The United States of America 

Second Edition, November, 1919 
Third Edition, December, 1919 
Fourth Edition, October, 102? 
Fifth Edition, November, 1 ' ' 
Sixth Edition, November, 1922 
Seventh Edition, November, 1922 
Eighth Printing November, 1922 



Published, September 1919 



TO 

BURTON RASCOE 

Before each tarradiddle, 
Uncowed by sciolists, 
Robuster persons twiddle 
Tremendously big fists. 

"Our gods are good," they tell us; 
"Nor will our gods defer 
Remission of rude fellows' 
Ability to err." 



So this, your Jurgen, travels 
Content to compromise 
Ordainments none unravels 
Explicitly . . . and sighs. 



"Others, with better moderation, do either 
entertain the vulgar history of Jurgen as a 
fabulous addition unto the true and authentic 
story of St. Iurgemus of Poictesme. or else we 
conceive the literal acception to be a miscon- 
struction of the symbolical expression: appre- 
hending a veritable history, in an emblem or 
piece of Christian poesy. And this emblemati- 
cal construction hath been received by men 
not forward to extenuate the acts of saints." 
— Philip Borsdale. 



"A forced construction is very idle. If 
readers of The High History of Jurgen do 
not meddle with the allegory, the allegory 
will not meddle with them. Without minding 
it at all, the whole is as plain as a pikestaff. 
It might as well be pretended that we cannot 
see Poussin's pictures without first being told 
the allegory, as that the allegory aids us in 
understanding Jurgen." 

— E. Noel Codman. 



"Too urbane to advocate delusion, too hale 
for the bitterness of irony, this fable of Jurgen 
is, as the world itself, a book wherein each 
man will find what his nature enables him 
to see ; which gives us back each his own 
image ; and which teaches us each the lesson 
that each of us desires to learn." 

— John Frederick Lewistam. 



Con ten ts 



A Foreword : Which Asserts Nothing 3 

I Why Jurgen Did the Manly Thing 9 

II Assumption of a Noted Garment 14 

III The Garden between Dawn and Sunrise 18 

IV The Dorothy Who Did Not Understand 22 

V Requirements of Bread and Butter 34 

VI Showing that Sereda Is Feminine 39 

VII Of Compromises on a Wednesday 47 

VIII Old Toys and a New Shadow 60 

IX The Orthodox Rescue of Guf.nevere 66 

X Pitiful Disguises of Thragnar 72 

XI Appearance of the Duke of Logreus 78 

XII Excursus of Yolande's Undoing 82 

XIII Philosophy of Gogyrvan Gawr 87 

XIV Preliminary Tactics of Duke Jurgen 94 

XV Of Compromises in Glathion 104 

XVI Divers Imbroglios of King Smoit Ill 

XVII About a Cock That Crowed Too Soon 122 

XVIII Why Merlin Talked in Twilight 129 

XIX The Brown Man with Queer Feet 136 

XX Efficacy of Prayer 141 

XXI How Anaitis Voyaged 147 

XXII As to a Veil They Broke 151 

XXIII Shortcomings of Prince Jurgen 159 

XXIV Of Compromises in Cocaigne 173 

XXV Cantraps of the Master Philologist 180 



CONTENTS 



XXVI In Time's Hour-Glass 185 

XXVII Vexatious Estate of Queen Helen 192 

XXVIII Of Compromises in Leuke 201 

XXIX Concerning Horvendile's Nonsense 215 

XXX Economics of King Jurgen 224 

XXXI The Fall of Pseudopolis 230 

XXXII Sundry Devices of the Philistines 235 

XXXIII Farewell to Chloris 246 

XXXIV How Emperor Jurgen Fared Infernally 251 

XXXV What Grandfather Satan Reported., 255 

XXXVI Why Coth Was Contradicted 260 

XXXVII Invention of the Lovely Vampire 268 

XXXVIII As to Applauded Precedents 273 

XXXIX Of Compromises in Hell 282 

XL The Ascension of Pope Jurgen 290 

XLI Of Compromises in Heaven 296 

XLII Twelve That Are Fretted Hourly 308 

XLIII Postures Before a Shadow 314 

XLIV In the Manager's Office 327 

XLV The Faith of Guenevere 335 

XL VI The Desire of Anaitis 340 

XLVII The Vision of Helen 345 

XLVIII Candid Opinions of Dame Lisa 349 

XLIX Of the Compromise with Koshchei 356 

L The Moment That Did Not Count 364 



A FOREWORD 

'Nescio quid eerie est: et Hylax in limine latrat." 



A Foreword: Which Asserts Nothing 

IN Continental periodicals not more than a dozen 
articles in all would seem to have given accounts 
or partial translations of the Jurgen legends. No 
thorough investigation of this epos can be said to have 
appeared in print, anywhere, prior to the publication, in 
1913, of the monumental Synopses of Aryan Mythology 
by Angelo de Ruiz. It is unnecessary to observe that 
in this exhaustive digest Professor de Ruiz has given 
(VII, p. 415 et sequentia) a summary of the greater 
part of these legends as contained in the collections of 
Verville and Biilg; and has discussed at length and with 
much learning the esoteric meaning of these folk-stories 
and their bearing upon questions to which the "solar 
theory" of myth explanation has given rise. To his 
volumes, and to the pages of Mr. Lewistam's Key to the 
Popular Tales of Poictesme, must be referred all those 
who may elect to think of Jurgen as the resplendent, 
journeying and procreative sun. 

Equally in reading hereinafter will the judicious 
waive all allegorical interpretation, if merely because 
the suggestions hitherto advanced are inconveniently 
various. Thus Verville finds the Nessus shirt a symbol 
of retribution, where Biilg, with rather wide divergence, 
would have it represent the dangerous gift of genius. 
Then it may be remembered that Dr. Codman says, 
without any hesitancy, of Mother Sereda: "This 
Mother Middle is the world generally (an obvious ana- 
gram of Erda es), and this Sereda rules not merely the 
middle of the working-days but the midst of everything. 
She is the factor of middleness, of mediocrity, of an 



A FOREWORD 



avoidance of extremes, of the eternal compromise be- 
gotten by use and wont. She is the Mrs. Grundy of the 
Leshy ; she is Comstockery : and her shadow is common- 
sense." Yet Codman speaks with certainly no more au- 
thority than Prote, when the latter, in his Origins of 
Fable, declares this epos is "a parable of . . . 
man's vain journeying in search of that ration- 
ality and justice which his nature craves, and discovers 
nowhere in the universe: and the shirt is an emblem of 
this instinctive craving, as . . . the shadow symbol- 
izes conscience. Sereda typifies a surrender to life as 
it is, a giving up of man's rebellious self-centredness 
and selfishness: the anagram being se dare." 

Thus do interpretations throng and clash, and neatly 
equal the commentators in number. Yet possibly each 
one of these unriddlings, with no doubt a host of others, 
is conceivable: so that wisdom will dwell upon none of 
them very seriously. 

With the origin and the occult meaning of the folk- 
lore of Poictesme this book at least is in no wise con- 
cerned : its unambitious aim has been merely to familiar- 
ize English readers with the Jurgen epos for the tale's 
sake. And this tale of old years is one which, by rare 
fortune, can be given to English readers almost un- 
abridged, in view of the singular delicacy and pure- 
mindedness of the Jurgen mythos: in all, not more than 
a half-dozen deletions have seemed expedient (and have 
been duly indicated) in order to remove such sparse and 
unimportant outcroppings of mediaeval frankness as 
might conceivably offend the squeamish. 

Since this volume is presented simply as a story to be 
read for pastime, neither morality nor symbolism is 



A FOREWORD 



hereinafter educed, and no "parallels" and "authorities" 
are quoted. Even the gaps are left unbridged by guess- 
work: whereas the historic and mythological problems 
perhaps involved are relinquished to those really 
thoroughgoing scholars whom erudition qualifies to deal 
with such topics, and tedium does not deter. . . . 

In such terms, and thus far, ran the Foreword to the 
first issues of this book, whose later fortunes have made 
necessary the lengthening of the Foreword with a post- 
script. The needed addition — this much at least chiming 
with good luck — is brief. It is just that fragment which 
some scholars, since the first appearance of this volume, 
have asserted — upon what perfect frankness must de- 
scribe as not indisputable grounds — to be a portion of the 
thirty-second chapter of the complete form of La Haulte 
Histoire de Jurgcn. 

And in reply to what these scholars assert, discretion 
says nothing. For this fragment was, of course, un- 
known when the High History was first put into English, 
and there in consequence appears, here, little to be won 
either by endorsing or denying its claims to authenticity. 
Rather, does discretion prompt the appending, without 
any gloss or scholia, of this fragment, which deals with 

The Judging of Jurgen. 

Now a court was held by the Philistines to decide 
whether or no King Jurgen should be relegated to limbo. 
And when the judges were prepared for judging, there 
came into the court a great tumblebug, rolling in front of 
him his loved and properly housed young ones. With the 
creature came pages, in black and white, bearing a sword, 
a staff and a lance. 



A FOREWORD 



This insect looked at Jurgen, and its pincers rose erect 
in horror. The bug cried to the three judges, ''Now, by 
St. Anthony ! this Jurgen must forthwith be relegated to 
limbo, for he is offensive and lewd and lascivious and 
indecent." 

"And how can that be?" says Jurgen. 

"You are offensive," the bug replied, "because this page 
has a sword which I choose to say is not a sword. You 
are lewd because that page has a lance which I prefer to 
think is not a lance. You are lascivious because yonder 
page has a staff which I elect to declare is not a staff. 
And finally, you are indecent for reasons of which a de- 
scription would be objectionable to me, and which there- 
fore I must decline to reveal to anybody." 

"Well, that sounds logical," says Jurgen, "but still, at 
the same time, it would be no worse for an admixture 
of common-sense. For you gentlemen can see for your- 
selves, by considering these pages fairly and as a whole, 
that these pages bear a sword and a lance and a staff, 
and nothing else whatever ; and you will deduce, I 
hope, that all the lewdness is in the insectival mind of 
him who itches to be calling these things by other 
names." 

The judges said nothing as yet. But they that guarded 
Jurgen, and all the other Philistines, stood to this side 
and to that side with their eyes shut tight, and all these 
said : "We decline to look at the pages fairly and as a 
whole, because to look might seem to imply a doubt of 
what the tumblebug has decreed. Besides, as long as the 
tumblebug has reasons which he declines to reveal, his 
reasons stay unanswerable, and you are plainly a prurient 
rascal who are making trouble for yourself." 



A FOREWORD 



"To the contrary," says Jurgen, "I am a poet, and I 
make literature." 

"But in Philistia to make literature and to make trou- 
ble for yourself are synonyms," the tumblebug explained. 
"I know, for already we of Philistia have been pestered 
by three of these makers of literature. Yes, there was 
Edgar, whom I starved and hunted until I was tired of it : 
then I chased him up a back alley one night, and knocked 
out those annoying brains of his. And there was Walt, 
whom I chivvied and battered from place to place, and 
made a paralytic of him : and him, too, I labelled offensive 
and lewd and lascivious and indecent. Then later there 
was Mark, whom I frightened into disguising himself in 
a clown's suit, so that nobody might suspect him to be a 
maker of literature: indeed, I frightened him so that he 
hid away the greater part of what he had made until after 
he was dead, and I could not get at him. That was a dis- 
gusting trick to play on me, I consider. Still, these are 
the only three detected makers of literature that have ever 
infested Philistia, thanks be to goodness and my vigilance. 
but for both of which we might have been no more free 
from makers of literature than are the other countries." 

"Now, but these three," cried Jurgen, "are the glory of 
Philistia : and of all that Philistia has produced, it is these 
three alone, whom living ye made least of, that to-day are 
honored wherever art is honored, and where nobody 
bothers one way or the other about Philistia." 

"What is art to me and my way of living?" replied 
the tumblebug, wearily. "I have no concern with art and 
letters and the other lewd idols of foreign nations. I have 
in charge the moral welfare of my young, whom I roll 
here before me, and trust with St. Anthony's aid to raise 



A FOREWORD 



in time to be God-fearing tumblebugs like me, delighting 
in what is proper to their nature. For the rest, I have 
never minded dead men being well-spoken-of . No, no, my 
lad : once whatever I may do means nothing to you, and 
once you are really rotten, you will find the tumblebug 
friendly enough. Meanwhile I am paid to protest that 
living persons are offensive and lewd and lascivious and 
indecent, and one must live." 

Then the Philistines who stood to this side and to that 
side said in indignant unison: "And we, the reputable 
citizenry of Philistia, are not at all in sympathy with 
those who would take any protest against the tumblebug 
as a justification of what they are pleased to call art. The 
harm done by the tumblebug seems to us very slight, 
whereas the harm done by the self-styled artist may be 
very great." 

Jurgen now looked more attentively at this queer crea- 
ture: and he saw that the tumblebug was malodorous, 
certainly, but at bottom honest and well-meaning ; and this 
seemed to Jurgen the saddest thing he had found among 
the Philistines. For the tumblebug was sincere in his 
insane doings, and all Philistia honored him sincerely, so 
that there was nowhere any hope for this people. 

Therefore King Jurgen addressed himself, as his need 
was, to submit to the strange customs of the Philistines. 
"Now do you judge me fairly," cried Jurgen to his judges, 
"if there be any justice in this mad country. And if 
there be none, do you relegate me to limbo or to any other 
place, so long as in that place this tumblebug is not omni- 
potent and sincere and insane." 

And Jurgen waited. . . . 



JURGEN 

amara lento temperet risu 



Why Jurgen Did the Manly Thing 



IT is a tale which they narrate in Poictesme, saying: 
In the old days lived a pawnbroker named Jurgen ; 
but what his wife called him was very often much 
worse than that. She was a high-spirited woman, with 
no especial gift for silence. Her name, they say, was 
Adelais, but people by ordinary called her Dame Lisa. 

They tell, also, that in the old days, after putting up 
the shop-windows for the night, Jurgen was passing the 
Cistercian Abbey, on his way home : and one of the monks 
had tripped over a stone in the roadway. He was cursing 
the devil who had placed it there. 

"Fie, brother !" says Jurgen, "and have not the devils 
enough to bear as it is?" 

"I never held with Origen," replied the monk; "and 
besides, it hurt my great-toe confoundedly." 

"None the less," observes Jurgen, "it does not behoove 
God-fearing persons to speak with disrespect of the di- 
vinely appointed Prince of Darkness. To your further 
confusion, consider this monarch's industry! day and 
night you may detect him toiling at the task Heaven set 
him. That is a thing can be said of few communicants 
and of no monks. Think, too, of his fine artistry, as evi- 
denced in all the perilous and lovely snares of this world, 
which it is your business to combat, and mine to lend 

9 



10 JURGEN 



money upon. Why, but for him we would both be voca- 
tionless! Then, too, consider his philanthropy! and de- 
liberate how insufferable would be our case if you and I, 
and all our fellow parishioners, were to-day hobnobbing 
with other beasts in the Garden which we pretend to desi- 
derate on Sundays ! To arise with swine and lie down 
with the hyena ? — oh, intolerable !" 

Thus he ran on, devising reasons for not thinking too 
harshly of the Devil. Most of it was an abridgement of 
some verses Jurgen had composed, in the shop when 
business was slack. 

"I consider that to be stuff and nonsense," was the 
monk's glose. 

"No doubt your notion is sensible," observed the pawn- 
broker : "but mine is the prettier." 

Then Jurgen passed the Cistercian Abbey, and was ap- 
proaching Bellegarde, when he met a black gentleman, 
who saluted him and said: 

"Thanks, Jurgen, for your good word." 

"Who are you, and why do you thank me?" asks 
Jurgen. 

"My name is no great matter. But you have a kind 
heart, Jurgen. May your life be free from care!" 

"Save us from hurt and harm, friend, but I am already 
married." 

"Eh, sirs, and a fine clever poet like you!" 

"Yet it is a long while now since I was a practising 
poet." 

"Why, to be sure ! You have the artistic temperament, 
which is not exactly suited to the restrictions of domestic 
life. Then I suppose your wife has her own personal 
opinion about ooetry, Jurgen." 



WHY JURGEN DID THE MANLY THING 11 



"Indeed, sir, her opinion would not bear repetition, for 
I am sure you are unaccustomed to such language." 

"This is very sad. I am afraid your wife does not quite 
understand you, Jurgen." 

"Sir," says Jurgen, astounded, "do you read people's 
inmost thoughts?" 

The black gentleman seemed much dejected. He 
pursed his lips, and fell to counting upon his fingers : as 
they moved his sharp nails glittered like flame-points. 

"Now but this is a very deplorable thing," says the 
black gentleman, "to have befallen the first person I have 
found ready to speak a kind word for evil. And in all 
these centuries, too ! Dear me, this is a most regrettable 
instance of mismanagement! No matter, Jurgen, the 
morning is brighter than the evening. How I will reward 
you, to be sure !" 

So Jurgen thanked the simple old creature politely. 
And when Jurgen reached home his wife was nowhere to 
be seen. He looked on all sides and questioned everyone, 
but to no avail. Dame Lisa had vanished in the midst of 
getting supper ready— suddenly, completely and inexplic- 
ably, just as (in Jurgen's figure) a windstorm passes and 
leaves behind it a tranquillity which seems, by contrast, 
uncanny. Nothing could explain the mystery, short of 
magic: and Jurgen on a sudden recollected the black 
gentleman's queer promise. Jurgen crossed himself. 

"How unjustly now," says Jurgen, "do some people get 
an ill name for gratitude! And now do I perceive how 
wise I am, always to speak pleasantly of everybody, in 
this world of tale-bearers." 

Then Jurgen prepared his own supper, went to bed, and 
slept soundly. 



12 JURGEN 



"I have implicit confidence," says he, "in Lisa. I have 
particular confidence in her ability to take care of herself 
in any surroundings." 

That was all very well : but time passed, and presently 
it began to be rumored that Dame Lisa walked on 
Morven. Her brother, who was a grocer and a member 
of the town-council, went thither to see about this report. 
And sure enough, there was Jurgen's wife walking in the 
twilight and muttering incessantly. 

"Fie, sister!" says the town-councillor, "this is very 
unseemly conduct for a married woman, and a thing 
likely to be talked about." 

"Follow me !" replied Dame Lisa. And the town-coun- 
cillor followed her a little way in the dusk, but when she 
came to Amneran Heath and still went onward, he knew 
better than to follow. 

Next evening the elder sister of Dame Lisa went to 
Morven. This sister had married a notary, and was a 
shrewd woman. In consequence, she took with her this 
evening a long wand of peeled willow-wood. And there 
was Jurgen's wife walking in the twilight and muttering 
incessantly. 

"Fie, sister!" says the notary's wife, who was a shrewd 
woman, "and do you not know that all this while Jurgen 
does his own sewing, and is once more making eyes at 
Countess Dorothy?" 

Dame Lisa shuddered ; but she only said, "Follow me !" 

And the notary's wife followed her to Amneran Heath, 
and across the heath, to where a cave was. This was a 
place of abominable repute. A lean hound came to meet 
them there in the twilight, lolling his tongue : but the no- 
tary's wife struck thrice with her wand, and the silent 



WHY JURGEN DID THE MANLY THING 13 



beast left them. And Dame Lisa passed silently into the 
cave, and her sister turned and went home to her children, 
weeping. 

So the next evening Jurgen himself came to Morven, 
because all his wife's family assured him this was the 
manly thing to do. Jurgen left the shop in charge of 
Urien Villemarche, who was a highly efficient clerk. Jur- 
gen followed his wife across Amneran Heath until they 
reached the cave. Jurgen would willingly have been else- 
where. 

For the hound squatted upon his haunches, and seemed 
to grin at Jurgen ; and there were other creatures abroad, 
that flew low in the twilight, keeping close to the ground 
like owls ; but they were larger than owls and were more 
discomforting. And, moreover, all this was just after sun- 
set upon Walburga's Eve, when almost anything is rather 
more than likely to happen. 

So Jurgen said, a little peevishly : "Lisa, my dear, if you 
go into the cave I will have to follow you, because it is 
the manly thing to do. And you know how easily I take 
cold." 

The voice of Dame Lisa, now, was thin and wailing, 
a curiously changed voice. "There is a cross about your 
neck. You must throw that away." 

Jurgen was wearing such a cross, through motives of 
sentiment, because it had once belonged to his dead 
mother. But now, to pleasure his wife, he removed the 
trinket, and hung it on a barberry bush ; and with the re- 
flection that this was likely to prove a deplorable business, 
he followed Dame Lisa into the cave. 



2. 

Assumption of a Noted Garment 



I 



K~~\ [~™^HE tale tells that all was dark there, and Jurgen 
could see no one. But the cave stretched straight 
forward, and downward, and at the far end was a 
glow of light. Jurgen went on and on, and so came pres- 
ently to a centaur: and this surprised him not a little, 
because Jurgen knew that centaurs were imaginary 
creatures. 

Certainly they were curious to look at: for here was 
the body of a fine bay horse, and rising from its shoulders, 
the sun-burnt body of a young fellow who regarded Jur- 
gen with grave and not unfriendly eyes. The Centaur 
was lying beside a fire of cedar and juniper wood : near 
him was a platter containing a liquid with which he was 
anointing his hoofs. This stuff, as the Centaur rubbed 
it in with his fingers, turned the appearance of his hoofs 
to gold. 

"Hail, friend," says Jurgen, "if you be the work of 
God." 

"Your protasis is not good Greek," observed the 
Centaur, "because in Hellas we did not make such reser- 
vations. Besides, it is not so much my origin as my desti- 
nation which concerns you." 

"Well, friend, and whither are you going?" 

"To the garden between dawn and sunrise, Jurgen." 

14 



ASSUMPTION OF A NOTED GARMENT IS 



"Surely, now, but that is a fine name for a garden! and 
it is a place I would take joy to be seeing." 

"Up upon my back, Jurgen, and I will take you 
thither," says the Centaur, and heaved to his feet. Then 
said the Centaur, when the pawnbroker hesitated: "Be- 
cause, as you must understand, there is no other way. 
For this garden does not exist, and never did exist, in 
what men humorously called real life ; so that of course 
only imaginary creatures such as I can enter it." 

"That sounds very reasonable," Jurgen estimated : "but 
as it happens, I am looking for my wife, whom I suspect 
to have been carried off by a devil, poor fellow !" 

And Jurgen began to explain to the Centaur what had 
befallen. 

The Centaur laughed. "It may be for that reason I 
am here. There is, in any event, only one remedy in this 
matter. Above all devils — and above all gods, they tell 
me, but certainly above all centaurs — is the power of 
Koshchei the Deathless, who made things as they are." 

"It is not always wholesome," Jurgen submitted, "to 
speak of Koshchei. It seems especially undesirable in a 
dark place like this." 

"None the less, I suspect it is to him you must go for 
justice." 

"I would prefer not doing that," said Jurgen, with un- 
affected candor. 

"You have my sympathy: but there is no question of 
preference where Koshchei is concerned. Do you think, 
for example, that I am frowzing in this underground 
place by my own choice? and knew your name by 
accident ?" 

Jurgen was frightened, a little. "Well, well ! but it is 



16 JURGEN 



usually the deuce and all, this doing of the manly thing. 
How, then, can I come to Koshchei ?" 

"Roundabout," says the Centaur. "There is never any 
other way." 

"And is the road to this garden roundabout?" 

"Oh, very much so, inasmuch as it circumvents both 
destiny and common-sense." 

"Needs must, then," says Jurgen : "at all events, I am 
willing to taste any drink once." 

"You will be chilled, though, traveling as you are. For 
you and I are going a queer way, in search of justice, 
over the grave of a dream and through the malice of time. 
So you had best put on this shirt above your other 
clothing." 

"Indeed it is a fine snug shining garment, with curious 
figures on it. I accept such raiment gladly. And whom 
shall I be thanking for his kindness, now?" 

"My name," said the Centaur, "is Nessus." 

"Well, then, friend Nessus, I am at your service." 

And in a trice Jurgen was on the Centaur's back, and 
the two of them had somehow come out of the cave, and 
were crossing Amneran Heath. So they passed into a 
wooded place, where the light of sunset yet lingered, 
rather unaccountably. Now the Centaur went westward. 
And now about the pawnbroker's shoulders and upon his 
breast and over his lean arms glittered like a rainbow the 
many-colored shirt of Nessus. 

For a while they went through the woods, which were 
composed of big trees standing a goodish distance from 
one another, with the Centaur's gilded hoofs rustling and 
sinking in a thick carpet of dead leaves, all gray and 
brown, in level stretches that were unbroken by any un- 



ASSUMPTION OE A NOTED GARMENT 17 



dergrowth. And then they came to a white roadway that 
extended due west, and so were done with the woods. 
Now happened an incredible thing in which Jurgen would 
never have believed had he not seen it with his own eyes : 
for now the Centaur went so fast that he gained a little 
by a little upon the sun, thus causing it to rise in the west 
a little by a little; and these two sped westward in the 
glory of a departed sunset. The sun fell full in Jurgen's 
face as he rode straight toward the west, so that he 
blinked and closed his eyes, and looked first toward this 
side, then the other. Thus it was that the country about 
him, and the persons they were passing, were seen by him 
in quick bright flashes, like pictures suddenly transmuted 
into other pictures ; and all his memories of this shining 
highway were, in consequence, always confused and 
incoherent. 

He wondered that there seemed to be so many young 
women along the road to the garden. Here was a slim 
girl in white teasing a great brown and yellow dog that 
leaped about her clumsily ; here a girl sat in the branches 
of a twisted and gnarled tree, and back of her was a 
broad muddied river, copper-colored in the sun ; and here 
shone the fair head of a tall girl on horseback, who 
seemed to wait for someone : in fine, the girls along the 
way were numberless, and Jurgen thought he recollected 
one or two of them. 

But the Centaur went so swiftly that Jurgen could not 
be sure. 



3. 

The Garden between Dawn and Sunrise 



THUS it was that Jurgen and the Centaur came to 
the garden between dawn and sunrise, entering this 
place in a fashion which it is not convenient to 
record. But as they passed over the bridge three fled 
before them, screaming. And when the life had been 
trampled out of the small furry bodies which these three 
had misused, there was none to oppose the Centaur's 
entry into the garden between dawn and sunrise. 

This was a wonderful garden : yet nothing therein was 
strange. Instead, it seemed that everything hereabouts 
was heart-breakingly familiar and very dear to Jurgen. 
For he had come to a broad lawn which slanted north- 
ward to a well-remembered brook: and multitudinous 
maples and locust-trees stood here and there, irregularly, 
and were being played with very lazily by an irresolute 
west wind, so that foliage seemed to toss and ripple every- 
where like green spray : but autumn was at hand, for the 
locust-trees were dropping a Danae's shower of small 
round yellow leaves. Around the garden was an un for- 
gotten circle of blue hills. And this was a place of lucent 
twilight, unlit by either sun or stars, and with no shadows 
anywhere in the diffused faint radiancy that revealed this 
garden, which is not visible to any man except in the brief 
interval between dawn and sunrise. 

18 



GARDEN BETWEEN DAWN AND SUNRISE 19 



"Why, but it is Count Emmerick's garden at Stori- 
sende," says Jurgen, "where I used to be having such 
fine times when I was a lad." 

"I will wager," said Nessus, "that you did not use to 
walk alone in this garden." 

"Well, no ; there was a girl." 

"Just so," assented Nessus. "It is a local by-law : and 
here are those who comply with it." 

For now had come toward them, walking together in 
the dawn, a handsome boy and girl. And the girl was 
incredibly beautiful, because everybody in the garden saw 
her with the vision of the boy who was with her. 

"I am Rudolph," said this boy, "and she is Anne." 

"And are you happy here ?" asked Jurgen. 

"Oh, yes, sir, we are tolerably happy : but Anne's father 
is very rich, and my mother is poor, so that we cannot be 
quite happy until I have gone into foreign lands and come 
back with a great many lakhs of rupees and pieces of 
eight." 

"And what will you do with all this money, Rudolph?" 

"My duty, sir, as I see it. But I inherit defective eye- 
sight." 

"God speed to you, Rudolph !" said Jurgen, "for many 
others are in your plight." 

Then came to Jurgen and the Centaur another boy 
with the small blue-eyed person in whom he took delight. 
And this fat and indolent looking boy informed them that 
he and the girl who was with him were walking in the 
glaze of the red mustard jar, which Jurgen thought was 
gibberish : and the fat boy said that he and the girl had 
decided never to grow any older, which Jurgen said was 
excellent good sense if only they could manage it. 



20 JURGEN 



"Oh, I can manage that," said this fat boy, reflectively, 
"if only I do not find the managing of it uncomfortable." 

Jurgen for a moment regarded him, and then gravely 
shook hands. 

"I feel for you," said Jurgen, "for I perceive that you, 
too, are a monstrous clever fellow : so life will get the best 
of you." 

"But is not cleverness the main thing, sir?" 

"Time will show you, my lad," says Jurgen, a little 
sorrowfully. "And God speed to you, for many others 
are in your plight." 

And a host of boys and girls did Jurgen see in the 
garden. And all the faces that Jurgen saw were young 
and glad and very lovely and quite heart-breakingly confi- 
dent, as young persons beyond numbering came toward 
Jurgen and passed him there, in the first glow of dawn : 
so they all went exulting in the glory of their youth, and 
foreknowing life to be a puny antagonist from whom one 
might take very easily anything which one desired. And 
all passed in couples — "as though they came from the 
Ark," said Jurgen. But the Centaur said they followed 
a precedent which was far older than the Ark. 

"For in this garden," said the Centaur, "each man that 
ever lived has sojourned for a little while, with no com- 
pany save his illusions. I must tell you again that in this 
garden are encountered none but imaginary creatures. 
And stalwart persons take their hour of recreation here, 
and go hence unaccompanied, to become aldermen and 
respected merchants and bishops, and tc be admired as 
captains upon prancing horses, or even as kings upon tall 
thrones ; each in his station thinking not at all of the 
garden ever any more. But now and then come timid 



GARDEN BETWEEN DAWN AND SUNRISE 21 



persons, Jurgen, who fear to leave this garden without an 
escort : so these must need go hence with one or another 
imaginary creature, to guide them about alleys and by- 
paths, because imaginary creatures find little nourishment 
in the public highways, and shun them. Thus must these 
timid persons skulk about obscurely with their diffident 
and skittish guides, and they do not ever venture willingly 
into the thronged places where men get horses and build 
thrones." 

"And what becomes of these timid persons, Centaur?" 

"Why, sometimes they spoil paper, Jurgen, and some- 
times they spoil human lives." 

"Then are these accursed persons," Jurgen considered. 

"You should know best," replied the Centaur. 

"Oh, very probably," said Jurgen. "Meanwhile here 
is one who walks alone in this garden, and I wonder to 
see the local by-laws thus violated." 

Now Nessus looked at Jurgen for a while without 
speaking: and in the eyes of the Centaur was so much 
of comprehension and compassion that it troubled Jurgen. 
For somehow it made Jurgen fidget and consider this an 
unpleasantly personal way of looking at anybody. 

"Yes, certainly," said the Centaur, "this woman walks 
alone. But there is no help for her loneliness, since the 
lad who loved this woman is dead." 

"Nessus, I am willing to be reasonably sorry about it. 
Still, is there any need of pulling quite such a portentously 
long face? After all, a great many other persons have 
died, off and on : and for anything I can say to the con- 
trary, this particular young fellow may have been no 
especial loss to anybody." 

Again the Centaur said, "You should know best." 



4. 

The Dorothy Who Did Not Understand 



FOR now had come to Jurgen and the Centaur a gold- 
haired woman, clothed all in white, and walking 
alone. She was tall, and lovely and tender to regard : 
and hers was not the red and white comeliness of many 
ladies that were famed for beauty, but rather it had the 
even glow of ivory. Her nose was large and high in the 
bridge, her flexible mouth was not of the smallest : and yet 
whatever other persons might have said, to Jurgen this 
woman's countenance was in all things perfect. Perhaps 
this was because he never saw her as she was. For cer- 
tainly the color of her eyes stayed a matter never revealed 
to him: gray, blue or green, there was no saying: they 
varied as does the sea ; but always these eyes were lovely 
and friendly and perturbing. 

Jurgen remembered that: for Jurgen saw this was 
Count Emmerick's second sister, Dorothy la Desiree, 
whom Jurgen very long ago (a many years before he met 
Dame Lisa and set up in business as a pawnbroker) had 
hymned in innumerable verses as Heart's Desire. 

"And this is the only woman whom I ever loved," Jur- 
gen remembered, upon a sudden. For people cannot 
always be thinking of these matters. 

So he saluted her, with such deference as is due to a 
countess from a tradesman, and yet with unforgotten 

22 



THE DOROTHY WHO DID NOT UNDERSTAND 23 



tremors waking in his staid body. But the strangest was 
yet to be seen, for he noted now that this was not a hand- 
some woman in middle life but a young girl. 

"I do not understand," he said, aloud: "for you are 
Dorothy. And yet it seems to me that you are not the 
Countess Dorothy who is Heitman Michael's wife." 

And the girl tossed her fair head, with that careless 
lovely gesture which the Countess had forgotten. "Heit- 
man Michael is well enough, for a nobleman, and my 
brother is at me day and night to marry the man: and 
certainly Heitman Michael's wife will go in satin and 
diamonds at half the courts of Christendom, with many 
lackeys to attend her. But I am not to be thus pur- 
chased." 

"So you told a boy that I remember, very long ago. 
Yet you married Heitman Michael, for all that, and in the 
teeth of a number of other fine declarations." 

"Oh, no, not I," said this Dorothy, wondering. "I 
never married anybody. And Heitman Michael has 
never married anybody, either, old as he is. For he is 
twenty-eight, and looks every day of it! But who are 
you, friend, that have such curious notions about me ?" 

"That question I will answer, just as though it were put 
reasonably. For surely you perceive I am Jurgen." 

"I never knew but one Jurgen. And he is a young man, 
barely come of age — " Then as she paused in speech, 
whatever was the matter upon which this girl now medi- 
tated, her cheeks were tenderly colored by the thought of 
it, and in her knowledge of this thing her eyes took infinite 
joy. 

And Jurgen understood. He had come back somehow 
to the Dorothy whom he had loved : but departed, and past 



24 JURGEN 

overtaking by the fleet hoofs of centaurs, was the boy who 
had once loved this Dorothy, and who had rhymed of her 
as his Heart's Desire : and in the garden there was of this 
boy no trace. Instead, the girl was talking to a staid and 
paunchy pawnbroker, of forty-and-something. 

So Jurgen shrugged, and looked toward the Centaur: 
but Nessus had discreetly wandered away from them, in 
search of four-leafed clovers. Now the east had grown 
brighter, and its crimson began to be colored with gold. 

"Yes, I have heard of this other Jurgen," says the 
pawnbroker. "Oh, Madame Dorothy, but it was he that 
loved you !" 

"No more than I loved him. Through a whole summer 
have I loved Jurgen." 

And the knowledge that this girl spoke a wondrous 
truth was now to Jurgen a joy that was keen as pain. 
And he stood motionless for a while, scowling and biting 
his lips. 

"I wonder how long the poor devil loved you! He 
also loved for a whole summer, it may be. And yet again, 
it may be that he loved you all his life. For twenty years 
and for more than twenty years I have debated the 
matter : and I am as well informed as when I started." 

"But, friend, you talk in riddles." 

"Is not that customary when age talks with youth? 
For I am an old fellow, in my forties: and you, as I 
know now, are near eighteen, — or rather, four months 
short of being eighteen, for it is August. Nay, more, it 
is the August of a year I had not looked ever to see again ; 
and again Dom Manuel reigns over us, that man of iron 
whom I saw die so horribly. All this seems very im- 
probable." 



THE DOROTHY WHO DID NOT UNDERSTAND 25 



Then Jurgen meditated for a while. He shrugged. 

"Well, and what could anybody expect me to do about 
it? Somehow it has befallen that I, who am but the 
shadow of what I was, now walk among shadows, and we 
converse with the thin intonations of dead persons. For, 
Madame Dorothy, you who are not yet eighteen, in this 
same garden there was once a boy who loved a girl, with 
such love as it puzzles me to think of now. I believe that 
she loved him. Yes, certainly it is a cordial to the tired 
and battered heart which nowadays pumps blood for me, 
to think that for a little while, for a whole summer, these 
two were as brave and comely and clean a pair of sweet- 
hearts as the world has known." 

Thus Jurgen spoke. But his thought was that this was 
a girl whose equal for loveliness and delight was not to 
be found between two oceans. Long and long ago that 
doubtfulness of himself which was closer to him than his 
skin had fretted Jurgen into believing the Dorothy he had 
loved was but a piece of his imaginings. But certainly 
this girl was real. And sweet she was, and innocent she 
was, and light of heart and feet, beyond the reach of any 
man's inventiveness. No, Jurgen had not invented her; 
and it strangely contented him to know as much. 

"Tell me your story, sir," says she, "for I love all 
romances." 

"Ah, my dear child, but I cannot tell you very well of 
just what happened. As I look back, there is a blinding 
glory of green woods and lawns and moonlit nights and 
dance music and unreasonable laughter. I remember her 
hair and eyes, and the curving and the feel of her red 
mouth, and once when I was bolder than ordinary — But 
that is hardly worth raking up at this late day. Well, I 



26 JURGEN 



see these things in memory as plainly as I now seem to 
see your face: but I can recollect hardly anything she 
said. Perhaps, now I think of it, she was not very intelli- 
gent, and said nothing worth remembering. But the boy 
loved her, and was happy, because her lips and heart were 
his, and he, as the saying is, had plucked a diamond from 
the world's ring. True, she was a count's daughter and 
the sister of a count: but in those days the boy quite 
firmly intended to become a duke or an emperor or some- 
thing of that sort, so the transient discrepancy did not 
worry them." 

"I know. Why, Jurgen is going to be a duke, too," 
says she, very proudly, "though he did think, a great while 
ago, before he knew me, of being a cardinal, on account 
of the robes. But cardinals are not allowed to marry, you 
see — And I am forgetting your story, too ! What hap- 
pened then?" 

"They parted in September — with what vows it hardly 
matters now — and the boy went into Gatinais, to win his 
spurs under the old Vidame de Soyecourt. And presently 
— oh, a good while before Christmas! — came the news 
that Dorothy la Desiree had married rich Heitman 
Michael." 

"But that is what I am called! And as you know, 
there is a Heitman Michael who is always plaguing me. 
Is that not strange! for you tell me all this happened a 
great while ago." 

"Indeed, the story is very old, and old it was when 
Methuselah was teething. There is no older and more 
common story anywhere. As the sequel, it would be 
heroic to tell you this boy's life was ruined. But I do 
not think it was. Instead, he had learned all of a sudden 



THE DOROTHY WHO DID NOT UNDERSTAND 27 



that which at twenty-one is heady knowledge. That was 
the hour which taught him sorrow and rage, and sneering, 
too, for a redemption. Oh, it was armor that hour 
brought him, and a humor to use it, because no woman 
now could hurt him very seriously. No, never any more !" 

"Ah, the poor boy!" she said, divinely tender, and 
smiling as a goddess smiles, not quite in mirth. 

"Well, women, as he knew by experience now, were the 
pleasantest of playfellows. So he began to play. Ram- 
paging through the world he went in the pride of his 
youth and in the armor of his hurt. And songs he made 
for the pleasure of kings, and sword-play he made for the 
pleasure of men, and a whispering he made for the 
pleasure of women, in places where renown was, and 
where he trod boldly, giving pleasure to everybody, in 
those fine days. But the whispering, and all that fol- 
lowed the whispering, was his best game, and the game 
he played for the longest while, with many brightly 
colored playmates who took the game more seriously than 
he did. And their faith in the game's importance, and 
in him and his high-sounding nonsense, he very often 
found amusing: and in their other chattels too he took 
his natural pleasure. Then, when he had played suf- 
ficiently, he held a consultation with divers waning appe- 
tites; and he married the handsome daughter of an esti- 
mable pawnbroker in a fair line of business. And he 
lived with his wife very much as two people customarily 
live together. So, all in all, I would not say his life 
was ruined." 

"Why, then, it was," said Dorothy. She stirred un- 
easily, with an impatient sigh ; and you saw that she was 
vaguely puzzled. "Oh, but somehow I think you are a 



28 JURGEN 



very horrible old man : and you seem doubly horrible in 
that glittering queer garment you are wearing." 

"No woman ever praised a woman's handiwork, and 
each of you is particularly severe upon her own. But you 
are interrupting the saga." 

"I do not see" — and those large bright eyes of which 
the color was so indeterminable and so dear to Jurgen, 
seemed even larger now — "but I do not see how there 
could well be any more." 

"Still, human hearts survive the benediction of the 
priest, as you may perceive any day. This man, at least, 
inherited his father-in-law's business, and found it, quite 
as he had anticipated, the fittest of vocations for a 
cashiered poet. And so, I suppose, he was content. Ah, 
yes; but after a while Heitman Michael returned from 
foreign parts, along with his lackeys, and plate, and chest 
upon chest of merchandise, and his fine horses, and his 
wife. And he who had been her lover could see her 
now, after so many years, whenever he liked. She was 
a handsome stranger. That was all. She was rather 
stupid. She was nothing remarkable, one way or an- 
other. This respectable pawnbroker saw that quite 
plainly: day by day he writhed under the knowledge. 
Because, as I must tell you, he could not retain com- 
posure in her presence, even now. No, he was never able 
to do that." 

The girl somewhat condensed her brows over this in- 
formation. "You mean that he still loved her. Why, but 
of course !" 

"My child," says Jurgen, now with a reproving fore- 
finger, "you are an incurable romanticist. The man dis- 
liked her and despised her. At any event, he assured 



THE DOROTHY WHO DID NOT UNDERSTAND 29 

himself that he did. Well, even so, this handsome stupid 
stranger held his eyes, and muddled his thoughts, and put 
errors into his accounts: and when he touched her hand 
he did not sleep that night as he was used to sleep. Thus 
he saw her, day after day. And they whispered that this 
handsome and stupid stranger had a liking for young 
men who aided her artfully to deceive her husband : but 
she never showed any such favor to the respectable pawn- 
broker. For youth had gone out of him, and it seemed 
that nothing in particular happened. Well, that was his 
saga. About her I do not know. And I shall never 
know ! But certainly she got the name of deceiving Heit- 
man Michael with two young men, or with five young 
men it might be, but never with a respectable pawn- 
broker." 

"I think that is an exceedingly cynical and stupid 
story," observed the girl. "And so I shall be off to 
look for Jurgen. For he makes love very amusingly," 
says Dorothy, with the sweetest, loveliest meditative smile 
that ever was lost to heaven. 

And a madness came upon Jurgen, there in the garden 
between dawn and sunrise, and a disbelief in such in- 
justice as now seemed incredible. 

"No, Heart's Desire," he cried, "I will not let you go. 
For you are dear and pure and faithful, and all my evil 
dream, wherein you were a wanton and befooled me, was 
not true. Surely, mine was a dream that can never be 
true so long as there is any justice upon earth. Why, 
there is no imaginable God who would permit a boy to 
be robbed of that which in my evil dream was taken from 
me!" 



30 JURGEN 



"And still I cannot understand your talking, about this 
dream of yours — !" 

"Why, it seemed to me I had lost the most of myself ; 
and there was left only a brain which played with ideas, 
and a body that went delicately down pleasant ways. And 
I could not believe as my fellows believed, nor could I love 
them, nor could I detect anything in aught they said or did 
save their exceeding folly: for I had lost their cordial 
common faith in the importance of what use they made 
of half-hours and months and years; and because a j ill- 
flirt had opened my eyes so that they saw too much, I 
had lost faith in the importance of my own actions, too. 
There was a little time of which the passing might be 
made endurable ; beyond gaped unpredictable darkness : 
and that was all there was of certainty anywhere. Now 
tell me, Heart's Desire, but was not that a foolish dream ? 
For these things never happened. Why, it would not be 
fair if these things ever happened!" 

And the girl's eyes were wide and puzzled and a little 
frightened. "I do not understand what you are saying : 
and there is that about you which troubles me unspeak- 
ably. For you call me by the name which none but Jur- 
gen used, and it seems to me that you are Jurgen; and 
yet you are not Jurgen." 

"But I am truly Jurgen. And look you, I have done 
what never any man has done before! For I have won 
back to that first love whom every man must lose, no 
matter whom he marries. I have come back again, 
passing very swiftly over the grave of a dream and 
through the malice of time, to my Heart's Desire! And 
how strange it seems that I did not know this thing was 
inevitable !" 



THE DOROTHY WHO DID NOT UNDERSTAND 31 



"Still, friend, I do not understand you." 

"Why, but I yawned and fretted in preparation for 
some great and beautiful adventure which was to befall 
me by and by, and dazedly I toiled forward. Whereas 
behind me all the while was the garden between dawn 
and sunrise, and therein you awaited me! Now assur- 
edly, the life of every man is a quaintly builded tale, in 
which the right and proper ending comes first. There- 
after time runs forward, not as schoolmen fable in a 
straight line, but in a vast closed curve, returning to the 
place of its starting. And it is by a dim foreknowledge 
of this, by some faint prescience of justice and repara- 
tion being given them by and by, that men have heart to 
live. For I know now that I have always known this 
thing. What else was living good for unless it brought 
me back to you ?" 

But the girl shook her small glittering head, very sadly. 
"I do not understand you, and I fear you. For you talk 
foolishness and in your face I see the face of Jurgen as 
one might see the face of a dead man drowned in muddy 
water." 

'Yet am I truly Jurgen, and, as it seems to me, for 
the first time since we were parted. For I am strong and 
admirable — even I, who sneered and played so long, be- 
cause I thought myself a thing of no worth at all. That 
which has been since you and I were young together is 
as a mist that passes : and I am strong and admirable, and 
all my being is one vast hunger for you, my dearest, and 
I will not let you go, for you, and you alone, are my 
Heart's Desire." 

Now the girl was looking at him very steadily, with a 
small puzzled frown, and with her vivid young soft lips 



32 JURGEN 

a little parted. And all her tender loveliness was glorified 
by the light of a sky that had turned to dusty palpitating 
gold. 

"Ah, but you say that you are strong and admirable : 
and I can only marvel at such talking. For I see that 
which all men see." 

And then Dorothy showed him the little mirror which 
was attached to the long chain of turquoise matrix about 
her neck : and Jurgen studied the frightened foolish aged 
face that he found in the mirror. 

Thus drearily did sanity return to Jurgen: and his 
flare of passion died, and the fever and storm and the 
impetuous whirl of things was ended, and the man was 
very weary. And in the silence he heard the piping cry 
of a bird that seemed to seek for what it could not find. 

"Well, I am answered," said the pawnbroker: "and 
yet I know that this is not the final answer. Dearer than 
any hope of heaven was that moment when awed sur- 
mises first awoke as to the new strange loveliness which I 
had seen in the face of Dorothy. It was then I noted the 
new faint flush suffusing her face from chin to brow so 
often as my eyes encountered and found new lights in the 
shining eyes which were no longer entirely frank in meet- 
ing mine. Well, let that be, for I do not love Heitman 
Michael's wife. 

"It is a grief to remember how we followed love, and 
found his service lovely. It is bitter to recall the sweet- 
ness of those vows which proclaimed her mine eternally. 
— vows that were broken in their making by prolonged 
and unforgotten kisses. We used to laugh at Heitman 
Michael then ; we used to laugh at everything. Thus for 
a while, for a whole summer, we were as brave and 



THE DOROTHY WHO DID NOT UNDERSTAND 33 



comely and clean a pair of sweethearts as the world has 
known. But let that be, for I do not love Heitman 
Michael's wife. 

"Our love was fair but short-lived. There is none 
that may revive him since the small feet of Dorothy trod 
out this small love's life. Yet when this life of ours too 
is over — this parsimonious life which can allow us no 
more love for anybody, — must we not win back, some- 
how, to that faith we vowed against eternity ? and be con- 
tent again, in some fair-colored realm? Assuredly I 
think this thing will happen. Well, but let that be, for I 
do not love Heitman Michael's wife." 

"Why, this is excellent hearing," observed Dorothy, 
"because I see that you are converting your sorrow into 
the raw stuff" of verses. So I shall be off to look for 
Jurgen, since he makes love quite otherwise and far more 
amusingly." 

And again, whatever was the matter upon which this 
girl now meditated, her cheeks were tenderly colored by 
the thought of it, and in her knowledge of this thing her 
eyes took infinite joy. 

Thus it was for a moment only: for she left Jurgen 
now, with the friendliest light waving of her hand; ancf 
so passed from him, not thinking of this old fellow any 
longer, as he could see, even in the instant she turned 
from him. And she went toward the dawn, in search of 
that young Jurgen whom she, who was perfect in all 
things, had loved, though only for a little while, not 
undeservedly. 



5. 

Requirements of Bread and Butter 



LL^%^ T ESSUS," says Jurgen, " and am I so changed? 
I lJ -^ or tna ^ Dorothy whom I loved in youth did 
-*- ^ not know me." 

"Good and evil keep very exact accounts," replied the 
Centaur, "and the face of every man is their ledger. 
Meanwhile the sun rises, it is already another workday: 
and when the shadows of those two who come to take 
possession fall full upon the garden, I warn you, there 
will be astounding changes brought about by the require- 
ments of bread and butter. You have not time to revive 
old memories by chatting with the ethers to whom you 
babbled aforetime in this garden." 

"Ah, Centaur, in the garden between dawn and sun- 
rise there was never any other save Dorothy la Desiree." 

The Centaur shrugged. "It may be you forget; it is 
certain that you underestimate the local population. 
Some of the transient visitors you have seen, and in 
addition hereabouts dwell the year round all manner of 
imaginary creatures. The fairies live just southward, 
and the gnomes too. To your right is the realm of the 
Valkyries : the Amazons and the Cynocephali are their 
allies : all three of these nations are continually at logger- 
heads with their neighbors, the Baba-Yagas, whom 
Morfei eooks for, and whose monarch is Oh, a person 

34 



REQUIREMENTS OF BREAD AND BUTTER 35 



very dangerous to name. Northward dwell the Lepra- 
cauns and the Men of Hunger, whose king is Clobhair. 
My people, who are ruled by Chiron, live even further to 
the north. The Sphinx pastures on yonder mountain; 
and now the Chimsera is old and generally derided, they 
say that Cerberus visits the Sphinx at twilight, although 
I was never the person to disseminate scandal — " 

"Centaur," said Jurgen, "and what is Dorothy doing 
here?" 

"Why, all the women that any man has ever loved live 
here," replied the Centaur, "for very obvious reasons." 

"That is a hard saying, friend." 

Nessus tapped with his forefinger upon the back of 
Jurgen's hand. "Worm's-meat ! this is the destined food, 
do what you will, of small white worms. This by and 
by will be a struggling pale corruption, like seething 
milk. That too is a hard saying, Jurgen. But it is a 
true saying." 

"And was that Dorothy whom I loved in youth an 
imaginary creature?" 

"My poor Jurgen, you who were once a poet ! she was 
your masterpiece. For there was only a shallow, stupid 
and airy, high-nosed and light-haired miss, with no re- 
markable good looks, — and consider what your ingenuity 
made from such poor material ! You should be proud of 
yourself." 

"No, Centaur, I cannot very well be proud of my 
folly : yet I do not regret it. I have been befooled by a 
bright shadow of my own raising, you tell me, and I 
concede it to be probable. No less, I served a lovely 
shadow; and my heart will keep the memory of that 
loveliness until life ends, in a world where other men 



36 JURGEN 



follow pantingly after shadows which are not even 
pretty." 

"There is something in that, Jurgen: there is also 
something in an old tale we used to tell in Thessaly, 
about a fox and certain grapes." 

"Well, but look you, Nessus, there is an emperor that 
reigns now in Constantinople and occasionally does busi- 
ness with me. Yes, and I could tell you tales of by 
what shifts he came to the throne — " 

"Men's hands are by ordinary soiled in climbing," 
quoth the Centaur. 

"And 'Jurgen,' this emperor says to me, not many 
months ago, as he sat in his palace, crowned and dreary 
and trying to cheat me out of my fair profit on some 
emeralds, — 'Jurgen, I cannot sleep of nights, because of 
that fool Alexius, who comes into my room with staring 
eyes and the bowstring still about his neck. And my 
Varangians must be in league with that silly ghost, be- 
cause I constantly order them to keep Alexius out of my 
bedchamber, and they do not obey me, Jurgen. To be 
King of the East is not to the purpose, Jurgen, when one 
must submit to such vexations.' Yes, it was Caesar 
Pharamond himself said this to me : and I deduce the 
shadow of a crown has led him into an ugly pickle, for 
all that he is the mightiest monarch in the world. And 
I would not change with Caesar Pharamond, not I who 
am a respectable pawnbroker, with my home in fee and 
my bit of tilled land. Well, this is a queer world, to 
be sure : and this garden is visited by no stranger things 
than pop into a man's mind sometimes, without his 
knowing how." 

"Ah, but you must understand that the garden is 



REQUIREMENTS OF BREAD AND BUTTER 37 



speedily to be remodeled. Yonder you may observe the 
two whose requirements are to rid the place of all fantas- 
tic unremunerative notions; and who will develop the' 
natural resources of this garden according to generally 
approved methods." 

And from afar Jurgen could see two figures coming 
out of the east, so tall that their heads rose above the 
encircling hills and glistened in the rays of a sun which 
was not yet visible. One was a white pasty-looking 
giant, with a crusty expression: he walked with the aid 
of a cane. The other was of a pale yellow color: his 
face was oily, and he rode on a vast cow that was 
called vEdhnmla. 

"Make way there, brother, with your staff of life," says 
the yellow giant, "for there is much to do hereabouts." 

"Ay, brother, this place must be altered a deal before 
it meets with our requirements," the other grumbled. 
"May I be toasted if I know where to begin !" 

Then as the giants turned dull and harsh faces toward 
the garden, the sun came above the circle of blue hills, 
so that the mingled shadows of these two giants fell 
across the garden. For an instant Jurgen saw the place 
oppressed by that attenuated mile-long shadow, as in 
heraldry you may see a black bar painted sheer across 
some brightly emblazoned shield. Then the radiancy of 
everything twitched and vanished, as a bubble bursts. 

And Jurgen was standing in the midst of a field, very 
neatly plowed, but with nothing as yet growing in it. 
And the Centaur was with him still, it seemed, for there 
were the creature's hoofs, but all the gold had been 
washed or rubbed away from them in traveling with 
Jurgen. 



38 JURGEN 



"See, Nessus !" Jurgen cried, "the garden is made deso- 
late. Oh, Nessus, was it fair that so much loveliness; 
should be thus wasted !' ? 

"Nay," said the Centaur, "nay!" Long and wailingly 
he whinneyed, "Nay !" 

And when Jurgen raised his eyes he saw that his com- 
panion was not a centaur, but only a strayed riding-horse. 

"Were you the animal, then," says Jurgen, "and was 
it a quite ordinary animal, that conveyed me to the garden 
between dawn and sunrise?" And Jurgen laughed dis- 
consolately. "At all events, you have clothed me in a 
curious fine shirt. And, now I look, your bridle is 
marked with a coronet. So I will return you to the 
castle at Bellegarde, and it may be that Heitman Michael 
will reward me." 

Then Jurgen mounted this horse and rode away from 
the plowed field wherein nothing grew as yet. As they 
left the furrows they came to a signboard with writing 
on it, in a peculiar red and yellow lettering. 

Jurgen paused to decipher this. 

"Read me!" was written on the signboard: "read me, 
and judge if you understand! So you stopped in your 
journey because I called, scenting something unusual, 
something droll. Thus, although I am nothing, and even 
less, there is no one that sees me but lingers here. 
Stranger, I am a law of the universe. Stranger, render 
the law what is due the law !" 

Jurgen felt cheated. "A very foolish signboard, in- 
deed! for how can it be 'a law of the universe', when 
there is no meaning to it!" says Jurgen. "Why, for 
any law to be meaningless would not be fair." 



6. 

Showing that Sereda Is Feminine 



t 



"^ HEN, having snapped his fingers at that foolish 
signboard, Jurgen would have turned easterly, 
toward Bellegarde : but his horse resisted. The 
pawnbroker decided to accept this as an omen. 

"Forward, then!" he said, "in the name of Koshchei." 
And thereafter Jurgen permitted the horse to choose its 
own way. 

Thus Jurgen came through a forest, wherein he saw 
many things not salutary to notice, to a great stone 
house like a prison, and he sought shelter there. But he 
could find nobody about the place, until he came to a 
large hall, newly swept. This was a depressing apart- 
ment, in its chill neat emptiness, for it was unfurnished 
save for a bare deal table, upon which lay a yardstick 
and a pair of scales. Above this table hung a wicker 
cage, containing a blue bird, and another wicker cage con- 
taining three white pigeons. And in this hall a woman, 
no longer young, dressed all in blue, and wearing a white 
towel by way of head-dress was assorting curiously 
colored cloths. 

She had very bright eyes, with wrinkled lids ; and now 
as she looked up at Jurgen her shrunk jaws quivered. 

"Ah," says she, "I have a visitor. Good day to you, 

39 



40 JURGEN 



in your glittering shirt. It is a garment I seem to recog- 
nize." 

"Good day, grandmother! I am looking for my wife, 
whom I suspect to have been carried off by a devil, poor 
fellow ! Now, having lost my way, I have come to pass 
the night under your roof." 

"Very good : but few come seeking Mother Sereda of 
their own accord." 

Then Jurgen knew with whom he talked : and inwardly 
he was perturbed, for all the Leshy are unreliable in 
their dealings. 

So when he spoke it was very civilly. "And what 
do you do here, grandmother ?" 

"I bleach. In time I shall bleach that garment you 
are wearing. For I take the color out of all things. 
Thus you see these stuffs here, as they are now. Clotho 
spun the glowing threads, and Lachesis wove them, as 
you observe, in curious patterns, very marvelous to see : 
but when I am done with these stuffs there will be no 
more color or beauty or strangeness anywhere apparent 
than in so many dishclouts." 

"Now I preceive," says Jurgen, "that your power and 
dominion is more great than any other power which is 
in the world." 

He made a song of this, in praise of the Leshy and 
their Days, but more especially in praise of the might 
of Mother Sereda and of the ruins that have fallen on 
Wednesday. To Chetverg and Utornik and Subbota he 
gave their due. Pyatinka and Nedelka also did Jurgen 
commend for such demolishments as have enregistered 
their names in the calendar of saints, no less. Ah, but 
there was none like Mother Sereda: hers was the centre 



SHOWING THAT SEREDA IS FEMININE 41 



of that power which is the Leshy's. The others did but 
nibble at temporal things, like furtive mice: she devas- 
tated, like a sandstorm, so that there were many dust- 
heaps where Mother Sereda had passed, but nothing else. 

And so on, and so on. The song was no masterpiece, 
and would not be bettered by repetition. But it was all 
untrammeled eulogy, and the old woman beat time to 
it with her lean hands: and her shrunk jaws quivered, 
and she nodded her white-wrapped head this way and 
that way, with a rolling motion, and on her thin lips was 
a very proud and foolish smile. 

"That is a good song," says she ; "oh, yes, an excellent 
song ! But you report nothing of my sister Pandelis who 
controls the day of the Moon." 

"Monday!" says Jurgen: "yes, I neglected Monday, 
perhaps because she is the oldest of you, but in part 
because of the exigencies of my rhyme scheme. We must 
let Pandelis go unhymned. How can I remember every- 
thing when I consider the might of Sereda?" 

"Why, but," says Mother Sereda, "Pandelis may not 
like it, and she may take holiday from her washing some 
day to have a word with you. However, I repeat, that is 
an excellent song. And in return for your praise of me, 
I will tell you that, if your wife has been carried off by 
a devil, your affair is one which Koshchei alone can 
remedy. Assuredly, I think it is to him you must go for 
justice." 

"But how may I come to him, grandmother?" 

"Oh, as to that, it does not matter at all which road 
you follow. All highways, as the saying is, lead round- 
about to Koshchei. The one thing needful is not to stand 
still. This much I will tell you also for your song's sake, 



42 JURGEN 



because that was an excellent song, and nobody ever 
made a song in praise of me before to-day." 

Now Jurgen wondered to see what a simple old 
creature was this Mother Sereda, who sat before him 
shaking and grinning and frail as a dead leaf, with her 
head wrapped in a common kitchen-towel, and whose 
power was so enormous. 

"To think of it," Jurgen reflected, "that the world I 
inhabit is ordered by beings who are not one-tenth so 
clever as I am! I have often suspected as much, and it 
is decidedly unfair. Now let me see if I cannot make 
something out of being such a monstrous clever fellow." 

Jurgen said aloud : "I do not wonder that no practising 
poet ever presumed to make a song of you. You are too' 
majestical. You frighten these rhymesters, who feel 
themselves to be unworthy of so great a theme. So it 
remained for you to be appreciated by a pawnbroker, 
since it is we who handle and observe the treasures of 
this world after you have handled them." 

"Do you think so?" says she, more pleased than ever. 
"Now, may be that was the way of it. But I wonder 
that you who are so fine a poet should ever have become a 
pawnbroker." 

"Well, and indeed, Mother Sereda, your wonder seems 
to me another wonder: for I can think of no profession 
better suited to a retired poet. Why, there is the variety 
of company! for high and low and even the genteel are 
pressed sometimes for money : then the plowman slouches 
into my shop, and the duke sends for me privately. So 
the people I know, and the bits of their lives I pop into, 
give me a deal to romance about." 

"Ah, yes, indeed," says Mother Sereda, wisely, "that 



SHOWING THAT SEREDA IS FEMININE 43 



well may be the case. But I do not hold with romance, 
myself." 

"Moreover, sitting in my shop, I wait there quiet-like 
while tribute comes to me from the ends of earth : every- 
thing which men and women have valued anywhere comes 
sooner or later to me : and jewels and fine knickknacks 
that were the pride of queens they bring me, and wedding 
rings, and the baby's cradle with his little tooth marks 
on the rim of it, and silver coffin-handles, or it may be 
an old frying-pan, they bring me, but all comes to Jurgen. 
So that just to sit there in my dark shop quiet-like, and 
Wonder about the history of my belongings and how they 
were made mine, is poetry, and is the deep and high and 
ancient thinking of a god who is dozing among what time 
has left of a dead world, if you understand me, Mother 
Sereda." 

"I understand: oho, I understand that which pertains 
to gods, for a sufficient reason." 

"And then another thing, you do not need any turn 
for business : people are glad to get whatever you choose 
to offer, for they would not come otherwise. So you get 
the shining and rough-edged coins that you can feel the 
proud king's head on, with his laurel-wreath like millet 
seed under your fingers ; and you get the flat and greenish 
coins that are smeared with the titles and the chins and 
hooked noses of emperors whom nobody remembers or 
cares about any longer: all just by waiting there quiet- 
like, and making a favor of it to let customers give you 
their belongings for a third of what they are worth. And 
that is easy labor, even for a poet." 

"I understand: I understand all labor." 

"And people treat you a deal more civilly than any real 



44 JURGEN 



need is, because they are ashamed of trafficking with you 
at all : I dispute if a poet could get such civility shown him 
in any other profession. And finally, there is the long 
idleness between business interviews, with nothing to do 
save sit there quiet-like and think about the queerness of 
things in general : and that is always rare employment for 
a poet, even without the tatters of so many lives and 
homes heaped up about him like spillikins. So that I 
would say in all, Mother Sereda, there is certainly no 
profession better suited to an old poet than the profession 
of pawnbroking." 

"Certainly, there may be something in what you tell 
me," observes Mother Sereda. "I know what the Little 
Gods are, and I know what work is, but I do not think 
about these other matters, nor about anything else. I 
bleach." 

"Ah, and a great deal more I could be saying, too, 
godmother, but for the fear of wearying you. Nor would 
I have run on at all about my private affairs were it not 
that we two are so close related. And kith makes kind, 
as people say." 

"But how can you and I be kin?" 

"Why, heyday, and was I not born upon a Wednesday ? 
That makes you my godmother, does it not ?" 

"I do not know, dearie, I am sure. Nobody ever cared 
to claim kin with Mother Sereda before this," says she, 
pathetically. 

"There can be no doubt, though, on the point, no 
possible doubt. Sabellius states it plainly. Artemidorus 
Minor, I grant you, holds the question debatable, but his 
reasons for doing so are tolerably notorious. Besides, 
what does all his flimsy sophistry avail against Nicanor's 



SHOWING THAT SEREDA IS FEMININE 45 



fine chapter on this very subject? Crushing, I consider 
it. His logic is final and irrefutable. What can anyone 
say against Saevius Nicanor? — ah, what indeed?" de- 
manded Jurgen. 

And he wondered if there might not have been per- 
chance some such persons somewhere, after all. Their 
names, in any event, sounded very plausible to Jurgen. 

"Ah, dearie, I was never one for learning. It may be 
as you say." 

"You say f it may be', godmother. That embarrasses 
me, rather, because I was about to ask for my christening 
gift, which in the press of other matters you overlooked 
some forty years back. You will readily conceive that 
your negligence, however unintentional, might possibly 
give rise to unkindly criticism : and so I felt I ought to 
mention it, in common fairness to you." 

"As for that, dearie, ask what you will within the 
limits of my power. For mine are all the sapphires and 
turquoises and whatever else in this dusty world is blue; 
and mine likewise are all the Wednesdays that have ever 
been or ever will be : and any one of these will I freely 
give you in return for your fine speeches and your tender 
heart." 

"Ah, but, godmother, would it be quite just for you to 
accord me so much more than is granted to other 
persons ?" 

"Why, no: but what have I to do with justice? I 
bleach. Come now, then, do you make a choice ! for I 
can assure you that my sapphires are of the first water, 
and that many of my oncoming Wednesdays will be well 
worth seeing." 

"No, godmother, I never greatly cared for jewelry: 



46 JURGEN 

and the future is but dressing and undressing, and 
shaving, and eating, and computing percentage, and so 
on; the future does not interest me now. So I shall 
modestly content myself with a second-hand Wednesday, 
with one that you have used and have no further need 
of : and it will be a Wednesday in the August of such and 
such a year." 

Mother Sereda agreed to this. "But there are certain 
rules to be observed," says she, "for one must have sys- 
tem." 

As she spoke, she undid the towel about her head, and 
she took a blue comb from her white hair: and she 
showed Jurgen what was engraved on the comb. It 
frightened Jurgen, a little : but he nodded assent. 

"First, though," says Mother Sereda, "here is the blue 
bird. Would you not rather have that, dearie, than your 
Wednesday? Most people would." 

"Ah, but, godmother," he replied, u I am Jurgen. No, 
it is not the blue bird I desire." 

So Mother Sereda took from the wall the wicker cage 
containing the three white pigeons : and going before hiin, 
with small hunched shoulders, and shuffling her feet along 
the flagstones, she led the way into a courtyard, where, 
sure enough, they found a tethered he-goat. Of a dark 
blue color this beast was, and his eyes were wiser than the 
eyes of a beast. 

Then Jurgen set about that which Mother Sereda said 
was necessary. 



7. 

Of Compromises on a Wednesday 



SO it was that, riding upon a horse whose bridle was 
marked with a coronet, the pawnbroker returned to 
a place, and to a moment, which he remembered. 
It was rather queer to be a fine young fellow again, and 
to foresee all that was to happen for the next twenty 
years. 

As it chanced, the first person he encountered was his 
mother Azra, whom Coth had loved very greatly but not 
long. And Jurgen talked with Azra of what clothes he 
would be likely to need in Gatinais, and of how often he 
would write to her. She disparaged the new shirt he was 
wearing, as was to be expected, since Azra had always 
preferred to select her son's clothing rather than trust to 
Jurgen's taste. His new horse she admitted to be a hand- 
some animal; and only hoped he had not stolen it from 
anybody who would get him into trouble. For Azra, it 
must be recorded, had never any confidence in her son; 
and was the only woman, Jurgen felt, who really under- 
stood him. 

And now as his beautiful young mother impartially 
petted and snapped at him, poor Jurgen thought of that 
very real dissension and severance which in the oncoming 
years was to arise between them ; and of how she would 
die without his knowing of her death for two whole 

47 



48 JURGEN 



months ; and of how his life thereafter would be changed, 
somehow, and the world would become an unstable place 
in which you could no longer put cordial faith. And he 
foreknew all the remorse he was to shrug away, after the 
squandering of so much pride and love. But these things 
were not yet : and besides, these things were inevitable. 

"And yet that these things should be inevitable is de- 
cidedly not fair," said Jurgen. 

So it was with all the persons he encountered. The 
people whom he loved when at his best as a fine young 
fellow were so very soon, and through petty causes, to be- 
come nothing to him, and he himself was to be converted 
into a commonplace tradesman. And living seemed to 
Jurgen a wasteful and inequitable process. 

Then Jurgen left the home of his youth, and rode 
toward Bellegarde, and tethered his horse upon the heath, 
and went into the castle. Thus Jurgen came to Dorothy. 
She was lovely and dear, and yet, by some odd turn, not 
quite so lovely and dear as the Dorothy he had seen in 
the garden between dawn and sunrise. And Dorothy, like 
everybody else, praised Jurgen's wonderful new shirt. 

"It is designed for such festivals," said Jurgen, 
modestly — "a little notion of my own. A bit extreme, 
some persons might consider it, but there is no pleasing 
everybody. And I like a trifle of color." 

For there was a masque that night at the castle of 
Bellegarde : and wildly droll and sad it was to Jurgen to 
remember what was to befall so many of the participants. 

Jurgen had not forgotten this Wednesday, this ancient 
Wednesday upon which Messire de Montors had brought 
the Confraternity of St Medard from Brunbelois, to 
enact a masque of The Birth of Hercules, as the vaga- 



OF COMPROMISES ON A WEDNESDAY 49 



bonds were now doing, to hilarious applause. Jurgen 
remembered it was the day before Bellegarde discovered 
that Count Emmerick's guest, the Vicomte de Puysange, 
was in reality the notorious outlaw, Perion de la Foret. 
Well, yonder the yet undetected impostor was talking 
very earnestly with Dame Melicent : and Jurgen knew all 
that was in store for this pair of lovers. 

Meanwhile, as Jurgen reflected, the real Vicomte de 
Puysange was at this moment lying in a delirium, yonder 
at Benoit's : to-morrow the true Vicomte would be recog- 
nized, and within the year the Vicomte would have 
married Felise de Soyecourt, and later Jurgen would meet 
her, in the orchard ; and Jurgen knew what was to happen 
then also. 

And Messire de Montors was watching Dame Melicent, 
sidewise, while he joked with little Ettarre, who was this 
night permitted to stay up later than usual, in honor of 
the masque : and Jurgen knew that this young bishop was 
to become Pope of Rome, no less ; and that the child he 
joked with was to become the woman for possession of 
whom Guiron des Rocques and the surly-looking small 
boy yonder, Maugis d'Aigremont, would contend with 
each other until the country hereabouts had been dev- 
astated, and the castle wherein Jurgen now was had 
been besieged, and this part of it burned. And wildly 
droll and sad it was to Jurgen thus to remember all 
that was going to happen to these persons, and to all 
the other persons who were frolicking in the shadow 
of their doom and laughing at this trivial masque. 

For here — with so much of ruin and failure impending, 
and with sorrow prepared so soon to smite a many of 
these rerellers in ways foreknown to Jurgen; and with 



50 JURGEN 



death resistlessly approaching so soon to make an end 
of almost all this company in some unlovely fashion that 
Jurgen foreknew exactly, — here laughter seemed unrea- 
sonable and ghastly. Why, but Reinault yonder, who 
laughed so loud, with his cropped head flung back : would 
Reinault be laughing in quite this manner if he knew the 
round strong throat he thus exposed was going to be cut 
like the throat of a calf, while three Burgundians held 
him? Jurgen knew this thing was to befall Reinault 
Vinsauf before October was out. So he looked at Ren- 
ault's throat, and shudderingly drew in his breath between 
set teeth. 

"And he is worth a score of me, this boy!" thought 
Jurgen : "and it is I who am going to live to be an old 
fellow, with my bit of land in fee, years after dirt clogs 
those bright generous eyes, and years after this fine big- 
hearted boy is wasted ! And I shall forget all about him, 
too. Marion 1'Edol, that very pretty girl behind him, is 
to become a blotched and toothless haunter of alleys, a 
leering plucker at men's sleeves ! And blue-eyed Colin 
here, with his baby mouth, is to be hanged for that matter 
of coin-clipping — let me recall, now, — yes, within six 
years of to-night ! Well, but in a way, these people are 
blessed in lacking foresight. For they laugh, and I can- 
not laugh, and to me their laughter is more terrible than 
weeping. Yes, they may be very wise in not glooming 
over what is inevitable ; and certainly I cannot go so far 
as to say they are wrong: but still, at the same time — ! 
And assuredly, living seems to me in everything a waste- 
ful and inequitable process." 

Thus Jurgen, while the others passed a very pleasant 
evening. 



OF COMPROMISES ON A WEDNESDAY 51 

And presently, when the masque was over, Dorothy 
and Jurgen went out upon the terrace, to the east of 
Bellegarde, and so came to an un forgotten world of 
moonlight. They sat upon a bench of carved stone near 
the balustrade which overlooked the highway: and the 
boy and the girl gazed wistfully beyond the highway, over, 
luminous valleys and tree-tops. Just so they had sat 
there, as Jurgen perfectly remembered, when Mother 
Sereda first used this Wednesday. , 

"My Heart's Desire," says Jurgen, "I am sad to-night 
For I am thinking of what life will do to us, and what 
offal the years will make of you and me." 

"My own sweetheart," says she, " and do we not know 
very well what is to happen?" And Dorothy began to 
talk of all the splendid things that Jurgen was to do, and 
of the happy life which was to be theirs together. 

"It is horrible," he said: "for we are more fine than 
we shall ever be hereafter. We have a splendor for which 
the world has no employment. It will be wasted. And 
such wastage is not fair." 

"But presently you will be so and so," says she: and 
fondly predicts all manner of noble exploits which, as 
Jurgen remembered, had once seemed very plausible to 
him also. Now he had clearer knowledge as to the 
capacities of the boy of whom he had thought so well. 

"No, Heart's Desire : no, I shall be quite otherwise." 

" — and to think how proud I shall be of you! 'But 
then I always knew it', I shall tell everybody, very con- 
descendingly — " 

"No, Heart's Desire: for you will not think of me at 
all." 



52 JURGEN 



"Ah, sweetheart ! and can you really believe that I shall 
ever care a snap of my fingers for anybody but you?" 

Then Jurgen laughed a little; for Heitman Michael 
came now across the lonely terrace, in search of Madame 
Dorothy : and Jurgen foreknew this was the man to whom 
within two months of this evening Dorothy was to give 
her love and all the beauty that was hers, and with whom 
she was to share the ruinous years which lay ahead. 

But the girl did not know this, and Dorothy gave a little 
shrugging gesture. "I have promised to dance with him, 
and so I must. But the old fellow is a great plague." 

For Heitman Michael was nearing thirty, and this to 
Dorothy and Jurgen was an age that bordered upon 
senility. 

"Now, by heaven," said Jurgen, "wherever Heitman 
Michael does his next dancing it will not be hereabouts." 

Jurgen had decided what he must do. 

And then Heitman Michael saluted them civilly. "But 
I fear I must rob you of this fair lady, Master Jurgen,' 
says he. 

Jurgen remembered that the man had said precisely 
this a score of years ago ; and that Jurgen had mumbled 
polite regrets, and had stood aside while Heitman Michael 
bore off Dorothy to dance with him. And this dance had 
been the beginning of intimacy between Heitman Michael 
and Dorothy. 

"Heitman," says Jurgen, "the bereavement which you 
threaten is very happily spared me, since, as it happens, 
the next dance is to be mine." 

"We can but leave it to the lady," says Heitman 
Michael, laughing. 

"Not I," says Jurgen. "For I know too well what 



OF COMPROMISES ON A WEDNESDAY 53 



would come of that. I intend to leave my destiny to no 
one." 

"Your conduct, Master Jurgen, is somewhat strange," 
observed Heitman Michael. 

"Ah, but I will show you a thing yet stranger. For, 
look ycu, there seem to be three of us here on this ter- 
race. Yet I can assure you there are four." 

"Read me the riddle, my boy, and have done." 

"The fourth of us, Heitman, is a goddess that wears 
a speclded garment and has black wings. She can boast 
of no temples, and no priests cry to her anywhere, be- 
cause she is the only deity whom no prayers can move 
or any sacrifices placate. I allude, sir, to the eldest 
daughter of Nox and Erebus." 

"You speak of death, I take it." 

"Your apprehension, Heitman, is nimble. Even so, it 
is not quick enough, I fear, to forerun the whims of god- 
desses. Indeed, what person could have foreseen that 
this implacable lady would have taken such a strong fancy 
for your company." 

"Ah, my young bantam," replies Heitman Michael, "it 
is quite true that she and I are acquainted. I may even 
boast of having despatched one or two stout warriors to 
serve her underground. Now, as I divine your meaning,, 
you plan that I should decrease her obligation by sending 
her a whippersnapper." 

"My notion, Heitman, is that since this dark goddess is 
about to leave us, she should not, in common gallantry, 
be permitted to go hence unaccompanied. I propose 
therefore, that we forthwith decide who is to be her 
escort." 

Now Heitman Michael had drawn his sword. "Yov 



54 JURGEN 



are insane. But you extend an invitation which I have 
never yet refused." 

"Heitman," cries Jurgen, in honest gratitude and ad- 
miration, "I bear you no ill-will. But it is highly neces- 
sary you die to-night, in order that my soul may not 
perish too many years before my body." 

With that he too whipped out his sword. 

So they fought. Now Jurgen was a very acceptable 
swordsman, but from the start he found in Heitman 
Michael his master. Jurgen had never reckoned upon 
that, and he considered it annoying. If Heitman Michael 
perforated Jurgen the future would be altered, certainly, 
but not quite as Jurgen had decided it ought to be re- 
modeled. So this unlooked-for complication seemed pre- 
posterous, and Jurgen began to be irritated by the sus- 
picion that he was getting himself killed for nothing at 
all. 

Meanwhile his unruffled tall antagonist seemed but to 
play with Jurgen, so that Jurgen was steadily forced back 
toward the balustrade. And presently Jurgen's sword 
was twisted from his hand, and sent flashing over the 
balustrade, into the public highway. 

"So now, Master Jurgen," says Heitman Michael, "that 
is the end of your nonsense. Why, no, there is not any 
occasion to posture like a statue. I do not intend to kill 
you. Why the devil's name, should I? To do so would 
only get me an ill name with your parents : and besides 
it is infinitely more pleasant to dance with this lady, just 
as I first intended." And he turned gaily toward Madame 
Dorothy. 

But Jurgen found this outcome of affairs insufferable. 
This man was stronger than he, this man was of the sort 



OF COMPROMISES ON A WEDNESDAY 55 



that takes and uses gallantly all the world's prizes which 
mere poets can but respectfully admire. All was to do 
again: Heitman Michael, in his own hateful phrase, 
would act just as he had first intended, and Jurgen would 
be brushed aside by the man's brute strength. This man 
would take away Dorothy, and leave the life of Jurgen to 
become a business which Jurgen remembered with disT 
taste. It was unfair. 

So Jurgen snatched out his dagger, and drove it deep 
into the undefended back of Heitman Michael. Three 
times young Jurgen stabbed and hacked the burly soldier, 
just underneath the left ribs. Even in his fury Jurgen 
remembered to strike on the left side. 

It was all very quickly done. Heitman Michael's arms 
jerked upward, and in the moonlight his ringers spread 
and clutched. He made curious gurgling noises. Then 
the strength went from his knees, so that he toppled back- 
ward. His head fell upon Jurgen's shoulder, resting there 
for an instant fraternally ; and as Jurgen shuddered away 
from the abhorred contact, the body of Heitman Michael 
collapsed. Now he lay staring upward, dead at the feet 
of his murderer. He was horrible looking, but he was 
quite dead. 

"What will become of you?" Dorothy whispered, after 
a while. "Oh, Jurgen, it was foully done, that which you 
did was infamous! What will become of you, my dear?' 

"I will take my doom," says Jurgen, "and without 
whimpering, so that I get justice. But I shall certainly 
insist upon justice." Then Jurgen raised his face to the 
bright heavens. "The man was stronger than I and 
wanted what I wanted. So I have compromised with 
necessity, in the only way I could make sure of getting 



56 JURGEN 



that which was requisite to me. I cry for justice to the 
power that gave him strength and gave me weakness, and 
gave to each of us his desires. That which I have done, I 
have done. Now judge!" 

Then Jurgen tugged and shoved the heavy body of 
Heitman Michael, until it lay well out of sight, under 
the bench upon which Jurgen and Dorothy had been 
sitting. "Rest there, brave sir, until they find you. Come 
to me now, my Heart's Desire. Good, that is excellent 
Here I sit with my true love, upon the body of my enemy. 
Justice is satisfied, and all is quite as it should be. For 
you must understand that I have fallen heir to a fine 
steed, whose bridle is marked with a coronet, — propheti- 
cally, I take it, — and upon this steed you will ride pillion 
with me to Lisuarte. There we will find a priest to marry 
us. We will go together into Gatinais. Meanwhile, there 
is a bit of neglected business to be attended to," And 
he drew the girl close to him. 

For Jurgen was afraid of nothing now. And Jurgen 
thought : 

"Oh, that I could detain the moment ! that I could make 
some fitting verses to preserve this moment in my own 
memory ! Could I but get into words the odor and the 
thick softness of this girl's hair as my hands, that are 
a-quiver in every nerve of them, caress her hair; and get 
into enduring words the glitter and the cloudy shadowings 
of her hair in this be-drenching moonlight ! For I shall 
forget all this beauty, or at best I shall remember this 
moment very dimly." 

"You have done very wrong — " says Dorothy. 

Says Jurgen, to himself: "Already the moment passes 
this miserably happy moment wherein once more life 



OF COMPROMISES ON A WEDNESDAY 



shudders and stands heart-stricken at the height of bliss ! 
it passes, and I know even as I lift this girl's soft face 
to mine, and mark what faith and submissiveness and ex- 
pectancy is in her face, that whatever the future holds 
for us, and whatever of happiness we two may know 
hereafter, we shall find no instant happier than this, which 
passes from us irretrievably while I am thinking about 
it, poor fool, in place of rising to the issue." 

" — And heaven only knows what will become of you 
Jurgen — " 

Says Jurgen, still to himself : "Yes, something must 
remain to me of all this rapture, though it be only guilt 
and sorrow : something I mean to wrest from this high 
moment which was once wasted fruitlessly. Now I am 
wiser: for I know there is not any memory with less 
satisfaction in it than the memory of some temptation we 
resisted. So I will not waste the one real passion I have 
known, nor leave unfed the one desire which ever caused 
me for a heart-beat to forget to think about Jurgen's wel- 
fare. And thus, whatever happens, I shall not always 
regret that I did not avail myself of this girl's love before 
it was taken from me." 

So Jurgen made such advances as seemed good to him. 
And he noted, with amusing memories of how much 
afraid he had once been of shocking his Dorothy's notions 
of decorum, that she did not repulse him very vigorously. 

"Here, over a dead body ! Oh, Jurgen, this is horrible ! 
Now, Jurgen, remember that somebody may come any 
minute ! And I thought I could trust you ! Ah, and is 
this all the respect you have for me!" This much she 
said in duty. Meanwhile the eyes of Dorothy were di- 
lated and very tender. 



58 JURGEN 



"Faith, I take no chances, this second time. And so 
whatever happens, I shall not always regret that which I 
left undone." 

Now upon his lips was laughter, and his arms were 
about the submissive girl. And in his heart was an un- 
namable depression and a loneliness, because it seemed to 
him that this was not the Dorothy whom he had seen in 
the garden between dawn and sunrise. For in my arms 
now there is just a very pretty girl who is not over-care- 
ful in her dealings with young men, thought Jurgen, as 
their lips met. Well, all life is a compromise; and a 
pretty girl is something tangible, at any rate. So he 
laughed, triumphantly, and prepared for the sequel. 

But as Jurgen laughed triumphantly, with his arm be- 
neath the head of Dorothy, and with the tender face of 
Dorothy passive beneath his lips, and with unreasonable 
wistfulness in his heart, the castle bell tolled midnight. 
What followed was curious: for as Wednesday passed, 
the face of Dorothy altered, her flesh roughened under 
his touch, and her cheeks fell away, and fine lines came 
about her eyes, and she became the Countess Dorothy 
whom Jurgen remembered as Heitman Michael's wife. 
There was no doubt about it, in that be-drenching moon- 
light: and she was leering at him, and he was touching 
her everywhere, this horrible lascivious woman, who was 
certainly quite old enough to know better than to permit 
such liberties. And her breath was sour and nauseous. 
Jurgen drew away from her, with a shiver of loathing, 
and he closed his eyes, to shut away that sensual face. 

"No," he said ; "it would not be fair to what we owe tc 
others. In fact, it would be a very heinous sin. We 
should weigh such considerations occasionally, madame." 



OF COMPROMISES ON A WEDNESDAY 59 



Then Jurgen left his temptress, with simple dignity. 
"I go to search for my dear wife, madame, in a frame of 
mind which I would strongly advise you to adopt toward 
your husband." 

And he went straightway down the terraces of Belle- 
garde, and turned southward to where his horse was 
tethered upon Amneran Heath: and Jurgen was feeling 
very virtuous. 



Old Toys a7id a New Shadow 



JURGEN had behaved with conspicuous nobility, 
Jurgen reflected : but he had committed himself. "I 
go in search of my dear wife," he had stated, in the 
exaltation of virtuous sentiments. And now Jurgen found 
himself alone in a world of moonlight just where he had 
last seen his wife. 

"Well, well," he said, "now that my Wednesday is done 
with, and I am again a reputable pawnbroker, let us 
remember the advisability of sometimes doing the manly 
thing! It was into this cave that Lisa went. So into this 
cave go I, for the second time, rather than home to my 
unsympathetic relatives-in-law. Or at least, I think I am 
going " 

"Ay," said a squeaking voice, "this is the time. A ab 
hur hus!" 

"High time!" 

"Oh, more than time!" 

"Look, the man in the oak!" 

"Oho, the fire-drake!" 

Thus many voices screeched and wailed confusedly. 
But Jurgen, staring about him, could see nobody : and all 
the tiny voices seemed to come from far overhead, where 
nothing was visible save the clouds which of a sudden 
were gathering; for a wind was rising, and already the 

60 



OLD TOYS AND A NEW SHADOW 61 



moon was overcast. Now for a while that noise high in 
the air became like a wrangling of sparrows, wherein no 
words were distinguishable. 

Then said a small shrill voice distinctly: "Note now ; 
sweethearts, how high we pass over the wind-vexed 
heath, where the gallows' burden creaks and groans 
swaying to and fro in the night! Now the rain breaks 
loose as a hawk from the fowler, and grave Queen Holda 
draws her tresses over the moon's bright shield. Now 
the bed is made, and the water drawn, and we the bride's 
maids seek for the lass who will be bride to Sclaug." 

Said another: "Oh, search for a maid with golden 
hair, who is perfect, tender and pure, and fit for a king 
who is old as love, with no trace of love in him. Even 
now our grinning dusty master wakes from sleep, and his 
yellow fingers shake to think of her flower-soft lips who 
comes to-night to his lank embrace and warms the ribs 
that our eyes have seen. Who will be bride to Sclaug?' 

And a third said : "The wedding-gown we have 
brought with us, we that a-questing ride : and a maid will 
go hence on Phorgemon in Cleopatra's shroud. Hah 
Will o'the Wisp will marry the couple " 

"No, no! let Brachyotus !" 

"No, be it Kitt with the candle-stick !" 

"Eman hetan, a fight, a fight!" 

"Oho, Tom Tumbler, 'ware of Stadlin!" 

"Hast thou the marmaritin, Tib?" 

"A ab hur hus !" 

"Come, Bembo, come away!" 

So they all fell to screeching and whistling and wran- 
gling high over Jurgen's head, and Jurgen was not pleased 
with his surroundings. 



62 JURGEN 



"For these are the witches of Amneran about some' 
deviltry or another in which I prefer to take no part. I 
now regret that I flung away a cross in this neighborhood 
so very recently, and trust the action was understood. If 
my wife had not made a point of it, and had not positively 
insisted upon it, I would never have thought of doing 
such a thing. I intended no reflection upon anybody. 
Even so, I consider this heath to be unwholesome. And 
upon the whole, I prefer to seek whatever I may encoun- 
ter in this cave." 

So in went Jurgen, for the second time. 

And the tale tells that all was dark there, and Jurgen 
could see no one. But the cave stretched straight for- 
ward, and downward, and at the far end was a glow of 
light. Jurgen went on and on, and so came to the place 
where he had found the Centaur. This part of the cave 
was now vacant. But behind where Nessus had lain in 
wait for Jurgen was an opening in the cave's wall, and^ 
through this opening streamed the light. Jurgen stooped' 
and crawled through the orifice. 

He stood erect. He caught his breath sharply. Here 
at his feet was, of all things, a tomb carved with the* 
recumbent effigy of a woman. Now this part of the cave 
was lighted by lamps upon tall iron stands, so that every- 
thing was clearly visible, even to Jurgen, whose eyesight 
had of late years failed him. This was certainly a low* 
flat tombstone such as Jurgen had seen in many churches : 
but the tinted effigy thereupon was curious, somehow 
Jurgen looked more closely. He touched the thing. 

Then he recoiled, because there is no mistaking the feel 
of dead flesh. The effigy was not colored stone: it was 
the body of a dead woman. More unaccountable still, it 



OLD TOYS AND A NEW SHADOW 63 



was the body of Felise de Puysange, whom Jurgen had 
loved very long ago in Gatinais, a great many years be- 
fore he set up in business as a pawnbroker. 

Very strange it was to Jurgen again to see her face. He 
had often wondered what had become of this large brown 
woman ; had wondered if he were really the first man for 
whom she had put a deceit upon her husband; and had 
wondered what sort of person Madame Felise de Puy- 
sange had been in reality. 

"Two months it was that we played at intimacy, was 
it not, Felise? You comprehend, my dear, I really 
remember very little about you. But I recall quite clearly 
the door left just a-jar, and how as I opened it gently I 
would see first of all the lamp upon your dressing-table, 
turned down almost to extinction, and the glowing dust 
upon its glass shade. Is it not strange that our exceeding 
wickedness should have resulted in nothing save the 
memory of dust upon a lamp chimney? Yet you were 
very handsome, Felise. I dare say I would have liked 
you if I had ever known you. But when you told me o 
the child you had lost, and showed me his baby picture, 
I took a dislike to you. It seemed to me you were be- 
traying that child by dealing over-generously with me: 
and always between us afterward was his little ghost. 
Yet I did not at all mind the deceits you put upon your 
husband. It is true I knew your husband rather inti- 
mately . Well, and they tell me the good Vicomte 

was vastly pleased by the son you bore him some months 
after you and I had parted. So there was no great harm 
done, after all " 

Then Jurgen saw there was another woman's body 
lying like an effigy upon another low flat tomb, and be- 



64 JURGEN 



yond that another, and then still others. And Jurgen 
whistled. 

"What, all of them !" he said. "Am I to be confronted 
with every pound of tender flesh I have embraced? Yes, 
here is Graine, and Rosamond, and Marcoueve, and 
Elinor. This girl, though, I do not remember at all. And 
this one is, I think, the little Jewess I purchased from 
Hassan Bey in Sidon, but how can one be sure? Still, 
this is certainly Judith, and this is Myrina. I have half 
a mind to look again for that mole, but I suppose it 
would be indecorous. Lord, how one's women do add 
up! There must be several scores of them in all. It is 
the sort of spectacle that turns a man to serious thinking. 
Well, but it is a great comfort to reflect that I dealt 
fairly with every one of them. Several of them treated 
me most unjustly, too. But that is past and done with : 
and I bear no malice toward such fickle and short- 
sighted creatures as could not be contented with one 
lover, and he the Jurgen that was !" 

Thereafter, Jurgen, standing among his dead, spread 
out his arms in an embracing gesture. 

"Hail to you, ladies, and farewell ! for you and I have 
done with love. Well, love is very pleasant to observe 
as he advances, overthrowing all ancient memories with 
laughter. And yet for each gay lover who concedes the 
lordship of love, and wears intrepidly love's liveries, the 
end of all is death. Love's sowing is more agreeable than 
love's harvest : or, let us put it, he allures us into byways 
leading nowhither, among blossoms which fall before the 
first rough wind: so at the last, with much excitement 
and breath and valuable time quite wasted, we find that 
the end of all is death. Then would it have been more 



OLD TOYS AND A NEW SHADOW 65 



shrewd, dear ladies, to have avoided love? To the con- 
trary, we were unspeakably wise to indulge the high- 
hearted insanity that love induced; since love alone can 
lend young people rapture, however transiently, in a 
world wherein the result of every human endeavor is 
transient, and the end of all is death." 

Then Jurgen courteously bowed to his dead loves, and 
left them, and went forward as the cave stretched. 

But now the light was behind him, so that Jurgen's 
shadow, as he came to a sharp turn in the cave, loomed 
suddenly upon the cave wall, confronting him. This 
shadow was clear-cut and unarguable. 

jurgen regarded it intently. He turned this way, 
then the other; he looked behind him, raised one hand, 
shook his head tentatively ; then he twisted his head side- 
ways with his chin well lifted, and squinted so as to get 
a profile view of this shadow. Whatever Jurgen did the 
shadow repeated, which was natural enough. The odd 
part was that it in nothing resembled the shadow which 
ought to attend any man, and this was an uncomfortable 
discovery to make in loneliness deep under ground. 

"I do not exactly like this," said Jurgen. "Upon my 
word, I do not like this at all. It does not seem fair. It 
is perfectly preposterous. Well" — and here he shrug- 
ged, — "well, and what could anybody expect me to do 
about it ? Ah, what indeed ! So I shall treat the inci- 
dent with dignified contempt, and continue my explora- 
tion of this cave." 




9. 

The Orthodox Rescue of Guenevere 



OW the tale tells how the cave narrowed and 
again turned sharply, so that Jurgen came as 
through a corridor into quite another sort of 
underground chamber. Yet this also was a discomfort- 
able place. 

Here suspended from the roof of the vault was a 
kettle of quivering red flames. These lighted a very old 
and villainous looking man in full armor, girded with a 
sword, and crowned royally: he sat erect upon a throne, 
motionless, with staring eyes that saw nothing. Back of 
him Jurgen noted many warriors seated in rows, and all 
staring at Jurgen with wide-open eyes that saw nothing. 
The red flaming of the kettle was reflected in all these 
eyes, and to observe this was not pleasant. 

Jurgen waited non-committally. Nothing happened. 
Then Jurgen saw that at this unengaging monarch's feet 
were three chests. The lids had been ripped from two 
of them, and these were filled with silver coins. Upon 
the middle chest, immediately before the king, sat a 
woman, with her face resting against the knees of the 
glaring, withered, motionless, old rascal. 

"And this is a young woman. Obviously! Observe 
the glint of that thick coil of hair! the rich curve of the 

66 



THE ORTHODOX RESCUE OF GUENEVERE 67 



neck! Oh, clearly, a tidbit fit to fight for, against any 
moderate odds!" 

So ran the thoughts of Jurgen. Bold as a dragon now, 
he stepped forward and lifted the girl's head. 

Her eyes were closed. She was, even so, the most 
beautiful creature Jurgen had ever imagined. 

"She does not breathe. And yet, unless memory fails 
me, this is certainly a living woman in my arms. Evi- 
dently this is a sleep induced by necromancy. Well, it is 
not for nothing I have read so many fairy tales. There 
are orthodoxies to be observed in the awakening of every 
enchanted princess. And Lisa, wherever she may be, 
poor dear! is nowhere in this neighborhood, because I 
hear nobody talking. So I may consider myself at liberty 
to do the traditional thing by this princess. Indeed, it is 
the only fair thing for me to do, and justice demands it." 

In consequence, Jurgen kissed the girl. Her lips 
parted and softened, and they assumed a not unpleasant 
sort of submissive ardor. Her eyes, enormous when 
seen thus closely, had languorously opened, had viewed 
him without wonder, and then the lids had fallen, about 
half-way, just as, Jurgen remembered, the eyelids of a 
woman ought to do when she is being kissed properly. 
She clung a little, and now she shivered a little, but not 
with cold: Jurgen perfectly remembered that ecstatic 
shudder convulsing a woman's body: everything, in fine, 
was quite as it should be. So Jurgen put an end to the 
kiss, which, as you may surmise, was a tolerably lengthy 
affair. 

His heart was pounding as though determined to burst 
from his body, and he could feel the blood tingling at his 



68 JURGEN 



finger-tips. He wondered what in the world had come 
over him, who was too old for such emotions. 

Yet, truly, this was the loveliest girl that Jurgen had 
ever imagined. Fair was she to look on, with her shining 
gray eyes and small smiling lips, a fairer person might 
no man boast of having seen. And she regarded Jurgen 
graciously, with her cheeks flushed by that red flickering 
overhead, and she was very lovely to observe. She was 
clothed in a robe of flame-colored silk, and about her 
neck was a collar of red gold. When she spoke hef 
voice was music. 

"I knew that you would come," the girl said, happily. 

"I am very glad that I came," observed Jurgen. 

"But time presses." 

"Time sets an admirable example, my dear Prin- 
cess " 

"Oh, messire, but do you not perceive that you have 
brought life into this horrible place ! You have given of 
this life to me, in the most direct and speedy fashion. 
But life is very contagious. Already it is spreading by 
infection." 

And Jurgen regarded the old king, as the girl indi- 
cated. The withered ruffian stayed motionless: but from 
his nostrils came slow augmenting jets of vapor, as 
though he were beginning to breathe in a chill place. 
This was odd, because the cave was not cold. 

"And all the others too are snorting smoke," says 
Jurgen. "Upon my word I think this is a delightful 
place to be leaving." 

First, though, he unfastened the king's sword-belt, and 
girded himself therewith, sword, dagger and all. "Now 
I have arms befitting my fine shirt," says Jurgen. 



THE ORTHODOX RESCUE OF GUENEVERE 69 



Then the girl showed him a sort of passage way, by 
which they ascended forty-nine steps roughly hewn in 
stone, and so came to daylight. At the top of the stair- 
way was an iron trapdoor, and this door at the girl's 
instruction Jurgen lowered. There was no way of fas- 
tening the door from without. 

"But Thragnar is not to be stopped by bolts or pad- 
locks," the girl said. "Instead, we must straightway 
mark this door with a cross, since that is a symbol which 
Thragnar cannot pass." 

Jurgen's hand had gone instinctively to his throat. 
Now he shrugged. "My dear young lady, I no longer 
carry the cross. I must fight Thragnar with other 
weapons." 

"Two sticks will serve, laid crosswise " 

Jurgen submitted that nothing would be easier than to 
lift the trapdoor, and thus dislodge the sticks. "They 
will tumble apart without anyone having to touch them, 
and then what becomes of your crucifix?" 

"Why, how quickly you think of everything !" she said, 
admiringly. "Here is a strip from my sleeve, then. We 
will tie the twigs together." 

Jurgen did this, and laid upon the trapdoor a recog- 
nizable crucifix. "Still, when anyone raises the trapdoor 
whatever lies upon it will fall off. Without disparaging 
the potency of your charm, I cannot but observe that in 
this case it is peculiarly difficult to handle. Magician or 
no, I would put heartier faith in a stout padlock." 

So the girl tore another strip, from the hem of her 
gown, and then another from her right sleeve, and with 
these they fastened their cross to the surface of the trap- 
door, in such a fashion that the twigs could not be dis- 



70 JURGEN 



lodged from beneath. They mounted the fine steed whose 
bridle was marked with a coronet, the girl riding pillion, 
and they turned westward, since the girl said this was 
best. 

For, as she now told Jurgen, she was Guenevere, the 
daughter of Gogyrvan, King of Glathion and the Red 
Islands. So Jurgen told her he was the Duke of Logreus, 
because he felt it was not appropriate for a pawnbroker 
to be rescuing princesses: and he swore, too, that he 
would restore her safely to her father, whatever Thrag- 
nar might attempt. And all the story of her nefarious 
capture and imprisonment by King Thragnar did Dame 
Guenevere relate to Jurgen, as they rode together through 
the pleasant May morning. 

She considered the Troll King could not well molest 
them. "For now you have his charmed sword, Caliburn, 
the only weapon with which Thragnar can be slain. Be- 
sides, the sign of the cross he cannot pass. He beholds 
and trembles." 

"My dear Princess, he has but to push up the trapdoor 
from beneath, and the cross, being tied to the trapdoor, 
is promptly moved out of his way. Failing this expe- 
dient, he can always come out of the cave by the other 
opening, through which I entered. If this Thragnar has 
any intelligence at all and a reasonable amount of ten- 
acity, he will presently be at hand." 

"Even so, he can do no harm unless we accept a 
present from him. The difficulty is that he will come in 
disguise." 

"Why, then, we will accept gifts from nobody/' 

"There is, moreover, a sign by which you may distin- 
guish Thragnar. For if you deny what he says, he will 



THE ORTHODOX RESCUE OF GUENEVERE 71 



promptly concede you are in the right. This was the 
curse put upon him by Miramon Lluagor, for a detection 
and a hindrance." 

"By that unhuman trait," says Jurgen, "Thragnar 
ought to be very easy to distinguish." 




10. 

Pitiful Disguises of Thragnar 



EXT, the tale tells that as Jurgen and the Princess 
were nearing Gihon, a man came riding toward 
them, full armed in black, and having a red ser- 
pent with an apple in its mouth painted upon his shield. 

"Sir knight," says he, speaking hollowly from the 
closed helmet, "you must yield to me that lady." 

"I think," says Jurgen, civilly, "that you are mistaken." 

So they fought, and presently, since Caliburn was a 
resistless weapon, and he who wore the scabbard of Cali- 
burn could not be wounded, Jurgen prevailed; and gave 
the strange knight so heavy a buffet that the knight fell 
senseless. 

"Do you think," says Jurgen, about to unlace his anta- 
gonist's helmet, "that this is Thragnar?" 

"There is no possible way of telling," replied Dame 
Guenevere : "if it is the Troll King he should have offered 
you gifts, and when you contradicted him he should have 
admitted you were right. Instead, he proffered nothing, 
and to contradiction he answered nothing, so that proves 
nothing." 

"But silence is a proverbial form of assent. At all 
events, we will have a look at him." 

"But that too will prove nothing, since Thragnar goes 
about his mischiefs so disguised by enchantments as in- 

72 



PITIFUL DISGUISES OF THRAGNAR 



variably to resemble somebody else, and not himself at 
all." 

"Such dishonest habits introduce an element of uncer- 
tainty, I grant you," says Jurgen. "Still, one can rarely 
err by keeping on the safe side. This person is, in any 
event, a very ill-bred fellow, with probably immoral inten- 
tions. Yes, caution is the main thing, and in justice to 
ourselves we will keep on the safe side." 

So without unloosing the helmet, he struck off the 
strange knight's head, and left him thus. The Princess 
was now mounted on the horse of their deceased 
assailant. 

"Assuredly," says Jurgen then, "a magic sword is a 
fine thing, and a very necessary equipment, too, for a 
knight errant of my age." 

"But you talk as though you were an old man, Messire 
de Logreus !" 

"Come now," thinks Jurgen, "this is a princess of rare 
discrimination. What, after all, is forty-and-something 
when one is well-preserved? This uncommonly intel- 
ligent girl reminds me a little of Marcoueve, whom I 
loved in Artein: besides, she does not look at me as 
women look at an elderly man. I like this princess, in 
fact, I adore this princess. I wonder now what would 
she say if I told her as much?" 

But Jurgen did not tempt chance that time, for just 
then they encountered a boy who had frizzed hair and 
painted cheeks. He walked mincingly, in a curious garb 
of black bespangled with gold lozenges, and he carried a 
gilded dung fork. 

* * * 

Then Jurgen and the Princess came to a black and 



74 JURGEN 



silver pavilion standing by the roadside. At the door of 
the pavilion was an apple-tree in blossom : from a branch 
of this tree was suspended a black hunting-horn, silver- 
mounted. A woman waited there alone. Before her was 
a chess-board, with the ebony and silver pieces set ready 
for a game, and upon the table to her left hand glittered 
flagons and goblets of silver. Eagerly this woman rose 
and came toward the travellers. 

"Oh, my dear Jurgen," says she, "but how fine you 
look in that new shirt you are wearing! But there was 
never a man had better taste in dress, as I have always 
said : and it is long I have waited for you in this pavilion, 
which belongs to a black gentleman who seems to be a 
great friend of yours. And he went into Crim Tartary 
this morning, with some missionaries, by the worst piece 
of luck, for I know how sorry he will be to miss you, 
dear. Now, but I am forgetting that you must be very 
tired and thirsty, my darling, after your travels. So do 
you and the young lady have a sip of this, and then we 
will be telling one another of our adventures." 

For this woman had the appearance of Jurgen's wife, 
Dame Lisa, and of none other. 

Jurgen regarded her with two minds. "You certainly 
seem to be Lisa. But it is a long while since I saw Lisa 
in such an amiable mood." 

"You must know," says she, still smiling, "that I have 
learned to appreciate you since we were separated." 

"The fiend who stole you from me may possibly have 
brought about that wonder. None the less, you have met 
me riding at adventure with a young woman. And you 
have assaulted neither of us, you have not even raised 



PITIFUL DISGUISES OF THRAGNAR 75 



your voice. No, quite decidedly, here is a miracle beyond 
the power of any fiend." 

"Ah, but I have been doing a great deal of thinking, 
Jurgen dear, as to our difficulties in the past. And it 
seems to me that you were almost always in the right." 

Guenevere nudged Jurgen. "Did you note that ? This 
is certainly Thragnar in disguise." 

"I am beginning to think that at all events it is not 
Lisa." Then Jurgen magisterially cleared his throat. 
"Lisa, if you indeed be Lisa, you must understand I am 
through with you. The plain truth is that you tire me. 
You talk and talk: no woman breathing equals you at 
mere volume and continuity of speech: but you say 
nothing that I have not heard seven hundred and eighty 
times if not oftener." 

"You are perfectly right, my dear," says Dame Lisa, 
piteously. "But then I never pretended to be as clever 
as you." 

"Spare me your beguilements, if you please. And 
besides, I am in love with this princess. Now spare me 
your recriminations, also, for you have no real right to 
complain. If you had stayed the person whom I prom- 
ised the priest to love, I would have continued to think 
the world of you. But you did nothing of the sort. From 
a cuddlesome and merry girl, who thought whatever I 
did was done to perfection, you elected to develop into 
an uncommonly plain and short-tempered old woman." 
And Jurgen paused. "Eh?" said he, "and did you not 
do this?" 

Dame Lisa answered sadly: "My dear, you are per- 
fectly right, from your way of thinking. However, I 
could not very well help getting older." 



76 JURGEN 



"But, oh, dear me !" says Jurgen, "this is astonishingly 
inadequate impersonation, as any married man would see 
at once. Well, I made no contract to love any such plain 
and short-tempered person. I repudiate the claims of 
any such person, as manifestly unfair. And I pledge 
undying affection to this high and noble Princess Guene- 
vere, who is the fairest lady that I have ever seen." 

"You are right," wailed Dame Lisa, "and I was en- 
tirely to blame. It was because I loved you, and wanted 
you to get on in the world and be a credit to my father's 
line of business, that I nagged you so. But you will 
never understand the feelings of a wife, nor will you 
understand that even now I desire your happiness above 
all else. Here is our wedding-ring, then, Jurgen. I give 
you back your freedom. And I pray that this princess 
may make you very happy, my dear. For surely you 
deserve a princess if ever any man did." 

Jurgen shook his head. "It is astounding that a demon 
so much talked about should be so poor an impersonator. 
It raises the staggering supposition that the majority of 
married women must go to Heaven. As for your ring, I 
am not accepting gifts this morning, from anyone. But 
you understand, I trust, that I am hopelessly enamored 
of the Princess on account of her beauty." 

"Oh, and I cannot blame you, my dear. She is the 
loveliest person I have ever seen." 

"Hah, Thragnar!" says Jurgen, "I have you now. A 
woman might, just possibly, have granted her own 
homeliness : but no woman that ever breathed would have 
conceded the Princess had a ray of good looks." 

So with Caliburn he smote, and struck off the head of 
this thing which foolishly pretended to be Dame Lisa. 



PITIFUL DISGUISES OF THRAGNAR 77 



"Well done! oh, bravely done!" cried Guenevere. 
"Now the enchantment is dissolved, and Thragnar is 
slain by my clever champion." 

"I could wish there were some surer sign of that," 
said Jurgen. "I would have preferred that the pavilion 
and the decapitated Troll King had vanished with a peal 
of thunder and an earthquake and such other phenomena 
as are customary. Instead, nothing is changed except 
that the woman who was talking to me a moment since 
now lies at my feet in a very untidy condition. You con- 
ceive, madame, I used to tease her about that twisted 
little-finger, in the days before we began to squabble: 
and it annoys me that Thragnar should not have omitted 
even Lisa's crooked little-finger on her left hand. Yes, 
such painstaking carefulness worries me. For you con- 
ceive also, madame, it would be more or less awkward if 
I had made an error, and if the appearance were in 
reality what it seemed to be, because I was pretty trying 
sometimes. At all events, I have done that which seemed 
equitable, and I have found no comfort in the doing of 
it, and I do not like this place," 



11. 

jippearance of the Duke of Logreus 



SO Jurgen brushed from the table the chessmen that 
were set there in readiness for a game, and he 
emptied the silver flagons upon the ground. His 
reasons for not meddling with the horn he explained to 
the Princess : she shivered, and said that, such being the 
case, he was certainly very sensible. Then they mounted, 
and departed from the black and silver pavilion. They 
came thus without further adventure to Gogyrvan Gawr's 
city of Cameliard, 

Now there was shouting and the bells all rang when the 
people knew their Princess was returned to them: the 
houses were hung with painted cloths and banners, and 
trumpets sounded, as Guenevere and Jurgen came to the 
King in his Hall of Judgment. And this Gogyrvan, that 
was King of Glathion and Lord of Enisgarth and Camwy 
and Sargyll, came down from his wide throne, and he 
embraced first Guenevere, then Jurgen. 

"And demand of me what you will, Duke of Logreus," 
said Gogyrvan, when he had heard the champion's name, 
"and it is yours for the asking. For you have restored 
to me the best loved daughter that ever was the pride of 
a high king." 

"Sir," replied Jurgen, reasonably, "a service rendered 
so gladly should be its own reward. So I am asking that 

78 



APPEARANCE OF THE DUKE OF LOGREUS 79 



you do in turn restore to me the Princess Guenevere, in 
honorable marriage, do you understand, because I am a 
poor lorn widower, I am tolerably certain, but I am quite 
certain I love your daughter with my whole heart." 

Thus Jurgen, whose periods were confused by emotion. 

"I do not see what the condition of your heart has to 
do with any such unreasonable request. And you have 
no good sense to be asking this thing of me when here 
are the servants of Arthur, that is now King of the 
Britons, come to ask for my daughter as his wife. That 
you are Duke of Logreus you tell me, and I concede a 
duke is all very well : but I expect you in return to con- 
cede a king takes precedence, with any man whose daugh- 
ter is marriageable. But to-morrow or the next day it 
may be, you and I will talk over your reward more 
privately. Meanwhile it is very queer and very fright- 
ened you are looking, to be the champion who conquered 
Thragnar." 

For Jurgen was staring at the great mirror behind the 
King's throne. In this mirror Jurgen saw the back of 
Gogyrvan's crowned head, and beyond this, Jurgen saw a 
queer and frightened looking young fellow, with sleek 
black hair, and an impudent nose, and wide-open bright 
brown eyes which were staring hard at Jurgen: and the 
lad's very red and very heavy lips were parted, so that 
you saw what fine strong teeth he had: and he wore a 
glittering shirt with curious figures on it 

"I was thinking," says Jurgen, and he saw the lad in 
the mirror was speaking too, "I was thinking that is a 
remarkable mirror you have there." 

"It is like any other mirror," replies the King, "in that 



80 JURGEN 



it shows things as they are. But if you fancy it as your 
reward, why, take it and welcome." 

"And are you still talking of rewards !" cries Jurgen. 
"Why, if that mirror shows things as they are, I have 
come out of my borrowed Wednesday still twenty-one. 
Oh, but it was the clever fellow I was, to flatter Mother 
Sereda so cunningly, and to fool her into such generosity ! 
And I wonder that you who are only a king, with bleared 
eyes under your crown, and with a drooping belly under 
all your royal robes, should be talking of rewarding a fine 
young fellow of twenty-one, for there is nothing you 
have which I need be wanting now." 

"Then you will not be plaguing me any more with your 
nonsense about my daughter : and that is excellent news." 

"But I have no requirement to be asking your good 
graces now," said Jurgen, "nor the good will of any man 
alive that has a handsome daughter or a handsome wife. 
For now I have the aid of a lad that was very recently 
made Duke of Logreus: and with his countenance I can 
look out for myself, and I can get justice done me every- 
where, in all the bedchambers of the world." 

And Jurgen snapped his fingers, and was about to turn 
away from the King. There was much sunlight in the 
hall, so that Jurgen in this half-turn confronted his 
shadow as it lay plain upon the flagstones. And Jurgen 
looked at it very intently. 

"Of course," said Jurgen presently, "I only meant in a 
manner of speaking, sir : and was paraphrasing the splen- 
did if hackneyed passage from Sornatius, with which you 
are doubtless familiar, in which he goes on to say, so 
much more beautifully than I could possibly express 
without quoting him word for word, that all this was 



APPEARANCE OF THE DUKE OF LOGREUS 81 



spoken jestingly, and without the least intention of 
offending anybody, oh, anybody whatever, I can assure 
you, sir." 

"Very well," said Gogyrvan Gawr : and he smiled, for 
no reason that was apparent to Jurgen, who was still 
watching his shadow sidewise. "To-morrow, I repeat, I 
must talk with you more privately. To-day I am giving 
a banquet such as was never known in these parts, be- 
cause my daughter is restored to me, and because my 
daughter is going to be queen over all the Britons." 

So said Gogyrvan, that was King of Glathion and Lord 
of Enisgarth and Camwy and Sargyll : and this was done. 
And everywhere at the banquet Jurgen heard talk of this 
King Arthur who was to marry Dame Guenevere, and of 
the prophecy which Merlin Ambrosius had made as to the 
young monarch. For Merlin had predicted : 

"He shall afford succor, and shall tread upon the necks 
of his enemies : the isles of the ocean shall be subdued by 
him, and he shall possess the forests of Gaul : the house 
of Romulus shall fear his rage, and his acts shall be food 
for the narrators." 

"Why, then," says Jurgen, to himself, "this monarch 
reminds me in all things of David of Israel, who was so 
splendid and famous, and so greedy, in the ancient ages. 
For to these forests and islands and necks and other pos- 
sessions, this Arthur Pendragon must be adding my one 
ewe lamb ; and I lack a Nathan to convert him to repen- 
tance. Now, but this, to be sure, is a very unfair thing." 

Then Jurgen looked again into a mirror : and presently 
the eyes of the lad he found therein began to twinkle. 

"Have at you, David!" said Jurgen, valorously; "since 
after all, I see no reason to despair." 



12. 

Excursus of Yolande *s Undoing 



NOW Jurgen, self-appointed Duke of Logreus, 
abode at the court of King Gogyrvan. The month 
of May passed quickly and pleasantly: but the 
monstrous shadow which followed Jurgen did not pass. 
Still, no one noticed it: that was the main thing. For 
himself, he was not afraid of shadows, and the queerness 
of this one was not enough to distract his thoughts from 
Guenevere, nor from his love-making with Guenevere. 

For these were quiet times in Glathion, now that the 
war with Rience of Northgalis was satisfactorily ended: 
and love-making was now everywhere in vogue. By way 
of diversion, gentlemen hunted and fished and rode 
a-hawking and amicably slashed and battered one another 
in tournaments : but their really serious pursuit was love- 
making, after the manner of chivalrous persons, who 
knew that the King's trumpets would presently be sum- 
moning them into less softly furnished fields of action, 
from one or another of which they would return feet 
foremost on a bier. So Jurgen sighed and warbled and 
made eyes with many excellent fighting-men: and the 
Princess listened with many other ladies whose hearts 
were not of flint. And Gogyrvan meditated. 

Now it was the kingly custom of Gogyrvan when his 
dinner was spread at noontide, not to go to meat until all 

82 



EXCURSUS OF YOLANDE'S UNDOING 83 



such as demanded justice from him had been furnished 
with a champion to redress the wrong. One day as the 
gaunt old King sat thus in his main hall, upon a seat of 
green rushes covered with yellow satin, and with a 
cushion of yellow satin under his elbow, and with his 
barons ranged about him according to their degrees, a 
damsel came with a very heart-rending tale of the oppres- 
sion that was on her. 

Gogyrvan blinked at her, and nodded. "You are the 
handsomest woman I have seen in a long while," says he, 
irrelevantly. "You are a woman I have waited for. Duke 
Jurgen of Logreus will undertake this adventure." 

There being no help for it, Jurgen rode off with this 
Dame Yolande, not very well pleased: but as they rode 
he jested with her. And so, with much laughter by the 
way, Yolande conducted him to the Green Castle, of 
which she had been dispossessed by Graemagog, a most 
formidable giant. 

"Now prepare to meet your death, sir knight!" cried 
Graemagog, laughing horribly, and brandishing his club ; 
"for all knights who come hither I have sworn to slay." 

"Well, if truth-telling were a sin you would be a very 
virtuous giant," says Jurgen, and he flourished Thrag- 
nar's sword, resistless Caliburn. 

Then they fought, and Jurgen killed Graemagog. Thus 
was the Green Castle restored to Dame Yolande, and the 
maidens who attended her aforetime were duly released 
from the cellarage. They were now maidens by courtesy 
only, but so tender is the heart of women that they all 
wept over Graemagog. 

Yolande was very grateful, and proffered every manner 
of reward. 



84 JURGEN 



"But, no, I will take none of these fine jewels, nor 
money, nor lands either," says Jurgen. "For Logreus, I 
must tell you, is a fairly well-to-do duchy, and the killing 
of giants is by way of being my favorite pastime. He is 
well paid that is well satisfied. Yet if you must reward 
me for such a little service, do you swear to do what you 
can to get me the love of my lady, and that will suffice." 

Yolande, without any particular enthusiasm, consented 
to attempt this : and indeed Yolande, at Jurgen's request, 
made oath upon the Four Evangelists that she would do 
everything within her power to aid him. 

"Very well," said Jurgen, "you have sworn, and it is 
you whom I love." 

Surprise now made her lovely. Yolande was frankly 
delighted at the thought of marrying the young Duke of 
Logreus, and offered to send for a priest at once. 

"My dear," says Jurgen, "there is no need to bother a 
priest about our private affairs." 

She took his meaning, and sighed. "Now I regret," 
said she, "that I made so solemn an oath. Your trick 
was unfair." 

"Oh, not at all," said Jurgen: "and presently you will 
not regret it. For indeed the game is well worth the 
candle." 

"How is that shown, Messire de Logreus?" 

"Why, by candle-light," says Jurgen, — "naturally." 

"In that event, we will talk no further of it until this 
evening." 

So that evening Yolande sent for him. She was, as 
Gogyrvan had said, a remarkably handsome woman, sleek 
and sumptuous and crowned with a wealth of copper- 
colored hair. To-night she was at her best in a tunic of 



EXCURSUS OF YOLANDE'S UNDOING 85 



shimmering blue, with a surcote of gold embroidery, and 
with gold embroidered pendent sleeves that touched the 
floor. Thus she was when Jurgen came to her. 

"Now," says Yolande, frowning, "you may as well 
come out straightforwardly with what you were hinting 
at this morning." 

But first Jurgen looked about the apartment, and it was 
lighted by a tall gilt stand whereon burned candles. 

He counted these, and he whistled. "Seven candles! 
upon my word, sweetheart, you do me great honor, for 
this is a veritable illumination. To think of it, now, that 
you should honor me, as people do saints, with seven 
candles ! Well, I am only mortal, but none the less I am 
Jurgen, and I shall endeavor to repay this sevenfold 
courtesy without discount." 

"Oh, Messire de Logreus," cried Dame Yolande, "but 
what incomprehensible nonsense you talk ! You misinter- 
pret matters, for I can assure you I had nothing of that 
sort in mind. Besides, I do not know what you are 
talking about." 

"Indeed, I must warn you that my actions often speak 
more unmistakably than my words. It is what learned 
persons term an idiosyncrasy." 

" — And I certainly do not see how any of the saints 
can be concerned in this. If you had said the Four Evan- 
gelists now ! For we were talking of the Four 

Evangelists, you remember, this morning ■ Oh, but 

how stupid it is of you, Messire de Logreus, to stand 
there grinning and looking at me in a way that makes me 
blush!" 

"Well, that is easily remedied," said Jurgen, as he blew 
out the candles, "since women do not blush in the dark." 



86 JURGEN 



"What do you plan, Messire de Logreus ?" 

"Ah, do not be alarmed!" said Jurgen. "I shall deal 
fairly with you." 

And in fact Yolande confessed afterward that, con- 
sidering everything, Messire de Logreus was very gen- 
erous. Jurgen confessed nothing: and as the room was 
profoundly dark nobody else can speak with authority as 
to what happened there. It suffices that the Duke of 
Logreus and the Lady of the Green Castle parted later 
on the most friendly terms. 

"You have undone me, with your games and your 
candles and your scrupulous returning of courtesies/' 
said Yolande, and yawned, for she was sleepy ; "but I fear 
that I do not hate you as much as I ought to." 

"No woman ever does," says Jurgen, "at this hour." 
He called for breakfast, then kissed Yolande — for this, 
as Jurgen had said, was their hour of parting, — and he 
rode away from the Green Castle in high spirits. 

"Why, what a thing it is again to be a fine young fel- 
low!" said Jurgen. "Well, even though her big brown 
eyes protrude too much — something like a lobster's — she 
is a splendid woman, that Dame Yolande : and it is a com- 
fort to reflect I have seen justice was done her." 

Then he rode back to Cameliard, singing with delight 
in the thought that he was riding toward the Princess 
Guenevere, whom he loved with his whole heart. 



13. 

Philosophy of Gogyrvan Gawr 



AT Cameliard the young Duke of Logreus spent 
most of his time in the company of Guenevere, 
whose father made no objection overtly. Gogyr- 
van had his promised talk with Jurgen. 

"I lament that Dame Yolande dealt over-thriftily with 
you," the King said, first of all : "for I estimated you two 
would be as spark and tinder, kindling between you an 
amorous conflagration to burn up all this nonsense about 
my daughter." 

"Thrift, sir," said Jurgen, discreetly, "is a proverbial 
virtue, and fires may not consume true love." 

"That is the truth," Gogyrvan admitted, "whoever says 
it." And he sighed. 

Then for a while he sat in nodding meditation. To- 
night the old King wore a disreputably rusty gown of 
black stuff, with fur about the neck and sleeves of it, and 
his scant white hair was covered by a very shabby black 
cap. So he huddled over a small fire in a large stone fire- 
place carved with shields ; beside him was white wine and 
red, which stayed untasted while Gogyrvan meditated 
upon things that fretted him. 

"Now, then !" says Gogyrvan Gawr: "this marriage 
with the high King of the Britons must go forward, of 
course. That was settled last year, when Arthur and his 

87 



JURGEN 



devil-mongers, the Lady of the Lake and Merlin Ambro- 
sius, were at some pains to rescue me at Carohaise. I 
estimate that Arthur's ambassadors, probably the devil- 
mongers themselves, will come for my daughter before 
June is out. Meanwhile, you two have youth and love for 
playthings, and it is spring." 

"What is the season of the year to me," groaned Jurgen, 
"when I reflect that within a week or so the lady of my 
heart will be borne away from me forever? How can I 
be happy, when all the while I know the long years of 
misery and vain regret are near at hand?" 

"You are saying that," observed the King, "in part be- 
cause you drank too much last night, and in part because 
you think it is expected of you. For in point of fact, you 
are as happy as anyone is permitted to be in this world, 
through the simple reason that you are young. Misery, 
as you employ the word, I consider to be a poetical 
trophe : but I can assure you that the moment you are no 
longer young the years of vain regret will begin, either 
way." 

"That is true," said Jurgen, heartily. 

"How do you know? Now then, put it I were insane 
enough to marry my daughter to a mere duke, you would 
grow damnably tired of her: I can assure you of that 
also, for in disposition Guenevere is her sainted mother 
all over again. She is nice looking, of course, because in 
that she takes after my side of the family: but, between 
ourselves, she is not particularly intelligent, and she will 
always be making eyes at some man or another. To-day 
it appears to be your turn to serve as her target, in a fine 
glittering shirt of which the like was never seen in 
Glathion. I deplore, but even so I cannot deny, your 



PHILOSOPHY OF GOGYRVAN GAWR 89 



rights as the champion who rescued her : and I must bid 
you make the most of that turn." 

"Meanwhile, it occurs to me, sir, that it is unusual to 
betroth your daughter to one man, and permit her to go 
freely with another." 

"If you insist upon it," said Gogyrvan Gawr, "I can of 
course lock up the pair of you, in separate dungeons, until 
the wedding day. Meanwhile, it occurs to me you should 
be the last commentator to grumble." 

"Why, I tell you plainly, sir, that critical persons would 
say you are taking very small care of your daughter's 
honor." 

"To that there are several answers," replied the King. 
"One is that I remember my late wife as tenderly as 
possible, and I reflect I have only her word for it as to 
Guenevere's being my daughter. Another is that, 
though my daughter is a quiet and well-conducted young 
woman, I never heard King Thragnar was anything of 
this sort." 

~ T< Oh, sir," said Jurgen, horrified, "whatever are you 
hinting !" 

"All sorts of things, however, happen in caves, things 
which it is wiser to ignore in sunlight. So I ignore: I 
ask no questions: my business is to marry my daughter 
acceptably, and that only. Such discoveries as may be 
made by her husband afterward are his affair, not mine. 
This much I might tell you, Messire de Logreus, by way 
of answer. But the real answer is to bid you consider 
this: that a woman's honor is concerned with one thing 
only, and it is a thing with which the honor of a man is 
not concerned at all." 



90 JURGEN 



"But now you talk in riddles, King, and I wonder what 
it is you would have me do." 

Gogyrvan grinned. "Obviously, I advise you to give 
thanks you were born a man, because that sturdier sex 
has so much less need to bother over breakage." 

"What sort of breakage, sir?" says Jurgen. 

Gogyrvan told him. 

Duke Jurgen for the second time looked properly horri- 
fied. "Your aphorisms, King, are abominable, and of a 
sort unlikely to quiet my misery. However, we were 
speaking of your daughter, and it is she who must be 
considered rather than I." 

"Now I perceive that you take my meaning perfectly. 
Yes, in all matters which concern my daughter I would 
have you lie like a gentleman." 

"Well, I am afraid, sir," said Jurgen, after a pause, 
"that you are a person of somewhat degraded ideals." 

"Ah, but you are young. Youth can afford ideals, being 
vigorous enough to stand the hard knocks they earn their 
possessor. But I am an old fellow cursed with a tender 
heart and tolerably keen eyes. That combination, Messire 
de Logreus, is one which very often forces me to jeer out 
of season, simply because I know myself to be upon the 
verge of far more untimely tears." 

Thus Gogyrvan replied. He was silent for a while, 
and he contemplated the fire. Then he waved a shriveled 
hand toward the window, and Gogyrvan began to speak, 
meditatively : 

"Messire de Logreus, it is night in my city of Cameli- 
ard. And somewhere one of those roofs harbors a girl 
whom we will call Lynette. She has a lover — we will say 
he ,is called Sagramor. The names do not matter. To- 



PHILOSOPHY OF GOGYRVAN GAWR 91 



night, as I speak with you, Lynette lies motionless in the 
carved wide bed that formerly was her mother's. She is 
thinking of Sagramor. The room is dark save where 
moonlight silvers the diamond-shaped panes of ancient 
windows. In every corner of the room mysterious quiv- 
ering suggestions lurk." 

"Ah, sire," says Jurgen, "you also are a poet!" 

"Do not interrupt me, then! Lynette, I repeat, is 
thinking of Sagramor. Again they sit near the lake, 
under an apple-tree older than Rome. The knotted 
branches of the tree are upraised as in benediction: and 
petals — petals, fluttering, drifting, turning, — interminable 
white petals fall silently in the stillness. Neither speaks: 
for there is no need. Silently he brushes a petal from the 
blackness of her hair, and silently he kisses her. The 
lake is dusky and hard-seeming as jade. Two lonely stars 
hang low in the green sky. It is droll that the chest of 
a man is hairy, oh, very droll ! And a bird is singing, 
a silvery needle of sound moves fitfully in the stillness. 
Surely high Heaven is thus quietly colored and thus 
strangely lovely. So at least thinks little Lynette, lying 
motionless like a little mouse, in the carved wide bed 
wherein Lynette was born." 

"A very moving touch, that," Jurgen interpolated. 

"Now, there is another sort of singing: for now the 
pot-house closes, big shutters bang, feet shuffle, a drunken 
man hiccoughs in his singing. It is a love-song he is 
murdering. He sheds inexplicable tears as he lurches 
nearer and nearer to Lynette's window, and his heart 
is all magnanimity, for Sagramor is celebrating his latest 
conquest. Do you not think that this or something very 



92 JURGEN 

like this is happening to-night in my city of Cameliard, 
Messire de Logreus?". 

"It happens momently," said Jurgen, "everywhere. For 
thus is every woman for a little while, and thus is every 
man for all time." 

"That being a dreadful truth," continued Gogyrvan, 
"you may take it as one of the many reasons why I 
jeer out of season in order to stave off far more un- 
timely tears. For this thing happens : in my city it hap- 
pens, and in my castle it happens. King or no, I am 
powerless to prevent its happening. So I can but shrug 
and hearten my old blood with a fresh bottle. No less, 
I regard the young woman, who is quite possibly my 
daughter, with considerable affection : and it would be 
salutary for you to remember that circumstance, Mes- 
sire de Logreus, if ever you are tempted to be candid." 

Jurgen was horrified. "But with the Princess, sir, it is 
unthinkable that I should not deal fairly." 

King Gogyrvan continued to look at Jurgen. Gogyrvan 
Gawr said nothing, and not a muscle of him moved. 

"Although of course," said Jurgen, " I would, in simple 
justice to her, not ever consider volunteering any in- 
formation likely to cause pain." 

"Again I perceive," said Gogyrvan, "that you under- 
stand me. Yet I did not speak of my daughter only, but 
of everybody." 

"How then, sir, would you have me deal with every- 
body?" 

"Why, I can but repeat my words," says Gogyrvan, 
very patiently : "I would have you lie like a gentleman 



PHILOSOPHY OF GOGYRVAN GAWR 93 



And now be off with you, for I am going to sleep. I 
shall not be wide awake again until my daughter is safely 
married. And that is absolutely all I can do for you." 
"Do you think this is reputable conduct, King?" 
"Oh, no!" says Gogyrvan, surprised. "It is what we 
call philanthropy." 



14. 

Preliminary Tactics of Duke Jurgen 



SO Jurgen abode at court, and was tolerably content 
for a little while. He loved a princess, the fairest 
and most perfect of mortal women ; and loved her 
(a circumstance to which he frequently recurred) as 
never any other man had loved in the world's history: 
and very shortly he was to stand by and see her married 
to another. Here was a situation to delight the chivalrous 
court of Glathion, for every requirement of romance was 
exactly fulfilled. 

Now the appearance of Guenevere, whom Jurgen loved 
with an entire heart, was this : — She was of middling 
height, with a figure not yet wholly the figure of a woman. 
She had fine and very thick hair, and the color of it was 
the yellow of corn floss. When Guenevere undid her hair 
it was a marvel to Jurgen to note how snugly this hair 
descended about the small head and slender throat, and 
then broadened boldly and clothed her with a loose soft 
foam of pallid gold. For Jurgen delighted in her hair ; 
and with increasing intimacy, loved to draw great strands 
of it back of his head, crossing them there, and pressing 
soft handfuls of her perfumed hair against his cheeks as 
he kissed the Princess. 

The head of Guenevere, be it repeated, was small: you 
wondered at the proud free tossing movements of that 

94 



PRELIMINARY TACTICS OF DUKE JURGEN 95 

little head which had to sustain the weight of so much 
hair. The face of Guenevere was colored tenderly and 
softly : it made the faces of other women seem the work 
of a sign-painter, just splotched in anyhow. Gray eyes 
had Guenevere, veiled by incredibly long black lashes that 
curved incredibly. Her brows arched rather high above 
her eyes : that was almost a fault. Her nose was delicate 
and saucy : her chin was impudence made flesh : and her 
mouth was a tiny and irresistible temptation. 

"And so on, and so on ! But indeed there is no sense 
at all in describing this lovely girl as though I were taking 
an inventory of my shopwindow," said Jurgen. "Ana- 
logues are all very well, and they have the unanswerable 
sanction of custom : none the less, when I proclaim that 
my adored mistress's hair reminds me of gold I am quite 
consciously lying. It looks like yellow hair, and nothing 
else : nor would I willingly venture within ten feet of any 
woman whose head sprouted with wires, of whatever 
metal. And to protest that her eyes are as gray and 
fathomless as the sea is very well also, and the sort of 
thing which seems expected of me: but imagine how hor- 
rific would be puddles of water slopping about in a lady's 
eye-sockets! If we poets could actually behold the mon- 
sters we rhyme of, we would scream and run. Still, I 
rather like this sirvente." 

For he was making a sirvente in praise of Guenevere. 
It was the pleasant custom of Gogyrvan's court that 
every gentleman must compose verses in honor of the 
lady of whom he was hopelessly enamored ; as well as that 
in these verses he should address the lady (as one whose 
name was too sacred to mention) otherwise than did her 



96 JURGEN 

sponsors. So Duke Jurgen of Logreus duly rhapsodized 
of his Phyllida. 

"I borrow for my dear love the appellation of that 
noted but by much inferior lady who was beloved by 
Ariphus of Belsize," he explained. "You will remember 
Poliger suspects she was a princess of the house of 
Scleroveus : and you of course recall Pisander's masterly 
summing-up of the probabilities, in his Heradea." 

"Oh, yes," they said. And the courtiers of Gogyrvan 
G&wr, like Mother Sereda, were greatly impressed by 
young Duke Jurgen's erudition. 

For Jurgen was Duke of Logreus nowadays, with his 
glittering shirt and the coronet upon his bridle to show 
for it. Awkwardly this proved to be an earl's coronet, 
but incongruities are not always inexplicable. 

"It was Earl Giarmuid's horse. You have doubtless 
heard of Giarmuid : but to ask that is insulting." 

"Oh, not at all. It is humor. We perfectly under- 
stand your humor, Duke Jurgen." 

"And a very pretty fighter I found this famous Giar- 
muid as I traveled westward. And since he killed my 
steed in the heat of our conversation, I was compelled to 
take over his horse, after I had given this poor Giar- 
muid proper interment. Oh, yes, a very pretty fighter, 
and I had heard much talk of him in Logreus. He was 
Lord of Ore and Persaunt, you remember, though of 
course the estate came by his mother's side." 

"Oh, yes," they said. "You must not think that we 
of Glathion are quite shut out from the great world. We 
have heard of all these affairs. And we have also heard 
fine things of your duchy of Logreus, messire." 



PRELIMINARY TACTICS OF DUKE JURGEN 97 



"Doubtless," said Jurgen; and turned again to his 
singing. 

"Lo, for I pray to thee, resistless Love," he descanted, 
"that thou to-day make cry unto my love, to Phyllida 
whom I, poor Logreus, love so tenderly, not to deny me 
love! Asked why, say thou my drink and food is love, 
in days wherein I think and brood on love, and truly find 
naught good in aught save love, since Phyllida hath taught 
me how to love." 

Here Jurgen groaned with nicely modulated ardor ; and 
he continued : "If she avow such constant hate of love as 
would ignore my great and constant love, plead thou no 
more ! With listless lore of love woo Death resistlessly, 
resistless Love, in place of her that saith such scorn of 
love as lends to Death the lure and grace I love." 

Thus Jurgen sang melodiously of his Phyllida, and 
meant thereby (as everybody knew) the Princess Guene- 
vere. Since custom compelled him to deal in analogues, 
he dealt wholesale. Gems and metals, the blossoms of 
the field and garden, fires and wounds and sunrises and 
perfumes, an armory of lethal weapons, ice and a con- 
course of mythological deities were his starting-point. 
Then the seas and heavens were dredged of phenomena 
to be mentioned with disparagement, in comparison with 
one or another feature of Duke Jurgen's Phyllida. 
Zoology and history, and generally the remembered con- 
tents of his pawnshop, were overhauled and made to 
furnish targets for depreciation : whereas in dealing with 
the famous ladies loved by earlier poets, Duke Jurgen 
was positively insulting, allowing hardly a rag of merit. 
Still, he was careful to be just : and he allowed that these 
poor creatures might figure advantageously enough in 



TURGEN 



eyes which had never beheld his Phyllida. And to all this 
information the lady whom he hymned attended willingly. 

"She is a princess," reflected Jurgen. "She is quite 
beautiful. She is young, and whatever her father's 
opinion, she is reasonably intelligent, as women go. No- 
body could ask more. Why, then, am I not out of my 
head about her? Already she permits a kiss or two when 
nobody is around, and presently she will permit more. 
And she thinks I am quite the cleverest person living. 
Come, Jurgen, man ! is there no heart in this spry young 
body you have regained ? Come, let us have a little honest 
rapture and excitement over this promising situation !" 

But somehow Jurgen could not manage it. He was 
interested in what, he knew, was going to happen. Yes, 
undoubtedly he looked forward to more intimate converse 
with this beautiful youn^' princess, but it was rather as 
one anticipates partaking of a favorite dessert. Jurgen 
felt that a liaison arranged for in this spirit was neither 
one thing or the other. 

"If only I could feel like a cold-blooded villain, now, 
I would at worst be classifiable. But I intend the girl 
no harm, I am honestly fond of her. I shall talk my 
best, broaden her ideas, and give her, I flatter myself, 
considerable pleasure: vulgar prejudices apart, I shall 
leave her no whit the worse. Why, the dear little thing, 
not for the ransom of seven emperors would I do her 
any hurt ! And in these matters discretion is everything, 
simply everything. No, quite decidedly, I am not a cold- 
blooded villain ; and I shall deal fairly with the Princess." 

Thus Jurgen was disappointed by his own emotions, as 
he turned them from side to side, and prodded them, 
and shifted to a fresh viewpoint, only to find it no more 



PRELIMINARY TACTICS OF DUKE JURGEN 99 



favorable than the one relinquished: but he veiled the 
inadequacy of his emotions with very moving fervors. 
The tale does not record his conversations with Guene- 
vere: for Jurgen now discoursed plain idiocy, as one 
purveys sweetmeats to a child in fond astonishment at 
the pet's appetite. And leisurely Jurgen advanced : there 
was no hurry, with weeks wherein to accomplish every- 
thing : meanwhile this routine work had a familiar 
pleasantness. 

For the amateur co-ordinates matters, knowing that 
one thing axiomatically leads to another. There is no 
harm at all in respectful allusions to a love that compre- 
hends its hopelessness : it was merely a fact which Jurgen 
mentioned, and was about to pass on ; only Guenevere, 
in modesty, was forced to disparage her own attractions, 
as an inadequate cause for so much misery. Common 
courtesy demanded that Jurgen enter upon a rebuttal. To 
emphasize one point in this, the orator was forced to 
take the hand of his audience : but strangers did that every 
day, with nobody objecting; moreover, the hand was 
here, not so much seized as displayed by its detainer, 
as evidence of what he contended. How else was he to 
prove the Princess of Glathion had the loveliest hand in 
the world? It was not a matter he could request Guene- 
vere to accept on hearsay: and Jurgen wanted to deal 
fairly with her. 

Well, but before relinquishing the loveliest hand in 
the world a connoisseur will naturally kiss each finger- 
tip : this is merely a tribute to perfection, and has no 
personal application. Besides, a kiss, wherever deposited, 
as Jurgen pointed out, is, when you think of it, but a 
ceremonial, of no intrinsic wrongfulness. The girl de- 



100 JURGEN 



murring against this apothegm — as custom again exacted, 
— was, still in common fairness, convinced of her error. 
So now, says Jurgen presently, you see for yourself. Is 
anything changed between us? Do we not sit here, just 
as we were before ? Why, to be sure ! a kiss is now 
attestedly a quite innocuous performance, with nothing 
very fearful about it one way or the other. It even has 
its pleasant side. Thus there is no need to make a 
pother over kisses or over an arm about } r ou, when it 
is more comfortable sitting so : how can one reasonably 
deny to a sincere friend what is accorded to a cousin or 
an old cloak? It would be nonsense, as Jurgen demon- 
strated with a very apt citation from Napsacus. 

Then, sitting so, in the heat of conversation a speaker 
naturally gesticulates : and a deal of his eloquence is de- 
pendent upon his hands. When anyone is talking it is 
discourteous to interrupt, whereas to lay hold of a gentle- 
man's hand outright, as Jurgen parenthesized, is a little 
forward. No, he really did not think it would be quite 
proper for Guenevere to hold his hand. Let us preserve 
decorum, even in trifles. 

"Ah, but you know that you are doing wrong!" 
"I doing wrong! I, who am simply sitting here and 
talking my poor best in an effort to entertain you ! Come 
now, Princess, but tell me what you mean !" 
"You should know very well what I mean." 
"But I protest to you I have not the least notion. How 
can I possibly know what you mean when }'ou refuse to 
tell me what you mean?" 

And since the Princess declined to put into words just 
what she meant, things stayed as they were, for the 
while. 



PRELIMINARY TACTICS OF DUKE JURGEN 101 



Thus did Jurgen co-ordinate matters, knowing that one 
thing axiomatically leads to another. And in short, 
affairs sped very much as Jurgen had anticipated. 

Now, by ordinary, Jurgen talked with Guenevere in 
dimly lighted places. He preferred this, because then 
he was not bothered by that unaccountable shadow whose 
presence in sunlight put him out. Nobody ever seemed 
to notice this preposterous shadow ; it was patent, indeed, 
that nobody could see it save Jurgen: none the less, the 
thing worried him. So even from the first he remem- 
bered Guenevere as a soft voice and a delectable perfume 
in twilight, as a beauty not clearly visioned. 

And Gogyrvan's people worried him. The hook-nosed 
tall old King had been by Jurgen dismissed from thought, 
as an enigma not important enough to be worth the 
trouble of solving. Gogyrvan at once seemed to be 
schooling himself to patience under some private annoy- 
ance and to be revolving in his mind some private jest; 
he was queer, and probably abominable : but to grant the 
old rascal his due, he was not meddlesome. 

The people about Gogyrvan, though, were perplexing. 
These men who considered that all you possessed was 
loaned you to devote to the service of your God, your 
King and every woman who crossed your path, could 
hardly be behaving rationally. To talk of serving God 
sounded as sonorously and as inspiritingly as a drum: 
yes, and a drum had nothing but air in it. The priests 
said so-and-so : but did anybody believe the gallant 
Bishop of Merion, for example, was always to be de- 
pended upon ? 

"I would like the opinion of Prince Evrawc's wife as 
to that," said Jurgen, with a grin. For it was well-known 



102 JURGEN 



that all affairs between this Dame Alundyne and the 
Bishop were so discreetly managed as to afford no reason 
for any scandal whatever. 

As for serving the King, there in plain view was 
Gogyrvan Gawr, for anyone who so elected, to regard and 
grow enthusiastic over: Gogyrvan might be shrewd 
enough, but to Jurgen he suggested very little of the 
Lord's anointed. To the contrary, he reminded you of 
Jurgen's brother-in-law, the grocer, without being graced 
by the tradesman's friendly interest in customers. 
Gogyrvan Gawr was a person whom Jurgen simply could 
not imagine any intelligent Deity selecting as steward. 
And finally, when it came to serving women, what sort 
of service did women most cordially appreciate ? Jurgen 
had his answer pat enough, but it was an answer not 
suitable for utterance in a mixed company, 

"No one of my honest opinions, in fact, is adapted to 
further my popularity in Glathion, because I am a mon- 
strous clever fellow who does justice to things as they 
are. Therefore I must remember always, in justice to 
myself, that I very probably hold traffic with madmen. 
Yet Rome was a fine town, and it was geese who saved it. 
These people may be right; and certainly I cannot go 
so far as to say they are wrong: but still, at the same 
time — ! Yes, that is how I feel about it." 

Thus did Jurgen abide at the chivalrous court of 
Glathion, and conform to all its customs. In the matter 
of love-songs nobody protested more movingly that the 
lady whom he loved (quite hopelessly, of course), em- 
bodied all divine perfections: and when it came to 
knightly service, the possession of Caliburn made the 
despatching of thieves and giants and dragons seem 



PRELIMINARY TACTICS OF DUKE JURGEN 103 



hardly sportsmanlike. Still, Jurgen fought a little, now 
and then, in order to conform to the customs of Glathion: 
and the Duke of Logreus was widely praised as a very 
promising young knight. 

And all the while he fretted because he could just 
dimly perceive that ideal which was served in Glathion, 
and the beauty of this ideal, but could not possibly believe 
in it Here was, again, a loveliness perceived in twilight, 
a beauty not clearly visioned. 

"Yet am not I a monstrous clever fellow," he would 
console himself, "to take them all in so completely? It 
is a joke to which, I think, I do full justice." 

So Jurgen abode among these persons to whom life 
was a high-hearted journeying homeward. God the 
Father awaited you there, ready to punish at need, but 
eager to forgive, after the manner of all fathers: that 
one became a little soiled in traveling, and sometimes 
blundered into the wrong lane, was a matter which 
fathers understood: meanwhile here was an ever-present 
reminder of His perfection incarnated in woman, the 
finest and the noblest of His creations. Thus was every 
woman a symbol to be honored magnanimously and rever- 
ently. So said they all. 

"Why, but to be sure !" assented Jurgen. And in sup- 
port of his position he very edifyingly quoted Ophelion, 
and Fabianus Papirius, and Sextius Niger to boot. 



15. 

Of Compromises in Glathion 



t | ^HE tale records that it was not a great while 
before, in simple justice to Guenevere, Duke Jur- 

-*- gen had afforded her the advantage of frank con- 
versation in actual privacy. For conventions have to be 
regarded, of course. Thus the time of a princess is not 
her own, and at any hour of day all sorts of people are 
apt to request an audience just when some most improving 
conversation is progressing famously: but the Hall of 
Judgment stood vacant and unguarded at night. 

"But I would never consider doing such a thing," saicf 
Guenevere: "and whatever must you think of me, to 
make such a proposal !" 

"That too, my dearest, is a matter which I can only 
explain in private." 

"And if I were to report your insolence to my father — " 

"You would annoy him exceedingly: and from such 
griefs it is our duty to shield the aged." 

"And besides, I am afraid." 

"Oh, my dearest," says Jurgen, and his voice quavered, 
because his love and his sorrow seemed very great to 
him : "but, oh, my dearest, can it be that you have not 
faith in me ! For with all my body and soul I love you, 
as I have loved you ever since I first raised your face 
between my hands, and understood that I had never 

104 



OF COMPROMISES IN GLATHION 105 



before known beauty. Indeed, I love you as, I think, no 
man has ever loved any woman that lived in the long 
time that is gone, for my love is worship, and no less. 
The touch of your hand sets me to trembling, dear ; and 
the look of your gray eyes makes me forget there is any- 
thing of pain or grief or evil anywhere: for you are the 
loveliest thing God ever made, with joy in the new skill 
that had come to His fingers. And you have not faith 
in me !" 

Then the Princess gave a little sobbing laugh of con- 
tent and repentance, and she clasped the hand of her 
grief-stricken lover. "Forgive me, Jurgen, for I cannot 
bear to see you so unhappy !" 

"Ah, and what is my grief to you!" he asks of her, 
bitterly. 

"Much, oh, very much, my dear!" she whispered. 

So in the upshot Jurgen was never to forget that 
moment wherein he waited behind the door, and through 
the crack between the half -open door and the door-frame 
saw Guenevere approach irresolutely, a wavering white 
blur in the dark corridor. She came to talk with him 
where they would not be bothered with interruptions : but 
she came delightfully perfumed, in her night-shift, and 
in nothing else. Jurgen wondered at the way of these 
women even as his arms went about her in the gloom. 
He remembered always the feel of that warm and slender 
and yielding body, naked under the thin fabric of the 
shift, as his arms first went about her: of all their 
moments together that last breathless minute before 
either of them had spoken stayed in his memory as the 
most perfect. 

And yet what followed was pleasant enough, for now it 



106 JURGEN 



was to the wide and softly cushioned throne of a king, 
no less, that Guenevere and Jurgen resorted, so as to 
talk where they would not be bothered with interruptions. 
The throne of Gogyrvan was perfectly dark, under its 
canopy, in the unlighted hall, and in the dark nobody can 
see what happens. 

Thereafter these two contrived to talk together nightly 
upon the throne of Glathion: but what remained in 
Jurgen's memory was that last moment behind the door, 
and the six tall windows upon the east side of the hall, 
those windows which were of commingled blue and silver, 
but were all an opulent glitter, throughout that time in 
the night when the moon was clear of the tree-tops and 
had not yet risen high enough to be shut off by the eaves. 
For that was all which Jurgen really saw in the Hall of 
Judgment. There would be a brief period wherein upon 
the floor beneath each window would show a narrow 
quadrangle of moonlight: but the windows were set in a 
wall so deep that this soon passed. On the west side 
were six windows also, but about these was a porch; 
so no light ever came from the west. 

Thus in the dark they would laugh and talk with 
lowered voices. Jurgen came to these encounters well 
primed with wine, and in consequence, as he quite com- 
prehended, talked like an angel, without confining him- 
self exclusively to celestial topics. He was often de- 
lighted by his own brilliance, and it seemed to him a pity 
there was no one handy to take it down : so much of his 
talking was necessarily just a little over the head of any 
girl, however beautiful and adorable. 

And Guenevere, he found, talked infinitely better at 
night. It was not altogether the wine which made him 



OF COMPROMISES IN GLATHION 107 



think that, either: the girl displayed a side she veiled in 
the day time. A girl, far less a princess, is not supposed 
to know more than agrees with a man's notion of maid- 
enly ignorance, she contended. 

"Nobody ever told me anything about so many inter- 
esting matters. Why, I remember — " And Guenevere 
narrated a quaintly pathetic little story, here irrelevant, of 
what had befallen her some three or four years earlier. 
"My mother was living then: but she had never said a 
word about such things, and frightened as I was, I did 
not go to her." 

Jurgen asked questions. 

"Why, yes. There was nothing else to do. I cannot 
talk freely with my maids and ladies even now. I can- 
not question them, that is : of course I can listen as they 
talk among themselves. For me to do more would be 
unbecoming in a princess. And I wonder quietly about 
so many things !" She educed instances. "After that I 
used to notice the animals and the poultry. So I worked 
out problems for myself, after a fashion. But nobody 
ever told me anything directly." 

"Yet I dare say that Thragnar — well, the Troll King, 
being very wise, must have made zoology much clearer." 

"Thragnar was a skilled enchanter," says a demure 
voice in the dark; "and through the potency of his 
abominable arts, I can remember nothing whatever about 
Thragnar." 

Jurgen laughed, ruefully. Still, he was tolerably sure 
about Thragnar now. 

So they talked : and Jurgen marvelled, as millions of 
men had done aforetime, and have done since, at the 
girl's eagerness, now that barriers were down, to discuss 



108 JURGEN 

in considerable detail all such matters as etiquette had 
previously compelled them to ignore. About her ladies 
in waiting, for example, she afforded him some very; 
curious data: and concerning men in general she asked 
innumerable questions that Jurgen found delicious. 

Such innocence combined — upon the whole — with a 
certain moral obtuseness, seemed inconceivable. For to 
Jurgen it now appeared that Guenevere was behaving 
with not quite the decorum which might fairly be 
expected of a princess. Contrition, at least, one might 
have looked for, over this hole and corner business: 
whereas it worried him to note that Guenevere was 
coming to accept affairs almost as a matter of course. 
Certainly she did not seem to think at all of any wicked- 
ness anywhere : the utmost she suggested was the neces- 
sity of being very careful. And while she never con- 
tradicted him in these private conversations, and sub- 
mitted in everything to his judgment, her motive now 
appeared to be hardly more than a wish to please him. 
It was almost as though she were humoring him in his 
foolishness. And all this within six weeks! reflected 
Jurgen: and he nibbled his finger-nails, with a mental 
side-glance toward the opinions of King Gogyrvan Gawr. 

But in daylight the Princess remained unchanged. In 
daylight Jurgen adored her, but with no feeling of inti- 
macy. Very rarely did occasion serve for them to be 
actually alone in the day time. Once or twice, though, 
he kissed her in open sunlight: and then her eyes were 
melting but wary, and the whole affair was rather flat. 
She did not repulse him : but she stayed a princess, appre- 
ciative of her station, and seemed not at all the invisible 



OF COMPROMISES IN GLATHION 109 



person who talked with him at night in the Hall of 
Judgment. 

Presently, by common consent, they began to avoid each 
other by daylight. Indeed, the time of the Princess was 
now pre-occupied : for now had come into Glathion a 
ship with saffron colored sails, and having for its figure- 
head a dragon that was painted with thirty colors. Such 
was the ship which brought Messire Merlin Ambrosius 
and Dame Anaitis, the Lady of the Lake, with a great 
retinue, to fetch young Guenevere to London, where she 
was to be married to King Arthur. 

First there was a week of feasting and tourneys and 
high mirth of every kind. Now the trumpets blared, and 
upon a scaffolding that was gay with pennons and smart 
tapestries King Gogyrvan sat nodding and blinking in his 
brightest raiment, to judge who did the best : and into the 
field came joyously a press of dukes and earls and barons 
and many famous knights, to contend for honor and a 
trumpery chaplet of pearls. 

Jurgen shrugged, and honored custom. The Duke of 
Logreus acquitted himself with credit in the opening 
tournament, unhorsing Sir Dodinas le Sauvage, Earl Roth 
of Meliot, Sir Epinogris, and Sir Hector de Maris : then 
Earl Damas of Listenise smote like a whirlwind, and 
Jurgen slid contentedly down the tail of his fine horse. 
His part in the tournament was ended, and he was heartily 
glad of it. He preferred to contemplate rather than share 
in such festivities: and he now followed his bent with 
a most exquisite misery, because he considered that never 
had any other poet occupied a situation more picturesque. 

By day he was the Duke of Logreus, which in itself 
was a notable advance upon pawnbroking: after nightfall 



110 JURGEN 



he discounted the peculiar privileges of a king. It was 
the secrecy, the deluding of everybody, which he espe- 
cially enjoyed: and in the thought of what a monstrous 
clever fellow was Jurgen, he almost lost sight of the fact 
that he was miserable over the impending marriage of 
the lady he loved. 

Once or twice he caught the tail-end of a glance from 
Gogyrvan's bright old eye. Jurgen by this time abhorred 
Gogyrvan, as a person of abominably unjust dealings. 

"To take no better care of his own daughter," Jurgen 
considered, "is infamous. The man is neglecting his 
duties as a father, and to do that is not fair." 



16. 

Divers Imbroglios of King Smoit 



"^^ T OW it befell that for three nights in succession 
^k the Princess Guenevere was unable to converse 
**- ~ with Jurgen in the Hall of Judgment. So upon 
one of these disengaged evenings Duke Jurgen held a 
carouse with Aribert and Urien, two of Gogyrvan's 
barons, who had just returned from Pengwaed-Gir, and 
had queer tales to narrate of the Trooping Fairies who 
garrison that place. 

All three were seasoned topers, so Jurgen went to bed 
prepared for anything. Later he sat up in bed, and 
found it was much as he had suspected. The room was 
haunted, and at the foot of his couch were two ghosts: 
one an impudent-looking leering phantom, in a suit o£ 
old-fashioned armor, and the other a beautiful pale lady, 
in the customary flowing white draperies. 

"Good-morning to you both," says Jurgen, "and sorry 
am I that I cannot truthfully observe I am glad to see 
you. Though you are welcome enough if you can manage 
to haunt the room quietly." Then, seeing that both phan- 
toms looked puzzled, Jurgen proceeded to explain. "Last 
year, when I was traveling upon business in Westphalia, 
it was my grief to spend a night in the haunted castle 
of Neuedesberg, for I could not get any sleep at all in 
that place. There was a ghost in charge who persisted in 

111 



112 JURGEN 



rattling very large iron chains and in groaning dismally 
throughout the night. Then toward morning he took the 
form of a monstrous cat, and climbed upon the foot of 
my bed : and there he squatted yowling until daybreak. 
And as I am ignorant of German, I was not able to con- 
vey to him any idea of my disapproval of his conduct. 
Now I trust that as compatriots, or as I might say with 
more exactness, as former compatriots, you will appre- 
ciate that such behavior is out of all reason." 

"Messire," says the male ghost, and he oozed to his 
full height, "you are guilty of impertinence in harboring 
such a suspicion. I can only hope it proceeds from ignor- 
ance." 

"For I am sure," put in the lady, "that I always dis- 
liked cats, and we never had them about the castle." 

"And you must pardon my frankness, messire," con- 
tinued the male ghost, "but you cannot have moved widely 
in noble company if you are indeed unable to distinguish 
between members of the feline species and of the reigning 
family of Glathion." 

"Well, I have seen dowager queens who justified some 
such confusion," observed Jurgen. "Still, I entreat the 
forgiveness of both of you, for I had no idea that I was 
addressing royalty." 

"I was King Smoit," explained the male phantom, 
"and this was my ninth wife, Queen Sylvia Tereu." 

Jurgen bowed as gracefully, he flattered himself, as 
was possible in his circumstances. It is not easy to bow 
gracefully while sitting erect in bed. 

"Often and over again have I heard of you, King 
Smoit," says Jurgen. "You were the grandfather of 
Gogyrvan Gawr, and you murdered your ninth wife, and 



DIVERS IMBROGLIOS OF KING SMOIT 113 



your eighth wife, and your fifth wife, and your third 
wife too : and you went under the title of the Black King, 
for you were reputed the wickedest monarch that ever 
reigned in Glathion and the Red Islands." 

It seemed to Jurgen that King Smoit evinced embar- 
rassment, but it is hard to be quite certain when a 
ghost is blushing. "Perhaps I was spoken of in some 
such terms," says Smoit, "for the neighbors were cen- 
sorious gossips, and I was not lucky in my marriages. 
And I regret, I bitterly regret, to confess that, in a 
moment of extreme yet not quite unprovoked excitement, 
I assassinated the lady whom you now behold." 

"And I am sure, through no fault of mine," says Sylvia 
Tereu. 

"Certainly, my dear, you resisted with all your might. 
I only wish that you had been a larger and a brawnier 
woman. But you, messire, can now perceive, I suppose, 
the folly of expecting a high King of Glathion, and the 
queen that he took delight in, to sit upon your bed and 
howl?" 

So then, upon reflection, Jurgen admitted he had never 
had that experience ; nor, he handsomely added, could he 
recall any similar incident among his friends. 

"The notion is certainly preposterous," went on King 
Smoit, and very grimly he smiled. "We are drawn hither 
by quite other intentions. In fact, we wish to ask of 
you, as a member of the family, your assistance in a 
delicate affair." 

"I would be delighted," Jurgen stated, "to aid you in 
any possible way. But why do you call me a member of 
the family?" 

"Now, to deal frankly," says Smoit, with a grin, "I 



114 JURGEN 

am not claiming any alliance with the Duke of Logreus — " 

"Sometimes," says Jurgen, "one prefers to travel incog- 
nito. As a king, you ought to understand that." 

— "My interest is rather in the grandson of Steinvor. 
Now you will remember your grandmother Steinvor as, 
I do not doubt, a charming old lady. But I remember 
Steinvor, the wife of Ludwig, as one of the loveliest girls 
that a king's eyes ever lighted on." 

"Oh, sir," says Jurgen, horrified, "and what is this you 
are telling me !" 

"Merely that I had always an affectionate nature," 
replied King Smoit, "and that I was a fine upstanding 
young king in those days. And one of the results of my 
being these things was your father, whom men called 
Coth the son of Ludwig. But I can assure you Ludwig 
had done nothing to deserve it." 

"Well, well !" said Jurgen: "all this is very scandalous : 
and very upsetting, too, it is to have a brand-new grand- 
father foisted upon you at this hour of the morning. 
Still, it happened a great while ago: and if Ludwig did 
not fret over it, I see no reason why I should do so. And 
besides, King Smoit, it may be that you are not telling 
me the truth." 

"If you doubt my confession, messire my grandson, 
you have only to look into the next mirror. It is precisely 
on this account that we have ventured to dispel your 
slumbers. For to me you bear a striking resemblance. 
You have the family face." 

Now Jurgen considered the lineaments of King Smoit 
of Glathion. "Really," said Jurgen, " of course it is very 
flattering to be told that your appearance is regal. I do 
not at all know what to say in reply to the implied compli- 



DIVERS IMBROGLIOS OF KING SMOIT 115 



merit, without seeming uncivil. I would never for a 
moment question that you were much admired in your 
day, sir, and no doubt very justly so. None the less — 
well, my nose, now, from such glimpses of it as mirrors 
have hitherto afforded, does not appear to be a snub- 
nose." 

''Ah, but appearances are proverbially deceitful," ob- 
served King Smoit. 

"And about the left hand corner," protested Queen 
Sylvia Tereu, "I detect a distinct resemblance." 

"Now I may seem unduly obtuse," said Jurgen, "for 
I am a little obtuse. It is a habit with me, a very bad 
habit formed in early infancy, and I have never been able 
to break myself of it. And so I have not any notion at 
what you two are aiming." 

Replied the ghost of King Smoit : "I will explain. 
Just sixty-three years ago to-night I murdered my nintrl 
wife in circumstances of peculiar brutality, as you with 
rather questionable taste have mentioned." 

Then Jurgen was somewhat abashed, and felt that it did 
not become him, who had so recently cut off the head of 
his own wife, to assume the airs of a precisian. "Of 
course," says Jurgen, more broad-mindedly, "these little 
family differences are always apt to occur in married 
life." 

"So be it! Though, by the so-and-sos of Ursula's 
eleven thousand traveling companions, there was a time 
wherein I would not have brooked such criticism. Ah, 
well, that time is overpast, and I am a bloodless thing that 
the wind sweeps at the wind's will through lands in which 
but yesterday King Smoit was dreaded. So I let that 
which has been be." 



116 JURGEN 



"Well, that seems reasonable," said Jurgen, "and to be 
a trifle rhetorical is the privilege of grandfathers. There- 
fore I entreat you, sir, to continue." 

"Two years afterward I followed the Emperor Locrine 
in his expedition against the Suevetii, an evil and luxuri- 
ous people who worship Gozarin peculiarly, by means of 
little boats. I must tell you, grandson, that was a goodly 
raid, conducted by a band of tidy fighters in a land of 
wealth and of fine women. But alack, as the saying is, 
in our return from Osnach my loved general Locrine 
was captured by that arch-fiend Duke Corineus of Corn- 
wall: and I, among many others who had followed the 
Emperor, paid for our merry larcenies and throat-cuttings 
a very bitter price. Corineus was not at all broad- 
minded, not what you would call a man of the world. 
So it was in a noisome dungeon that I was incarcerated, 
— I, Smoit of Glathion, who conquered Enisgarth and 
Sargyll in open battle and fearlessly married the heiress 
of Camwy! But I spare you the unpleasant details. It 
suffices to say that I was dissatisfied with my quarters. 
Yet fain to leave them as I became, there was but one 
way. It involved the slaying of my gaoler, a step which 
was, I confess, to me distasteful. I was getting on in 
life, and had grown tired of killing people. Yet, to 
mature deliberation, the life of a graceless varlet, void 
of all gentleness and with no bowels of compassion, and 
deaf to suggestions of bribery, appeared of no over- 
whelming importance." 

"I can readily imagine, grandfather, that you were not 
deeply interested in either the nature or the anatomy of 
your gaoler. So you did what was unavoidable." 

"Yes, I treacherously slew him, and escaped in an im- 



DIVERS IMBROGLIOS OF KING SMOIT 117 



penetrable disguise to Glathion, where not long afterward 
I died. My dying just then was most annoying, for I 
was on the point of being married, and she was a remark- 
ably attractive girl, — King Tyrnog's daughter, from 
Craintnor way. She would have been my thirteenth 
wife. And not a week before the ceremony I tripped 
and fell down my own castle steps, and broke my neck. 
It was a'humiKatJng end for one who had been a warrior 
of considerable repute. Upon my word, it made me think 
there might be something, after all, in those old super- 
stitions about thirteen being an unlucky number. But 
what was I saying? — oh, yes! It is also unlucky to be 
careless about one's murders. You will readily under- 
stand that for one or two such affairs I am condemned 
yearly to haunt the scene of my crime on its anniversary : 
such an arrangement is fair enough, and I make no com- 
plaint, though of course it does rather break into the 
evening. But it happened that I treacherously slew my 
gaoler with a large cobble-stone on the fifteenth of June. 
Now the unfortunate part, the really awkward feature, 
was that this was to an hour the anniversary of the death 
of my ninth wife." 

"And you murdering insignificant strangers on such a 
day!" said Queen Sylvia. "You climbing out of jail 
windows figged out as a lady abbess, on an anniversary 
you ought to have kept on your knees in unavailing re- 
pentance ! But you were a hard man, Smoit, and it was 
little loving courtesy you showed your wife at a time 
when she might reasonably look to be remembered, and 
that is a fact." 

"My dear, I admit it was heedless of me. I could not 
possibly say more. At any rate, grandson, I discovered 



118 JURGEN 



after my decease that such heedlessness entailed my 
haunting on every fifteenth of June at three in the morn- 
ing two separate places." 

"Well, but that was justice," says Jurgen. 

"It may have been justice," Smoit admitted: "but my 
point is that it happened to be impossible. However, I 
was aided by my great-great-grandfather Penpingon 
Vreichvras ap Mylwald Glasanief . He too had the family 
face; and in every way resembled me so closely that he 
impersonated me to everyone's entire satisfaction; and 
with my wife's assistance re-enacted my disastrous crime 
upon the scene of its occurrence, June after June." 

"Indeed," said Queen Sylvia, "he handled his sword 
infinitely better than you, my dear. It was a thrilling 
pleasure to be murdered by Penpingon Vreichvras ap 
Mylwald Glasanief, and I shall always regret him." 

"For you must understand, grandson, that the term of 
King Penpingon Vreichvras ap Mywald Glasanief's stay 
in Purgatory has now run out, and he has recently gone 
to Heaven. That was pleasant for him, I dare say, so 
I do not complain. Still, it leaves me with no one to take 
my place. Angels, as you will readily understand, are not 
permitted to perpetrate murders, even in the way of kind- 
ness. It might be thought to establish a dangerous 
precedent." 

"All this," said Jurgen, "seems regrettable, but not 
strikingly explicit. I have a heart and a half to serve 
you, sir, with not seven-eighths of a notion as to what, you 
want of me. Come, put a name to it!" 

"You have, as I have said, the family face. You are, 
in fact, the living counterpart of Smoit of Glathion. So 
I beseech you, messire my grandson, for this one night 



DIVERS IMBROGLIOS OF KING SMOIT 119 



to impersonate my ghost, and with the assistance of 
Queen Sylvia Tereu to see that at three o'clock the White 
Turret is haunted to everyone's satisfaction. Otherwise," 
said Smoit, gloomily, "the consequences will be deplor- 
able." 

"But I have had no experience at haunting," Jurgen 
confessed. "It is a pursuit in which I do not pretend to 
competence : and I do not even know just how one goes 
about it." 

"That matter is simple, although mysterious prelimin- 
aries will be, of course, necessitated, in order to convert 
a living person into a ghost — " 

"The usual preliminaries, sir, are out of the question: 
and I must positively decline to be stabbed or poisoned 
or anything of that kind, even to humor my grandfather." 

Both Smoit and Sylvia protested that any such radical 
step would be superfluous, since Jurgen's ghostship was 
to be transient. In fact, all Jurgen would have to do 
would be to drain the embossed goblet which Sylvia Tereu 
held out to him, with Druidical invocations. 

And for a moment Jurgen hesitated. The whole busi- 
ness seemed rather improbable. Still, the ties of kin are 
strong, and it is not often one gets the chance to aid, 
however slightly, one's long-dead grandfather: besides, 
the potion smelt very invitingly. 

"Well," says Jurgen, "I am willing to taste any drink 
once." Then Jurgen drank. 

The flavor was excellent. Yet the drink seemed not to 
affect Jurgen, at first. Then he began to feel a trifle 
light-headed. Next he looked downward, and was sur- 
prised to notice there was nobody in his bed. Closer 
investigation revealed the shadowy outline of a human 



129 JURGEN 



figure, through which the bedclothing had collapsed. 
This, he decided, was all that was left of Jurgen. And 
it gave him a queer sensation. Jurgen jumped like a 
startled horse, and so violently that he flew out of bed, 
and found himself floating imponderably about the room. 

Now Jurgen recognized the feeling perfectly. He had 
often had it in his sleep, in dreams wherein he would bend 
his legs at the knees so that his feet came up behind him, 
and he would pass through the air without any effort. 
Then it seemed ridiculously simple, and he would wonder 
why he never thought of it before. And then he would re- 
flect : "This is an excellent way of getting around. I will 
come to breakfast this way in the morning, and show Lisa 
how simple it is. How it will astonish her, to be sure, 
and how clever she will think me!" And then Jurgen 
would wake up, and find that somehow he had forgotten 
the trick of it. 

But just now this manner of locomotion was undeniably 
easy. So Jurgen floated around his bed once or twice, 
then to the ceiling, for practice. Through inexperience, 
he miscalculated the necessary force, and popped through 
into the room above, where he found himself hovering 
immediately over the Bishop of Merion. His eminence 
was not alone, but as both occupants of the apartment 
were asleep, Jurgen witnessed nothing unepiscopal. Now 
Jurgen rejoined his grandfather, and girded on charmed 
Caliburn, and demanded what must next be done. 

"The assassination will take place in the White Turret, 
as usual. Queen Sylvia will instruct you in the details. 
You can invent most of the affair, however, as the Lady 



DIVERS IMBROGLIOS OF KING SMOIT 121 



of the Lake, who occupies this room to-night, is very 
probably unacquainted with our terrible history." 

Then King Smoit observed that it was high time he 
kept his appointment in Cornwall, and he melted into 
air, with an easy confidence that bespoke long prac- 
tise : and Jurgen followed Queen Sylvia Tereu. 




17. 

About a Cock That Crowed Too Soon 



EXT the tale tells of how Jurgen and the ghost of 
Queen Sylvia Tereu came into the White Turret. 
The Lady of the Lake was in bed: she slept 
unaccompanied, as Jurgen noted with approval, for he 
wished to intrude upon no more tete-a-tetes. And Dame 
Ana'itis did not at first awake. 

Now this was a gloomy and high-paneled apartment, 
with exactly the traditional amount of moonlight stream- 
ing through two windows. Any ghost, even an appren- 
tice, could have acquitted himself with credit in such 
surroundings, and Jurgen thought he did extremely well. 
He was atavistically brutal, and to improvise the accom- 
panying dialogue he did not find difficult. So everything 
went smoothly, and with such spirit that Anaitis was 
presently wakened by Queen Sylvia's very moving wails 
for mercy, and sat erect in bed, as though a little startled. 
Then the Lady of the Lake leaned back among the pil- 
lows, and witnessed the remainder of the terrible scene 
with remarkable self-possession. 

So it was that the tragedy swelled to its appalling 
climax, and subsided handsomely. With the aid of 
Caliburn, Jurgen had murdered his temporary wife. He 
had dragged her insensate body across the floor, by the 
hair of her head, and had carefully remembered first to 

122 



ABOUT A COCK THAT CROWED TOO SOON 123 



put her comb in his pocket, as Queen Sylvia had re- 
quested, so that it would not be lost. He had given vent 
to several fiendish "Ha-ha's" and all the old high im- 
precations he remembered: and in short, everything had 
gone splendidly when he left the White Turret with a 
sense of self-approval and Queen Sylvia Tereu. 

The two of them paused in the winding stairway ; and 
in the darkness, after he had restored her comb, the 
Queen was telling Jurgen how sorry she was to part 
with him. 

"For it is back to the cold grave I must be going now, 
Messire Jurgen, and to the tall flames of Purgatory : and 
it may be that I shall not ever see you any more." 

"I shall regret the circumstance, madame," says Jurgen, 
"for you are the loveliest person I have ever seen." 

The Queen was pleased. "That is a delightfully boyish 
speech, and one can see it comes from the heart. I only 
wish that I could meet with such unsophisticated per- 
sons in my present abode. Instead, I am herded with 
battered sinners who have no heart, who are not frank 
and outspoken about anything, and I detest their affecta- 
tions." 

"Ah, then you are not happy with your husband, 
Sylvia? I suspected as much." 

"I see very little of Smoit. It is true he has eight 
other wives all resident in the same flame, and cannot well 
show any partiality. Two of his Queens, though, went 
straight to Heaven: and his eighth wife, Gudrun, we are 
compelled to fear, must have been an unrepentant sinner, 
for she has never reached Purgatory. But I always dis- 
trusted Gudrun, myself : otherwise I would never have 
suggested to Smoit that he have her strangled in order 



124 JURGEN 



to make me his queen. You see, I thought it a fine 
thing to be a queen, in those days, Jurgen, when I was an 
artless slip of a girl. And Smoit was all honey and 
perfume and velvet, in those days, Jurgen, and little did 
I suspect the cruel fate that was to befall me." 

"Indeed, it is a sad thing, Sylvia, to be murdered by 
the hand which, so to speak, is sworn to keep an eye on 
your welfare, and which rightfully should serve you on 
its knees." 

"It was not that I minded. Smoit killed me in a fit 
of jealousy, and jealousy is in its blundering way a com- 
pliment. No, a worse thing than that befell me, Jurgen, 
and embittered all my life in the flesh." And Sylvia 
began to weep. 

"And what was that thing, Sylvia?" 

Queen Sylvia whispered the terrible truth. "My hus- 
band did not understand me." 

"Now, by Heaven," says Jurgen, "when a woman tells 
me that, even though the woman be dead, I know what 
it is she expects of me." 

So Jurgen put his arm ahout the ghost of Queen 
Sylvia Tereu, and comforted her. Then, finding her 
quite willing to be comforted, Jurgen sat for a while upon 
the dark steps, with one arm still about Queen Sylvia. 
The effect of the potion had evidently worn off, because 
Jurgen found himself to be composed no longer of cool 
imponderable vapor, but of the warmest and hardest 
sort of flesh everywhere. But probable the effect of the 
wine which Jurgen had drunk earlier in the evening had 
not worn off: for now Jurgen began to talk wildishly in 
the dark, about the necessity of His, in some way, aveng- 
ing the injury inflicted upon his nominal grandfather, 



ABOUT A COCK THAT CROWED TOO SOON 125 



Ludwig, and Jurgen drew his sword, charmed Caliburn. 

"For, as you perceive," said Jurgen, "I carry such 
weapons as are sufficient for all ordinary encounters. 
And am I not to use them, to requite King Smoit for 
the injustice he did poor Ludwig? Why, certainly I 
must. It is my duty." 

"Ah, but Smoit by this is back in Purgatory," Queen 
Sylvia protested, "And to draw your sword against a 
woman is cowardly." 

"The avenging sword of Jurgen, my charming Sylvia, 
is the terror of envious men, but it is the comfort of all 
pretty women." 

"It is undoubtedly a very large sword," said she: 
"oh, a magnificent sword, as I can perceive even in the 
dark. But Smoit, I repeat, is not here to measure weap- 
ons with you." 

"Now your arguments irritate me, whereas an honest 
woman would see to it that all the legacies of her 
dead husband were duly satisfied — " 

"Oh, oh! and what do you mean — ?" 

"Well, but certainly a grandson is — at one remove, I 
grant you, — a sort of legacy." 

"There is something in what you advance — " 

"There is a great deal in what I advance, I can assure 
you. It is the most natural and most penetrating kind 
of logic; and I wish merely to discharge a duty — " 

"But you upset me, with that big sword of yours, you 
make me nervous, and I cannot argue so long as you are 
flourishing it about. Come now, put up your sword! 
Oh, what is anybody to do with you ! Here is the sheath 
for your sword," says she. 

At this point they were interrupted. 



126 JURGEN 



"Duke of Logreus," says the voice of Dame Anaitis, 
"do you not think it would be better to retire, before 
such antics at the door of my bedroom give rise to a 
scandal ?" 

For Anaitis had half -opened the door of her bedroom, 
and with a lamp in her hand, was peering out into the 
narrow stairway. Jurgen was a little embarrassed, for 
his apparent intimacy with a lady who had been dead 
for sixty-three years would be, he felt, a matter difficult 
to explain. So Jurgen rose to his feet, and hastily put 
up the weapon he had exhibited to Queen Sylvia, and 
decided to pass airily over the whole affair. And 
outside, a cock crowed, for it was now dawn. 

"I bid you a good morning, Dame Anaitis," said 
Jurgen. "But the stairways hereabouts are confusing, 
and I must have lost my way. I was going for a 
stroll. This is my distant relative Queen Sylvia Tereu, 
who kindly offered to accompany me. We were going 
out to gather mushrooms and to watch the sunrise, you 
conceive." 

"Messire de Logreus, I think you had far better go 
back to bed." 

"To the contrary, madame, it is my manifest duty to 
serve as Queen Sylvia's escort — " 

"For all that, messire, I do not see any Queen Sylvia." 

Jurgen looked about him. And certainly his grand- 
father's ninth wife was no longer visible. "Yes, she 
has vanished. But that was to be expected at cockcrow. 
Still, that cock crew just at the wrong moment," said 
Jurgen, ruefully. "It was not fair." 

And Dame Anaitis said: "Gogyrvan's cellar is well 
stocked: and you sat late with Urien and Aribert: 



ABOUT A COCK THAT CROWED TOO SOON 127 



and doubtless they also were lucky enough to discover 
a queen or two in Gogyrvan's cellar. No less, I think 
you are still a little drunk." 

"Now answer me this, Dame Anaitis: were you not 
visited by two ghosts to-night?" 

"Why, that is as it may be," she replied : "but the 
White Turret is notoriously haunted, and it is few quiet 
nights I have passed there, for Gogyrvan's people were 
a bad lot." 

"Upon my word," wonders Jurgen, "what manner 
of person is this Dame Anaitis, who remains unstirred 
by such a brutal murder as I have committed, and makes 
no more of ghosts than I would of moths? I have 
heard she is an enchantress, I am sure she is a fine figure 
of a woman: and in short, here is a matter which would 
repay looking into, were not young Guenevere the mis- 
tress of my heart." 

Aloud he said: "Perhaps then I am drunk, madame. 
None the less, I still think the cock crew just at the 
wrong moment." 

"Some day you must explain the meaning of that," 
says she. "Meanwhile I am going back to bed, and I 
again advise you to do the same." 

Then the door closed, the bolt fell, and Jurgen 
went away, still in considerable excitement. 

"This Dame Anaitis is an interesting personality," he 
reflected, "and it would be a pleasure, now, to demon- 
strate to her my grievance against the cock, did occasion 
serve. Well, things less likely than that have happened. 
Then, too, she came upon me when my sword was out, 
and in consequence knows I wield a respectable weapon. 
She may feel the need of a good swordsman some day, 



128 JURGEN 



this handsome Lady of the Lake who has no husband. 
So let us cultivate patience. Meanwhile, it appears 
that I am of royal blood. Well, I fancy there is some- 
thing in the scandal, for I detect in me a deal in common 
with this King Smoit. Twelve wives, though ! no, that 
is too many. I would limit no man's liaisons, but twelve 
wives in lawful matrimony bespeaks an optimism 
unknown to me. No, I do not think I am drunk : but it 
is unquestionable that I am not walking very straight. 
Certainly, too, we did drink a great deal. So I had best 
go quietly back to bed, and say nothing more about 
to-night's doings." 

As much he did. And this was the first time that 
Jurgen, who had been a pawnbroker, held any discourse 
with Dame Anaitis, whom men called the Lady of the 
Lake. 



18. 

Why Merlin Talked in Twilight 



T was two days later that Jurgen was sent for by 
Merlin Ambrosius. The Duke of Logreus came 
to the magician in twilight, for the windows of this 
room were covered with sheets which shut out the full 
radiance of day. Everything in the room was thus visible 
in a diffused and tempered light that cast no shadows. In 
his hand Merlin held a small mirror, about three inches 
square, from which he raised his dark eyes puzzlingly. 

"I have been talking to my fellow ambassador, Dame 
Anaitis : and I have been wondering, Messire de Logreus, 
if you have ever reared white pigeons/' 

Jurgen looked at the little mirror. "There was a 
woman of the Leshy who not long ago showed me an 
employment to which one might put the blood of white 
pigeons. She too used such a mirror. I saw what fol- 
lowed, but I must tell you candidly that I understood 
nothing of the ins and outs of the affair." 

Merlin nodded. "I suspected something of the sort. 
So I elected to talk with you in a room wherein, as you 
perceive, there are no shadows." 

<r Now, upon my word," says Jurgen, "but here at 
last is somebody who can see my attendant! Why is it, 
pray, that no one else can do so ?" 

"It was my own shadow which drew my notice to your 
129 



130 JURGEN 

follower. For I, too, have had a shadow given me. It 
was the gift of my father, of whom you have probably 
heard." 

It was Jurgen's turn to nod. Everybody knew 
who had begotten Merlin Ambrosius, and sensible per- 
sons preferred not to talk of the matter. Then Merlin 
went on to speak of the traffic between Merlin and Mer- 
lin's shadow. 

"Thus and thus," says Merlin, "I humor my shadow. 
And thus and thus my shadow serves me. There is 
give-and-take, such as is requisite everywhere." 

"I understand," says Jurgen: "but has no other person 
ever perceived this shadow of yours ?" 

"Once only, when for a while my shadow deserted 
me," Merlin replied. "It was on a Sunday my shadow 
left me, so that I walked unattended in naked sunlight: 
for my shadow was embracing the church-steeple, 
where church-goers knelt beneath him. The church- 
goers were obscurely troubled without suspecting 
why, for they looked only at each other. The priest 
and I alone saw him quite clearly, — the priest because 
this thing was evil, and I because this thing was mine." 

"Well, now I wonder what did the priest say to your 
bold shadow?" 

" 'But you must go away !' — and the priest spoke with- 
out any fear. Why is it they seem always without fear, 
those dull and calm-eyed priests? 'Such conduct is un- 
seemly. For this is High God's house, and f ar-ofr* peoples 
are admonished by its steadfast spire, pointing always 
heavenward, that the place is holy,' said the priest. And 
my shadow answered, 'But I only know that steeples are 
of phallic origin.' And my shadow wept, wept ludi- 



WHY MERLIN TALKED IN TWILIGHT 131 



crously, clinging to the steeple where church-goers 
knelt beneath him." 

"Now, and indeed that must have been disconcerting, 
Messire Merlin. Still, as you got your shadow back 
again, there was no great harm done. But why is it 
that such attendants follow some men while other men 
are permitted to live in decent solitude ? It does not seem 
quite fair." 

"Perhaps I could explain it to you, friend, but cer- 
tainly I shall not. You know too much as it is. For 
you appear in that bright garment of yours to have 
come from a land and a time which even I, who am 
a skilled magician, can only cloudily foresee, and can- 
not understand at all. What puzzles me, however" — 
and Merlin's fore-finger shot out. "How many feef 
had the first wearer of your shirt ? and were you ever an 
old man?" says he. 

"Well, four, and I was getting on," says Jurgen. 

"And I did not guess! But certainly that is it, — an 
old poet loaned at once a young man's body and the Cen- 
taur's shirt. Aderes has loosed a new jest into the 
world, for her own reasons — " 

"But you have things backwards. It was Sereda 
whom I cajoled so nicely." 

"Names that are given by men amount to very little in 
a case like this. The shadow which follows you I recog- 
nize — and revere — as the gift of Aderes, a dreadful 
Mother of small Gods. No doubt she has a host of other 
names. And you cajoled her, you consider ! I would not 
willingly walk in the shirt of any person who considers 
that. But she will enlighten you, my friend, at her 
appointed time." 



132 JURGEN 

"Well, so that she deals justly — " Jurgen said, and 
shrugged. 

Now Merlin put aside the mirror. "Meanwhile it was 
another matter entirely that Dame Anaitis and I dis- 
cussed, and about which I wished to be speaking with 
you. Gogyrvan is sending to King Arthur, along with 
Gogyrvan's daughter, that Round Table which Uther 
Pendragon gave Gogyrvan, and a hundred knights to 
fill the sieges of this table. Gogyrvan, who, with due 
respect, possesses a deplorable sense of humor, has 
numbered you among these knights. Now it is rumored 
the Princess is given to conversing a great deal with 
you in private, and Arthur has never approved of gar- 
rulity. So I warn you that for you to come with us to 
London would not be convenient." 

"I hardly think so, either," said Jurgen, with appro- 
priate melancholy; "for me to pursue the affair any fur- 
ther would only result in marring what otherwise will 
always be a perfect memory of divers very pleasant con- 
versations." 

"Old poet, you are well advised," said Merlin, — 
"especially now that the little princess whom we know 
is about to enter queenhood and become a symbol. I am 
sorry for her, for she will be worshipped as a revelation 
of Heaven's splendor, and being flesh and blood, she will 
not like it. And it is to no effect I have forewarned 
King Arthur, for that must happen which will always 
happen so long as wisdom is impotent against human 
stupidity. So wisdom can but make the best of it, and 
be content to face the facts of a great mystery." 

Thereupon, Merlin arose, and lifted the tapestry be- 



WHY MERLIN TALKED IN TWILIGHT 133 



hind him, so that Jurgen could see what hitherto this 

tapestry had screened. 

* * * 

"You have embarrassed me horribly," said Jurgen, 
"and I can feel that I am still blushing, about the ankles. 
Well, I was wrong: so let us say no more concerning it." 

"I wished to show you," Merlin returned, "that I know 
what I am talking about. However, my present pur- 
pose is to put Guenevere out of your head : for in your 
heart I think she never was, old poet, who go so modestly 
in the Centaur's shirt. Come, tell me now! and does 
the thought of her approaching marriage really disturb 
you?" 

"I am the unhappiest man that breathes," said Jurgen, 
with unction. "All night I lie awake in my tumbled bed, 
and think of the miserable day which is past, and of what 
is to happen in that equally miserable day whose 
dawn I watch with a sick heart. And I cry aloud, in 
the immortal words of Apollonius Myronides — " 

"Of whom?" says Merlin. 

"I allude to the author of the Myrosis," Jurgen ex- 
plained, — "whom so many persons rashly identify with 
Apollonius Herophileius." 

"Oh, yes, of course! your quotation is very apt. Why, 
then your condition is sad but not incurable. For I am 
about to give you this token, with which, if you are bold 
enough, you will do thus and thus." 

"But indeed this is a somewhat strange token, and the 
arms and legs, and even the head, of this little man are 
remarkably alike ! Well, and you tell me thus and thus. 
But how does it happen, Messire Merlin, that you have 
never used this token in the fashion you suggest to me ?" 



134 JURGEN 



"Because I was afraid. You forget I am only a 
magician, whose conjuring raises nothing more formid- 
able than devils. But this is a bit of the Old Magic that 
is no longer understood, and I prefer not to meddle with 
it. You, to the contrary, are a poet, and the Old Magic 
was always favorable to poets." 

"Well, I will think about it," says Jurgen, "if this will 
really put Dame Guenevere out of my head." 

"Be assured it will do that," said Merlin. "For with 
reason does the Dirghagama declare, 'The brightness of 
the glowworm cannot be compared to that of a lamp.' " 

"A very pleasant little work, the Dirghagama," said 
Jurgen, tolerantly — "though superficial, of course." 

Then Merlin Ambrosius gave Jurgen the token, and 
some advice. 

So that night Jurgen told Guenevere he would not go 
in her train to London. He told her candidly that Merlin 
was suspicious of their intercourse. 

"And therefore, in order to protect you and to protect 
your fame, my dearest dear," said Jurgen, "it is necessary 
that I sacrifice myself and everything I prize in life, I 
shall suffer very much : but my consolation will be that I 
have dealt fairly with you whom I love with an entire 
heart, and shall have preserved you through my misery." 

But Guenevere did not appear to notice how noble this 
was of Jurgen. Instead, she wept very softly, in a heart- 
broken way that Jurgen found unbearable. 

"For no man, whether emperor or peasant/' says the 
Princess, "has ever been loved more dearly or faithfully 
or more wholly without any reserve or forethought than 
you, my dearest, have been loved by me. All that I had 
I have given you. All that I had you have taken, con- 



WHY MERLIN TALKED IN TWILIGHT 135 



suming it. So now you leave me with not anything more 
to give you, not even any anger or contempt, now that you 
turn me adrift, for there is nothing in me anywhere save 
love of you, who are unworthy." 

"But I die many deaths," said Jurgen, "when you 
speak thus to me." And in point of fact, he did feel 
rather uncomfortable. 

"I speak the truth, though. You have had all : and so 
you are a little weary, and perhaps a little afraid of what 
may happen if you do not break off with me." 

"Now you misjudge me, darling — " 

"No, I do not misjudge you, Jurgen. Instead, for the 
first time I judge both of us. You I forgive, because I 
love you, but myself I do not forgive, and I cannot ever 
forgive, for having been a spendthrift fool." 

And Jurgen found such talking uncomfortable and tedi- 
ous and very unfair to him. "For there is nothing I can 
do to help matters," says Jurgen. "Why, what could any- 
body possibly expect me to do about it ? And so why not 
be happy while we may ? It is not as though we had any 
time to waste." 

For this was the last night but one before the day that 
was set for Guenevere's departure. 



19. 

The Brown Man with Quee?~ Feet 



EARLY in the following morning Jurgen left Came- 
liard, traveling toward Carohaise, and went into 
the Druid forest there, and followed Merlin's in- 
structions. 

"Not that I for a moment believe in such nonsense," 
said Jurgen: "but it will be amusing to see what comes 
of this business, and it is unjust to deny even nonsense a 
fair trial." 

So he presently observed a sun-browned brawny fellow, 
who sat upon the bank of a stream, dabbling his feet in 
the water, and making music with a pipe constructed of 
seven reeds of irregular lengths. To him Jurgen dis- 
played, in such a manner as Merlin had prescribed, the 
token which Merlin had given. The man made a peculiar 
sign, and rose. Jurgen saw that this man's feet were un- 
usual. 

Jurgen bowed low, and he said, as Merlin had bidden : 
"Now praise be to thee, thou lord of the two truths ! I 
have come to thee, O most wise, that I may learn thy 
secret. I would know thee, and would know the forty- 
two mighty ones who dwell with thee in the hall of the 
two truths, and who are nourished by evil-doers, and who 
partake of wicked blood each day of the reckoning be- 
fore Wennofree. I would know thee for what thou art." 

136 



THE BROWN MAN WITH QUEER FEET 137 



The brown man answered : "I am everything that was 
and that is to be. Never has any mortal been able to 
discover what I am." 

Then this brown man conducted Jurgen to an open glen, 
at the heart of the forest. 

"Merlin dared not come himself, because," observed the 
brown man, "Merlin is wise. But you are a poet. So 
you will presently forget that which you are about to see, 
or at worst you will tell pleasant lies about it, particu- 
larly to yourself." 

"I do not know about that," says Jurgen, "but I am 
willing to taste any drink once. What are you about to 
show me?" 

The brown man answered : "All." 

So it was near evening when they came out of the glen. 
It was dark now, for a storm had risen. The brown man 
was smiling, and Jurgen was in a flutter. 

"It is not true," Jurgen protested. "What you have 
shown me is a pack of nonsense. It is the degraded 
lunacy of a so-called Realist. It is sorcery and pure 
childishness and abominable blasphemy. It is, in a word, 
something I do not choose to believe. You ought to be 
ashamed of yourself !" 

"Even so, you do believe me, Jurgen." 

"I believe that you are an honest man and that I am 
your cousin : so there are two more lies for you." 

The brown man said, still smiling: "Yes, you are 
certainly a poet, you who have borrowed the apparel of 
my cousin. For you come out of my glen, and from my 
candor, as sane as when you entered. That is not saying 
much, to be sure, in praise of a poet's sanity at any time. 
But Merlin would have died, and Merlin would have died 



138 JURGEN 



without regret, if Merlin had seen what you have seen, 
because Merlin receives facts reasonably." 

"Facts ! sanity ! and reason !" Jurgen raged : "why, but 
what nonsense you are talking ! Were there a bit of truth 
in your silly puppetry this world of time and space and 
consciousness would be a bubble, a bubble which con- 
tained the sun and moon and the high stars, and still was 
but a bubble in fermenting swill ! I must go cleanse, my 
mind of all this foulness. You would have me believe 
that men, that all men who have ever lived or shall ever 
live hereafter, that even I am of no importance ! Why, 
there would be no justice in any such arrangement, no 
justice anywhere !" 

"That vexed you, did it not? It vexes me at times, 
even me, who under Koshchei's will alone am change- 
less." 

"I do not know about your variability : but I stick to 
my opinion about your veracity," says Jurgen, for all that 
he was upon the verge of hysteria. "Yes, if lies coulH 
choke people that shaggy throat would certainly be sore." 

Then the brown man stamped his foot, and the striking 
of his foot upon the moss made a new noise such as 
Jurgen had never heard: for the noise seemed to come 
multitudinously from every side, at first as though each 
leaf in the forest were tinily cachinnating; and then this 
noise was swelled by the mirth of larger creatures, and 
echoes played with this noise, until there was a reverbera- 
tion everywhere like that of thunder. The earth moved 
under their feet very much as a beast twitches its skin 
under the annoyance of flies. Another queer thing Jurgen 
noticed, and it was that the trees about the glen had 
writhed and arched their trunks, and so had bended, much 



THE BROWN MAN WITH QUEER FEET 139 



as candles bend in very hot weather, to lay their topmost 
foliage at the feet of the brown man. And the brown 
man's appearance was changed as he stood there, terrible 
in a continuous brown glare from the low-hanging clouds, 
and with the forest making obeisance, and with shivering 
and laughter everywhere. 

"Make answer, you who chatter about justice! how if 
I slew you now," says the brown man, — "I being what I 
am?" 

"Slay me, then !" says Jurgen, with shut eyes, for he 
did not at all like the appearance of things. "Yes, you 
can kill me if you choose, but it is beyond your power to 
make me believe that there is no justice anywhere, and 
that I am unimportant. For I would have you know I 
am a monstrous clever fellow. As for you, you are either 
a delusion or a god or a degraded Realist. But whatever 
you are, you have lied to me, and I know that you have 
lied, and I will not believe in the insignificance of Jurgen." 

Chillingly came the whisper of the brown man : "Poor 1 
fool ! O shuddering, stiff-necked fool ! and have you not 
just seen that which you may not ever quite forget?" 

"None the less, I think there is something in me which 
will endure. I am fettered by cowardice, I am enfeebled 
by disastrous memories ; and I am maimed by old follies. 
Still, I seem to detect in myself something which is 
permanent and rather fine. Underneath everything, and 
in spite of everything, I really do seem to detect that 
something. What role that something is to enact after the 
death of my body, and upon what stage, I cannot guess. 
When fortune knocks I shall open the door. Meanwhile 
I tell you candidly, you brown man, there is something in 
Jurgen far too admirable for any intelligent arbiter ever 



140 JURGEN 



to fling into the dustheap. I am, if nothing else, a mon- 
strous clever fellow: and I think I shall endure, some- 
how. Yes, cap in hand goes through the land, as the 
saying is : and I believe I can contrive some trick to cheat 
oblivion when the need arises," says Jurgen, trembling, 
and gulping, and with his eyes shut tight, but even so, 
with his mind quite made up about it. "Of course you 
may be right ; and certainly I cannot go so far as to say 
you are wrong : but stiJl. at the same time-—" 

"Now but before a fool's opinion of himself," the 
brown man cried, "the Gods are powerless. Oh, yes, and 
envious, too !" 

And when Jurgen very cautiously opened his eyes the 
brown man had left him physically unharmed. But the 
state of Jurgen's nervous system was deplorable. 



20. 

Efficacy of Prayer 



JURGEN went in a tremble to the Cathedral of the 
Sacred Thorn in Cameliard. All night Jurgen 
prayed there, not in repentance, but in terror. For 
his dead he prayed, that they should not have been blotted 
out in nothingness, for the dead among his kindred whom 
he had loved in boyhood, and for these only. About the 
men and women whom he had known since then he did 
not seem to care, or not at least so vitally. But he put 
up a sort of prayer for Dame Lisa — "wherever my dear 
wife may be, and, O God, grant that I may come to her at 
last, and be forgiven!" he wailed, and wondered if he 
really meant it. 

He had forgotten about Guenevere. And nobody 
knows what were that night the thoughts of the young 
Princess, nor if she offered any prayers, in the deserted 
Hall of Judgment. 

In the morning a sprinkling of persons came to early 
mass. Jurgen attended with fervor, and started door- 
ward with the others. Just before him a merchant 
stopped to get a pebble from his shoe, and the merchant's 
wife went forward to the holy-water font. 

"Madame, permit me," said a handsome young esquire, 
and offered her holy water. 

141 



142 JURGEN 



"At eleven," said the merchant's wife, in low tones. 
"He will be out all day." 

' "My dear," says her husband, as he rejoined her, "and 
who was the young gentleman ?" 

"Why, I do not know, darling. I never saw him 
before." 

"He was certainly very civil. I wish there were more 
like him. And a fine looking young fellow, too !" 

"Was he ? I did not notice," said the merchant's wife, 
indifferently. 

And Jurgen saw and heard and regarded the departing 
trio ruefully. It seemed to him incredible the world 
should be going on just as it went before he ventured into 
the Druid forest. 

He paused before a crucifix, and he knelt and looked up 
wistfully. "If one could only know," says Jurgen, "what 
really happened in Judea ! How immensely would matters 
be simplified, if anyone but knew the truth about You, 
Man upon the Cross !" 

Now the Bishop of Merion passed him, coming from 
celebration of the early mass. "My Lord Bishop," says 
Jurgen, simply, "can you tell me the truth about this 
Christ?" 

"Why, indeed, Messire de Logreus," replied the Bishop, 
"one cannot but sympathize with Pilate in thinking that 
the truth about Him is very hard to get at, even nowa- 
days. Was He Melchisedek, or Shem, or Adam? or was 
He verily the Logos? and in that event, what sort of a 
something was the Logos ? Granted He was a god, were 
the Arians or the Sabellians in the right ? had He existed 
always, co-substantial with the Father and the Holy 
Spirit, or was He a creation of the Father, a kind of 



EFFICACY OF PRAYER 143 



Israelitic Zagreus ? Was He the husband of Acharamoth, 
that degraded Sophia, as the Valentinians aver? or the 
son of Pantherus, as say the Jews? or Kalakau, as con- 
tends Basilides ? or was it, as the Docetes taught, only a 
tinted cloud in the shape of a man that went from Jordari 
to Golgotha ? Or were the Merinthians right ? These are 
a few of the questions, Messire de Logreus, which natur- 
ally arise. And not all of them are to be settled out of 
hand." 

Thus speaking, the gallant prelate bowed, then raised 
three fingers in benediction, and so quitted Jurgen, who 
was still kneeling before the crucifix. 

"Ah, ah!" says Jurgen, to himself, "but what a variety 
of interesting problems are, in point of fact, suggested by 
religion. And what delectable exercise would the set- 
tling of these problems, once for all, afford the mind of 
a monstrous clever fellow ! Come now, it might be well 
for me to enter the priesthood. It may be that I have a 
call." 

But people were shouting in the street. So Jurgen rose 
and dusted his knees. And as Jurgen came out of the 
Cathedral of the Sacred Thorn the cavalcade was passing 
that bore away Dame Guenevere to the arms and throne 
of her appointed husband. Jurgen stood upon the Cathe- 
dral porch, his mind in part pre-occupied by theology, but 
still not failing to observe how beautiful was this young 
princess, as she rode by on her white palfrey, green- 
garbed and crowned and a-glitter with jewels. She was 
smiling as she passed him, bowing her small tenderly- 
colored young countenance this way and that way, to the 
shouting people, and not seeing Jurgen at all. 

Thus she went to her bridal, that Guenevere who was 



144 JURGEN 



the symbol of all beauty and purity to the chivalrous 
people of Glathion. The mob worshipped her ; and they 
spoke as though it were an angel who passed. 

"Our beautiful young Princess !" 

"Ah, there is none like her anywhere !" 

"And never a harsh word for anyone, they say — !" 

"Oh, but she is the most admirable of ladies — !" 

"And so brave too, that lovely smiling child who is 
leaving her home forever!" 

"And so very, very pretty !" 

" — So generous!" 

"King Arthur will be hard put to it to deserve her !" 

Said Jurgen : "Now it is droll that to these truths I 
have but to add another truth in order to have large 
paving-stones flung at her! and to have myself tumultu- 
ously torn into fragments, by those unpleasantly sweaty 
persons who, thank Heaven, are no longer jostling me!" 

For the Cathedral porch had suddenly emptied, because 
as the procession passed heralds were scattering silver 
among the spectators. 

"Arthur will have a very lovely queen," says a soft 
lazy voice. 

And Jurgen turned and saw that beside him was Dame 
Anaitis, whom people called the Lady of the Lake. 

"Yes, he is greatly to be envied," says Jurgen, politely. 
"But do you not ride with them to London?" 

"Why, no," says the Lady of the Lake, "because my 
part in this bridal was done when I mixed the stirrup-cup 
of which the Princess and young Lancelot drank this 
morning. He is the son of King Ban of Benwick, that 
tall young fellow in blue armor. I am partial to Lance- 
lot, for I reared him, at the bottom of a lake that be- 



EFFICACY OF PRAYER 145 



longs to me, and I consider he does me credit. I also 
believe that Madame Guenevere by this time agrees with 
me. And so, my part being done to serve my creator, 
I am off for Cocaigne." 

"And what is this Cocaigne?" 

"It is an island wherein I rule." 

"I did not know you were a queen, madame." 

"Why, indeed there are a many things unknown to 
you, Messire de Logreus, in a world where nobody gets 
any assuredness of knowledge about anything. For 
it is a world wherein all men that live have but a little 
while to live, and none knows his fate thereafter. So 
that a man possesses nothing certainly save a brief loan 
of his own body : and yet the body of man is capable of 
much curious pleasure." 

"I believe," said Jurgen, as his thoughts shuddered 
away from what he had seen and heard in the Druid for- 
est, "that you speak wisdom." 

"Then in Cocaigne we are all wise: for that is our 
religion. But of what are you thinking, Duke of Log- 
reus?" 

"I was thinking," says Jurgen, "that your eyes are 
unlike the eyes of any other woman that I have ever 
seen." 

Smilingly the dark woman asked him wherein they 
differed, and smilingly he said he did not know. They 
were looking at each other warily. In each glance an 
experienced gamester acknowledged a worthy opponent. 

"Why, then you must come with me into Cocaigne," 
says Anaitis, "and see if you cannot discover wherein 
lies that difference. For it is not a matter I would care 
to leave unsettled." 



146 JURGEN 



"Well, that seems only just to you," says Jurgen. "Yes, 
certainly I must deal fairly with you." 

Then they left the Cathedral of the Sacred Thorn, 
walking together. The folk who went toward London 
were now well out of sight and hearing, which possibly 
accounts for the fact that Jurgen was now in no wise 
thinking of Guenevere. So it was that Guenevere rode 
out of Jurgen's life for a while: and as she rode she 
talked with Lancelot. 



21. 

How jinaitis Voyaged 



"V T OW the tale tells that Jurgen and this Lady of 

^L the Lake came presently to the wharves of 
-^~ ^ Cameliard, and went aboard the ship which 
had brought Anaitis and Merlin into Glathion. This 
ship was now to every appearance deserted: yet all its 
saffron colored sails were spread, as though in readiness 
for the ship's departure. 

"The crew are scrambling, it may be, for the largesse, 
and fighting over Gogyrvan's silver pieces," says Anaitis, 
"but I think they will not be long in returning. So we 
will sit here upon the prow, and await their leisure." 

"But already the vessel moves," says Jurgen, "and I 
hear behind us the rattling of silver chains and the flap- 
ping of shifted saffron-colored sails." 

"They are roguish fellows," says Anaitis, smiling. 
"Evidently, they hid from us, pretending there was no- 
body aboard. Now they think to give us a surprise 
when the ship sets out to sea as though it were of itself. 
But we will disappoint these merry rascals, by seeming 
tc notice nothing unusual." 

So Jurgen sat with Anaitis in the two tall chairs that 
were in the prow of the vessel, under a canopy of crim- 
son stuff embroidered with gold dragons, and just back of 
the ship's figurehead, which was a dragon painted with 

147 



148 JURGEN 



thirty colors : and the ship moved out of the harbor, and 
so into the open sea. Thus they passed Enisgarth. 

"And it is a queer crew that serve you, Anaitis, who 
are Queen of Cocaigne : for I can hear them talking, far 
back of us, and their language is all a cheeping and a 
twittering, as though the mice and the bats were holding 
conference." 

"Why, you must understand that these are outlanders 
who speak a dialect of their own, and are not like any 
other people you have ever seen." 

"Indeed, now, that is very probable, for I have seen 
none of your crew. Sometimes it is as though 
small flickerings passed over the deck, and that is all." 

"It is but the heat waves rising from the deck, for the 
day is warmer than you would think, sitting here under 
this canopy. And besides, what call have you and I to be 
bothering over the pranks of common mariners, so long 
as they do their proper duty?" 

"I was thinking, O woman with unusual eyes, that 
these are hardly common mariners." 

"And I was thinking, Duke Jurgen, that I would tell 
you a tale of the Old Gods, to make the time speed 
more pleasantly as we sit here untroubled as a god and 
a goddess." 

Now they had passed Camwy: and Anaitis began to 
narrate the history of Anistar and Calmoora and of the 
unusual concessions they granted each other, and of how 
Calmoora contented her five lovers : and Jurgen found 
the tale perturbing. 

While Anaitis talked the sky grew dark, as though the 
sun were ashamed and veiled his shame with clouds: and 
they went forward in a gray twilight which deepened 



HOW ANAITIS VOYAGED 149 



steadily over a tranquil sea. So they passed the lights 
of Sargyll, most remote of the Red Islands, while Anaitis 
talked of Procris and King Minos and Pasiphae. As 
color went out of the air new colors entered into the sea, 
which now assumed the varied gleams of water that has 
long been stagnant. And a silence brooded over the sea, 
so that there was no noise anywhere except the sound of 
the voice of Anaitis, saying, "All men that live have 
but a little while to live, and none knows his fate there- 
after. So that a man possesses nothing certainly save 
a brief loan of his own body; and yet the body of man 
is capable of much curious pleasure." 

They came thus to a low-lying naked beach, where 
there was no sign of habitation. Anaitis said this was 
the land they were seeking, and they went ashore. 

''Even now," says Jurgen, "I have seen none of the 
crew who brought us hither." 

And the beautiful dark woman shrugged, and mar- 
veled why he need perpetually be bothering over the do- 
ings of common sailors. 

They went forward across the beach, through sand 
hills, to a moor, seeing no one, and walking in a gray fog. 
They passed many gray fat sluggish worms and some 
curious gray reptiles such as Jurgen had never imagined 
to exist, but Anaitis said these need not trouble them. 

"So there is no call to be fingering your charmed 
sword as we walk here, Duke Jurgen, for these great 
worms do not ever harm the living." 

"For whom, then, do they lie here in wait, in this gray 
fog, wherethrough the green lights flutter, and where- 
through I hear at times a thin and far-off wailing?" 



150 JURGEN 



"What is that to you, Duke Jurgen, since you and I are 
still in the warm flesh? Surely there was never a man 
who asked more idle questions." 

"Yet this is an uncomfortable twilight." 

"To the contrary, you should rejoice that it is a fog 
too heavy to be penetrated by the Moon." 

"But what have I to do with the Moon ?" 

"Nothing, as yet. And that is as well for you, Duke 
Jurgen, since it is authentically reported you have derided 
the day which is sacred to the Moon. Now the Moon 
does not love derision, as I well know, for in part I 
serve the Moon." 

"Eh?" says Jurgen: and he began to reflect. 

So they came to a wall that was high and gray, and to 
the door which was in the wall. 

"You must knock two or three times," says Anaitis, 
"to get into Cocaigne." 

Jurgen observed the bronze knocker upon the door, 
and he grinned in order to hide his embarrassment. 

"It is a quaint fancy," said he, "and the two constitu- 
ents of it appear to have been modeled from life." 

"They were copied very exactly from Adam and Eve," 
says Anaitis, "who were the first persons to open this 
gateway." 

"Why, then," says Jurgen, "there is no earthly doubt 
that men degenerate, since here under my hand is the 
proof of it." 

With that he knocked, and the door opened, and the 
two of them entered. 



22. 

As to a Veil They Broke 



SO it was that Jurgen came into Cocaigne, wherein 
is the bedchamber of Time. And Time, they re- 
port, came in with Jurgen, since Jurgen was mor- 
tal : and Time, they say, rejoiced in this respite from the 
slow toil of dilapidating cities stone by stone, and with 
his eyes tired by the finicky work of etching in wrinkles, 
went happily into his bedchamber, and fell asleep just 
after sunset on this fine evening in late June : so that the 
weather remained fair and changeless, with no glaring 
sun rays anywhere, and with one large star shining alone 
in clear daylight. This was the star of Venus Mechanitis, 
and Jurgen later derived considerable amusement from 
noting how this star was trundled about the dome of 
heaven by a largish beetle, named Khepre. And the trees 
everywhere kept their first fresh foliage, and the birds 
were about their indolent evening songs, all during Jur- 
gen's stay in Cocaigne. for Time had gone to sleep at the 
pleasantest hour of the year's most pleasant season. So 
tells the tale. 

And Jurgen's shadow also went in with Jurgen, but 
in Cocaigne as in Glathion, nobody save Jurgen seemed 
to notice this curious shadow which now followed Jurgen 
everywhere. 

In Cocaigne Queen Anaitis had a palace, where domes 
151 



152 JURGEN 



and pinnacles beyond numbering glimmered with a soft 
whiteness above the top of an old twilit forest, wherein 
the vegetation was unlike that which is nourished by 
ordinary earth. There was to be seen in these woods, for 
instance, a sort of moss which made Jurgen shudder. So 
Anaitis and Jurgen came through narrow paths, like mur- 
muring green caverns, into a courtyard walled and paved 
with yellow marble, wherein was nothing save the dimly 
colored statue of a god with ten heads and thirty-four 
arms : he was represented as very much engrossed by a 
woman, and with his unoccupied hands was holding yet 
other women. 

"It is Jigsbyed," said Anaitis. 

Said Jurgen: "I do not criticize. Nevertheless, I 
think this Jigsbyed is carrying matters to extremes." 

Then they passed the statue of Tangaro Loloquong, 
and afterward the statue of Legba. Jurgen stroked his 
chin, and his color heightened. "Now certainly, Queen 
Anaitis," he said, "you have unusual taste in sculpture." 

Thence Jurgen came with Anaitis into a white room, 
with copper plaques upon the walls, and there four girls 
were heating water in a brass tripod. They bathed Jur- 
gen, giving him astonishing caresses meanwhile — with 
the tongue, the hair, the finger-nails, and the tips of the 
breasts, — and they anointed him with four oils, then 
dressed him again in his glittering shirt. Of Caliburn, 
said Anaitis, there was no present need : so Jurgen's 
sword was hung upon the wall. 

These girls brought silver bowls containing wine 
mixed with honey, and they brought pomegranates and 
eggs and barleycorn, and triangular red-colored loaves, 
whereon they sprinkled sweet-smelling little seeds with 



AS TO A VEIL THEY BROKE 153 



formal gestures. Then Anaitis and Jurgen broke their 
fast, eating together while the four girls served them. 

"And now," says Jurgen, "and now, my dear, I would 
suggest that we enter into the pursuit of those curious 
pleasures of which you were telling me." 

"I am very willing," responded Anaitis, "since there is 
no one of these pleasures but is purchased by some div- 
ersion of man's nature. Yet first, as I need hardly in- 
form you, there is a ceremonial to be observed." 

"And what, pray, is this ceremonial?" 

"Why, we call it the Breaking of the Veil." And 
Queen Anaitis explained what they must do. 

"Well," says Jurgen, "I am willing to taste any drink 
once." 

So Anaitis led Jurgen into a sort of chapel, adorned 
with very unchurchlike paintings. There were four 
shrines, dedicated severally to St. Cosmo, to St. Darr.i- 
anus, to St. Guignole of Brest, and to St. Foutin de Var- 
ailles. In this chapel were a hooded man, clothed in long 
garments that were striped with white and yellow, and 
two naked children, both girls. One of the children car- 
ried a censer: the other held in one hand a vividly blue 
pitcher half filled with water, and in her left hand a 
cellar of salt. 

First of all, the hooded man made Jurgen ready. '"Be- 
hold the lance," said the hooded man, "which must serve 
you in this adventure." 

"I accept the adventure," Jurgen replied, 'because I 
believe the weapon to be trustworthy." 

Said the hooded man : "So be it ! but as you are, so once 
. 

Meanwhile Duke Jurgen held the lance erect, shaking 



154 JURGEN 



it with his right hand. This lance was large, and the tip 
of it was red with blood. 

"Behold," said Jurgen, "I am a man born of a woman 
incomprehensibly. Now I, who am miraculous, am found 
worthy to perform a miracle, and to create that which 
I may not comprehend." 

Anaitis took salt and water from the child, and min- 
gled these. "Let the salt of earth enable the thin fluid 
to assume the virtue of the teeming sea !" 

Then, kneeling, she touched the lance, and began to 
stroke it lovingly. To Jurgen she said: "Now may you 
be fervent of soul and body ! May the endless Serpent 
be your crown, and the fertile flame of the sun your 
strength !" 

Said the hooded man, again : "So be it !" His voice 
was high and bleating, because of that which had been 
done to him. 

"That therefore which we cannot understand we also 
invoke," said Jurgen. "By the power of the lifted lance" — 
and now with his left hand he took the hand of Anaitis, — 
"I, being a man born of a woman incomprehensibly, now 
seize upon that which alone I desire with my whole 
being. I lead you toward the east. I upraise you above 
the earth and all the things of earth." 

Then Jurgen raised Queen Anaitis so that she sat upon 
the altar, and that which was there before tumbled to the 
ground. Anaitis placed together the tips of her thumbs 
and of her fingers, so that her hands made an open tri- 
angle ; and waited thus. Upon her head was a network 
of red coral, with branches radiating downward: her 
gauzy tunic had twenty-two openings, so as to admit all 
imaginable caresses, and was of two colors, being shot 



AS TO A VEIL THEY BROKE 155 



with black and crimson curiously mingled : her dark eyes 
glittered and her breath came fast. 

Now the hooded man and the two naked girls per- 
formed their share in the ceremonial, which part it is 
not essential to record. But Jurgen was rather shocked 
by it. 

None the less, Jurgen said: "O cord that binds the 
circling of the stars ! O cup which holds all time, all color, 
and all thought ! O soul of space ! not unto any image 
of thee do we attain unless thy image show in what we 
are about to do. Therefore by every plant which scatters 
its seed and by the moist warm garden which receives 
and nourishes it, by the comminglement of bloodshed 
v/ith pleasure, by the joy that mimics anguish with sighs 
and shudderings, and by the contentment which mimics 
death, — by all these do we invoke thee. O thou, continu- 
ous one, whose will these children attend, and whom 
I now adore in this fair-colored and soft woman's body, 
it is thou whom I honor, not any woman, in doing what 
seems good to me : and it is thou who art about to speak, 
and not she." 

Then Anaitis said : "Yea, for I speak with the tongue 
of every woman, and I shine in the eyes of every woman, 
when the lance is lifted. To serve me is better than all 
else. When you invoice me with a heart wherein is 
kindled the serpent flame, if but for a moment, you will 
understand the delights of my garden, what joy unword- 
able pulsates therein, and how potent is the sole desire 
which uses all of a man. To serve me you w r ill then be 
eager to surrender whatever else is in your life: and 
other pleasures you will take with your left hand, not 
thinking of them entirely: for I am the desire which uses 



156 JURGEN 



all of a man, and so wastes nothing. And I accept you, 
I yearn toward you, I who am daughter and somewhat 
more than daughter to the Sun. I who am all pleasure, 
all ruin, and a drunkenness of the inmost sense, desire 
you." 

Now Jurgen held his lance erect before Anaitis. 'O 
secret of all things, hidden in the being of all which lives, 
now that the lance is exalted I do not dread thee: for 
thou art in me, and I am thou. I am the flame that 
burns in every beating heart and in the core of the far- 
thest star. I too am life and the giver of life, and in me 
too is death. Wherein art thou better than I ? I am 
alone : my will is justice : and there comes no other god 
where I am." 

Said the hooded man behind Jurgen: "So be it! but as 
you are, so once was I." 

The two naked children stood one at each side of An- 
aitis, and waited there trembling. These girls, as Jurgen 
afterward learned, were Alecto and Tisiphone, two of the 
Eumenides. And now Jurgen shifted the red point of 
the lance, so that it rested in the open triangle made by 
the fingers of Anaitis. 

"I am life and the giver of life," cried Jurgen. "Thou 
that art one, that makest use of all ! I who am a man born 
of woman, I in my station honor thee in honoring this 
desire which uses all of a man. Make open therefore 
the way of creation, encourage the flaming dust which 
is in our hearts, and aid us in that flame's perpetuation ! 
For is not that thy law ?" 

Anaitis answered: "There is no law in Cocaigne save, 
Do that which seems good to you." 

Then said the naked children : "Perhaps it is the law, 



AS TO A VEIL THEY BROKE 157 



but certainly it is not justice. Yet we are little and quite 
helpless. So presently we must be made as you are • for 
now you two are no longer two, and your flesh is not 
shared merely with each other. For your flesh becomes 
our flesh, and your sins our sins : and we have no choice. " 

Jurgen lifted Anaitis from the altar, and they went 
into the chancel and searched for the adytum. There 
seemed to be no doors anywhere in the chancel : but pres- 
ently Jurgen found an opening screened by a pink veil. 
Jurgen thrust with his lance and broke this veil. He 
heard the sound of one brief wailing cry: it was fol- 
lowed by soft laughter. So Jurgen came into the adytum. 

Black candles were burning in this place, and sulphur 
too was burning there, before a scarlet cross, of which 
the top was a circle, and whereon was nailed a living 
toad. And other curious matters Jurgen likewise noticed. 

He laughed, and turned to Anaitis : now that the 
candles were behind him, she was standing in his shadow. 
"Well, well ! but you are a little old-fashioned, with all 
these equivocal mummeries. And I did not know that 
civilized persons any longer retained sufficient credulity 
to wring a thrill from god-baiting. Still, women must 
be humored, bless them! and at last, I take it, we have 
quite fairly fulfilled the ceremonial requisite to the pur- 
suit of curious pleasures." 

Queen Anaitis was very beautiful, even under his be- 
dimming shadow. Triumphant too was the proud face 
beneath that curious coral network, and yet this woman's 
face was sad. 

"Dear fool," she said, "it was not wise, when you 
sang of the Leshy, to put an affront upon Monday. But 
you have forgotten that. And now you laugh because 



158 JURGEN 



that which we have done you do not understand: and 
equally that which I am you do not understand." 

"No matter what you may be, my dear, I am sure that 
you will presently tell me all about it. For I assume 
that you mean to deal fairly with me." 

"I shall do that which becomes me, Duke Jurgen — " 

"That is it, my dear, precisely ! You intend to be true 
to yourself, whatever happens. The aspiration does 
you infinite honor, and I shall try to help you. Now I 
have noticed that every woman is most truly herself," 
says Jurgen, oracularly, "in the dark." 

Then Jurgen looked at her for a moment, with twink- 
ling eyes : then Ana'itis, standing in his shadow, smiled 
with glowing eyes : then Jurgen blew out those black 
candles: and then it was quite dark. 




23. 

Shortcomings of Prince Jurgen 



OW the happenings just recorded befell on the 
eve of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist: and 
thereafter Jurgen abode in Cocaigne, and com- 
plied with the customs of that country. 

In the palace of Queen Anaitis, all manner of pastimes 
were practised without any cessation. Jurgen, who con- 
sidered himself to be somewhat of an authority upon 
such contrivances, was soon astounded by his own inno- 
cence. For Anaitis showed him whatever was being done 
in Cocaigne, to this side and to that side, under the 
direction of Anaitis, whom Jurgen found to be a nature 
myth of doubtful origin connected with the Moon; and 
who, in consequence, ruled not merely in Cocaigne Uut 
furtively swa} r ed the tides of life everywhere the Moon 
keeps any power over tides It was the mission of Anaitis 
to divert and turn aside and deflect: in this the jealous 
Moon abetted her because sunlight makes for straight- 
forwardness. So Anaitis and the Moon were staunch 
allies. These mysteries of their private relations, how- 
ever, as revealed to Jurgen, are not very nicely repeatable. 

"But you dishonored the Moon, Prince Jurgen, de- 
nying praise to the day of the Moon. Or so, at least, I 
have heard." 

"I remember doing nothing of the sort. But I remem- 
159 



160 JURGEN 



bcr considering it unjust to devote one paltry day to the 
Moon's majesty. For night is sacred to the Moon, each 
night that ever was the friend of lovers, — night, the 
renewer and begetter of all life." 

"Why, indeed, there is something in that argument," 
says Anaitis, dubiously. 

'Something', do you say! why, but to my way of 
thinking it proves the Moon is precisely seven times 
more honorable than any of the Leshy. It is merely, my 
dear, a question of arithmetic." 

"Was it for that reason you did not praise Pandelis and 
her Mondays with the other Leshy ?" 

"Why, to be sure," said Jurgen, glibly. "I did not 
find it at all praiseworthy that such an insignificant Leshy 
as Pandelis should name her day after the Moon : to me it 
seemed blasphemy." Then Jurgen coughed, and looked 
sidewise at his shadow. "Had it been Sereda, now, the 
case would have been different, and the Moon might 
well have appreciated the delicate compliment." 

Anaitis appeared relieved. "I shall report your ex- 
planation. Candidly, there were ill things in store for 
you, Prince Jurgen, because your language was misunder- 
stood. But that which you now say puts quite a different 
complexion upon matters." 

Jurgen laughed, not understanding the mystery, but 
confident he could always say whatever was required of 
him. 

"Now let us see a little more of Cocaigne !" cries 
Jurgen. 

For Jurgen was greatly interested by the pursuits of 
Cocaigne, and for a week or ten days participated there- 
in industriously. Anaitis, who reported the Moon's honor 



SHORTCOMINGS OF PRINCE JURGEN 161 



to be satisfied, now spared no effort to divert him, and 
they investigated innumerable pastimes together. 

"For all men that live have but a little while to live," 
said Anaitis, "and none knows his fate thereafter. So 
that a man possesses nothing certainly save a brief loan 
of his body : and yet the body of man is capable of much 
curious pleasure. As thus and thus," says Anaitis. And 
she revealed devices to her Prince Consort. 

For Jurgen found that unknowingly he had in due 
and proper form espoused Queen Anaitis, by participating 
in the Breaking of the Veil, which is the marriage cere- 
mony of Cocaigne. His earlier relations with Dame Lisa 
had, of course, no legal standing in Cocaigne, where the 
Church is not Christian and the Law is, Do that which 
seems good to you. 

"Well, when in Rome," said Jurgen, "one must be 
romantic. But certainly this proves that nobody ever 
knows when he is being entrapped into respectability: 
and never did a fine young fellow marry a high queen 
with less premeditation." 

"Ah, my dear," says Anaitis, "you were controlled by 
the finger of Fate." 

"I do not altogether like that figure of speech. It 
makes one seem too trivial, to be controlled by a mere 
finger. No, it is not quite complimentary to call what 
prompted me a finger." 

"By the long arm of coincidence, then." 

"Much more appropriate, my love," says Jurgen, com- 
placently : "it sounds more dignified, and does not wound 
my self esteem." 

Now this Anaitis who was Queen of Cocaigne was a 
delicious tall dark woman, thinnish, and lovely, and very 



162 JURGEN 

restless. From the first her new Prince Consort was 
puzzled by her fervors, and presently was fretted by 
them. He humbly failed to understand how anyone 
could be so frantic over Jurgen. It seemed unreasonable. 
And in her more affectionate moments this nature myth 
positively frightened him: for transports such as these 
could not but rouse discomfortable reminiscences of the 
female spider, who ends such recreations by devouring 
her partner. 

"Thus to be loved is very flattering," he would re- 
flect, "and I again am Jurgen, asking odds of none. But 
even so, I am mortal. She ought to remember that, in 
common fairness." 

Then the jealousy of Anaitis, while equally flattering, 
was equally out of reason. She suspected everybody, 
seemed assured that every bosom cherished a mad pas- 
sion for Jurgen, and that not for a moment could he be 
trusted. Well, as Jurgen frankly conceded, his con- 
duct toward Stella, that ill-starred yogini of Indawadi, 
had in point of fact displayed, when viewed from an 
especial and quite unconscionable point of view, an as- 
pect which, when isolated by persons judging hastily, 
might, just possibly, appear to approach remotely, in one 
or two respects, to temporary forgetfulness of Anaitis, if 
indeed there were people anywhere so mentally deficient 
as to find such forgetfulness conceivable. 

But the main thing, the really important feature, which 
Anaitis could not be made to understand, was that she 
had interrupted her consort in what was, in effect, a 
philosophical experiment, necessarily attempted in the 
dark. The muntrus requisite to the sacti sodhana were 



SHORTCOMINGS OF PRINCE JURGEN 163 

always performed in darkness: everybody knew that. 
For the rest, this Stella had asserted so-and-so ; iri 
simple equity she was entitled to a chance to prove her 
allegations if she could: so Jurgen had proceeded to deal 
fairly with her. Besides, why keep talking about this 
Stella, after a vengeance so spectacular and thorough as 
that to which Anaitis had out of hand resorted? why keep 
reverting to a topic which was repugnant to Jurgen and 
visibly upset the dearest nature myth in all legend ? Was 
it quite fair to anyone concerned? That was the sensi- 
ble way in which Jurgen put it. 

Still, he became honestly fond of Anaitis. Barring her 
eccentricities when roused to passion, she was a generous 
and kindly creature, although in Jurgen's opinion some- 
what narrow-minded. 

"My love," he would say to her, "you appear positively 
unable to keep away from virtuous persons! You are 
always seeking out the people who endeavor to be up- 
right and straightforward, and you are perpetually laying 
plans to divert these people. Ah, but why bother about 
them? What need have you to wear yourself out, and 
to devote your entire time to such proselitizing, when 
you might be so much more agreeably employed? You 
should learn, in justice to yourself as well as to others, 
to be tolerant of all things ; and to acknowledge that in a 
being of man's mingled nature a strain of respectability 
is apt to develop every now and then, whatever you might 
prefer." 

But Anaitis had high, notions as to her mission, and 
merely told him that he ought not to speak with levity of 
such matters. "I would be much happier staying at home 



164 JURGEN 



with you and the children," she would say, "but I feel 
that it is my duty — " 

"And your duty to whom, in heaven's name?" 

"Please do not employ such distasteful expressions, 
Jurgen. It is my duty to the power I serve, my very 
manifest duty to my creator. But you have no sense of 
religion, I am afraid; and the reflection is often a con- 
siderable grief to me." 

"Ah, but, my dear, you are quite certain as to who 
made you, and for what purpose you were made. You 
nature myths were created in the Mythopoeic age by the 
perversity of old heathen nations: and you serve your 
creator religiously. That is quite as it should be. But 
I have no such authentic information as to my origin and 
mission in life, I appear at all events to have no natural 
talent for being diverted, I do not take to it whole- 
heartedly, and these are facts we have to face." Now 
Jurgen put his arm around her. "My dear Anaitis, you 
must not think it mere selfishness on my part. I was born 
with a something lacking that is requisite for anyone who 
aspires to be as thoroughly misled as most people : and 
you will have to love me in spite of it." 

"I almost wish I had never seen you as I saw you in 
that corridor, Jurgen. For I felt drawn toward you then 
and there. I almost wish I had never seen you at all. 
I cannot help being fond of you : and yet you laugh at the 
things I know to be required of me, and sometimes you 
make me laugh, too." 

"But, darling, are you not just the least, littlest, tiniest, 
very weest trifle bigoted? For instance, I can see that 
you think I ought to evince more interest in your striking 
dances, and your strange pleasures, and your surprising 



SHORTCOMINGS OF PRINCE JURGEN 165 



caresses, and all your other elaborate diversions. And I 
do think they do you credit, great credit, and I admire 
your inventiveness no less than your industry — " 

"You have no sense of reverence, Jurgen, you seem to 
have no sense at all of what is due to one's creator. I 
suppose you cannot help that: but you might at least 
remember it troubles me to hear you talk so flippantly of 
my religion." 

"But I do not talk flippantly — " 

"Indeed you do, though. And it does not sound at all 
well, let me tell you." 

" — Instead, I but point out that your creed necessitates, 
upon the whole, an ardor I lack. You, my pet, were 
created by perversity : and everyone knows it is the part 
of piety to worship one's creator in fashions acceptable 
to that creator. So, I do not criticize your religious con- 
nections, dear, and nobody admires these ceremonials of 
your faith more heartily than I do. I merely confess that 
to celebrate these rites so frequently requires a sustention 
of enthusiasm which is beyond ine. In fine, I have not 
your fervent temperament, I am more sceptical. You 
may be right; and certainly I cannot go so far as to say 
you are wrong : but still, at the same time — ! That is how 
I feel about it, my precious, and that is why I find, with 
constant repetition of these ceremonials, a certain lack of 
firmness developing in my responses : and finally, darling, 
that is all there is to it." 

"I never in my whole incarnation had such a Prince 
Consort ! Sometimes I think you do not care a bit about 
me one way or the other, Jurgen." 

"Ah, but I do care for you very much. And to prove 
it, come now let us try some brand-new diversion, at sight 



166 JURGEN 

of which the skies will be blackened and the earth will 
shudder or something of that sort, and then I will take 
the children fishing, as I promised." 

"No, Jurgen, I do not feel like diverting you just now. 
You take all the solemnity out of it with your jeering. 
Besides, you are always with the children. Jurgen, I 
believe you are fonder of the children than you are of 
me. And when you are not with them you are locked 
up in the Library." 

"Well, and was there ever such a treasury as the 
Library of Cocaigne? All the diversions that you nature 
myths have practised I find recorded there : and to read 
of your ingenious devices delights and maddens me. For 
it is eminently interesting to meditate upon strange 
pleasures, and to make verses about them is the most 
amiable of avocations : it is merely the pursuit of them 
that I would discourage, as disappointing and mussy. 
Besides, the Library is the only spot I have to myself in 
the palace, what with your fellow nature myths making 
the most of life all over the place." 

"It is necessary, Jurgen, for one in my position to 
entertain more or less. And certainly I cannot close the 
doors against my own relatives." 

"Such riffraff, though, my darling! Such odds and 
ends ! I cannot congratulate you upon your kindred, for 
I do not get on at all with these patchwork combinations, 
that are one-third man and the other two-thirds a vulgar 
fraction of bull or hawk or goat or serpent or ape or 
jackal or what not. Priapos is the only male myth who 
comes here in anything like the semblance of a complete 
human being: and I had infinitely rather he stayed away, 



SHORTCOMINGS OF PRINCE JURGEN 167 



because even I who am Jurgen cannot but be envious of 
him." 

"And why, pray?" 

"Well, where I go reasonably equipped with Caliburn, 
Priapos carries a lance I envy — " 

"Like all the Bacchic myths he usually carries a thyrsos, 
and it is a showy weapon, certainly ; but it is not of much 
use in actual conflict.'' 

"My darling! and how do you know?" 

"Why, Jurgen, how do women always know these 
things? — by intuition, I suppose." 

"You mean that you judge all affairs by feeling rather 
than reason? Indeed, I dare say that is true of most 
women, and men are daily chafed and delighted, about 
equally, by your illogical method of putting things to- 
gether. But to get back to the congenial task of criticiz- 
ing your kindred, your cousin Apis, for example, may 
be a very good sort of fellow : but, say what you will, it 
is ill-advised of him to be going about in public with a 
bull's head. It makes him needlessly conspicuous, if not 
actually ridiculous : and it puts me out when I try to talk 
to him." 

"Now, Jurgen, pray remember that you speak of a very 
generally respected myth, and that you are being irrev- 
erent — " 

" — And moreover, I take the liberty of repeating, my 
darling, that even though this Ba of Mendes is your 
cousin, it honestly does embarrass me to have to meet 
three-quarters of a goat socially — " 

"But, Jurgen, I must as a matter of course invite pro- 
lific Ba to my feasts of the Sacse — " 

"Even so, my dear, in issuing invitations a hostess may 



168 JURGEN 



fairly presuppose that her guests will not make beasts of 
themselves. I often wish that this mere bit of ordinary 
civility were more rigorously observed by Ba and Hor- 
tanes and Fricco and Vul and Baal-Peor, and by all your 
other cousins who come to visit you in such a zoologically 
muddled condition. It shows a certain lack of respect for 
you, my darling." 

"Oh, but it is all in the family, Jurgen " 

"Besides, they have no conversation. They merely bel- 
low — or twitter or bleat or low or gibber or purr, accord- 
ing to their respective incarnations, — about unspeakable 
mysteries and monstrous pleasures until I am driven to 
the verge of virtue by their imbecility." 

"If you were more practical, Jurgen, you would realize 
that it speaks splendidly for anyone to be really interested 
in his vocation " 

"And your female relatives are just as annoying, with 
their eternal whispered enigmas, and their crescent moons, 
and their mystic roses that change color and require con- 
tinual gardening, and their pathetic belief that I have time 
to fool with them. And the entire pack practises sym- 
bolism until the house is positively littered with asherahs 
and combs and phalloses and linghams and yonis aijd 
arghas and pulleiars and talys, and I do not know what 
other idiotic toys that I am continually stepping on !" 

"Which of those minxes has been making up to you ?" 
says Anaitis, her eyes snapping. 

"Ah, ah ! now many of your female cousins are enticing 
enough " 

"I knew it! Oh, but you need not think you deluded 
me !" 

"My darling, pray consider ! be reasonable about it ! 



SHORTCOMINGS OF PRINCE JURGEN 169 



Your feminine guests at present are Sekhmet in the form 
of a lioness, Io incarnated as a cow, Hekt as a frog, Der- 
ceto as a sturgeon, and — ah, yes ! — Thoueris as a hippo • 
potamus. I leave it to your sense of justice, dear Anaitis, 
if of ladies with such tastes in dress a lovely myth like 
you can reasonably be jealous." 

"And I know perfectly well who it is! It is that 
Ephesian hussy, and I had several times noticed her be- 
havior. Very well, oh, very well, indeed ! nevertheless, I 
shall have a plain word or two with her at once, and the 
sooner she gets out of my house the better, as I shall tell 
her quite frankly. And as for you, Jurgen !" 

"But, my dear Lisa !" 

"What do you call me? Lisa was never an epithet of 
mine. Why do you call me Lisa ?" 

"It was a slip of the tongue, my pet, an involuntary but 
not unnatural association of ideas. As for the Ephesian 
Diana, she reminds me of an animated pine-cone, with 
that eruption of breasts all over her, and I can assure you 
of your having no particular reason to be jealous of her. 
It was merely of the female myths in general I spoke. Of 
course they all make eyes at me : I cannot well help that, 
and you should have anticipated as much when you 
selected such an attractive Prince Consort. What do 
these poor enamored creatures matter when to you my 
heart is ever faithful?" 

"It is not your heart I am worrying over, Jurgen, for 
I believe you have none. Yes, you have quite succeeded 
in worrying me to distraction, if that is any comfort to 
you. However, let us not talk about it. For it is now 
necessary, absolutely imperative, that I go into Armenia 
to take part in the mourning for Tammouz : people would 



170 JURGEN 



not understand it at all if I stayed away from such im- 
portant orgies. And I shall get no benefit whatever from 
the trip, much as I need the change, because, without 
speaking of that famous heart of yours, you are always 
up to some double-dealing, and I shall not know into what 
mischief you may be thrusting yourself." 

Jurgen laughed, and kissed her. "Be off, and attend to 
your religious duties, dear, by all means. And I promise 
you I will stay safe locked in the Library till you come 
back." 

Thus Jurgen abode among the offspring of heathen 
perversity, and conformed to their customs. Death ends 
all things for all, they contended, and life is brief: for 
how few years do men endure, and how quickly is the 
most subtle and appalling nature myth explained away by 
the Philologists ! So the wise person, and equally the 
foreseeing nature myth, will take his glut of pleasure 
while there is yet time to take anything, and will waste 
none of his short lien upon desire and vigor by asking 
questions. 

"Oh, but by all means!" said Jurgen, and he docilely 
crowned himself with a rose garland, and drank his wine, 
and kissed his Anaitis. Then, when the feast of the 
Sacae was at full-tide, he would whisper to Anaitis, "I 
will be back in a moment, darling," and she would frown 
fondly at him as he very quietly slipped from his ivory 
dining couch, and went, with the merest suspicion erf a 
reel, into the Library. She knew that Jurgen had no in- 
tention of coming back: and she despaired of his ever 
taking the position in the social life of Cocaigne to which 
he was entitled no less by his rank as Prince Consort 
than by his personal abilities. For Anaitis did not really 



SHORTCOMINGS OF PRINCE JURGEN 171 

think that, as went natural endowments, her Jurgen had 
much reason to envy even such a general favorite as 
Priapos, say, from what she knew of both. 

So it was that Jurgen honored custom. "Because 
these beastly nature myths may be right," said Jurgen ; 
"and certainly I cannot go so far as to say they are 
wrong: but still, at the same time !" 

For Jurgen was content to dismiss no riddle with a 
mere "I do not know." Jurgen was no more able to give 
up questioning the meaning of life than could a trout re- 
linquish swimming : indeed, he lived submerged in a flood 
of curiosity and doubt, as his native element. That death 
ended all things might very well be the case : yet if the 
outcome proved otherwise, how much more pleasant it 
would be, for everyone concerned, to have aforetime 
established amicable relations with the overlords of his 
second life, by having done whatever it was they ex- 
pected of him here. 

"Yes, I feel that something is expected of me," says 
Jurgen: "and without knowing what it is, I am tolerably 
sure, somehow, that it is not an indulgence in endless 
pleasure. Besides, I do not think death is going to end 
all for me. If only I could be quite certain my encoun- 
ter with King Smoit, and with that charming little Sylvia 
Tereu, was not a dream ! As it is, plain reasoning assures' 
me I am not indispensable to the universe : but with this 
reasoning, somehow, does not travel my belief. No, it 
is only fair to my own interests to go graveward a little 
more openmindedly than do these nature myths, since I 
lack the requisite credulity to become a free-thinking 
materialist. To believe that we know nothing assuredly, 



172 JURGEN 



and cannot ever know anything assuredly, is to take too 
much on faith." 

And Jurgen paused to shake his sleek black head two 
or three times, very sagely. 

"No, I cannot believe in nothingness being the destined 
end of all : that would be too futile a climax to content a 
dramatist clever enough to have invented Jurgen. No, it 
is just as I said to the brown man : I cannot believe in the 
annihilation of Jurgen by any really thrifty overlords; so 
I shall see to it that Jurgen does nothing which he cannot 
more or less plausibly excuse, in case of supernal in- 
quiries. That is far safer." 

Now Jurgen was shaking his head again: and he 
sighed. 

"For the pleasures of Cocaigne do not satisfy me. They 
are all well enough in their way ; and I admit the truism 
that in seeking bed and board two heads are better than 
one. Yes, Anai'tis makes me an excellent wife. Never- 
theless, her diversions do not satisfy me, and gallantly to 
make the most of life is not enough. No, it is something 
else that I desire : and Anaitis does not quite understand 
me. 



24. 

Of Compromises in Cocaigne 



f | "1 HUS Jurgen abode for a little over two months in 
| Cocaigne, and complied with the customs of that 

-*- country. Nothing altered in Cocaigne : but in the 
world wherein Jurgen was reared, he knew, it would by 
this time be September, with the leaves flaring gloriously, 
and the birds flocking southward, and the hearts of 
Jurgen's fellows turning to not unpleasant regrets. But 
in Cocaigne there was no regret and no variability, but 
only an interminable flow of curious pleasures, illumined 
by the wandering star of Venus Mechanitis. 

"Why is it, then, that I am not content ?" said Jurgen. 
"And what thing is this which I desire? It seems to me 
there is some injustice being perpetrated upon Jurgen, 
somewhere." 

Meanwhile he lived with Ana'itis the Sun's daughter 
very much as he had lived with Lisa, who was daughter 
to a pawnbroker. Anaiitis displayed upon the whole a 
milder temper : in part because she could confidently look 
forward to several centuries more of life before being 
explained away by the Philologists, and so had less need 
than Dame Lisa to worry over temporal matters ; and in 
part because there was less to ruin one's disposition in 
two months than in ten years of Jurgen's company. 
Anaitis nagged and sulked for a while when her Prince 

173 



174 JURGEN 



Consort slackened in the pursuit of strange delights, as 
he did very soon, with frank confession that his tastes 
were simple and that these outlandish refinements bored 
him. Later Anaitis seemed to despair of his ever becom- 
ing proficient in curious pleasures, and she permitted 
Jurgen to lead a comparatively normal life, with only an 
occasional and half-hearted remonstrance. 

What puzzled Jurgen was that she did not seern to tire 
of him : and he would often wonder what this lovely myth, 
so skilled and potent in arts wherein he was the merest 
bungler, could find to care for in Jurgen. For now they 
lived together like any other humdrum married couple, 
and their occasional exchange of endearments was as 
much a matter of course as their meals, and hardly more 
exciting. 

"Poor dear, I believe it is simply because I am a mon- 
strous clever fellow. She distrusts my cleverness, she 
very often disapproves of it, and yet she values it as 
queer, as a sort of curiosity. Well, but who can deny that 
cleverness is truly a curiosity in Cocaigne?" 

So Anaitis petted and pampered her Prince Consort, 
and took such open pride in his queerness as very nearly 
embarrassed him sometimes. She could not understand 
his attitude of polite amusement toward his associates 
and the events which befell him, and even toward his own 
doings and traits. Whatever happened, Jurgen shrugged, 
and, delicately avoiding actual laughter, evinced amuse- 
ment. Anaitis could not understand this at all, of course, 
since Asian myths are remarkably destitute of humor. To 
Jurgen in private she protested that he ought to be 
ashamed of his levity : but none the less, she would draw 
him out, when among the bestial and grim nature myths, 



OF COMPROMISES IN COCAIGNE 17S 

and she would glow visibly with fond pride in Jurgen's 
queerness. 

"She mothers me," reflected Jurgen. "Upon my word, 
I believe that in the end this is the only way in which 
females are capable of loving. And she is a dear and 
lovely creature, of whom I am sincerely fond. What is 
this thing, then, that I desire? Why do I feel life is nof 
treating me quite justly?" 

So the summer had passed; and Anaitis travelled a 
great deal, being a popular myth in every land. Her sense 
of duty was so strong that she endeavored to grace in 
person all the peculiar festivals held in her honor, and 
this, now the harvest season was at hand, left her with 
hardly a moment disengaged. Then, too, the mission of 
Anaitis was to divert; and there were so many people 
whom she had personally to visit — so many notable ascet- 
ics who were advancing straight toward canonization, 
and whom her underlings were unable to divert, — that 
Anaitis was compelled to pass night after night in un- 
wholesomely comfortless surroundings, in monasteries 
and in the cells and caves of hermits. 

"You are wearing yourself out, my darling," Jurgen 
would say : "and does it not seem, after all, a game that 
is hardly worth the candle? I know that, for my part, 
before I would travel so many miles into a desert, and 
then climb a hundred foot pillar, just to whisper diverting 
notions into an anchorite's very dirty ear, I would let the 
gaunt rascal go to Heaven. But you associate so much 
with saintly persons that you have contracted their in- 
capacity for seeing the humorous side of things. Well, 
you are a dear, even so. Here is a kiss for you: and db 



176 JURGEN 

you come back to your adoring husband as soon as you 
conveniently can without neglecting your duty." 

"They report that this Stylites is very far gone in recti- 
tude," said Anaitis, absent-mindedly, as she prepared for 
the journey, "but I have hopes for him." 

Then Anaitis put purple powder on her hair, and has- 
tily got together a few beguiling devices, and went into 
the Thebaid. Jurgen went back to the Library, and the 
System of Worshipping a Girl, and the unique manu- 
scripts of Astyanassa and Elephantis and Sotades, and 
the Dionysiac Formulae, and the Chart of Postures, and 
the Litany of the Centre of Delight, and the Spintrian 
Treatises, and the Thirty-two Gratifications, and in- 
numerable other volumes which he found instructive. 

The Library was a vaulted chamber, having its walls 
painted with the twelve Asan of Cyrene ; the ceiling was 
frescoed with the arched body of a woman, whose toes 
rested upon the cornice of the east wall, and whose out- 
stretched finger-tips touched the cornice of the western 
wall. The clothing of this painted woman was remark- 
able: and to Jurgen her face was not unfamiliar. 

"Who is that?" he inquired, of Anaitis. 

Looking a little troubled, Anaitis told him this was 
!/Esred. 

"Well, I have heard her called otherwise : and I have 
seen her in quite other clothing." 

"You have seen /Esred!" 

"Yes, with a kitchen towel about her head, and other- 
wise unostentatiously appareled — but very becomingly, I 
can assure you !" Here Jurgen glanced sidewise at his 
skadow, and he cleared his throat. "Oh, and a most 



OF COMPROMISES IN COCAIGNE 177 



charming and a most estimable old lady I found this 
iEsred to be, I can assure you also." 

"I would prefer to know nothing about it," said Anaitis, 
hastily, "I would prefer, for both our sakes, that you say 
no more of iEsred." 

Jurgen shrugged. 

Now in the Library of Cocaigne was garnered a record 
of all that the nature myths had invented in the way of 
pleasure. And here, with no companion save his queer 
shadow, and with iEsred arched above and bleakly 
regarding him, Jurgen spent most of his time, rather 
agreeably, in investigating and meditating upon the more 
curious of these recreations. The painted Asan were, in 
all conscience, food for wonder : but over and above these 
dozen surprising pastimes, the books of Anaitis revealed 
to Jurgen, without disguise or reticence, every other far- 
fetched frolic of heathenry. Hitherto unheard-of forms 
of diversion were unveiled to him, and every recreation 
which ingenuity had been able to contrive, for the grati- 
fying of the most subtle and the most strong-stomached 
tastes. No possible sort of amusement would seem to 
have been omitted, in running the quaint gamut of refine- 
ments upon nature which Anaitis and her cousins had at 
odd moments invented, to satiate their desire for some 
more suave or more strange or more sanguinary pleasure. 
Yet the deeper Jurgen investigated, and the longer he 
meditated, the more certain it seemed to him that all such 
employment was a peculiarly unimaginative pursuit of 
happiness. 

"I am willing to taste any drink once. So I must give 
diversion a fair trial. But I am afraid these are the 
games of mental childhood. Well, that reminds me I 



178 JURGEN 



promised the children to play with them for a while 
before supper." 

So he came out, and presently, brave in the shirt of 
Nessus, and mimicked in every action by that incongruous 
shadow, Prince Jurgen was playing tag with the three 
little Eumenides, the daughters of Anaitis by her former 
marriage with Acheron, the King of Midnight. 

Anaitis and the dark potentate had parted by mutual 
consent. "Acheron meant well," she would say, with a 
forgiving sigh, "and that in the Moon's absence he occa- 
sionally diverted travellers, I do not deny. But he did 
not understand me." 

And Jurgen agreed that this tragedy sometimes befell 
even the irreproachably diverting. 

The three Eumenides at this period were half -grown 
girls, whom their mother was carefully tutoring to drive 
guilty persons mad by the stings of conscience : and very 
quaint it was to see the young Furies at practise in the 
schoolroom, black- robed, and waving lighted torches, and 
crowned each with her garland of pet serpents. They 
became attached to Jurgen, who was always fond of chil- 
dren, and who had frequently regretted that Dame Lisa 
had borne him none. 

"It is enough to get the poor dear a name for eccen- 
tricity," he had been used to say. 

So Jurgen now made much of his step-children: and 
indeed he found their innocent prattle quite as intelligent, 
in essentials, as the talk of the full-grown nature myths 
who infested the palace of Anaitis. And the four of 
them — Jurgen, and critical Alecto, and grave Tisiphone, 
and fairy-like little Megsera, — would take long walks, 
and play with their dolls (though Alecto was a trifle con- 



OF COMPROMISES IN COCAIGNE 179 



descending toward dolls), and romp together in the 
eternal evening of Cocaigne ; and discuss what sort of 
dresses and trinkets Mother would probably bring them 
when she came back from Ecbatana or Lesbos, and would 
generally enjoy themselves. 

Rather pathetically earnest and unimaginative little 
lasses, Jurgen found the young Eumenides : they inherited 
much of their mother's narrow-mindedness, if not their 
father's brooding and gloomy tendencies ; but in them 
narrow-mindedness showed merely as amusing. And 
Jurgen loved them, and would often reflect what a pity 
it was that these dear little girls were destined when they 
reached maturity, to spend the rest of their lives in haunt- 
ing criminals and adulterers and parricides and, generally, 
such persons as must inevitably tarnish the girls' outlook 
upon life, and lead them to see too much of the worst 
side of human nature. 

So Jurgen was content enough. But still he was not 
actually happy, not even among the endless pleasures of 
Cocaigne. 

"And what is this thing that I desire?" he would ask 
himself, again and again. 

And still he did not know: he merely felt he was not 
getting justice : and a dim sense of this would trouble him 
even while he was playing with the Eumenides. 



25. 

Can traps of the Master Philologist 



UT now, as has been recorded, it was September, 
and Jurgen could see that Anaitis too was worry- 
ing over something. She kept it from him as 
long as possible : first said it was nothing at all, then said 
he would know it soon enough, then wept a little over 
the possibility that he would probably be very glad to 
hear it, and eventually told him. For in becoming the 
consort of a nature myth connected with the Moon Jur- 
gen had of course exposed himself to the danger of being 
converted into a solar legend by the Philologists, and in 
that event would be compelled to leave Cocaigne with 
the Equinox, to enter into autumnal exploits elsewhere. 
And Anaitis was quite heart-broken over the prospect of 
losing Jurgen. 

"For I have never had such a Prince Consort irt 
Cocaigne, so maddening, and so helpless, and so clever; 
and the girls are so fond of you, although they have not 
been able to get on at all with so many of their step- 
fathers ! And I know that you are flippant and heartless, 
but you have quite spoiled me for other men. No, 
Jurgen, there is no need to argue, for I have experimented 
v/ith at least a dozen lovers lately, when I was traveling, 
and they bored me insufferably. They had, as you put it, 
dear, no conversation : and you are the only young man 

180 



CANTRAPS OF THE MASTER PHILOLOGIST 181 

I have found in all these ages who could talk interest- 
ingly." 

"There is a reason for that, since like you, Anaitis, I 
am not so youthful as I appear." 

"I do not care a straw about appearances," wept 
Anaitis, "but I know that I love you, and that you must 
be leaving me with the Equinox unless you can settle 
matters with the Master Philologist." 

"Well, my pet," says Jurgen, "the Jews got into Jericho 
by trying." 

He armed, and girded himself with Caliburn, drank a 
couple of bottles of wine, put on the shirt of Nessus over 
all, and then went to seek this thaumaturgist. 

Anaitis showed him the way to an unpretentious resi- 
dence, where a week's washing was drying and flapping 
in the side yard. Jurgen knocked boldly, and after an 
interval the door was opened by the Master Philologist 
himself. 

"You must pardon this informality," he said, blinking 
through his great spectacles, which had dust on them : 
"but time was by ill luck arrested hereabouts on a Thurs- 
day evening, and so the maid is out indefinitely. I would 
suggest, therefore, that the lady wait outside upon the 
porch. For the neighbors to see her go in would not be 
respectable." 

"Do you know what I have come for?" says Jurgen, 
blustering, and splendid in his glittering shirt and his 
gleaming armor. "For I warn you I am justice." 

"I think ypu are lying, and I am sure you are making 
an unnecessary noise. In any event, justice is a word, 
and I control all words." 



182 JURGEN 



"You will discover very soon, sir, that actions speak 
louder than words." 

"I believe that is so," said the Master Philologist, still 
blinking, "just as the Jewish mob spoke louder than He 
Whom they crucified. But the Word endures." 

"You are a quibbler!" 

"You are my guest. So I advise you, in pure friendli- 
ness, not to impugn the power of my words." 

Said Jurgen, scornfully: "But is justice, then, a 
word?" 

"Oh, yes, it is one of the most useful. It is the 
Spanish justicia, the Portuguese justiga, the Italian gius- 
tizia, all from the Latin Justus. Oh, yes indeed, but jus- 
tice is one of my best connected words, and one of the 
best trained also, I can assure you." 

"Aha, and to what degraded uses do you put this poor 
enslaved intimidated justice!" 

"There is but one intelligent use," said the Master 
Philologist, unruffled, "for anybody to make of words. 
I will explain it to you, if you will come in out of this 
treacherous draught. One never knows what a cold may 
lead to." 

Then the door closed upon them, and Anaitis waited 
outside, in some trepidation. 

Presently Jurgen came out of that unpretentious resi- 
dence, and so back to Anaitis, discomfited. Jurgen flung 
down his magic sword, charmed Caliburn. 

"This, Anaitis, I perceive to be an outmoded weapon. 
There is no weapon like words, no armor against words, 
and with words the Master Philologist has conquered me. 
It is not at all equitable : but the man showed me a huge 
book wherein were the names of everything in the world, 



CANTRAPS OF THE MASTER PHILOLOGIST 183 



and justice was not among them. It develops that, in- 
stead, justice is merely a common noun, vaguely denoting 
an ethical idea of conduct proper to the circumstances, 
whether of individuals or comrmmities. It is, you ob- 
serve, just a grammarian's notion." 

"But what lias he decided about you, Jurgen?" 
"Alas, dear Anaitis, he has decided, in spite o£ all that 
I could do, to derive Jurgen from jargon, indicating a 
confused chattering such as birds give forth at sunrise: 
thus ruthlessly does the Master Philologist convert me 
into a solar legend. So the affair is settled, and we must 
part, my darling." 

Anaitis took up the sword. "But this is valuable, since 
the man who wields it is the mightiest of warriors." 

"It is a rush, a rotten twig, a broomstraw, against the 
insidious weapons of the Master Philologist. But keep 
it if you like, my dear, and give it to your next Prince 
Consort. I am ashamed to have trifled with such toys," 
says Jurgen, in fretted disgust. "And besides, the Master 
Philologist assures me I shall mount far higher through 
the aid of this." 

"But what is on that bit of parchment?" 
"Thirty-two of the Master Philologist's own words 
that I begged of him. See, my dear, he made this can- 
trap for me with his own hand and ink." And Jurgen 
read from the parchment, impressively : " 'At the death 
of Adrian the Fifth, Pedro Juliani, who should be named 
John the Twentieth, was through an error in the reckon- 
ing elevated to the papal chair as John the Twenty-first/ " 
Said Anaitis, blankly: "And is that all?" 
"Why, yes : and surely thirty-two whole words should 
be enough for the most exacting." 



184 JURGEN 



"But is it magic? are you certain it is authentic magic?" 

"I have learned that there is always magic in words." 

"Now, if you ask my opinion, Jurgen, your cantrap is 
nonsense, and can never be of any earthly use to anybody. 
Without boasting, dear, I have handled a great deal of 
black magic in my day, but I never encountered a spell 
at all like this." 

"None the less, my darling, it is evidently a cantrap, 
for else the Master Philologist would never have given it 
to me." 

"But how are you to use it, pray?" 

"Why, as need directs," said Jurgen, and he put the 
parchment into the pocket of his glittering shirt. "Yes, 
I repeat, there is always something to be done with words, 
and here are thirty-two authentic words from the Master 
Philologist himself, not to speak of three commas and a 
full-stop. Oh, I shall certainly go far with this." 

"We women have firmer faith in the sword," replied 
Anaitis. "At all events, you and I cannot remain upon 
this thaumaturgist's porch indefinitely." 

So Anaitis put up Caliburn, and carried it from the 
thaumaturgist's unpretentious residence to her fine palace 
in the old twilit v/ood: and afterward, as everybody 
knows, she gave this sword to King Arthur, who with 
its aid rose to be hailed as one of the Nine Worthies of 
the World. So did the husband of Guenevere win for 
himself eternal fame with that which Jurgen flung away. 



26. 

In Time s Hour-Glass 




ELL, well !" said Jurgen, when he had taken 
off all that foolish ironmongery, and had 
made himself comfortable in his shirt ; 
"well, beyond doubt, the situation is awkward. I was 
content enough in Cocaigne, and it is unfair that I should 
be thus ousted. Still, a sensible person will manage to be 
content anywhere. But whither, pray, am I expected 
to go?" 

"Into whatever land you may elect, my dear," said 
Anaitis, fondly. "That much at least I can manage for 
you : and the interpretation of your legend can be 
arranged afterward." 

"But I grow tired of all the countries I have ever seen, 
dear Anaitis, and in my time I have visited nearly all 
the lands that are known to men." 

"That too can be arranged: and you can go instead 
into one of the countries which are desired by men. 
Indeed there are a number of such realms which no man 
has ever visited except in dreams, so that your choice 
is wide." 

"But how am I to make a choice without having seea 
any of these countries? It is not fair to be expecting me 
to do anything of the sort." 

"Why, I will show them to you," Anaitis replied. 

185 



186 JURGEN 



The two of them then went together into a small blue 
chamber, the walls of which were ornamented with gold 
stars placed helter-skelter. The room was entirely empty 
save for an hour-glass near twice the height of a man. 

"It is Time's own glass," said Analtis, ''which was 
left in my keeping when Time went to sleep." 

Anaitis opened a little door of carved crystal that was 
in the lower half of the hour-glass, just above the fallen 
sands. With her finger-tips she touched the sand that was 
in Time's hour-glass, and in the sand she drew a triangle 
with equal sides, she who was strangely gifted and per- 
verse. Then she drew just such another figure so that 
the tip of it penetrated the first triangle. The sand began 
to smoulder there, and vapors rose into the upper part of 
the hour-glass, and Jurgen saw that all the sand in Time's 
hour-glass was kindled by a magic generated by the con- 
tact of these two triangles. And in the vapors a picture 
formed. 

"I see a land of woods and rivers, Anaitis. A very old 
fellow, regally crowned, lies asleep under an ash-tree, 
guarded by a watchman who has more arms and hands 
than Jigsbyed." 

"It is Atlantis you behold, and the sleeping of ancient 
Time — Time, to whom this glass belongs, — while Briareus 
watches." 

"Time sleeps quite naked, Anaitis, and, though it is a 
delicate matter to talk about, I notice he has met with a 
deplorable accident." 

"So that Time begets nothing any more, Jurgen, the 
while he brings about old happenings over and over, and 
changes the name o£ what is ancient, in order to persuade 
himself he has a new plaything. There is really no more 



IN TIME'S HOUR-GLASS 187 



tedious and wearing old dotard anywhere, I can assure 
you. But Atlantis is only the western province of Co- 
caigne. Now do you look again, Jurgen !" 

"Now I behold a flowering plain and three steep hills, 
with a castle upon each hill. There are woods wherein the 
foliage is crimson: shining birds with white bodies and 
purple heads feed upon the clusters of golden berries that 
grow everywhere : and people go about in green clothes, 
with gold chains about their necks, and with broad bands 
of gold upon their arms, and all these people have un- 
troubled faces." 

"That is Inislocha : and to the south is Inis Daleb, and 
to the north Inis Ercandra. And there is sweet music to 
be listening to eternally, could we but hear the birds of 
Rhiannon, and there is the best of wine to drill!:, and 
there delight is common. For thither comes nothing hard 
nor rough, and no grief, nor any regret, nor sickness, nor 
age, nor death, for this is the Land of Women, a land of 
many-colored hospitality." 

"Why, then, it is no different from Cocaigne. And into 
no realm where pleasure is endless will I ever venture 
again of my own free will, for I find that I do not enjoy 
pleasure." 

Then Anaitis showed him Ogygia, and Trypheme, and 
Sudarsana, and the Fortunate Islands, and ^Eaea, and 
Caer-Is, and Invallis, and the Hesperides, and Meropis, 
and Planasia, and Uttarra, and Avalon, and Tir-nam-Beo, 
and Theleme, and a number of other lands to enter which 
men have desired: and Jurgen groaned. 

"I am ashamed of my fellows," says he : "for it 
appears their notion of felicity is to dwell eternally in a 
glorified brothel. I do not think that as a self-respecting 



188 JURGEN 

young Prince I would care to inhabit any of these earthly 
paradises, for were there nothing else, I would always be 
looking for an invasion by the police." 

"There remains, then, but one other realm, which I 
have not shown you, in part because it is an obscure little 
place, and in part because, for a reason that I have, I 
shall not assist you to go thither. Still, there is Leuke, 
where Queen Helen rules: and Leuke it is that you 
behold." 

"But Leuke seems like any_ other country in autumn, 
and appears to be reasonably free from the fantastic 
animals and overgrown flowers which made the other 
paradises look childish. Come now, there is an attractive 
simplHty about Leuke. I might put up with Leuke if 
the local by-laws allowed me a rational amount of dis- 
comfort." 

"Discomfort you would have full measure. For the 
heart of no man remains untroubled after he has once 
viewed Queen Helen and the beauty that is hers. It is 
for that reason, Jurgen, I shall not help you to go into 
Leuke: for in Leuke you would forget me, having seen 
Queen Helen." 

"Why, what nonsense you are talking, my darling ! I 
will wager she cannot hold a candle to you." 

"See for yourself !" said Ana'itis, sadly. 

Now through the rolling vapors came confusedly a 
gleaming and a surging glitter of all the loveliest colors 
of heaven and earth : and these took order presently, and 
Jurgen saw before him in the hour-glass that young 
Dorothy who was not Heitman Michael's wife. And long 
and wistfully he looked at her, and the blinding tears 



IN TIME'S HOUR-GLASS 189 



came to his eyes for no reason at all, and for the while 
he could not speak. ( 

Then Jurgen yawned, and said, ''But certainly this is 
not the Helen who was famed for beauty." 

"I can assure you that it is," said Anaitis : "and that 
it is she who rules in Leuke, whither I do not intend you 
shall go." 

"Why, but, my darling! this is preposterous. The girl 
is nothing to look at twice, one way or the other. She is 
not actually ugly, I suppose, if one happens to admire 
that washed-out blonde type, as of course some people do. 
But to call her beautiful is out of reason ; and that I 
must protest in simple justice." 

"Do you really think so?" says Anaitis, brightening. 

"I most assuredly do. Why, you remember what Cal- 
purnius Bassus says about all blondes ?" 

"No, I believe not. What did he say, dear?" 

"I would only spoil the splendid passage by quoting it 
inaccurately from memory. But he was quite right, and 
his opinion is mine in every particular. So if that is the 
best Leuke can offer, I heartily agree with you I had best 
go into some other country." 

"I suppose you already have your eyes upon some minx 
or other?" 

"Well, my love, those girls in the Hesperides were 
strikingly like you, with even more wonderful hair than 
yours : and the girl Aille whom we saw in Tir-nam-Beo 
likewise resembled you remarkably, except that I thought 
she had the better figure. So I believe in either of those 
countries I could be content enough, after a while. Since 
part from you I must," said Jurgen, tenderly, "I intend, in 
common fairness to myself, to find a companion as like 



190 JURGEN 



you as possible. You conceive I can pretend it is you 
at first: and then as I grow fonder of her for her own 
sake, you will gradually be put out of my mind without 
my incurring any intolerable anguish." 

Anaitis was not pleased. "So you are already hanker- 
ing after those huzzies! And you think them better 
looking than I am ! And you tell me so to my face !" 

"My darling, you cannot deny we have been married 
all of three whole months : and nobody can maintain an 
infatuation for any woman that long, in the teeth of 
having nothing refused him. Infatuation is largely d. 
matter of curiosity, and both of these emotions die when 
they are fed." 

"Jurgen," said Anaitis, with conviction, "you are lying 
to me about something. I can see it in your eyes." 

"There is no deceiving a woman's intuition. Yes, I was 
not speaking quite honestly when I pretended I had as 
lief go into the Hesperides as to Tir-nam-Beo : it was 
wrong of me, and I ask your pardon. I thought that by 
affecting indifference I could manage you better. But 
you saw through me at once, and very rightly became 
angry. So I fling my cards upon the table, I no longer 
beat about the bushes of equivocation. It is Aille, the 
daughter of Cormac, whom I love, and who can blame 
me? Did you ever in your life behold a more enticing 
figure, Anaitis? — certainly I never did. Besides, I noticed 
— but never mind about that ! Still I could not help 
seeing them. And then such eyes ! twin beacons that 
light my way to comfort for my not inconsiderable regret 
at losing you, my darling. Oh, yes, assuredly it is to 
Tir-nam-Beo I elect to go." 

"Whither you go, my fine fellow, is a matter in which 



IN TIME'S HOUR-GLASS 191 



I have the choice, not you. And you are going to Leuke." 

"My love, now do be reasonable ! We both agreed that 
Leuke was not a bit suitable. Why, were there nothing 
else, in Leuke there are no attractive women." 

"Have you no sense except book-sense ! It is for that 
reason I am sending you to Leuke." 

And thus speaking, Anaitis set about a strong magic 
that hastened the coming of the Equinox. In the midst 
of her charming she wept a little, for she was fond of 
Jurgen. 

And Jurgen preserved a hurt and angry face as well as 
he could: for at the sight of Queen Helen, who was so 
like young Dorothy la Desiree, he had ceased to care for 
Queen Anaitis and her diverting ways, or to care for 
aught else in the world save only Queen Helen, the 
delight of gods and men. But Jurgen had learned that 
Anaitis required management. 

"For her own good," as he put it, "and in simple 
justice to the many admirable qualities which she 
possesses." 




27. 

Vexatious Estate of Queen Helen 



UT how can I travel with the Equinox, with a 
fictitious thing, with a mere convention?" 
Jurgen had said. "To demand any such pro- 
ceeding of me is preposterous." 

"Is it any more preposterous than to travel with an 
imaginary creature like a centaur?" they had retorted. 
"Why, Prince Jurgen, we wonder how you, who have 
done that perfectly unheard-of thing, can have the effron- 
tery to call anything else preposterous ! Is there no 
reason at all in you? Why, conventions are respectable, 
and that is a deal more than can be said for a great many 
centaurs. Would you be throwing stones at respecta- 
bility, Prince Jurgen? Why, we are unutterably as- 
tounded at your objection to any such well-known phen- 
omenon as the Equinox!" And so on, and so on, and 
so on, said they. 

And in fine, they kept at him until Jurgen was too 
confused to argue, and his head was in a whirl, and one 
thing seemed as preposterous as another : and he ceased to 
notice any especial improbability in his traveling with the 
Equinox, and so passed without any further protest or 
argument about it, from Cocaigne to Leuke. But he 
would not have been thus readily flustered had Jurgen 

192 



VEXATIOUS ESTATE OF QUEEN HELEN 193 



not beeri thinking all the while of Queen Helen and of 
the beauty that was hers. 

So he inquired forthwith the way that one might quick- 
liest come into the presence of Queen Helen. 

"Why, you will find Queen Helen," he was told, "in 
her palace at Pseudopolis." His informant was a hama- 
dryad, whom Jurgen encountered upon the outskirts of a 
forest overlooking the city from the west. Beyond broad 
sloping stretches of ripe corn, you saw Pseudopolis as a 
city builded of gold and ivory, now all a dazzling glitter 
under a hard-seeming sky that appeared unusually remote 
from earth. 

"And is the Queen as fair as people report?" asks 
Jurgen. 

"Men say that she excels all other women," replied the 
Hamadryad, "as immeasurably as all we women perceive 
her husband to surpass all other men — " 

"But, oh, dear me !" says Jurgen. 

" — Although, for one, I see nothing remarkable in 
Queen Helen's looks. And I cannot but think that a 
woman who has been so much talked about ought to be 
more careful in the way she dresses." 

"So this Queen Helen is already provided with a 
husband !" Jurgen was displeased, but saw no reason 
for despair. Then Jurgen inquired as to the Queen's 
husband, and learned that Achilles, the son of Peleus, 
was now wedded to Helen, the Swan's daughter, and that 
these two ruled in Pseudopolis. 

"For they report," said the Hamadryad, "that in Ades' 
dreary kingdom Achilles remembered her beauty, and by 
this memory was heartened to break the bonds of Ades : 
so did Achilles, King of Men, and all his ancient com- 



194 JURGEN 



rades come forth resistlessly upon a second quest of this 
Helen, whom people call — and as I think, with consider- 
able exaggeration — the wonder of this world. Then the 
Gods fulfilled the desire of Achilles, because, they said, 
the man who has once beheld Queen Helen will never 
any more regain contentment so long as his life lacks this 
wonder of the world. Personally, I would dislike to think 
that all men are so foolish." 

"Men are not always rational, I grant you : but then," 
says Jurgen, slyly, "so many of their ancestresses are 
feminine." 

"But an ancestress is always feminine. Nobody ever 
heard of a man being an ancestress. Men are ancestors. 
Why, whatever are you talking about ?" 

"Well, we were speaking, I believe, of Queen Helen's 
marriage." 

"To be sure we were ! And I was telling you abouf 
the Gods, when you made that droll mistake about an- 
cestors. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes, how- 
ever, and foreigners are always apt to get words confused. 
I could see at once you were a foreigner — " 

"Yes," said Jurgen, "but you were not telling me about 
myself but about the Gods." 

"Why, you must know the aging Gods desired tran- 
quillity. So we will give her to Achilles, they said ; and 
then, it may be, this King of Men will retain her so 
safely that his littler fellows will despair, and will cease 
to war for Helen : and so we shall not be bothered any 
longer by their wars and other foolishnesses. For this 
reason it was that the Gods gave Helen to Achilles, and 
sent the pair to reign in Leuke: though, for my part," 
concluded the Hamadryad, "I shall never cease to wonder 



VEXATIOUS ESTATE OF QUEEN HELEN 195 



what he saw in her — no, not if I live to be a thousand." 
"I must," says Jurgen, "observe this monarch Achilles 
before the world is a day older. A king is all very well, 
of course, but no husband wears a crown so as to pre- 
vent the afhxion of other head-gear." 

And Jurgen went down into Pseudopolis, swaggering. 
* * * 

So in the evening, just after sunset, Jurgen returned 
to the Hamadryad: he walked now with the aid of the 
ashen staff which Thersites had given Jurgen, and Jurgen 
was mirthless and rather humble. 

"I have observed your King Achilles," Jurgen says, 
"and he is a better man than I. Queen Helen, as I con- 
fess with regret, is worthily mated." 

"And what have you to say about her?" inquires the 
Hamadryad. 

"Why, there is nothing more to say than that she is 
worthily mated, and fit to be the wife of Achilles." For 
once, poor Jurgen was really miserable. "For I admire 
this man Achilles, I envy him, and I fear him," says 
Jurgen: " and it is not fair that he should have been 
created my superior." 

"But is not Queen Helen the loveliest of ladies that 
you have ever seen ?" 

"As to that — !" says Jurgen. He led the Hamadryad 
to a forest pool hard-by the oak-tree in which she resided. 
The dusky water lay unruffled, a natural mirror. "Look !" 
said Jurgen, and he spoke with a downward waving of 
his staff. 

The silence gathering in the woods was wonderful. 
Here the air was sweet and pure : and the little wind 
which went about the ilex boughs in search of night was 



196 JURGEN 

a tender and peaceful wind, because it knew that the all- 
healing night was close at hand. 

The Hamadryad replied, "But I see only my own face." 

"It is the answer to your question, none the less. Now 
do you tell me your name, my dear, so that I may know 
who in reality is the loveliest of all the ladies I have ever* 
seen." 

The Hamadryad told him that her name was Chloris. 
and that she always looked a fright with her hair 
arranged as it was to-day, and that he was a strangely 
impudent fellow. So he in turn confessed to her he was 
King Jurgen of Eubonia, drawn from his remote king- 
dom by exaggerated reports as to the beauty of Queen 
Helen. Chloris agreed with him that rumor was in such 
matters invariably untrustworthy. 

This led to further talk as twilight deepened: and the 
while that a little by a little this pretty girl was con- 
vered into a warm breathing shadow, hardly visible to 
the eye, the shadow of Jurgen departed from him, and he 
began to talk better and better. He had seen Queen 
Helen face to face, and other women now seemed un- 
important. Whether or not he got into the graces of this 
Hamadryad did not greatly matter, one way or the other : 
and in consequence Jurgen talked with such fluency, such 
apposite remarks and such tenderness as astounded him. 

So he sat listening with delight to the seductive tongue 
of that monstrous clever fellow, Jurgen. For this plump 
brown-haired bright-eyed little creature, this Chloris, he 
was honestly sorry. Into the uneventful life of a hama- 
dryad, here in this uncultured forest, could not possibly 
have entered much pleasurable excitement, and it seemed 



VEXATIOUS ESTATE OF QUEEN HELEN 197 



only right to inject a little. "Why, simply in justice to 
her!" Jurgen reflected. "I must deal fairly." 

Now it grew darker and darker under the trees, and 
in the dark nobody can see what happens. There were 
only two voices that talked, with lengthy pauses: and 
they spoke gravely of unimportant trifles, like children 
at play together. 

"And how does a king come thus to be traveling with- 
out any retinue or even a sword about him?" 

"Why, I travel with a staff, my dear, as you perceive : 
and it suffices me." 

"Certainly it is large enough, in all conscience. Alas, 
young outlander, who call yourself a king ! you carry the 
bludgeon of a highwayman, and I am afraid of it." 

"My staff is a twig from Yggdrasill, the tree of uni- 
versal life : Thersites gave it me, and the sap that throbs 
therein arises from the Undar fountain, where the grave 
Norns make laws for men and fix their destinies." 

"Thersites is a scoffer, and his gifts are mockery. I 
would have none of them." 

The two began to wrangle, not at all angrily, as to what 
Jurgen had best do with his prized staff. "Do you take 
it away from me, at any rate !" says Chloris. So Jurgen 
hid his staff where Chloris could not possibly see it ; and 
he drew the Hamadryad close to him, and he laughed 
contentedly. 

"Oh, oh ! O wretched King," cried Chloris, "I fear that 
you will be the death of me ! And you have no right to 
oppress me in this way, for I am not your subject." 

"Rather shall you be my queen, dear Chloris, receiving- 
all that I most prize." 

"But you are too domineering: and I am afraid to be 



198 JURGEN 

alone with you and your big staff! Ah! not without 
knowing what she talked about did my mother use to 
quote her /Eolic saying, The king is cruel and takes joy in 
bloodshed !" 

"Presently you will not be afraid of me, nor will you 
be afraid of my staff. Custom is all. For this likewise 
is an JEoWc saying, The taste of the first olive is un- 
pleasant, but the second is good." 

Now for a while was silence save for the small secretive 
rumors of the forest. One of the large green locusts 
which frequent the Island of Leuke began shrilling tenta- 
tively. 

"Wait now, King Jurgen, for surely I hear footsteps, 
and one comes to trouble us." 

"It is a wind in the tree-tops : or perhaps it is a god 
who envies me. I pause for neither." 

"Ah, but speak reverently of the Gods! For is not 
Love a god, and a jealous god that has wings with which 
to leave us?" 

"Then am I a god, for in my heart is love, and in 
every fibre of me is love, and from me now love 
emanates." 

"But certainly I heard somebody approaching through 
the forest—" 

"Well, and do you not perceive I have withdrawn my 
staff from its hiding-place?" 

"Ah, you have great faith in that staff of yours!" 

"I fear nobody when I brandish it." 

Another locust had answered the first one. Now the 
two insects were in full dispute, suffusing the warm 
darkness with their pertinacious whirrings. 



VEXATIOUS ESTATE OF QUEEN HELEN 199 



"King of Eubonia, it is certainly true, that which you 
told me about olives." 

"Yes, for always love begets truthfulness." 

"I pray it may beget between us utter truthfulness, 
and nothing else, King Jurgen." 

"Not 'Jurgen' now, but iove\" 

"Indeed, they tell that even so, in such deep darkness, 
Love came to his sweetheart Psyche." 

"Then why do you complain because I piously emulate 
the Gods, and offer unto Love the sincerest form of 
flattery?" And Jurgen shook his staff at her. 

"Ah, but you are strangely read)' - with your flattery 1 
and Love threatened Psyche with no such enormous 
staff." 

"That is possible : for I am Jurgen. And I deal fairly 
with all women, and raise my staff against none save iri 
the way of kindness." 

So they talked nonsense, in utter darkness, while the 
locusts, and presently a score of locusts, disputed obstin- 
ately. Nov/ Chloris and Jurgen were invisible, even to 
each other, as they talked under her oak-tree : but before 
them the fields shone mistily under a gold-dusted dome, 
for this night seemed builded of stars. And the white 
towers of Pseudopolis also could Jurgen see, as he 
laughed there and took his pleasure with Chloris. He 
reflected that very probably Achilles and Helen were 
laughing thus, and were not dissimilarly occupied, out 
yonder, in this night of wonder. 

He sighed. But in a while Jurgen and the Hamadryad 
were speaking again, just as inconsequently, and the 
locusts were whirring just as obstinately. Later the moon 
rose, and they all slept. 



200 JURGEN 



With the dawn Jurgen arose, and left this Hama- 
dryad Chloris still asleep. He stood where he 
overlooked the city, and the shirt of Nessus 
glittered in the level sun rays: and Jurgen thought 
of Queen Helen. Then he sighed, and went back to 
Chloris, and wakened her with the sort of salutation that 
appeared her just due. 



28. 

Of Compromises in Leuke 



OW the tale tells that ten days later Jurgen and 
his Hamadryad were duly married, in consonance 
with the law of the Wood : not for a moment 
did Chloris consider any violation of the proprieties, so 
they were married the first evening she could assemble 
her kindred. 

"Still, Chloris, I already have two wives," says Jurgen, 
"and it is but fair to confess it." 

"I thought it was only yesterday you arrived in Leuke." 

"That is true : for I came with the Equinox, over the 
long sea." 

"Then Jugatinus has not had time to marry you to 
anybody, and certainly he would never think of marry- 
ing you to two wives. Why do you talk such nonsense ?" 

"No, it is true, I was not married by Jugatinus." 

"So there !" says Chloris, as if that settled matters. 
"Now you see for yourself." 

"Why, yes, to be sure," says Jurgen, "that does put 
rather a different light upon it, now I think of it." 

"It makes all the difference in the world." 

"I would hardly go that far. Still, I perceive it makes 
a difference." 

"Why, you talk as if everybody did not know that Juga- 
tinus marries people!" 

201 



202 JURGEN 



"No, dear, let us be fair ! I did not say precisely that." 

" — And as if everybody was not always married by 
Jugatinus l" 

"Yes, here in Leuke, perhaps. But outside of Leuke, 
you understand, my darling!" 

"But nobody goes outside of Leuke. Nobody ever 
thinks of leaving Leuke. I never heard such nonsense." 

"You mean, nobody ever leaves this island?" 

"Nobody that you ever hear of. Of course, there are 
Lares and Penates, with no social position, that the kings 
of Pseudopolis sometimes take a-voyaging — " 

"Still, the people of other countries do get married." 

"No, Jurgen," said Chloris, sadly, "it is a rule with 
Jugatinus never to leave the island ; and indeed I am sure 
he has never even considered such unheard-of conduct : 
so, of course, the people of other countries are not able 
to get married." 

"Well, but, Chloris, in Eubonia— " 

"Now if you do not mind, dear, I think we had better 
talk about something more pleasant. I do not blame you 
men of Eubonia, because all men are in such matters 
perfectly irresponsible. And perhaps it is not altogether 
the fault of the women, either, though I do think any 
really self-respecting woman would have the strength of 
character to keep out of such irregular relations, and that 
much I am compelled to say. So do not let us talk any 
more about these persons whom you describe as your 
wives. It is very nice of you, dear, to call them that, 
and I appreciate your delicacy. Still, I really do believe 
we had better talk about something else." 

Jurgen deliberated. "Yet do you not think, Chloris, that 
in the absence of Jugatinus — and in, as I understand it, 



OF COMPROMISES IN LEUKE 203 



the unavoidable absence of Jugatinus, — somebody else 
might perform the ceremony?" 

''Oh, yes, if they wanted to. But it would not count. 
Nobody but Jugatinus can really marry people. And so 
of course nobody else does." 

"What makes you sure of that?" 

"Why, because," said Chloris, triumphantly, "nobody 
ever heard of such a thing." 

"You have voiced," said Jurgen, "an entire code of 
philosophy. Let us by all means go to Jugatinus and be 
married." 

So they were married by Jugatinus, according to the 
ceremony with which the People of the Wood were 
always married by Jugatinus. First Virgo loosed the 
girdle of Chloris in such fashion as was customary; and 
Chloris, after sitting much longer than Jurgen liked in 
the lap of Mutinus (who was in the state that custom 
required of him) was led back to Jurgen by Domiducus 
in accordance with immemorial custom ; Subigo did her 
customary part ; then Praema grasped the bride's plump 
arms : and everything was perfectly regular. 

Thereafter Jurgen disposed of his staff in the way 
Thersites had directed : and thereafter Jurgen abode with 
Chloris upon the outskirts of the forest, and complied 
with the customs of Leuke. Her tree was a rather large 
oak, for Chloris was now in her two hundred and sixty- 
sixth year; and at first its commodious trunk sheltered 
them. But later Jurgen builded himself a little cabin 
thatched with birds' wings, and made himself more com- 
fortable. 

"It is well enough for you, my dear, in fact it is ex- 
pected of you, to live in a tree-bole. But it makes me feel 



204 JURGEN 



uncomfortably like a worm, and it needlessly emphasizes 
the restrictions of married life. Besides, you do not want 
me under your feet all the time, nor I you. No, let us 
cultivate a judicious abstention from familiarity : such is 
one secret of an enduring, because endurable, marriage. 
But why is it, pray, that you have never married before, 
in all these years ?" 

She told him. At first Jurgen could not believe her, 
but presently Jurgen was convinced, through at least two 
of his senses, that what Chloris told him was true about 
hamadryads. 

"Otherwise, you are not markedly unlike the women of 
Eubonia," said Jurgen. , 

And now Jurgen met many of the People of the Wood ; 
but since the tree of Chloris stood upon the verge of the 
forest, he saw far more of the People of the Field, who 
dwelt between the forest and the city of Pseudopolis. 
These were the neighbors and the ordinary associates 
of Chloris and Jurgen ; though once in a while, of course, 
there would be family gatherings in the forest. But 
Jurgen presently had found good reason to distrust the 
People of the Wood, and went to none of these 
gatherings. 

"For in Eubonia," he said, "we are taught that your 
wife's relatives will never find fault with you to your 
face so long as you keep away from them. And more 
than that, no sensible man expects." 

Meanwhile, King Jurgen was perplexed by the People 
of the Field, who were his neighbors. They one and air 
did what they had always done. Thus Runcina saw to it 
that the Fields were weeded: Seia took care of the seed 
while it was buried in the earth : Nodosa arranged the 



OF COMPROMISES IN LEUKE 205 



knots and joints of the stalk: Volusia folded the blade 
around the corn : each had an immemorial duty. And 
there was hardly a day that somebody was not busied in 
the Fields, whether it was Occator harrowing, or Sator 
and Sarritor about their sowing and raking, or Stercutius 
manuring the ground: and Hippona was always bustling 
about in one place or another looking after the horses, 
or else Bubona would be there attending to the cattle. 
There was never any restfulness in the Fields. 

"And why do you do these things year in and year 
out?" asked Jurgen. 

"Why, King of Eubonia, we have always done these 
things," they said, in high astonishment. 

"Yes, but why not stop occasionally?" 

"Because in that event the work would stop. The 
corn would die, the cattle would perish, and the Fields 
would become jungles." 

"But, as I understand it, this is not your corn, nor 
your cattle, nor your Fields. You derive no good from 
them. And there is nothing to prevent your ceasing this 
interminable labor, and living as do the People of the 
Wood, who perform no heavy work whatever." 

"I should think not !" said Aristseus, and his teeth 
flashed in a smile that was very pleasant to see, as he 
strained at the olive-press. "Whoever heard of the 
People of the Wood doing anything useful !" 

"Yes, but," says Jurgen, patiently, "do you think it is 
quite fair to yourselves to be always about some tedious 
and difficult labor when nobody compels you to do it? 
Why do you not sometimes take holiday?" 

"King Jurgen," replied Fornax, looking up from the 
little furnace wherein she was parching corn, "you are 



206 JURGEN 



talking nonsense. The People of the Field have never 
taken holiday. Nobody ever heard of such a thing." 

"We should think not indeed!" said all the others, 
sagely. 

"Ah, ah!" said Jurgen, "so that is your demolishing 
reason. Well, I shall inquire about this matter among 
the People of the Wood, for they may be more sensible." 

Then as Jurgen was about to enter the forest, he en- 
countered Terminus, perfumed with ointment, and 
crowned with a garland of roses, and standing stock still. 

"Aha," said Jurgen, "so here is one of the People of 
the Wood about to go down into the Fields. But if I 
were you, my friend, I would keep away from any such 
foolish place." 

"I never go down into the Fields," said Terminus. 

"Oh, then, you are returning into the forest." 

"But certainly not. Whoever heard of my going into 
the forest !" 

"Indeed, now I look at you, you are merely standing 
here." 

"I have always stood here," said Terminus. 

"And do you never move?" 

"No," said Terminus. 

"And for what reason?" 

"Because I have always stood here without moving," 
replied Terminus. "Why, for me to move would be a 
quite unheard-of thing." 

So Jurgen left him, and went into the forest. And 
there Jurgen encountered a smiling young fellow, who 
rode upon the back of a large ram. This young man had 
his left fore-finger laid to his lips, and his right hand 
held an astonishing object to be thus publicly displayed. 



OF COMPROMISES IN LEUKE 207 



"But, oh, dear me! now, really, sir — !" says Jurgen. 

"Bah !" says the ram. 

But the smiling young fellow said nothing at all as he 
passed Jurgen, because it is not the custom of Harpo- 
crates to speak. 

"Which would be well enough," reflected Jurgen, "if 
only his custom did not make for stiffness and the embar- 
rassment of others." 

Thereafter Jurgen came upon a considerable commo- 
tion in the bushes, where a satyr was at play with an 
oread. 

"Oh, but this forest is not respectable !" said Jurgen. 
"Have you no ethics and morals, you People of the 
Wood! Have you no sense of responsibility whatever, 
thus to be frolicking on a working-day?" 

"Why, no," responded the Satyr, "of course not. None 
of my people have such things : and so the natural voca- 
tion of all satyrs is that which you are now interrupting.'* 

"Perhaps you speak the truth," said Jurgen. "Still, 
you ought to be ashamed of the fact that you are not 
lying." 

"For a satyr to be ashamed of himself would be indeed 
an unheard- of thing ! Now go away, you in the glittering 
shirt ! for we are studying eudaemonism, and you are talk- 
ing nonsense, and I am busy, and you annoy me," said 
the Satyr. 

"Well, but in Cocaigne," said Jurgen, "this eudaemon- 
ism was considered an indoor diversion." 

"And did you ever hear of a satyr going indoors?" 

"Why, save us from all hurt and harm ! but what has 
that to do with it ?" 

"Do not try to equivocate, you shining idiot ! For now 



208 JURGEN 

you see for yourself you are talking nonsense. And I 
repeat that such unheard-of nonsense irritates me/' said 
the Satyr. 

The Oread said nothing at all. But she too looked 
annoyed, and Jurgen reflected that it was probably not 
the custom of oreads to be rescued from the euckemonisni 
of satyrs. 

So Jurgen left them ; and yet deeper in the forest he 
found a bald-headed squat old man, with a big paunch 
and a flat red nose and very small bleared eyes. Now 
the old fellow was so helplessly drunk that he could not 
walk : instead, he sat upon the ground, and leaned against 
a tree-bole. 

"This is a very disgusting state for you to be in so 
early in the morning," observed Jurgen. 

"But Silenus is always drunk," the bald-headed man 
responded, with a dignified hiccough. 

"So here is another one of you! Well, and why are 
you always drunk, Silenus ?" 

"Because Silenus is the wisest of the People of the 
Wood." 

"Ah, ah ! but I apologize. For here at last is somebody 
with a plausible excuse for his daily employment. Now, 
then, Silenus, since you are so wise, come tell me, is it 
really the best fate for a man to be drunk always?" 

"Not at all. Drunkenness is a joy reserved for the 
Gods : so do men partake of it impiously, and so are they 
very properly punished for their audacity. For men, it 
is best of all never to be born; but, being born, to die 
very quickly." 

"Ah, yes! but failing either?" 



OF COMPROMISES IN LEUKE 209 

"The third best thing for a man is to do that which 
seems expected of him/' replied Silenus. 

"But that is the Law of Philistia: and with Philistia, 
they mform me, Pseudopolis is at war." 

Silenus meditated. Jurgen had discovered an uncom- 
fortable thing about this old fellow, and it was that his 
small bleared eyes did not blink nor the lids twitch at 
all. His eyes moved, as through magic the eyes of a 
painted statue might move horribly, under quite motion- 
less red lids. Therefore it was uncomfortable when these 
eyes moved toward you. 

"Young fellow in the glittering shirt, I will tell you a 
secret : and it is that the Philistines were created after the' 
image of Koshchei who made some things as they are. 
Do you think upon that ! So the Philistines do that which' 
seems expected. And the people of Leuke were created 
after the image of Koshchei who made yet other things 
as they are : therefore do the people of Leuke do that 
which is customary, adhering to classical tradition. Do 
you think upon that also! Then do you pick your side 
in this war, remembering that you side with stupidity 
either way. And when that happens which will happen, 
do you remember how Silenus foretold to you precisely 
what would happen, a long while before it happened, be- 
cause Silenus was so old and so wise and so very disre- 
putably drunk, and so very, very sleepy." 

"Yes, certainly, Silenus: but how will this war end?" 

"Dullness will conquer dullness : and it will not matter." 

"Ah, yes ! but what will become, in all this fighting, of 
Jurgen?" 

"That will not matter either," said Silenus, comfort- 



210 JURGEN 



ably. "Nobody will bother about you." And with that 
he closed his horrible bleared eyes and went to sleep. 

So Jurgen left the old tippler, and started to leave the 
forest also. "For undoubtedly all the people in Leuke 
are resolute to do that which is customary," reflected 
Jurgen, "for the unarguable reason it is their custom, 
and has always been their custom. And they will desist 
from these practises when the cat eats acorns, but not 
before. So it is the part of wisdom to inquire no further 
into the matter. For after all, these people may be right ; 
and certainly I cannot go so far as to say they are 
wrong." Jurgen shrugged. "But still, at the same 
time—!" 

Now in returning to his cabin Jurgen heard a frightful 
sort of yowling and screeching as of mad people. 

"Hail, daughter of various- formed Protogonus, thou 
that takest joy in mountains and battles and in the beating 
of the drum ! Hail, thou deceitful saviour, mother of all 
gods, that comest now, pleased with long wanderings, to 
be propitious to us !" 

But the uproar was becoming so increasingly unpleas- 
ant that Jurgen at this point withdrew into a thicket : and 
thence he witnessed the passing through the Woods of 
a notable procession. There were features connected 
with this procession sufficiently unusual to cause jurgen 
to vow that the desiderated moment wherein he walked 
unhurt from the forest would mark the termination of 
his last visit thereto. Then amazement tripped up the" 
heels of terror: for now passed Mother Sereda, or, as 
Anaitis had called her, iEsred. To-day, in place of a 
towel about her head, she wore a species of crown, shaped 
like a circlet of crumbling towers : she carried a large key, 



OF COMPROMISES IN LEUKE 211 



and her chariot was drawn by two lions. She was at- 
tended by howling persons, with shaved heads : and it was 
apparent that these persons had parted with possessions 
which Jurgen valued. 

"This is undoubtedly," said he, "a most unwholesome 
forest." 

Jurgen inquired about this procession, later, and from 
Chloris he got information which surprised him. 

"And these are the beings who I had thought were 
poetic ornaments of speech! But what is the old lady 
doing in such high company?" 

He described Mother Sereda, and Chloris told him who* 
this was. Now Jurgen shook his sleek black head. 

"Behold another mystery! Yet after all, it is no con- 
cern of mine if the old lady elects for an additional 
anagram. I should be the last person to criticize her, 
inasmuch as to me she has been more than generous. 
Well, I shall preserve her friendship by the infallible 
recipe of keeping out of her way. Oh, but I shall cer- 
tainly keep out of her way now that I have perceived 
what is done to the men who serve her." 

And after that Jurgen and Chloris lived very pleasant- 
ly together, though Jurgen began to find his Hamadryad 
a trifle unperceptive, if not actually obtuse. 

"She does not understand me, and she does not always 
treat my superior wisdom quite respectfully That is 
unfair, but it seems to be an unavoidable feature of 
married life. Besides, if any woman had ever understood 
me she would, in self-protection, have refused to marry 
me. In any case, Chloris is a dear brown plump delicious 
partridge of a darling: and cleverness in women is, after 
all, a virtue misplaced." 



212 JURGEN 



And Jurgen did not return into the Woods, nor did 
he go down into the city. Neither the People of the 
Field nor of the Wood, of course, ever went within city 
gates. "But I would think that you would like to see the 
fine sights of Pseudopolis," says Chloris, — "and that fine 
Queen of theirs," she added, almost as though she spoke 
without premeditation. 

"Woman dear," says Jurgen, " I do not wish to appear 
boastful. But in Eubonia, now ! well, really some day we 
must return to my kingdom, and you shall inspect for 
yourself a dozen or two of my cities — Ziph and Eglington 
and Poissieux and Gazden and Baremburg, at all events. 
And then you will concede with me that this little village 
of Pseudopolis, while well enough in its way — !" And 
Jurgen shrugged. "But as for saying more !" 

"Sometimes," said Chloris, "I wonder if there is any 
such place as your fine kingdom of Eubonia : for cer- 
tainly it grows larger and more splendid every time you 
talk of it." 

"Now can it be," asks Jurgen, more hurt than angry, 
"that you suspect me of uncandid dealing and, in short, 
of being an impostor!" 

"Why, what does it matter? You are Jurgen," she 
answered, happily. 

And the man was moved as she smiled at him across 
the glowing queer embroidery-work at which Chloris 
seemed to labor interminably : he was conscious of a ten- 
derness for her which was oddly remorseful : and it ap- 
peared to him that if he had known lovelier women he had 
certainly found nowhere anyone more lovable than was 
this plump and busy and sunny-tempered little wife of his. 

"My dear, I do not care to see Queen Helen again, and 



OF COMPROMISES IN LEUKE 213 



that is a fact. I am contented here, with a wife befitting 
my station, suited to my endowments, and infinitely excel- 
ling my deserts." 

"And do you think of that tow-headed bean-pole very 
often, King Jurgen?" 

"That is unfair, and you wrong me, Chloris, with these 
unmerited suspicions. It pains me to reflect, my dear, 
that you esteem the tie between us so lightly you can con- 
sider me capable of breaking it even in thought." 

"To talk of fairness is all very well, but it is no answer 
to a plain question." 

Jurgen looked full at her ; and he laughed. "You 
women are so unscrupulously practical. My dear, I have 
seen Queen Helen face to face. But it is you whom I 
love as a man customarily loves a woman." 

"That is not saying much." 

"No : for I endeavor to speak in consonance with my 
importance. You forget that I have also seen Achilles." 

"But you admired Achilles ! You told me so your- 
self." 

"I admired the perfections of Achilles, but I cordially 
dislike the man who possesses them. Therefore I shall 
keep away from both the King and Queen of Pseu- 
dopolis." 

"Yet you will not go into the Woods, either, Jurgen — " 

"Not after what I have witnessed there," said Jurgen, 
with an exaggerated shudder that was not very much 
exaggerated. 

Now Chloris laughed, and quitted her queer embroidery 
in order to rumple up his hair. "And you find the People 
of the Field so insufferably stupid, and so uninterested 
by your Zorobasiuses and Ptolemopiters and so on, that 



214 JURGEN 



you keep away from them also. O foolish man of mine, 
you are determined to be neither fish nor beast nor poul- 
try: and nowhere will you ever consent, to be happy." 

"It was not I who determined my nature, Chloris : and 
as for being happy, I make no complaint. Indeed, I have 
nothing to complain of, nowadays. So I am very well 
contented by my dear wife and by my manner of living 
in Leuke," said Jurgen, with a sigh. 



29. 

Concerni?tg Horvendile s Nonsense 



IT was on a bright and tranquil day in November, at 
the period which the People of the Field called the 
summer of Alcyone, that Jurgen went down from 
the forest; and after skirting the moats of Pseudopolis, 
and avoiding a meeting with any of the town's dispirit- 
ingly glorious inhabitants, Jurgen came to the seashore. 

Chloris had suggested his doing this, in order that she 
could have a chance to straighten things in his cabin 
while she was tidying her tree for the winter, and could 
so make one day's work serve for two. For the dryad 
of an oak-tree has large responsibilities, what with the 
care of so many dead leaves all winter, and the acorns 
being blown from their places and littering up the ground 
everywhere, and the bark cracking until it looks positively 
disreputable : and Jurgen was at any such work less a 
help than a hindrance. So Chloris gave him a parcel of 
lunch and a perfunctory kiss, and told him to go down to 
the seashore and get inspired and make up a pretty poem 
about her. "And do you be back in time for an early sup- 
per, Jurgen," says she, "but not a minute before." 

Thus it befell that Jurgen reflectively ate his lunch in 
solitude, and regarded the Euxine. The sun was high, 
and the queer shadow that followed Jurgen was huddled 
into shapelessness. 

215 



216 JURGEN 



"This is indeed an inspiring spectacle," Jurgen 
reflected. "How puny seems the race of man, in contrast 
with this mighty sea, which now spreads before me like, 
as So-and-so has very strikingly observed, a something 
or other under such and such conditions !" Then Jurgen 
shrugged. "Really, now I think of it, though, there is no 
call for me to be suffused with the traditional emotions. 
It looks like a great deal of water, and like nothing else 
in particular. And I cannot but consider the water is 
behaving rather futilely." 

So he sat in drowsy contemplation of the sea. Far out 
a shadow would form on the water, like the shadow of a 
broadish plank, scudding shoreward, and lengthening and 
darkening as it approached. Presently it would be some 
hundred feet in length, and would assume a hard smooth 
darkness, like that of green stone : this was the under side 
of the wave. Then the top of it would curdle, the south- 
ern end of the wave would collapse, and with exceeding 
swiftness this white feathery falling would plunge and 
scamper and bluster northward, the full length of the 
wave. It would be neater and more workmanlike to have 
each wave tumble down as a whole. From the smacking 
and the splashing, what looked like boiling milk would 
thrust out over the brown sleek sands : and as the mess 
spread it would thin to a reticulated whiteness, like lace, 
and then to the appearance of smoke sprays clinging to 
the sands. Plainly the tide was coming in. 

Or perhaps it was going out. Jurgen's notions as to 
such phenomena were vague. But, either way, the sea 
was stirring up a large commotion and a rather pleasant 
and invigorating odor. 

And then all this would happen once more : and then 



CONCERNING HORVENDILE'S NONSENSE 217 



it would happen yet again. It had happened a number of 
hundred of times since Jurgen first sat down to eat his 
lunch : and what was gained by it ? The sea was behaving 
stupidly. There was no sense in this continual sloshing 
and spanking and scrabbling and spluttering. 

Thus Jurgen, as he nodded over the remnants of his 
lunch. 

"Sheer waste of energy, I am compelled to call it," 
said Jurgen, aloud, just as he noticed there were two 
other men on this long beach. 

One came from the north, one from the south, so that 
they met not far from where Jurgen was sitting: and by 
an incredible coincidence Jurgen had known both of these 
men in his first youth. So he hailed them, and they recog- 
nized him at once. One of these travellers was the Hor- 
vendile who had been secretary to Count Emmerick when 
Jurgen was a lad : and the other was Perion de la Foret, 
that outlaw who had come to Bellegarde very long ago 
disguised as the Vicomte de Puysange. And all three of 
these old acquaintances had kept their youth surprisingly. 

Now Horvendile and Perion marveled at the fine shirt 
which Jurgen was wearing. 

"Why, you must know," he said, modestly, "that I have 
lately become King of Eubonia, and must dress according 
to my station." 

So they said they had always expected some such high 
honor to befall him, and then the three of them fell to 
talking. And Perion told how he had come through 
Pseudopolis, on his way to King Theodoret at Lacre Kai, 
and how in the market-place at Pseudopolis he had seen 
Queen Helen. "She is a very lovely lady," said Perion, 



218 JURGEN 



"and I marvelled over her resemblance to Count Em- 
merick's fair sister, whom we all remember." 

"I noticed that at once," said Horvendile, and he 
smiled strangely, "when I, too, passed through the city." 

"Why, but nobody could fail to notice it," said Jurgen. 

"It is not, of course, that I consider her to be as lovely 
as Dame Melicent," continued Perion, "since, as I have 
contended in all quarters of the world, there has never 
lived, and will never live, any woman so beautiful as 
Melicent. But you gentlemen appear surprised by what 
seems to me a very simple statement. Your air, in fine, 
is one that forces me to point out it is a statement I can 
permit nobody to deny." And Perion's honest eyes had 
narrowed unpleasantly, and his sun-browned countenance 
was uncomfortably stern. 

"Dear sir," said Jurgen, hastily, "it was merely that it 
appeared to me the lady whom they call Queen Helen 
hereabouts is quite evidently Count Emmerick's sister 
Dorothy la Desiree." 

"Whereas I recognized her at once," says Horvendile, 
"as Count Emmerick's third sister, La Beale Ettarre." 

And now they stared at one another, for it was certain 
that these three sisters were not particularly alike. 

"Putting aside any question of eyesight," observes 
Perion, "it is indisputable that the language of both of 
you is distorted. For one of you says this is Madame 
Dorothy, and the other says this is Madame Ettarre: 
whereas everybody knows that this Queen Helen, whom- 
ever she may resemble, cannot possibly be anybody else 
save Queen Helen." 

"To you, who are always the same person," replied 
Jurgen, "that may sound reasonable. For my part, I am 



CONCERNING HORVENDILE'S NONSENSE 219 



several people : and I detect no incongruity in other 
persons' resembling me." 

"There would be no incongruity anywhere," suggested 
Horvendile, 'if Queen Helen were the woman whom we 
had loved in vain. For the woman whom when we were 
young we loved in vain is the one woman that we can 
never see quite clearly, whatever happens. So we might 
easily, I suppose, confuse her with some other woman." 

"But Melicent is the lady whom I have loved in vain," 
said Perion, "and I care nothing whatever about Queen 
Helen. Why should I? What do you mean now, Hor- 
vendile, by your hints that I have faltered in my con- 
stancy to Dame Melicent since I saw Queen Helen? I 
do not like such hints." 

"No less, it is Ettarre whom I love, and have loved 
not quite in vain, and have loved unfalteringly," says 
Horvendile, with his quiet smile: "and I am certain that 
it was Ettarre whom I beheld when I looked upon Queen 
Helen." 

"I may confess," says Jurgen, clearing his throat, "that 
I have always regarded Madame Dorothy with peculiar 
respect and admiration. For the rest, I am married. 
Even so, I think that Madame Dorothy is Queen Helen." 

Then they fell to debating this mystery. And presently 
Perion said the one way out was to leave the matter to 
Queen Helen. "She at all events must know who she is. 
So do one of you go back into the city, and embrace her 
knees as is the custom of this country when one implores 
a favor of the King or the Queen : and do you then ask 
her fairly." 

"Not I," says Jurgen. "I am upon terms of some in- 
timacy with a hamadryad just at present. I am content 



220 JURGEN 



with my Hamadryad. And I intend never to venture 
into the presence of Queen Helen any more, in order to 
preserve my contentment." 

"Why, but I cannot go," says Perion, "because Dame 
Melicent has a little mole upon her left cheek. And 
Queen Helen's cheek is flawless. You understand, of 
course, that I am certain this mole immeasurably en- 
hances the beauty of Dame Melicent," he added, loyally. 
"None the less, I mean to hold no further traffic with 
Queen Helen." 

"Now my reason for not going is this," said Horven- 
dile : — "that if I attempted to embrace the knees of 
Ettarre, whom people hereabouts call Helen, she would 
instantly vanish. Other matters apart, I do not wish to 
bring any such misfortune upon the Island of Leuke." 

"But that," said Perion, "is nonsense." 

"Of course it is," said Horvendile. "That is probably 
why it happens." 

So none of them would go. And each of them clung, 
none the less, to his own opinion about Queen Helen. 
And presently Perion said they were wasting both time' 
and words. Then Perion bade the two farewell, and 
Perion continued southward, toward Lacre Kai. And as 
he went he sang a song in honor of Dame Melicent, whom 
he celebrated as Heart o' My Heart: and the two who 
heard him agreed that Perion de la Foret was probably 
the worst poet in the world. 

"Nevertheless, there goes a very chivalrous and worthy 
gentleman," said Horvendile, "intent to play out the re- 
mainder of his romance. I wonder if the Author gets 
much pleasure from these simple characters? At least. 
they must be easy to handle." 



CONCERNING HORVENDILE'S NONSENSE 221 



"I cultivate a judicious amount of gallantry," says 
Jurgen: "I do not any longer aspire to be chivalrous. 
And indeed, Horvendile, it seems to me indisputable that 
each one of us is the hero in his own romance, and can- 
not understand any other person's romance, but mis- 
interprets everything therein, very much as we three have 
fallen out in the simple matter of a woman's face." 

Now young Horvendile meditatively stroked his own 
curly and reddish hair, brushing it away from his ears 
with his left hand, as he sat there staring meditatively at 
nothing in particular. 

"I would put it, Jurgen, that we three have met like 
characters out of three separate romances which the 
Author has composed in different styles." 

"That also," Jurgen submitted, "would be nonsense." 

"Ah, but perhaps the Author very often perpetrates 
nonsense. Come Jurgen, you who are King of Eubonia !" 
says Horvendile, with his wide-set eyes a-twinkle ; "what 
is there in you or me to attest that our Author has not 
composed our romances with his tongue in his cheek ?" 

"Messire Horvendile, if you are attempting to joke 
about Koshchei who made all things as they are, I warn 
you I do not consider that sort of humor very wholesome. 
Without being prudish, I believe in common-sense : and I 
would vastly prefer to have you talk about something 
else." 

Horvendile was still smiling. "You look some day to 
come to Koshchei, as you call the Author. That is easily 
said, and sounds excellently. Ah, but how will you recog- 
nize Koshchei? and how do you know you have not 
already passed by Koshchei in some street or meadow? 
Come now, King Jurgen," said Horvendile, and still his 



222 JURGEN 



young face wore an impish smile; "come tell me, how do 
you know that I am not Koshchei who made all things 
as they are?" 

"Be off with you!" says Jurgen; "you would never 
have had the wit to invent a Jurgen. Something else is 
troubling me: I have just recollected that the young 
Perion who left us only a moment since, grew to be rich 
and gray-headed and famous, and took Dame Melicent 
from her pagan husband, and married her himself : and 
that all this happened long years ago. So our recent talk 
with young Perion seems very improbable." 

"Why, but do you not remember, too, that I ran away 
in the night when Maugis d'Aigremont stormed Storis- 
ende ? and was never heard of any more ? and that all this, 
too, took place a long, long while ago ? Yet we have met 
as three fine young fellows, here on the beach of fabulous 
Leuke. I put it to you fairly, King Jurgen : now how 
could this conceivably have come about unless the Author 
sometimes composes nonsense?" 

"Truly the way that you express it, Horvendile, the 
thing does seem a little strange ; and I can think of no 
explanation rendering it plausible." 

"Again, see now, King Jurgen of Eubonia, how you 
underrate the Author's ability. This is one of the 
romancer's most venerable devices that is being practised. 
See for yourself !" And suddenly Horvendile pushed 
Jurgen so that Jurgen tumbled over in the warm sand. 

Then Jurgen arose, gaping and stretching himself. 
"That was a very foolish dream I had, napping here in 
the sun. For it was certainly a dream. Otherwise, they 
would have left footprints, these young fellows who have 
gone the way of youth so long ago. And it was a dream 



CONCERNING HORVENDILE'S NONSENSE 223 



that had no sense in it. But indeed it would be strange 
if that were the whole point of it, and if living, too, were 
such a dream, as that queer Horvendile would have me 
think." 

Jurgen snapped his fingers. 

"Well, and what in common fairness could he or any- 
one else expect me to do about it! That is the answer 
I fling at you, you Horvendile whom I made up in a 
dream. And I disown you as the most futile of my in- 
ventions. So be off with you ! and a good riddance, too, 
for I never held with upsetting people." 

Then Jurgen dusted himself, and trudged home to an 
early supper with the Hamadryad who contented him. 



30. 

Economics of King Jurgen 




OW Jurgen'9 curious dream put notions into the 
restless head of Jurgen. So mighty became his 
curiosity that he went shuddering into the ab- 
horred Woods, and passed over Coalisnacoan (which is 
the Ferry of Dogs), and did all such detestable things as 
were necessary to placate Phobetor. Then Jurgen tricked 
Phobetor by an indescribable device, wherein surprising 
use was made of a cheese and three beetles and a gimlet, 
and so cheated Phobetor out of a gray magic. And that 
night while Pseudopolis slept King Jurgen came down 
into this city of gold and ivory. 

Jurgen went with distaste among the broad-browed 
and great-limbed monarchs of Pseudopolis, for they re- 
minded him of things that he had long ago put aside, 
and they made him feel unpleasantly ignoble and insignifi- 
cant. That was his real reason for avoiding the city. 

Now he passed between unlighted and silent palaces, 
walking in deserted streets where the moon made ominous 
shadows. Here was the house of Ajax Telamon who 
reigned in sea-girt Salamis, here that of god-like Philoc- 
tetes : much-counseling Odysseus dwelt just across the 
way, and the corner residence was fair-haired Aga- 
memnon's : in the moonlight Jurgen easily made out 
these names engraved upon the bronze shield that 

224 



ECONOMICS OF KING JURGEN 225 



hung beside each doorway. To every side of him slept 
the heroes of old song while Jurgen skulked under 
their windows. 

He remembered how incuriously — not even scornfully 
— these people had overlooked him on that disastrous 
afternoon when he had ventured into Pseudopolis by 
daylight. And a spiteful little gust of rage possessed him, 
and Jurgen shook his fist at the big silent palaces. 

"Yah !" he snarled : for he did not know at all what it 
was that he desired to say to those great stupid heroes 
who did not care what he said, but he knew that he hated 
them. Then Jurgen became aware of himself growling 
there like a kicked cur who is afraid to bite, and he began 
to laugh at this Jurgen. 

"Your pardon, gentlemen of Greece," says he, with 
a wide ceremonious bow, "and I think the information I 
wished to convey was that I am a monstrous clever 
fellow." 

Jurgen went into the largest palace, and crept stealthily 
by the bedroom of Achilles, King of Men, treading a-tip- 
toe; and so came at last into a little room panelled with 
cedar-wood where slept Queen Helen. She was smiling 
in her sleep when he had lighted his lamp, with due 
observance of the gray magic. She was infinitely beauti- 
ful, this young Dorothy whom people hereabouts through 
some odd error called Helen. 

For Jurgen saw very well that this was Count Em- 
merick's sister Dorothy la Desiree, whom Jurgen had 
vainly loved in the days when Jurgen was young alike in 
body and heart. Just once he had won back to her, in 
the garden between dawn and sunrise : but he was then 
a time-battered burgher whom Dorothy did not recog- 



226 JURGEN 

nise. Now he returned to her a king, less admirable it 
might be than some of the many other kings without 
realms who slept now in Pseudopolis, but still very fine 
in his borrowed youth, and above all, armored by a gray 
magic : so that improbabilities were possible. And Jurgen's 
eyes were furtive, and he passed his tongue across his 
upper lip from one corner to the other, and his hand 
went out toward the robe of violet-colored wool which 
covered the sleeping girl, for he stood ready to awaken 
Dorothy la Desiree in the way he often awoke Chloris. 

But a queer thought held him. Nothing, he recollected, 
had shown the power to hurt him very deeply since he 
had lost this young Dorothy. And to affairs which 
threatened to result unpleasantly, he had always managed 
to impart an agreeable turn, since then, by virtue of pre- 
serving a cool heart. What if by some misfortune he 
were to get back his real youth? and were to become 
again the flustered boy who blundered from stammering 
rapture to wild misery, and back again, at the least word 
or gesture of a gold-haired girl? 

"Thank you, no!" says Jurgen. "The boy was more 
admirable than I, who am by way of being not wholly 
admirable. But then he had a wretched lime of it, by 
and large. Thus it may be that my real youth lies sleep- 
ing here : and for no consideration would I re-awaken it." 

And yet tears came into his eyes, for no reason at all. 
And it seemed to him that the sleeping woman, here at 
his disposal, was not the young Dorothy whom he had 
seen in the garden between dawn and sunrise, although 
the two were curiously alike; and that of the two this 
woman here was, somehow, infinitely the lovelier. 



ECONOMICS OF KING JURGEN 227 



"Lady, if you indeed be the Swan's daughter, long and 
long ago there was a child that was ill. And his illness 
turned to a fever, and in his fever he arose from his bed 
one night, saying that he must set out for Troy, because 
of his love for Queen Helen. I was once that child. I 
remember how strange it seemed to me I should be talking 
such nonsense : I remember how the warm room smelt 
of drugs : and I remember how I pitied the trouble in my 
nurse's face, drawn and old in the yellow lamplight. For 
she loved me, and she did not understand: and she 
pleaded with me to be a good boy and not to worry my 
sleeping parents. But I perceive now that I was not 
talking nonsense." 

He paused, considering the riddle: and his fingers 
fretted with the robe of violet-colored wool beneath 
which lay Queen Helen. 

"Yours is that beauty of which men know by fabulous 
report alone, and which they may not ever find, nor ever 
win to, quite. And for that beauty I have hungered 
always, even in childhood. Toward that beauty I have 
struggled always, but not quite whole-heartedly. That 
night forecast my life. I have hungered for you: and" 
— Jurgen smiled here — "and I have always stayed a 
passably good boy, lest I should beyond reason disturb 
my family. For to do that, I thought, would not be fair: 
and still I believe for me to have done that would have 
been unfair." 

He grimaced at this point : for Jurgen was finding his 
scruples inconveniently numerous. 

"And now I think that what I do to-night is not quite 
fair to Chloris. And I do not know what thing it is that 
I desire, and ttk. will of Jurgen is a feather in the wind. 



228 JURGEN 



But I know that I would like to love somebody as Chloris 
loves me, and as so many women have loved me. And 
I know that it is you who have prevented this, Queen 
Helen, at every moment of my life since the disastrous 
moment when I first seemed to find your loveliness in the 
face of Madame Dorothy. It is the memory of your 
beauty, as I then saw it mirrored in the face of a j ill— 
flirt, which has enfeebled me for such honest love as 
other men give women : and I envy these other men. 
For Jurgen has loved nothing — not even you, not even 
Jurgen ! — quite whole-heartedly. Well, what if I took 
vengeance now upon this thieving comeliness, upon this 
robber that strips life of joy and sorrow?" 

Jurgen stood at Queen Helen's bedside, watching her, 
for a long while. He had shifted into a less fanciful 
mood : and the shadow that followed him was ugly and 
hulking and wavering upon the cedarn wall of Queen 
Helen's sleeping-chamber. 

"Mine is a magic which does not fail," old Phobetor 
had said, while his attendants raised his eyelids so that he 
could see King Jurgen. 

Now Jurgen remembered this. And reflectively he 
drew back the robe of violet-colored wool, a little way. 
The breast of Queen Helen lay bare. And she did not 
move at all, but she smiled in her sleep. 

Never had Jurgen imagined that any woman could be 
so beautiful nor so desirable as this woman, or that he 
could ever know such rapture. So Jurgen paused. 

"Because," said Jurgen now, "it may be this woman 
has some fault : it may be there is some fleck in her beauty 
somewhere. And sooner than know that, I would prefer 
to retain my unreasonable dreams, and this longing which 



ECONOMICS OF KING JURGEN 229 



is unfed and hopeless, and the memory of to-night. Be- 
sides, if she were perfect in everything, how could I live 
any longer, who would have no more to desire? No, 
I would be betraying my own interests, either way ; and 
injustice is always despicable." 

So Jurgen sighed and gently replaced the robe of 
violet-colored wool, and he returned to his Hamadryad. 

"And now that I think of it, too," reflected Jurgen, 
"I am behaving rather nobly. Yes, it is questionless that 
I have to-night evinced a certain delicacy of feeling which 
merits appreciation, at all events by King Achilles." 



31. 

The Fall of Pseudopolis 



O Jurgen abode in Leuke, and complied with the 
customs of that country; and what with one thing 
and another, he and Chloris made the time pass 
pleasantly enough, until the winter solstice was at hand. 
Now Pseudopolis, as has been said, was at war with 
Philistia : so it befell that at this season Leuke was 
invaded by an army of Philistines, led by their Queen 
Dolores, a woman who was wise but not entirely reliable. 
They came from the coast, a terrible army insanely clad 
in such garments as had been commanded by Ageus, a 
god of theirs ; and chaunting psalms in honor of their 
god Vel-Tyno, who had inspired this crusade : thus they 
swept down upon Pseudopolis, and encamped before the 
city. 

These Philistines fought in this campaign by casting 
before them a more horrible form of Greek fire, which 
consumed whatever was not gray-colored. For that color 
alone was now favored by their god Vel-Tyno. "And all 
other colors," his oracles had decreed, "are forevermore 
abominable, until I say otherwise." 

So the forces of Philistia were marshalled in the plain 
before Pseudopolis, and Queen Dolores spoke to her 
troops. And smilingly she said: — 

"Whenever you come to blows with the enemy he will 
230 



THE FALL OF PSEUDOPOLIS 231 



be beaten. No mercy will be shown, no prisoners taken. 
As the Philistines under Libnah and Goliath and Gershon, 
and a many other tall captains, made for themselves a 
name which is still mighty in traditions and legend, even 
thus to-day may the name of Realist be so fixed in 
Pseudopolis, by your deeds to-day, that no one shall ever 
dare again even to look askance at a Philistine. Open 
the door for Realism, once for all !" 

Meanwhile within the city Achilles, King of Men, 
addressed his army : — 

"The eyes of all the world will be upon you, because 
you are in some especial sense the soldiers of Romance. 
Let it be your pride, therefore, to show all men every- 
where, not only what good soldiers you are, but also 
what good men you are, keeping yourselves fit and 
straight in everything, and pure and clean through and 
through. Let us set ourselves a standard so high that 
it will be a glory to live up to it, and then let us live 
up to it, and add a new laurel to the crown of Pseudopolis. 
May the Gods of Old keep you and guide you !" 

Then said Thersites, in his beard: "Certainly Pelides 
has learned from history with what weapon a strong man 
discomfits the Philistines." 

But the other kings applauded, and the trumpet was 
sounded, and the battle was joined. And that day the 
forces of Philistia were everywhere triumphant. But 
they report a queer thing happened : and it was that when 
the Philistines shouted in their triumph, Achilles and all 
they who served him rose from the ground like gleaming 
clouds and passed above the heads of the Philistines, de- 
riding them. 

Thus was Pseudopolis left empty, so that the Philistines 



232 JURGEN 

entered thereinto without any opposition. They defiled 
this city of blasphemous colors, then burned it as a sacri- 
fice to their god Vel-Tyno, because the color of ashes is 
gray. 

Then the Philistines ' erected lithoi (which were not 
unlike may-poles), and began to celebrate their religious 

rites. 

* * * 

So it was reported: but Jurgen witnessed none of these 
events. 

"Let them fight it out," said Jurgen: "it is not my 
affair. I agree with Silenus: dullness will conquer dull- 
ness, and it will not matter. But do you, woman dear, 
take shelter with your kindred in the unconquerable 
Woods, for there is no telling what damage the Philis- 
tines may do hereabouts." 

"Will you go with me, Jurgen?" 

"My dear, you know very well that it is impossible 
for me ever again to go into the Woods, after the trick 
I played upon Phobetor." 

"And if only you had kept your head about that bean- 
pole of a Helen, in her yellew wig — for I have not a 
doubt that every strand of it is false, and at all events 
this is not a time to be arguing about it, Jurgen, — why, 
then you would never have meddled with Uncle Phobetor ! 
It simply shows you!" 

"Yes," said Jurgen. 

"Still, I do not know. If you come with me into the 
Woods, Uncle Phobetor in his impetuous way will quite 
certainly turn you into a boar-pig, because he has always 
done that to the people who irritated him — " 

"I seem to recognise that reason." 



THE FALL OF PSEUDOPOLIS 233 



" — But give me time, and I can get around Uncle Pho- 
betor, just as I have always done, and he will turn you 
back." 

"No," says Jurgen, obstinately, "I do not wish to be 
turned into a boar-pig." 

"Now, Jurgen, let us be sensible about this ! Of course, 
it is a little humiliating. But I will take the very best of 
care of you, and feed you with my own acorns, and it 
will be a purely temporary arrangement. And to be a 
pig for a week or two, or even for a month, is infinitely 
better for a poet than being captured by the Philistines." 

"How do I know that?" says Jurgen. 

" — For it is not, after all, as if Uncle Phobetor's heart 
were not in the right place. It is just his way. And 
besides, you must remember what you did with that 
gimlet !" 

Said Jurgen : "All this is hardly to the purpose. You 
forget I have seen the hapless swine of Phobetor, and I 
know how he ameliorates the natural ferocity of his 
boar-pigs. No, I am Jurgen. So I remain. I will face 
the Philistines and whatever they may possibly do to me, 
rather than suffer that which Phobetor will quite cer- 
tainly do to me." 

"Then I stay too," said Chloris. 

"No, woman dear — !" 

"But do you not understand?" says Chloris, a little pale, 
as he saw now. "Since the life of a hamadryad is linked 
with the life of her tree, nobody can harm me so long as 
my tree lives: and if they cut down my tree I shall die, 
wherever I may happen to be." 

"I had forgotten that." He was really troubled now. 

" — And you can see for yourself, Jurgen, it is quite 



234 JURGEN 



out of the question for me to be carrying that great oak 
anywhere, and I wonder at your talking such nonsense." 

"Indeed, my dear," says Jurgen, " we are very neatly 
trapped. Well, nobody can live longer in peace than his 
neighbor chooses. Nevertheless, it is not fair." 

As he spoke the Philistines came forth from the burn- 
ing city. Again the trumpet sounded, and the Philistines 
advanced in their order of battle. 



32. 

Sundry Devices of the Philistines 



MEANWHILE the People of the Field had 
watched Pseudopolis burn, and had wondered 
what would befall them. They had not long to 
wonder, for next day the Fields were occupied, without 
any resistance by the inhabitants. 

"The People of the Field," said they, "have never 
fought, and for them to begin now would be a very 
unheard-of thing indeed." 

So the Fields were captured by the Philistines, and 
Chloris and Jurgen and all the People of the Field were 
judged summarily. They were declared to be obsolete 
illusions, whose merited doom was to be relegated to 
limbo. To Jurgen this appeared unreasonable. 

"For I am no illusion,'' he asserted. "I am manifestly 
flesh and blood, and in addition, I am the high King of 
Eubonia, and no less. Why, in disputing these facts you 
contest circumstances that are so well known hereabouts 
as to rank among mathematical certainties. And that 
makes you look foolish, as I tell you for your own good." 

This vexed the leaders of the Philistines, as it always 
vexes people to be told anything for their own good. 
"We would have you know," said they, "that we are not 
mathematicians; and that moreover, we have no kings 

235 



236 JURGEN 



in Philistia, where all must do what seems to be expected 
of them, and have no other law." 

"How then can you be the leaders of Philistia?" 

"Why, it is expected that women and priests should 
behave unaccountably. Therefore all we who are women 
or priests do what we will in Philistia, and the men there 
obey us. And it is we, the priests of Philistia, who do 
not think you can possibly have any flesh and blood under 
a shirt which we recognize to be a conventional figure of 
speech. It does not stand to reason. And certainly you 
could not ever prove such a thing by mathematics ; and 
to say so is nonsense." 

"But I can prove it by mathematics, quite irrefutably. 
I can prove anything you require of me by whatever 
means you may prefer," said Jurgen, modestly, "for the 
simple reason that I am a monstrous clever fellow." 

Then spoke the wise Queen Dolores, saying: "I have 
studied mathematics. I will question this young man, in 
my tent to-night, and in the morning I will report the 
truth as to his claims. Are you content to endure this 
interrogatory, my spruce young fellow who wear the 
shirt of a king?" 

Jurgen looked full upon her : she was lovely as a hawk 
is lovely: and of all that Jurgen saw Jurgen approved. 
Pie assumed the rest to be in keeping: and deduced that 
Dolores was a fine woman. 

"Madame and Queen," said Jurgen, "I am content. 
And I can promise to deal fairly with you." 

So that evening Jurgen was conducted into the purple 
tent of Queen Dolores of Philistia. It was quite dark 
there, and Jurgen went in alone, and wondering what 
would happen next: but this scented darkness he found 



SUNDRY DEVICES OF THE PHILISTINES 237 



of excellent augury, if only because it prevented his 
shadow from following him. 

"Now, you who claim to be flesh and blood, and King 
of Eubonia, too," says the voice of Queen Dolores, "what 
is this nonsense you were talking about proving any such 
claims by mathematics?" 

"Well, but my mathematics," replied Jurgen, "are 
Praxagorean." 

"What, do you mean Praxagoras of Cos?" 

"As if," scoffed Jurgen, "anybody had ever heard of 
any other Praxagoras!" 

"But he, as I recall, belonged to the medical school of 
the Dogmatic!," observed the wise Queen Dolores, "and 
was particularly celebrated for his researches in anatomy. 
Was he, then, also a mathematician ?" 

"The two are not incongruous, madame, as I would be 
delighted to demonstrate." 

"Oh, nobody said that! For, indeed, it does seem to 
me I have heard of this Praxagorean system of mathe- 
matics, though, I confess, I have never studied it." 

"Our school, madame, postulates, first of all, that since 
the science of mathematics is an abstract science, it is 
best inculcated by some concrete example." 

Said the Queen: "But that sounds rather compli- 
cated." 

"It occasionally leads to complications," Jurgen ad- 
mitted, "through a choice of the wrong example. But the 
axiom is no less true." 

"Come, then, and sit next to me on this couch if you 
can find it in the dark; and do you explain to me what 
you mean." 

"Why, madame, by a concrete example I mean one that 



238 JURGEN 



is perceptible to any of the senses — as to sight or hearing, 
or touch — " 

"Oh, oh!" said the Queen, "now I perceive what you 
mean by a concrete example. And grasping this, I can 
understand that complications must of course arise from 
a choice of the wrong example." 

"Well, then, madame, it is first necessary to implant in 
you, by the force of example, a lively sense of the peculiar 
character, and virtues and properties, of each of the 
numbers upon which is based the whole science of Praxa- 
gorean mathematics. For in order to convince you thor- 
oughly, we must start far down, at the beginning of all 
things." 

"I see," said the Queen, "or rather, in this darkness L 
cannot see at all, but I perceive your point. Your open- 
ing interests me : and you may go on." 

"Now One, or the monad," says Jurgen, "is the prin- 
ciple and the end of all : it reveals the sublime knot which 
binds together the chain of causes: it is the symbol of 
identity, of equality, of existence, of conservation, and of 
general harmony." And Jurgen emphasized these char- 
acteristics vigorously. "In brief, One is a symbol of 
the union of things : it introduces that generating virtue 
which is the cause of all combinations : and consequently 
One is a good principle." 

"Ah, ah!" said Queen Dolores, "I heartily admire a 
good principle. But what has become of your concrete 
example ?" 

"It is ready for you, madame : there is but One 
Jurgen." 

"Oh, I assure you, I am not yet convinced of that. 
Still, the audacity of your example will help me to re- 



SUNDRY DEVICES OF THE PHILISTINES 239? 

member One, whether or not you prove to be really 
unique." 

"Now, Two, or the dyad, the origin of contrasts — " 

Jurgen went on penetratingly to demonstrate that Two 
was a symbol of diversity and of restlessness and of dis- 
order, ending in collapse and separation : and was accord- 
ingly an evil principle. Thus was the life of every man 
made wretched by the struggle between his Two com- 
ponents, his soul and his body ; and thus was the rapture 
of expectant parents considerably abated by the advent 
of Twins. 

Three, or the triad, however, since everything wag 
composed of three substances, contained the most sub- 
lime mysteries, which Jurgen duly communicated. We 
must remember, he pointed out, that Zeus carried a 
Triple thunderbolt, and Poseidon a Trident, whereas 
Ades was guarded by a dog with Three heads: this in 
addition to the omnipotent brothers themselves being a 
Trio. 

Thus Jurgen continued to impart the Praxagorean 
significance of each digit separately: and by and by the 
Queen was declaring his flow of wisdom was superhuman. 

"Ah, but, madame, not even the wisdom of a king is 
without limit. Eight, I repeat, then, is appropriately the 
number of the Beatitudes. And Nine, or the ennead, 
also, being the multiple of Three, should be regarded as 
sacred — " 

The Queen attended docilely to his demonstration of 
the peculiar properties of Nine. And when he had ended 
she confessed that beyond doubt Nine should be regarded 
as miraculous. But she repudiated his analogues as to 



240 JURGEN 



the muses, the lives of a cat, and how many tailors made 
a man. 

"Rather, I shall remember always," she declared, "that 
King Jurgen of Eubonia is a Nine days' wonder." 

"Well, madame," said Jurgen, with a sigh, "now that 
we have reached Nine, I regret to say we have exhausted 
the digits." 

"Oh, what a pity!" cried Queen Dolores. "Neverthe- 
less, I will concede the only illustration I disputed ; there 
is but One Jurgen: and certainly this Praxagorean sys- 
tem of mathematics is a fascinating study." And prompt- 
ly she commenced to plan Jurgen's return with her into 
Philistia, so that she might perfect herself in the higher 
branches of mathematics. "For you must teach me cal- 
culus and geometry and all other sciences in which these 
digits are employed. We can arrange some compromise 
with the priests. That is always possible with the priests 
of Philistia, and indeed the priests of Sesphra can be 
made to help anybody in anything. And as for your 
Hamadryad, I will attend to her myself." 

"But, no," says Jurgen, " I am ready enough in all 
conscience to compromise elsewhere : but to compound 
with the forces of Philistia is the one thing I cannot do." 

"Do you mean that, King Jurgen?" The Queen was 
astounded. 

"I mean it, my dear, as I mean nothing else. You are 
in many ways an admirable people, and you are in all 
ways a formidable people. So I admire, I dread, I avoid, 
and at the very last pinch I defy. For you are not my 
people, and willy-nilly my gorge rises against your laws, 
as equally insane and abhorrent. Mind you, though, I 
assert nothing. You may be right in attributing wisdom 



SUNDRY DEVICES OF THE PHILISTINES 241 



to these laws ; and certainly I cannot go so far as to say 
you are wrong: but still, at the same time — ! That is 
the way I feel about it. So I, who compromise with 
everything else, can make no compromise with Philistia. 
No, my adored Dolores, it is not a virtue, rather it is an 
instinct with me, and I have no choice." 

Even Dolores, who was Queen of all the Philistines, 
could perceive that this man spoke truthfully. 

"I am sorry," says she, with real regret, "for you 
could be much run after in Philistia." 

"Yes," said Jurgen, "as an instructor in mathematics." 

"But, no, King Jurgen, not only in mathematics," said 
Dolores, reasonably. "There is poetry, for instance ! For 
they tell me you are a poet, and a great many of my 
people take poetry quite seriously, I believe. Of course, 
I do not have much time for reading, myself. So you 
can be the Poet Laureate of Philistia, on any salary you 
like. And you can teach us all your ideas by writing 
beautiful poems about them. And you and I can be 
very happy together." 

"Teach, teach! there speaks Philistia, and very temp- 
tingly, too, through an adorable mouth, that would bribe 
me with praise and fine food and soft days forever. It 
is a thing that happens rather often, though. And I can 
but repeat that art is not a branch of pedagogy !" 

"Really I am heartily sorry. For apart from mathe- 
matics, I like you, King Jurgen, just as a person." 

"I, too, am sorry, Dolores. For I confess to a weakness 
for the women of Philistia." 

"Certainly you have given me no cause to suspect you 
of any weakness in that quarter," observed Dolores, "in 
the long while you have been alone with me, and have 



242 JURGEN 



talked so wisely and have reasoned so deeply. I am 
afraid that after to-night I shall find all other men more 
or less superficial. Heigho! and I shall probably weep 
my eyes out to-morrow when you are relegated to limbo. 
For that is what the priests will do with you, King 
Jurgen, on one plea or another, if you do not conform 
to the laws of Philistia." 

"And that one compromise I cannot make! Ah, but 
even now I have a plan v/herewith to escape your priests : 
and failing that, I possess a cantrap to fall back upon in 
my hour of direst need. My private affairs are thus not 
yet in a hopeless or even in a dejected condition. This 
fact now urges me to observe that Ten, or the decade, 
is the measure of all, since it contains all the numeric 
relations and harmonies — " 

So they continued their study of mathematics until it 
was time for Jurgen to appear again before his judges. 
And in the morning Queen Dolores sent word to her 
priests that she was too sleepy to attend their council, but 
that the man was indisputably flesh and blood, amply de- 
served to be a king, and as a mathematician had not his 
peer. 

Now these points being settled, the judges conferred, 
and Jurgen was decreed a backslider into the ways of un- 
desirable error. His judges were the priests of Vel- 
Tyno and Sesphra and Ageus, who are the Gods of 
Philistia. 

Then the priest of Ageus put on his spectacles and 
consulted the canonical law, and declared that this change 
in the indictment necessitated a severance of Jurgen from 
the others, in the infliction of punishment. 

"For each, of course, must be relegated to the limbo 



SUNDRY DEVICES OF THE PHILISTINES 243 



of his fathers, as was foretold, in order that the 
prophecies may be fulfilled. Religion languishes when 
prophecies are not fulfilled. Now it appears that the 
forefathers of the flesh and blood prisoner were of a 
different faith from the progenitors of these obsolete 
illusions, and that his fathers foretold quite different 
things, and that their limbo was called Hell." 

"It is little you know," says Jurgen, " of the religion 
of Eubonia." 

"We have it written down in this great book," the 
priest of Vel-Tyno then told him, — "every word of it 
without blot or error." 

"Then you will see that the King of Eubonia is the 
head of the church there, and changes all the prophecies 
at will. Learned Gowlais says so directly: and the 
judicious Stevegonius was forced to agree with him, 
however unwillingly, as you will instantly discover by 
consulting the third section of his widely famous nine- 
teenth chapter." 

"Both Gowlais and Stevegonius were probably noto- 
rious heretics," says the priest of Ageus. "I believe that 
was settled once for all at the Diet of Orthumar." 

"Eh!" says Jurgen. He did not like this priest. "Now 
I will wager, sirs," Jurgen continued, a trifle patroniz- 
ingly, "that you gentlemen have not read Gowlais, or even 
Stevegonius, in the light of Vossler's commentaries. And 
that is why you underrate them." 

"I at least have read every word that was ever written 
by any of these three," replied the priest of Sesphra — 
"and with, as I need hardly say, the liveliest abhorrence. 
And this Gowlais in particular, as I hasten to agree with 
my learned confrere, is a most notorious heretic — " 



244 JURGEN 

"Oh, sir," said Jurgen, horrified, "whatever are you 
telling me about Gowlais !" 

"I tell you that I have been roused to indignation by 
his Historia de Bello Veneris — '* 

"You surprise me : still — " 

" — Shocked by his Pornoboscodidascolo- — " 

"I can hardly believe it : even so, you must grant — " 

" — And horrified by his Liber de immortalitate Men- 
tula? — " 

"Well, conceding you that earlier work, sir, yet, at the 
same time — " 

" — And have been disgusted by his De modo coe- 
undi — " 

"Ah, but, none the less — " 

" — And have shuddered over the unspeakable enorm- 
ities of his Erotopcegnion! of his Cincedica! and especially 
of his Epipedesis, that most pestilential and abominable 
book, quern sine horrore nemo potest legere — " 

"Still, you cannot deny — " 

" — And have read also all the confutations of this de- 
testable Gowlais : as those of Zanchius, Faventinus, Le- 
lius Vincentius, Lagalla, Thomas Giaminus, and eight 
other admirable commentators — " 

"You are very exact, sir : but — " 

" — And that, in short, I have read every book you 
can imagine," says the priest of Sesphra. 

The shoulders of Jurgen rose to his ears, and Jurgen 
silently flung out his hands, palms upward. 

"For, I perceive," says Jurgen, to himself, "that this 
Realist is too circumstantial for me. None the less, he 
invents his facts : it is by citing books which never existed 
that he publicly confutes the Gowlais whom I invented 



SUNDRY DEVICES OF THE PHILISTINES 245 



privately : and that is not fair. Now there remains only 
one chance for Jurgen; but luckily that chance is sure." 

"Why are you fumbling in your pocket?" asks the old 
priest of Ageus, fidgeting and peering. 

"Aha, you may well ask !" cried Jurgen. He unfolded 
the cantrap which had been given him by the Master 
Philologist, and which Jurgen had treasured against the 
time when more was needed than a glib tongue. "O 
most unrighteous judges," says Jurgen, sternly, "now 
hear and tremble! 'At the death of Adrian the Fifth, 
Pedro Juliani, who should be named John the Twentieth, 
was through an error in the reckoning elevated to the 
papal chair as John the Twenty- first !' " 

"Hah, and what have we to do with that ?" inquired the 
priest of Vel-Tyno, with raised eyebrows. "Why are you 
telling us of these irrelevant matters?" 

"Because I thought it would interest you," said Jur- 
gen. "It was a fact that appeared to me rather amusing. 
So I thought I would mention it." 

"Then you have very queer ideas of amusement," they 
told him. And Jurgen perceived that either he had not 
employed his cantrap correctly or else that its magic was 
unappreciated by the leaders of Philistia. 



33. 

Farewell to Chloris 



NOW the Philistines led out their prisoners, and 
made ready to inflict the doom which was decreed. 
And they permitted the young King of Eubonia 
to speak with Chloris. 

"Farewell to you now, Jurgen!" says Chloris, weep- 
ing softly, "ft is little I care what foolish words these 
priests of Philistia may utter against me. But the big- 
armed axemen are felling my tree yonder, to get them 
timber to make a bedstead for the Queen of Philistia: 
for that is what this Queen Dolores ordered them to do 
the first thing this morning." 

And Jurgen raised his hands. "You women!" he said. 
"What man would ever have thought of that?" 

"So when my tree is felled I must depart into a sombre 
land wherein there is no laughter at all ; and where the 
puzzled dead go wandering futilely through fields of 
scentless asphodel, and through tall sullen groves of 
myrtle, — the puzzled quiet dead, who may not even weep 
as I do now, but can only wonder what it is that they 
regret. And I too must taste of Lethe, and forget all I 
have loved." 

"You should give thanks to the imagination of your 
forefathers, my dear, that your doom is no worse. For 1 
I am going into a more barbaric limbo, into the Hell of 

246 



FAREWELL TO CHLORIS 247 



a people who thought entirely too much about flames and 
pitchforks," says Jurgen, ruefully, "I tell you it is the 
deuce and all, to come of morbid ancestry." And he 
kissed Chloris, upon the brow. "My dear, dear girl," 
he said, with a gulp, "as long as you remember me, do 
so with charity." 

"Jurgen" — and she clung close to him — "you were not 
ever unkind, not even for a moment. Jurgen, you have 
not ever spoken one harsh word to me or any other 
person, in all the while we were together. O Jurgen, 
whom I have loved as you could love nobody, it was not 
much those other women had left me to worship !" 

"Indeed, it is a pity that you loved me, Chloris, for I 
was not worthy." And for the instant Jurgen meant it. 

"If any other person said that, Jurgen, I would be very- 
angry. And even to hear you say it troubles me, because 
there was never a hamadryad between two hills that had 
a husband one-half so clever-foolish as he made light 
of time and chance, with his sleek black head cocked to 
one side, and his mischievous brown eyes a-twinkle." 

And Jurgen wondered that this should be the notion 
Chloris had of him, and that a gesture should be the 
things she remembered about him : and he was doubly 
assured that no woman bothers to understand the man 
she elects to love and cosset and slave for. 

"O woman dear," says Jurgen, "but I have loved you, 
and my heart is water now that you are taken from me : 
and to remember your ways and the joy I had in them 
will be a big and grinding sorrow in the long time to 
come. Oh, not with any heroic love have I loved you, 
nor with any madness and high dreams, nor with much 



248 JURGEN 



talking either ; but with a love befitting my condition, with 
a quiet and cordial love." 

"And must you be trying, while I die, to get your 
grieving for me into the right words?" she asks him, 
smiling very sadly. "No matter: you are Jurgen, and 
I have loved you. And I am glad that I shall know 
nothing about it when in the long time to come you will 
be telling so many other women about what was said by 
Zorobasius and Ptolemopiter, and when you will be pos- 
turing and romancing for their delight For presently I 
shall have tasted Lethe: and presently I shall have for- 
gotten you, King Jurgen, and all the joy I had in you, 
and all the pride, and all the love I had for you, King 
Jurgen, who loved me as much as you were able." 

"Why, and will there be any love-making, do you thiV-c, 
in Hell ?" he asks her, with a doleful smile. 

"There will be love-making," she replied, "wherever 
you go, King Jurgen. And there will be women to listen. 
And at the last there will be a bean-pole of a woman, in 
a wig." 

"I am sorry — " he said. "And yet I have loved you, 
Chloris." 

"That is my comfort now. And presently there will 
be Lethe. I put the greater faith in Lethe. And still, 
I cannot help but love you, Jurgen, in whom I have no 
faith at all." 

He said, again : "I am not worthy." 

They kissed. Then each of them was conveyed to an 
appropriate doom. 

And tears were in the eyes of Jurgen, who was not 
used to weep : and he thought not at all of what was to 
befall him, but only of this and that small trivial thing 



FAREWELL TO CHLORIS 249 



which would have pleased his Chloris had Jurgen done 
it, and which for one reason or another Jurgen had left 
undone. 

"I was not ever unkind to her, says she! ah, but I 
might have been so much kinder. And now I shall not 
ever see her any more, nor ever any more may I awaken 
delight and admiration in those bright tender eyes which 
saw no fault in me ! Well, but it is a comfort surely that 
she does not know how I devoted the last night she was 
to live to teaching mathematics." 

And then Jurgen wondered how he would be des- 
patched into the Hell of his fathers? And when the 
Philistines showed him in what manner they proposed to 
inflict their sentence he wondered at his own obtuseness. 

"For I might have surmised this would be the way of 
it," said Jurgen, "And yet as always there is a simplicity 
in the methods of the Philistines which is unimaginable 
by really clever fellows. And as always, too, these 
methods are unfair to us clever fellows. Well, I am 
willing to taste any drink once : but this is a very horrible 
device, none the less; and I wonder if I have the pluck 
to endure it?" 

Then as he stood considering this matter, a man-at- 
arms came hurrying. He brought with him three great 
rolled parchments, with seals and ribbons and everything 
in order: and these were Jurgen's pardon and Jurgen's 
nomination as Poet Laureate of Philistia and Jurgen's 
appointment as Mathematician Royal. 

The man-at-arms brought also a letter from Queen 
Dolores, and this Jurgen read with a frown. 

"Do you consider now what fun it would be to hood- 
wink everybody by pretending to conform to our laws !" 



250 JURGEN 



said this letter, and it said nothing more: Dolores was 
really a wise woman. Yet there was a postscript. "'For 
we could be so happy!" said the postscript. 

And Jurgen looked toward the Woods, where men were 
sawing up a great oak-tree. And Jurgen gave a fine 
laugh, and with fine deliberateness he tore up the Queen's 
letter into little strips. Then statelily he took the parch- 
ments, and found they were so tough he could not tear 
them. This was uncommonly awkward, for Jurgen's ill- 
advised attempt to tear the parchments impaired the 
dignity of his magnanimous self-sacrifice : he even sus- 
pected one of the guards of smiling. So there was 
nothing for it but presently to give up that futile tugging 
and jerking, and to compromise by crumpling these 
parchments. 

"This is my answer," said Jurgen. heroically, and with 
some admiration of himself, but still a little dashed by the 
uncalled-for toughness of the parchments. 

Then Jurgen cried farewell to fallen Leuke; and 
scornfully he cried farewell to the Philistines and to their 
devices. Then he submitted to their devices. Thus, it 
was without making any special protest about it that 
Jurgen was relegated to limbo, and was despatched to the 
Hell of his fathers, two days before Christmas. 



34. 

How Emperor Jurgen Fared Infernally 



NOW the tale tells how the devils of Hell were in 
one of their churches celebrating Christmas in 
such manner as the devils observe that day ; and 
how Jurgen came through the trapdoor in the vestry- 
room ; and how he saw and wondered over the creatures 
which inhabited this place. For to him after the 
Christmas services came all such devils as his fathers had 
foretold, and in not a hair or scale or talon did they differ 
from the worst that anybody had been able to imagine. 

"Anatomy is hereabouts even more inconsequent than 
in Cocaigne," was Jurgen's first reflection. But the first 
thing the devils did was to search Jurgen very carefully, 
in order to make sure he was not bringing any water into 
Hell. 

"Now, who may you be, that come to us alive, in a 
fine shirt of which we never saw the like before?" asked 
Dithican. He had the head of a tiger, but otherwise the 
appearance of a large bird, with shining feathers and 
four feet: his neck was yellow, his body green, and his 
feet black. 

"It would not be treating honestly with you to deny 
that I am the Emperor of Noumaria," said Jurgen, 
somewhat advancing his estate. 

Now spoke Amaimon, in the form of a thick suet- 
251 



252 JURGEN 



colored worm going upright upon his tail, which shone 
like the tail of a glowworm. He had no feet, but under 
his chops were two short hands, and upon his back were 
bristles such as grow upon hedgehogs. 

"But we are rather overrun with emperors," said Amai- 
mon, doubtfully, "and their crimes are a great trouble to 
us. Were you a very wicked ruler?" 

"Never since I became an emperor," replied Jurgen, 
"has any of my subjects uttered one word of complaint 
against me. So it stands to reason I have nothing very 
serious with which to reproach myself." 

"Your conscience, then, does not demand that you be 
punished?" 

"My conscience, gentlemen, is too well-bred to insist 
on anything." 

"You do not even wish to be tortured?" 

"Well, I admit I had expected something of the sort. 
But none the less, I will not make a point of it," said 
Jurgen, handsomely. "No, I shall be quite satisfied even 
though you do not torture me at all." 

And then the mob of devils made a great to-do ovei' 
Jurgen. 

"For it is exceedingly good to have at least one unpre- 
tentious and undictatorial human being in Hell. Nobody 
as a rule drops in on us save inordinately proud and 
conscientious ghosts, whose self-conceit is intolerable, an"d 
whose demands are outrageous." 

"How can that be?" 

"Why, we have to punish them. Of course they are 
not properly punished until they are convinced that what 
is happening to them is just and adequate. And you have 
no notion what elaborate torfures they insist their ex- 



HOW EMPEROR JURGEN FARED INFERNALLY 253 



ceeding wickedness has merited, as though that which 
they did or left undone could possibly matter to any- 
body. And to contrive these torments quite tires us out." 

"But wherefore is this place called the Hell of my 
fathers?" 

"Because your forefathers builded it in dreams," they 
told him, "out of the pride which led them to believe that 
what they did was of sufficient importance to merit pun- 
ishment. Or so at least we have heard: but if you want 
the truth of the matter you must go to our Grandfather 
at Barathum." 

"I shall go to him, then. And do my own grandfathers, 
and all the forefathers that I had in the old time, inhabit 
this gray place?" 

"All such as are born with what they call a conscience 
come hither," the devils said. "Do you think you could 
persuade them to go elsewhere? For in that event, we 
would be deeply obliged to you. Their self-conceit is 
pitiful : but it is also a nuisance, because it prevents our 
getting any rest." 

"Perhaps I can help you to obtain justice, and cer- 
tainly to attempt to secure justice for you is my imperial 
duty. But who governs this country?" 

They told him how Hell was divided into principalities 
that had for governors Lucifer and Beelzebub and Belial 
and Ascheroth and Phlegeton : but that over all these was 
Grandfather Satan, who lived in the Black House at 
Barathum. 

"Well, I prefer," says Jurgen, "to deal directly with 
your principal, especially if he can explain the polity of 
this insane and murky country. Do some of you con- 
duct me to him in such state as becomes an emperor !" 



254 JURGEN 



So Cannagosta fetched a wheelbarrow, and Jurgen got 
into it, and Cannagosta trundled him away. Cannagosta 
was something like an ox, but rather more like a cat, and 
his hair was curly. 

And as they came through Chorasma, a very uncom- 
fortable place where the damned abide in torment, whom 
should Jurgen see but his own father, Coth, the son of 
Smoit and Steinvor, standing there chewing his long 
moustaches in the midst of an especially tall flame. 

"Do you stop now for a moment!" says Jurgen, to 
his escort. 

"Oh, but this is the most vexatious person in all Hell !" 
cried Cannagosta; "and a person whom there is absolutely 
no pleasing!" 

"Nobody knows that better than I," says Jurgen. 

And Jurgen civilly bade his father good-day, but Coth 
did not recognize this spruce young Emperor of Nou- 
maria, who went about Hell in a wheelbarrow. 

"You do not know me, then?" says Jurgen. 

"How should I know you when I never saw you be- 
fore ?" replied Coth, irritably. 

And Jurgen did not argue the point : for he knew that 
he and his father could never agree about anything. So 
Jurgen kept silent for that time, and Cannagosta wheeled 
him through the gray twilight, descending always deeper 
and yet deeper into the lowlands of Hell, until they 
had come to Barathum. 




35. 

What Grandfather Satan Repo?*ted 



EXT the tale tells how three inferior devils made 
a loud music with bagpipes as Jurgen went into 
the Black House of Barathum, to talk with 
Grandfather Satan. 

Satan was like a man of sixty, or it might be sixty- 
two, in all things save that he was covered with gray 
fur, and had horns like those of a stag. He wore a 
breech-clout of very dark gray, and he sat in a chair of 
black marble, on a dais : his bushy tail, which was like that 
of a squirrel, waved restlessly over his head as he looked 
at Jurgen, without speaking, and without turning his 
mind from an ancient thought. And his eyes were like 
light shining upon little pools of ink, for they had no 
whites to them. 

"What is the meaning of this insane country?" says 
Jurgen, plunging at the heart of things. "There is no 
sense in it, and no fairness at all." 

"Ah," replied Satan, in his curious hoarse voice, "you 
may well say that : and it is what I was telling my wife 
only last night." 

"You have a wife, then!" says Jurgen, who was always 
interested in such matters. "Why, but to be sure ! either 
as a Christian or as a married man, I should have com- 

255 



256 JURGEN 



prehended this was Satan's due. And how do you get on 
with her ?" 

"Pretty well," says Grandfather Satan: "but she does 
not understand me." 

"Et tu, Brute!" says Jurgen. 

"And what does that mean?" 

"It is an expression connotating astonishment over an 
event without parallel. But everything in Hell seems 
rather strange, and the place is not at all as it was rumored 
to be by the priests and the bishops and the cardinals that 
used to be exhorting me in my fine palace at Breschau." 

"And where, did you say, is this palace ?" 

"In Noumaria, where I am the Emperor Jurgen. And 
I need not insult you by explaining Breschau is my capi- 
tal city, and is noted for its manufacture of linen and 
woolen cloth and gloves and cameos and brandy, though 
the majority of my subjects are engaged in cattle-breeding 
and agricultural pursuits." 

"Of course not : for I have studied geography. And, 
Jurgen, it is often I have heard of you, though never of 
your being an emperor." 

"Did I not say this place was not in touch with new 
ideas?" 

"Ah, but you must remember that thoughtful persons 
keep out of Hell. Besides, the war with Heaven pre- 
vents us from thinking of other matters. In any event, 
you Emperor Jurgen, by what authority do you question 
Satan, in Satan's home?" 

"I have heard that word which the ass spoke with the 
cat," replied Jurgen; for he recollected upon a. sudden 
what Merlin had shown him. 

Grandfather Satan nodded comprehendingly. "All 



WHAT GRANDFATHER SATAN REPORTED 257 



honor be to Set and Bast ! and may their power increase. 
This, Emperor, is how my kingdom came about." 

Then Satan, sitting erect and bleak in his tall marble 
chair, explained how he, and all the domain and all the 
infernal hierarchies he ruled, had been created extempore 
by Koshchei, t:, humor the pride of Jurgen's forefathers. 
"For they were exceedingly proud of their sins. And 
Koshchei happened to notice Earth once upon a time, 
with your forefathers walking about it exultant in the 
enormity of their sins and in the terrible punishments they 
expected in requital. Now Koshchei will do almost any- 
thing to humor pride, because to be proud is one of the 
two things that are impossible to Koshchei. So he was 
pleased, oh, very much pleased : and after he had had 
his laugh out, he created Hell extempore, and made it 
just such a place as your forefathers imagined it ought 
to be, in order to humor the pride of your forefathers." 

"And why is pride impossible to Koshchei?" 

"Because he made things as they are; and day and 
night he contemplates things as they are, having nothing 
'jlse to look at. How, then, can Koshchei be proud?" 

"I see. It is as if I were imprisoned in a cell wherein 
there was nothing, absolutely nothing, except my verses. 
I shudder to think of it ! But what is this other thing 
which is impossible to Koshchei ?" 

"I do not know. It is something that does not enter 
into Hell." 

"Well, I wish I too had never entered here, and now 
you must assist me to get out of this murky place." 

"And why must I assist you?" 

"Because," said Jurgen, and he drew out the cantrap 
of the Master Philologist, " because at the death of 



258 JURGEN 



Adrian the Fifth, Pedro Juliani, who should be named 
John the Twentieth, was through an error in the reckon- 
ing elevated to the papal chair as John the Twenty-first. 
Do you not find my reason sufficient?" 

"No," said Grandfather Satan, after thinking it over, 
"I cannot say that I do. But, then, popes go to Heaven. 
It is considered to look better, all around, and particularly 
by my countrymen, inasmuch as many popes have been 
suspected of pro-Celestialism. So we admit none of them 
into Hell, in order to be on the safe side, now that we 
are at war. In consequence, I am no judge of popes and 
their affairs, nor do I pretend to be." 

And Jurgen perceived that again he had employed his 
cantrap incorrectly or else that it was impotent to rescue 
people from Satan. "But who would have thought," he 
reflected, " that Grandfather Satan was such a simple 
old creature !" 

"How long, then, must I remain here?" asks Jurgen, 
after a dejected pause. 

"I do not know," replies Satan. "It must depend 
entirely upon what your father thinks about it — " 

"But what has he to do with it?" 

" — Since I and all else that is here are your father's 
absurd notions, as you have so frequently proved by 
logic. And it is hardly possible that such a clever fellow 
as you can be mistaken." 

"Why, of course, that is not possible," says Jurgen. 
"Well, the matter is rather complicated. But I am willing 
to taste any drink once: and I shall manage to get justice 
somehow, even in this unreasonable place where my 
father's absurd notions are the truth." 

So Jurgen left the Black House of Barathum: and 



WHAT GRANDFATHER SATAN REPORTED 259 



Jurgen also left Grandfather Satan, erect and bleak in 
his tall marble chair, and with his eyes gleaming in the 
dim light, as he sat there restively swishing his soft bushy 
tail, and not ever turning his mind from an ancient 
thought. 




36. 

W7iy Coth was Contradicted 



HEN Jurgen went back to Chorasma, where 
Coth, the son of Smoit and Steinvor, stood con- 
scientiously in the midst of the largest and hottest 
flame he had been able to imagine, and rebuked the out- 
worn devils who were tormenting him, because the tor- 
tures they inflicted were not adequate to the wickedness 
of Coth. 

And Jurgen cried to his father: "The lewd fiend 
Cannagosta told you I was the Emperor of Noumaria, 
and I do not deny it even now. But do you not perceive 
I am likewise your son Jurgen?" 

"Why, so it is," said Coth, "now that I look at the 
rascal. And how, Jurgen, did you become an emperor?" 

"Oh, sir, and is this a place wherein to talk about mere 
earthly dignities ? I am surprised your mind should still 
run upon these empty vanities even here in torment." 

"But it is inadequate torment, Jurgen, such as does not 
salve my conscience. There is no justice in this place, and 
no way of getting justice. For these shiftless devils do 
not take seriously that which I did, and they merely pre- 
tend to punish me, and so my conscience stays unsatis- 
fied." 

"Well, but, father, I have talked with them, and they 

260 



WHY COTH WAS CONTRADICTED 261 



seem to think your crimes do not amount to much, after 
all." 

Coth flew into one of his familiar rages. "I would 
have you know that I killed eight men in cold blood, 
and held five other men while they were being killed. 
I estimate the sum of such iniquity as ten and a half 
murders, and for these my conscience demands that I be 
punished." 

"Ah, but, sir, that was fifty years or more ago, and 
these men would now be dead in any event, so you see 
it does not matter now." 

"I went astray with women, with I do not know how 
many women." 

Jurgen shook his head. "This is very shocking news 
for a son to receive, and you can imagine my feelings. 
None the less, sir, that also was fifty years ago, and no- 
body is bothering over it now." 

"You jackanapes, I tell you that I swore and stole and 
forged and burned four houses and broke the Sabbath 
and was guilty of mayhem and spoke disrespectfully to 
my mother and worshipped a stone image in Porutsa. I 
tell you I shattered the whole Decalogue, time and again." 
I committed all the crimes that were ever heard of, and 
invented six new ones." 

"Yes, sir," said Jurgen : "but, still, what does it matter 
if you did?" 

"Oh, take away this son of mine!" cried Coth: "for 
he is his mother all over again; and though I was the 
vilest sinner that ever lived, I have not deserved to be 
plagued twice with such silly questions. And I demand 
that you loitering devils bring more fuel." 

"Sir," said a panting little fiend, in the form of a tad- 



262 JURGEN 



pole with hairy arms and legs like a monkey's, as he ran 
up with four bundles of faggots, "we are doing the very 
best we can for your discomfort. But you damned have 
no consideration for us, and do not remember that we are 
on our feet day and night, waiting upon you," said the 
little devil, whimpering, as with his pitchfork he raked 
up the fire about Coth. "You do not even remember the 
upset condition of the country, on account of the war 
with Heaven, which makes it so hard for us to get you 
all the inconveniences of life. Instead, you lounge in 
your flames, and complain about the service, and Grand- 
father Satan punishes us, and it is not fair." 

"I think, myself," said Jurgen, "you should be gentler 
with the boy. And as for your crimes, sir, come, will 
you not conquer this pride which you nickname con- 
science, and concede that after any man has been dead a 
little while it does not matter at all what he did ? Why, 
about Bellegarde no one ever thinks of your throat- 
cutting and Sabbath-breaking except when very old 
people gossip over the fire, and your wickedness brightens 
up the evening for them. To the rest of us you are 
just a stone in the churchyard which describes you as a 
paragon of all the virtues. And outside of Bellegarde, 
sir, your name and deeds mean nothing now to anybody, 
and no one anywhere remembers you. So really your 
wickedness is not bothering any person now save these 
poor toiling devils : and I think that, in consequence, you 
might consent to put up with such torments as they can 
conveniently contrive, without complaining so ill-temper- 
edly about it." 

"Ah, but my conscience, Jurgen ! that is the point." 
"Oh, if you continue to talk about your conscience, 



WHY COTH WAS CONTRADICTED 263 



sir, you restrict the conversation to matters I do not 
understand, and so cannot discuss. But I dare say we 
will find occasion to thresh out this, and all other matters, 
by and by: and you and I will make the best of this 
place, for now I will never leave you." 

Coth began to weep : and he said that his sins in the 
flesh had been too heinous for this comfort to be per- 
mitted him in the unendurable torment which he had 
fairly earned, and hoped some day to come by. 

"Do you care about me, one way or the other, then?" 
says Jurgen, quite astounded. 

And from the midst of his flame Coth, the son of 
Smoit, talked of the birth of Jurgen, and of the infant 
that had been Jurgen, and of the child that had been 
Jurgen. And a horrible, deep, unreasonable emotion 
moved in Jurgen as he listened to the man who had be- 
gotten him, and whose flesh was Jurgen's flesh, and whose 
thoughts had not ever been Jurgen's thoughts : and Jur- 
gen did not like it. Then the voice of Coth was bitterly 
changed, as he talked of the young man that had been 
Jurgen, of the young man who was idle and rebellious 
and considerate of nothing save his own light desires ; 
and of the division which had arisen between Jurgen and 
Jurgen's father Coth spoke likewise: and Jurgen felt 
better now, but was still grieved to know how much his 
father had once loved him. 

"It is lamentably true," says Jurgen, "that I was an 
idle and rebellious son. So I did not follow your teach- 
ings. I went astray, oh, very terribly astray. I even 
went astray, sir I must tell you, with a nature myth 
connected with the Moon." 

"Oh, hideous abomination of the heathen !" 



264 JURGEN 



"And she considered, sir, that thereafter I was likely 
to become a solar legend." 

"I should not wonder," said Coth, and he shook his 
bald and dome-shaped head despondently. "Ah, my son, 
it simply shows you what comes of these wild courses." 

"And in that event, I would, of course, be released 
from sojourning in the underworld by the Spring Equi- 
nox. Do you not think so, sir ?" says Jurgen, very coax- 
ingly, because he remembered that, according to Satan, 
whatever Coth believed would be the truth in Hell. 

"I am sure," said. Coth — "why, I am sure I do not 
know anything about such matters." 

"Yes, but what do you think?" 

"I do not think about it at all." 

"Yes, but—" 

"Jurgen, you have a very uncivil habit of arguing with 
people — " 

"Still, sir—" 

"And I have spoken to you about it before — " 

"Yet, father—" 

"And I do not wish to have to speak to you about it 
again — " 

"None the less, sir — " 

"And when I say that I have no opinion—" 

"But everybody has an opinion, father!" Jurgen 
shouted this, and felt it was quite like old times. 

"How dare you speak to me in that tone of voice, sir!" 

"But I only meant — " 

"Do not lie to me, Jurgen! and stop interrupting me! 
For, as I was saying when you began to yell at your 
father as though you were addressing an unreasonable 
person, it is my opinion that I know nothing whatever 



WHY COTH WAS CONTRADICTED 265 



about Equinoxes ! and do not care to know anything about 
Equinoxes, I would have you understand! and that the 
less said as to such disreputable topics the better, as I tell 
you to your face!" 

And Jurgen groaned. "Here is a pretty father! If 
you had thought so, it would hare happened. But you 
imagine me in a place like this, and have not sufficient 
fairness, far less paternal affection, to imagine me out 
of it." 

"I can only think of your well merited affliction, you 
quarrelsome scoundrel ! and of the host of light women 
with whom you have sinned ! and of the doom which has 
befallen you in consequence !" 

"Well, at worst," says Jurgen, "there are no women 
here. That ought to be a comfort to you." 

"I think there are women here," snapped his father. 
"It is reputed that quite a number of women have had 
consciences. But these conscientious women are probably 
kept separate from us men, in some other part of Hell, 
for the reason that if they were admitted into Chorasma 
they would attempt to tidy the place and make it habit- 
able. I know your mother would have been meddling out 
of hand." 

"Oh, sir, and must you still be finding fault with 
mother?" 

"Your mother, Jurgen, was in many ways an admir- 
able woman. But," said Coth, "she did not understand 
me." 

"Ah, well, that may have been the trouble. Still, all 
this you say about women being here is mere guess-work." 

"It is not!" said Coth, "and I want none of your im- 
pudence, either. How many times must I tell you that ?" 



266 JURGEN 



Jurgen scratched his ear reflectively. For he still re- 
membered what Grandfather Satan had said, and Coth's 
irritation seemed promising. "Well, but the women here 
are all ugly, I wager." 

"They are not !" said his father, angrily. "Why do 
you keep contradicting me?" 

"Because you do not know what you are talking about," 
says Jurgen, egging him on. "How could there be any 
pretty women in this horrible place? For the soft flesh 
would be burned away from their little bones, and the 
loveliest of queens would be reduced to a horrid cinder." 

"I think there are any number of vampires and suc- 
cubi and such creatures, whom the flames do not injure 
at all, because these creatures are informed with an ardor 
that is unquenchable and is more hot than fire. And you 
understand perfectly what I mean, so there is no need 
for you to stand there goggling at me like a horrified 
abbess !" 

"Oh, sir, but you know very well that I would have 
nothing to do with such unregenerate persons." 

"I do not know anything of the sort. You are probably 
lying to me. You always lied to me. I think you are 
on your way to meet a vampire now." 

"What, sir, a hideous creature with fangs and leathery 
wings !" 

"No, but a very poisonous and seductively beautiful 
creature." 

"Come, now ! you do not really think she is beautiful." 

"I do think so. How dare you tell me what I think 
and do not think!" 

"Ah, well, I shall have nothing to do with her." 

"I think you will," said his father: "ah, but I think 



WHY COTH WAS CONTRADICTED 267 



you will be up to your tricks with her before this hour 
is out. For do I not know what emperors are? and do 
I not know you ?" 

And Coth fell to talking of Jurgen's past, in the cus- 
tomary terms of a family squabble, such as are not very 
nicely repeatable elsewhere. And the fiends who had been 
tormenting Coth withdrew in embarrassment, and so long 
as Coth continued talking they kept out of earshot. 



37. 

Invetition of the Lovely Vampire 



O again Coth parted with his son in anger, and 
Jurgen returned again toward Barathum; and, 
whether or not it was a coincidence, Jurgen met 
precisely the vampire of whom he had inveigled his 
father into thinking She was the most seductively beau- 
tiful creature that it would be possible for Jurgen's father 
or any other man to imagine: and her clothes were 
orange-colored, for a reason sufficiently well known in 
Hell, and were embroidered everywhere with green fig- 
leaves. 

"A good morning to you, madame," says Jurgen, "and 
whither are you going ?" 

"Why, to no place at all, good youth. For this is my 
vacation, granted yearly by the Law of Kalki — " 

"And who is Kalki, madame?" 

"Nobody as yet: but he will come as a stallion. Mean- 
while his Law precedes him, so that I am spending my 
vacation peacefully in Hell, with none of my ordinary 
annoyances to bother me." 

"And what, madame, can they be ?" 

"Why, you must understand that it is little rest a 
vampire gets on earth, with so many fine young fellows 
like yourself going about everywhere eager to be des- 
troyed." 

268 



INVENTION OF THE LOVELY VAMPIRE 269 



"But how, madame, did you happen to become a vam- 
pire if the life does not please you ? And what is it that 
they call you?" 

"My name, sir," replied the Vampire, sorrowfully, "is 
Florimel, because my nature no less than my person was 
as beautiful as the flowers of the field and as sweet as 
the honey which the bees (who furnish us with such ad- 
mirable examples of industry) get out of these flowers. 
But a sad misfortune changed all this. For I chanced 
one day to fall ill and die (which, of course, might hap- 
pen to anyone) , and as my funeral was leaving the house 
the cat jumped over my coffin. That was a terrible mis- 
fortune to befall a poor dead girl so generally respected, 
and in wide demand as a seamstress ; though, even then, 
the worst might have been averted had not my sister- 
in-law been of what they call a humane disposition and 
foolishly attached to the cat. So they did not kill it, 
and I, of course, became a vampire." 

"Yes, I can understand that was inevitable. Still, it 
seems hardly fair. I pity you, my dear." And Jurgen 
sighed. 

"I would prefer, sir, that you did not address me thus 
familiarly, since you and I have omitted the formality of 
an introduction ; and in the absence of any joint acquaint- 
ances are unlikely ever to meet properly." 

"I have no herald handy, for I travel incognito. How- 
ever, I am that Jurgen who recently made himself 
Emperor of Noumaria, King of Eubonia, Prince of 
Cocaigne, and Duke of Logreus; and of whom you have 
doubtless heard." 

"Why, to be sure !" says she, patting her hair straight. 



270 JURGEN 



"And who would have anticipated meeting your highness 
in such a place !" 

"One says 'majesty' to an emperor, my dear. It is 
a detail, of course: but in my position one has to be a 
little exigent." 

"I perfectly comprehend, your majesty; and indeed I 
might have divined your rank from your lovely clothes. 
I can but entreat you to overlook my unintentional breach 
of etiquette: and I make bold to add that a kind heart 
reveals the splendor of its graciousness through the in- 
terest which your majesty has just evinced in my dis- 
astrous history." 

"Upon my word," thinks Jurgen, "but in this flow of 
words I seem to recognize my father's imagination when 
in anger." 

Then Florimel told Jurgen of her horrible awakening 
in the grave, and of what had befallen her hands and feet 
there, the while that against her will she fed repugnantly, 
destroying first her kindred and then the neighbors. This 
done, she had arisen. 

"For the cattle still lived, and that troubled me. When 
I had put an end to this annoyance, I climbed into the 
church belfry, not alone, for one went with me of whom 
I prefer not to talk; and at midnight I sounded the bell 
so that all who heard it would sicken and die. And I 
wept all the while, because I knew that when everything 
had been destroyed which I had known in my first life in 
the flesh, I would be compelled to go into new lands, in 
search of the food which alone can nourish me, and I 
was always sincerely attached to my home. So it was, 
your majesty, that I forever relinquished my sewing, and 
became a lovely peril, a flashing desolation, and an evil 



INVENTION OF THE LOVELY VAMPIRE 271 



which smites by night, in spite of my abhorrence of 
irregular hours : and what I do I dislike extremely, for 
it is a sad fate to become a vampire, and still to sym- 
pathize with your victims, and particularly with their poor 
mothers." 

So Jurgen comforted Florimel, and he put his arm 
around her. 

"Come, come !" he said, "but I will see that your vaca- 
tion passes pleasantly. And I intend to deal fairly with 
you, too." 

Then he glanced sidewise at his shadow, and whis- 
pered a suggestion which caused Florimel to sigh. 

"By the terms of my doom," said she, "at no time dur- 
ing the nine lives of the cat can I refuse. Still, it is a 
comfort you are the Emperor of Noumaria and have a' 
kind heart." 

"Oh, and a many other possessions, my dear! and I 
again assure you that I intend to deal fairly with you." 

So Florimel conducted Jurgen, through the changeless 
twilight of Barathum, like that of a gray winter after- 
noon, to a quiet cleft by the Sea of Blood, which she had 
fitted out very cosily in imitation of her girlhood home ; 
and she lighted a candle, and made him welcome to her 
cleft. And when Jurgen was about to enter it he saw 
that his shadow was following him into the Vampire's 
home. 

"Let us extinguish this candle!" says Jurgen, "for I 
have seen so many flames to-day that my eyes are tired." 

So Florimel extinguished the candle, with a good-will 
that delighted Jurgen. And now they were in utter dark- 
ness, and in the dark nobody can see what is happening. 



272 JURGEN 



But that Florimel now trusted Jurgen and his Noumarian 
claims was evinced by her very first remark. 

"I was in the beginning suspicious of your majesty," 
said Florimel, "because I had always heard that every 
emperor carried a magnificent sceptre, and you then dis- 
played nothing of the sort. But now, somehow, I do not 
doubt you any longer. And of what is your majesty 
thinking?" 

"Why, I was reflecting, my dear," says Jurgen, "that 
my father imagines things very satisfactorily." 



38. 

As to Applauded Precedents 




FTERWARD Jurgen abode in Hell, and complied 
with the customs of that country. And the tale 
tells that a week or it might be ten days after his 
meeting v/ith Florimel, Jurgen married her, without being 
at all hindered by his having three other wives. For the 
devils, he found, esteemed polygamy, and ranked it above 
mere skill at torturing the damned, through a literal inter- 
pretation of the saying that it is better to marry than to 
burn. 

"And formerly," they told Jurgen, "you could hardly 
come across a marriage anywhere that was not hall- 
marked 'made in Heaven' : but since we have been at war 
with Heaven we have quite taken away that trade from 
our enemies. So you may marry here as much as you 
like." 

"Why, then," says Jurgen, "I shall marry in haste, and 
repeat at leisure. But can one obtain a divorce here?" 

"Oh, no," said they. "We trafficked in them for a 
while, but we found that all persons who obtained di- 
vorces through our industry promptly thanked Heaven 
they were free at last. In the face of such ingratitude 
we gave over that profitless trade, and now there is a 
manufactory, for specialties in men's clothing, upon the 
old statutory grounds." 

273 



274 JURGEN 



"But these makeshifts are unsatisfactory, and I wisti 
to know, in confidence, what do you do in Hell when 
there is no longer any putting up with your wives." 

The devils all blushed. "We would prefer not to tell 
you," said they, "for it might get to their ears." 

"Now do I perceive," said Jurgen, "that Hell is pretty 
much like any other place." 

So Jurgen and the lovely Vampire were duly married. 
First Jurgen's nails were trimmed, and the parings were 
given to Florimel. A broomstick was laid before them, 
and they stepped over it. Then Florimel said "Temon!" 
thrice, and nine times did Jurgen reply "Arigizator !" 
Afterward the Emperor Jurgen and his bride were given 
a posset of duda'im and eruca, and the devils modestly 
withdrew. 

Thereafter Jurgen abode in Hell, and complied with 
the customs of that country, and was tolerably content 
for a while. Now Jurgen shared with Florimel that quiet 
cleft which she had fitted out in imitation of her girlhood 
home: and they lived in the suburbs of Barathum, very 
respectably, by the shore of the sea. There was, of 
course, no water in Hell ; indeed the importation of water 
was forbidden, under severe penalties, in view of its pos- 
sible use for baptismal purposes : this sea was composed 
of the blood that had been shed by piety in furthering 
the kingdom of the Prince of Peace, and was reputed to 
be the largest ocean in existence. And it explained the 
nonsensical saying which Jurgen had so often heard, as 
to Hell's being paved with good intentions. 

"For Epigenes of Rhodes is right, after all," said 
Jurgen, "in suggesting a misprint: and the word should 
be 'laved'." 



AS TO APPLAUDED PRECEDENTS 275 



"Why, to be sure, your majesty," assented Florimel: 
"ah, but I always said your majesty had remarkable 
powers of penetration, quite apart from your majesty's 
scholarship." 

For Florimel had this cajoling way of speaking. None 
the less, all vampires have their foibles, and are nourished 
by the vigor and youth of their lovers. So one morning 
Florimel complained of being unwell, and attributed it to 
indigestion. 

Jurgen stroked her head meditatively; then he opened 
his glittering shirt, and displayed what was plain enough 
to see. 

"I am full of vigor and I am young," said Jurgen, "but 
my vigor and my youthfulness are of a peculiar sort, and 
are not wholesome. So let us have no more of your 
tricks, or you will quite spoil your vacation by being very 
ill indeed." 

"But I had thought all emperors were human!" said 
Florimel, in a flutter of blushing penitence, exceedingly 
pretty to observe. 

"Even so, sweetheart, all emperors are not Jurgens," 
he replied, magnificently. "Therefore you will find that 
not every emperor is justly styled the father of his people, 
or is qualified by nature to wield the sceptre of Noumaria. 
I trust this lesson will suffice." 

"It will," said Florimel, with a wry face. 

So thereafter they had no further trouble of this sort, 
and the wound on Jurgen's breast was soon healed. 

And Jurgen kept away from the damned, of course, 
because he and Florimel were living respectably. They 
paid a visit to Jurgen's father, however, very shortly 
after they were married, because this was the proper 



276 JURGEN 

thing to do. And Coth was civil enough, for Coth, and 
voiced a hope that Florimel might have a good influence 
upon Jurgen and make him worth his salt, but did not 
pretend to be optimistic. Yet this visit was never returned, 
because Coth considered his wickedness was too great 
for him to be spared a moment of torment, and so would 
not leave his flame. 

"And really, your majesty," said Florimel, "I do not 
wish for an instant to have the appearance of criticizing 
your majesty's relatives. But I do think that your 
majesty's father might have called upon us, at least once, 
particularly after I offered to have a fire made up for 
him to sit on any time he chose to come. I consider 
that your majesty's father assumes somewhat extravagant 
airs, in the lack of any definite proof as to his having 
been a bit more wicked than anybody else : and the child- 
like candor which has always been with me a leading 
characteristic prevents concealment of my opinion." 

"Oh, it is just his conscience, dear." 

"A conscience is all very well in its place, your 
majesty; and I, for one, would never have been able to 
endure the interminable labor of seducing and assassin- 
ating so many fine young fellows if my conscience had 
not assured me that it was all the fault of my sister-in- 
law. But, even so, there is no sense in letting your con- 
science make a slave of you : and when conscience reduces 
your majesty's father to ignoring the rules of common 
civility and behaving like a candle-wick, I am sure that 
matters are being carried too far." 

"And right you are, my dear. However, we do not 
Jack for company. So come now, make yourself fine, and 



AS TO APPLAUDED PRECEDENTS 277 



shake the black dog from your back, for we are spending 
the evening with the Asmodeuses." 

"And will your majesty talk politics again?" 
"Oh, I suppose so. They appear to like it." 
"I only wish that I did, your majesty," observed Flori- 
mel, and she yawned by anticipation. 

For with the devils Jurgen got on garrulously. The 
religion of Hell is patriotism, and the government is an 
enlightened democracy. This contented the devils, and 
Jurgen had learned long ago never to fall out with either 
of these codes, without which, as the devils were fond of 
observing, Hell would not be what it is. 

They were, to Jurgen's finding, simple-minded fiends 
who allowed themselves to be deplorably overworked by 
the importunate dead. They got no rest because of the 
damned, who were such persons as had been saddled with 
a conscience, and who in consequence demanded inter- 
minable torments. And at the time of Jurgen's coming 
into Hell political affairs were in a very bad way, because 
there was a considerable party among the younger devils 
who were for compounding the age-old war with Heaven, 
at almost any price, in order to get relief from this un- 
ceasing influx of conscientious dead persons in search of 
torment. For it was well-known that when Satan sub- 
mitted to be bound in chains there would be no more 
death: and the annoying immigration would thus be 
ended. So said the younger devils: and considered 
Grandfather Satan ought to sacrifice himself for the gen- 
eral welfare. 

Then too they pointed out that Satan had been perforce 
their presiding magistrate ever since the settlement of 
Hell, because a change of administration is inexpedient 



278 JURGEN 



in war-time : so that Satan must term after term be re- 
elected: and of course Satan had been voted absolute 
power in everything, since this too is customary in war- 
time. Well, and after the first few thousand years of 
this the younger devils began to whisper that such govern- 
ment was not ideal democracy. 

But their more conservative elders were enraged by 
these effete and wild new notions, and dealt with their 
juniors somewhat severely, tearing them into bits and 
quite destroying them. The elder devils then proceeded 
to inflict even more startling punishments. 
* * * 

So Grandfather Satan was much vexed, because the 
laws were being violated everywhere: and a day or two 
after Jurgen's advent Satan issued a public appeal to his 
subjects, that the code of Hell should be better respected. 
But under a democratic government people do not like to 
be perpetually bothering about law and order, as one of 
the older and stronger devils pointed out to Jurgen. 

Jurgen drew a serious face, and he stroked his chin. 
"Why, but look you," says Jurgen, "in deploring the mob 
spirit that has been manifesting itself sporadically 
throughout this country against the advocates of peace 
and submission to the commands of Heaven and other 
pro-Celestial propaganda, — and in warning loyal citizen- 
ship that such outbursts must be guarded against, as hurt- 
ful to the public welfare of Hell,— why, Grandfather 
Satan should bear in mind that the government, in large 
measure, holds the remedy of the evil in its own hands." 
And Jurgen looked very severely toward Satan. 

"Come now," says Phlegeton, nodding his head, which 
was like that of a bear, except for his naked long, red 



AS TO APPLAUDED PRECEDENTS 279 



ears, inside each of which was a flame like that of a 
spirit-lamp: "come now, but this young emperor in the 
fine shirt speaks uncommonly well!" 

"So we spoke together in Pandemonium," said Belial, 
wistfully, "in the brave days when Pandemonium was 
newly built and we were all imps together." 

"Yes, his talk is of the old school, than which there is 
none better. So pray continue, Emperor Jurgen," cried 
the elderly devils, "and let us know what you are talking 
about." 

"Why, merely this," says Jurgen, and again he looked 
severely toward Satan: "I tell you that as long as senti- 
mental weakness marks the prosecution of offences in 
violation of the laws necessitated by war-time conditions ; 
as long as deserved punishment for overt acts of pro- 
Celestialism is withheld ; as long as weak-kneed clemency 
condones even a suspicion of disloyal thinking: then just 
so long will a righteously incensed, if now and then mis- 
guided patriotism take into its own hands vengeance upon 
the offenders." 

"But, still " said Grandfather Satan. 

"Ineffectual administration of the law," continued 
Jurgen, sternly, "is the true defence of these outbursts : 
and far more justly deplorable than acts of mob violence 
is the policy of condonation that furnishes occasion for 
them. The patriotic people of Hell are not in a temper 
to be trifled with, now that they are at war. Conviction 
for offenses against the nation should not be behedged 
about with technicalities devised for over-refined peace- 
time jurisprudence. Why, there is no one of you, I am 
sure, but has at his tongue's tip the immortal words of 
Livonius as to this very topic: and so I shall not repeat 



280 JURGEN 



them. But I fancy you will agree with me that what 
Livonius says is unanswerable." 

So it was that Jurgen went on at a great rate, and look- 
ing always very sternly at Grandfather Satan. 

"Yes, yes !" said Satan, wriggling uncomfortably, but 
still not thinking of Jurgen entirely : "yes, all this is ex- 
cellent oratory, and not for a moment would I decry the 
authority of Livonius. And your quotation is uncom- 
monly apropos and all that sort of thing. But with what 
are you charging me?" 

"With sentimental weakness," retorted Jurgen. "Was 
it not only yesterday one of the younger devils was 
brought before you, upon the charge that he had said 
the climate in Heaven was better than the climate here? 
And you, sir, Hell's chief magistrate — you it was who 
actually asked him if he had ever uttered such a disloyal 
heresy!" 

"Now, but what else was I to do?" said Satan, fidget- 
ing, and swishing his great bushy tail so that it rustled 
against his horns, and still not really turning his mind 
from that ancient thought. 

"You should have remembered, sir, that a devil whose 
patriotism is impugned is a devil to be punished; and 
that there is no time to be prying into irrevelant questions 
of his guilt or innocence. Otherwise, I take it, you will 
never have any real democracy in Hell." 

Now Jurgen looked very impressive, and the devils 
were all cheering him. 

"And so," says Jurgen, "your disgusted hearers were 
wearied by such frivolous interrogatories, and took the 
fellow out of your hands, and tore him into particularly 
small bits. Now I warn you, Grandfather Satan, that it 



AS TO APPLAUDED PRECEDENTS 281 



is your duty as a democratic magistrate just so to deal 
with such offenders first of all, and to ask your silly 
questions afterward. For what does Rudigernus say 
outright upon this point? and Zantipher Magnus, too? 
Why, my dear sir, I ask you plainly, where in the entire 
history of international jurisprudence will you find any 
more explicit language than these two employ?" 

"Now certainly," says Satan, with his bleak smile, "you 
cite very respectable authority : and I shall take your re- 
proof in good part. I will endeavor to be more strict 
in the future. And you must not blame my laxity too 
severely, Emperor Jurgen, for it is a long while since 
any man came living into Hell to instruct us how to 
manage matters in time of war. No doubt, precisely as 
you say, we do need a little more severity hereabouts, 
and would gain by adopting more human methods. Rudi- 
gernus, now? — yes, Rudigernus is rather unanswerable, 
and I concede it frankly. So do you come home and have 
supper with me, Emperor Jurgen, and we will talk over 
these things." 

Then Jurgen went off arm in arm with Grandfather 
Satan, and Jurgen's erudition and sturdy common-sense 
were forevermore established among the older and more 
solid element in Hell. And Satan followed Jurgen's sug- 
gestions, and the threatened rebellion was satisfactorily 
discouraged, by tearing into very small fragments any- 
body who grumbled about anything. So that all the sub- 
jects of Satan went about smiling broadly all the time 
at the thought of what might befall them if they seemed 
dejected. Thus was Hell a happier looking place be- 
cause of Jurgen's coming. 



39. 

Of Compromises in Hell 



NOW Grandfather Satan's wife was called Phyllis : 
and apart from having wings like a bat's, she was 
the loveliest little slip of devilishness that Jurgen 
had seen in a long while. Jurgen spent this night at 
the Black House of Barathum, and two more nights, or 
it might be three nights : and the details of what Jurgen 
used to do there, after supper, when he would walk alone 
in the Black House Gardens, among the artfully colored 
cast-iron flowers and shrubbery, and would so come to 
the grated windows of Phyllis's room, and would stand 
there joking with her in the dark, are not requisite to 
this story. 

Satan was very jealous of his wife, and kept one of 
her wings clipped and held her under lock and key, as 
the treasure that she was. But Jurgen was accustomed 
to say afterward that, while the gratings over the 
windows were very formidable, they only seemed some- 
how to enhance the piquancy of his commerce with Dame 
Phyllis. This queen, said Jurgen, he had found simply 
unexcelled at repartee. 

Florimel considered the saying cryptic: just what pre- 
cisely did his majesty mean? 

"Why, that in any and all circumstances Dame Phyllis 
282 



OF COMPROMISES IN HELL 283 



knows how to take a joke, and to return as good as 
she receives." 

"So your majesty has already informed me: and cer- 
tainly jokes can be exchanged through a grating — " 

"Yes, that was what I meant. And Dame Phyllis 
appeared to appreciate my ready flow of humor. She in- 
forms me Grandfather Satan is of a cold dry tempera- 
ment, with very little humor in him, so that they go for 
months without exchanging any pleasantries. Well, I 
am willing to taste any drink once : and for the rest, 
remembering that my host had very enormous and in- 
timidating horns, I was at particular pains to deal fairly 
with my hostess. Though, indeed, it was more for the 
honor and the glory of the affair than anything else that 
I exchanged pleasantries with Satan's wife. For to do 
that, my dear, I felt was worthy of the Emperor Jurgen." 

"Ah, I am afraid your majesty is a sad scapegrace," 
replied Florimel : "however, we all know that the sceptre 
of an emperor is respected everywhere." 

"Indeed," says Jurgen, "I have often regretted that I 
did not bring with me my jewelled sceptre when I left 
Noumaria." 

She shivered at some unspoken thought : it was not 
until some while afterward that Florimel told Jurgen of 
her humiliating misadventure with the absent-minded 
Sultan of Gargao's sceptre. Now she only replied that 
jewels might, conceivably, seem ostentatious and out of 
place. 

Jurgen agreed to this truism: for of course they were 
living very quietly, and Jurgen was splendid enough for 
any reasonable wife's requirements, in his glittering shirt. 

So Jurgen got on pleasantly with Florimel. But he 



284 JURGEN 



never became as fond of her as he had been of Guenevere 
or Ana'itis, nor one-tenth as fond of her as he had been 
of Chloris. In the first place, he suspected that Florimel 
had been invented by his father, and Coth and Jurgen 
had never any tastes in common : and in the second place, 
Jurgen could not but see that Florimel thought a great 
deal of his being an emperor. 

"It is my title she loves, not me," reflected Jurgen, 
sadly, "and her affection is less for that which is really 
integral to me than for imperial orbs and sceptres and 
such-like external trappings." 

And Jurgen would come out of Florimel's cleft con- 
siderably dejected, and would sit alone by the Sea of 
Blood, and would meditate how inequitable it was that 
the mere title of emperor should thus shut him off from 
sincerity and candor. 

"We who are called kings and emperors are men like 
other men: we are as rightly entitled as other persons 
to the solace of true love and affection: instead, we live 
in a continuous isolation, and women offer us all things 
save their hearts, and we are a lonely folk. No, I can- 
not believe that Florimel loves me for myself alone : it 
is my title which dazzles her. And I would that I had 
never made myself the emperor of Noumaria: for this 
emperor goes about everywhere in a fabulous splendor, 
and is, very naturally, resistless in his semi-mythical mag- 
nificence. Ah, but these imperial gewgaws distract the 
thoughts of Florimel from the real Jurgen ; so that the 
real Jurgen is a person whom she does not understand at 
all. And it is not fair." 

Then, too, he had a sort of prejudice against the way 
in which Florimel spent her time in seducing and mur- 



OF COMPROMISES IN HELL 285 



dering young men. It was not possible, of course, actu- 
ally to blame the girl, since she was the victim of cir- 
cumstances, and had no choice about becoming a vam- 
pire, once the cat had jumped over her coffin. Still, 
Jurgen always felt, in his illogical masculine way, that 
her vocation was not nice. And equally in the illogical 
way of men, did he persist in coaxing Florimel to tell 
him of her vampiric transactions, in spite of his under- 
lying feeling that he would prefer to have his wife 
engaged in some other trade : and the merry little creature 
would humor him willingly enough, with her purple 
eyes a-sparkle, and with her vivid lips curling prettily 
back, so as to show her tiny white sharp teeth quite 
plainly. 

She was really very pretty thus, as she told him of 
what happened in Copenhagen when young Count Os- 
mund went down into the blind beggar-woman's cellar, 
and what they did with bits of him; and of how one 
kind of serpent came to have a secret name, which, when 
cried aloud in the night, with the appropriate ceremony, 
will bring about delicious happenings ; and of what one 
can do with small unchristened children, if only they do 
not kiss you, with their moist uncertain little mouths, for 
then this thing is impossible; and of what use she had 
made of young Sir Ganelon's skull, when he was through 
with it, and she with him ; and of what the young priest 
Wulfnoth had said to the crocodiles at the very last. 

"Oh, yes, my life has its amusing side," said Florimel: 
"and one likes to feel, of course, that one is not wholly 
out of touch with things, and is even, in one's modest way, 
contributing to the suppression of folly. But even so, 
your majesty, the calls that are made upon one! the 



286 JURGEN 



things that young men expect of you, as the price of 
their bodily and spiritual ruin ! and the things their rela- 
tives say about you! and, above all, the constant strain, 
the irregular hours, and the continual effort to live up to 
one's position! Oh, yes, your majesty, I was far happier 
when I was a consumptive seamstress and took pride in 
my buttonholes. But from a sister-in-law who only has 
you in to tea occasionally as a matter of duty, and who 
is prominent in churchwork, one may, of course, expect 
anything. And that reminds me that I really must tell 
your majesty about what happened in the hay-loft, just 
after the abbot had finished undressing — " 

So she would chatter away, while Jurgen listened and 
smiled indulgently. For she certainly was very pretty. 
And so they kept house in Hell contentedly enough until 
Florimel's vacation was at an end : and then they parted, 
without any tears but in perfect friendliness. 

And Jurgen always remembered Florimel most pleas- 
antly, but not as a wife with whom he had ever been on 
terms of actual intimacy. 

Now when this lovely Vampire had quitted him, the 
Emperor Jurgen, in spite of his general popularity and 
the deference accorded his political views, was not quite 
happy in Hell. 

"It is a comfort, at any rate," said Jurgen, "to dis- 
cover who originated the theory of democratic govern- 
ment. I have long wondered who started the notion that 
the way to get a wise decision on any conceivable question 
was to submit it to a popular vote. Now I know. Well, 
and the devils may be right in their doctrines ; certainly 
I cannot go so far as to say they are wrong : but still, 
at the same time — !" 



OF COMPROMISES IN HELL 287 



For instance, this interminable effort to make the uni- 
verse safe for democracy, this continual warring against 
Heaven because Heaven clung to a tyrannical form of 
autocratic government, sounded both logical and mag- 
nanimous, and was, of course, the only method of insuring 
any general triumph for democracy : yet it seemed rather 
futile to Jurgen, since, as he knew now, there was cer- 
tainly something in the Celestial system which made for 
military efficiency, so that Heaven usually won. More- 
over, Jurgen could not get over the fact that Hell was 
just a notion of his ancestors with which Koshchei had 
happened to fall in: for Jurgen had never much patience 
with antiquated ideas, particularly when anyone put them 
into practice, as Koshchei had done. 

"Why, this place appears to me a glaring anachron- 
ism," said Jurgen, brooding over the fires of Chorasma : 
"and its methods of tormenting conscientious people I 
cannot but consider very crude indeed. The devils are 
simple-minded and they mean well, as nobody would 
dream of denying, but that is just it: for hereabouts is 
needed some more pertinacious and efficiently disagree- 
able person — " 

■' And that, of course, reminded him of Dame Lisa: and 
so it was the thoughts of Jurgen turned again to doing 
the manly thing. And he sighed, and went among the 
devils tentatively looking and inquiring for that intrepid 
fiend who in the form of a black gentleman had carried 
off Dame Lisa. But a queer happening befell, and it 
was that nowhere could Jurgen find the black gentleman, 
nor did any of the devils know anything about him. 

"From what you tell us, Emperor Jurgen," said they 



288 JURGEN 

all, "your wife was an acidulous shrew, and the sort of 
woman who believes that whatever she does is right." 

"It was not a belief," says Jurgen : "it was a mania 
with the poor dear." 

"By that fact, then, she is forever debarred from en- 
tering Hell." 

"You tell me news," says Jurgen, "which if generally 
known would lead many husbands into vicious living." 

"But it is notorious that people are saved by faith. 
And there is no faith stronger than that of a bad-tempered 
woman in her own infallibility. Plainly, this wife of 
yours is the sort of person who cannot be tolerated by 
anybody short of the angels. We deduce that your Em- 
press must be in Heaven." 

"Well, that sounds reasonable. And so to Heaven I 
will go, and it may be that there I shall find justice." 

"We would have you know," the fiends cried, bristling, 
"that in Hell we have all kinds of justice, since our 
government is an enlightened democracy." 

"Just so," says Jurgen: "in an enlightened democracy 
one has all kinds of justice, and I would not dream of 
denying it. But you have not, you conceive, that lesser 
plague, my wife ; and it is she whom I must continue to 
look for." 

"Oh, as you like," said they, "so long as you do not 
criticize the exigencies of war-time. But certainly we are 
sorry to see you going into a country where the benighted 
people put up with an autocrat Who was not duly elected 
to His position. And why need you continue seeking your 
wife's society when it is so much pleasanter living in 
Hell?" 



OF COMPROMISES IN HELL 289 



And Jurgen shrugged. "One has to do the manly thing 
sometimes." 

So the fiends told him the way to Heaven's frontiers, 
pitying him. "But the crossing of the frontier must be 
your affair." 

"I have a cantrap," said Jurgen ; "and my stay in Hell 
has taught me how to use it." 

Then Jurgen followed his instructions, and went into 
Meridie, and turned to the left when he had come to the 
great puddle where the adders and toads are reared, and 
so passed through the mists of Tartarus, with due care 
of the wild lightning, and took the second turn to his 
left — "always in seeking Heaven be guided by your heart," 
had been the advice given him by devils, — and thus 
avoiding the abode of Jemra, he crossed the bridge over 
the Bottomless Pit and the solitary Narakas. And 
Brachus, who kept the toll-gate on this bridge, did that 
of which the fiends had forewarned Jurgen : but for this, 
of course, there was no help. 



40. 

The jlscension of Pope Jurgen 



K~\ ~™^HE tale tells how on the feast of the Annuncia- 
tion Jurgen came to the high white walls which 
girdle Heaven. For Jurgen's forefathers had, of 
course, imagined that Hell stood directly contiguous td 
Heaven, so that the blessed could augment their felicity 
by gazing down upon the tortures of the damned. Now 
at this time a boy angel was looking over the parapet of 
Heaven's wall. 

"And a good day to you, my fine young fellow," says 
Jurgen. "But of what are you thinking so intently?" 
For just as Dives had done long years before, now Jur- 
gen found that a man's voice carries perfectly between 
Hell and Heaven. 

"Sir," replies the boy, "I was pitying the poor damned." 
"Why, then, you must be Origen," says Jurgen, 
laughing. 

"No, sir, my name is Jurgen." 

"Heyday!" says Jurgen: "well, but this Jurgen has 
been a great many persons in my time. So very possibly 
you speak the truth." 

"I am Jurgen, the son of Coth and Azra." 
"Ah, ah ! but so were all of them, my boy." 
"Why, then, I am Jurgen, the grandson of Steinvor, 
and the grandchild whom she loved above her other 

290 



THE ASCENSION OF POPE JURGEN 291 



grandchildren : and so I abide forever in Heaven with 
all the other illusions of Steinvor. But who, messire, 
are you that go about Hell unscorched, in such a fine 
looking shirt ?" 

Jurgen reflected. Clearly it would never do to give his 
real name, and thus raise the question as to whether 
Jurgen was in Heaven or Hell. Then he recollected the 
cantrap of the Master Philologist, which Jurgen had 
twice employed incorrectly. And Jurgen cleared his 
throat, for he believed that he now understood the proper 
use of cantraps. 

"Perhaps," says Jurgen, "I ought not to tell you who 
I am. But what is life without confidence in one an- 
other? Besides, you appear a boy of remarkable dis- 
cretion. So I will confide in you that I am Pope John 
the Twentieth, Heaven's regent upon Earth, now visiting 
this place upon Celestial business which I am not at 
liberty to divulge more particularly, for reasons that will 
at once occur to a young man of your unusual cleverness." 

"Oh, but I say! that is droll. Do you just wait a 
moment!" cried the boy angel. 

His bright face vanished, with a whisking of brown 
curls : and Jurgen carefully re-read the cantrap of the 
Master Philologist. "Yes, I have found, I think, the 
way to use such magic," observes Jurgen. 

Presently the young angel re-appeared at the parapet. 
"I say, messire! I looked on the Register — all popes are 
admitted here the moment they die, without inquiring 
into their private affairs, you know, so as to avoid any 
unfortunate scandal, — and we have twenty-three Pope 
Johns listed. And sure enough, the mansion prepared 



292 JURGEN 



for John the Twentieth is vacant. He seems to be the 
only pope that is not in Heaven." 

"Why, but of course not," says Jurgen, complacently, 
"inasmuch as you see me, who was once Bishop of Rome 
and servant to the servants of God, standing down here on 
this cinder-heap." 

"Yes, but none of the others in your series appears to 
place you. John the Nineteenth says he never heard of 
you, and not to bother him in the middle of a harp 
lesson — " 

"He died before my accession, naturally." 

" — And John the Twenty-first says he thinks they lost 
count somehow, and that there never was any Pope John 
the Twentieth. He says you must be an impostor." 

"Ah, professional jealousy!" sighed Jurgen: "dear me, 
this is very sad, and gives one a poor opinion of human 
nature. Now, my boy, I put it to you fairly, how could 
there have been a twenty-first unless there had been a 
twentieth? And what becomes of the great principle of 
papal infallibility when a pope admits to a mistake in 
elementary arithmetic? Oh, but this is a very dangerous 
heresy, let me tell you, an Inquisition matter, a con- 
sistory business ! Yet, luckily, upon his own contention, 
this Pedro Juliani — " 

"And that was his name, too, for he told me! You 
evidently know all about it, messire," said the young 
angel, visibly impressed. 

"Of course, I know all about it. Well, I repeat, upon 
his own contention this man is non-existent, and so, what- 
ever he may say amounts to nothing. For he tells you 
there was never any Pope John the Twentieth : and either 
he is lying or he is telling you the truth. If he is lying, 



THE ASCENSION OF POPE JURGEN 293 



you, of course, ought not to believe him: yet, if he is 
telling you the truth, about there never having been any 
Pope John the Twentieth, why then, quite plainly, there 
was never any Pope John the Twenty-first, so that this 
man asserts his own non-existence ; and thus is talking 
nonsense, and you, of course, ought not to believe in 
nonsense. Even did we grant his insane contention that 
he is nobody, you are too well brought up, I am sure, 
to dispute that nobody tells lies in Heaven : it follows 
that in this case nobody is lying; and so, of course, 1 
must be telling the truth, and you have no choice save to 
believe me." 

"Now, certainly that sounds all right," the younger 
Jurgen conceded: "though you explain it so quickly it is 
a little difficult to follow you." 

"Ah, but furthermore, and over and above this, and as 
a tangible proof of the infallible particularity of every 
syllable of my assertion," observes the elder Jurgen, "if 
you will look in the garret of Heaven you will find the 
identical ladder upon which I descended hither, and which 
I directed them to lay aside until I was ready to come up 
again. Indeed, I was just about to ask you to fetch it, 
inasmuch as my business here is satisfactorily concluded." 

Well, the boy agreed that the word of no pope, whether 
in Hell or Heaven, was tangible proof like a ladder : and 
again he was off. Jurgen waited, in tolerable confidence. 

It was a matter of logic. Jacob's Ladder must from 
all accounts have been far too valuable to throw away 
after one night's use at Beth-El ; it would come in very 
handy on Judgment Day : and Jurgen's knowledge of Lisa 
enabled him to deduce that anything which was being kept 
because it would come in handy some day would inevit- 



294 JURGEN 



ably be stored in the garret, in any establishment imagin- 
able by women. "And it is notorious that Heaven is a 
delusion of old women. Why, the thing is a certainty," 
said Jurgen; "simply a mathematical certainty." 

And events proved his logic correct : for presently the 
younger Jurgen came back with Jacob's Ladder, which 
was rather cobwebby and obsolete looking after having 
been lain aside so long. 

"So you see you were perfectly right," then said this 
younger Jurgen, as he lowered Jacob's Ladder into Hell. 
"Oh, Messire John, do hurry up and have it out with that 
old fellow who slandered you!" 

Thus it came about that Jurgen clambered merrily from 
Hell to Heaven upon a ladder of unalloyed, time-tested 
gold: and as he climbed the shirt of Nessus glittered 
handsomely in the light which shone from Heaven : and 
by this great light above him, as Jurgen mounted higher 
and yet higher, the shadow of Jurgen was lengthened 
beyond belief along the sheer white wall of Heaven, as 
though the shadow were reluctant and adhered ten- 
aciously to Hell. Yet presently Jurgen leaped the ram- 
parts: and then the shadow leaped too; and so his 
shadow came with Jurgen into Heaven, and huddled 
dispiritedly at Jurgen's feet. 

"Well, well !" thinks Jurgen, "certainly there is no dis- 
puting the magic of the Master Philologist when it is 
correctly employed. For through its aid I am entering 
alive into Heaven, as only Enoch and Elijah have done 
before me: and moreover, if this boy is to be believed, 
one of the very handsomest of Heaven's many mansions 
awaits my occupancy. One could not ask more of any 
magician fairly. Aha, if only Lisa could see me now!" 



THE ASCENSION OF POPE JURGEN 295 



That was his first thought. Afterward Jurgen tore 
up the cantrap and scattered its fragments as the Master 
Philologist had directed. Then Jurgen turned to the 
boy who aided Jurgen to get into Heaven. 

"Come, youngster, and let us have a good look at you !" 

And Jurgen talked with the boy that he had once been, 
and stood face to face with all that Jurgen had been 
and was not any longer. And this was the one happening 
which befell Jurgen that the writer of the tale lacked 
heart to tell of. 

So Jurgen quitted the boy that he had been. But first 
had Jurgen learned that in this place his grandmother 
Steinvor (whom King Smoit had loved) abode and was 
happy in her notion of Heaven ; and that about her were 
her notions of her children and of her grandchildren. 
Steinvor had never imagined her husband in Heaven, nor 
King Smoit either. 

"That is a circumstance," says Jurgen, "which heartens 
me to hope one may find justice here. Yet I shall keep 
away from my grandmother, the Steinvor whom I knew 
and loved, and who loved me so blindly that this boy here 
is her notion of me. Yes, in mere fairness to her, I must 
keep away." 

So he avoided that part of Heaven wherein were his 
grandmother's illusions : and this was counted for 
righteousness in Jurgen. That part of Heaven smelt of 
mignonette, and a starling was singing there. 



41 

Of Compromises in Heaven 



JURGEN then went unhindered to where the God of 
Jurgen's grandmother sat upon a throne, beside a 
sea of crystal. A rainbow, made high and narrow 
like a window frame, so as to fit the throne, formed an 
arch-way in which He sat: at His feet burned seven 
lamps, and four remarkable winged creatures sat there 
chaunting softly, "Glory and honor and thanks to Him 
Who liveth forever!" In one hand of the God was a 
sceptre, and in the other a large book with seven red 
spots on it. 

There were twelve smaller thrones, without rainbows, 
upon each side of the God of Jurgen's grandmother, in 
two semi-circles: upon these inferior thrones sat benig- 
nant-looking elderly angels, with long white hair, all 
crowned, and clothed in white robes, and having a harp 
in one hand, and in the other a gold flask, about pint 
size. And everywhere fluttered and glittered the multi- 
colored wings of seraphs and cherubs, like magnified 
paroquets, as they went softly and gaily about the golden 
haze that brooded over Heaven, to a continuous sound 
of hushed organ music and a remote and undistinguish- 
able singing. 

Now the eves of this God met the eyes of Jurgen: 
296 



OF COMPROMISES IN HEAVEN 297 



and Jurgen waited thus for a long while, and far longer, 
indeed, than Jurgen suspected. 

"I fear You," Jurgen said, at last: "and, yes, I love 
You: and yet I cannot believe. Why could You not let 
me believe, where so many believed? Or else, why could 
You not let me deride, as the remainder derided so 
noisily? O God, why could You not let me have faith? 
for You gave me no faith in anything, not even in 
nothingness. It was not fair." 

And in the highest court of Heaven, and in plain view 
of all the angels, Jurgen began to weep. 

"I was not ever your God, Jurgen." 

"Once very long ago," said Jurgen, "I had faith in 
You." 

"No, for that boy is here with Me, as you yourself 
have seen. And to-day there is nothing remaining of 
him anywhere in the man that is Jurgen." 

"God of my grandmother! God Whom I too loved in 
boyhood!" said Jurgen then: "why is it that I am denied 
a God? For I have searched: and nowhere can I find 
justice, and nowhere can I find anything to worship." 

"What, Jurgen, and would you look for justice, of 
all places, in Heaven?" 

"No," Jurgen said; "no, I perceive it cannot be con- 
sidered here. Else You would sit alone." 

"And for the rest, you have looked to find your God 
without, not looking within to see that which is truly 
worshipped in the thoughts of Jurgen. Had you done 
so, you would have seen, as plainly as I now see, that 
which alone you are able to worship. And your God is 
maimed : the dust of your journeying is thick upon him : 
your vanity is laid as a napkin upon his eyes: and in 



298 JURGEN 



his heart is neither love nor hate, not even for his only 
worshipper." 

"Do not deride him, You Who have so many worship- 
pers ! At least, he is a monstrous clever fellow," said 
Jurgen: and boldly he said it, in the highest court of 
Heaven, and before the pensive face of the God of 
Jurgen's grandmother. 

"Ah, very probably. I do not meet with many clever 
people. And as for My numerous worshippers, you 
forget how often you have demonstrated that I was the 
delusion of an old woman." 

"Well, and was there ever a flaw in my logic ?" 

"I was not listening to you, Jurgen. You must know 
that logic does not much concern us, inasmuch as nothing 
is logical hereabouts." 

And now the four winged creatures ceased their 
chaunting, and the organ music became a far-off mur- 
muring. And there was silence in Heaven. And the 
God of Jurgen's grandmother, too, was silent for a while, 
and the rainbow under which He sat put off its seven 
colors and burned with an unendurable white, tinged 
bluishly, while the God considered ancient things. Then 
in the silence this God began to speak. 

Some years ago (said the God of Jurgen's grand- 
mother) it was reported to Koshchei that scepticism was 
abroad in his universe, and that one walked therein who 
would be contented with no rational explanation. "Bring 
me this infidel," says Koshchei : so they brought to him 
in the void a little bent gray woman in an old gray 
shawl. "Now, tell me why you will not believe," says 
Koshchei, "in things as they are." 

Then the decent little bent gray woman answered 



OF COMPROMISES IN HEAVEN 299 



civilly; "I do not know, sir, who you may happen to be. 
But, since you ask me, everybody knows that things as 
they are must be regarded as temporary afflictions, and 
as trials through which we are righteously condemned 
to pass, in order to attain to eternal life with our loved 
ones in Heaven." 

"Ah, yes," said Koshchei, who made things as they 
are ; "ah, yes, to be sure ! and how did you learn of this ?" 

"Why, every Sunday morning the priest discoursed to 
us about Heaven, and of how happy we would be there 
after death." 

"Has this woman died, then ?" asked Koshchei. 

"Yes, sir," they told him, — "recently. And she will 
believe nothing we explain to her, but demands to be taken 
to Heaven." 

"Now, this is very vexing," Koshchei said, "and I 
cannot, of course, put up with such scepticism. That 
would never do. So why do you not convey her to 
this Heaven which she believes in, and thus put an end to 
the matter?" 

"But, sir," they told him, "there is no such place." 

Then Koshchei reflected. "It is certainly strange that 
a place which does not exist should be a matter of public 
knowledge in another place. Where does this woman 
come from?" 

"From Earth," they told him. 

"Where is that?" he asked: and they explained to him 
as well as they could. 

"Oh, yes, over that way," Koshchei interrupted. "I 
remember. Now — but what is your name, woman who 
wish to go to Heaven?" 

"Steinvor, sir: and if you please I am rather in a 



300 JURGEN 



hurry to be with my children again. You see, I have 
not seen any of them for a long while." 

"But stay," said Koshchei : "what is that which comes 
into this woman's eyes as she speaks of her children?" 
They told him it was love. 

"Did I create this love?" says Koshchei, who made 
things as they are. And they told him, no: and that 
there were many sorts of love, but that this especial sort 
was an illusion which women had invented for them- 
selves, and which they exhibited in all dealings with their 
children. And Koshchei sighed. 

"Tell me about your children," Koshchei then said 
to Steinvor: "and look at me as you talk, so that I may 
see your eyes." 

So Steinvor talked of her children: and Koshchei, 
who made all things, listened very attentively. Of Coth 
she told him, of her only son, confessing Coth was the 
finest boy that ever lived, — "a little wild, sir, at first, 
but then you know what boys are," — and telling of how 
well Coth had done in business and of how he had even 
risen to be an alderman. Koshchei, who made all things, 
seemed properly impressed. Then Steinvor talked of 
her daughters, of Imperia and Lindamira and Christine: 
of Imperia's beauty, and of Lindamira's bravery under 
the mishaps of an unlucky marriage, and of Christine's 
superlative housekeeping. "Fine women, sir, every one 
of them, with children of their own ! and to me they still 
seem such babies, bless them!" And the decent little 
bent gray woman laughed. "I have been very lucky in 
my children, sir, and in my grandchildren, too," she told 
Koshchei. "There is Jurgen, now, my Coth's boy! You 
may not believe it, sir, but there is a story I must tell 



OF COMPROMISES IN HEAVEN 301 



you about Jurgen — " So she ran on very happily and 
proudly, while Koshchei, who made all things, listened, 
and watched the eyes of Steinvor. 

Then privately Koshchei asked, "Are these children 
and grandchildren of Steinvor such as she reports?" 

"No, sir," they told him privately. 

So as Steinvor talked Koshchei devised illusions in 
accordance with that which Steinvor said, and created 
such children and grandchildren as she described. Male 
and female he created them standing behind Steinvor, 
and all were beautiful and stainless: and Koshchei gave 
life to these illusions. 

Then Koshchei bade her turn about. She obeyed: 
and Koshchei was forgotten. 

Well, Koshchei sat there alone in the void, looking not 
very happy, and looking puzzled, and drumming upon his 
knee, and staring at the little bent gray woman, who 
was busied with her children and grandchildren, and had 
forgotten all about him. "But surely, Lindamira," he 
hears Steinvor say, "we are not yet in Heaven." — "Ah, 
my dear mother," replies her illusion of Lindamira, "to 
be with you again is Heaven : and besides, it may be 
that Heaven is like this, after all." — "My darling child, 
it is sweet of you to say that, and exactly like you to 
say that. But you know very well that Heaven is fully 
described in the Book of Revelations, in the Bible, as 
the glorious place that Heaven is. Whereas, as you can 
see for yourself, around us is nothing at all, and no per- 
son at all except that very civil gentleman to whom 
I was just talking; and who, between ourselves, seems 
woefully uninformed about the most ordinary matters." 

"Bring Earth to me," says Koshchei. This was done, 



302 JURGEN 



and Koshchei looked over the planet, and found a Bible. 
Koshchei opened the Bible, and read the Revelation of 
St. John the Divine, while Steinvor talked with her 
illusions. "I see," said Koshchei. "The idea is a little 
garish. Still — !" So he replaced the Bible, and bade 
them put Earth, too, in its proper place, for Koshchei 
dislikes wasting anything. Then Koshchei smiled and 
created Heaven about Steinvor and her illusions, and 
he made Heaven just such a place as was described 
in the book. 

"And so, Jurgen, that was how it came about," ended 
the God of Jurgen's grandmother. "And Me also Kosh- 
chei created at that time, with the seraphim and the 
saints and all the blessed, very much as you see us : and, 
of course, he caused us to have been here always, since 
the beginning of time, because that, too, was in the 
book." 

"But how could that be done?" says Jurgen, with 
brows puckering. "And in what way could Koshchei 
juggle so with time?" 

"How should I know, since I am but the illusion of 
an old woman, as you have so frequently proved by logic ? 
Let it suffice that whatever Koshchei wills, not only 
happens, but has already happened beyond the ancientest 
memory of man and his mother. How otherwise could 
he be Koshchei?" 

"And all this," said Jurgen, virtuously, "for a woman 
who was not even faithful to her husband!" 

"Oh, very probably!" said the God: "at all events, it 
was done for a woman who loved. Koshchei will do 
almost anything to humor love, since love is one of the 
two things which are impossible to Koshchei." 



OF COMPROMISES IN HEAVEN 303 



"I have heard that pride is impossible to Koshchei — " 

The God of Jurgen's grandmother raised His white 
eyebrows. "What is pride? I do not think I ever heard 
of it before. Assuredly it is something that does not 
enter here." 

"But why is love impossible to Koshchei?" 

"Because Koshchei made things as they are, and day 
and night he contemplates things as they are. How, then, 
can Koshchei love anything?" 

But Jurgen shook his sleek black head. "That I 
cannot understand at all. If I were imprisoned in a 
cell wherein was nothing except my verses I would not be 
happy, and certainly I would not be proud: but even 
so, I would love my verses. I am afraid that I fall in 
more readily with the ideas of Grandfather Satan than 
with Yours ; and without contradicting You, I cannot 
but wonder if what You reveal is true." 

"And how should I know whether or not I speak 
the truth?" the God asked of him, "since I am but the 
illusion of an old woman, as you have so frequently 
proved by logic." 

"Well, well !" said Jurgen, "You may be right in all 
matters, and certainly I cannot presume to say You are 
wrong: but still, at the same time — ! No, even now 
I do not quite believe in You." 

"Who could expect it of a clever fellow, who sees 
so clearly through the illusions of old women?" the God 
asked, a little wearily. 

And Jurgen answered: 

"God of my grandmother, I cannot quite believe in 
You, and Your doings as they are recorded I find in- 
coherent and a little droll. But I am glad the affair 



304 JURGEN 



has been so arranged that You may always now be real 
to brave and gentle persons who have believed in and 
have worshipped and have loved You. To have disap- 
pointed them would have been unfair : and it is right 
that before the faith they had in You not even Koshchei 
who made things as they are was able to be reasonable. 

"God of my grandmother, I cannot quite believe in 
You ; but remembering the sum of love and faith that 
has been given You, I tremble. I think of the dear 
people whose living was confident and glad because of 
their faith in You : I think of them, and in my heart 
contends a blind contrition, and a yearning, and an 
enviousness, and yet a tender sort of amusement colors 
all. Oh, God, there was never any other deity who 
had such dear worshippers as You have had, and You 
should be very proud of them. 

''God of my grandmother, I cannot quite believe in 
You, yet I am not as those who would come peering 
at You reasonably. I, Jurgen, see You only through a 
mist of tears. For You were loved by those whom I 
loved greatly very long ago : and when I look at You 
it is Your worshippers and the dear believers of old 
that I remember. And it seems to me that dates and 
manuscripts and the opinions of learned persons are 
very trifling things beside what I remember, and what 
I envy !" 

"Who could have expected such a monstrous clever 
fellow ever to envy the illusions of old women?" the 
God of Jurgen's grandmother asked again: and yet His 
countenance was not unfriendly. 

"Why, but," said Jurgen, on a sudden, " why, but my 
grandmother — in a way — was right about Heaven and 



OF COMPROMISES IN HEAVEN 305 



about You also. For certainly You seem to exist, and 
to reign in just such estate as she described. And yet, 
according to Your latest revelation, I too was right — 
in a way — about these things being an old woman's 
delusions. I wonder now — ?" 

"Yes, Jurgen?" 

"Why, I wonder if everything is right, in a way? I 
wonder if that is the large secret of everything? It 
would not be a bad solution, sir," said Jurgen, medita- 
tively. 

The God smiled. Then suddenly that part of Heaven 
was vacant, except for Jurgen, who stood there quite 
alone. And before him was the throne of the vanished 
God and the sceptre of the God, and Jurgen saw that 
the seven spots upon the great book were of red sealing- 
wax. 

Jurgen was afraid : but he was particularly appalled 
by his consciousness that he was not going to falter. 
"What, you who have been duke and prince and king 
and emperor and pope ! and do such dignities content 
a Jurgen ? Why, not at all," says Jurgen. 

.So Jurgen ascended the throne of Heaven, and sat 
beneath that wondrous rainbow: and in his lap now was 
the book, and in his hand was the sceptre, of the God 
of Jurgen's grandmother. 

Jurgen sat thus, for a long while regarding the bright 
vacant courts of Heaven. "And what will you do now?" 
says Jurgen, aloud. "Oh, fretful little Jurgen, you that 
have complained because you had not your desire, you 
are omnipotent over Earth and all the affairs of men. 
What now is your desire?" And sitting thus terribly 
enthroned, the heart of Jurgen was as lead within him, 



306 JURGEN 



and he felt old and very tired. "For I do not know. 
Oh, nothing can help me, for I do not know what thing 
it is that I desire ! And this book and this sceptre and 
this throne avail me nothing at all, and nothing can 
ever avail me : for I am Jurgen who seeks he knows 
not what." 

So Jurgen shrugged, and climbed down from the 
throne of the God, and wandering at adventure, came 
presently to four archangels. They were seated upon 
a fleecy cloud, and they were eating milk and honey 
from gold porringers : and of these radiant beings Jurgen 
inquired the quickest way out of Heaven. 

"For hereabouts are none of my illusions," said Jurgen, 
"and I must now return to such illusions as are con- 
genial. One must believe in something. And all that I 
have seen in Heaven I have admired and envied, but 
in none of these things could I believe, and with none 
of these things could I be satisfied. And while I think 
of it, I wonder now if any of you gentlemen can give 
me news of that Lisa who used to be my wife?" 

He described her; and they regarded him with com^ 
passion. 

But these archangels, he found, had never heard of 
Lisa, and they assured him there was no such person 
in Heaven. For Steinvor had died when Jurgen was a 
boy, and so she had never seen Lisa ; and in conse- 
quence, had not thought about Lisa one way or the other, 
when Steinvor outlined her notions to Koshchei who 
made things as they are. 

Now Jurgen discovered, too, that, when his eyes first 
met the eyes of the God of Jurgen's grandmother, Jurgen 
had stayed motionless for thirty-seven days, forgetful 



OF COMPROMISES IN HEAVEN 307 



of everything save that the God of his grandmother was 
love. 

"Nobody else has willingly turned away so soon," 
Zachariel told him : "and we think that your insensibility 
is due to some evil virtue in the glittering garment which 
you are wearing, and of which the like was never seen 
in Heaven." 

"I did but search for justice," Jurgen said: "and I 
could not find it in the eyes of your God, but only love 
and such forgiveness as troubled me." 

"Because of that should you rejoice," the four arch- 
angels said ; "and so should all that lives rejoice : and 
more particularly should we rejoice that dwell in Heaven, 
and hourly praise our Lord God's negligence of justice, 
whereby we are permitted to enter into this place." 



42. 

Twelve That are Fretted Hourly 



O it was upon Walburga's Eve, when almost any- 
thing is rather more than likely to happen, that 
Jurgen went hastily out of Heaven, without having 
gained or wasted any love there. St. Peter unbarred 
for him, not the main entrance, but a small private door, 
carved with innumerable fishes in bas-relief, because 
this exit opened directly upon any place you chose to 
imagine. 

"For thus," St. Peter said, "y° u ma y return without 
loss of time to your own illusions." 

"There was a cross," said Jurgen, "which I used to 
wear about my neck, through motives of sentiment, be- 
cause it once belonged to my dead mother. For no 
woman has ever loved me save that Azra who was my 
mother — " 

"I wonder if your mother told you that?" St. Peter 
asked him, smiling reminiscently. "Mine did, time and 
again. And sometimes I have wondered — ? For, as 
you may remember, I was a married man, Jurgen: and 
my wife did not quite understand me," said St. Peter, 
with a sigh. 

"Why, indeed," says Jurgen, "my case is not entirely 
dissimilar : and the more I marry, the less I find of com- 
prehension. I should have had more sympathy with King 

308 



TWELVE THAT ARE FRETTED HOURLY 309 



Smoit, who was certainly my grandfather. Well, you con- 
ceive, St. Peter, these other women have trusted me, more 
or less, because they loved a phantom Jurgen. But Azra 
trusted me not at all, because she loved me with clear 
eyes. She comprehended Jurgen, and yet loved him : 
though I for one, with all my cleverness, cannot do either 
of these things. None the less, in order to do the manly 
thing, in order to pleasure a woman, — and a married 
woman, too ! — I flung away the little gold cross which was 
all that remained to me of my mother: and since then, 
St. Peter, the illusions of sentiment have given me a 
woefully wide berth. So I shall relinquish Heaven to 
seek a cross." 

"That has been done before, Jurgen, and I doubt if 
much good came of it." 

"Heyday, and did it not lead to the eternal glory of 
the first and greatest of the popes? It seems to me, sir, 
that you have either very little memory or very little 
gratitude, and I am tempted to crow in your face." 

"Why, now you talk like a cherub, Jurgen, and you 
ought to have better manners. Do you suppose that we 
Apostles enjoy hearing jokes made about the Church?" 

"Well, it is true, St. Peter, that you founded the 
Church—" 

"Now, there you go again! That is what those 
patronizing seraphim and those impish cherubs are always 
telling us. You see, we Twelve sit together in Heaven, 
each on his white throne : and we behold everything that 
happens on Earth. Now from our station there has been 
no ignoring the growth and doings of what you might 
loosely call Christianity. And sometimes that which we 
see makes us very uncomfortable, Jurgen. Especially as 



310 JURGEN 



just then some cherub is sure to flutter by, in a broad 
grin, and chuckle, 'But you started it. 5 And we did; 
I cannot deny that in a way we did. Yet really we 
never anticipated anything of this sort, and it is not 
fair to tease us about it." 

"Indeed, St. Peter, now I think of it, you ought to 
be held responsible for very little that has been said 
or done in the shadow of a steeple. For as I remember 
it, you Twelve attempted to convert a world to the teach- 
ings of Jesus : and good intentions ought to be respected, 
however drolly they may turn out." 

It was apparent this sympathy was grateful to the old 
Saint, for he was moved to a more confidential tone. 
Meditatively he stroked his long white beard, then said 
with indignation : "If only they would not claim sib with 
us we could stand it : but as it is, for centuries we have 
felt like fools. It is particularly embarrassing for me, 
of course, being on the wicket ; for to cap it all, Jurgen, 
the little wretches die, and come to Heaven impudent as 
sparrows, and expect me to let them in! From their 
thumbscrewings, and their auto-da-fes, and from their 
massacres, and patriotic sermons, and holy wars, and 
from every manner of abomination, they come to me, 
smirking. And millions upon millions of them, Jurgen! 
There is no form of cruelty or folly that has not come to 
me for praise, and no sort of criminal idiot who has not 
claimed fellowship with me, who was an Apostle and a 
gentleman. Why, Jurgen, you may not believe it, but there 
was an eminent bishop came to me only last week in the 
expectation that I was going to admit him, — and I with 
the full record of his work for temperance, all fairly 
written out and in my hand!" 



TWELVE THAT ARE FRETTED HOURLY 311 



Now Jurgen was surprised. ''But temperance is surely 
a virtue, St. Peter." 

"Ah, but his notion of temperance ! and his filthy 
ravings to my face, as though he were talking in some 
church or other! Why, the slavering little blasphemer! 
to my face he spoke against the first of my Master's 
miracles, and against the last injunction which was laid 
upon us Twelve, spluttering that the wine was unfer- 
mented! To me he said this, look you, Jurgen! to me, 
who drank of that noble wine at Cana and equally of 
that sustaining wine we had in the little upper room 
in Jerusalem when the hour of trial was near and our 
Master would have us at our best ! With me, who have 
since tasted of that unimaginable wine which the Master 
promised us in His kingdom, the busy wretch would 
be arguing! and would have convinced me, in the face 
of all my memories, that my Master, Who was a Man 
among men, was nourished by such thin swill as bred 
this niggling brawling wretch to plague me !" 

"Well, but indeed, St. Peter, there is no denying that 
wine is often misused." 

"So he informed me, Jurgen. And I told him by that 
argument he would prohibit the making of bishops, for 
reasons he would find in the mirror : and that, remem- 
bering what happened at the Crucifixion, he would clap 
every lumber dealer into jail. So they took him away 
still slavering," said St. Peter, wearily. "He was threat- 
ening to have somebody else elected in my place when 
I last heard him : but that was only old habit." 

"I do not think, however, that I encountered any such 
bishop, sir, down yonder." 

"In the Hell of your fathers ? Oh, no : your fathers 



312 JURGEN 



meant well, but their notions were limited. No, we 
have quite another eternal home for these blasphemers, 
in a region that was fitted out long ago, when the need 
grew pressing to provide a place for zealous Churchmen." 

"And who devised this place, St. Peter?" 

"As a very special favor, we Twelve to whom is im- 
puted the beginning and the patronizing of such abomina- 
tions were permitted to design and furnish this place. 
And, of course, we put it in charge of our former 
confrere, Judas. He seemed the appropriate person. 
Equally of course, we put a very special roof upon it, 
the best imitation which we could contrive of the War 
Roof, so that none of those grinning cherubs could see 
what long reward it was we Twelve who founded Christi- 
anity had contrived for these blasphemers." 

"Well, doubtless that was wise." 

"Ah, and if we Twelve had our way there would be 
just such another roof kept always over Earth. For 
the slavering madman has left a many like him clamoring 
and spewing about the churches that were named for 
us Twelve, and in the pulpits of the churches that were 
named for us: and we find it embarrassing. It is the 
doctrine of Mahound they splutter, and not any doctrine 
that we ever preached or even heard of: and they ought 
to say so fairly, instead of libeling us who were Apostles 
and gentlemen. But thus it is that the rascals make free 
with our names: and the cherubs keep track of these 
antics, and poke fun at us. So that it is not all pleasure, 
this being a Holy Apostle in Heaven, Jurgen, though once 
we Twelve were happy enough." And St. Peter sighed. 

"One thing I did not understand, sir: and that was 
when you spoke just now of the War Roof." 



TWELVE THAT ARE FRETTED HOURLY 313 



"It is a stone roof, made of the two tablets handed 
down at Sinai, which God fits over Earth whenever men 
go to war. For He is merciful : and many of us here 
remember that once upon a time we were men and women. 
So when men go to war God screens the sight of what 
they do, because He wishes to be merciful to us." 

"That must prevent, however, the ascent of all prayers 
that are made in war-time." 

"Why, but, of course, that is the roof's secondary 
purpose," replied St. Peter. "What else would you ex- 
pect when the Master's teachings are being flouted? 
Rumors get through, though, somehow, and horribly pre- 
posterous rumors. For instance, I have actually heard 
that in war-time prayers are put up to the Lord God to 
back His favorites and take part in the murdering. Not," 
said the good Saint, in haste, "that I would believe even a 
Christian bishop to be capable of such blasphemy: I 
merely want to show you, Jurgen, what wild stories get 
about. Still, I remember, back in Cappadocia — " And then 
St. Peter slapped his thigh. "But would you keep me gossip- 
ing here forever, Jurgen, with the Souls lining up at the 
main entrance like ants that swarm to molasses ! Come, 
out of Heaven with you, Jurgen ! and back to whatever 
place you imagine will restore to you your own proper 
illusions ! and let me be returning to my duties." 

"Well, then, St. Peter, I imagine Amneran Heath, 
where I flung away my mother's last gift to me." 

"And Amneran Heath it is," said St. Peter, as he 
thrust Jurgen through the small private door that was 
carved with fishes in bas-relief. 

And Jurgen saw that the Saint spoke truthfully. 



43. 

Postures before a Shadow 



T | ^HUS Jurgen stood again upon Amneran Heath. 
And again it was Walburga's Eve, when almost 

-*- anything is rather more than likely to happen: 
and the low moon was bright, so that the shadow of 
Jurgen was long and thin. And Jurgen searched for the 
gold cross that he had worn through motives of senti- 
ment, but he could not find it, nor did he ever recover 
it : but barberry bushes and the thorns of barberry bushes 
he found in great plenty as he searched vainly. All 
the while that he searched, the shirt of Nessus glittered 
in the moonlight, and the shadow of Jurgen streamed 
long and thin, and every movement that was made by 
Jurgen the shadow parodied. And as always, it was the 
shadow of a lean woman, with her head wrapped in a 
towel. 

Now Jurgen regarded this shadow, and to Jurgen it 
was abhorrent. 

"Oh, Mother Sereda," says he, "for a whole year your 
shadow has dogged me. Many lands we have visited, 
and many sights we have seen: and at the end all that 
we have done is a tale that is told: and it is a tale that 
does not matter. So I stand where I stood at the be- 
ginning of my foiled journeying. The gift you gave me 
has availed me nothing: and I do not care whether I be 

314 



POSTURES BEFORE A SHADOW 31 = 



young or old: and I have lost all that remained to me 
of my mother and of my mother's love, and I have be- 
trayed my mother's pride in me, and I am weary." 

Now a little whispering gathered upon the ground, as 
though dead leaves were moving there : and the whisper- 
ing augmented (because this was upon Walburga's Eve, 
when almost anything is rather more than likely to hap- 
pen), and the whispering became the ghost of a voice. 

"You flattered me very cunningly, Jurgen, for you are 
a monstrous clever fellow." This it was that the voice 
said drily. 

"A number of people might say that with tolerable 
justice," Jurgen declared: "and yet I guess who speaks. 
As for flattering you, godmother, I was only joking that 
day in Glathion: in fact, I was careful to explain as 
much, the moment I noticed your shadow seemed inter- 
ested in my idle remarks and was writing them all 
down in a notebook. Oh, no, I can assure you I traf- 
ficked quite honestly, and have dealt fairly everywhere. 
For the rest, I really am very clever : it would be foolish 
of me to deny it." 

"Vain fool !" said the voice of Mother Sereda. 

Jurgen replied : "It may be that I am vain. Eut it 
is certain that I am clever. And even more certain is 
the fact that I am weary. For, look you, in the tinsel 
of my borrowed youth I have gone romancing through 
the world; and into lands unvisited by other men have 
I ventured, playing at spillikins with women and gear 
and with the welfare of kingdoms; and into Hell have 
T fallen, and into Heaven have I climbed, and into the 
place of the Lord God Himself have I crept stealthily: 
and nowhere have I found what I desired. Nor do I 



316 JURGEN 



know what my desire is, even now. But I know that it is 
not possible for me to become young again, whatever 
I may appear to others." 

"Indeed, Jurgen, youth has passed out of your heart, 
beyond the reach of Leshy: and the nearest you can 
come to regaining youth is to behave childishly." 

"O godmother, but do give rein to your better instincts 
and all that sort of thing, and speak with me more 
candidly! Come now, dear lady, there should be no 
secrets between you and me. In Leuke you were reported 
to be Cybele, the great Res Dea, the mistress of every 
tangible thing. In Cocaigne they spoke of you as JEsred. 
And at Cameliard Merlin called you Aderes. dark Mother 
of the Little Gods. Well, but at your home in the forest, 
where I first had the honor of making your acquaintance, 
godmother, you told me you were Sereda, who takes 
the color out of things, and controls all Wednesdays. 
Now these anagrams bewilder me, and I desire to know 
you frankly for what you are." 

"It may be that I am all these. Meanwhile I bleach, 
and sooner or later I bleach everything. It may be that 
some day, Jurgen, I shall even take the color out of a 
fool's conception of himself." 

"Yes, yes! but just between ourselves, godmother, is 
it not this shadow of you that prevents my entering, 
quite, into the appropriate emotion, the spirit of the 
occasion, as one might say, and robs my life of the 
zest which other persons apparently get out of living? 
Come now, you know it is! Well, and for my part, 
godmother, I love a jest as well as any man breathing, 
but I do prefer to have it intelligible." 

"Now, let me tell you something plainly, Jurgen!" 



POSTURES BEFORE A SHADOW 317 



Mother Sereda cleared her invisible throat, and began 

to speak rather indignantly. 

* * * 

''Well, godmother, if you will pardon my frankness, 
I do not think it is quite nice to talk about such things, 
and certainly not with so much candor. However, dis- 
missing these considerations of delicacy, let us revert 
to my original question. You have given me youth 
and all the appurtenances of youth: and therewith you 
have given, too, in your joking way — which nobody 
appreciates more heartily than I, — a shadow that renders 
all things not quite satisfactory, not wholly to be trusted, 
not to be met with frankness. Now — as you understand, 
I hope, — I concede the jest, I do not for a moment deny 
it is a master-stroke of humor. But, after all, just what 
exactly is the point of it? What does it mean?" 

"It may be that there is no meaning anywhere. Could 
you face that interpretation, Jurgen?" 

"No," said Jurgen: "I have faced god and devil, but 
that I will not face." 

"No more would I who have so many names face 
that. You jested with me. So I jest with you. Probably 
Koshchei jests with all of us. And he, no doubt — even 
Koshchei who made things as they are, — is in turn the 
butt of some larger jest." 

"He may be, certainly," said Jurgen: "yet, on the other 
hand—" 

"About these matters I do not know. How should 
I ? But I think that all of us take part in a moving and 
a shifting and a reasoned using of the things which are 
Koshchei's, a using such as we do not comprehend, and 
are not fit to comprehend." 



318 JURGEN 



"That is possible," said Jurgen : ''but, none the less — !" 

"It is as a chessboard whereon the pieces move 
diversely: the knights leaping sidewise, and the bishops 
darting obliquely, and the rooks charging straightfor- 
ward, and the pawns laboriously hobbling from square 
to square, each at the player's will. There is no dis- 
cernible order, all to the onlooker is manifestly in con- 
fusion : but to the player there is a meaning in the dis- 
position of the pieces." 

"I do not deny it : still, one must grant — " 

"And I think it is as though each of the pieces, even 
the pawns, had a chessboard of his own which moves 
as he is moved, and whereupon he moves the pieces 
to suit his will, in the very moment wherein he is moved 
willy-nilly." 

"You may be right : yet, even so — " 

"And Koshchei who directs this infinite moving of 
puppets may well be the futile harried king in some yet 
larger game." 

"Now, certainly I cannot contradict you: but, at the 
same time — !" 

"So goes this criss-cross multitudinous moving as far 
as thought can reach : and beyond that the moving goes. 
All moves. All moves uncomprehendingly, and to the 
sound of laughter. For all moves in consonance with a 
higher power that understands the meaning of the move- 
ment. And each moves the pieces before him in con- 
sonance with his ability. So the game is endless and 
ruthless : and there is merriment overhead, but it is very 
far away." 

"Nobody is more willing to concede that these are 
handsome fancies, Mother Sereda. But they make my 



POSTURES BEFORE A SHADOW 319 



head ache. Moreover, two people are needed to play 
chess, and your hypothesis does not provide anybody 
with an antagonist. Lastly, and above all, how do I 
know there is a word of truth in your high-sounding 
fancies ?" 

"How can any of us know anything? And what is 
Jurgen, that his knowing or his not knowing should 
matter to anybody?" 

Jurgen slapped his hands together. "Hah, Mother 
Sereda!" says he, "but now I have you. It is that, 
precisely that damnable question, which your shadow 
has been whispering to me from the beginning of our 
companionship. And I am through with you. I will 
have no more of your gifts, which are purchased at the 
cost of hearing that whisper. I am resolved hence- 
forward to be as other persons, and to believe implicitly 
in my own importance." 

"But have you any reason to blame me? I restored 
to you your youth. And when, just at the passing of 
that replevined Wednesday which I loaned, you rebuked 
the Countess Dorothy very edifyingly, I was pleased to 
find a man so chaste : and therefore I continued my grant 
of youth—" 

"Ah, yes !" said Jurgen : "then that was the way of it ? 
You were pleased, just in the nick of time, by my virtu- 
ous rebuke of the woman who tempted me. Yes, to be 
sure. Well, well! come now, you know, that is very 
gratifying." 

"None the less your chastity, however unusual, has 
proved a barren virtue. For what have you made of 
a year of youth ? Why, each thing that every man 
of forty-odd by ordinary regrets having done, you have 



320 JURGEN 



done again, only more swiftly, compressing the follies 
of a quarter of a century into the space of one year. 
You have sought bodily pleasures. You have made jests. 
You have asked many idle questions. And you have 
doubted all things, including Jurgen. In the face of 
your memories, in the face of what you probably con- 
sidered cordial repentance, you have made of your second 
youth just nothing. Each thing that every man of 
forty-odd regrets having done, you have done again." 

"Yes : it is undeniable that I re-married," said Jurgen. 
"Indeed, now I think of it, there was Anaitis and Chloris 
and Florimel, so that I have married thrice in one year. 
But I am largely the victim of heredity, you must re- 
member, since it was without consulting me that Smoit 
of Glathion perpetuated his characteristics." 

"Your marriages I do not criticize, for each was in 
accordance with the custom of the country : the law is 
always respectable; and matrimony is an honorable 
estate, and has a steadying influence, in all climes. It is 
true my shadow reports several other affairs — " 

"Oh, godmother, and what is this you are telling me !" 

"There was a Yolande and a Guenevere" — the voice 
of Mother Sereda appeared to read from a memoran- 
dum, — "and a Sylvia, who was your own step-grand- 
mother, and a Stella, who was a yogini, whatever that 
may be; and a Phyllis and a Dolores, who were the 
queens of Hell and Philistia severally. Moreover, you 
visited the Queen of Pseudopolis in circumstances which 
could not but have been unfavorably viewed by her 
husband. Oh, yes, you have committed follies with 
divers women." 

"Follies, it may be, but no crimes, not even a mis- 



POSTURES BEFORE A SHADOW 321 



demeanor. Look you, Mother Sereda, does your shadow 
report in all this year one single instance of miscon- 
duct with a woman ?" says Jurgen, sternly. 

"No, dearie, as I joyfully concede. The very worst 
reported is that matters were sometimes assuming a 
more or less suspicious turn when you happened to put 
out the light. And, of course, shadows cannot exist 
in absolute darkness." 

"See now," said Jurgen, "what a thing it is to be 
careful! Careful, I mean, in one's avoidance of even 
an appearance of evil. In what other young man of 
twenty-one may you look to find such continence? And 
yet you grumble !" 

"I do not complain because you have lived chastely. 
That pleases me, and is the single reason you have been 
spared this long." 

"Oh, godmother, and whatever are you telling me!" 

"Yes, dearie, had you once sinned with a woman in 
the youth I gave, you would have been punished instantly 
and very terribly. For I was always a great believer 
in chastity, and in the old days I used to insure the 
chastity of all my priests in the only way that is 
infallible." 

"In fact, I noticed something of the sort as you passed 
in Leuke." 

"And over and over again I have been angered by 
my shadow's reports, and was about to punish you, my 
poor dearie, when I would remember that you held fast 
to the rarest of all virtues in a man, and that my 
shadow reported no irregularities with women. And 
that would please me, I acknowledge: so I would let 
matters run on a while longer. But it is a shiftless 



322 JURGEN 

business, dearie, for you are making nothing of the 
youth I restored to you. And had you a thousand 
lives the result would be the same." 

"Nevertheless, I am a monstrous clever fellow." Jur- 
gen chuckled here. 

"You are, instead, a palterer; and your life, apart from 
that fine song you made about me, is sheer waste." 

"Ah, if you come to that, there was a brown man in 
the Druid forest, who showed me a very curious spectacle, 
last June. And I am not apt to lose the memory of what 
he showed me, whatever you may say, and whatever I 
may have said to him." 

"This and a many other curious spectacles you have 
seen and have made nothing of, in the false youth I gave 
you. And therefore my shadow was angry that in the 
revelation of so much futile trifling I did not take away 
the youth I gave — as I have half a mind to do, even 
now, I warn you, dearie, for there is really no putting 
up with you. But I spared you because of my shadow's 
grudging reports as to your continence, which is a virtue 
that we of the Leshy peculiarly revere." 

Now Jurgen considered. "Eh ? — then it is within your 
ability to make me old again, or rather, an excellently 
preserved person of forty-odd, or say, thirty-nine, by 
the calendar, but not looking it by a long shot? Such 
threats are easily voiced. But how can I know that 
you are speaking the truth?" 

"How can any of us know anything? And what is 
Jurgen, that his knowing or his not knowing should 
matter to anybody?" 

"Ah, godmother, and must you still be mumbling that ! 
Come now, forget you are a woman, and be reasonable ! 
You exercise the fair and ancient privilege of kinship 



POSTURES BEFORE A SHADOW 323 



by calling me harsh names, but it is in the face of this 
plain fact: I got from you what never man has got 
before. I am a monstrous clever fellow, say what you 
will: for already I have cajoled you out of a year of 
youth, a year wherein I have neither builded nor robbed 
any churches, but have had upon the whole a very pleasant 
time. Ah, you may murmur platitudes and threats and 
axioms and anything else which happens to appeal to you : 
the fact remains that I got what I wanted. Yes, I 
cajoled you very neatly into giving me eternal youth. 
For, of course, poor dear, you are now powerless to take 
it back: and so I shall retain, in spite of you, the most 
desirable possession in life." 

"I gave, in honor of your chastity, which is the one 
commendable trait that you possess — " 

"My chastity, I grant you, is remarkable. Neverthe- 
less, you really gave because I was the cleverer." 

" — And what I give I can retract at will !" 

"Come, come, you know very well you can do nothing 
of the sort. I refer you to Sasvius Nicanor. None of 
the Leshy can ever take back the priceless gift of youth. 
That is explicitly proved, in the Appendix." 

"Now, but I am becoming angry — " 

"To the contrary, as I perceive with real regret, you 
are becoming ridiculous, since you dispute the authority 
of Ssevius Nicanor." 

" — And I will show you — oh, but I will show you, 
you jackanapes !" 

"Ah, but come now ! keep your temper in hand ! Alii 
fairly erudite persons know you cannot do the thing you ' 
threaten : and it is notorious that the weakest wheel of 
every cart creaks loudest. So do you cultivate a judicious 



324 JURGEN 

taciturnity! for really nobody is going to put up with 
petulance in an ugly and toothless woman of your age, 
as I tell you for your own good." 

It always vexes people to be told anything for their 
own good. So what followed happened quickly. A fleece 
of cloud slipped over the moon. The night seemed 
bitterly cold, for the space of a heart-beat, and then 
matters were comfortable enough. The moon emerged 
in its full glory, and there in front of Jurgen was the 
proper shadow of Jurgen. He dazedly regarded his 
hands, and they were the hands of an elderly person. 
He felt the calves of his legs, and they were shrunken. 
He patted himself centrally, and underneath the shirt of 
Nessus the paunch of Jurgen was of impressive dimen- 
sion. In other respects he had abated. 

"Then, too, I have forgotten something very suddenly," 
reflected Jurgen. "It was something I wanted to forget. 
Ah, yes ! but what was it that I wanted to forget? Why, 
there was a brown man — with something unusual about 
his feet — He talked nonsense and behaved idiotically in 
a Druid forest — He was probably insane. No, I do not 
remember what it was that I have forgotten: but I am 
sure it has gnawed away in the back of my mind, like 
a small ruinous maggot: and that, after all, it was of 
no importance." 

Aloud he wailed, in his most moving tones : "Oh, 
Mother Sereda, I did not mean to anger you. It was 
not fair to snap me up on a thoughtless word! Have 
mercy upon me, Mother Sereda,. for I would never have 
alluded to your being so old and plain-looking if I had 
known you were so vain !" 



POSTURES BEFORE A SHADOW 325 



But Mother Sereda did not appear to be softened by 
this form of entreaty, for nothing happened. 

"Well, then, thank goodness, that is over !" says Jur- 
gen, to himself. "Of course, she may be listening still, 
and it is dangerous jesting with the Leshy : but really 
they do not seem to be very intelligent. Otherwise this 
irritable maunderer would have known that, everything 
else apart, I am heartily tired of the responsibilities of 
youth under any such constant surveillance. Now all 
is changed : there is no call to avoid a suspicion of wrong- 
doing by transacting all philosophical investigations in 
the dark: and I am no longer distrustful of lamps or 
candles, or even of sunlight. Old body, you are as 
grateful as old slippers, to a somewhat wearied man : 
and for the second time I have tricked Mother Sereda 
rather neatly. My knowledge of Lisa, however pain- 
fully acquired, is a decided advantage in dealing with 
anything that is feminine." 

Then Jurgen regarded the black cave. "And that re- 
minds me it still would be, I suppose, the manly thing to 
continue my quest for Lisa. The intimidating part is 
that if I go into this cave for the third time I shall almost 
certainly get her back. By every rule of tradition the 
third attempt is invariably successful. I wonder if I 
want Lisa back?" 

Jurgen meditated: and he shook a grizzled head. "I 
do not definitely know. She was an excellent cook. 
There were pies that I shall always remember with 
affection. And she meant well, poor dear! But then if 
it was really her head that I sliced off last May — or if 
her temper is not any better — Still, it is an interminable 
nuisance washing your own dishes: and I appear to have 



326 JURGEN 



no aptitude whatever for sewing and darning things. But, 
to the other hand, Lisa nags so : and she does not under- 
stand me — " 

Jurgen shrugged. "See-saw! the argument for and 
against might run on indefinitely. Since I have no real 
preference, I will humor prejudice by doing the manly 
thing. For it seems only fair: and besides, it may fail 
after all." 

Then he went into the cave for the third time. 



44. 

In the Manager's Office 



1 



^HE tale tells that all was dark there, and Jurgen 
could see no one. But the cave stretched straight 
forward, and downward, and at the far end was 
a glow of light. Jurgen went on and on, and so came 
to the place where Nessus had lain in wait for Jurgen. 
Again Jurgen stooped, and crawled through the opening 
in the cave's wall, and so came to where lamps were 
burning upon tall iron stands. Now, one by one, these 
lamps were going out, and there were now no women 
here : instead, Jurgen trod inch deep in fine white ashes, 
leaving the print of his feet upon them. 

He went forward as the cave stretched. He came to 
a sharp turn in the cave, with the failing lamplight now 
behind him, so that his shadow confronted Jurgen, blurred 
but unarguable. It was the proper shadow of a common- 
place and elderly pawnbroker, and Jurgen regarded it 
with approval. 

Jurgen came then into a sort of underground chamber, 
from the roof of which was suspended a kettle of quiver- 
ing red flames. Facing him was a throne, and back of 
this were rows of benches : but here, too, was nobody. 
Resting upright against the vacant throne was a tri- 
angular white shield: and when Jurgen looked more 
closely he could see there was writing upon it. Jurgen 

327 



328 JURGEN 



carried this shield as close as he could to the kettle of 
flames, for his eyesight was now not very good, and 
besides, the flames in the kettle were burning low : and 
Jurgen deciphered the message that was written upon the 
shield, in black and red letters. 

"Absent upon important affairs," it said. "Will be 
back in an hour." And it was signed, "Thragnar R." 

"I wonder now for whom King Thragnar left this 
notice?" reflected Jurgen — "certainly not for me. And 
I wonder, too, if he left it here a year ago or only this 
evening? And I wonder if it was Thragnar's head I 
removed in the black and silver pavilion? Ah, well, 
there are a number of things to wonder about in this 
incredible cave, wherein the lights are dying out, as I 
observe with some discomfort. And I think the air grows 
chillier." 

Then Jurgen looked to his right, at the stairway which 
he and Guenevere had ascended ; and he shook his head. 
"Glathion is no fit resort for a respectable pawnbroker. 
Chivalry is for young people, like the late Duke of 
Logreus. But I must get out of this place, for certainly 
there is in the air a deathlike chill." 

So Jurgen went on down the aisle between the rows 
of benches wherefrom Thragnar's warriors had glared 
at Jurgen when he was last in this part of the cave. At 
the end of the aisle was a wooden door painted white. 
It was marked, in large black letters, "Office of the 
Manager — Keep Out." So Jurgen opened this door. 

He entered into a notable place illuminated by six 
cresset lights. These lights were the power of Assyria, 
and Nineveh, and Egypt, and Rome, and Athens, and 
Byzantium: six other cressets stood ready there, but 



IN THE MANAGER'S OFFICE 329 



fire had not yet been laid to these. Back of all was a 
large blackboard with much figuring on it in red chalk. 
And here, too, was the black gentleman, who a year ago 
had given his blessing to Jurgen, for speaking civilly of 
the powers of darkness. To-night the black gentleman 
wore a black dressing-gown that was embroidered with 
all the signs of the Zodiac. He sat at a table, the top of 
which was curiously inlaid with thirty pieces of silver: 
and he was copying entries from one big book into an- 
other. He looked up from his writing pleasantly enough, 
and very much as though he were expecting Jurgen. 

"You find me busy with the Stellar Accounts," says 
he, "which appear to be in a fearful muddle. But what 
more can I do for you, Jurgen? — for you, my friend, 
who spoke a kind word for things as they are, and 
furnished me with one or two really very acceptable 
explanations as to why I had created evil?" 

"I have been thinking, Prince — ■" begins the pawn- 
broker. 

"And why do you call me a prince, Jurgen?" 

"I do not know, sir. But I suspect that my quest is 
ended, and that you are Koshchei the Deathless." 

The black gentleman nodded. "Something of the sort. 
Koshchei, or Ardnari, or Ptha, or Jaldalaoth, or Abraxas, 
— it is all one what I may be called hereabouts. My 
real name you never heard: no man has ever heard my 
name. So that matter we need hardly go into." 

"Precisely, Prince. Well, but it is a long way that I 
have traveled roundabout, to win to you who made things 
as they are. And it is eager I am to learn just why you 
made things as they are." 



330 JURGEN 



Up went the black gentleman's eyebrows into regular 
Gothic arches. "And do you really think, Jurgen, that 
I am going to explain to you why I made things as they 
are ?" 

"I fail to see, Prince, how my wanderings could have 
any other equitable climax." 

''But, friend, I have nothing to do with justice. To 
the contrary, I am Koshchei who made things as they 
are." 

Jurgen saw the point. "Your reasoning, Prince, is 
unanswerable. I bow to it. I should even have fore- 
seen it. Do you tell me, then, what thing is this which 
I desire, and cannot find in any realm that man has 
known nor in any kingdom that man has imagined." 

Koshchei was very patient. "I am not, I confess, any- 
thing like as well acquainted with what has been going 
on in this part of the universe as I ought to be. Of 
course, events are reported to me, in a general sort of 
way, and some of my people were put in charge of these 
stars, a while back: but they appear to have run the 
constellation rather shiftlessly. Still, I have recently 
been figuring on the matter, and I do not despair of 
putting the suns hereabouts to some profitable use, in one 
way or another, after all. Of course, it is not as if it 
were an important constellation. But I am an Economist, 
and I dislike waste — " 

Then he was silent for an instant, not greatly worried 
by the problem, as Jurgen could see, but mildly vexed 
by his inability to divine the solution out of hand. 
Presently Koshchei said : 

"And in the mean time, Jurgen, I am afraid I cannot 
answer your question on the spur of the moment. You 



IN THE MANAGER'S OFFICE 331 



see, there appears to have been a great number of 
human beings, as you call them, evolved upon — oh, yes ! 
"—upon Earth. I have the approximate figures over 
yonder, but they would hardly interest you. And the 
desires of each one of these human beings seem to have 
been multitudinous and inconstant. Yet, Jurgen, you 
might appeal to the local authorities, for I remember 
appointing some, at the request of a very charming old 
lady." 

"In fine, you do not know what thing it is that I desire," 
said Jurgen, much surprised. 

"Why, no, I have not the least notion," replied Kosh- 
chei. "Still, I suspect that if you got it you would pro- 
test it was a most unjust affliction. So why keep worry- 
ing about it ?" 

Jurgen demanded, almost indignantly : "But have you 
not then, Prince, been guiding all my journeying during 
this last year?" 

"Now, really, Jurgen, I remember our little meeting 
very pleasantly. And I endeavored forthwith to dis- 
pose of your most urgent annoyance. But I confess I have 
had one or two other matters upon my mind since them 
You see, Jurgen, the universe is rather large, and the 
running of it is a considerable tax upon my time. 1 
cannot manage to see anything like as much of my friends 
as I would be delighted to see of them. And so perhaps, 
what with one thing and another, I have not given you 
my undivided attention all through the year — not every 
moment of it, that is." 

"Ah, Prince, I see that you are trying to spare my 
feelings, and it is kind of you. But the upshot is that 
you do not know what I have been doing, and you did 



332 JURGEN 



not care what I was doing. Dear me ! but this is a very 
sad come-down for my pride." 

"Yes, but reflect how remarkable a possession is that 
pride of yours, and how I wonder at it, and how I envy 
it in vain, — I, who have nothing anywhere to contem- 
plate save my own handiwork. Do you consider, Jurgen, 
what I would give if I could find, anywhere in this 
universe of mine, anything which would make me think 
myself one-half so important as you think Jurgen is!" 
And Koshchei sighed. 

But instead, Jurgen considered the humiliating fact 
that Koshchei had not been supervising Jurgen's travels. 
And of a sudden Jurgen perceived that this Koshchei 
the Deathless was not particularly intelligent. Then Jur- 
gen wondered why he should ever have expected Koshchei 
to be intelligent? Koshchei was omnipotent, as men 
estimate omnipotence: but by what course of reasoning 
had people come to believe that Koshchei was clever, as 
men estimate cleverness ? The fact that, to the contrary, 
Koshchei seemed well-meaning, but rather slow of ap- 
prehension and a little needlessly fussy, went far toward 
explaining a host of matters which had long puzzled 
Jurgen. Cleverness was, of course, the most admirable 
of all traits : but cleverness was not at the top of things, 
and never had been. 

"Very well, then !" says Jurgen, with a shrug ; "let us 
come to my third request and to the third thing that I 
have been seeking. Here, though, you ought to be more 
communicative. For I have been thinking, Prince, my 
wife's society is perhaps becoming to you a trifle burden- 
some." 

"Eh, sirs, I am not unaccustomed to women. I may 



IN THE MANAGER'S OFFICE 333 



truthfully say that as I find them, so do I take them. 
And I was willing to oblige a fellow rebel." 

"But I do not know, Prince, that I have ever rebelled. 
Far from it, I have everywhere conformed with custom." 

"Your lips conformed, but all the while your mind 
made verses, Jurgen. And poetry is man's rebellion 
against being what he is.'' 

" — And besides, you call me a fellow rebel. Now, 
how can it be possible that Koshchei, who made all things 
as they are, should be a rebel? unless, indeed, there is 
some power above even Koshchei. I would very much 
like to have that explained to me, sir." 

"No doubt: but then why should I explain it to you, 
Jurgen?" says the black gentleman. 

"Well, be that as it may, Prince ! But — to return a 
little — I do not know that you have obliged me in carry- 
ing off my wife. I mean, of course, my first wife." 

"Why, Jurgen," says the black gentleman, in high 
astonishment, "do you mean to tell me that you want 
the plague of your life back again!" 

"I do not know about that either, sir. She was cer- 
tainly very hard to live with. On the other hand, I had 
become used to having her about. I rather miss her, 
now that I am again an elderly person. Indeed, I believe 
I have missed Lisa all along." 

The black gentleman meditated. "Come, friend," he 
says, at last. "You were a poet of some merit. You 
displayed a promising talent which might have been 
cleverly developed, in any suitable environment. Now, 
I repeat, I am an Economist : I dislike waste : and you 
were never fitted to be anything save a poet. The trouble 
was" — and Koshchei lowered his voice to an impressive 



334 JURGEN 



whisper, — " the trouble was your wife did not under- 
stand you. She hindered your art. Yes, that precisely 
sums it up: she interfered with your soul-development, 
and your instinctive need of self-expression, and all that 
sort of thing. You are very well rid of this woman, 
who converted a poet into a pawnbroker. To the other 
side, as is with point observed somewhere or other, it is 
not good for man to live alone. But, friend, I have just 
the wife for you." 

"Well, Prince," said Jurgen, "I am willing to taste any 
drink once." 

So Koshchei waved his hand: and there, quick as 
winking, was the loveliest lady that Jurgen had ever 
imagined. 



45. 

The Faith of Guenevere 



VERY fair was this woman to look upon, with 
her shining gray eyes and small smiling lips, a 
fairer woman might no man boast of having seen. 
And she regarded Jurgen graciously, with her cheeks red 
and white, very lovely to observe. She was clothed in 
a robe of flame-colored silk, and about her neck was a 
collar of red gold. And she told him, quite as though 
she spoke with a stranger, that she was Queen Guenevere. 

"But Lancelot is turned monk, at Glastonbury: and 
Arthur is gone into Avalon," says she: "and I will be 
your wife if you will have me, Jurgen." 

And Jurgen saw that Guenevere did not know him at 
all, and that even his name to her was meaningless. 
There were a many ways of accounting for this: but 
he put aside the unflattering explanation that she had 
simply forgotten all about Jurgen, in favor of the re- 
flection that the Jurgen she had known was a scapegrace 
of twenty-one. Whereas he was now a staid and knowl- 
edgeable pawnbroker. 

And it seemed to Jurgen that he had never really loved 
any woman save Guenevere, the daughter of Gogyrvan 
Gawr, and the pawnbroker was troubled. 

"For again you make me think myself a god," says 
Jurgen. "Madame Guenevere, when man recognized 

335 



336 JURGEN 



himself to be Heaven's vicar upon earth, it was to serve 
and to glorify and to protect you and your radiant 
sisterhood that man consecrated his existence. You were 
beautiful, and you were frail; you were half goddess and 
half bric-a-brac. Ohime, I recognize the call of chivalry, 
and my heart-strings resound: yet, for innumerable 
reasons, I hesitate to take you for my wife, and to con- 
cede myself your appointed protector, responsible as such 
to Heaven. For one matter, I am not altogether sure 
that I am Heaven's vicar here upon earth. Certainly 
the God of Heaven said nothing to me about it, and I 
cannot but suspect that Omniscience would have selected 
some more competent representative." 

"It is so written, Messire Jurgen." 

Jurgen shrugged. "I too, in the intervals of business, 
have written much that is beautiful. Very often my 
verses were so beautiful that I would have given any- 
thing in the world in exchange for somewhat less sure 
information as to the author's veracity. Ah, no, madame, 
desire and knowledge are pressing me so sorely that, 
between them, I dare not love you, and still I cannot 
help it !" 

Then Jurgen gave a little wringing gesture with his 
hands. His smile was not merry ; and it seemed pitiful 
that Guenevere should not remember him. 

"Madame and queen," says Jurgen, " once long and 
long ago there was a man who worshipped all women. 
To him they were one and all of sacred, sweet intimi- 
dating beauty. He shaped sonorous rhymes of this, in 
praise of the mystery and sanctity of women. Then a 
count's tow-headed daughter whom he loved, with such 
love as it puzzles me to think of now, was shown to him 



THE FAITH OF GUENEVERE 337 



just as she was, as not even worthy of hatred. The 
goddess stood revealed, unveiled, and displaying in all 
things such mediocrity as he fretted to find in himself. 
That was unfortunate. For he began to suspect that 
women, also, are akin to their parents ; and are no wiser, 
and no more subtle, and no more immaculate, than the 
father who begot them. Madame and queen, it is not 
good for any man to suspect this." 

"It is certainly not the conduct of a chivalrous person, 
nor of an authentic poet," says Queen Guenevere. "And 
yet your eyes are big with tears." 

"Hah, madame," he replied, "but it amuses me to weep 
for a dead man with eyes that once were his. For he was 
a dear lad before he went rampaging through the world, 
in the pride of his youth and in the armor of his hurt. 
And songs he made for the pleasure of kings, and sword 
play he made for the pleasure of men, and a whispering 
he made for the pleasure of women, in places where 
renown was, and where he trod boldly, giving pleasure to" 
everybody in those fine days. But for all his laughter, 
he could not understand his fellows, nor could he love 
them, nor could he detect anything in aught they said 
or did save their exceeding folly." 

"Why, man's folly is indeed very great, Messire Jurgen. 
and the doings of this world are often inexplicable : and 
so does it come about that man can be saved by faith 
alone." 

"Ah, but this boy had lost his fellows' cordial common 
faith in the importance of what use they made of half- 
hours and months and years; and because a jill-flirt had 
opened his eyes so that they saw too much, he had lost 
faith in the importance of his own actions, too. There 



338 JURGEN 

was a little time of which the passing might be made not 
unendurable; beyond gaped unpredictable darkness; and 
that was all there was of certainty anywhere. Meanwhile, 
he had the loan of a brain which played with ideas, and 
a body that went delicately down pleasant ways. And 
so he was never the mate for you, dear Guenevere, 
because he had not sufficient faith in anything at all, not 
even in his own deductions." 

Now said Queen Guenevere : "Farewell to you, then, 
Jurgen, for it is I that am leaving you forever. I was 
to them that served me the lovely and excellent master- 
work of God: in Caerleon and Northgalis and at Joyeuse 
Garde might men behold me with delight, because, men 
said, to view me was to comprehend the power and 
kindliness of their Creator. Very beautiful was Iseult, 
and the face of Luned sparkled like a moving gem ; Mor- 
gaine and Enid and Viviane and shrewd Nimue were 
lovely, too ; and the comeliness of Ettarde exalted the 
beholder like a proud music : these, going statelily about 
Arthur's hall, seemed Heaven's finest craftsmanship until 
the Queen came to her dais, as the moon among glowing 
stars : men then affirmed that God in making Guenevere 
had used both hands. And it is I that am. leaving you 
forever. My beauty was no human white and red, said 
they, but an explicit sign of Heaven's might. In ap- 
proaching me men thought of God, because in me, they 
said, His splendor was incarnate. That which I willed 
was neither right nor wrong: it was divine. This thing 
it was that the knights saw in me; this surety, as to the 
power and kindliness of their great Father, it was of 
which the chevaliers of yesterday were conscious in be- 



THE FAITH OF GUENEVERE 339 



holding me, and of men's need to be worthy of such 
parentage ; and it is I that am leaving you forever." 

Said Jurgen: "I could not see all this in you, not 
quite all this, because of a shadow that followed me. 
Now it is too late, and this is a sorrowful thing which 
is happening. I am become as a rudderless boat that 
goes from wave to wave : I am turned to unfertile dust 
which a whirlwind makes coherent, and presently lets fall. 
And so, farewell to you, Queen Guenevere, for it is a 
sorrowful thing and a very unfair thing that is hap- 
pening." 

Thus he cried farewell to the daughter of Gogyrvan 
Gawr. And instantly she vanished like the flame of a 
blown out altar-candle. 



46. 

The Desire of Anaitis 




ND again Koshchei waved his hand. Then came 
to Jurgen a woman who was strangely gifted 
and perverse. Her dark eyes glittered : upon her 
head was a net-work of red coral, with branches radiating 
downward, and her tunic was of two colors, being shot 
with black and crimson curiously mingled. 

And Anaitis also had forgotten Jurgen, or else she did 
not recognize him in this man of forty and something: 
and again belief awoke in Jurgen's heart that this was 
the only woman whom Jurgen had really loved, as he 
listened to Anaitis and to her talk of marvelous things. 

Of the lore of Thais she spoke, and of the schooling 
of Sappho, and of the secrets of Rhodope, and of the 
mourning for Adonis : and the refrain of all her talking 
was not changed. "For we have but a little while to 
live, and none knows his fate thereafter. So that a man 
possesses nothing certainly save a brief loan of his own 
body : and yet the body of man is capable of much curious 
pleasure. As thus and thus," says she. And the bright- 
colored pensive woman spoke with antique directness of 
matters that Jurgen, being no longer a scapegrace of 
twenty-one, found rather embarrassing. 

"Come, come!" thinks he, "but it will never do to 
seem provincial. I believe that I am actually blushing." 

340 



THE DESIRE OF ANAITIS 341 



Aloud he said: "Sweetheart, there was — why, not a 
half-hour since ! — a youth who sought quite zealously for 
the over-mastering frenzies you prattle about. But, 
candidly, he could not find the flesh whose touch would 
rouse insanity. The lad had opportunities, too, let me 
tell you! Hah, I recall with tenderness the glitter of 
eyes and hair, and the gay garments, and the soft voices 
of those fond foolish women, even now. But he went 
from one pair of lips to another, with an ardor that was 
always half-feigned, and with protestations which were 
conscious echoes of some romance or other. Such esca- 
pades were pleasant enough: but they were not very 
serious, after all. For these things concerned his body 
alone : and I am more than an edifice of viands reared 
by my teeth. To pretend that what my body does or 
endures is of importance seems rather silly nowadays. I 
prefer to regard it as a necessary beast of burden which 
I maintain, at considerable expense and trouble. So I 
shall make no more pother about it." 

But then again Queen Anaiitis spoke of marvelous 
things; and he listened, fair-mindedly; for the Queen 
spoke now of that which was hers to share with him. 

"Well, I have heard," says Jurgen, "that you have a 
notable residence in Cocaigne." 

"But that is only a little country place, to which I some- 
times repair in summer, in order to live rustically. No, 
Jurgen, you must see my palaces. In Babylon I have a 
palace where many abide with cords about them and burn 
bran for perfume, while they await that thing which is 
to befall them. In Armenia I have a palace surrounded 
by vast gardens, where only strangers have the right to 
enter: they there receive a hospitality that is more than 



342 JURGEN 



gallant. In Paphos I have a palace wherein is a little 
pyramid of white stone, very curious to see: but still 
more curious is the statue in my palace at Amathus, of 
a bearded woman, which displays other features that 
women do not possess. And in Alexandria I have a 
palace that is tended by thirty-six exceedingly wise and 
sacred persons, and wherein it is always night : and there 
folk seek for monstrous pleasures, even at the price of 
instant death, and win to both of these swiftly. Every- 
where my palaces stand upon high places near the sea : so 
they are beheld from afar by those whom I hold dearest, 
my beautiful broad-chested mariners, who do not fear 
even me, but know that in my palaces they will find 
notable employment. For I must tell you of what is to 
be encountered within these places that are mine, and of 
how pleasantly we pass our time there." Then she told 
him. 

Now he listened more attentively than ever, and his 
eyes were narrowed, and his lips were lax and motionless 
and foolish-looking, and he was deeply interested. For 
Anaitis had thought of some new diversions since their 
last meeting: and to Jurgen, even at forty and some- 
thing, this queen's voice was all a horrible and strange 
and lovely magic. "She really tempts very nicely, too," he 
reflected, with a sort of pride in her. 

Then Jurgen growled and shook himself, half angrily: 
and he tweaked the ear of Queen Anaitis. 

"Sweetheart," says he, "you paint a glowing picture: 
but you are shrewd enough to borrow your pigments from 
the day-dreams of inexperience. What you prattle about 
is not at all as you describe it. You forget you are talking 
to a widely married man of varied experience. Moreover, 



THE DESIRE OF ANAITIS 343 



I shudder to think of what might happen if Lisa were 
to walk in unexpectedly. And for the rest, all this to-do 
over nameless delights and unspeakable caresses and other 
anonymous antics seems rather naive. My ears are beset 
by eloquent gray hairs which plead at closer quarters than 
does that fibbing little tongue of 3^ours. And so be off 
with you!" 

With that Queen Anaitis smiled very cruelly, and she 
said: "Farewell to you, then Jurgen, for it is I that am 
leaving you forever. Henceforward you must fret away 
much sunlight by interminably shunning discomfort and 
by indulging tepid preferences. For I, and none but I, can 
waken that desire which uses all of a man, and so wastes 
nothing, even though it leave that favored man forever 
after like wan ashes in the sunlight. And with you I 
have no more concern, for it is I that am leaving you 
forever. Join with your graying fellows, then ! and help 
them to affront the clean sane sunlight, by making guilds 
and laws and solemn phrases wherewith to rid the world 
of me. I, Anaitis, laugh, and my heart is a wave in the 
sunlight. For there is no power like my power, and no 
living thing which can withstand my power; and those 
who deride me, as I well know, are but the dead dry 
husks that a wind moves, with hissing noises, while I 
harvest in open sunlight. For I am the desire that use? 
all of a man : and it is I that am leaving you forever." 

Said Jurgen : "I could not see all this in you. not 
quite all this, because of a shadow that followed me. 
Now it is too late, and this is a sorrowful thing which 
is happening. I am become as a puzzled ghost who fur- 
tively observes the doings of loud-voiced ruddy persons : 
and I am compact of weariness and apprehension, for I 



344 JURGEN 



no longer discern what thing is I, nor what is my desire, 
and I fear that I am already dead. So farewell to you, 
Queen Anaitis, for this, too, is a sorrowful thing and a 
very unfair thing that is happening." 

Thus he cried farewell to the Sun's daughter. And all 
the colors of her loveliness flickered and merged into the 
likeness of a tall thin flame, that aspired; and then this 
flame was extinguished. 




47. 

The Vision of Helen 



ND for the third time Koshchei waved his hand. 
Now came to Jurgen a gold-haired woman, 
clothed all in white. She was tall, and lovely 
and tender to regard: and hers was not the red and 
white comeliness of many ladies that were famed for 
beauty, but rather it had the even glow of ivory. Her 
nose was large and high in the bridge, her flexible mouth 
was not of the smallest ; and yet, whatever other persons 
might have said, to Jurgen this woman's countenance was 
in all things perfect. And, beholding her, Jurgen kneeled. 

He hid his face in her white robe : and he stayed thus, 
without speaking, for a long while. 

"Lady of my vision," he said, and his voice broke — 
"there is that in you which wakes old memories. For 
now assuredly I believe your father was not Dom Manuel 
but that ardent bird which nestled very long ago in Leda's 
bosom. And now Troy's sons are all in Ades' keeping, 
in the world below ; fire has consumed the walls of Troy, 
and the years have forgotten her tall conquerors ; but 
still you are bringing woe on woe to hapless sufferers." 

And again his voice broke. For the world seemed 
cheerless, and like a house that none has lived in for a 
great while. 

Queen Helen, the delight of gods and men, replied 
345 



346 JURGEN 



nothing at all, because there was no need, inasmuch as 
the man who has once glimpsed her loveliness is beyond 
saving, and beyond the desire of being saved. 

"To-night," says Jurgen, "as once through the gray art 
of Phobetor, now through the will of Koshchei, it appears 
that you stand within arm's reach. Hah, lady, were that 
possible — and I know very well it is not possible, what- 
ever my senses may report, — I am not fit to mate with 
your perfection. At the bottom of my heart, I no longer 
desire perfection. For we who are tax-payers as well as 
immortal souls must live by politic evasions and formulae 
and catchwords that fret away our lives as moths waste 
a garment ; we fall insensibly to common-sense as to a 
drug; and it dulls and kills whatever in us is rebellious 
and fine and unreasonable ; and so you will find no man 
of my years with whom living is not a mechanism which 
gnaws away time unprompted. For within this hour I 
have become again a creature of use and wont ; I am the 
lackey of prudence and half-measures ; and I have put 
my dreams upon an allowance. Yet even now I love 
you more than I love books and indolence and flattery 
and the charitable wine which cheats me into a favorable 
opinion of myself. What more can an old poet say? 
For that reason, lady, I pray you begone, because your 
loveliness is a taunt which I find unendurable." 

But his voice yearned, because this was Queen Helen, 
the delight of gods and men, who regarded him with 
grave, kind eyes. She seemed to view, as one appraises 
the pattern of an unrolled carpet, every action of Jurgen's 
life: and she seemed, too, to wonder, without reproach 
or trouble, how men could be so foolish, and of their 
own accord become so miry. 



THE VISION OF HELEN 347 



"Oh, I have failed my vision!" cries Jurgen. "I have 
failed, and I know very well that every man must fail : 
and yet my shame is no less bitter. For I am transmuted 
by time's handling! I shudder at the thought of living 
day-in and day-out with my vision! And so I will have 
none of you for my wife." 

Then, trembling, Jurgen raised toward his lips the hand 
of her who was the world's darling. 

"And so farewell to you, Queen Helen! Oh, very 
long ago I found your beauty mirrored in a wanton's 
face! and often in a woman's face I have found one 
or another feature wherein she resembled you, and for 
the sake of it have lied to that woman glibly. And all 
my verses, as I know now, were vain enchantments 
striving to evoke that hidden loveliness of which I knew 
by dim report alone. Oh, all my life was a foiled quest 
of you, Queen Helen, and an unsatiated hungering. 
And for a while I served my vision, honoring you with 
clean-handed deeds. Yes, certainly it should be graved 
upon my tomb, 'Queen Helen ruled this earth while it 
slaved worthy.' But that was very long ago. 

"And so farewell to you, Queen Helen ! Your beauty 
has been to me as a robber that stripped my life of 
joy and sorrow, and I desire not ever to dream of your 
beauty any more. For I have been able to love nobody. 
And I know that it is you who have prevented this, 
Queen Helen, at every moment of my life since the 
disastrous moment when I first seemed to find your 
loveliness in the face of Madame Dorothy. It is the 
memory of your beauty, as I then saw it mirrored in 
the face of a jill-flirt, which has enfeebled me for such 
honest love as other men give women ; and I envy these 



348 JURGEN 



other men. For Jurgen has loved nothing — not even 
you, not even Jurgen! — quite whole-heartedly. 

"And so farewell to you, Queen Helen! Hereafter 
I rove no more a-questing anything; instead, I potter 
after hearthside comforts, and play the physician with 
myself, and strive painstakingly to make old bones. And 
no man's notion anywhere seems worth a cup of mulled 
wine; and for the sake of no notion would I endanger 
the routine which so hideously bores me. For I am 
transmuted by time's handling; I have become the lackey 
of prudence and half-measures; and it does not seem 
fair, but there is no help for it. So it is necessary 
that I now cry farewell to you, Queen Helen: for I 
have failed in the service of my vision, and I deny 
you utterly!" 

Thus he cried farewell to the Swan's daughter: and 
Queen Helen vanished as a bright mist passes, not de- 
parting swiftly, as had departed Queen Guenevere and 
Queen Anaitis; and Jurgen was alone with the black 
gentleman. And to Jurgen the world seemed cheerless, 
and like a house that none has lived in for a great while. 



48. 

Candid Opinions of Dame Lisa 



44 I 7* ^■' s * rs '" ^serves Koshchei the Deathless, "but 
some of us are certainly hard to please." 

And now Jurgen was already intent to shrug 
off his display of emotion. "In selecting a wife, sir," 
submitted Jurgen, "there are all sorts of matters to be 
considered — " 

Then bewilderment smote him. For it occurred to 
Jurgen that his previous commerce with these three 
women was patently unknown to Koshchei. Why, Kosh- 
chei, who made all things as they are — Koshchei, no 
less — was now doing for Jurgen Koshchei's utmost : 
and that utmost amounted to getting for Jurgen what 
Jurgen had once, with the aid of youth and impudence, 
got for himself. Not even Koshchei, then, could do more 
for Jurgen than might be accomplished by that youth and 
impudence and tendency to pry into things generally 
which Jurgen had just relinquished as over-restless 
nuisances. Jurgen drew the inference, and shrugged; 
decidedly cleverness was not at the top. However, there 
was no pressing need to enlighten Koshchei, and no 
wisdom in attempting it. 

" — For you must understand, sir," continued Jurgen, 
smoothly, "that, whatever the first impulse of the moment, 
it was apparent to any reflective person that in the past 

549 



350 JURGEN 



of each of these ladies there was much to suggest inborn 
inaptitude for domestic life. And I am a peace-loving 
fellow, sir; nor do I hold with moral laxity, now that I 
am forty-odd, except, of course, in talk when it promotes 
sociability, and in verse-making wherein it is esteemed 
as a conventional ornament. Still, Prince, the chance I 
lost ! I do not refer to matrimony, you conceive. But 
in the presence of these famous fair ones now departed 
from me forever, with what glowing words I ought to 
have spoken! upon a wondrous ladder of trophes, meta- 
phors and recondite allusions, to what stylistic heights of 
Asiatic prose I ought to have ascended! and instead, I 
twaddled like a schoolmaster. Decidedly, Lisa is right, 
and I am good-for-nothing. However," Jurgen added, 
hopefully, "it appeared to me that when I last saw her, 
a year ago this evening, Lisa was somewhat less out- 
spoken than usual." 

"Eh, sirs, but she was under a very potent spell. I 
found that necessary in the interest of law and order here- 
abouts. I, who made things as they are, am not accus- 
tomed to the excesses of practical persons who are 
ruthlessly bent upon reforming their associates. Indeed, 
it is one of the advantages of my situation that such 
folk do not consider things as they are, and in conse- 
quence very rarely bother me." And the black gentle- 
man in turn shrugged. "You will pardon me, but I 
notice in my accounts that I am positively committed to 
color this year's anemones to-night, and there is a rather 
large planetary system to be discontinued at half-past 
ten. So time presses." 

"And time is inexorable. Prince, with all due respect, 
I fancy it is precisely this truism which you have over- 



CANDID OPINIONS OF DAME LISA 351 



looked. You produce the most charming of women, in 
a determined onslaught upon my fancy; but you forget 
you are displaying them to a man of forty-and-some- 
thing." 

"And does that make so great a difference?" 

"Oh, a sad difference, Prince! For as a man gets on 
in life he changes in many ways. He handles sword and 
lance less creditably, and does not carry as heavy a staff 
as he once flourished. He takes less interest in conversa- 
tion, and his flow of humor diminishes. He is not the 
tireless mathematician that he was, if only because his 
faith in his personal endowments slackens. He recognizes 
his limitations, and in consequence the unimportance of 
his opinions, and indeed he recognizes the probable un- 
importance of all fleshly matters. So he relinquishes 
trying to figure out things, and sceptres and candles 
appear to him about equivalent; and he is inclined to 
give up philosophical experiments, and to let things pass 
unplumbed. Oh, yes, it makes a difference." And Jur- 
gen sighed. "And yet, for all that, it is a relief, sir, in 
a way." 

"Nevertheless," said Koshchei, "now that you have in- 
spected the flower of womanhood, I cannot soberly believe 
you prefer your termagant of a wife." 

"Frankly, Prince, I also am, as usual, undecided. You 
may be right in all you have urged ; and certainly I can- 
not go so far as to say you are wrong; but still, at the 
same time — ! Come now, could you not let me see my 
first wife for just a moment?" 

This was no sooner asked than granted ; for there, sure 
enough, was Dame Lisa. She was no longer restricted 
to quiet speech by any stupendous necromancy: and tin- 



352 JURGEN 



commonly plain she looked, after the passing of those 
lovely ladies. 

"Aha, you rascal!" begins Dame Lisa, addressing 
Jurgen; "and so you thought to be rid of me! Oh, a 
precious lot you are ! and a deal of thanks I get for my 
scrimping and slaving!" And she began scolding away. 

But she began, somewhat to Jurgen's astonishment, by 
stating that he was even worse than the Countess Dorothy. 
Then he recollected that, by not the most disastrous piece 
of luck conceivable, Dame Lisa's latest news from the 
outside world had been rendered by her sister, the 
notary's wife, a twelvemonth back. 

And rather unaccountably Jurgen fell to thinking of how 
unsubstantial seemed these curious months devoted to 
other women, as set against the commonplace years 
which he and Lisa had fretted through together; of the 
fme and merry girl that Lisa had been before she married 
him; of how well she knew his tastes in cookery and 
all his little preferences, and of how cleverly she humored 
them on those rare days when nothing had occurred to 
vex her; of all the buttons she had replaced, and all the 
socks she had darned, and of what tempests had been 
loosed when anyone else had had the audacity to criticize 
Jurgen; and of how much more unpleasant — everything 
considered — life was without her than with her. She 
was so unattractive looking, too, poor dear, that you 
could not but be sorry for her. And Jurgen's mood 
was half yearning and half penitence. 

"I think I will take her back, Prince," says Jurgen, 
very subdued, — "now that I am forty-and-something. 
For I do not know but it is as hard on her as on me." 

"My friend, do you forget the poet that you might 



CANDID OPINIONS OF DAME LISA 353 



be, even yet? No rational person would dispute that 
the society and amiable chat of Dame Lisa must naturally 
be a desideratum — " 

But Dame Lisa was always resentful of long words. 
"Be silent, you black scoffer, and do not allude to such 
disgraceful things in the presence of respectable people! 
For I am a decent Christian woman, I would have you 
understand. But everybody knows your reputation ! and 
a very fit companion you are for that scamp yonder ! and 
volumes could not say more!" 

Thus casually, and with comparative lenience, did 
Dame Lisa dispose of Koshchei, who made things as 
they are, for she believed him to be merely Satan. And 
to her husband Dame Lisa now addressed herself more 
particularly. 

"Jurgen, I always told you you would come to this, 
and now I hope you are satisfied. Jurgen, do not stand 
there with your mouth open, like a scared fish, when I 
ask you a civil question ! but answer when you are spoken 
to ! Yes, and you need not try to look so idiotically 
innocent, Jurgen, because I am disgusted with you. For, 
Jurgen, you heard perfectly well what your very suitable 
friend just said about me, with my own husband standing 
by. No — now I beg of you! — do not ask me what he 
said, Jurgen ! I leave that to your conscience, and I prefer 
to talk no more about it. You know that when I am once 
disappointed in a person I am through with that person. 
So, very luckily, there is no need at all for you to pile 
hypocrisy on cowardice, because if my own husband 
has not the feelings of a man, and cannot protect me 
from insults and low company, I had best be going home 
and getting supper ready. I dare say the house is like a 



354 JURGEN 

pig-sty: and I can see by looking at you that you have 
been ruining your eyes by reading in bed again. And 
to think of your going about in public, even among such 
associates, with a button off your shirt!" 

She was silent for one terrible moment ; then Lisa 
spoke in frozen despair. 

"And now I look at that shirt, I ask you fairly, Jurgen, 
do you consider that a man of your age has any right 
to be going about in a shirt that nobody — in a shirt which 
— in a shirt that I can only — Ah, but I never saw such 
a shirt ! and neither did anybody else ! You simply can- 
not imagine what a figure you cut in it, Jurgen. Jurgen, 
I have been patient with you ; I have put up with a great 
deal, saying nothing where many women would have lost 
their temper ; but I simply cannot permit you to select 
your own clothes, and so ruin the business and take the 
bread out of our mouths. In short, you are enough to 
drive a person mad; and I warn you that I am done 
with you forever." 

Dame Lisa went with dignity to the door of Koshchei's 
office. 

"So you can come with me or not, precisely as you elect. 
It is all one to me, I can assure you, after the cruel 
things you have said, and the way you have stormed at 
me, and have encouraged that notorious blackamoor to 
insult me in terms which I, for one, would not soil my 
lips by repeating. I do not doubt you consider it is all 
very clever and amusing, but you know now what I think 
about it. And upon the whole, if you do not feel the 
exertion will kill you, you had better come home the 
long way, and stop by Sister's and ask her to let you have 



CANDID OPINIONS OF DAME LISA 355 



a half-pound of butter; for I know you too well to sup- 
pose you have been attending to the churning." 

Dame Lisa here evinced a stately sort of mirth such 
as is unimaginable by bachelors. 

"You churning while I was away ! — oh, no, not you ! 
There is probably not so much as an egg in the house. 
For my lord and gentleman has had other fish to fry, 
in his fine new courting clothes. And that — and on a 
man of your age, with a paunch to you like a beer barrel 
and with legs like pipe-stems! — yes, that infamous shirt 
of yours is the reason you had better, for your own com- 
fort, come home the long way. For I warn you, Jurgen, 
that the style in which I have caught you rigged out has 
quite decided me, before I go home or anywhere else, to 
stop by for a word or so with your high and mighty 
Madame Dorothy. So you had just as well not be along 
with me, for there is no pulling wool over my eyes any 
longer, and you two need never think to hoodwink me 
again about your goings-on. No, Jurgen, you cannot fool 
me ; for I can read you like a book. And such behavior, 
at your time of life, does not surprise me at all, because 
it is precisely what I would have expected of you." 

With that Dame Lisa passed through the door and 
went away, still talking. It was of Heitman Michael's 
wife that the wife of Jurgen spoke, discoursing of the 
personal traits, and of the past doings, and (with aug- 
mented fervor) of the figure and visage of Madame 
Dorothy, as all these abominations appeared to the eye 
of discernment, and must be revealed by the tongue of 
candor, as a matter of public duty. 

So passed Dame Lisa, neither as flame nor mist, but 
as the voice of judgment. 



49. 

Of the Compromise with Koshchei 



44 ]f~^HEW!" said Koshchei, in the ensuing silence: 
w"^ "you had better stay overnight, in any event. 
■*• I really think, friend, you will be more com- 
fortable, just now at least, in this quiet cave." 

But Jurgen had taken up his hat. "No, I dare say I, 
too, had better be going," says Jurgen. "I thank you 
very heartily for your intended kindness, sir, still I do 
not know but it is better as it is. And is there anything" 
— Jurgen coughed delicately — "and is there anything to 
pay, sir?" 

"Oh, just a trifle, first of all, for a year's maintenance 
of Dame Lisa. You see, Jurgen, that is an almighty fine 
shirt you are wearing: it rather appeals to me; and I 
fancy, from something your wife let drop just now, it 
did not impress her as being quite suited to you. So, 
in the interest of domesticity, suppose you ransom Dame 
Lisa with that fine shirt of yours?" 

"Why, willingly," said Jurgen, and he took off the 
shirt of Nessus. 

"You have worn this for some time, I understand," 
said Koshchei, meditatively: "and did you ever notice 
any inconvenience in wearing this garment?" 

"Not that I could detect, Prince; it fitted me, and 
seemed to impress everybody most favorably." 

356 



OF THE COMPROMISE WITH KOSHCHEI 357 



"There!" said Koshchei; "that is what I have always 
contended. To the strong man, and to wholesome matter 
of fact people generally, it is a fatal irritant; but persons 
like you can wear the shirt of Nessus very comfortably 
for a long, long while, and be generally admired; and 
you end by exchanging it for your wife's society. But 
now, Jurgen, about yourself. You probably noticed that 
my door was marked Keep Out. One must have rules, 
you know. Often it is a nuisance, but still rules are 
rules ; and so I must tell you, Jurgen, it is not permitted 
any person to leave my presence unmaimed, if not actu- 
ally annihilated. One really must have rules, you know." 

"You would chop off an arm? or a hand? or a whole 
finger? Come now, Prince, you must be joking!" 

Koshchei the Deathless was very grave as he sat there, 
in meditation, drumming with his long jet-black fingers 
upon the table-top that was curiously inlaid with thirty 
pieces of silver. In the lamplight his sharp nails glit- 
tered like flame points, and the color suddenly with- 
drew from his eyes, so that they showed like small white 
eggs. 

"But, man, how strange you are!" said Koshchei, 
presently ; and life flowed back into his eyes, and Jurgen 
ventured the liberty of breathing. "Inside, I mean. 
Why, there is hardly anything left. Now rules are rules, 
of course; but you, who are the remnant of a poet, may 
depart unhindered whenever you will, and I shall take 
nothing from you. For really it is necessary to draw 
the line somewhere." 

Jurgen meditated this clemency ; and with a sick heart 
he seemed to understand. "Yes; that is probably the 
truth; for I have not retained the faith, nor the desire, 



358 JURGEN 



nor the vision. Yes, that is probably the truth. Well, 
at all events, Prince, I very unfeignedly admired each of 
the ladies to whom you were friendly enough to present 
me, and I was greatly flattered by their offers. More 
than generous I thought them. But it really would not 
do for me to take up with any one of them now. For 
Lisa is my wife, you see. A great deal has passed be- 
tween us, sir, in the last ten years — And I have been a 
sore disappointment to her, in many ways — And I am 
used to her — " 

Then Jurgen considered, and regarded the black gentle- 
man with mingled envy and commiseration. "Why, no, 
you probably would not understand, sir, on account of 
your not being, I suppose, a married person. But I can 
assure you it is always pretty much like that." 

"I lack grounds to dispute your aphorism," observed 
Koshchei, "inasmuch as matrimony was certainly not in- 
cluded in my doom. None the less, to a by-stander, the 
conduct of you both appears remarkable. I could not 
understand, for example, just how your wife proposed 
to have you keep out of her sight forever and still have 
supper with her to-night; nor why she should desire to 
sup with such a reprobate as she described with unbridled 
pungency and disapproval." 

"Ah, but again, it is always pretty much like that, sir. 
And the truth of it, Prince, is a great symbol. The truth 
of it is, we have lived together so long that my wife has 
become rather foolishly fond of me. So she is not, as 
one might say, quite reasonable about me. No, sir; it 
is the fashion of women to discard civility toward those 
for whom they suffer most willingly ; and whom a woman 
loveth she chasteneth, after a good precedent." 



OF THE COMPROMISE WITH KOSHCHEI 359 



"But her talking, Jurgen, has nowhere any precedent. 
Why, it deafens, it appals, it submerges you in an up- 
roarious sea of fault-finding; and in a word, you might 
as profitably oppose a hurricane. Yet you want her 
back ! Now assuredly, Jurgen, I do not think very highly 
of your wisdom, but by your bravery I am astounded/' 

"Ah, Prince, it is because I can perceive that all women 
are poets, though the medium they work in is not always 
ink. So the moment Lisa is set free from what, in a 
manner of speaking, sir, inconsiderate persons might, in 
their unthinking way, refer to as the terrors of an under- 
ground establishment that I do not for an instant doubt 
to be conducted after a system which furthers the true 
interests of everybody, and so reflects vast credit upon its 
officials, if you will pardon my frankness" — and Jurgen 
smiled ingratiatingly, — "why, at that moment Lisa's 
thoughts take form in very much the high denunciatory 
style of Jeremiah and Amos, who were remarkably fine 
poets. Her concluding observations as to the Countess, 
in particular, I consider to have been an example of 
sustained invective such as one rarely encounters in this 
degenerate age. Well, her next essay in creative com- 
position is my supper, which will be an equally spirited 
impromptu. To-morrow she will darn and sew me an 
epic; and her desserts will continue to be in the richest 
lyric vein. Such, sir, are the poems of Lisa, all addressed 
to me, who came so near to gallivanting with mere 



queens 



"What, can it be that you are remorseful?" said Kosh- 
chei. 

"Oh, Prince, when I consider steadfastly the depth 
and the intensity of that devotion which, for so many 



360 JURGEN 



years, has tended me, and has endured the society of that 
person whom I peculiarly know to be the most tedious 
and irritating of companions, I stand aghast, before a 
miracle. And I cry, Oh, certainly a goddess ! and I can 
think of no queen who is fairly mentionable in the same 
breath. Hah, all we poets write a deal about love: but 
none of us may grasp the word's full meaning until he 
reflects that this is a passion mighty enough to induce a 
woman to put up with him." 

"Even so, it does not seem to induce quite thorough 
confidence. Jurgen, I was grieved to see that Dame Lisa 
evidently suspects you of running after some other wo- 
man in your wife's absence." 

"Think upon that now ! And you saw for yourself how 
little the handsomest of women could tempt me. Yet 
even Lisa's absurd notion I can comprehend and pardon. 
And again, you probably would not understand my over- 
looking such a thing, sir, on account of your not being a 
married person. Nevertheless, my forgiveness also is a 
great symbol." 

Then Jurgen sighed and he shook hands, very cir- 
cumspectly, with Koshchei, who made things as they are ; 
and Jurgen started out of the office. 

"But I will bear you company a part of the way," 
says Koshchei. 

So Koshchei removed his dressing-gown, and he put 
on the fine laced coat which was hung over the back of 
a strange looking chair with three legs, each of a different 
metal ; the shirt of Nessus Koshchei folded and put aside, 
saying that some day he might be able to use it somehow. 
And Koshchei paused before the blackboard and he 
scratched his head reflectively. Jurgen saw that this 



OF THE COMPROMISE WITH KOSHCHEI 361 



board was nearly covered with figures which had not yet 
been added up; and this blackboard seemed to him the 
most frightful thing he had faced anywhere. 

Then Koshchei came out of the cave with Jurgen, and 
Koshchei walked with Jurgen across Amneran Heath, 
and through Morven, in the late evening. And Koshchei 
talked as they went ; and a queer thing Jurgen noticed, 
and it was that the moon was sinking in the east, as 
though the time were getting earlier and earlier. But 
Jurgen did not presume to criticize this, in the presence 
of Koshchei, who made things as they are. 

"And I manage affairs as best I can, Jurgen. But they' 
get in a fearful muddle sometimes. Eh, sirs, I have no 
competent assistants. I have to look out for everything, 
absolutely everything! And of course, while in a sort of 
way I am infallible, mistakes will occur every now and 
then in the actual working out of plans that in the ab- 
stract are right enough. So it really does please me to 
hear anybody putting in a kind word for things as they 
are, because, between ourselves, there is a deal of dis- 
satisfaction about. And I was honestly delighted, just 
now, to hear you speaking up for evil in the face of 
that rapscallion monk. So I give you thanks and many 
thanks, Jurgen, for your kind word." 

" 'J us t: now !' " thinks Jurgen. He perceived that they 
had passed the Cistercian Abbey, and were approaching 
Bellegarde. And it was as in a dream that Jurgen was 
speaking. "Who are you, and why do you thank me?" 
asks Jurgen. 

"My name is no great matter. But you have a kind 
heart, Jurgen. May your life be free from care." 

"Save us from hurt and harm, friend, but I am already 



362 JURGEN 



married — " Then resolutely Jurgen put aside the spell 
that was befogging him. "See here, Prince, are you 
beginning all over again? For I really cannot stand 
any more of your benevolences." 

Koshchei smiled. "No, Jurgen, I am not beginning 
all over again. For now I have never begun, and now 
there is no word of truth in anything which you remem- 
ber of the year just past. Now none of these things 
has ever happened." 

"But how can that be, Prince?" 

"Why should I tell you, Jurgen? Let it suffice that 
what I will, not only happens, but has already happened, 
beyond the ancientest memory of man and his mother. 
How otherwise could I be Koshchei? And so farewell 
to you, poor Jurgen, to whom nothing in particular has 
happened now. It is not justice I am giving you, but 
something infinitely more acceptable to you and all your 
kind." 

"But, to be sure !" says Jurgen. "I fancy that nobody 
anywhere cares much for justice. So farewell to you, 
Prince. And at our parting I ask no more questions of 
you, for I perceive it is scant comfort a man gets from 
questioning Koshchei, who made things as they are. But 
T am wondering what pleasure you get out of it all?" 

"Eh, sirs," says Koshchei, with not the most candid 
of smiles, "I contemplate the spectacle with appropriate 
emotions." 

And so speaking, Koshchei quitted Jurgen forever. 

"Yet how may I be sure," thought Jurgen, instantly, 
"that this black gentleman was really Koshchei? He 
said he was? Why, yes; and Horvendile to all intents 
told me that Horvendile was Koshchei. Aha, and what 



OF THE COMPROMISE WITH KOSHCHEI 363 



else did Horvendile say ! — 'This is one of the romancer's 
most venerable devices that is being practised.' Why, 
but there was Smoit of Glathion, also, so that this is 
the third time I have been fobbed off with the explana- 
tion I was dreaming! and left with no proof, one way 
or the other." 

Thus Jurgen, indignantly, and then he laughed. "Why, 
but, of course! I may have talked face to face with 
Koshchei, who made all things as they are; and again.. 
I may not have. That is the whole point of it — the 
cream, as one might say, of the jest — that I cannot ever 
be sure. Well!" — and Jurgen shrugged here — "well, 
and what could I be expected to do about it?" 




50. 

The Moment That Did Not Count 



ND that is really all the story save for the moment 
Jurgen paused on his way home. For Koshchei 
(if it, indeed, was Koshchei) had quitted Jurgen 
just as they approached Bellegarde: and as the pawn- 
broker walked on alone in the pleasant April evening 
one called to him from the terrace. Even in the dusk he 
knew this was the Countess Dorothy. 

"May I speak with you a moment?" says she. 

"Very willingly, madame." And Jurgen ascended from 
the highway to the terrace. 

"I thought it would be near your supper hour. So I 
was waiting here until you passed. You conceive, it 
is not quite convenient for me to seek you out at the 
shop." 

"Why, no, madame. There is a prejudice," said Jur- 
gen, soberly. And he waited. 

He saw that Madame Dorothy was perfectly composed, 
yet anxious to speed the affair. "You must know," said 
she, "that my husband's birthday approaches, and I 
wish to surprise him with a gift. It is therefore neces- 
sary that I raise some money without troubling him 
How much — abominable usurer! — could you advance 
me upon this necklace?" 

Jurgen turned it in his hand. It was a handsome 
364 



THE MOMENT THAT DID NOT COUNT 365 



piece of jewelry, familiar to him as formerly the property 
of Heitman Michael's mother. Jurgen named a sum. 

"But that," the Countess says, "is not a fraction of 
its worth!" 

"Times are very hard, madame. Of course, if you 
cared to sell outright I could deal more generously." 

"Old monster, I could not do that. It would not be 
convenient." She hesitated here. "It would not be ex- 
plicable." 

"As to that, madame, I could make you an imitation 
in paste which nobody could distinguish from the original. 
I can amply understand that you desire to veil from your 
husband any sacrifices that are entailed by your affection." 

"It is my affection for him," said the Countess quickly. 

"I alluded to your affection for him," said Jurgen — ' 
"naturally." 

Then Countess Dorothy named a price for the neck- 
lace. "For it is necessary I have that much, and not 
a penny less." And Jurgen shook his head dubiously, 
and vowed that ladies were unconscionable bargainers: 
but Jurgen agreed to what she asked, because the neck- 
lace was worth almost as much again. Then Jurgen 
suggested that the business could be most conveniently 
concluded through an emissary. 

"If Messire de Nerac, for example, could have matters 
explained to him, and could manage to visit me to- 
morrow, I am sure we could carry through this amiable 
imposture without any annoyance whatever to Heitman 
Michael," says Jurgen, smoothly. 

"Nerac will come then," says the Countess. "And 
you may give him the money, precisely as though it were 
for him." 



366 JURGEN 



"But certainly, madame. A very estimable )'Oimg 
nobleman, that! and it is a pity his debts are so large. 
I heard that he had lost heavily at dice within the 
last month; and I grieved, madame." 

"He has promised me when these debts are settled 
to play no more — But again what am I saying! I 
mean, Master Inquisitive, that I take considerable in- 
terest in the welfare of Messire de Nerac: and so I 
have sometimes chided him on his wild courses. And 
that is all I mean." 

"Precisely, madame. And so Messire de Nerac will 
come to me to-morrow for the money: and there is no 
more to say." 

Jurgen paused. The moon was risen now. These 
two sat together upon a bench of carved stone near the 
balustrade : and before them, upon the other side of the 
highway, were luminous valleys and tree-tops. Fleetingly 
Jurgen recollected the boy and girl who had once sat 
in this place, and had talked of all the splendid things 
which Jurgen was to do, and of the happy life that was 
to be theirs together. Then he regarded the composed 
and handsome woman beside him, and he considered that 
the money to pay her latest lover's debts had been assured 
with a suitable respect for appearances. 

"Come, but this is a gallant lady, who would defy 
the almanac," reflected Jurgen. "Even so, thirty-eight 
is an undeniable and somewhat autumnal figure, and I 
suspect young Nerac is bleeding his elderly mistress. 
Well, but at his age nobody has a conscience. Yes, and 
Madame Dorothy is handsome still; and still my pulse 
is playing me queer tricks, because she is near me, and 
my voice has not the intonation I intend, because she is 



THE MOMENT THAT DID NOT COUNT 367 



near me ; and still I am three-quarters in love with her. 
Yes, in the light of such cursed folly as even now 
possesses me, I have good reason to give thanks for 
the regained infirmities of age. Yet living seems to me 
a wasteful and inequitable process, for this is a poor out- 
come for the boy and girl that I remember. And weigh- 
ing this outcome, I am tempted to weep and to talk 
romantically, even now." 

But he did not. For really, weeping was not requisite. 
Jurgen was making his fair profit out of the Countess's 
folly, and it was merety his duty to see that this little 
business transaction was managed without any scandal. 

"So there is nothing more to say," observed Jurgen, 
as he rose in the moonlight, "save that I shall always 
be delighted to serve you, madame, and I may reason- 
ably boast that I have earned a reputation for fair 
dealing." 

And he thought: "In effect, since certainly as she" 
grows older she will need yet more money for her lovers, 
I am offering to pimp for her." Then Jurgen shrugged. 
"That is one side of the affair. The other is that I 
transact my legitimate business, — I, who am that which 
the years have made of me." 

Thus it was that Jurgen quitted the Countess Dorothy, 
whom, as you have heard, this pawnbroker had loved in 
his first youth under the name of Heart's Desire; and 
whom in the youth that was loaned him by Mother Sereda 
he had loved as Queen Helen, the delight of gods and 
men. For Jurgen was quitting Madame Dorothy after 
the simplest of business transactions, which consumed 
only a moment, and did not actually count one wav or the 
other. 



368 JURGEN 



And after this moment which did not count, the 
pawnbroker resumed his journey, and so came presently 
to his home. He peeped through the window. And 
there in a snug room, with supper laid, sat Dame Lisa 
about some sewing, and evidently in a quite amiable frame 
of mind. 

Then terror smote the Jurgen who had faced sorcerers 
and gods and devils intrepidly. "For I forgot about 
the butter!" 

But immediately afterward he recollected that, now, 
not even what Lisa had said to him in the cave was 
real. Neither he nor Lisa, now, had ever been in the 
cave, and probably there was no longer any such place, 
and now there never had been any such place. It was 
rather confusing. 

"Ah, but I must remember carefully," said Jurgen, 
"that I have not seen Lisa since breakfast, this morning. 
Nothing whatever has happened. There has been no 
requirement laid upon me, after all, to do the manly 
thing. So I retain my wife, such as she is, poor dear! 
I retain my home. I retain my shop and a fair line of 
business. Yes, Koshchei — if it was really Koshchei— has 
dealt with me very justly. And probably his methods 
are everything they should be; certainly I cannot go so 
far as to say that they are wrong : but still, at the same 
time—!" 

Then Jurgen sighed, and entered his snug home. Thus 
it was in the old days. 

EXPLICIT