Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Mimosa Bugg. But Convol- veyance. She loved long names, vulus was rather a happy name. and strange names—names conThe long white face of the child, secrated by legend, names evowith the delicately-veined pink cative of scenic grandeur. about the mouth and nose, her

“ Harethusa arose narrow shoulders and the dis

From her couch of snows proportionate width below the In the Hacroceraunian mountains." waist- especially on Sundays, Convolvulus battled bravely when all the Bugg children wore white-put one in mind with her aspirates, and in the of a convolvulus—the drooping

end conquered them. I attri

buted her paleness and droopkind

ing white delicacy to these and “The tremulous convolvulus, whose

kindred exercises. The spirit closing blue eye misses

of romance had much to conThe faint shadow on the dial that tend with. Like the moon of foretells the evening hour."

her recitations, the eldest Miss

Bugg was I was too tactful to ask her if she liked books, if she was “pale from weariness fond of reading. Instead, I Of climbing 'eaven and gazing on the

herth." drew her on to talk about her favourite authors. Her taste Convolvulus, I think, was conat the age of nine was mature scious of certain inhibitions in and catholic. Byron and the Bugg household. There Shakespeare pleased her best. was stabling in plenty at the She commended Byron's “Ju- inn, but none for Pegasus. venilia.” “And Shakespeare!” remember asking her onceI asked her. After a little re “Supposing some fairy godflection, she said, “I like his mother were to offer you the Lamb's Tales best."

choice of the thing you wanted The next year when I visited most in the world, what would the inn I made her a present you ask for?of an anthology. The pink I should like a castle," she veins in the convolvulus face said. deepened with pleasure. She “And where would you like discovered new favourites. your castle ? " Lord Byron suffered an eclipse ; “In Italy or Spain," she it was Mr Anon's turn now. replied gravely. She had been The warm June smell of the reading “ Childe Harold." box border between the porch Convolvulus had a wonderful of the inn and the boat-house dignity. I doubt if even her is associated in my mind with father would have dared to recitations. Like Milton, Con- call her Con for short. volvulus loved a sounding name. Mr Bugg was proud of his Number Two, “Occasion's eldest daughter. "A wonderpupil,” must have remembered ful one for reading. None of that when he drafted the con- the girls can beat her at school.

She's going to be a little lady, Wellington's sangars, glides she is.”

gently into the sea. But this I missed my annual visit to will be Huggins' business, of the fishing inn for several years, course, a small reward for the but I heard of Convolvulus translation of Convolvulus. I occasionally. She became a look for the notice of the villapupil-teacher, then a "school giatura every day in the column marm.” The last I heard of of the Times' or 'Morning her was that she had married. Post' under the Court Circular. A kindred spirit, one may be Señora Convolvulus Huggins sure, a man of culture, and (née Bugg) has left The Laburfully aspirated. This would be nums, East Dulham, for the important, as Convolvulus Bugg Castillo Carlo Quinto, Fontbecame Convolvulus Huggins. arabia, Spain. And Huggins was a warm man From the roof in June she in the lap-robe trade, and could would look down on the tops have bought several castles. of the poplars and elms, and

At Fontarabia, of course, he cherry-trees in fruit. The pink would have to spend a trifle valerian, then, the lighter kind, on repairs. But the shell of covers a hundred feet of wall the castle is solid enough to like an invasion, the flood of stand the attacks of the ele- colour sparsely relieved by the ments for another thousand black ivy berries. On three years. And there are odd- sides she would look down on ments of ecclesiastical furniture roofs of the dark-brown drainscattered about that Convol- pipe tiles of the Midi, so much vulus would like to keep, gilded more restful to the eye than capitals, coffin-shaped painted red. The little town is cluschests, canopies with ornate tered underneath. The walls pillars like the retablo in the only enclose a few acres ; the church, and a lusty winged castle and the great rambling cherub in knee-breeches blow- church fill the greater part of ing a trumpet.

it. The castle is the crown of I should like to conduct Con- the knoll on which Fontarabia volvulus over the castle and is built ; only the steeple of interpret the panorama from the church surmounts it. One the roof, point out to her the could throw a ball from the lighthouse that commands Ba- roof of the castle into the winyona's hold and the Jumeaux, dow of the belfry. The four the twin rose-pink rocks of bells are open to the four winds. Hendaye, and Hendaye's grey, At service-time a small boy old, red-tiled church on the hill climbs a ladder, and swings with La Rhune behind it, a one of them round by a propyramid like the tomb of Ces- jecting lever with his hand. Or tius, and Cap Figuier, where there is a carillon, and the Jaizquibel, the last spur of the pious chimes of Spain are borne Western Pyrenees, crowned by across the estuary to Hendaye.

ONS INNd

look down An
old lady rises from her

Convolvulus might lie flat on there is a stir and a ripple.
bigger than a pelota court, for priests, who have been chaffer-
hours at a time without seeing ing by the transept door, sepa-
any movement, unless it were rate almost hurriedly. At Font-
in response to this bell. How arabia, as everywhere in me-
seductively the Calle Mayor, diæval Spain, the people and
the narrow alley bisecting the shops look frugal and poor;
town, drops down from the only the priests, standing in
plaza to the Puerta de Santa corvine groups at the street
Maria, with the Trois Cour- corners, their black cassocks
onnes, the last bold peak of distended in ample folds in
the Pyrenees, exactly framed front, look glossy, prosperous,
in the aperture between the and fat, as if they had sucked
double eaves, projecting one the sustenance out of the place,
above the other, and almost and were no more likely to
meeting across the street ! leave any morsels to pick up

Convolvulus would love the than the crows.
carved griffin brackets that Outside the walls there is
support the eaves and balconies, more stir. The little port
and the heavy stone escutcheons doesn't differ much from Hen-
over the doors, and the tran- daye on the other side of the
quillity that in these legendary water. The first thing one
towns is sister to romance. notices are the linden - trees
One would think that since clipped and tortured candel-
the Emperor Charles rode out abra-wise as in France, with
of the gates Fontarabia had the red sardine-nets hanging
not stirred in its sleep. Many on them, and the blue nets,
an hour have I spent in the the colour of the sea. The
streets and never seen any craft is the same, and the
traffic or business there, or Basque fishermen in feature
sign of occupation, beyond the and build very like their cousins
postman-what communication on the French side. Only a
can there be between these hundred yards or so from the
silent houses and the outside quay one passes through the
world ?-and a woman who gate of the city, and one is in
drives a donkey with panniers Spain.
of vegetables and fruit, and And there is a third and
the cobbler who sits outside brighter Fontarabia for those
his shop in the square astride who find old faded neutral tints
his last, an instrument of the and a uniformity of architec-
shape of a big bassoon, and ture depressing — restaurants
threads his alpargatas. Only and a casino, trim gardens
when the single bell clangs with monkey-trees and copper

beeches and variegated shrubs, gentle shower induces sleep. bright villas with their front. The tide is coming in, and the age of parti-coloured bricks, shaft of a rainbow rising from and blue and green glazed tiles, the Bidassoa bisects the tawny with the masonry framing the streamers of smoke that float windows generally salmon-col- behind the blue sardine-boats, oured or maroon, in the most the light at its edge intensifystriking and original relief from ing the whiteness of the herringthe rest of the building. All gulls' wings, making a bright this, which is as satisfying to mosaic of the estuary. modern taste in Spain as in funnel of the Spanish gunboat Great Yarmouth or new Calais, by the quay flickers, . . . but lies outside the walls and is here Number Two is left alone hidden by them. The town to install Convolvulus Huggins itself, like most little, old, walled (née Bugg), as is fit. towns, as tight and compact Number One does not rein its ramparts as a snail in member exactly what happened, its shell, has defied modernity. but as Number Two is a comOne might take the tram from petent master of ceremonies, Irun to Fontarabia plage, and one may take it that there was if one were sleepy and un- no hitch. At the point in the observant and had one's back channel where the gunboat to the Puerta de Santa Maria melted into thin air a galley as one passed, one might spend heaves into view with white the day on the sea-front with- bellying sails and rich awnings out a suspicion that one had emblazoned with arms—a title been anywhere in the neigh- goes with the castle; Number bourhood

of mediævalism. Two never stints accessories : From the French side, too, the figure-head on the skylooking across the Bidassoa, all pointing poop is a mermaid in one sees of the Fontarabia of gules. Some subliminal voice Carlo Quinto is the castle and is chanting, “Youth on the the church. The colours and prow and pleasure at the helm.” contours of the modern ex “But, no," interposes Number halation are softened by dis- Two, who has become the ape tance.

of Don Huggins, “ youth and Convolvulus, of course, would pleasure together, if you please, come by water. A triumphal both at the helm, or both at barge would await her at Hen- the prow. Gather ye rosebuds daye Port. Don Huggins would while ye may." And he imsee to that. Transport she proves on the bard with some must have worthy of her state. doggerel of his own, which

. . Here Number One, lying Number One cannot remember. flat on the castle walls in the But no matter. Youth is on June sun, and hypnotised by his feet now, bowing to a lady the genius of the place, is on who reclines on a saffron couch, the point of abdication. A a small lady with a large white

round hat and a long white d'oisear en passant a mere narrow face, and eyes that trifle, but I thought it might keep peering, and ears that please you,-one, I hope, of keep listening to catch the many castles in Spain.” strange sights and sounds be And here he began to troll; yond the mist.

for in spite of his tight, grey, To her Youth uncovers, doffscreased trousers and white spats his sombrero. Youth is a little and his tail-coat and hard evasive, by the way, a blend bowler hat-it seems he had of Castile and Cockayne. Some- discarded the Homburg and times he wears a sombrero, the sombrero,-he carried a sometimes a light grey Hom- fiddle under his arm like a burg hat; but whatever it is hidalgo on a Fontarabian fan. he wears he waves it at the “Señorita mia,” he trolled, castle as he bends over the “Señorita mia." And he waved white lady, who is named Con- his bow at the castle. volvulus, so modestly pale and drooping is she, and whispers “Is there no method to tell her in

Spanish in her ear, “A little hymeneal

June is twice June since she breathed surprise, Señorita mia, a nid it with me?"

« AnteriorContinuar »