Page:Twilight.djvu/94

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86
TWILIGHT

I wonder why you are so curiously sympathetic to me, and why I mind so little admitting it. Friendship has been rare in my life. You offer me yours, and I am on the point of accepting it; thinking all the time what it may mean, what I can give you in return. An hour now and again of detached talk, a great deal of trouble with my literary affairs . . . there is not much in that for you; is there? Are the Musicians really a gift? They must go on playing to me softly then, and the prelude be slow and long-drawn-out. I am afraid even of friendship, that is the truth. I'm disillusioned, disappointed, tired. Nothing has ever happened to me as I meant it. When I first came from America with my father, I was full of the wildest hopes, and now I have outlived them all. It is not an affectation, it is a profound truth, and at twenty-eight I find myself worn out, dimmed, exhausted. I have had fame (a small measure of it, but enough for comparison), wealth, and that horrid nightmare, love.

My father spoiled me when I was small, believed too much in me. He thought me a genius, and I . . . perhaps I thought so too. I puzzled and perplexed him, and he felt overweighted with his responsibilities, with character-studying an egotistic girl of sixteen. The result was a stepmother. Can you imagine what I suffered! She began almost immediately to suffocate me with her kindness. She too admitted I was a genius. Do you know we had the idea, these besotted parents of mine and I, that I was to be a great pianist! I practised many hours a day, sustained by jellies, and beef-tea and encouragement. I had the best teachers, a few weeks in Dresden with Lentheric, my father poured out his