The Invisible Wound part 7

“We chatted, had supper together and went to bed as usual, each in Our own room. I had by that time decided upon a course of action Which I would carry out with the stubbornness of a maniac. What a miserable deception on the part of nature to endow sin with such an open face, I said to myself as I entered her room at midnight and looked at her beautiful innocent face as she slept. The poison had taken effect in my soul and had eaten itself through every vein of my body. I placed my right hand silently on her neck and pressed it with all my might. For a moment she opened her eyes and looked at me astounded, then closed them again and died. She did not make a move in self- defense, but died as quietly as though she were in a dream.

Authority to investigate

She bore no grudge against me even for killing her. One drop of blood oozed through her lips and dropped on my hand—you know the spot. I only noticed it in the morning after it was already dried. We b

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The Invisible Wound part 6

“I can’t say what it was that brought me to the belief that this was but pretense. Man is foolish enough to seek misery in the midst of his greatest happiness.

“She had a small sewing-table, the drawer of which she always kept locked. This began to torture me. I often noticed that she never left the key in the drawer and she never left it unlocked. What could she have to conceal so carefully? I became mad with jealousy. I did not believe her innocent eyes, her kisses and loving embraces. Perhaps all this was but cunning deceit?

“One day the Countess came to fetch her and managed to persuade her to spend the day at the Castle. I promised that I should follow later in the afternoon.

“The carriage had scarcely pulled out of the yard when I began trying to open the drawer of the sewing-table. One of the many keys I tried at last opened it. Rummaging among the many feminine effects under a folder of silk, I discovered a bundle of letters. One could

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The Invisible Wound part 5

“I never experienced or heard anything like this before.”

There was nothing to be done but to repeat the operation. Everything passed off as it had the first time. The pain stopped, and though the patient experienced a great relief, this time he failed to smile, and when he thanked the doctor it was with a sad and depressed expression.

“You needn’t be surprised if I am back again in a month,” he said as he took leave.

“You mustn’t think of it.”

“It is as sure as there’s a God in heaven,” he said, with an air of finality. “Au revoir.”

The surgeon discussed the case with several of his colleagues, each of whom expressed a different opinion. Not one, however, could offer a satisfactory explanation.

A month passed and the patient did not appear. Another few weeks, and then, instead of the patient, came a letter from his place of residence. The surgeon opened it with pleasure, thinking that the pain had

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The Invisible Wound part 4

“Stop,” he shouted, afraid lest the sufferer should sever a vein. “Since you believe it must be done, very well, I’ll do it.”

He then prepared for the operation. When it came to the actual cutting the doctor advised his patient to turn his head away, for people are generally upset at the sight of their own blood.

“Quite unnecessary,” said the other. “I must direct your hand so that you may know how far to cut.”

The stranger took the operation stoically and was helpful with his directions. His hand never even trembled, and when the round spot had been carved out he sighed a sigh of happy relief, as if a load had been taken off his shoulders.

“You don’t feel any pain now?” asked the surgeon.

“Not the least,” he said with a smile. “It is as if the pain had been cut off and the slight irritation caused by the cutting seems like a cool breeze after a hot spell. Just let the blood run. It soothes me.”

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The Invisible Wound part 3

“Is that where it hurts?”

“Yes. Terribly.”

“Do you feel the pressure when I place my finger on it?”

The man could not answer, but the tears that came into his eyes told the story.

“It’s extraordinary. I can see nothing.”

“Neither do I, but the pain is still there and I would rather die than go on this way.”

The surgeon examined it all over again, with a microscope, took the man’s temperature, and finally shook his head.

“The skin is perfectly healthy. The arteries are normal; not the slightest inflammation or swelling. It is as normal as any hand can be.” “I think it is a bit redder on the spot.”

“Where?”

The stranger made a circle on the back of his hand about the size of a farthing: “Here.”

The doctor looked at the man. He began to think that he had to deal with a lunatic.

“You will have to stay in town and I shall try to help you

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The Invisible Wound part 2

The Invisible Wound

Early one morning before the famous surgeon was even out of his bed he received an urgent caller who insisted that his case could not be postponed even for a minute; he demanded instant attention. The surgeon dressed hurriedly and rang for his valet.

“Let the patient come in,” he said.

The man who entered appeared to belong to the best class of society. His pale face and nervous demeanor betrayed physical suffering. His right hand was tied up in a sling and, although he could control his features, a painful groan escaped from his lips now and again.

“Please be seated. What can I do for you?”

“I haven’t been able to sleep for a week. There is some trouble with my right hand. I cannot make out what it is. It may be cancer or some other terrible disease. At first it did not bother me much, but lately it began to bum. I have not had a moment’s relief. It pains me terribly. The pain increases hourly, be

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The Invisible Wound part 1

Hungary

Introduction

It would be possible to begin the history of the short story in Hungary with the transplanted legends of St. Francis in the Ehrenfeld manuscript, one of the first books in Hungarian literature, dating from the Middle Ages. In the ballads and romances and epics of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries we have discovered episodes that might have been fitted into a framework showing the historical development in the art of narrative among the Hungarians. But as a matter of fact, the earlier centuries are barren of important short stories.

It was only in the Eighteenth Century that modem Hungarian literature really began. The Kisfaludi brothers, who came toward the end of the century, were among its pioneers. Karoly Kisfaludi, though better known as a dramatist, may be taken as a typical figure, and the story chosen to represent his achievement is in itself a capital example of the art.

The Nineteenth Century, crowded as

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The Story of Ming-Y part 11

Did she not sing the songs of Kao- pien? And upon the brush-case and the paper-weight’she gave your son, are there not characters which read, ‘Pure object of art belonging to Kao of the city of Pho-haV? That city no longer exists; but the memory of Kao-pien remains, for he was governor of the province of Sze-tchouen, and a mighty poet. And when he dwelt in the land of Chou, was not his favorite the beautiful wanton Sie—Sie-Thao, unmatched for grace among all the women of her day. It was he who made her a gift of those manuscripts of song; it was he who gave her those objects of rare art. Sie-Thao died not as other women die. Her limbs may have crumbled to dust; yet something of her still lives in this deep wood, her Shadow still haunts this shadowy place.”

Mists of the morning

Tchang ceased to speak. A vague fear fell upon the three. The thin mists of the morning made dim the distances of green, and deepened the ghostly beauty of the woods. A faint

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The Story of Ming-Y part 10

Then Ming-Y produced the gifts that Sie had given him—the lion of yellow jade, the brush-case of carven agate, also some original compositions made by the beautiful lady herself. The astonishment of Tchang was now shared by Pelou. Both observed that the brush-case of agate and the lion of jade bore the appearance of objects that had lain buried in the earth for centuries, and were of a workmanship beyond the power of living man to imitate; while the compositions proved to be veritable masterpieces of poetry, written in the style of the poets of the Dynasty of Thang.

“Friend Pelou,” cried the High Commissioner, “let us immediately accompany the boy to the place where he obtained these miraculous things and apply the testimony of our senses to this mystery; the boy is no doubt telling the truth; yet his story passes my understanding.” And all three proceeded toward the place of the habitation of Sie.

Most pinkly

But when they had arrived at t

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The Story of Ming-Y part 9

She brushed the bright drops away, and brought wine and music and the melodious kin of seven silken strings, and would not suffer Ming-Y to speak for one moment of the coming separation. And she sang him an ancient song about the calmness of summer lakes reflecting the blue of heaven only, and the calmness of the heart also, before the clouds of care and of grief and of weariness darken its little world. Soon they forgot their sorrow in the joy of song and wine; and those last hours seemed to Ming-Y more celestial than even the hours of their first bliss.

But when the yellow beauty of morning came their sadness returned, and they wept. Once more Sie accompanied her lover to the terrace steps; and as she kissed him farewell, she pressed into his hand a parting gift—a little brush-case of agate, wonderfully chiseled, and worthy the table of a great poet. And they separated forever, shedding many tears.

Patron standing on the porch

Still Ming-Y could

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The Story of Ming-Y part 8

So the summer waxed and waned upon their love, and the luminous autumn came, with its vapors of phantom gold, its shadows of magical purple.

Then it unexpectedly happened that the father of Ming-Y, meeting his son’s employer atTching-tou, was asked by him: “Why must your boy continue to travel every evening to the city, now that the winter is approaching? The way is long, and when he’ returns in the morning he looks foredone with weariness. Why not permit him to slumber in my house during the season of snow?” And the father of Ming-Y, greatly astonished, responded: “Sir, my son has not visited the city, nor has he been to our house all this summer. I fear that he must have acquired wicked habits, and that he passes his nights in evil company—perhaps in gaming, or in drinking with the women of the flower-boats.” But the High Commissioner returned:

“Nay! that is not to be thought of. I have never found any evil in the boy, and there are no taver

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The Story of Ming-Y part 7

The birds awakened, the flowers opened their eyes to the rising sun, and Ming-Y found himself at last compelled to bid his lovely enchantress farewell. Sie, accompanying him to the terrace, kissed him fondly and said, “Dear boy, come hither as often as you are able—as often as your heart whispers you to come. I know you are not of those without faith and truth, who betray secrets; yet, being so young, you might also be sometimes thoughtless; and I pray you never to forget that only the stars have been the witness of our love.

Speak of it to no living person, dearest; and take with you this little souvenir of our happy night.” And she presented him with an exquisite and curious little thing—a paper-weight in likeness of a couchant lion, wrought from a jade-stone yellow as that created by a rainbow in honor of Kong-fu-tze. Tenderly the boy kissed the gift and the beautiful hand that gave it. “May the Spirits punish me,” he vowed, “if ever I knowingly give you

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The Story of Ming-Y part 6

“The honor and gratification, dear lady,” replied Ming-Y, “will be mine; and I feel helpless to express the gratitude which the offer of so rare a favor deserves.”

The serving-maid, obedient to the summons of a little silver gong, brought in the music and retired. Ming-Y took the manuscripts, and began to examine them with eager delight. The paper on which they were written had a pale yellow tint, and was light as a fabric of gossamer; but the characters were antiquely beautiful, as though they had been traced by the brush of Hei-song Che-Tchoo himself—that divine Genius of Ink, who is no bigger than a fly; and the signatures attached to the compositions were the signatures of Youen-tchin, Kao-pien, and Thou-mou—might poets and musicians of the dynasty ofThang! Ming-Y could not repress a scream of delight at the sight of treasures so inestimable and so unique; scarcely could he summon resolution enough to permit them to leave his hands even for a moment.

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The Story of Ming-Y part 5

“Nay, friend,” she said, “stay yet a little while in my house, I pray you; for, should your honored patron ever learn that you had been here, and that I had not treated you as a respected guest, and regaled you even as I would him, I know that he would be greatly angered. Remain at least to supper.”
So Ming-Y remained, rejoicing secretly in his heart, for Sie seemed to him the fairest and sweetest being he had ever known, and he felt that he loved her more than his father and his mother. And while they talked the long shadows of the evening slowly blended into one violet darkness; the great citron-light of the sunset faded out; and those starry beings that are called the Three Councillors, who preside over life and death and the destinies of men, opened their cold bright eyes in the northern sky.

Scarcely tasted

Within the mansion of Sie the painted lanterns were lighted; the table was laid for the evening repast; and Ming-Y took his is place at i

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The Story of Ming-Y part 4

“Sir, my mistress understands you wish to thank her for the trifling service she recently bade me do you, and requests that you will enter the house, as she knows you already by repute, and desires to have the pleasure of bidding you good-day.”

Ming-Y entered bashfully, his feet making no sound upon a matting elastically soft as forest moss, and found himself in a reception-chamber vast, cool, and fragrant with scent of blossoms freshly gathered. A delicious quiet pervaded the mansion; shadows of flying birds passed over the bands of light that fell through the half-blinds of bamboo; great butterflies, with pinions of fiery color, found their way in, to hover a moment about the painted vases, and pass out again into the mysterious woods.

And noiselessly as they, the young mistress of the mansion entered by another door, and kindly greeted the boy, who lifted his hands to his breast and bowed low in salutation. She was taller than he had deemed her, and suppl

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