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MAARTEN MAARTENS, the adopted name of J. M. W. Van der Poorten-Schwartz, an Anglo-Dutch novelist, who was born at Amsterdam, Aug. 15, 1858. He was educated at the University of Utrecht, in which city he makes his home. He is fond of travel, and thoroughly conversant with German, French, English, and Italian. His first book was "The Sin of Joost Avelingh” (1890); soon to be followed by “An Old Maid's Love" (1891); “God's Fool" (1892); and “The Greater Glory” (1894). His other books are “ A Question of Taste” (1891); and “My Lady Nobody” (1895). The works are originally written in English; many of them have been translated into his native Dutch.
THE CUP FLOWS OVER.
(From “The Sin of Joost Avelingh.") THERE was no more talk of agriculture; the old man sat muttering to himself and scowling. Presently he asked: "How old are you, Joost ? Twenty-one, are you not?”
“Yes, sir," said Joost.
The clouds had thickened and dropped while they were paying their visit. It now began to drizzle. “No, no. No putting up the hood," said the baron to the groom in the dicky. “We're not made of sugar, any of us." It was raining fast by the time they reached the house. The baron got out, and stumbled on the steps. He would have fallen had not Joost supported him. “It's nothing," he said, “nonsense. Only a little giddiness. Hang the doctor! He'd make a man think he was dying ten years before his time.” He looked at his watch under the hall-lamp. “Ten minutes to six,” he said. “Near dinner-time. Hurry up. I feel quite hungry.
Joost scowled at his own white face in the glass as he stood washing his hands. The excitement of the visit to the madhouse had kept him up. He was now asking himself what it meant, without being able to find a solution. Did his uncle mean to get him locked up there, unless he obeyed him? Impossible. And yet --- with influence! Absurd ! Did he intend to warn him, while there yet was time, thinking — as no doubt he thought — that Joost was on the high-road to madness already? Yes, that must be it. Joost smiled bitterly at himself, and the glass smiled back. He was nearer crime, he thought, than insanity.
Now he was home again, the whole misery rushed back upon him. Was it possible that he could sit so calmly next to his uncle in the carriage, sit opposite him at table, with this hate burning down into his heart? Could such a state of things continue ? Could he live with the man whose one object seemed to be to destroy his life and cause him suffering? No, said Joost to himself, as he blew out his candle and went down-stairs. He resolved very decidedly, though as yet without any further particularization, that this present condition of affairs must end. With or without Agatha he must go out into the world and earn his own bread.
The large dining-room was lighted up. There were candles in the sconces, and a bright oil lamp hung over the square table with its massive silver centerpiece.
The baron was already seated at the head of the table. Behind him stood the butler. Joost sat down opposite.
• Is it still raining fast, Jakob?” said the baron.
Joost refused the soup. The baron cast a sharp glance at him and poured himself out another glass of wine. He was, as his nephew noticed, still dressed in that Sunday suit he had put on for his visit to the madhouse. He tucked his white napkin under his chin, probably to save his clothes. It made his red face stand out the more.
Joost refused the second course. The baron cast another look at him and poured himself out more wine. Neither had spoken. Joost sat looking straight before him, white, dark, glum. He also repeatedly filled the glass beside his empty plate.
The baron took of everything, and ate noisily, gobbling and choking, and casting more and more frequent glances at his nephew. The butler moved noiselessly to and fro.
The dessert was put on the table. Joost had eaten nothing. “Get out,” said the baron, abruptly breaking half an hour's silence. The patient Jakob passed softly out of the room. He closed the heavy dining-room door on the two gentlemen and left them to their own cogitations. He was not sorry to be outside.
“ Joost,” said the baron when they were alone. He poured himself out another glass of wine from the replenished decanter. His hand trembled somewhat. “ Joost, I am an ill-used old man.
I have been ill-used all my life, and my experience has not been a happy one. Be sure of that. Far from it. But we need not speak of the subject. You don't believe me, do
“ What about?” said Joost. "That you were ill-used ? I don't know.” " And don't care,
It is true, all the same. And now see how you behave toward me. Just because, for your own good, I ask you to forget this foolish love story — after all, it is a child's fancy, nothing more — ask you to forget it on your own behalf. It is on your own behalf. Don't you believe me?”
Joost did not answer.
“Don't you believe me?” The old man bent across the table.
“No,” said Joost, with a laugh.
His uncle swore a great oath. He stretched out his hand to his glass, but the hand trembled and struck against the slender stem, upsetting its balance and sending a crimson stream over the white table-cloth. The baron flung the offending wine-glass into a corner of the room, and, stumbling to the sideboard, came back with a tumbler, which he filled and drained.
“ And so,” he began again, “you would marry Agatha Van Hessel after all. If I were to die to-morrow you would marry her to-morrow ?”
“ Certainly,” said Joost.
“And Van Hessel, damn him, would give his consent too,” muttered the old man. There was a long silence. “Look here, Joost Avelingh,” said Van Trotsem, bending forward again, his red hands spread out before him, “you shall not marry this girl. I have told you myself, kindly, that I am acting for your own welfare. You laugh, and simply answer that I lie. Had you consented, with a good grace, to obey my
wishes, there would have been an end of the matter. Now, on the contrary, you force me to take action. You yourself have indicated the road. You tell me Van Hessel will never take you without money.
. Well, damn you both, he shall never get you with it. Rather than that, I will leave it to Arthur Van Asveld.”
“Leave it where you like,” said Joost. “I have told you once for all, sir, I don't want your money.”
“ Yes you do,” said the old man, quickly, “ for it is your only chance of Agatha.”
A terrible expression came over Joost's face, a look so dark and threatening that his uncle, half fuddled as he was with wine, was startled by it. There was murder in that passionate glance. The mouth, dogged and square, set itself firmly, full of dreadful resolve.
“Do not exasperate me,” said Joost Avelingh.
"It is you who exasperate me,” said the baron, surlily. “ Have I ever injured you? What right have you to speak to me thus? I tell you again, you shall not marry this girl!”
“When have you ever injured me? How dare I speak to you thus ? Say, rather, when have you not injured me? Say, rather, how should one speak to his greatest enemy on earth ?” Joost started up and came half-way round the table toward his uncle. “When have you had another object in life but to make me miserable? When have you had another amusement? Nay, I will speak. I have been silent long enough. You shall hear me to-night, if it be the last night we spend together under the same roof. Would to heaven it were so! It shall be so, so help me God! You, who persecuted your sister till her death, you, who insulted and injured my father till he also passed beyond your vengeance, if not beyond your hate, you rejoice to know that you have me still left. You delight in the thought how you have tortured me through all these years, how you still have the power to make me suffer! You have succeeded. I admit it. Rejoice in it while you can.
But I defy you. I am no longer a child. Why should I respect your gray hairs? They but witness how long I have undergone your persecutions. Why should I honor our relationship? It but tells me how you treated my mother. I leave this house to-night! I defy you! I shall marry the girl I love in spite of you, in spite of her father, in spite of a legion of devils
enlisted against us! I shall marry her yet, I warn you! And I shall rejoice the more in our union to know it is against your will!"
He had poured out these mad words in a ceaseless, breathless stream. The old gentleman lay back in his chair, staring at him, breathless too. When his nephew ceased, he snatched up a water-bottle and aimed it at the offender's head. It crashed against a looking-glass and sent a glittering shower of glass-splinters and water-drops all over that part of the room. Some of the splinters struck Joost and the water splashed over his back. “ You hell-hound !” began the baron, when at last he found voice — but no, his language need not be written down here. For several minutes he stormed on, swearing and raving in a fury of passion, while Joost stood silent, his arms crossed on his breast, great beads of perspiration coming out on his white forehead. After all his uncle had him in his power, and he knew it.
“For the next two years at any rate,” shouted the old man, “we shall see who is master. I will
. make a mill hand of you, you dog; and you can inherit my millions afterward. You or Van Asveld. Ha! ha! You or Van Asveld.” He was frantic with rage. His face was livid one moment and violet the next. He foamed and spat, while with trembling hand he reached out for more wine. And yet, strangely enough, the ungovernable old man in the bottommost depth of his heart respected his nephew more and liked him better for thus standing up and facing him in his wrath. He tore the napkin from his throat. “I will end it this very night!” he cried, as he staggered to his feet. “No, sir, you shall stay with me this night and many another. You shall stay with me, because I wish it, and the law enforces my' will. If you disobey me, I will call in my servants and disgrace you before them. And this night, this very night, you yourself shall drive me over to the village. It is you yourself, mind, who force me to do it. You have defied me. I could not rest a night with the thought of what my death would bring you! The realization of all your wishes, forsooth! You shall not realize them. This night, I promise you, Sir Nephew, shall make them unattainable forever.
He ran toward the bell-rope and rang violently. A servant hurried into the room. And the baron, still foaming with passion, could find no other words than “The chaise ! ”