|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||Dead Eyes|
wm i in i i I i Dead Eyes. I f '.I'.- I H J , jt f ((The Story of a Wife's Mistake.) H , I (M ! Derrick Parquharson had sent me several tel- H . I egrams to Deauville begging me to go and stay H i il f V for a few days with him at Plougarnec, and H if i though the Deauville crowd was a gay and amus- Bf J r : , ing one, and Trouvillo and Mademoiselle .Phry- l i ' " nette, of the Folies Plastiques, conveniently and Hii , ; ' ! delightfully neai although, too, my automobile P lj;j 1 iij was, as usual, out of order, and I should have an K ' ;i ! ' ' ' a-ll-day cross-country journey by slow trains be- Hj 1 1 iJ fore I got to Plougarnec, I threw up everything K J f ) and went, for I had not seen Derrick since his K' M if'M awful accident. K H 'I : ' Two years ago Farquharson was the merriest H J I I v of all our merry crowd. Wherever there was fun m , 1 'jil ' to be had, there, too, was Farquharson, and there III t had been one shout of dismay when of a sudden 1 1 ' ho had announced his engagement to Mademoi- . idh selle de Marcy, and after marriage had gone off H ' ji i to live in the old castle which belonged to him at H f , ., Plougarnec, upon the rockbound coast of Finis- H r terre. H , .1 I :.l I understood this sudden change in Derrick IbH ''! f much better than the other fellows did, for I H i I i r knew him better. I knew that underneath the H III I viveur's varnish, behind the apparent careless- H 'If 'J ness whIcu cloaked the man of pleasure, lay a H 'j I deep stratum of mystic sentimentality which H '!f; Farquharson had, no doubt, inherited from his H I ! I p Breton mother. H I t Often and often, on our way back to our H i I ' I ) rooms in Paris, after a wild uight of pleasure H f h where he had been the maddest of us all, Der- H' , jl 'Ij-' rIck had strayed s poet's soul to me, and I was H j'iji flj not at all surprised at his infatuation for, and lH . fl'll1 marriage with, Sibylle de Marcy, that thin slip IbH ' fl f a girl fresh from the convent school, whose H ! if ill green eyes with the hazel flecks in them, pale H , j ; ' 1 1 1 M ' face and coral-tinted lips, and crown of hair H j A,t ' which looked like nothing sc much as the sea- H li 1 ! ; shore sand touched by the morning sun, had H M i- t , won his poet's heart. i ( j Sibylle was as enigmatic as her name and djjf. her appearance. A quiet girl who' never spoke, T$ if f J . unless she had( something to speak about, who T 1 ! never chattered chiffons as the others did, and H f l J who, as Farquharson had said, was a piece of Hi j ;f 'J Brittany transplanted into Paris. When he said j , J J that' I know ho meant to marry her. 8' Lj And then, less than a yepr after the mar- H j I j" , rlage, after a few months snent, as Derrick's M jj J ew short letters to me clearly showed, in one B iflfi ' l0ng noneymoontne tragedy. Sibylle had gone Ml fl! ' Into her husband's room one morning' and found ' i vMl TI hIm moaninS on 'the bed Shp had shrieked for H i "fly l assistance. A cousin of her. Madame de Vin- Hj ' ipj cennes, a young widow who was staying with l j Iej! them, and the servants came, and found her Hl i:?J if fainting by the bedside. Derrick lay there, a H j, J t tiny path of half-dried blood running from each j 1 1 eye to the red-stained pillow, the poor eyes sight- H i le3, and, clutched tightly in each hand, a long B " "i golden hairpin. HH in hit t The doctor had said that poor Farquharson's B iff HI f 1 1 1Ife had escaped by something little short of the B j ,1 " miraculous. As for his sight, that was entirely j'ilflh ! 'gone, and gone forever. Nobody hud recognized jHlhfu'lf '; the hairpins. Madame de Yincenncs did not Bj!Sf' I know them, nor did Sibylle, and after the first jH lj week of wondering horror, the thing had almost B hH 1 f j! been forgotten, as all things which do not con- B j , M I cern us closely are forgotten, in this busy, pleas- B ifffl ure-loving world we call society. B i 1 1 1! ' We knew, however, that the blind man and H I fl i his 'wife lived on, alone, excepting for a few Bi ' I 1 ' servants, in the old sea-girt chateau out at Plou- B l; i garnec, and that poor Sibylle nursed and tended Hk tfli Farquharson with every refinement of devotion, H i ffs, ' for Farquharson himself had learned, as blind H.J'L l j folks do, to do without his sight iYi many ways, BBr 'AtiB. and by means of an ingenious little framework which kept his paper straight and guided his right hand, he could and did write letters to us. Sad little notes they were, but as a refrain through them all ran the devotion of Sibylle to her blind husband. It was 8 o'clock when I arrived at the chateau, and' I had left Deauville at 6 o'clock that morning. morn-ing. The castle on its rock glowered grimly as I drove up. to it, and in the semi-darkness of the summer evening it was as though the house itself it-self was blind. Derrick, comparatively unchanged, un-changed, except that bis hair was silvery white (and Derrick Farquharson was six and thirty), and that his sightless eyeballs had that blank, white look which told their secret, stood in the great hall with his wife to welcome me. They took me, into the dining room, and made me eat they jiad themselves dined a good hour beforeand be-foreand after dinner we went out across the huge hall with its mullioned windows, up the carved oaken staircase, and along the gallery, and intd the library, a room as large as any artist's ar-tist's atelier need be, lined on three sides with bookshelves, with a bay window looking out to sea. Almost in the center of the room was Derrick's Der-rick's chair. Beside it was a high footstool, upon which Sibylle naturally, and I could see the two as they sat there, he in the high-backed chair, she leaning her pale cheek against his knee, and gazing up into those blind white eyes of his with the .devotion of a spaniel the idyll of her love for her poor sightless husband. , "Smoke, old man, if you want to," said Farquharson; Far-quharson; "I have no taste for it as yet, here in the dark, although the doctor says I shall recover ' that. But you smoke. Sibylle doesn't mind It, do you, Sibylle?" His hand reached out, and stroked the fair head at his side. His wife did not answer. She looked straight in front of her, .with eyes that seemed to see nothing but the past, and in a dull almost a croaking voice she said: "You know I did it." I started. "You you did what, Madame?" "This." And with the noiseless rapidity of a panther on its spring, she colled her lithe body upward and kissed her husband lightly on his sightless eyes. Then she dropped back on her footstool again, and sat there looking into the past as she had done before she spoke. "Poor Sibylle," murmured Derrick. "But It Is true. It was her wish that you should come, and it was her wish to tell you of what happened"." I looked in horror and surprise at this girl who had done this thing, and would have spoken, had she not just then begun her story, speaking in the same expressionless, choked voice, which quivered now and then with the sobs which lay ' behind It. "You knew Clarie de Vinqennes. She was at our wedding, and after the first few months of our married life, she came here to stay with us. Derrick thought that I was likely to be lonely out hero in Finisterre, I thought he was getting bored ajone with me, and so she came. That woman." These last two words, Sibylle hissed out so venomously that in a flash I understood, or thought I uxiderstood, the whole sad story. The young wife who had learned to love, her husband with a wild and passionate love that is jealous of his every thought, jealous of his past as of the present, and then the other woman, woman of the world, with time upon her hands, flirting with sheer desoeuvrement with Derrick. But Sibyjle went on with her story. "I had been fond of Clarie you know that we were girls together, and that she Is but a year older than I am, though she was a widow of a year's standing on our wedding day. But when I she came down here she seemed to me to be- I witch Derrick. He was brighter, happier, when she was here. He but I need not go on with that.- -You; know the symptoms I was jealous, and; I had cause to be. "One 'night after a long day, during which I had seen too much, far too muh for my heart's comfort, Derrick insisted on my going to bed early. I was looking tired, he said, with a caress. And well I might look tired. 1 was tired tired of it all. I hated this woman who had come into my husband's life and taken him from me. But oven taore than her, I hated him, this man who had .first taught me how to love, then by the awful "path of jealousy had taught me how to hate. Again "the mute caress on her bowed head, and Sibylle Farquharson went on: "I went up to my room we used the hall in those days to sit in,- in' the evening and Clarie went to hers. It was ttie room you have. The big one 'next to this. Derrick remained sitting v over the fire in the hall, and kissed her hand to Clarie as she passed on along the gallery. Therp was, I thought, a promise in their eyes, and that night I cried myself to sleep with angry fears. I woke, and my repeater tinkled 3 o'clock. -Derrick was not by my side, and like a flash I realized that he was with my cousin. "And yet at first I could not and would not believe it. The husband whom I either loved or hated I did not quite know which the girl with whom I had lived like a sister, and here in my own house, a few months after marriage! It seemed all too horrible. It couTd not be true. Derrick, I thought, must 'have fallen asleep over the fire, and I should find him there, and tease him. I threw on a dressing gown, and without troubling to light a candle, went out Into the gallery, and loo"ked over. The fire threw a dull glow over the armchair standing by it, but the chair was empty. "Derrick was not there. I stood for a few moments gazing stupidly at' the empty chair by the fireside, and my eyes wandered across to the other side of the gallery. A door opened, the door opened, the door of the room you occupy now, Clarie's room, and Derrick came out quietly, carrying a candle. He was shading the light with his left hand, and did not see me as I stood there in the dark. I ran back into my room again, jumped into bed, and feigned sleep there until he was asleep. Then, with hell in my heart, I got up quietly, took two hairpins, long, dagger-handled dagger-handled ones, which had been Claire de Vin-cennes' Vin-cennes' present to me on my wedding morning, and and you can realize the rest." I looked at Sibylle, and at Derrick's sightless eyes, in speechless horror. She sprang up from the footstool at his feet and kissed the poor eyes passionately; then, with a sob of bitter anguish, darted from the room. We two men sat in silence for some moments. Then Derrick said with a soft sigh, "poor girl, she is expiating what she did with her whole life." "But you?" I said, "you, Derrick? How could you love another woman and -a few weeks after marriage, too?" "I never did," he said. "Clarie de Vincennes was never anything to me. She is Sibylle's cousin, cou-sin, had beep almost a sister to her, and my poor wife's jealousy was quite unfounded." "But but she saw you coming from Madame de Vincennes' room?" "No," answered Derrick. "I came from this room, from the library where I had been "reading. "read-ing. The doors of this room and the next are next to one another, as you know, and Sibylle was mistaken." "But she knows now?" "No, and shall never know. I made Madame de Vincennes swear before she left the house she would never tell my wife the truth, and you, my friend, must promise me the same. Poor Sibylle has enough to bear as it Is. The knowledge of the truth would kill her, or unhinge un-hinge her mind." St. Louis Mirror.