“真可爱”的主要内容

  本故事讲述了雕塑家阿尔弗里兹去了意大利回国后再一次宴会上爱上了一位遗孀的女儿,叫卡拉,卡拉非常漂亮,之后经过努力取到了这位姑娘,婚后发现卡拉其实本质上没什么内涵,在艺术方面一窍不通,阿尔弗里兹觉得跟她之间没有共同语言,反而他的女友索菲亚虽没什么姿色,但却知道很多,是一位非常有修养的女士,他觉得索菲亚比卡拉可爱多了,这个故事告诉我们心灵美才是真的美。

“真可爱”的故事

  雕塑家阿尔弗里兹,是啊,你大概认识他的吧?我们大家都认识他:他得了金质奖章,去了意大利,又回国来了。那时他年轻,是啊,他现在也还年轻,可怎么说也比当年大了十来岁了。

  他回到家中,到锡兰岛的一个小地方去访问。全城都知道这个外乡人,知道他是谁。在最富有的一家人家里,为他举行了宴会。凡是有点儿面子的人,或者家里有点儿财产的人,都被请来了。真是件大事,不消敲锣打鼓,全城都知道了这次宴会。手工匠的儿子,小人物的孩子,还连带上一两对父母,站在外面,瞧着那拉垂下来被照得亮亮的窗帘。巡夜的人心想是他在举行宴会,有这么多人站在他负责巡察的街上。一派欢乐的气息,屋子里面当然真有欢乐,那是阿尔弗里兹,雕塑家。

  他说这说那,讲东讲西,里面所有的人都高兴地听他说得津津有味。但是听得最有兴致的,则莫过于一位上了点年纪的做官的遗孀。她完全就是阿尔弗里兹先生所说的,一张没有写过字的灰色纸。这纸一下子便把说过的话吸尽,并且还要求多多地吸,有高度的接受力,难以置信的无知,真是一个女的加斯帕·豪塞①!

  “我真想看看罗马!”她说道,“罗马一定是一座漂亮的城市,有许许多多的外国人到那儿去。给我们讲讲罗马!进了罗马市,里面都是什么样子?”

  “真不容易讲呢!”年轻的雕塑家说道。“有一个很大的广场,广场中央有一座奥伯利斯克②,它已经四千年了。”“一个奥甘尼斯特③!”夫人喊了起来,以前她从来没有听到过奥伯利斯克这个字。有几个人差不多快笑了出来,连雕塑家也这样。不过那笑意刚一来便隐去了,因为他看到紧挨着夫人,有一双海水一般蓝的大眼睛,那是刚刚讲话的那位夫人的女儿。若是谁有这样一位女儿,这人一定不简单。母亲是一道不断涌冒出问题的泉水,女儿则是在静听泉水的美丽神女。她多么可爱啊!她是供雕塑家看的,但不是由雕塑家来和她交谈的。而她则默默不语,至少可以说是话很少很少。

  “教皇的家大吗?”夫人问道。

  年轻人回答了,好像问题可以换个更好的提法一样:“不,他没有出生在一个大家庭里!”

  “我不是那个意思!”夫人说道:“我是说他有妻室儿女没有?”

  “教皇是不能结婚的!”他回答道。

  “这个我不喜欢!”夫人说道。

  她大约可以问得、讲得更聪明一些。但是,她之所以没有问点与讲点和她刚才问的与讲的不同的东西。不知道是不是因为女儿靠到了她的肩上,用几乎搅得人心情不定的微笑着的眼在望着他的缘故?

  阿尔弗里兹先生讲着。讲了意大利五彩缤纷的胜景。蓝色的山,蓝色的地中海,南方的蔚蓝,这种美景,在北欧只有妇女们的湛蓝眼睛能超得过。在谈到这一点的时候,他说话的语调是有所暗示的。但是她,应该懂得这一点的她,却没有让人看出她听懂了这种暗示。你知道,这也是很可爱的!“意大利!”有几个人在叹息,“旅行!”另外一些在叹息。“真好啊!真可爱啊!”

  “是啊,要是我现在中了那五万块大洋的彩,”这位遗孀说道,“那我们就动身旅行去!我和我女儿!您,阿尔弗里兹先生领着我们!我们三人一起旅行去!再邀上一两位好朋友!”于是她便客客气气地朝所有的人都点一点头,谁都可以以为自己会陪着去的。“我们要去意大利!但是我们不去有匪盗的地方,我们去罗马,走那些安全的大道!”

  女儿微微地叹了一口气,微微的一叹中能包含多少东西啊,或者说,从微微的一叹中可以悟出多少东西来呀。这年轻人觉得这一口微微的叹息里有许多的东西。那一双湛蓝的眼睛,这一晚向他显示了隐蔽着的宝藏,精神的内心的宝藏,非常丰富,比得上罗马所有的胜景。在他从宴会告辞的时候,——是啊,他的神魂被摄走了——被那位小姐摄走了。那位遗孀的家是雕塑家阿尔弗里兹先生拜会得最多的家了。可以看得出来,这不是因为母亲的缘故。尽管每次都是她们两人一起谈话,他去必定是为了女儿。人们把她叫做卡拉,她的名字是卡伦·玛莱妮,两个名字联在一起成了卡拉。她很可爱,但是略有点懒散,有人这么说,早晨她总想多在床上躺一会儿。

  “她从小就这样习惯了!”母亲说道,“她一直就是个小维纳斯,美丽的小姑娘都容易疲倦。她睡的时间稍微多一些,可是这样一来,她便有了一双明亮的眼睛。”

  这样明亮的眼睛,这两潭海一般蓝的水,这深不可及的平静的水④,里面什么力量没有!年轻人感到了这一点,他牢牢地坐在这深深的海底里。——他说着讲着,妈妈总是问得很生动、很随便,又很莫名其妙,就和第一次会面时一个样。听阿尔弗里兹讲话是一种乐趣。他谈到那不勒斯,谈到维苏威的迁动,还拿些火山爆发的画来给她们看。这位遗孀以前从未听说过或者想过这个。

  “老天啊!”她说道,“这不是会喷火的山吗!难道就没有人因此而受害吗?”

  “整座整座的城都被埋掉呢!”他回答道,“庞贝和赫尔库拉楞姆就被埋掉了!”

  “可是那些可怜的人,所有这些您都亲眼看到了?”没有,这些图画上的那些喷发我都没有见过。不过,我要拿一张我自己作的素描,让你瞧瞧我自己见过的那次喷发是什么样子。”

  于是,他拿出一幅铅笔素描来。一直在聚精会神地看那些强烈色彩的图画的妈妈,看见了那淡素的铅笔素描,她惊叫了起来。

  “您看到了喷出来的白色的东西!”

  阿尔弗里兹先生对妈妈的尊敬,在很短的时间里消退了。不过,在卡拉的光耀中,他很快明白了,她的母亲是没有色彩意识的。不过就这么一回事罢了。她有最好的,最美丽的,她有卡拉。

  阿尔弗里兹和卡拉订婚了,这是极合乎情理的。订婚启事登到了本城的报纸上。妈妈买了三十份,为的是把报上登的启事剪下来,放在信里寄给朋友和相识的人。订了婚的情人很幸福,岳母也算上,她说她就像和曹瓦尔森家联了亲一样。

  “您不管怎么说总是继承他的人!”

  阿尔弗里兹认为她说了点很漂亮的话。卡拉没有讲什么,不过她的眼睛发光,嘴角上挂着微笑,每个动作都很可爱。她是非常可爱的,这话说多少遍也不算过多。

  阿尔弗里兹为卡拉和岳母塑了胸像。她们坐着让他塑,瞧着他怎么用手指来捏,来摆弄那软泥。

  “都是为了我们的缘故,”岳母说道,“您才自己动手而没有让您的助手干这些简单的活儿。”

  “可正是需要我自己用泥来塑出形状来的!”他说道。“是啊,您总是那么特别殷勤!”妈妈说道。卡拉捏了一下他那带泥的手。

  他向她们两人展示了创造出来的万物之中所包含的自然的美情,阐明了有生命的东西是如何胜于死的东西,植物如何胜于矿物,动物如何胜于植物,人如何胜于动物,精神和美又如何通过形式展示出来,雕塑家又如何让世上物品的最美的地方展露出来。

  卡拉默默无言地坐着,微微地晃动着,品味着他所表达的思想。岳母承认道:

  “很难明白您所讲的!不过,我在慢慢地体会您的思想。您说得转弯抹角,但是,我得很快弄明白。”

  而他却紧跟着美情,美情占据了他,抓住了他,控制着他。卡拉的体态,她的眼神,她的嘴角,甚至从手指的动作中都流露出美情。阿尔弗里兹讲出了这些,他,一位雕塑家,很明白这些,他只谈她,只想着她,两人成了一体。她也这样讲,讲得很多,因为他这样讲,讲得很多。

  那是订婚时的情景。现在他们举行婚礼了,身后跟着伴娘,收到了结婚礼品,婚礼的讲词中说到他们。

  岳母在新婚夫妇屋里一张桌子的一头,安置了一尊穿着晨衣的曹瓦尔森的半身雕像。他应该是客人,那是她的主意。大家在一起唱歌,祝酒,是一场很热闹的婚礼,是很可爱的一对!“皮格马利翁得到了他的伽拉茜”⑤,有一首歌这么说道。“这真是神话哟!”岳母说道。

  婚宴后的第二天,这对年轻人就动身去了哥本哈根。他们要在那里住,要修自己的房子。岳母也跟着去了,以便把粗活儿都揽下来,她这么说,也就是说去把家管起来。卡拉应该生活在玩具娃娃的柜子里!一切都很新鲜、很华丽也很美好!他们三人全住在一起,——阿尔弗里兹,是啊,我们借用一句可以表明他的处境的谚语吧,他像一位主教坐在鹅圈里⑥。

  形的魔力迷住了他。他看到了盒子,却没有看到盒子里装着什么。这是不幸,在婚姻中的极大的不幸!一旦盒子的胶裂开来,一旦上面涂的金剥落掉,那么买了它的人一定会后悔这笔交易。在大的社交场合,一个人要是把吊带上的两粒钮扣都丢了,又发现自己还不能指望皮带,因为自己根本就没有皮带,这是最尴尬的事了。可是更糟糕的是,一个人在一个大的社交场合中,觉得自己的妻子和岳母尽讲蠢话,而又不能指望自己能找点什么可以解嘲的话,来掩饰一下那些蠢话。

  这对年轻人常常手牵手地坐着,他讲,她不时插上个把字,同一个调子,同样那么两三响钟声。索菲亚,他们的一位女友来的时候,他的神情才算松了一口气。

  索菲亚并没有什么姿色。是的,她倒也没有什么缺陷!她确有点驼,卡拉这么说,可是驼的程度肯定只有女友才能看得出来。她是一个很通情达理的姑娘,然而她一点不觉得她在这里可能是位危险的人。在玩具娃娃的柜子里,她是一股新鲜的空气。他们大家都看到了,很需要新鲜空气。需要新鲜空气,于是他们便出去呼吸,岳母和这一对年轻人去意大利旅行去了。

  “谢天谢地,我们又回到了自己的家了!”母亲和女儿在一年以后与阿尔弗里兹三人一起回来的时候这么说道。

  “旅行真没有一点乐趣!”岳母说道;“实际上真是令人厌烦,对不起我这么说。我烦透了,尽管我和孩子们在一起。再说,旅行很费钱,太贵了!所有那么多画廊都得去看!所有的东西都得赶着去看!要知道,你旅行归来别人问你,你却答不上来,那可是再羞人不过的事了!就这样还得听人说,忘记看的东西那是最好的东西。那些没完没了的圣母像让我烦死了,我自己都成了圣母了。”

  “还有给我吃的那种饭!”卡拉说道。

  “连一碗像样的肉汤都没有!”妈妈说道。“他们的烹调手艺真是糟透了!”

  卡拉因为旅行而累极了,长时间恢复不过来的疲劳,这是最糟不过的事。索菲亚到家里来陪着,她起了好作用。岳母说,我得承认,索菲亚很懂得管家,很懂艺术,也懂得她的身世无力提供的种种事情。此外,她为人勤快,非常忠诚。在卡拉生病躺在床上,身体一天天衰弱下去的时候,她表现得特别尽心。

  要是盒子是好的,便要让盒子坚持长期不坏。否则盒子也就完了——现在盒子完了,——卡拉死了。

  “她很可爱!”母亲说道,“她实在和古玩不一样,古玩都是残缺不全的!卡拉是完整的,美人应该是这样。”

  阿尔弗里兹哭了,母亲哭了。他们两人都穿上黑色的丧服。妈妈穿黑的最合适,她穿黑色的衣服时间很长,她守丧伤痛的时间很长,而且她又遭到了新的伤痛。阿尔弗里兹又结婚了,娶了索菲亚,那位没有什么姿色的人。

  “他真是走极端!”岳母说道,“从最美的走向最丑的!他竟能忘掉头一位妻子。男人就是这样朝秦暮楚!我的男人不一样!不过他死在我前!”

  “皮格马利翁得到了他的伽拉茜!”阿尔弗里兹说道,“是啊,新婚时人们唱的。我的确也恋上了一尊因我的手臂而获得了生命的塑像。但是上天赠给我们的那相匹配的魂灵,上天的一位天使,能同情我们的,能和我们的想法一致的,能在我们受挫时振奋我们的,我却是现在才找到,才得到。你来了,索菲亚,并不带着形态的美,并不光耀夺目,——但是却是够好的了,大大地超过了必要的程度!首要的事终归是首要的事!你来了,教育了这雕塑家。他的作品只不过是一堆泥,尘土,只不过是我们求索的那种内在的实质的一个印记。可怜的卡拉!我们尘世的人生就像是一趟旅行的生活!在天上,在人们在同情中相聚在一起的那里,我们相互之间也许是半陌生的吧。”

  “这话可不够亲切,”索菲亚说道,“不是基督教徒的话!天上是没有什么婚事的。但是,就像你说的,魂灵因同情而相遇。那里一切美好的东西都绽露出来,变得高尚。她的魂灵也许会完全绽放开来,竟至超过了我的。而你——又会像你初恋时那样大声赞叹起来:真可爱,真可爱!”

  ①一个德国的弃儿,1828年5月26日穿着农民的衣服出现在纽伦堡的街头。这孩子虽然已经16岁,但却表现得极无知和幼稚。人们以为他出身很高贵,福利单位将他交给一位叫道麦的教授抚养。1833年他在安斯巴赫皇宫公园散步时被人刺伤,不久死去。1857年丹麦解剖学家艾席里特记述了豪塞的事,说他是个智能低下的孩子。②埃及的方尖塔。在罗马波波罗广场有一座这样的方尖塔,是奥古斯都皇帝从埃及运回的。

  ③风琴演奏家。方尖塔与风琴演奏家两字发音在丹麦文中有些相似。这种无知是安徒生亲身遇过的事。

  1835年7月16日,安徒生写信给爱德华·柯林说:“最近我在一次宴会上遇到了佛堡的一位尊贵的夫人,打扮得花枝招展。我指给了她一些铜器,对她说:‘这里您可以看到罗马到波波罗广场。那里有一尊3000年古奥伯利斯克。’‘一位奥甘尼斯特’,她说道。‘不对,一尊奥伯利斯克。’——‘是这样!可是一位奥甘尼斯特怎么能活3000年!’我赌咒我说的都是真的。整个宴会的人都可作证!”

  ④丹麦谚语,底深不可及的平静的水象征思想深刻。

  ⑤传说中,塞浦路斯国王皮格玛利翁也是雕刻家。他钟情于自己创作的一座象牙雕像伽拉茜。爱情女神阿佛洛狄忒把这尊雕像变成活人。皮格玛利翁便和伽拉茜结了婚。

  ⑥这句谚语原指这样一段故事。法国图尔的圣马丁被邀任图尔大主教的职务;但当他发现他不屑于担任此职时,他便藏到了鹅圈里,可是却因鹅的叫声而被人发现。

“真可爱”读后感

  看了“真可爱”后,我感触良多,外表美和心灵美,到底哪个重要呢?

  人人都喜欢美的东西,美景、美人、美文、美诗、美画、美歌等等。据说有一种统计认为:漂亮女性在日常生活中能占一半便宜,还有的说能占八成,这种统计是否真实无法考究;但有一点可以证实:男人的阳刚之美,女人的清秀、气质之美,确实能给人以赏心悦目的感觉。刚刚去世的美国歌星迈克尔·杰克逊的面孔由黑人变成了白人,日本女乒乓球运动员福原爱等,他们无疑是有实力的,但其所以大受欢迎和喜爱,脸孔也是原因之一。即使是政治家,脸蛋、形体漂亮的,也更易使人产生好感。

  爱美之心人皆有之。美经常被看作是人类世界的一种价值。因此,有人说:那种“看人要看心灵,不要看面孔”的说法,是那些不具备美好外形人的一种说词,是那些被神在创造美的时候遗忘了的人的一种安慰。对此,我不想发表过多的看法,只想说一句:现实生活中,毕竟还是很重视外貌的。现在好多单位招工时,除了注重学历外,形象也是重要条件之一;还有些单位在选择大学毕业生的时候,宁肯要外貌漂亮的非名牌大学毕业的,也不要形象差一点的名牌大学的毕业生。

  人类并不是被完全平等地创造出来的,“美丑是天生的”这句话,把这种不平等给一语道破。对于“不重外貌重心灵”这句话的虚假性,女人感受最深;“内在的充实胜过外表”在现实社会中终归是一种漂亮的辞藻。事实上,每个人都敏锐地察觉到还是外表比内在更受重视,否则,无法解释为什么韩国城市里50%以上的成年女性都整过容,就连高中、初中的一些女生也整过。在我们国家,演艺界也有不少的人士不同程度地整过容。最近几年,我国不少的中小城市满街都可以看到减肥美容中心。人们通过修整脸型、体型、控制饮食、做健美操、进行器械锻炼等形式,力求获得理想的效果。同时还用化妆美化面孔,把整个人用美加以包装。

  不拘泥于“心灵”等抽象的概念,从实际形式入手,是现代人对美的一种认同和追求。这样可以使人获得自信心,或许还会使内在得到充实,也许人们无法使自己达到外表绝对完美的境界,但通过人们从实际入手的努力,那些过去主张“重心灵,不重外表”的说法或许会转变为另一种观点,即:“既重心灵,也重外表”吧。

“真可爱”英文版

  THERE was once a sculptor, named Alfred, who having won the large gold medal and obtained a travelling scholarship, went to Italy, and then came back to his native land. He was young at that time- indeed, he is young still, although he is ten years older than he was then. On his return, he went to visit one of the little towns in the island of Zealand. The whole town knew who the stranger was; and one of the richest men in the place gave a party in his honor, and all who were of any consequence, or who possessed some property, were invited. It was quite an event, and all the town knew of it, so that it was not necessary to announce it by beat of drum. Apprentice-boys, children of the poor, and even the poor people themselves, stood before the house, watching the lighted windows; and the watchman might easily fancy he was giving a party also, there were so many people in the streets. There was quite an air of festivity about it, and the house was full of it; for Mr. Alfred, the sculptor, was there. He talked and told anecdotes, and every one listened to him with pleasure, not unmingled with awe; but none felt so much respect for him as did the elderly widow of a naval officer. She seemed, so far as Mr. Alfred was concerned, to be like a piece of fresh blotting-paper that absorbed all he said and asked for more. She was very appreciative, and incredibly ignorant—a kind of female Gaspar Hauser.

  “I should like to see Rome,” she said; “it must be a lovely city, or so many foreigners would not be constantly arriving there. Now, do give me a description of Rome. How does the city look when you enter in at the gate?”

  “I cannot very well describe it,” said the sculptor; “but you enter on a large open space, in the centre of which stands an obelisk, which is a thousand years old.”

  “An organist!” exclaimed the lady, who had never heard the word 'obelisk.' Several of the guests could scarcely forbear laughing, and the sculptor would have had some difficulty in keeping his countenance, but the smile on his lips faded away; for he caught sight of a pair of dark-blue eyes close by the side of the inquisitive lady. They belonged to her daughter; and surely no one who had such a daughter could be silly. The mother was like a fountain of questions; and the daughter, who listened but never spoke, might have passed for the beautiful maid of the fountain. How charming she was! She was a study for the sculptor to contemplate, but not to converse with; for she did not speak, or, at least, very seldom.

  “Has the pope a great family?” inquired the lady.

  The young man answered considerately, as if the question had been a different one, “No; he does not come from a great family.”

  “That is not what I asked,” persisted the widow; “I mean, has he a wife and children?”

  “The pope is not allowed to marry,” replied the gentleman.

  “I don't like that,” was the lady's remark.

  She certainly might have asked more sensible questions; but if she had not been allowed to say just what she liked, would her daughter have been there, leaning so gracefully on her shoulder, and looking straight before her, with a smile that was almost mournful on her face?

  Mr. Alfred again spoke of Italy, and of the glorious colors in Italian scenery; the purple hills, the deep blue of the Mediterranean, the azure of southern skies, whose brightness and glory could only be surpassed in the north by the deep-blue eyes of a maiden; and he said this with a peculiar intonation; but she who should have understood his meaning looked quite unconscious of it, which also was charming.

  “Beautiful Italy!” sighed some of the guests.

  “Oh, to travel there!” exclaimed others.

  “Charming! Charming!” echoed from every voice.

  “I may perhaps win a hundred thousand dollars in the lottery,” said the naval officer's widow; “and if I do, we will travel—I and my daughter; and you, Mr. Alfred, must be our guide. We can all three travel together, with one or two more of our good friends.” And she nodded in such a friendly way at the company, that each imagined himself to be the favored person who was to accompany them to Italy. “Yes, we must go,” she continued; “but not to those parts where there are robbers. We will keep to Rome. In the public roads one is always safe.”

  The daughter sighed very gently; and how much there may be in a sigh, or attributed to it! The young man attributed a great deal of meaning to this sigh. Those deep-blue eyes, which had been lit up this evening in honor of him, must conceal treasures, treasures of heart and mind, richer than all the glories of Rome; and so when he left the party that night, he had lost it completely to the young lady. The house of the naval officer's widow was the one most constantly visited by Mr. Alfred, the sculptor. It was soon understood that his visits were not intended for that lady, though they were the persons who kept up the conversation. He came for the sake of the daughter. They called her Kala. Her name was really Karen Malena, and these two names had been contracted into the one name Kala. She was really beautiful; but some said she was rather dull, and slept late of a morning.

  “She has been accustomed to that,” her mother said. “She is a beauty, and they are always easily tired. She does sleep rather late; but that makes her eyes so clear.”

  What power seemed to lie in the depths of those dark eyes! The young man felt the truth of the proverb, “Still waters run deep:” and his heart had sunk into their depths. He often talked of his adventures, and the mamma was as simple and eager in her questions as on the first evening they met. It was a pleasure to hear Alfred describe anything. He showed them colored plates of Naples, and spoke of excursions to Mount Vesuvius, and the eruptions of fire from it. The naval officer's widow had never heard of them before.

  “Good heavens!” she exclaimed. “So that is a burning mountain; but is it not very dangerous to the people who live near it?”

  “Whole cities have been destroyed,” he replied; “for instance, Herculaneum and Pompeii.”

  “Oh, the poor people! And you saw all that with your own eyes?”

  “No; I did not see any of the eruptions which are represented in those pictures; but I will show you a sketch of my own, which represents an eruption I once saw.”

  He placed a pencil sketch on the table; and mamma, who had been over-powered with the appearance of the colored plates, threw a glance at the pale drawing and cried in astonishment, “What, did you see it throw up white fire?”

  For a moment, Alfred's respect for Kala's mamma underwent a sudden shock, and lessened considerably; but, dazzled by the light which surrounded Kala, he soon found it quite natural that the old lady should have no eye for color. After all, it was of very little consequence; for Kala's mamma had the best of all possessions; namely, Kala herself.

  Alfred and Kala were betrothed, which was a very natural result; and the betrothal was announced in the newspaper of the little town. Mama purchased thirty copies of the paper, that she might cut out the paragraph and send it to friends and acquaintances. The betrothed pair were very happy, and the mother was happy too. She said it seemed like connecting herself with Thorwalsden.

  “You are a true successor of Thorwalsden,” she said to Alfred; and it seemed to him as if, in this instance, mamma had said a clever thing. Kala was silent; but her eyes shone, her lips smiled, every movement was graceful,—in fact, she was beautiful; that cannot be repeated too often. Alfred decided to take a bust of Kala as well as of her mother. They sat to him accordingly, and saw how he moulded and formed the soft clay with his fingers.

  “I suppose it is only on our account that you perform this common-place work yourself, instead of leaving it to your servant to do all that sticking together.”

  “It is really necessary that I should mould the clay myself,” he replied.

  “Ah, yes, you are always so polite,” said mamma, with a smile; and Kala silently pressed his hand, all soiled as it was with the clay.

  Then he unfolded to them both the beauties of Nature, in all her works; he pointed out to them how, in the scale of creation, inanimate matter was inferior to animate nature; the plant above the mineral, the animal above the plant, and man above them all. He strove to show them how the beauty of the mind could be displayed in the outward form, and that it was the sculptor's task to seize upon that beauty of expression, and produce it in his works. Kala stood silent, but nodded in approbation of what he said, while mamma-in-law made the following confession:—

  “It is difficult to follow you; but I go hobbling along after you with my thoughts, though what you say makes my head whirl round and round. Still I contrive to lay hold on some of it.”

  Kala's beauty had a firm hold on Alfred; it filled his soul, and held a mastery over him. Beauty beamed from Kala's every feature, glittered in her eyes, lurked in the corners of her mouth, and pervaded every movement of her agile fingers. Alfred, the sculptor, saw this. He spoke only to her, thought only of her, and the two became one; and so it may be said she spoke much, for he was always talking to her; and he and she were one. Such was the betrothal, and then came the wedding, with bride's-maids and wedding presents, all duly mentioned in the wedding speech. Mamma-in-law had set up Thorwalsden's bust at the end of the table, attired in a dressing-gown; it was her fancy that he should be a guest. Songs were sung, and cheers given; for it was a gay wedding, and they were a handsome pair. “Pygmalion loved his Galatea,” said one of the songs.

  “Ah, that is some of your mythologies,” said mamma-in-law.

  Next day the youthful pair started for Copenhagen, where they were to live; mamma-in-law accompanied them, to attend to the “coarse work,” as she always called the domestic arrangements. Kala looked like a doll in a doll's house, for everything was bright and new, and so fine. There they sat, all three; and as for Alfred, a proverb may describe his position—he looked like a swan amongst the geese. The magic of form had enchanted him; he had looked at the casket without caring to inquire what it contained, and that omission often brings the greatest unhappiness into married life. The casket may be injured, the gilding may fall off, and then the purchaser regrets his bargain.

  In a large party it is very disagreeable to find a button giving way, with no studs at hand to fall back upon; but it is worse still in a large company to be conscious that your wife and mother-in-law are talking nonsense, and that you cannot depend upon yourself to produce a little ready wit to carry off the stupidity of the whole affair.

  The young married pair often sat together hand in hand; he would talk, but she could only now and then let fall a word in the same melodious voice, the same bell-like tones. It was a mental relief when Sophy, one of her friends, came to pay them a visit. Sophy was not, pretty. She was, however, quite free from any physical deformity, although Kala used to say she was a little crooked; but no eye, save an intimate acquaintance, would have noticed it. She was a very sensible girl, yet it never occurred to her that she might be a dangerous person in such a house. Her appearance created a new atmosphere in the doll's house, and air was really required, they all owned that. They felt the want of a change of air, and consequently the young couple and their mother travelled to Italy.

  “Thank heaven we are at home again within our own four walls,” said mamma-in-law and daughter both, on their return after a year's absence.

  “There is no real pleasure in travelling,” said mamma; “to tell the truth, it's very wearisome; I beg pardon for saying so. I was soon very tired of it, although I had my children with me; and, besides, it's very expensive work travelling, very expensive. And all those galleries one is expected to see, and the quantity of things you are obliged to run after! It must be done, for very shame; you are sure to be asked when you come back if you have seen everything, and will most likely be told that you've omitted to see what was best worth seeing of all. I got tired at last of those endless Madonnas; I began to think I was turning into a Madonna myself.”

  “And then the living, mamma,” said Kala.

  “Yes, indeed,” she replied, “no such a thing as a respectable meat soup—their cookery is miserable stuff.”

  The journey had also tired Kala; but she was always fatigued, that was the worst of it. So they sent for Sophy, and she was taken into the house to reside with them, and her presence there was a great advantage. Mamma-in-law acknowledged that Sophy was not only a clever housewife, but well-informed and accomplished, though that could hardly be expected in a person of her limited means. She was also a generous-hearted, faithful girl; she showed that thoroughly while Kala lay sick, fading away. When the casket is everything, the casket should be strong, or else all is over. And all was over with the casket, for Kala died.

  “She was beautiful,” said her mother; “she was quite different from the beauties they call 'antiques,' for they are so damaged. A beauty ought to be perfect, and Kala was a perfect beauty.”

  Alfred wept, and mamma wept, and they both wore mourning. The black dress suited mamma very well, and she wore mourning the longest. She had also to experience another grief in seeing Alfred marry again, marry Sophy, who was nothing at all to look at. “He's gone to the very extreme,” said mamma-in-law; “he has gone from the most beautiful to the ugliest, and he has forgotten his first wife. Men have no constancy. My husband was a very different man,—but then he died before me.”

  “'Pygmalion loved his Galatea,' was in the song they sung at my first wedding,” said Alfred; “I once fell in love with a beautiful statue, which awoke to life in my arms; but the kindred soul, which is a gift from heaven, the angel who can feel and sympathize with and elevate us, I have not found and won till now. You came, Sophy, not in the glory of outward beauty, though you are even fairer than is necessary. The chief thing still remains. You came to teach the sculptor that his work is but dust and clay only, an outward form made of a material that decays, and that what we should seek to obtain is the ethereal essence of mind and spirit. Poor Kala! our life was but as a meeting by the way-side; in yonder world, where we shall know each other from a union of mind, we shall be but mere acquaintances.”

  “That was not a loving speech,” said Sophy, “nor spoken like a Christian. In a future state, where there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage, but where, as you say, souls are attracted to each other by sympathy; there everything beautiful develops itself, and is raised to a higher state of existence: her soul will acquire such completeness that it may harmonize with yours, even more than mine, and you will then once more utter your first rapturous exclamation of your love, 'Beautiful, most beautiful!'