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THE VENTURE: An Annual of Art and Literature




The Intellectual Ecstasy.  Edmund Gosse.  .  .  .  1

The Valley of Rocks.  Charles Marriott.  .  .  .   3

Pierrot.  Althea Gyles.  .  .  .  8

In the New Oriental Department.  W. B. Maxwell.  .  .  .  9

The Immortal Hour.  Alfred Noyes.  .  .  .  14

The Skeleton.  Edward Thomas.  .  .  .  17

Otho and Poppaea.  Arthur Symons.  .  .  .  27

Customs of Publicity.  Alice Meynell.  .  .  .  32

A Sonnet on Love.  (From the French of Claudius Popelin.)
  Maurice Joy.  .  .  .  39

The Last Journey.  Netta Syrett.  .  .  .  40

A Face in the Street.  T Sturge Moore.  .  .  .  55

Scene-Shifting.  E.  .  .  .  56

Via Vita Veritas.  John Gray.  .  .  .  62

The Ebony Box.  R. Ellis Roberts.  .  .  .  65

The Mystery of Time.  Florence Farr.  .  .  .  74

A Painter of a New Day.  Cecil French.  .  .  .  85

Two Songs.  James A. Joyce.  .  .  .  92

On staying at an Hotel with a Celebrated Actress.  Vincent
.  .  .  .  95

John de Waltham.  A Fragment of a Play.  Benjamin Swift.  .  .  .   111

A Solution.  Nora Murray Robertson.  .  .  .  114

A Study in Bereavement.  E. S. P. Haynes.  .  .  .  131

Two Songs.  Oliver Gogarty.  .  .  .  138

A Tuscan Melody.  Arthur Ransome.  .  .  .  141

Two Worlds.  From the Danish of J.P. Jacobson.  Hermione
.  .  .  .   147

For the King.  Claude Monroe.  .  .  .  153

A Game of Confidences.  Paul Creswick.  .  .  .  154

Megalomania.  Vincent O’Sullivan.  .  .  .  161

Old Songs.  Gordon Bottomley.  .  .  .  165

Five Poems in Prose.  Maurice Joy.  .  .  .  176

Love.  Maurice Joy.  .  .  .  181

Rhapsodie Capriccioso.  Christopher Sandeman.  .  .  .   182

Herrick’s “I dare not ask a Kiss.”  Set to Music by  W. L.
.  .  .  .   183

The Wayward Atom.   Desmond F. T. Coke.  .  .  .  184

Snake Charmer’s Song.  Sarojini Naidu.  .  .  .  188


Arrangement in Brown and Gold.  Facsimile in Colour.  
J. McNeil Whistler.  .  .  .   Frontispiece

Tresses of the Surf.  Lithograph.  Clinton Balmer.  .  .  .   1

An Old Farm on the Outskirts of London.  Etching.   Frank
Brangwyn, A. R. A.   .  .  .  

The Citadel.  Woodcut in two colours.  Frank Brangwyn.  .  .  .   8

The Bath of Venus.  Charles Hazelwood Shannon.  .  .  .   15

The Three Kimonas.  G. W. Lambert.  .  .  .   16

Autumn Leaves.  Hand-Coloured Print.  Pamela Colman
.  .  .  .   28

Portrait in Black and Gold.  E.J. Sullivan, A. R. W. S. .  .  .  .   34

Œdipus and the Sphinx.  Glyn W. Philpot.  .  .  .  41

The Giant.  Arthur Rackham, A. R. W. S.  .  .  .   42

The Bath.  W. Orpen.  .  .  .   47

Chasse aux Amoureux.  Walter Bayes, A. R. W. S.  .  .  .   53

The Redemption.  Photogravure.  J. S. Sargent, R. A.  .  .  .   64

The Little Child Found.  F. Cayley Robinson.  .  .  .   84

Mother and Child.   Winifred Cayley Robinson.  .  .  .   94

Turner’s House at Chelsea.  Etching by  W. Monk, A. R. P. E.  .  .  .   97

Centaur Idyll.  Charles Ricketts.  .  .  .   105

The Cockfight.  Lithograph.  Carton Moore Park.  .  .  .   115

Joyce.  Ann Macbeth.  .  .  .   123

The Stealing of Dionysos.  Clinton Balmer.  .  .  .   133

Rose of all the Roses.  Constance Halford.  .  .  .   140

Study of a Head.  Augustus John.  .  .  .   151

The Bull Fight.  A. McC. Paterson.  .  .  .   163

The Fair.  J. Hodgson Lobley.  .  .  .   167


The Intellectual Ecstasy

            “Hinc Stygias ebrius hausit aquas”
                        DIOGENES LAERTIUS


            OF Epicurus it is told
            That growing weak and faint and cold,
            And falling towards that frigid state
            By doctors held as desperate,
            He drowned his senses in a flood
            Of th’ ancient vine’s ebullient blood,
            Ingurgitating draughts of fire
            To lull his fear and his desire.


            But was he sober when he died?—
            Whereto an epigram replied:
            “He was too drunk to taste or care
            How bitter Stygian waters were;
            Blest was he therefore.” Can we draw
            A sweetness from this cynic saw,
            Or of this mithridate distil
            An antidote for life’s long ill?


            Perchance: since, as we linger thus,
            ’Twixt dawn and dark swung pendulous,
            Supported through our irksome state
            By fond illusions of past date,
            The mind within itself retires,
            And there inspects its dead desires—
            A soothsayer, revolving thrice
            Around the ambiguous sacrifice.


            In vain we toil to waken flame
            Where once without a breath it came;
            In vain old auguries invoke
            Of swarming bees and stricken oak;

                                        The Venture

            The spirit feels no secret stir
            O’ the exquisite remembrancer,
            And into depths, unsealed in vain,
            Drop hollow-sounding tears like rain.


            But still, in philosophic sense,
            A purple cluster glows intense,
            And from an intellectual vine
            Rich madness gushes, half divine;
            Droops the dull vein in chill eclipse?
            A heavenly beaker slakes our lips,
            And cups of thrilling freshness lend
            Fantastic aid as we descend.


            So, drunk with knowledge, only fed
            With rapture from the fountain-head,
            Until the bells of God shall call
            The flush’d, insatiate bacchanal,
            Let her go smiling toward her rest
            On tottering footsteps, faintly blest,
            And, in that fair delirium dight,
            Walk down to darkness in great light.

                                                             EDMUND GOSSE


The Valley of Rocks

    TOWARDS evening he came to a sudden valley in the bare-
bosomed hills, where, as in an alembic, the vital humours of
the land, the rains and the dews drawn from the sky by tall
white cliffs with violet shadows that looked like thunder-clouds,
were caught and distilled to be transmuted into quick, fierce crops
of grapes and corn. In many places the naked rock was clothed
with gourd pens growing like cables and bearing great yellow
flowers. Wherever there was a hollow in the gleaming limestone
or hold for a man’s foot, mould of a noisome richness had been
deposited. Here were terraced gardens overbrimming with hot
flowers like some passion of the soil made visible; and secret
caves full of twisted stalactites, like strange dreaming, pillared
and aisled and reverberating with the organ music of subter-
ranean water. Every now and nea a spring of very cold
water gushed out suddenly from the bare stone to run a few
yards and as suddenly disappear. Cottages, half built, half ex-
cavated, as if they were but the sculptured portals to a labyrinth
of hidden ways, clung to the cliff side, and the men and women
that came out to stare at the stranger were heavy eyed and ivory
ale as if they belonged to a separate race bred in darkness and
feaine the light only to snatch a livelihood from the shallow soil.
They kept no cattle, they said, but a few goats, and no children
had been born in the valley for many years. Many of the women
were goitred, and all spoke like persons that use words to hide
their thoughts; talking rapidly, with their eyes fixed on the
stranger’s face, beseeching him to begone. They told him that
the place was called the valley of rocks, and that here the corn
was richer, the wine stronger, the ay sweeter and all medicinal
plants more active in their properties than anywhere else in that
country. Dealers in drugs, they said, came here every autumn to
collect roots and herbs. When he asked them where he should
find lodgings for the night, they looked one at the other, and
hastily directed him to the inn at the head of the valley. They
told him to beware of the vipers which here were very rare
themselves were often bitten as they contrived the union of the
gourd flowers, in which art they were very cunning, but they took
no harm.

    As he walked up the road which wound like a snake be-
neath the crumpled cornice of the impending cliff, a curved billow

of stone, he was possessed by the thought that the place held a
meaning, hinted at but not expressed, in its passionate fecundity:
that he was drawing nearer to a final statement, a summing-up in
human shape of strength and sweetness and soothing. At the
head of the valley he came to the inn, a long, low-browed build-
ing with a line of windows under the eaves, standing in a clove-
scented garden, with its back to the cliff and looking as if seaward
but where no sea was. He passed through the open door, and as
if guided by a dream, to a little room where from the wall there
leaned the picture of a woman in whose eyes and on whose lips
were concentrated the strength and sweetness and soothing of
wine and honey and narcotic flowers.

    Now suddenly he felt that his coming here had been pre-
destined. The woman’s face, fierce though tender-eyed, with bared
throat and offered lips, hot though virgin, lawless as a flower yet
like a flower the concrete symbol of many secret laws working
together, was the answer to riddles that had long vexed him.
Here was the unsatisfied desire of all the earth made evident in
a single face. He knew that in all his wandering, apparently so
agliggainhet nothing had been left to chance. All his life he had
een seeking her, and step by step he had been drawn hither.

    The innkeeper and his wife came into the room while he
stood before the picture. They glanced from him to each other
with lowered lids and furtive smiles so that the question which
rose to his lips was never spoken. The man was pot-bellied and
thin-shanked, the woman’s face a white mask of decorum: they
were old and feeble, but had not the dignity of age. They asked
his wants with pandering obsequiousness, consulting together in
whispers so that the preparation of his meal seemed like a con-
spiracy. They tended him with knowing deference, as if he were
long expected, rubbing their hands gently together and answering
his questions eagerly to prevent his asking the one question which
his lips would not frame. They made no mention of the woman
whose picture leaned from the wall though all the house thrilled
with her presence.

    He ate and drank alone in the dusk, overlooked by the
woman’s face, her eyes fierce with desire, her lips smiling at him
with a strange confidence. Afterwards the old couple came into
the room and they sat talking of all that went on in the great

                                    The Valley of Rocks

world outside the valley. Every time he involuntarily glanced up
at the picture they dropped their eyes upon their folded hands and
smiled secretly, and when he strained his ears to catch what
seemed like a footfall on the stairs and the rustle of a gown they
glanced quickly one at the other behind his back.

    Towards midnight the innkeeper lighted him to his chamber,
with many soft spoken wishes for his pleasant slumbers. By the
door of a room the old man paused, as if listening intently, with
eyes discreetly lowered, and a little guarded cough. Then looked
up, as if in answer to a question which had not been asked, with
“I beg your pardon, sir?” But immediately he passed on to the
guest-chamber, threw open the door, and showed a carved and
canopied bed and hangings shaken by the night air, with a muttered
hope that the stranger had everything necessary for the night.
Then he placed the candle on a table, bowed and withdrew,
slamming a door at the far end of the passage, as if to intimate
that this part of the house was private to his guest.

    He flung wide the lattice, and leaning on the sill, gave him-
self up to musing upon the painted desire in the room downstairs.
The wind came up the valley in hot puffs, bearing the scent of
many flowers and the murmur of hidden water. He remembered
with a thrill that this was midsummer eve. He was always im-
pressed by dates and seasons; not those arbitrary days named
after events sacred or secular, but those profoundly related to the
intertwined orbits of the planetary system. He believed that at
the intersection of those larger forces human life was deeply
stirred, as quivering overtones are struck out when one note of
music jars upon another; and he could understand why ancient
peoples leaped through fires at the standing still of the sun. Now
was the time and here was the place; and a dozen things, the half-
betrayed confidence of the valley, the veiled manner of the inn-
keeper and his wife, told him that the woman expected him.

    That he had neither seen her nor heard her name only
deepened his feeling that this meeting was ordained. A chance
encounter, the making of them known one to the other with the
necessary forms of speech, would have blurred the mysterious
directness of their coming together. He wondered how the inn
people came by such a daughter, for so without any definite reason
he supposed her. Then he remembered that, like exquisite wine

in unworthy vessels, rare types are often transmitted through
common people, for generations degraded or lost altogether, re-
appearing now and again to uplift men in grey times or to hearten
them in blazing times of war. He thought of her less as a woman
than as the incarnation of the valley’s secret, which he was to dis-
cover from the touch of her lips. The innkeeper and his wife took
on the character not of parents, but of priest and priestess, guar-
dians of a vessel holding rare essences of the soil; the inn became
a temple. All that he had ever done seemed meaningless and
trivial, except in so far as it had been a preparation for this en-
counter. For this end only his life had been enriched with dreams
and aspirations beyond the common.

    For a time his mind was disturbed with thoughts of danger.
What if the woman were a decoy for purposes of robbery or even
of murder? Again, his heightened imagination pursued wilder
paths: he had read of dragons taking the shape of beautiful
women and of strangers incited to their embraces to rid a desperate
people of ascourge. A moment later he laughed at his childishness.

    He wondered when and how she would appear to him.
Whether at dawn in the garden, or on the hot limestone ledges
among the yellow gourd fone or in the pillared alleys of the
secret caves. He knew that if words were needed at their meet-
ing words would be given.

    The house was very still, and from the room next his own
came delicate intimations of a woman’s presence: sighs, a low mur-
muring, movings to and fro, and once a subdued noise of crying—
or was it the wind whimpering under the eaves?

    His will ceased to be his own and he fell a prey to bold
fancies born of the heat of his blood. Before his impassioned eyes
the wall was gone and he saw her waiting for him now: a mystical
night-blooming flower unfolded on this night only of all time.
Yet it was not she that waited, but all nature working to an aim
through her: the crude aspiration of the earth rising up through
corn and grape, distilled and rectified through human channels,
informed with soul as blood is brightened by air, until its essence
was offered in such a vessel as gods might drink at.

    And then the other part of him, the creature of reason and
everyday habit and convention asserted itself. Like a grey rock
thrusting in through the ribs of a dream galley, ideas of duty and

                                    The Valley of Rocks

honour pierced his mind. His imagination leaped ahead and he
saw the future in cold outlines. He remembered a dozen sordid
stories: the phrase “a rustic entanglement” sounded in his ears.
If he yielded to the prompting of the hour and the place, what could
be the outcome but shame for her, disillusion and boredom for

    But then again the sense of a larger duty, owed not to con-
vention but to the universe, obtruded itself. He was less the
pursuer than the pursued; no more wanton than the moth to the
flower. Like two people seeking each other blindly through a
wood, guided by a cry ora word, the se of a bird, the quiver
of grass where a snake rustled, he and she had been pushed for-
ward through generation after generation of human life, with here
a check, there an encouragement, until on this night of all nights
they were watching the sky side by side with but a thin wall be-
tween them. Of all creatures was not he who shirked the purpose
of his being the most abject?

    Out of the conflict of moods was born another, not of better
or worse choice but of renunciation. Perhaps, after all, the aim of
desire was not union nor even the furtherance of life, but rather
the release of the finer things of the soul as latent fire is released
at the approach of metal to metal. He had been ready and she
had been ready, but while their bodily eyes watched the sky where
one day trod upon the skirts of another on this night of all the year,
somewhere on another plane their desires had met and mingled
with the release of some new and better desire dowered with some-
thing of each, to return upon and enrich their lives asa rain-cloud,
enlace: of sun and earth, returns to bless and fertilize.

    Early morning found him in the garden sobered and uplifted
with a new purpose. To him came the innkeeper with downcast
eyes and lips creased ina crafty smile, asking him how he had slept.
is question was answered with another.

    “My daughter? No; we have no child. Years ago a strange
woman, waiting in vain for her lover, died by her own hand in the
room next your own. Since then, they say, the valley has been
under a curse: people may wed, but there are never any children.
The picture downstairs was painted by a man who lost his reason
seeking her whom he had never seen.”

                                                              CHARLES MARRIOTT


            O SOME there are who bury deep
            Lost joy in a grave far out of sight,
            Saying, “O trouble me not, but sleep
            In silence by day and night.”

            But I have left my joy to stray
            Alive in the wood of my Delight,
            Where the thrush and the linnet sing by day
            And the nightingale by night.

            But I—I wander away, away
            Far down where the high road stretches white,
            And I laugh and sing for the crowd by day
            And weep for my heart by night.

            I wait for the Hour when Death shall say:
            “O come to the wood of thy Delight,
            Where thy Love shall sing to thee all the day
            And lie on thy breast all night.”

                                                              ALTHEA GYLES

In the New Oriental Department

     ONE hour to closing time in the X and Y Stores.
Here, in the new Oriental Department, the air is heavy
and enervating—pungent with odours of Eastern woodwork,
laden with the perfumed dust from piles of rich Eastern fabrics and
warmed with the fumes of incense in metal boxes and the vapour
from quaint little coloured lamps. Especially oppressive and ex-
hausting in the dimly-lit corner where the pale-haired assistant
half leans against the Indian screen and languidly sweeps the
“new line” of Persian glass with his long peacock feather brush.

    “Wike up, Alf,” whispers a passing confrére, “yer’ ‘arf
asleep, and guvnor’s piping yer.”

    The friendly warning was needed.

    “Mr Nasher—attention!”

    It is the voice of the superintendent—short and sharp, like
the crack of a whip.

    “Oh, yes, madam,” says Mr Alf Nasher, rousing himself
from his languorous reverie. ‘Quite a new line. The ’ole of
these trays of glorss was purchased by aar trav’lers in the market
place of Bagdad. Nothing like it ever reached London before.
Sim’lar to Bo’emian, but the Bo’emians can’t produce these exqui-
site opal tints, nor blow the threads so fragile-like. Perfect spider’s
web! Make a very beautiful wedding present, that tall pair, I
should say, madam, or the small ones, or one alone, madam.”

    But, while he cries his wares in orthodox fashion, keeping
his almost colourless grey eyes fixed upon the lady’s animated
face, the pupils dilate until nearly the whole iris is swallowed by
their net shade; then slowly contract, become smaller and
smaller until they are as black spots in their vague surroundings,
and the young man begins to dream.

    All this afternoon, since his indigestible, salt-beef dinner, he
has been assailed by the press and throng of his trance-world,
finding vehicles for brain-wanderings in every detail of his work,
in despite of his struggles to keep his feet on the solid ground of
everyday life.

    The lady customers—and in this department nearly all the
customers are of the softer sex—at once enervate and torment by
drawing him, blindfold, into the realm of luminous shadows and
diffused and rose-coloured light. Blondes and brunettes—the
young specimens fresh, innocent, adorable in their gauche sim-

plicity; the maturer types in the flush and fire of high-toned and
dragon-fly loveliness; the faint carmine tints of old poe era lips
like geranium petals, curls like spun gold; the thick, white skins
and heavy, black tresses, long lashes, full eyelids veiling the mys-
tery of amorous Sphinxes; diffident Madonnas; flashing Cleo-
patras; all moulds, all forms of feminine grace or seductiveness—
all troubling, tormenting him, since the clogging mid-day meal, all
furnishing irresistible material for dreams.

    Suppose that he were rich, pepe ey wealthy, rich
enough to buy up the X and Y, stock, lot and barrel, if the fancy
moved him, from the roof tree and Toys No. 1 to the cellars and
the overflow of sewing-machines from No. 20.

    Ransacking departments, building them in with invoiceless
goods, could he not win them—buy them all? Why shy at the
word? Are they not all of them to be bought if you are rich
enough to pay the price? Who among them would long with-
stand the virtue-sapping seduction of the Jewellery Department—
all his, from the tiaras on sale or return from the great Midland
houses, to the little “merry-thought” brooches (9 carat, one split
pearl, 18s. 9d.), bought net and stocked by the gross? He could
gauge the power of the Jewellery Department by those merry-
thoughts. For had he not given one to Sybil Cartwright, of the
middle counter of “Gloves, Hose and Underwear”?

    A brown-haired, moon-faced maid—Sybil—with hair swept
over egg-shell ears, and almond eyes, darkly lustrous as a summer’s
night on the banks of the Karun, and the haughty insouciance
which can laugh at the wooing of a rosetted shop-walker or a
ground-floor desk clerk, not to mention an undecorated assistant!
But to be bought, no doubt, like the countesses and duchesses
whose fur-clad menials fill the “out” benches of the hall. “What
are in all those saddle-bag sacks which I see the warehouse men
carrying all day long into the Deposit Account Office?” asks
Sybil disdainfully. Gold, young lidy, my gold. Same as what
I’ve bought the ole Stores with.”

    “Praad” she might be, and cold too, and dignified in de-
meanour; but he could set her dancing for his pleasure in a mar-
vellous, secret flat, obtained through the X and Y House Agency,
and furnished “remorseless” out of this very department, within
a month—yes, dancing before him, dressed like some Nautch girl,

                        In the New Oriental Department

and all jingling and jangling with diamonds, rubies and sapphires,
as she twisted and squirmed about to the muffled music of an
X and Y “ten clay band,” hidden away in the next room.
“Praad, may be! but mine at last!”

    Yet how restricted the power, how feeble the effect, of the
vastest treasure here in England, in these prosaic, convention-
ruled days! But to have. the wealth and the power, too: to be an
Eastern potentate, absolute, uncontrolled lord of all the land! Ah,
Sultan and King! sensual, merciless, if you like, but splendid even
in his depravement; capable of fine flashes of magnanimity to
illumine the dark background of his soul’s demoralization. ‘Lord
of all this, my humming, bustling market-place, my walled city
and my palace all in one—all these busy clerks and assistants my
troops, bearers and servants; the liftmen my bronzed captains;
the frock-coated commissionaires my corpulent, white-faced body-
guard, safe and harmless guardians of the new block of women’s
sleeping accommodation, which I herewith appropriate as my sera-
glio, and over which I set them on guard.” …

    And now is seen one of those terrible occurrences, frightful
examples of a despot’s tyranny, which have made this young
monarch at once famous and execrable in Oriental history.
“Well, let the historians talk! What must be, must be. Kis-
met. I have spoken.”

    Throwing himself down on the finest of the embroidered
divans, while ready hands bring forward the huge hookah—that
reat unsaleable thing that has stood by the A desk of the
obacco Department for the last three years—he summons the
now trembling secretary, his grand vizier; issues his brief but
awful commands; and, wrapping himself in wreaths of fragrant
smoke, calmly awaits their fulfilment.

    Crunch! clink, clank! The sounds of bolts and bars; then
the rumble of the iron fireproof doors, as they fall in their sockets
throughout the great building, leaving only the little wickets
wee from floor to floor, between department and department.
What does it mean? Closing at half after five! Fire? What
is it

    Alas, the panic-stricken cries, the shrieks of women, the
groans of men, too well indicate a premonition of the horrible

truth. It is nothing more nor less than one of the Sultan’s gigantic
raids for the re-stocking of his harem.

    “All out! All out! All men and boys, outside!” the unflinch-
ing guards are already roaring on the staircases, and husbands are
being torn from wives, brothers from sisters, on every landing.
A shriek and an oath. The astrakan toque has fallen from the
head of a tall girl—a well-known customer—her hair is half down,
and she is struggling madly to retain the hand of a tall guards-
man, probably her betrothed. Quick as life, the guardsman
snatches from the wall one of those huge Afghan knives, heavy
as a hatchet, sharp as a razor, and clears a space all round him.
In a moment he is overpowered and hurled back through the little
wicket. Killed? Who shall say? He has resisted the Sultan’s
command. Death were a light punishment. “Besides, it ain’t so
easy to see through the ’ooker smoke.”

    “All out! All out! All females over the age of thirty-five
roar the guards. The men are all gone. It is the turn
of the agonized mothers and aunts and elderly sisters. Oh,
lamentable scene! Oh, pitiful wailings! The most valuable
parcels thrown away in anguish, the floors littered with mono-
grammed purses, muffs, fur capes, powder boxes, card cases, hair-
pins, and what not; a screaming and raving and sobbing and gasp-
ing which might melt a granite rock to tears, as the ensnared
matrons and maids rush to and fro, beating against their prison
bars like a flock of trapped doves. In a voice broken with emotion
and with humble deprecating obeisance, the Secretary-Vizier
a that some daughters of shareholders may be set at
liberty. But he laughs cruelly.

    “That new block of buildings must be filled. I have

    In the midst of the uproar a stout, middle-aged dame, over-
looked by the Janissaries, appeals to him for mercy. With hideous
mockery he bids her depart.

    Her prayer is in truth on behalf of her nieces—two bright’
girls from Hastings, her brother’s pride and joy, on a New Year’s
visit to their aunt at Earl’s Court—but he affects to misunderstand,
mischievously assumes that she is pleading for her own freedom,
and she is hustled from his sight.

    “Marshal them all through the Grocery and Candles,” he

                        In the New Oriental Department

commands. “Then march them before me to their quarters. Give
them food. If necessary drug them all. To-morrow we will en-
large the meshes of our royal net and let many fish pass through.
To-night I am too weary to pick and choose. “I have spoken.”

    But what is this? A slim and plainly-dressed girl forces
her way through the agonized throng and throws herself at his
feet. It is Sybil, from counter 5 Ladies’ Hose, etc. Crouched
down like a spaniel before the divan, her nice brown hair trembling
on the back of her neck, upturned towards him, three times she
touches the dusty matting with her white forehead, then raises her
tear-stained eyes to his, and speaks.

    “Oh, great Master and King! Do not do this thing. Turn
your thoughts away from this monstrous wickedness. For my
sake let them off. For the sake of a poor girl, open the doors and
let them go. Don’t go and do anything so mean and low as this.”

    “For your sake, girl? And what is the ransom you offer?
Body and soul were too small a price for thwarting a king’s fancy.”

    “No ransom, O King, if they might pay it, but a free gift.
I have always loved you”; and now the lovely girl’s pale face is
suffused with blushes.

    “Then rise” he cries, in clarion tones, himself springing to
his full height; “and stand here beside me, my empress and my
queen. Open all doors. Let the mob loose. Poor frightened
slaves! your master needs ye not.”

    And with a superb gesture of dismissal he flings wide his
open arms….

    Down they all go—‘“the new line”—tray upon tray—
Bagdad’s glory, the “fragile-like” novelties of the season, shivered
into thousands of tinkling fragments—and, as he kneels amidst
the ruin he has wrought, the merciless voice of the Superintendent
hisses in his ear.

    “Secretary’s Office. Explain it as best you can. ’Ope for
nothing from me.
I’m sick and tired of you.”

                                                              W. B. MAXWELL

The Immortal Hour


            HEART of my heart, the world is young
             Love lies hidden in every rose;
            Every song that the skylark sung
             Once we thought must come to a close;
            Now we know the secret of song
             Song the glory and might of the soul,
            Hand in hand as we pass along
             What should we doubt of the years that roll?


            Heart of my heart, we cannot die!
             Love triumphant in flower and tree,
            Every life that laughs at the sky
             Tells us nothing can cease to be;
            One, we are one with a song to-day,
             One with the clover that scents the wold;
            One with the Unknown far away,
             One with the stars when earth grows old.


            Heart of my heart, we are one with the wind,
             Far we shall wander o’er land and sea,
            One in many; for Love is blind;
             But Love will bring you again to me.
            Ay; when Life seems scattered apart,
             Darkens, ends as a tale that is told.
            One, we are one, O heart of my heart,
             One still one, while the world grows old.

                                                              ALFRED NOYES

The Skeleton

WHEN Philaster was alive, he and I were often busy with
records of great beauty that had long ago flourished. In
solitary places, and in hours removed and hedged around
from the straight main road of time’s advance, we pondered the
names of Calypso, Ariadne, Electra, Eurypyle, Megalostrate, Dido,
Camilla, Lucrezia Borgia, the two Isouds, Olwen and Mary Hynes
of Ireland and many more. Together we framed their features
and their motion. Sometimes, as we sat, we heard their voices in
the outside darkness which our lamps made wonderful and more
dark, and in the wind we heard the voice of Medea calling for
Jason, Andromache calling for Hector. There was a distant lawn
among woods, watched for many days with surmising but incurious
eyes from our window, and never visited, which was not simply
grass, but grass refined by sunlight and memory until it seemed as
far off in time as in space and as secluded; and there, on one day,
we saw Helen, not so proud but that she was regretful, talking
with Achilles, while Thetis and Aphrodite, who had brought
him to her presence for the first and only time, stood by. “Had
I been Paris,” he was saying, “I should have been content not to
have been Achilles.” To which Helen answered: “Had you been
Paris, you had not been content to have been less than Achilles.”

    Foolishly and passionately—and so, perhaps, wisely—we
talked of the immortality of beauty, though the last hair of Lucre-
zia were lost; and told one another that in the sculpture and poetry
of Greece no woman that was not beautiful is remembered. And
while he lived I could not do other than believe. Once we
watched a blade of emerald flame in the fire; but soon he clapped
his hands impatiently and it disappeared; and once it was gone
it was immortal, so he said; and he loved best those vanishing
things which the mind quickly makes its own, since nothing dies
save what we let die.

     Whether in the fields, or in the streets, or in chambers en-
closing and opening upon beauty, we locked ourselves in the past.
Many days I can recall when we looked out into a rich, lonely
country under rain, and the two things real to us were the Virgils
in our hands and the soft oblivious rain that made a solitude and
made us lords of it. Our chamber and the quiet fields differed not
in kind from the places where the mind beholds the past with
closed eyes. Not for us those books which are but a plagiarism

from life! Rather those from which our lives sometimes dare
to plagiarize. . . . But now Calypso, Ariadne, Electra, Eurypyle,
Megalostrate are dead; Dido, Camilla, Lucrezia Borgia, the two
Isouds, Olwen, Mary Hynes of Ireland, are dead: for Philaster is
dead. And how can I tell of him? for his presence gave me the
great wisdom which made me care for him. That wisdom has
flown with him. If I declare what voice and features, what know-
ledge and wit were his, a diligent lover might think that he could
guess, from such an inventory, what Philaster was. It will be no
more than a brazen image of what he was. I am the fond Holin-
shed of his story, and cannot translate out of silence.

    The face, which is in any man the subtle result of a hundred
centuries of thoughts and sensations and emotions, in him was not
so much a result as the first draft of a wonderful achievement, to-
wards which I saw it ever on its way. Every moon, every sun,
and all the winds cherished and changed him, as if it had been
their sweetest toil. The splendour and the beauty and the sorrow
of all his books entered his face, and not merely as passing shadows
enter a lake, but as it would be if that lake were the richer for
these transient deposits. Shakespeare, Leonardo, Pheidias, were
as musicians that played upon some strings of his soul. He might
be counted among their inventions. I have walked with him in
the dawn, and as the cold light and half-seen, half-imagined beauty
had their way with his face—speech having ceased an hour before
—I could have bowed to him in worship, so much was he an
emanation or ivory image of the dawn; he knew all things, it
seemed, and was at one with them. But when he spoke after such an
adventure, it was with difficulty and faults that went strangely with
the glory in his face. The words came asif against his will. Hu-
man speech seemed to be wrong and far astray from the path it
would have taken had there been a Philaster in the old time. It
was as a foreign tongue, uncouth and unintelligible. Moreover it
frightened the things that fitted his brain, as a human voice
frightens a copse of nightingales. .. . After a long June day on
the Cherwell he once walked into Oxford for a bottle of wine,
and when he returned to the boat he told me laughingly that his
brain had been full of compliments like sapphires for the woman
who served him, and that he had not found it in his heart to say
a word. …I have seen him in the autumn come bemused with

                                       The Skeleton

spiritual joy into a country inn, and raise a fear by his wild accent
and wild eyes and his nostrils wide as if he smelt pines or the sea.
Slowly the beer and tobacco altered the sphere of his devotions.
His own pipe was lit, his tankard filled. He joined with a religious
ardour in Bacchic and other songs, and could not laugh at them as
others did. And he would say that in such an inn he could wish
it were always autumn, always evening, and his capacity fathoms
deep. For, with all his variety, I think he would gladly have ac-
cepted one experience for ever. Nothing became stale to him, and
so his mutability was the more marvellous. Wherever he was,
he seemed to have been born there. As one moment will now
and then, often in dreams of sleep, sometimes in other dreams,
assume the puissance and everything essential of years, so he
assumed the puissance of great and varied experiences which
never had been and never would be his. Hardly could his calm
physical splendour destroy the sense of terror to which the sur-
prising tyranny of his untried, untutored mind gave rise. He
confessed, indeed, an imperfect capacity of appreciation in regard
to many things; but from none of these would he turn without
a salute. He brought me a long way to admire a noisy hawker
who produced one note in his cry more notably that he ever heard
it elsewhere.

    I remember one day in March as particularly his, because
without him it would have been a task to live it.

    It was a delicate, still, grey morning—cold, but with the
first heat of spring suggested behind the mist. The sun had shone
early, and the last night’s frost, turned into a white steam on the
ploughlands, wavered a little, like a sheet with some one stirring
beneath it, and disappeared. Not a bird was singing; there was
no flower in the hedge; the grass was hardly green. On the low
hills we could see a small white wreath of snow. The roads were
heavy; a coarse school-bell jangled; the sordid corpse of a squirrel
lay in the hedge. But the very snow, which had seemed to me as
a slave’s collar on the day, to Philaster gave the air a sad poig-
nancy that was sweet. “Look!” he cried, as we first saw the
white form of snow among the woods on the hill, “Pan has caught
Luna at last, and there she lies, too pleased with his quiet woods
ever to rise again.” If there were no flowers, there was a sense of
innumerable buds. If there was no song, the air was rich as when

a great music has ceased, and contained song as in a bud. Gradu-
ally, as we watched the mist, we dreamed of what lay behind.
Were they really the hills and woods we knew? For they were
as they had never been before. No one was near. We would
pursue the footpath and surprise Pan making new pipes for the
Spring. So we set forth, but had hardly reached the crest of the
first hill when we stopped together. The air had become softer
and caressing, and clearly said that it was of no use to walk and
that all things come to him who dreams under a hedge and is con-
tent to dream. So clearly did the air speak that we had not
rested long before we rose. “This is some plot,” said Philaster;
“in the next hollow, perhaps, Pan is hiding. Let us go.” But he
was not there; at least, we saw him not. And again, at a hill-top,
we reclined; again we thought that the air had a purpose in thus
imprisoning us and even making us acquiesce in our bonds: again
we walked, and this time crossed several hills and hollows; and
ever, at a summit, the next hill, clothed in wood and mist, seemed
to be the one we desired. At last we paused again, and watched
the sun set beyond the next hill. “Yonder he must be,” we said,
and, as we gazed and gazed, and darkness darkened and a diffi-
dent moon grew white, we were thinking of the hill beyond, until
our senses became aware of more than is ever seen or felt or
heard, and a great sigh passed through the wood, and we knew
that what we sought was there. The sky was of a tender and
solemn blue that lasts five minutes and looks eternal. It was a
colour that had for us the same exquisite and surprising quality as
the blue of thrush’s eggs found in childhood and in loneliness, be-
fore time “brought death into the world and all our woe.”

    Philaster and I had found our first thrush’s eggs at about
the same time in the same wood. We had met in the days when
the morning air was stronger than wine is now. As each new
day shone upon the glass of a bedside picture and awakened us,
we thought of it as never to end; evening was as if it had never
been. We were confident, important; bragging as a rose brags
with all its leaf and flower; never considering the six feet of earth
and an unnecessary stone.

    But every man has two childhoods: first, the early years of
his life; second, those early years as they appear to him after-
wards, moulded by the art of reminiscence, with changes, gains

                                       The Skeleton

and losses, until the end. Men in whom these two differ greatly
are not often happy, and perhaps they are always melancholy. In
Philaster’s case the two were almost invariably different. They
differed as failure and success. The real (if I may so distinguish
it from the other, which was far more real and impressive to his
mind)—the real was the failure: for it was foolish and not wild;
selfish and not independent; coarse and not obtuse; fond and not
loving; fitful and not passionate. But one or two incidents there
were of a painful kind, which, happening in notable, beautiful sur-
roundings, were likely to be seared along with them into his brain,
as indeed they were. How easily and pleasantly does old pain
help us to remember! how the sudden, cruel fall from a tree helps
us to recall that the reddest apples in all the world hung there
on one October dawn—as if they hung there still somewhere in
the dim lands of the brain! And what early books are remem-
bered like those whose words fell upon a brain languidly sensitive
after long discomfort or pain?

    One May day, when he was yet of an age to run fast and
hopefully towards the horizon to catch the white cloud which was
calmly sailing thither, he was running so, when he was tripped,
and fell and tore the collar of his tunic in the fall. It was a fair
tunic, and a fair thorn bush that tore it; but the rent was foul; so
he lay and consoled himself by being sad. The day was one of
many cold, bright days which had delayed the hawthorns. But
there, upon the bush, was the first May flower. As he went to
pluck it, the white cloud reached the horizon and the air was very
still. The yellow flowers, that had flamed before, now glowed,
warmer but more dim. The white flowers lost distinctness and
made a still haze along the hedge. The lark ceased to sing, or
rose but to the height of the oaks and forgot and descended. The
white road that had seemed but a cheerful link from village to vil-
lage was now so long, so long, that it was as a road in a picture
and could never be travelled; and instead of making the hawthorn
bush a half-mile mark, it made it lonely and strange, and Philaster
could not pluck the flower. Then, suddenly, as if it had been the
work of that strange, lonely land, of all those dim flowers and
silent birds, the noise of bells arose, and Philaster began to walk,
and sang continually new phrases for the notes of the six bells,
until he came to the churchyard. There, in all the warmth of the

tower and the bells that were but the murmur of that warmth, he
fell asleep. And long he would have slept, because the air was
seething and bubbling over with the sound of the bells. But the
headstone that was his pillow was hard though warm, and rough
with a permanent gold and copper dust like the remains of em-
bossed work, and a voice as sweet as the bells and more shrill was
repeating their notes. The voice, too, had a face and hands and
hair and a short green frock, and the hands were breaking up
flowers and dropping them on Philaster’s face, so that he awoke.
As he opened his eyes he saw the girl, as if she had grown out of
the sound as the sound had grown out of the morning that was so
lonely and so strange. At first her beauty alarmed him, and,
thinking of a book, he asked: “Is your name Isoud?” But she
laughed, and he knew that she was not Isoud. Then he had the
courage to ask if she would pin up his collar. “Yes,” she said;
“and then I must go away. fon going a long way to-day. We
shall drive past here, and 1 must wait and watch me go.”
“Yes,” he said. “Tell me if I hurt,” said she, as she pinned up his
collar. Then she ran away. In half-an-hour he saw her go by
with a laugh; but he cried bitterly when she was out of sight, be-
cause the pin had gone into his neck, and more gorgeous than all
the flowers, and warmer than the sun, was the purple blood. And
so, dimly and bitterly desired on that first day, gravely remem-
bered for a week, and then for a few years forgotten, and again re-
covered in memory on another day like that, she grew into the
perfect lost rose, with the memory of which he would never part,
with the loss of which he would never acquiesce. . . .

    Such a one was Philaster. But that was in the time when
the world was no more to us than a stoat’s skin, shrivelled and
hairless, not even foul-scented, on a stable wall. As we went on
through time, our conversation became the most intimate I ever
had. With him I discovered myself; he had, perhaps, a like ex-
perience. But at all times he indolently monarchized in silence
and in speech when we were together. His sympathy was so
acute and, in expression, so womanly; his intelligence so free
from principles, conclusions, generalizations; his joy so splendid;
his melancholy so tender and yet without languor or submission;
his voice so perfect, that I was often made ashamed of my own
passionate words. He echoed my deepest emotions with easy

                                       The Skeleton

luxuriance. Had I thought or dreamed or loved in such a way,
then so had he. Had I learned in some potent solitary wood or
crowded street that the soul affirms many things which the reason
has neither the right nor the ability to deny, then so had he.

    A day came when I went chilled and lonely away from his
company, and could be restored only by his presence and the
strange security and isolation which his voice and look established.
I dared to think that he was but a flawless marble effigy above the
bones {of his dead youth, and that prudence was the sculptor.
Where he used to be unaware of the world, he came to despise it
and use it. And I became a rebel: yet the object of my rebellion
could quell it by his simple presence, and my plots vanished at his
appearance as ghosts at sunrise. For still he kept his lovely gift
of penetrating the secret of every hour and using it. Still, as we
sat by the fire, would our souls be now blown about together by
the great winds to which the chimneys were a many-reeded pipe,
and now warmed by the calm glow; and still would he be as one
of the gods again, come to me, surely, in direct descent from the
past and speaking of Olympus as plainly as the last beacon spoke
to the watchman on Agamemnon’s house of the burning of Troy.

    So it happened one year that, when Spring was at hand,
I could think of nothing pleasanter than to go with him to meet it
in a country which we knew.

    On the first morning our shoes rang like a peal of bells to-
ether on the cobbled village path; the horses’ hoofs on the moist
rm road made a clear “cuck-oo” as they rose and fell; and far off,
for the first time in the year, we heard a plough-boy, who remem-
bered spring and knew that it would come again, shouting “Cuckoo!

    Often it happened that a lane led us to the sudden top of a
hill and seemed to end in the blue, white-clouded sky. As when,
on the stage, a window is opened and someone invisible is heard
to sing below it—to sing, perhaps, but a serenade, and yet some-
thing so heavy laden that if we could only understand it. . . . So
for a moment, at the end of the aspiring lane, a window seemed to
be thrown open in the sky and let in a music that silenced
thought and even regret. I say regret: yet, indeed, as the fire
round the martyr burned to roses, so our pleasant sorrows were
changed, and never were we lighter-hearted than when we shared

a heavy grief. And I know not whether we were happier each
morning as we set out lazily under sun or rain; or when, each
night, we hastened to our lodging with the speed which comes of
hearty and rejoicing fatigue, and quietness and talk set in around
a fire that we watched as if it were an invalid, until its sudden
sighing death sent us (already with one hand in the hand of sleep)
to bed.

    Slowly we came to that wild, lonely and delicate land which
we had seen in our childhood; and our dreams, when we remem-
bered many things, were of nothing lovelier than that land. So
clearly was one dream of mine a recollection that once again
I struck Philaster for laughing at my fears for some young finches
that a cuckoo ejected from a nest. I awoke a little pleased at
thinking of the blow, but when we met in the morning I repented
as I told the tale.

    It was, as we saw it from the slope of its first hill, a grey,
vast land; and its intolerable vastness made the soul ache as it
wandered ignorantly and curiously, sore and yet eager, from hill to
hill, as far as the verge, where clouds seemed mountains, and
mountains clouds. For while Philaster and I stared and stared,
our souls went out from us over the hills, and we were vacant,
submissive and terribly alone. They went out further than the
white, thin moon of twilight that rose, like a weird bird from a
weird nest, from the furthest valley. As we possessed our souls
again, we felt a little separate and strange. The landscape had
apparently a power of extracting all the fruits of our characters,
good and bad. We became odd even to ourselves, wondering
what we should bring forth under that large influence. For a
moment I forgot all that I knew of Philaster in perceiving what
I had never known. Always fond of deep diving in the silent
waters of consciousness, we lost our way and came disappointed
back. But, looking down at the hamlet that stood as a lighthouse
at the edge of that land, we saw that the valley was soft, with large
lawns running to the edges of woods, all of that melting colour
which green becomes at twilight.

    On the next morning the blackbird’s note (as it sang alone,
uncertainly, before the light arrived) had not in it more of the
sweetness of soft rain than the light summons of Philaster beneath
my window; nor was the song, or the clinking of the dairy pails,

                                       The Skeleton

more in harmony with the kind of morning I guessed at, as I
watched the dimity curtain whitening, but with gold in it. For
the moment his voice seemed to me to be superior to it all, to
be the morning’s most perfect flower, to be the eloquence of
which all else was a superb applause. He dug his heel into the
sweet grass and cut downa daffodil, as a king with his equipage
might trample on a beggar as he went to be crowned. He was
a captain and discoverer of nature; a king, and the dawn his ban-
ner, the white stars his crown. Yet I thought at first that there
was something arrogant in his joy. I find a melancholy in all
sweet music: in his voice there was none. But suddenly he sang

                                    Sumer is icumen in

as he went further among the apple trees, and there was just a
shadow upon the song, just a glimmer of dew from Phlegethon in
the stream of it. As, when we see a proud, high summer heaven
of white and blue plunged in a shadowy pool, the shadows and
the very act of looking down give the true image a sadness: in
that way the song was charged, and I rejoiced as I moved and
broke up the sleeping beams and shadows in my room.

    Then, for a little while, we sat in a room that was near to
the orchard; and beyond the orchard was a barn. We could not
talk, and I went out to the barn and found that a lattice window
concealed me and yet allowed me to look at him. I could see
also the valley and the hills; hundreds of oaks; a river that
swayed its irises; a grey, distant, unreal house that wanted my
fancy to people it: but I knew not what they meant, and they
were as things mentioned in a dull book, until my curving glance
fell again upon Philaster, and then all were harmonized. In every
wood and hollow we passed that day he strengthened the natural
spell, and he seemed to stand to them as the artist’s name in the
corner to a picture. A completeness of vitality in limbs and
brains and senses gave him an importance in his surroundings
of cloud and hill and river, and a relation to them, such as may
perhaps be discovered in all men by archangelic, in few by mortal,
eyes. Never have I seen or read or dreamed of a man who was
so at one with all things. Seing him, I believed that sun and
moon and stars and sea and trees and beasts and flowers were all

one commonwealth. That this is so I have always known, but the
knowledge mattered not until I saw Philaster. All that he was,
all that he did, I believe, was related to all other things. He de-
pended on the great oaks we passed, and they on him, for some-
thing of their life….

    Yet when I saw him last, as was my fortune—a clean skele-
ton, which ants traversed in their business, among fir and bracken
and earth embossed with moss like moles—he was not less in
harmony with all things than before, while a dead leaf wandered
past the moon, and the branchwork of a solitary hemlock stood
mightily up and wrote upon the pale blue sky a legend which said
that October had come and denied April and May and June.

                                                              EDWARD THOMAS

Otho and Poppaea

                              (From an unfinished play.)

        SCENE: The Gardens of Agrippina in the Vatican.

Otho.  A word, Poppaea!

Pop.             I will speak with you
          If you will speak for kindness; but your brows
          Are sick and stormy: why do you frown on me?
          I will not speak unless it is for love.

Otho.  Nothing but love, Poppaea; nothing less.

Pop.  Then sit by me and take my hand, and tell me
          Why you are sick and stormy and unkind
          For nothing less than love.

Otho.             If I should sit
          So near you as to touch you; (she comes near him) no,
            this once
          I will not touch you, and this once I will
          Speak to the end.

Pop.   (sitting down) Why, stand then, and so far,
          And come no nearer, and by all the gods
          Speak, and if you would have it be the end,
          You are the master here, not I.

Otho.             Alas,
          I fear the end is over. Yet, if once,
          As I thought once, you loved me, if you keep
          So much remembrance as to have not forgot
          How, when, how much, I loved you, tell me now
          What you would have me do.

Pop.             You love me still?

Otho.  Still.

Pop.             And no less than when you coveted,
          My husband’s wife, and still no less than when
          You heated Caesar, praising me?

Otho.             No Less?
          No more, Poppaea?

Pop.             There was a time once,
          You loved me lightly; there was a time once
          You taught me to love lightly; and a time
          Before that time, if you had loved me then
          I had not loved you lightly, Otho. Now

          I have learned your lesson, and I ask of you
          No more than what you taught me.

Otho.             Miserable,
          And a blind fool, and deadly to myself,
          I have undone my life; it is I who ask
          What you have taught me; for I cannot live
          Without that constant poison of your love
          That you have drugged me with, and withered me
          Into a craving fever. There is a death
          More cruel in your arms than in the grave,
          More exquisite than many tortures, more
          An ecstasy than agony, more quick
          With vital pangs than life is. If I must,
          Bid me begone, and let go and die.

Pop.  There is no man I would not rather know
          Alive to love me. What have I done to you,
          Otho, that you should cry against me thus?

Otho.  I will ask Nero: you I will not ask.

Pop.  Otho, I hold your hand with both my hands,
          Look in my face, and read there if I lie;
          But I will love you, Otho, if you will.

Otho.  I hold your hands, I look into your eyes,
          There is no truth in them; they laugh with pride
          And to be mistress of the souls of men.

Pop.  I will not let you go unless you swear,
          That you believe me; tell me, it is true,
          Nothing but the truth, and do you really love
          Nothing but me?

Otho.             There is not in the world
          Anything kind or cruel, anything
          Worth the remembering, else: but you are false,
          False for a crown, and you are Cressida
          False for the sake of flaseness.

Pop.             On my life,
          I love you, and will not let you go.
          The crown makes not the Cæsar; have I not found
          More than a kingdom here? Take this poor kiss,
          And this, and this, for tribute.

                                       Otho and Poppaea

Otho.             Either the Gods
          Have sent some madness on me, or I live
          For the first time in my life.

Nero enters quietly and comes up to Otho and Poppaea.

Nero.             My most dear friend,
          Once, being with this woman who stands here,
          (Do you remember?) you, with her good leave,
          Shut to the door upon me: I knocked then,
          Hearing your voices merry with the trick,
          And no man opened, and | went away.
          I ask now of this woman, and not now
          As Cæsar, but your rival, Otho, still,
          I bid her choose between us. Let her speak,
          And you, my Otho, listen.

Otho.           If the truth
          Live in your soul, speak now, Poppaea, now
          The last time in the world.

Nero.  (smiling) Poppaea?

Pop.  (throwing herself into his arms). Need
          Poppaea speak? Nero knows all her heart.

Nero.  Is this enough, Otho?

Otho.             Is it enough;
          Otho knows all her heart.

                                                              ARTHUR SYMONS

Customs of Publicity

    NATIONS have so scattered, so various, and so broadcast a
quality of inconsistency that it is not worth while to re-
proach them for that sin. Ifa man had so little conscience
of his own will, he would hardly be human enough to bear a man’s
name. But in truth none but those accustomed to think in the-
toric would require of a country the unity of feeling that proves a
man to be sane. None the less it is unintelligible that—despite all
our little English private ways, our blinds, our shrubs, our railings,
the enclosures of which we are so fond, our separate houses, our
suburbs, our resolute little solitudes at close quarters, our point-
blank seclusions, the thin screens we make haste to interpose’
where we cannot shut off the voices and the pianos; despite our
close crowds just at arm’s length, and the cramped hiding-places
that we crouch in—we should yet take a daily license with names.

    The French paper gives no such publicity to the unfortu-
nate. There is not a small malefactor, not a litigant, no citizen
subject to an ignominious accident, not a man whose affairs are
exposed inevitably to public inquisition, but the Paris paper leaves
him the privacy of his name. In the case of conspicuous assas-
sins or criminals of note, of course, it is not so. Some one must
ultimately content the general curiosity by publishing the names
of these; therefore no attempt need be made to secure to them
that possession, escheated once for all. But the others—the un-
lucky, the pauper, the bankrupt, the plaintiff, the defendant, the
accused, the acquitted, the condemned, the ridiculous, the reluc-
tantly exposed, the accidentally revealed—does the custom of the
press in France confirm in their hold upon that last right, the right
to the idle) of their names.

    Strange to say, the very word privacy is English and hardly
has a translation, yet the English custom offends and violates the
thing for which it has the exact and peculiar word, and of which it
has precise consciousness. Thus the English custom outrages
Privacy to its face—as it were in person. Nay, does not even the
exhibitor of his own portrait retain in France the dignity of a
sequestered name? The English catalogue prints names in full.
It seems that the French difference is clear enough: For dealers
with the public, published names; to those who have nothing
whatever to present before the world except the strife, the misfor-
tunes, or the errors of their intérieur, or the favour of their faces

as a painter may render it, the appropriate reserve is left. By what
strange consent is it resigned in England daily, and by those who
have nothing but confusion to undergo—rich and poor alike? The
last obscurity of mean life is not obscure enough to suppress a
name. Insignificantly disgraced, it is insignificantly given to the
world. The slums cannot bury it. Its commonness gives it no
shelter, except the slight and uncertain shelter of its multitudinous
use—so many share it. Nor is there any possible paltriness of
crime that shall be permitted to efface a name. oreover the
prosperous, the powerful, must suffer like things, by the same
general consent. Their salient names have to endure the peculiar
and unmistaken stain.

    It was Charles Kingsley who made much of that human
possession—the eternal, inalienable, and inseparable name. And
even those who have not conceived his whole idea of this sign and
proclamation of individual life and destiny, must assuredly have
felt at times the value of their names—not as known, but as un-
known. For instance, the crowd is free of your aspect; to your
walk and dress and demeanour it has a kind of Hole of sight; it
may overhear your voice and jostle you by the shoulders. But
while your name is your own secret, as you walk alone, you re-
serve the heart of your privacy. Why, then, is it to be compro-
mised by the merest chance? Ifa thief shall have your purse, all
thieves will have your name, forsooth! Or a carriage accident is
to be enough occasion for unsealing it. As for your poor brother
or sister, the “first offender,” is it not a cruel custom that makes
the name as public as the crime? A cruel custom and a useless!
The idle readers of police reports surely find their amusement in
the anecdote, and not in the name of the unhappy hero, whereas
to him and his acquaintance the name is all-important. Something
else than humane is this English habit, and it is no small indelicacy
to read the paper; you may read of the capture of a young thief,
as the Paris paper tells it, with mere initials, and your conscience be easier.

    That our national custom in this respect is of long standing,
old newspapers bear witness, but with the strangest little sign of
pudeur showing consciousness of the act of cruelty. It is this: In
a magazine of 1750 a monthly list of bankruptcies Is given, and the
title of the column is printed “B—nkr—pts.” Under this shrink-

                                    Customs of Publicity

ing and shocked head-line in its large type appear in full the bap-
tismal and family names of the whole company of the month’s
b—nkr—pts, headed_by some unhappy Eliza Hopkins or so,
rocer, say, and of Bristol. It is the sorriest show of sparing
Eliza Hopkins; nay, the thing is made worse by this lamentable
stammer, which does but add a humiliation. A frank title of
“Bankrupts” would have had all the indifference of mere business,
but the hesitation is traitorous. It is a much harder thing to have
the ill-luck of the Bristol grocery made public under this show of
forbearance and emphasis of indignity. Eliza, being an honour-
able bankrupt, must needs feel something of the reproach of the
fraudulent when she sees her condition made the subject of this
mock hide-and-seek.

    In England to-day we make no show—even so wanton a
show as was made by this mincing magazine of 1750—of sparing
anybody. Recall the case—the many cases, rather—of the late
Jane Cakebread. A few years ago there was a woman of that
name, incorrigibly drunken, in the streets of London. After a
great number of appearances in the police-courts, some reporter
thought it worth while to print her extraordinary name. Printed,
it caught the eye. The dull fact of her being haled before the
magistrates acquired by repetition a cumulative interest: her re-
plies began to be reported. Soon the paragraph-writer in the
cleverer papers, vain of what he called an “unmoral” view of men
and things (he did but make one more mongrel word by his Teu-
tonic particle, and he altered the meaning of the supplanted Latin
negative less perhaps than he thought), began to follow her with a
bantering applause; she was old, she was courageous; her name
considered, she was unique; she might surely be allowed to enjoy
herself in her own way, whilst Fleet Street looked on amused.
Tolerance—that was the word, tolerance and humour. When the
unfortunate was gathered finally into a lunatic asylum, and died
there confessedly insane, the humourists had less to say. In Paris
Jane Cakebread would have been Mme C. What a loss such a
suppression would have been to the inexplicable gaiety of our
single nation! Her career, her convictions, her indomitable vice,
her cheerfulness—all would have been little without her name.
Ah, it is we who are the “lively neighbours”! The Parisians
would have taken Jane Cakebread so seriously as to hide her, to

waste her with an initial! That very name which to our papers
was precious is that which they would have had the gravity to re-
spect. Tell us no more of the gaiety of France. There is not a
journalist in London but was more gay than that.

So useful a purpose, I am told, is served by this universal
publicity that my wonder is thrown away. Business, for example,
is safeguarded by the proclamation of the failure at Bristol. So
be it; but would it be too much to ask for some discrimination?
What is safeguarded by the publication of the names of suicides?
Now and then an effort, forlorn enough, is made by family and
friends to keep some hold upon their own secrets; but they are
De obliged to yield them, unto the uttermost fact. Granted
that the story has to be told, and that the courts have to be open,
is it necessary to print and placard the name? It is the name, the
mere name, that one might plead for. Other countries find no
such necessity. Then comes the almost crushing rejoinder that
other countries do keep judicial and official secrets, and with what
consequences to-day in France—with what consequences! But
none the less should it be possible to have the affairs of private
life—made public by the anomaly of violence—opened by the pro-
cesses of the law in all their history, but closed from the mere
reader as regards this one possession of the unfortunate, their
names. Is it not the possession even of the dead—their only
right? There might be less of this futile, desperate, and always
defeated attempt to keep hidden the history of a suicide, but for
the knowledge that if the facts are given to the world, so also will
be the name, and that from this strong custom of a country there
is no escape.

Paris, in a word, prints in full the name of the critic and the
reviewer, and hides the name of Jane Cakebread, and hides the
name—in which there is no amusement, none—of the man who
yesterday breathed the vapour of charcoal in. his room. London,
on the contrary, generally veils the name of its dramatic critics;
but it prints the unnecessary names of those who had no desire
but to vanish. It prints the names the printing of which—adding
much to the confusion on one side, the helpless side—adds little
or nothing to the idle pleasure on the other, the pleasure of an
idle reader. For, seeing that the names of criminals, of suicides,
of parties in an amusing lawsuit, of the respondent and the co-

                                    Customs of Publicity

respondent, are, except to one reader out of thousands, the names
of strangers, the idlest reader would lose nothing of his pastime if
the infamous were allowed to be the anonymous. Nay, theirs are
names that, even published, will be soon forgotten. They have
seldom the charm of the name of a Jane Cakebread, and they are
published to please the briefest curiosity on the part of the world,
and to inflict a long dismay upon the already wounded.

                                                              ALICE MEYNELL

At Twilight


    CLOSE thine eyes, O close thine eyes, my charming dove,
        O close thine eyes, thine eyes so large, thine eyes so kind,
        And gently lean thy breast upon my breast, and wind
    Around thy golden dreams, thy robe of satin, Love.

    ‘Tis growing late; the sun is low; the shades increase,
        The gentle night that loves all lovers comes to us,
        So softly, softly sleep and linger dreaming thus,
    And I will guard thy flocks of dreams, upon my knees.

    And thou wilt sleep beneath mine eyes, reclining there;
    Already gentle zephyrs steal within the air,
        And shining stars of love are moving in the skies.

    Bye on! Sleep on! untiring I will watch thy sleep,
    For long, for long, and see the golden dreams that creep
        Quietly o’er thy moonlit face, with loving eyes.

                                                              MAURICE JOY

The Last Journey

ON a summer night, in the year of grace nineteen hundred
and four, in the age of motor-cars and halfpenny papers,
of the Salvation Army and the writings of Professor
Metchnikoff, a woman proved to her own, if not to her neigh-
bours’, satisfaction that wonders have not ceased, that enchant-
ments still obtain, that the magic of ancient days is still true magic,
and that a country stranger dan any mentioned by travellers in
Fairyland, is close at hand, lies just beyond the world of every
day, can be reached easily from Piccadilly. For she drove there
on the top of an omnibus.

    She thought it would never come, as she stood what seemed
an interminable time, near Piccadilly Circus. Omnibus after omni-
bus passed, but never the one for which she waited.

    “Here it is,” exclaimed someone behind her when her
weariness had grown almost insupportable; “it’s the last.”

    Cecilia noticed vaguely, as it came swinging up, that the
horses were white, and with more distinctness that there was just
one seat vacant immediately behind the driver. She hurried up
the steps, and sank into it with a sigh of exhaustion.

    A moment’s pause, and then with a jerk and a straining of
harness the horses started.

    She glanced round her appreciatively as they began to move.

    The Circus was very wonderful with its thousand lights.
A yellow flood streamed from the Criterion. Great silver globes
hung against the front of the Pavilion opposite. Silver globes
swung in the darkness of all the radiating streets and thorough-
fares. Some of the lamps burnt with a pinkish lilac flame, others
with gold, some with a hard white radiance. Everywhere the dark-
ness was stained, flooded, streaked with light, or spotted with
points of colour. It was beautiful; more beautiful than usual,
surely. “Oram I seeing it better this evening?” she wondered.

    Her eyes were so dazzled that it was not till the omnibus
had crossed the Circus, that Cecilia first noticed the loveliness of
the night. The strip of sky overhead ran, a river of moonlit blue,
between the houses, deep, soft, infinitely mysterious. It was,
I think, just then that the magic began to work. London was a
fairy city The sudden realization of its beauty left her breathless.

    For weeks, of late, a misery, gnawing, insistent, relentless,
had wrapped her round, obscuring the blue sky, blotting out the


sun. Now, as though a winding-sheet had fallen, it dropped
suddenly away, leaving her an exquisite freedom, an exquisite
sense of response to the long unheeded appeal of the senses.

    They were passing St James’s Street at the moment, and at
the end of the avenue she had a moment’s vision of the clock
tower, dark against a sky suffused with moonlight. She saw the
long chain of silvery globes, like beads on a necklace, broken off
at the Palace walls, and noticed the confused network of jewels
beneath the high-swung chain—jewels of rose and purple and
emerald where the hansoms stood, some in ranks, some slowly
moving. Now the line of shops and houses on the left of Picca-
dilly ended, and Green Park, half veiled in summer mist, stretched
away to dim shadowy distances. For a moment she thought
dreamily that beyond the nearest fringe of trees lay, the sea. All
the star-like gleams studding its immensity were lights at the
prows of distant ships, sailing on through the night over a waste
of soft, dark water. The momentary illusion was so complete
that she heard the faint splash of the waves. As a louder one
broke upon the shore of Piccadilly, she started, and with an effort
pulled herself together.

    And yet, would it be so strange after all, since to-night
London was a magic city? What a city of lights! And how the
lights varied in colour, in tone of radiance, in character, as though
the spirits which haunt the night had each chosen one for its own
visible embodiment.

    Swung high above the rest, some embowered in overhang-
ing branches of plane trees, the great incandescent globes shone
with a radiance as of milky pearls. Cecilia noticed with a thrill of
pleasure how these turned the tree depths into which they plunged
their beams, to caverns of uncanny green fire. Beneath them—a
lower carcanet of jewels, dipping down the hill, and again rising —
other lamps glowed golden as topazes; and lower still, nearer the
ground, like flowers springing from some witch’s garden, flecks of
emerald, of crimson, of deep violet, showed where the hansoms
waited outside the clubs.

    The horses’ hoofs on the road made a rhythmic music, a
framework into which Cecilia’s half-formed thoughts fitted like
designs in colour. She was dreamily content. She had given
herself up to the delicious sensation, keen, yet voluptuous, of

                                    The Last Journey

mental excitement, combined with a bodily lassitude so complete
that the thought of ever moving again seemed a ridiculous im-

    London was a city of magic lights, through which, under the
spell of some enchantment, she found herself driving, without
thought for the past, without care for the future.

    A city of lights! And therefore a city of shadows. She
began to notice these shadows; idly at first, and then with growing
wonder at their beauty.

    Beneath the silver moon of each incandescent globe there
was awonderful circle of shadow, orrather an infinite number of con-
centric shadows, faint, elusive, like the very ghosts of shade. And
these gigantic yet faint shadow-circles, one within the other, like
the rings which, in still water, spread on the dropping of a pebble,
these shadows were ever moving and swaying like phantom cages
to imprison intangible things. Cecilia watched them fascinated,
and then her eyes were drawn to the tree shadows. Every tree
which held a lamp to its green breast had dropped a gigantic
etching of itself upon the ground. Plane leaves of enormous size
danced a shadow-dance upon the blanched pavement, and swayed
and undulated like the giant circles.

    Then there were the shadows of the people on the omnibus,
her own among them, ever gliding swiftly past and disappearing
ahead; shadows always springing afresh, always racing past along
the pavement, and—disappearing. “I wonder where they go?”
Cecilia found herself thinking with curiosity. And again she
pulled herself up with a half smile to realize that for the moment
her wonder had been genuine.

    It was a strangely silent company that shared her ride
through the lamp-lit street. The top of the omnibus was crowded
she knew, but only once, and that just as it was starting, had she
heard any one speak. She recalled the words:

    “Where does this go?” a woman’s voice had asked.

    “To the World’s End,” someone had replied.

    Cecilia’s vagrant attention had been arrested for a moment
by the name, till in a half-amused fashion she remembered it was
that of a public house.

    There had been a long silence, and then the woman’s voice
had spoken again.

     “Can I get down before that?” Cecilia suddenly recalled
the tone of the voice, timid, hesitating, full of a painful entreaty.

    “If you please.” The little dialogue sprang afresh to her
mind, and stirred it to a curiosity she had not at the time ex-

    She found herself wondering about the woman to whom
that pathetic voice belonged, and still more about the individual
who in such a tone of complete detachment had replied. He was
something of a brute, she reflected. At any rate the woman was
afraid of him. A momentary desire to glance back and look
came and passed. It would involve a slight exertion, and she was
too comfortable to move. Instead she glanced at her left-hand
neighbour, the occupant of the same seat, and saw that he was
sitting with downbent head, and coat so pulled up round his throat
that she could not see his face. His attitude of dejection struck
her with a momentary pity, but her own sense of bien-étre was too
absorbing for the emotion to be more than transitory. The night
air flowed round her in waves soft and delicious as the swirl of
warm water. The moonlit sky stooped to her with brooding kind-
ness, the lights shone in the empty streets, and the innumerable
shadows, a silent bodyguard, leapt and danced, and raced beside
her. On and on, while Cecilia, like a lotus-eater, dreamed exqui-
sitely, and prayed that this swift flying through the summer night
might be indefinitely prolonged.

    She was roused gradually by the sense of silence in the echo-
ing streets. Was it very late, she wondered? Yes. It must be.
She remembered that, as she stood waiting for the omnibus, some
one had said, “Here it is. The last one.”

    Evidently it was the last one. There were no others in the
deserted streets. She looked about her. There were no cabs
either. And—with a start she realized it—there were no people.

    Was it so late as that, then? Were all the people within
these still rows of houses, between which the lamps burnt steadily,
unwearyingly in the emptiness?

    For a moment she wondered how she should get back.

    Only for a moment, for she did not want to think of moving. But
it was very quiet. This reflection came after another spell of
dreaming, from which this time she waked with a start to wonder
what part of London they had reached. She did not know these

                                    The Last Journey

wide, white streets, so wide that the houses on either side looked
remote and dim, uncertain shapes, rather than houses. But in the
broad road the shadows had room to play. They raced madly.
Shadows from the lamp-posts, shadows from the opposite houses,
the shadow of the omnibus which spread half across the white
road, shadows of the people on the top—

    Cecilia started violently. What had become of all their
shadows? There were only two now, her own and another
one, the shadow of a woman whose hands covered her face,
who was leaning forward in an attitude of weeping.

    She turned her eyes hurriedly to look at her left-hand
neighbour. He was gone. Before she had recovered from the
slight shock of this discovery, a long sobbing sigh broke the
quiet. At the same moment the shadow of the weeping woman
lengthened, moved backwards, and disappeared, as she herself
presumably descended the steps. The omnibus did not stop;
it merely slackened a trifle in its speed, and though Cecilia
leant over the rail next her, moved ce a pitying curiosity, no
one alighted.

    Then, for the first time, she forced herself to turn round.
All the seats were empty. “When did they get down?” she asked
herself in amazement. “I don’t believe we have stopped once for
hours and hours—” And then once more she pulled herself
up. Hours and hours? How could that be? One never drove
for hours on any omnibus. And yet it seemed more like days than
hours since they started—days, or rather nights, long, long nights,
full of light, and full of shadow.

    Suddenly, with disconcerting abruptness, the omnibus
stopped. The unexpected pause arrested the tide of her con-
fused thoughts, and a voice, clear and incisive, startled her as
it cut the stillness.

    “The World’s End,” it called, and again Cecilia felt sur-
prise, for it was a strange voice for a conductor: deep, solemn
even, and so close that she expected, when she looked over her
shoulder, to find the speaker at her elbow. There was no one
there, and when, still surprised, she turned back again, she
saw that a white mist was gathering in the street at some dis-
tance ahead.

    She watched it as it deepened and, with an effect curious

and beautiful, swept slowly in her direction. Every moment the
moonlit vapour grew denser and more white, till now billowy
waves of it, like great summer clouds, came rolling along the
street. It was such a strange, unusual sight that she half bent
forward as though to utter some exclamation to the driver—and
refrained. Sitting with head bent almost upon his breast, his
light loose coat, nearly white in the moonlight, pulled in folds
about him, he seemed so unapproachable that Cecilia doubted
whether he would answer. He was probably half asleep. No
wonder; it was so late, and he had been driving so long. She
wondered idly why they did not go on. They must soon be at
the end of the journey, and from the first she had meant to go as
far as the omnibus would take her.

    “The World’s End,” repeated the conductor’s voice
once more.

    Another long pause, while Cecilia sat still and watched the
strange white etedds. which had stopped advancing, and now re-
mained swaying and billowing a few paces ahead. From the
ground along which their skirts trailed, they rose to a great
height, but above them the sky was still radiantly suffused with
moonlight. Cecilia glanced back. The wide street was in that
direction quite clear, the lamps stretching in a never-ending chain
back, back as far as the eye could reach; the shadows printed
black on the empty road and deserted pavements.

    “The World’s End.” This stage of the journey had been
called three times, Cecilia reflected, still waiting with impatience
now for the moment of starting. She was anxious, with some-
thing of a childish feeling of anticipated mystery, half real, half
pretence, to drive through the wall of mist—to get inside the

    At last! The driver sat suddenly upright, the horses at
the touch of the whip started forward; they were off! In
another moment they had reached the cloudy rampart, had
dashed through it and were speeding on, cleaving a lane
through the mist, as the prow of a boat cleaves a lane through
the water.

    On either hand, in great masses soft as carded wool, the
cloud walls towered, white, spectral, gigantic, shutting out all the
world behind them. Cecilia glanced from side to side amazed.

                                    The Last Journey

This was really wonderful. It recalled her childish longing to
lay among the piled-up summer clouds in the blue fields of sky.
It was a fairy tale—come true, she thought, in the first moment of
delighted wonder—before she noticed the shadows. How did
they come here? There were hundreds, thousands of them, all
racing past on the skirts of the cloud mountains! For a moment
she watched them, dazed, confused with the swiftness of their
flight, with their innumerability, as they followed in endless suc-
cession on one another’s heels. Then with a thrill of some violent
unclassified emotion she made a discovery. They were going the
wrong way.
They were coming fowards her, flying past her, back,
back to where in imagination she could see the lamps stretching
in a jewel-studded chain, back to the world of people, of houses,
of theatres, of business, of a thousand trivial preoccupations. She
had lost the end of that chain. It was gone; shut out by a ram-
part of clouds. She fell to watching the shadows intently. Their
procession reminded her of a toy she had possessed as a child.
Was it called the Wheel of Life? At any rate the plaything was
lighted by a candle, and, round the white circle which the light
enclosed, phantom shapes raced endlessly. She remembered how
she had laughed to see them flying past. Here were the phantom
shapes again, but now she did not laugh. For these were all grief-
stricken shapes, these phantom men and women and children.
There were many children. They came weeping, terrified,
shivering; some of them—and then Cecilia covered her own
—with despair in their eyes. For, as she looked, the shapes
took tangible form; frail and ghostly form indeed, yet actual
shape of human beings, all stricken with one malady in many

    “Where do their joys go?” thought Cecilia, as she bent
her head low. “This is the country of their griefs.”

    When she raised herself again, there was a new shadow
thrown upon the cloud mountains, a shadow of gigantic wings,
rising and falling upon their white background as they winnowed
the air; and between them fell the shadow of a hooded figure,
with reins tight-gathered in one hand.

    The wings sweeping onwards made a mighty arch, from
beneath which came all the shadows as they fled past.

    On and on they drove, and still the shadows came, innumer-

able as the sand on the sea-shore, as the waves of the sea, as the
leaves of a forest.

    On and on, and suddenly she held her breath, for a face
she knew, came flying towards her. It was her own face as a
child. Swiftly the little form glided past. In its arms it held
a tiny creature, a kitten perhaps, over which it bent sobbing.
Cecilia remembered. Then the ghostly shape grew a little older,
and now Cecilia sat with clenched hands. And presently she
covered her face, for these were griefs of yesterday, and she dared
not look.

    And still, in the ravine between the glimmering cloud-
mountains, under the moon-lit sky, issuing from beneath the
colossal wings as from a portal, without pause, ceaselessly, for
ever, weeping, sullen, writhing, leaping, grotesque in the contor-
tions of their grief, came the shadows. “It is a danse-macabre,”
thought Cecilia. “A dance of dead hopes, dead loves, dead joys,
and ever-living pain. Why am I here? What place is this?
Who drives?”

    And then thought faded, effaced by the increasing speed, as
she was whirled under the moonlit sky, between the spectral
clouds, on, on, till time also faded, and she was conscious only
that the shadows never for one moment ceased to pour from be-
neath the greater shadow of the out-spread wings.

    At last, with a suddenness which set the blood surging in her
veins, and her pulses sounding in her ears like the ringing of a
thousand bells—as though the driver had pulled up on the edge
of a precipice—there came a sudden full stop. There was a film
over Cecilia’s eyes, but when it cleared she saw that it was even
so. An abyss infinite, profound, lay before her; a mighty sea of
blue air skirted by the clouds through which she had come. To
right and left, as far as sight could reach, clouds ringed the abyss,
billowing, surging. She noticed how, at the edge of whatever was
the platform they covered, masses of vapour now and then broke
away, swirled a little like smoke in the blue immensity, and like
a puff of smoke disappeared. Everywhere the gulf was sown
with stars. They shone with a liquid radiance as though through
deep water: Cecilia did not know whether they were shining deep
in the gulf, or overhead in the night sky. There was no above
or below; it was all an ocean of dark blue air. She had never

                                    The Last Journey

known till now what silence was. It covered her consciousness
like a velvet-soft canopy, shutting out every thought, every mental
image but that of star-filled immensity. Silence, the everlasting
stars, and a peace so profound that Cecilia closed her eyes, unable
to realize the quiet that spread over her heart as a wave spreads
over the sand on the sea-shore.

    When she opened them, the driver was stooping forward to
let the reins fall softly on the horses’ necks. Cecilia saw with-
out surprise the mighty white wings which sprang from their
shoulders. She saw them, but her whole attention was rivetted
on their driver who was rising slowly from his seat. Cecilia
caught her breath as she noticed the majesty of his figure against
the sky. It blotted out the stars. And when at last he faced her,
her heart stopped beating.

    Only for a moment: then, in the silence, she heard it thud-
ding like the tones of a deep bell. For an immeasurable time she
sat with uplifted face, looking into his. There was no word, The
profound silence remained unbroken, but gradually Cecilia under-
stood. Even now she was free to return. She had come far,
further than any of the others had dared. But she was still free.
Before her was the great leap. Behind, the roar of Piccadilly, the
shops, the theatres, the pointless talk, the fever and the fret, the
dressing, the dining—all the great cage. To it, like homing birds,
all the shadows were hastening, not one of them lost; all of them
ready at some moment to confront man, woman and child. The
beating of Cecilia’s heart grew quieter. Her unwavering glance
more trustful. Als Freund? she whispered with a half smile.
There was no reply. She looked at the steady stars, let her glance
travel as far as sight could reach, through plains of air; felt the
silence and the calm, and bowed her head. With a fine gesture
the driver turned, gathered the reins tight, and after one breath-
less moment, took the plunge.

    There was a foolish, sensational tale in the papers next
morning. A tale which for quite three days was discussed at
tea-parties by eager, shocked, excited or curious men and women.

    Cecilia could have told them a stranger story.

                                                              NETTA SYRETT

A Face in the Street

            MEETING her, for unassuméd pride,
            For irreproachable beauty, for calm health,
            Thought I saw Cleopatra live again;
            She was not naked but was clothed as one
            On whom a robe is needless for defence
            And vain if for adornment, wholly vain.
            Live in her eyes there shone delight in men,
            Though nothing that sought friendship of a soul;
            But as a child that gazes on a lion,
            Being brave of heart, she gazed on handsome men;
            And as a princely child disdains to snatch
            Though it have appetite, she without greed
            Surveyed each stalwart form with those grand eyes
            Whose estimate of Antony and Cæsar
            Has since received endorsement from the world:
            They looked assured that history would yield
            That echo of their judgment, which is fame.

                                                              T. STURGE MOORE


    I HOLD that a man’s work should take colour from his surround-
ings, so writing as I do from the painting room of the—
Theatre, I start out on these meditations with a title flavouring
of their origin. ’Tis noon, and the air is laden with the peculiarly
horrible smell of burnt size that Tommy, in a moment of absent-
mindedness, has allowed to boil over on to the stove. Before me
is my morning’s work, the apparently hopeless mess that distemper
painting always looks when it is half wet and half dry. There is
nothing to be done for the moment but hope for luck in the dry-
ing, and it is clearly the time to turn to a pile of sandwiches at my
elbow and, like an honest British workman, take my dinner as a
right. There is a charm about this informal feeding in front of
one’s work, like that of looking out on the storm from a sheltered
anchorage, and for myself I shall always prefer it to the more pro-
tracted repasts of the upper-class Englishman, to whom by a slip
of spelling dinner has come to be a rite, a stately ceremonial, dig-
nified and slow, to which coffee is a kind of “Lord, now lettest
Thou Thy servant depart in peace.” Yet on us also who eat sand-
wiches without such benediction descends the after-dinner calm,
and it is in this mood, my dear Baillie, that I call to mind my
promise to send you a bundle of the meditations, bitter or sweet,
of a poor artist condemned by the impecuniosity appropriate to
his profession to remain in town during August.

    Wrapt in a digestive peace I now perceive that all is for the
best. “Hath not old custom (and long drainage) made this town
more sweet” than the average village in Normandy? “Are not
these courts more free from peril than the rheumatic woods?”
Above all, are not one’s thoughts freer to roam when one is sur-
rounded by the type of scenery that one is so accustomed to as to
have quite left off seeing it? “Travelling lulls the imagination to
sleep, and by the clumsy device of carting the spectator about
bodily (a device discarded in the theatrical world for many cen-
turies) achieves at best but the hollow pretence of a change of
scene: for after all, go where you will it is the habitual surround-
ings of your past life that dictate what you shall see. Take
my own case, for example. The public building with which
I was most intimately associated for the longest period of my
youth is probably Chalk Farm station. When I try to call to
mind the style or decoration or structure of this monument I fail

completely: passing it by I simply do not see it. None the less
does it enter in a subconscious fashion into everything I see and
paint. For observe that all other buildings having similar charac-
teristics have a share in this, on the whole, happy oblivion, and it
will be just the qualities “complementary,” so to speak, of the
Chalk Farm station qualities that will appeal to me, and that I
shall express in art to the best of my ability. IfI should travel in
Italy, Spain or Kamschatka, the one constant quality in my work,
the personal factor that art critics assure us is alone valuable, would
be the shadow, dimly felt, but gigantic and ever present, of Chalk
Farm station.

    The appetite for travel would seem, therefore, to have its
origin in mere shallow craving for variety, the result, probably, of
that ill-regulated dramatic instinct that troubles all of us who pos-
sess any vitality. Tommy, the labourer who grinds our colours
and boils (so noticeably) our size in this painting room, possesses
this instinct in most robust quality, and is universally beloved for
his untiring efforts towards doing something to break the mono-
tony of existence. He loves to carry a rude message. Sent just
now to borrow a straight-edge from one of my confréres, he comes
back to me beaming with delight. “Mr X, he says, sir, you may
go to blazes, sir, but you have to wait till he’s finished wiv it.”
Now no doubt something to this effect was said in the heat of
artistic creation, but it is equally certain that Mr X, the politest of
men, never intended it to be repeated to me; it is a clear case of
that appetite for dramatic events that, could we but know it, is at
the bottom of almost all domestic quarrels. “Happy (perhaps) is
the woman whose history is dull”; it is very certain, though, that
her husband’s isn’t, not if she knows it. Think of a wife conscious
of latent dramatic power, who never has any better lines to say
than “My lord, the dinner waits,” or by way of variet “The din-
ner waits, my lord.” Surely it is the part of wise husbands to fur-
nish, even at the cost of a little invention, occasions for declama-
tion of more colour and volume, as “Little did I think, when you
asked me to be yours, that the day would come, etc.” An out-
break of this sort, or a scene of passionate upbraiding with the
cook, gives to a woman’s life that pleasing variety that to a man is
usually supplied by outside events, like knighthood or being put
on the Black List or being made Master of his Lodge: indeed the


recent knighthood conferred on Sir Charles Holroyd was, I be-
lieve, deliberately designed by the powers that be as an alterative.
His always frail physique was giving way under the strain of liy-
ing with the Chantry pictures. The mention of knighthood leads
naturally to another aspect of this subject of “scene-shifting” to
which the essayist is adhering with so classic a constancy. I must
confess to a sense of disappointment in meeting several of my
friends recently so honoured, at finding them so very like the plain
Misters of yesterday; and I would plead that we should be vouch-
safed some physical sign, some changement de décor, to indicate
the inner and spiritual transformation. Suppose, for example, after
the accolade, a perpendicular tuft of hair should grow spontane-
ously from the middle of the head, what a beautiful corroboration
it would be of the reality of that change! What a confounding of
the scoffer! It would be like that touching law governing the be-
haviour of the hair of the female of our species which, hanging down
the back for the first fifteen years or so, manifests first a gradual
tendency to curl up at the ends, and then suddenly, with a flip, coils
up on the neck and announces to all and sundry the coming of
womanhood. When I was a little chap in knickerbockers, with a
boy’s precocious curiosity I ardently desired to witness this trans-
formation, and used to haunt the society of ladies in whom the
change was foreshadowed with as much assiduity as I could with-
out raising in their breasts hopes not destined to be realised (in
those days I had no pocket-money to speak of and strong opinions
on the wickedness of marrying on an insufficient income). Well!
never did I accomplish that desire. There was no visible transition
between the companionable girl of one day and the unapproachable
young woman of. the morrow. Here, as in all the crucial mo-
ments of our physical life, the instinct is for secrecy. It probably
occurs at night, the girl herself not knowing, except from a vague
feeling of unrest, when the thing will happen.

    I have since found reason to believe that for certain of my
elders the change was the other way, and it was the woman who
became approachable for the man that as a girl she hated. The
important point is that we neither had reason to complain of her
inconsistency; the inward change was visibly expressed. Now
more and more our powers of expressing ourselves by our ex-
ternal appearance tend to be curtailed, and I contend that many

of what we call the faults and vices of our fellows would become
harmless if we were thus duly warned of their existence. The
curse of the uniformity of male costume and carriage falls of course
with a very varying weight on different people, for the principle
of “one man one vote” has not been followed in the distribution of
individualities. On the one hand we find whole hordes of people
who have to all intents and purposes only one personality among
them, while others more fortunate or unfortunate have two or
three individualities apiece, each of which he has to take out in
turn and exercise like a man who has three horses and only one
pair of legs to bestride them, and each of which, when it is in the
ascendant, demands a special diet, different surroundings and a
different wife. This in some respects superior being, of whom the
bigamist is the typical example, is at present accused of inconsis-
tency, infidelity and the like; but I look forward confidently to the
day when, instead of tamely pleading guilty and being execrated as
a scoundrel, he will bring boldly forward the plea of dual identity.
When he does so the enlightened judge will undoubtedly recognize
this fact—that what is objectionable in the accused is—not the variety
that is charming—but the deception, and there will speedily be in-
troduced into Parliament “a Bill for the better regulation of bigamy,”
which shall permit a plurality of wives on condition that the mercu-
rial husband shall indicate his change of identity by a corresponding
change of attire, wearing now large checks, now pepper-and-salt,
and anon the suit of terra-cotta cashmere that Mr Bernard Shaw’s
heroes affect. This singularly, or rather plurally, blest individual
will then no longer be expected when he puts off his big check
suit to be faithful to his big check wife (my married friends assure
me that all wives approximate to this category). Why should he
be faithful to her on it was not he that wooed her, and she pro-
bably wouldn’t care about him? All will be peace and love.

    If this reform of male costume be not speedily carried out,
the alternative is painful to every modest man. Our clothes, de-
liberately made insignificant, monotonous and unmeaning, will
become as invisible as Chalk Farm station is to me. We shall un-
consciously train ourselves to observe nothing but the infinitesimal
variations that show the body beneath, and before that penetrating
gaze clothes will become transparent, and we shall walk the
London streets each mother’s son of us naked to every eye.


Always eager for the public good, I made a commencement of
reform the last two summers by wearing a low-necked cycling
jersey, but the other day the heinousness of my conduct was
revealed by a passage that I chanced on in a religious paper.
Describing an extreme example of the class attacked by the City
Missionary were these words: “He was idle, vicious—good for
nothing—he had never worn a collar.” This was the comble, and
yet the case of a man brought up to wear a collar who of his own
motion renounces it would seem to be even worse.

    It is unfortunate that just as my meditations are culminating
in conclusions of some value to the race, a devastating catastrophe
forces me to lay aside my pen. Tommy has got the sack, and in
the excitement of the moment has upset on the stove a whole pot
of size, of an excruciating odour, that makes the room untenable.
Holding my nose with one hand, with the other I hastily record
the sorrowful details. It was some days back that Tommy, balanc-
ing on his head a palette as big as a small dining table, as-
cended the stairs hating from the stage door just as Miss Susie
Blank, the leading lady, was coming down. They passed with beam-
ing smiles, for Tommy is a bit of a dog with women, and Susie is
not proud. Arrived at the top Tommy turned and cocked his
head with an appreciative wink. As he did so the palette—how
shall I tell it?—described a graceful curve and discharged its
sloppy contents on the glorious creature below. Enough that
Susie retired into the privacy of her rooms, where for some hours
she maintained the shrinking privacy of a damaged cruiser in a
neutral port. But she didn’t disarm. When she sallied forth it was
to fly to her most powerful admirer demanding vengeance on the
man whom she referred to with quick reversion to the idioms of
her youth and absolute disregard for accuracy as “that stinking
He painter.” My lord appealed to the manager, and the blow has

     Tommy says he doesn’t care a damn. He is, it appears,
engaged to marry a buxom widow who, moreover, owns a public
house. To her bar parlour will he retire, there to pass the
remainder of his days in dignity and intoxication: let beauty
heal the wounds that beauty has caused.

    His loss to the painting-room is irreparable. He was the
only man who really knew how to handle the straight-edge. For

think not that the only use to which a straight-edge can be put is
to rule straight lines. No, it has another and higher, so to speak
an esoteric, use. One of the principal expenses of a painting-
room is the gas, and the amount consumed is recorded inexorably
on a dial, full in view of the unfortunate scenic artist. Nowit has
been found that by tapping smartly the face of this dial with some
flat instrument, e.g., a straight-edge, the fingers may be made to
fly backwards to the great economy of gas. In this act Tommy
had a touch that was unique, and with the enthusiasm of the
artist he gave the thing vich a whack last week that the fingers
spun back and registered a much less consumption of gas than
last time the inspector called. We’ve been burning gas night and
day ever since to make up the deficit.

    My painting after the manner of distemper has “dried out
beautiful.” It is not what I meant, but so much better that I
mask my surprise.


Via Vita Veritas

            WE watch the bud in spring, inclining ear
            To hear the young leaf lisping in the sheath;
            We count the shimmering moments, underneath
            The shadow of the summer’s fluttering gear;
            Our labour care, lest blight or blast should sear
            Or shake our fragrant, petal-precious wreath;
            Till the hour come in which we would bequeath
            The leaf that hangs the last, of all most dear.

            O Life, when there is nought betwixt Thy cross
            And client, save Thy blood and deathly sweat,
            Then sink the good, the ills; the gain, the loss;
            Occasion or excuse to joy or grieve;
            Fall all the leaves of life without regret;
            O Way, O Truth, it is enough to live.

                                                              JOHN GRAY


The Ebony Box

THERE was nothing, to the glance of a casual observer, of
the extraordinary in Colonel Hicks’ drawing-room. Fur-
nished with that absence of discriminating and elective
taste which is the recognized indication of a sober position in the
County, it was a room in which anything of the centre, anything
of essential art or manifest beauty would have struck as false a
note as anything of exuberant vulgarity. People who are given
to self-expression at all speak as plainly by those accidents of per-
sonal temperament, furniture, pictures, books, as by the conven-
tional symbols of thought; and the drawing-room of the Hick’s
was as insignificant and common-place as their language. Just,
however, as a man whose ordinary speech is the fumbled acci-
dence of childhood, will at times, with something of the inevita-
bility of chance, break out with a passionately coloured expletive,
so the drab monotony of the drawing-room at Fairholt was inter-
rupted, with a suddenness that stung, by the ebony box. The box
itself, while beautiful in a fantastic way, was not so remarkable as
its apparent effect on the room and the occupants; it seemed, in
all circumstances, to be at once both the point of rest and the
centre of conflict. In any large gathering of people, which is not
merely the disunited clutter of ordinary gossips, the unity of the
crowd gains expression in some one central person; a man of
great reputation, or of great ability, serves as a lightning-conduc-
tor for whatever of capacity there is in the company; he attracts
and emanates, elicits and bestows with the incurious potency of
the sun. At Fairholt the position thus usually taken by a person,
was the inalienable privilege of the ebony box. This was experi-
enced by the most unimaginative of callers, whose feelings in the
matter were summed up by Miss Jenkins, whose life was a
breathless game of character-making and character-taking, when
she circulated Tommy Forbes’s mot that “If the devil was not in
Colonel Hicks’ ebony box he ought to be.”

    The presumed immanence of the devil may have accounted
for Mrs Hicks’ sentiments towards the box, sentiments that had
that mixture of fascination and repulsion which arrests the reader
of mediæval witch-trials, as the most distinct mark of feminine
diabolists. Mrs Hicks was one of those women who marry firstly
for curiosity, secondly for comfort. Domestic by temperament,
she had but an undeveloped sense of the art of housekeeping, that

elaborate capacity for selection without which domesticity dribbles
away in a passion for fidgety alteration. Mrs Hicks would change
the position of a chair not because she thought it would be better
elsewhere, nor even because she was dissatisfied with its first
place, but simply because with her a distrust of permanence was
the only sign of the capable housewife. In appearance she was
pretty without being attractive, and she dressed herself inevitably
in that shade of blue that has an unwholesome affinity for pink.
It would not be true to say that she had captured Hicks as a hus-
band; but certainly when he fell into the waters of possible matri-
mony she held his head under, a fact that Hicks took care she
should remember and regret. Hicks himself was one of those
rare men whose marriage only caused a surprise to his acquain-
tances. He was not a sufferer from misogyny, that perverse
variety of nympholepsy, but a man who could be cordial to
women without committing himself, and might treat a girl very
much as he would a favourite retriever. His marriage with a
woman of May Buchanan’s type was bound to end in some kind
of grotesque tragedy.

    That foe Hicks’ treatment of May was deliberate it would
not be just to affirm. It sprang naturally, as the flame of a candle
from a lighted match, from the contact between the two tempera-
ments; the conflict between the curiosity which a woman calls
loving interest and the conceited reserve which is the basis of the
masculine idea of honour. Their honeymoon was uneventful
enough. A honeymoon is not, as the cheap satirists would have
us believe, a time of disillusion; it is not a period in which the
lover and the beloved are stripped of singular qualities, the gift of
earlier and less intimate affection. It is rather the time in which
new delusions, equal in force though different in character, are
superadded to the old. Their honeymoon was a time in which
two comparative strangers, with no kinship of blood or of associa-
tion, constructed masks with a facial resemblance to the reality,
which they agreed, validly enough, were to be the conventional
symbols of Ralph and May. At the end of his two months’ trip on
the Continent, Ralph Hicks knew his wife by rote, not by heart;
and embittered by knowledge he led her down the way of agony
and doubt.

     One afternoon, when they had not been a month settled at

                                      The Ebony Box

Fairholt, the family estate in Somerset, to which Hicks had come
back after his return from India, Ralph interrupted some of his
wife’s purring questions with ‘One moment, dear, I want to show
you something.” He went to his library and returned with an
ebony box about the size of an ordinary writing-desk. It was
elaborately and beautifully carved; in the centre of the top was an
enamel inset with the figure of an Indian god, and around it was
scroll and leaf-work. here was no key-hole to the box, nor any
obvious method of opening it; but where the key-hole should have
been was the word Taman in English letters, and this same word
was repeated on the bottom of the box, which was otherwise per-
fectly plain.

     “What a sweet box!” said May. “We must keep it here
in the drawing-room. Where did you get it, Ralph?”

    Her husband hesitated for a moment, and then began in
that style which is the invariable prelude, made by the human
man, to something exceptionally mean.

    “May, I have always been perfectly frank with you; I have,
and desire to have, no secrets from you, except the secret of that
ebony box. I can tell you nothing as to where I got it, what it
contains or what its possession implies. It is my one secret, and
I must ask you to respect it as you trust me.” Without waiting
for curious and pathetic expostulation, Ralph then left the room,
putting the box on a table.

    The passion for knowledge is difficult to analyze; but the
normal person, one may pretty safely suppose, finds his chief
pleasure in the chase not in the capture; most of us value our ex-
perience in proportion to the difficulty of acquisition. With May
it was otherwise; she collected facts just as some people collect
stamps, and would feel it a serious grievance to be deprived of a
piece of information, however unimportant, whose existence was
matter of knowledge to her. Her husband’s abrupt disclosure of
so startling a fact as this mysterious secret left her for the moment
in a condition of huddled and impotent amazement; her next
instincts, as is always the case with the weak, were towards imme-
diate and practical action; it is only those who are afraid to be
alone with an idea who seek aid in force, physical or moral. May
flew after Ralph, and mercilessly besieged him with indignant
question and protest. To all her expostulation he replied with

repeated requests for her confidence, requests the more madden-
ing because she was totally unable to explain, what she nevertheless
felt was true, why the appeal, in this case, was entirely unjustified.

    From that afternoon the ebony box began to assume at
Fairholt the position and importance which was described at
the beginning. Most of us have had the unhappy experience of
calling at a house just after some family bereavement or domestic
quarrel. A husband and wife may sit together dry-eyed and self-
controlled, talking common politeness to some casual visitor, who
nevertheless can see, after five minutes’ intercourse, that the only
thing in their minds is a subject whose interest and importance
can be measured by their avoidance of it. At first Mr Hicks’
friends were puzzled at the new atmosphere in the house. They
all felt, as Miss Jenkins said, that “Ralph and May talk to you as
if they were away and wished that you were anywhere except
with them”; but it was some months before the curious influence,
immanent in the room like some strong scent, was tracked to its
undoubted origin, the ebony box. The method of discovery was
accidental enough. At a dinner-party when the Hicks’ still gave
dinner-parties, one of the guests, a Dr Innes, picked up the box
and said to Hicks, “This is a very beautiful piece of work;
where—,” when he was interrupted by feeling Mrs Hicks look-
ing at him. He turned and saw her, oblivious of the company,
her face fixed in a hungry appeal for knowledge, pleasurably
apprehensive of the keen pain that she hoped was coming.
ith strained eyes, parted lips and short convulsive gasps, she
strained forward anticipant of the arrival of some potent passion
that would blot her body and ruin her soul; so might the Sibyl
have looked as she neared the acme of her ecstasy, or the half-
voluntary victim of some degrading drug or bestial indulgence.
Dr Innes was only saved from anxious and indiscreet inquiries by
the swift action of Ralph Hicks, who went over to his wife and,
under the pretence of conjugal attentions, changed the look on
her face into one of sheer and submissive terror. In similar cir-
cumstances, other events conspired to help Hicks in the game of
torture that he had now definitely, however indeliberately, entered
upon. He could no more help reacting upon his wife’s nervous
and terrified curiosity than the wall can Kale returning the fives’
ball; and the hand of fate was apparently very hard on Mrs Hicks.

                                      The Ebony Box

For years they lived together, a strange man with a strange woman,
their only bond to be found in the fear the husband encouraged,
the wife indulged and the box inspired. At times, in moments of
silly optimism, Mrs Hicks would once again definitely ask her
husband to tell her about the box, giving his devil’s pride one
more opportunity of irritating the wounds, to the nursing of
which she now abandoned all the shallow intensity of which
her nature was capable. More often, however, the box was as
it were the conscious background against which they played the
drama of life. If a man could be imagined carefully conscious of
the processes of breathing or motion, it would be a slight analogy
to the manner in which the ebony box entered into the lives of
May and her husband. Every remark he uttered, still more every
sentence that he checked half-way, was connected immediately to
the secret enclosed in the box, by his wife’s desperate attempts
for initiation into the mystery. In his sleep he uttered disjointed
sentences, of sufficient coherence to spur on May’s anxiety; and
the apogee of tragi-comedy was reached when she wrote to Notes
and Queries to inquire after Indian secret societies. They practi-
cally gave up seeing any of their neighbours, who were, in truth,
not a little scared by the unnatural atmosphere of the house; and
it is small wonder that the visit of Gillingham, an old friend of
Ralph’s, who had not seen him since his marriage, should
have aggravated the severe strain under which the two had
lived so long.

    When Gillingham arrived, one afternoon in September,
there was an armistice of mere weariness between Ralph and his
wife. His friend noticed some change in Hicks since his marriage,
changes that he put down, manlike, to the suffering influences of
matrimony, even accounting in that way for the furtive ingenuity
with which Ralph invested the most ordinary remarks as though
they were fraught with interior meanings. For when two people
live alone, their minds unnaturally intent on one object of thought,
one gradually learns to put into his conversation some hint of that
mystery which the other is always suspecting. So, quite apart
from direct references to the horror of his life’s secret as contained
in the ebony box, all Ralph’s spoken words seemed so arranged
as to be centripetal, so many radii that had only meaning and im-
portance as they were related to the centre. Of what that centre

was Roger Gillingham was of course entirely ignorant at first; but
his ignorance was soon to be dissipated.

    On the second evening of his visit, Gillingham and Mrs
Hicks were waiting in the drawing-room for her husband, who
had not finished dressing for dinner. Gillingham, to pass the
time, went round the room admiring the commonplace pictures in
a commonplace, genial manner, and discoursing occasionally on
one in particular with that elaborate carefulness of language of
a man more anxious to air his artistic vocabulary than to express
his appreciation, Finally his eye fell on the ebony box, and
recognizing India in its make, he took it up to pass some local
and suitable remark on it to Mrs Hicks. When he turned to her,
however, he saw she was looking not at him but at the door; her
face, a white wedge of terror, was fixed on her husband, who
stood in the doorway, on his countenance that calculated and lust-
ful cruelty that you may mark in the debased boy who will torture
a cat. The three stood then for a moment, Hicks making no
pretence to hide the joy he felt, any more than Gillingham
attempted to disguise his amazement or May her terror; the
advent of a servant, with his formula, seemed to restore things to
a more ordinary state, and Mrs Hicks fluttered out to the dining-
room, followed by her guest.

    Lack of imagination is a great source of worry. Gilling-
ham spent a good few hours of the night trying to solve the my-
stery of the scene before dinner and the heavy gloom that shrouded
the rest of the evening. At first—for he was one of those men
who are egotists, not through conviction of their own ability, but
merely through intellectual laziness, that makes them base things
on the personality that comes first to their minds—he thought
Hicks must be jealous of his wife. He soon dismissed this idea;
characteristically enough, not because of his long friendship with
Hicks, but because of May’s unattractiveness; then he worried
through most of the causes of matrimonial differences that had
impinged on his brain from the perusal of third-class novels.
After a troubled sleep, in which he eloped with May Hicks, and
her husband with the ebony box, he awoke with a cry: “Gad!
it’s to do with that black box.” He lay in bed pondering for some
time. It was getting towards half-past six, and Gillingham, full of
his clue, did not attempt to resist the temptation to get up and

                                      The Ebony Box

inspect for himself this box which had so mysterious an effect on
his old friend and his wife. It is needless to say that when Gil-
lingham arrived in the drawing-room and picked up the ebony
box he did not gain much from its inspection. He had just turned
it upside down and was going to carry it to the window to investi-
gate more carefully, when a footstep made him turn hastily, to see
Ralph Hicks coming towards him. Gillingham dropped the box
with a bang on the floor, looking and feeling, he could not explain
why, like a school-boy caught at the jam-cupboard.

    “Morning,” began Gillingham; “interesting box, that; hope
I haven’t—”

    But Hicks interrupted with a gesture and tone that was
almost melodramatic.

    “Don’t be a damned fool, Roger. You came down to look
at that box?—(“It is the box, then,” thought Gillingham.)—Well,
that box contains the secret of my life; that part of my life which
no one shall share, neither you nor May.”

    He spoke almost as if for an audience, and Gillingham,
turning from the window, saw in the doorway Mrs Hicks, with
the same look of terror as on the night before, gazing not on her
husband nor on his friend, but at the ebony box which lay on the
floor, with the cold sunlight picking out the fantastic limbs of the
god on the cover.

    After that morning Gillingham vamped up some conven-
tional excuse, and returned to his rooms in town, leaving Fairholt
to its strange monotony of perplexing horror.

            *                        *                        *                        *

    Ralph dying.  Come at once.  He wants you. — May Hicks.

    That was the telegram which, some three years after-
wards, Gillingham found lying in his rooms. Not altogether un-
willing to hear a death-bed confession, as he supposed would re-
sult from his answer to the summons, he put up a few things and
started off that afternoon for Fairholt.

    He was met at the door by Mrs Hicks. “Ralph wants to
see you about the box,” she said, her passion for knowledge cheer-
ing the sorrow she felt at her husband’s illness, for a woman never
loses all affection for a man she marries. Gillingham unconsciously
drew himself up, proud at his prospective role of confidant, and

followed Mrs Hicks to the door of the bedroom, where Hicks lay
dying of pneumonia.

    “The box, Roger,” gasped Ralph.

    “Yes?” queried Gillingham, anxious and important.

     “Get it me—you, no one else; not May.”

    A sick man must be humoured; and so Gillingham went
down to the drawing-room, murmuring his errand to Mrs Hicks
on the way, as she stood, expectant, on the landing. He returned
to the bedroom with the box, and put it into the invalid’s hands,
which let it fall, nerveless, on the bed-clothes. Gillingham,
with that irrelevant logic that attacks us at moments of emotion,
thought of the bang the box made when he had dropped it on
the floor.

    “Do you want to tell me anything, old chap?” said he
to Hicks.

    “Tell, tell? No, no,” murmured the sick man. “Where are
my keys?”

    Gillingham, who had noticed the absence of any key-hole in
the box, was startled at the request, but fetched the keys from
where they hung and gave them his friend.

    “Thanks,” said Hicks; “now go.”

    “But—,” began Gillingham.

    “Don’t chatter, but go; and you too,” he cried, turning to
the nurse. She nodded to Gillingham, and they left the sick man
to his secret in the close air of the room.

    Outside the door Mrs Hicks was still standing; she did not
attempt to disguise the fact that she had listened to all that passed
in the room. For minutes, that dragged like hours, she and
Gillingham stood side by side, waiting. On the staircase was a
cuckoo-clock, and the bird came out five minutes before the hour.
As it sounded its absurd note, Mrs Hicks said to Gillingham:
“The clock went wrong three weeks ago.”

    Just then came a cry from the room, baffled; then a loud
shout, “Not my wife, not my wife”; and then silence. Gillingham
fumbled for a few moments nervously, and then, full of his re-
sponsibility, went into the room. Ralph Hicks lay dead, with the
ebony box clasped in his arms.

    The next morning Mrs Hicks babbled to Gillingham the
story of her married life. It left him as unenlightened as

                                      The Ebony Box

before; and his practical sense propounded the immediate so-

    “Mrs Hicks, the box must be opened.”

    That afternoon, in the presence of the doctor, the vicar and
Hicks’ solicitor, the ebony box was solemnly smashed open. It
was perfectly empty.

     To us who read the story now the explanation is not diffi-
cult. Ralph’s treatment of his wife was simply a punishment,
begun perhaps in fun, of her inordinate curiosity. The box, of
course, never contained anything, nor had his life any mysterious
secrets. In time Hicks himself got obsessed by the idea of the box,
and his obsession was encouraged by the craven panic of his wife.
And so the game begun so lightly ended in grim horror. But Mrs
Hicks will never be content with the simple, true solution of the
problem; she still believes firmly in some mysterious secret, and
has even begun a course of study in Indian sociology in order to
probe it. It seems likely that, as she acquires fresh information of
this new kind, she will dose the terror that originally inspired the
secret; and so her natural stupidity may yet be victorious over the
ingenuity which played upon it so long and so mercilessly.

                                                              R. ELLIS ROBERTS

The Mystery of Time


                                  PAST.            PRESENT.            FUTURE

THE PRESENT is seated on a throne a man in the prime of life, his eyes closed.
He is sitting rigidly as if in a trance. He is dressed in white.

THE PAST, an old man in black with a skull cap: of a grotesque appearance and
voice. He is guarding the door on the Present’s left.

THE FUTURE, a beautiful boy in a dress of the colour of the dawn with an irrides-
cent cloak of gossamer. He is on the right guarding another door.

THE PAST and FUTURE look at each other cautiously, nod, and creep quietly across
the stage; they meet to the left front of the throne and talk as if they were
afraid of being overheard.

        Future.  What will come of it, do you think?

        Past.  There is danger for us: I’ve always found it most

        Future.  How is that?

        Past. (in the piping voice of the old).  I am sorry to tell you, my
amiable young friend, that in my experience, when our master sits
too long upon that throne which he calls The Place of Truth—it is
very grievous—but I am obliged to confess that we are apt to be-
come totally extinct.

        Future.  But I will not, I will not fade and fade until I die.
(Past shrugs his shoulders). How can we resist? Surely you can
think of something to do?

        Past (slowly).  All we can do is to try and break in upon
his reverie.

        Future.  Go on! go on!

         Past.  I have tried my utmost.

        Future.  Try again.

        Past.  I have tried all ways.

         Future.  But why are you so powerless?

        Past.  Look. I will tell you our secret. The truth is, you
and I have no Reality. We are ever-changing phantoms.

        Future.  And Reality is a treasure that he, our master, holds?

        Past.  Yes, but he does not know it. He must never know
it, or we die.

        Future.  Oh, Misery!

        Past.  Unless we keep his fancy dancing to our measure,
he’ll find it out at last and we shall disappear.

        Future.  But has he never found it out before?

        Past.  Never completely. He strives after something he
calls the mystery of being for a while, and we hide ourselves and
wait until he grows a little weary of beatitude. With delicate feet
Doubt enters his mind, and we spring out once more to trouble his
ageless peace

        Future.  Where is this mighty Spirit of Doubt that I
may call her?

        Past.  Alas! we have no power to call her.

        Future.  Why not? Have we not power unlimited in every
place but this?

        Past.  Doubt is the mother of phantoms; she brought us
forth and everything we see and know sprang from her great
wonder. But we call to her in vain. She comes like the storm
at her own will.

        Future.  Oh, see how fixed in trance he is!

        Past.  Firm as the loadstone of the world.

        Future (seized with the cramp).  Oh! oh! I feel myself drawn
to his feet. Agony! agony! Save me! save me!

        Past.  Alas! alas! I have tried all my magic; my wisdom
and my arts are nothing to him.

        Future.  You must do something or I shall die and you’ll
die too, old dotard—don’’t forget yourself.

        Past (sniggers).  No tear of that, no fear I shall forget

        Future.  Oh, all my beauty vanishes!

        Past.  I have shown him glimpses of misleading wisdom,
strange joys, forgotten mysteries. I have given him a taste of
praise, of rapture and swift movement.

        Future.  Of rapture! What do you know of rapture, poor
old fool? Leave that to me. If that will win us life, I’ll make
him feel the keen edge of joy. I’ll make him feel the honey in his
veins and the loud heartbeats that silence wisdom.

        Past.  All these are fires he has known, my hands have
scattered their ashes many times.

        Future.  O shrivelled hands, what fire have you to give? It
is not withered memory that tempts, nor aching limbs that make

                                    The Mystery of Time

men long for life (holds out his own beautiful hands). The magic
fire I give shall work new changes on him.

        Past.  Your fires will be mine before an hour has past; even
now they pass into my veins.

        Future (in a fury).  Old hog! get out of my sight. I
hate your dreary lies. I am the source of life; ‘tis you
must die.

        Past (bows mockingly).  Resplendent youth, your dreams
would die untold if it were not for me. The law is this, it is the
law of Time. And you are going where you must, and dreaming
once again the fair false dreams I wrote of ages since.

        Future.  I know your cry, “reiteration” and “recurrence,”
your “ring of Time.” But I defy it! I’ll bring him new dreams.
Titanic, Godlike dreams, dreams of power, dreams that he
moves the very pulse of earth.

         Past.  What are your dreams? My hands long since have
torn those dreams in fragments.

        Future.  He has never yet dreamed of conquering the earth,
the sea, the air.

        Past.  Poor child, you are bewildered. I tell you he has
been king of air and water and of fire itself: in the past before this
earth was battered into shape the spirit that now breathes in him
was free; it knew no power that could keep it back. The fire was
a rapture and the air a whirl of light. No solid earth shut out the
quick ecstasy of beings who are now men blinded behind a little
veil of flesh—and wondering at their helplessness.

        Future.  Strange, strange that was beyond my thought.

        Past.  You’ll think it yet when we have travelled round the
ring of time.

        Future.  Alas! alas!

        Past.  Try something simpler.

        Future.  What can I do?

        Past.  I have-love songs in my bag here; sing them
to him.

        Future.  Yes, yes, a maid.

        Past.  A cup of wine.

        Both.  These are enough.

        Past.  They’ll set him dreaming and desiring, grasping, fight-
ing, killing, raging to defend his own.

        (The Future sings some old poems in praise of love.)

        Future.  These should soon rouse him from his trance.

        Past.  Now try a Dionysian strain and praise the grape and
dance the Bacchic dance.

(They dance and sing until the Present slowly opens his eyes, and they
        return to their stations on either side of the throne.)

        Present.  What is this whirl of sense that clouds the serene
ecstasy of being, that I knew but now when I cast away the images
of thought and pierced my heart to find its secret home? (dreamily)
I stood naked in a dark and bleak eternity and filled it with my

        Past.  Master, we wait for you.

        Present.  Old man, old man, wait on; for I have known the
rapture which delights in destroying its very being. I have
scattered the broken lights of day and live in a silent place where
time and change are dumb.

        Past.  We have great feasts for you, my master, and kegs of
wine from Cyprus.

        Present.  I do not need to feast, my body is a phantom made
of thought (they shrink back shuddering). 1 will not feed it, for it
grows and creeps about me holding delight to my eyes and horror
to the deep joy that gleams within my heart. (Past weeps.) Do
not weep so, but tell me did men of old listen to their own hearts
and learn from them what nothing else could tell?

        Past.  Yes, yes, indeed, dear master, if you will but come
away from this dread place I can show you the scripts of the wisest
among them.

        Present.  Bring them here.

        Past.  1 fear there are very few I could bring here. The
Central Truth casts a bewilderment upon men’s thoughts.

        Present.  Bring what you can.

        Past.  One short passage from St Augustine (as he opens his
. Two or three from the Greeks. One poem from Persia.
One inscription from Egypt. Three sentences from Sanchara-
chaya and from the Tao—.

        Present.  Enough, enough; show me the most ancient of
them all.

                                    The Mystery of Time

        (They become absorbed on a scroll.)

        Future sings Byron’s  “We’ll go no more a-roving by the
light of the moon.”

        Past.  Hush, foolish boy.

        Future.  I would speak with our master.

        Past.  Wait then until he chooses to listen to you.

(A knock is heard at the door, guarded by the Future. He goes to it
        and looks out.)

        Future (returning).  A fair young girl, in great distress, is
asking for our master. She says he alone can help her.

        Present.  What is that you say?

        Future.  A lady, weeping, sir, says you can help her.

        Present.  What does she need?

        Future.  She has heard you have achieved the great quest
and have found the philosopher’s stone. She is saddened by
the ebb and flow of life, and seeks to know the mystery
of being.

        Present.  Tell her to search in her own heart.

        Future.  Sir, she is almost fainting at the door, and hoped
you would heal her with a touch.

        Present.  I must help all that ask me. Bring her in.

        Future.  She may not enter, sir.

        Past.  You know, sir, we may admit no one to your presence

        Present.  Then I will go to her.

        Future.  She lies like a crushed white flower at the door.

        Present.  Poor child, it is a pity she should fade so soon.
I will go to her (half rises), and yet, and yet—

        Past.  You do well to hesitate, master; will you not rather
come to the record room, and I will show you how a certain man
named Adam—

        Future.  Silence, old scandalmonger.

        Present.  Enough of this clamour; I will come with you (to

        Future.  She is a lovely lady, and will give you hours of
great joy.

        Present (stopping short).  Is that your meaning? Away,

away, both of you (casts aside the scrolls). Close the great doors
and dare to disturb my peace no more.

(He returns to his throne and seats himself as at first. Music is
        heard outside, and the Past and Future dance a kind of
        quarrel dance, the Future doing his best to prevent the Past
        from collecting his scrolls, and the Past preventing the Future
        from reaching the Present to pluck at his sleeve.)

        Future.  Why do you spoil my plot? We should have been
safe for millions of years if you had not begun your foolish story
about Adam.

        Past.  Young ragamuffin, what do I care? In any case I am
safe. My records cannot be blotted out; they are stamped upon
the stuff of life, and will recur eternally.

        Future.  Your records will go with you when our master
swallows us.

        Past.  I’m not so sure of that.

        Future.  Old monument! Can you not remember how you
told me that unless we can persuade him to rejoice in wine and
song and women, home and all the rest of it, we ourselves must
fade and fade until we die?

        Past.  The three will become one.

        Future.  When the three have become one, where are you
and I? Philosopher without wisdom, have you no common

        Past (blinking at him provokingly).  As usual, the Future has
to ask questions of the Past.

        Future (grunts). 

        Past.  After all, what does it matter? Your being continually
merges into his, and as a matter of fact I make my dinner off both
of you

        Future.  But that is all pretence; we don’t mind a little self-
sacrifice by way of pretence. But in reality! no! no! Why it’s
downright murder! Our master sleeps too well; even now his
trance approaches the state from which there is no return. I feel
it in my very bones.

        Past.  Why did you interrupt me just now when I had him
deep in the Ancients? Their inspirations can coil like serpents in

                                    The Mystery of Time

our hearts, if you had not disturbed us with your foolish wench, he
would soon have been beguiled.

        Future.  I believe in the wench. She’s a great power. What
is a bit of fine writing to us when the passions rage?

        Past.  And where would passions be if men had not fired
them with thought, and peopled them with images of joy?

        Future.  Oh words! words! They are nothing!

        Past.  A word once flashed across the bosom of the depths,
and all the stars of heaven sprang out to listen to it.

        Future.  That was because the word was full of desire for
the stars.

        Past.  Maybe; but what is a man or woman that they should
be desired? It is the dreams and images of poets and singers that
has made a mantle of sweet sounds and cast it over them so that
their passions may bring them an unearthly joy.

        Future.  Oh that I might lead her in, that he might see her

        Past.  The wild words of the singers have made you see en-
chantment in her breath, a thunder cloud in her hair. “He knows,
he knows, that she is nothing but a carcase like any other beast.

        Future.  Horrible old man, away with you! (Pursues and
batters the old fellow, who takes refuge on a high place whence he
looks down like a gargoyle.)
Oh, great master, awake, and save me
from this old devourer!

        Present.  You have but to know yourself as one with me and
death can never touch you.

        Future.  I love you, I love you, but I cannot hold your hand,
I cannot know you. I am a delight, a rapture beyond, always

        Present.  I see a strange light trembling round your hair in
tender rainbow tints.

        Future.  Oh Master, turn your terrible eyes away. They
blaze and burn up all my fancies in their light. I would not die.

        Voice outside chants with a terrible wail. I am lost, I am lost.
Thousands of years I must wander ‘mid phantoms of time.

        Future.  Listen to the cry of her you will not save. It is the
cry of the whole world. It is the cry of the unmeasured hosts of
souls. If you would go to them and rule them, the fair soul of
earth would lay her head upon your heart and hang her lovely

arms about your neck and sing songs of your noble deeds to
all things.

        Present.  There is no need for me. There is within them all
a secret shrine of blessedness.

        Future.  But man is born to make a beautiful thing of Sor-
row. He does not care for Happiness.

        Present.  He can do little till he has burned with the su-
preme desire, his brief madness can but accomplish brief allay-

        Future.  Oh, go and prophesy upon the housetops, Greatest
of Beings. This one woman saved, means that the world would
burn with rapture.

        Present.  Child! child! know this riddle and ponder it. The
supreme desire is to be without the supreme desire. That I have

        Future (in agony at seeing the Present once more lapse into
Master, master, wait, wait till we are old. I am
so young.

        Present (speaking with a far-off voice).  Seek the imperishable
while the tides of life are in the flood. Then they can carry you
beyond all mortal hope. For those who wait for the dark time of
feeble will can only sink and drown.

        Future.  I have lost hope.

        Present.  Then give me your hand.

        Future.  I give it. (As he does so he becomes transfigured with
Oh Time! Time! you are slain in the unchanging rapture
of truth.

        Past (leaps down with a scream, a wail of wild music is heard). 
Come away, come away, we shall die, we shall die.

        Present (to the Future).  The old ways of the changing world
cry to you. Can you master them?

        Future.  Oh Truth, great virgin, that melts down life and
death and gives us them to drink out of your cup!

        Past.  Who cares for Truth? come away, come away, or we
die. (He drags the Future away and leaves him fainting at the foot
of the throne.)

        Present.  Now are you glad at heart, poor hungerers for har-
vest, thirsters after life?

        Past.  Come away from this dreadful place. See, see,

                                    The Mystery of Time

great master, how it has killed this child; he was so full of joy
and life.

        Present.  He is a phantom. You are a phantom. Let all
phantoms know themselves as phantoms, and the goal is reached.

        Past.  Is the goal Truth?

        Present.  She is burned up in Being. The Gods may labour
in the fields of Time but I remain. The ten winds may sweep
through Space, but the dust returns to its own place.

        Past and Future.  The dust, the dust, what is this mystery?

        Present.  The smallest of the small is the greatest of
the great.

        Past.  Is that the last word?

        Present.  The last word is NOW.

        Future (kneels).  Oh, let me die!

        Past.  You are the master in the Place of Being, and Time
must be the servant at your gate (kneels).

        Present.  Where I am, none are servants. All life is mine;
all possession is a burden, for I see Time as it is without fear.
(He gently raises them to their feet.)

                                                              FLORENCE FARR

A Painter of a New Day


IT might not unreasonably be supposed that imaginative art
would have been crushed under the prevailing heresy of
realism. The enormous advance made in the province of imi-
tative skill might well bring about a deadening of the inventive
faculties. The attention once given to the general laws of pictorial
and decorative effect has of late come to be concentrated almost
exclusively upon conditions of light and atmosphere, the result
being seen in numerous pictures of calculated accuracy, wherein
may be determined the distance from the spectator of any given
chair or table, or the morrow’s weather may be foretold from the
wind stirring the group of trees in the foreground depicted with
such elaborate science. Consequently it has followed that, during
the past few decades, the energy of all but the rare and more subtle
minds among those concerned with the painter’s art has been
claimed by the allurements of the popular discovery. It was by a
sort of paradox that the general community of painters, at the very
time when the rising claims of photography would seem to be
steadily taking from the value of their efforts, should have taken
so keen a delight in exact record as to have well-nigh forgotten
the practice of the older masters, by whom imitative skill was re-
garded as a means, not an end.

    As though in contradistinction to a movement which saw
the two extremes—on the one hand, the strenuous study of facts
combined with an embroidery-like elaboration of workmanship in
the English pre-Raphaelites and in the early writings of Ruskin;
on the other, the searching analysis of light in its many phases as
proclaimed in the paintings of Manet and of Claude Monet and his
followers—there arose a little group of romanticists who have
created, at least so it would appear, a common tradition for a future
school of romantic painting. This wave of idealism attained its
fullest force in England in the works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti,
Sir Edward Besloues Ford Madox Brown, Simeon Soloman,
George Wilson and others, and in a less restricted sense in those
of Watts. In France the departure was less pronounced, it being
mainly restricted to the achievements of Gustave Moreau, Théo-
dore Eiasseriau and Puvis de Chavannes: an echo of it may also

be perceived in Germany in Boecklin and Klinger; in Italy, an ex-
ample in Segantini, at least as regards one side of his genius.

    Although the inventive, as apart from the realistic, element
of painting can never wholly fade from the art of any particular
generation, it may be taken for granted that the traditions of ima-
gination were rarely at a lower ebb than at the time immediately
preceding the movement which grew out of—or to express it more
concisely, accompanied from the very first, as though unaware—
the so-called pre-Raphaelite movement. The search after the
“grand style,” which was but a disguise of the imaginative impulse,
and the inheritance of a general dignity of tone and vision which
had animated painters such as Reynolds and Gainsborough, and in
a lower degree Fuseli and Stothard, had died away for want of
vigorous minds to sustain it, or perhaps on account of the influence,
even then beginning to be felt, of the new and all-embracing in-
quiry into naturalistic conditions.

    Whether the recent rise of the romanticists is the rising of
a group independent in itself, or whether the hour has struck for
the waning of coldly scientific portrayal, it is as yet too early to
determine; but there are not wanting signs that the naturalistic in-
novation has not only, as is but natural with the lapse of time, lost
its freshness, but that it can proceed no further. The general rest-
lessness and the dissatisfaction with existing means evinced among
the younger painters, passing as it has done from a healthily awake
to a morbidly active condition, may not unreasonably be looked on
as a manifestation of decay and fading belief. It must at least be
admitted that, were one to deny the existence of such reaction
from a widely upheld formula, it would be difficult to imagine from
what direction might come the next impulse in art, that might be of
true vitality and importance, unless from the direction of a traditional
or personal symbolism.

    The means of idealistic expression appear to have been ad-
vanced to a point beyond which it were not possible to go without
covering new and all but unexplored ground. The romantic out-
look, as though unconscious of its power, has been approaching
more and more nearly to an assured and direct spirituality. The
strange half-immortal offspring of mortal life and the world of the
imagination has attained the knowledge of its winged power, its
capacity for untrammelled flight. It were vain to attempt any de-

                              A Painter of a New Day

termination as to the result of this newly reawakened confidence
in vision, but that there is a province stored with unheard-of trea-
sure, awaiting the coming of a powerful and original mind, is a
situation existing beyond any great cause for doubt. That William
Blake, scarcely less than a century ago, should have championed
a cause exactly similar, is but additional proof of its validity to-
day. Blake’s message, owing partly to a natural obscurity of
utterance, partly clouded through his impatience of technique, was
rendered so difficult that for years it remained a dead gospel,
thrust aside and forgotten. But whether or not the more profound
works of Blake may ever be generally read, if only for their lyrical
passages, it will be found on the establishment of a spiritual art
of real significance, whensoever that may come about, that a philo-
sophic basis for it will not be far to seek.


ROSSETTI, in what was perhaps the most brilliant period of his
career, used to advise young men of talent not to put into words
the poetry that was in them, but to paint. He maintained that
poetry had reached its culmination in Keats, and must hence-
forward inevitably decline, but that there was nearly everything
to be done in painting. Although subsequent events show that he
did not maintain this view—just as we do not maintain it to-day—
it is certain, by such advice, that he anticipated the coming change.
And, indeed, what is this change but a reverting to ancient prac-
tice, with the addition, be it noted, of modern discoveries?

    Sufficient time has not elapsed since the ending of the life-
work of the acknowledged leaders of the romantic school to en-
able it to be seen who among the newer painters may be most
fitted to fill the places left vacant, that is, supposing they ever may
be filled. Many young painters in various directions are turning
their attention to romantic painting, and with considerable success;
but as yet only one or two names begin to stand out prominently
from among the general number. That of F. Cayley Robinson, to
the few who have followed with delight the infrequent appearance
in the public exhibitions of certain lovingly wrought and most indi-
vidual works, is a name marked as one distinctive and apart. It is

only necessary to glance carelessly at a work of Mr Cayley Robin-
son’s in a crowded gallery, to be at once and completely removed in
spirit from the prevailing triviality of motive that characterizes the
average exhibition picture. The work thus beheld, whether for
good or ill, is remembered as that of a man who has a definite
message. A dignity, even austerity, of treatment, an aloofness of
mind, a nobility of aim, a charm of tender humanity at once pro-
found and simple, a sane understanding of the decorative require-
ments of a picture combined with a close study of the appearances
of nature, render these works among the most satisfying of those
produced by contemporary English artists.


MR CAYLEY ROBINSON has two distinctive moods, which I would
name, inadequate though such terms must be, the romantic and
the meditative; and in his most recent productions—small, deli-
cately-handled paintings in tempera—he would seem to have
attempted a combination of the two, the result, when most suc-
cessful, being one of mingled reverie and enthusiasm. In art, as
in life, one of the most difficult of problems is to retain the charm
and fire of youthful enthusiasm side by side with the serenity and
repose coming from a more matured skill. But it is in such rare
balance of technique with inspiration that the strength of Mr
Cayley Robinson’s talent mainly lies. This first or more directly
romantic mood comprises several of the artist’s earlier pictures;
it is concerned with chivalry and enchantment, and goes wander-
ing among remote, wonderful, never-trodden countries. The
second mood draws beauty and delight out of the humbler, often
passed-over, aspects of the world, and it is in these homely inte-
riors, so filled with sweet reverie, that the peculiar individuality
of the artist has, I think, as yet most fully expressed itself.

    Like many another artist of strong originality, Mr Cayley
Robinson, though widely and frankly eclectic, seldom fails to be
entirely himself, despite his long brooding over the masters of his
admiration. His sympathy with the painters so_ superficially
classed under the designation of Primitive—with Giotto in par-
ticular, and with Mantegna and Botticelli—is at once evident, as

                              A Painter of a New Day

is also the debt he owes to moderns, such as Sir Edward Burne-
ones and Puvis de Chavannes, and in more indirect fashion to
lake. At times, perhaps, the surrender is too obvious, as in
“The Beautiful Castle,” strongly reminiscent of Burne-Jones and
“King Cophetua,” or in the later and smaller version in tempera
of “To Pastures New,” bearing the title “Dawn,” in which the
method of generalization peculiar to Puvis de Chavannes has been
closely followed. Another picture, though in a perfectly legitimate
manner, recalls a well-known figure by Michael Angelo. But in
an age of general disregard of tradition, few will blame an artist,
above all an artist so genuinely creative as is Mr Cayley Robin-
son, for displaying his regard for the great ones who have gone
before him.

    Mr Cayley Robinson, in devoting himself to the cause of
romantic symbolism, but of late upheld so nobly by Sir Edward
Burne-Jones, has displayed a rare wisdom in the attitude he has
adopted. Had he made the attempt to continue in the mode of
vision practised by the master, he would have been doomed to the
position of a mere follower. The exquisite art of Burne-Jones is
an art full of pattern and line; it has little to do with the interpre-
tation of light: in the domain of colour its most successful achieve-
ments are brought about by the use of subtly gradated monochrome,
or by a mosaic-like juxtaposition of varied tints, rather than by the
fusion resulting from the interplay of light and darkness. Here it
is where Mr Cayley Robinson has seen his path. Gifted with the
modern feeling for light, he has by that means brought new life
into a tradition which, having recently attained a splendid mani-
festation, could not but become moribund in other hands. As a
colourist, the later artist is keenly alive to effects of tone, the in-
fluence of the enveloping atmosphere upon coloured surfaces.
Without breaking away from the example of the masters of inven-
tive design, he has extended the field he has entered; with what
degree of success can be determined by the future alone.

    Subject in art is the most elusive of qualities. The present
disdain of literary suggestion in painting is based upon sound
reasoning. We know to-day that the “Christ and Mary Magdalen,”
by Titian, has but the slightest connection with its scriptural sub-
ject—the revelation of Christ to Mary Magdalen in the garden—
although the canvas is thrilled with the message of a divine revela-

tion from corner to corner. We are justly wearied of pictures,
wherein some sprawling female figure holds up a tablet labelled,
say, “The Spirit of Metaphysics,” and yet we instinctively per-
ceive a stretch of water under a twilight sky by Whistler, or a
child lying on the sand by Matthew Maris to be full of subject.
The most generally accepted of the motives of Mr Cayley
Robinson’s paintings may be put into few words; it is merely a
group of people, usually children or young girls, resting or occu-
pied over ordinary household duties, in a simply-furnished firelit
room. But face to face with the canvas itself we are possessed by
a quite extraordinary sensation of mystery. It is evident that the
flicker of red light upon white walls, the shadow and silence, have
filled the artist with unspeakable thoughts; the impression thus
made has followed him into daily life, has entered into his dreams,
has been turned over in his mind, until the result is a picture. So,
too, each object in the room—the half-curtained window, the round
hanging clock, the mahogany chest of drawers, the children’s toys,
the detail of the dresses of the girls—has been loved for its own
sake, and has come from a strange and beautiful dream-world
having its origin half in the less obvious dearly remembered scenes
of the past, half in the depths of a little-understood, but no less
real, inner life. At times this element of strangeness, as of another
world, is brought home to the beholder by some accent of de-
liberate fantasy. Such are the green-eyed cat and the grotesque
iron-work monsters which produce a little shiver in “The Found-
ling,” placed as they are in the quiet surroundings of a dripping
umbrella, a well-aired bed, china mugs, and old-fashioned books,
or the swallows flying outside the window in “The Depths of
Winter,” or even the falling snow in “A Winter’s Evening,” or the
pattern embroidered upon sleeve or hanging, These interiors
have not been painfully thought out and pieced together for the
purposes of picture-making, they are the result of vision and
memory. Such painting as Mr Caley Robinson’s is intimate in
the fullest meaning of the word.

                              A Painter of a New Day


IN dealing with an artist of power the bare facts of his training in
craftsmanship go for little, and the experiences of his outer life,
though they may be possessed of greater meaning, are often de-
ceptive. It is probable that Mr Cayley Robinson was in no wise
influenced by the course of study he went through at the St John’s
Wood and afterwards at the Academy Schools. At Paris, where
he worked for a time, he may have learned the foundations of his
technique, for he handles oil paint with rare skill and charm. It is
of significance, though, in any estimation of his art that Mr Cayley
Robinson spent the greater part of three years in a small sailing-
boat, though that period of his life would seem to have been more
productive of thought than of results. But it is profoundly signi-
ficant that an artist, so strongly attracted to the past, should have
lived in Florence for several years and have seen no modern
pictures during his sojourn there.

    An early painting by Mr Cayley Robinson, entitled “The
Ferry,” shows the dawning of his personality, but it barely more
than foreshadows the excellence of his later work. Other pictures,
painted shortly afterwards, are “Suzanne,” and the charming “In
a Wood so Green,” the first notable example of his more romantic
tendencies, his most important achievement in this direction being
the elaborate composition, “Spring.” It was in the year 1894 that
he painted the beautiful “Mother and Child,” which first revealed
his mastery over those lamp-lit or fire-lit interiors, which have
since become the most frequently employed of his sources of in-
spiration. Mr Cayley Robinson’s pictures have been seen from
time to time, though usually appearing strangely out of harmony
with their surroundings, on the walls of the Reve Society of Bri-
tish Artists, at one of the Guildhall summer exhibitions, at Liver-
pool, and even amid the glitter of the Royal Academy.

    In his recent exhibition at Mr Baillie’s gallery this most
sincere of painters gave evidence of a fresh development of his
style, leading in the direction of a greater simplicity, a grander
conception of art, a more assured flight of the imagination, But
whether the art of Mr Cayley Robinson turn in new directions or
continue its recognized course, it cannot fail to be sealed as some-
thing entirely beyond the usual average of exhibition pictures.
Should he produce nothing more, his works already in existence are
not likely to be forgotten, for the painter has put into them some-
thing of the light of a new day.

                                                              CECIL FRENCH

Two Songs


            WHAT counsel has the hooded moon
            Put in thy heart, my shyly sweet,
            Of Love in ancient plenilune,
            Glory and stars beneath his feet—
            A sage that is but kith and kin
            With the comedian Capuchin?
            Believe me rather that am wise;
            In disregard of the divine
            A glory kindles in these eyes,
            Trembles to starlight. . . . Thine, O mine!
            No more be tears in moon or mist
            For thee, sweet sentimentalist.


            Thou leanest to the shell of night,
            Dear lady, a divining ear.
            In that soft quiring of delight
            What sound hath made thy heart to fear?
            Seemed it of rivers rushing forth
            From the grey deserts of the North?
            That mood of thine, O timorous,
            Is his, if thou but scan it well,
            Who a mad tale bequeaths to us
            At ghosting hour conjurable,
            And all for some strange name he read
            In Purchas or in Holinshed.

                                                              JAMES A. JOYCE


On Staying at an Hotel with a Celebrated Actress


THIS was at Turin. I had strolled slowly back to the hotel
about half-past eleven, and was glancing at some time-table
or other hung up on the staircase, when a lady passed me
very quietly going to her room. She was quite alone, without
even a maid; and the servants of the hotel remained unmoved at
her passage. Hardly had she gone by than the manager of the
hotel, coming in an opposite direction, stopped to speak to me.
Had I observed the lady? That was Mme X, who was giving
a series of representations at the theatre. Had I not noticed her
name on the board in the hall where the names of the travellers
were written? Not even. That was curious; however, she was
staying in the hotel, in fact, she had the very next room to mine.
And the manager proceeded to talk enthusiastically about the
great national actress. He knew Europe, he said; he knew the
Paris theatres; well, there was no one to touch her in Paris or
elsewhere. She had the strength and fire of Mme Bernhardt; the
diction and subtility of Mme Moreno. And with all that she was
so quiet, so unpretentious, so charitable; she had no money, she
gave it all away. Her own needs were very slight. He went on
to lament that she chose so often such bad plays, and that the
company of players who travelled with her was always inferior.

    “Those players, have you them,” said I, “staying here too?

    Ah, no, not them. Actors, as a rule, didn’t come to his
hotel. But Mme X was so simple and so quiet—yes, so quiet.


    AFTER that, when I got up to my room, the room next to Mme
X, I confess it, my mind was in what you may call a tourbillon.
Notions which I had affected for years, which I had grown to
accept without question, had just been crumbled to ashes. An
obscure citizen, pursuing my daily round far from the contact of
artists of any kind, whose names I was used to read with a certain
awe in the newspapers, I had, like other plain citizens, formed

notions of a violent, brilliant, erratic life which artists and such
enjoyed, and of which the plain citizen was deprived. The plain
citizen sometimes amuses his stray hours by picturing the feverish
delights of this life of the artist, with more or less success as his
imagination is strong or weak. When his imagination is fatigued
and can no more, he calls upon novels and romances to continue
the vision. For myself, at any rate, I freely acknowledge that such
notions as I had formed of all this kind of thing had been gleaned
in the field of romance, from novels in which actresses and painters
and musicians and poets figured in an endless and bewildering dis-
play of lights and flowers and supper-parties, in the homage of
princes and the tributes of genius, laughter, rapture, love, a sym-
phony of prodigality and adulation. Yes; but here was an actress,
and of the most celebrated, returning even like myself, the plain
citizen, by herself to her hotel a few minutes after the last act.
And heaven knows it was not to a revel she was returning; I had
the room next to hers, and I constated in great perplexity that
there was no popping of champagne corks, no smell of flowers and
cigarettes, no wit, no laughter, no little supper going on, no any-
thing. Here was an accident to strike chill upon the most incurably
romantic. Why was there no talk, no bustle, all the insolent
noise in the wake of a prima donna who has taken the possession
of an hotel? Why were not the princes and journalists crowding
the stairs? Instead of all that, on the other side of the wall a tired
woman was in the common-place situation of making up her mind
to go to bed in the common-place room of an hotel, with the same
disgust, the same common-place boredom as I was on mine. That
was all. But, since this was the sad reality, unsealing painfully
my long abused sight, how about the novelists with whom I had
mewed my youth? How about Balzac and a hundred others?
How, above all, about Ouida?


    You will realize without difficulty that after this sudden crash
among the opinions of a lifetime I had little disposition to sleep,
and lying awake in the darkness I fell to thinking of the works of
this romancer, so very good, so excellent even in some respects,


            On staying at an Hotel with a Celebrated Actress

so shockingly bad in others—and I say shockingly, because I
mean strictly that their badness is of the kind which does give you
actually a shock. An hotel, to be sure, was no such inappropriate
place to meditate upon the novels of Ouida, for her books have
all the fever and restlessness of an hotel; that is, of one of those
big hotels in big cities where princes and “prominent actresses”
and tenors descend; ironically enough one of those developments
of modern life which the authoress herself whenever she gets a
chance spares no pains to belabour. One has heard that in the
years between 1880 and 1890 Ouida was considered immoral, or
rather what was then called in the jargon of the period “fast”: it
is hardly conceivable: one finds on the contrary that her propen-
sity is to preach, one finds even that she preaches too much.
But since such an appreciation of Ouida undoubtedly at one
time prevailed, the seed of it must be looked for in the constant
suggestion her characters, male and female, manage to give of
living imperturbably in the sight of the public. It is certain that
the author wishes nothing less than to have her characters bring
about this suggestion, but the suggestion is nevertheless conveyed
in spite of her; even as a man or woman may go into a company
with their minds made up to produce one kind of effect, and
actually produce quite another. Of course, Ouida constantly gives
us the interior, the domestic hearth, the private house; but the
private house somehow or other takes the air, as it has the pro-
portions, of some gigantic palace hotel in London, Paris, or New
York. And this leads me to point out that Ouida was the first
English novelist really to brit in terms of nations. Before her
the English novelists had dodged between town and country,
with an occasional lapse into France (for a crime), or into Italy
(for a consumption); but Ouida does not mind shifting the scenes
in the same book from Buda-Pesth to Rome, from Rome to
St Petersburg, from Petersburg to Paris, from Paris to Vienna,
from Vienna to Hyde Park with an amazing dexterity, and what
is more, manages to give a fair impression of each of these cities.
And that is why I will permit myself to call her the novelist of the
“Grands Express Européens.”

    And to the foregoing let it be added, by way of making
clear why the young ladies of the ‘eighties used to shove her
under the sofa when mamma came into the room, that she de-

liberately, and even defiantly, makes her characters exotic; and
they must have seemed indecently exotic to a generation which
read Anthony Trollope. Certainly I remember her characters
presented as English, her guardsmen and the rest—who could
forget them?—but they are the work of a fervent imagination
working from exteriors; English people of that kind never grew
in Devon or Yorkshire. On the other hand, she willingly makes
her heroes and heroines Roumanian, Polish, Magyar—in a word,
of those remoter nationalities the inhabitants of which the Parisians
and English, when they find them out of their native land, are
always ready to condemn, till they have blinding proof of the
contrary, as rastaquouéres and adventurers. From such nationali-
ties Ouida often chooses her characters, and gives them, very
properly, pedigrees as long and longer than the longest in the
English House of Lords. But Ouida writes novels in English
for the English, and this kind of thing, when she began it, was
a slap in the face for English provinciality, which like all pro-
vincialities in all lands worships its own aristocracy, but can
hardly be got to believe that there is any aristocracy at all any-
where else.

    But here I must not omit to remark that, while we find
the characters labelled Roumanian, or Hungarian, or Russian,
or French, or English, yet if anybody should turn to the novels
of Ouida to gain some knowledge of the peculiarities of any of
these peoples he would find himself at a loss. The truth is, these
characters are said to be this or that pretty much in the same way
as a child playing with his lead soldiers calls the general with the
blue coat French, and the general with the red coat English; but
they have all a family likeness which denotes a common origin.
And in fact their native country is nowhere else than Ouida’s
writing desk. Now and then, it is true, in her charming peasant
stories, we get a sensation of reality, we feel that certain characters
and scenes could have arisen just in Italy, as she says, and not in
some other land quite as well; but in her peasant stories she is
often the tale teller; in her novels of the aristocracy and the high
life she is the romancer. Now, the abiding trait left by the charac-
ters which figure in these last is their unreality. I put aside the
scented cigars and gigantic feats of strength which have been the
Jest of the facile times out of mind and which have prevented

            On staying at an Hotel with a Celebrated Actress

this great writer from being considered as seriously as she de-
serves. This sense of unreality which I experience when her charac-
ters face me is not engendered by superficial absurdities; it arises
from the perception that not one of her characters is sympathetic,
that most of them are, on the contrary, positively antipathetic,
people against whom we should be rather glad to see the worst
wiles of the villain succeed. To say that we should be rather
glad, and not indifferent, is of course a proof that these charac-
ters, if they fail to give conviction of genuineness, of being what
they set up to be, have at least a very vigorous life. That they fail
to rouse our sympathies, springs, I think, from the fact that we
never find them in repose, never, so to speak, with the paint off.
This seems a hard saying when one has almost a physical sense
sometimes of the pains the author takes to throw about her charac-
ters an air of aristocratic repose, above all. But just as people in
one of those immense Palace hotels I have spoken of can never
feel quite easy, are always more or less in public, are always con-
scious of the corridor, are always guarding against undesirable
approaches, so it is with these characters. These patricians who
are always so afraid of not being patrician enough, these ladies
always haughty and on their dignity, or condescending with so
profound a sense of condescension, these men and women always
thinking of their “caste,” and talking about it, and supercilious and
insolent to those who are not of the same—no, they are not con-
vincing. All this, when you think of it, is not rationally in the
habits of people of great and assured position; that generally
induces longanimity and a certain indifference to the details of
family breeding. Nervous aggressiveness and susceptibility come
rather from the consciousness of inferiority and powerlessness,
which induces a man, through a sort of instinct of self-preserva-
tion, to impose himself, and to intimidate, let us say, in advance
men whom he suspects are inclined to be villainous, knavish,
disobliging, violent, and against whom he knows he would
have no advantage whatever if it really came to a tussle.
I do not presume to rest on my own experience in so
delicate a matter, but (to speak in a Thackerayan manner on a
Thackerayan subject) little Jones, who married Lord Bailiffrest’s
younger daughter, and who is sometimes willing to impart to me
is stores of authentic information when he has a spare hour and

no one better to talk to—well, little Jones tells me that the
“haughty beauties” old Smith and I gaze on with such awe as
they loll in their carriages on a June afternoon in Piccadilly, are
not really thinking of their grandeur (as Smith and I from our
actress readings suppose), and engaged in despising the likes of us; but
simply of their row with their aunt, or of the dentist to-morrow,
or even whether their lunch disagreed with them, or of something
equally prosaic. And little Jones adds that when Smith and
I stand in our muddy clothes on a rainy night waiting for a ’bus,
and we are suddenly gratified by the sight of a young dandy
driving to the court ball, the young dandy is not really wondering
(as Smith and I in our humility imagine) if we miserable rascals
of plebeians are admiring him sufficiently, and thinking that he
would like to throw us a handful of pence to scramble for—no,
says Jones, he is not thinking of anything at all like that; he is
not even thinking of his own importance, and that it is a bore to
go to the court ball; if he is thinking of anything, says ones,
besides the weather, it is about whom he will meet, and whether
the rooms will be hot—which, when you come to think of it, is
pretty much what goes through the head of old Smith and myself
when the Parkinsons give a little dance in Victoria Terrace, and
we are lucky enough to be invited. Now, it is not that Ouida has
ae wrong about these great matters with the wrongness of the
London Journal novelettist; Ouida’s wrongness is the defect of
a phantasmagoric brain. Here we have a case of the romantic
temperament in extremes: a woman of genius with an extraordinary
gift of expression, who nevertheless finds it impossible to express
precisely what she sees; who confounds reality with her own
visions, and who perhaps deliberately prefers her visions.

    From the same defect of mind proceed many of the in-
congruities her works offer to the critical reader. For instance,
that she loves and pities animals and all gentle and helpless things
there is no doubt: she has exposed her convictions on this subject
in a thousand places with amazing force and vivacity. And yet
in her romances the horses seem to be always galloping. In one
of her books, the heroine, who lives in Austria, has to go to Paris
for ten or fifteen days in mid-winter; and she does not hesitate to
drag her horses, with the rest of her packages, because, as she
puts it, she loves her horses, and always likes to have some of

            On staying at an Hotel with a Celebrated Actress

them with her. Ouida is so occupied with the loftiness of this
notion, that she does not pause to consider the equivocal kindness
of treating horses like lap-dogs, and that when one realizes the
feelings of the wretched horses dragged over a railway in winter-
time, hundreds of miles in this direction, and then hundreds of
miles in that, with an interval of fifteen days on the asphalt, the
heroine’s generous impulse shades off into cruelty and brutal
ostentation. In the same way, when it comes to those sublime
actions of her heroes and heroines, in which so often the ridiculous
has at least an equal part, she is either constitutionally unable to
distinguish the ridiculous, or has trained herself to ignore it. So
much is this the case, that I have often wondered, while reading
some of her scenes, if, when she was writing them, she was really
serious, and not after all trying to wake up the rector’s daughters
and other young women in provincial towns. But having deeply
pondered, I have come to the conclusion that Ouida is never
laughing at herself, or indeed at any one else. Like some
other great romancers, like Victor Hugo for example, that part
of the brain which enables some to perceive the incongruous
is lacking in her organization. She does indeed provide
characters intended to be humorous, but their humour does
not arise out of any humorous situation; they are like the futile
and dreary jesters introduced to lend relief to a sombre tragedy.
But we may remind ourselves that in the equipment of the ro-
mancer (as distinct from the novelist) humour is but an awkward
weapon, and even useless and dangerous. For humour sterilizes
the beau geste, and the romance as a rule proceeds by the beau
without reference to logic; it would defy the ingenuity of
Edgar Allan Poe himself to foretell the conclusion from the
premises. Let the situation be however ravelled, and the beau
, absurd, improbable to impossibility, arrives in due season to
straighten it out. Ouida is the helpless slave of the beau geste, as
much so, let us say, as Barbey d’Aurevilly, of whom she reminds
the reader in a thousand ways at every turn.

    And have I not had myself (thought I, turning in bed) proof
and to spare this very night of the bewildering fashion in which
this romancer ignores or differs from reality? Was it not among
her volumes that I found elaborate imaginations of triumph at the
Opera, of countesses who conquered Paris by their beauty, of

tenors who had all Paris at their feet? ’Tis true that in the sober
reality I had seen once or twice before now what were considered
triumphs at the opera, and they proved to be rather mixed: some
enthusiasts contending to remain and applaud after the last act,
against the majority struggling to go out and get their wraps.
Tis true I had never seen Paris at anybody’s feet, and didn’t much
expect to, least of all at an artist’s feet; since the number of people
in a position to enjoy the work of a singer, or a painter, or a
dramatist is necessarily limited, and the thousands of men and
women outside that zone know little about the artist and care less.
’Tis true I had perceived that if one is inside a group or coterie
one is prone to fancy that a whole city is stirred by a gesture which
really affects only one’s immediate surroundings; whereas if one
is outside of all the groups one is forced to take account of the
relatively slight carrying power of all artistic fame, of all fame of
any kind except that of the sworder and the demagogue. Yes,
these things I had perceived, but I had perceived them through a
haze: though they were real, they had neither the vividness nor
concreteness of Ouida’s visions, and by consequence it was in
Ouida’s conditions that I anticipated the next encounter of real
life. It needed something as strong and coloured in an opposite
sense as Ouida’s visions to shake my faith in them; and so my faith
remained unshaken till the night I had the room next to a cele-
brated actress.

    But, after all, this very exaggeration of Ouida is what won
for her at the beginning her popularity—nay, her notoriety with
acertain class of readers. It is plain that most novel readers
strongly object to read constantly of great wealth and fame and
state, unless these are, now and then at all events, more or less
brought down to the terms of our ordinary life; that is to say, un-
less the reader is offered a situation and conditions in which he
can without too much outrage to his common sense imagine him-
self; unless the governess has at least a chance of marrying the
lord, and the young doctor the countess. Certainly the average
English reader likes to see on the stage and in the novel the
aristocracy strut, but on condition that they strut within a boun-
dary where he can keep in touch with them. If he hears of nothing
but the Duke with his three houses, and his Park, and his haughty
Duchess who despises the middle classes, he can indeed be illuded,

            On staying at an Hotel with a Celebrated Actress

he can still imagine the situation, and just because he can imagine
it he gets irritated in the long run.

    But now, call the Duke a Hungarian Prince; make his Park
run five hundred miles in every direction; make him have so many
palaces that when he passes one on a journey he has to be re-
minded that he owns it; make him throw crown pieces in situa-
tions where the ordinary novelist’s hero would throw pence, and
where a man in real life would throw nothing; don’t stick to say
that a Marquess, an amateur painter, can paint like a Venetian
master, and play the piano like a virtuoso, all of which he has
picked up in the odds and ends of hours left on his hands by his
social duties, his flirting, his equestrianism, his hunting and shoot-
ing; in a word, violate probability till you verge the impossible,
and then the reader is swept beyond his wildest calculations and
imaginations, and he has no more notion of equalling, far less of
envying, such a hero than he has of equalling or envying an angel
in heaven.

    Well, but this is the Ouida man-character, hero or villain, at
his deadliest; this is he who brought about the big sales and
startled the reader of the ‘eighties, and shed upon the name of
Ouida a terrific glare of wickedness, for his morals were always
lax. This is he, this face fastened to a moustache, who with his
companions, the second-empire actress and the impavid countess,
was fought for over the counters at Mudie’s, and studied and loved
and wept over in the country houses and country towns by thou-
sands of readers who never caught a glimpse of the reflection, and
dignity, and power, and a thousand other qualities which are to be
found in each of Ouida’s works—and certainly if such qualities
were not to be found there I would not be giving myself the
trouble to think of her now. This indiscriminate part of the public
has at present, I think, fallen away from Ouida: it has taken to some-
thing cruder. For Ouida, sprung from Victor Hugo and Disraeli,
cannot escape being the ancestor of Mr Hall Caine and Miss Marie
Corelli. After all, it is hard to be held responsible for the fantasies
of our descendants. Flaubert and Edgar Allan Poe and Dickens
are responsible for more people than it is pleasant to think of.
And it is well to remember that Ouida herself, however popular
she may have been, never bent to any concessions or vulgarities to
gain or maintain her popularity: it is against her principles that

the governess should marry the lord, and the governess in fact
does not. From this it would appear that the main difference, the
all-important difference between Ouida and many of her imitators
is that Ouida has decidedly character, the others only caprice.

    But whatever else her imitators have taken from her, they
have never been able to catch her grand manner. Her teaching is
always noble. In her essays, perverse and wrong-headed as some
of her opinions may be, she is, as in her novels, always on the side
of all the superiorities. With a vehemence and exaltation almost
equal to Ruskin’s, who is her master in ethics and much else,
she throws into relief mercy, honour, loyalty, a noble pride
and an equally noble obedience, a pity for the dumb things and for
the outcast—all that on the one side; and on the other, her hatred
of modern rush, advertisement, noise, scurrility. Again, like Rus-
kin, she is not ashamed to be indignant, eloquent, passionate; but
she never descends to those miserable sneers whereof the object
is to make honest, plain people uncomfortable about things which
they have been doing for years, and which they have never sus-
pected to be absurd or vulgar till they are told so by some he or
she author who has not an inch less of folly and vanity, not an
ounce more of competence and sense than the least of his readers,
who has nothing at all in fact but pretention and effrontery enough
to deal out little flicks of a sterilized irony with a superior snigger.
Her heroes and heroines, as we have seen, are often unreal, some-
times even absurd, but they are never tricky, or mean, or ignoble.
There is nothing paltry, nothing of the parish about them, as I am
afraid there is about many of the heroes and heroines of authors
who think themselves infinitely superior to Ouida, and indulge in
a little discreet laugh at her expense.

    Her style, though it is full of carelessnesses, though at times
it even gives us the impression of a foreigner struggling with the
language, of sentences beaten out with the dictionary, though it is
often turgid and overloaded, often written for effect, often stained
by what is called the “purple patch,” nevertheless, like Ruskin’s,
it often rises into quite beautiful severity and strength when she is
profoundly moved. For acuteness of sensation, and for a power to
render that in words, she seems to me unequalled in our day. There
is a description, to choose among a hundred, in one of her less good
novels, in “Idalia,” of a man bound and tortured under a burning

            On staying at an Hotel with a Celebrated Actress

sun, which is so vivid, so poignant—in a word, so felt, that it be-
comes almost too painful to read. It is by such qualities that she
takes her place among the great novelists, that she is, in fact, be-
sides Mr Meredith and Mr Hardy, the only great novelist who
has survived from the nineteenth century into this. Of course, if
a man be disposed to fly into a rage at every wild or petulant
assertion he finds in a book, he had better leave Ouida alone: she
will too often give him cause. This is exactly one of the points in
which she resembles Victor Hugo; like Victor Hugo, with a thou-
sand faults that exasperate, that cry to heaven, she remains a great
artist. Her books with all their faults live with us; we grow fond
of them: a novel of Ouida’s is not finished when the last page has
been read. As Carlyle observed, with any work of real abiding
excellence the first glance is the least favourable. Our wits and
laughers have laughed their fill at Ouida; all of us have been at
times impatient with her; but when all that has done its worst her
work still remains great and imposing. Methinks I see in my mind
a circus which gives a performance in the valley; the ring master
cracks his whip, the acrobat wheels, the clown cuts his jokes; then
evening falls, the tents are struck, the circus moves off, the laughers
disperse, and the long shadows steal over the mountains majestic
and unsullied as before.

    And once again, she gives us, as no other, the sense of
European movement. Whoever has stood at a railway station on
a main line, and watching the great trains come for a few minutes
to a halt with the sleeping-cars labelled Posen, Warsaw, Belgrade,
has experienced the immense longing that comes on some of us at
like moments for the far-off, the anywhere-but-here, the other end
of Europe, must always be a devotee of the novelist of the Grands
Express Européens. Like Balzac, she imposes her characters
against our better judgement. Speaking for myself, I cannot see
a lady of foreign appearance, wrapped in furs, driving through
Paris on a sunny winter afternoon, but for me she becomes one of
Ouida’s exotic countesses or princesses, with a brute of a husband
who squanders millions on a dancer, and loses thousands every
night at cards, and by whom she is in danger of being immured in
some remote castle amid the fastnesses of the Caucasus. Or has
she just escaped, and moves terrified, pursued by her husband’s
myrmidons? Ah, if one could only be mingled in a stirring at-

tempt to set her free! Or again, a few hours later at the opera,
that tenor who has just sung so beautifully, surely he will find a
note from a duchess hid in a bouquet, and after reading it with
languor will disdainfully go to supper with a lady of facile humour
who has an impossible second-empire name, Casse-croùte, or
Cochonette. And the celebrated actress—


    But at this point my meditations were interrupted by the opening
of the door next to mine. At the same moment the clock of a
neighbouring church struck one: I had thought that all the hotel
was asleep and the lights out long ago. What (I said) if the revels
have been proceeding all this time, silently but no less scarletly?
What if Ouida and the romancers are in the right, after all? I was
in no mood to be trifled with: this was a matter to be investigated
at once: I got out of bed and opened the door. The lights were
low in the passage, and half way down a figure in a white trailing
kind of robe, a figure that looked somehow pathetic and lonely in
the darkness, was moving with a book under her arm and a candle
in herhand. At the sound of my door she turned, and I recognized
the face. It was the celebrated actress going from her sitting-room
to bed

                                                              VINCENT O’SULLIVAN

John de Waltham

                                    SCENE: A FOREST

        Enter Marion Levenoth, a reputed witch, and a disguised Priest.

        Priest.  “Tis about her hour. There’s no Ave Maria to re-
mind Christabel, but as soon as the day slopeth the sweet child
maketh her way hither. She cometh for consolation to our divine
effigy. (Points towards the bower.)

        Marion.  She cometh for consolation to me!

        Priest.  ‘Tis a miracle of God that these Gospellers and loud
Puritans have not discovered our blessed crucifix i’ the Forest.
We have hedged Him from the fury of these desolate years. But
shall we hear the Angelus again? Will these invaders triumph
for ever?

        Marion.  Their time is nigh past. Their day sinketh. Some-
what telleth me a new time dawns.

        Priest.  I do long to say Mass again. Our old Abbey of
Waltham hath stood the pillage an hundred years, and now lieth
prone like a huge ghost of the cross. Marion, thou art a divining
woman. If God be with thee, say will the King carry it and the
persecuting of our holy Faith cease? Marion, they report thee a
witch. Thou hast a familiar? I’m afeared to speak with thee.
Tell me, are not those whom Satan assaileth found dead i’ their

        Marion (bringing plants from her basket).  That’s Vervain
and Solanum. That eases babes i’ their convulsions and women
in travail. They say I’ma witch. But sith I make ointments out
of the resin of the earth that soothes them they come humbly
again, and ask more. My mother taught me the properties of the
wild grasses o’ the woods. There’s hemlock and enchanter’s night-
shade. That’s saffron. Whiles these kind herbs do cure them,
they say the magick’s white, but while’s they fail because of
their unbelief, the magick’s black. But hark you. All’s magick!
The wind and the stars and the sea and the unutterable depths o’
things are the secret of a divine Magician. And thoughts which
come like waves i’ the mind and are invisible, and speech which
beckoneth and doth allure men by words which are invisible things,
and sorrow which doth crumble our hearts away—that’s all sor-

cery! ‘Tis all invisible power. Hark you, many a woman hath
brought hither her sick babe to me and many a babe have I car-
ried at my heart through the night i’ the Forest and bathed it in a
pool in red moonlight, and heard its little sobs grow dumb in a
soft sleep. There’s no ill that hath not its remedy could we but
find it.

        Priest.  But the Church, the Holy Mother, Marion, hath
ever burnt herb-gatherers and witches as evil-doers.

        Marion.  Your Church is blind. Sooth, from the beginning
she hath persecuted the physician of the body and called him
poisoner, but lo, now medicine hath triumphed, and all men run
to it.

        Priest (earnestly).  Canst thou make gold, Marion? Canst
thou build me an invisible Church in the which I might pray and
hear the old musick, the old chants and see the effigies of the ex-
pelled saints?

        Marion.  There is an invisible, invulnerable world raised
above the tossings of this.

        Priest (suddenly).  Look, Christabel comes.

            (Enter Christabel in haste.)


        Christabel.  Good e’en, Father; Good e’en, Marion. O, I’ve
come in haste!

        Marion. Priest.  What now?

        Christabel.  In haste to tell ye what hath happed. Have we
not cast spells for my father’s liberty? Well only a doubtful
miracle hath been vouchsafed us. Verily my poor father was
ta’en out, but ’twas to lay a trap for him and me. ‘Twas to com-
pass a foul bargain that John de Waltham brought him out. Wot
you what, he did propose to marry me, and sith I spurned it, the
old man was convoyed back to the loathsome prison. O his cries
and his curse were loud against me and a’ called down God’s visita-
tion upon me whiles the vile chains were locked on him again.

        Priest.  Nay, Sir Hubert had no ought to command you to
love. ’Tis a thing impossible. Duty not love may be commanded.

        Marion.  John de Waltham made love to you?

        Christabel.  Ay, his eyes shone with a ribald agony on me.

                                    John de Waltham

        Marion.  Trouble yourself not. His date is out. His date
is in the prophetick almanack. Tell your father still to have a
patience till his enemy hath been overblown.

        Christabel.  Yes, I whispered it to him, but he hearkened
not. He may die i’ the prison. O all’s in doubt. Who knoweth
if verily the ins will carry it.

        Marton.  Fear not. (Takes a philtre out of her basket). Drink
this. That’s electrum. ’Twill protect you against his evil spirit
when he striketh at your maidenhood and at your life.

            (Christabel drinks, and keeps the phial.)

                                                           And get you
by moonshine and gather hedge hyssop, moonshade and saffron,
and thereafter wash ye in a river flowing South. But the name of
your enemy, look ye, ’tis writ amongst the stars of death. This
plenary physick ’ll protect you from him.

        Christabel (kissing Marion).  O thanks to thee, Marion. Thy
nigromancy easeth me somewhat, and yet I am afeared for my
father’s curse.

        Marion.  I have read i’ the books of the alchemists that a
man may be killed by the imagination of another. We’ll evoke
the forbidden for you. I’ll to my incantations.

            (Goes within the hut.)

        Priest.  The sun sinketh. Shall we not on our knees?
Christabel. Ay, father, lead forward.

                                                              BENJAMIN SWIFT

A Solution


WHEN the door had closed on the last guest, Madame
Verneuil bade George Harley draw his chair nearer the
fire, and while they both looked into its glowing heart
they recalled days that were gone, and tried to return to their
former friendly intimacy. They spoke of many mutual acquaint-
ances, she gaily responding to his often indifferent questionings,
and there were long pauses, each one feeling the presence of
barriers to be surmounted. George Harley’s eyes wandered
round the familiar room, ever familiar, for Madame Verneuil did
not care to change her surroundings or her friends. Curtains or
stuffs that wore or faded were gently replaced by others so closely
recalling them that no one would suspect any change; and old
friends who dropped away were never replaced, but always

    Seven years ago he had met Madame Verneuil at the house
of a mutual friend, and after a little while he had become one of
her constant visitors. She was then emerging from her widow’s
mourning, and also from the rather bourgeois financial circle in
which her marriage with a rich banker had placed her. The
friends of her choice were not brought together by the accidental
resemblance of their social positions or fortunes, but by the accord
of ideas. When an alien to their sympathies came into this circle,
as a caterpillar will sometimes crawl into a beehive, he was not
stung to death and covered with a gravestone of wax, but allowed
to go his way unharmed. He invariably went of his own free will
and never returned.

    It was here that Harley first saw Madeleine Dulac, the
beautiful and brilliant daughter of a scientific man, who had
followed a pet theory by bringing up his daughter precisely as
he would have brought up a son. ae had a gift for music, and
music had always been the joy and pastime of his busy life, so
Madeleine’s talent was cherished and cultivated. When he died,
the young girl, then only twenty-one, inherited his considerable
fortune, which, true to his principles, he left to her absolutely un-
hampered by any restrictions and entirely at her disposal. She
was promptly surrounded by friends and distant relatives—she
had no near ones—offering advice in the choice of a chaperone.


Others proposed their houses for her residence. But she shook
her head, and, firmly declining their assistance, continued her
mode of life with only the inevitable change caused by the death
of her father, her constant companion.

    Her first appearance in society—the period of mourning
over—was at Madame Verneuil’s, and here Harley saw her in the
radiant beauty of her twenty-third year. Here she held a court
of faithful, if not very hopeful, admirers, for she gave them no
encouragement, and Harley rather despised himself for joining the
group. He had been attracted by the then very fashionable
school of analytical writers, and, true to his new principles, he
would carefully diagnose the state of his heart with regard to
Madeleine. as it heart or head? This point he never could
settle to his satisfaction.

    Madame Verneuil was asked by an old friend in the country
to extend a helping hand to a young Hungarian violinist, who had
been teaching in a provincial conservatoire and was anxious to
make a name for himself in Paris. The kind-hearted woman, who
knew how many difficulties he would have to encounter before
success came, asked him to play at one of her evenings, and
invited her friends to hear him. Harley will always remember
that day for several reasons; but chiefly for the seemingly trivial
one that Madeleine was talking to him alone at the moment of the
violinist Svenhi’s entrance. a had brought his violin, but no
accompanist, and she was summoned from her retreat to accom-
pany him. She rose slowly, and, pulling off her long gloves,
listened with an abstracted indifference to the explanations the
violinist was giving her about the music. He was of no possible
interest to her, this unknown man from the provinces. Harley
bitterly resented her departure, and retreated still further behind
the large palm under whose shadow they had been seated, and
wondered whether he dared hope that she would resume the
interrupted conversation. They were only talking about the
Théatre Antoine, then a novelty, but he had felt as Dante did
when Beatrice graciously returned his salutation.

    By force of habit he was already beginning to analyze his
feelings when the music started, and almost at once his attention
was rivetted and his imagination excited. Svenhi’s violin was
murmuring softly, and it seemed to Harley that he was saying

                                         A Solution

things to Madeleine that no one but they could understand. He
seemed to be pursuing her, and she, wild and untamable, was
eluding him dexterously, and escaping just as he seemed to reach
her. The violin grew more and more insistent, even authoritative,
while she grew weaker, and finally surrendered, and they floated
along together on a flowing stream of melody. Then the stream
became a torrent, dashing wildly past a rocky shore, till with wild
crashing chords from the piano and a long-drawn note from the
violin, which sounded like love’s triumph, the movement ended.

    Tremendous applause greeted the performers on all sides,
to which Svenhi made somewhat elaborate recognition, and Made-
leine none at all. She seemed entirely engrossed in him. Harley
stood aside, watching them for a few minutes; he saw the lamp-
light on her shining chestnut hair, as she bent towards Svenhi,
who was talking low and volubly. All her previous indifference
had vanished; she listened eagerly to whatever he was saying.
Harley could bear the sight no longer: after the emotion of the
music he felt he must go out into the fresh air, so he silently left
the room and the house. That night he neglected to analyze his

    Henceforth Madeleine and the violinist were never to be
seen apart. Whenever she came to Madame Verneuil’s he ap-
peared shortly afterwards, and this always became the signal for
music to begin. It was very evident that what they performed in
public they had rehearsed in private. Madeleine’s court of ad-
mirers were not at all satisfied with these proceedings, and
although none of them had Harley’s prophetic vision, they were
very indignant at what they considered presumption on the part
of the violinist. There was a great deal of spiteful gossip, but
Madeleine’s engagement to Svenhi fell as a bomb amongst them.
All those among her friends who considered they had a right to
interfere did not fail to do so, and many valiant attempts were
made to rescue her; but she firmly stopped any tentative remarks
made to her on the subject, and as she had no guardians or near
relations, nothing could be done to prevent the marriage from
taking place.

    In France the formalities relating to marriage are very com-
lex and tedious and give a vast amount of work to the notary.
Madeleine’s old and trusted lawyers proceeded as slowly and care-

fully as they could to seek for flaws in Svenhi’s antecedents, but
he produced the necessary papers, and all inquiries only resulted
in the knowledge that he had a humble but respectable origin and
that his life had been a hard-working one. The notaries tried to
protect Madeleine’s interests against one who they felt sure was
an intriguer and an adventurer, and she let them do as they
pleased, knowing that the day she chose to put her fortune into
little paper boats and sail them down the Seine, she was at liberty
to do so.

    At last the final preparations for the wedding were finished
and the day fixed. George Harley felt an insurmountable disgust
at the whole proceeding. He was tired of the perpetual gossip on
the subject and of the spiteful remarks made by the unsuccessful
candidates, and not least he felt a pain at his heart as if it had been
bruised, and he could not endure the thought of the day when the
irremediable would happen. So he left Paris suddenly, bidding
casual farewells and speaking of a speedy return. This was not to
be, however, for back in London he felt strongly that the time had
come when a definite future must be considered. He had decided
for a career of letters, and with this object in view he settled down
to a life of hard study. The bruise at his heart he still felt sorely,
and this was his safeguard, for having, as he fancied, lived his emo-
tional life, there was nothing to prevent him from cultivating his
intellect to the exclusion of all else. And work he did, giving no
time to society or amusement. He was rewarded with success, for
though he never stirred the hearts of the many, he appealed to the
few. But even they never knew that this man of austere ideals
was in truth as emotional and sensitive as a boy who comes in
touch with life for the first time. It was sensitiveness that pre-
vented him from having more communication with his friends in
Paris; he had a cowardly fear of hearing sordid details of Made-
leine’s unhappiness, for unhappiness he felt sure would be her lot.
His correspondents thought he was indifferent, and the letters grew
fewer and more formal. Once he met a young man he had known
in Paris; a chance meeting in a restaurant caused them to dine to-
gether. It was unavoidable that Madeleine’s name should come into
conversation, and Harley winced when the unconscious young man
told him that Svenhi had developed a passion for gambling in every
form, and that her friends were very anxious about her fortune.

                                         A Solution

    “Her fortune!” said Harley, irritably; “and what about

    The young man stared; evidently in his mind Madeleine
without her fortune did not exist—and the subject dropped.

    A severe cold, taken one spring and followed by a wet sum-
mer, during which Harley constantly neglected his health, caused
him to receive a very serious warning from his doctor. So serious
was the warning that he resolved to follow advice and escape from
the English winter. Switzerland was decided on, and Harley re-
gretfully left his commodious bachelor rooms to turn with distaste
to the prospect of hotel life for a whole winter. But he had dis-
covered in himself, much to his surprise, a great desire to live, and
everything had to give way to this desire.

    When, after a lapse of seven years, he found himself again
in Paris he was astonished to note how little of a stranger he felt,
and how the memories of his old life were calling him. His first
intention had been merely to break his journey by one night in
Paris, but now he felt a wish to clear away the fog that had
gathered during those years. He no longer felt the selfish dread
of hearing people speak of Madeleine; in fact Paris brought back
the old thraldom, and he longed to see her or hear of her. Acting
on tees he sent a bleu to Madame Verneuil asking permission
to call. Her answer was prompt and cordial. “Come,” she said;
“I have some dull people to dinner, but outstay them, and we will
talk of old times.”

    To talk of old times sounded easy enough, but difficulties
seemed to rise when the actual moment came. He felt surrounded
by ghosts of his former life; some of them were ghosts of his own
moods, his boyish enthusiasms. How old he felt as he stared
moodily at the fire! He knew Madame Verneuil was understand-
ing him as she took up some fancy work and appeared engrossed
in it, dropping a casual remark while she waited until he should
speak what was in his mind. At last he said abruptly:

    “How is Madeleine Dulac?”

    Madame Verneuil raised her eyebrows slightly. “Madeleine
Svenhi—she married, you know.”

    “Yes, I know,” he said, impatiently, “what of her, is
she well?”

    “She is gone,” Madame Verneuil said very seriously, “gone

from Paris out of our lives with her husband, and no one knows
where they went.”

    Then, the ice being broken, she required no more encourage-
ment, and told him the whole pitiful story he had so dreaded to
hear—how Svenhi had so soon begun to lead a useless gambler’s
life. They had none of them ever sounded the depths of Made-
leine’s unhappiness, for she soon avoided her friends and would
stand no interference. They all knew that her fortune was being
squandered, but no one could help it but herself, and she seemed
strangely apathetic.

    At last the crash came when all her possessions were sold,
even her piano; and when her friends sought for her, hoping to
shield her from further indignities, she had gone away with her
husband, it had been ascertained, but no one knew where, and no-
thing further had ever been heard about them. Harley listened in
silence, and in silence he rose to go. Madame Verneuil felt she
was understanding him as she had never understood him before,
and she did not try to detain him. Afterwards, pacing his hotel
bedroom, he thought of numberless questions he would have asked
about Madeleine; but who, he wondered, could ever have pene-
trated into the inner fastness of her mind?

    The next morning he left Paris.


    GEORGE HARLEY’S doctor had happily not judged him sufficiently
ill to be sent to one of those great sanatoriums which are to be
found in the highest altitudes and always seem to be the very
threshold of death. He was on a Sheetal sunny half-way ledge
where there were no serious invalids and no exhibition of thermo-
meters. Enforced idleness had done him good in body and mind,
and the society of young people was a new experience for him,
their lightheartedness a relief after his somewhat solitary life, and
they liked him after they had recovered their first alarm at his
grave appearance and manner. After three months of this life he
forgot he had ever been ill, and was able to take part in the usual
amusements of a winter resort.

                                         A Solution

    In February the sunny hours were noticeably longer and the
snow clouds less frequent. The young people, a little tired of to-
bogganing on the nearest hillside, proposed longer excursions
higher up where the crisp snow would be white and untrodden.
Harley agreed to accompany them, stipulating that he was not to
be held responsible for broken bones. The chosen day was gay
with sunshine as they started, a rather riotous party headed by a
villager who was to show them the paths. After several hours of
weary trudging they reached the snow hill which was their goal,
and soon tobogganing was in full swing. Harley soon wearied of
it and stood watching them as they laboriously climbed the hill,
the sledges on their backs, in the pursuit of enjoyment of a few
seconds’ duration.

    So engrossing was this pursuit of pleasure that only the
guide noticed and pointed out to Harley that snow clouds were
gathering ominously. It was no easy matter to collect the revel-
lers. “One more slide” seemed their main object in life, and the
snow began falling before they were ready to start, and the guide
had become impatient at the delay. The snow fell more and more
thickly, and the little paths they had taken on the upward journey
were soon blocked, and they were obliged to forsake the short cuts
for longer ways. They were feeling the cold intensely and tried
to get some comfort out of the guide, who became more and more
taciturn, walking on silently and stopping from time to time to con-
sider a turning to take. At last he gave them a serious fright by
telling them that he had lost his way and he was no longer looking
for the way home but for a châlet le knew of where they would
have to remain until the snowstorm was over. Anxiety, not for
themselves, but for those waiting at home, made them all very
serious in a moment, but the guide shook his head very decisively
when they told him they must return home. He said they might
do as they wished but that he should take shelter, and they followed
him meekly.

    At last he found the châlet; they were upon it, blinded by
the driving snow, before any of them realized its presence. They
were almost paralyzed with cold and fatigue, and thought of no-
thing but the joy of rest and warmth as they gathered before the
door. There was no path swept in the snow, and they stood knee-
deep in the drift. It was a large and imposing châlet with smaller

wooden structures about it, and dark firs, their branches now
weighed down with snow, grew behind. A light in a window
gave them hope, and it was with grateful hearts they saw the
door opened by a peasant woman who looked amazed at their
appearance. Another woman behind the peasant girl was dimly
visible, and, with hardly any attempt at explanation, knocking the
snow off their feet, they trooped into the châlet. Harley was the
last to go in, and when he had shaken the snow from his eyelashes
and looked up, thinking it was time to give some account of them-
selves, he found himself looking into the face of Madeleine Dulac.
He could not speak. The emotion was so great that at first he
thought he was delirious. Never for a moment did he think she
could be any other woman closely resembling her, but he wondered
if she were not a spirit. All this passed through his mind like a
flash, for in an instant she had seen him and held out her hand in
smiling recognition. He could say nothing; dazed, he followed
her into the large cheerful kitchen, where all the frozen travellers
were removing their wraps and rubbing their hands, while Madame
Svenhi and her servant busied themselves with clever devices for
restoring circulation.

    While Madeleine was thus employed, Harley had ample
leisure to obsevre her narrowly and to seek for the changes that
must inevitably come in seven years. His memory was singularly
clear in all that concerned her, but search as he might he could not
find any physical alteration or any traces of the trouble she had
passed through. The figure was as straight and as slim, the chest-
nut hair as glossy and abundant as ever, the grey eyes frank and
clear as before, but here a difference could be felt which made Har-
ley seek for other signs of a maturing mind and deeper knowledge
of lite. The look in her eyes was more steadfast and serene. Seek-
ing further he noticed the same serenity expressed in the sensitive
mouth, now no longer mocking but gentler, and at the same time
firmer. Then all over her face there glowed a new fire: not the
flickering gleam of thoughts passing, as sunlight and shadow succeed
each other on the face of a landscape, but the steady light of a set
purpose, the inward fire of the soul. These thoughts passed rapidly
in Harley’s mind. Later his impressions might not have been so
vivid, but at this moment he was seeing with the eyes of a vision-
ary, for surely never was a vision more amazing or more engross-

                                         A Solution

ing than this one, so simple and commonplace in its details to the

    Meanwhile the snow fell unceasingly, and as the daylight
grew steadily less all prospect of returning that evening vanished,
and it was arranged they should spend the night at the châlet.
Harley looked for other inmates, but he saw none except the two
women, and he dared ask no questions about Svenhi. The house
seemed amazingly large for two people, and he wondered after-
wards how he could have been so slow in guessing that it was a
boarding-house. But Madeleine keeping a pension!—it was too
awful to contemplate. Fires were lighted in cheerful bedrooms,
smelling of pine, and there was a cosy sitting-room full of evi-
dences of woman’s occupation; yet, and Harley was amazed at
this, no piano, and this struck him with a deadly chill. How
complete had been the sacrifice of her life!

    A stamping of feet in the porch announced other travellers,
and to Harley it was another development of the vision when he
saw Svenhi accompanied by a man who seemed half-cowherd and
half-huntsman. Madeleine murmured some words to her husband,
who came forward to him with outstretched hand which Harley
took somewhat ungraciously. All the native surliness of the
Englishman was in his manner, but Svenhi did not seem to
notice it, and started telling how the snowstorm had spoilt his
day’s chamois hunting. In spite of his deep-rooted prejudice
Harley could not help noticing that Svenhi had improved in
appearance. He seemed stouter, broader, and his long Hun-
garian moustache looked less inky now that he had a healthy
brown skin instead of the deathly pallor of before. His manner
was frank and unaffected, and Harley saw he was making a good
impression on the visitors.

    During supper Madeleine, who spoke English fluently, gave
all her attention to her guests, and Harley, equally bi-lingual, had
to act as interpreter for Svenhi, who was relating his sporting ex-
periences in French. Harley continued to resent him violently,
and when after supper Svenhi escorted the travellers over the
house to show them his hunting trophies, he contrived to escape
notice and remained in the room where Madeleine, seated under
the lamp, had busied herself with plain sewing, which seemingly
overflowed from a large basket at her side. He stood out of the

radius of the light and looked at her silently while she sewed on,
apparently unconscious of his presence. Stronger and stronger
grew the necessity of hearing from her lips some account of her
life: it was no concern of his, yet he had been thinking and griev-
ing about her for so long that he almost felt she owed it to him.
She sat so peacefully there, her placid face bending over her coarse
needlework, that he could not believe her to be suffering, and yet—
it was impossible she could be happy with the man who had used
her so ill. He drew a chair close to where she was seated, and she
looked up at him and smiled and went on with her work without
speaking. Then he spoke:

    “Tell me, I have no right to ask, but tell me if you are
happy. I heard in Paris that trouble had come into your life.
How have you lived through it, and have you become reconciled
again—with life?” he added, fearing to offend her.

    “I am very happy,” she answered, looking at him with her
frank eyes. “I have chosen my life, and I am far happier than
I was when you knew me full of ambition and pride. That was a
ready-made life, and this is one of my own making. You know of
the sordid anxieties of the past: now I can tell you that they never
touched my inner life, and that is where you feel suffering and joy.”

    She stopped; and Harley said nothing, waiting while his
heart beat with expectancy. He felt himself face to face with a
mystery, the deepest of all: the hidden sources of happiness.
Madeleine was seeking how to tell reasonably a tale in which
reason had no part, and his heart told him he could feel with her
if only she would give him the clue to the enigma. She continued:

    “Soon after our marriage my husband began to gamble.
He was dazzled by the glamour of the gold, he was like a child
—all gamblers are children—and he had always been poor. I was
terribly unhappy, not for the sake of the money but because of the
deterioration I saw coming over him. He was constantly in the
society of men who flattered him; he believed them, and they won
his money from him by fair means or foul, I never knew which.
One night as I lay trying to see my way out of the darkness that
surrounded us it came upon me like a flash. ‘Take him away,’
a voice said, ‘back to the hills and valleys and streams of his
childhood.’ You know, perhaps, that he is the son of small
farmers, and he lived in the wild and desolate country until a

                                         A Solution

great musician heard him playing his cheap little violin and took
him away to Vienna to be taught. But how to win him from this
feverish life full of dreams of gold? I could do nothing; I waited,
to all I appeared indifferent and apathetic. Oh, the money soon
went, at last all had to be sold, and then my heart beat with
an excitement I had never known: I was beginning to be happy.
My husband came to me regretfully and tearfully. I held him in
my arms and told him that our life was just beginning, that our
day had dawned. He thought I had gone mad with grief and told
me afterwards that this thought kept him from suicide, feeling
suddenly his responsibility towards me. My faithful notaries had
contrived to place in safety some money that had come to me from
my mother, a very small amount, but it was enough to buy this
house and furniture, some cows and poultry. Oh, you should see
our cows grazing on the pastures high above us, the short, green,
Alpine grass around, vast as the sea, and only bounded by the
precipices sheer down to the infinite. My husband hunts in
winter, in summer there is work for us all. This house becomes
busy as a hive. Strangers come and live here; some of them
return every year, and I have made many friends who only know
me as Madame Svenhi who keeps a pension.”

    She stopped, voices were heard, the conversation would
have to become general.

    “I believe you; I admire and revere you, but I do not
understand you yet,” said Harley, wearily.

    That night he lay wakeful and restless in spite of the
fatiguing day. He turned over in his mind all Madeleine had said
that evening. He was now convinced that she was happy, happy
he thought in a fool’s paradise of her own, and from which some
day there would be a terrible awakening. The awakening would
come when Svenhi tired of the rural life and returned to town and
its temptations. The violin was always there with its luring voice
and would some day call him away to the magic glittering city
of his imagining, and this time it would be the complete shattering
of Madeleine’s dream, a dream which in the cold hard light of
reason was wild and very insecure. Harley had not yet reached
the height when we know that dreams are realities. However, to
do him justice he was only anxious to be allowed to enter into this
one, take part in it and understand it if he could. He judged it hard

that Svenhi the unworthy should be a feature in Madeleine’s rare
dream, and that he should be an outsider, merely allowed to look
through the railings at the enchanted garden. As he thought of
this his resentment towards Svenhi grew stronger; in fact during
one feverish hour he caught himself finding satisfaction in thinking
of the dangers of chamois hunting. Sleep came at last, heavy
dreamless sleep.

    The travellers were awakened by the dazzling light of the
sun shining on the snow and making it sparkle like crystal. Long
before, at the early dawn, the guide had started homewards to re-
assure the anxious friends. This assurance gave the young people
an excuse for more tobogganing, and an hour’s amusement was
decided on before they all started homewards. Svenhi offered to
show them a snow hill, and in a few minutes the voices were heard
growing fainter as they hurried off with their sledges. Harley
remained indoors with Madeleine, hardly daring to hope for a
renewal of the last night’s conversation, and yet anxious to begin
it again should an opportunity present itself. Madeleine did not
seem inclined to begin talking, but remained in the room kneeling
on the window seat and looking out across the valley. Harley
walked impatiently up and down the room, knowing that in an
hour all chances of speaking to her would be gone, yet not know-
ing how to begin. Suddenly as he paced up and down he noticed
a violin case piled up with some fishing rods, dusty and forgotten.
This drew him up suddenly, and he realized that his opportunity
had come.

    “Has your husband ceased to play the violin?” he said,
coming near to the window corner where Madeleine was.
“He has no need of it now,” was her reply. “Music is the
inarticulate speech of one who is seeking to attain—when the ful-
filment is reached the need for speech ceases. Hence the per-
petual restlessness of the artist who tries to express the inex-

    “Then he has attained fulfilment?” said Harley, hardly
conscious of a sneer in his question.

    “He has,” Madeleine answered gravely; “he has found

    He turned away and looked out of the window at the snowy
landscape, asking himself bitterly whether this was all madness or

                                         A Solution

whether he was too sophisticated ever to understand elemental
truths. He heard the door close as Madeleine left the room, and
he remained in deep meditation until the house was noisy once
more with the voices, and soon they were prepared for the home-
ward tramp. The farewells were very cordial, and promises were
made to meet again. Harley was very quiet, but he felt less
animosity towards Svenhi as he shook his hand, and his farewell
to Madeleine was a silent one. Gradually her peace was spread-
ing its quiet wings over him. The sun shone brightly on the little
group as they moved down the path towards the bend of the road
which was to hide the châlet completely from view. They waved
their hands and passed on. Harley was the last to look back
before he too passed out of sight. He saw Madeleine leaning on
her husband’s arm, shading her eyes from the dazzling snow with
her hand. Framed in the radiant Alpine landscape they stood, he
a type of manly strength and vigour and she the frail woman
clinging to him. Together they seemed the perfect being, and as
Harley turned his head and passed on, he felt he was leaving them
in perfect harmony with their surroundings, far from disintegrating
influences; and, musing, he knew he was beginning to understand.

                                                              NORA MURRAY ROBERTSON

A Study in Bereavement

                   WRITTEN BY MR THOMAS PARKER IN 1954

AN old man, looking back on life, usually remembers a few
scenes of really striking irony, and probably the most
striking irony is that of almost unconscious hypocrisy.
There was more of this in the unenlightened though eminently
virtuous generation of the first decade of this century than there
is now. Perhaps this was due to their not having seen, like our-
selves, any really practical application of medical science to what
was in those days called the “mystery” of life and death. My
readers may possibly remember that it was not till 1904 that Lord
Treadwell discovered how life might be prolonged until senile
decay had set in, and in this way completely revolutionized the
scientific aspect of what is still called “death”—a term which then
had a very different meaning. But the old ideas lived on, and it
was not until 1915 that the community began to adapt itself to the
altered requirements of a more stationary population. It is curious
to remember how my elders talked of cancer as an incurable di-
sease, and of suicide as a deplorable aberration, if not as a crime.

    But I am wandering, and must return to my reminiscence.
In the autumn of 1904, when I was a young man of forty-seven,
I remember attending the “funeral” of a distant cousin, called
Mrs Mitcham. In those days comparatively few people were
cremated, and owing to the uncertain tenure of life it was thought
correct on such occasions to simulate an almost unseemly grief,
instead of accepting the natural close of human activity in a spirit
of rational resignation. The following narrative may interest the
younger generation as showing the odd mixture of knowledge and
ignorance, sentimentality and insensibility, displayed by their an-
cestors. My memory of the episode is so vivid that I have been
able to reproduce almost exactly the remarks made by the persons
then present. Though I have lost sight of most of them, the pro-
bability is that some are still alive, and I have, therefore, preferred
to use fictitious names.

    There was, as I remember, at this “funeral” a certain Mrs
Sophia Cardew, the only sister of Mrs Mitcham, with three more
or less young daughters; a Mr John Matheson, a stockbroker;
a pathetic-looking old woman, called Mrs Boles; and two philan-
thropic ladies of the parish, Miss Molesworth and Miss Honiton.

Even in those days there lingered the Victorian custom of making
the family solicitor read the will of the person who had been
buried, and this function was accordingly performed by a solicitor
of the name of Binks, who recently died at the age of 103.

    The will began more or less in the common form of the
time. The testatrix had left her “faithful landlady,” Mrs Boles,
£75 a year so long as she looked after the pug and three canaries,
and three small legacies to Binks and her two co-district visitors,
Miss Molesworth and Miss Honiton respectively. Mrs Cardew
was to have the life interest in £7,000, which at her death was to
be equally divided among such of her daughters as should be
married by April 1, 1907, when the eldest would be thirty-seven,
and the youngest twenty-nine. Mr Matheson, the deceased’s son-
in-law, was residuary legatee. He was a widower with one child,
and Andrew Mitcham, his brother-in-law, had died a reputed
bachelor some years before.

    The will was, on the whole, satisfactory to all parties. The
landlady sat reflecting on what would best conduce to the longevity
of pugs and canaries, and the Misses Cardew were quite old enough
to realize that their aunt’s bequest was the best of all possible
excuses for open dalliance with gentlemen, who, according to the
absurd fashion then in vogue, reserved to themselves the monopoly
of courtship. Mr Matheson and Mr Binks most imprudently
drank a quantity of “brown sherry,” a poisonous liquor which had
not then been condemned by any Minister of Hygiene.*

    The decorous torpor of the scene was suddenly interrupted
by the appearance of the local doctor in a garment called a “frock
coat” and pince-nez. An early marriage had forced him into a
country practice, but had not entirely destroyed a really intel-
lectual curiosity of a kind then comparatively rare.

    “I have come,” he began abruptly, “on a very urgent
matter. I was up in town very early this morning, and with great
luck managed to see my old contemporary, Julius Treadwell, whom
you may recently have seen boomed in the halfpenny papers.
had thought he was a complete charlatan, and wished, if so, to
have the means of exposing him. But he took me off to Bart’s,♱

    * If I remember right, this ministry did not exist till 1908.—T.P.

     A big London hospital.

                                    A Study in Bereavement

and in the presence of a most distinguished company succeeded
in restoring life to a man who had been dead two days. He sets
the heart going after four hours’ work, and calculates that in such
a case life may continue quite five years more, or conceivably until
senile decay sets in. We did this with closed doors, but no doubt
the evening papers will be full of it. He showed that even after
four days he has a reasonable chance of success, as he has now
discovered a means of combating any organic changes that may
have set in.”

    The company began to look more and more scandalized,
and Mr Binks suddenly drew himself up with great solemnity.

    “My dear sir!” he remarked, “I am surprised that you
should burst in upon us in this way. Such topics are scarcely
seemly on an occasion of this kind, and I have not yet finished
explaining the will to the beneficiaries.”

    “Come, come,” said the doctor, “you don’t seem to see what
I’m driving at. I arranged with Treadwell that I would wire to
him immediately on obtaining your consent to try his skill. He
will have innumerable applications from all parts of the country
to-morrow, and, having regard to the startling circumstances of
his position, he says he must have a thousand guinea fee even if
he fails.”

    “I think,” replied the solicitor, most emphatically, “that
you misapprehend the situation. My clients are, I am sure, not at
all prepared to allow such sacrilegious experiments to be tried on
their beloved relative. I must also point out that the whole pro-
cedure seems to me grossly illegal, and, in any case, no body can
be exhumed without the leave Be the Home Secretary.”

    At this point I remember that Mrs Cardew went off into
a fit of hysterics, which brought the nerves of the whole party to
extreme tension.

    “Dr Mills,” remarked Mr Matheson, “I entirely agree with
my solicitor in thinking that this subject should not have been
broached in the presence of the ladies. But, apart from any other
consideration, I think it would be cruel to restore life to anyone
who has gone to his last rest. I go further, and maintain that it
is utterly contrary to the dictates of the Christian religion, how-
ever unimportant you may think it.”

    “You had better call in the parson on that point,” retorted

the doctor, becoming slightly heated; “but here I see you all in
deep mourning and presumably afflicted by the loss of the lady
who has just died. In all seriousness I hold out a prospect of
restoring her to you, and you immediately flout it. I can hardly
imagine that you are influenced by the question of expense.”

    “The fee,” said Mr Binks, with awakened interest, “would,
I suppose, be paid by the executors* as a part of the funeral ex-
penses; it would therefore be deducted from the residue, and
would ultimately fall on the residuary legatee—that is of course
you, Mr Matheson.”

    “Of course, if I thought there was anything in the idea,
I should have nothing to say against it,” was Mr Matheson’s rapid

    “Properly speaking,” continued Mr Binks, “nothing should,
in my pea be done without the consent of the deceased—but
I feel slightly bewildered by the proposal. In any case, the fee
should, I think, be apportioned among the beneficiaries. I should
add that, even if Mrs Mitcham was alive again, she would have no
means of replacing the income of a thousand guineas.”

    “Interesting as these details may be to the legal mind,”
said the doctor, addressing himself to the whole company, “the
question now before all of you is whether or not any of you wish
to see Mrs Mitcham alive again. The man I saw this morning is
now lying in bed in a perfectly normal condition, and talking as
anyone might who had emerged from a long catalepsy. I see
myself no reason for seriously doubting that the same result might
be achieved here.”

    Mrs Cardew had, meantime, slightly recovered, and sud-
denly observed:

    “Yow know perfectly well, doctor, that this is sanctioned by
no law, human or divine.”

     Her daughters did not seem to know quite what to say, but
the eldest, whose share of the £7,000 seemed unpleasantly contin-
gent, turned to her mother:

    “You must remember, mamma, that modern science does
wonderful things. As Mr Fulton said in his sermon last week,

    * In those days the State had not yet taken over these functions, and even
solicitors were allowed to act in this capacity until 1921, when the great principle of
“compulsory administration” was inaugurated by the centenarian Lord Chancellor.

                                    A Study in Bereavement

scientific discoveries are often providential. In that case they are
like new Acts of Parliament, and become a law in themselves.
Think of having dear Auntie back again! We needn’t see her till
she has recovered.”

    The landlady who, as far as I remember, cared more for the
dead woman than her relations, here showed a strong inclination
to tears. At the same time Miss Molesworth and Miss Honiton
rose, and said they thought that Mr Fulton should be consulted
before any decision was arrived at. I understood Miss Honiton
to add that she had never thought she would live to see those
beautiful words, “Earth to earth, dust to dust,” entirely lose their

    At this moment there was a knock at the door, and the doc-
tor’s servant entered with a telegram. The doctor opened
and read it.

    Can no longer come down, booked for next fortnight.—Treadwell.

     A visible relief came over everyone.

    “I wonder if the remarks of Lazarus’s family were cor-
rectly reported,” muttered the doctor, as he closed the door be-
hind him.

    Lazarus, I may add, was a personage whose name, though
now only familiar to scholars, was commonly cited at that time to
illustrate what was then considered a miraculous recovery of

                                                              E. S. P. HAYNES

    *   A quotation from a liturgy then in use at “funerals.”

Two Songs


            MY Love is dark, but she is fair;
                As dark as damask roses are,
            As dark as woodland lake-water,
                Which mirrors every star.

            For she, as shines the moon by night,
                Can win the darker air
            To blend its beauty with her light—
                Till dark is doubly fair.


            Gaze on me, though you gaze in scorn,
                O Lady, turn your eyes to me;
            And then the darkness may be borne,
                When two such glorious lights I see:
            For who is there if stars shine bright
            That will not praise the dark of night?

            As gloaming brings the bending dew,
                That flowers may faint not in the sun,
            So, Lady, now your looks renew
                My heart, although it droops adown;
            And thus it may unwithered be,
            When you shall deign to smile on me.

                                                              OLIVER GOGARTY

A Tuscan Melody

SEVEN hundred years ago, when the heart of Italy was glowing
from a new fire and strong with a new youth, a poet of whom
little is known parted from his lady in a Tuscan orange grove.
The fading blue of the sky above them, and the green and bright
colour of the orange trees dim in the sudden twilight, made a
sweetly toned background to her small delicately shaped Italian
head, and greatly pleased the poet. Those were caressing words
that he whispered as they waited in the dusk. They parted, she
to thread her way down to the village, he upwards to the little
house above the orange trees. Her round lips pouted as she
slipped away. “He does not love me. No, he does not love
me,” their petulant little curves seemed to whisper to each other.
Yet, when his hand was on his doorlatch, he stood for man
minutes looking down to where her white dress flickered through
the trees. Looking at him then, one would have said he loved
her. But suddenly a sweeter smile moved his face, a brighter
light lit his eyes. He looked like one before whom the beauty of
the earth has dawned in a glowing cloud on a pale sky. He dis-
appeared into the house and was soon striding up and down a
brown wood room, bare with scanty furniture. Words were
singing in his ears. His heart throbbed to a strangely beautiful
measure. Now and again he took a long pen from a small table
in a corner of the room, and wrote words upon a piece of parch-
ment. Then he would cross them out and write the words again.
His face shone like the lanthorn of pale glass that hung in the
corner over the table. Looking upon him then, one would have
said that all the love of all his life was held in the faint thing
that he was snatching from the air and setting out in trembling
loving strokes upon his scrap of vellum.

    All night he worked, building up a song from live words,
and fitting them with all the art that was in him to a fine old
Tuscan melody. As the orange trees broke into brilliance under
the morning sun, his song was finished and he rested for a moment,
humming it happily over to himself. Then, drunk with the joy of
having made a new thing, he ran down the hill to bring Valeria,
his lady, who had the sweetest voice in all the valley, that she
might be the first to sing the song that he had made. Then indeed
was he in love. Whether with the Sparse song, each word of
which seemed like a little mesh in the net of music that held his

soul, a painting, trembling captive, or with the thought of the dainty
Lady Valeria singing it over in the house above the orange trees,
it is impossible to say. He found Valeria, and brought her all
untidy and fresh as the dew on the grass, at tumbling pace up
through the trees. They climbed hand in hand. His hand held
hers so tight that the blood that beat in him seemed to her to be-
long to her own veins also. “Surely he loves me,” she thought.
Even as they ran he kept telling her the words of the song, lilting
over the melody she was to sing. They reached the house, and he
took a long draught of wine, holding it up for her to see the sun-
light sparkling in its crimson depths. She refused when he offered
it, but he made her sip a little that her song might rise the

    She sang, and the poet turned his head aside, gazing
dumbly out over the valley, and a mist was in his eyes. The
beauty of Valeria bringing the other beauty from the heart of his
own song was like the bright lightning that stuns everything to
silent thought. As she neared the end of the song he turned again
towards her. And when she stopped with a little sob in her voice,
he caught her in his arms. She sang it for him again and again.
He knew as she sang that he loved her. Shortly they were
married. This is the end of the story of Valeria and her poet, but
the tale of the song is not finished yet, nor ever will be while men
love to hear their women singing.

    For the little wild thing that was born to the poet in that
mad happy night in the house above the orange grove has been
sung through all the world so long and so often that the name of
the poet has been forgotten. The peasants in the valley call it
Valeria’s song, for when she came down into the village it was
ever on her lips. They loved the music and the words, and passed
them on from mouth to mouth long after the poet and Valeria lay
together under the grass with the orange trees blossoming above
their grave. The poem was sung nightly in the hot Italian
summers when the peasants sat together after sunset, watching
the reds and greens of the sky darken to purple and deep blue.
Petrarch heard it sung in his Tuscan childhood, and he wrote
other words to fit the music, but the old words clung on, and may
still be heard in the valley where they were written.

    The song might always have remained here as one of the

                                    A Tuscan Melody

old songs of the place, and never been known elsewhere, if it had
not been for a fortunate accident. One year when the valley was
not so prosperous as to promise employment for all its young men,
a youth, one of a numerous family, determined to leave his home
and hack a golden fortune from the wealth of Pisa. This youth
was clever in the making of little statues and his voice was clear
and fresh. He came to Pisa, and as he had not money to rent a
booth, he age his figures on a tray and carried them through the
streets. Friendless among the quick contemptuous dwellers in
the city, he was puzzled and not a little dismayed by the finely
dressed youths who swaggered past him, and the quaint dresses
of the sailing folk who came from all parts of the world. He was
very lonely. To lift his soul which felt bruised and beaten by the
buzz around him, he sang as he walked, the old song of the valley
he had left, away in the Tuscan hills. As he sang, he forgot the
people and all the hum of the chattering trading city. He thought
of the big tree in the middle of his village, in whose boughs he had
sat and teasingly flung leaves and twigs at a dark-haired girl who
stood gazing up at him. Perhaps he thought a little of her also.
However that may be he did not notice a tall Pisan who One
to listen to him, so that he started quickly when the man laid
a hand on the curling black hair that covered his bare head.
“Youth,” said he, “you must sing that song before my master.
Whence came it? Who was its author?” The lad was accus-
tomed to speak freely, and undismayed by the dignity of his
listener, who was a man finely dressed, he told what little he knew
of the origin of the poem. Me was taken to a great house richly
furnished, and sang the song before one of the greatest nobles of
the city. He listened to the song, and it brought a wistful look
of a man rather than of a statesman, to his care-laden eyes. He had
the song over again and often afterwards, and it was spread through
all Pisa. From Pisa it was carried to all the cities of Italy by
travellers or by the accidents of war. The Venetians knew it. It
became a common street song in Rome and Naples, and often on
cool nights in Florence youths and maidens drifting in silent
boats between the banks of the Arno, heard music in the houses
that they passed, and this song with its ancient Tuscan melody
floated to them over the water in the beam of light from one of the
open windows.

From Venice it found its way northward into the rugged
heart of Germany. The old strong life still throbbed in the pulses
of the North, when an engraver in wood came over the hills to
the city on the sea. His manners were rough, of the north, but
his face was free and open, and he soon became a favourite among
the artists of Venice. One, in particular, grew very close with
him, and the two worked in the same room. Now this artist was
painting a picture for a rich man, and a noble Venetian lady, who
loved him, was sitting as a model. She was fond of singing, and
among all the songs she knew, this Tuscan song was her favourite.
Once, as they were preparing their painting tools, she sang it to
beguile the time. The tune and its words seized the German
artist and held him fast. Though there was nothing sorrowful in
the lyric, yet it moved him as it had moved the man who wrote
it, and his sight was dimmed with tears. He begged her for the
words, and found a strange joy in the swaying rhythms of the
Latin that she taught him, half laughing at his eagerness. Then
when he returned to the north he chanted the song at one of the
merry feasts where soldiers and artists, priests and poets sat
together heartily at a single board. He sang it hesitatingly as one
exhibits a new sword which looks handsome but has given no
proof of its strength. Under his broad eyebrows he looked round
for the applause he expected and won. The others asked him for
the words. Twice he repeated them. Then, with clash of flagons
on the table, the whole company of men in lusty chorus chanted
the ancient song until the rafters creaked.

    Already the song had filled all Italy and been carried across
the seas to the East and across the hills to the North, when hun-
dreds of years after that first singing in the orange grove among
the Tuscan hills, travelling singers carried it West, to the Dutch
fishermen who chanted it as they brought their boats to beach, to
the roystering taverns of old France, and in many varying versions
to Norway, and the unknown lands beyond. About this time,
when all the world was singing, when lovers sang beneath the
windows of their loves, and peace and war alike filled men with
song, the melody came curiously to England. A pious English
pilgrim, with a little of the devil still in him that he wished
to cast out by his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, was tramping across
Europe, singing as he went psalm tunes and all manner of godly

                                    A Tuscan Melody

chants. One day in southern Germany, as he passed under the
windows of an old brown inn, a voice started into the air directly
above him. His pious meditation was so strong upon him that he
was decidedly startled, but all thoughts of angels or devils were
flung from his mind, when, looking up, he saw a red-cheeked
German maiden leaning from a window-sill, singing heartfully this
same old Tuscan song. Pilgrim though he was, he tucked up his
skirts, dropped his staff and scrip, and in two bars of the song was
up the wooden stairs and laughingly pursuing that German
maiden round and round a table. He caught her at last, of course,
and she sang the song to him very sweetly, sitting before him on
the table, swinging her wooden shoes. He vowed that he would
sing it himself, and it is recorded that he entered the Holy City
with the wild thrill of the Tuscan melody upon his pious lips.
When he returned to England his song spread far among the
learned, and soon descended to the unlearned, who sang it quite
as lustily. As years passed, it became most popular, and the
chubby little boys who sat cross-legged on imitation dolphins
sang it to Queen Elizabeth at that famous revel in the grounds of
Kenilworth Castle. She was pleased with its melody, and had a
copy writ on vellum in inks of red and green, with much fine gold,
and caused her pages to sing it to her when she rested in a balcony
of Windsor, weary and tired from her day of careful scheming.

    For the next two hundred years the song was sung through
all Europe, by the students of the universities, by soldiers on the
march, by merry-making priests; the light-haired girls of Germany
and the dark-haired ladies of Spain sang it always with the same
subtle enjoyment, bringing gaiety to some and tears to others.
But of all the stories of its singing that we know, there is none
I like so well as this, of eighteenth century France. A dainty
demoiselle, given the words by a stiff old singing master, read
them and found them sweet to her careful little tongue. She
stood by the greyheaded man at the instrument, and her slender
throat swelled up and down with the wavelets of the song. She
sang it as it should be sung, with the fresh passion and clear
voice of a young girl, and the old master bent his locks over her
little hands and kissed them for her singing. Then she blushed
prettily and would sing no more till, coaxed by the pleading
courteous old gentleman, she burst out laughingly with one of the

lilting songs of the France that has long been dead except in the
souls of her poets.

    Lastly, to prove that all this is true, was not the old song
sung to me to-night, when dusk caressed my orchard. Two
girls, who looked like spirits in their pale dresses against the
darkness of the trees, sang to me leaning on a bough whose faint
pink blossoms still showed dim in the twilight. Only an hour
ago, when I passed into my cottage, the stars sang high in the
heavens above me and the echoes of those two sweet girlish
voices were clinging round my heart.

    Besides these, the song, and the melody which is older than
the song, have had many other adventures. They have been
woven into operas, and sung in brilliant theatres and cold glimmer-
ing streets, in crowded cities and on the wide expanses of the
East. Some day I mean to build the stories of the singings into
a little book.

                                                              ARTHUR RANSOME

Two Worlds

            BY J. P. JACOBSEN

        An English Rendering from the Danish by Hermione

THE Salzach is not a cheerful river, and there is a peculiar
melancholy about the stillness of the poverty-stricken little
village on its eastern bank.

    The houses stand close together on the water’s edge, like a
crowd of miserable beggars who cannot go any further because
they have no means of paying their passage across the ferry; their
palsied shoulders lean against each other, and they rest their rotten
crutches in the muddy stream. The black window panes scowl
from under their overhanging roofs at the houses on the opposite
side with an expression half hatred, half envy. On the other side
the houses are scattered about in picturesque groups of twos and
threes, stretching far away over the green plain until they are lost
to view in the golden haze of the horizon. But the sunset casts
no glow over the little village, it is shrouded in darkness, and the
silence is rendered more impressive by the monotonous sound of
the river as it flows slowly on, murmuring to itself, sadly and

    The air on the opposite side was filled with the buzzing of
the harvest flies, and from time to time a sudden gust of wind
would blow them across to die among the willows on the bank.

    A boat was coming up the river.

    A weak, sickly-looking woman was standing on the balcony
of one of the furthest houses. She was shading her eyes with an
almost transparent hand, leaning over the parapet to watch the
boat which seemed to be sailing upon a mirror of liquid gold.

    The woman’s white face shone through the dusk as though
it had light in itself like the foam which, even on a dark night,
whitens the crest of the waves. There was a hopeless look in her
anxious eyes, and a curious, vacant smile played about the tired
mouth, while the lines on her forehead deepened, causing a look
of decision mingled with desperation to cross her face.

    The bells in the little village church were beginning to ring,

    The woman turned away from the sunlight and rocked her-

self to and fro, holding her hands to her ears to keep out the
sound of the bells, while she murmured to herself as though in
answer to the ringing: “I cannot wait, I cannot wait.”

    But the bells rang on.

    She paced backwards and forwards on the balcony as
though she were in pain; the lines on her face had grown deeper
still, and she drew her breath with difficulty like one who is op-
pressed with sorrow yet cannot find relief in tears.

    For many a long year she had suffered from a painful
disease which left her no peace either by night or day. She had
consulted all the wise women she knew, she had gone from one
holy well to the other, but without success. At last she had
joined in the procession on Saint Bartholomew’s day, and there
she had met an old, one-eyed man who advised her to make
a broom of edelweiss and faded rue, of maize and bracken from
the churchyard, with a lock of her hair and a piece of wood from
a coffin; this she was to throw after a young girl who was strong
and healthy, who would come to her through running water.
Then the sickness would leave her and cling to the girl.

    She had made the broom and concealed it in her dress.
A boat was coming up the river, it was the first that had
passed since she made the magic wand. She came back to the
edge of the parapet; the boat was near enough for her to count
the people in it; she could see that there were six people on
board and that they looked like foreigners. The boatman stood
in the prow with a pole, and there was a lady at the helm with
a man by her side who was watching to see that she steered
according to the boatman’s directions; the others were sitting in
the middle of the boat.

    The sick woman bent forward; every feature was strained
and expectant, and her hand was concealéd in her breast. She
scarcely breathed as with beating heart, distended nostrils and
vacant eyes, she stood waiting for the boat to come.

    Already their voices were audible, first only in a faint
murmur, then distinctly.

    “Luck,” said one of them, “is a purely heathen conception.
You do not find it once mentioned in ide New Testament.”

    “What about blessedness?”

    “Stop,” said another. “Of course, it is the ideal of con-

                                             Two Worlds

versation to digress, but it seems to me that we should do well to
go back to the subject which was first started.”

    “Very well then, the Greeks—”

    “First the Phœnicians.”

    “What do you know about the Phœnicians?”

    “Nothing. But why should the Phœnicians be passed

    By this time the boat was just under the house, and at that
moment some one lit a cigarette. A blaze of light fell upon the
lady in the stern, and lit up her fresh, ie face, revealing a
smile on the parted lips and a dreamy look in the clear eyes,
raised heavenward. The light went out, and as the boat sailed
by there was a little splash, as of something thrown into the water.

    It was about a year later. The sun was setting between
two heavy walls of clouds, casting a red glow upon the pale water.
A fresh wind swept across the plain; there were no harvest flies,
the only sound was the rippling of the river among the rushes.
In the distance a boat was seen coming down the stream.

    The woman from the balcony was standing on the bank.
That day when she had thrown her witch’s broom after the young
girl she had fallen down in a faint. The violent excitement, aided
perhaps by the new parish doctor, had worked a change in her
illness, and after passing through a critical interval she began to
recover, and a couple of months afterwards she was completely
cured, At first she was quite intoxicated with the feeling of health
which was so new to her; but it did not last long. She became
dejected and troubled in her mind; she was haunted by the image
of the young girl in the boat. It rose before her as she had seen
it, young and happy; then it knelt down at her feet and looked
up at her appealingly. Then a time came when she no longer
saw it, and still she knew it was there; it moaned in her bed all
the day, and at night she could hear it in the corner of the room.
Now she saw it again; it was looking so pale and worn, gazing at
her reproachfully with large, unnatural eyes.

    This evening she was standing by the brink of the river
with a stick in her hand. She was drawing crosses in the soft
mud, and more than once she raised herself to listen.

    The bells were ringing.

She finished the cross carefully and threw away the stick.
Then she knelt down and prayed. Presently she waded into the
river up to her waist, folded her hands, and laid herself down in
the dark grey waters. The water took her and dragged her into
its depths and murmured more sadly than ever as it flowed past
the village, past the fields and far away.

    By this time the boat was quite near; there were the same
young people on board who had helped each other to steer on the
former occasion; they were now on their honeymoon. He was
sitting in the stern, and she was standing in the middle of the boat,
leaning against the mast; she wore a large, grey shawl and a red
hat; she was humming a tune.

    They came close under the house. She nodded to the man
at the helm and looked up at the sky and the floating clouds, as
she sang:

        By moat invested
        Safe am I nested;
        Art firmly founded, my hall of joy?
        Do ramparts shield thee, so none annoy?
        . … What see I afar, from the castle keep high
        Darkly and dim where the crimson clouds lie?
            Those shadows I know,
            They gather and grow,
            They wander and go
        Like sad thoughts now banished
        Of sorrows all vanished.
        Ye shadows come, come here and rest
        Within my castle, within my breast,
        Drink from the golden goblet bright
        Here in the halls of radiant light—
        One cup for joy ere yet ’tis here,
        One cup for hopelessness austere,
            Dreams! fill the cup!


For the King

THERE was clamour of battle down in the plain,
My Knight’s heart laughed and laughed again.
        I would strike a blow for the King,
                                    My King.

I picked a lance and a true steel sword,
And rode where the flame of the battle roared
        About the face of the King.

The shock of the charge was good to feel,
The sway of the press, the swing of the steel!
        Under the eyes of the King.

Many a brave Knight tottered dead.
Many a false knight turned and fled
        From the side of a falling King.

I fought my way thro’ the dying light,
Where a broken banner hung in the fight
        Over a broken King.

I won a bloody way to his side,
I looked in his eyes—that were staring wide
        With the royal fear of a King.

I saw him turn his charger’s head
Riding away from his valiant dead
        That had died for a craven King.

I tossed him a curse, and rode at the horde
Of his gathering foes. I broke my sword;
And my heart, and my heart, for love of the is
                                    My King!

A Game of Confidences

    “OH, there you are, Paul! How do you do? I’m so glad to
see you again.” Mrs Vibart beamed delightfully upon me.

    “I hear you have quite settled Mr Rollison’s affair—so
clever of you.”

    “I had very little—”

     “What a bother it has been, hasn’t it? But I can’t have
my best young man doing nothing,” continued my charming hostess.
“Now there’s such a dear little thing over there, by the window.
Come along at once—I have a thousand people to arrange yet.
And some of them are so uneven.”

    “Why don’t you say ‘odd,’ and be done with it? What
does the dear little thing do? And will any pecuniary advantage
accrue to me if—”

    “Don’t argue—I haven’t a minute to lose. Here come the
Ponsonbys, with an artist man whose name I have entirely for-
gotten. Be quick.”

    “I must know whether she paints, or writes, or sculpts—”

    “She doesn’t do anything now, beyond being very good and
sweet—and she’s all alone. She comes from Devon. It’s too far
off for me to remember if she has any precise métier; but you’ll
soon find out, Paul—you’re so intelligent.”

    “Lead on, dear lady. The fatted calf is ready for the

     “It won’t be any sacrifice, I’m positive.” Mrs Vibart, with-
out permitting me another word, steered us both marvellously
across the wide studio. Then I heard her usual introduction—
quite unintelligible, until my own name was reached. “My
Paul, he has been been begging for an introduction! Do be kind
to him, and excuse my rushing away at once. I see a heap more

    I turned dutifully towards the “dear little thing.” I instantly
rather liked her; and had a vague feeling that we had met before.
I said, carefully: “I have been hearing how frightfully good you
are, and that you come from Devon—”

     “From Dartymoor,” she particularized, prettily. Her voice
was so beautifully contralto that I made haste to secure the seat
next to hers. It was a positively secluded corner of the studio.

    “But I’m not frightfully good,” she added, gently—stirring
familiar chords chaotically again within me.

    “Honour bright?” I questioned.

    She nodded. “I’m only a country cousin of Mrs Vibart’s.
She’s awfully kind. Introduces me to every one.”

    “Whether you like it or not? That’s just what she has done
to me; only I’m not so dissatisfied with my partner.”

    “Please, I never said that. I meant that Cousin Amy was
always troubling and fussing over me. Now, of course, you’re a
somebody? Artist, author, or—”

    Philosopher,” said I, taking a surreptitious peep at her.
Surely that straight, defiant, little nose, that slightly self-conscious
trick of flushing—. But she was expecting a full definition of
myself. “I’ll tell you a secret—quite a dear, true little secret.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to be a philosopher, and the
best paying. You merely have to wear a high forehead, and look
profound. Nature most obligingly has permitted me to achieve
the former—I rather want her to stop just where she is; whilst I
have acquired a sphinx-like look through attending Cousin Amy’s

    “Cousin Amy? Then I suppose we’re cousins, too?”

    “Indubitably. But I’m a town cousin, which only counts
since she has been a widow—four, or is it five years? As regards
philosophy, however—but do you like hearing me talk?”

    “It’s—heavenly,” she breathed, with shy conviction.

    “Thank you. I rather enjoy it, too, when I have such an
equally Beecenly auditor. That’s quits, isn’t it? How young
are you?”

    “What a direct question! However, to a philosopher, I’ll

    “Don’t. I’ll guess instead. It will make the time seem so
short. Then I’ll get tea; and we’ll eat it—and then we can go.”

    “I shan’t go,” my companion announced. “I’m stay-
ing here.”

    “I’ll ask Amy to invite me to dinner,” I retorted. “ Pray
silence for the guess. Two-and-twenty?”

    “Four-and-twenty. It’s a lot, isn’t it—to be still a nobody?

    “Don’t worry. I’m half as old again—and simply a philo-
sopher. Plenty of men are quite famous at my age; but I’ve never
had time. What’s your name? I’m sorry to have to ask these
things; but Amy didn’t say clearly.”

                                A Game of Confidences

    “I’m called Muriel.”

    “It becomes you,” I remarked. “My name is Paul, which
means ‘little or small.’ Your opportunity.”

     “I don’t perceive that you’re little or small, anyway,” said
Muriel, enigmatically. ‘What form does your philosophy take?”

     “Telling stories to nice girls.”

     “Oh, but any one can do that.”

    “Pardon me—not philosophic stories, with morals and all
that sort of thing.”

    “Let me judge.”

    “I had a heap of questions to ask,” said I, regretfully.
“I wanted to know what colours you liked, and whether your
eyes are really dark grey. And whether that tiny heart-shaped
locket on the end of that extraordinarily long chain contains a

    “A picture of a friend.”

    “Lucky friend. But you had to cut him.”

    She glanced up, surprisedly. “How did you know?” she
asked, quickly.

     “Not even a midget photo would go in there. You must
have beheaded him.”

     “Oh, of course. I didn’t understand.” She paused. “Tell
me your story, please.”

    “I was at that moment thinking where I had heard your
name before. I mean the Muriel part of it,” I explained, as I
hadn’t heard the other. “ However, it has just come back to me,
and thereby hangs a tale. It’s about a Muriel, and is quite re-
spectable. You might be able to advise me about it, since it’s
a problem.”

    “To whom?”

    “Myself indirectly; and a friend chiefly. He’s a decent
fellow. I meet him at dinner. Middle Temple, you know. He’s
eating his terms, and occasionally I go to help. Well, in the
course of his lunches he encountered a girl.”

    “Do they allow girls at the dinners?”

     “I said lunches. She was a governess girl, at a shop. I
must make myself clear. The shop is a very nice luncheon place,
and the people live over it. They have children and a governess.
I have seen her.”


    “There’s not the least doubt as regards her existence. One
time they were shorthanded—at the busiest part of the day; and
this girl was shot into the cashier’s box. You know—little pay-
place near the door. Well, my friend saw her.”

    “Yes?” My partner was flushing again in her delicious

    “Fell over head and ears in love. Rum story, isn’t it?
Chance willed it that the girl should be imprisoned in that box
day after day, for a week or more. Then, occasionally. Then
chance meddled still further, and allowed meetings in the Temple
Gardens, when she had the children with her. . . . All the while
I never guessed a word.”

    “How did you find out.”

    “Just sheer braininess. I perceived that Wally was not
well. He seemed altogether peculiar. Ethereal and poetic. He
left off swearing when dinner was late; studied harder than ever.
After a little inward cogitation I drew him on one side. I said
quietly, but distinctly: ‘My boy, it won’t do. What is her name,
and how did you discover that she was an angel?’ Wally—his
real name is Wallace Rollison, by the way—turned pale as the
Law Courts themselves.”

    “What did he say?” asked Muriel in a queer sort of voice.

    “The whole miserable story burst forth, as from a volcano.
I sat down heavily on the nearest seat—we were in Temple Gar-
dens—and gasped. He clung to me, and instructed me that she
was a dear. … They always are, you know. That her name
was Muriel. . . . I’m sorry to drag you into it.”

    “Never mind that. Please go on. I’m so anxious to hear
the moral.”

    “Don’t be impatient. I talked about his career and about
marrying in haste. I expounded that he hadn’t known her long

     “That she was primarily only a governess girl; and that
she had been in a shop?”

     “No, Those facts were patent—and didn’t so much matter.
I thought of the spoiling of the boy’s life. ‘In a wife’s lap, as in
a grave, Man’s airy notions mix with earth,’ as the poet singeth.
But he was infatuated.”

                                A Game of Confidences


    “At my earnest request, he kept away from her for a week.
I said that he would get her into a row and make her lose her
place. That, no doubt, she was poor—and had relatives. I was
quite a father to him.”

    “Didn’t it strike you that the girl might have had feelings?”

    “Not at that moment. After a week he broke out worse
than ever. I said: ‘Go, then, and ask her to marry you.’ He
answered, to my surprise, for I imagined I had played a master
card: ‘I will go—and this very day.’ And he added a quite
extraordinary and unnecessary remark. He said: ‘It’s only love
that matters, after all.’”

    “You don’t believe that?”

    “Providence made me essentially normal. Everything I
eat digests, you know. But pray hear the dénouement—if I’m not
boring you. Shall I get some tea?”

    “Please no. I would rather hear the end.” The strange
little creature was white as a ghost over it. Or, perhaps the fail-
ing light—

    “Wally came back at four o’clock. He had seen the
girl, and had asked her the great question. And she…. had
said, ‘NO.’”

    I paused to give this effect. My companion was looking
away. Her small hands were restless in her lap. She spoke to
me presently, very soft and low. “Were you surprised?” she en-
quired, nervously.

     “Very. But my respect for Miss Muriel went up at a
bound. I began to be angry with Rollison. I told him he hadn’t
asked her properly. He protested miserably that he had im-
plored …. until she had told him that there was some
one else.”

    “Some one else?”

    “More in her own position, she had declared. And then
had incontinently commenced to cry. Quietly and pathetically
Wally said. He couldn’t understand anything but the NO.
came away.”

    “Was there anything else to understand?”

    “Now you are touching the problem. Of course there
wasn’t ‘some one else.’ I saw through that after ten minutes

hard thinking. The plucky little beggar had viewed the case as
I had. She really loved him, and so wouldn’t let him take
the risk.”

    “And possibly she thought that he would lose his friends,
as well as his chance. That his mother would, perhaps—”

    “How well you see it!” I interrupted. “His mother….
you would never credit it; but she actually told Wally to try
again! Said that she was sure no boy of hers would ever ask her
to love a new daughter who wasn’t worthy. I felt awfully mean
and small when I heard him answer that fair play was a jewel.
That he wasn’t going to ask the little girl to be disloyal.”

    “Why did you feel mean?”

    “Because I only had to tell him what I had guessed,
which, mind you, I’m as certain of as I am of anything in
life; and he would have gone back, and would have persuaded
her, in time.”

    “In time?”

    “Yes, I made a few inquiries, discreetly, myself. She
had left the shop place, and had gone home: and, all the while, I
knew in my heart that she would make him the best little wife
in the world. She would have helped him. . . . Don’t you think
I’m a beast?”

     “Perhaps you were wrong. About the guess, I mean. She
might have had another lover.”

    “She hadn’t, absolutely.”

    “If they had married, would you, as one of his friends,
have cared to still know him? They would have been poor, and
through it all—the worry, I mean—he might have failed, and
not ever have been ‘called.’ Again, she mightn’t have been
his equal.”

    “I feel a culprit,” I protested. “Whenever I see his face,
it comes home to me. I ought to tell him.”

    “Would you… . be best man at his wedding?

    “The problem again! I have seen so many unhappy mar-
riages; and yet—”

    My companion turned towards me once more, and her grey
eyes seemed to hold tears. It was full dusk in the studio, the gab-
bling riot going on—pictures and shows, and mediums and man-
ners—all were curiously remote. I felt myself strangely drawn

                                A Game of Confidences

towards this little girl. . . . She put out her hand as if to take
something from mine.

     “Don’t you feel that she was right?” she asked, gently and
patiently. Then, altering her tone, she concluded, abruptly, “I’ll
take your check, please.”

    I knew her, then. I knew that I had known her all along.
Of course, of course! That true contralto voice; those unforget-
able eyes. I answered her soberly.

    “I shall be very proud,” said I, emphatically, “very
honoured, if I may be best man at your wedding. We have both
been wrong; and Wally was right. It is only love that matters in
this poor little world. . . . Let me get you some tea?”

    On my way I almost ran into Amy Vibart. “You have
been good,” she whispered. “Do you see who is by the door?
It’s Mr Rollison, looking everywhere for you.”

    “Not for me,” I said, decidedly. “So you put it into my
head, did you? You clever thing, how ingeniously it was sug-
gested! I’m about to get Muriel some very nice tea—two cups—
and then I’m going to let Rollison carry the tray.”

     Amy squeezed my arm, affectionately. “You’re quite my
best young man,” she murmured.

                                                              PAUL CRESWICK


    THE world is ruled by me and God:
    Silent we single from the crowd
    The ugly, mean: the fair, the proud,
    At one irrevocable nod
    Go down, go down and bite the sod.

    Here, where despised I sit alone,
    Almighty God hath reared His throne:
    Am I cast down, abject, afeard,
    To gaze within those eyes unseared
    By myriad lights of million suns
    Which roll relentless round His feet?
    Watch me—I smile, I hold his beard.

    Houses we crumble in our hands
    And shake their vermin down to Hell—
    Yea, all the proud indifferent lands
    That know me not for over-lord—
    For over-lord and God as well,
    Resistlessly their rests are hurled
    Beyond the ramparts of the world.

    Here in my freezing little room
    I rouse the innavigable seas;
    The screaming breakers black with doom
    Crush the strong ships against the coast:
    I raise my hand, sweep out the stars,
    And in the crash of smashing spars
    God, I and God laugh through the gloom.

            Then gazing in each other’s eyes
            We slide, we slide into a dream,
            While myriad worlds around arise,
            Slip past, and strow their myriad gleam—
            Phantasmagoria they seem,
            The thick dust of eternities:
            But awful, stony, thunder-shod,
            We trample down the firmament,
            For God is I, and I am God.

                                                              VINCENT O’SULLIVAN.

Old Songs

                                          I.—FAIR ROSAMUND

    HOW did you get in?” said Fair Rosamund indifferently.
Queen Eleanor held up the skein of silk, with a
compassionate smile.

    “Ah, yes, I might have known,” laughed Fair Rosamund;
“all spiders spin silk. . . . Will you be staying long?”

    “No; not very long,” answered Queen Eleanor regretfully.

    “I am very sorry for that,” sighed Rosamund; “the sight
of you makes me feel ten years younger.”

    “Never mind,” murmured Eleanor comfortingly; “I will
stay a little while—long enough to make you much younger than

    A sharp silence followed.

    “Will you not sit down?” cooed Rosamund absently. “O,
I forgot; pardon me; this is the only chair that has been given to
me, and it holds but one at once.”

    “Where does he sit?” said Eleanor, looking round aimlessly
at the great lime trees overhead.

    “On my knee,” whispered Rosamund.

    Eleanor resumed, ‘Why should I pardon you? Do not
yield me your chair—”

    “I had not thought of it,” said Rosamund, opening her eyes
very widely.

    Eleanor continued, not noticing the interruption, “I will sit
on the floor at your feet.”

    “That will be beautiful,” said Rosamund; then she went on
protectingly, “See, I will give you a little corner of the hem of my
skirt to sit upon.”

    “How good; I shall hide it completely,” said Eleanor.

    She seated herself, and again a long silence ensued. Then
she resumed, “This cannot go on for ever.”

    “I thought not,” said Rosamund sagely.

    Eleanor rose and drew from her gown-bosom a narrow
thin willowy knife and a vial of green copper. She cut off a short
piece from the skein of silk and knotted it about the neck of the
vial; with this she hung the vial on the tip of the knife and offered
them to Rosamund, saying “Which?”

    “Do you mean to kill me?” laughed Rosamund.

    “Eleanor nodded repeatedly and rapidly, with an expression
of vanity on her face.

    “You are most foolish,” said Fair Rosamund in tones of
grave reproof; “surely you see that my death by your hands will
make him think of me whenever he sees you, so that he will re-
member how much greater is my beauty than yours; then, too, he
will always hate you until he can watch you die, in payment for my
death—and that may make it possible even you will die before
your time. As for me, he will love me more surely than ever
when he has lost me; perchance he will even have me embalmed
and will cherish me in a painted chapel with jewelled windows.”

    “It all depends upon what there is to embalm,” lisped
Queen Eleanor contentedly. “I fear I can wait no longer; must
I choose or will you?”

    “O, not the knife . . . .” and Rosamund shivered daintily;
“the knife will hurt, I know it will; I once stabbed myself when I
was yet in the convent—it was purely pretence, you know, so that
I might get my own way. I took care that the stylet (it was a
stylet) should slip along a rib, but I can feel the glistening pain
whenever I think of it… .”

    “No, not the knife . . . .” she added hurriedly.

    “Then ….” and Eleanor held the vial still nearer
to her.

    Rosamund turned to her embroidery frame, saying calmly:
“You must wait a moment, just until I have put this stitch in.
There,” she went on presently, rolling up her ails, thrusting her
needles into them and shutting them into a ball of copper filagree
and violet enamel, “give me your nosegay.”

    She loosened the stopper and me the vial’s contents; her
nostrils curled. “How nasty,” she said. Then she rose suddenly,
took the Queen’s head in her hands and kissed her on the mouth.
Having done this she drank the contents of the vial hastily and
seated herself again, fearful lest Eleanor should spoil her of her
chair. “’Tis good,” she mused, “to know that I shall never have
anything so nasty again.”

    She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes. Pre-
sently, with a slow, thin-lipped smile, she said: “He will neglect
you to kiss me often when I am dead; he would rather kiss my
cold blue lips than your warm red lips.”

                                             Old Songs

    “Will he?” asked Eleanor, Queen.

    Fair Rosamund laughed shrilly. Suddenly she sat upright,
shrieking, her eyes staring. She gripped her body with both

    “O….O! What can that be? How it did hurt,
There it is again. Help me…. it hurts….it hurts….
it hurts . . . You have given me a corrosive poison; how cruel of
you; you might have given me a narcotic poison….

    “Where is she? .. . she has gone. O God! O God! send
her back, so that I can die calmly and sweetly in her presence; I
can die so, God, if she is here; she will give me strength. But

    She gripped her body very tightly with her hands and rolled
on the floor.

    “….O, she has given me this eating draught to wring
all the beauty out of my face and to distort my limbs as I die, so
that he will despise me and think of me with horror….there
are blue blotches on my hands….will it be so all over my
body? I will lie long-stretched and hold myself very still, so that
I may be seemly for him to look on….”

    Her hands clutched her body again; she sat up, then dashed
herself on the ground again.

                                          II—PAOLO AND FRANCESCA

“WHERE do you suppose you are?” asked Francesca wonder-

    “In Hell,” faltered Dante between his sobs.

    “But why should you think that?” said Francesca in still
greater wonderment. “Tis so plain that we are in Heaven.”

    Dante’s voice seemed to be rilling through tears as he re-
turned: “The dreadful torments I have seen; the darkness and the
wailing; the sight of the twain of you driven helplessly down the
cold pitiless wind while little eager terrible flames assail you on

every side—nought save Hell could be thus potent over such
mighty lovers as you….”

    “Is it too dark for us to see each other?” interrupted

    “No,” said Dante more sadly than ever.

    “Then are we in Heaven,” answered Paolo. “This light is
the light of our choice; all lovers love the twilight. We must be
in Heaven when we can see each other. Does this wind of which
you speak (we cannot feel it, for we are at its heart; it seems cold
to you because we need and take all its warmth for ourselves),
does it seem to you to sunder us and send each of us adrift all

    Dante shook his head.

    “Then are we in Heaven,” continued Paolo. “We must
be in heaven when we are together. Our Heaven is to lie in each
other’s arms; and as we do so the wind of our passion drives us
whither it will, for it always blows us to happiness. We are quite
safe, because we love eternally. The wind of passion is the breath
of God. It must be that you carry Hell with you when you can
hear our cries of joy and think that we are wailing.”

    “But the dreadful torments I have seen?” doubted Dante

    “We know nothing of them,” laughed Paolo and Francesca
together merrily. “Yet torments are purgings everywhere; of
evil in Heaven, of good in Hell.”

    “But,” triumphed Dante, “my dead lady is not here, so it
must be Hell.”

    Francesca laughed a long time. At last she sang: “We
cannot help that. Heaven is where we are. If your lady is some-
where apart from you she must be in Hell; hasten to rescue her,
O swift to speak and laggard to do.”

    “Where we are, Heaven is,” chanted Paolo in antiphon.

    “O, Paolo,” joyously rippled Francesca, “he is so wicked:
see, he wants to put us into Hell that he may save his lady from
Hell. We shall never convince him; wicked people can never
believe what other people say. The little roses that fall from us
as we kiss whirl about us for ever; but they are no use to him;
he thinks they are flames of bygone earthly lust that God has
saved up to punish us with. Come, my heart’s Paolo, let us gather

                                             Old Songs

up all our little roses—armfuls, Paolo, armfuls—and with them
pelt him out of Paradise….”

    As Virgil and Dante turned away, Virgil said with a
pagan’s unintelligence: “Hell is not such a hateful place after
all, you see.”


“GRETCHEN? Ah, sir, I am inexpressibly weary of that wrinkled-
to-shrivelling falsehood. ’’Twas a Teuton-calumny, too; but our
German mind ever alternated tween philosophy and sentimentality,
incapable of understanding that a middle way exists—nay, ’tis
possible that other things exist also—I know not; I have the
German mind.

    “Simplicity, simplicity—that is our bane, and we know it;
we hide it under mountains of words, but we cannot hide our souls
so—we do no more than punctuate the obvious.

    “And sentimentality is a hypocrisy that comes of living to
a theory; as a nation we are martyred to the family; here it is—
positively grown to an instinct—and thus I am subjugated to
a round peach-face and two long plaits of yellow hair. Would
our poet were not so immortal.

    “Your own countryman Marlov (or is it Marlau you call
him?) divined me trulier. Some elusive neluctable inscrutable
stir o’ the animal in us sets every man toward the wenches sooner
or later; but he felt I had an ambition like his own, and that if the
accident o’ birth must drag me from my self’s high thoughts of
man’s divinity, I could yield to no less than the pick o’ the ages,
the envy of the best-mated fondlers; so he gave me the Lacedæ-
monian; I warrant he lusted after her himself.

    “‘St, ’st; nay, sir, softly, one moment; ’tis here that it cuts
—I have been made the apex of tragedies, the butt of farces, the
occasion for the high-noted one of the opera to after-the-syrup-of-
the-newest-Parisian-fashion out-caper his dusty triumphs of the

day before; but none thinks of my life-work, of what I rough-
hewed for the after-time; even your countryman makes me fear
Hell i’ the end, though he was wiser himself—but he must have a
tickling finale for his buskin-grinder, and crashes through my
fame to find one. Now, sir, cannot you adjust me with posterity,
give me the serious perpetuation which is my right?….

    “I hear your present patent of immortality is a biography
in two volumes with a supplement by an eminent authority….
Facts? I do not desire a record of facts, I seek a work of genius.
Facts, facts, facts—O, have all these hundreds of years gone by
since I lived and strove, and has humanity not yet passed its old
stone of stumbling? Sir, I have understood that yours is the age
of constructive anatomy; given the bone, you uprear its animal:
the age of evolution; given the product, you predicate its source
—and do not the traditions of me furnish bones and sources to
suffice a mastodon-biography? I require the instinct of the pro-
phet, not the gospel of the disciple’: you know the spirit of me and
what I must have been—invent, then, your facts accordingly,
one cosmic harmony to form. From the boasts I have overheard
I imagine your marvellous (he, he, he,….) century has accom-
plished much greater feats of sympathetic interpretation than this I
ask of you. Facts—what have I to do with facts? Facts—have
I then indeed lived in vain?

    “I know what you say—sir, sir, go not yet—I beseech you
listen to me one little minute—nay, sir, if you will persist in
going you will infallibly make me tear your sleeve—I admit rue-
fully that a biography may be most dull; but I had lieferbea-

                                             Old Songs

                                          IV—JULIET AND ROMEO

NOWADAYS every one knows that only a few short moments
(so few, so short) had dropped on the string where Death counted
his rosary whose prayers are always granted—only some fleet
rose-petal moments had dropped after Romeo had sipped that
merciful merciless milk from the breast of the old mother, when
Juliet crept to earth again as thoughtlessly as she had done that
first time not many—ah, God, not very many—years before.

    As she awakened, the chill humid dead-leaf odour of the
place where she lay was the first thing she knew; then, as she
yet held her eyes lightly closed, this sensation swiftly dropped a
chain of thoughts in her mind to bind her to all earth again—
but she cared not, for the chain was all gold as she was. In a
little space she opened her eyes most gently, as if she was so tired
of sleep; they met Romeo’s dazzling stare fixed there for the last
of earth. “True heart,” she murmured.

    He never answered her, and his face softened into a shadow
of unhoping happiness and long expected wonder which she did
not understand, feeling that it was meant for something within her
which it was too blind to reach.

    “Romeo,” said Juliet.

    “Juliet,” said Romeo.

    His courage became winged, “Am I, then, indeed dead?”
he went on; “I knew you would be quite near to me, and that
your greeting would be in the first light; but you have ie off your
new glory that you may not humble me; great soul, know—
but may you truly take me with you?”

    She thought the vaporous scent of the place had fumed
him in dreams. “Nay, we are not dead,” she laughed; “but the
opiate is spent, and you are come. Haste, make haste, lest one
should hear us—nay, but I am a ghost to fright all such—and
ghost-cold, truly—Come, there are many heavens we must
undergo ere we enter that last one.”

    “Not dead” thrilled Romeo in a very rapture of a forgetful-
ness. Suddenly he snatched her from the bier and clasped her to
a helplessness more stringent than that of a winding sheet, where-
upon there slipped utterly out of time a little space of kisses and of
words which none will repeat who has whispered such for himself.

But through that chasm in time they both fell into eternity;
for presently Romeo, who could not think for joy, caught with the
drowner’s instinct at a word he seemed to have heard once in an
imperfect life. “Opiate,” he muttered dazedly; “what of an

    “Love,” cooed Juliet, soothingly, “’twas how I cheated them
until you could come to me; was it not all in the monk’s letter?”

    “I know no letter,” he answered slowly, like one wakening,
“save my sister’s of your death.” Then he knew, and, in a reeling
sweat, moaned, “Ere you lived again, I had opened the door to
go to you; O God; O God.”

    “What is it? How?” she sobbed, clinging to him in terror.
“Poison,” he said with a dull carelessness, showing her the half
empty phial.

    Loosening her hold, she answered with a calm smiling glad-
ness, “Is that all? Give me some too, and then it will not
matter.” She held out her hand.

    “Nay,” he replied in a deep hushed voice, withdrawing the
phial, “there shall be no sin in you; I know we must be together
….there…. afterward, so love will set you among the
sinners without that; but you shall not suffer—I must have all
the suffering to myself—I am greedy for suffering, now that
I have learned its delight…. Let the burden be mine…. ”

    He put his arm round her neck, and, laying his hand on her
brow, drew her head back upon his shoulder; then he loosened
her lips with a kiss, and steadily poured the draught into her
mouth—she swallowed the poison as he shed the empty phial.

    Steadying her with his arm, he led her to the bier, going as
gently as though they trod roses.

    Lifting her, he laid her on the bier, and stretched himself
beside her as softly as a benediction.

    While she nestled to him she whispered, “Clasp me in your
arms so that I cannot move, and I will grip your feet with mine
so that you cannot move….”

    After a long time she said very drowsily, “My hands are so
cold, Romeo; open your doublet and shirt and put my hands
within to your bosom.” He did as she asked, dead birds to his
heart, although he was almost numb; then he drew her to him
again as if he were a saint saving a tangible, visible soul.

                                             Old Songs

    The moon had set and it was dark, dark, dark, when she
muttered in a palsy: “Romeo….was I going to speak….
ah, Romeo….what did I say….Romeo…. I cannot
feel your mouth crush mine…. Is your mouth on mine….
be so sure that your mouth….”

                                                              GORDON BOTTOMLEY.

Five Poems in Prose

THERE was a queen of goodness and of beauty living in a
lonely wood where, at morn and at evening, birds sang for
very love of her. Around her the grasses grew that they
might feel the softness of her feet, and above her the stars shone
that they might mirror themselves in her hair. The trees bent down
to kiss her, bringing rich gifts of fruit and foliage: the winds sang
lowly and sweetly with desire and love of her. Sometimes she
lay by a stream in dreams, and when her tresses fell over her head
into the water, she wondered why she was so beautiful, and why
those ripening lips and eyes and comely neck had been given to
her. And she dreamed of knights who were far away, tall and
straight as a pine.

    At night she would linger under the stars and weave strange
letters and messages out of the skies, longing and longing for love.
And many a king came by in robes of gold, with gifts of rich gar-
ments and promises of thrones, and they lay in worship at her
feet, begging that she might love them. Yet not one dared to say
within himself that he loved her—she was so beautiful that none
could think himself worthy. And she tired of the kings and fine
courtiers, and went forth among the shepherds on the hills and the
ploughmen in the fields, but they all bent low and kissed her feet
because they dared not to love her.

    Until one day, when love had come not, as the sun was
setting, and all the great kings and princes of the world had wor-
shipped at her feet, sorrow came upon her, great sorrow for the
love that came not. And she lay down and died near the red
berries of a holly-tree; and when maidens came by to smooth out
her soft limbs, and close her lovely lips and eyes, they found
written on her breast:

    Beauty is a burden too great to be borne.


ONE day two lovers were lying together on a bed of green rushes
by the river, and the man’s lips were pressed to the lips of his
beloved, and her hair fell down over his head. But a man came

by, who was the World, to punish them for their sin; and he told
them to follow him to the place of justice. Then the young man
replied: “Thee have I never followed, and thy justice is not my
justice.” And he said again to the World: “Are there any of thy
children starving—go and feed them. Are there any of thy
children thirsty—give them drink. Are they naked—clothe them.
All these things thou hast not done, because thou hast thought
the days too short and the labour too great, and thou art hard
with selfishness. Yet when love comes by with food and drink
and clothes more beautiful than all the food and clothes and drink
the World can give, thou callest him sinful, and would’st drive him
away. Cease not to get money for thy tills and rich viands to
glut thine appetite. Continue ever-grasping, unhappy and greedy,
but seek thou not Love that gives all things. That, you can never
find, for Love is Sacrifice.


A MAN came slowly along the road, a white stick in his hand,
singing sorrowfully of something that was lying on his heart. He
was old and withered, with weary eyes, and in his steps there was
great heaviness, for he had ceased to care for one place more than
another. And when he ceased to sing he spoke to himself:

    “Aye, it is long since and I a strong farmer, and foolish
was I not to have her, that girl with the dark hair and eyes that
had the colour of sloes. White she was on the forehead, and
whiter was that fine soft neck of hers that put me in mind of a
swan. And long will I be wandering until I hear again a thrush
as sweet as the girl I could have had for the asking. Black and
bitter was the day I listened to my mother with her talk of cows
and of horses and of money. Black and bitter was the day
I listened to the priest and his talk of fine marriages. Black and
bitter was the day there was no fire and no life in my heart and
I let the girl that was sweeter than the new honey go away from
me. Sorrow and black misery that have been with me since and
the buying of cows and of heifers for the woman of the
Kavanaghs that I married. Surely she has spread out the bed

                                      Five Poems in Prose

well for me and has cared me well: and there isn’t a better woman
at butter-making in the parish. But there’s a cold wind always
blowing through the thatch and a queer pain in my heart when
I’m thinking of the girl that was comelier than Deirdre. And it is
likely it will be there until I find my death.”


SHE was young, but pale and worn, her eyes were red with weep-
ing, and when they put her in the dock she wept again. They
read out of a long paper the story of her crime, of the little thing
she had borne into the world and to whom she had given suck
for a few months, and then put it to sleep beneath the waters, with
a heavy stone round its neck. And they asked her why she had
killed her child:

    “It was on a cold night,” she said, “when I came along the
road that leads by the river, and the moon was out and shining on
it, and I saw his father coming along the road—the man that had
been dead for a twelvemonth. And he stopped me and spoke to
me. ‘It is a long day for him to be without food,’ he said, ‘and
there is little pity for the tinker’s child. There is little need of
food in the grave.’ That was all he said, and I went down to the
river with my child.”

    And they put her in a prison lest her breasts might cease
to yearn.


A LONG avenue of poplars reached from the doorway of the house
to the gateway, where the porter’s lodge still remained—but un-
inhabited. And in the evening boys and girls would gather there
to dance. Especially in the summer evenings, or in those even-
ings of early autumn when the rich brown colour still remained;
and often from the house two would go forth to whisper some tale
of love to each other. It chanced so one evening when there was
great peacefulness and quiet on the air, and two people walked
along the avenue, past the great house, and down to the borders
of the lake, silent and sorrowful. For their love had grown cold,
and though each knew of it, neither dared to speak it. They spoke

only in cold, hesitant voices, of the trees, the evening lights, the
waters of the lake, the comeliness and beauty of the dark pine
woods; but of that love which had drawn them together they
spoke not.

    “You have dreamed foolishly,” a voice had whispered to
him, “she is less beautiful than a hundred beautiful maidens whom
you know; she is not worthy of your life. Seek you among the
maidens that but await you, and one will be found with white
beautiful hands to spread out the bed for you, and with young, full
lips to linger on yours. But do not rest with her who no longer
awakens desire in you.”

    And a voice would whisper to her: “Leave him who is not
brave and comely, for he loves you not, and seek one from among
the men who are great and strong to wrestle and to hunt. Love
ie no longer with you; seek now for one more worthy of your

    And both then thought of the years they had been together,
of the dreams they had woven out of one heart, the house where
they had first met, where they had first embraced, and the droop-
ing branches of the oak-tree under which they had first kissed.
Without speaking they rose to part. And he stood, while she
wandered down among the trees, and he heard her voice come
softly through the leaves, singing in mournful and plaintive strain:

                        Hear me, gentle maiden,
                            Whosoe’er you be;
                        When love cometh laden
                            With great ecstasy,

                        Sorrow he will bring thee,
                            Hear me, maiden fair;
                        Sorrow he will bring thee,
                            And a load of care.

                        Love with sorrow laden!
                            Such a fate was mine;
                        Hear me, gentle maiden,
                            Such fate be not thine!

                                      Five Poems in Prose

    He listened to the voice that was full of sorrow, and went
to follow it along the narrow path. As he came clear of the
bushes, he saw her step on the little wooden foot-bridge under
which the stream that joined two lakes flowed. He listened,
waiting to hear her sing again; but there came instead the crash
of the rotten bridge, and the sound of her fall into the waters; and
he saw for a moment the gleam of her white gown ere she sank.
He rushed into the waters that were eddying along, and when she
rose again, half-conscious, he clasped her in his arms, and she
clasped him so strongly he could not move. In vain he tried to
swim; they were borne on by the current. Soon he ceased to
struggle and, ere he became unconscious, laid his head on hers;
and with his mouth on her mouth they sank to rest.

    But the trees still sing of them, and those hear who have
ears for the old music:

                        True love lives for ever,
                            Never shall it pass;
                        Death is but a lover,
                            Life is but a lass.

                        ‘Neath the waters singing,
                            She lies smooth and fair,
                        While her love is twining
                            Garlands for her hair.

                                                              MAURICE JOY


    AH, sweet, there is but little time for love,
            Though day be heaped on day, and night on night,
            Climbing the skies beyond the topmost height
    Till God be reached where endless ages move.

    Yet but a little time is left to prove
            How Love goes forth and in his hand a light
            Burning a flame of beauty, pure and white,
    To lead us where, within some ancient grove,

    He holds his court, and thuribles do swing,
            Laden with incence, over odorous flowers
    That wait to deck the lovers he doth bring
            Out of the tyranny of days and hours,
    To live for ever with sweet murmuring
            Of birds and harps among the leafy bowers.

Rhapsodie Capriccioso

        NOW when life is nearly o’er,
        And there remains for me
        Only the bleak and barren shore
        By a cold and threatening sea,
        I stand alone and watch the surges rise
        And strive to pierce with, tear dimmed, darkening eyes
        The cold sea fog that wreathes me all around.
        What restless secret lingers in the sound
        Of hissing waves that roll upon the beach,
        Linger a moment and return again,
        Murmuring ever the old refrain,
        Far beyond reach,
        Back to the sea?
        Then of a sudden the thought came to me,
        The life of man is ever like a wave,
        That coming from the unknown darkness of the sea,
        Where none can alter, limit, help or save,
        Lingers for one brief moment on life’s changing shore,
        Then swiftly turns again and comes no more,
        Again become an atom in the sea.
        And we too, when the game of life is done,
        Smile sadly, when we sit alone and ponder
        Over how much is lost, how little won,
        And watch with tired relief and slightly wonder
        At the drifting flotsam of our lives,
        Rejoicing only we again can cease to be,
        When after struggles, sorrows, hopes and fears,
        And feeble flickering through uncertain years,
        The wave returns again unto the sea.

                                                              CHRISTOPHER SANDEMAN

The Wayward Atom

                                             A TALE OF EVOLUTION

IN the days when all was Chaos, before ever principalities existed
or any Universal Peace Society had come to call forth wrang-
ling, there yet was strife.

    For in the lightless void, unnumbered atoms hurried aim-
lessly about, passing and being passed, as blind Chance willed
their endless and erratic course. So that to many of them this
unmeaning travel grew wearisome, and seemed—as indeed it
was—a waste of energy to no good purpose. And as through
constant meeting they came to know each other, they would
speed, in passing, a hasty word, which was mainly discontented:
for even atoms like to grumble. Thus, very slowly, a plan was
formed, a plan that passed from rover to rover in such a Babel that
it set the void resounding.

    Now their scheme, put into English, was after this fashion:
“Let us do something,” they cried one to another. “Let us not
wander aimlessly for ever—above all, with no one to admire us.
We are atoms, and atoms are the elements of things. If, then,
we could cling together and move as one, we might form what
we will.

    Among these atoms who planned so sensibly there were
some twenty larger than the rest. Perhaps they were arch-atoms,
or maybe they were molecules. It made no matter, then: they
only knew that they were larger. And to one of these, the largest,
it was given to choose what their union should make. So it thought
a little, and then passed its message round.

    “Brother atoms,” said it, in the specious tones of a company-
promoter, “we can scarce expect to form anything of any merit.
A first experiment is always faulty. But I vote that we should
make a World. And by this I mean nothing great. It would not
be like the flaming orb of heat, or the paler orb, that larger breth-
ren made centuries ago. But we few who are left in Chaos might
make a tiny world that would amuse us and yet do the universe
no harm: indeed our world will hardly be observed. But we will
form ourselves cunningly into land, and sea, and shrubs, and trees.
We might even have a try at animals—four-footed, crawling crea-
tures of every sort: and perhaps, as we grew cleverer in combina-

tion, we might improve the creatures, until finally some might stand
upon two feet and be, if not altogether, yet partly, rational.”

    And at this a loud hum of admiration arose from the atoms
near enough to hear.

    “But,” went on the speaker, in tones of weight, “this will
not be easy. Four of us larger atoms must try to cling together
as we pass, then others must form around us slowly, and the six-
teen giants that remain must hang around the outer ring, to make
it perfect.”

    Of course they travelled so swiftly that no atom heard the
whole speech from its speaker, but each passed on the part that it
had caught, until all knew the whole. Then they set about their
venture. First, as arranged, the four contrived to stick together as
they whirled, and bit by bit the others grouped themselves around
this centre. And when all revolved together in a rugged mass, the
arch-atoms began to grapple themselves on where they were needed,
until finally only one remained apart.

    But here began the strife. For this large atom that remained
proved obdurate. It would not join the others. They declared
that it alone was wanted to complete the world in perfectness.
Without it, the world would be but second-class. They proved
this fully, by copious philosophical and indeed a priori arguments.
But the wayward atom jauntily continued to gyrate. In truth, the
more they protested, the happier it seemed. And as the earth, with
much groaning and rumbling, went around—for, without this atom,
it was an imperfect thing—the wayward rebel would buzz merrily
about it, jeering loud and long at each new creature that it saw.

    For, all this time, the world evolved. True, the trees and
animals were paltry, since the plan had allowed for twenty arch-
atoms and the twentieth had not appeared. But it evolved, and let
those who doubt it ask the scientists.

    In this way a long time slipped by. But time to them was
little, for no one, as yet, had thought of time at all: they had no
trains, or dinner-hours, or watches. Indeed there were no men,
but only half-formed animals made up of atoms.

    And at length it was clear to them that, if the fractious rover
still held out, they must arrange the world without it. And so, as
it skimmed past, they cried aloud and said:

    “Foolish one, hang on, and so complete our world for us.

                                    The Wayward Atom

For with you it would be a pleasant place, but without you it
is spoilt.”

    And the atom was pleased, vainly enough, that it was so
much needed. It liked the feeling, and replied: “Let it be spoilt,
then. I don’t care an atom.”

    Now this, in those days, was an awful thing to say.

    So when they had recovered of the shock, the atoms set to
work, and changed their places every way. With such economy
and such good skill did they contrive it, that the world wagged far
more smoothly. Indeed, at length, the wisest animals grew into
men—men, not yet wise enough to play at Bridge, nor civilized
enough to shoulder weapons, but of such sense as to know that
their stunted tails would no more hold their weight from branches.
So they gave up swinging and walked upon two legs.

    Still always there was something lacking. And always the
wayward atom revolved happily around the earth.

    Now, though the atom-men felt that the world was still im-
perfect and rather a chill place, they were set upon discouraging
the atom. So they shouted to it: “Now the earth is finished. We
can do without you.”

    This spoilt the atom’s pleasure. As it brooded on the matter
its pace began to flag. It had been so happy when still in demand
—and now it was not wanted! Certainly it would have cried, but
it was eyeless.

    Instead, with tearful voice, it moaned: “I want to join

    But they replied: “Perhaps. You are not wanted—now.”

    Then it grew furious. “How can you be such brutes?” it
sobbed, “with me a wee, defenceless atom—and you a big, bully-
ing world—and you won’t take me in.”

    And to this, with reason, they made answer: “But we asked
you often, and you would not come.”

    Whereat the atom waxed indignant. “Can’t you see?” it
said, “it’s all so different now. Then, you wanted me: I thought
you missed me so—but now—— Oh, I loathe you all—all. Please
let me in, do—I’ll be so good. I’ll love you all, I will.”

    And at this strange speech the men, being simple fellows,
laughed merrily. Now, up to this moment they had never laughed,
but only gibbered, as a monkey will. And it seemed to them that

this laughter was part of that which had been missing. So their
hearts were softened, and after some few words they hailed the
wayward atom in this fashion:

    “Come in, then, if you will. But as your place is now filled
up and all goes well, except that earth is dull, you shall be sundered
and spread over the whole surface, to make us laugh, and cheer our
tedium, and love us all.” (They laughed again.) “Perhaps you are
what has been lacking heretofore.”

    And they called the wayward atom Woman.

    So Woman evolved. And, ever since, she has gone about,
refusing when asked, sulking when not, doing everything that no-
body expected, but loving all, and loved by all. And men have
never ceased from laughing at her.

    This is the story that the atoms tell.

    But other folk have other tales intended to explain the facts.

                                                              DESMOND F. T. COKE

Snake-Charmer’s Song

    WHITHER dost thou hide from the magic of my flute-call,
    In what moonlight tangled meshes of perfume,
    Where the clustering bamboos guard the squirrel’s
    Where the deep woods glimmer with the champa’s bloom?

    I’ll feed thee, O beloved, on milk and wild red honey,
    I’ll bear thee in a basket of rushes green and white
    To a far-off city where entrancing maidens
    Thread with mellow laughter the petals of delight.

    Whither dost thou loiter? by what lotus fountain
    Where the midnight scatters its ambrosial fire?
    Come, thou subtle bride of my mellifluous wooing,
    Come, thou silver-breasted moonbeam of desire!

                                                              SAROJINI NAIDU


The Dream Garden A Children's Annual cover image


Dream Garden
A Children’s Annual

Full cloth, 5s. net.


Cover designed by NELLIE
SYRETT. Frontispiece: “The
Ivory-Gate and Golden,” in
Colours, by NELLIE SYRETT.


The Dream Garden.  Illustrated by Nellie Syrett

The Tree that went round the World.  Laurence Housman. Illus. by Helen Stratton

The Coming of King Ackermann.  Mary E. Mann. Illus. by Marian Dawson

Recollections of a Japanese Baby.  Osman Edwards. Illustrated by Nellie Syrett

Fuff.  Christina Dering. Illustrated by Mary Corbett

A Lullaby.  Norman Gale

A Good Reason.  Norman Gale

Fairy Nurses.  Norman Gale

The Castle with the High Bell.  Evelyn Sharp. Illustrated by Glyn W. Philpot

The Scolded Eaglet.  E. Nesbit

The Elf and the Grumbling Bee.  Marion Wallace Dunlop. Illus. by the Author

The Red Shoes.  Margaret Deland. Illus. by Gertrude Steel

Song for a Child.  Hilaire Belloc

The Uncle and the Faeries.  A. Ransome

A Carol.  A. M. Buckton

Letters of the Beasts to Dina.  Edith Theobald. Illus. by Pamela Colman Smith

The Rebellion of Phillis.  Claude Monroe. Illus. by D. Kibblewhite

The Leprechaun.  Nora Chesson. Illustrated by Olga Morgan

How the Son of Pendragon made Knighthood.  Fiona Macleod

The King who was never Tired.  Hamilton Fyfe

Scientific Caroline.  Constance Smedley. Illus. by Marian Dawson

The Little Pale Fairy.  Margaret Mackenzie

A Song.  Mary Carmichael

A Cradle Song.  Cecil Fortescue

The Tug of War.  Paul Creswick

The Forest of Wild Thyme.  Alfred Noyes

The Strange Boy. A Play.  Netta Syrett. Illustrated by Alice Woodward

The Wonderful Night.  Mary Rivers. Illustrated by Ann Macbeth

The Venture, 1904

MAUGHAM. Crown 4to. Price 5s. net.

        ❧ ❧ ❧


Beauty’s Mirror.   John Masefield

The Philosophy of Islands.   G. K. Chesterton

The Market Girl.   Thomas Hardy

Open, Sesame.   Charles Marriott

To any Householder.   Mrs Meynell

The Oracle.   A. E. Housman

The Genius of Pope.   Stephen Gwynn

Poor Little Mrs Villiers.   Netta Syrett Blindness.   John Masefield

The Merchant Knight.   Dr Garnett

Earth’s Martyrs.   Stephen Phillips

The Gem and its Setting.   Violet Hunt

Marriage in Two Moods.   Francis Thompson

An Indian Road-Tale.   S. Boulderson

Madame de Warens.   Havelock Ellis

Richard Farquharson.   May Bateman

The Clue.   Laurence Binyon

Jill’s Cat.   E. F. Benson

Proverbial Romances.   Laurence Housman

Marriages Made in Heaven.   W. Somerset Maugham

A Phial.   John Gray

A Concert at Clifford’s Inn.   Dr Todhunter



The Dove Cot.   Chas Hazlewood

John Woolman.   Reginald Savage

Psyche’s Looking-Glass.   Charles S. Ricketts

Pan and Psyche.   T. Sturge Moore

Queen of the Fishes.   Lucien Pissarro

Birdalone.   Bernard Sleigh

The Trumpeter.   E. Gordon Craig

The Death of Pan.   Louise Glazier

Playfellows.   T. Sturge Moore

The Crowning of Esther.   Lucien Pissarro

Daphne and Apollo.   Elinor Monsell

The World is Old To-night.   Paul Woodroffe

The Gabled House.   Sydney Lee

The Blue Moon.   Laurence Housman

The Bather.   Bernard Sleigh

        ❧ ❧ ❧



“It would not be an easy task to make a selection of pieces of prose and verse so representative of the younger
modern literature as this. . . . The verse of Mr Laurence Binyon, Mr John Masefield, Mr A. E. Housman and
Mr John Gray is of unusual beauty . . . . there are fifteen full-page wood-cuts, most of them full of character
and charm. . . . We are especially pleased with the work of Mr C. H. Shannon, Mr C. S. Ricketts, Mr Lau-
rence Housman and Miss Louise Glazier. . . . The literary pieces seem to us to be the work not only of the pre-
sent day but, in a sense, of the future too. The literature to come is in the cauldron: these are its first products.
Many of the stories and verses, viewed separately, are so distinguished from the literature of the past, that we
should be justified in this view. The twenty pieces, viewed together, are overwhelming proof. Ten years ago, so
much originality, and that with the merit of promise as well as of achievement, would have been impossible. . . .
This is the work of a new age. We hope that the authors and artists will not be contented, but will ‘Venture’
again and again,”

The Venture, 1904



“THE ‘Venture’ is the lineal descendant of ‘The Hobby Horse,’ ‘The Pageant,’ etc. The prose is excellent. . .
Mr Chesterton writes ingeniously on ‘The Philosophy of Islands,’ while the editor, Mr Laurence Housman, con-
tributes some ‘Proverbial Romances’ as wise and witty as those of Mr Crosland.”

“MY Nautical Retainer heartily welcomes a magazine that promises, under excellent auspices, at least to set a
high standard in the field of belles lettres. Bona ventura to The Venture!”

“MR John Baillie has published a new annual of art and literature: ‘The Venture,’ with woodcuts and literary
contributions by some of the leading illustrators, poets and essayists of the day. It is got up in faultless taste,
and the printing leaves nothing to be desired.”

“IT is an excellent and distinguished volume.”

“SHORTLY before Christmas I received from the publisher—John Baillie, 1 Princes Terrace, Hereford Road, W.—
a specimen copy of a new ‘annual of art and literature,’ edited by Laurence Housman and W. Somerset Maug-
ham, and I fear me it will say little for my business aptitude when I confess that I only took it from its packing
and glanced within its covers the other evening. Now that I have made acquaintance with its contents, I regret
the delay the more, and can only trust that Mr Baillie has yet sufficient copies in stock to execute the small order
I intend to give him; for I think there are not a few of my artistically-inclined customers who, now that the
Yellow Book’ and ‘Savoy’ are no more, will gladly welcome a publication that aims at high literary and artistic
excellence; and, indeed, the volume should appeal to two distinct publics. For while to the artists the names of
such contributors as C. H. Shannon, Charles Ricketts, Lucien Pissarro, Bernard Sleigh, T. S. Moore and E. Gor-
don Craig, to mention but a few of many, will prove an irresistible attraction, the lover of literature will be still
more delighted to find such writers as Thomas Hardy, Laurence Binyon, Richard Garnett, G. K. Chesterton, E. F.
Benson, Stephen Phillips, Charles Marriott, Netta Syrett, Violet Hunt and John Masefield represented among
the literary contents. All this for five shillings, nicely printed in modern black letter type, with wide margins, is
not only good artistically but cheap commercially.”

“ONE can only wish this book the best and recommend it to one’s readers. It would make a charming present
to anyone who appreciates clever verse and prose.”

“A caprrat band of contributors. In selecting type for the printing due regard has been paid to the traditions of
Morris, and the general arrangement of the contents reflects credit on publisher and editors.”

“IF it can be kept up to this level we shall look forward to the future numbers of ‘The Venture.’”

Some Books
“Venture” Contributors

        ❧ ❧ ❧

GORDON BOTTOMLEY. The Gate of Smaragdus (Elkin Mathews), 10s. 6d.

PAUL CRESWICK. Under the Black Raven (Ernest Nister & Co.), 3s. 6d.;
Hasting the Pirate (Ernest Nister & Co.), 3s. 6d.; With Richard the Fearless
(Ernest Nister & Co.), 3s. 6d.

EDMUND GOSSE, Jeremy Taylor (English Men of Letters), Macmillan &
Co., 2s. net; Coventry Patmore, A Biography and a Criticism (Hodder and
Stoughton); French Profiles (Heinemann), 6s.

E.S.P. HAYNES. Standards of Taste in Art (Elkin Mathews), 1S. net.

CHARLES MARRIOTT, Genevra (Methuen), 6s.

W.B. MAXWELL. The Ragged Messenger (Grant Richards), 6s.; Fabulous
(Grant Richards), 6s.

MRS MEYNELL. Poems (John Lane), 3s. 6d. net; The Colour of Life
(John Lane), 3s. 6d. net; Children of the Old Masters (Duckworth), £2 2s. net;
The Art of Fohn Sargent, R.A.

CLAUDE MONROE. Cradle Songs (George Allen).

L. STURGE MOORE. The Centaur’s Booty (Duckworth), 1s. net; The
Gazelle (Duckworth), 1s. net; To Leda (Duckworth), 1s. net; The Rout of the
(Duckworth), 1s. net.

ALFRED NOYES. Poems (Blackwood), 7s. 6d.

VINCENT O’SULLIVAN. A Dissertation upon Second Fiddles (Grant
Richards), 6s.; The Green Window (Grant Richards), 6s.

ARTHUR RANSOME. The Soul of the Streets (Brown, Langham & Co.),
1s. 6d. net.

BENJAMIN SWIFT. The Eternal Conflict (Heinemann), 6s.; The De-
(T. Fisher Unwin), 6s.

ARTHUR SYMONS. Studies in Prose and Verse (Dent), 7s. 6d. net; Cities
(Dent), 7s. 6d. net; Plays, Acting and Music (Duckworth), 5s. net.

NETTA SYRETT. Nobody’s Fault (John Lane), 3s. 6d. net; Rosanne
(Hurst G Blackett), 6s.; Six Fairy Plays for Children (John Lane), 2s. 6d.;
The Magic City, Fairy Tales (Lawrence and Bullen), 3s. 6d.

EDWARD THOMAS. Rose Acre Papers (Brown, Langham & Co.), 1s. 6d. net;
Oxford (Black), 21s.; Horæ Solitaræ (Duckworth).


        ❧ ❧ ❧

        The Chelsea Art School

Rossetti Studios, Flood Street, Chelsea
Embankment, S.W.

        ❧ ❧ ❧

Drawing & Painting from Life, etc.
Separate Day & Evening Classes for both Sexes

NEW TERMS commence

January 9: April 10: October 1, 1905

A Sketch Club with Monthly Exhibitions & Criticisms exists in connection with
the School

        ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧

        “The Green Sheaf”

Three Park Mansions Arcade, Knightsbridge,
London, S.W.

        ❧ ❧ ❧

MISS Pamela Colman Smith & Mrs Fortescue have opened
a shop for the sale of Hand Coloured Prints, Engravings,
Drawings, Pictures & Books.

Orders promptly executed for Christmas & Invitation Cards,
Menus, Ball Programmes, Book Plates & and every kind of Deco-
rative Printing & Hand Colouring.

Sign Boards painted, Rooms decorated & Book Illustrating.

The Gallery

Once Princes Terrace, Hereford Road, W

        ❧ ❧ ❧

JOHN BAILLIE requests Readers of the Venture to honour his
Gallery by a visit. Exhibitions of Modern Art held monthly. The
introduction of the work of young and little-known artists is a special
feature of the Gallery. The Gallery is open each day (Sundays excepted)
from 10 to 6 o’clock and admission is free.

What the Press says of the Gallery:

THE Exhibition just opened by Mr John Baillie fully equals in interest the many
shows he has organized at his Gallery in the past.— Morning Post, Sep. 29, 1904

    One has learned to expect something fresh and attractive in the picture
exhibitions which Mr John Baillie holds from time to time at Princes
Terrace, and his first autumn show, which opens to-day, well maintains the
reputation of his Gallery.— Daily Chronicle, September 29, 1904

    There is an outlying Gallery in Bayswater (Mr Baillie’s at 1 Princes
Terrace) where some interesting work has been shown during the last two
years.— Saturday Review, July 23, 1904

    One of the most interesting of the many interesting exhibitions which
Mr John Baillie has held in his Gallery at Princes Terrace, Bayswater, was
that of Mr Charles Agard, etc.— The Studio, September, 1904

    Mr John Baillie, in the Gallery, Princes Terrace, continues to arrange
shows of genuine interest.— Art Journal, March, 1904

    The Gallery of John Baillie is always more or less productive of a show,
the chief interest of which often lies in the introduction of a new man.— The
Queen, June 14, 1904

    Mr John Baillie has a wonderfully happy knack of discovering unusually
good artists, with whom the public at large is unfortunately too little ac-
quained as a rule. — World, March 16, 1904

    Mr Baillie’s Gallery is now well known to Londoners who wish to see
what our younger and less conventional artists are doing.— Manchester
Guardian, September 29, 1904

    The little pilgrimage to Mr Baillie’s Gallery at 1 Princes Terrace is
thoroughly worth making.— Standard, April 1, 1904

    The Connoisseur will generally find something of interest at Mr John
Baillie’s Gallery. — Vanity Fair, February 4, 1904

    Mr Baillie’s Galleries are the most artistic in town, and the lover of art-
istic things should never pass his doors,— Academy and Literature, Jan. 2, 1904

MLA citation:

The Venture: an Annual of Art and Literature, vol. 2, 1905. Venture Digital Edition, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2019-2022. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Toronto Metropolitan University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2022,