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He leapt back. The point of blinding hood of the snowthe wolf's tooth had almost wraith shut upon the shameful pricked him as it shot through scene--upon all the woodlands Corporal Lacoste's throat. of Amstetten, blotting out the
“ Stehen sie auf! ah, you voiceless passes, obscuring and devil !” he sobbed, as the dog- confusing the familiar avenues man threw himself upon the of retreat. Too well then these quivering tumbled body, snarl- men realised, out of their know
, ing and quarrelling with the ledge of it, the menace of the knife that would not be with- dumb eclipse—of the trackless drawn.
silence that no instinct might Suddenly a terrible lust over- interpret. But the fulness of took the onlooker. He tore the dismay was for one only of the trooper's sword from its sheath two. and slashed at the senseless face In a minute they were astray; till the blade streamed.
at the end of an hour, two “The blood of a wolf !” he hours, they were still ice-bound screeched,—“of a ravisher and wanderers
wanderers - white spectres of
despoiler! Unbuckle me the the living death. And so at scabbard. It shall stay here— last the natural dusk, weaving the red shall stay, and mingle weft into warp of darkness, had presently, for all his boasting, crept upon them; and a greater with that of the beasts to which fear, long - foreshadowed, had he was kin!”
knocked at the priest's heart
a sickening thud to every step For long the winged flakes he took. Then his eyes, strainhad fallen, the huddled laby- ing in the inhuman blackness, rinths of the forest been dense would seek frantically to resolve as with the myriad settling of the character of that that patghost-moths. Here, indeed, was tered at his side; and he had the spinning-mill of Fate, draw- jibbed as he walked, daring ing steadily, relentlessly, from neither to question nor to touch. the loaded distaff of the clouds, Suddenly an attenuated whimworking an impenetrable warp per, that swelled to a piercing for the snaring of forfeited lives. yaup, had sounded at his very
Lost gasping, and horror- ear, and something had leapt stricken, the monk stumbled from his neighbourhood and gone aimlessly onward, the trooper's scurrying into the darkness. sheathed sword clasped con- Then he knew that what he vulsively-half unconsciously, had dreaded had befallen, and under his arm, the trooper's the utter ecstasy of horror engold clinking in his mendicant tered into and possessed his soul. pouch. He beat his way anywhither among the glimmering Now, all in a moment, he trunks, and the terror of hell broke from the thronged terrorwas in his soul.
ism of trees into a little ghastly For, not a hundred paces of glen. A bursting sigh, comtheir return journey had the pound of a dozen clashing emomurderers traversed, when the tions, issued from his lungs.
He could faintly see here once what he held in his hand. The more; and he knew himself to sword! At least, in his despair, have happened upon that very he could endeavour to do with pass
wherein he had been busy it as he had seen done. in the morning imbruing his A score of rabid snouts budded hands, by wolfish proxy, in the through the gloom before him. blood of the wounded.
He clutched at the hilt. Some But he had not climbed a latent memory, perhaps, of the score of yards up the slope in stinging thrash of the weapon a whirl of flakes when a gut- it looked upon kept the pack tural sound, that seemed to at bay a moment. But clutch come from almost under his and tear as the priest might, feet, shocked him to a pause. the blade would not come forth. He stood, forcibly striving to The lust of hatred that had constrict his heart lest the thud sheathed it, wet with the life of it knocking on his ribs should of its victim, had recoiled upon betray him. For the wolves itself. Corporal Lacoste still were in the glen again. His claimed his sword-claimed it every nerve jumped to the con- by testimony of his blood, that sciousness of their neighbour- had dried upon it, gluing it hood.
within its scabbard. The swinish sound went on. A low laugh issued from the Suddenly the ticking wheel of thick of the pack—an unearthly Life touched off its alarum. bark confusedly blended of the Wrought to the topping-pitch utterance of beast and man. It of endurance, he gave way, was as if some one brute, inteluttering scream after scream ligent above his fellows, had in a mere paralysis of fright. realised the humour of the The whole glen seemed to howl situation. in echo: there came a snarling A grey snout, grinning and rush.
slavering from a single long Who had shouted it?—“The tooth,
nozzling itself sword of Corporal Lacoste !” through the herd. The cry, he could have sworn, The priest screamed and fell clanged in his frantic ears. It upon his knee . rallied him to recollection of
A VAGABOND POET.
ARTHUR RIMBAUD has suf- posed secrecy; but those who fered in all their bitterness the are responsible for the perfect miseries of an indiscreet fame. revelation of Rimbaud's life and To be celebrated unworthily is poetry have an abundant excuse: to be misunderstood; and de- they were driven to publish by spite his unsought glory the the indiscretions of others, and author of Une Saison en Enfer' they have discharged no more has been infamously treated by than the duty imposed upon those who affect his worship. them of vindicating their hero's The works which he refused to memory. Had he died obscure, publish have been printed in they should have respected his
dozen treacherous forms; obscurity: traduced by halfmore than one wit has forged knowledge, he must needs subsuccessfully the poet's style ; mit to the frank revelation of and at the very moment when his friends. he deemed himself forgotten, he He was already a legend, was the chosen leader of a new when his name
was unheard school, the unconscious apostle outside the taverns of the Latin of a foolish creed. Worse than Quarter. From time to time this, the gossips laid hold of his came rumours of his death, and life, and, ignorant of his maturer still more often echoes of his heroism, discovered a pictur- unaccustomed, intrepid career. esque element in the unproved Meanwhile, the foolish man who vices of his youth. So that he seeks a nerveless solace in the who shunned publicity has been vices of others overlooked the vilified in the light of day; his talent of Rimbaud in the false works, unique prophecy of record of his boyish indiscreunfulfilled genius, have been tion; and it seems worth while, hawked, despite his own sup- now that the material is at pression, upon every bookstall; hand, to brush away the scanand for long we have read his dals, and to draw an imperfect heroic adventures, and have portrait of this misjudged poet. studied his marvellous poems Arthur Rimbaud, then, was with half - felt confession born at Charleville, of well-tothat we are looking over an do parents, in 1854.
No sooner unknown shoulder. But at last was he sent to school than he our curiosity is justified. A displayed the astounding prepious, if not too tactful, hand cocity which a few years later has drawn aside the veil, and made him the wonder of Paris, we are not only confronted by and which, maybe, destroyed the authentic text of the poet's him at what, for the most of works, but by the authentic men, is the beginning of a career. record of his curious career. His sense of literature was inWe
may easily question any stinctive, and an insubordinman's right to violate a pur- ate indolence was no bar to the
acquisition of knowledge. At life of my childhood,” he writes, seven he was already master of “the highroad in all weathers; a lucid style, and at that early unnaturally sober, more disinage he not only declared war terested than the noblest of against journalism but ex- beggars, proud of knowing pressed the ambition which he neither country nor friends, what cherished unto the end. “Moi, folly it was.
And I alone perje serai rentier,” he wrote in ceived it.” Indeed he was coninfancy, and it was in this un- scious always of his own fulfilled desire that he met his ruliness, of his own vagabond hapless death. At fourteen, spirit. In another brutal passays his schoolmaster, he had sage of autobiography (writ. translated Juvenal, Tibullus, ten, be it remembered, at and Propertius into French eighteen), which reveals him verse; he knew, moreover, Vil- as the Whitman of France, lon, Rabelais, Baudelaire, the and which tells but half the Parnassians, and all the modern truth, he explains the gipsydom poets; he had even discovered of his youth. “I owe to my for himself the charm of Madame Gallic ancestors," he says, “my Desbordes - Valmore, who now, blue - white eye, my after thirty years, is a fashion- brain, my awkwardness in the
And he achieved struggle. I find my clothes as all this without ever foregoing barbarous as theirs. But I do the privileges of an Ishmael. not oil my hair. The Gauls His hand, a strong one too, was were the most foolish flayers raised against all the world, of beasts and burners of crops and he endured discipline with known to their age.
From a recalcitrant ferocity. The them I get idolatry and the truth is, he was never a boy. love of sacrilege ;-oh! all the His period of imitation was vices, anger, lust, — tis magnifibrief, and insincere. On the cent, lust-above all, falsehood very
threshold of life he found and idleness. I have a horror himself, and if for a moment of all trades. Masters and work. he echoed Baudelaire and the men, all are peasants, ignoble. Parnassians, he was hardly The hand on the pen is stronger fifteen when he shook off the than the hand on the plough. trammels which have weighted And so he sets forth his lack of many a poet to the grave. A restraint, his scorn of conduct. man's temper, a man's intelli- But he utters no complaint : gence, armed this boy against even if he understand not the the government of others, and law, he is of those who “sing at it is not remarkable that he the hour of punishment," and it soon deemed school, even with was with as little fear as money the most sympathetic of masters, that at fifteen he left home and a common prison-house. That took to the road. he should have been happy was His goal was Paris, his aim impossible, and the reminiscence for the moment poetic glory. of "Une Saison en Enfer 'strikes Though still a penniless child, a note of sincerity. “Ah! that his pocket was full of audacious verses, his head was packed his mother's house at Charlewith a generous contempt of ville, where, if he found no others. But for all his profound sympathy, he might at least acquaintance with literature, he lie down in the corner that he knew nothing of life, and while knew. And then no sooner was his cunning kept him concealed he recovered from fatigue than beneath the seat of the railway- he had turned a deaf ear to carriage until the journey's end, the familiar reproach, and was he could not escape from the tramping down the road again. station without a ticket. The But it was not until the war war had just broken out, and had made
for the Commune the police had no difficulty in that Rimbaud conquered the denouncing for a spy this un- appreciation of Paris. He arcouth boy with an accent fresh rived to enrol himself among from the Ardennes. So Rim
So Rim- the insurgents after a hungry, baud was sent off to Mazas, dishevelled tramp. .
It is not where he remained twelve days, surprising that the Communand whence he was restored, ards, struck with pity at the after identification, to Charle- boy's lean and haggard look, ville. Thus began his years of made a generous collection for fearless wandering. Wherever him ; it is less surprising that he went, he was ragged and he instantly spent the money half starved, still loyal to his for their benefit. However, the muse, and indifferent to the butchery of this belated revoluusages of his fellows. His only tion soon disgusted him, and inn bore “the sign of the Great once more he fled to the ArBear," and he journeyed in a dennes; but in a few months fierce spirit of solitude, a stranger he was back in Paris, and to “orgies and the companion- introduced under the auspices ship of women.” Thus he saw of Verlaine to the world of visions, to which other eyes are letters. His success of curiblind. “As I tramped along osity-was immediate, and not the highroad,” he wrote, “ of remarkable, when we remember winter nights, without lodging, that he was
than without clothes, without bread, seventeen and yet the author à voice gripped my frozen heart: of the “ Bateau Ivre.” Of his Weakness or strength; thou character and appearance at art strength. Thou knowest this time we have abundant not whither thou goest, nor evidence. Violent and why; open every door, answer temptuous, he made atto every one. Thou wilt not be tempt to conciliate opinion or killed any more than if thou to tame his temper. Those wert a corpse.' In the morning who knew him then render I had a look so lost, a face so
but one account: he was more dead, that those whom I met like a wild beast than a poet, perhaps did not see me.' And and he only broke his morose after each journey, with the silence by such monosyllables half-confessed instinct of a hom- as cannot be set forth in print. ing beast, he sought refuge in But he was an untutored youth