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The Yellow Boo 

An Illustrated Quarterly 

Volume XII January 1897 


& T 

John Lane: The Bodley Mead 



I. The Lost Eden 
II. She and He : Recent") 

III. My Note-Book in the) 


IV. Flower o the Clove 
V. The Ghost Bereft . 

VI. Three Reflections . 
VII. Marcel : An Hotel Child 
VIII. To Rollo 
IX. The Restless River 


X. The Unka 

XI. A Little Holiday . 
XII. St. Joseph and Mary 

XIII. Alexander the Ratcatcher 

XIV. Natalie. 

XV. The Burden of Pity 
XVI. Far Above Rubies . 
XVII. At the Article of Death . 
XVIII. Children of the Mist . 
XIX. A Forgotten Novelist 
XX. A Fire 

XXI. At Twickenham . 
XXII. Two Prose Fancies 

By William Watson . Tagc n 

Henry James . . 15 

Menie Muriel Dowie . 39 

Henry Harland . . 65 

E. Nesbit . . .no 

Stanley V. Makower . 113 

Lena Milman . . . 141 

Kenneth Grahame . . 165 

Evelyn Sharp . . . 167 
Frank Athelstane Swetten- 

ham, C.M.G. . . 191 

Oswald Sickert . . . 204 

Marie Clothilde Balfour . 215 
Richard Garnett, C.B., 

LL.D. . . .221 

Rene"e de Coutans . . 245 

A. Bernard Miall . . 248 

Netta Syrett . . . 250 

John Buchan . . . 273 
Rosamund Marriott Watson 281 

Hermione Ramsden . . 291 

Stephen Phillips . . 306 

Ella D Arcy . . .313 

Richard Le Gallienne . 333 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. January, 1897 



I. Bodley Heads. No. 6 
Portrait of Miss 

Evelyn Sharp. 
II. Puck . 

III. Enfant Terrible . 

IV. A Nursery Rhyme Heroine 
V. Almost a Portrait . . J 

VI. A Landscape . 
VII. The Muslin Dress . 
VIII. A Pathway to the Moon \ 
IX. A Silverpoint . ./ 
X. Maternity 
XI. Grief . 
XII. A Study of Trees . 

XIII. Ferry Bridge . 

XIV. The Harvest Moon 

By E. A. Walton . . "Page 7 

Ethel Reed . 55 

Alfred Thornton . 138 

Mabel Dearmer . . 188 

Patten Wilson . . 243 

Aline Szold . . 283 

Charles Pears . . 307 

The Front Cover Design and Title-page are 

The Yellow Book 

Volume XII January, 1897 

The Editor of THE YELLOW BOOK advises all persons 
sending manuscripts to keep copies, as, for the future, 
unsolicited contributions cannot be returned. To this 
rule no exception will be made. 


Yellow Book 

An Illustrated 

Volume XII 

John Lane, The Eodley Head^ London & New York 

The Lost Eden* 

By William Watson 

P^ROFFERING fortunes 
* Out of his indigence, 
Royal the dowry 
Man promised his soul. 

" Not as the beasts 
That perish, am I," he said. 
" Mine is eternity, 
Theirs the frail day." 

Crown of creation 
Long he conceited him 
Next to their fashioner, 

Lord of the worlds. 

* Copyright in America by John Lane. 

12 The Lost Eden 

So in an Eden 
Dwelt he, of fantasies. 
Here and not otherwhere 
Eve was his bride. 

Eve the hot-hearted ! 
Eve the wild spirit 
Of quest the adventurer ! 
Eve the unslaked. 

She it was showed him 

Where, in the midst 

Of his pleasance, the knowledge-tree 

Waiting him grew. 

Wondrous the fruitage, 
Maddening the taste therof; 
Fiery like wine was it, 
Fierce like a sting. 


By William Watson 13 

Straightway his Eden 
Irked like a prison-house. 
Vastness invited him. 
" Come," said the stars. 

Thunderous behind him 
Clang the gold Eden-gates. 
Boundless in front of him 
Opens the world. 

Never returns he ! 

Never again, 

In the valleys that nurtured him, 

Breathes the old airs ! 

Only in dreams 
He seeks his lost heritage, 
Knocks at the Eden-gate, 
Wistful, athirst. 


The Lost Eden 

Ah, he is changed 

The sentinels know him not ! 

Here, ev n in dreams, 

He may enter no more. 

She and He : Recent Documents 

By Henry James 

IHAVE been reading in the Revue de Paris for November 1st 
1896 some fifty pages, of an extraordinary interest, which 
have had, as regards an old admiration, a very singular effect. 
For many other admirers, doubtless, who have come to fifty year 
admirers, I mean, once eager, of the distinguished woman in 
question the perusal of the letters addressed by Madame George 
Sand to Alfred de Musset in the course of a famous friendship 
will have stirred in an odd fashion the ashes of an early ardour. I 
speak of ashes because early ardours, for the most part, burn 
themselves out, and the place they hold in our lives varies, I 
think, mainly according to the degree of tenderness with which 
we gather up and preserve their dust ; and I speak of oddity 
because in the present case it is difficult to say whether the agita 
tion of the embers results, in fact, in a returning glow or in a yet 
more sensible chill. That indeed is perhaps a small question 
compared with the simple pleasure of the reviving emotion. One 
reads and wonders and enjoys again, just for the sake of the 
renewal. The small fry of the hour submit to further shrinkage, 
and we revert with a sigh of relief to the free genius and large 
life of one of the greatest of all masters of expression. Do people 
still handle the works of this master people other than young 


1 6 She and He: recent Documents 

ladies studying French with La Mare au Diable and a dictionary ? 
Are there persons who still read Valentine? Are there others who 
resort to Mauprat ? Has Andre, the exquisite, dropped out of 
knowledge, and is any one left who remembers Teverino ? I ask 
these questions for the mere sweet sound of them, without the 
least expectation of an answer. I remember asking them twenty 
years ago, after Madame Sand s death, and not then being hopeful 
of the answer of the future. But the only response that matters 
to us perhaps is our own, even if it be after all somewhat ambig 
uous. Andre" and Valentine^ then, are rather on our shelves than 
in our hands, but in the light of what is given us in the Revue de 
Paris who shall say that we do not, and with avidity, " read " 
George Sand ? She died in 1876, but she lives again intensely 
in these remarkable pages, both as to what in her spirit was most 
interesting and what most disconcerting. We are vague as to 
what they may represent to the generation that has come to the 
front since her death ; nothing, I dare say, very imposing or even 
very becoming. But they give out a great deal to a reader for 
whom, thirty years ago the best time to have taken her as a 
whole she was a high clear figure, a great familiar magician. 
This impression is a strange mixture, but perhaps not quite 
incommunicable ; and we are steeped as we receive it in one of 
the most curious episodes in the annals of the literary race. 

It is the great interest of such an episode that, apart from its 
proportionate place in the unfolding of a personal life, it has a 
wonderful deal to say to us on the much larger matter of the 
relation between experience and art. It constitutes an eminent 


By Henry James 17 

special case, in which the workings of that relation are more or 
less uncovered ; a case, too, of which one of the most remarkable 
features is that we are in possession of it almost exclusively by 
the act of one of the persons concerned. Madame Sand at least, 
as we see to-day, was eager to leave nothing undone that could 
make us further acquainted than we were before with one of the 
liveliest chapters of her personal history. We cannot, doubtless, 
be sure that her conscious purpose in the production of Elle et 
Lui was to show us the process by which private ecstacies and 
pains find themselves transmuted in the artist s workshop into 
promising literary material any more than we can be certain of 
her motive for making toward the end of her life earnest and 
complete arrangements for the ultimate publication of the letters 
in which the passion is recorded and in which we can remount to 
the origin of the volume. If Elle et Lui had been the inevitable 
picture, postponed and retouched, of the great adventure of her 
youth, so the letters show us the crude primary stuff from which 
the moral detachment of the book was distilled. Were they to 
be given to the world for the encouragement of the artist-nature 
as a contribution to the view that no suffering is great enough, 
no emotion tragic enough to exclude the hope that such pangs may 
sooner or later be aesthetically assimilated ? Was the whole pro 
ceeding, in intention, a frank plea for the intellectual and in some 
degree even the commercial profit, for a robust organism, of a 
store of erotic reminiscence ? Whatever the reasons behind the 
matter, that is to a certain extent the moral of the strange story. 

It may be objected that this moral is qualified to come home 
to us only when the relation between art and experience really 
proves a happier one than it may be held to have proved in the 
combination before us. The element in danger of being most 
absent from the process is the element of dignity, and its presence, 


1 8 She and He: recent Documents 

so far as that may ever at all be hoped for in an appeal from a 
personal quarrel, is assured only in proportion as the aesthetic event, 
standing on its own feet, represents a solid gain. It was vain, 
the objector may say, for Madame Sand to pretend to justify by so 
slight a performance as Ellt et Lul that sacrifice of all delicacy 
which has culminated in this supreme surrender. " If you sacrifice 
all delicacy," I hear such a critic contend, " show at least that 
you were right by giving us a masterpiece. The novel in ques 
tion is no more a masterpiece," I even hear him proceed, " than 
any other of the loose, liquid, lucid works of its author. By your 
supposition of a great intention you give much too fine an account 
on the one hand of a personal habit of laxity and on the other of 
a literary habit of egotism. Madame Sand, in writing her tale 
and in publishing her love-letters, obeyed no prompting more 
complicated than that of exhibiting her personal (in which I 
include her verbal) facility, and of doing so at the cost of whatever 
other persons might be concerned ; and you are therefore and 
you might as well immediately confess it thrown back, for the 
element of interest, on the attraction of her general eloquence, the 
plausibility of her general manner and the great number of her 
particular confidences. You are thrown back on your mere 
curiosity thrown back from any question of service rendered to 
( art. " One might be thrown back, doubtless, still further even 
than such remarks would represent, if one were not quite prepared 
with the confession they recommend. It is only because such a 
figure is interesting in every manifestation that the line of its 
passage is marked for us by traces, suggestions, possible lessons. 
And to enable us to find them it scarcely need, after all, have 
aimed so extravagantly high. George Sand lived her remark 
able life and drove her perpetual pen, but the illustration that 
I began by speaking of is for ourselves to gather if we can. 

I remember 

By Henry James 19 

I remember hearing many years ago, in Paris, an anecdote for 
the truth of which I am far from vouching, though it professed 
to come direct an anecdote that has recurred to me more than 
once in turning over the revelations of the Revue de Paris, and 
without the need of the special reminder (in the shape of an 
allusion to her intimacy with the hero of the story), contained in 
those letters to Sainte-Beuve which are published in the number 
of November 15. Prosper Me rime e was said to have related 
in a spirit I forbear to qualify that during a close union with 
the author of Ltlia he once opened his eyes, in the raw winter 
dawn, to see his companion, in a dressing-gown, on her knees 
before the domestic hearth, a candlestick beside her and a red 
madras round her head, making bravely, with her own hands, the 
fire that was to enable her to sit down betimes to urgent pen and 
paper. The story represents him as having felt that the spectacle 
chilled his ardour and tried his taste ; her appearance was un 
fortunate, her occupation an inconsequence, and her industry a 
reproof the result of all of which was a lively irritation and an 
early rupture. For the firm admirer of Madame Sand s prose the 
little sketch has a very different value, for it presents her in an 
attitude which is the very key to the enigma, the answer to most 
of the questions with which her character confronts us. She rose 
early because she was pressed to write, and she was pressed to 
write because she had the greatest instinct of expression ever 
conferred on a woman ; a faculty that put a premium on all passion, 
on all pain, on all experience and all exposure, on the greatest 
variety of ties and the smallest reserve about them. The really 
interesting thing in these posthumous laideurs is the way the gift, 
the voice, carries its possessor through them and lifts her, on the 
whole, above them. It gave her, it may be confessed at the 
outset and in spite of all magnanimities in the use of it, an unfair 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII B advantage 

2O She and He : recent Documents 

advantage in every connection. So at least we must continue to 
feel till for our appreciation of this particular one we have 
Alfred de Mussel s share of the correspondence. For we shall 
have it at last, in whatever faded fury or beauty it may still possess 
to that we may make up our minds. Let the galled jade wince, 
it is only a question of time. The greatest of literary quarrels 
will in short, on the general ground, once more come up the 
quarrel beside which all others are mild and arrangeable, the eternal 
dispute between the public and the private, between curiosity 
and delicacy. 

This discussion is precisely all the sharper because it takes 
place, for each of us, within as well as without. When we wish 
to know at all we wish to know everything ; yet there happen to 
be certain things of which no better description can be given than 
that they are simply none of our business. "What /V, then, 
forsooth, of our business ? " the genuine analyst may always ask ; 
and he may easily challenge us to produce any rule of general 
application by which we shall know when to go in and when to 
back out. " In the first place," he may continue, " half the 
interesting people in the world have, at one time or another, 
set themselves to drag us in with all their might ; and what in the 
world, in such a relation, is the observer, that he should absurdly 
pretend to be in a greater flutter than the object observed ? The 
mannikin, in all schools, is at an early stage of study of the human 
form inexorably superseded by the man. Say that we are to give 
up the attempt to understand : it might certainly be better so, 
and there would be a delightful side to the new arrangement. But in 
the name of common sense don t say that the continuity of life is 
not to have some equivalent in the continuity of pursuit, the 
continuity of phenomena in the continuity of notation. There is 
not a door you can lock here against the critic or the painter 


By Henry James 21 

not a cry you can raise or a long face you can pull at him that 
are not absolutely arbitrary. The only thing that makes the 
observer competent is that he is not afraid nor ashamed ; the only 
thing that makes him decent just think ! is that he is not 
superficial." All this is very well ; but somehow we all equally 
feel that there is clean linen and soiled and that life would be 
intolerable without an element of mystery. M. Emile Zola, at 
the moment I write, gives to the world his reasons for rejoicing 
in the publication of the physiological enquete of Dr. Toulouse a 
marvellous catalogue or handbook of M. Zola s outward and 
inward parts, which leaves him not an inch of privacy, so to 
speak, to stand on, leaves him nothing about himself that is for 
himself, for his friends, his relatives, his intimates, his lovers, for 
discovery, for emulation, for fond conjecture or flattering deluded 
envy. It is enough for M. Zola that everything is for the public 
and that no sacrifice is worth thinking of when it is a question of 
presenting to the open mouth of that apparently gorged but still 
gaping monster the smallest spoonful of truth. The truth, to his 
view, is never either ridiculous or unclean, and the way to a better 
life lies through telling it, so far as possible, about everything and 
about every one. 

There would probably be no difficulty in agreeing to this if it 
didn t seem, on the part of the speaker, the result of a rare 
confusion between give and take, or between " truth " and 
information. The true thing that most matters to us is the 
true thing we have most use for, and there are surely many 
occasions on which the truest thing of all is the necessity of the 
mind its simple necessity of feeling. Whether it feels in order 
to learn or learns in order to feel, the event is the same : the side 
on which it shall most feel will be the side to which it will most 
incline. If it feels more about a Zola functionally undeciphered, 


22 She and He : recent Documents 

it will be governed more by that particular truth than by the truth 
about his digestive idiosyncrasies, or even about his " olfactive 
perceptions" and his " arithomania or impulse to count." An 
affirmation of our " mere taste " may very supposably be our 
individual contribution to the general clearing-up. Nothing, 
often, is less superficial than to skip or more constructive (for 
living and feeling at all) than to choose. If we are aware that in 
the same way as about a Zola undeciphered we should have felt 
more about a George Sand unexposed, the true thing we have 
gained becomes a poor substitute for the one we have lost ; and I 
scarce know what difference it makes that the view of the elder 
novelist appears, in this matter, quite to march with that of the 
younger. I hasten to add that as to being, of course, asked why 
in the world, with such a leaning, we have given time either to 
M. Zola s physician or to De Mussel s correspondent, that is 
only another illustration of the bewildering state of the 

When we meet on the broad highway the rueful denuded figure 
we need some presence of mind to decide whether to cut it dead 
or to lead it gently home, and meanwhile the fatal complication 
easily occurs. We have seen, in a flash of our own wit, and 
mystery has fled with a shriek. These encounters are indeed 
accidents which may at any time take place, and the general 
guarantee, in a noisy world, lies, I judge, not so much in any 
hope of really averting them as in a regular organisation of the 
combat. The painter and the painted have duly and equally to 
understand that they carry their life in their hands. There are 
secrets for privacy and silence ; let them only be cultivated on the 
part of the hunted creature with even half the method with which 
the love of sport or call it the historic sense is cultivated on 
the part of the investigator. They have been left too much to 


By Henry James 23 

the natural, the instinctive man ; but they will be twice as effec 
tive after it begins to be observed that they may take their place 
among the triumphs of civilisation. Then at last the game will 
be fair and the two forces face to face ; it will be " pull devil, 
pull tailor," and the hardest pull will doubtless constitute the 
happiest result. Then the cunning of the inquirer, envenomed 
with resistance, will exceed in subtlety and ferocity anything we 
to-day conceive, and the pale forewarned victim, with every track 
covered, every paper burnt and every letter unanswered, will, in 
the tower of art, the invulnerable granite, stand, without a sally, 
the siege of all the years. 


It was not in the tower of art that Madame Sand ever shut 
herself up ; but I come back to a point already made in saying 
that it is, in a manner, in the citadel of style that, in spite of all 
rash sorties, she continues to hold out. The outline of the 
complicated story that was to cause so much ink to flow gives, 
even with the omission of a hundred features, a direct measure of 
the strain to which her astonishing faculty was exposed. In the 
summer of 1833, as a woman of nearly thirty, she encountered 
Alfred de Musset, who was six years her junior. In spite of their 
youth they were already somewhat bowed by the weight of a 
troubled past. Musset, at twenty-three, had that of his confirmed 
libertinism so Madame Arvede Barine, who has had access to 
materials, tells us in the admirable short biography of the poet 
contributed to the rather markedly unequal but very interesting 
series of Hachette s Grands Ecrivains Franpis. Madame Sand 
had a husband, a son and a daughter, and the impress of that 
succession of lovers Jules Sandeau had been one, Prosper 


24 She and He : recent Documents 

Merimee another to which she so freely alludes in the letters to 
Sainte-Beuve, a friend more disinterested than these and qualified 
to give much counsel in exchange for much confidence. It 
cannot be said that the situation of either of our young persons 
was of good omen for a happy relation ; but they appear to have 
burnt their ships with much promptitude and a great blaze, and in 
the December of that year they started together for Italy. The 
following month saw them settled, on a frail basis, in Venice, where 
Madame Sand remained till late in the summer of 1834 and 
where she wrote, in part, Jacques and the Lettres ffun Poyageur, as 
well as Andrl and Leone-Leoni, and gathered the impressions to be 
embodied later in half-a-dozen stories with Italian titles notably 
in the delightful Consuelo. The journey, the Italian climate, the 
Venetian winter at h rst agreed with neither of the friends ; they 
were both taken ill the young man very gravely and after a 
stay of three months De Musset returned, alone and much ravaged, 
to Paris. 

In the meantime a great deal had happened, for their union had 
been stormy and their security small. Madame Sand had nursed 
her companion in illness (a matter-of-course office, it must be 
owned) and her companion had railed at his nurse in health. A 
young doctor, called in, had become a close friend of both parties, 
but more particularly a close friend of Madame Sand, and it was to 
his tender care that, on withdrawing, De Musset solemnly 
committed the lady. She lived with Pietro Pagello the transi 
tion is startling for the rest of her stay, and on her journey back 
to France he was no inconsiderable part of her luggage. He was 
simple, robust and kind not a man of genius. He remained, 
however, but a short time in Paris. In the autumn of 1834 he 
returned to Italy, to live on till our own day, but never again, so 
far as we know, to meet his illustrious mistress. Her intercourse 


By Henry James 25 

with De Musset was, in all its intensity one may almost say its 
ferocity promptly renewed, and was sustained in this key for 
several months more. The effect of this strange and tormented 
passion on the mere student of its records is simply to make him 
ask himself what on earth is the matter with the subjects of it. 
Nothing is more easy than to say, as I have intimated, that it has 
no need of records and no need of students ; but this leaves out of 
account the thick medium of genius in which it was foredoomed 
to disport itself. It was ^self-registering, as the phrase is, for the 
genius on both sides happened to be the genius of eloquence. It 
is all rapture and all rage and all literature. The Lettres d un 
Voyageur spring from the thick of the fight ; La Confession d un 
Enfant du Siecle and Les Nuits are immediate echoes of the con 
cert. The lovers are naked in the market-place and perform for 
the benefit of humanity. The matter with them, to the perception 
of the stupefied spectator, is that they entertained for each other 
every feeling in life but the feeling of respect. What the absence 
of that article may do for the passion of hate is apparently nothing 
to what it may do for the passion of love. 

By our unhappy pair, at any rate, the luxury in question the 
little luxury of plainer folk was not to be purchased, and in the 
comedy of their despair and the tragedy of their recovery nothing 
is more striking than their convulsive effort either to reach up to 
it or to do without it. They would have given for it all else they 
possessed, but they only meet in their struggle the inexorable 
never. They strain and pant and gasp, they beat the air in vain 
for the cup of cold water of their hell. They missed it in a way 
for which none of their superiorities could make up. Their great 
affliction was that each found in the life of the other an armoury 
of weapons to wound. Young as they were, young as Musset 
was in particular, they appeared to have afforded each other in that 


26 She and He : recent Documents 

direction the most extraordinary facilities ; and nothing in the 
matter of the mutual consideration that failed them is more sad 
and strange than that even in later years, when their rage, very 
quickly, had cooled, they never arrived at simple silence. For 
Madame Sand, in her so much longer life, there was no hush, no 
letting alone ; though it would be difficult indeed to exaggerate 
the depth of relative indifference from which, a few years after 
Musset s death, such a production as Elle et Lui could spring. 
Of course there had been floods of tenderness, of forgiveness ; 
but those, for all their beauty of expression, are quite another 
matter. It is just the fact of our sense of the ugliness of so much 
of the episode that makes a wonder and a force of the fine style, 
all round, in which it is presented to us. This force, in its turn, 
is a sort of clue to guide or perhaps rather a sign to stay our 
feet in paths after all not the most edifying. It gives a degree of 
importance to the somewhat squalid and the somewhat ridiculous 
story, and, for the old George-Sandist at least, lends a positive spell to 
the smeared and yellowed paper, the blotted and faded ink. In this 
twilight of association we seem to find a reply to our own challenge 
and to be able to tell ourselves why we meddle with such old, dead 
squabbles and waste our time with such grimacing ghosts. If we 
were superior to the weakness, moreover, how should we make our 
point (which we must really make at any cost) about the value of 
this vivid proof that a great talent is the best guarantee that it 
may really carry off almost anything ? 

The rather sorry ghost that beckons us on furthest is the rare 
personality of Madame Sand. Under its influence or that of old 
memories from which it is indistinguishable we pick our steps 
among the laideurs aforesaid : the misery, the levity, the brevity 
of it all, the greatest ugliness, in particular, that this life shows us, 
the way the devotions and passions that we see heaven and earth 


By Henry James 27 

called to witness are over before we can turn round. It may be 
said that, for what it was, the intercourse of these unfortunates 
surely lasted long enough ; but the answer to that is that if it had 
only lasted longer it wouldn t have been what it was. It was not 
only preceded and followed by intimacies, on one side and the 
other, as unrestricted, but it was mixed up with them in a manner 
that would seem to us dreadful if it didn t, still more, seem to 
us droll ; or rather perhaps if it didn t refuse altogether to come 
home to us with the crudity of contemporary things. It is 
antediluvian history, a queer, vanished world another Venice, 
another Paris, an inextricable, inconceivable Nohant. This rele 
gates it to an order agreeable somehow to the imagination of the 
fond quinquegenarian, the reader with a fund of reminiscence. 
The vanished world, the old Venice, the old Paris are a bribe to 
his judgment ; he has even a glance of complacency for the lady s 
liberal foyer. Liszt, one lovely year at Nohant, "jouait du piano 
au rez-de-chausse"e, et les rossignols, ivres de musique et de soleil, 
s e"gosillaient avec rage sur les lilas environnants." The beautiful 
manner confounds itself with the conditions in which it was exer 
cised, the large liberty and variety overflow into admirable prose, 
and the whole thing makes a charming faded medium in which 
Chopin gives a hand to Consuelo and the small Fadette has her 
elbows on the table of Flaubert. 

There is a terrible letter of the autumn of 1834, in which 
Madame Sand has recourse to Alfred Tattet in a dispute with the 
bewildered Pagello a very disagreeable matter, hinging on a 
question of money. " A Venise il comprenait," she somewhere 
says ; " a Paris il ne comprend plus." It was a proof of remark 
able intelligence that he did understand in Venice, where he had 
become a lover in the presence and with the exalted approbation 
of an immediate predecessor an alternate representative of the 


28 She and He : recent Documents 

part, whose turn had now, on the removal to Paris, come round 
again and in whose resumption of office it was looked to him to 
concur. This attachment to Pagello had lasted but a few 
months ; yet already it was the prey of disagreement and change, 
and its sun appears to have set in no very graceful fashion. We 
are not here, in truth, among very graceful things, in spite of 
superhuman attitudes and great romantic flights. As to these 
forced notes, Madame Arvede Barine judiciously says that the 
picture of them contained in the letters to which she had had 
access, and some of which are before us, " presents an example 
extraordinary and unique of what the romantic spirit could do 
with beings who had become its prey." She adds that she regards 
the records in question, " in which we follow step by step the 
ravages of the monster," as "one of the most precious psycho 
logical documents of the first half of the century." That puts 
the story on its true footing, though we may regret that it should 
not divide these documentary honours more equally with some 
other story in which the monster has not quite so much the best 
of it. But it is the misfortune of the comparatively short and 
simple annals of conduct and character that they should ever 
seem to us, somehow, to cut less deep. Scarce to quote again 
his best biographer had Musset, at Venice, begun to recover 
from his illness than the two lovers were seized afresh by le vertige 
du sublime et de Fimfossible. " Us imaginerent les deviations de 
sentiment les plus bizarres, et leur intdrieur fut le theatre de scenes 
qui galaient en 6tranget6 les fantaises les plus audacieuses de la 
litte"rature contemporaine ; " that is of the literature of their own 
day. The register of virtue contains no such lively items 
save indeed in so far as these contortions and convulsions were a 
conscious tribute to virtue. 

Ten weeks after Musset has left her in Venice Madame Sand 


By Henry James 29 

writes to him in Paris: "God keep you, my friend, in your 
present disposition of heart and mind. Love is a temple built by 
the lover to an object more or less worthy of his worship, and 
what is grand in the thing is not so much the god as the altar. 
Why should you be afraid of the risk ? " of a new mistress, she 
means. There would seem to be reason enough why he should 
have been afraid ; but nothing is more characteristic than her 
eagerness to push him into the arms of another woman more 
characteristic either of her whole philosophy of these matters or 
of their tremendous, though somewhat conflicting, effort to be 
good. She is to be good by showing herself so superior to jealousy 
as to stir up in him a new appetite for a new object, and he is to 
be so by satisfying it to the full. It appears not to occur to any 
one that in such an arrangement his own virtue is rather 
sacrificed. Or is it indeed because he has scruples or even a 
sense of humour that she insists with such ingenuity and such 
eloquence? "Let the idol stand long or let it soon break, you 
will in either case have built a beautiful shrine. Your soul will 
have lived in it, have filled it with divine incense, and a soul like 
yours must produce great works. The god will change perhaps ; 
the temple will last as long as yourself." "Perhaps," under the 
circumstances, was charming. The letter goes on with the 
ample flow that was always at the author s command an ease of 
suggestion and generosity, of beautiful melancholy acceptance, in 
which we foresee, on her own horizon, the dawn of new suns. 
Her simplifications are delightful they remained so to the end ; 
her touch is a wondrous sleight-of-hand. The whole of this 
letter, in short, is a splendid utterance and a masterpiece of the 
particular sympathy which consists of wishing another to feel as 
you feel yourself. To feel as Madame Sand felt, however, one 
had to be, like Madame Sand, a man ; which poor Musset was far 


30 She and He : recent Documents 

from being. This, we surmise, was the case with most of her 
lovers, and the verity that makes the idea of her liaison with 
Me>ime e, who was one, sound almost like a union against nature. 
She repeats to her correspondent, on grounds admirably stated, 
the injunction that he is to give himself up, to let himself go, to 
take his chance. That he took it we all know he followed her 
advice only too well. It is indeed not long before his manner of 
doing so draws from her a cry of distress. " Ta conduite est 
deplorable, impossible. Mon Dieu, a quelle vie vais-je te laisser ? 
1 ivresse, le vin, les filles, et encore et toujours ! " But apprehen 
sions were now too late ; they would have been too late at the 
very earliest stage of this celebrated connection. 


The great difficulty was that, though they were sublime, the 
couple were not serious. But, on the other hand, if, on a lady s 
part, in such a relation, the want of sincerity or of constancy is a 
grave reproach, the matter is a good deal modified when the lady, 
as I have mentioned, happens to be I won t go so far exactly as 
to say a gentleman. That George Sand just fell short of this 
character was the greatest difficulty of all ; because if a woman, in 
a love-affair, may be for all she is to gain or to lose what she 
likes, there is only one thing that, to carry it off with any degree 
of credit, a man may be. Madame Sand forgot this on the day 
she published Elle et Lui ; she forgot it again, more gravely, when 
she bequeathed to the great snickering public these present shreds 
and relics of unutterably delicate things. The aberration connects 
itself with the strange lapses of still other occasions notably with 
the extraordinary absence of scruples with which, in the delightful 


By Henry James 31 

Histoire de ma Vie, she gives away, as we say, the character of her 
remarkable mother. The picture is admirable for vividness, for 
touch ; it would be perfect from any hand not a daughter s, and 
we ask ourselves wonderingly how, through all the years, to make 
her capable of it, a long perversion must have worked and the 
filial fibre or rather the general flower of sensibility have been 
battered. Not this particular anomaly, however, but some others 
certainly, clear up more or less in the light of the reflection that 
as, just after her death, a very perceptive person who had known 
her well put it to the author of these remarks, she was a woman 
quite by accident. Her immense plausibility was almost the only 
sign of her sex. She needed always to prove that she had been in 
the right ; as how indeed could a person fail to, who, thanks to the 
special equipment I have named, might prove it so easily ? It is 
not too much to say of her gift of expression and I have already 
in effect said it that, from beginning to end, it floated her over 
the real as a high tide floats a ship over the bar. She was never 
left awkwardly straddling on the sandbank of fact. 

For the rest, at any rate, with her free experience and her free 
use of it, her literary style, her love of ideas and questions, of 
science and philosophy, her camaraderie, her boundless tolerance, 
her intellectual patience, her personal good-humour and perpetual 
tobacco (she smoked long before women at large felt the cruel 
obligation), with all these things and many I don t mention, she 
had morally more of the notes of the other sex than of her own. 
She had above all the mark that, to speak at this time of day with 
a freedom for which her action in the matter of publicity gives us 
warrant, the history of her personal passions reads singularly like a 
chronicle of the ravages of some male celebrity. Her relations 
with men closely resembled those relations with women that, from 
the age of Pericles or that of Petrarch, have been complacently 


32 She and He : recent Documents 

commemorated as stages in the unfolding of the great statesman 
and the great poet. It is very much the same large list, the same 
story of free appropriation and consumption. She appeared in 
short to have lived through a succession of such ties exactly in the 
manner of a Goethe, a Byron or a Napoleon ; and if millions of 
women, of course, of every condition, had had more lovers, it was 
probable that no woman, independently so occupied and so 
diligent, had ever had, as might be said, more unions. Her 
fashion was quite her own of extracting from this sort of experi 
ence all that it had to give her, and being withal only the more 
just and bright and true, the more sane and superior, improved 
and improving. She strikes us, in the benignity of such an 
intercourse, as even more than maternal : not so much the mere 
fond mother as the supersensuous grandmother of the wonderful 
affair. Is not that practically the character in which Therese 
Jacques studies to present herself to Laurent de Fauvel ? the light 
in which Lucrezia Florianl (a memento of a friendship for 
Chopin, for Liszt) shows the heroine as affected toward Prince 
Karol and his friend ? George Sand is too inveterately moral, too 
preoccupied with that need to do good which is often, in art, the 
enemy of doing well ; but in all her work the story-part, as 
children call it, has the freshness and good faith of a monastic 
legend. It is just possible indeed that the moral idea was the real 
mainspring of her course I mean a sense of the duty of avenging 
on the unscrupulous race of men their immemorial selfish success 
with the plastic race of women. Did she wish above all to turn 
the tables to show how the sex that had always ground the other 
in the intellectual mill was on occasion capable of being ground ? 

However this may be, nothing is more striking than the im 
punity with which she gave herself to conditions that are usually 
held to denote or to involve a state of demoralisation. This 


By Henry James 33 

impunity (to speak only of consequences or features that concern 
us) was not, I admit, complete, but it was sufficiently so to 
warrant us in saying that no one was ever less demoralised. She 
presents a case prodigiously discouraging to the usual view the 
view that there is no surrender to " unconsecrated " passion that 
we escape paying for in one way or another. It is, frankly, diffi 
cult to see where this eminent woman conspicuously paid. She 
positively got off from paying and in a cloud of fluency and 
dignity, benevolence, intelligence. She sacrificed, it is true, a 
handful of minor coin met the loss by failing, in her picture of 
life, wholly to grasp certain shades and certain differences. What 
she paid was just this loss of her touch for them. That is one of 
the reasons, doubtless, why to-day the picture in question has 
perceptibly faded why there are persons who would perhaps even 
go so far as to say that it has really a comic side. She doesn t 
know, according to such persons, her right hand from her left, 
the crooked from the straight and the clean from the unclean : it 
was a sense she lacked or a tact she had rubbed off, and her great 
work is, by this fatal twist, quite as lopsided a monument as the 
leaning tower of Pisa. Some readers may charge her with a 
graver confusion still the incapacity to distinguish between 
fiction and fact, the truth straight from the well and the truth 
curling in steam from the kettle and preparing the comfortable 
tea. There is no word oftener on her pen, they will remind us, 
than the verb to "arrange." She arranged constantly, she ar 
ranged beautifully ; but from this point of view that of suspicion 
she always proved too much. Turned over in the light of it 
the story of Elk et Lui, for instance, is an attempt to prove 
that the mistress of Laurent de Fauvel was a regular prodigy 
of virtue. What is there not, the intemperate admirer may be 
challenged to tell us, an attempt to prove in L Histoire de ma 


34 She and He : recent Documents 

Fie ? a work from which we gather every delightful impression 
but the impression of an impeccable veracity. 

These reservations may, however, all be sufficiently just 
without affecting our author s peculiar air of having eaten her cake 
and had it, been equally initiated in directions the most opposed. 
Of how much cake she partook the letters to Musset and Sainte- 
Beuve well show us, and yet they fall in at the same time, on 
other sides, with all that was noble in her mind, all that is 
beautiful in the books just mentioned and in the six volumes of 
the general Correspondance : 1812-1876, out of which Madame 
Sand comes so immensely to her advantage. She had, as liberty, 
all the adventures of which the dots are so put on the i s by the 
documents lately published, and then she had, as law, as honour 
and serenity, all her fine reflections on them and all her splendid, 
busy, literary use of them. Nothing perhaps gives more relief to 
her masculine stamp than the rare art and success with which she 
cultivated an equilibrium. She made, from beginning to end, a 
masterly study of composure, absolutely refusing to be upset, 
closing her door at last against the very approach of irritation and 
surprise. She had arrived at her quiet, elastic synthesis a good- 
humour, an indulgence that were an armour of proof. The great 
felicity of all this was that it was neither indifference nor renun 
ciation, but on the contrary an intense partaking ; imagination, 
affection, sympathy and life, the way she had found for herself of 
living most and living longest. However well it all agreed with 
her happiness and her manners, it agreed still better with her style, 
as to which we come back with her to the sense that this was 
really her point cCappui or sustaining force. Most people have to 
say, especially about themselves, only what they can; but she 
said and we nowhere see it better than in the letters to Musset 
everything in life that she wanted. We can well imagine the 


By Henry James 35 

effect of that consciousness on the nerves of this particular corre 
spondent, his own poor gift of occasional song (to be so early 
spent) reduced to nothing by so unequalled a command of the 
last word. We feel it, I hasten to add, this last word, in all her 
letters : the occasion, no matter which, gathers it from her as the 
breeze gathers the scent from the garden. It is always the last 
word of sympathy and sense, and we meet it on every page of the 
voluminous Correspondance. These pages are not so " clever " 
as those, in the same order, of some other famous hands the writer 
always denied, justly enough, that she had either wit or drollery 
and they are not a product of high spirits or of a marked avidity 
for gossip. But they have admirable ease, breadth and generosity ; 
they are the clear, quiet overflow of a very full cup. They speak 
above all for the author s great gift, her eye for the inward drama. 
Her hand is always on the fiddle-string, her ear is always at the 
heart. It was in the soul, in a word, that she saw the play begin, 
and to the soul that, after whatever outward flourishes, she saw it 
confidently come back. She herself lived with all her perceptions 
and in all her chambers not merely in the showroom of the shop. 
This brings us once more to the question of the instrument and 
the tone, and to our idea that the tone, when you are so lucky as 
to possess it, may be of itself a solution. 

By a solution I mean a secret for saving not only your reputa 
tion but your life that of your spirit ; an antidote to dangers 
which the unendowed can hope to escape by no process less 
uncomfortable or less inglorious than that of prudence and 
precautions. The unendowed must go round about ; the others 
may go straight through the wood. Their weaknesses, those of 
the others, shall be as well redeemed as their books shall be well 
preserved ; it may almost indeed be said that they are made wise 
in spite of themselves. If you have never, in all your days, had a 
The Yellow Book Vol. XII. c weakness, 

36 She and He : recent Documents 

weakness, you can be, after all, no more, at the very most, than 
large and cheerful and imperturbable. All these things Madame 
Sand managed to be on just the terms she had found, as we see, 
most convenient. So much, I repeat, does there appear to be in a 
tone. But if the perfect possession of one made her, as it well 
might, an optimist, the action of it is perhaps more consistently 
happy in her letters and her personal records than in her " creative " 
work. Her novels to-day have turned rather pale and faint, as 
if the image projected not intense, not absolutely concrete failed 
to reach completely the mind s eye. And the odd point is that 
the wonderful charm of expression is not really a remedy for this 
lack of intensity, but rather an aggravation of it through a sort of 
suffusion of the whole thing by the voice and speech of the author. 
These things set the subject, whatever it be, afloat in the upper 
air, where it takes a happy bath of brightness and vagueness or 
swims like a soap-bubble kept up by blowing. This is no draw 
back when she is on the ground of her own life, to which she is 
tied, in truth, by a certain number of tangible threads ; but to 
embark on one of her confessed fictions is to have after all that 
has come and gone, in our time, in the trick of persuasion a 
little too much the feeling of going up in a balloon. We are 
borne by a fresh, cool current, and the car delightfully dangles ; 
but as we peep over the sides we see things as we usually know 
them at a dreadful drop beneath. Or perhaps a better way to 
express the sensation is to say what I have just been struck with 
in the re-perusal of Elle et Lui ; namely that this book, like 
others by the same hand, affects the reader and the impression is 
of the oddest not as a first but as a second echo or edition of the 
immediate real, or in other words of the subject. The tale may 
in this particular be taken as typical of the author s manner ; 
beautifully told, but told, as if on a last remove from the facts, by 


By Henry James 37 

some one repeating what he has read or what he has had from 
another and thereby inevitably becoming more general and super 
ficial, missing or forgetting the " hard " parts and slurring them 
over and making them up. Of everything but feelings the pre 
sentation is dim. We recognise that we shall never know the 
original narrator and that Madame Sand is the only one we can 
deal with. But we sigh perhaps as we reflect that we may never 
confront her with her own informant. 

To that, however, we must resign ourselves ; for I remember 
in time that the volume from which I take occasion to speak 
with this levity is the work that I began by pronouncing a 
precious illustration. With the aid of the disclosures of the 
Revue de Paris it was, as I hinted, to show us that no mistakes 
and no pains are too great to be, in the air of art, triumphantly 
convertible. Has it really performed this function ? I thumb 
again my copy of the limp little novel and wonder what, alas ! 
I shall reply. The case is extreme, for it was the case of a 
suggestive experience particularly dire, and the literary flower 
that has bloomed vipon it is not quite the full-blown rose. 
" Oeuvre de rancune " Arvede Barine pronounces it, and if we take 
it as that we admit that the artist s distinctness from her material 
was not ideally complete. Shall I not better the question by 
saying that it strikes me less as a work of rancour than in a 
peculiar degree as a work of egotism ? It becomes in that light, 
at any rate, a sufficiently happy affirmation of the author s 
infallible form. This form was never a more successful 
vehicle for the conveyance of sweet reasonableness. It is all 
superlatively calm and clear ; there never was a kinder, balmier 
last word. Whatever the measure of justice of the particular 
picture, moreover, the picture has only to be put beside the 
recent documents, the "study," as I may call them, to illustrate 


38 She and He : recent Documents 

the general phenomenon. Even if Elle et Lui is not the full 
blown rose, we have enough here to place in due relief an 
irrepressible tendency to bloom. In fact I seem already to 
discern that tendency in the very midst of the storm ; the 
" tone " in the letters too has its own way and performs on its 
own account which is but another manner of saying that the 
literary instinct, in the worst shipwreck, is never out of its depth. 
Madame Sand could be drowned but in an ocean of ink. Is 
that a sufficient account of what I have called the laying bare 
of the relation between experience and art ? With the two 
elements, the life and the genius, face to face the smutches 
and quarrels at one end of the chain, and the high luminosity 
at the other does some essential link still appear to be missing ? 
How do the graceless facts, after all, confound themselves with 
the beautiful spirit ? They do so, incontestably, before our 
eyes, and the mystification remains. We try to trace the process, 
but before we break down we had better perhaps hasten to 
grant that so far at least as George Sand is concerned some 
of its steps are impenetrable secrets of the grand manner. 

My Note-Book in the Weald 

By Me nie Muriel Dowie 

THE title of these sketches has reference to many wanderings, 
afoot, driving, but mainly on horseback, which I have enjoyed 
from time to time in the wealds of Surrey and Sussex. If you 
stand on Blackdown or on Witley Hill and look out over the folds 
and oak-forests spread below you to the very verge of the downs, 
you see the country where Stephen Yesser still carves the haunch 
of mutton as I believe, inimitably : and the country where the 
landlord s wedding, at which I assisted, is still remembered as one 
of the merriest days in Puddingfold. 

I Stephen Yesser 

To see him standing by the sideboard in his loose-fitting dress- 
suit, his eye upon the table in the window no less than on 
the table by the fire and the table in the centre, his ear hanging 
upon the tinkle of the bell from the commercial room and the 
private sitting-room upstairs, where a party was dining, his mind 
upon the joint delicately furrowed by his unerring carver to see 
him so, you might have mistaken him for an ordinary waiter. 
But even to call him a waiter of unusual ability would have been 


40 My Note-Book in the Weald 

to show yourself obtuse. This large, fair fat man with the shaven 
face, double chin, even brick colour and eye of oyster blue, had a 
character, and it came out when I happened to be the only person 
in the coffee-room that evening. 

" Nice little dog, Miss ? " he began, insinuatively stroking my 
self-centred, unresponsive terrier "I m very fond of dogs myself; 
bulls, I mostly fancy, tho I ave kep all sorts one way an another." 
His voice had the low, furtive quality that distinguishes the sport 
ing class in the South country, the class, in fact, that " as kep all 
sorts." If his clothes had fitted more tightly upon his big 
frame, you would have suspected him of having been a prize 

I made an encouraging reply. 

" If you was once to ave one you d never take to no other sort." 
There was a gentle defiance in his round, even voice, a voice that 
had the training of an ostler with a dash of a gentleman s servant in 
it. Sometimes his lips moved as though turning a straw about in 
his mouth ; his face in repose had the eyebrows raised, the lines 
from nostril to lip-corner deeply marked, the mouth pulled down 
but with no effect of sneering in its sneer ; rather the acrid cheer 
fulness of a man not too successful, but still nowise to be accounted 
a failure, a man acquainted with the compensations of life. " I 
shouldn t recommend the brindle myself ; now a nice pure w ite 
with a butterfly nose would be as neat a pet as any lady could wish 
to have. I ve not long parted with my Snowdrop ; won a rare 
lot o prizes with er, till a gentleman well, you might know him 
Miss, Captain Soames of the Cawbineers ? E awffered me 
twenty-two pound for er an I let er go." Melancholy triumphed 
;n the waiter s broad face for a moment ; his sad eye roved mechani 
cally to my plate. " Cut you a little bit more off the aunch, 
Miss ? One of er puppies took second at the Palace and would 


By Menie Muriel Dowie 41 

ave ad first, only the judge e ad a fancy for another pound or 
so of weight," 

I threw in the appropriate remark. 

"There s Mrs. Dempsey of Colmanhatch you might ave 
noticed the ouse as you come along, Miss, stands back a bit from 
the road in a s rubbery she wanted one of Snowdrop s puppies, 
an wouldn t have stopped at money neither, but I promised the 
last to Mr. Hutton of the George. " 

I foresaw tears on the part of the waiter if we didn t speedily 
abandon the records of the Snowdrop family. I interposed with 
a red herring. 

" Yes, Miss, I daresay they are, but for my part I d sooner ave 
a nice sharp fox-terrier after game than any of them wiry- aired 
ones. Now, one Sunday morning I was up early walkin round 
by Burley Rough in the summer I often takes a early turn that 
way just to see the rabbits. Well, this little fox-terrier I ad 
with me " (the waiter has an elusive narrative habit, and though 
with intelligence he can be followed, use is really of most assist 
ance in gleaning his facts), "she started a rabbit in a bit of 
furze an off after it before I could holler." I am not sure if 
Stephen really wished me to believe that he was at all likely to have 
hollered. "She run it well out of sight, I never see a dog more 
nimbler on her legs than what she was, an me after her. All at 
wunst, I card er sing out ; that fetched me on the track, and if 
you ll believe, she was in the mouth of a burrer with her forefoot 
in a steel trap an ad the rabbit in er mouth, an never left old of 
it. The rabbit bein lighter like ad run clean over the trap an 
she d just come up in time to snap it from be ine." 

I had two more courses to eat through and I perceived that the 
waiter was likely to draw heavily upon my appreciation. I econo 
mised with the caution and the dexterity that come only of long 


42 My Note-Book in the Weald 

practice, at the same time I offered a perfectly adequate com 

" They pay men eighteen shillings a week to keep the rabbits 
down and yet if you was to ketch one in a snare an be found out 
you d ave six weeks." 

I tried to see myself, on the waiter s suggestion, in this predica 
ment, and admitted in the full glow of sympathy that it did seem 

" An it is ard," said the waiter with conviction. " You can t 
get a full-grown rabbit not under eighteenpence in the town, an 
I d sooner ketch one myself" he dropped his voice to a note of 
rapture " I think they eat sweeter." 

It was impossible not to respond to the unquenchable human 
nature in the waiter s eye. After all, they weren t my rabbits. 
A venal warmth chequered the restraint of my smile. As the 
irrigator directs the waterflow by a slight turn of his foot, I 
directed, just so quietly, the conversation. 

" Oh there is, Miss, a deal of poaching, to be sure. You see, 
in the winter-time, a man may be out of work and he knows 
where is two-and-nine is waitin for him when e s wearin is 
fur-lined overcoat, as the sayin goes. Yes, Miss ; two-an -nine s 
what they give for a hare so I ve been told." Some day we may 
have an actor capable of this delicate manipulation of the pause 
I know of none just now. " An then there s them that does it 
for the love of sport." 

I wanted some cheese, but I caught sight of the glow in the 
oyster-eyes and I prayed that nothing might divert the waiter to 
a sense of his duties at that moment. There is poetry in every 
soul, we know ; by long study I have learned to detect sometimes 
the moment of the lighting of its fires. There was that in the 
waiter s kiln-brick face which a keen eye could recognise. So 


By Menie Muriel Dowie 43 

looks the man who tells you of the one " woman in the world," 
so looks the poet who describes his last sonnet, so look the faces 
of them that dream of heart s desire. 

" You see there s a deal of preservin done round here, and 
when a labourin man has say six or seven of a family and takes 
is nine shillin a week, as some of em do in winter, an as coal to 
find and boots to keep on the children, well, e as to git it some 
where, asn t he, Miss ? You can t wonder that some of em steps 
out of a night an nooses a brace of pheasants." I maintained a 
steady but an unexaggerated air of sympathy ; there was no use 
in the waiter putting it off, we had heard the utilitarian side, 
what about "them as does it for the love o sport ?" But I was 
much too wary to ask ! " An you see, Miss, since this frozen 
meat come in, why eighteenpence 11 buy a man is leg of lamb 
at the stall. As for the poorer parts, they pretty near give it 
away of a Saturday night, an for two shillin he ll get what ll 
keep is family in meat for a week." 

Very well, if I had to wait, I could wait. 

" Every bit as good, Miss," in answer to my query. " Of 
course, it wants a knack in cookin , it don t want to be put in no 
fierce oven ; you want to ang it in the kitchen and thor it out 
gradual, an it ll make twice its size; then, if it s nicely basted, you 
won t want to eat no sweeter bit of meat." 

" Then they never eat the pheasants themselves ? " I remarked, 
with the air of one whose mind is on the central problem. " I 
don t wonder, for I think a pheasant is nothing to rave about. I d 
as soon have a chicken." 

" If you d ever tried one stuffed with chopped celery, then 
closed up so the water don t get to it in a bit of nice paste, and 
boiled for about two hours, Miss," said the waiter, in tender 
remonstrance, " you d never say that again." I was on the point 


44 My Note-book in the Weald 

of offering never to say it again, when the waiter s eyes again 
sought the furthest gas-burner at the end of the room, and an air 
of reverie and fervour again gleamed in his oyster-eye. "Wonderful 
silly birds pheasants are, Miss. You can go out with a line in 
your pocket, an a fish ook on the end of it, an bait it with a 
raisin, and ang it over the fence 

" Do pheasants like raisins ? " I was idiot enough to interject ; 
but fortunately poetry and prudence may not burn in the same 
brain at the same time, and the waiter had abandoned himself to 

" Oh, marvellous fond of raisins, pheasants are. Of course, it 
wants artful doin ; the line wants to be ung just so, and a raisin 
or two dropped where he s likely to run, an ten to one e ll make a 
peck at it an the best of it is w en e s got it the bird can t oiler." 

I suppressed a weak desire to say it was shockingly cruel. 
Mentally, I surveyed myself with cold dislike as I heard myself 
remark that it must be very exciting work. 

" I should say it was, Miss. These old poachers as some fine 
stories to tell of it. Some likes a pea at the end of a few strands 
of horse-hair. Ow is it done ? Oh, you want to dror it long 
from the horse s tail, an then you twist it fine together an runs 
it through the pea and makes a knot. Some prefers a ook in the 
pea. Then, you see, the bird just swallows it, and there he is. 
With either the raisin hor the pea it wants to be ung so s the 
bird, when he pecks an takes it, as is feet just awf the ground. 
It s wonderful how quick they are to see it, too. Of course, it 
has to be a fine night, but I don t care for too much moon my 
self." The waiter was unaware of this change of pronoun. "But 
it s wonderfully taking sport. Well," with a deprecatory smile, 
which displayed an irreproachable set of false teeth, " I ve ad as 
many as three in one evening." 


By Menie Muriel Dowie 45 

My morality being once in abeyance I did not stick at a hearty 

"Seen a bit of all sorts of life, I avc. Well, I was in Tom 
Hotchkiss s racing stables till I got too heavy, but I ve always 
been a great one for sports or anything of that. Fine sideboardful 
o cups I ve got wot I ve won running ; I ad a butter cooler, 
silver-plated, only last year for the Married Men s Undred Yard 
Race." Melancholy again descended like a mist upon the waiter s 
cheerful countenance. 

I feared he might have been reflecting on his growing handicap, 
technical or physical, and I deployed a reflection upon the variety 
of his experiences. He smiled again, and spoke softly of his lost 

" Well, I began by bein apprentice to a butcher, an I stay at 
that eighteen months. Then one morning where I took the 
meat down, the gardener stop and ask me if I d care to come 
hindoors " some inner light illuminated this phrase for me. It 
did not mean would he step into the kitchen ; it meant would he 
take indoor service " because is master wanted a page-boy, an I 
jumped at this. Oh, I thought it grand that was with Mr. 
Beatup at the Bull, and I ve been mostly in hotel service ever 
since." He paused ; he smiled thoughtfully, evidently a new idea 
had struck him. " It seems funny to say it," he began almost 
shamefacedly, " but there s one thing I aven t done, and that s 
drove a fly ! " His air of triumph was so na if and so marked 
that I felt it to be a point worth elucidating. I hunted for the 
proper setting of the question ; I was anxious not to make a 

" What, have you ever had a chance to ? " I said at last, and I 
thought indeed, still think this very neat. 

" Should ave ad," said the waiter, quite respectfully but enjoy 

46 My Note-Book in the Weald 

ing the joke none the less, " for my father was a cab-proprietor 
down in Weymouth, since ever I remember. Ad twenty-three 
or twenty-four lots going time he died, landaws and privek 
brooms and closed-and-opens. E was a very curious man my 
father, e ad a great belief in luck. Sometimes e would buy a 
horse for luck, other times e d think one of is carriages brought 
him bad luck. He always used to go about with a carriage dog, 
one o them spotted well, Darmations some calls em ; oh, she 
was a beautiful creature an knowin ! Well, there wasn t any 
thing she wouldn t do. Why, she d go up to one of the other 
horses on the rank, as it might be, what wasn t my father s, you 
see, Miss, an she d ackshly pull the clover out of is nose-bag and 
kerry it to one of my father s own orses." I blinked, but 
got it down. " Ho, wonderful knowin she was ! There was 
a lady there awffered my father eighteen sov rins for her, but 
e wouldn t sell. No, e said, if I sell my dog, I sell my 
luck, e said, besides, she wouldn t stay with you, she d always 
be back in the yard, e said. Often enough she ask im, 
but e always said the same about is luck. At last she came 
and said she was goin away to live in Brighton, and she 
awffer him ^20," the waiter s figures always came out with a 
suspicious glibness " so father e was beat, but e says so sure as 
my name s Stephen Yesser that was my father s name an e 
give me the same my luck s sold, e says ! An it wasn t a 
twelvemonth later that e was drivin home one night with 
a horse he d bought in London some time before, an it bolted at 
the scroop of a tramway, turn the corner short and come down 
pitchin father out and his ead was all cut to pieces killed im on 
the spot. He was took up in a bag. Seems he might have fell 
free if his coat hadn t ave caught in the lamp-iron." My mind 
had filled suddenly with a lurid picture of Mr. Yesser, senior, 


By Menie Muriel Dowie 47 

being " took up in a bag," but the waiter s point was not lost upon 
me for all that. " But it was a funny thing after what he d said 
when e come to part with the Darmation, wasn t it, Miss ? " he 
said. " Yes, I know, / know," this to a subordinate who appeared 
at the door, " it s the hupstairs parlour bell, so you ll escuse me, 
Miss ; I don t mind to keep them waitin a minute, they ain t 
none of our lot business gentlemen from London." 

II The Landlord s Wedding 

N Mrs. Sollop have the landau this afternoon ? She 
wishes to drive out to Cray s Wood ; have you a horse 
disengaged about three ? " 

I recognised the old Rector s voice at once ; he spoke his 
inquiry like a piece of ritual or is it rubric ? in the tone 
reserved for celebrations. The reply was inaudible, but I was 
quite sure that Mrs. Sollop couldn t have the landau : I had been 
in the inn-yard that morning, and I knew that the landau had 
other fish to fry, so to speak. Words would fail to depict the 
ardour with which Tom and Frank, the two ostlers, had been 
assailing the old landau, leathers in hand and scarlet braces flying, 
from an early hour ; they had got my wheel jack in use, and pail 
after pail of water went through the spokes. They did not 
apologise for borrowing the wheel jack, and I recognised with 
them that the occasion lifted us all above considerations of common 
formulae. Within the stable could be seen the patient heads of 
" the Teamster " and " Bay Bob " (provisionally referred to as 
" the pair ") dipping reflectively between the pillar-chains. Poor 
beasts, they knew something was going to happen, if it were only 
from the reek of " compo " on the harness. No hope of Mrs. 


48 My Note-Book in the Weald 

Sollop getting up to Cray s Wood what a name, by the way, 
for a rector s wife ? And for a Rector ! The Rev. Richard 
Grace Sollop ; and it is their name, too ; it s certainly none of my 

I had a sort of feeling that I would like to lend a carriage and 
" a pair," but at best I could only have proffered a scratch tandem, 
Black Nannie in the shafts and Nutcracker in front, and this 
would certainly have interrupted the ceremony. 

There was an odd sense of stir about the Green. There was 
not exactly a crowd, but two or three more men than usual were 
listening to the blacksmith s famous story of his six beagle 
puppies ; beagle I say, but in the interests of truth and dog- 
breeding I ought to call it " very-nearly beagle" puppies. The 
old man who carries telegrams and wears a grey surtout with a 
rakish air of Stock-Exchange failure about it, has picked up the 
puppy that favours a fox-terrier, and Mr. Remmitt from the 
grocer s shop is explaining why he thinks the " spannel bitch " is 
going to make the best beagle of the lot. Although the whole 
six are similarly spotted in liver and black upon white, they are 
all known by separate names like the above, of a narrowly 
descriptive nature. They were born and bred in the centre of 
the Green, and every dog in the village has a sort of proprietary 
interest in them. 

At this moment Mr. Hampshire passed from the telegraph 
office ; he has his bluish-pink trousers on and wears a black coat 
and waistcoat, all new, a black tie, and a straw hat. He is a very 
shy man, and he has calculated to a second when he will change 
to a puce satin tie with white lozenges before he starts ; whereas 
the topper that came by post is to be taken with him and assumed 
en route ; I know this, for I saw Frank trying to get it incon 
spicuously stowed under the cloth flap of the box-seat. What will 


By Menie Muriel Dowie 49 

they do with the pasteboard box, I wonder ? Throw it away in 
Ambledon Wood, no doubt, to be picked up by some hawker and 
used for a baby s cradle or to put a sitting hen in. 

Ten o clock, and he doesn t start till eleven, and yet the poor 
man cannot be seen outside his own inn without some joke being 
thrown at him, and a convulsive titter issuing from the knot of 
boys gathered on the corpse-bench below the lych-gate. 

Bang ! Now I know that that was a champagne cork ex 
ploding in the commercial room, and they don t explode of them 
selves in an Inn ! 

Annie runs in to whisper : 

" He s got the ring on his third finger, fear he d forget." 
" Well ! She must have a large hand if his third finger and 
hersiare the same size," I observe. " Oh, it can t be the ring." 
Annie looks disheartened, but says she will ask Mrs. Groves. 
" By the way, how is Mrs. Groves this morning . ? " I had for 
gotten her till now : she is the housekeeper, only five years Mr. 
Hampshire s senior and a widow ; one or two people had said, 
before the affair which finishes to-day was heard of .... 

" Oh ! she s wonderful down, and she gets a deal of chaff in 
the bar." In a whisper behind a corner of her apron, " Oh, she 
as been treated bad." 

" Ah, she ll be glad when it s over. Is that the carriage ? 
Good gracious, it s not eleven ? How grand Tom looks on the 
box ! and I would never have said Bob and Teamster stood so 
much of a height." 

There is a wild flight of a figure across the sweep as with 
scarlet wings to it, and Frank, pouring with perspiration, slogs at 
the Teamster s mane with a water-brush, in a last agony of 

" Well, it really does look smart ! " I exclaim at intervals to 


50 My Note-Book in the Weald 

Annie, behind the curtains of my parlour. " That man s hand 
will be shaken off if the bricklayer gets hold of it." There are at 
least two dozen workmen and neighbours crowding in the bar- 
passage, and all the pots in use are quarts. 

" A quart bottle of champagne between three of them," gasps 
Annie, who has been out for more gossip. "And it isn t the 
ring ; he has that in his waistcoat pocket ! " 

They re off ! " 

" What, has he got in ? " The poor nervous little man had 
left the inn with the furtive scuttle of a rabbit breaking cover, 
and just his head and shoulders appeared in the deep well of the 
old landau. Mr. Brooker followed he is to be best man Frank 
relinquished the Teamster, much flattened, and Tom whipped 
the two to a heavy canter. A derisive cheer went up from the 
little boys upon the corpse-bench and a hearty shout from the 
work-people at the Inn door. Mr. Hampshire neither lifted his 
hat nor looked round, but the purple mounted slowly and surely 
to the back of his ears. It is a trying thing to be married from 
your own Inn. 

Ill Cakes and Ale 

THE Brewer seemed to be stopping all day ; the whole morning 
he had been rumbling barrels down the cellar-way below my 
parlour, and in the afternoon when I went out with a wooden 
trencher full of cut apples for our own beasts, I saw that his 
large, pale, cafl-au-lait coloured mare and the great white horse 
that goes beside her were still there. They sniffed at apples, and 
Black Nannie shot reproachful glances at me over her stall as 
much as to say : 

" Why offer apples to them ? Their palates are destroyed by 


By Menie Muriel Dowie 51 

the fermented liquors they are given ; they are fat and stupid with 
beer. They must be, or they wouldn t pull the loads they do ! " 

Like most brewers, Quarpitt is rather a fine-looking person, 
and I fell into conversation with him with some pleasure ; his great 
bass rolled and rumbled like his own waggon, and as he stood, he 
seemed to be trying to look as much like a vat as possible. 

" Oh, yes," he said, " don t come every day, b long way ; an 
there s fine doin s forward to-night. I m ere to take four eigh- 
teens" (he pronounced it four-ray-teens), "down to the cricket 
field to-night, to be give away by " he waved a large freckled 
arm and hand towards the Inn door " the good gentleman as has 
now left us." 

"Four eighteens ! " I repeated with an air of amazement, not 
knowing in the least what that was, but judging that when the 
Brewer assumed the manner popular at his Harmony Club and 
fell unwittingly into the phrase of a funeral oration, something 
important must be toward. 

I knew more later. 

No sooner was my simple tea begun than the boys, who earlier 
on had adorned the lych-gate, came to lean upon the wood rail 
that surrounds the cellar opening before my window, to crack 
nuts thoughtfully upon the flags, and to keep up a tapping of a 
maddening intermittence upon the wooden cellar-flap. I gathered 
from their conversation that the band was expected. 

Very soon a gentleman strolled up, the pocket of whose black coat 
bulged suggestive of a cornet and, indeed, when he turned, the 
nozzle of the instrument disclosed itself, nestling in the groove 
worn by a week-day foot-rule, which had disappeared with the 
rest of a joiner s trappings for the nonce. 

I was buried in the unsatisfactory tannin of a second cup, 
when a sound so horrid and inexplicable that fear alone prevented 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. D my 

52 My Note-Book in the Weald 

my choking to death, announced the heretofore unsuspected 
arrival of the big drum. The rest of the brass was not slow to 
follow, and about half-an-hour of preliminary pints intervened 
before the performers took up their position upon the triangle of 
grass below the sign of " The Merry Hedgehog." To their 
credit, be it said, they were not yet complete, the oboe lingered. 
(I gleamed this intelligence from the boy s continual references to 
" George ; " there seemed even to be a question as to whether 
" George " would come.) At length there appeared a saturnine 
person who bore an oboe in a bag. He took no beer, he nodded 
sullenly to the circle, or rather, he threw a nod in front of him, 
and such of the circle as cared to, caught it. He was drawing 
out a small thumb-browned piece of written music when the 
drum, who had command of the performers, no doubt because he 
made most noise, looked inquiringly round and thundered out a 
preludial boom-boom-boom-boom, which had the effect of drawing 
certain hesitating cat-calls from the brass. I had heard the drum 
whisper " the new march," in a tone which was meant to reach 
his co-musicians, and not the crowd ; the crowd was not intended 
to know that a new march had been sedulously studied in view of 
the present occasion. George had his eye upon his oboe, and 
after the boom he spat meditatively beside his shoulder and 
chirped to his instrument, which responded instantly with a florid 
growl, lasting about half a minute. The others were too interested 
in " getting away " and " getting a good place," to notice this 
observation on the part of George s oboe, but I noticed it, and a 
dreadful suspicion fell upon me. 

Still, the hilarity of the occasion augmented from moment to 
moment. The church bells had rung out a complimentary peal 
or two, and only desisted because a woman was to be buried at 
five o clock ; the bellringers, all save the. man, who attended to 


By Menie Muriel Dowie 53 

the toll had come into the bar, had their beer (carefully paying 
for it), and formed up among the crowd near the blacksmith s to 
listen to the band. Outlying labourers who had left their work 
began to slouch up with that peculiar report which corduroys 
will make when the spare material flaps together in walking, the 
grocer s and baker s carts began to come in from their rounds, and 
the men hurried their tired horses into the stables, with a shake 
of hay and no wisp down, the sooner to join the crowd. 

All this while " the new march," with an afflicting element of 
discord from the oboe, blared tunelessly below the sign. A cart 
had appeared mysteriously, the brewer, passing his mottled hand 
through his shock of beard and hair (all the colour of " four-ale "), 
was loading up certain barrels, with the assistance of Frank ; 
then it dawned upon me what " four eighteens " might mean ; 
four times eighteen gallons ! . . . The third of my abstruse 
calculations brought this out at seventy-two gallons ; seventy-two 
gallons of free beer up on the cricket-ground ! 

While the band sought among its leaflets for a light waltz, 
which all the village whistled carelessly in advance, and a boy 
tucked two black bottles labelled " Scottish Nectar " securely into 
his armpits, I observed a short colloquy to take place between 
George and the flute, who was old and bearded and of a neutral 
temper ; it resulted in blacker scowls than ever from the oboe, 
and the bitter tapping of his finger upon a band-part. When, 
finally, they all formed into line in front of Mr. Brewer Quarpitt, 
the cart, and the four eighteens, for an adjournment to the cricket- 
ground, I saw the oboe step moodily into the bar. He had 
refused to play any more musical people are notably touchy 
owing to some quarrel between him and the drum : he had blown 
steadily through the Wedding March first of all which the drum 
had reserved to take them up the village to the cricket-field. 


54 My Note-Book in the Weald 

Nobody told me this, but when the Wedding March ultimately 
started, and the party and the four eighteens, and the crowd and 
a number of the beagle puppies got under weigh for the cricket- 
ground, George could be seen striding glumly homeward with the 
disconsolate and silent oboe in a bag. 

At first an air of delicate reserve hung over the populace, and 
the large white jugs moved slowly above the glasses ; there was a 
tendency to dawdle in the neighbourhood of the " whelk and 
winkle barrow," which had taken up a promising corner, but 
kindly dusk hid many blushes, and with nightfall all tremors were 
dispersed, and, since it was there . . . they might as well . . . 
and so they did. 

It was, I say it with pain, a very drunk village, and a very gay 
inn by eleven o clock that night. But then a landlord is not 
married every day, and who knows how dull things may be when 
" The Merry Hedgehog " has a missis ? 

There was but one clear head (I am excepting the Rev. and 
Mrs. Sollop, of course) and two sore hearts upon the green that 
night. Mine was the clear head. George s was one of the sore 
hearts (unless the oboe had one, and that would make a third) and 
Mrs. Groves, the housekeeper, who had to have a good deal of 
whisky and very little else, in a claret glass, at intervals during 
the evening hers was the other. 

" A twelvemonth ago there wasn t one but would have said it 
would be er," Mr. Brewer Quarpitt kept repeating a suspicious 
number of times as he slapped the big white horse confidingly, 
till every link upon the waggon gave out a note of music. And 
then, " Never see such a mort o beer put down so quick in my 
life," and he gathered up his reins and jangled gaily off upon his 
homeward way. And I shut down my window to avoid the 
hymeneal comments of the rustics below. 

Four Drawings 

By Ethel Reed 

I. Puck 
II. Enfant Terrible 

III. A Nursery-Rhyme Heroine 

IV. Almost a Portrait 




;t4&k- T?^^r 




>.,, > \*j* 



Flower o the Clove 

By Henry Harland 

IN the first-floor sitting-room of a lodging-house in Great 
College Street, Westminster, a young man he was tall and 
thin, with a good deal of rather longish light-coloured hair, some 
what tumbled about ; and he wore a pince-nez, and was in slippers 
and the oldest of tattered coats a man of thirty-something was 
seated at a writing-table, diligently scribbling at what an accus 
tomed eye might have recognised as "copy," and negligently 
allowing the smoke from a cigarette to curl round and stain the 
thumb and forefinger of his idle hand, when the lodging-house 
maid-servant opened his door, and announced excitedly, " A lady 
to see you, sir." 

With the air of one taken altogether by surprise, and at a cruel 
disadvantage, the writer dropped his pen, and jumped up. He 
was in slippers and a disgraceful coat, not to dwell upon the con 
dition of his hair. " You ought to have kept her downstairs 

until " he began, frowning upon the maid ; and at that point 

his visitor entered the room. 

She was a handsome, dashing-looking young woman, in a toilette 
that breathed the very last and crispest savour of Parisian elegance : 

a hat 

66 Flower o the Clove 

a hat that was a tangle of geraniums, an embroidered jacket, white 
gloves, a skirt that frou-froued breezily as she moved ; and she 
carried an amazing silver-hiked sunshade, a thing like a folded 
gonfalon, a thing of red silk gleaming through draperies of black 

Poising lightly near the threshold, with a bright little smile of 
interrogation, this bewildering vision said, " Have I the honour 
of addressing Mr. William Stretton ?" 

The young man bowed a vague plea of guilty to that name ; 
but his gaze, through the lenses of his pince-nez, was all per 
plexity and question. 

"I m very fortunate in rinding you at home. I ve called to 
see you about a matter of business," she informed him. 

" Oh ? " he wondered. Then he added, with a pathetic shake 
of the head, " I m the last man in the world whom any one could 
wisely choose to see about a matter of business ; but such as I am, 
I m all at your disposal." 

" So much the better," she rejoined cheerily. " I infinitely 
prefer to transact business with people who are unbusinesslike. 
One has some chance of over-reaching them." 

" You ll have every chance of over-reaching me," sighed he. 

" What a jolly quarter of the town you live in," she com 
mented. "It s so picturesque and Gothic and dilapidated, 
with such an atmosphere of academic calm. It reminds me 
of Oxford." 

" Yes," assented he, " it is a bit like Oxford. Was your busi 
ness connected ? " 

" Oh, it is like Oxford ? " she interrupted. " Then never tell 
me again that there s nothing in intuitions. I ve never been in 
Oxford, but directly I passed the gateway of Dean s Yard, I felt 
reminded of it." 

" There s 

By Henry Harland 67 

" There s undoubtedly a lot in intuitions," he agreed ; " and 
for the future I shall carefully abstain from telling you there 

isn t." 

" Those things are gardens, over the way, behind the wall, 
aren t they ? " she asked, looking out of the window. 

" Yes, those things are gardens, the gardens of the Abbey. 
The canons and people have their houses there." 

" Very comfortable and nice," said she. " Plenty of grass. 
And the trees aren t bad, either, for town trees. It must be rather 
fun to be a canon. As I live," she cried, turning back into the 
room, " you ve got a Pleyel. This is the first Pleyel I ve seen in 
England. Let me congratulate you on your taste in pianos." 
And with her gloved hands she struck a chord and made a run or 
two. " You ll need the tuner soon, though. It s just the shadow 
of a shadow out. I was brought up on Pleyels. Do you know, 
I ve half a mind to make you a confidence ? : 

" Oh, do make it, I pray you," he encouraged her. 

" Well, then, I believe, if you were to offer me a chair, I believe 
I could bring myself to sit down." 

" I beg your pardon," he exclaimed ; and she sank rustling into 
the chair that he pushed forward. 

" Well, now for my business," said she. " Would you just put 
this thing somewhere ? " She offered him her sunshade, which 
he took and handled somewhat gingerly. " Oh, you needn t be 
afraid. It s quite tame," she laughed, " though I admit it looks 
a bit ferocious. What a sweet room you ve got so manny, and 
smoky, and booky. Are they all real books ? " 

" More or less real," he answered ; " as real as any books ever 
are that a fellow gets for review." 

" Oh, you got them for review ? How terribly exciting. 
I ve never seen a book before that s actually passed through a 

reviewer s 

68 Flower o the Clove 

reviewer s hands. They don t look much the worse for it. What 
ever else you said about them, I trust you didn t deny that they 
make nice domestic ornaments. But this isn t business. You 
wouldn t call this business ? " 

" No, I should call this pleasure," he assured her, laughing. 

" Would you ? " she questioned, raising her eyebrows. " Ah, 
but then you re English." 

" Aren t you ? " asked he. 

" Do I look English ? " 

" I m not sure. You certainly don t dress English." 

" Heaven forbid ! I m a miserable sinner, but at least I m 
incapable of that. However, if you were really kind, you d affect 
just a little curiosity to know the errand to which you owe my 

" I m devoured by curiosity." 

" You are ? Then why don t you show it ? " 

" Perhaps because I have a sense of humour amongst other 


" Well, since you re devoured by curiosity, you must know," 
she began ; but broke off suddenly " Apropos, I wonder whether 
you could be induced to tell me something." 

"I daresay I could, if it s anything within my sphere of know 

" Then tell me, please, why you keep your Japanese fan in your 

" Why shouldn t I ? Doesn t it strike you as a good place for 
it ? " 

" Admirable. But my interest was psychological. I was 
wondering by what mental process you came to hit upon it." 

" Well, then, to be frank, it wasn t I who hit upon it ; it 
isn t my Japanese fan. It s a conceit of my landlady s. This 


By Henry Harland 69 

is an age of paradox, you know. Would you prefer silver 
paper ? " 

" Must one have one or the other ? " 

"You re making it painfully clear," he cautioned her, "that 
you ve never lived in lodgings." 

" If you go on at this rate," she retorted, laughing, " I shall 
never get my task accomplished. Here are twenty times that I ve 
commenced it, and twenty times you ve put me off. Shall we 
now, at last, proceed seriously to business ? " 

" Not on my account, I beg. I m not in the slightest hurry." 

" You said you were devoured by curiosity." 

" Did I say that ? " 

"Certainly you did." 

" It must have been aphasia. I meant contentment." 

" Devoured by contentment r " 

" Why not, as well as by curiosity ? " 

" The phrase is novel." 

" It s the occupation of my life to seek for novel phrases. I m 
what somebody or other has called a literary man." 

"And you enjoy what somebody or other has called beating 
about the bush ? " 

" Hugely with such a fellow-beater." 

" You drive me to extremities. I see there s nothing for it but 
to plunge in medias res. You must know, then, that I have 
been asked to call upon you by a friend by my friend Miss 
Johannah Rothe I beg your pardon ; I never can remember 
that she s changed her name my friend Miss Johannah Silver 
but Silver nle Rothe of Silver Towers, in the County of 

" Ah ? " said he. " Ah, yes. Then never tell me again that 
there s nothing in intuitions. I ve never met Miss Silver, but 


70 Flower o the Clove 

directly you crossed the threshold of this room, I began to feel 
vaguely reminded of her." 

" Oh, there s a lot in intuitions," she agreed. " But don t think 
to disconcert me. My friend Miss Silver " 

"Your friend?" 

"Considering the sacrifice I m making on her behalf to-day, 
it s strange you should throw doubt upon my friendship for her." 

" You make your sacrifices with a cheerful countenance. I 
should never have guessed that you weren t entirely happy. But 
forgive my interruption. You were about to say that your friend 
Miss Silver " 

" My occasional friend. Sometimes, I confess, we quarrel like 
everything, and remain at daggers drawn for months. She s such 
a flighty creature, dear Johannah, she not infrequently gets me 
into a perfect peck of trouble. But since she s fallen heir to all 
this money, you d be surprised to behold the devotion her friends 
have shown her. I couldn t very well refuse to follow their 
example. One s human, you see ; and one can t dress like this for 
nothing, can one ? " 

" Upon my word, I m not in a position to answer you. I ve 
never tried," laughed he. 

"In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I think we may 
safely assume one can t," said she. " However, here you are, beat 
ing about the bush again. I come to you as Johannah s emissary. 
She desires me to ask you several questions." 

" Yes ? " said he, a trifle uncomfortably. 

"She would be glad to know," his visitor declared, looking 
straight into his eyes, and smiling a little gravely, " why you have 
been so excessively nasty to her ! " 

" Have I been nasty to her ? " he asked, with an innocence that 
was palpably counterfeit. 

" Don t 

By Henry Harland 71 

" Don t you think you have ? " 

" I don t see how." 

" Don t you think you ve responded somewhat ungraciously to 
her overtures of friendship ? Do you think it was nice to answer 
her letters with those curt little formal notes of yours ? Look. 
Johannah sat down to write to you. And she began her letter 
Dear Mr. Stretton. And then she simply couldn t. So she tore 
up the sheet and began another My dear Cousin Will. And what 
did she receive in reply ? A note beginning Dear Miss Silver. 
Do you think that was kind ? Don t you think it was the least 
bit mortifying ? And why have you refused in such a stiff-necked 
way to go down and see her at Silver Towers ? " 

" Oh," he protested, " in all fairness, in all logic, your questions 
ought to be put the other way round." 

" Bother logic ! But put them any way you like." 

" What right had Miss Silver to expect me to multiply the com 
plications of my life by rushing into an ecstatic friendship with 
her ? And why, being very well as I am in town just now, 
why should I disarrange myself by a journey into the 
country ? " 

" Why, indeed ? I m sure I can give no reason. Why should 
one ever do any one else a kindness ? Your cousin has con 
ceived a great desire to meet you." 

" Oh, a great desire ! She ll live it down. A man named 
Burrell has been stuffing her up." 

" Stuffing her up ? The expression is new to me." 

" Greening her, filling her head with all sorts of nonsensical 
delusions, painting my portrait for her in all the colours of the 
rainbow. Oh, I know my Burrell. He s tried to stuff me up, 
too, about her." 

" Oh ? Has he ? What has he said ? " 


72 Flower o the Clove 

" The usual rubbishy things one does say, when one wants to 
stuff a fellow up." 
" For instance ? " 

" Oh, that she s tremendously good-looking, with hair and eyes 
and things, and very charming." 

" What a dear good person the man named Burrell must be." 
" He s not a bad chap, but you must remember that he s her 

" And so you weren t to be stuffed ? " 

" If she was charming and good-looking, it was a reason the 
more for avoiding her." 
Oh ? " 

" There s nothing on earth so tiresome as charming women. 
They re all exactly alike." 

" Thank you," his guest exclaimed, bowing. 
" Oh, nobody could pretend that you re exactly alike," he said. 
" I own at once that you re delightfully different. But Burrell 
has no knack for character drawing." 

" You re extremely flattering. But aren t you taking a 
slightly one-sided point of view ? Let us grant, for the sake of 
the argument, that it is Johannah s bad luck to be charming and 
good-looking. Nevertheless, she still has claims on you." 
" Has she ? " 
" She s your cousin." 
" Oh, by the left hand," said he. 

She stared for an instant, biting her lip. Then she laughed. 
"And only my second or third cousin at that," he went on 

She looked at him with eyes that were half whimsical, half 
pleading. " Would you mind being quite serious for a moment ? " 
she asked. " Because Johannah s situation, absurd as it seems, 


By Henry Harland 73 

really is terribly serious for Johannah, I should like to submit it 
to your better judgment. We ll drop the question of cousinship, 
if you wish though it s the simple fact that you re her only 
blood-relation in this country, where she feels herself the forlornest 
sort of alien. She s passed her entire life in Italy and France, you 
know, and this is the first visit she s made to England since her 
childhood. But we ll drop the question of cousinship. At any 
rate, Johannah is a human being. Well, consider her plight a 
little. She finds herself in the most painful, the most humiliating 
circumstances that can be imagined ; and you re the only person 
living who can make them easier for her. Involuntarily in spite 
of herself she s come into possession of a fortune that naturally, 
morally, belongs to you. She can t help it. It s been left to her 
by will by the will of a man who never saw her, never had any 
kind of relations with her, but chose her for his heir just because 
her mother, who died when Johannah was a baby, had chanced to 
be his cousin. And there the poor girl is. Can t you see how 
like a thief she must feel at the best ? Can t you see how much 
worse you make it for her, when she holds out her hand, and you 
refuse to take it ? Is that magnanimous of you ? Isn t it cruel ? 
You couldn t treat her with greater unkindness if she d actually 
designed, and schemed, and intrigued, to do you out of your inheri 
tance, instead of coming into it in the passive way she has. After 
all, she s a human being, she s a woman. Think of her pride." 

" Think of mine," said he. 

"I can t see that your pride is involved." 

" To put it plainly, I m the late Sir William Silver s illegitimate 

Well ? What of that ? " 

" Do you fancy I should enjoy being taken up and patronised 
by his legitimate heir ? " 


74 Flower o the Clove 

" Oh ! " she cried, starting to her feet. " You can t think I 
would be capable of anything so base as that." 

And her saw that her eyes had suddenly filled with tears. 

" I beg your pardon, I beg your pardon a thousand times," he 
said. " You would be utterly incapable of anything that was not 
generous and noble. But you must remember that I had never 
seen you. How could I know ? " 

" Well, now that you have seen me," she responded, her eyes 
all smiles again, " now that I ve put my pride in my pocket, and 
bearded you in your den, I don t mind confiding to you that it s 
nearly lunch-time, and also that I m ravenously hungry. Could 
you ring your bell, and order up something in the nature of meat 
and drink ? And while you are about it, you might tell your 
landlady or some one to pack your bag. We take," she mentioned, 
examining a tiny watch, that seemed nothing more than a frivolous 
incrustation of little diamonds and rubies, " we take the three- 
sixteen for Silver Towers." 


Seated opposite her in the railway-carriage, as their train bore 
them through the pleasant dales and woods of Surrey, Will Stretton 
fell to studying his cousin s appearance. " Burrell was right," he 
told himself; "she really is tremendously good-looking," and 
that, in spite of a perfectly reckless irregularity of feature. Her 
nose was too small, but it was a delicate, pert, pretty nose, not 
withstanding. Her mouth was too large, but it was a beautiful 
mouth, all the same, softly curved and red as scarlet, with sensitive, 
humorous little quirks in its corners. Her eyes he could admire 
without reservation, brown and pellucid, with the wittiest, teas- 
ingest, mockingest lights dancing in them, yet at the same time a 


By Henry Harland 75 

deeper light that was pensive, tender, womanly. Her hair, too, he 
decided, was quite lovely, abundant, undulating, black, blue-black 
even, but fine, but silky, escaping in a flutter of small curls above 
her brow, " It s like black foam," he said. And he would have 
been ready to go to war for her complexion, though it was so un- 
English a complexion that one might have mistaken her for a 
native of the France or Italy she had inhabited : warm, dusky, 
white, with an elusive shadow of rose glowing through it. Yes, 
she was tremendously good-looking, he concluded. She looked 
fresh and strong and real. She looked alert, alive, full of the spring 
and the joy of life. She looked as if she could feel quick and 
deep, as if her blood flowed swiftly, and was red. He liked her 
face, and he liked her figure it was supple and vigorous. He 
liked the way she dressed there was something daring and spirited 
in the unabashed, whole-souled luxury of it. " Who ever saw 
such a hat or such a sunshade ? " he reflected. 

" There ll be no coach-and-four to meet us at the station," 
she warned him, as they neared their journey s end, " because 
I have no horses. But we ll probably find Madame Dornaye 
there, piaffer-ing in person. Can you resign yourself to the 
prospect of driving up to your ancestral mansion in a hired 
fly ? " 

"I could even, at a pinch, resign myself to walking," he 
declared. " But who is Madame Dornaye ? " 

" Madame Dornaye is my burnt-offering to that terrible sort of 

fetich called the County. She s what might be technically termed 

my chaperon." 

" Oh, to be sure. I had forgotten. Of course, you d have a 


"By no means of course. Until the other day I d never 

thought of such a thing. But it s all along o the man named 
The Yellow Book Vol. XII. E Burrell. 

76 Flower o the Clove 

Burrell. He insisted that I mustn t live alone that I was too 
young. He has such violent hallucinations about people s ages. 
He said the County would be horrified. I must have an old 
woman, a sound, reliable old woman, to live with me. I begged 
and implored him to come and try it, but he protested with tears 
in his eyes that he wasn t an old woman. So I sent for Madame 
Dornaye, who is, every inch of her. She s the widow of a man 
who used to be a professor at the Sorbonne, or something. I ve 
known her for at least a hundred years. She s connected in some 
roundabout way with the family of my father s step-mother. She s 
like a little dry brown leaf ; and she plays Chopin comme pas un ; 
and she lends me a false air of respectability, I suppose. She calls 
me Jeanne ma fille^ if you can believe it, as if my name weren t 
common Johannah. If you chance to please her, she ll very likely 
call you yean man fih. But see how things turn out. The man 
named Burrell also insisted that I must put on mourning, as a symbol 
of my grief for the late Sir William. That I positively refused 
to think of. So the County s horrified, all the same which 
proves the futility of concessions." 

" Oh ? " questioned Will. What does the County do ? " 
" It comes and calls on me, and walks round me, and stares, 
with a funny little deprecating smile, as if I were some outlandish 
and not very proper animal, cast up by the sea. To begin with, 
there s the vicar, with all his wives and daughters. Their emotions 
are complicated by the fact that I m a Papist. Then there s old 
Lord Belgard ; and there s Mrs. Breckenbridge, with her marriage 
able sons ; and there s the Bishop of Salchester, with his Bishopess, 
Dean, and Chapter. The dear good people make up parties in 
the afternoon, to come and have a look at me ; and they sip my 
tea with an air of guilt, as if it smacked of profligacy ; and they 
suppress demure little knowing glances among themselves. And 


By Henry Harland 77 

then at last they go away, shaking their heads, and talking me 
over in awe-struck voices." 

" I can see them, I can hear them," Will laughed. 

" Haven t you in English a somewhat homely proverbial expres 
sion about the fat and the fire ? " asked Johannah. 

" About the fat getting into the fire ? Yes," said Will. 

" Well, then, to employ that somewhat homely proverbial ex 
pression," she went on, " the fat got into the fire at the Bishop s 
palace. Mrs. Rawley was kind enough to write and ask us to 
dinner, and she added that she had heard I sang, and wouldn t I 
bring some music ? But nobody had ever told me that it s bad 
form in England to sing well. So, after dinner, when Mrs. 
Rawley said, Now, Miss Silver, do sing us something, I made 
the incredible blunder of singing as well as I could. I sang the 
Erlkltnig) and Madame Dornaye played the accompaniment, and 
we both did our very bestest, in our barefaced, Continental way. 
We were a little surprised, and vastly enlightened, to perceive that 
we d shocked everybody. And by-and-by the Bishop s daughters 
consented to sing in their turn, and then we saw the correct 
British style of doing it. If you don t want to be considered 
rowdyish and noisy in a British drawing-room, you must sing 
under your breath, faintly, faintingly, as if you were afraid some 
body might hear you." 

" My poor dear young lady," her cousin commiserated her, 
" fancy your only just discovering that. It s one of the founda 
tion-stones of our social constitution. If you sing with any art 
or with any feeling, you expose yourself to being mistaken for a 
paid professional." 

" Another thing that s horrified the County," pursued Johannah, 
" is the circumstance that I keep no horses. I don t like horses 
except in pictures. In pictures, I admit at once, they make a 


78 Flower o* the Clove 

very pleasant decorative motive. But in life they re too strong 
and too unintelligent ; and they re perpetually bolting. By-the- 
bye, please choose a good feeble jaded one, when you engage our 
fly. I m devoted to donkeys, though. They re every bit as 
decorative as the horse, and they re really wise they only baulk. 
I had a perfect love of a little donkey in Italy ; his name was 
Angelo. If I decide to stay in England, I shall have a spanking 
team of four donkeys, with scarlet trappings and silver bells. But 
the County says, Oh, you must have horses, and casts its eyes 
appealingly to heaven when I say I won t." 

" The County lacks a sense of situations. It s really a deli- 
ciously fresh one a big country house, and not a horse in the 

" Apropos of the house, that brings me to another point," said 
she. " The County feels very strongly that I ought to put the 
house in repair that dear old wonderful, rambling, crumbling 
house. They take it as the final crushing evidence of my 
depravity, that I prefer to leave it in its present condition of 
picturesque decay. I m sure you agree with me, that it would be 
high treason to allow a carpenter or mason to lay a hand on it. 
By-the-bye, I hope you have no conscientious scruples against 
speaking French ; for Madame Dornaye only knows two words 
of English, and those she mispronounces. There she is yes, 
that little black and grey thing, in the frock. She s come to meet 
me, because we had a bet. You owe me five shillings," she called 
out to Madame Dornaye, as Will helped her from the carriage. 
" You see, I ve brought him." 

Madame Dornaye, who had a pair of humorous old French 
eyes, responded, blinking them, "Oh, before I pay you, I shall 
have to be convinced that it is really he." 

" I am afraid it s really he," laughed Will ; " but rather than let 


By Henry Harland 79 

so immaterial a detail cost you five shillings, I m prepared to 
maintain with my dying breath that there s no such person." 

" Don t mind him," interposed Johannah. " He s trying to 
flatter you up, because he wants you to call him Jean man fih, as 
if his name weren t common William." Then, to him, "Go," 
she said, with an imperious gesture, "go and find a vehicle with 
a good tired horse." 

And when the vehicle with the good tired horse had brought 
them to their destination, and they stood before the hall-door of 
Silver Towers, Johannah looked up at the escutcheon carved in 
the pale-grey stone above it, and said pensively, "On a field azure, 
a heart gules, crowned with an imperial crown or ; and the motto, 
Qu il regne ! If, when you got my first letter, Cousin Will, 
if you d remembered the arms of our family, and the motto if 
you had c let it reign I should have been spared the trouble and 
expense of a journey to town to-day." 

"But I should have missed a precious experience," said he. 
" You forget what I couldn t help being supremely conscious of 
that I bear those arms with a difference. I hope, though, that 
you won t begrudge the journey to town. I think there are 
certain aspects of your character that I might never have dis 
covered if I d met you in any other way." 

That evening Johannah wrote a letter : 


" Ce que femme veut, Dieu le vent. The first part of my 
rash little prophecy has already come true. Will Stretton is staying 
in this house, a contented guest. At the present moment he s hover 
ing about the piano, where Madame Dornaye is playing Chopin ; and 

he s 

8o Flower o the Clove 

he s just remarked that he never hears Chopin without thinking of 

those lines of Browning s : 

I discern 

Infinite passion, and the pain 
Of finite hearts that yearn. 

I quite agree with you, he / / a charming creature. So now I repeat 
the second part of my rash little prophecy : Before the summer s 
over he will have accepted at least a good half of his paternal fortune. 
Ce que femme veut, k diable ne saurait fas Fempecher. He will he 
shall, even if I have to marry him to make him. 

" Yours ever 



Will left his room somewhat early the next morning, and went 
down into the garden. The sun was shining briskly, the dew 
still sparkled on the grass, the air was heady with a hundred keen 
earth-odours. A mile away, beyond the wide green levels of 
Sumpter Meads, the sea glowed blue as the blue of larkspur, under 
the blue June sky. And everywhere, everywhere, innumerable 
birds piped and twittered, filling the world with a sense of gay 
activity, of whole-hearted, high-hearted life. 

" What ! up already ? " a voice called softly, from behind him. 

He turned, and met Johannah. 

"Why not, since you are ?" he responded. 

She laughed, and gave him her hand, a warm, elastic hand, firm 
of grasp. In a garden-hat and a white frock, her eyes beaming, 
her cheeks faintly flushed, she seemed to him a sort of beautiful 
incarnation of the spirit of the summer morning, its freshness, and 
sweetness, and richness. 


By Henry Harland 81 

" Oh, we furriners," she explained ; " we re all shocking early 
risers. In Italy we love the day when it is young, and deem it 
middle-aged by eight o clock. But in England I had heard it 
was the fashion to lie late." 

" I woke, and couldn t go to sleep again, so I tossed the fashion 
to the winds. Perhaps it was a sort of dim presentiment that 
I should surprise Aurora walking in the garden, that banished 

" Flowery speeches are best met by flowery deeds," said she. 
" Come with me to the rosery, and I will give you a red, red 


And in the rosery, as she stood close to him, pinning the red, 
red rose in his coat, her smooth cheek and fragrant hair so near, 
so near, he felt his heart all at once begin to throb, and he had to 
control a sudden absurd longing to put his arms round her and 
kiss her. " Good heavens," he said to himself, " I must be on my 

" There," she cried, bestowing upon her task a gentle pat, by 
way of finish, "that makes us quits." And she raised her eyes to 
his, and held them for an instant with a smile that did anything 
but soothe the trouble in his heart, such a sly little teasing, cryptic 
smile. Could it possibly be, he wondered wildly, that she had 
divined his monstrous impulse, and was coquetting with it ? 

" Now let s be serious," she said, leading the way back to the 
lawn. " It s like a hanging-garden, high up here, with the meads 
and the sea below, isn t it ? And apropos of the sea, I would beg 
you to observe its colour. Is it blue ? I would also ask you 
kindly to cast an eye on that line of cliffs, there to the eastward, 
as it goes winding in and out away to the vanishing-point. Are 
the cliffs white ? " 

" Oh, yes, the cliffs are white," asserted Will. 

" How 

82 Flower o the Clove 

" How can you tell such dreadful fibs ? " she reproached him. 
" The cliffs are prismatic. White, indeed ! when they gleam 
with every transparent tint from rose to violet, as if the light that 
falls on them had passed through rubies and amethysts, and all 
sorts of precious stones. That is an optical effect due doubtless to 
reflection or refraction or something no ? " 

" I should say it was almost certainly due to something," he 

"And now," she continued, "will you obligingly turn your 
attention to the birds ? Tweet-weet-willow-will-weet. I don t 
know what it means, but they repeat it so often and so earnestly, 
I m sure it must be true." 

" It s relatively true," said he. " It means that it s a fine 
morning, and their digestion s good, and their affairs are prosper 
ing nothing more than that. They re material-minded little 
beasts, you know." 

"All truth is relative," said she, "and one s relatively a material- 
minded little beast oneself. Is the greensward beyond there (rela 
tively) spangled with buttercups and daisies ? Is the park leafy, 
and shadowy, and mysterious, and (relatively) delightful ? Is the 
may in bloom ? Voyom done ! you ll never be denying that the 
may s in bloom. And is the air like an elixir ? I vow, it goes to 
one s head like some ethereal elixir ? And yet you have the 
effrontery to tell me that you re pining for the flesh-pots of Great 
College Street, Westminster, S.W." 

" Oh, did I tell you that ? Ah, well, it must have been with 
intent to deceive, for nothing could be farther from the truth." 
" The relative truth ? Then you re not homesick ? " 
" Not consciously." 
" Neither am I," said she. 
" Why should you be ? " said he. 

" This 

By Henry Harland 83 

" This is positively the first day since my arrival in England 
that I haven t been, more or less," she answered. 

"Oh ?" he questioned sympathetically. 

" You can t think how d/pays/e I ve felt. After having lived 
all one s life in Prague, suddenly to find oneself translated to the 
mistress-ship of an English country house." 

" In Prague ? I thought you had lived in Rome and Paris, 

" Prague is a figure of rhetoric. I mean the capital of Bohemia. 
Wasn t my father a sculptor ? And wasn t I born in a studio ? 
And haven t my playmates and companions always been of Flori- 
zel the loyal subjects ? So whether you call it Rome or Paris or 
Florence or Naples, it was Prague, none the less." 

" At that rate, I live in Prague myself, and we re compatriots," 
said Will. 

"That s no doubt why I don t feel homesick any more. 
Where two of the faithful are gathered together they can form a 
miniature Prague of their own. If I decide to stay in England, 
I shall send for a lot of my Prague friends to come and visit me, 
and you can send for an equal number of yours ; and then we ll 
turn this bright particular corner of the British Empire into a 
province of Bohemia, and the County may be horrified with 
reason. But meanwhile, let s be Pragueians in practice as well as 
theory. Let s go to the strawberry beds, and steal some straw 

She walked a little in front of him. Her garden-hat had come 
off, and she was swinging it at her side, by its ribbons. Will 
noticed the strong, lithe sway and rhythm of her body, as she 
moved. " What a woman she is," he thought ; " how one feels 
her sex." And with that, he all at once became aware of a 
singular depression. " Surely," a malevolent little voice within him 


84 Flower o the Clove 

argued, "woman that she is, and having passed all her life with 
the subjects of Florizel, surely, surely, she must have had . . . 
experiences. She must have loved she must have been loved." 
And (as if it was any of his business !) a kind of vague jealousy 
of her past, a kind of suspiciousness and irrelevant resentment, 
began to burn dully, a small spot of pain, somewhere in his 

She, apparently, was in the highest spirits. There was some 
thing expressive of joyousness in the mere way she tripped over 
the grass, swinging her garden-hat like a basket ; and presently she 
fell to singing, merrily, in a light voice, that prettiest of old 
French songs, Les Trois Princesses, dancing forward to its 
measure : 

" Derrier chez mon pere, 

(Vole, vole, mon cceur, vole !) 

Derrier chez mon pere, 

Ya un pommier doux, 

Tout doux, et iou, 

Ya un pommier doux." 

" Don t you like that song ? " she asked. " The tune of it is 
like the smell of faded rose-leaves, isn t it ? " 

And suddenly she began to sing a different one, possibly an 
improvisation : 

"And so they set forth for the strawberry beds, 

The strawberry beds, the strawberry beds, 
And so they set forth for the strawberry beds, 
On Christmas day in the morning." 

And when they had reached the strawberry beds, she knelt, and 
plucked a great red berry, and then leapt up again, and held it to 
her cousin s lips, saying, " Bite but spare my fingers." And so, 


By Henry Harland 85 

laughing, she fed it to him, while he, laughing too, consumed it. 
But when her pink finger-tips all but touched his lips, his heart 
had a convulsion, and it was only by main-force that he restrained 
his kisses. And he said to himself, " I must go back to town 
to-morrow. This will never do. It would be the devil to pay if 
I should let myself fall in love with her." 

" Oh, yes, I ve felt terribly depays/e," she told him again, her 
self nibbling a berry. " I ve felt like the traditional cat in the 
strange garret. And then, besides, there was my change of name. 
I can t reconcile myself to being called Miss Silver. I can t 
realise the character. It s like 4 an affectation, like making-believe. 
Directly I relax my vigilance, I forget, and sink back into 
Johannah Rothe. I m always Johannah Rothe when I m alone. 
Directly I m alone, I push a big ouf, and send Miss Silver to 
Cracklimboo. Then somebody comes, and, with a weary sigh, I 
don my sheep s clothing again. Of course, there s nothing in a 
name, and yet there s everything. There s a furious amount of 
mental discomfort when the name doesn t fit." 

" It s a discomfort that will pass," he said consolingly. " The 
change of name is a mere formality a condition attached to com 
ing into a property. In England, you know, it s a rather frequent 

" I m aware of that. But to me it seems symbolic symbolic 
of my whole situation, which is false, abnormal. Silver ? Silver ? 
It s a name meant for a fair person, with light hair and a white 
skin. And here I am, as black as any Gipsy. And then ! It s 
a condition attached to coming into a property. Well, I come 
into a property to which I have no more moral right than I have 
to the coat on your back ; and I m obliged to do it under an 
alias, like a thief in the night." 

" Oh, my dear young lady," he cried out, " you ve the very 


86 Flower o the Clove 

best of rights, moral as well as legal. You come into a property 
that is left to you by will, and you re the last representative of the 
family in whose hands it has been for I forget how many hun 
dreds of years." 

" That," said she, " is a question I shall not refuse to discuss 
with you upon some more fitting occasion. For the present I 
am tempted to perpetrate a simply villainous pun, but I forbear. 
Suffice it to say that I consider the property that I ve come into 
as nothing more nor less than a present made me by my cousin, 
William Stretton. No don t interrupt ! I happen to know 
my facts. I happen to know that if Will Stretton hadn t, for 
reasons in the highest degree honourable to himself, quarrelled 
and broken with his father, and refused to receive a penny from 
him, I happen to know, I say, that Sir William Silver would have 
left Will Stretton everything he possessed in the world. So, you 
see, I m indebted to my Quixotic cousin for something in the 
neighbourhood, I m told, of eight thousand a year. Rather a 
handsome little present, isn t it ? Furthermore, let me add in 
passing, I absolutely forbid my cousin to call me his dear young 
lady, as if he were seven hundred years my senior and only a 
casual acquaintance. A really nice cousin would take the liberty 
of calling me by my Christian name." 

" I ll take the liberty of calling you by some exceedingly un- 
Christian name, if you don t leave off talking that impossible rot 
about my making you a present." 

"I wasn t talking impossible rot about your making me a 
present. I was merely telling you how d/pays/e I d felt. The 
rest was parenthetic. So now, then, keep your promise, call me 

" Johannah," he called submissively. 

" Will," said she. " And when you feel, Will, that on the 


By Henry Harland 87 

whole, Will, you ve had strawberries enough, Will, quite to 
destroy your appetite, perhaps it would be as well if we should go 
in to breakfast, Willie." 


They were seated on the turf, under a great tree, in the park, 
amid a multitude of bright-coloured cushions, Johannah, Will, and 
Madame Dornaye. It was three weeks later whence it may be 
inferred that he had abandoned his resolution to "go back to town 
to-morrow." He was smoking a cigarette ; Madame Dornaye 
was knitting ; Johannah, hatless, in an indescribable confection of 
cream-coloured muslin, her head pillowed in a scarlet cushion 
against the body of the tree, was gazing off towards the sea with 
dreamy eyes. 

" Will," she called languidly, by-and-by. 

"Yes? "he responded. 

" Do you happen by any chance to belong to that sect of 
philosophers who regard gold as a precious metal ? " 

"From the little I ve seen of it, I am inclined to regard it as 
precious yes," he answered. 

" Well, then, I wouldn t be so lavish of it, if I were you," said 

" If you don t take care," said he, " you ll force me to admit 
that I haven t an idea of what you re driving at." 

"I m driving at your silence. You re as silent as a statue. 
Please talk a little." 

"What shall I talk about?" 

" Anything. Nothing. Tell us a story." 

" I don t know any stories." 

" Then the least you can do is to invent one." 


88 Flower o the Clove 

" What sort of story would you like ? : 

" There s only one sort of story a woman ever sincerely likes 
especially on a hot summer s afternoon, in the country." 

" Oh, I couldn t possibly invent a love-story." 

" Then tell us a true one. You needn t be afraid of shocking 
Madame Dornaye. She s a realist herself." 

" Jeanne ma fille ! " murmured Madame Dornaye, reprovingly. 

" The only true love-story I could tell has a somewhat singular 
defect," said he. " There s no heroine." 

"That s like the story of what s-his-name Narcissus." 

" With the vastest difference. The hero of my story wasn t 
in love with his own image. He was in love with a beautiful 

" Then how can you have the face to say that there s no 
heroine ? " 

"There isn t any heroine. At the same time, there s nothing 
else. The story s all about her. You see, she never existed." 

" You said it was a true love-story." 

" So it is literally true." 

" I asked for a story, and you give me a riddle." 

" Oh, no, it s a story all the same. Its title is Much Ado about 

" Oh ? It runs in my head that I ve met with something or 
other with a similar title before." 

" Precisely. Something or other by one of the Elizabethans. 
That s how it came to occur to me. I take my goods where I 
find them. However, do you want to hear the story ? " 

" Oh, if you re determined to tell it, I daresay I can steel myself 
to listen." 

" On second thoughts, I m determined not to tell it." 

" Bother ! Don t be disagreeable. Tell it at once." 

" Well, 

By Henry Harland 

" Well, then, there isn t any story. It s simply an absurd little 
freak of child psychology. It s the story of a boy who fell in 
love with a girl a girl that never was, on sea or land. It 
happened in Regent Street, of all romantic places, one day still 
fierce, mid many a day struck calm. I had gone with my mother 
to her milliner s. I think I was ten or eleven. And while my 
mother was transacting her business with the milliner, I devoted 
my attention to the various hats and bonnets that were displayed 
about the shop. And presently I hit on one that gave me a sen 
sation. It was a straw hat, with brown ribbons, and cherries, 
great glossy red and purple cherries. I looked at it and suddenly 
I got a vision, a vision of a girl. Oh, the loveliest, loveliest girl ! 
She was about eighteen (a self-respecting boy of eleven, you 
know, always chooses a girl of about eighteen to fall in love with), 
and she had the brightest brown eyes, and the rosiest cheeks, and 
the curlingest hair, and a smile and a laugh that made one s heart 
thrill and thrill with unutterable blisses. And there -hung her 
hat, as if she had just come in, and taken it off, and passed into 
another room. There hung her hat, suggestive of her as only 
people s hats know how to be suggestive ; and there sat I, my eyes 
devouring it, my soul transported. The very air of the shop 
seemed all at once to have become fragrant with the fragrance 
that had been shaken from her garments as she passed. I went 
home, hopelessly, frantically in love. I loved that non-existent 
young woman, with a passion past expressing, for at least half a 
year. I was always thinking of her, she was always with me, 
everywhere. How I used to talk to her, and tell her all my childish 
fancies, desires, questionings ; how I used to sit at her feet and 
listen ! She never laughed at me. Sometimes she would let me 
kiss her I declare, my heart still jumps at the memory of it. 
Sometimes I would hold her hand or play with her hair. And 


90 Flower o the Clove 

all the real girls I met seemed so tame and commonplace by con 
trast with her. And then, little by little, I suppose, her image 
faded away. Rather an odd experience, wasn t it ?" 

" Very, very odd ; very strange, and very pretty. It seems 
as if it ought to have some allegorical significance, though I can t 
perceive one. It would be interesting to know what sort of real 
girl, if any, ended by becoming the owner of that hat. You 
weren t shocked, were you ? " Johannah inquired of Madame 

" Not by the story. But the heat is too much for me," said 
that lady, gathering up her knitting. "I am going to the house 
to make a siesta." 

Will rose, as she did, and stood looking vaguely after her, as 
she moved away. Johannah nestled her head deeper in her cushion, 
and half closed her eyes. And for a while neither she nor her 
cousin spoke. A faint, faint breeze whispered in the tree-tops ; 
now a twig snapped ; now a bird dropped a solitary liquid note. 
For the rest, all was still summer heat and woodland perfume. 
Here and there the greensward round them, dark in the shadow of 
dense foliage, was diapered with vivid yellow by sunbeams that 
filtered through. 

" Oh, dear me," Johannah sighed at last. 

What is it ?" Will demanded. 

" Here you are, silent as eternity again. Come and sit down 
here near to me." 

She indicated a position with a lazy movement of her hand. 
He obediently sank upon the grass. 

" You re always silent nowadays, when we re alone," she 

" Am I ? I hadn t noticed that." 

" Then you re extremely unobservant. Directly we re alone, 


By Henry Harland 91 

you appear to lose the power of speech. You mope and moon, 
and gaze off at things beyond the horizon, and never open your 
mouth. One might suppose you had something on your mind. 
Have you ? What is it ? Confide it to me, and you can t think 
how relieved you ll feel." 

" I haven t anything on my mind," said he. 

" Oh ? Ah, then you re silent with me because I bore you ? 
You find me an uninspiring talk-mate ! Thank you." 

" You know perfectly well that that s preposterous nonsense." 

" Well, then, what is it ? Why do you never talk to me when 
we re alone ? " 

" But I do talk to you. I talk too much. Perhaps Pm afraid 
of boring you" 

" You know perfectly well that that s a preposterous subterfuge. 
You ve got something on your mind. You re keeping something 
back." She paused for a second ; then, softly, wistfully, " Tell 
me what it is, Will, please" And she looked eagerly, pleadingly, 
into his eyes. 

He looked away from her. " Upon my word, there s nothing 
to tell," he said, but his tone was a little forced. 

She broke into a merry peal of laughter, looking at him now 
with eyes that were derisive. 

" What are you laughing at ? " he asked. 

" At you, Will," said she. " What else could you imagine ? " 

" I m flattered to think you find me so amusing." 

" Oh, you re supremely amusing. Refrain thou shalt ; thou 
shalt refrain ! Is that your motto, Will ? If I were a man I d 
choose another. Be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold ! 
That should be my motto if I were a man." 

" But as you re a woman " 

" It s my motto, all the same," she interrupted. " Do you 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. F mean 

92 Flower o the Clove 

mean to say you ve not discovered that yet ? Oh, Will, if I were 
you, and you were I, how differently we should be employing this 
heaven-sent summer s afternoon." 

" What should we be doing ? " 

" That s a secret. Pray the fairies to-night to transpose our 
souls, and you ll know by to-morrow morning if the fairies grant 
your prayer. But in the meanwhile you must try to entertain 
me. Tell me another story." 

" I can t think of any more stories till I ve had my tea." 

" You shan t have any tea unless you earn it. Now that 
Madame Dornaye s no longer present, you can tell me of some of 
your grown-up love affairs, some of your flesh-and-blood ones." 

" I ve never had a grown-up love affair." 

" Oh, come ! you can t expect me to believe that." 

"It s the truth, all the same." 

"Well, then, it s high time you should have one. How old did 
you say you were ? " 

" I m thirty-three." 

" And you ve never had a love affair ! Fi done ! I m barely 
twenty-eight, and I ve had a hundred." 

" Have you ? " he asked, a little ruefully. 

" No, I haven t. But everybody s had at least one. So tell me 


" Upon my word, I ve not had even one." 

"It seems incredible. How have you contrived it ?" 

" The circumstances of my birth contrived it for me. It 

would be impossible for me to have a love affair with a woman I 

could love." 

" Impossible ? For goodness sake, why ? " 

" What woman would accept the addresses of a man without a 

name ? " 

Haven t 

By Henry Harland 93 

" Haven t you a name ? Methought I d hearcL your name was 
William Stretten." 

" You know what I mean." 

" Then permit me to remark that what you mean is quite 
superlatively silly. If you loved a woman, wouldn t you tell her 


" Not if I could help it." 

" But suppose the woman loved you ? " 

" Oh, it wouldn t come to that." 

" But suppose it had come to that ? Suppose she d set her 
heart upon you ? Would it be fair to her not to tell her ? " 

" What would be the good of my telling her, since I couldn t 
possibly ask her to marry me ? " 

"The fact might interest her, apart from the question of its 
consequences. But suppose she told you ? Suppose she asked you 
to marry her ? 

" She wouldn t." 

" All hypotheses are admissible. Suppose she should ? " 

" I couldn t marry her." 

" You d find it rather an awkward job refusing, wouldn t you ? 
And what reasons could you give ? " 

" Ten thousand reasons. I m a bastard. That begins and ends 
it. It would dishonour her, and it would dishonour me ; and, 
worst of all, it would dishonour my mother." 

"It would certainly not dishonour you, nor the woman you 
married. That s the sheerest, antiquated, exploded rubbish. And 
how on earth could it dishonour your mother ? " 

" For me to take as my wife a woman who could not respect 
her ? My mother s memory is for me the sacredest of sacred 
things. You know something of her history. You know that 
she was in every sense but a legal sense my father s wife. You 


94 Flower o the Clove 

know why they couldn t be married legally. You know, too, how 
he treated her and how she died. Do you suppose I could 
marry a woman who would always think of my mother as of one 
who had done something shameful ? " 

" Oh, but no woman with a spark of nobility in her soul would 
or could do that," Johannah cried. 

" Every woman brought up in the usual way, with the usual 
prejudices, the usual traditions, thinks evil of the woman who has 
had an illegitimate child." 

" Not every woman. I, for instance. Do you imagine that I 
could think evil of your mother, Will ?" 

" Oh, you re entirely different from other women. You re " 

But he stopped at that. 

" Then just for the sake of a case in point if / were the 
woman you chanced to be in love with, and if I simultaneously 
chanced to be in love with you, you could see your way to marrying 

" What s the use of discussing that ? " 

"For its metaphysical interest. Answer me." 

" There are other reasons why I couldn t marry you" 

" I m not good-looking enough ? " 

Don t be silly." 

" Not young enough ? " 

" Oh, I say ! Let s talk of something reasonable." 

" Not old enough, perhaps ? " 

He was silent. 

" Not wise enough ? Not foolish enough ? " she persisted. 

" You re foolish enough, in all conscience," said he. 

" Well, then, why ? What are the reasons why you couldn t 
marry me ? 

" What is the good of talking about this ! " 

" I want 

By Henry Harland 95 

" I want to know. A man has the hardihood to inform me to 
my face that he d spurn my hand, even if I offered it to him. I 
insist upon knowing why." 

" You know why. And you know that spurn is very far 
from the right word." 

" I don t know why. I insist upon your telling me." 

" You know that you re Sir William Silver s heiress, I sup 

" Oh, come ! that s not my fault. How could that matter ? " 

" Look here, I m not going to make an ass of myself by 
explaining the obvious." 

" I daresay I m very stupid, but it isn t obvious to me." 

" Well, then, let s drop the subject," he suggested. 

" I ll not drop the subject till you ve elucidated it. If you 
were in love with me, Will, and I were in love with you, how on 
earth could it matter, my being Sir William Silver s heiress ? " 

" Wouldn t I seem a bit mercenary if I asked you to marry 

" Oh, Will ! " she cried. " Don t tell me you re such a prig 
as that. What ! if you loved me, if I loved you, you d give me 
up, you d break my heart, just for fear lest idiotic people, whose 
opinions don t matter any more than the opinions of so many 
deep-sea fish, might think you mercenary ! When you and I both 
knew in our own two souls that you really weren t mercenary in 
the least ! You d pay me a poor compliment, Will. Isn t it 
conceivable that a man might love me for myself ? " 

" You state the case too simply. You make no allowances for 
the shades and complexities of a man s feelings." 

" Bother shades and complexities. Love burns them up. 
Your shades and complexities are nothing but priggishness and 
vanity. But there ! I m actually getting angry over a purely 


96 Flower o the Clove 

supposititious question. For, of course, we don t really love each 
other the least bit, do we, Will ? " 

He appeared to be giving his whole attention to the rolling of a 
cigarette ; he did not answer. But his ringers trembled, and 
presently he tore his paper, spilling half the tobacco in his lap. 

Johannah watched him from eyes full of languid, half mocking, 
half pensive laughter. 

" Oh, dear, oh, dear," she sighed again, by-and-by. 

He looked at her ; and he had to catch his breath. Lying 
there on the turf, the skirts of her frock flowing round her in a 
sort of little billowy white pool, her head deep in the scarlet 
cushion, her black hair straying wantonly where it would about 
her face and brow, her eyes lambent with that lazy, pensive 
laughter, one of her hands, pink and white, warm and soft, fallen 
open on the grass between her and her cousin, her whole person 
seeming to breathe a subtle scent of womanhood, and the luxury 
and mystery of womanhood oh, the sight of her, the sense of 
her, there in the wide green stillness of the summer day, set his 
heart burning and beating poignantly. 

" Oh, dear, oh, dear," she sighed, " I wish the man I am in love 
with were only here." 

" Oh ! You are in love with some one ? " he questioned, with 
a little start. 

" Rather ! " said she. " In love ! I should think so. Oh, I 
love him, love him, love him. Ah, if he were here ! He 
wouldn t waste this golden afternoon, as you re doing. He d 
take my hand he d hold it, and press it, and kiss it; and he d 
pour his soul out in tumultuous celebration of my charms, in fiery 
avowals of his passion. If he were here ! Ah, me ! " 

"Where is he ? " Will asked, in a dry voice. 

" Ah, where indeed ? I wish I knew." 

" I ve 

By Henry Harland 97 

"I ve never heard you speak of him before." 
"There s none so deaf as he that will not hear. I ve spoken of 
him to you at least a thousand times. He forms the staple of my 


" I must be very deaf indeed. I swear this is absolutely news 

to me." 

" Oh, Will, you are such a goose or such a hypocrite," said 
she. " But it s tea-time. Help me up." 

She held out her hand, and lie took it and helped her up. But 
she tottered a little before she got her balance (or made, at least, a 
feint of doing so), and grasped his hand tight as if to save herself, 
and all but fell into his arms. 

He drew back a step. 

She looked straight into his eyes. " You re a goose, and a 
hypocrite, and a prig, and a dear" she said. 


Their tea was served in the garden, and whilst they were 
dallying over it, a footman brought Johannah a visiting-card. 

She glanced at the card ; and Will, watching her, noticed that 
a look of annoyance it might even have been a look of distress 
came into her face. 

Then she threw the card on the tea-table, and rose. " I shan t 
be gone long," she said, and set out for the house. 

The card lay plainly legible under the eyes of Will and 
Madame Dornaye. " Mr. George Aymer, 36 Boulevard 
Rochechouart " was the legend inscribed upon it. 

" Tiens" said Madame Dornaye ; " Jeanne told me she had 
ceased to see him." 


Flower o the Clove 

Will suppressed a desire to ask, "Who is he ? " 
But Madame Dornaye answered him all the same. 
"You have heard of him ? He is a known personage in Paris, 
although English. He is a painter, a painter of great talent ; very 
young, but already decorated. And of a surprising beauty the 
face of an angel. With that, a thorough-paced rascal. Oh, yes, 
whatever is vilest, whatever is basest. Even in Montmartre, even 
in the corruptest world of Paris, among the lowest journalists and 
painters, he is notorious for his corruption. Johannah used to see 
a great deal of him. She would not believe the evil stories that 
were told about him. And with his rare talent and his beautiful 
face, he has the most plausible manners, the most winning address. 
We were afraid that she might end by marrying him. But at 
last she found him out for herself, and gave him up. She told me 
she had altogether ceased to see him. I wonder what ill wind 
blows him here." 

Johannah entered the drawing-room. 

A man in grey tweeds, the red ribbon of the Legion of Honour 
gleaming in his buttonhole, was standing near a window : a man, 
indeed, as Madame Dornaye had described him, with a face of 
surprising beauty a fine, clear, open-air complexion, a clean-cut, 
even profile, a sensitive, soft mouth, big, frank, innocent blue 
eyes, and waving hair of the palest Saxon yellow. He could 
scarcely have been thirty ; and the exceeding beauty of his face, 
its beauty and its sweetness, made one overlook his figure, which 
was a trifle below the medium height, and thick-set, with remark 
ably square, broad shoulders, and long arms. 

Johannah greeted him with some succinctness. " What do you 
want ? " she asked, remaining close to the door. 

" I want 

By Henry Harland 99 

" I want to have a talk with you," he answered, moving towards 
her. He drawled slightly ; his voice was low and soft, conciliatory, 
caressing almost. And his big blue eyes shone with a faint, 
sweet, appealing smile. 

" Would you mind staying where you are ? " ?aid she. You 
can make yourself audible from across the room." 

"What are you afraid of?" he asked, his smile brightening 
with innocent wonder. 

" Afraid ? You do yourself too much honour. One does not 
like to find oneself in close proximity with objects that disgust one." 

He laughed ; but instead of moving further towards her, he 
dropped into a chair. " You were always brutally outspoken," he 

" Yes ; and with advancing years I ve become even more so," 
said Johannah, who continued to stand. 

" You re quite sure, though, that you re not afraid of me ? " he 

" Oh, for that, as sure as sure can be. If you ve based any sort 
of calculations upon the theory that I would be afraid of you, you ll 
have to throw them over." 

He flushed a little, as if with anger ; but in a moment he 
answered calmly, " I always base my calculations upon certainties. 
You ve come into a perfect pot of money since I last had the 
pleasure of meeting you." 

" Yes, into something like eight thousand a year, if the figures 
interest you." 

" I never had any head for figures. But eight thousand sounds 
stupendous. And a lovely place, into the bargain. The park, or 
so much of it as one sees from the avenue, could not be better. 
And I permitted myself to admire the fa9ade of the house and the 
view of the sea." 

" They re 

loo Flower o the Clove 

" They re not bad," Johannah assented. 

" It s heart-rending, the way things are shared in this world. 
Here are you, rich beyond the dreams of avarice, you who have 
done nothing all your life but take your pleasure ; and I, who ve 
toiled like a galley-slave, I remain as poor as any church-mouse. 
It s monstrous." 

Johannah did not answer. 

" And now," he went on, " I suppose you ve settled down and 
become respectable ? No more Bohemia ? No more cakes and 
ale ? Only champagne and truffles ? A County Family ! Fancy 
your being a County Family, all by yourself, as it were ! You 
must feel rather like the reformed rake of tradition don t you ! " 

" I mentioned that I am not afraid of you," she reminded him, 
" but that doesn t in the least imply that I find you amusing. 
The plain truth is, I find you deadly tiresome. If you have any 
thing special to say to me, may I ask you to say it quickly ?" 

Again he flushed a little ; then, again, in a moment, answered 
smoothly, "I ll say it in a sentence. I ve come all the way to 
England, for the purpose of offering you my hand in marriage." 
And he raised his bright blue eyes to her face with a look that 
really was seraphic. 

" I decline the offer. If you ve nothing further to keep you 
here, I ll ring to have you shown out." 

Still again he flushed, yet once more controlled himself. " You 
decline the offer ! Allans done ! When I m prepared to do the 
right thing, and make an honest woman of you." 

" I decline the offer," Johannah repeated. 

" That s foolish of you," said he. 

" If you could dream how remotely your opinion interests me, 
you wouldn t trouble to express it," said she. 

His anger this time got the better of him. He scowled, and 


By Henry Harland 101 

looked at her from the corners of his eyes. " You had better not 
trifle with me," he said in a suppressed voice. 

"Oh," said she, "you must suffer me to be the mistress of my 
own actions in my own house. Now if you are quite ready to 
go ? " she suggested, putting her hand upon the bell-cord. 

" I m not ready to go yet. I want to talk with you. To cut 
a long business short, you re rich. I m pitiably poor. You know 
how poor I am. You know how I have to live, the hardships, 
the privations I m obliged to put up with." 

" Have you come here to beg ? " Johannah asked. 

"No, I ve come to appeal to your better nature. YouVefuse 
to marry me. That s absurd of you, but taut pis ! Whether 
you marry me or not, you haven t the heart to leave me to rot in 
poverty, while you luxuriate in plenty. Considering our old-time 
relations, the thing s impossible on the face of it." 

"Ah, I understand. You have come here to beg," she said. 

" No to demand," said he. " One begs when one has no 
power to enforce. When one has the power to enforce, one 

" What is the use of these glittering aphorisms ? " she asked 

" If you are ready to behave well to me, I ll behave handsomely 
to you. But if you refuse to recognise my claims upon you, I m 
in a position to take reprisals," he said very quietly. 

Johannah did not answer. 

" I m miserably, tragically poor ; you re irich. At this moment 
I ve not got ten pounds in the world ; and I owe hundreds. I ve 
not sold a picture since March. You have eight thousand a year. 
You can t expect me to sit down under it in silence. As the 
French attorneys phrase it, cet /tat de chases ne peut pas durer." 

Still Johannah answered nothing. 


102 Flower o the Clove 

" You must come to my relief," said he. " You must make it 
possible for me to go on. If you have any right feeling, you ll do 
it spontaneously. If not you know I can compel you." 

" Oh, then, for goodness sake, compel me, and so make an end 
of this entirely tedious visit." 

" I d immensely rather not compel you. If you will lend me 
a helping hand from time to time, I ll promise never to take a 
step to harm you. I shall be moderate. You ve got eight 
thousand a year. You d never miss a hundred now and then. 
You might simply occasionally buy a picture. That would be 
the best way. You might buy my pictures." 

" I should be glad to know definitely," remarked Johannah, 
" whether I have to deal with a blackmailer or a bagman." 

" Damn you," he broke out, with sudden savagery, flushing 
very red indeed. 

Johannah was silent. 

After a pause, he said, " I m staying at the inn in the village 
at the Silver Arms." 

Johannah did not speak. 

" I ve already scraped acquaintance with the parson," he went 
on. Then, as she still was silent, " I wonder what would become 
of your social position in this County if I should have a good long 
talk about you with the parson." 

" To a man of your intelligence, the solution of that problem 
can present no serious difficulty." 

"You admit that your-social position would be smashed up ?" 

"All the king s horses and all the king s men couldn t put it 
together again." 

" I m glad to find at least that you acknowledge my power." 

" You have it in your power to tell people that I was once 
inconceivably simple enough to believe that you were an honour 

By Henry Harland 103 

able man, that I once had the inconceivable bad taste to be fond 
of you. What woman s character could survive that revelation ? " 

" And I could add couldn t I ? that you once had the incon 
ceivable weakness to become my mistress ? " 

" Oh, you could add no end of details." 

" Well, then ? " he questioned. 

" Well, then ? " questioned she. 

" It comes to this, that if you don t want your social position, 
your reputation, to be utterly smashed up, you must make terms 
with me." 

"It s a little unfortunate, from that point of view, that I 
shouldn t happen to care a rush about my social position as you 
call it." 

"I think I ll have a good long talk with the parson." 

" Do by all means." 

" You d better be careful. I may take you at your word." 

" I wish you would. Take me at my word and go." 

" You mean to say you seriously don t care ? " 

"Not a rush, not a button." 

" Oh, come ! You ll never try to brazen the thing out." 

" I wish you d go and have your long talk with the parson." 

"I don t understand you." 

" I do understand you perfectly." 

" It would be so easy for you to give me a little help." 

" It would be so easy for you to smash up my reputation 
with the parson." 

" You never used to be close-fisted. It s incomprehensible that 
you should refuse me a little help. Look. I m willing to be 
more than fair. Give me a hundred pounds, a bare little hundred 
pounds, and I ll send you a lovely picture." 

" Thank you, I don t want a picture." 


104 Flower o the Clove 

" You won t give me a hundred pounds a beggarly hundred 
pounds ?" 

" I won t give you a farthing." 

" Well, then, by God, you damned, infernal jade," he cried, 
springing to his feet, his face crimson, " by God, Til make you. 
I swear I ll ruin you. Look out ! " 

" Are you really going at last ? " she asked quietly. 

" No, I m not going till it suits my pleasure. You ve got a 
sort of bastard cousin staying here with you, I m told." 

" I would advise you to moderate your tone or your language. 
If my sort of bastard cousin should by any chance happen to hear 
you referring to him in those terms, he might not be pleased." 

" I want to see him." 

" I would advise you not to see him." 

" I want to see him." 

" If you really wish to see him, I ll send for him. But it s only 
right to warn you that he s not at all a patient sort of man. If I 
send for him, he will quite certainly make things extremely dis 
agreeable for you." 

" I am not afraid of him. You know well enough that I m 
not a coward." 

" My cousin is more than a head taller than you are. He 
would be perfectly able and perfectly sure to kick you. If there s 
any other possible way of getting rid of you, I d rather not trouble 

" I think I had better have a talk with your cousin, as well as 
with the parson." 

" I think you had better confine your attentions to the parson. 
My cousin wouldn t listen to a word." 

" I am going to make a concession," said Aymer. " I m going 
to give you a night in which to think this thing over. If you 


By Henry Harland 105 

care to send me a note, with a cheque in it, so that I shall receive 
it at the inn by to-morrow at ten o clock, I ll take the next earliest 
train back to town, and I ll send you a picture in return. If no 
note comes by ten o clock, I ll call on the parson, and tell him all 
I know about you ; and I ll write a letter to your cousin. Now, 
good day." 

Johannah rang, and Aymer was shown out. 


" I shan t be gone long," Johannah had said, when she left 
Madame Dornaye and Will at tea in the garden ; but time 
passed and she did not come back. Will, mounting through 
various stages and degrees of nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, at 
last said, "What on earth can be keeping her?" and Madame 
Dornaye replied, " That is precisely what I am asking myself." 
They waited a little longer, and then, " Shall we go back to the 
house ? " he suggested. But when they reached the house, they 
found the drawing-room empty, and no trace of Johannah. 

" She may be in her room. I ll go and see," said Madame 

More time passed, and still no Johannah. Nor did Madame 
Dornaye return to explain her absence. 

Will walked about in a state of acute misery. What could it 
be ? What could have happened ? What could this painter, 
this George Aymer, this thorough-paced rascal with the beautiful 
face, this man of whom Johannah, in days gone by, "had seen a 
great deal," so that her friends had feared " she might end by 
marrying him " what could he have called upon her for ? What 
could have passed between them ? Why had she disappeared ? 


io6 Flower o the Clove 

Where was she now ? Where was he ? Where was Madame 
Dornaye, who had gone to look for her ? Could could it pos 
sibly be that he this man notorious for his corruption even in 
the corruptest world of Paris could it be that he was the man 
Johannah meant when she had talked of the man she was in love 
with ? And Will, fatuous imbecile, had vainly allowed himself 
to imagine. . . . Oh, why did she not come back ? What could 
be keeping her away from him all this time? ... "I have had 
a hundred, I have had a hundred." The phrase echoed and 
echoed in his memory. She had said, "I have had a hundred 
love affairs." Oh, to be sure, in the next breath, she had contra 
dicted herself, she had said, " No, I haven t." But she had added, 
" Everybody has had at least one." So she had had at least one. 
With this man, George Aymer ? Madame Dornaye said she 
had broken with him, ceased to see him. But it was certain 
she had seen him to-day. But lovers quarrels are made up ; 
lovers break with each other, and then come together again, are 
reunited. . . . Perhaps . . . Perhaps . . . Oh, where was she ? 
Why did she remain away in this mysterious fashion ? What 
could she be doing ? What could she be doing ? 

The dressing-bell rang, and he went to dress for dinner. 

" Anyhow, I shall see her now, I shall see her at dinner," he 
kept telling himself, as he dressed. 

But when he came downstairs the drawing-room was still 
empty. He walked backwards and forwards. 

" We shall have to dine without our hostess," Madame Dor 
naye said, entering presently. " Jeanne has a bad headache, and 
will stay in her room," 


By Henry Harland 107 


Will left the house early the next morning, and went out into 
the garden. The sun was shining, the dew sparkled on the grass, 
the air was keen and sweet with the odours of the earth. A mile 
away the sea glowed blue as larkspur ; and overhead innumerable 
birds gaily piped and twittered. But oh, the difference, the 
difference ! His eyes could see no colour, his ears could hear no 
music. His brain felt as if it had been stretched and strained, like 
a thing of india-rubber ; a lump ached in his throat ; his heart was 
abject and sick with the suspense of waiting, with the futile 
questionings, the fears, suspicions, the dreading hopes, that had 
beset and tortured it throughout the night. 

" Will ! " Johannah s voice called behind him. 

He turned. 

" Thank God ! " the words came without conscious volition on 
his part. " I thought I was never going to see you again." 

" I have been waiting for you," said she. 

She wore her garden-hat and her white frock ; but her face was 
pale, and her eyes looked dark and anxious. 

He had taken her hand, and was clinging to it, pressing it, hard, 
so hard that it must have hurt her, in the violence of his emotion. 

" Oh, wait, Will, wait," she said, trying to draw her hand 
away ; and her eyes filled with sudden tears. 

He let go her hand, and looked into her tearful eyes, helpless, 
speechless, longing to speak, unable, in the confusion of his 
thoughts and feelings, to find a word. 

" I must tell you something, Will. Come with me somewhere 
where we can be alone. I must tell you something." 

She moved off, away from the house, he keeping beside her. 
The Yellow Book Vol. XII. G They 

io8 Flower o the Clove 

They passed out of the garden, into the deep shade of the 

" Do you remember," she began, all at once, " do you remember 
what I said yesterday, about my motto ? That my motto was 
Be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold ? " 

" Yes," he said. 

"I am going to be very bold indeed now, Will. I am going 
to tell you something something that will make you hate me 
perhaps that will make you despise me perhaps." 

" You could not possibly tell me anything that could make me 
hate you or despise you. But you must not tell me anything at 
all, unless it is something you are perfectly sure you will be happier 
for having told me." 

" It is something I wish to tell you, something I must tell ycu," 
said she. Then, after a little pause, " Oh, how shall I begin it ? " 
But before he could have spoken, " Do you think that a woman 
do you think that a girl, when she is very young, when she is 
very immature and impressionable, and very impulsive, and 
ignorant, and when she is alone in the world, without a father or 
mother do you think that if she makes some terrible mistake, if 
she is terribly deceived, if somebody whom she believes to be good 
and noble and unhappy and misunderstood, somebody whom she 
whom she loves do you think that if she makes some terrible 

mistake if she if she oh, my God ! if " She held her 

breath for a second, then suddenly, " Can t you understand what I 
mean ? " she broke down in a sort of wail, and hid her face in 
her hands, and sobbed. 

Will stood beside her, holding his arms out towards her. 
" Johannah ! Johannah ! " was all he could say. 

She dropped her hands, and looked at him with great painful 
eyes. " Tell me do you think that a woman can never be for 
given ? 

By Henry Harland 109 

given ? Do you think that she is soiled, degraded, changed 
utterly ? Do you think that when she that when she did what 
she did it was a sin, a crime, not only a terrible mistake, and 
that her whole nature is changed by it ? Most people think so. 
They think that a mark has been left upon her, branded upon her ; 
that she can never, never be the same again. Do you think so, 
Will ? Oh, it is not true ; I know it is not true. A woman 
can leave that mistake, that terror, that horror she can leave it 
behind her as completely as she can leave any other dreadful thing. 
She can blot it out of her life, like a nightmare. She isn t changed 
she remains the same woman. She isn t utterly changed, and soiled, 
and defiled. In her own conscience, no matter what other people 
think, she knows, she knows she isn t. When she wakes up to find 
that the man she had believed in, the man she had loved, when she 
wakes up to find that he isn t in any way what she had thought 
him, that he is base and evil and ignoble, and when all her love 
for him dies in horror and misery oh, do you think that she must 
never, never, as long as she lives, hold up her head again, never be 
happy again, never love any one again ? Look at me, Will. I 
am myself. I am what God made me. Do you think that I am 

utterly vile because because " But her voice failed again, 

and her eyes again filled with tears. 

" Oh, Johannah, don t ask me what I think of you. I could 
not tell you what I think of you. You are as God made you. 
God never made never made any one else so splendid." 

And in a moment his arms were round her, and she was weeping 
her heart out on his shoulder. 

The Ghost Bereft 

By E. Nesbit 

THE poor ghost came through the wind and rain 
And passed down the old dear road again ; 

Thin cowered the hedges, the tall trees swayed 
Like little children that shrink afraid. 

The wind was wild and the night was late 
When the poor ghost came to the garden gate ; 

Dank were the flower-beds, heavy and wet, 
The weeds stood up where the rose was set. 

The wind was angry, the rain beat sore 

When the poor ghost came to its own house-door : 

"And shall I find her a-weeping still 
To think how alone I lie, and chill ? 

" Or shall I find her happy and warm 

With her dear head laid on a new love s arm ? 


By E. Nesbit in 

" Or shall I find she has learned to pine 
For another s love and not for mine ? 

" Whatever chance, I have this to my store 
She is mine my own for evermore." 

So the poor ghost came through the wind and rain 
Till it reached the square bright window pane. 

" Oh ! what is here in the room so bright 
Roses and love and a hid delight ? 

" What lurks in the silence that fills the room ? 
A cypress wreath from a dead man s tomb ? 

" What wakes, what sleeps ? Ah ! can it be 
Her heart that is breaking and not for me ? " 

Then the poor ghost looked through the window pane, 
Though all the glass was wrinkled with rain. 

" Oh, there is light at the feet and head 
Twelve tall tapers about the bed. 

" Oh, there are flowers, white flowers and rare, 
But not the garland a bride may wear. 

" Jasmine white, and a white, white rose 
But its scent is gone where the lost dream goes. 

" Lilies laid on the straight white bier, 
But the room is empty she is not here. 


H2 The Ghost Bereft 

" Her body lies here deserted, cold ; 

And the body that loved it creeps in the mould. 

" Was there ever an hour when my love, set free, 
Would not have hastened and come to me ? 

" Can the soul that loved mine long ago 
Be hence and away and I not know ? 

" Oh, then, God s judgment is on me sore 
For I have lost her for evermore ! " 

And the poor ghost fared through the wind and the rain 
To its own appointed place again. 

But up in Heaven, where memories cease 
Because the blessed have won to peace, 

One pale saint shivered, and closer wound 
The shining raiment that wrapped her round : 

" Oh glad is Heaven, and glad am I, 

Yet I fain would remember the days gone by : 

" The past is hid and I may not know 
But I think there was sorrow long ago. 

" The sun of Heaven is warm and bright, 
But I think there is rain on the earth to-night : 

" O Christ, because of thine own sore pain, 
Help all poor souls in the wind and rain ! " 

Three Reflections 

By Stanley V. Makower 

I The Actor 

THE dominoes clattered upon the marble tables of the Cafe" 
Royal, and the steady brilliance of the lights shed a glow 
over the cloud-girt goddesses that grinned and beckoned in be 
wildering deshabille from the ceiling. The long, gilded room 
was crowded with people and with the images of people reflected 
in its numerous glass panels. 

My companion and I sat without speaking, satisfied to rest ; 
for the day had been tiring, and outside the wind was cold, and 
the rain had beat upon our faces like little cold pellets of lead. 

Directly behind us sat a young man who was swaying his 
body to and fro in so strange a manner that I shuddered, as if in a 
nightmare, when we are oppressed with the continuous fear that 
a calamity must happen ... in a moment, ... at this moment 
. . . now . . . and that calamity never happens. Finally the 
young man lay half across the velvet-cushioned seat, motionless. 
A glass of coffee stood before him on the table, untasted, with 
the spoon it. 

Suddenly the head waiter came up, shook him roughly by the 
shoulders, and said : 


114 Three Reflections 

"You mustn t do that." 
" Do what ? " he asked, wearily. 

" Lie about the seats here," replied the other gruffly, and he 
moved away, perplexed by the sobriety of the speaker s voice, and 
the strangeness of his conduct. I heard the young man grumble 
something, and then he put his arms on the table, and his head 
fell into his hands. So he remained motionless throughout the 
evening, while the steam rose quickly from the coffee before him, 
almost as if it were in a hurry to leave the glass. 

Satisfied that this was not the moment for the arrival of the 
catastrophe with which the air seemed pregnant, I dismissed the 
young man from my thoughts with the meditation that he might 
either have shot himself, or had a death struggle with the head 
waiter, but that as he had done neither he was there, just as they 
so often are in nightmares, to put me off the scent. When you 
have dreamed much you become wary, and acquire skill in de 
tecting the sham bogies with which a nightmare is peopled, until 
the figure-head appears, unmistakable, indomitable, malignant, 
insolent, because clothed with the irresistible power to terrify. 
You are swiftly conscious that this is the director and controller 
of catastrophes, and that the time for contemptuous ridicule and 
laughter is over. You break into a low propitiatory prayer. 
The figure raises a gigantic arm, . . . and then, if Heaven is 
merciful, you wake in a cold perspiration. 

The young man, then, was a sham bogey, and I looked round 
me to detect the figure-head among the assembled company. 

Opposite us sat a middle-aged man with a sandy moustache, 
who was eating ravenously, fiercely. He chased the pieces over 
his plate with his fork, and swallowed without masticating. 
Occasionally he glanced round, and pulled the salt or mustard 
towards his plate with a brusque, almost angry gesture. At the 


By Stanley V. Makower 115 

table next to him sat an older man, with grey head and beard, 
and thick eyebrows under which were handsome grey eyes. He 
was glancing casually at a newspaper. 

I began to marvel at the contrast between the two men, to 
picture to myself a thousand scenes to illustrate the calm, placid 
temperament of the one, the nervous irritability of the other. I 
let the two figures wander down the vistas of my imagination, 
and stared blankly in front of me, till the whole scene of the 
crowded room with its glare of light faded away, and I saw the 
grey-headed man seated in an armchair in a comfortable, ugly 
house, telling a fairy tale to three or four little children, whose 
mother was knitting by the fireside. She was rather pretty, but 
very frail, and there were light silken curls over her pale forehead. 
And just when the grey-headed man had reached the climax ot 
his story, I thought, Heaven knows why, that he stopped short, 
and fixed his eyes upon one of the children, and, amidst cries of 
" Go on, daddy, do go on," said : " The good fairy never goes on 
telling stories to little boys whose finger-nails are dirty," and I 
saw a little boy look sheepishly at his little hands ; but before I 
could go on constructing my picture I was seized with a doubt as 
to what had made the grey-headed man suddenly so severe, and I 
came to the conclusion that it was probably because he did not 
know how the story ended that he suddenly noticed the little 
boy s dirty finger-nails. And the thought of this amused me so 
much, that my fancy stopped, and I found myself looking again 
at the two men before me in the long, bright caf, and the smoke 
of a cigarette, which the grey-headed man was smoking, floated 
under my nostrils, and the dominoes clattered again in various 
parts of the room, and I heard the babble of innumerable voices. 

By this time the nightmare had passed from me, and I felt 
much surprise and curiosity when I observed that the two men 


Ii6 Three Reflections 

were talking to each other. The grey-headed man was holding 
the newspaper a little way from him as he listened to the other, 
who, while diligently pursuing his food across his plate, threw out 
a sentence here and there with the same irregular brusquerie as he 
had displayed when he pulled the salt or mustard towards him. 
When he had ejaculated a few words he seemed to return to his 
food with greater voracity than ever, and cut it about savagely. 

" I never read a newspaper," he said ; it s such a damn waste 
of time. One might be eating or drinking all the while." 

The other murmured a feeble protest. He looked as if he were 
absolutely incapable of understanding that sort of man. His face 
expressed a disapproval which was at once polite, tolerant, and 

" Waste of time," repeated the fierce man ; and then rather 
louder, " Waste, of time ! " and he subsided into his plate, which 
clinked with the blows of his knife and fork. When he had swept 
it absolutely bare he threw them both into it, pushed it from him, 
and said : " The food s beastly." 

The old man smiled pleasantly. 

" You can get a good dinner at about two places in London, 
and I m sick of both of them. Here it s beastly, I tell you." 

"Why come here ?" asked the other mildly. 

" Why come here ? " he retorted quickly. " Why ? Ha ! ha ! 
Why, indeed ! A very good question." 

But he made no attempt to answer it. 

" You can t get a decent La Rose here," he went on, and there 
was an almost piteous ring in his voice. " Their wines taste as if 
they d been bottled in a sewer. I had a wine last week at the 
Cafe" Rouge. That was a queenly wine, sir, queenly," he said, 
as if you could not find a more beautifully appropriate epithet. 
" I say it was queenly, and I think I know a good wine. I was 


By Stanley V. Makower 117 

once wine-taster to our club, the Corsican, sir and they had a 
devilish good cook, I may tell you. Well, sir, I tasted twenty- 
two glasses of champagne in the dark, and they didn t stump me 
over a single vintage. What s more, just before they turned up 
the gas Tommy Webster gave me a mixed glass, sir, and I told 
him the three different years of which it was made up," and he 
thumped the table so that the plates and glasses jumped and 
shivered. Then he looked defiantly at his neighbour, who, 
somewhat confused, murmured : " Dear, dear, you surprise 


" When I was acting in Hull, sir," he went on, suddenly, 
" there was a devilish pretty girl in our company. Her name was 
Tremaine, sir Kitty Tremaine. We used to act together twenty 
years ago." He passed his hand over his face. " Do you know 
the Golden Mermaid ? " he continued. " No, I suppose you don t. 
It s the oldest hotel in Hull. We all went there one summer 
afternoon after we d given a morning performance of Hamlet, and 
in the garden of that hotel, sir, I drank the finest champagne I 
ever tasted in my life. We sat round a table under a large tree. 
We were all very tired. I had been playing Polonius, a Captain, 
and most of the Prince of Denmark ; and Kitty Tremaine was 
Ophelia, sir. I m spinning you no yarn. I remember how many 
of us there were ; just eight. And the Queen kept on her stage 
dress, as it was cooler for her, and we had to play again in the 
evening. Ophelia had left some flowers in her hair, too," and his 
voice grew thick with emotion. 

" Well, we drank four bottles of that champagne, sir," he added, 
with the air of a man who has been led into a pleasing digression 
and returns to his subject with a wrench. " And in between the 
bottles we danced round the tree. We got a fiddler to fiddle for 
us, and we brought out the hostess, and we sang a chorus." 


ii8 Three Reflections 

He was growing more and more excited, and, as he spoke, waved 
his arms in imitation of a dance. 

" And I made it up with the Queen, sir, over a glaas of that 
champagne. She said she knew I never meant badly all the time. 
No more I did. I never could see what there was against the 
Queen. And so we kissed while we were dancing and made 
friends, although in a couple of hours we had to begin quarrelling 
again to please the people. And when the others were tired I did 
my great speech at the end of the second act, and everybody 
clapped, and said I was sure to make a fortune. Sure to make a 
fortune," he repeated, contemptuously, piteously, with a little laugh 
at himself. 

The grey-headed man sat listening now without venturing to 
interrupt the speaker with any remarks of his own. 

"What a beautiful Ophelia she was, sir. You never saw a 
finer arm. It reminded one of Siddons . Only it was finer, sir, 
I say finer," he went on, as if fearing a protest. " Ophelia, I did 
love you once," he added, more calmly, as he made a mock gesture 
of devotion to his neighbour. 

" I always considered the conduct of the Prince most reprehen 
sible. Perhaps you won t believe me when I tell you that it was 
with great difficulty, very great difficulty, that I could ever be 
persuaded to act that part." 

He pronounced the word " very " impressively, and as if it were 
spelt vai-ree. 

" You have no idea what unfeeling people managers are, and 
my nature has always been a sensitive one. Redmayne, our 
manager, was as cold as a stone, sir. No more humanity than a 
rock, sir, or or the leg of this table," he added, trying to enforce 
the truth of his statement by the use of an illustration close to 
hand from which the other could not escape. 

" I was 

By Stanley V. Makower 119 

" I was nearly turned out of that company, sir, because I 
refused to spout some lines that were brutal, and that no gentle 
man could allow himself to use. I never could play a villain. It 
cut me to the quick, sir." 

The actor was growing tired with his own loquacity, and the 
grey-headed man was drawing more and more into his shell. He 
was attempting, ineffectually, to slip the newspaper between him 
self and the speaker without attracting his notice. But every 
time that he made an advance of a few inches in lifting the paper 
from the table the other gave a fresh emphasis to what he was 
saying, and fixed the offender with his sharp, restless eyes. 

In the middle of a long speech about a play called " Vendetta," 
in which he had acted the part of the King of Naples for fourteen 
hundred nights until he " really felt the part so much, sir, that it 
was a struggle for me to leave my palace on the stage, and climb 

up five flights of stairs to my humble lodging in the town " 

He broke off" abruptly, and then, waving his hand theatrically, 
began to declaim with an abundance of false emphasis : 

" Indeed this counsellor 

Is now most still, most secret, and most grave, 
Who always was a foolish prating knave. 
Come sir, to draw toward an end with you." 

I had risen to go, but stood irresolutely watching the stagey 
magnificence of his address to the grey-headed man, and enjoying 
the grand ineptitude with which he delivered the last line, with 
its absurd pause on the word " end," which he almost shouted 
across the table. 

He turned aside to wave his hand in parting salutation to 
the Queen, and closed the scene with the words " Good-night, 
mother," in the accents of which lingered the tone of false tragedy 


izo Three Reflections 

in which he had recited the lines. But before the last syllable 
had fallen from his lips a change came over his face, one of those 
changes that reveal the intrusion of an unexpected emotion into 
the mind of the speaker, an emotion that sweeps everything 
before it. 

The wave of the hand died away, and the arm fell a little 
helplessly to his side. All the fierceness fled from his face, and 
into his eyes came an almost despairing look mingled with one of 
fear, as if a shadow had suddenly risen by his side. With the 
articulation of those two words some undercurrent of his life rose 
to the top and drowned his self-assurance so that he sat there 
broken, transfigured, silent. And whereas before he had seemed 
only sordid, tawdry, fugitive, he was now exalted, inexplicable, 
eternal, touched to beauty by the stroke of humanity which had 
felled him. 

As we made our way to the street I could scarcely believe that 
this was the same man. Behind the seat which we had left sat 
the young man, motionless as before, with his head in his hands, 
conspicuous amid the bustle and movement that was round him. 
In the corner of the room two Spaniards were quarrelling over a 
game of chess. 

Who shall guess what chained the youth s head to his hands ? 
Shall a man presume to explain what made the Spaniards to 
quarrel, or why that garrulous actor was struck dumb ? And how 
came it that for many days and nights I was haunted by this 
fragment of the actor s rambling speech, "Ophelia had left some 
flowers in her hair too " ? 


By Stanley V. Makower 121 

II The Countess 

Do you know these moments ? When you have come home 
from a dance, or a dinner, at some house where there have 
been crowds of people, and much talk and laughter and noise. 
You enter your solitary room and all is perfectly still and dark, 
and it seems to you that the rest of the world are moving, growing 
older, suffering the pain of life to eat them up slowly but surely. 
Men whom you have known as boys are grey-headed, and talk of 
their youth as a thing divine, lighted by the halo of a dead past. 
Women whom you have seen young and fair and merry are old 
and unlovely : the light of romance has died from their eyes, and 
their vanity sits upon their faces like a scar. 

It was at such a moment as this that I stood lost in a melan 
choly wonder with the match against the matchbox, hesitating to 
strike, reluctant to dissipate the sweet pain of the emotion by 
the flare of the tiny torch which should reveal with dim certainty 
the familiar objects in my sitting-room, when I heard a prolonged 
trumpeting sound from the floor below which it was impossible 
to mistake. For it was the sound of somebody blowing a nose. 

However disposed I might have been to ignore the origin of 
such a sound, to clothe it in a fancy more in accordance with the 
poetry of my mood, I was not permitted to indulge in any such 
alluring illusion, for the sound was twice reiterated, each time 
with growing emphasis and sonority, and with the irresistible 
conviction that it came from a nose, and a very powerful nose 
too, I lighted my candle, hurried into the next room and went 
to bed. 

The next morning being anxious to know who occupied the 
floor below I inquired of the servant, and was told that it was 


122 Three Reflections 

" the Countess." When I went on to ask what her name was 
my curiosity met with a check, for the girl answered, " Oh, she 
ave a lot of names she do," which I took as a well-merited 
rebuke for the impertinence of the question. 

During the week, however, I learned two important facts. 
One was that the name of the Countess was Cungonde de Blum 
de Cavagnac, by which she was addressed in full on the envelopes 
of all her letters, which sometimes lay on the hall table, sometimes 
on the top of a coal scuttle that had strayed into the staircase, and 
sometimes on a plaster statue of the Queen, which stands on a 
bracket on the first floor landing, and seems to me to look 
particularly peevish and ill-tempered whenever it is crowned with 
a letter addressed to the Countess. On most of the envelopes the 
name took up two lines, and I can only remember one in which 
the Cavagnac was included in the first line, and then it wriggled 
down the side in lame, helpless fashion. 

The other fact that I learned was that the Countess had large 
feet, for on coming home rather late one evening I passed her 
shoes which keep sentinel at her door, and observed that they 
gaped a good deal, and that they were larger than my own. 

Apart from the fact that she would blow her nose in an aggressive 
way, there was only one trick of the Countess which stirred in me a 
feeling of animosity. This was her habit of retiring punctually 
at eleven o clock, and slamming her door violently and then 
locking it with as much noise as she could. This conduct seemed 
to me defiant, almost polemical. An ill-natured person might go 
further and stigmatise it as forward. 

But I had my revenge, for one evening at five minutes to eleven 
I went into my bedroom and slammed my door and locked it 
and unlocked it and relocked it some six or seven times, then 
waited breathlessly to see what she would do, and on the whole I 


By Stanley V. Makower 123 

am disposed to look upon what followed as an apology. At a few 
minutes past eleven o clock she retired, slamming her door rather 
less violently, I thought, than usual, and it was quite a quarter of 
an hour before the door was locked, and then it was locked very 
gently. On the other hand she must have blown her nose at 
least seven or eight times, for many times when I was just 
dropping to sleep I was awakened by the stern notes. 

The next evening, as I returned late, she had already retired, 
and finding a dead narcissus on the staircase I dropped it into the 
gulf of one of her shoes on my way to the top floor, hoping 
that she might look upon the offering as a sign of peace between 

At about this time I noticed that the servant began to allude 
very frequently, and always in a tone of irony, to the Countess, 
and from her manner I perceived that unless I myself were to 
invite her confidence, the day would come when she would no 
longer be able to contain herself, and a storm of communications 
would rain upon my head. Knowing from former experience of 
lodging-house servants that the storm, when it burst, would be a 
fierce one, I thought it wise to ask a few questions about the 
Countess before the store of the girl s information should become 
too vast to be any longer contained. 

I was not mistaken in my surmise of the situation ; for I had 
barely opened my mouth upon the subject when Sarah (for of 
course the servant s name was Sarah) declared first that the 
Countess was a funny woman, and before I could remember any 
instances of wittiness in her conduct, that she was a beastly 
woman. She went on to explain, with masterly inconsequence, 
that she was very rich, a Roman Catholic, only ate bread and 
butter for dinner, and without a shadow of a doubt was wrong in 
her head. When I asked what led to her belief, she replied that 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. H the 

124 Three Reflections 

he Countess rose at unearthly hours in the morning to go and 
pray, and that she always insisted on having a jug of hot water 
before leaving the house ; which of course necessitated Sarah s 
rising at unearthly hours, though I should not think that it caused 
her to pray, to judge from the language in which she alluded to 
the matter when we were talking it over together. 

She admitted that the Countess gave heaps of money to the 
poor, but very rightly observed that before indulging in luxuries of 
this kind it was only a duty to "live decent yourself." She said 
that she had no patience with such a woman, and at the same time 
gave me to understand that she was putting the Countess through 
a course of training by which she might with time acquire that 
virtue herself, for she made it a rule never to answer her bell until 
it had rung half-a-dozen times or more. 

This was information which I might have assumed from my 
own experience of Sarah s character ; so I hastened to lead her to 
a department of the matter which should be more fruitful of 
interest to me. I asked her whether the Countess was really a 
religious woman, and was told with many contemptuous comments 
that she mumbled and muttered about her room a great deal, and 
spent a great deal of her time with a certain Father Sebastian, 
also that she " made up something dreadful, which I d be ashamed 
to do if I called myself a Christian." The final taunt, for which 
I had been waiting, consisted in the remark that she was only a 
foreign woman after all, and what could you expect ? 

I was glad of the enlightened view which I was thus enabled to 
take of the Countess, and after ascertaining that she might be 
fifty, but that she heaped such clouds of powder upon her face that 
it was impossible to tell what she really looked like, my curiosity 
was appeased, and I resolved to banish the Countess from my 
thoughts. Taking everything into consideration, I was glad that 


By Stanley V. Makower 125 

it had not yet fallen to my lot to look upon her. I had come to 
regard her as one of the innumerable fragments of life with which 
our minds are peopled : she was a lodging-house myth, and I was 
not going to seek behind appearances for a meaning which might 
turn the myth into a mere sordid piece of actuality. 

While I was resting in the enjoyment of this belief, I had 
occasion to seek an interview with the landlady on the subject of 
my weekly bill, and in the course of conversation we chanced 
upon the topic of servants. To my surprise, for in my mind I 
had always bestowed upon Sarah the sole virtue of honesty, she 
informed me that the girl was a most unscrupulous liar, of whom 
she hoped very shortly to be rid. The statement troubled me, 
because my myth was in danger. What after all if the Countess 
Cunegonde de Blum de Cavagnac were really a perfectly ordinary 
intelligible person ? What if the allegation that she made up was 
untrue ? What if she really did pray earnestly and devoutly, and 
denied herself the bare necessities of life to benefit the poor ? 
What if the time spent with Father Sebastian was all devoted to 
pious confession ? 

No doubt I had wronged her, mentally only but still 

Ought I not to have taken care to prevent my imagination 
running away with me ? After all, could you not hear from her 
long imperious knock at the door that she belonged to an old and 
aristocratic French family ? How could I have been so blind as 
to be misled by the chatter of a servant, whose honesty I was 
foolish enough never to suspect ? But then, what if the landlady 
lied ? That was also possible, and yet .... 

I was in an agony of suspense over the matter, when a new 
episode occurred. One evening there was much confusion on the 
floor below : the opening and shutting of innumerable doors, the 
sound of voices, and of hurrying footsteps. On inquiring the 


126 Three Reflections 

cause of the disturbance the next morning, I was told that the 
Countess was taken ill, and Sarah added, by way of contemptuous 
explanation, that she had "under eaten herself." 

I remained silent, not knowing how much to believe, and how 
much to disbelieve. " Cruel liar," I thought to myself. " Per 
haps the poor lady is dying, while you are rending her character," 
and I felt half inclined to send in some jelly from Gunter s with 
my compliments. But I refrained, thinking it wiser to allow 
events to shape themselves. 

On the third day after the Countess was taken ill, as I sat 
writing at my window one morning, a handsome phaeton and pair 
drove up our humble street and stopped at our door. It was 
driven by a tall, well-dressed man of about thirty, by whose side 
sat a pretty little girl of thirteen or fourteen. 

I heard the window below mine opened, and the gentleman who 
was driving shouted in a clear, pleasant voice, " Ca va mieux ? " 
And then I heard the reply from below, " Mieux, merci," and 
the window was closed again, and the phaeton drove off. 

" She does belong to an old and aristocratic French family," I 
thought to myself, remorsefully, and I tried to remember some 
historical peg upon which to hang the Cavagnacs ; but though I 
was quite certain I had come across the name in my journeys 
through the French historians, I could not place it, and sat 
wondering, cursing my own forget fulness. 

The morning was fair and clear, and the sun shone peacefully 
upon the opposite houses, with their tufts of trees and shrubs 
beginning to sprout. But the dismal succession of five notes on 
a harmonium which had gone on droning ever since eight o clock 
drew nearer, and I laid down my pen in despair to wait till the 
noise had passed. The fairness of the weather tempted me to 
open the window. 

I leaned 

By Stanley V. Makower 127 

I leaned out, and watched the characteristic movement of the 
street, the handful of tiny boys playing and squabbling among 
each other, the girl wandering about idly in the large garden 
opposite my window, now disappearing, now emerging from 
behind a screen of trees. Then my eye fell below upon the 
balcony beneath my window, and I saw a very strange sight. 

A lady with bare arms, and a loose black gauze thrown round 
her shoulders, was standing with her head bent forward and all 
her hair down. It hung in loose, damp strips from round a bald 
patch in the middle of her head, upon which it was my ill fortune 
to gaze. While she held the gauze across her shoulders with one 
hand, with the other she was frantically waving a bright scarlet 
Japanese fan backwards and forwards against her wet hair. 

The strangeness of the sight restored my temper, and I blessed 
the harmonium that had disturbed me in my work. Had it not 
been for those five dismal notes, I should never have opened the 
window, never have been permitted to enjoy the novelty of 
beholding my Cunegonde for the first time in so grotesque a 
situation. My wounded conscience was healed. I could now 
from personal observation take my own view of the Countess, 
and dispense with the second-hand versions of the landlady and 

My first feelings were those of gratitude to the Countess for 
providing me with so unexpected an apparition. I then began to 
reason with myself as to what might be inferred from it. Obvi 
ously there was nothing abnormal in even a Countess washing her 
head and drying her hair in the sun, nor was it a very profound 
guide to her character. 

And then the complexity of my thought grew clear, and all my 
difficulties melted away as a breath from a glass. My landlady s 
view and Sarah s view were only charming irrelevancies, which 


128 Three Reflections 

had momentarily obscured my view of the Countess as a lodging- 
house myth. The vision on the balcony restored my Cunegonde 
to the proper place in my mind. And I trust that no future view 
of her will ever again tempt me to build an incomplete whole out 
of a complete fragment, nor can any one persuade me that real 
people, and especially Countesses, ever dry their hair with Japanese 
fans upon balconies in the early morning of a fine spring day. 

Ill The General 

(Dedicated to H ) 

How I first saw him it would be impossible to tell, because by 
this time he has become a sacred institution ; nor is it 
possible to imagine a period of my life when the General did not 

All the foundations of the Constitution might be done away, 
Empires might crumble, and Monarchs topple on their thrones, 
but so long as I was left in undisturbed possession of my General, 
I do sincerely believe that I should remain calm, because as I never 
read a newspaper, and have not gone out for the last ten years 
there is no reason to suppose that these events should come to my 
knowledge ; and my friends have too much respect for my view of 
life ever to communicate to me news which I am bound to regard 
as irrelevant. 

When I say that I never read a newspaper, I am not speaking 
the truth, because I do read a newspaper every morning of my 
life ; but it is always the same newspaper, and I never read more 
than half a column, and it is always the same half-column. I 


By Stanley V. Makower 129 

have had that newspaper on my table ever since I took possession 
of my house, and it has turned to quite a rich yellow colour. 

Nothing has ever been written in a daily newspaper that was 
not written in another daily newspaper of an earlier date. Cards 
were invented to amuse a mad king, and newspapers to amuse his 
mad subjects, because no sane person can want to go on reading a 
daily record of the universal imbecilities of people in office and 
people just out of office, people married and people divorced, of 
performances that are going to take place and performances that 
have taken place, weather that was wet and is going to be 

But I telescope from one digression into another, and so will 
seek to trace my way back through the half-column of the news 
paper that I do read to the General who is a sacred institution. 

It is now many years since I lived in a lodging. My mode of 
life has changed. Fate has cast me into a house in the 
Cromwell Road, and I have become so incorporate with this house 
that it seems to me as if I had never lived anywhere else, and the 
experiences of my past life are no more to me than a string of 
pretty tales. I have developed a kind of long religion for myself 
within the walls of my house, and the General is a kind of high 

Every morning, as soon as I have breakfasted, I read my little 
half-column earnestly, devoutly, and with afresh sense of gratitude. 
It is headed "Singular Affair in the Caucasus," and is an account 
of a small Russian peasant woman who climbed upon the roof of a 
very tall church with three little children. When she had reached 
the highest part of the building, she proceeded to carefully undress 
each child in the full light of the sun, and threw them one by 
one on to the sharp spires that rose below her. Of course they 
were instantly killed, and when she had thus used all the pieces 


130 Three Reflections 

in her game, she proceeded to undress herself, and then jumped 
after her children, and was killed too. 

With the exception of the heading, and the observation that 
there was a growing population of insane people in these districts 
who were constantly acting in this fashion, there is no further 
comment on the occurrence. 

To me this has always seemed the noblest conception of 
destruction that a human creature has ever devised, and the 
madness of this Russian peasant woman seems to have had some 
thing in it akin to the divine. Her selection of the church 
suggests that she carried out her intention with the earnestness 
and solemnity of purpose of one celebrating a religious rite. Her 
undressing her children and herself before dying, seems to me to 
have been a kind of symbolical renunciation of the things of the 
world. Then comes the violent, self-imposed destruction death 
in an act of calm, deliberate revolt. All the tiny chains that hold 
man to life are flooded and wrecked by an ocean of desire for 
an annihilation of self. Could anything be nobler, simpler ? 

To read this account, then, is one of the daily tasks of my life 
and to ponder and gather fresh truths from it. What has it to do 
with the General ? Why, only this : that when I look up from 
my newspaper across the road, my eye always falls, and has fallen 
ever since I can remember, upon the bay window of a tall, grey, 
corner house, and more often than not, I have seen an old, white- 
haired, purple-faced man standing by a wire cage with a parrot in 
it, and fiercely stroking a long white moustache. 

As I have already said, I can remain perfectly calm under a 
change of Government, or a war in China, or a sensational murder 
outside the radius of the parish, but I confess that life would be 
robbed of one of its few attractions for me were that corner house 
to change hands. More than that, the alteration of a single piece 


By Stanley V. Makower 131 

of furniture in his room would be sufficient to cause me serious 

When I am in a depressed state of mind, I always begin to 
think what on earth I should do if, for instance, the parrot were 
to die. That the General should die, is, of course, a wild 
impossibility, which I have never seriously contemplated. But it 
might easily happen that the parrot should catch a chill, or, what 
is more likely, that a new servant should come and displace the 

Curiously enough, I have never seen a servant in the room 
during the whole course of my observation. In fact, the only 
woman who occasionally lightens the dingy, dusty-looking room 
with her presence is a relation of the General, a sallow-faced, tired- 
looking young woman of about thirty, who comes to stay with 
him from time to time for periods of a week. 

I believe she is his daughter, the only one of his children with 
whom he has not finally quarrelled, because, from a general 
impression which some years observation has enabled me to 
gather of the household, I am quite convinced that he had many 
children, and that he never could get on with any of them. Even 
the girl who takes pity on him now that he is old, though by no 
means infirm, as I shall soon show, must have married against his 
wishes, for she never comes with her husband, as you might 
expect, and she never stays for more than a week. 

The General stays all day in the front room, except when he 
eats, and then he retires to a room at the back of the house, 
where my eyes are prevented from following him. 

The General does read the newspaper, and a different one every 
morning, because he betrays emotions which vary according to 
the news. He sits at the back of the room in a large armchair, 
smoking and reading. 


132 Three Reflections 

Once I saw him crunch up the newspaper in a paroxysm of 
rage, and jump up out of his chair, knocking over a photograph 
on the table to my infinite distress, for, from my side of the way, 
I had studied that photograph for years, and it had become as 
much one of my household gods as I knew it was one of his. 

What it was that annoyed him I don t know, but he strode 
about the room, and at last came to the window, and his eyes 
looked as if they would hop out of their sockets right over the 
way to where I sat in a condition of abject terror. 

He pulled his moustache so fiercely that any other moustache 
would have come off under the tension, and to my disordered 
imagination his moustache seemed to grow in length, so as to 
sweep two-thirds of the way round the bay window. 

Every now and then he cast a savage side-glance at the parrot, 
which was swinging impertinently within its cage and winking ; 
yes, I declare that I saw it myself, winking at him. 

I saw his lips move quickly and both his arms wrathfully 
raised, and I shuddered and turned quite sick with fear. A mist 
came over my eyes. I could look no more : in another instant 
the cage would lie in twisted fragments on the floor and the bird s 
brains would bespatter the ceiling. . . . 

When I had recovered myself sufficiently to look again I found 
he was at the other end of the room, reverently setting the photo 
graph in its old place upon the table, and spasmodically shaking 
his head, which glowed like a hot coal. 

Thank Heaven ! the parrot was comfortably crawling up his 
cage upside down, and the photograph was intact, and so I could 
once more look upon the little picture which did not look larger 
than a five-shilling piece from my window. It was the half- 
length portrait of a young lady in evening dress, cut square, with 
a feather trimming running round the edge of the bodice, and she 


By Stanley V. Makower 133 

had a fuzzy head of hair ; to all of which details, though I 
suppose I must have guessed at them, I am ready to swear. 

Who the lady was of course I do not know, but that she was a 

person much adored by the General is obvious from his conduct on 

the occasion to which I have alluded, and she certainly was not in 

the least like the daughter whom he hated less cordially than his 

other children, and who came from time to time to stay with him. 

She looked a long-suffering young woman, and had a very 

hard time of it whenever she stayed with her father, because of his 

ungovernable temper. For instance, I would dimly discern the 

two figures seated at the back of the room, apparently engaged in 

conversation, when there would suddenly be an upheaval of the 

furniture, a tumultuous confusion, of which I was vaguely aware 

from my place of observation, and then the girl would wander 

away from him to the window and look out ruefully upon the 

row of dull grey houses opposite, with their uniform air of sordid 

respectability. She would stand and watch the people pass under 

the window, the carts and carriages roll by, and sometimes she 

would rub her finger upon the dust-covered glass and make 

patterns on it. 

But she was never allowed to indulge her resentment for long, 
for out of the darkness would emerge the prancing figure of the 
General, who would bear swiftly down upon her and re-open the 
argument until she fled into another part of the room. 

Not very long ago I observed with great anxiety that the 
General did not appear as usual in his sitting-room, and I had to 
content myself with watching the parrot, whose gymnastics and 
whose cold insolent yellow eye began to wear sadly upon my 
nerves. Evidently the General was in bed, and, curiously enough, 
his bedroom was not on the floor above his sitting-room, but at 
the top of his house. 

I have 

134 Three Reflections 

I have often fancied him climbing up, and puffing at each step, 
damning those infernal staircases, and asking questions which he 
did not intend to be answered, then mildly subsiding into a growl 
of " puffickly redicklerse." 

Why he slept at the top of the house I cannot for the life of 
me imagine, and what he did with so large a house all by himself 
was another mystery. The drawing-room floor was shut up and 
the blinds all drawn, and so it has been ever since I can remember, 
so that the outside of the house presents a very strange appearance. 
There is the basement and ground-floor, in which is the sitting- 
room, with the parrot in the window, round which are tall, dirty, 
bedraggled muslin curtains ; then comes the blind-drawn array of 
windows in the next three floors, that seem to shroud from my 
vision some ghost which the General has locked out of sight; 
and then, right at the top, comes an array of smaller windows, 
hung with little frilled curtains of spotted muslin that was 
once white, but has never been anything but a faint grey as far 
back as my memory will take me. These must be the windows 
of his bedroom, and I cannot help thinking that those intermediate 
floors were used in the time of his wife, and that they contained 
a nursery for the children, all of which are such disagreeable 
associations to the old man, that he shut up the whole three floors 
as soon as his wife had died, which I imagine to have been pretty 
soon ; for I have never set eyes on her or on any young children, 
ever since I have lived in the opposite house. 

What the General was like when he was ill I shiver to think ; 
how he must have heaved under the bed clothes in those waves of 
passion that came over him, how impatient he must have been, 
and how rude to the doctors. 

Not long ago he appeared in the sitting-room again, and I saw 
him go through a set of manoeuvres all by himself one afternoon. 


By Stanley V. Makower 135 

He marched up and down the room with a very warlike air and 
brandished a stick at the pictures and ornaments, which he was 
treating as a substitute for the regiments he had once commanded. 
All the time that he moved he was issuing orders, and his 
moustache grew more pointed as he roared out the words or 
command. At last he charged against the mantelpiece, broke a 
vase, the fragments of which he flung all over the room, and then 
sank exhausted into a chair. 

Even the parrot was frightened out of his customary insolence 
and folded himself into quite a small heap at the corner of the 
cage, and the General never moved for the rest of the afternoon. 
There he sat until the invading darkness of the winter day crept 
into the room, blotting the picture on the table from my sight, 
and wrapping the warrior in an impenetrable gloom. I suppose 
he imagined himself wounded in the battlefield, trampled to 
death by horses, with the noise of the cannon and the smell of 
powder all round him. 

The next day the sky went through every shade of grey from 
early morning to evening. The street looked so mournful that 
I had to read my half-column about the mad Russian peasant 
several times before I could make up my mind not to follow her 
example. Perhaps my chief reasons for refraining from doing so 
lay in the facts that I knew of no church that would be suffi 
ciently high, that had I known of one I should never guess how 
to get to the top of it, that, to accomplish my purpose, I should 
have had to go out and so violate the fundamental dogma of my 
religion, and lastly, that I had no children to destroy. 

I looked over the way for consolation, looked to a quarter which 
has never disappointed me yet, and saw that the General and his 
daughter were moving restlessly about the room oppressed by the 
same sense of desolation as that from which I myself was suffering. 


136 Three Reflections 

The girl wandered to the window as usual, and began to play 
with the parrot. She took him out of the cage and he walked up 
her arm bobbing his head majestically at each step. A moment 
afterwards, the General also came to the window, and their lips 
moved in conversation while through the gathering darkness I 
saw the General scratch first the parrot s head, and then his own 
in a soft, undecided way, that made me think that somehow he 
must have confused himself with the bird. 

A milk-boy ran along the street with a cart full of clattering cans, 
of which the dimly reflected image passed, like a film, across the pane 
of glass behind which the two figures stood playing near the cage. 
The General was engaging the parrot s attention, and the girl 
was gazing again mournfully into the street, deprived of the 
distraction which, in an inspired moment of an afternoon spent 
in waiting wearily for tea-time, she had discovered in the caressing 
of the bird. 

Suddenly, just as the milk-boy echoed his dismal cry down the 
street, the General tossed the bird off his hand into the cage, 
shook the clenched fist of his other hand at it in his most violent 
manner, and stalked up and down in the full enjoyment of the 
greatest rage I had ever seen him indulge. 

What the bird had done to this other hand I cannot say, but he 
held it away from him suspended in the air, and through the fierce 
anger which burned in his eyes I fancied I read a look of inex 
pressible wonder at the enormity of the offence which the bird 
had committed. His daughter, meanwhile, hurried about the 
room in a flustered condition, and the General once more 
approached the window, and stroked his moustache with the hand 
which was still undesecrated. Nor could the maimed Nelson 
himself have put more grandeur into the gesture. 

We met the General at the window. At the window let us 


By Stanley V. Makower 137 

take our leave of him, and if you are not satisfied after all that 
I have said that he is a General I may tell you that I do not 
think I only dreamed that one afternoon I saw the General 
ride off to a lev/e, his moustaches drooping nobly in two directions 
out of a hansom. He was dressed in a uniform the colour of which 
was scarcely to be distinguished from that of his face, and on his 
knees lay a magnificent black-plumed hat which was so high that, 
had he put it on his head, it must inevitably have stuck out at the 
top of the cab and looked ridiculous. 

A Landscape 

By Alfred Thornton 

Marcel : An Hotel-Child 

By Lena Milman 

IHAD arrived in Venice, after a long journey, and, with a 
confused impression of lapping water, of shimmering mosaic, 
and one, far more distinct, of discontent with the room allotted 
me, had gone early to bed. My window looked upon a court with a 
well in the middle, and, as I had feared, the drawing of water aroused 
me betimes, so that it was but seven o clock when, exasperated by 
the rattle of the chain which seemed suddenly to have grown 
louder than ever, I got up and went to the window. The clatter 
was accounted for by the inadequate strength that drew the 
handle to and fro. Surrounded by a group of Venetian women, 
each with twin copper pails slung over her shoulder, a little boy, 
evidently a forestier, was pulling with might and main, his foot 
set against the side of the well, his lips tightly pressed together. 
One of the onlookers good-naturedly laid her brown hand over 
his little fair one as though to help him, but : " No, no," he 
cried, " I can do it quite well myself," and, although the words 
were strange to the listeners, the redoubled vigour of his attitude, 
and the little frown, just visible under the brim of his hat, showed 
him impatient of aid. It was a pretty scene, and I watched until 
The Yellow Book Vol. XII. i all 

142 Marcel: An Hotel-Child 

all the pails were filled, and the little lad could let go the handle 
which had left red traces upon his palm. 

Taking off his hat, he leaned for a moment against the wall, 
and I was conscious of an Englishman s innate contempt for a 
picturesque boy, as I looked at the graceful little figure, whose 
lines even the loose sailor s suit sufficed not altogether to disguise, 
and at the fair hair that waved upon the child s forehead. Still 
there was no lack of manliness in the boy s bearing, and he 
bounded into the house in a way which dispelled much of my 

After breakfast, I took a book into the hotel-garden, and was 
fortunate enough to find one of the recesses overlooking the canal 
empty, so that, in the intervals of my desultory reading, I could 
look towards San Giorgio and watch the gondolas go by. The 
garden was full of roses pink, and white, and yellow and, twin 
ing in and out of the stone balustrade, they shed their petals into 
the water. There was just breeze enough stirring to make the 
gondolas at the traghetto sway gently, and to flutter the yellow 
hat-ribbons of two gondoliers whose craft lay just below me. 
There was something about that gondola which attracted attention. 
By the brilliant velvet carpet, by the embroidered flounces of the 
awning, it seemed to struggle against the sombreness of its body, 
and, feeling it to be as thoroughly "bad form" as a pink-lined 
brougham, I was glad to notice that the stars and stripes floated 
at the bows, and not my national ensign. Presently, at a cry of 
"Poppe!" from the hotel, the two gondoliers sprang up, and, 
deftly turning, brought their boat to the water-steps, where a 
gaily-attired lady, and a man, whose yachting-cap but ill became 
him, stood waiting. There was just the length of the boat be 
tween us, so that, as they took their seats, I could hear the man 
say hurriedly : " Don t take the child to-day," and the woman, 


By Lena Milman 143 

with a little pout, answer : " I had promised that he should come, 
but, if he bores you ..." and, just then, my little friend of the 
morning appeared on the top step. He was evidently in the 
highest spirits, and I was amused to see that he wore the yellow 
scarf and sash of a gondolier. He had just leapt eagerly into the 
boat, when the lady said, in a high-pitched American voice : 
" We can t take you to-day, Marcel ; we shall not be back until 
too late, so you must stay and amuse yourself in the hotel." 
cannot bear to see a child disappointed, still less can I bear to see 
a child take disappointment meekly, as this child did. It is well 
for men, for women, to school themselves never to hope where 
they wish, but in children such power of self-repression argues a 
precocity of pain. Poor Marcel ! I saw how his face fell, I even 
saw him glance ruefully down at the fluttering fringes of his sash, 
but all he did was to go silently up to his mother, stoop down to 
kiss her, and leap out of the boat again to watch it out of sight, 
with tears in his eyes. I detest hotel-children, but this one so 
attracted me, that, when at luncheon, I saw him preparing to eat 
a little lonely meal at the table next to mine, I invited him to 
sit with me, and even told him how sorry I had been for his 

" I was sitting in the garden and saw the start," I explained. 

" It was Monsieur s fault," said the child ; " he is often like that. 
Mother always lets me go with her, but mother s friends always 
want her all to themselves." 

He spoke in a tone so matter-of-fact, that I thought that it 
must be forced and glanced uneasily at him, fearing lest I should 
discern some look of precocious sarcasm ; but the child s eyes 
were innocent of mirth, and all his attention seemed devoted to 
the tangled skein of macaroni before him, which he was endeavour 
ing to wind into his mouth, Italian-fashion, 

I see 

144 Marcel : An Hotel-Child 

" I see that you are quite an old Italian," I said, pointing my 
fork at his plate. " I still chop my macaroni into inches, and even 
then I find it unmanageable." 

" Mother and I have been in Europe ever since I can remember, 
but generally we are at Nice ; it depends on mother s friends. 
I like Venice, but I have no one to play with." 

I wondered at this, for the hotel seemed swarming with English- 
speaking girls and boys. But my new friend gave me no time 
for thought, as, with a little sigh of relief expressive of difficulty 
overcome, he laid his fork down upon his empty plate, and, 
evidently glad of a listener, told me of the English tutor who had 
given him lessons at Nice, not only in Latin and Greek, but also 
in cricket ; of how his mother sometimes talked of putting him to 
school in England ; of how Baldassare, the gondolier, had begun 
to teach him to row ; and he showed me a little white blister on the 
palm of his hand, which testified to his exertions of the day before. 

" Which way did you go ? " I inquired. 

"Just beyond the Giudecca. But we couldn t go far, as 
Monsieur wanted the gondola after dinner again." 

" Is Monsieur a Frenchman ? " I asked. 

" Yes," was the laconic answer, from which I gathered that 
Marcel thought Monsieur unworthy of further remark. 

I had feared that, after luncheon, the child might hang heavy on 
hand, but, no he said: "Thank you for letting me sit with 
you ! " and disappeared by the lift. 

I was sitting smoking in the cabin-like hall, when, on an 
opposite sofa, I recognised a Mrs. Campbell, who had been my 
fellow-sojourner at Territet six months before, and crossed over 
to speak to her. Presently we were deep in memories of Geneva, 
which she interrupted to say : " I thought I saw you at luncheon 
with Marcel Van Lunn." 

"I did 

By Lena Milmari 145 

" I did not so much as know the child s name, but I felt sorry 
for him, seeing him alone, and invited him to sit at my table. 
Who is he ? " 

Mrs. Campbell desired nothing better than to impart informa 
tion : 

" Poor child ! I too am sorry for him. But, though I am often in 
the same hotel, I dare not take much notice of him, on account of 
his impossible mother. I have to be careful on account of Felise." 
(This was Mrs. Campbell s stolid daughter.) 

Before ten minutes were passed, I was fully informed as to Mrs. 
Van Lunn s utter impossibility from the point of view of society. 
Monsieur his name was Casimir Portel was not her first 
travelling companion ; others might succeed him. Worse still, 
such was her notoriety on the Riviera, that she was known as 
" Sally Lunn ! " I cared not at all, as far as Mrs. Van Lunn was 
concerned, but, as I listened to the sordid story, I saw again the 
pathetic profile of Marcel, and felt gloomily conscious of my 
impotence to avert the misery which I saw threaten. 

That afternoon I wandered into the Piazza, and, as I sipped 
my coffee, espied at a table, not far off, Marcel, his mother, and 
Monsieur. The child seemed happy enough eating an ice, and, 
his back being turned to me, I had the better opportunity for 
studying his mother. She must have seen five-and-thirty summers, 
but, by much artifice, she had knocked off some ten of them to 
the superficial observer. 

" Pretty ? " I hesitated ere I answered the self-imposed question. 
" Yes ! decidedly pretty, but more remarkably well-dressed." The 
face, framed in wavy bronze hair, was irregular, but the soft skin, 
the very red lips, and bright eyes, would doubtless have made most 
men forgive the little blunt nose and the square chin, which, 
to women, would have seemed the most remarkable features. 


146 Marcel : An Hotel-Child 

Monsieur was far less attractive. He was tilting his chair back, 
so that I had a full view of him, from his low-crowned sailor-hat 
to his high-heeled boots ; and I noticed how he looked defiantly 
round, in a way which rather challenged attention from the passers- 
by to his fair companion than made it appear impertinent. He 
had small eyes and a mouth of almost African coarseness, which 
last he was at no pains to conceal, for, as he looked round at the 
company, he twisted first one side of his moustache and then the 

" Dfyecke tol done" I heard him say to Marcel, who seemed 
trying to make the delight of the ice as lasting as possible, by 
consuming it in almost imperceptible mouthfuls. " Nous fattendom 
dfja depuis une demi-beure" and he rapped impatiently upon the tray 
for the waiter, who was just then giving me my change. 

During the next few days, my time was so taken up with sight 
seeing, that I saw no more of Marcel, except at meals and from a 
distance. But, returning one day past San Moise, I espied the 
painted chalice and waving red over the door, which announce 
Exposition. I am not a Catholic, but the Devotion of the Forty 
Hours so strongly appeals to me, that I pushed aside the buff 
curtain and went in. The church is architecturally one of the 
most contemptible in Venice, but riotous Rococo is admirably 
adapted for the display of festal crimson and gold, and that after 
noon the impression was to me altogether delightful. The altar, 
agleam with lights, the faithful kneeling here and there in twos 
and threes or genuflecting as they passed to and fro, the silence 
within, made the more conspicuous by contrast with the noise of 
the calle without, the church, a palatial Presence-chamber, in which 
I gladly lingered. I was still standing just inside when, my eyes 
becoming more accustomed to the dim light, I recognised a little 
kneeling figure not far off as Marcel s. I was surprised, I confess, 


By Lena Milman 147 

but the child s praying made the place more solemn than ever. 
So solemn, indeed, that I felt an intruder, and slipped out into the 
air again. I was crossing the bridge, when I heard a light foot 
fall and Marcel s voice greeted me. I said nothing about having 
seen him in church, but he began of his own accord. 

" Don t tell Monsieur that you saw me in San MoTse. I don t 
mind mother s knowing, but Monsieur is what they call a Liberal, 
and so he always laughs at me for going to church." 

The sarcasm of the deduction was quite lost upon the child, 
and, since I was not acquainted with Monsieur, I explained that 
there was no fear of my telling tales. 

I intended going to Torcello next day, and it struck me that 
the child might enjoy a day on the lagoons, so I invited him to 
come too. He accepted at once, evidently in no fear that anyone 
else should want his company. " May I bring my oar ? " he 
asked. Any excuse for loitering on the lagoons being welcome, I 
gladly consented, and accordingly at eleven o clock next morning, 
Marcel and I set off. 

He had put on his gondolier s dress, and I thought that Mrs. 
Van Lunn, at her entresol window, looked quite proud of her son 
as he waved his hand to her. 

" This is Mr. Rivers," shouted Marcel, rather to my confusion, 
but I took off my hat, the lady bowed graciously, and I felt that 
I had only myself to thank for the acquaintance of Mrs. Van 

I am an old Venetian, but the delights of the place never pall, 
and now, as I lay back upon the cushions, the eager child s face 
beside me was an added pleasure as he told me how often he had 
longed to go to Torcello, and how his mother s dislike to long 
excursions (" They tire her so," he explained), had always pre 
vented his going. 


148 Marcel: An Hotel-Child 

The contrast between sun and shade is never more marked 
than at Venice, when, from the gloom of narrow canals, the gon 
dola shoots out on to the lagoon. That day there was not enough 
wind to ruffle the surface of the water, which was as smooth as 
the sky, so that the islands seemed hanging in mid-air, and the 
velvet folds of the distant Alps fell immediately into the sea. 
Fishing-boats with tawny sails floated by, bearing sacred symbols 
as in solemn procession ; here and there in the shallows, brown- 
limbed boys waded after shell-fish. 

To my joy, my companion spoke but little until we neared 
San Francesco in Destrto, where I had planned lunching ; with 
its associations, its stone-pine, its cypresses, its meadow, and its 
monastery, no island of the lagoons has for me a charm like this 
one, and, while the gondoliers were getting luncheon ready upon 
a daisy-strewn bank under the cypress shade, I took Marcel to 
see the cloisters and the chapel. The brother who admitted us 
was delighted with the child s reverence and interest : " Cattolico ! " 
he said ; and I saw no reason to distress him by contradiction. 

As we ate our luncheon, I told Marcel the story of St. Francis s 
famous sermon to the birds, and, appropriately enough, the larks 
sang over our heads, while the child, lying full length among the 
flowers, sought them in the blue. 

" Last time I listened to the larks," he said, " I was in England. 
Mother had a little house near Ascot, and I never enjoyed myself 
so much, for I had her all to myself all day long. We did not 
know any of the people who lived round there." 

He paused a moment, and then, as if impelled to speak of what 
had long been in his thoughts, he said, still looking up at the 
sky : 

"Why is it, I wonder, that Felise Campbell is no longer 
allowed to play with me I Mother says that it is because I m an 


By Lena Milman 149 

American, and so Mrs. Campbell is afraid lest Fe"lise should grow 
to talk like me. Mother says that I ought to be proud of being 
an American, and so I am -, but I should like some one to play 
with all the same. Besides, I don t think that mother can have 
guessed the right reason, for there were some very noisy Ameri 
can children in the hotel last week, and you must have seen 
Fdlise romping with them all day long. So what do you think is 
the real reason, Mr. Rivers ? " and here the speaker rolled over on 
the grass and faced me. 

It was morally impossible for me tell the truth, it was men 
tally impossible for me to invent an answer then and there, while 
Marcel s trusting blue eyes were fixed upon mine, so I evaded 
the question by throwing a stone into the water and saying : 

" Do let us talk of something more interesting than Mrs. 
Campbell s reason or unreason. Tell me about your life at 
Ascot ? Had you no friends of your own there ? " 

" Yes ! I had one great friend : Father Simeon. He is one of 
the fathers at the convent, which was the next house to ours ; 
and I used to go to him every day for Latin. That was how I 
grew to wish to be a Catholic, for Father Simeon played the 
organ at Mass and Benediction, and he used often to let me sit 
up in the gallery with him. Mother had given permission for 
me to be received, when, one day, Monsieur came down and 
heard of it. He made a dreadful fuss, insisted upon my lessons 
being stopped, and, when Father Simeon called to inquire after 
me, treated him so rudely that he never came back. I think, 
though, that he wrote me a letter, for I noticed how Monsieur 
walked down the drive to meet the postman for some time after, 
until, one day, I saw him slip a letter into his pocket and, though 
I cannot be sure, I think that I recognised the convent note- 
paper. Soon after we left for Nice, and I went to mother and asked 


150 Marcel: An Hotel-Child 

whether I might write to Father Simeon. She said that I might 
do so, and undertook to post the letter herself. I only wrote a 
few lines to say how sorry I was not to see him again, and that I 
hoped that some day he would write to me ; but, although I was 
careful to give him the address, he has never written, or, if he has, 
the letter must have been lost. When I am a man I shall be a 
Catholic and take mother to church with me. She will not need 
Monsieur for an escort then, will she ? When shall I be old 
enough to take care of mother, Mr. Rivers ? I was ten last 

" Oh, you will want to be a good many years older and wiser ! " 
I said ; " and you must learn to take care of yourself first, and not 
come out for an excursion, as I see that you have done to-day, 
with no great-coat to put on when it turns chilly ! " 

" May I row now ? " asked Marcel, eagerly, as, from below the 
great cross at the landing-stage, we pushed off for Torcello, and, 
taking my consent for granted, he sprang up even as he spoke, 
and bade the gondolier take his oar out of the rest. The man 
was willing enough to sit idly down opposite me and watch his 
little substitute. We made the slower progress, and occasionally 
the child s oar slipped ; but he was skilful enough on the whole, 
and the rhythmic sway of the little figure, all within my line of 
sight, so soothed me, that I was between sleeping and waking, 
until roused by Marcel s throwing himself panting down at my 
side. He looked very much over-heated, I thought, and I insisted 
upon his putting on one of the wraps which I had with me. 

" Monsieur is always so impatient when I row," said Marcel, 
as soon as he had recovered his breath. " I have no sooner got 
into the swing than he bids me stop." 

" Perhaps he is more careful of you than I have been ! " I 


By Lena Milman 151 

But "Oh, no! It s not that!" was the answer in tones so 
positive as to admit of no contradiction. 

Presently the child went on : " Sometimes I think that the 
reason people don t care about me has to do with Monsieur. I 
remember that when mother and I were together at Nice last 
year, people were very kind to me, until Monsieur arrived, but 
after that I had no more invitations, and some even pretended 
not to see me when they met me in the street. I shouldn t 
have minded so much for myself, but I could see that mother 
noticed it. Oh ! how I wish I were a man ! " 

It was but a few days later that I received news recalling me 
to England, and I was quite touched at the regret Marcel ex 
pressed. I gathered from the poor child that henceforward he 
would have once more to choose between solitude and making an 
unwelcome third with his mother and Monsieur, of whom the 
latter was at no pains to conceal his impatience of Marcel s com 
pany even at meals. The child begged me to let him come to 
see me off, and, on the way to the station, asked me for my card, 
and whether he might write to me. I had grown really fond of 
him, and gladly consented. 

"We are going south in the spring," he said, as he stood on 
the platform, " but I will send you our address. Do go on being 
my friend, Mr. Rivers ! " 

That was the last sentence I heard as the train moved off, and 
I had no time to reply. 


On my return to England, I did not forget to write to Marcel, 
but before hearing from him in answer, I unexpectedly succeeded, 
by the death of a distant relation, to a small estate in the West 


152 Marcel: An Hotel-Child 

Indies, and was obliged to go out there without delay. I was 
abroad for over twelve months, during which time I had but little 
leisure and a sharp attack of fever, which two circumstances, com 
bined with the lack of a fixed address, led me to postpone writing 
to my little friend. When at length I returned home, I felt rather 
remorseful at finding among the letters awaiting me two or three 
directed in a childish hand, which I recognised as Marcel s. They 
were as little informing as children s letters are wont to be, and 
the last one bearing a date some six months old expressed dis 
appointment at my long silence, and gave me an address which 
would find the writer but for the next few weeks. The time had 
so long passed by, that it had been unavailing forme to write, and 
I felt regretfully how likely it was that I should never see Marcel 

The following spring, however, I set off as usual for Italy, and 
one wet day at Naples, was idly turning over the leaves of the hotel 
visitors book, when, among recent entries, I read the following : 

Mrs. Hyman F. Van Lunn, 
Marcel Van Lunn, U.S.A. 

I was standing in the bureau of the hotel at the time, so I 
inquired of the clerk whether he knew what had been the Van 
Lunns destination. At first it seemed as though the man had no 
recollection of them at all. Certainly no address had been left for 
possible letters, but the landlord, happening to come in and over 
hearing my inquiries, reminded the clerk of Marcel, of whom he 
spoke as " le petit du numero soixante-dix qui jouait toujours de la 
mandoline tout seul dans sa chambre" So I learned that Mrs. Van 
Lunn and her son had spent a fortnight at Naples, and had then 
gone by steamer to Palermo. I hardly know how much a wish 
to see Marcel had to do with it, but I fancy that the child must 


By Lena Milman 153 

have excited more interest in me than I admitted to myself ; 
for certainly a languid wish to see Sicily suddenly toughened to a 
determination. The rain had ceased, and the Mediterranean 
glittered alluringly in the pale afternoon sun. There seemed 
nothing to detain me in Naples. A steamer was to start that 
very evening, and, taking a berth, I started for Palermo. There is 
practically but one hotel, so I was not surprised to read Marcel s 
name on the register as, among a crowd of other travellers, 
I stood awaiting the landlord s pleasure in the hall ; nor did I fail 
to notice that, whereas Mrs. Van Lunn had a suite au premier^ 
the number of her son s room was in three figures. 

I had half expected to see him at luncheon-time, but not doing 
so, I made my way to his room, which was in the same passage 
as mine, but on the opposite side. As I drew near the door, I 
heard the tremolo of a mandoline within. It was Marcel, and he 
was singing " Carmela " in such Neapolitan as he could com 
mand : 

Sleep on, Carmela ! 

Sweeter far than living tis to dream. 

I knocked ; the singer stopped and came to open. I received a 
warm welcome. 

" I was afraid that I should never see you again, Mr. Rivers," 
said Marcel, as, his hand on my arm, he led me to a chair next 
the window ; " and, ever since I said good-bye at Venice, I seem 
to have been collecting things to tell you ! You must have heard 
me singing Carmela. Don t you remember how they used to 
sing it on the Grand Canal that year ? But I had no mandoline 
then. Mrs. Campbell gave it to me when she left. She told me 
that F61ise could make nothing of it ! You never had much 
opinion of Fe"lise, had you, Mr. Rivers ? " and Marcel, laughing 


154 Marcel: An Hotel-Child 

merrily at my gesture expressive of the weariness with which the 
very mention of F&ise filled me, at once changed the subject to 
one more interesting. 

" Have you been to Monreale yet, Mr. Rivers ? I have only 
been once. Mother let me sit on the box the first time she drove 
out there." (From this I judged that Mrs. Van Lunn was not 
alone at Palermo !) " May I go there with you ? The terrace 
is full of flowers now, and the custode will let us lunch there. I 
have never forgotten our luncheon on that island," and so saying, 
he pointed to a photograph of San Francesco in Deserto, which 
was pinned to the wall. 

It saddened me, as I looked round, to see evidences of this being 
the poor child s living-room as well as bedroom. A folding 
music-desk stood in one corner, while the dressing-table was littered 
with books and papers. The window looked into the garden, 
thickly planted with fantastic tropical plants, one great date- 
palm growing so near that one could all but touch the spiky 

" I think that your room is too near the garden to be quite 
healthy," I remarked. " What does your mother say about 

" Mother finds the stairs tiring, and she is afraid of lifts," said 
the child, colouring. " She has never been up here ; her rooms 
are nearly as far from mine as you remember they were at Venice. 
I have often asked Salvatore, our courier, to take a room for me 
close to hers, but he never does." 

Spite of the schoolboy s jacket and trousers which replaced the 
sailor-suit, Marcel looked little less of a child than he had done at 
Venice ; but I was glad to notice that his head was now quite on 
a level with my shoulder, and so his fragile appearance might 
merely result from his having outgrown his strength. 

I asked 

By Lena Milman 155 

I asked him to come out with me and show me my way about 
the town, which he eagerly consented to do. 

So it was that, for the next fortnight I saw a great deal of Marcel, 
and even exchanged a few words with his mother, and a cold 
bow or two with Monsieur, who, in a suit of tight white flannels, 
lolled about the hall. My first impression of Marcel, as singularly 
little changed in the last two years, was much modified. He had 
grown more serious, and now never referred to his dislike to 
Monsieur, although I could see that it had in no wise lessened. 
His eagerness for information showed me that his neglected edu 
cation was a grief to him, and I had soon made up my mind that, 
before again bidding him good-bye, I would overcome my 
reluctance to seek an interview, and approach his mother upon the 
subject of sending her son to school. Marcel s resolve of being a 
Catholic was as strong as ever, and the devotion which he paid at 
the Lady-altar of any church we happened to enter especially struck 
me. Poor child ! It was as though he had a conviction (never 
confessed even to himself) that he needed a woman s love, such as 
his own mother refused him, and sought and found it in the 
Divine Mother of God. Would not a sexless Protestantism have 
left his childish heart uncomforted ? In his room I noticed a 
little figure of the blue-robed Immacolata on her crescent, and I 
wondered whether the day would come when he would know how 
unfitted was the portrait of his mother to stand beside it. 

One day Marcel told me what he considered delightful tidings. 
Monsieur was going away on business to Naples, while his mother 
stayed on at Palermo. This being so, I felt that Marcel stood in 
no need of my company, and I decided to seize the opportunity of 
making a tour of the island, returning to Palermo in a fortnight s 
time, and postponing until then the interview with Mrs. Van 
Lunn on her son s behalf. Marcel was so elated at Monsieur s 


156 Marcel: An Hotel-Child 

departure that he hardly expressed regret at mine, since I promised 
to return so soon. He would like to write to me though, he said, 
but, as I was travelling chiefly by sea, I could only give him the 
name of the hotel at Taormina, at which I intended spending the 
last few days of my fortnight. 

Marcel was usually so methodical that I wondered at rinding 
no letter awaiting me, nor did I receive any during my four days 
sojourn at Taormina. Again, at the station at Palermo, there 
was no Marcel, although at parting he had eagerly volunteered to 
meet me, and although I had not failed to send a post-card giving 
the time of my arrival. Could it be that Mrs. Van Lunn had 
already gone ? I inquired of the landlord as soon as I reached 
the hotel. " He is here ! " was the answer, " he has been ill ever 
since you went away," and I noticed how Signor Tiziano lowered 
his voice as a group of visitors went by. 

" But what is the matter ? " I asked impatiently. 

" Oh, a feverish attack ; but I must beg of you, sir, to say 
nothing about it. It will do me so much harm if it is known 
that there is any sickness in the house. But here comes the 
English doctor ! " 

I gladly left Signor Tiziano s side to inquire of the doctor after 
his little patient. 

He looked very grave. " It s a serious case," he said, as I 
followed him out of the hotel ; " Malarial fever, caught from 
sleeping in one of the rooms looking on the garden. At this 
season they are most unhealthy, but Tiziano always gives them 
when no particular inquiries are made, as seems to have been the 
case in this instance. The child seems strangely lacking in re 
cuperative force, but to-day there is a decided improvement. He 
has often asked for you, but, as I hope he may sleep, I must beg 
of you to wait until to-morrow to see him. Can you tell me, by 


By Lena Milman 157 

the way, whether the child is a Catholic ? The mother denies 
it, but certainly, in his delirium, he would constantly repeat pas 
sages of the Rosary." 

I gave what information I could about Marcel s religion. " He 
is far too much alone," I added, " his is not a morbid tempera 
ment though a sensitive one, but his life has been too empty of 
the amusements natural to his age." 

At ten o clock next morning the doctor knocked at my door : 
"Will you come to see the child now ? " he said ; and I followed 

I was prepared for a great change in Marcel, but not for so 
great a one as I found. His curls had been shorn, so that the 
little thin face was outlined sharply upon the pillow. Too 
weak to greet me except by a little smile, I noticed how the 
hand that lay upon the sheet moved restlessly, and I took hold 
of it to find the fingers scarcely able to return the slightest 

I sat down beside him. " I am so grieved to find you like 
this," I said ; " now, I shall not leave you until you have grown 
quite strong again." The room struck me as sadder than sick 
rooms are wont to be. All Marcel s little belongings were 
heaped together in one corner, and covered with a sheet, through 
which I could trace the gourd-like outline of his mandoline. 
The photographs and music had been stripped from the walls, and 
all that was left was the crucifix over his head, from behind 
which a plaited palm, which he had jealously guarded, had been 
ruthlessly torn. On the table beside him, among an array of 
medicine bottles, soared the Immacolata. His mother s portrait 
lay on the bed within reach of his hand. The palm-leaves with 
out, swayed by the sirocco, seemed to wave menaces. I sat there 
for some time stroking the hand that lay so passively in mine, and 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. K was 

158 Marcel: An Hotel-Child 

was glad to see that, far from exciting, my presence seemed to 
soothe the invalid, so that he soon fell asleep. I was so afraid of 
moving, lest I should awake him, that I did not get up when 
Mrs. Van Lunn came in. Apparently, she had come on my 
account rather than her child s, for, almost without glancing at 
him, she handed me a visiting-card, on which I read the words : 
"Will you come to see me this afternoon ? Room 15." It was 
no time for ceremony so I merely bowed my head in assent, and 
she hurried away. 

Directly after luncheon, I bade a waiter announce me to 
Mrs. Van Lunn, whom, to my surprise, I found in a room 
encumbered with luggage. She wasted a little time in pre 
liminary apologies for the untidiness of her salon, and then said 
that she ventured to ask me to do her a service, which she had 
the less hesitation in asking, as she had noticed the kind 
interest which I took in Marcel, of whom she spoke as her 
" dear child." 

Shortly, apart from many specious excuses, she proposed leaving 
her only child, whom she knew to be, at least, seriously ill, in the 
care of a stranger. She had received a telegram, she said, sum 
moning her to Naples on business, and go she must, by the 
evening steamer. She had observed my kind feeling for Marcel, 
and she hoped that, if I were staying on at Palermo, I would 
look in occasionally, and see that he was receiving proper atten 
tion. She said that the child was so fond of me that she felt 
quite happy about leaving him, and she had left a cheque with 
Signor Tiziano. 

I was so amazed at the woman s effrontery that I found myself 
stammering consent in disjointed sentences, and not doing what, 
all the while, I felt to be my duty, namely, to urge her to delay 
her start at least for a few days, lest the sorrow for her departure 


By Lena Milman 159 

should throw the child back again. I made the litter of packing 
in the room an excuse for hastily taking my leave, merely begging 
her not to omit to assure Marcel that I would stay with him until 
she returned, which she said she would certainly do within a week 
or two. 

I happened to be sitting, writing on my knee beside Marcel s 
bed, when his mother came to tell him she was going away, but : 

" Do not let me disturb you," she said, " I can only stay a 

I could see by the way his countenance changed that her 
travelling dress had partly prepared Marcel for the announcement 
she came to make. She leant over to kiss him, "Marcel," she 
said, " I am obliged to go away for a few days ; mind that you do 
all that Mr. Rivers bids you, and next week I shall hope to find 
you almost yourself again. The doctor tells me that you are 
getting on famously." 

Marcel would have suffered anything at his mother s hands 
without a murmur, and, though I saw his lips tremble, he merely 
whispered : 

" Good-bye, mother ! " and Mrs. Van Lunn s red lips brushed 
her son s forehead, her tightly gloved hand was laid but for a 
moment in mine, before, with a tinkle of the little gold lucky- 
bell at her wrist, she went her way. I sat down to my 
writing again, and, when next I looked up, Marcel s eyes were 

" Be a good, brave boy ! " I said, laying my hand on his, which 
were tightly clasped together, and he smiled through his tears as 
he said : " After all it is Monsieur s fault, mother did not want to 
leave me." 

Next morning I inquired anxiously of the nursing-sister how 
he had slept, and was relieved at her fairly good report. Once, 


160 Marcel: An Hotel-Child 

indeed she told me that he had started from his pillow crying : " I 
hate him, I hate him," and the words were so unlike her gentle 
little patient that she had feared a return of fever, but none such 
had ensued. I knew only too well to whom these words referred, 
and I knew too that this hatred had been begotten of love, as such 
hates are. 

The convalescence was so slow that the doctor recommended a 
move to the sunny side of the house. Signor Tiziano was loth to 
allow it. He said that if it once got about that there was sickness 
in the house, his season was spoilt ; but I insisted, and at last he 
consented on condition that the move was made under his personal 
supervision and after dark. Accordingly the room was made 
ready and, at dead of night, Signor Tiziano in his stockinged 
feet held the light before me as I carried Marcel through the 
passages. Spite of the many blankets in which he was wrapped, 
I was quite shocked at the lightness of my burden. As events 
proved, we were only too successful in effecting the change 

The child s strength was gradually returning, and he had even 
walked twice up and down the room supporting himself by chairs 
and tables, when one day I looked into his room on my way out. 
The sister with her finger on her lip, pointed to where the little 
invalid lay calmly asleep upon a sofa. Softly I closed the door 
behind me, but hardly had I done so, when it appears that the 
sister thought of something she required from the chemist s, and, 
running after me, stopped me a few minutes in the hall. What 
happened in the interval I learned later ! 

The room next to Marcel s had been empty some days, but, as 
I had passed down the passage, I had noticed a portmanteau at 
the door and had recognised the initials as belonging to an 
English family called Ford, whom I had known slightly at 


By Lena Milman 161 

Geneva and whom I had grown to know better during my 
stay at Palermo. Mrs. Ford told me how that morning she 
and her sister (not knowing that Marcel was next door) fell 
to discussing Mrs. Vann Lunn, whom they had seen and observed 
at Nice. 

"I could forgive her anything save her neglect of that dear 
child," said Mrs. Ford ; "he is in the hotel now, ill with fever, 
from which a little care would have preserved him, while she has 
gone to amuse herself at Naples." 

While she was speaking, she heard a soft knock, and almost 
before she had had time to answer, the door was pushed open with 
a jerk, and Marcel, supporting himself by the handle, stood before 
her. Wasted with illness, a feverish flush upon his cheek, he 
exclaimed: "It is not true! Indeed, indeed, it is not true. 
Mother stayed here until the doctor said I was nearly all right 
again, and she did not want to go. It was Monsieur who made 
her, and she is ever so fond of me and ever so kind, and I love 
her more than . . ." the poor child s voice failed and Mrs. Ford 
caught him as he fell. Marcel had fainted. 

The nurse came along the passage just then, and met the two 
terrified ladies carrying the boy back to his room. It was some 
time ere he recovered consciousness, and, even before the doctor 
came, I knew the truth : this last effort had overtaxed his feeble 
stock of strength he was dying. 

I lost no time in telegraphing for his mother and I told Marcel 
that I had done so, for, although giving no hope of his recovery, 
the Doctor said that he might last a week. 

Poor child ! he seemed clinging to life, and the way in which 
he eagerly looked towards the door when any one came in or even 
when there were footsteps in the passage, told me for whose 
coming he chiefly longed. What could I do ? Mrs. Van Lunn 


1 62 Marcel: An Hotel-Child 

was possibly hurrying to him, possibly she had gone on beyond 
Naples and the telegram had not reached her (I have an English 
man s distrust of foreign posts). So I thought as I stood beside 
the bedside, grieving that, though Marcel looked the more 
piteous when I left him, I was powerless to give him his 
heart s desire. Suddenly my eye fell upon the Immacolata, who 
was the more conspicuous that, since the child was beyond 
human aid, there was little need of medicine bottles. Marcel s 
own mother had failed him, what of letting him draw nearer 
to the Mother of God ? I laid the blue and white statuette 
upon the sheet before him and whispered, using the idiom 
which I knew to be familiar to him, "Would it be any comfort 
to you if I went to San Giuseppe s, and asked the priest to 
* receive you ? " 

We had forbidden him to speak and he was very docile, so he 
merely bowed his head in assent, while an expression of real delight 
came over the wan little face. I told the nursing-sister in a few 
words what I intended to do, and she was quite overcome with 
joy. It had been such a grief to her, she said, when she heard 
that the child was only at heart a Catholic, and therefore would be 
denied the last sacraments. 

It was still so early that I met the priest in the church, preceded 
by a tiny server about to celebrate Mass. I formed his con 
gregation in a side-chapel, and followed him into the sacristy, 
where my Italian but just sufficed to tell him what I needed. I 
explained how Marcel had been instructed two years ago, had 
constantly attended Mass and read the books given him by Father 
Simeon. I told him, too, that the child understood a fair amount 
of Latin. I was not personally attracted by the good Father. 
He was evidently of the peasant class and totally uneducated 
in all but theology. For a moment, my heretic blood rebelled 


By Lena Milman 163 

against the idea of the gross, unkempt man having any dealings 
with the pure little body and soul of Marcel. But, as I talked, a 
light of real enthusiasm lit up the coarsely-moulded face, so that I 
lost sight of the man in the priest, and eagerly accepted his offer of 
coming there and then. 

The ceremony was a short one, merely conditional Baptism, and 
the expression of peace on the little convert s face more than repaid 
me for the responsibility which I had taken. He was sinking. 
There was no doubt of that, and it pained me to see how, even 
now, his eyes were constantly fixed upon the door. Evidently 
the hope of seeing his mother had not quite died out. The end 
came even sooner than we had feared. Three days after his 
"reception" I was sitting beside him, when I saw his lips move 
and bent down to listen : 

" Tell her that I forgive . . ." But the effort to speak even so 
few words brought on so alarming an attack of faintness that I 
sent for the priest, who hastened to administer Extreme Unction. 
The nursing-sister and I were quite overcome with grief, but there 
was little suffering. Only a few moments of gasping for breath, 
the hands let go their hold of the Immacolata, a look of almost 
rapture was in his eyes as a little sobbing cry of " Mother ! " 
burst from him, and so startled me that I, too, turned and looked 
towards the door, expecting to see that Mrs. Van Lunn had 
indeed come. But, no ! and, when again I looked at the little 
figure in the bed, I saw that all was over. 

Was it a vision of the blue-robed, star-crowned Madonna that 
he had so greeted, or one of Mrs. Van Lunn, in her Doucet tra 
velling suit, as he had seen her last, as he had so longed to see 
her again ? 


It was about six months after this that, one day in Paris, my 


1 64 Marcel : An Hotel-Child 

eye, catching sight of a familiar name among the society para 
graphs in Galignani, I read the following announcement : 

Wedding. At the American Church of the Ascension, on Thursday, 
the loth inst., Lillie, widow of Hyman F. Van Lunn, of Kansas, 
U.S.A., was married to M. Casimir Portel, of the Villa Paradis, Nice. 

So Mrs. Van Lunn was rangh. The obstacle had been 

To Rollo 

Untimely Taken 

By Kenneth Grahame 

PUPPY, yours a pleasant grave, 
Where the seeding grasses wave ! 
Now on frolic morns the kitten 
Over you, once scratched and bitten 
Still forgiving ! plays alone. 
You, who planted many a bone, 
Planted now yourself, repose, 
Tranquil tail, incurious nose ! 
Chased no more, the indifferent bee 
Drones a sun-steeped elegy. 

Tuppy , where long grasses wave. 

Surely yours a pleasant grave ! 

" Whom the gods love " was this why, 
Rollo, you must early die ? 
Cheerless lay the realms of night 
Now your small unconquered sprite 
(Still familiar, as with us) 
Bites the ears of Cerberus : 


1 66 To Rollo 

Chases Pluto, Lord of Hell, 
Round the fields of asphodel : 
Sinks to sleep at last, supine 
On the lap of Proserpine ! 

While your earthly part shall pass, 
Puppy y into flowers and grass ! 

The Restless River 

By Evelyn Sharp 

THE land of Nonamia was once ruled by an extremely 
original Queen. Even her childhood had been exceptional, 
for, although the fairies had been invited as usual to her christen 
ing, not one of them had spoilt the fun by making unpleasant 
predictions, and not one of them had given her a single gift, that 
could be of any use to her afterwards. So the Queen of Nonamia 
had nothing to help her through life, except her own wits ; she 
was not even beautiful, and her chief virtue was the patience she 
showed for the eternal stupidity of the Nonamiacs. There was 
a King of Nonamia, too, but no one knew anything about him, 
except that he was the husband of the Queen of Nonamia ; and 
that, indeed, was the most distinctive thing that could be said 
about him. For the marriage of the Queen had been just as 
original as everything else about her. She employed none of the 
usual devices for obtaining an interesting husband, but merely 
sent into the next country for the eldest son of the reigning 

" I decline to marry a tailor merely because he has killed a few 
giants, or outwitted a bear," she declared to her guardians, when 
they naturally objected to such an obvious mode of selection. 
" He is a tailor, for all that ; and the same may be said of the 

woodcutter s 

1 68 The Restless River 

woodcutter s son, who has contrived to climb a beanstalk with 
success. / am the Queen of Nonamia, and I am going to marry 
a prince, and he shall not be a younger son. Younger sons are 
greatly overrated, just because they are clever enough to do 
things. Who wants to marry a man because he can do 
things ? " 

The King of Nonamia had not done very much before he 
married the Queen. But he came, when he was sent for ; and, for 
the rest of his life, he only did what the Queen told him. And 
the Queen told him very little. 

When they came to have a son, the King supposed they 
would have to select a fairy to be its godmother. His wife 
smiled upon him, leniently. She never realised the success of her 
marriage so much as when the King made suggestions she was 
able to contradict. 

" That is so like you, dearest," she said. And the King was 
immensely pleased at being told he was like himself. But the 
Queen of Nonamia looked at the features of the baby Prince, as 
he lay in his cradle of rose leaves ; and she saw that they were 
the features of his kingly father, her husband, and she nodded her 
head, thoughtfully. " That child will need bringing up," she 
said. u Why not a fairy godfather ? I could manage a godfather, 
but a godmother would want to manage me, and I could not 
endure that for a moment." 

So the little Prince of Nonamia had a fairy godfather. 
The Nonamiacs had never heard of such a thing before; but 
the Queen of Nonamia did so many things that had never been 
heard of before, that one, more or less, made very little difference. 
And they were bound to acknowledge, that a fairy godfather was, 
in many ways, a great improvement. He arrived on foot, to 
begin with, and walked in at the front door, instead of coming 


By Evelyn Sharp 169 

down with a bang, in a cloud of blue smoke, after keeping every 
body waiting. And he caused no jealousy among the fairies, 
who had not been asked to be godmothers ; and he talked just like 
every one else, only not quite so much. In fact, there was 
nothing to distinguish him from quite an ordinary person. 

One or two people complained of the lack of excitement. " It 
is not in the least like a royal christening," they grumbled. 
" Surely, it is time something began to go wrong ? " 

But the least stupid of the Nonamiacs shook their heads. 
"You forget," they said, "that the usual things never happen to 
the Queen of Nonamia." 

When the banquet was over, the fairy godfather was taken to 
the cradle of the royal infant. He looked at it for a long time, 
without speaking, which, again, was a feat that no fairy god 
mother had ever been known to accomplish ; and he nervously 
declined the honour of taking the baby in his arms. "He is no 
godfather at all," complained the royal nurses, who disliked 
innovations ; but, although he knew perfectly well what they 
were thinking, he did not trouble to bewitch them for it, and 
merely continued to look at the little Prince. 

" Well," said the Queen of Nonamia. " Will my son be an 
exceptional prince ? " 

The fairy godfather shook his head. 

" I see nothing exceptional," he said, slowly. " I see restless 
ness, and adventure, and love. The river that knows no rest will 
bring him his greatest happiness ; it will call him, when the time 
comes, and neither your art, nor mine, will keep him from it. 
He will do everything that other princes do, especially when he is in 
love. And he will always be in love from the time he is sixteen." 

The Queen of Nonamia looked again at the features of her tiny 
son, and she sighed. 

" Then 

170 The Restless River 

"Then he will only be an ordinary prince, after all," she 

" Not entirely," resumed the fairy godfather. " For it is with 
the Restless River itself, that he will be in love, and no one will 
be able to prevent it." 

"That at least is original, if inconvenient," said the Queen. 

" I see one more thing," continued the fairy godfather. " He 
will end in marrying the woodcutter s daughter." 

" What ? " exclaimed the Queen in dismay. " Just like all his 
ancestors ! I will never allow such a thing. All the wood 
cutters daughters shall be exterminated ; all the woodcutters 
shall be exterminated I My son shall marry a princess. I have 
said it." 

" Your son will marry the woodcutter s daughter," repeated 
the fairy godfather, grimly. 

" But you said yourself that he would fall in love with the 
Restless River," protested the Queen. " To fall in love with a 
river is curious, but it is not the same thing as falling in love with 
a woodcutter s daughter. How do you explain the contradic 
tion ? " 

" I cannot explain it," said the fairy godfather, simply. " I 
have told you all I know." 

Which, of course, was an admission that a fairy godmother 
would never have made at all. 

The courtiers grew discontented. Was the christening going 
to pass off, without even a present ? It seemed as though the 
fairy godfather guessed their thoughts, for he turned to the Queen, 
with a smile. 

" I shall not forget my godson," he said. " When he wants 
me, I shall be there. I have given him my gift." 

And he bowed to every one present, and walked straight out of 


By Evelyn Sharp 171 

the palace, and disappeared among the crowd, as quietly as he had 
come. It was the dullest christening that had ever taken place in 
Nonamia. But it was distinctly original. 

And what was the present or the fairy godfather ? 

" There is no present at all. That is what comes of these 
new-fangled notions," said the royal nurses, contemptuously. 

"A godmother," said the courtiers, "would have told all the 
world what her present was." 

But the Queen made ready for action ; and, before sundown 
that day, the decree was issued throughout the length and 
breadth of Nonamia, that all woodcutters were to be gone from 
the country within twenty-four hours, and that all their daughters 
were to be brought to her for extermination, at noon next day. 
The Queen was nothing, if she was not thorough ; and she meant 
to see for herself that the usual devices were not practised, in 
order to preserve an impossible wife for her son. 

So, at noon next day, the Queen of Nonamia sat in judgment, 
on the hill outside her palace. All around her, stretched the flat 
and uninteresting land of Nonamia ; not a mountain nor a river 
broke the monotony of the scene, nothing but the Sluggish Brook, 
that marked the boundary of her dominions. And by her side, in 
his cradle of rose leaves, the Prince of Nonamia slept peacefully. 
Nobody asked where the King of Nonamia was. 

The Queen beckoned to her Prime Minister. " Have all the 
woodcutters been banished ? " she demanded. 

The Prime Minister obviously trembled. 

" Please your Majesty," he stammered, " there was but one to 
be found." A murmur of disappointment ran through the crowd 
of Nonamiacs ; they had certainly expected more excitement than 

" Is all the wood in my kingdom cut down by one man ? " 


172 The Restless River 

asked the Queen scornfully. The Prime Minister put his hand 
to his head instinctively. 

"Please your Majesty," he stammered afresh, "there is no 
wood at all in your kingdom." 

A new sensation thrilled the crowd of Nonamiacs. It had 
never occurred to them before that this, indeed, was the case. 
The Queen glanced again over the land of Nonamia ; and she 
saw not a tree, nor a bush, in the whole of it. The fact had 
never occurred to her, either ; but she was too much of a Queen 
to confess that. 

" Then, what is the use of a woodcutter at all ? " she asked. 

" Please your Majesty," said the unhappy Prime Minister, " it 
isn t any use. But he only came here yesterday, to see the 
christening ; and he came across the Sluggish Brook, no one knows 
whence ; and he is prepared to go back again now, if your 
Majesty so wills it." 

"Certainly, I will it," said the Queen. "Why should we 
have a woodcutter, if there are no trees ? The idea is ridiculous. 
Besides, that settles the whole matter at once. If there are no 
trees, there are no woodcutters ; and if there are no woodcutters, 
there are no woodcutters daughters ; and so, my son shall marry 
a princess, as I said. The assembly is over." 

" Please your Majesty," began the Prime Minister again, 
" there is a daughter, and she came with her father, yesterday ; 
and I have put them both in your Majesty s dungeon, and " 

The Queen smiled, with the indulgence she always showed 
for the actions of her public ministers, and she waved him away 
with her hand. 

" Bring them both here at once," she commanded. "And tell 
the Royal Executioner to sharpen his axe. She shall be beheaded ; 
and after that, we can have lunch." 

" Please 

By Evelyn Sharp 173 

" Please your Majesty, there is very little to behead," said the 
Prime Minister ; but the look in the Queen s eyes sent him 
flying off to the royal dungeon, without another word. The 
Queen yawned ; and by her side, in his cradle of rose leaves, the 
tiny Prince slept soundly. 

When the Prime Minister came back again, he was accom 
panied by the Royal Executioner with his axe upon his shoulder, 
and between them both walked the woodcutter. No one, at 
first, could see the woodcutter s daughter at all ; but, as the little 
group stood before the throne, the tallest of the Nonamiacs were 
able to distinguish a small bundle, in a red shawl, that lay in the 
woodcutter s arms. And this was the woodcutter s daughter. 

" There is certainly very little to behead," said the Queen, 
thoughtfully. The Royal Executioner looked immensely relieved. 
" But, for all that," continued the Queen, " she must be exter 

The woodcutter said nothing. But the little Prince stirred in 
his sleep, and held out his tiny arms, and cried. The Queen 
stamped her foot. 

" There is no time to be lost," she said, sternly. " So, choose 
any death you please for her. She shall be exterminated, now" 

The woodcutter remained indifferent. He looked over the 
length and breadth of Nonamia, and down at the little red bundle 
in his arms. 

" I should like her to be drowned in the Sluggish Brook," he 
said. And the originality of the request so pleased the Queen, 
that she ordered the royal carriages, and proceeded to carry it out 
immediately. All day long, the royal procession wound its way 
across the Land of Nonamia, and just before sundown it arrived at 
the edge of the Sluggish Brook. The woodcutter stooped down with 
a smile, and laid the little red bundle on the calm water. And 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. L suddenly, 

174 The Restless River 

suddenly, the Sluggish Brook became a swift, rushing torrent, 
that tossed the tiny bundle from side to side, and carried it swiftly 
out of sight ; and the water sighed and trembled, and grew into a 
wide and passionate river that swirled along, in the wake of the 
woodcutter s daughter. The woodcutter himself was no longer 
to be seen, but no one had noticed his departure, for the crowd of 
Nonamiacs were all stupefied at the change that had come over 
the Sluggish Brook. They had never seen anything like it before, 
and that in itself was quite enough to stupefy a Nonamiac. 

The Queen, as usual, was the first to recover. 

" That is done," she said, cheerfully. " And my son shall marry 
a princess." 

But she knew, as well as every one present, that the Sluggish 
Brook had become the Restless River. 

For sixteen years, the Prince of Nonamia was never allowed to 
go beyond the palace garden. And, as the whole court was for 
bidden, under pain of instant extermination, to mention the cir 
cumstances of his christening, there seemed very little probability 
of his ever discovering the fate that had been predicted for him. 
To make this still more certain, he was not even taught to read 
or write, and he grew up in a state of ignorance that would have 
shamed the poorest person in Nonamia. But the Prince of 
Nonamia did not know the meaning of shame, for he had never 
had any companions ; and the courtiers tolerated him, as ordinary 
people tolerate something that is strange and incomprehensible. 
For, to the Nonamiacs, there was something extremely weird in 
the grave and silent youth, who knew nothing of life and the 
world, and only cared for being in the open air. He would sit 
for hours, in the most secluded part of the garden, and dream the 
daylight away ; he never asked why the garden walls were so 
high, nor how the world contained so few people, nor whether 


By Evelyn Sharp 175 

there was any more of it than he had seen already. He wondered, 
sometimes, why they put weapons in his hand, and told him to 
kill something, or taught him to fence with them. " Why should 
I injure a bird that flies and is happy ?" he asked. "And how 
does it amuse you to pretend that I am dead ? It is far more 
interesting to sit in the sunshine, and talk to the flowers, and 
think about life." And the Nonamiacs, who, of course, knew far 
more about life than the poor, lonely Prince, smiled in their 
superior knowledge, and pitied him for not understanding how 
ignorant he was ; and the King, who had his own views about the 
education of princes, looked on unhappily. 
But the Queen was supremely content. 

"My son is original," she said. "In spite of his father, and his 
godfather, and his ancestors, he is original, as I intended him to be. 
And he shall marry a princess." 

People sometimes wondered at the long silence of the fairy 
godfather ; but the Queen did not mind that at all. " That is 
the best of having a fairy godfather," she said. " If it had been a 
godmother, now, she would have been interfering ever since, and 
I cannot endure interference." 

On his sixteenth birthday, she sent for the Prince, and showed 
him the pictures of all the neighbouring princesses for miles 

" It is time for you to marry a princess," she told him. " And 
since you are my son, and I love you, I wish you to marry the 
wife of your choice." 

" How can I choose ? " asked the Prince, in bewilderment. 
" They all look alike, to me. How can I care for one more than 
another ? Is there really any difference between them ? " 

" Of course," said the Queen of Nonamia, " they are all 
princesses, so you cannot expect to find very much difference 


176 The Restless River 

between them. But choose the most beautiful of them all, and 
she shall come here to marry you ; and, after that, you can go into 
the world and travel." 

" The world ? " asked the Prince. " Where is that ? Is it the 
garden on the other side of the wall ; and is it full of princesses, who 
are all exactly alike ? " 

" You will see, when you are married," answered his mother. 
But the Prince asked leave to think it over ; and he wandered 
away to find his father, who was nodding over the morning paper 
in his library. A visit from his son was so unusual, however, that 
he woke up at once, and asked him what he wanted. 

"That is what I don t know," sighed the Prince. "But I 
know I don t want to marry any of the beautiful, dull pictures my 
Queen-Mother has been showing me." 

"Ah," thought the King, "the boy is a son of mine, after all." 

" When you were a Prince, father," pursued his son, " and knew 
as little as I do about the garden on the other side of the wall, did 
you want to marry the picture of my Queen-Mother ? " 

The King remembered the picture of the Queen of Nonamia, 
and he coughed uncomfortably. 

" Perhaps not. At least of course, yes," he said, hastily, and 
coughed again. 

" I suppose," continued the Prince, " they just showed you a 
lot of princesses, who all looked exactly alike, and you had to choose 
one, as I have got to. But are there no people in the world 
who can be distinguished from one another ? " 

" A certain number," replied the King. 

" Then why," persisted the Prince, " may I not go out into the 
garden, on the other side of the wall, and choose a princess for 

The King glanced nervously over his shoulder. 


By Evelyn Sharp 177 

" You forget your Queen-Mother," he whispered. 
The Prince sprang to his feet, and began pacing restlessly up 
and down the room. 

" I want you to give me something, father," he cried. " I want 
the gold key that hangs on your watch-chain, the key of the Sky 

The King visibly trembled. The Sky Turret was the highest 
of the five turrets of the Palace of Nonamia, the one that looked 
over the length and breadth of the land of Nonamia ; and no one 
had been allowed to enter it since the Prince s christening. 

"Give it to me, father," he said, holding out his hand. "I 
want to look into the garden, on the other side of the wall." 

The old King sighed, and gave him the key. " He is so like 
his dear mother," he murmured, in extenuation. And the Prince 
bounded out of the room, and ran straight up to the Sky Turret, and 
stepped out on the battlements. He looked round him, breath 
lessly, over the length and breadth of Nonamia, the flat and tree 
less country of Nonamia ; and he marvelled at what he saw there ; 
but, most of all, he wondered what it was that glistened and 
sparkled in the sunshine, just where the sky met the land, on the 
edge of the country of Nonamia. 

The King had followed him up the stairs, and was standing by 
his side. He noted the wild, rapt look on his son s face, and it 
frightened him. " If his mother sees him, she will know," he 
thought, uneasily. 

"Tell me, father," said the Prince, at last ; "what is that thin, 
mysterious line of silver, that shines and glistens in the sun 
light ? " 

"That," said the King, "is what they call the Restless 

" The Restless River ? What a beautiful name," exclaimed 


The Restless River 

the Prince. " I am going there, at once. That is what I have 
wanted all my life, father, and you are going to help me to get 

"My son," began the old King, in alarm; "you forget your 
Queen " 

"It is impossible to forget her," answered the Prince, with 
dignity. " I will come back again, when I have been to the 
Restless River. But I am going to find a princess for myself, a 
princess who is not like every one else. What is the use of a 
wife who is not to be distinguished from every one else ? Father, 
I want the key of the little white door that leads into the garden 
on the other side of the wall." 

And the King, who saw more resemblance, every moment, 
between the Prince and his mother, gave up the key without 
another word, and went back to nod over the morning paper, and 
pretend that nothing had happened. 

But the Prince had already unlocked the little white door, and 
was speeding over the land of Nonamia, as fast as his legs would 
carry him. 

" Is this the way to the Restless River ? " he asked of the first 
peasant he met. 

" Can you not read ? " said the peasant, roughly, pointing to 
the direction on the sign-post. 

"No," answered the Prince, simply; and he wondered why 
the man laughed at him. But he hastened on more swiftly than 
ever, and stood at last on the bank of the Restless River. There 
it was, rushing along as madly, and as untiringly, as it had 
done on the day when the woodcutter s daughter was drowned 
in it. 

" Stop ! stop ! " cried the Prince, as he knelt down beside it, 
and plunged his hands into the turbulent water. " I want to 


By Evelyn Sharp 179 

speak with you, and you do not stay a moment. Are you not 
weary of hurrying along like that ? " 

But the river rushed on as before. 

"Stay for one moment," begged the Prince. "I am so sorry 
for you, poor Restless River. Have you no time even to stay, 
and be comforted ? " 

But the river rushed on as before. 

" Is it possible," continued the Prince, " that you are obliged 
to hurry away so fast ? I should so like to help you, poor 
Restless River. Will you tell me if I can do anything to bring 
you rest ? " 

As he said these words, a sudden calm fell on the rushing 
stream ; and down the middle of it came floating a curious craft, 
all made of green lily leaves, and of white lily petals ; and in it 
sat the most beautiful girl the Prince had ever seen. 

She laughed outright, when she saw him kneeling there, and 
she steered her boat straight for the shore. The Prince had 
never heard a girl laugh before ; and he could hardly wait until 
the boat touched the bank, before he stooped down, and lifted her 
up in his arms, and kissed her two cheeks. Then they both 
laughed together, and the Prince started at the sound of his own 
voice. For he had never heard himself laugh before, either. 

" Now, I know why I had to come to the Restless River," 
said the Prince, happily. 

" You have been a very long time coming," said the girl with 
a pout. 

" Oh, but I am going to stay, now I have come," the Prince 
assured her. " I have found a princess for myself, and the 
Queen-Mother may keep all her stupid pictures for her own 

But the girl shook her head. 

" I cannot 

180 The Restless River 

" I cannot stay here with you," she said, sadly. " I must be 
disenchanted first, for there is no rest for me, yet. See ! it is 
calling me, already." For the river had begun to toss and rock 
again, and the lily boat was drifting away from the shore. 

"Can I do nothing to disenchant you?" said the Prince, 
frantically. " I will go to the end of the world to serve you." 

" Alas ! I cannot tell you," answered the girl. " I only know 
that none but my true lover can disenchant me, and that he will 
be a Prince, who can neither read nor write." 

"I am he ! I am he ! " cried the Prince, joyfully. " But, tell 
me first who you are ?" 

" I," said the girl, as she sprang into her green and white boat, 
"am the Restless River." And with that she was whirled away 
out of sight. And the river rushed on as before. 

Then the Prince walked thoughtfully along the bank of the 
Restless River. 

" I wonder why the Queen-Mother did not bring me up like 
other Princes ? " he murmured. " Most people, I have been told, 
have a fairy godmother, who comes and helps them whenever 
they want to disenchant anybody. But I have only a godfather, 
and he never comes near me at all." 

The words were hardly out of his mouth when a grave-looking 
man suddenly came from nowhere at all, and stood in the path 
just in front of him. 

" You have never wanted me before," he said calmly. "And 
you need not explain what you do want, now. I know all about 
it, and I hate unnecessary details. But, first of all, are you pre 
pared to go through a certain amount of discomfort, and, if 
necessary, to fight ? " 

"I am a coward, and I hate fighting," said the Prince, sadly. 
" But I am a true lover, and I will die for my love if need be." 

" That 

By Evelyn Sharp 181 

" That I know full well, for are you not my godson ? " said the 
fairy godfather, chuckling. " So, go and wrest the sharpest sword 
in the world from the strongest giant in the world, and take it to 
the head of the Restless River, and remove the dragon, who never 
ceases to flap his wings. And, after that, the river will be at 

" But where is the strongest giant in the world to be found ? " 
asked the Prince. 

" Over there, in a great stone castle, he sits alone," replied his 
godfather ; " and only you, who can neither read nor write, will 
be allowed to enter there ; for all the secrets of the world are in 
his keeping, and they are written on all the ceilings, and all 
the walls, and all the floors. So, start at once, and luck be with 

" But when I have removed the dragon, what then ? " asked 
the Prince. 

" If you do not know what to do then" laughed his godfather, 
" you are no godson of mine." 

And the Prince, who was about to thank him for his informa 
tion, found that there was no one left to thank, for the fairy 
godfather had already gone back to nowhere at all ; and he was 
left to find the castle of the strongest giant in the world. This 
was not very difficult, however, for there was but one castle to be 
seen ; and the Prince walked up to it boldly, and shouted for 

" Go away," growled a disagreeable voice from within. " All 
the secrets in the world are written here, and you must not come 


"Nonsense," said the Prince. "I can neither read nor write, 
so let me in. Surely, you must be very tired of keeping all the 
secrets in the world ? " 

" Keeping 

1 82 The Restless River 

" Keeping a secret is the dullest occupation imaginable, 
especially when it is nearly always the same secret," confessed the 
giant ; and he stretched a long arm out of the window, and fished 
up the Prince, and set him on the table before him. "You are 
quite sure you can neither read nor write ? " he added, sus 

" If I could," laughed the Prince, " it would never make me 
wish to keep a secret. Besides, I have a secret of my own, 
that is far more precious than all those you are guarding so 

" What is that ? " asked the giant, anxiously. " I am so tired 
of keeping the same old secrets, and I would give anything I 
possess to learn a new one." 

" Done with you," said the Prince, who was delighted at the 
prospect of not having to fight, after all. " Give me the sword, 
that is hanging at your side, and I will tell you my secret." 

And the weary old giant unbuckled the sharpest sword in the 
world, and handed it to the Prince. 

" Now, tell me your secret," he said. 

The Prince folded his arms, and laughed. 

" I am in love with the most beautiful woman in the world," he 

But the giant rushed at him, furiously. 

" You have cheated me," he screamed. " Give me back my 
sword ! That is not a new secret, it is the oldest secret there is ; 
it is exactly the same as all the secrets I have been keeping for 
millions of years ! " 

"Then you won t keep them any longer," said the Prince ; and 
the sharpest sword in the world sent the giant s head rolling down 
the stairs. And the Prince opened all the doors, and all the 
windows ; and every secret in the castle flew out on the four winds 


By Evelyn Sharp 183 

of heaven ; and that is why no one has ever kept a secret again, 
from that day to this. And the Prince walked on swiftly, until 
he reached the head of the Restless River. 

And there lay a great dragon, in the middle of the stream, cease 
lessly flapping his enormous wings, and making such a disturbance 
in the water, that the river was forced to rush downwards in its 
mad career. 

" So you are the cause of all the trouble, eh ? " said the Prince. 
" Just come out of that, at once, will you ? " 

"I only wish I could," groaned the dragon, disconsolately. 
" I have been at it, for sixteen years, now ; and I shall never be 
released, until the Prince comes, who can neither read nor write. 
And that is never likely to happen ; for even Princes are educated, 

"It has already happened," said the Prince. " / am the Prince 
who can neither read nor write, and I have got the sharpest sword 
in the world ; so come out of that, and let me kill you." 

The dragon stopped flapping his wings, and looked at him, 
rather pathetically. 

" Isn t it a little hard," he said, " that I should have to be killed 
for doing exactly as I wish to do ? I am only too glad to come 
out of this horribly cold water, and I really don t see why I should 
be killed for it." 

" Neither do I," observed the Prince, sheathing his sword. 
" And, now I come to think of it, my godfather never told me to 
kill anybody at all. It s very unusual, for, in all the stories I ever 
heard, the Prince always had to kill somebody." 

" I ve heard those stories, too," said the dragon ; " but all the 
Princes in them seem to have had fairy godmothers, instead of 
godfathers ; and godmothers always complicate things, if they 
can." By this time, he had waded to shore, and stood shivering 


184 The Restless River 

with cold, before the Prince. " Are you really going to kill 
me ? " he asked, gloomily. 

The Prince swung his arm round his head, and threw away 
the sharpest sword in the world ; and it fell with a splash into the 
water, and disappeared from sight. 

" No," he said ; " I am never going to kill anybody again." 

And the woodcutter stood before him, in the place of the 
dripping, dreary dragon. 

" I knew you wouldn t," he remarked quietly. " Your god 
father settled that, before you could speak. Now, we will go and 
look for my daughter." 

They did not have far to go ; for, on the spot where the sword 
had fallen, the beautiful girl had again appeared, in her green and 
white boat ; and her laugh rang gaily across the motionless 

"It is really quite a relief to be able to rest, at last," she said, 
as the Prince lifted her on to the shore, for the second time. 
" Tossing about perpetually on a river like that becomes a little 
wearisome, when one has done it for sixteen whole years." 

" So does splashing about in the cold water, in all weathers," 
added the woodcutter, holding out his hands to her. " Do you 
not see who I am ? " 

" It is not easy to recognise one s father, all in a hurry, when 
he has been a dragon for so long," laughed his daughter. 

The Prince was looking puzzled. 

" What is the good of all these spells and things," he observed, 
reflectively, " when we might have met one another, without any 
trouble at all ? " 

" No good whatever," said the voice of his godfather, who had 
again suddenly arrived from nowhere at all. " But, if you had 
had a godmother, instead of a godfather, you would have had 


By Evelyn Sharp 185 

twice as many spells and things as I gave you. On the whole," 
he added, looking critically at the two lovers, " I think I have 
managed your love affairs very successfully." 

" Oh, no," they both exclaimed at once. " You are surely 
mistaken. We managed our love affairs quite by ourselves. You 
only managed the spell that kept us apart." 

" No doubt," chuckled the fairy godfather. " But who is 
going to manage the Queen of Nonamia ? " 

Their faces fell, for every one had completely forgotten the 
Queen of Nonamia. Then the Prince threw back his head, and 
put his arm round the woodcutter s daughter. 

" Will you come home with me, sweetheart ? " he asked her. 
" I am going to manage the Queen-Mother, myself." 

" The boy is certainly my godson," laughed the fairy godfather ; 
and he prepared to go back to the palace too, for he wanted to see 
the fun. 

But the woodcutter shook his head. " I will stay where I 
am," he said ; " and build a cottage for myself. I had quite 
enough of the Queen of Nonamia, sixteen years ago." 

So the lovers went back to the palace, and the fairy godfather 
went with them. It was only reasonable to suppose that the 
Queen would be furious at the overthrow of all her plans ; and 
the Prince trembled a little, in spite of himself, when he led his 
little betrothed before the throne. 

" I have come back from the garden, on the other side of the 
wall," he said, quietly. " And I have brought my own princess 
with me. Don t you think she is far more beautiful than all 
those others you showed me ? " 

The courtiers whispered to one another, in admiration of her 
great beauty. Truly, there had never been so beautiful a woman 
in the court of Nonamia before. But the Queen stared at the 


1 86 The Restless River 

two lovers, and was speechless. And the fairy godfather looked on, 
and smiled. 

Then the little betrothed looked up at her lover, and sighed. 

" I am no princess, dearest," she said, with her eyes full of tears. 
" I am only a woodcutter s daughter. Does it mean that I must 
go away, and leave you ? " 

The courtiers stopped making remarks about her great beauty, 
and hoped that no one had heard them. And still, the Queen 
stared speechlessly before her ; and still, the fairy godfather looked 
on, and smiled. 

" What s the difference ? " asked the Prince, in surprise. " Are 
not all women princesses ? And, since you are the most beautiful 
of all women, then, surely, you must be the greatest of all 
princesses ? " 

" Oh no, dearest," sighed his betrothed, hanging her head, 
humbly. "lam no princess, and you will have to send me 

Then the Queen spoke, at last. She looked at the fairy god 
father, and slightly shrugged her queenly shoulders. 

" You have won," she said. " My son will marry the wood 
cutter s daughter. And he shall marry her now, ^without any 
more fuss ; and I have the honour to bid you to his wedding. I 
have said it ! " 

And the fairy godfather chuckled. 

" At least," he said, " you are the most original Queen the 
world has ever seen ! " 

The wedding was decidedly original, too, for there were no 
preparations for it whatever. No one had time to order a new 
dress, and there was no cake ; and the King knew nothing about 
it, until it was all over. But the Prince and his bride were quite 
oblivious of everything^ except of one another ; and when it was 


By Evelyn Sharp 187 

all over, they went back to the river again, and helped the wood 
cutter to build a house that was big enough for them all ; and 
there they took up their abode, and there they may be still, for 
all that anybody can tell. 

" I don t want to be a king," the Prince declared. " I don t 
like killing things, and I hate stuffy rooms, and ceremonies, and 
stupid subjects. Besides, what more does Nonamia want than 
the Queen-mother ? " 

And that is all that Nonamia has ever had, for the Queen is 
still enduring the stupidity of the Nonamiacs, and the King still 
does what the Queen tells him. 

And the fairy godfather ? 

When the wedding was over, the Queen sent for him ; and the 
impudence of such a proceeding so amused him, that he obeyed 
the summons at once, just as though he had not been a fairy god 
father at all. 

" Kindly tell me," said the Queen, " whether you really did 
give my son a christening present, or not ? " 

" I gave him the gift of being a true lover," replied the fairy 

" Is that all ? " exclaimed the Queen. " I need hardly have 
fetched you from Fairyland, just for that ! " 

" Your Majesty s originality is to blame," chuckled the fairy 
godfather. And he forthwith took the Queen s advice, and re 
tired into private life. 

But it is said that others have followed the example of the 
original Queen of Nonamia ; and that, now and then, a fairy 
godfather, who looks just like an ordinary person, is present at 
the christening of one or another of us. And, perhaps, that is 
why there are still some true lovers left in the world. 

The Muslin Dress 

By Mabel Dearmer 


The Unka 

By Frank Athelstane Swettenham, C.M.G. 

THE other day I had to move from the house where I have 
lived for the last seven years, and in the consequent upheaval 
of accumulated rubbish specially letters, papers, and books I 
found a note, or, to speak accurately, two notes written on one 
sheet of paper, which brought vividly to my recollection an incident 
that occurred while I was living with one of the writers, Captain 
Innes of the Corps of Royal Engineers. 

Innes and I had taken a house in Penang and had just moved 
into it. The house stood at the junction of two roads, it was 
surrounded by a large but neglected garden, and the place altogether 
resembled an Eastern Castle Rack-rent, an appearance partly due 
to the fact that it had not been occupied for some time. The 
garden was a veritable jungle ; but the house was large and roomy, 
approached by a rather imposing flight of steps which led into a 
great marble-paved hall, lighted by long narrow windows, glazed 
with small panes of glass. It was principally on this account that 
we named our new habitation the Baronial Hall. 

I remember that the stables contained but three stalls, to 

accommodate Innes s one horse and my three ponies. I thought I 

might claim two of the stalls, but Innes s horsekeeper, a Sinhalese, 

in whom his master had more confidence than I had, insisted that 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. M his 

192 The Unka 

his horse was of a very superior breed, and must have one stall to 
stand in and another to sleep in, so I accepted the position and 
sent two of my ponies to live elsewhere. I cannot say that I felt 
all the compassion called for by the circumstances when, one night, 
some weeks later, as I was dressing for dinner, I heard a peculiar 
noise in the direction of the stable, and, looking out, I saw in the 
bright moonlight the Sinhalese, face-downwards, on the sand of 
the open space before the stable, while my pony, a not too good- 
tempered beast at any time, was apparently eating him and enjoying 
the process. 

When we had rescued the horsekeeper and sent him to the 
hospital (where he remained a considerable time, and from which 
he returned happily drunk), I pointed out to his master that, if the 
wise old man understood the horse in his care, he was less well 
informed about the habits of my pony. 

This incident, and the fact that Innes planted what should have 
been the lawn with guinea-grass, the favourite food of his too- 
pampered charger, are the only facts of any importance that I can 
remember, till the coming of the unka. 

Unka is the Malay name for the tail-less monkey called by 
Europeans a Wah-Wah. I do not know where that name 
originated, but the creature makes a noise like the soft and plaintive 
repetition of a sound, that can be fairly put into letters thus 
Wu , Wu . When several unka get together in the jungle, in the 
early morning, they will sit in a high tree, in a circle, round one of 
their number, who pipes and sings and finally screams a solo of 
many variations, through which runs the simple motif, and, at a 
certain point, the others all join in, calling in loud and rapid tones 
-WU WU Wu Wu Wu Wu ; the first two or three cries 
delivered shrilly and slowly, the others tumbling on each others 
heels. And then da capo, until the sun gets too hot, or they 


By Frank Athelstane Swettenham 193 

quarrel, or become too hungry or thirsty to go on ; I cannot 
say for certain, for though I have watched and listened to the 
concert for a long time, I had not patience to wait till the 

The unka is either. black or fawn-coloured, he has extraordinarily 
long and strong arms and legs, a face of never-changing sadness, 
which may on occasion turn to an evil expression of vice and fury ; 
but, in the main, the unka is a gentle and docile creature, easily 
tamed, and his only amusements seem to be, to swing himself with 
great leaps along a bar, to sing the Wu Wu song, or to sit in 
deep meditation, with his toes turned in, his head between his 
knees, and both hands clasped on the nape of his neck. 

I was much shocked, one day, when I saw two small unka living 
in a tree in front of the house of a Malay headman. There was 
nothing very strange in the fact that these creatures should have 
been where they were, but, what was unusual to me, was to find 
that each was wearing a dress of cotton print, one blue and the 
other pink, with their heads appearing from the neck, their hands 
from the sleeves, and their legs well, that was the worst of it, 
they were hanging by their feet, and I went away. As a rule, 
as I have already mentioned, they hang by their arms, but, then, 
with the exception of these orphans, I had never seen any unka in 
print gowns. It only shows how unwise it is to try and clothe all 
nationalities in the garments of Western civilisation. 

Again, I remember an unka I used to know very well. He 
was a dissipated creature, and lived in a box on the top of a pole. 
There was a hole in a corner of the box, and into this used to 
be fixed a corked bottle of whisky and water, which gave the 
unka a good deal of trouble to pull out, but, once fairly in his 
hands, he made short work of the extraction of the cork and 
the consumption of the contents. 



194 The Unka 

Then he used to be told to come down, and, when be reached 
the ground, he would turn a succession of somersaults with a 
grace and agility that would have made a London street-arab 
green with envy. But I confess it was the last act of the 
performance that I most enjoyed ; it was called " the bath." 
An old kerosene tin, one side of which had been cut away, was 
filled with water and the bath was placed on the ground in a 
suitable spot. As soon as it was ready, the finka^ who had 
watched the preparations with careful interest, walked slowly up to 
the bath (by the way, they walk on their hind legs usually, and 
drink from their hands), and, standing at one end of the tin, 
gripped the sides of the bath, at a convenient distance, with 
both hands and then slowly, very, very slowly, went head fore 
most into the water, turning, as he did so, a complete somersault, 
his dripping woebegone face appearing gradually from out the 
water, as he arranged himself to sit comfortably, with his back 
against the end of the tin and his arms hanging over the sides, 
exactly as a human being might sit in a bath. The ftnka 
would recline thus, for about half a minute, looking the picture 
of extreme suffering and silent protest against the unfeeling 
laughter of the spectators. Then he suddenly jumped up, and 
springing with both feet on to the edge of the tin, gave a 
violent backward kick, that sent the water streaming down the 
hill and the bath rolling after it. 

According to Perak tradition, the finka and another species of 
Simian, called sidmang, rather blacker and more diabolical looking 
than the finka, but otherwise not easily to be distinguished from 
the latter, lived originally in mutual enjoyment of the Perak 
jungles. Individuals of the two species quarrelled about pre 
cedence at a Court Ball, or a State Concert, probably the latter ; 
the quarrel was espoused with great bitterness by all the unka and 


By Frank Athelstane Swettenham 195 

all the siamang, and, when the other denizens of the forest were 
worried beyond endurance, by the constant bickerings, murders, 
and retaliations of these creatures, an edict was issued by which 
all the Anka were compelled, for all time, to live on the right of 
the Perak River and the siamang on the left neither being 
allowed to cross the river. 

A friend of mine who lived on the right bank of the river and 
wished to test the truth of this legend, made pets of a very small 
siamang and a rather large fmka^ for whom places were laid and 
chairs put at every meal. They were not confined in any way 
and their manners were indifferent, for, though they were served 
with every course at each meal, they seemed to take an impish 
delight in pulling the dishes out of the hands of the servants who 
passed within their reach. 

As my friend was writing one day at a large round table, on 
which a number of official letters were lying awaiting his signature, 
I saw the siamang climb, slowly and without attracting attention, 
on to the table, where, for a time, he sat without stirring, 
regarding my friend with earnest and sorrowful eyes. Then, by 
degrees, he gradually edged himself towards the inkstand, and, 
when quite close to it, dipped his hand into the pot and carefully 
wiped his inky fingers in a sort of monkey-signature on each of 
the beautifully prepared official despatches. When, at last, my 
friend discovered what the siamang had done, and made as though 
to catch and punish his tormentor, the small imp disappeared over 
the side of the table, making piteous little cries, and the&nka, who 
had been watching the proceedings through the window, came in 
and hurried his companion on to the roof, where they always 
retired to concoct some new outrage. 

In spite of these signs of original sin, the unka, concerning 
which I have made these casual references, were, on the whole, 


196 The Unka 

of amiable dispositions. My own experience was, alas ! to be with 
one of a different type. 

A Governor whose term of office was up, had arranged with a 
Malay Sultan to send him two unka, to take to England, but, 
at the moment of his departure, as they had not then arrived, 
he asked me to take charge of them and forward them to 

I consented, and, one morning a Malay appeared with a letter> 
and told me that the unka had been landed from the vessel in 
which he had brought them from a northern State, and were at 
my disposal. I was busy, and told the messenger to take them to 
the Baronial Hall. As he was leaving, the man said I should find 
that the smaller of the two had lost his arm at the elbow, an 
accident which had occurred on the voyage, for the cages had 
been placed within reach of each other, and the larger monkey 
who, as the man remarked, was rather wicked, had induced his 
small companion to shake hands with him, and then abused his 
confidence by twisting his arm off at the elbow. 

When I got home in the evening I found the small unka 
looking very sick, and he died the next day ; but his murderer 
was a very fine specimen of the fawn-coloured nnka, about two 
feet high as he sat on the ground, with an expression of counten 
ance that I did not altogether like. However, he was allowed a 
certain length of cord, and lived in the coach-house, where I 
often went to see and feed him, and he received my advances, 
apparently, in good part. One day, however, he escaped, and I 
had to call in the services of two time-expired Indian convicts to 
catch him. The servants declined to have anything to do with 
him, and said he was very wicked and tried to bite them, even 
when they gave him food, so I determined to put him back in his 
cage. I anticipated no difficulty, but, as he hesitated to go in, 


By Frank Athelstane Swettenham 197 

though everything had been done to make his cage look attractive, 
I put my hand on his back and applied a very gentle pressure. In 
an instant he turned round and bit me badly, in return for which 
I gave him a good beating and determined I would not trouble 
about him any more. I gave up my visits to him, but, whenever 
he saw me at any distance, even if it were through the Venetians 
of a window, he would turn his back on me, seize one leg with 
both hands and, looking through his legs, make horrible faces in a 
way that I thought very rude and ungrateful. 

After a fortnight he got away again. I felt it was more than 
likely that the servants had connived at his escape, and I was 
inclined to say with Mr. Briggs, " Thank God, he s gone at 

I said that the Baronial Hall stood in the angle of two wide 
and much frequented roads. The front road boarded a picturesque 
bay of the sea, but, behind the house, was a large cocoanut planta 
tion, and here the unka took up his quarters and lived for six 
months or more. Once, when I returned to the house after a 
week s absence, I found a crowd of half-caste boys throwing 
stones at the tmka, who sat at the top of a cocoanut-tree and 
regarded them with far from friendly eyes. I sent the boys away, 
but I realised that the owner of the plantation might object to the 
finka^ as he was probably doing, making free with the fruit of this 

I saw no more of my charge, and left Penang on a political 
mission to Perak, where I remained some time. 

Landing, on my return, I went to the quarters of a friend who 
was the head of the Police Force, and he told me, amongst other 
news, that, only an hour before my arrival, some Eurasian boys 
had brought to him the unka, dead, and tied on a stick, saying 
that he had attacked them, and bitten one of their number very 


The Unka 

badly in the hand, and they had been compelled in self-defence to 
kill him. Henry Plunket (the Superintendent of Police) said 
that this was evidently not the whole truth of what had occurred, 
but the injured boy talked of claiming compensation from me, 
though, no doubt, the linka had been made the victim of a combined 
attack. Bearing in mind what I had seen myself, some months 
before, I thought that was extremely probable, and, having 
inspected the body, a piteous object tied to a long stick by the 
ankles, while the arms had been pulled as far as possible above the 
head, and there fastened round the stick by the wrists, I went 
home, Plunket undertaking to get the linka stuffed in an attitude 
of deep humility, with his formidable teeth carefully concealed. 

Early the next morning a servant told me that two Eurasians 
wanted to see me. I told him to ask them in, and a boy and a 
man made their appearance. The boy s hand was in a sling, but 
otherwise he seemed well enough. 

I said, " What can I do for you ? " 

The boy replied, " Your monkey has bitten me." 

I remarked, " And you have killed the monkey." 

There was a brief silence and I said, " Tell me how it hap 

" I was going home from school," said the boy, " walking along 
the high road in front of this house, when the monkey, who was 
sitting up in a cocoanut tree, caught sight of me and came down 
and bit me." 

" What were you doing ? " I asked. 

" Nothing." 

" How did the monkey get into the road ? " 

" He climbed through the hedge." 

" Were you the only person on the road ? " 

" Oh, no 5 there were many others." 

" Then 

By Frank Athelstane Swettenham 199 

" Then why did he attack you ? " 

No answer. 

" Is that all you have to say about it ? " 

" Yes." 

" Then I wish you good-morning." 

Here the man broke in with, "What are you going to give 
the boy ? " 

To which I replied, " Nothing, in the face of such a story as 
that. But what have you to do with it ? " 

"I have come as the boy s friend," he said, "and if you don t 
pay him compensation, he will sue you for damages." 

" He must do what he thinks best," I said, " but I would advise 
him to prepare a more probable story than that he has just told 
me. Monkeys do not come down from the tops of cocoanut trees 
to bite inoffensive little boys who are walking on the high 

Seeing there was nothing more to be got out of me my visitors 
departed, and I, forgetting the unspoken dislike of the unka for 
myself, mourned his loss, and felt satisfied he had been done to 
death by the boys of the neighbourhood. 

At that time the judge of the Small Cause Court was a 
magistrate who had had a great deal of Indian experience before 
coming to Penang, and, a few days after my interview with the 
boy, this official called at my office, and said : " I want to have a 
few minutes conversation with you about a matter that concerns 
you personally." 

I said, " Pray, sit down. I suppose the boy who was bitten by 
the monkey has been to you ? 

" He has," said the magistrate, " and he wishes to summons you 
for damages." 

" He is quite at liberty to do so," I said, " but I can t imagine 


200 The Unka 

any one placing any credence in the cock-and-bull story about the 
monkey coming down out of the tree, and attacking him as he 
passed on the high road." 

" Oh, but I assure you," said the man learned in the law, " that 
is not at all an improbable story. I knew a road in the Province 
so infested by monkeys that they used to come out of the jungle 
and snatch the baskets of fruit out of the hands of people going to 
market. No woman could pass there alone, and the men used to 
go in parties for mutual protection." 

" Of course, if you know that," I said, without betraying the 
thoughts that were in me, "I have nothing more to say, but I 
have heard the details of what really occurred from an unbiassed 
spectator, whom I can produce as a witness, and the boy s story is 
very far from the truth." 

" Then what is the true account ? " said the magistrate, " for I 
shall not issue a summons without good cause shown." 

" I am told," I said, " that this boy and another were playing 
in the cocoanut plantation, behind my house (not their plantation, 
by the way, they were trespassers), and the monkey was sitting in 
a high cocoanut tree hard by, watching the boys and thinking 
about nothing at all. The boys, as boys will, began to quarrel, 
and from abuse they soon came to blows. Now," I said, " when 
the monkey saw that he came down the tree." 

" Ah ! he came down the tree," broke in my friend. 

" Yes," I said, " the man who saw it all says he came down the 
tree, but the boys continued to fight and took no notice of him. 
Then the monkey, who was a particularly intelligent beast and 
had lived with respectable people, felt he ought to interfere, because 
he knew it was wrong of boys to fight, and had seen them beaten 
for doing it. He, poor thing, could not speak to them, but he 
walked up, waving his hands like this " here I suited the action 


By Frank Athelstane Swettenham 201 

to the word " as though he would say, Stop ! you must not 
fight any more. " 

"What !" interrupted the magistrate, "he went like this!" as 
he repeated my action. 

" Yes," I said, " so I am told by the man who saw it all. The 
monkey went close up to them in his anxiety, and then either the 
boys misunderstood him or, what seems more likely, they were 
really bad boys, and disliked the monkey s interference, tor one of 
them, the boy who has been injured, slapped the monkey in the 

" Slapped him in the face ? " 

"Yes," I said, "so the man says who told me the story. And 
then what could you expect ? The monkey, finding his good 
intentions misinterpreted and himself made the subject of a cowardly 
assault, bit his assailant bit him badly in the hand." 

"Ah ! he bit him in the hand?" 

"Yes. And one must make some excuses for him," I said, 
" because, after all, one ought not to expect too much from a 

" That," said my friend, as he got up and took his hat, " is an 
entirely different account to the one I heard, and I wish you good- 

" Of course, of course," I said, as I shook hands with him, " I 
thought you would like to know the facts." And, as I closed the 
door and resumed my seat, I fell a-musing on the curious ways of 
the unka, and the advantages to be gained by a long experience of 

For months I heard nothing more about the boy and his com 
plaint, but some one told me that, when he went again to my 
experienced friend, he had been driven from the presence with 
what is called "a flea in his ear." 



202 The Unka 

Without my realising that the change meant anything to me, a 
new judge of the Small Cause Court arrived from England about 
this time, and replaced the Indian officer. The new comer, of 
course, knew nothing about monkeys, and when, just as I was 
starting on another expedition to the Malay States, I was served 
with a summons claiming damages for the injury done to Master 
Fernandez by a dangerous beast described as my property, I could 
only ask Innes to put the case in the hands of Counsel, and trust 
to my advocate s skill and the harmless, even pitiful appearance of 
the stuffed finka, whose counterfeit presentment I suggested should 
be produced in Court, as a last resort. 

My journeyings took me finally to Singapore, where I told this 
veracious story, and consulted both the Chief Justice and Attorney- 
General, who assured me that I had no legal responsibility in the 
matter ; indeed, I did not quite understand how the complainant 
was going to prove that he had been bitten by my unka at all, or 
that I could be said to own, or keep, a creature that for six months 
had lived by his wits, in a neighbouring plantation. However, it 
is the unexpected which happens, and I tried to bear the news 
with fortitude when I received from Innes the following letter and 
its enclosure. I never quite made out what became of the stuffed 
unka, but I suppose he is preserved with the records of the case in 
the archives of the Penang Court. 


" ^yd September, 1 8 . 

" You will gather from the enclosure that the monkey case 
has gone against us ; I m awfully sorry, and did my best in the matter, 
I assure you. The Judge counselled a compromise after hearing 
Plaintiff s case and Bond s reply, and I thought it safest to take the 
hint. Bond, as you see, handsomely declines any fee. I have thanked 


By Frank Athelstane Swettenham 203 

him on your behalf for his exertions and settled the bill, the amount 
whereof we can adjust with other matters. I confess I couldn t 
follow the Judge s train of thought, for the story didn t seem to me to 
tell well in the witness box. 

"Yours truly, 

"W. INNES." 

" \%th September, 18 . 

" As Swettenham s case was compromised at the suggestion 
of the Judge, I don t intend to make any charge against him for the 
little I did, so all he will have to pay will be $22:95 costs and 

" Yours sincerely, 

"I. S. BOND." 

There must have been something peculiarly malignant about 
this fmka , the slightest connection with him proved fatal to so 
many people. The Sultan who gave him is dead, and the Gover 
nor who never received him ; the Chief Justice and the Attorney- 
General who took a friendly interest in him ; the magistrate who 
had such an experience of all his kind ; the Counsel who defended 
him ; my friend who supported him ; and I had almost for 
gotten the man who really saw what happened to him. It is 
almost like the tale of the House that Jack built a glorified 
Eastern version. 

A Little Holiday 

By Oswald Sickert 

ROY had twice stayed with us in London during the vacation ; 
but since our days at Cambridge most of his time had been 
spent in Paris, and I had never been to his home till that spring. 

I had eagerly looked forward to the visit, for not only should I 
enjoy Roy s company uninterruptedly for eight whole days, but I 
should at last meet his sister. And looking forward with curiosity 
and excitement to the sunny prospect, I had only seen on the 
clear horizon one little cloud a certain fear I had of Roy s 
uncle. This uncle had lived with them even before the father s 
death, and had since acted as guardian to the two children, for 
their mother, his sister, was an invalid. He used to come up to 
Cambridge to see Roy, so I had met him frequently. I took a 
great fancy to him from the first, and he had my unbounded 
respect ; he was the ideal of steadfastness and honour and clear 
judgment. But I always experienced in his presence the same 
feeling a feeling which no difference of age could explain. I 
was before him a person of no weight, of no principles, a butterfly 
character he would have passed me on one side if I had not been 
Roy s friend. I felt just the same when I saw him after an 
interval of three years, although in between he had warmly 
praised my verses and had gone out of his way to write me from 


By Oswald Sickert 205 

time to time matters of encouragement. I was flattered that he 
should choose to keep up an unflagging correspondence for 
though our letters did not pass at frequent intervals, they gave me 
a pleasant impression of continuity, showing that the silence of a 
month or two in no way weakened the thread of interest that had 
been spun between us. Our letters sometimes touched upon 
certain points in the working of the department which I had 
entered ; but they were chiefly concerned with the writing of 
verses, and on the evening of my arrival I was emboldened, in the 
hope of assuring the ground beneath my feet, to ask him whether 
he did not think my last disquisition priggish, conceited, over- 
ignorant, slight. No, he did not think so at all ; in fact, he had waited 
for my arrival in order to discuss the question more fully. And 
all the while I was talking of my own subject something I could 
do and he couldn t, something he thought worth doing, my work, 
hard work I yet felt a humbug. I felt so with a few other 
men, one or two even of my own age ; but I did not like any of 
them so much as Roy s uncle. He was not sixty, a small man 
with one shoulder bigger than the other, almost a hump-back, and 
his red hair was turning grey. 

I wondered whether he approved of Roy s great affection for 
me ; I used even to think sometimes that he looked upon me as 
an adventurer, and then, in no spirit, I am sure, of pitting myself 
against my dear Roy, I would argue the point. Roy, it was true, 
was of an old family ; he was rich (I had no idea they were so 
well ofF it was a beautiful house). But there was nothing I 
could gain from him, and, as far as a career went, I was a good 
way ahead of him, for he had only just finished three years of study 
in a Paris studio. 

Even if my uncomfortable sensation were pure fancy, even if 
he did really think there was a firm foundation in me, still I 


206 A Little Holiday 

thought there must be some reason for my imagination to play me 
such tricks, and I could not discover it. Moreover, I was sure he 
liked me ; he was more than polite, he made much of me ; and 
every now and then we came very close to each other. He must 
have seen, too, how sincerely I reverenced him. 

Roy s sister was enchanting not quite so pretty as Roy. She 
was just seventeen. Roy told me she had a deep admiration for 
me, not only because I was his friend, but because she had heard 
I was very clever. For the first day or two this admiration stood 
in our way. Conversation with me was an honour which made 
her proud, a privilege not to be abused. The eight years which 
divided us were to her the whole difference between a grown man 
in the world and a child. She had been educated at home, and 
had seen very few people. But after a time our intercourse grew 
easier. No attempt of mine could have shaken the faith she had 
in my opinions. I was a genius : that was the point from 
which she started. Under the light she shed upon me, I was 
scrupulously careful of everything I said, everything I thought ; I 
never felt so tender of any one. The touching faith and respect 
of the girl cast a spell over my stay with Roy, a penetrating 

Insincerity would have been impossible, as well as immoral, in 
the face of so much enthusiasm and trust, so I was most happy 
when we talked of men I wholly admired. I was safe when 
we were capping each other s praises of Shelley or Jane Austen ; 
I was safe when I tried to make her share my love of Wordsworth. 
But it was more difficult when she started an admiration in which 
I could not join. She had learned from her uncle to love Ruskin, 
and one day, when we were walking up and down the garden 
alone, she asked me about him. I answered that I did not think 
I understood him properly at least, I did not see his teaching as 

a whole ; 

By Oswald Sickert 207 

a whole ; in the end he might well turn out to be right, but just 
now I did not see him quite. She was swerving round already, 
and when she wanted me to explain why I did not like him, I 
suggested we should talk about him in the evening when her uncle 
was with us ; he knew much more about Ruskin than I did he 
was sure to be right. But this modesty on my part only made 
her look upon my objections to Ruskin, whatever they might be, 
as certainly superior to any other opinions that could be held of 
him. I was peculiarly careful, when the time came, not to put 
my case, if I could help it, but to make the discussion as much as 
possible an exposition of Ruskin by her uncle. This was difficult, 
because he always deferred to me on questions of art, and Roy, 
who entirely agreed with me, let me do all the talking. And during 
our conversation that evening I experienced more acutely than 
ever the uneasy sensation of unworthiness, and all the time I was 
asking myself why I should feel a humbug. Were not plenty of 
men, men who knew, who knew better than Roy s uncle, con 
vinced that Ruskin was mistaken about the points we were 
discussing ? And was not I speaking as little as possible, softening 
everything down, and agreeing with humility wherever he let me ? 
And I had read a great deal of Ruskin at one time, and my 
objections were of respectably long standing. I felt, too, all the 
more uncomfortable, because here I sat, extremely against my 
wish, helplessly seducing the niece he loved so from her pious 
opinions, the opinions she had learnt from him. I could not help 
it ; she was quite on my side, although I had tried not to take a 
side, and she disliked Ruskin more than I did. 

I can hardly explain how much our conversations about Mill 
meant to me ; they were the best of all. When she first men 
tioned him I did little more than respect her sacred admiration, so 
natural to a girl of her age ; but gradually I was caught too. We 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. N talked 

2o8 A Little Holiday 

talked of him a great deal, more than of any one; with Shelley 
he was her chief hero. Mill had been one of the keenest admira 
tions of my boyhood, and boyhood s opinions are far off at twenty- 
five. The men of my age were inclined to be condescending to 
Mill : our idea of a State had outgrown the limits of Liberty ; 
his political economy the whole science, indeed was rather in 
disgrace, his Logic was perhaps amusing to read, but the style was 
stilted, and we had got far beyond his essays on religion, in fact, 
we were coming round the other side ; and as I had no occasion 
to re-read any of his books, I acquiesced. I certainly should have 
shrunk from the notion of putting such a man in my thoughts 
near Flaubert or Tolstoy, for instance. But when we began to 
talk of his autobiography, I saw once more in its entirety the 
enthralling power the man had in my boyhood, the honesty that 
was almost lyrical, the sane and delicate intelligence, the peculiar 
love of truth, which would make him in all times, however far the 
world might progress, an ideal and adorable figure. I loved him 
once more, and it was heaven to follow her lead, and get back in 
all sincerity with the girl to this old enthusiasm, forgotten, slighted, 
while I was following in the train of superior art. 

Once when we two were talking of Shelley Mill s poet Roy 
interrupted after a remark of hers : 

"Why, Beatrice, I never knew you were so fond of reading." 

"What else is there to be fond of? " she answered ; and I too 
could think of nothing else at the moment. 

On the second Sunday we had tea in the summer-house, and 
we meant to enjoy ourselves especially, because it was my last 
day. Beatrice had brought out paper and pencils, and we were 
going to write verses, or play on paper in any way we liked. At 
first we all played together, her jolly brother, my good friend, 
sitting opposite his sister and me. We fooled with writing in 


By Oswald Sickert 209 

various pretty ways suited to the pretty girl, the summer-house, 
our high spirits. The more we wrote, the higher our spirits rose, 
till at last we were floating in a summery ether of butterflies and 
flowers and breezes, high above everyday prose, in a charmed 
world of fancy. I had never known the pen a magician s rod of 
this power. We made verses together, writing each a line and 
passing the paper round. Beatrice appeared in a light which 
plainly surprised her brother. Her imagination, her spirituality, 
burst into radiant life. Her strokes were by far the most brilliant, 
some of her lines were beautiful. A half-realised thought came 
into my head that of her own self such brilliant fancies would 
never have been called to her mind and her ringers, that it was 
our presence which made it possible for her nay, that it was her 
neighbour ; and so in the delicious atmosphere I felt that her 
inventions, though they often outstripped mine, were yet mine 

We had made many such verses, and, as an empty sheet lay 
before me, a new idea struck me, and asking, " Who is this by ?" 
I began to make up a line ; but at the fifth word she had guessed. 
When it came to Roy s turn, and he was just writing the first 
word very large, that we might read it upside down, she stretched 
out her hand across the table and laid it on his paper, and, fearing 
lest she should not guess sooner than I, said without looking at 
me : 

" But you must write very slowly and stop after each word ! " 
And that made me feel still happier in my neighbour ; happy, 
too, that she only withdrew her hand a little way in her unfair 
rivalry, half-conscious surely that it would divide the attention of 
my eyes. At the third round she wrote two lines to make us 
laugh, not for the guessing, for the Chaucer could not be hid even 
in the first two words of her couplet ; and laugh we did to see 


2io A Little Holiday 

Chaucer writing of that "Jewe abhominable" (Roy had dared a 
Heine verse, and we had talked of Heine in the morning, but 
Beatrice knew nothing of him herself). Roy cried out on 
"potence," it was not a Chaucer word. And that correction 
was the first sign of a change ; for soon it came that he had 
slipped out of our game and only laughed with us, and then he 
pushed back his chair and began to draw us, and he almost faded 
from my mind, and the game lay between us two. 

She followed where I led, and I started prose, beginning reck 
lessly anyhow, without sense, not even imitating any one, but for 
the pleasure of the pompous words : 

"Beneath him lay the valley of content, seawards bared by the 
salt wind, its few shorn trees scorched and bent inland, but up 
stream increasing in fulness until they thickened to the joyous 
orchard " any large-mouthed nonsense that came into my head, 
And she followed, for now we had a whole sheet before us and 
two pencils, and she wrote on her side and I on mine. The thing 
began aimlessly, but sense came into it as we went on, and such 
an idyll grew up as has never been written, so full and free. At 
first there was much joking and many grotesque digressions com 
pelling laughter ; here and there, like notes passed by boys in 
class, there would come expostulations, enclosed in brackets on 
her side. 

" (A moment ago we were standing on the old mill bridge, 
watching the red cider-apples circling in the eddies and trying to 
break away down stream. How did we get to the top of this 
hill from which you see the minarets of the Golden City glittering 
in the morning sky ?) " 

"(Not the Golden City. I was thinking of the Crystal Palace 
from Campden Hill, where I went to school ; but we ll come 
down again.)" 


By Oswald Sickert 211 

But soon the laughter passed out. Our two wits, sharpened to 
the keenest edge by the strange rivalry, were yet by this rivalry 
converging to meet. Only at the points where the love story 
grew too intense, the one of us whose turn it was would rest, pro 
longing the joy, putting off the inevitable meaning with some 
sentence of wayward description ; but even these interludes, and 
especially such as she wrote, bore a treasonable reflection of things 
which were around us ; and into the valley of our fancy there 
grew the lilacs which looked in at the summer-house, the wooden 
paling in front of the orchard, the sheep on the distant Surrey 

She wrote the girl and I the man, and we kept to our proper 
spheres, until, as the love scene came to rapture, at the height of 
daring, the man said to the girl : 

" And would you love me if I were a beggar ? " For though 
we were writing of to-day, the man had still upon him something 
of the heroic glory in an old tale. We were beyond all bounds, 
and had been caught up to a perilous height ; we were alone, and 
she had loved to make the man a wonder of manhood in her 
maiden s eyes. But, even as I set down the question, I felt some 
where that it was a final madness to come to so close an inversion ; 
it was leaping with eyes wilfully shut from a dizzy precipice. On 
her column she wrote : 

" The girl raised her eyes to her fairy prince, that he might 
read there that she gave him what no riches can buy." 

She turned her fearless eyes to me, and the first glance from 
them swept me down horribly to the world. What had I been 
doing ? how could anything so irrevocable have happened ? Dead, 
ness came over me and dragged me down, down. I never felt 
so completely on the earth, so immovably, hopelessly everyday. 
What would else have been a discomfort, or frightening even, was 


212 A Little Holiday 

now almost a relief or at any rate I had reached the bottom 
her uncle stood between us, and his presence did not surprise me. 
We had not heard his coming. His face was expressionless, his 
eyes were fixed on the paper before us. My hand almost moved 
forward to cover it ; but she made no attempt at hiding, so I too 
kept still. Roy laughed in his jolly fashion, and cried out from 
his sudden proximity : 

" Stop there, uncle, I ll put you in too ! " 

The sheet was laden with love, I knew, and as my once more 
greyly critical eye caught a hateful sentence here and there, I 
would have hidden it from him, if only for vanity. However I 
did not fancy he was paying much attention to what was written, 
but was thinking : here is the adventurer doing what I feared 
most ; winning the love of my little Beatrice, hardly past her 
childhood, the heiress and under pretence of art. I was so 
hideously aware that I had never meant that, that I did not love 
her, or want to pretend I did, that I was not so base as he must 
think, and he stood so long without moving, that I murmured : 

" We were only joking," conscious, when the words had passed 
my lips, that they were despicable and the very bottom of 
cowardice, without knowing why. He had put his arm on his 
niece s shoulder, and I knew she was leaning her head on his coat. 
He left us, he had not noticed me, and went over to Roy and 
looked at his drawing ; I felt that his going to Roy and looking 
at the sketch had some connection with the reproachful disaster. 
I began : 

"Surely your uncle is not really angry with us " and then 

I went to the end of what I had started to say " he must have 
seen we were only joking," as if I were repeating words learned 
by rote ; for when our eyes met once more, I saw she had not 
realised ; and she did not know why I should be repeating the 


By Oswald Sickert 213 

meaningless excuse I had given her uncle. And then and then 
Oh, I had not yet reached the worst, for she smiled and put 
out her hand as if to lay it on my arm, to comfort me in my 
evident distress ; it was her first impulse, it was all she thought 
of. I appealed to myself in dull agony, how was it possible I 
could resist that movement, why couldn t I at any rate pretend 
to love such a person, and leave it to time to make the pretence 
a reality ? Or rather, what did I matter here at all ? But I was 
lead. She rose from the table, and just then Roy came up to us 
and showed us his drawings, and we walked back to the house, 
her brother talking between us. She was silent and oppressed, 
her thoughts were turned inwards : the puzzle now began to 
weigh on her, she had started to question and solve it. She ad 
vanced us by a few steps as we neared the house, and I could 
think of nothing, only my spirit was straining forward to the 
girl s figure in front. I was dragging after her on my knees 
through the abject dust, and in my head the despairing excuse, a 
nightmare repetition, " we were only joking, we were only 

Roy was the sole cheerful one at dinner, and he and his uncle 
talked much as usual. Every now and again I felt Beatrice s 
eyes fixed on me. After dinner she went up to see her mother. 
Roy and I sat on, talking, and two hours later the door opened 
and let in a flood of light from the hall into our dark room, and 
Beatrice stood there. She did not come in, but said good-night, 
and hesitated a moment in the light, with one hand still resting 
on the door post and the other holding the handle ; and then she 
turned, and the door closed us into darkness again. Then another 
thing was revealed to me : I knew that even when she realised 
fully, no shadow of blame for me would cross her mind. 

Next morning Roy and I carried out the cherished plan we 


214 A Little Holiday 

had made with so much pleasure long ago. We were to be at 
Mr. Gow s soon after sunrise, to breakfast there and feel the 
"nee requies" as the farm bestirred itself for another week s 
work, and thus warmed and elated ramble some six or seven miles 
to a railway station. I talked and simulated sympathy while my 
head was full of something else, and so these last morning hours 
of my visit served chiefly to assure me that my closest friend was 
now to be counted among those with whom I could not deal 
simply. It was still unwontedly early when I reached London 
and the office. 

Saint Joseph and Mary 

From a French Folk-Song 

By Marie Clothilde Balfour 

A-journeying went they : 
Saint-Joseph and Mary, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
A-journeying went they, 
Noel ! 

When they came to the town, 

They knew not where to stay : 
When they came to the town, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 

They knew not where to stay, 
Noel ! 

But a poor widow gave them 

A stable where they lay : 
A poor widow gave them, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
A stable where they lay : 


216 Saint Joseph and Mary 

" Now kind thanks, Dame Margaret, 

Who turned us not away : 
Now kind thanks, Dame Margaret, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
Who turned us not away." 

" Unto thy prayers, Dame Margaret, 

Ne er shall be said Nay. 
Unto thy prayers, Dame Margaret, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
Ne er shall be said Nay." 

Carrying her newborn Child, 

Mary took her way. 
Carrying her newborn Child, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
Mary took her way. 

She met with a poor old man, 

A-sowing of corn and hay. 
She met with a poor old man, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
A-sowing of corn and hay. 

A fair 

By Marie Clothilde Balfour 217 

" A fair good-day to thee, Mary, 

And to thy Child, good-day. 
A fair good-day to thee, Mary, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 

And to thy Child, good-day." 


" Good man, where can I hide Him, 

If danger come this way ? 
Good man, where can I hide Him, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
If danger come this way ? " 

"Wrap Him in yonder cloak, 

My winter cloak of grey. 
Wrap Him in yonder cloak, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
My winter cloak of grey." 

" Go back to thy field, good-man, 

Tis time to cut thy hay. 
Go back to thy field, good-man, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
Tis time to cut thy hay." 

" Nay, 

218 Saint Joseph and Mary 

" Nay, how can the crop be grown, 

Or ever it be May ? 
Nay, how can the crop be grown, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
Or ever it be May ? " 

" Go seek thy sickle, good-man, 

Thy corn is ripe to-day. 
Go seek thy sickle, good-man, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
Thy corn is ripe to-day." 

He turned him round and round, 

He knew not what to say. 
He turned him round and round, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
He knew not what to say. 

The seed he had but sown, 
Was corn all golden gay. 
The seed he had but sown, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
Was corn all golden gay. 

By Marie Clothilde Balfour 219 

He took his sickle to shear it, 

And lo, in piles it lay. 
He took his sir.kle to shear it, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
And lo, in piles it lay ! 

The good-man gazed around, 

And knelt him down to pray. 
The good-man gazed around, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 

And knelt him down to pray. 

Now God be thanked for this harvest, 

And for this happy day ! 
Now God be thanked for this harvest, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
And for this happy day! 
Noel I 

The Jews came riding by, 

They had a word to say. 
The Jews came riding by, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
They had a word to say. 

Noel ! 


22O Saint Joseph and Mary 

"Now tell us the truth, good-man, 

So rich in corn and hay. 
Now tell us the truth, good-man, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 
So rich in corn and hay. 

"Hast thou seen Maid Mary, 

And her young Child to-day ? 
Hast thou seen Maid Mary, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 

And her young Child to-day ? " 

Not since this field was sown, 
Has Mary passed this way. 
Not since this field was sown, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 

Has Mary passed this way." 


" Then back, turn back, my men, 
For that was in last year s May. 
Then back, turn back, my men, O gay ! 

A-don-don-delle : 

For that was in last year s May." 

Alexander the Ratcatcher 

By Richard Garnett, C.B., LL.D. 

"Alexander Octavus mures, qui Urbem supra modum vexabant, 
anathemate perculit." Palatius. Fasti Cardinalium, torn. 5, p. 46. 

r) OME and her rats are at the point of battle ! " 

I\_ This metaphor of Menenius Agrippa s became, history 
records, matter of fact in 1689, when rats pervaded the Eternal 
City from garret to cellar, and Pope Alexander the Eighth 
seriously apprehended the fate of Bishop Hatto. The situation 
worried him sorely ; he had but lately attained the tiara at an 
advanced age the twenty-fourth hour, as he himself remarked in 
extenuation of his haste to enrich his nephews. The time vouch 
safed for worthier deeds was brief, and he dreaded descending to 
posterity as the Rat Pope. Witty and genial, his sense of humour 
teased him with a full perception of the absurdity of his position. 
Peter and Pasquin concurred in forbidding him to desert his post; 
and he derived but small comfort from the ingenuity of his 
flatterers, who compared him to St. Paul contending with beasts 
at Ephesus. 

It wanted three half-hours to midnight, as Alexander sat amid 


222 Alexander the Ratcatcher 

traps and ratsbane in his chamber in the Vatican, under the pro 
tection of two enormous cats and a British terrier. A silver bell 
stood ready to his hand, should the aid of the attendant chamber 
lains be requisite. The walls had been divested of their tapestries, 
and the floor gleamed with powdered glass. A tome of legendary 
lore lay open at the history of the Piper of Hamelin. All was 
silence, save for the sniffing and scratching of the dog and a sound 
of subterranean scraping and gnawing. 

"Why tarries Cardinal Barbarigo thus?" the Pope at last 
asked himself aloud. The inquiry was answered by a wild burst 
of squeaking and a clattering and scurrying to and fro, as who 
should say, " We ve eaten him ! We ve eaten him ! " 

But this exultation was at least premature, for just as the 
terrified Pope touched his bell, the door opened to the narrowest 
extent compatible with the admission of an ecclesiastical personage 
of dignified presence, and Cardinal Barbarigo hastily squeezed 
himself through. 

" I shall hardly trust myself upon these stairs again," he 
remarked, "unless under the escort of your Holiness s terrier." 

"Take him, my son, and a cruse of holy water to boot," the 
Pope responded. " Now, how go things in the city ?" 

" As ill as may be, your Holiness. Not a saint stirs a finger to 
help us. The country-folk shun the city, the citizens seek the 
country. The multitude of enemies increases hour by hour. 
They set at defiance the anathemas fulminated by your Holiness, 
the spiritual censures placarded in the churches, and the citation 
to appear before the ecclesiastical courts, although assured that 
their cause shall be pleaded by the ablest advocates in Rome. The 
cats, amphibious with alarm, are taking to the Tiber. Vainly the 
city reeks with toasted cheese, and the Commissary-General reports 
himself short of arsenic." 


By Richard Garnett 223 

" And how are the people taking it ? " demanded Alexander. 
" To what cause do they attribute the public calamity ? " 

" Generally speaking, to the sins of your Holiness," replied the 

" Cardinal ! " exclaimed Alexander, indignantly. 

" I crave pardon for my temerity," returned Barbarigo. " It is 
with difficulty that I force myself to speak, but I am bound to lay 
the ungrateful truth before your Holiness. The late Pope, as all 
men know, was a personage of singular sanctity." 

" Far too upright for this fallen world," observed Alexander, 
with unction. 

" I will not dispute," responded the Cardinal, " that the head of 
Innocent the Eleventh might have been more fitly graced by a 
halo than by a tiara. But the vulgar are incapable of placing 
themselves at this point of view. They know that the rats hardly 
squeaked under Innocent, and that they swarm under Alexander. 
What wonder if they suspect your Holiness of familiarity with 
Beelzebub, the patron of vermin, and earnestly desire that he 
would take you to himself ? Vainly have I represented to them 
the unreasonableness of imposing upon him a trouble he may well 
deem superfluous, considering your Holiness s infirm health and 
advanced age. Vainly, too, have I pointed out that your anathema 
has actually produced all the effect that could have been reasonably 
anticipated from any similar manifesto on your predecessor s part. 
They won t see it. And, in fact, might I humbly advise, it does 
appear impolitic to hurl anathemas unless your Holiness knows 
that some one will be hit. It might be opportune, for example, to 
excommunicate Father Molinos, now fast in the dungeons of St. 
Angelo, unless, indeed, the rats have devoured him there. But I 
question the expediency of going much further." 

" Cardinal," said the Pope, " you think yourself prodigiously 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. o clever, 

224 Alexander the Ratcatcher 

clever, but you ought to know that the state of public opinion 
allowed us no alternative. Moreover, I will give you a wrinkle 
in case you should ever come to be Pope yourself. It is unwise to 
allow ancient prerogatives to fall entirely into desuetude. Far- 
seeing men prognosticate a great revival of sacerdotalism in the 
nineteenth century, and what is impotent in an age of sense may 
be formidable in an age of nonsense. Further, we know not 
from one day to another whether we may not be absolutely 
necessitated to excommunicate that fautor of Gallicanism, Louis 
the Fourteenth, and before launching our bolt at a king, we may 
think well to test its efficacy upon a rat. Fiat experimentum. And 
now to return to our rats, from which we have ratted. Is there, 
indeed, no hope ? " 

" Lateat scintillula forsan" said the Cardinal, mysteriously. 
" Ha ! How so ? " eagerly demanded Alexander. 
" Our hopes," answered the Cardinal, " are associated with the 
recent advent to this city of an extraordinary personage." 
" Explain," urged the Pope. 

" I speak," resumed the Cardinal, " of an aged man of no 
plebeian mien or bearing, albeit most shabbily attired in the skins, 
now fabulously cheap, of the vermin that torment us ; who, pro 
fessing to practising as an herbalist, some little time ago established 
himself in an obscure street of no good repute. A tortoise hangs 
in his needy shop, nor are stuffed alligators lacking. Under 
standing that he was resorted to by such as have need of philters 
and love-potions, or are incommoded by the longevity of parents 
and uncles, I was about to have him arrested, when I received a 
report which gave me pause. This concerned the singular 
intimacy which appeared to subsist between him and our enemies. 
When he left home, it was averred, he was attended by troops of 
them, obedient to his beck and call, and spies had observed him 


By Richard Garnett 225 

banquetting them at his counter, the rats sitting erect and com 
porting themselves with perfect decorum. I resolved to investigate 
the matter for myself. Looking into his house through an un 
shuttered window, I perceived him in truth surrounded by feasting 
and gambolling rats ; but when the door was opened in obedience 
to my attendants summons, he appeared to be entirely alone. 
Laying down a pestle and mortar, he greeted me by name with 
an easy familiarity which for the moment quite disconcerted me, 
and inquired what had procured him the honour of my visit. 
Recovering myself, and wishing to intimidate him : 

" I desire in the first place, I said, to point out to you your 
grave transgression of municipal regulations in omitting to paint 
your name over your shop. 

" Call me Rattila, he rejoined with unconcern, and state 
your further business. 

" I felt myself on the wrong tack, and hastened to interrogate 
him respecting his relations with our adversaries. He frankly 
admitted his acquaintance with rattery in all its branches, and his 
ability to deliver the city from his scourge, but his attitude 
towards your Holiness was so deficient in respect that I question 
whether I ought to report it." 

" Proceed son," said the Pope, " we will not be deterred from 
providing for the public weal by the ribaldry of a ratcatcher." 

" He scoffed at what he termed your Holiness s absurd position, 
and affirmed that the world had seldom beheld, nor would soon 
behold again, so ridiculous a spectacle as a Pope besieged by rats. 
I can help your master, he continued, and am willing, but my 
honour, like his, is aspersed in the eyes of the multitude, and he 
must come to my aid, if I am to come to his. 

" I prayed him to be more explicit, and offered to be the bearer 
of any communication to your Holiness. 

" I will 

226 Alexander the Ratcatcher 

" I will unfold myself to no one but the Pope himself, he 
replied, and the interview must take place when and where I 
please to appoint. Let him meet me this very night, and alone, 
in the fifth chamber of the Appartamento Borgia. 

" The Appartamento Borgia ! I exclaimed in consternation. 
The saloons which the wicked Pope, Alexander the Sixth, 
nocturnally perambulates, mingling poisons that have long lost 
their potency for Cardinals who have long lost their lives ! 

" Have a care ! he exclaimed sharply, You speak to his late 
Holiness s most intimate friend. 

" Then, I answered, you must obviously be the Devil, and I 
am not at present empowered to negotiate with your Infernal 
Majesty. Consider, however, the peril and inconvenience of 
visiting at dead of night rooms closed for generations. Think of 
the chills and cobwebs. Weigh the probability of his Holiness 
being devoured by rats. 

" I guarantee his Holiness absolute immunity from cold, he 
replied, and that none of my subjects shall molest him either 
going or returning. 

" But, I objected, granting that you are not the Devil, how 
the devil, let me ask, do you expect to gain admittance at midnight 
to the Appartamento Borgia ? 

" Think you I cannot pass through a stone wall ? answered 
he, and vanished in an instant. A tremendous scampering of rats 
immediately ensued, then all was silence. 

" On recovering in some measure from my astounded condition, 
I caused strict search to be made throughout the shop. Nothing 
came to light but herbalists stuff and ordinary medicines. And, 
now, Holy Father, your Holiness s resolution ? Reflect well. 
This Rattila may be the King of the Rats, or he may be 
Beelzebub in person." 


By Richard Garnett 227 

Alexander the Eighth was principally considered by his con 
temporaries in the light of a venerable fox, but the lion had by no 
means been omitted from his composition. 

" All powers of good forbid," he exclaimed, " that a Pope 
and a Prince should shrink from peril which the safety of the 
State summons him to encounter ! I will confront this wizard, 
this goblin, in the place of his own appointing, under his late 
intimate friend s very nose. I am a man of many transgressions, 
but something assures me that Heaven will not deem this a fit 
occasion for calling them to remembrance. Time presses ; I 
lead on ; follow, Cardinal Barbarigo, follow ! Yet stay, let us 
not forget temporal and spiritual armouries." 

And hastily providing himself with a lamp, a petronel, a bunch 
of keys, a crucifix, a vial of holy water, and a manual of exor 
cisms, the Pope passed through a secret door in a corner of his 
chamber, followed by the Cardinal bearing another lamp and a 
naked sword, and preceded by the dog and the two cats, all 
ardent and undaunted as champions bound to the Holy Land for 
the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre. 


The wizard had kept his word. Not a rat was seen or heard 
upon the pilgrimage, which was exceedingly toilsome to the aged 
Pope, from the number of passages to be threaded and doors to be 
unlocked. At length the companions stood before the portal of 
the Appartamento Borgia. 

" Your Holiness must enter alone," Cardinal Barbarigo admon 
ished, with manifest reluctance. 

" Await my return," enjoined the Pontiff, in a tone or more 


228 Alexander the Ratcatcher 

confidence than he could actually feel, as, after much grinding 
and grating, the massive door swung heavily back, and he passed 
on into the dim, unexplored space beyond. The outer air, stream 
ing in as though eager to indemnify itself for years of exile, smote 
and swayed the flame of the Pope s lamp, whose feeble ray flitted 
from floor to ceiling as the decrepit man, weary with the way he 
had traversed and the load he was bearing, tottered and stumbled 
painfully along, ever and anon arrested by a closed door, which he 
unlocked with prodigious difficulty. The cats cowered close to 
the Cardinal ; the dog at first accompanied the Pope, but whined 
so grievously, as though he beheld a spirit, that Alexander bade 
him back. 

Supreme is the spell of the genius loci. The chambers traversed 
by the Pope were in fact adorned with fair examples of the painter s 
art, mostly scriptural in subject, but some inspired with the devout 
Pantheism in which all creeds are reconciled. All were alike in 
visible to the Pontiff", who, with the dim flicker of his lamp, could 
no more discern Judaea wed with Egypt on the frescoed ceiling 
than, with the human limitation of his faculties, he could foresee 
that the ill-reputed rooms would one day harbour a portion of the 
Vatican Library, so greatly enriched by himself. Nothing but 
sinister memories and vague alarms presented themselves to his 
imagination. The atmosphere, heavy and brooding from the long 
exclusion of the outer air, seemed to weigh upon him with the 
density of matter, and to afford the stuff out of which phantasmal 
bodies perpetually took shape and, as he half persuaded himself, 
substance. Creeping and tottering between bowl and cord, shielding 
himself with lamp and crucifix from Michelotto s spectral poniard 
and more fearful contact with fleshless Vanozzas and mouldering 
Giulias, the Pope urged, or seemed to urge, his course amid 
phantom princes and cardinals, priests and courtesans, soldiers and 


By Richard Garnett 229 

serving-men, dancers, drinkers, dicers, Bacchic and Cotyttian 
workers of whatsoever least beseemed the inmates of a Pontifical 
household, until, arrived in the fifth chamber, close by the, to him, 
invisible picture of the Resurrection, he sank exhausted into a 
spacious chair that seemed placed for his reception, and for a 
moment closed his eyes. Opening them immediately afterwards, 
he saw with relief that the phantoms had vanished, and that he 
confronted what at least seemed a fellow- mortal, in the ancient 
rat-catcher, habited precisely as Cardinal Barbarigo had described, 
yet for all his mean apparel, wearing the air of one wont to confer 
with the potentates of the earth on other subjects than the exter 
mination of rats. 

" This is noble of your Holiness really," he said, bowing with 
mock reverence. " A second Leo the Great ! " 

"I tell you what, my man," responded Alexander, feeling it 
very necessary to assert his dignity while any of it remained, " you 
are not to imagine that, because I have humoured you so far as to 
grant you an audience at an unusual place and time, I am going to 
stand any amount of your nonsense and impertinence. Youcan catch 
our rats, can you ? Catch them, then, and you need not fear that we 
shall treat you like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. You have com 
mitted sundry rascalities, no doubt ? A pardon shall be made out 
for you. You want a patent or a privilege for your ratsbane ? 
You shall have it. So to work, in the name of St. Muscipulus ! 
and you may keep the tails and skins." 

" Alexander," said the ratcatcher composedly, " I would not 
commend or dispraise you unduly, but this I may say, that of all 
the Popes I have known you are the most exuberant in hypocrisy 
and the most deficient in penetration. The most hypocritical, 
because you well know, and know that I know that you know, 
that you are not conversing with an ordinary rat-catcher : had 


230 Alexander the Ratcatcher 

you deemed me such, you would never have condescended to meet 
me at this hour and place. The least penetrating, because you 
apparently have not yet discovered to whom you are speaking. 
Do you really mean to say that you do not know me ? " 

" I believe I have seen your face before," said Alexander, " and 
all the more likely as I was inspector of prisons when I was 

"Then look yonder," enjoined the ratcatcher, as he pointed 
to the frescoed wall, at the same time vehemently snapping his 
fingers. Phosphoric sparks hissed and crackled forth, and coal 
esced into a blue lambent flame, which concentrated itself upon a 
depicted figure, whose precise attitude the ratcatcher assumed as 
he dropped upon his knees. The Pope shrieked with amazement, 
for, although the splendid Pontifical vestments had become ragged 
fur, in every other respect the kneeling figure was the counterpart 
of the painted one, and the painted one was Pinturicchio s portrait 
of Pope Alexander the Sixth kneeling as a witness of the Resur 

Alexander the Eighth would fain have imitated his predecessor s 
attitude, but terror bound him to his chair, and the adjuration 
of his patron St. Mark which struggled towards his lips never 
arrived there. The book of exorcisms fell from his paralysed 
hand, and the vial of holy water lay in shivers upon the floor. 
Ere he could collect himself, the dead Pope had seated himself 
beside the Pope with one foot in the grave, and, fondling a ferret- 
skin, proceeded to enter into conversation. 

"What fear you?" he asked. "Why should I harm you? 
None can say that I ever injured any one for any cause but my 
own advantage, and to injure your Holiness now would be to 
obstruct a design which I have particularly at heart." 

"I crave your Holiness s forgiveness," rejoined the Eighth 


By Richard Garnett 231 

Alexander, " but you must be aware that you left the world with 
a reputation which disqualifies you for the society of any Pope in 
the least careful of his character. It positively compromises me 
to have so much as the ghost of a person so universally decried 
as your Holiness under my roof, and you would infinitely oblige 
me by forthwith repairing to your own place, which I take to be 
about four thousand miles below where you are sitting. I could 
materially facilitate and accelerate your Holiness s transit thither 
if you would be so kind as to hand me that little book of 

" How is the fine gold become dim ! " exclaimed Alexander the 
Sixth. " Popes in bondage to moralists ! Popes nervous about 
public opinion ! Is there another judge of morals than the Pope 
speaking ex cathedra^ as I always did ? Is the Church to frame 
herself after the prescriptions of heathen philosophers and profane 
jurists ? How, then, shall she be terrible as an army with banners ? 
Did I concern myself with such pedantry when the kings of 
Spain and Portugal came to me like cats suing for morsels, and I 
gave them the West and the East ? " 

"It is true," Alexander the Eighth allowed, "that the lustre 
of the Church hath of late been obfuscated by the prevalence ot 

"It isn t the heretics," Borgia insisted. -"It is the degeneracy 
of the Popes. A shabby lot ! You, Alexander, are about the 
best of them ; but the least Cardinal about my court would have 
thought himself bigger than you." 

Alexander s spirit rose. " I would suggest," he said, " that 
this haughty style is little in keeping with the sordid garb wherein 
your Holiness, consistent after death as in your life, masquerades 
to the scandal and distress of the faithful." 

" How can I other ? Has your Holiness forgotten your Rabelais ? " 


232 Alexander the Ratcatcher 

" The works of that eminent Doctor and Divine," answered 
Alexander the Eighth, "are seldom long absent from my hands, 
yet I fail to remember in what manner they elucidate the present 

" Let me refresh your memory," rejoined Borgia, and, pro 
ducing a volume of the Sage of Meudon, he turned to the chapter 
descriptive of the employments of various eminent inhabitants of 
the nether world, and pointed to the sentence : 


" Is this indeed sooth ? " demanded his successor. 

" How else should Franois Rabelais have affirmed it ? " re 
sponded Borgia. " When I arrived in the subterranean kingdom, 
I found it in the same condition as your Holiness s dominions at 
the present moment, eaten up by rats. The attention which, 
during my earthly pilgrimage, I had devoted to the science of 
toxicology indicated me as a person qualified to abate the nuisance, 
which commission I executed with such success, that I received 
the appointment of Ratcatcher to his Infernal Majesty, and so 
discharged its duties as to merit a continuance of the good opinion 
which had always been entertained of me in that exalted quarter. 
After a while, however, interest began to be made for me in even 
more elevated spheres. I had not been able to cram Heaven with 
Spaniards, as I had crammed the Sacred College on the contrary. 
Truth to speak, my nation has not largely contributed to the 
population of the regions above. But some of us are people of 
consequence. My great-grandson, the General of the Jesuits, who, 
as such, had the ear of St. Ignatius Loyola, represented that had I 
adhered strictly to my vows, he could never have come into 

* Pantagruel, book xi. ch. 30. 

By Richard Garnett 233 

existence, and that the Society would thus have wanted one of its 
brightest ornaments. This argument naturally had great weight 
with St. Ignatius, the rather as he, too, was my countryman. 
Much also was said of the charity I had shown to the exiled Jews, 
which St. Dominic was pleased to say made him feel ashamed of 
himself when he came to think of it ; of my having fed my people 
in time of dearth, instead of contriving famines to enrich myself, 
as so many Popes nephews have done since ; and of the splendid 
order in which I had kept the College of Cardinals. Columbus 
said a good word for me, and Savonarola did not oppose. Finally I 
was allowed to come upstairs, and exercise my profession on earth. 
But mark what pitfalls line the good man s path ! I never could 
resist tampering with drugs of a deleterious nature, and was con 
stantly betrayed by the thirst for scientific experiment into 
practices incompatible with the public health. The good nature 
which my detractors have not denied me was a veritable snare. 
I felt for youth debarred from its enjoyments by the un 
natural vitality of age, and sympathised with the blooming damsel 
whose parent alone stood between her and her lover. I thus lived 
in constant apprehension of being ordered back to the Netherlands, 
and yearned for the wings of a dove, that I might flee away and 
be out of mischief. At last I discovered that my promotion to a 
higher sphere depended upon my obtaining a testimonial from the 
reigning Pope. Let a solemn procession be held in my honour, 
and intercession be publicly made for me, and I should ascend 
forthwith. I have consequently represented my case to many of 
your predecessors : but, O Alexander, you seventeenth-century 
Popes are a miserable breed ! No fellow feeling, no esprit de corps. 
Heu pletas ! heu prisca fides ! No one was so rude as your ascetic 
antecessor. The more of a saint, the less of a gentleman. Person 
ally offensive, I assure you ! But the others were nearly as bad. 


234 Alexander the Ratcatcher 

The haughty Paul, the fanatic Gregory, the worldly Urban, the 
austere Innocent the Tenth, the affable Alexander the Seventh, all 
concurred in assuring me that it was deeply to be regretted that I 
should ever have been emancipated from the restraints of the 
Stygian realm, to which I should do well to return with all 
possible celerity ; that it would much conduce to the interests of 
the Church if my name could be forgotten ; and that, as for doing 
anything to revive its memory, they would just as soon think or 
canonising Judas Iscariot." 

"And therefore your Holiness has brought these rats upon us, 
enlisted, I nothing doubt, in the infernal regions ? " 

" Precisely so : Plutonic, necyomantic, Lemurian rats, kindly 
lent by the Prince of Darkness for the occasion, and come drip 
ping from Styx to squeak and gibber in the Capitol. But I note 
your Holiness s admission that they belong to a region exempt 
from your jurisdiction, and that, therefore, your measures against 
them, except as regards their status as belligerents, are for the 
most part illegitimate and ultra vires" 

" I would argue that point," replied Alexander the Eighth, " if 
my lungs were as tough as when I pleaded before the Rota in 
Pope Urban s time. For the present I confine myself to for 
mally protesting against your Holiness s unprecedented and 
parricidal conduct in invading your country at the head of an 
army of loathsome vermin." 

" Unprecedented ! " exclaimed Borgia. " Am I not the 
modern Coriolanus ? Did Narses experience blacker ingrati 
tude than I ? Where would the temporal power be but for me ? 
Who smote the Colonna ? Who squashed the Orsini ? Who 
gave the Popes to dwell quietly in their own house ? Monsters 
of unthankfulness ! " 

" I am sure," said Alexander the Eighth, soothingly, " that my 


By Richard Garnett 235 

predecessors inability to comply with your Holiness s request 
must have cost them many inward tears, not the less genuine 
because entirely invisible and completely inaudible. A wise Pope 
will, before all things, consider the spirit of his age. The force 
of public opinion, which your Holiness lately appeared to disparage, 
was, in fact, as operative upon yourself as upon any of your suc 
cessors. If you achieved great things in your lifetime, it was 
because the world was with you. Did you pursue the same 
methods now, you would soon discover that you had become an 
offensive anachronism. It will not have escaped your Holiness s 
penetration, that what moralists will persist in terming the eleva 
tion of the standard of the Church, is the result of the so-called 
improvement of the world." 

"There is a measure of truth in this," admitted Alexander the 
Sixth, " and the spirit of this age is a very poor spirit. It was 
my felicity to be a Pope of the Renaissance. Blest dispensation ! 
when men s view of life was large and liberal ; when the fair 
humanities flourished ; when the earth yielded up her hoards of 
chiselled marble and breathing bronze, and new-found agate urns 
as fresh as day ; when painters and sculptors vied with antiquity, 
and poets and historians followed in their path ; when every be 
nign deity was worshipped save Diana and Vesta ; when the arts 
of courtship and cosmetics were expounded by archbishops; when 
the beauteous Imperia was of more account than the eleven thou 
sand virgins ; when obnoxious persons glided imperceptibly from 
the world ; and no one marvelled if he met the Pope arm in arm 
with the Devil. How miserable, in comparison, is the present 
sapless age, with its prudery and its pedantry, and its periwigs and 
its painted coaches, and its urban Arcadias and the florid impo 
tence and ostentatious inanity of what it calls its art ! Pope 
Alexander ! I see in the spirit the sepulchre destined for you, and 

I swear 

236 Alexander the Ratcatcher 

I swear to you that my soul shivers in my ratskins ! Come, now ! 
I do not expect you to emulate the Popes of my time, but show 
that your virtues are your own, and your faults those of your 
epoch. Pluck up a spirit ! Take bulls by the horns ! Look 
facts in the face ! Think upon the images of Brutus and Cassius ! 
Recognise that you cannot get rid of me, and that the only safe 
course is to rehabilitate me. I am not a candidate for canonisa 
tion just now ; but repair past neglect and appease my injured 
shade in the way you wot of. If this is done, I pledge my word 
that every rat shall forthwith evacuate Rome. Is it a bargain ? I see 
it is ; you are one of the good old sort, though fallen on evil days. 

Renaissance or Rats, Alexander the Eighth yielded. 

" I promise," he declared. 

" Your hand upon it ! " 

Subduing his repugnance and apprehension by a strong effort, 
Alexander laid his hand within the spectre s clammy paw. An 
icy thrill ran through his veins, and he sank back senseless into 
his chair. 


When the Pope recovered consciousness he found himself in bed, 
with slight symptoms of fever. His first care was to summon 
Cardinal Barbarigo, and confer with him respecting the surpris 
ing adventures which had recently befallen them. To his amaze 
ment, the Cardinal s mind seemed an entire blank on the subject. 
He admitted having made his customary report to his Holiness 
the preceding night, but knew nothing of any supernatural rat 
catcher, and nothing of any midnight rendezvous at the Apparta- 
mento Borgia. Investigation seemed to justify his nescience ; no 
vestige of the man of rats or of his shop could be discovered ; and 
the Borgian apartments, opened, and carefully searched through, 


By Richard Gannett 237 

revealed no trace of having been visited for many years. The 
Pope s book of exorcisms was in its proper place, his vial of holy 
water stood unbroken upon his table ; and his chamberlains de 
posed that they had consigned him to Morpheus at the usual 
hour. His illusion was at first explained as the effect of a pecu 
liarly vivid dream ; but when he declared his intention of actually 
holding a service and conducting a procession for the weal of his 
namesake and predecessor, the conviction became universal that 
the rats had effected a lodgement in his Holiness s upper stories. 

Alexander, notwithstanding, was resolute, and so it came to 
pass that on the same day two mighty processions encountered 
within the walls of Rome. As the assembled clergy, drawn from 
all the churches and monasteries in the city, the Pope in his litter 
in their midst, marched, carrying candles, intoning chants, and, 
with many a secret shrug and sneer, imploring Heaven for the 
repose of Alexander the Sixth, they were suddenly brought to bay 
by another procession precipitated athwart their track, disorderly, 
repulsive, but more grateful to the sight of the citizens than all 
the pomps and pageants of the palmiest days of the Papacy. 
Black, brown, white, grey ; fat and lean ; old and young ; stri 
dent or silent ; the whiskered legions tore and galloped along ; 
thronging from every part of the city, they united in single 
column into an endless host that appeared to stretch from the 
rising to the setting of the sun. They seemed making for the 
Tiber, which they would have speedily choked ; but ere they 
could arrive there a huge rift opened in the earth, down which 
they madly precipitated themselves. Their descent, it is affirmed, 
lasted as many hours as Vulcan occupied in falling from Heaven to 
Lemnos ; but when the last tail was over the brink the gulf closed 
as effectually as the gulf in the Forum closed over Marcus Curtius, 
not leaving the slightest inequality by which any could detect it. 


238 Alexander the Ratcatcher 

Long ere this consummation had been attained, the Pope, look 
ing forth from his litter, observed a venerable personage clad in 
ratskins, who appeared desirous of attracting his notice. Glances 
of recognition were exchanged, and instantly in place of the rat 
catcher stood a tall, swarthy, corpulent, elderly man, with the 
majestic, yet sensual features of Alexander the Sixth, accoutred 
with the official habiliments and insignia of a Pope, who rose 
slowly into the air as though he had been inflated with hydrogen. 

"To your prayers ! " cried Alexander the Eighth, and gave the 
example. The priesthood resumed its chants, the multitude 
dropped upon their knees. Their orisons seemed to speed the 
ascending figure, which was rising rapidly, when suddenly ap 
peared in air Luxury, Simony, and Cruelty, contending which 
should receive the Holy Father into her bosom.* Borgia struck 
at them with his crozier, and seemed to be keeping them at bay, 
when a cloud wrapt the group from the sight of men. Thunder 
roared, lightning glared, the rush of waters blended with the ejacu 
lations of the people and the yet more tempestuous rushing of the 
rats. Accompanied as he was, it is not probable that Alexander 
passed, like Dante s sigh, "beyond the sphere that doth all spheres 
enfold;" but, as he was never again seen on earth, it is not 
doubted that he attained at least as far as the moon. 

* Per aver riposo 
Portato fu fra 1 anime beate 
Lo spirto di Alessandro glorioso ; 
Del qual seguiro le sante pedate 
Tre sue familiar! e care ancelle, 
Lussuria, Simonia, e Crudeltate. 

Mackiavelli. Decennale Primo. 

Two Drawings 

By Patten Wilson 

I. A Pathway to the Moon. 
II. A Silverpoint. 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. p 



n \ V, 

- \ \ An 


By Renee de Coutans 

THE room was dark, but the door had purposely been left wide 
open into the hall, and the furniture and her father s and 
mother s big bed were dimly visible. Natalie lay snugly curled 
upon herself like a soft kitten, in her white bedstead with high 
white bars round it, that she might not fall out. 

The most beautiful music she had ever heard her mother play 
rose from the drawing-room, and she was listening to it in a half- 
sleepy, half-wakeful enchantment. Turn ta turn, ti turn, turn 
turn her mother went over the passage, over and over again. 
The phrase was so vehement, so strong, she felt a little afraid ; 
yet it pleased her very much. Turn ta turn, ti turn, turn, turn- 
then followed a shower of pearls, rubies, water-drops ; over and 
over again her mother played this too, until the liquid, jewelled 
notes seemed to ripple from her fingers. Then she went back, 
and combined the two passages, and then repeated them many 
times. Yet Natalie did not tire of listening, and each time her 
ear flew to the opening bar before her mother s fingers had 
returned to it. 

Suddenly, poor Natalie was dissolved in tears. The piano now 
rose in a phrase so exquisitely sweet, searching, tender, so vibrant 
of pitiful love, that this little girl of six was pierced with its 

emotion : 

246 Natalie 

emotion ; she trembled, and a needle-like pain darted from her 
breast to her heart. 

She wept quietly while her mother played and repeated the 
phrase. Each time it seemed to enclose her in a more delicious 
and more intimate emotion ; it spoke into her ear a wish to suffer, 
yet be happy. At the same time her child mind was puzzling 
and wondering. " Why do I cry ? " she asked herself, "and why 
is the pain a pleasure ? " She fell asleep still wondering, with 
those tears of pain and pleasure on her rosy cheeks, long before 
her mother had ceased playing. 

At tea-time the next day, called to the drawing-room, she 
begged her mother in a whisper, and though there were strangers, 
to play what she had played the night before. But when her 
mother did so, seeming pleased and proud that Natalie had asked, 
to her surprise the music gave her neither the pleasure nor the 
pain of yesterday. The notes spoke melodiously, plaintively, but 
in a vaguer way. And their meaning spread out, she seemed to 
notice, over the other people in the room, as though each one took 
a parcel of it which might have been all hers, had she been lying 
alone upstairs in the half darkness in her little bed. 

Days passed before Natalie heard her mother play again, and 
she ceased to wonder at her new experience. But one evening, 
when she had had her warm bath, had been cosily tucked in bed 
and kissed, her mother passed downstairs to the drawing-room, 
and she heard her strike some chords at the big piano which stood 
close to the door leading to her father s study. Natalie, drowsily 
enjoying the comfort of her bed, seemed to see her mother beside 
the piano, shining and lovely in her blue evening-gown. She 
could see the open study-door, and her father reading by the light 
of the pretty silver lamp with the green shade. Then, Tum ta 
turn, ti turn, turn turn and in a moment the rippling notes fell 


By Renee de Coutans 247 

down the keyboard. Turn ta turn, ti turn, turn turn her mother 
was not practising this time. How beautifully she played, Natalie 
thought. On and on she went. Then the phrase of despairing 
loveliness, and it seemed to Natalie she had lost the whole world 
father, mother, beauty, sunshine even her Grimm s fairy book. 
The grieving melody sent the same sharp thrill to her heart. On 
her mother went, through other and still other phrases, brooding 
of a mystery which quivered through and all about Natalie s bed ; 
she seemed floating in a region of fearful anguish and of great joy. 

A wail rose above the music, and the sound of sobbing. 
" Mother, mother," Natalie cried, in a voice that struck through 
her mother s heart, " I cannot bear it, I cannot bear it oh, do 
not play it any more ! " Yet soon Natalie was sleeping and 
smiling peacefully, the faint trace of tears wiped away with kisses, 
resting on her cheeks. Mothers have such cunning ways of 
knowing how to soothe and comfort ! 

Natalie never heard her mother begin again that beautiful but 
dangerous Turn, ta turn, ti turn, turn turn. Sometimes she won 
dered why her mother never played it, but she never dared to ask, 
and slowly the music faded, faded from her thoughts. 

Many years after, one day, the same piercing thrill went through 
her breast again, exquisitely, and again pain and joy were intimately 
commingled, and she trembled and shed tears of heavenly anguish. 
And all the world seemed to throb with mysteries too great to 
understand. Then suddenly came a memory of music, and of 
the little Natalie listening from her white bed while her mother 
played. And she knew why poor Natalie had wept and trembled, 
and why the music of a poet s love had been a music too great 
for her little child s soul to bear. 

The Burden of Pity 

By A. Bernard Miall 

WALK straitly in your ways, O sweer, 
For very pity of my love ; 
There is one pathway for your feet, 

One valley in cool hills above, 
A way that I sought out for you 
In dreams, because my love was true. 

Beloved, will you think that God 

In His own shape had fashioned man, 

And watched the path His creature trod 
That ended foul, that fair began ; 

With great love, though His eyes were dim 

For pity ; could you weep for Him ? 

But I a perfect image wrought 

Of all I would have had you be 
In likeness of my holiest thought : 

And you have grown less fair to see, 
And I more pitiful than God, 
Knowing the way you might have trod. 


By A. Bernard Miall 249 

Yet I will deem your heart as pure 

As I have wished it every day, 
And call each fault the signature 

Of pain that came and passed away ; 
And I will love you more, my sweet, 
For every stain on those white feet. 

And every wound shall be a mouth 

To sing of what you should have grown 

Did winds blow ever from the south, 
If you had never been alone : 

My love, that came too late to aid, 

For pity shall be threefold made. 

Yet, wild rose that the wind has flawed, 
But else more fair than all your kind, 

O snowflake on white eyelids thawed 
To leave a falling tear behind, 

O wherefore are you not complete, 

Or, being ruined, wherefore sweet ? 

Far Above Rubies 

By Netta Syrett 

OLD Dr. Hilcrest s little house on the Bushberry Road, just 
outside Crewford Village, had a new tenant, and Crew- 
ford was shaken to its foundations with excitement and expecta 

All Crewford had so long been " led to the grave," as Briggs 
the town-crier somewhat unfortunately expressed it, by old Dr. 
Hilcrest, and his spectacled nose and white beard had become such 
indispensable features in the village, that the inhabitants were 
thrown into a state of incredulous amazement at the news of his 
projected retirement. Scarcely had they time to recover breath 
from the astounding intelligence, before the newcomer was 
actually upon them. "A boy, a mere boy, too!" as Miss 
Saunders exclaimed to another maiden lady, her bosom friend. 
" Scarcely seven-and-twenty I should think. My dear Sophy, it 
is hardly delicate ! " 

Crewford, however, was not long in making the discovery 
that the young doctor was an acquisition. The children of Mr. 
Miles, the lawyer, who lived opposite Miss Saunders, and were 
conveniently stricken with measles the very day of his arrival, 
disobediently flattened their noses against the windows to watch 
for his coming, and began to laugh before ever he shook his fist 


By Netta Syrett 251 

at them from the gate ; and Miss Saunders herself implored her 
friend to have no scruples about consulting him for bronchitis. 
" He is steady as a churchwarden, my dear, and has the dignified 
manner of a man of sixty," was her verdict. 

His little study in the small, old-fashioned house, where his 
bachelor predecessor had lived so many years, looked very 
pleasant and cosy one October evening, about a month after his 

The chintz curtains were close drawn : there were a bright fire, 
a pair of slippers warming on the rug, and a large armchair drawn 
up close to the fender, in which lay a half-smoked pipe. The 
doctor was taking books out of a large packing case, and putting 
them on to the shelves which lined the room. When the last 
volume was in its place, he pushed the box aside, and sinking 
luxuriously into the big chair, took off his boots, and thrust his 
feet into the warmed slippers. He dropped the boots with a 
thud beside the fender, stooped for his pipe, relighted it, and sank 
back with a sigh of relief, puffing contentedly. His eyes travelled 
about the room, resting now on a picture, newly hung, now 
on the gay flowered curtains. The fire flickered and murmured 
softly, and little ruddy gleams danced on the wall, and bright, 
sudden flashes were reflected in the old-fashioned, low-hanging 
glass opposite. 

Strong was pleasantly tired by the long day s round, and the 
little room seemed to him the embodiment of warmth and com 
fort. Lounging in the big chair, his head thrown back, his 
slippered feet thrust out towards the blaze, and his hands in his 
pockets, he gazed dreamily at the blue smoke wreaths from his 
pipe, and allowed his thoughts to stray over the past few years. 
He was young Miss Saunders had rather over, than under 
stated his age, in putting him down as seven-and-twenty but 


252 Far Above Rubies 

already he looked back upon much hard, uphill work. The son 
of a poor clergyman, the education necessary to fit him for the 
profession of his choice, had been acquired at the price of much 
personal self-denial, and, as he also recognised, of considerable 
sacrifice at home. A troubled contraction of the brows, was 
the outcome of a remembrance of his father s thin, stooping 
figure bending over his books in the shabby little library at the 
Devonshire Vicarage. 

His college days at Cambridge, and afterwards as a student at 
Guy s, marred as they were by the necessity of looking at every 
halfpenny spent on pleasure, were almost forgotten in the vivid 
memory of the June afternoon when Mollie Kendall first came to 
the rooms he shared with her brother. Mollie and he had been 
engaged now four years. Four years of incessant, untiring work 
on Strong s part, had resulted in the country practice for which his 
old father had with difficulty advanced the money, and though he 
recognised the inevitable struggle before him, he was undaunted. 
Fortune had hitherto favoured the brave ; there was no reason for 
doubting a continuance of her kindness. 

He rose presently, with a yawn, and began to whistle softly, out 
of sheer content. He looked very boyish as he lounged about the 
room arranging his few possessions photographs, a vase or two 
on the mantel-piece or window ledge. The study was not yet 
completely furnished, and this evening arrangement of books and 
pictures was a never ending satisfaction to him. He altered the 
position of one photograph many times before deciding on its 
destination, and then took it down once more and stood a moment 
with it in his hand, looking at it. When he replaced it, it was 
with a gentle touch. His whistling ceased. 

"Next year, perhaps certainly next year, I should think," was 
in his mind. He tossed paper and envelopes out of the table 


By Netta Syrett 253 

drawer, and sat down to write and tell her. The letter was a long 
one; Mollie read parts of it next day more than once, and smiled 
and blushed, and put the paper to her lips, and then re-read the 
account of his new patients with considerable, if somewhat abated, 

He had been called in by the Gilmans, at the Court, to attend 
one of the maids, he wrote ; they were the richest people in the 
neighbourhood ; it was a good connection, in fact, and the 
Gilmans themselves seemed rather jolly. 

Strong had recalled Mrs. Gilman as he mentioned her name 
with a momentary feeling of curiosity. He had only exchanged 
half-a-dozen words with her, and she was not pretty, but she had 
certainly a curious charm of manner. 

Mrs. Gilman stood by the window in her drawing-room some 
days later, and, half concealed by the heavy velvet curtains, 
watched the doctor s dog-cart whirl down the drive. She did not 
return to the fire till the last flash of wheels had disappeared round 
the bend by the lodge. Then, with a little shiver, she pulled the 
curtain further over the window, and turned away, a smile 
struggling ineffectually with a somewhat pronounced yawn, as she 
came back to the sofa. She pulled the cushions on to the floor 
close to the fire, and threw herself down upon them, leaning back 
against the couch. A half-opened book lay upon the padded arm 
of the sofa, just above her head. She stretched a lazy hand for 
it, found it was out of reach, and indifferently abandoned the 

Nestling more luxuriously among the cushions, she clasped her 
slender hands round her knees, and looked dreamily into the fire. 

Occasionally a little amused smile robbed her face for a moment 
of its jaded expression, but her listless attitude, the droop of her 


254 Far Above Rubies 

shoulders, and a restless movement of her head now and again, 
spoke eloquently of hopeless, unmitigated boredom. 

The room in which she sat, though small Barbara Oilman 
hated big rooms was furnished luxuriously. The folds of the 
heavy curtains over doors and windows gleamed in the firelight, 
which flashed also on the silver toys with which the many 
small tables were loaded, on the shining cushions tossed on the 
floor, and on the fragile china and glass of the tea-table. 

Mrs. Gilman glanced at the linen-covered tray on which the 
tea-cups stood, and at the almost empty cake basket, and smiled 

" He was a very unsophisticated boy and awfully amusing when 
he talked with so grave an air about Dawson s tiresome illness 
just as though it wasn t sufficiently annoying to have one s maid 
ill, with the hunt ball coming on and not a rag to wear, without 
discussing her stupid symptoms by the hour ! However," Mrs. 
Gilman shrugged her shoulders with a sensation of lazy satis 
faction, " we drifted pretty far from Dawson s cough before tea 
was over." 

" I really didn t know such men existed in this age," she told 
herself, her thoughts wandering languidly. " John-Bullism I 
know, and decadence (in the happy day in town), but what is 
this ? It s the sort of thing one used to read about in stories 
that were not oblivious of the young person. High ideals, youth 
ful enthusiasms, innocence or is it ignorance of evil ? They 
are all such exhausting things in their way, but how curious to find 
them combined in one individual and that a man. Really one 
might almost derive a new sensation from the study of such a 
being. And a new sensation here, of all places in the world ! 
No, it s certainly not to be despised." 

She moved a little to shield her face from the fire, and then 


By Netta Syrett 255 

turned her head, her quick glance lighting now on one, now on 
another part of the room. She regretted she had not bought 
a white-and-gold screen she had seen in town, for the corner by 
the door, and determined to send for it. She remembered, too, a 
wonderful Eastern jar, of green metal, the colour of a peacock s 
neck with the sun upon it ; but there was no place for it. 
She satisfied herself that every niche of the room was occupied 
before turning with a dissatisfied air to the fire again. There was 
absolutely nothing more to be bought for the room, unless she 
made a thorough change in its style, and turned out the present 
furniture. She entertained the idea for a moment, but it was too 
much trouble to think out, and her vague plans drifted aimlessly 
for a breathing space, and dissolved, and she yawned again. 
Life was a dull affair, and things were only desirable till one 
obtained them. How she had longed for pretty rooms and 
dainty clothes to wear and delicious things to eat, in the old day, 
at home, in the shabby little villa at Wandsworth. Well ! a 
miracle had happened, or so it had seemed to her, on her engage 
ment to Jim Oilman, and now she had her heart s desires. 
Were they disappointing? Yes but they were also well worth 
keeping. A hastily summoned vision of the draughty dining- 
room at Eglantine Villa, of the roast mutton and boiled rice 
puddings at the mid-day dinner, assured her of this. Mrs. Gilman 
was always frank with herself. Her material advantages were well 
worth keeping, even at the price of playing the part of the 
affectionate wife, a r61e which in itself was irksome. Still, as 
she reflected, every one pays in some form or other for cakes and 
ale, and Jim, though straightforward and good to the point of 
exhaustion, was providentially dense in proportion and he was out 
a great deal, and there were always visits to town, and Mrs. 
Gilman smiled quietly, and twisted the rings on her white fingers, 


256 Far Above Rubies 

without pursuing reflection further, at this point. But visits to 
town were far too infrequent, and in the meantime here she 
was mewed up in a wretched country house, and Jim hated 
visitors, and if you wanted to rely on a man s good nature it 
wasn t safe to urge things he disliked, too frequently and then 
her thoughts all at once drifted to the doctor again. 

" He was awfully puzzled," she told herself. " I can t think 
why I didn t laugh ! I wonder what he thought of me ? " 

As a matter of fact, Strong was thinking of her at the moment: 
sitting frowning in his armchair, holding an extinct, half-forgotten 
pipe listlessly in his right hand. The mixture of admiration and 
instinctive repugnance which coloured his thoughts as he recalled 
her, could she have divined his mental state, would probably have 
filled her with a half-resentful sense of flattered vanity. 

The sound of whistling, followed by the answering, hoarse 
bark of dogs, roused her from her lazy musing. She rose slowly 
from her nest among the cushions, stretching herself daintily, 
with soft, slow movements, which recalled the action of a graceful 
little cat, reluctantly leaving the warmth of the fire. She picked 
up the pillows, and threw them hastily in their right positions on 
the sofa, and then crossed the room to a high-backed chair, on 
which an embroidered work-bag hung. She had taken out its 
contents, a strip of needle-work, and was bending over its intricate 
meshes with an absorbed air, before the door opened. 

" Hullo, little woman ! how cosy and domestic you look." 

A breath of upland air entered the room with the man who 
stood in rough shooting-suit and gaiters, on the threshold. His 
face was bronzed with daily exposure to rain, sun, and wind, and 
an outdoor atmosphere surrounded him like an exhalation. 

" I can come in, I suppose ? I m not very dirty," he assured 
her, glancing at his thick laced boots. " This room always 


By Netta Syrett 257 

makes me feel a clumsy brute," he said, sinking down in an arm 
chair opposite his wife. " A sort of rhinoceros in a parrot s 
cage ! " 

" Thank you," she murmured, with a little grimace. " What 
pretty similes you choose, Jim." 

He laughed. 

"They were never my strong point, I admit but it s a very 
nice little parrot." 

He got up, crossed the room to where she was sitting, and 
bending down, playfully pinched her ear. 

She raised her face with a smile full of wifely devotion, and he 
stooped to kiss her. 

" Had visitors ? " he asked presently, with a glance at the still 
uncleared tea-table. 

" No. Oh ! yes I forgot," she added, carelessly rising to 
ring the bell. " Dr. Strong came in ; he called to see Dawson, 
you know." 

" Ah ! What sort of fellow is he ? " He took a piece of cake 
out of the basket as he spoke, and placed a large crumb on the 
nose of the terrier, which had followed him into the room. 

" Oh ! a nice boy, I think. He s very attentive seems to 
think Dawson s had rather a severe touch of influenza." 

"Paid for !" Milman exclaimed, and the dog seized the cake 
with a snap of his jaws. 

"We d better ask him to dinner, Bab." 

" Yes, I suppose we must," she replied, going on with her 

Strong s fears with regard to the seriousness of the maid s ill 
ness were not unfounded. A sharp attack of pleurisy followed 


258 Far Above Rubies 

the influenza, and, as a consequence, his visits at the Court grew 
more and more frequent. 

Mrs. Oilman was generally standing in the hall as he came 

Behind her lithe, graceful figure, framed in the heavy drapery 
round the doorway, there was a glimpse of the richly scented, little 
room, glowing warmly in the firelight. 

"Do you think she is better? " was her usual, anxious ques 
tion ; it was accompanied by a necessary, upward glance at the 
doctor who stood on the stairs above her. 

" Come in and tell me about her." And then Strong followed 
her into the room, and sat down on the divan drawn up close to 
the fire, before which stood the tea-table, with its white, fringed 
cloth and burden of dainty silver. 

By the end of the month he had spent many half hours in Mrs. 
Oilman s drawing-room. 

The thought of them and of his hostess, remained with him 
during the long evenings he spent in his own little study, smoking 
and gazing into the fire, with Mrs. Oilman s red hair against a 
background of emerald-green cushion, vividly present to his 

Strangely enough, he did not think less often of Mollie Ken 
dall. She was as clearly present in his mind, when he recalled 
the little room at the Court, as was Mrs. Oilman. 

Indeed, he never thought of one woman without the other ; 
they were inseparable, incongruously linked in his thoughts. It 
was, could he conceivably have expressed the situation in metaphor, 
as though he held bound together a violet, fragrant, blue-eyed, 
breathing frankly its story of English woods, of streams babbling 
through deep moss, of the children s ringing laughter and a fan 
tastically delicate orchid, scentless, mysterious, its pale lips closed. 


By Netta Syrett 259 

Strong was perplexed and baffled. Unfitted as his downright 
objective nature made him for the task of mental analysis, he 
strove, with an almost pathetic honesty, to unravel the web of 
conflicting sensations which, he felt uneasily, grew more involved 
as time went on. 

Two things were, however, clear to him. One, that he was not 
in the faintest degree in love with Mrs. Oilman ; the other, that 
his love for Mollie, his tenderness for her, his desire for their 
marriage, were intensified by his involuntary habit of con 
stantly contrasting her with the woman who shared his thoughts 
of her. 

This conviction seemed to him to make it unnecessary to 
contrive any means of lessening his intimacy with the Gilmans, a 
course which, in view of the fact that the Court people were the 
acknowledged leaders of the neighbourhood, would have been in 
the highest degree impolitic. Nevertheless, and he was glad to 
feel assured of this, he would have risked any loss to his position 
through taking such a step, if he had felt it necessary. 

He knew nothing of the modern claim for the imperative, almost 
sacred nature of impulse ; he knew, indeed, little of modern 
thought on any social subject, partly because of the engrossing, 
objective character of his work, but chiefly, perhaps, that his 
nature was so opposed to its teaching, that it was not so much 
that he failed to assimilate, or entirely rejected it, as that he passed 
it by unheeding. 

He did not understand his own hesitation in accepting the 
Gilmans hospitality, and he was vaguely irritated by his own 
undefined, irrational scruples. 

Why in the world should he not value the acquaintance of a 
clever woman of the world, who drew his thoughts from their 
accustomed channels, and forced them to recognise that there 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. Q were 

260 Far Above Rubies 

were other paths worthy to be followed ? Paths that led in the 
direction of art and literature, as well as towards science. It was 
good for him to talk to her, he argued ; he was narrow, it was the 
fault of his profession, he acknowledged it, and wished for a wider 

At this point, the point where a little of the modern atmosphere 
he ignored would have saved him, his reflections invariably ran off 
the right track. To his unsophisticated intelligence, Mrs. Gilman 
was brilliant, witty, profound, simply because he had never had an 
opportunity of comparing her counterfeit coin the catch-words, 
the allusive jargon, the borrowed paradoxes and epigrams of a 
modern school with what was its genuine claim to brilliance and 
distinction. It is easy to make a cheap glitter for a man of 
Strong s type, and Mrs. Gilman practised the economies for which 
no alternative was possible. He was, moreover, so flatteringly 
dazzled by paste that, in any case, diamonds would have been 
sinfully thrown away upon him. 

Such as it was, however, her conversation represented for 
Strong the only culture obtainable in Crewford, and he strove to 
consider the fact powerful enough to account for the influence 
she undoubtedly exercised upon him. 

But in his heart of hearts, when he began patiently to sift 
motives and emotions, he knew this did not solve the mystery of 
the attraction which drew him day after day to her room. 

"Confound it ! " he found himself exclaiming, half aloud, one 
evening. " What is it ? I don t care for her. Good heavens, 
no ! " with a short laugh. "I believe I rather dislike her than 

He paused a moment, pondering over the idea, and dismissed it 
with another bewildered laugh, as one more insoluble problem. 

" Don t even know whether I dislike her ? Hang the woman, 


By Netta Syrett 261 

any way, she occupies -too much of my time. I won t see so 
much of her," he resolved suddenly ; " the girl s all right now. I 
can make that the excuse." 

With the determination, his perplexities at once vanished. He 
looked at Mollie s photograph for a moment before going in 
search of his candle, and a very tender, boyish smile came to his 
lips before they framed themselves for the soft whistling which 
meant that his mind was at rest. 

" What do you and I care for any stupid woman, little girl ! " 
he would have said, had Mollie herself been there to hear him. 

"She is much better," he said, following Mrs. Gilman, the 
next day, into the drawing-room, after his visit to the maid. He 
stood talking by the mantel-piece, as though in readiness to go as 
soon as necessary conversation should be over. "I think if I look 
in again on Thursday or Friday I needn t trouble you again. She 
will do now, if you take care of her for a little while. She 
oughtn t to begin work for a week or two. If you could send her 
home for a fortnight, or 

" Two lumps ? " Mrs. Gilman interrupted. She held the sugar 
suspended over the tea-cup, and glanced up at him. 

He hesitated. 

"I really oughtn t to stay, I haven t made an end of work for 
to-day," he began. 

" But tea is one of the pleasures of life," she returned, passing 
the cup to him, "not a mere duty to be scrupulously 

There was a moment s pause before he took the usual low chair 
near the fire, with a laugh. 

Mrs. Gilman helped herself to one of the tiny cakes out of the 
cake basket. 

" I always 

262 Far Above Rubies 

"I always associate you with that chair, or the chair with you 

whichever you consider the prettiest way of putting it," she 

said, with a little movement of her head towards Strong. She 

addressed him in the slow, lazy voice in which one intimate friend 

might speak to another. 

" It seems quite natural for you to be there. And this is 
practically your last visit ; I m sorry. I shall miss our talks. 
There was the faintest note of sadness in the last words. She 
lifted the cup to her lips, set it down untasted, and gazed a 
moment absently into the fire. 

Strong flushed, and moved a little uneasily, glanced furtively at 
her, and was glad that at the moment she was so obviously uncon 
scious of him. 

"Yes," he said, awkwardly, "we seem to have talked a great 
deal. I was a regular ignorant Philistine before you took me in 
hand, Mrs. Oilman, and I m afraid I haven t made much progress 
in spite of your teaching. I ve ordered some of the books you 
talk about, though, and I m trying to cultivate a taste for art ; but 
I m really awfully sorry I still prefer my old hunting pictures 
to Whistler. I m afraid you ll have to give me up as a bad job. 
I m not a quick pupil." 

She turned her head slowly, and let her eyes dwell fora moment 
on his face. 

" You are an interesting one," she said, wistfully. " I have so 
enjoyed our talks. I " she paused, hesitated a little, and dropped 
her eyes "I am rather lonely. Don t quite forsake me." She 
looked up at him again, with a half-pleading, half-smiling glance ? 
and her voice was a little tremulous. 

Strong s heart beat quicker. 

" I shall be glad to come whenever you ask me," he murmured. 

There was a short silence. 


By Netta Syrett 263 

His eyes were riveted in a sort of fascinated gaze on her half- 
averted face. 

He was thinking, confusedly, how wonderfully she was dressed, 
and how Mollie would tease him about his efforts to describe what 
she wore. Her gown seemed to him a mist of soft, yet brilliant 
colour, the firelight flashed on the jewelled girdle at her waist, 
and her white hands, clasped on her lap, lay like gathered lilies on 
a bed of dimly glowing flowers. What was it that made her face 
so attractive ? It was not pretty, even framed as it was in low, 
falling masses of glorious red hair not pretty, but curiously 
fascinating. Her eyes were beautiful, yet he had hitherto always 
thought it was the expression of her eyes that repelled him. 

" How is the little lady ! " she asked at last, turning sharply 
to him. Her voice had regained its accustomed half-mocking 
brightness. The trend of Strong s reflections was suddenly 

Instinctively he resented the tone of the inquiry, and drew 
himself up a little stiffly before replying, "She is well, I 

She raised her eyebrows ironically. 

" Ton believe ! you know you write every day. And how soon 
are you going to act Benedick to her Beatrice ? " 

" Not so soon as I could wish," he replied, putting the cup down 
on the table. 

" You intend to hug your chains, I see," she returned, leaning 
her head back against the cushion with a nestling movement with 
which he had grown familiar. 

He did not reply, and she sat turning the rings on her finger 
absently, and looking into the red heart of the fire. 

Strong wished to rise, make some excuse about work, and go, 
but something irresistibly impelled him to sit watching her. 


264 Far Above Rubies 

The droop of her mouth, and her downcast eyes gave him an 
odd uncomfortable sensation. She moved at last with a half 

" I want you to see these," she said at last, rising as she spoke 
and moving slowly towards the mantel-piece. 

She drew an envelope from behind a little clock, and took some 
photographs from it. 

" They have just come home. Do you think they are like 
me ? " she asked, leaning over her shoulder at Strong, who rose and 
followed her to the mantel-piece. 

He took them from her and examined them one by one. 

"Well, what do you think of them ? " she asked, softly. She 
was standing close to him, and as she bent over the photographs 
her thick, wavy hair touched his hand. Strong withdrew it 

" They are charming," he said, with an effort, and laid them on 
the mantel-piece. 

She gave a little, low laugh of half-caressing mockery. 

" You are not going to ask for one ? What a good boy ! Now 
see virtue rewarded." 

She chose the prettiest, and held it towards him, raising her eyes 
at the same time. 

They were brilliant with laughing mockery, and something else 
which for one sudden moment sent the blood to his heart. Her 
rich hair fell low against her faintly flushed cheek, the fragrant 
folds of her dress brushed his hand. For one second he stood 
penetrated by her rare tantalising beauty before an irresistible 
impulse seized him, and he bent swiftly, drew her to him, and 
kissed her. 

She drew back, but kept her eyes on his face, and then in one 
brief moment, with all his faculties quickened, intensified by the 


By Netta Syrett 265 

swift reaction from sudden passion, Strong read intuitively Barbara 
Oilman s history of the past few weeks. 

The flash penetrated the obscure recesses of his own mind at 
the same moment, and in the pitiless glare he saw what had 
before been hidden from him the secret of her influence. 
It was miserably, ludicrously simple after all. As he looked at 
the woman before him, he recognised that in spite of the fact that 
accident had made her the honoured wife of a man near his own 
rank in life, she belonged, by nature, to a class which she herself 
probably held in virtuous contempt and horror. 

It was one of those moments of mutual revelation when speech 
is recognised as a clumsy, unnecessary middleman between soul 
and soul. 

As she looked at him, Mrs. Oilman s eyes slowly dilated. 
Their expression of half insolent triumph faded. Resentful anger 
took its place. This boy, who, lacking all the qualities that go to 
the making of a man of the world, had filled her with contemp 
tuous amusement this boy, dared to despise her. 

Her forehead contracted into a sudden frown. 

" What are you thinking about ? " she asked sharply, the words 
involuntarily escaping her lips. 

Strong still kept his eyes on her face. He was pale. She 
noticed that he looked all at once years older. 

"I think I had better not tell you," he replied deliberately, 
taking up his hat. 

She flushed. 

"I thought you might have been considering an apology," 
she said with dangerous coldness, " but I don t think you 
need trouble. No apology, however abject, could atone for 
your disgraceful [conduct. Please go." She pointed to the 


266 Far Above Rubies 

Strong continued to look at her, without changing his expres 

"Nevertheless, I apologise," he said quietly. "It is a man s 
role to offer an apology, I believe." 

She drew a deep breath. 

"I am sorry I cannot accept it. It is perhaps fair to warn you 
that I never conceal anything from my husband," she added over 
her shoulder, as Strong moved towards the door. 

He bowed, turning with his hand on the door-handle, and the 
faintest smile on his lips. As he walked down the hall, the smile 
deepened unpleasantly, and he wondered vaguely that he could at 
the moment find her icily virtuous demeanour so grimly comic. 

She saw the smile, and her lips whitened. Her heart beat fast 
for anger. He was master of the situation. She, a woman of the 
world, had been out-matched and despised by a green boy ! The 
photograph she _had given him lay on the mantel-piece. She 
snatched it up with a sudden movement, tore it again and again, 
and flung it on to the fire. 

She stood motionless a moment, gazing at the leaping flames, 
her eyebrows drawn together, then, in a frenzy of rage, she struck 
her hand against the marble side of the fireplace. 

It was bruised, and the pain brought tears to her eyes, as she 
put it to her lips in a fury of self-pity. There was a step out 
side, the door-handle was turned, and her husband entered. 

" All in the dark, Bab ! " he called cheerfully, stumbling against 
a chair. 

She turned from the fire, and went swiftly to meet him, breaking 
into sobs. 

Then, as he caught her in his arms with incoherent, wondering, 
soothing words, she clung to him, caressing him. 

" Oh ! I wanted you so badly," she murmured through her 


By Netta Syrett 267 

tears. " You dear Jim you dear Jim, don t be angry, will you ? 
I want to tell you something something dreadful ! " 


Two months later, Strong stood by the window in his 
dismantled study, reading a letter in the waning light of a 
December afternoon. 

The same packing-cases that had lumbered the room three 
months before, stood again on the skirting against the wall. 
They were full of pictures and books. The walls were bare ; 
the tables without covers. A travelling-rug and a half-filled 
portmanteau lay on the floor. His face, thrown into relief by the 
light that entered through a side window, was terribly altered. It 
had the grey pallor that comes of anxiety and suspense. There 
were hollows in his cheeks, and the hand that held the paper 
nearer to the light, trembled like the hand of an old man. The 
letter was from his sister, giving him particulars of his father s 
death. It was incoherent, as words written under the strain of 
grief usually are, but the keynote of the letter was struck in the 
stress she laid on the fact that her father seemed to make no effort 
to rally from his illness, when he heard that Strong was giving up 
the Crewford practice. " He was weak before, of course," she 
wrote with unintentional cruelty, " but when he heard the news, 
he seemed utterly crushed and broken, and hardly spoke again. I 
did all I could to keep from him the reports we hear about you, 
and the reason you are leaving Crewford, but ill news flies, Jack, 
and we couldn t help hearing the gossip. I have not heard from 
Mollie, since Major Kendall went down to Crewford a week ago. 
Do write plainly but it doesn t seem to matter now father has 

There was more of the letter, but he threw it down unfinished 
with a laugh. 


268 Far Above Rubies 

" No, it really doesn t matter," he repeated half aloud, and 
began to search in a leather case which he took from his breast 
pocket for another letter which he knew by heart. It was a 
broken-hearted little note from Mollie. He glanced through it, 
crumpled the paper fiercely in his hand, and then smoothed it 
again to read the last sentence. 

" We sail for India to-morrow. Father s leave is over and he 
insists on taking me out with him ; we shall not come home for 
years. I dare not think of it I hope I shall die before 

Strong looked again at the date. She had sailed the previous 

He drew a chair up slowly before the empty table and 
deliberately tore both letters, Mollie s and his sister s into shreds. 
He took great pains to fold the paper exactly, and apparently gave 
his whole mind to the task. When they were reduced to a heap 
of infinitesimal fragments, he rose, opened the window, and 
scattered them to the wind. The white scraps whirled and eddied 
over the bare rose bushes before the window, and drifted like 
flakes of snow on to the earth at their roots. When the last 
flake was at rest, he closed the window softly, as though some one 
lay dead in the room, turned the key in the lock, stooped over the 
portmanteau a moment, and took from it something which he put 
on the table. 

There were a few trifles still unpacked on the mantel-piece, and 
he turned to it and began to collect them mechanically and place 
them neatly in the packing-case. He surprised himself in the act, 
and laughed aloud. What would packing-cases and pictures 
matter in a few moments ? He turned over the last photograph 
and glanced at it. It was of his sister. As he looked, his left 
hand slid over the table, feeling for what he had laid there. He 
grasped it presently, and stood a full minute looking from it to the 


By Netta Syrett 269 

portrait in his other hand. All at once with a groan, he flung the 
pistol from him, and at the same time dropped the photograph 
savagely into the packing case. 

" Damn it ! " he muttered. "A fellow mustn t even die. He s 
got to live, and to try and keep a sister he doesn t care for out of 
the workhouse." 

* * * * # 

Five or six years later, Mrs. Oilman was driving down 
Piccadilly. There was a crush at the corner of Bond Street, and 
the carriage drew up close to the curb. As she sat idly watching 
the passers-by, she saw with a start of recognition Strong s face 
amongst them. He stopped at the edge of the pavement, waiting 
to cross, and in a moment their eyes met. Involuntarily, with a 
woman s instinct, she glanced first at his clothes, as the best 
source of information as to prosperity, or the reverse. He was as 
well dressed as she remembered him at Crewford, years ago, and, 
as she noticed this, her heart began to beat fast with a sense of 
resentful anger. He was doing well then after all. His eyes 
were still fixed upon her, and she forced herself to meet his gaze. 
Once more, as in the drawing-room at the Court five years ago, 
their long look was eloquent. She saw before her a man pre 
maturely aged, his face lined, with work perhaps, possibly with 
suffering, though of that she could not guess. All traces of the 
boy had vanished ; it was a calm, inscrutable face, the lips closely 
pressed together, the eyes steady and quiet. He looked full at 
her, calmly, indifferently even, and as she returned his glance 
the flame of anger flared more fiercely. She had robbed him of 
life s joys, it was true, but he had conquered she felt it. 
Again he was master of the situation. His look, too impersonal 
to be even critical, scorched her. 

With a swift, violent movement she leant forward in the carriage. 


270 Far Above Rubies 

"Drive on," she called savagely to the man, who started, 
flicked the horses suddenly, and they plunged forward, narrowly 
escaping the wheels of a hansom. Before she was whirled past 
him, she saw for the second time in their acquaintance the ghost 
of a smile upon his lips. Her face was white as she leant back 
in the corner of the victoria, her hands clenched under the 
carriage rug. 

The same evening she and her husband were in the private 
sitting-room of their hotel at Westminster. She was putting 
some feathery branches of chrysanthemum into tall jars about the 
room. Two or three of the flowers, flame-coloured, with long, 
curling petals like the tentacles of some sea creature, lay on the 
table. These she presently took up, and fastened at her waist in 
the loose folds of her evening dress. The harmony of the gorgeous 
colour of the flowers with the gown she wore, gave the supreme 
perfecting touch to her appearance. 

Her husband sat in an arm-chair by the fire, a cigarette between 
his fingers, and watched her. She felt the admiration in his eyes 
and turned to him lingeringly, with the slow smile which never 
failed of the effect she intended, in whatever direction it was 

He rose immediately, put his arm round her, and turned her 
face up to his. 

" Ton my word, I believe you are prettier than when I married 
you, Bab ! " he declared with an awkward laugh. 

She touched his cheek with her hair, and stood a moment while 
he stroked it tenderly, then gently moved away. 

" Middleton s late," he observed, with a glance at the clock. 

" Yes," she returned, carelessly, " but there s really plenty of 


" I heard 

By Netta Syrett 271 

" I heard something about that fellow, you know who I mean- 
Strong to-day," he said presently, after a short silence. 

She half-turned her head, then paused, and reached for a fan on 
the mantel-piece. 

" Yes ? " she said, indifferently. 

" The brute s doing better than he deserves, though that s not 
saying much," he went on, his face darkening. " He s scraped 
some sort of practice together in some God-forsaken suburb- 
Hackney or Clapton, I believe and his sister s keeping house for 

"How did you hear?" She was shielding her face from the 
fire with the fan she held. 

"Dr. Danford was talking about him, curiously enough, after 
dinner last night. It seems one of his children met with an 
accident thrown from a pony or something and was taken into 
Strong s place." 

There was a pause while Oilman puffed in silence, a frown 

" Danford spoke enthusiastically of the chap," he went on after 
a moment, knocking the ashes from his cigarette ; " says he s 
bound to come to the front. He s read a paper before some 
medical congress or other that s considered pretty brilliant. Con 
found our smooth, oily, nineteenth-century manner of doing 
business like this," he broke out fiercely, " What wouldn t I 
give to have put a bullet through him that time, instead of being 
driven to ruin his practice by making the place too hot to hold 
him! One can t let one s wife s name get bandied about, though. 
One has to keep her out of it that s the worst of it," he added, 
gloomily, " or else " 

" Why do you talk about him ! What does it matter ? " she 
asked, vehemently, rising and crushing the fan in her hand as she 


272 Far Above Rubies 

spoke. How she hated the man ! The sound of his name 
brought vividly before her the quiet, indifferent glance he had 
that morning bestowed upon her. It roused once more the fury 
of impotent anger with which she recognised her utter powerless- 
ness to affect him. And Jim, of course, blundering idiot that 
he was, must needs remind her. " I hate the subject," she exclaimed. 
She was trembling, and her voice shook. 

Her husband was on his feet in a moment. 

" What a fool I am ! " he said, seizing her hand. " Poor little 
girl, how could I remind you ! You are too good for me, Bab," 
he murmured tenderly, bending over her. " I ought to have 
realised what a good woman feels when a brute like that dares to 
insult her. But we ll never speak of it again, dear." 

She lifted her face for his kiss, and then gently disengaged her 
self as a man s voice became audible outside. 

As she turned her head, an almost imperceptible smile curled 
her lip, and she laid her hand for one second against the front of 
her low gown, where she felt the edge of a stiff envelope, and 
heard its faint rustle. 

The door opened at the moment, and, for a breathing space, 
the eyes of the man who entered sought and met hers. 

" Hullo, Middleton ! you re late," Oilman exclaimed. " We 
shall have to start at once if we re going to hear the overture. 
Bab and I had given you up, and were just settling down to a 
Darby and Joan evening, weren t we, Bab ? " 

At the Article of Death 

By John Buchan 

A NOISELESS evening fell chill and dank on the moorlands. The 
Dreichil was mist to the very rim of its precipitous face, 
and the long, dun sides of the Little Muneraw faded into grey 
vapour. Underfoot were plashy moss and dripping heather, and 
all the air was choked with autumnal heaviness. The herd of the 
Lanely Bield stumbled wearily homeward in this, the late after 
noon, with the roof-tree of his cottage to guide him over the 

For weeks, months, he had been ill, righting the battle of a 
lonely sickness. Two years ago his wife had died, and as there 
had been no child, he was left to fend for himself. He had no 
need for any woman, he declared, for his wants were few and his 
means of the scantiest, so he had cooked his own meals and done 
his own household work since the day he had stood by the grave 
in the Gladsmuir kirkyard. And for a little he did well ; and 
then, inch by inch, trouble crept upon him. He would come 
home late in the winter nights, soaked to the skin, and sit in the 
peat-reek till his clothes dried on his body. The countless little 
ways in which a woman s hand makes a place healthy and habitable 
were unknown to him, and soon he began to pay the price of his 
folly. For he was not a strong man, though a careless onlooker 


274 At the Article of Death 

might have guessed the opposite from his mighty frame. His 
folk had all been short-lived, and already his was the age of his 
father at his death. Such a fact might have warned him to 
circumspection; but he took little heed till that night in the 
March before, when, coming up the Little Muneraw and breathing 
hard, a chill wind on the summit cut him to the bone. He rose 
the next morn, shaking like a leaf, and then for weeks he lay ill 
in bed, while a younger shepherd from the next sheep-farm did 
his work on the hill. In the early summer he rose a broken man, 
without strength or nerve, and always oppressed with an ominous 
sinking in the chest ; but he toiled through his duties, and told no 
man his sorrow. The summer was parchingly hot, and the hill 
sides grew brown and dry as ashes. Often as he laboured up the 
interminable ridges, he found himself sickening at heart with a 
poignant regret. These were the places where once he had strode 
so freely with the crisp air cool on his forehead. Now he had 
no eye for the pastoral loveliness, no ear for the witch-song of 
the desert. When he reached a summit, it was only to fall 
panting, and when he came home at nightfall he sank wearily on 
a seat. 

And so through the lingering summer the year waned to an 
autumn of storm. Now his malady seemed nearing its end. H e 
had seen no man s face for a week, for long miles of moor severed 
him from a homestead. He could scarce struggle from his bed by 
mid-day, and his daily round of the hill was gone through with 
tottering feet. The time would soon come for drawing the ewes 
and driving them to the Gladsmuir market. If he could but hold 
on till the word came, he might yet have speech of a fellow man, 
and bequeath his duties to another. But if he died first, the 
charge would wander uncared for, while he himself would lie in 
that lonely cot till such time as the lowland farmer sent the 


By John Buchan 275 

messenger. With anxious care he tended his flickering spark of 
life he had long ceased to hope and with something like heroism, 
looked blankly towards his end. 

But on this afternoon all things had changed. At the edge of 
the water-meadow he had found blood dripping from his lips, and 
half-swooned under an agonising pain at his heart. With burning 
eyes he turned his face to home, and fought his way inch by inch 
through the desert. He counted the steps crazily, and with pitiful 
sobs looked upon mist and moorland. A faint bleat of a sheep 
came to his ear ; he heard it clearly, and the hearing wrung his 
soul. Not for him any more the hills of sheep and a shepherd s 
free and wholesome life. He was creeping, stricken, to his home 
stead to die, like a wounded fox crawling to its earth. And the 
loneliness of it all, the pity, choked him more than the fell grip of 
his sickness. 

Inside the house a great banked fire of peats was smouldering. 
Unwashed dishes stood on the table, and the bed in the corner 
was unmade, for such things were of little moment in the extremity 
of his days. As he dragged his leaden foot over the threshold, the 
autumn dusk thickened through the white fog, and shadows 
awaited him, lurking in every corner. He dropped carelessly on 
the bed s edge, and lay back in deadly weakness. No sound broke 
the stillness, for the clock had long ago stopped for lack of winding. 
Only the shaggy collie which had lain down by the fire looked to 
the bed and whined mournfully. 

In a little he raised his eyes and saw that the place was filled 
with darkness, save where the red eye of the fire glowed hot and 
silent. His strength was too far gone to light the lamp, but he 
could make a crackling fire. Some power other than himself 
made him heap bog-sticks on the peat and poke it feebly, for he 
shuddered at the ominous long shades which peopled floor and 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. R ceiling. 

276 At the Article of Death 

ceiling. If he had but a leaping blaze he might yet die in a less 
gross mockery of comfort. 

Long he lay in the firelight, sunk in the lethargy of illimitable 
feebleness. Then the strong spirit of the man began to flicker 
within him and rise to sight ere it sank in death. He had always 
been a godly liver, one who had no youth of folly to look back 
upon, but a well-spent life of toil lit by the lamp of a half-under 
stood devotion. He it was who at his wife s death-bed had ad 
ministered words of comfort and hope ; and he had passed all his 
days with the thought of his own end fixed like a bull s-eye in the 
target of his meditations. In his lonely hill-watches, in the 
weary lambing days, and on droving journeys to far-away towns, 
he had whiled the hours with self-communing, and self-examina 
tion, by the help of a rigid Word. Nay, there had been far more 
than the mere punctilios of obedience to the letter ; there had 
been the living fire of love, the heroical attitude of self-denial, to 
be the halo of his solitary life. And now God had sent him the 
last fiery trial, and he was left alone to put off the garments of 

He dragged himself to a cupboard where all the appurtenances 
of the religious life lay to his hand. There were Spurgeon s 
sermons in torn covers, and a dozen musty Christian Treasuries. 
Some antiquated theology which he had got from his father, lay 
lowest, and on the top was the gaudy Bible, which he had once 
received from a grateful Sabbath class while he yet sojourned in 
the lowlands. It was lined and re-lined, and there he had often 
found consolation. Now in the last faltering of mind he had 
braced himself to the thought that he must die as became his 
possession, with the Word of God in his hand, and his thoughts 
fixed on that better country, which is heavenly. 

The thin leaves mocked his hands, and he could ngt turn to 


By John Buchan 277 

any well-remembered text. In vain he struggled to reach the 
gospels ; the obstinate leaves blew ever back to a dismal psalm or 
a prophet s lamentation. A word caught his eye and he read 
vaguely : " The shepherds slumber, O King, . . . the people is 
scattered upon the mountains . . . and no man gathereth them 
. . . there is no healing of the hurt, for the wound is grievous." 
Something in the poignant sorrow of the phrase caught his atten 
tion for one second, and then he was back in a fantasy of pain and 
impotence. He could not fix his mind, and even as he strove he 
remembered the warning he had so often given to others against 
death-bed repentance. Then, he had often said, a man has no 
time to make his peace with his Maker, when he is wrestling with 
death. Now the adage came back to him ; and gleams of com 
fort shot for one moment through his soul. He at any rate had 
long since chosen for God, and the good Lord would see and pity 
His servant s weakness. 

A sheep bleated near the window, and then another. The 
flocks were huddling down, and wind and wet must be coming. 
Then a long dreary wind sighed round the dwelling, and at the 
same moment a bright tongue of flame shot up from the fire, and a 
queer crooked shadow flickered over the ceiling. The sight caught 
his eyes, and he shuddered in nameless terror. He had never been 
a coward, but like all religious folk he had imagination and emo 
tion. Now his fancy was perturbed, and he shrank from these 
uncanny shapes. In the failure of all else he had fallen to the 
repetition of bare phrases, telling of the fragrance and glory of the 
city of God. " River of the water of Life," he said to himself, 
. . . "the glory and honour of the nations . . . and the street of 
the city was pure gold . . . and the saved shall walk in the light 
of it ... and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." 

Again a sound without, the cry of sheep and the sough of a lone 


278 At the Article of Death 

wind. He was sinking fast, but the noise gave him a spasm 
of strength. The dog rose and sniffed uneasily at the door, a 
trickle of rain dripped from the roofing, and all the while the 
silent heart of the fire glowed and hissed at his side. It seemed 
an uncanny thing that now in the moment of his anguish the 
sheep should bleat as they had done in the old strong days of 

Again the sound, and again the morris-dance of shadows among 
the rafters. The thing was too much for his failing mind. Some 
words of hope " streams in the desert, and " died on his lips, 
and he crawled from the bed to a cupboard. He had not tasted 
strong drink for a score of years, for to the true saint in the up 
lands abstinence is a primary virtue ; but he kept brandy in the 
house for illness or wintry weather. Now it would give him 
strength, and it was no sin to cherish the spark of life. 

He found the spirits and gulped down a mouthful one, two, 
till the little flask was drained, and the raw fluid spilled over 
beard and coat. In his days of health it would have made him 
drunk, but now all the fibres of his being were relaxed, and it 
merely strung him to a fantasmal vigour, but more, it maddened 
his brain, already tottering under the assaults of death. Before, 
he had thought feebly and greyly ; now his mind surged in an 

The pain that lay heavy on his chest, that clutched his throat, 
that tugged at his heart, was as fierce as ever, but for one short 
second the utter weariness of spirit was gone. The old fair words 
of Scripture came back to him, and he murmured promises and 
hopes till his strength failed him for all but thought, and with 
closed eyes he fell back to dream. 

But only for one moment ; the next he was staring blankly in 
a mysterious terror. Again the voices of the wind, again the 


By John Buchan 279 

shapes on floor and wall and the relentless eye of the fire. He was 
too helpless to move and too crazy to pray ; he could only lie and 
stare, numb with expectancy. The liquor seemed to have driven 
all memory from him, and left him with a child s heritage of 
dreams and stories. 

Crazily he pattered to himself a child s charm against evil fairies, 
which the little folk of the moors still speak at their play. 

Wearie, Ovie, gang awa , 
Dinna show your face at a , 
Ower the muir and down the burn, 
Wearie, Ovie, ne er return. 

The black crook of the chimney was the object of his spells, for 
the kindly ingle was no less than a malignant twisted devil, with 
an awful red eye glowering through smoke. 

His breath was winnowing through his worn chest like an 
autumn blast in bare rafters. The horror of the black night 
without, all filled with the wail of sheep, and the deeper fear of 
the red light within, stirred his brain, not with the far-reaching 
fanciful terror of men, but with the crude homely fright of a little 
child. He would have sought, had his strength suffered him, to 
cower one moment in the light as a refuge from the other, and 
the next to hide in the darkest corner to shun the maddening glow. 
And with it all he was acutely conscious of the last pangs of 
mortality. He felt the grating of cheek-bones on skin, and the 
sighing, which did duty for breath, rocked him with agony. 

Then a great shadow rose out of the gloom and stood shaggy in 
the firelight. The man s mind was tottering, and once more he 
was back at his Scripture memories and vague repetitions. Afore 
time his fancy had toyed with green fields, now it held to the 
darker places. "It was the day when Evil Merodach was king in 


280 At the Article of Death 

Babylon," came the quaint recollection, and some lingering ray of 
thought made him link the odd name with the amorphous presence 
before him. The thing moved and came nearer, touched him, and 
brooded by his side. He made to shriek, but no sound came, only 
a dry rasp in the throat and a convulsive twitch of the limbs. 

For a second he lay in the agony of a terror worse than the 
extremes of death. It was only his dog, returned from his watch 
by the door, and seeking his master. He, poor beast, knew of some 
sorrow vaguely and afar, and nuzzled into his side with dumb 

Then from the chaos of faculties a shred of will survived. For 
an instant his brain cleared, for to most there comes a lull at the 
very article of death. He saw the bare moorland room, he felt 
the dissolution of his members, the palpable ebb of life. His reli 
gion had been swept from him like a rotten garment. His mind 
was vacant of memories, for all were driven forth by purging 
terror. Only some relic of manliness, the heritage of cleanly and 
honest days, was with him to the uttermost. With blank 
thoughts, without hope or vision, with nought save an aimless 
resolution and a causeless bravery, he passed into the short anguish 
which is death. 

Children of the Mist 

By Rosamund Marriott- Watson 

THE cold airs from the river creep 
About the murky town, 
The spectral willows, half-asleep, 
Trail their long tresses down 
Where the dim tide goes wandering slow, 
Sad with perpetual ebb and flow. 

The great blind river, cold and wide, 

Goes groping by the shore, 
And still where water and land divide 

He murmurs evermore 
The overword of an old song, 
The echo of an ancient wrong. 

There is no sound twixt stream and sky, 

But white mists walk the strand, 
Waifs of the night that wander by, 

Wraiths from the river-land 
While here, beneath the dripping trees, 
Stray other souls more lost than these. 


282 Children of the Mist 

Voiceless and visionless they fare, 
Known all too well to me 

Ghosts of the years that never were, 
The years that could not be 

And still, beneath the eternal skies 

The old blind river gropes and sighs. 

Three Pictures 

By Aline Szold 

I. Maternity 
II. Grief 
III. A Study of Trees 

A Forgotten Novelist 

By Hermione Ramsden 

THERE is no sufficient reason to account for the manner in 
which Robert Bage has been forgotten, while numbers of 
his contemporaries have been canonised among the classics. It 
may be true that his works have not the enduring qualities of 
Samuel Richardson s many-volumed novels, yet they are not 
without many of the attributes which go towards the making of 
popular romances, and in many respects they are better calculated 
to appeal to the reading public of our time. His style is brighter 
than Richardson s, less sentimental than Fielding s ; his good 
men are less priggish, and his young women have more of nature 
in them ; while, as regards his subjects, he may be said to have 
much in common with some modern authors, who would find it 
no easy matter to surpass him in the boldness with which he up 
holds his opinions. 

Bage was born on the 2gth of January, 1728, at Darley, where 
his father was a paper manufacturer, which profession he after 
wards followed. In politics he was a Whig, while in religion it is 
said that, for a time at least, he was a Quaker, which would ac 
count for his peculiar way of writing ; but if this was the case, he 
does not appear to have remained one long, for, to use the expres 
sion of a contemporary, he very soon " reasoned himself into 


292 A Forgotten Novelist 

infidelity," and all the traces that remained of his former religious 
persuasion were a sincere esteem for the Quakers and an uncon 
querable dislike for the clergy. The characters of Miss Carlill in 
Man as He /*, and of Arnold in Barham Downs, are delineated 
with a touch of sympathy which is quite unmistakable, while 
Mr. Holford and the Rev. Dr. Blick, who differ so little as to be 
virtually the same man, are both of them the beau-ideal of the 
sporting parson of the period, and are described as the toadies of 
a rich lord, for ever holding up the example of the patriarchs as an 
excuse for the behaviour of their wealthy patrons. Mr. Holford 
" was a sound divine, orthodox in preaching and eating, could 
bear a little infidelity and free-thinking, provided they were ac 
companied with good wine and good venison." 

But to return to Bage s own life. Shortly after the death of 
his mother, his father removed to Derby, and Robert was sent to 
school, where it seems that he soon proved himself a distinguished 
scholar, for at the age of seven he was already proficient in Latin. 

In 1765 he entered into partnership in an iron manufactory 
with three persons, one of whom was the then celebrated Dr. 
Darwin ; but the business failed, and Bage lost a considerable 
portion of his fortune. It was partly as a distraction from these 
pecuniary troubles that he wrote his novels. Of these, Mount 
Hennetb was the first, and it was written, as he informs his readers 
in the preface, in order that he might be able to present each of 
his daughters with a new silk gown. The fashions appear to 
have been as tyrannical in those days as they are now, for our 
author declares that it was with feelings approaching to dismay 
that he observed that his daughters head-dresses were suffering 
" an amazing expansion." 

This novel was written in the form of letters, and was pub 
lished in 1781, when the copyright was sold for the sum of 30. 


By Hermione Ramsden 293 

It is filled with the most surprising and improbable situations, 
while many of the characters appear to have been introduced for 
the sole purpose of relating other peoples histories, the result 
being awkward and unnatural. Mount Henneth was speedily 
followed by works of a similar nature ; Itarbam Downs, two 
vols., published in 1784, which, by some, was considered his 
best; The Fair Syrian, two vols., 1787; James Wallace^ three 
vols., 1788 ; and, finally, his two masterpieces: Man as He Is,* 
and Hermsprong, or Man as He Is Not.^ 

The epistolary style in which Richardson had succeeded so 
well was not suited to the lighter substance of Bage s novels, and 
it was not until he dropped it and developed a style of his own 
that he can be said to have achieved anything worthy of immor 
tality. It was his careful studies of character, no less than the 
fidelity with which he pictured the manners and customs of the 
times, to which he owed the wide-spread reputation that he en 
joyed in his life-time, when translations of his novels were pub 
lished abroad in France and Germany. In his own country, 
fresh editions were continually called for, and after his death in 
1 80 1, they were republished under the editorship of Mrs. Bar- 
bauld and Sir Walter Scott. The poet Cowper may also be 
counted as one of his admirers, for, in a letter to William Hayley, 
dated May 21, 1793, he writes as follows : 

..." There has been a book lately published, entitled Man as 
He Is. I have heard a high character of it, as admirably written, 


* Man as He Is. A novel in four volumes. London : printed 
for William Lane, at the Minerva Press, Leadenhall Street. 1792. 

t Hermsprong ; or, Man as He Is Not. A novel in two volumes. 
By the author of Man as He Is. Dublin : printed by Brett Smith, 
for P. Wogan, P. Byrne, J. Moore, and J. Rice. 1796. 

294 A Forgotten Novelist 

and am informed that for that reason, and because it incul 
cates Whig principles, it is, by many, imputed to you." 

And the same year, in a letter to Samuel Rose, dated Dec. 8, 
he writes : 

"We find it excellent ; abounding with wit and just sentiment, 
and knowledge both of books and men." 

According to his friend, William Hutton, Bage cared little for 
the world, although he seems to have resembled Richardson in 
the preference which he evinced for the society of ladies, and he 
undoubtedly surpassed the latter in his manner of describing some 
of them. Maria Fluart, for instance, in Hermsprong^ is a woman 
of the same type as Charlotte Grandison, yet it cannot be denied 
that her character is better drawn and her frivolous moods more 
consistently sustained ; for Charlotte, in spite of her flightiness, 
partakes too strongly of the Grandison temperament, and there 
are moments when she relapses into conversations worthy of her 

Of Bage s domestic life we know very little, beyond the fact 
that he had three step-mothers, and that he married, at the age of 
twenty-three, a lady possessed of beauty, good sense, good temper, 
and money. In a letter, written a few months before his death, 
we learn that his wife sometimes scolded him to the extent of spoil 
ing his appetite at breakfast, but that he bore it patiently we may 
conclude from the following passage, quoted from Man as He /j, 
which seems likely to have been the result of personal experience : 

Every man whose education has not been very ill-conducted, has 
learned to bear the little agreeable asperities of the gentle sex, not 
merely as a necessary evil, but as a variety, vastly conducive to female 
embellishment, and consequently to man s felicity. 

In Bage, as in almost all authors, the autobiographical note is 


By Hermione Ramsden 295 

not absent, and when we come upon sentences as astounding as 
the following, we cannot avoid the suggestion that one or other 
of those three step-mothers must have inspired it : 

" Ladies," said Sir George, " have no weapons but their tongues 
and their nails " 

But Lady Mary Paradyne by no means confined herself to 
these, for when suffering from one of her periodical attacks of 
gout, a " slipper or a snuff-box thrown at the head of her nurse or 
her woman gave her tolerable ease." And on one occasion " she 
enforced her observations with a knife," and inflicted a wound 
on the nurse s arm which resulted in " an eloquence superior to 
her own." 

Domestic happiness is decidedly not a characteristic of Bage s 
novels, and here, as elsewhere, it is the women who receive all the 

" What shall I say of our women ? " exclaims Mr. Mowbray. 
" Heavens ! What pen or tongue can enumerate the evils which 
arise from our connections, our matrimonial connections, with 
this frail and feeble sex ? Which of our corruptions may we not 
trace to their vanities ? .... In every connection with woman, 
man seeks happiness and risques it and the risque is great. It 
is so much the greater, because in the usual mode of connection, 
the laws come in to perpetuate it, and the misery is for life. 
Gentlemen endeavour to avoid this .... and no doubt that as long 
as we love, is a more advantageous formula than as long as we 
live. Yet there are drawbacks." 

Mr. Fielding, a friend of Sir George s, goes further still in 
maintaining that " matrimony kills love, as sure as foxes eat 

Sir George Paradyne was a model son, and always respectful 
in his behaviour towards his mother, although her complaints, 


296 A Forgotten Novelist 

poured forth over five glasses of Madeira in succession, must often 
have been a severe trial to his patience. It was Lady Mary s 
desire that he should be the most accomplished gentleman of his 
age, and in order that this wish might be realised, she was anxious 
to procure him a tutor who had studied manners under Lord 
Chesterfield, in place of the worthy Mr. Lindsay, whose views on 
education were the direct antithesis to her own. Of Lady Mary 
it is said that " her affections went to the whole duties of a 

mother It was she who regulated his taste in dress, 

who superintended the friseur in the important decoration of his 

Poor Sir George ! What a vision of powdered hair and pig-tail, 
flowered satin waistcoat and velvet coat, to say nothing of the 
shoes with diamond buckles ! He was only just twenty when the 
story begins, and as yet quite unspoilt by the world ; his chief 
delight at this period was to converse with Lindsay on Cicero and 
Demosthenes, Horace and Virgil, or to spend a quiet evening "in 
moralizing upon the various follies of mankind." It was not 
without reason that he had asked Lindsay to become his friend and 
guide, for he sadly needed some one to whom he could confide his 
love for Miss Cornelia Colerain. Mr. Lindsay was a man of 
parts ; he had met with a variety of misfortunes, and was a philo 
sopher, if, also, somewhat of a pessimist. His chief aim at this 
time seems to have been to warn his pupil against the dangers of 
matrimony, because, as he says : 

" The love of woman and the love of fame lead to different 
things ; no one knows better than myself how fatal love, as a 
passion, is to manly exertion." 

Even the worthy Lindsay does not seem to have held the 
ordinary views on the subject of marriage, for on one occasion he 
shocks the fair Quakeress by observing that : 


By Hermione Ramsden 297 

" If it was the law or usage of the country for men and women 
to make temporary contracts, no one would call it a vice." 

"According to thee, then," said Miss Carlill, "vice and virtue 
are mode and fashion ? " 

"Not wholly so, perhaps," Mr. Lindsay said, "nor wholly 

otherwise It is a pity a tender mistake, as it often does, 

should involve two people in wretchedness for life." 

Yet he is not afraid to risk his happiness with Miss Carlill, and 
she condescends to marry him at last, in spite of their differences 
of opinion. 

"I like not the doings of thy steeple-house," she tells him; 

" there is much noise and little devotion If I take thee, it 

is out of pity to thy poor soul." 

And with this reason he is obliged to be content. 

Sir George, on the other hand, is no pessimist with regard to 
marriage ; he feels assured that a good wife is the greatest blessing 
that Heaven can bestow ; but when Miss Colerain will not accept 
him because she considers that their acquaintance has been too 
short, the effect upon his character is not all that could be desired. 
These circumstances result in a strained relationship with 
Lindsay, they part in anger, and Sir George is left to continue 
his "airy course." "Youth," he argued, "must have its follies ; 
the season would be over soon ; a few years ceconomy would free 
him from their effects," . . . and for the time being he forgot 
Miss Colerain. 

The author here excuses himself for his hero s conduct by 
saying that the rules of probability would be violated were he to 
depict the character of a young gentleman of quality in the reign 
of George III. with too many virtues. 

Sir George goes to Paris, gets into debt, and is obliged to have 
recourse to Lindsay to help him out of his difficulties. Three 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. s years 

298 A Forgotten Novelist 

years he intends to devote to the business of regeneration ; the 
remainder of his life to his country, to friendship, and, if he can 
obtain her, to Miss Colerain. But the lady in question requires 
to be fully convinced of the sincerity of his repentance before she 
will marry him, and because of this delay " his spirits flagged ; his 
appetite ceased ; his bloom changed ; and it was too apparent that 
he must soon be lost to his friends and to himself." His days 
were spent in the contemplation of Miss Colerain s picture which 
he had hung in a temple in the garden, and so great was the 
depression of his spirits that he would most certainly have died 
but for the timely intervention of a certain Mr. Bardo, who thus 
addressed him : 

" Paradyne," said he, " you are a fool." 

Thus roused, Sir George regained his courage, and before long 
the fair Cornelia consented to become his wife. 

If we may trust the combined testimony of eighteenth century 
authors, Man as He Is may be studied as a faithful representation 
of a time when emotional natures were more common than they 
are now, when young men wept because their mothers scolded 
them, and turned dizzy at an unexpected meeting with the lady 
of their choice. Sir George, on one occasion, after he had been 
severely reprimanded by his mother for fighting one of the many 
duels in which he was constantly engaged, " withdrew to his 
library with his handkerchief at his eyes." With women, fainting 
was more than a fashion, it was an art, and Cornelia, like other 
fair ladies of her time, could faint at a moment s notice. 

Another very interesting point in Bage s novels is the important 
part played by the lady s maid and the valet. That this was 
actually the case, and was not merely an invention of the author s, 
is proved by the frequency with which like incidents occur in the 
works of contemporary novelists ; readers of Richardson will 


By Hermione Ramsden 299 

remember how a dishonest footman assisted the villainous Sir 
Hargrave Pollexfen in the abduction of Miss Harriet Byron, and 
how that that young lady herself sees no harm in cross-questioning 
her friend s maid on the subject of her mistress s love affairs. 
Miss- Grandison s maid was the daughter of a clergyman, and it 
does not appear to have been at all unusual for young ladies in 
distressed circumstances to earn their living in this way, for even 
the learned Mrs. Bennet, in Fielding s Amelia, had some thoughts 
of going into service and was advised by her aunt to do so, in spite 
of her knowledge of Latin. 

In Man as He Is, the ladies " women " and gentlemen s 
" gentlemen " are persons of influence, and Sir George Paradyne, 
the first time that he is refused by Miss Colerain, drives off, 
leaving his purse in the hand of Susanna, her " woman," with the 
request that she shall pray for him three times a day to her 
mistress. And another time, whilst he is discussing the subject 
of his sister s matrimonial happiness with Mr. Lindsay, his 
" gentleman," who happens to be in waiting at the breakfast 
table, suddenly assumes the air of having something of importance 
to say, and, upon being pressed, he reads a love-letter which he 
has just received from the above-mentioned lady s " woman," 
which serves to confirm Sir George s worst fears. 

Bage s last and best work, Hermsprong, or Man as He Is Not, 
marks a new stage in contemporary thought, and this time the 
change is brought about by a woman. Nora realises that she is 
being treated like a doll ! In other words, the "woman question," 
which had slumbered since the days of Mary Astell, had just made 
its re-appearance in the person and writings of Mary Wollstone- 
craft, whose ^indication of the Rights of Woman first saw the 
light in 1792. That Bage was strongly influenced by it is 


300 A Forgotten Novelist 

proved by the fact that his hero who, it must be remembered, 
represents man as he is not is very eloquent in his arguments in 
favour of the higher education of women. Women, he 
maintains, are allowed too little liberty of mind, and he adds : 

" Be not angry with me ... be angry at Mrs. Wollstone- 
craft ... who has presumed to say that the homage men pay to 
youth and beauty is insidious, that women for the sake of this 
evanescent, this pitiful dominion permit themselves to be persuaded 
that their highest glory is to submit to this inferiority of character, 
and become the mere plaything of man. Can this be so ?" 

" Now, the devil take me," said Sumelin, " if I know what 
either you or this Mrs. Wollstonecraft would be at. But this I 
know, that the influence of women is too great ; that it has 
increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished." 

" Well then," Mr. Hermsprong answered, "let it be diminished 
on the side of charms; and let its future increase be on the side of 

"To what purpose?" the banker asked. "To invade the 
provinces of men ? Weaker bodies, you will allow, nature has 
given them, if not weaker minds." 

"Whatsoever may be the design of nature, respecting the sex, 
be her designs fulfilled. If she gave this bodily weakness, should 
education be brought in to increase it ? But it is for mind I 
most contend ; and if a firm mind in a firm body be supposed 
the best prayer of man to the gods, why not of women ? Would 
they be worse mothers for it ? or more helpless widows ? " 

" No," said the banker ; " but they would be less charming 

" Let us be more just, Mr. Sumelin. They are our equals in 
understanding, our superiors in virtue. They have foibles where 
men have faults, and faults where men have crimes." 


By Hermione Ramsden 301 

Hermsprong is the necessary complement to Sir George 
Paradyne. He is the ideal, while the other is the real. Herm 
sprong is a native of America, and in many respects he resembles 
the Alien of Mr. Grant Allen s hill-top novel. In Bage s time, 
America was still sufficiently unknown to supply the novelist from 
Mrs. Aphra Behn * onwards with an original character for which 
now-a-days he is obliged to seek among the phantoms of the 
twenty-fifth century, or in the person of an angel visitant. 
Hermsprong, like the Alien, or Mr. H. G. Wells s angel, is a 
thoroughly unconventional being who finds it impossible to 
accustom himself to the ways and habits of British barbarians. 
He is, according to his own description, a savage whose wish it is 
to return to nature, and who holds up the habits and customs of 
the American Red Indians as worthy of being imitated. He is 
in fact an Anarchist, who maintains that virtue is natural to man, 
and that a return to nature is a return to the primeval state of 
innocence before the laws had taught men how to sin. 

Hermsprong s views, however, do not assume any very 
dangerous proportions. The utmost that he does to astonish the 
natives is to announce his intention of going to London on foot, 
a journey which is likely to occupy three days. But if he had 
suggested flying, the announcement could hardly have excited 
more surprise. 

" Surely, Mr. Hermsprong, you cannot think of walking ? " 

" Oh, man of prejudice, why ? In what other way can I 
travel with equal pleasure ? " 

" Pleasure ! Pleasure in England is not attached to the idea of 
walking. Your walks we perform in chaises." 

" I pity 

* Oroonoko ; or, the Royal Slave. By the Ingenious Mrs. Behn. 
Seventh Edition. London, 1722. 

302 A Forgotten Novelist 

" I pity you for it. For myself, I chuse not to buy infirmity 

so dear I must be independent, so far as social man can 

be independent. In other words I must be free from the 
necessity of doing little things, or saying little words to any 
man " 

It is said of him that his singularities of character unfit him for 
the society of English gentlemen ; he eats only to live, instead of 
living to eat ; he cares nothing for the pleasures of the bottle, 
nor for the still greater pleasures of cards and dice, yet his manners 
are such that he never fails to please. An English dinner he 
considers melancholy : 

" If to dine," says he, " were only to eat, twenty minutes would 
be ample. You sit usually a couple of hours, and you talk, and 
call it conversation. You make learned remarks on wind and 
weather ; on roads ; on dearness of provisions ; and your essays 
on cookery are amazingly edifying. Not much less so are your 

histories of your catarrhs and toothaches It is said that 

physicians have much increased in your country ; one great 
reason may be, because you dine." 

He has, moreover, a secret, but deep-founded contempt for 
the forms of politeness, and is often found to err on the side of 
plain speaking, to the intense anxiety of those who are anxious to 
befriend him. 

" I have often been told," he says, " that in very, very civilised 
countries no man could hold up the mirror of truth to a lady s 
face, without ill-manners. I came to try." 

In this experiment he is fairly successful, for the ladies do not 
resent his truthfulness as much as might have been expected. 
His mission, like the Alien s, is to rescue a lady from tyranny, 
only this time the tyrant is a father and not a husband. By 
degrees he overcomes her filial prejudices by bidding her lay aside 


By Hermione Ramsden 303 

all pre-conceived notions of duty, and declaring that " in vain 
would the reasoners of this polished country say everything is due 
to the authors of our existence. Merely for existence, I should 
have answered, I owe nothing. It is for rendering that existence 
a blessing, my filial gratitude is due." 

The lady of his choice is a certain Miss Campinet, the daughter 
of Lord Grondale, but the latter does not favour his suit, which is 
the less surprising when we consider that it is one of the 
characteristics of the savage that he does not love lords. It will 
be remembered that the Alien did not love lords either, and that 
he, too, was equally contemptuous of rank and riches. The 
conversation which takes place between Hermsprong and his 
father-in-law elect is sufficiently original to be worth tran 
scribing : 

" Before I condescend to give you my daughter," says Lord 
Grondale, " I must have a more particular account of your family, 
Sir ; of its alliances, Sir ; and of your rent roll." 

" Upon my word, my Lord; here is a great deal of difficulty 
in this country to bring two people together, who are un 
fortunate enough to have property. For my part I have thought 
little of what your lordship thinks so much. I have thought 
only that I was a man, and she a woman lovely, indeed, but 
still a woman. Nature has created a general affinity between 
these two species of beings ; incident has made it particular 
between Miss Campinet and me. In such situations, people 
usually marry ; so I consent to marry." 

We must observe that it was a gross inconsistency on the 
part of Hermsprong that he should be guilty of one of the most 
barbarous customs of the times. When applying to Lord Gron 
dale for permission to marry his daughter, he never contemplates 
the necessity of first consulting the wishes of the young lady 


304 A Forgotten Novelist 

herself ; these he takes for granted, and when reproached for his 
lack of humility, he defends himself by saying : 

"I consider a woman as equal to a man ; but ... I consider 
a man also as equal to a woman. When we marry we give and 
we receive. Where is the necessity that man should take 
upon him this crouching mendicant spirit, this excess of 
humiliation ? " 

All this is very plausible, of course, but his notions of love- 
making were curious, to say the least, and it is difficult not to feel 
some compassion for Miss Campinet. In course of time how 
ever, his arguments convince her, and his efforts on her behalf are 
crowned with the success they deserve. He turns out to be none 
other than her long-lost cousin, Sir Charles Campinet, the lawful 
heir to Lord Grondale s estate, and the son of his ship-wrecked 
brother. A reconciliation takes place, Lord Grondale dies, and 
the young couple are happy ever after. 

As an author, Robert Bage resembles Mr. Grant Allen in more 
than one respect, for in the first place his publisher was one named 
Lane, and in the second his object was to instruct women. In 
struction intended for them can only be offered in the form of a 
novel as they are not likely to read works of a more serious nature, 
and Man as He Is is intended especially for the fair sex, amongst 
whom he hopes to find twenty thousand readers ; in it he treats 
of the subjects which he thinks will be most agreeable to them, 
i.e., love and fashion. In like manner, Mr. Grant Allen, in his 
British Barbarians, informs us that he writes not for wise men, 
because they are wise already, but that it is the boys and 
girls and women women in particular whom he desires to 

The study of Man as He Is and Is Not, or rather, as he was 
and was not, in the years 1792 and 1796, is very instructive and 


By Hermione Ramsden 305 

also distinctly salutary, and as such it deserves to be recommended 
as an antidote to pessimism. Both these books prove in the most 
convincing manner that a great change for the better has taken 
place in the ways and customs of English men and women since 
the close of the eighteenth century. Men no longer fight duels 
at the smallest provocation, nor weep in public, and women have 
long ceased to cultivate the art of fainting, nor do they in 
polite society use their nails as weapons of defence, while 
even the art of writing fiction has made considerable progress 
since the days when Robert Bage first began to write his 

A Fire 

By Stephen Phillips 

DAZZLED with watching how the swift fire fled 
Along the dribbling roof, I turned my head ; 
When lo, upraised beneath the lighted cloud 
The illumed unconscious faces of the crowd ! 
Beautiful souls I knew and spirits dire, 
A moment naked, and betrayed by fire ; 
An old grey face in lovely bloom upturned, 
The ancient rapture and the dream returned ; 
A cautious face, now brilliant and rash, 
The scheming eyes hither and thither flash ; 
The experienced face, with all emotion crushed, 
Now, as at some great wrong indignant, flushed ; 
The hungering tramp with indolent gloating stare, 
The beggar in glory and devoid of care : 
That grey and trivial face, made up of needs, 
Now pale and recent from triumphant deeds ! 
A mother slowly burning with bare breast, 
Yet her consuming babe close to her prest ; 
That prosperous citizen in anguish dire, 
Beseeching heaven from purgatorial fire, 
Souls unaware by sudden flame betrayed 
I saw ; then through the darkness stole, afraid. 

Two Pictures 

By Charles Pears 

I. Ferry Bridge 
II. The Harvest-Moon 

At Twickenham 

By Ella D Arcy 

WHEN John Corbett married Minnie Wray, her sister Lcetitia, 
their parents being dead, came to live under his roof also, 
which seemed to Corbett the most natural arrangement in the 
world, for he was an Irishman, and the Irish never count the 
cost of an extra mouth. " Where there s enough for two, there s 
enough for three," is a favourite saying of theirs, and even in the 
most impecunious Irish household no one ever dreams of grudging 
you your bite of bread or sup o th crathur. 

But Corbett was not impecunious. On the contrary, he was 
fairly well off, being partner in and traveller for an Irish whiskey 
house, and earning thus between eight and nine hundred a year. 
In the Income Tax returns he put the figure down as five hundred, 
but in conversation he referred to it casually as over a thousand ; 
for he had some of the vices of his nationality as well as most of 
its virtues, and to impress Twickenham with a due sense of the 
worth of John Corbett was perhaps his chief preoccupation out of 
business hours. 

He lived in an imitation high art villa on the road to Strawberry 
Hill ; a villa that rejoiced in the name of " Braemar," gilded in 
gothic letters upon the wooden gate ; a villa that flared up into 
pinnacles, blushed with red-brick, and mourned behind sad-tinted 


314 At Twickenham 

glass. The Elizabethan casements let in piercing draughts, the 
Brummagen brass door-handles came off in the confiding hand 
that sought to turn them, the tiled hearths successfully conducted 
all the heat up the chimneys to disperse it generously over an 
inclement sky. But Corbett found consolation in the knowledge 
that the hall was paved with grey and white mosaic, that "Salve" 
bristled at you from the door-mat, that the dining-room boasted 
of a dado, and that the drawing-room rose to the dignity of a 

Minnie Corbett, whose full name was Margaret but who pre 
ferred to be called Rita, although she could not teach her family to 
remember to call her so, and Lcetitia, who had recently changed 
the "Tish" of her childhood to the more poetical Letty, dressed 
the windows of " Braemar," with frilled Madras muslin, draped the 
mantel-pieces with plush, hung the walls with coloured photographs, 
Chinese crockery, and Japanese fans. They made expeditions 
into town in search of pampas grass and bulrushes, with which in 
summer-time they decorated the fireplace, and in winter the 
painted drain-pipes which stood in the corners of the room. 

Beyond which labours of love, and Minnie s perfunctory ordering 
of the dinner every morning, neither she not Lcetitia found any 
thing to do, for Corbett kept a cook, a house-parlourmaid, and a 
nurse to look after Minnie s three children, in whom her interest 
seemed to have ceased when she had bestowed on them the fine- 
sounding names of Lancelot, Hugo, and Guinevere. Lcetitia had 
never pretended to feel any interest in the children at all. 

The sisters suffered terribly from dulness, and one memorable 
Sunday evening, Corbett being away travelling, they took first- 
class tickets to Waterloo, returning by the next train, merely to 
pass the time. 

When Corbett was not travelling, his going to and fro between 


By Ella D Arcy 315 

Twickenham and the city lent a spice of variety to the day. He 
left every morning by the 9.15 train, coming home in the evening 
in time for a seven o clock dinner. On Saturdays he got back by 
two, when he either mowed the lawn, in his shirt-sleeves, or played 
a set of tennis with Lcetitia, or went with the girls for a row on the 
river. Or, if Minnie made a special point of it, he escorted them 
into town again, where he treated them to a restaurant table d hote 
and a theatre afterwards. On Sundays he rose late, renewed his 
weekly acquaintance with the baby, read through the Referee from 
first line to last, and accompanied by his two little boys, dressed in 
correct Jack Tar costume, went for a walk along the towing-path, 
whence they could watch the boating. 

Humanly speaking, he would have like to have followed the 
example of those flannel-shirted publicans and sinners who pushed 
off every moment in gay twos and threes from Shore s landing- 
stage, but consideration for the susceptibilities of Providence and 
of Twickenham held him in check. 

It is true he did not go to church, although often disquieted by 
the thought of the bad effect this omission must produce on the 
mind of his next-door neighbour ; but he salved his conscience with 
the plea that he was a busy man, and that Sunday was his only 
day of home life. Besides, the family was well represented by 
Minnie and Loetitia, who when the weather was fine, never 
missed morning service. When it was wet they stayed away on 
account of their frocks. 

Sunday afternoons were spent by them sitting in the drawing-room 
awaiting the visitors who did not come. The number of persons in 
Twickenham with whom they were on calling terms was limited, 
nor can it be maintained that " Braemar" was an amusing house 
at which to call. For though Corbett was one of the most 
cordial, one of the most hospitable of young men, his women 

316 At Twickenham 

folk shone rather by their silences than by their conversational 

Minnie Corbett was particularly silent. She had won her 
husband by lifting to his a pair of blankly beautiful eyes, and it 
did not seem to her requisite to give greater exertion to the 
winning of minor successes. 

Lcetitia could talk to men, provided they were unrelated to her, 
but she found nothing to say to members of her own sex. Even 
with her sister she was mostly silent, unless there was a new 
fashion in hats, the cut of a sleeve, or the set of a skirt to discuss. 
There was, however, one other topic which invariably aroused her 
to a transitory animation. This was the passing by the windows 
in his well-appointed dog-cart, of a man who, because of his 
upright bearing, moustache, and close-cut hair, she and Minnie 
had agreed to call " the Captain." 

He was tall, evidently, and had a straight nose. Lcetitia also 
was straight-nosed and tall. She saw in this physical resemblance 
a reason for fostering a sentimental interest in him. 

" Quick, Minnie, here s the Captain ! " she would cry, and 
Minnie would awake from the somnolency of Sunday with a start, 
and skip over to the window to watch a flying vision of a brown 
horse, a black and red painted cart, and a drab-coated figure hold 
ing the reins, while a very small groom in white cords and top- 
boots maintained his seat behind by means of tightly folded arms 
and a portentous frown. 

" He s got such a pretty horse," observed Minnie on one 
occasion, before relapsing back into silence, the folding of hands, 
and a rocking-chair. 

" Yes," Lcetitia agreed pensively, " it has such a nice tail." 

Although she knew nothing concerning the Captain, although 
it did not seem probable that she ever would know anything, 


By Ella D Arcy 317 

although it was at least a tenable supposition that he was married 
already and the father of a family, she saw herself, in fancy, the 
wife of the wearer of the drab coat, driving by his side along the 
roads of Twickenham, up the High Street of Richmond. She 
wore, in fancy, a sealskin as handsome as Minnie s and six inches 
longer, and she ordered lavishly from Gosling and the other 
tradesmen, giving the address of Captain Devereux of Deepdene, 
or Captain Mortimer of the Shrubberies. The names were either 
purely imaginary, or reminiscent of the novels she constantly 
carried about with her and fitfully read. 

She sat nearly always with an open book upon her knee, but 
neither Hall Caine nor Miss Marie Corelli even in their most 
inspired moments could woo her to complete self-forgetfulness. She 
did not wish to forget herself in a novel. She wished to find 
in it straw for her own brick-making, bricks for her own castle- 
building. And if a shadow fell across the window, if a step was 
heard along the hall, she could break off in the most poignant 
passage to lift a slim hand to the better arrangement of her curls, 
to thrust a slim foot in lace stocking and pointed shoe to a position 
of greater conspicuousness. 

On Sunday evenings at "Braemar" there was cold supper 
at eight, consisting of the early dinner joint, eaten with a 
salad scientifically mixed by Corbett, the remains of the apple 
or gooseberry pie, cheese, and an excellent Burgundy obtained 
by him at trade price. When the cloth was removed he did 
not return to the drawing-room. He never felt at ease in 
that over-furnished, over-ornate room, so darkened by shaded 
lamps and pink petticoated candles that it was impossible to 
read. The white, untempered flames of three gas-burners in 
the dining-room suited him better, and here he would sit on one 
side of the hearth in an arm-chair grown comfortable from continual 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. T use. 

318 At Twickenham 

use, and read over again the already well-read paper, while Minnie, 
on the other side of the hearth, stared silently before her, and 
Lcetitia fingered her book at the table. 

Sometimes Corbett, untaught by past experience, would make 
a hopeful appeal to one or the other, for an expression of opinion 
concerning some topic of the day : some new play, some new 
book. But Minnie seldom took the trouble to hear him at all, 
and Loetitia would answer with such superficial politeness, with 
so wide an irrelevance to the subject, that discouraged, he would 
draw back again into his shell. At the end of every Sunday 
evening he was glad to remember that the next day was Monday 
when he could return to his occupations and his acquaintances in 
the City. In the City men were ready to talk to him, to listen 
to what he said, and even to affect some show of interest in his 
views and pursuits. 

The chief breaks in his home life, its principal excitements, 
were the various ailments the children developed, the multifarious 
and unexpected means they found of putting their lives in 
jeopardy and adding items to Dr. Payne s half-yearly accounts. 
Corbett would come home in the happiest mood, to have 
his serenity roughly shattered by the news that Lancelot had 
forced a boot-button down his ear, and was rolling on the floor in 
agony ; that Hugo had bolted seventeen cherry-stones in succes 
sion and obstinately refused an emetic ; that the baby had been 
seized with convulsions, that the whole family were in for 
chicken-pox, whooping-cough, or mumps. 

On such occasions Minnie, recovering something of her ante 
nuptial vivacity, seemed to take a positive pleasure in unfolding 
the harrowing details, in dwelling on the still more harrowing 
consequences which would probably ensue. 

When, on turning into Wetherly Gardens on his way from 


By Ella D Arcy 319 

the station, Corbett perceived his wife s blonde head above 
the garden gate, he knew at once that it betokened some 
domestic catastrophe. It had only been in the very early days of 
their married life that Minnie had hurried to greet his return for 
the mere pleasure it gave her. 

The past winter had brought rather more than the usual crop 
of casualties among the children, so that it had seemed to Corbett 
that the parental cup of bitterness was already filled to over 
flowing, that Fate might well grant him a respite, when, returning 
from town one warm May Saturday, his thoughts veering river- 
wards, and his intention being to invite the girls to scull up and 
have tea at Tagg s, his ears were martyrised by the vociferous 
howls of Hugo, who had just managed to pull down over himself 
the kettle of water boiling on the nursery fire. 

While the women of the household disputed among themselves 
as to the remedial values of oil, treacle, or magnesia, Corbett 
rushed round to Payne s to find him away, and to be referred to 
Dr. Matheson of Holly Cottage, who was taking Payne s cases. 
At the moment he never noticed what Matheson was like, he 
received no conscious impression of the other s personality. 
But when that evening, comparative peace having again fallen 
upon the Villa, Loetitia remarked for the twentieth time, " How 
funny that Dr. Matheson should be the Captain, isn t it ? " he 
found in his memory the picture of a tall fair man, with regular 
features and a quiet manner, he caught the echoes of a pleasantly 
modulated voice. 

The young women did not go to service next morning, but 
Loetitia put on her best gown nevertheless. She displayed also a 
good deal of unexpected solicitude for her little nephew, and when 
Matheson looked in, at about 10 A.M., she saw fit to accompany 
him and Corbett upstairs to the night-nursery, where Minnie, in 

a white 

320 At Twickenham 

a white wrapper trimmed with ribbons as blue as her eyes 
and as meaningless, sat gazing into futurity by her son s bed 

Hugo had given up the attempt to obtain illuminating answers 
to the intricate social and ethical problems with which he wiled away 
the pain-filled time. For when by repeated interrogatives of 
" Mother ? " " Eh, mother ? " " Well, mother ? " he had induced 
Minnie at least to listen to him, all he extracted from her was 
some unsatisfying vagueness, which added its quota to the waters 
of contempt already welling up in his young soul for the intelli 
gence of women. 

He rejoiced at the appearance of his father and the doctor, 
despite some natural heart-sinkings as to what the latter, might 
not purpose doing to him. He knew doctors to be perfectly 
irresponsible autocrats, who walked into your bedroom, felt your 
pulse, turned you over and over just as though you were a puppy 
or a kitten, and then with an impassive countenance ordered you 
a poultice or a powder, and walked off. He knew that if they 
condemned you to lose an arm or a leg they would be just as 
despotic and impassible, and you would have to submit just as 
quietly. None of the grown-ups about you would ever dream of 
interfering in your behalf. 

So he fixed Matheson with an alert, an inquiring, a profoundly 
distrustful eye, and with a hand in his father s awaited develop 
ments. Lcetitia he ignored altogether. He supposed that the 
existence of aunts was necessary to the general scheme of things, 
but personally he hadn t any use for them. His predominate 
impression of Auntie Tish was that she spent her day heating curl 
ing-irons over the gas-bracket in her bedroom, and curling her 
hair, and although he saw great possibilities in curling-irons heated 
red-hot and applied to reasonable uses, he was convinced that no 


By Ella D Arcy 321 

one besides herself ever knew whether her hair was curled or 
straight. But women were such ninnies. 

The examination over, the scalds re-dressed and covered up 
again, Matheson on his way downstairs stopped at the staircase 
window to admire the green and charming piece of garden, which 
ending in an inconspicuous wooden paling, enjoyed an illusory 
proprietorship in the belt of fine old elm trees belonging to the 
demesne beyond. 

Corbett invited him to come and take a turn round it, and the 
two young men stepped out upon the lawn. 

It was a delicious blue and white morning, with that Sunday 
feeling in the uir which is produced by the cessation of all 
workaday noises, and heightened just now by the last melodious 
bell-cadences floating out from the church on the distant green. 
The garden was full of flowers and bees, scent and sunshine. 
Roses, clematis, and canariensis tapestried the brick unsightly- 
nesses of the back of the house. Serried ranks of blue-green 
lavender, wild companies of undisciplined sweet pea, sturdy clumps 
of red-hot poker shooting up in fiery contrast to the wide-spread 
ing luxuriance of the cool white daisy bushes, justled side by side 
in the border territories which were separated from the lawn by 
narrow gravel paths. 

While Corbett and his guest walked up and down the centre of 
the grass, Minnie and Loetitia watched them from behind the 
curtains of the night nursery window. 

" He s got such nice hands," said Lcetitia, " so white and well 
kept. Did you notice, Minnie ? " Lcetitia always noticed hands, 
because she gave a great deal of attention to her own. 

But Minnie, whose hands were not her strong point, was more 
impressed by Matheson s boots. " I wish Jack would get brown 
boots, they look so much smarter with light clothes," she 


322 At Twickenham 

remarked, but without any intensity of desire. Before the short 
phrase was finished, her voice had dropped into apathy, her gaze 
had wandered away from Matheson s boots, from the garden, 
from the hour. She seemed not to hear her sister s dubious " Yes, 
but I wonder he wears a tweed suit on Sundays ! " 

Lcetitia heard herself calling him Algernon or Edgar, and re 
monstrating with him on the subject. Then she went into her 
bedroom, recurled a peccant lock on her temple, and joined the 
men just as the dinner gong sounded. 

Matheson was pressed to stay and share the early dinner. 
" Unless," said Corbett, seeing that he hesitated, " Mrs. Matheson 
. . . perhaps ... is waiting for you i 1 " 

" There is no Mrs. Matheson, as yet," he answered smiling, 
" although Payne is always telling me it s my professional duty to 
get married as soon as possible." 

Lcetitia coloured and smiled. 


From that day Matheson was often at " Braemar." At first he 
came ostensibly to attend to Hugo, but before that small pickle 
was on his feet again and in fresh mischief, he was sufficiently 
friendly with the family to drop in without any excuse at all. 

He would come of an evening and ask for Corbett, and the maid 
would show him into the little study behind the dining-room, 
where Corbett enjoyed his after-dinner smoke. He enjoyed it 
doubly in Matheson s society, and discovered he had been 
thirsting for some such companionship for years. The girls were 
awfully nice, of course, but .... and then, the fellows in the 
City ... he compared them with Matheson, much to their 
disadvantage. For Matheson struck him as being amazingly 
clever a pillar of originality and his fine indifference to the 
most cherished opinions of Twickenham made Corbett catch his 


By Ella D Arcy 323 

breath. But the time spent with his friend was only too short. 
Minnie and Loetitia always found some pretext to join them, and 
they would reproach Matheson in so cordial a manner for never 
coming into the drawing-room, that presently, somewhat to 
Corbett s chagrin, he began to pay his visits to them instead. 

Then as the summer advanced, the fine weather suggested river 
picnics, and the young women arranged one every week. They 
even ventured under Matheson s influence to go out on a Sunday, 
starting in the forenoon, getting up as far as Chertsey, and not 
returning till late at night. Corbett, half delighted with the 
abandoned devilry of the proceeding, half terrified lest Wetherly 
Gardens should come to hear of it, Providence deal swift 
retribution, was always wholly surprised and relieved when they 
found themselves again ashore, as safe and comfortable as though 
the day had been a mere Monday or Wednesday. And if this 
immunity from consequences slightly shook Corbett s respect for 
Providence, it sensibly increased his respect for his friend. 

Corbett would have enjoyed this summer extremely, but for the 
curious jealousy Minnie began to exhibit of his affection for 
Matheson. It seemed to him it could only be jealousy which 
made her intrude so needlessly on their tete-a-tete^ interrupt their 
conversation so pointedly, and so frequently reproach Corbett, in 
the privacy of the nuptial chamber, for monopolising all the 
attention of their guest. 

" You re always so selfish," Minnie would complain. 

Yet, reviewing the incidents of the evening Matheson had 
been dining perhaps at " Braemar " it seemed to Corbett that he 
had hardly had a chance to exchange a word with him at all. It 
seemed to Corbett that Loetitia had done all the talking ; and her 
light volubility with Matheson, so different to the tongue-tiedness 
of her ordinary hours, her incessant and slightly meaningless 


324 At Twickenham 

laugh, echoed in his ears at the back of Minnie s scoldings, until 
both were lost in sleep. 

But when the problem of Minnie s vexation recurred to him 
next morning, he decided that the key to it could only be 
jealousy, and he was annoyed with himself that he could find no 
excuses for a failing at once so ridiculous and so petty. The 
true nature of the case never once crossed his mind, until Minnie 
unfolded it for him one day, abruptly and triumphantly. 
" Well, it s all right. He s proposed at last." 
" What do you mean ? Who ? " asked Corbett bewildered. 
" Why, Jim Matheson, of course ! Who else do you suppose ? 
He proposed to Tish last night in the garden. You remember 
how long they were out there, after we came in ? That was 

Corbett was immensely surprised, even incredulous, although 
when he saw that his incredulity made his wife angry, he stifled 
it in his bosom. 

After all, as she said with some asperity, why shouldn t 
Matheson be in love with Loetitia ? Lcetitia was a pretty girl 
... a good girl . . . yet somehow Corbett felt disappointed 
and depressed. 

"You re such a selfish pig," Minnie told him ; "you never 
think of anybody but yourself. You want to keep Tish here 

Corbett feared he must be selfish, though scarcely in respect to 
Lcetitia. In his heart he would have been very glad to see her 
married. But he didn t want Matheson to marry her. 

"Jim s awfully in love," said Minnie, and it sounded odd to 
Corbett to hear his wife call Matheson "Jim." " He fell in love 
with her the very first moment he saw her. That s why he s been 
here so often. You thought he came to see you, I suppose ! " 


By Ella D Arcy 325 

Her husband s blank expression made her laugh. 

" You are a pig ! " she repeated. " You never do think of any 
one but yourself. Now hurry up and get dressed, and we ll go 
into town and dine at the Exhibition, and after dinner we ll go 
up in the Big Wheel." 

" Is Letty coming too ? " Corbett asked 

" Don t be so silly ! Of course not. She s expecting Jim. 
That s why I m taking you out. You don t imagine they want 
your society, do you ? Or mine ? " she added as an afterthought, 
and with an unusual concession to civility. 

Henceforward Corbett saw even less of Matheson than before. 
He was as fond of him as ever, but the friendship fell into 

It seemed too that Matheson tried to avoid him, and when he 
offered his congratulations on the engagement, the lover showed 
himself singularly reticent and cold. Corbett concluded he was 
nervous. He remembered being horribly nervous himself in the 
early days of his betrothal to Minnie Wray, when her mother had 
persisted in introducing him to a large circle at Highbury as 
" My daughter Margaret s engage" 

On the other hand, Corbett could not enough rejoice at the 
genial warmth which the event shed over the atmosphere of 
" Braemar." Both young women brightened up surprisingly, 
nor was there any lack of conversation between them now. 
Corbett thankfully gathered up such crumbs of talk as fell to his 
share, and first learned that the wedding was to take place in 
October when Minnie informed him she must have a new frock. 
She rewarded him for his immediate consent by treating him to a 
different description of how she would have it made, three nights 
in the week. 

Lcetitia thought of nothing but new frocks, and set about 


326 At Twickenham 

making some. A headless and armless idol, covered in scarlet 
linen, was produced from a cupboard, and reverentially enshrined 
in the dining-room. Both sisters were generally found on 
their knees before it, while a constant chattering went on in its 
praise. Innumerable yards of silk and velvet were snipped up in 
sacrifice, and the sofas and chairs were sown with needles and 
pins, perhaps to extract involuntary homage from those who 
would not otherwise bow the head. The tables were littered 
with books of ritual having woodcuts in the text and illuminated 
pictures slipped between the leaves. 

There were constant visits to Richmond and Regent Street, 
much correspondence with milliners and dressmakers, a long 
succession of drapers carts standing in the road, of porters laden 
with brown paper parcels passing up and down the path. 
Lcetitia talked of Brighton for her wedding tour, and of having 
a conservatory added to the drawing-room of Holly Cottage. 
Friends and acquaintances called to felicitate her, and left to ask 
themselves what in the world Dr. Matheson could have seen in 
Letty Wray. Presents began to arrive, and a transitory gloom 
fell upon " Braemar " when Lcetitia received two butter dishes 
of identical pattern from two different quarters, neither of 
which, on examination by the local clockmaker, proved to be 

In this endless discussion of details, it did occasionally cross 
Corbett s mind that that which might perhaps be considered an 
essential point, namely, Matheson s comfort and happiness, was 
somewhat lost sight of. But as he made no complaint, and 
maintained an equable demeanour, Corbett supposed it was all 
right. Every woman considered the acquisition of fallals an 
indispensable preliminary to marriage, and it was extravagant to 
look for an exception in Loetitia. 


By Ella D Arcy 327 

Matters stood thus, when turning into Wetherly Gardens one 
evening at the end of August, Corbett perceived, with a sudden 
heart-sinking, Minnie awaiting him at the gate. He recited the 
litany of all probable calamities, prayed for patience, and 
prepared his soul to endure the worst. 

" What do you think, Jack," Minnie began, with immense blue 
eyes, and a voice that thrilled with intensity. " The most 
dreadful thing has happened 

"Well, let me get in and sit down at least," said Corbett, 
dispiritedly. He was tired with the day s work, weary at the 
renewal of domestic worry. But the news which Minnie gave 
him was stimulating in its unexpectedness. 

"Jim Matheson s been here to break off the engagement ! He 
actually came to see Tish this afternoon and told her so himself. 
Isn t it monstrous ? Isn t it disgraceful ? And the presents 
come and everything. She s in a dreadful state. She s been 
crying on the bed ever since." 

But Loetitia, hearing her brother-in-law s return, came down, 
her fringe, ominous sign, out of curl, her eyes red, her face 
disfigured from much weeping. 

And when she began, brokenly, " He s thrown me over, Jack ! 
He s jilted me, he s told me so to my face ! Oh, it s too hard. 
How shall I ever hold up my head again ? " then, Corbett s 
sympathy went out to her completely. But he wanted particulars. 
How had it come about ! There had been some quarrel, surely 
some misunderstanding ! 

Loetitia declared there had been none. Why should she 
quarrel with Jim when she had been so happy, and everything had 
seemed so nice ? No, he was tired of her, that was all. He had 
seen some one else perhaps, whom he fancied better, some one 
with more money. She wept anew, and stamped her foot upon 


328 At Twickenham 

the floor. "I wish you d kill him, Jack, I wish you d kill 
him ! " she cried. " His conduct is infamous ! " 

Matheson s conduct as depicted by the young woman did seem 
infamous to Corbett, and after the first chaotic confusion of his 
mind had fallen into order again, his temper rose. His Irish 
pride was stung to the quick. No one had a light to treat a 
woman belonging to him with contumely. He would go up, at 
once, to Matheson, this very evening, and ask him what he meant 
by it. He would exact ample satisfaction. 

He swallowed a hurried and innutritious meal, with Loetitia s 
tears salting every dish, and Minnie s reiterations ringing dirges 
in his ears. She and Loetitia wanted him to " do something " to 
Matheson ; to kill him if possible, to horsewhip him certainly. 
Corbett was in a mood to fall in with their wishes, and the justice 
of their cause must have seemed unimpeachable to them all, since 
neither he nor they reflected for a moment that he could not have 
the smallest chance in a tussle with the transgressor, who over 
looked him by a head and shoulders, and was nearly twice his size. 
This confidence in righteousness is derived from the story 
books, which teach us that in personal combat the evil-doer 
invariably succumbs, no matter what the disparity of physical 
conditions may be, although it must be added that in every 
properly written story-book it is always the hero who boasts of 
breadth of muscle and length of inches, while the villain s black 
little soul is clothed in an appropriately small and unlovely body. 
Corbett, however, set off without any misgivings. 
He found Matheson still at table, reading from a book propped 
up against the claret-jug. He refused the hand and the chair 
Matheson offered him, and came to the point at once. 

" Is this true what I hear at home ? That you came up this 
afternoon to break off your engagement with Loetitia ? " 


By Ella D Arcy 329 

Matheson, who had flushed a little at the rejection of his hand 
shake, admitted with evident embarrassment that it was true. 

" And you ve the the cheek to tell me that, to my face ? " 
said Corbett, turning red. 

" I can t deny it, to your face." 

" But what s your meaning, what s your motive, what has Letty 
done ? What has happened since yesterday ? You seemed all 
right yesterday," Corbett insisted. 

" It s not Letty s it s not Miss Wray s fault at all. It s my 
mistake. I ve made the discovery we re not a bit suited to each 
other, that s all. And you ought to be thankful, as I am, that I ve 
discovered it in time." 

" Damn it ! " exclaimed Corbett, and a V-shaped vein rose in 
the centre of his forehead, and his blue eyes darkened. " You come 
to my house, I make a friend of you, my wife and sister receive 

you into their intimacy, you ask the girl to be your wife I 

suppose you admit doing that ? " Corbett interpolated in wither 
ing accents, " and now you throw her away like an old glove, 
break her heart, and expect me to be thankful ? Damn it all, 
that s a bit steep." 

" I shouldn t think I ve broken her heart," said Matheson 
embarrassed again. " I should hope not." There was interroga 
tion in his tone. 

" She feels it acutely," said Corbett. " Any woman would. 

She s very " he stopped, but Matheson had caught the 

unspoken word. 

" Angry with me ? Yes. But anger s a healthy sign. Anger 
doesn t break hearts." 

" Upon my soul," cried Corbett amazed at such coolness, " I 
call your conduct craven, I call it infamous ! " he added, 
remembering Lcetitia s own word. 

" Look 

33 At Twickenham 

" Look here Jack," appealed the other, " can t you sit 
down ? I want to talk the matter over with you, but it gets 
on my nerves to see you walking up and down the room like 

Corbett, all unconscious of his restlessness, now stood still, but 
determined he would never sit down in Matheson s house again. 
Then he weakly subsided into the chair his friend pushed over 
to him. 

" You call my conduct craven ? I assure you I never had to 
make so large a demand upon my courage as when I called upon 
Loetitia to-day. But I said to myself, a little pluck now, a bad 
quarter of an hour to live through, and in all probability you save 
two lives from ruin. For we should have made each other 

"Then why have engaged yourself?" asked Corbett with 
renewed heat. 

" Yes . . . why ... do you know, Jack, that the very 
morning of our engagement, five minutes even before the fateful 
moment, I d no more idea . . . you know how such things can 
come about. The garden, the moonlight, a foolish word taken 
seriously. And then the apparent impossibility of drawing back, 
the reckless plunging deeper into the mire. ... I don t deny I 
was attracted by Letty, interested in her. She is a pretty girl, an 
unusually pretty girl. But like most other girls she s a victim to 
her upbringing. Until you are all in all to an English girl you 
are nothing at all. She never reveals herself to you for a moment ; 
speaks from the lips only ; says the things she has been taught 
to say, that other women say. You ve got to get engaged 
to a woman in England it seems, if you re ever to know 
anything about her. And I engaged myself, as I told you, in a 
moment of emotion, and then hopefully set to work to make the 


By Ella D Arcy 331 

best of it. But I didn t succeed. I didn t find in Lettjr the 
qualities I consider necessary for domestic happiness." 

" But Letty is a very good " 

Matheson interrupted with " In a way she s too good, too 
normal, too well-regulated. I could almost prefer a woman who 
had the capacity, at least, for being bad ! It would denote some 
warmth, some passion, some soul. Now, I never was able to 
convince myself that Loetitia was fond of me. Oh, she liked me 
well enough. She was satisfied with my position, modest as it is, 
with my prospects. My profession pleased her, principally as she 
confessed to me, because it necessitates my keeping a carriage. 
But fond ... do you think she is capable of a very passionate 
affection, Jack ? 

" Of course, I know this is going to do me a lot of harm. 
Twickenham, no doubt, will echo your verdict, and describe my 
conduct as infamous. I daresay I shall have to pull up stakes and 
go elsewhere. But for me, it has been the only conduct possible. 
I discovered I didn t love her. Wouldn t it be a crime to marry 
a woman you don t love ? I saw we could never make each 
other happy. Wouldn t it be a folly to rush open-eyed into such 
misery as that ? " 

Which was, practically, the end of the matter, although the 
friends sat long over their whiskey and cigarettes, discussing all 
sublunary things. Corbett enjoyed a most delightful evening, 
and it had struck twelve before he set off homewards, glowing 
outside and in with the warmth which good spirits and good 
fellowship impart. He reaffirmed to his soul the old decision that 
Matheson was undoubtedly the cleverest, the most entertaining, 
the most lovable of men and suddenly he remembered the 
mission on which he had been sent nearly four hours ago, 
simultaneously he realised its preposterous failure. All his happy 


332 At Twickenham 

self-complacency radiated off into the night. Chilled and 
sobered and pricked by conscience, he stood for a moment with 
his hand upon the gate of " Braemar," looking up at the lighted 
windows of Minnie s room. 

What was he going to say to her and to Lcetitia ? And, more 
perturbing question still, what when they should hear the truth, 
were his womenfolk going to say to him ? 

Two Prose Fancies 

By Richard Le Gallienne 

I The Silver Girl 

OOMETIMES when I have thought that the Sphinx s mouth is 
^ cruel, and could not forget its stern line for all her soft eyes, 
I have reassured myself with the memory of a day when I saw 
it so soft and tender with heavenly pity that I could have gone 
down on my knees then and there by the side of the luncheon 
table, where the champagne was already cooling in the ice-pail, 
and worshipped her would have done so had I thought such 
public worship to her taste. It was no tenderness to me, but 
that was just why I valued it. Tender she has been to me, and 
stern anon, as I have merited ; but, would you understand the 
heart of woman, know if it be soft or hard, you will not trust her 
tenderness (or fear her sternness) to yourself; you will watch, with 
a prayer in your heart, for her tenderness to others. 

She came late to our lunch that day, and explained that she had 
travelled by omnibus. As she said the word omnibus, for some 
reason as yet mysterious to me, I saw the northern lights I love 
playing in the heaven of her face. I wondered why, but did not 
ask as yet, delaying, that I might watch those fairy fires of 
emotion, for her face was indeed like a star of which a little child 

The Yellow Book Vol. XII. u told 

334 Two Prose Fancies 

told me the other day. I think some one must have told him 
first, for as we looked through the window one starlit night, he 
communicated very confidentially that whenever any one in the 
world shed a tear of pure pity, God s angels caught it in lily-cups 
and carried it right up to heaven, and that when God had thus 
collected enough of them, he made them into a new star. " So," 
said the little boy, " there must have been a good deal of kind 
people in the world to cry all those stars." 

It was of that story I thought as I said to the Sphinx : 

" What is the matter, dear Madonna ? Your face is the Star or 

And then I ventured gently to tease her. 

"What can have happened? No sooner drd you speak the 
magic word omnibus, than you were transfigured and taken from 
my sight in a silver cloud of tears. An omnibus does not usually 
awaken such tenderness, or call up northern lights to the face as 
one mentions it, ... though," I added wistfully, "one has met 
passengers to and from heaven in its musty corners, travelled life s 
journey with them a penny stage, and lost them for ever. . . ." 

" So," I further ventured, " may you have seemed to some 
fortunate fellow-passenger, an accidental companion of your 
wonder, as from your yellow throne by the driver. . . ." 

" Oh, do be quiet," she said, with a little flash of steel. " How 
can you be so flippant," and then, noting the champagne, she 
exclaimed with fervour : " No wine for me to day ! It s heartless, 
it s brutal. All the world is heartless and brutal . . . how selfish 
we all are. Poor fellow ! . . . I wish you could have seen his 
face ! " 

" I sincerely wish I could," I said ; " for then I should no doubt 
have understood why the words ( omnibus and champagne, not 
unfamiliar words, should . . . well, make you look so beautiful." 


By Richard Le Gallienne 335 

" Oh, forgive me ! Haven t I told you ? " she said, as absent- 
mindedly she watched the waiter rilling her glass with cham 

"Well," she continued, "you know the something Arms, 
where the bus always stops a minute or so on its way from 
Kensington. I was on top, near the driver, and, while we waited, 
my neighbour began to peel an orange and throw the pieces of 
peel down on to the pavement. Suddenly a dreadful, tattered 
figure of a man sprang out of some corner, and, eagerly picking 
up the pieces of peel, began ravenously to eat them, looking up 
hungrily for more. Poor fellow ! he had quite a refined, gentle 
face, and I shouldn t have been surprised to hear him quote 
Horace, after the manner of Stevenson s gentlemen in distress. I 
was glad to see that the others noticed him too. Quite a murmur 
of sympathy sprang up amongst us, and a penny or two rang on 
the pavement. But it was the driver who did the thing that 
made me cry. He was one of those prosperous young drivers, 
with beaver hats and smart overcoats, and he had just lit a most 
well-to-do cigar. With the rest of us he had looked down on 
poor Lazarus, and for a moment, but only for a moment, with a 
certain contempt. Then a wonderful kindness came into his 
face, and, next minute, he had done a great deed he had thrown 
Lazarus his newly-lit cigar." 

" Splendid ! " I ventured to interject. 

" Yes, indeed ! " she continued ; " and I couldn t help telling 
him so. ... But you should have seen the poor fellow s face as 
he picked it up. Evidently his first thought was that it had 
fallen by mistake, and he made as if to return it to his patron. It 
was an impossible dream that it could be for him a mere rancid 
cigar-end had been a windfall, but this was practically a complete, 
unsmoked cigar. But the driver nodded reassuringly, and then 


336 Two Prose Fancies 

you should have seen the poor fellow s joy. There was almost a 
look of awe, that such fortune should have befallen him, and tears 
of gratitude sprang into his eyes. Really, I don t exaggerate a 
bit. I d have given anything for you to have seen him though 
it was heart-breaking, that terrible look of joy, such tragic joy. 
No look of misery or wretchedness could have touched one like 
that. Think how utterly, abjectly destitute one must be for a 
stranger s orange-peel to represent dessert, and an omnibus-driver s 
cigar set us crying for joy. . . ." 

" Gentle heart," I said. " I fear poor Lazarus did not keep his 
cigar for long. . . ." 

"But why? . . ." 

" Why ? Is it not already among the stars, carried up by those 
angels who catch the tears of pity, and along with Uncle Toby s 
damn, and such bric-a-brac, in God s museum of fair deeds? 
We shall see it shining down on us as the stars come out to-night. 
Yes ! that will be a pretty astronomical theory to exchange with 
the little boy who told me that the stars are made of tears. Some 
are made of tears, I shall say, but some are the glowing ends of 
newly lit cigars, thrown down by good omnibus-drivers to poor ? 
starving fellows who haven t a bed to sleep in, nor a dinner to eat, 
nor a heart to love them, and not even a single cigar left to put in 
their silver cigar-cases." 

"That driver is sure of heaven, anyhow," said the Sphinx. 

" Perhaps, dear, when the time comes for us to arrive there, we 
will find him driving the station bus who knows ? But it was 
a pretty story, I must say. That driver deserves to be decorated." 

" That s what I thought," said the Sphinx, eagerly. 

" Yes ! We might start a new society : The League of Kind 
Hearts ; a Society for the Encouragement of Acts of Kindness. How 
would that do ? Or we might endow a fund to bear the name of 


By Richard Le Gallienne 337 

your bus-driver, and to be devoted in perpetuity to supplying 
destitute smokers with choice cigars." 

" Yes," said the Sphinx, musingly, " that driver made me 
thoroughly ashamed of myself. I wish I was as sure of heaven as 
he is." 

" But you are heaven," I whispered ; " and a propos of heaven, 
here is a little song which I wrote for you last night, and with 
which I propose presently to settle the bill. I call it the Silver 

Whiter than whiteness was her breast, 
And softer than new fallen snow, 
So pure a peace, so deep a rest, 
Yet purer peace below. 

Her face was like a moon-white flower 

That swayed upon an ivory stem, 
Her hair a whispering silver shower, 

Each foot a silver gem. 

And in a fair white house of dreams, 

With hallowed windows all of pearl, 

She sat amid the haunted gleams, 
That little silver girl ; 

Sat singing songs of snowy white, 

And watched all day, with soft blue eyes, 

Her white doves flying in her sight, 
And fed her butterflies. 

Then when the long white day was passed, 
The white world sleeping in the moon, 

White bed, and long white sleep at last 
She will not waken soon. 


338 Two Prose Fancies 

II Words Written to Music 

IT is one of the many advantages of that simplicity of taste 
which is ignorance, that an incorrigible capacity for con- 
noisseurship in the sister arts of cookery and music should enable 
one to be as happy with a bad dinner eaten to the sound of bad 
music, as others whose palates are attuned to the Neronian 
nightingales, and whose ears admit no harmonies less refined than 
the bejewelled harmonies of Chopin. 

I have eaten dinners delicate as silverpoints, in rooms of canary- 
coloured quiet, where the candles burn hushedly in their little 
silken tents, and the soft voices of lovers rise and fall upon the 
dreaming ear ; but I confess that it was the soothing quiet, the 
healing tones of light and colour, and the face of the Sphinx 
irradiated by some dream of halcyon s tongues a la Persane^ rather 
than the beautiful food, that inspired my passionate peace. Mere 
roast lamb, new potatoes and peas of living green had made me 
just as happy, gastronomically speaking, and I dare not mention 
what I order sometimes, and even day after day with a love that 
never tires, when I dine alone. Alone ! 

. . . the very word is like a bell 

To toll me back from thee to my sole self; 

for even this very night have I dined alone in a great solitude of 
social faces, low necks, electric lights, and the spirited band that 
has given me more pleasure than any music in London, always 
excepting my Bayreuth, the barrel-organ. Yes ! strange as it 
may seem, I had come deliberately to hear this music, and second 
arily to eat this dinner. What effect selections from Sullivan and 
The Shop Girl," in collaboration with the three-and-sixpenny 


By Richard Le Gallienne 339 

table d hote, would have upon more educated digestions its concerns 
me not to inquire ; on mine they produce a sort of agonised 
ecstasy of loneliness and to-night as I sat at our little lonely 
table in a corner of the great gallery and looked out across the 
glittering peristyle, ate that dinner and listened to that music, I 
shuddered with joy at my fearful loneliness. 

I might have dined with the Beautiful, or have sent a tele 
graphic invitation to the Witty, I might have sat at meat with 
the Wise ; but no ! I would dine instead with the memories or 
dinners that were gone, and as the music did Miltonic battle near 
the ceiling, marched with clashing tread, or danced on myriad 
silken feet, wailed like the winds of the world, or laughed like the 
sun, my solitude grew peopled awhile with shapes fair and kind, 
who sat with me and lifted the glass and gave me their deep eyes, 
ladies who had intelligence in love, as Dante wrote, ladies of great 
gentleness and consolation, for whom God be thanked. But 
always in my ears, whatever the piece that was a-playing, the music 
came sweeping with dark surge across my fantasy, as though a 
sudden wind had dashed open a warm window, and let in a black 
night of homeless seas. 

For in truth one I loved was out to-night on dark seas. 
She fares out across an ocean I have never sailed, to a land 
of which no man knows ; and for her voyage she has only her 
silver feet, walking the inky waters, and the great light of her 
holy face to guide her steps. Ah ! that I were with her to 
night, walking hand in hand those dark waters. Oh, wherefore 
slip away thus companionless, fearless little voyager ? Was it 
that I was unworthy to voyage those seas with you, that the 
weight of my mortality would have dragged down your bright 
immortality youngest of the immortals. . . . But from that sea 
which the Divine alone may tread, comes back no answer, nor 



Two Prose Fancies 

light of any star ; but there has stolen to my side and kissed my 
brow, a shape dearer than all the rest, dear beyond dearness, a 
little earthly-heavenly shape who always comes when the rest have 
gone, and loves to find me sitting alone. She it is who leans her 
cheek against mine as I try to read beautiful words out of the 
dead man s book at my side, she it is who whispers that we shall 
be too late to find a seat in the pit unless we hurry, and she it is 
who gaily takes my arm as we trot off together on happy feet. 
The great commissionaire takes no note of her, he thinks I am 
alone ; besides we seldom go in hansoms, and seldom sit in stalls. 
. . . Enough, O, music ! be merciful. Be lonely no more, lest 
you break the heart of the lonely. 

" Ah ! you have never seen her ! " I whisper to myself as the 
waiter brings me my coffee and I look at him again with a 
certain curiosity as I think that he has never seen her. Never 
to have seen her ! 

And then presently, as if in pity, the music will change, perhaps 
it will play some sustaining song of faith, and strike a sort of 
glory across one s heart, the haughty heart of sorrow ; or it will 
be human and gay, and suddenly turn this solitude of diners into 
a sort of family gathering of humanity, throwing open sad hearts 
that, like oneself, appear to be doing nothing but dine, and giving 
one glimpses into dreaming heads, linking all in one great friend 
ship of common joys and sorrows, the one sweet beginning, and 
the one mysterious end. 

In this mood faces one has seen more than once become friends, 
and I confess that the sight of certain waiters moving in their 
accustomed places almost moved me to tears. Such is the pathos 
of familiarity. 

So my thoughts took another turn, and I fell to thinking with 
tenderness of the friends about town that the Sphinx and I had 


By Richard Le Gallienne 341 

made in our dinings friends whom it had cost us but a few odd 
shillings and sixpences to make, yet friends we had fancied we 
might trust, and even seek in a day of need. If they found me 
starving some night in the streets, I think they would take me in ; 
and I think I know a coffee-stall man who would give me an 
early-morning cup of coffee, and add a piece of cake, were I to 
come to him bare-footed some wintry dawn. 

I have heard purists object to the smiles that are bought, as if 
smiles can or should be had for nothing, and as if it shows a bad 
nature in a waiter to smile more sweetly upon a shilling than a 
penny. After all, is he so far wrong in deeming the heart that 
prompts the shilling better worth a smile than the reluctant hand 
of copper ? Besides, we are never so mean to ourselves as when 
we are mean to others. A few shillings per annum sown about 
town will surround the path of the diner with smiles year in and 
year out. The doors fly open as by magic at his approach, and 
the cosiest tables in a dozen restaurants are in perpetual reserve 
for him. I am even persuaded that a consistent generosity to 
cabmen gets known in due course among the fraternity, and that 
thus, in process of time, the nicest people may rely on getting the 
nicest hansoms though this may be a dream. Certain I am 
that it brings luck to be kind to a pathetic race of men for whom 
I have a special tenderness, those amateur footmen, the cab- 
openers. Have you ever noticed the fine manners of some or 
them, and their lover-like gentleness with the silk skirts that it is 
theirs to save from soilure of muddy wheels ? A practical head 
might reflect how much they do towards keeping down your 
wife s dressmaker s bills. I daresay they save her a dress a year 
and yet they are not treated with gratitude as a race. How 
involuntarily one seems to assume that they will accept nothing 
over a penny, and how fingers, not penurious on other occasions, 


342 Two Prose Fancies 

automatically reject silver as they ferret in pence-pockets for 
suitable alms. No ! not alms payment, and sometimes poor 
payment, for a courtesy that adds another smile to your illusion 01 
a smiling world. 

Among the many lessons I have learnt from the Sphinx is one 
of the fair wage of the cab-opener. It was the very afternoon she 
had seen that cigar fall down from heaven, and her mood was thus 
the more attuned to pity. As we were about to drive away from 
the place of our lunching, having been ushered to our hansom by 
a tatterdemalion of distinguished manners, but marred unhappy 
countenance, I fumbled so long for the regulation twopence, that 
it seemed likely he should miss his reward or be run over in 
running after it. But at that moment the Sphinx s hand shot 
past mine and dropped something into the outstretched palm. 
The man took it mechanically, and in a second his face flashed 
surprise. Evidently she had given him something extravagant. 
She was watching for his look, and telegraphed a smile that she 
meant it. Then you never saw such a figure of grateful joy as 
that shabby fellow became. His face fairly shone, and for a few 
moments he ran by our cabside wildly waving his hat, with an 
indescribable emotion of affectionate thankfulness. 

" What did you give him dear ? " I asked. 

" Never mind ! " 

" It wasn t a sovereign ? " 

" Never mind." 

So I have never known what coin it was that thus transfigured 
him, but of this I am sure : that when the time of the great 
Terror has come to London, when the red flags wave on the 
barricades, and the puddles of red blood beneath the great guillotine 
in Trafalgar Square luridly catch the setting sun, the Sphinx and 
I will have a friend in that poor cab-opener. 


By Richard Le Gallienne 343 

There is another friend to whom we should fly for safety in 
those days of wrath. He, too, is a cab-opener, but, so to say, of 
higher rank for he is the voluntary manager of a thriving cab- 
rank which we often have occasion to patronise. For some 
unknown reason he is always addressed as " Cap n," and we never 
omit the courtesy as we salute him. So we have come to know 
him as The Captain of the Cab Rank. He is a short, thick-set, 
sturdy little man, with an overcoat buttoned straight beneath his 
chin, hands deep in his pockets, a firm, determined step, and a 
fiery face. He walks his pavement like a veritable captain on his 
quarter-deck, and his " Hansom up ! " rings out like a stern word 
of command. At the call a shining door of the tavern opposite is 
thrown open with a slam, and a wild figure of a driver clatters 
across in terrified haste, and with his head still wrapped in the 
warm glow he has just forsaken, he climbs his dark throne, and 
once more shakes the weary reins. Then, as the little Captain 
briskly shut us in, with a salute that seems to say that he has 
thus given us a successful start in life, and it is not his fault if we 
don t go on as we ve begun, he blows a shrill note upon his 
whistle, half to call up the next cab to its place in the rank, hair 
to signalise our departure, as when sometimes a great boat sets 
out to sea they fire guns in the harbour, and excited crowds wave 
weeping handkerchiefs from the pier. 

Yes ! There are many faces I meet daily, faces I do business 
with and faces I take down to dinner, faces or the important and 
the brilliant, that I should miss much less than the little Captain of 
the Cab Rank. Our intercourse is of the slightest, we have little 
opportunities of studying each other s nature, and yet he is 
strangely vivid in my consciousness, quite a necessary figure in 
my picture of the world so stamped is every part of him with 
that most appealing and attaching of all qualities, that of our 


344 Two Prose Fancies 

common human nature. He has the great gift of character, and 
however poor and humble his lot, failure is surely no word to 
describe him, for he is a personality, and to be a personality is to 
have succeeded in life. 

Yes ! I often think of the Captain as I think of the famous 
characters in fiction, or notable figures in history ; and I should 
feel very proud if I could believe he sometimes thought of me. 

Well, well. ... it is late. The bill, waiter, please ! Good 
night ! Good-night ! 

sden. By William Watson " 
[e : Recent Documents. By 
an. r ;s 

-Bo.A ir. ihe Weald. By - ." 
Muriel Dowk 
the Clove. By Henry Har- 


t Bereft. By E. Nesbit 
^flections. By Stanley V. 
An Hotel Child. By Lena 

By Kenneth Grahams 
:ss River. By Evelyn Sharp 
:a. By Frank Athelstane 
ham, C.M.G. 

[oliday. By Oswald Sicken 
and Mary. By Marie Clo- 


XVII. At the Article of Death. By John 

XVIII. CH-Jren of the Mist. By Rosamund 

Marriott Watson 
XIX. A Forgotten Novelist. By Hermione 


XX. A Fire. By Stephen Phillip; 
XXI. At Twickenham. By Ella D Arcy 
XXII. Two Prose Fancies. By Richard Le 


I. Bodley Heads. No. 6 : Portrait of Miss 

Evelyn Sharp. By E. A. Walton 
II. Puck. 

By Ethel 

the Ratcatcher. By Richard 

, C.B., LL.D. 

By Renee de Coutans 

;ei"i of Pity. By A. Bernard 

Rubies. B/ Netta Syretc 

III. Enfant Terrible. 

IV. A Nursery Rlyme Heroine. 
V. Almost a Portrait. 

VI. A Landscape. By Alfred Thornton 
VII. The Muslin Dress. By Mabel Dcarraer 
Vll!. A Pathway to the Moon. By Patten 

IX. A Silverpoint. / Wilson 

X. Maternity . ~\ 

XL Grief. I By A. Sz^d 

XII. 4. Study of Trees, j 

XIII. Perry Bridge. 

XIV. The Harvest Moon.