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PART II

I

As we know, Heyst had gone to stay in Schomberg's hotel in complete ignorance that his person was odious to that worthy. When he arrived, Zangiacomo's Ladies' Orchestra had been established there for some time.

The business which had called him out from his seclusion in his lost corner of the Eastern seas was with the Tesmans, and it had something to do with money. He transacted it quickly, and then found himself with nothing to do while he awaited Davidson, who was to take him back to his solitude; for back to his solitude Heyst meant to go. He whom we used to refer to as the Enchanted Heyst was suffering from thorough disenchantment. Not with the islands, however. The Archipelago has a lasting fascination. It is not easy to shake off the spell of island life. Heyst was disenchanted with life as a whole. Hisscornfultemperament, beguiled into action, suffered from failure in a subtle way unknown to men accustomed to grapple with the realities of common human enterprise. It was like the gnawing pain of useless apostasy, a sort of shame before his own betrayed nature; and, in addition, he also suffered from plain, downright remorse. He deemed himself guilty of Morrison's death. A rather absurd feeling, since no one could possibly have foreseen the horrors of the cold, wet summer lying in wait for poor Morrison at home.

It was not in Heyst's character to turn morose; but his mental state was not compatible with a sociable

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mood. He spent his evenings sitting apart on the
verandah of Schomberg's hotel. The lamentations
of string instruments issued from the building in the
hotel compound, the approaches to which were deco-
rated with Japanese paper lanterns strung up between
the trunks of several big trees. Scraps of tunes more or
less plaintive reached his ears. They pursued him even
into his bedroom, which opened into an upstairsverandah.
The fragmentary and rasping character of these sounds
made their intrusion inexpressibly tedious in the long
run. Like most dreamers, to whom it is given some-
times to hear the music of the spheres, Heyst, the wan-
derer of the Archipelago, had a taste for silence which
he had been able to gratify for years. The islands are
very quiet. One sees them lying about, clothed in
their dark garments of leaves, in a great hush of silver
and azure, where the sea without murmurs meets the
sky in a ring of magic stillness. A sort of smiling
somnolence broods over them; the very voices of their
people are soft and subdued, as if afraid to break some
protecting spell.
Perhaps this was the very spell which had enchanted
Heyst in the early days. For him, however, that was
broken. He was no longer enchanted, though he was
still a captive of the islands. He had no intention to
leave them ever. Where could he have gone to, after
all these years? Not a single soul belonging to him
lived anywhere on earth. Of this fact—not such a
remote one, after all—he had only lately become aware;
for it is failure that makes a man enter into himself and
reckon up his resources. And though he had made up
his mind to retire from the world in hermit fashion, yet
he was irrationally moved by this sense of loneliness
which had come to him in the hour of renunciation.
It hurt him. Nothing is more painful than the shock

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of sharp contradictions that lacerate our intelligence and our feelings.

Meantime Schomberg watched Heyst out of the corner of his eye. Towards the unconscious object of his enmity he preserved a distant Lieutenant-of-theReserve demeanour. Nudging certain of his customers with his elbow, he begged them to observe what airs “that Swede” was giving himself.

“I really don't know why he has come to stay in my house. This place isn't good enough for him. I wish to goodness he had gone somewhere else to show off his superiority. Here I have got up this series of concerts for you gentlemen, just to make things a little brighter generally; and do you think he'll condescend to step in and listen to a piece or two of an evening? Not he. I know him of old. There he sits at the dark end of the piazza, all the evening long-planning some new swindle, no doubt. For twopence I would ask him to go and look for quarters somewhere else; only one doesn't like to treat a white man like that out in the tropics. I don't know how long he means to stay, but I'm willing to bet a trifle that he'll never work himself up to the point of spending the fifty cents of entrance money for the sake of a little good music.”

Nobody cared to bet, or the hotel-keeper would have lost. One evening Heyst was driven to desperation by the rasped, squeaked, scraped snatches of tunes pursuing him even to his hard couch, with a mattress as thin as a pancake and a diaphanous mosquito net. He descended among the trees, where the soft glow of Japanese lanterns picked out parts of their great rugged trunks, here and there, in the great mass of darkness under the lofty foliage. More lanterns, of the shape of cylindrical concertinas, hanging in a row from a slack string, decorated the doorway of what Schomberg

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