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Rosemary for Remembrance


I WONDER why I dreamed last night of Zabetta. It is years
since she made her brief little transit through my life, and
passed out of it utterly. It is years since the very recollection of
her—which for years, like an accusing spirit, had haunted me too
often—like a spirit was laid. It is long enough, in all conscience,
since I have even thought of her, casually, for an instant. And
then, last night, after a perfectly usual London day and evening, I
went to bed and dreamed of her vividly. What had happened to
bring her to my mind ? Or is it simply that the god of dreams is
a capricious god ?

The influence of my dream, at any rate,—the bitter-sweet
savour of it,—has pursued me through my waking hours. All day
long to-day Zabetta has been my phantom guest. She has walked
with me in the streets ; she has waited at my elbow while I wrote
or talked or read. Now, at tea-time, she is present with me by
my study fireside, in the twilight. Her voice sounds faintly,
plaintively, in my ears ; her eyes gaze at me sadly from a pale
reproachful face. . . . She bids me to the theatre of memory, where
my youth is rehearsed before me in mimic-show. There was one—


                        78 Rosemary for Remembrance

no, there were two little scenes in which Zabetta played the part of
leading lady.


I do not care to specify the year in which it happened ; it
happened a terrible number of years ago ; it happened when I was
twenty. I had passed the winter in Naples,—oh, it had been a
golden winter !—and now April had come, and my last Neapolitan
day. To-morrow I was to take ship for Marseilles, on the way to
join my mother in Paris.

It was in the afternoon ; and I was climbing one of those
crooked staircase alleys that scale the hillsides behind the town,
the Salita—is there, in Naples, a Salita Santa Margherita ? I had
lunched (for the last time !) at the Café d’Europe, and had then
set forth upon a last haphazard ramble through the streets. It was
tremulous spring weather, with blue skies, soft breezes, and a
tender sun ; the sort of weather that kindles perilous ardours even
in the blood of middle age, and that turns the blood of youth to

Women sat combing their hair, and singing, and gossiping, before
the doorways of their pink and yellow houses ; children sprawled,
and laughed, and quarrelled in the dirt. Pifferari, in sheep-skins
and sandles, followed by prowling, gaunt-limbed dogs, droned
monotonous nasal melodies from their bagpipes. Priests picked
their way gingerly over the muddy cobble stones, sleek, black-
a-vised priests, with exaggerated hats, like Don Basilio’s in the
Barbier. Now and then one passed a fat brown monk ; or a
soldier ; or a white-robed penitent, whose eyes glimmered uncannily
from the peep-holes of the hood that hid his face ; or a comely
contadina, in her smart costume, with a pomegranate-blossom flam-


                        By Henry Harland 79

ing behind her ear, and red lips that curved defiantly as she met the
covetous glances wildfire-and-twenty no doubt bestowed upon her,
—whereat, perhaps, wildfire-and-twenty halted and hesitated for an
instant, debating whether to accept the challenge and turn and follow
her. A flock of milk-purveying goats jangled their bells a few
yards below me. Hawkers screamed their merchandise, fish, and
vegetables, and early fruit—apricots, figs, green almonds. Brown-
skinned, bare-legged boys shouted at long-suffering donkeys, and
whacked their flanks with sticks. And everybody, more or less,
importuned you for coppers. ” Mossou, mossou ! Un piccolo
soldo, per l’amor di Dio ! ” The air was vibrant with southern
human noises, and dense with southern human smells—amongst
which, here and there, wandered strangely a lost waft of perfume
from some neighbouring garden, a scent of jasmine or of orange

And then, suddenly, the salita took a turn, and broadened into a
small piazza. At one hand there was a sheer terrace, dropping to
tiled roofs twenty feet below ; and hence one got a splendid view,
over the town, of the blue bay, with its shipping, and of Capri, all
rose and purple in the distance, and of Vesuvius with its silver
wreath of smoke. At the other hand loomed a vast, discoloured,
pink-stuccoed palace, with grated windows, and a porte-cochère
black as the mouth of a cavern ; and the upper stories of the palace
were in ruins, and out of one corner of their crumbling walls a
palm-tree grew. The third side of the piazza was inevitably occu-
pied by a church, a little pearl-grey rococo edifice, with a bell, no
deeper-toned than a common dinner-bell, which was now frantic-
ally ringing. About the doors of the church countless written
notices were pasted, advertising indulgences ; beggars clung to
the steps, like monster snails ; and the greasy leathern portière was
constantly being drawn aside, to let someone enter or come out.


                        80 Rosemary for Remembrance

It was here that I met Zabetta.

The heavy portère swung open, and a young girl stepped from
the darkness behind it into the sunshine.

I saw a soft face, with bright brown eyes ; a plain black frock,
with a little green nosegay stuck in its belt ; and a small round
scarlet hat.

A hideous old beggar woman stretched a claw towards this appa-
rition, mumbling something. The apparition smiled, and sought
in its pocket, and made the beggar woman the richer by a soldo.

I was twenty, and the April wind was magical. I thought I
had never seen so beautiful a smile, a smile so radiant, so tender.

I watched the young girl as she tripped down the church steps,
and crossed the piazza, coming towards me. Her smile lingered,
fading slowly, slowly, from her face.

As she neared me, her eyes met mine. For a second we looked
straight into each other’s eyes. . . .

Oh, there was nothing bold, nothing sophisticated or immodest,
in the momentary gaze she gave me. It was a natural, spontane-
ous gaze of perfectly frank, of perfectly innocent and impulsive
interest, in exchange for mine of open admiration. But it touched
the wildfire in my veins, and made it leap tumultuously.


Happiness often passes close to us without our suspecting it, the
proverb says.

The young girl moved on ; and I stood still, feeling dimly that


                        By Henry Harland 81

something precious had passed close to me. I had not turned back
to follow any of the brazenly provocative contadine. But now I
could not help it. Something precious had passed within arm’s
reach of me. I must not let it go, without at least a semblance of
pursuing it. If I waited there passive till she was out of sight,
my regrets would be embittered by the recollection that I had not
even tried.

I followed her eagerly, but vaguely, in a tremor of unformu-
lated hopes and fears. I had no definite intentions, no designs.
Presently, doubtless, she would come to her journey’s end—she
would disappear in a house or shop—and I should have my labour
for my pains. Nevertheless, I followed. What would you ?
She was young, she was pretty, she was neatly dressed. She had
big bright brown eyes, and a slender waist, and a little round
scarlet hat set jauntily upon a mass of waving soft brown hair.
And she walked gracefully, with delicious undulations, as if to
music, lifting her skirts up from the pavement, and so disclosing
the daintiest of feet, in trim buttoned boots, of glazed leather,
with high Italian heels. And her smile was lovely—and I was
twenty—and it was April. I must not let her escape me, without
at least a semblance of pursuit.

She led me down the salita that I had just ascended. She could
scarcely know that she was being followed, for she had not once
glanced behind her.


At first I followed meekly, unperceived, and contented to
remain so.

But little by little a desire for more aggressive measures grew
within me. I said, “Why not—instead of following meekly—


                        82 Rosemary for Remembrance

why not overtake and outdistance her, then turn round, and come
face to face with her again ? And if again her eyes should meet
mine as frankly as they met them in the piazza. . . .”

The mere imagination of their doing so made my heart stop

I quickened my pace. I drew nearer and nearer to her. I
came abreast of her—oh, how the wildfire trembled ! I pressed
on for a bit, and then, true to my resolution, turned back.

Her eyes did meet mine again quite frankly. What was more,
they brightened with a little light of surprise, I might almost have
fancied a little light of pleasure.

If the mere imagination of the thing had made my heart stop
beating, the thing itself set it to pounding, racing, uncontrollably,
so that I felt all but suffocated, and had to catch my breath.

She knew now that the young man she had passed in the piazza
had followed her of set purpose ; and she was surprised, but,
seemingly, not displeased. They were wonderfully gentle, won-
derfully winning eyes, those eyes she raised so frankly to my
desirous ones ; and innocent, innocent, with all the unsuspecting
innocence of childhood. In years she might be seventeen, older
perhaps ; but there was a child’s fearless unconsciousness of evil in
her wide brown eyes. She had not yet been taught (or, anyhow,
she clearly didn’t believe) that it is dangerous and unbecoming to
exchange glances with a stranger in the streets.

She was as good as smiling on me. Might I dare the utmost ?
Might I venture to speak to her ? . . . My heart was throbbing
too violently. I could not have found an articulate human word,
nor a shred of voice, nor a pennyweight of self-assurance, in my

So, thrilling with excitement, quailing in panic, I passed her

                                                I passed

                        By Henry Harland 83

I passed her, and kept on up the narrow alley for half a dozen
steps, when again I turned.

She was standing where I had left her, looking after me.
There was the expression of unabashed disappointment in her dark
eyes now ; which, in a minute, melted to an expression of appeal.

” Oh, aren’t you going to speak to me, after all ? ” they pleaded.

Wooed by those soft monitors, I plucked up a sort of desperate
courage. Hot coals burned in my cheeks, something fluttered
terribly in my breast ; I was literally quaking in every limb. My
spirit was exultant, but my flesh was faint. Her eyes drew me,
drew me. … I fancy myself awkwardly raising my hat ; I hear
myself accomplish a half-smothered salutation.

” Buon’ giorno, Signorina.”

Her face lit up with that celestial smile of hers ; and in a voice
that was like ivory and white velvet, she returned, ” Buon’ giorno,


And then I don’t know how long we stood together in silence.

This would never do, I recognised. I must not stand before
her in silence, like a guilty schoolboy. I must feign composure.
I must carry off the situation lightly, like a man of the world, a
man of experience. I groped anxiously in the confusion of my
wits for something that might pass for an apposite remark.

At last I had a flash of inspiration. ” What—what fine
weather,” I gasped. ” Che bel tempo ! ”

” Oh, molto bello,” she responded. It was like a cadenza on a

” You—you are going into the town ? ” I questioned.

” Yes,” said she.


                        84 Rosemary for Remembrance

“May I—may I have the pleasure——” I faltered.

” But yes,” she consented, with an inflection that wondered
” What else have you spoken to me for ? ”

And we set off down the salita, side by side.


She had exquisite little white ears, with little coral earrings, like
drops of blood ; and a perfect rosebud mouth, a mouth that
matched her eyes for innocence and sweetness. Her scarlet hat
burned in the sun, and her brown hair shook gently under it.
She had plump little soft white hands.

Presently, when I had begun to feel more at my ease, I
hazarded a question. ” You are a republican, Signorina ? ”

” No,” she assured me, with a puzzled elevation of the brows.

” Ah, well, then you are a cardinal,” I concluded.

She gave a silvery trill of laughter, and asked, ” Why must I be
either a republican or a cardinal ? ”

” You wear a bonnet rouge—a scarlet hat,” I explained.

At which she laughed again, crisply, merrily.

“You are French,” she said.

“Oh, am I?”

” Aren’t you ? ”

” As you wish, Signorina ; but I had never thought so.”

And still again she laughed.

“You have come from church,” said I.

” Già,” she assented ; ” from confession.”

” Really ? And did you have a great many wickednesses to
confess ? ”

” Oh, yes ; many, many,” she answered simply.


                        By Henry Harland 85

” And now have you got a heavy penance to perform ? ”

” No ; only twenty aves. And I must turn my tongue seven
times in my mouth before I speak, whenever I am angry.”

” Ah, then you are given to being angry ? You have a bad
temper ? ”

” Oh, dreadful, dreadful,” she cried, nodding her head.

It was my turn to laugh now. “Then I must be careful not
to vex you.”

“Yes. But I will turn my tongue seven times before I speak,
if you do,” she promised.

” Are you going far ? ” I asked.

” I am going nowhere. I am taking a walk.”

” Shall we go to the Villa Nazionale, and watch the driving ? ”

” Or to the Toledo, and look at the shop-windows ? ”

” We can do both. We will begin at the Toledo, and end in
the Villa.”

” Bene,” she acquiesced.

After a little silence, ” I am so glad I met you,” I informed
her, looking into her eyes.

Her eyes softened adorably. ” I am so glad too,” she said.

” You are lovely, you are sweet,” I vowed, with enthusiasm.

” Oh, no ! ” she protested. ” I am as God made me.”

” You are lovely, you are sweet. I thought—when I first saw
you, above there, in the piazza—when you came out of church,
and gave the soldo to the old beggar woman—I thought you had
the loveliest smile I had ever seen.”

A beautiful blush suffused her face, and her eyes swam in a
mist of pleasure. ” E vero ? ” she questioned.

” Oh, vero, vero. That is why I followed you. You don’t
mind my having followed you ? ”

” Oh, no ; I am glad.”


The Yellow Book—Vol. V. F

                        86 Rosemary for Remembrance

After another interval of silence, ” You are not Neapolitan ? ”
I said. ” You don’t speak like a Neapolitan.”

” No ; I am Florentine. We live in Naples for my father’s
health. He is not strong. He cannot endure the cold winters of
the North.”

I murmured something sympathetic ; and she went on, ” My
father is a violinist. To-day he has gone to Capri, to play at a
festival. He will not be back until to-morrow. So I was very

” You have no mother ? ”

” My mother is dead,” she said, crossing herself. In a moment
she added, with a touch of pride, ” During the season my father
plays in the orchestra of the San Carlo.”

” I am sure I know what your name is,” said I.

” Oh ? How can you know ? What is it ? ”

” I think your name is Rosabella.”

” Ah, then you are wrong. My name is Elisabetta. But in
Naples everybody says Zabetta. And yours ? ”

” Guess.”

” Oh, I cannot guess. Not—not Federico ? ”

” Do I look as if my name were Federico ? ”

She surveyed me gravely for a minute, then shook her head
pensively. ” No ; I do not think your name is Federico.”

And therewith I told her my name, and made her repeat it till
she could pronounce it without a struggle. It sounded very
pretty, coming from her pretty lips, quite southern and romantic,
with its r’s tremendously enriched.

” Anyhow, I know your age,” said I.

” What is it ? ”

“You are seventeen.”

” No—ever so much older.”

                                                ” Eighteen

                        By Henry Harland 87

” Eighteen then.”

” I shall be nineteen in July. “


Before the brilliant shop-windows of the Toledo we dallied for
an hour or more, Zabetta’s eyes sparkling with delight as they
rested on the bright-hued silks, the tortoise-shell and coral, the
gold and silver filagree-work, that were there displayed. But when
she admired some one particular object above another, and I
besought her to let me buy it for her, she refused austerely.
“But no, no, no ! It is impossible.” Then we went on to the
Villa, and strolled by the sea-wall, between the blue-green water
and the multicoloured procession of people in carriages. And by
and by Zabetta confessed that she was tired, and proposed that we
should sit down on one of the benches. ” A café would be better
fun,” submitted her companion. And we placed ourselves at one
of the out-of-door tables of the café in the garden, where, after
some urging, I prevailed upon Zabetta to drink a cup of chocolate.
Meanwhile, with the ready confidence of youth, we had each been
desultorily autobiographical ; and if our actual acquaintance was
only the affair of an afternoon, I doubt if in a year we could have
felt that we knew each other better.

” I must go home,” Zabetta said at last.

” Oh, not yet, not yet,” cried I.

“It will be dinner-time. I must go home to dinner.”

” But your father is at Capri. You will have to dine alone.”

” Yes.”

” Then don’t. Come with me instead, and dine at a res-


                        88 Rosemary for Remembrance

Her eyes glowed wistfully for an instant ; but she replied,
” Oh, no ; I cannot.”

” Yes, you can. Come.”

” Oh, no ; impossible.”

” Why ? ”

” Oh, because.”

” Because what ? “

” There is my cat. She will have nothing to eat.”

” Your cook will give her something.”

” My cook ! ” laughed Zabetta. ” My cook is here before

” Well, you must be a kind mistress. You must give your
cook an evening out.”

“But my poor cat ? ”

” Your cat can catch a mouse.”

” There are no mice in our house. She has frightened them all

” Then she can wait. A little fast will be good for her soul.”

Zabetta laughed, and I said, ” Andiamo ! ”

At the restaurant we climbed to the first floor, and they gave us
a table near the window, whence we could look out over the villa
to the sea beyond. The sun was sinking, and the sky was gay with
rainbow tints, like mother-of-pearl.

Zabetta’s face shone joyfully. ” This is only the second time in
my life that I have dined in a restaurant,” she told me. ” And the
other time was very long ago, when I was quite young. And it
wasn’t nearly so grand a restaurant as this, either.”

” And now what would you like to eat ? ” I asked, picking up
the bill of fare.

” May I look ? ” she said.

I handed her the document, and she studied it at length. I


                        By Henry Harland 89

think, indeed, she read it through. In the end she appeared rather

” Oh, there is so much. I don’t know. Will you choose,
please ? ”

I made a shift at choosing, and the sympathetic waiter flourished
kitchenwards with my commands.

” What is that little green nosegay you wear in your belt,
Zabetta ? ” I inquired.

” Oh, this—it is rosemary. Smell it,” she said, breaking off a
sprig and offering it to me.

” Rosemary—that’s for remembrance,” quoted I.

” What does that mean ? What language is that ? ” she asked.

I tried to translate it to her. And then I taught her to say it
in English. ” Rrosemèrri—tsat is forr rremembrrance.”

” Will you write it down for me ? ” she requested. ” It is

And I wrote it for her on the back of one of my cards.


After dinner we crossed the garden again, and again stood
by the sea-wall. Over us the soft spring night was like a dark
sapphire. Points of red, green, and yellow fire burned from the
ships in the bay, and seemed of the same company as the stars above
them. A rosy aureole in the sky, to the eastward, marked the
smouldering crater of Vesuvius. Away in the Chiaja a man was
singing comic songs, to an accompaniment of mandolines and
guitars ; comic songs that sounded pathetic, as they reached us in
the distance.

I asked Zabetta how she wished to finish the evening.

                                                ” I don’t

                        90 Rosemary for Remembrance

” I don’t care,” said she.

” Would you like to go to the play ? ”

” If you wish.”

” What do you wish ? ”

” I think I should like to stay here a little longer. It is pleasant.”

We leaned on the parapet, close to each other. Her face was
very pale in the starlight ; her eyes were infinitely deep, and dark,
and tender. One of her little hands lay on the stone wall, like a
white flower. I took it. It was warm and soft. She did not
attempt to withdraw it. I bent over it and kissed it. I kissed it
many times. Then I kissed her lips. ” Zabetta—I love you—I
love you,” I murmured fervently.—Don’t imagine that I didn’t
mean it. It was April, and I was twenty.

” I love you, Zabetta. Dearest little Zabetta ! I love you so.”

” E vero ? ” she questioned, scarcely above her breath.

” Oh, si ; é vero, vero, vero,” I asseverated. ” And you ? And
you ? ”

” Yes, I love you,” she whispered.

And then I could say no more. The ecstasy that filled my heart
was too poignant. We stood there speechless, hand in hand, and
breathed the air of heaven.

By and by Zabetta drew her bunch of rosemary from her belt,
and divided it into two parts. One part she gave to me, the
other she kept. ” Rosemary—it is for constancy,” she said. I
pressed the cool herb to my face for a moment, inhaling its bitter-
sweet fragrance ; then I fastened it in my buttonhole. On my
watchchain I wore—what everybody in Naples used to wear—a
little coral hand, a little clenched coral hand, holding a little golden
dagger. I detached it now, and made Zabetta take it. ” Coral—
that is also for constancy,” I reminded her ; “and besides, it protects
one from the Evil Eye.”


                         By Henry Harland 91

At last Zabetta asked me what time it was ; and when she
learned that it was half-past nine, she insisted that she really must
go home. ” They shut the outer door of the house we live in at
ten o’clock, and I have no key.”

” You can ring up the porter.”

” Oh, there is no porter.”

“But if we had gone to the theatre ? ”

” I should have had to leave you in the middle of the play.”

” Ah, well,” I consented ; and we left the villa, and took a cab.

” Are you happy, Zabetta ? ” I asked her, as the cab rattled us
towards our parting.

” Oh, so happy, so happy ! I have never been so happy before.”

” Dearest Zabetta ! ”

” You will love me always ? ”

” Always, always.”

” We will see each other every day. We will see each other to-
morrow ? ”

” Oh, to-morrow ! ” I groaned suddenly, the actualities of life
rushing all at once upon my mind.

” What is it ? What of to-morrow ? ”

” Oh, to-morrow, to-morrow ! ”

” What ? What ? ” Her voice was breathless with suspense,
with alarm.

” Oh, I had forgotten. You will think I am a beast.”

” What is it ? For heaven’s sake, tell me.”

“You will think I am a beast. You will think I have deceived
you. To-morrow—I cannot help it—I am not my own master

                                                —I am

                        92 Rosemary for Remembrance

—I am summoned by my parents—to-morrow I am going away—
I am leaving Naples.”

” You are leaving Naples ? ”

” I am going to Paris.”

” To Paris ? ”

” Yes.”

There was a breathing-space of silence. Then ” Oh, Dio ! “
sobbed Zabetta ; and she began to cry as if her heart would break.

I seized her hands ; I drew her to me. I tried to comfort her.
But she only cried and cried and cried.

” Zabetta . . . Zabetta ! . . . Don’t cry. . . . Forgive me.
. . . Oh, don’t cry like that.”

” Oh, Dio ! Oh, caro Dio ! ” she sobbed.

” Zabetta—listen to me,” I began. ” I have something to say
to you. . . .”

” Cosa ? ” she asked faintly.

” Zabetta—do you really love me ? ”

” Oh, tanto, tanto ! “

” Then, listen, Zabetta. If you really love me—come with

” Come with you. How ? ”

” Come with me to Paris.”

” To Paris ? ”

” Yes, to-morrow.”

There was another instant of silence, and then again Zabetta
began to cry.

” Will you ? Will you ? Will you come with me to Paris ? ”
I implored her.

“Oh, I would, I would. But I can’t. I can’t.”

“Why not?”

” Oh, I can’t.”

” Why ? Why can’t you ? ”


                        By Henry Harland 93

” Oh, my father—I cannot leave my father.”

” Your father ? But—if you love me——”

” He is old. He is ill. He has no one but me. I cannot
leave him.”

” Zabetta ! ”

” No, no. I cannot leave him. Oh, Dio mio ! ”

” But Zabetta——”

” No. It would be a sin. Oh, the worst of sins. He is old
and ill. I cannot leave him. Don’t ask me. It would be

” But then ? Then what ? What shall we do ? ”

“Oh, I don’t know. I wish I were dead.”

The cab came to a standstill, and Zabetta said, ” Here we are.”
I helped her to descend. We were before a dark porte-cochère,
in some dark back-street, high up the hillside.

“Addio,” said Zabetta, holding out her hand.

” You won’t come with me ? ”

I can’t. I can’t. Addio.”

” Oh, Zabetta ! Do you—— Oh, say, say that you forgive

” Yes. Addio.”

” And, Zabetta,you—you have my address. It is on the card
I gave you. If you ever need anything—if you are ever in
trouble of any kind—remember you have my address—you will
write to me.”

” Yes. Addio.”

” Addio.”

She stood for a second, looking up at me from great brim-
ming eyes, and then she turned away and vanished in the darkness
of the porte-cochère. I got into the cab, and was driven to my


                        94 Rosemary for Remembrance

And here, one might have supposed, was an end of the episode ;
but no.

I went to Paris, I went to New York, I returned to Paris,
I came on to London ; and in this journeying more than a
year was lost. In the beginning I had suffered as much as you
could wish me in the way of contrition, in the way of regret too.
I blamed myself and pitied myself with almost equal fervour. I
had trifled with a gentle human heart ; I had been compelled to
let a priceless human treasure slip from my possession. But—I
was twenty. And there were other girls in the world. And a
year is a long time, when we are twenty. Little by little the
image of Zabetta faded, faded. By the year’s end, I am afraid it
had become very pale indeed. . . .

It was late June, and I was in London, when the post brought
me a letter. The letter bore an Italian stamp, and had originally
been directed to my old address in Paris. Thence (as the
numerous re-directions on the big square foreign envelope attested)
it had been forwarded to New York ; thence back again to Paris ;
and thence finally to London.

The letter was written in the neatest of tiny copperplates ; and
this is a translation of what it said :


    ” My poor father died last month in the German Hospital,
after an illness of twenty-one days. Pray for his soul.

” I am now alone and free, and if you still wish it, can come to
you. It was impossible for me to come when you asked me ; but you
have not ceased to be my constant thought. I keep your coral hand.

        “Your ever faithful

            ” ZABETTA COLLALUCE.”


                        By Henry Harland 95

Enclosed in the letter there was a sprig of some dried, bitter-
sweet-smelling herb ; and, in pencil, below the signature,—
laboriously traced, as I could guess, from what I had written for
her on my visiting-card,—the English phrase : ” Rosemary—
that’s for remembrance.”

The letter was dated early in May, which made it six weeks old.

What could I do ? What answer could I send ?

Of course, you know what I did do. I procrastinated and
vacillated, and ended by sending no answer at all. I could not
write and say “Yes, come to me.” But how could I write
and say, ” No, do not come ? ” Besides, would she not have
given up hoping for an answer, by this time ? It was six
weeks since she had written. I tried to think that the worst
was over.

But my remorse took a new and a longer and a stronger lease
of life. A vision of Zabetta, pale, with anxious eyes, standing at
her window, waiting, waiting for a word that never came,—for
months I could not chase it from my conscience ; it was years
before it altogether ceased its accusing visits.


And then, last night, after a perfectly usual London day and
evening, I went to bed and dreamed of her vividly ; and all day
long to-day the fragrance of my dream has clung about me,—a
bitter-sweet fragrance, like that of rosemary itself. Where is
Zabetta now ? What is her life ? How have the years treated
her ? … In my dream she was still eighteen. In reality—it is
melancholy to think how far from eighteen she has had leisure,
since that April afternoon, to drift.


                        96 Rosemary for Remembrance

Youth faces forward, impatient of the present, panting to antici-
pate the future. But we who have crossed a certain sad meridian,
we turn our gaze backwards, and tell the relentless gods what we
would sacrifice to recover a little of the past, one of those shining
days when to us also it was given to sojourn among the Fortunate
Islands. Ah, si jeunesse savait ! . . .

MLA citation:

Harland, Henry. “Rosemary for Remembrance.” The Yellow Book, vol. 5, April 1895, pp. 77-96. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019.