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Borges, Jorge Luis - [SS Collection] - The Book of Fantasy [PDF]

Borges, Jorge Luis - [SS Collection] - The Book of Fantasy [PDF]

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THDBOOKOF

NANTASY

THEBOOKOF
Edited bg

MNMSY
JOKGE LUIS
SILVIIITAOCAIUPO A. BIOYCASAKES

BOBGES

INTRODUCED BY UKSULA IL LE GTJIN

VIKING

iW

VIKING
Published the Penguin by Group Viking Penguin Inc.,40lfest 23rd Street, New York, New York 10010, U.S.A. PenguinBooks Ltd,27 \(rights Lane,London \fl8 5TZ, England Penguin BooksAustraliaLtd, Ringwood,Victoria,Australia Penguin BooksCanada L3R 1B4 Ltd,2801JohnStreet, Markham,Ontario, Canada t$(airau Penguin Books(N.2.) Ltd, 182-190 Road,Auckland10,New Zealand Penguin BooksLtd, Regisrered Offices: Harmondswonh,Middlesex, England First published 1988by Viking Penguin in Inc. Limited Published simultaneouslv GreatBritain bv XanaduPublications in

of The Adolfo Bioy Casares, Estate Copyright@ The Estate JorgeLuis Borges, of SilvinaOcampo,andXanaduPublications Limited, 1988 Forewordcopyright@ UrsulaK. Le Guin, 1988 All rights reserved first publishedin Argentina'1940 Antologia de k Literatura Fantdstica Revised 1965,1976 Copyright @ 1940,1965,1976Editorial Sudamericana Pages of 383-4constitute extension this copyrightpage. an Ubreryof C-ongress Crtd%iry in hrblication Daa English. Antologiade la literaturafant6stica. The book of fantasy. Translation Antologiade la literaturafantistica. of: Includes bio-bibliographies. literature. I. Borges, 1. Fantastic JorgeLuis, 1899-1986. II. Ocampo,Silvina. III. Bioy Casares, Adolfo. IV. Title. PN6071.F2545513 1988 808.83',876 88-40100 Setin Garamond Designed RichardGlynJones by no above, Partof this Vithout limiting the rightsundercopyrightreserved publication may be reproduced,storedin or introducedinto a retrievalsystem'or (electronic,mechanicalphotocopying, iransmitted,in any foim or by any means recordingor otherwise),without ihe prior written permissionof both the copyright publisherof this book. owner andthe above
BOMC offers recordings and compact discs, cassettes and records. For information and catalog write to BOMR, Camp Hill, PA l70l?.

CONTENTS
Introducion by URSULA LE GUIN K. Sennin RYUNOSUKE AKUTAGA'$TA A lVomanAlone with Her Soul THOMAS BAILEYALDRICH Ben-Tobith LEoNID ANDREYEV ThePhantomBasket JOHNAUBREY TheDrowned Giant J. c. BALLARD Enoch Soames MAX BEERBOHM The Tail of theSphinx AMBROSE BTERCE Thesquid in lts own Ink ADoLFo Broy CASARES Guihy Eyes AH,MEDECHCHIRUANII Anything You Want! . LEoN BLoy

l3 l6

t7 20 2I 28 48 49 57 58 6l 73 73 77 8l 8l 82 92 92 94 95

Tliin, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius JORGE LUIS BORGES odin JORGE LUISBORGES DELrATNGENTEROS and The GoldenKite, The sitzter \,vind RAy BRADBuRy The Man v(/hocoilected the First of september, Ig73 TORACgBRINGSVAERD The Careless Rabbi MARTII{ BUBER The Tale and thepoet Sir Richard Burton Fate is a Fool ARTUROCANCELAand PILARDE LUSARRETA An Actual AuthenticGhost THOMAS CARLYLE TheRed King,s Dream LE,$rus CARROLL The Treeof Pride c. K. CHESTERTON The Towerof Babel c. K. cHEsTERToN

TZU The Dream of theButterfly CHUANG The Look of Death JEANcocrEAU HouseTaken Ooer JULIOCORTAZAR DABOVE Being Dust SANTIAGO A Parable of Gluttony ALEXANDRADAVID-NEEL of The Persecution the Master DAVID.NEEL ALEXANDRA The ldle CitY LORD DUNSANY FERNA}{DEZ TANIAIiA MACEDONIO Etemal Life J. G. FRAZER Home ELENAGARRO A Secure TheManWhoDidNotBeliezleinMiracles A. HERBERT GILES E arth'sHolocaust NATHANIELHAWTHORNE Ending for a Ghost Story I' A' IRELAND Paw w. \f ' JACOBS TheMonkeY's JoYCE What is a Ghost? JAMES JOYCE May Goulding JAMES Over DONJUANMANUEL The\Vizard Passed JosephinetheSinger,orTheMouseFoIkFRANZKAFKA Before theLaw FRANZKAFKA KIPLING The Retum of ImraY RUDYARD LUGONES of The Horses Abdera LEOPOLDO The CeremonY ARTHURMACHEN DE The Riddle $flALTER LA MARE Who Knows? GUYDE MAUPASSANT of The Shadaus thePlayers ED\fIN MORGAN ThECAt H. A. MURENA 6

95 96 96 100 104 105 106 110 114 115 123 124 r37 138 145 146 r47 149 160 t62 170 t75 177 180 190 190

UnioersalHistory OLAF STAPLEDON A Theologian Death EMANUELS'$TEDENBORG in The Encoun\eT FROMTHE T'ANGDYNASTY The ThreeHermits LEo roLSToy Macario B.MUNRo) WhereTheir Fire is Not Quenched MAy SINCLAIR The ClothWhichWeazses ltself r$r/. SKEAT w.or HumanWisdom VOLTAIRE TheManWho Liked Dickens EVELYN\ur/AUGH Pomegranote Seed EDITH '$(/HARTON IOTHITE LuKundoo ED\UTARD LUCAS The Donguys JUANRUDOLFO WILCOCK Lord Arthur Saaile'sCime OSCAR $(/ILDE . TRAVEN The Infinite Dream of Pao-Yu TSAOHSUEH-CHIN TheMinor to Wind-and-Moon TSAOHSEUH-CHIN TheDesireTo Be a Man VILLIERS L'ISLEADAM DE Memmon.The Storyof the Foxes NIU CHIAO TheAtonement SILVINAOCAMPO The Man Who Belongedto Me Rani CARLOS PERALTA TheBlind Spot BARRY PEROWNE GIOVANNIpAprNr t92 193 202 208 2r3 222 224 229 234 236 237 241 256 257 257 259 260 265 291 292 294 300 304 315 336 346 353 TheWolf PETRoNrus TheBus' MANUELPEYROU The Cask of Amontillado EDGAR ALLAN pOE The Tiger of Chao-Ch'Eng P'U SUNG LING Hout We Arizsed at the Island of Tools FRAI{qOIS RABELAIS TheMusic on theHill 'SAKI' (rt.H.

'$(/ILLOUGHBY-MEADE Saoed by the Book c. '$(/LLOuGHBY-MEADE The Reanimated E nglishman SHELLEY MARY \TOLLSTONECRAFT CH'ENGEN The Sentence tUfU The Sorcerers \flILLIAM BUTLERYEATS zoRILLA Fragment JOSE SOURCES AND ACKNO\gLEDGEMENTS 376 377 377 378 379 380 382 383 .of The Sorcerer the Vhite Lotus Lodge RICHARDI$(/ILHELM The Celestial Stag G.

or merely fanciful. being after all an Englishwoman'shebeginsto tell the Changes: mutationsof a word moving the through the minds of people moving through the centuries. as often-to imply mat ttre representation is extravagant. 'to imagine. in quite the oiposite direction-going so far in that direction. or the habit of deluding-oneself. yet it not all we can ever sayis there. caprice. "a making visible. sometimesvery obscureindeed. or visionary. . or. camein time to signify iust the reverse-an hallucination.wise and mild though sometimes rather dark of counsel.' One retiresto ponderlong upon such advice. phantomr the mental process sensuous a of perception.) . she speaks more English than anybodyelse.Sheoffersfewer dragonsand much more dried gristly meat. (Fancy is fantasy'sown daughter.or Phantasyr'replies Auntie. 'Auntie!' I say (magnifyingglassin hand. . if we can but find it. The / Chingor Book of Changes the visionaryelder who hasoutlived fact. Then.. an Aleph. the is Ancestor so old she speaks a different tongue. is compressed into two volumesof terrifyingly small print)-. but leads.Introduction by UrsulaK. doubling back on its tracks like a hare. 'Biting upon dried gristly meat . I but I am not surewhat I am talking about.via elision of the penult. because want to talk about Thc Book of Fantasy. 'A dragonappears the fieldr' in or. After which.vtdlccvr'to makevisibler' or in Late Greek.the faculty of imagination. rhe Compact my Auntie.a falsenotion. or the result of forming mental representations things not actuallypresent.havevisionsr'and to show..vraotqlit.Auntie! pleasetell me aboutfannsy. 'is from the Greek Sa. because edition.'And shesummarizes older uses the word in English:an $avrervr'to the of appearance.or A Nezp EnglishDictionary on Histoical Principles. while fintastic is a sister-word with a family of her own. the faculty. of a peculiar sort.or whim.And yet theOxford EnglishDictionary. Her counsel is sometimes appallingly clear.' 'Fantasy.' This definition seems of very close to the Scholasticsenseof fantasy. The other Auntie is younger. to be turned to when the iudgment hesitates want of material to form itself for upon. is also a Book of Changes. clearingher throat. One of thesebooksprovidesfacts. of course. or a phantasm. the word fantaiy was used to mean rhe imagination.yet is inexhaustible. The other doesnot. is not a Book of Sand.smiling faintly.. and speaksEnglish-indeed. 'The little fox crossingthe river wetsits tailr' shesays. the mind's very act of linking of itself to the phenomenal world. Le Guin rphere aretwo bookswhich I look upon asesteemed cherished great-aunrs and I or grandmothers.ot." ' She explains that gavr.Most wonderful in its transmutations.rgh sheeschews the casting of yarrow stalks or coins polished with sweet oil. 'the process. thesedays. She showshow a word that to the Schoolmen of the late Middle Ages meanr 'rhe mental apprehension an obiect of perceptionr'that is. tio.is related to go.

or at least as a genre of are subliterature. but bluntly that writers don't often saynowadays they write them. in the days of victorious Realism. and we glimpseas it turns the faceof an frivolous. fruitlessly. The technicalusesin psychology fantasy and phantasy and our deeplyinfluenced sense useof the word.the shallowsof the mind. Fantasy.bright truthful messenger. which I think is the firsr greatmodern fantasy. quite a business. angel. and otherscall it Science . too.Uottroral and written. friends. On this thresholdsometimes facesone way. for Auntie's use of that they 'weave'theirworks.l0 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Sofantasyremainsambiguous. maskedand beribboned. word. politely but with. she admits only fantasist. it is not so. arisenUrizen.There are no ghostsin it. and shedefinesthe newcomer. is often seen as ghoulie-mongering. and the offering is acceptable Mammon. but fantasy. More recognized are fanrasists rightly lessmodestnow that what they do is generally as literature. and Lord Byron-and Claire Clairmont was probably with husband young Dr Polidori-and they told awful tales. One might think that a fantasistwasone who as 'one who "weaves"fantasies. a faint curl of the lip. as the Dictionary showedus. and the strange 'r|ile will each. and the part of it they know or love best. Into the Supplement. and they havealsogivenus the of the handy verb rofantasize.They wereMary Shelley.it was not yet a business.it standsbetweenthe false.sies rife and The headof the fabledUnicorn is laid upon the on the bookstalls. bobbte-fringing to literature. one part of the vast domain of fantastic Because literature.when onenight in a villa in Geneva l818 threefriendssat fantastic her telling oneanotherghoststories.'cried Byron. Horror Tales. she wrote her ghost story. Fantasistsearlier in the century.But the elementof discovery is there. 'weave'may be taken as either patronizingor quaint.and Mary them. ghostsinhabit. Shelleywas Mary went awayand thought about it. many-colored to lap of Mammon. Frankenstein: A Modern Prometheus.or at least as a commercialproduct. and the mind's deepconnection it real. Currently. offering it as somethingless than 'real' fiction-mere fancywork. the with the delusory. Since the Oxford English Dictionary was compiled. then it turns. A is fantasist one who writes a fantasyfor others. or at least as a genre of literature. talking together. the tracks of the word fantasy have been complicated still further by the comings and goings of have of psychologists. peoplefamiliar with that cornerof it call the or wholething GhostStories.until a few nights later she arts strange andmachineries in a dreamed nightmare whicha'palestudent'used 'hideousphantasmof a man.iust asotherscall it Fairylandafter Fiction. hasbecome But when one night in BuenosAires in 1937three friends sat talking together Nor was it evenknown as about fantasticliterature. the foolish. in literature. to be using the imaginationtherapeutically a meansof discoveringreasonsReasondoes not know. Percy. discoveringoneself to oneself. or haunt. For fanta. 'write a ghost story!' So frightened.' And so' aloneof the from unlife the to arouse or.But Auntie doesnot acknowledge existence that through the back door.onewho fantasizes understood but as or be daydreaming.were often aplogeticabout what they did.' eitherto is fantasizes.in fact. I think. an escapist.

and by exclusion other definitions were ignored. by Kafka. plenty of money was made out of him in Hollywood. There is some weighting towards writers. while any bigot wishing to certify himself as such by dismissing it as all stuff and nonsenseis tacitly permitted to do so. set among works and fragments from the Orient and South America and distant centuries. charmingly. it might well be here. archetypal. when Jorge Luis Borges. Some chosen. no definitions. and is distinguished in college English departments mainly by being ignored. Perhaps I should not say 'traditionr' since it has no name as such and little recognition in critical circles. A very wellknown piece such as 'The Cask of Amontillado' seems less predictable. If his story were not too long for this anthology.The Dunsany story. which reflects. except the intention of 'having a good book. .' Of course. its own essentialstrangeness restored to it. It is an idiosyncratic selection. Adolfo Bioy Casares. fascinatingly. simply a compilation of stories from fantastic literature which seemed to us to be the best. the taste of the anthologizers and perhaps particularly that of Borges. very likely it was mentioned on that night in 1937in Buenos Aires. permanently. Beerbohm's familiar tale of . and Silvina Ocampo fell to talking-so Casares tells us-'about fantastic literature discussing the stories which seemedbest to us. Cortdzar. no business. for instance. The book is full of such reflections and interconnections. so one will find. perhaps for the first time. but even that did not kill him. who was himself a member and direct inheritor of the international tradition of fantasy which included Kipting and Chesrerron. Three friends talking. He is a creature of fantasy. or Mary Shelley's. fifty years ago. and science-fictional only in intent. But the nameless being given life by Dr Frankenstein's. is not only very beautiful. is especially English writers.a kind of miniature or concave-mirrorof the anthology itself. and completely eclectic. Swedenborg.INTRODUCTION ll others call it Stuff and Nonsense. and which he honored even as he transformed it. such as Bloy or Andreyev. As he included these older writers in The Book of Fantasy. Once raised he will not sleep again. arts and machineries is neither ghost nor fairy. others are exotic discoveries. but is also. Niu Chiao. ffiry seem rather heavyhandednow. for his pain will not let him sleep. we would have a good book. . No plans. as the early poetry of Yeats is beautiful. horror and ghosts and fairy and science-fiction stories all together within the covers of The Book of Fantasy. deathless. As a result we drew up this book . it may be read truly as his 'notebook' of sourcesand affiliations and elective affinities. One of us suggestedthat if we put together the fragments of the same type we had listed in our notebooks. Agutagawa.' So that. stuff and nonsensehe is not. The four lines in the book by Chuang Tzu should suffice to make him think rwice. Some of the stories will be familiar to anyone who reads. I imagine. but I believe that there is a company of fantasists that Borges belonged to even as he transcended it. in the making of such a book by such makers' certain definitions were implied by inclusion. of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. is haw The Book of Fantasy came ro be. but others are treasurable. \(/hen there began to be money in the fantasy business. the unanswered moral questions that woke with him will not let him rest in peace.

' so that we can form a might be going in it. Borges. but the limited and rationally perceived societies in which those books were written. perhaps. as an English writer. and that that direction is the way of fantasy. urgent function of words. so that I now believe that when people gather in the Reading Room of the British Library on June 3rd. multilingual. such as Margaret Drabble. Our society-global. An American fiction writer now may yearn toward the pure veracity of Sarah Orne Jewett or Dreiser's Srlter Carie. or displaced in time. or set upon imaginary planets. because they do supremely well what poems and stories do. are lost. If in the 1890sfantasy appeared to be a kind of literary fungus-growth. 1997. may look back with longing to the fine solidities of Bennett. his libraries. So it is that the most revealing and accurate descriptions of our daily life in contemporary fiction may be shot through with strangeness.-I believe that among those watching there will be other phantoms. forking paths. because they are nourishing. of mysteries. just as the / Ching and the 'mental representations of things not actually Dictionary do: to form for us judgment of what world we live in and where we present. seems to involve and concern other writings and writers in the book. darkly. of rivers. but the nations did not. or dissolved into the phantasmagoria of drugs or of psychosis. his reflections. of changes. of sand.1987 . still buried ignominious in the Catalogue.his books of tigers. fulfilling the mosr ancient. 'magical realists' of South America are read for their entire So it is that the truthfulness to the way things are. labyrinths. And yet I think that our narrative fiction has been going slowly and vaguely and massively. if in the 1980sit has been degraded by commercial exploitation. to wait for poor Enoch's phantom and watch him discover his Fungoids. not in the wash and slap of fad and fashion but as a deep current. and have lent their name as perhaps the most fitting to the kind of fiction most characteristic of our times. K. the use or non-use of annihilating power.t2 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Enoch Soamesr' read here. was posed most cogently in fictional terms by the purest of fantasists. intuitional language of fantasy. if in the 1920sit was still perceived as secondary. So it is that Italo Calvino's Inaisible Cities serves many of us as a better guidebook to our world than any Michelin or Fodor's. it may well seemquite safeand proper to the critics to ignore it. still ignored by critics and professors and the heartless public. For he will seethen. in one direction. Frodo withheld his hand from the Ring of Power.have been and will be honored by so many readers for so long: because they are beautiful. for years. So it may be that the central ethical dilemma of our age. not as through a glass. enormously irrational-can perhaps describe itself only in the global. and among those. During those years.or may rise from the mundane suddenly into the visionary and as simply descend from it again. URSULA LE GUIN. and amphisbaenae. And so it is that Jorge Luis Borges's own poems and stories. Tolkien began The Lord of the Ringsin 1937and finished it about ten years later. and their shared language.

y dearyoung readers. that isn't quite honest.is it? rVhat doesyour signboard you ANyJoB" in so many words. and beganto arguein this way: 'Now. Mr I wish to become sennin. Sinceyou say.then perhaps.\$(rould kindly find me a a you family where I could learn the secr. a t$fill you find me a family where I could learn the secrer while working as a servant?' 'rffe're very sorry to disappoint your' the clerk drawled. 'Didn't you hear me.I am stoppingin Osakanow.they only remember him by the commonseryant's nameof Gonsuk6.anyhow?It says. The 'llhree Treasures. you ANy too-entered a '.who waspuffing at his long bamboo pipe: 'Please. .et while working as a servanr?' The clerk remainedspeechless a while as if astonished his client's tall for at order. which hc incfuded in Christ. he was. a holy hermit who usually lives in the heart of a mountain. beginning to puff again at his forgotten pipe. Iu calmly explained the reasons whirh broughthim to this decisionand compileda list of histoicat suicides. Japarcsewriter.Japanese Short Stories. mister. a servant all for of work.' *According to the pcie1l Chineselegend.' Here Gonsukdedgedcloser to him on his petulant blue-pantalooned knees. . But now. Clerk. now. you may havelied about it all along. so I will tell you a srory connectedwith this town. intentionaily.'!yE GET cAN Jon' office and said to the clerk in charge.after all. His worksintlude Grotesque and Curious Tales. Beforenking hisoatnW. Rashomon.He translated worksof thc RobertBroatninginn Japanese. you ought to find us zo matterwhat kind ofiobs we may ask for.SenninRyunosukeAkutagawa(1892-1927). 'but not once in our long business careerhave we undertakento find a situation for aspirantsto your Senninship!Suppose you go round to anotherplace.thoseof nving in the air at will and enjoyingextremelongevity amongthem. l3 . Mr Clerk?' said Gonsuk6. and has trained himself to variousmysticalpowers. Onceupon a time there cameto the town of Osakaa certainman who wanted to be a domestic servant.Kappa.I do not know his real name."''lrrE GET cAN promiseus any iob.'I wish to become smnin. Now this man-we'll call him Gonsuk6.

however. and shepeckedher husbandinto silence. very commonness had been expectingto seesomethingunusual in a would-be the doctor.and I'm very curiousto know whateverhasput sucha notion into your head. Our doctor followed him out with his eyes. on hearing the clerk's story: '\$7hy.Gonsuk6 in haori andhakama. and then askedin an anxious pleading tone. far from asking his pardon.he had not the to householdwhere they could teach faintest idea. fellow you could hardly scrapeenoughin this eat-or-bewho is as stupidly simple as eatenworld to keep body and soul together. vaguelylooking at a big pine-tree in the garden.'Pugh! You dullard. Mr Stranger.he was in no way different from must havebeena bit of a surpriseto His the ordinary peasant.' This counter-attacksucceeded.perhapsin honour of this important dressed ceremoniously of occasion his first day. I felt certain from the first that a doctor and a closelyrelatedto eachother. who answeredfor him.for the presentanyhow. as had beenagreedupon. who sennin. you'd better mind your own business. \$fe'll makehim a senninin a coupleof years. now? \(rhat the dickens would you do if the bumpkin should begin to complainsomeday that we hadn't taught him a scrapof your holy trick after so many years?' But his wife. Sendhim on to us. and then.there'sno trick there.bowedhis thanks again and again. uninivited. He remaineda while in pensive silence.' The clerk could seeno other way out of it than to give him the promiseand get him away. Ifle'll makeinquiries todayat all likely places we can think of. who wasblissfully ignorant of her design.14 THEBooKoFFANTASY His argumentbeing quite reasonable. Outwardly. clerk could not very well blamehim the for his angry outburst. The next morning.Soon getting rid of the visitor. and left in great glee. 'I can assure you.' '\Ufil you. and then said.arms folded acrosshis chest. But frankly.however. am told that you wish to be a sennin.' .Doctor. ma'am?That's gxeat!Really I can't thank you enoughfor your kind offer.Needless say. better known as Old Vixen.He eyedhim curiouslyasonemight a rareexoticanimalsuchasa musk'I deerbroughtover from far-off India. and A quacked. how could he indeed. the clerk brought his boorish camethis particularday as client to the doctor's. do you realizewhat a foolish thing you've gone and said. and that very quickly?' The questionapparentlypuzzledthe doctor.looking as sour as anything.' senninwere somehow The clerk. 'Now.a very shrewdwoman. 'but if you insist on your strangerequestI must begyou to comeround to us againtomorrow. turned up her nose at him. really.nothing canbe simpler. please. It's all straightr' the clerk pleadedhastily. the clerk hastened a physicianliving near his place. to To him he told the story of his strangeclient. turning round on his wife. what sort of family do you think could train a fellow into a sennin.It was the doctor'shelpmate. brayedpeevishly: 'You silly old woman. of any of their servantthe secrets Senninship.Country-bred he was.

or besides. 'Indeedit wasquite simple. that you may live in the grandestway imaginable.I agree all that. and.was sweetlyunperturbed. presented himselfbeforehis masterand mistress.' 'very good. But this wasnot all.and you'll then haveto work for us anothertwenty yearswithout pay. madam. and do all the scrubbingand sweeping the family.' of 'Really.' 'Very good.thanks. 'Very well. that all our life is a fleeting in dreamis iust what I felt then. you must do what I tell you. then you'll live here and work for us for twenty yearsfrom today. how in the nameof humanity could he tell his servantnow. Indeednowherein Japan could you have found a better servantfor lesswages. you must ask her to tell your'he concluded. Yet for all on this labour Gonsuk6neveraskedfor a singlepenny. chop firewood. Gonsuk6startedclimbing the tree without a moment'shesitation. madam. sayingthat it was nor he but 'So his wife who knew the secrets.He wasnow hugelydelighted. 'climb that pine-treein the garden. At her order.Is that understood?' 'Yes.I iust thought like this: that even our great ruler Taiko who lives up there must die someday.' 'Then.' Utter stranger sheundoubtedly as wasto Senninship. ma'am.and waitedfor her to give the word.'but.' she calledafter him.'for twenty years to comeyou won't get a pennyfrom us as wages. how to becomea senninand attain eternalyouth and immortality?' 'Here's I gor' sighed the doctor to himself at this request. intentionsmay have her beensimply to imposeany impossible taskon him. \tr7ell.but still you must cometo dust like the rest of us. however.He would at draw water from the well. mind.SENNIN l5 '\ilfell.again ceremoniously in dressed his family-crested haoi as when he first cameto them. as you promisedtwenty yearsago today. I'll do anything.'And now. God Almighty will strike you deadon the spot. however. sirr'he went on. I'll teachyour'she said. short. sir. then. believeme.Otherwiseyou could neverbe a sennin. '\ilflellthen. to of securehis free servicesfor another twenty years. At last the twenty long years passed. that really he knew nothing of the way to Senninship? The doctor wriggledhimself out of the dilemma.' replied Gonsuk6. howeverdifficult it may be. I haven'tmuch to tell therer'repliedGonsuk6. 'would you kindly teachme today. madam?I'm indeedvery much obligedro you. howeverdifficult it may seem.and Gonsuk6. After having worked him twenty long yearsfor nothing. right up ro the top. 'Go up higher.ma'am. prepare every meal. 'no. His wife.'Old Vixen promptly put in her word.' 'Butr' sheadded. in case his failure. and turned woodenlyaway. them he expressed cordialthanks To his for all their kindnessto him during the past twenty years.carryinga big medicine-chest his back. ![hen I first cameup to this town and looked at the great big castle.' to In this way startedGonsukd's twenty-year-service the doctor's.if only I could be one. still higher. 'you'd do anythingif you could only be a sennin?' 'Yes. and you shall be the happy possessor the secretsat the end of your term.' shesaid.' . for he would follow for the doctoron his rounds.

She knows she is alone in the whole world: everyother living thing is dead. now peeringhis 'You know. .he stopped!in mid-air.she cranedher neck to get a better view of her servanton the tree and now sawhis haoi fluttering high up among the topmost boughsof that very tall pine-tree. But the big pine-tree in their garden is known to have lived on for a long time. how could he stayon the tree?The yes. come. 'Now let go your right hand. transplanted his own garden. bough the bumpkin must fall to the ground. and then .The doorbellrings.16 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Standingnear the edgeof the verandah. Alone with Her Soul A Woman poetand novelist. were seento w-w-what'sthis?-he stopped. his haoi. wasthe authoro/ Cloth of Gold (1874). posinglike a marionette. let go your left hand as well!' 'Come. off with your left hand. man. 'I thank you both from the very bottom of my heart. And then.and he's a deadman as sure as I'm a doctor. And right below there'sthe big stone. and then let go his right in a gingerlysort of way. and then he startedclimbing higher and higher. . NorthAmerican He in 1907. until he becamea mere dot in and disappeared the fleecyclouds.Gonsukd. You've made me a from far above. woman is sitting alone in a house. . Senninr'said Gonsukd He wasseento makea very polite bow to them.said her husbandat last. comeoff the bough. which was then in more than twenty feet round. of What became the doctorand his wife no one knows. do you hear?' No soonerhad shegiven the word than Gonsukdpushedawayhis hesitantleft hand. for it is told that a coupleof centurieslater a YodoyaTatsugorowho wantedto seethe tree clad in of snow went to the trouble and expense having the big tree. with his left hand off the anxiousface upward from behind her.' 'Right now I want noneof your preciousadvice.and next moment. 'Next. in wasbornin Neu Hampshire Thomas Bailey Aldrich.asthe doctorand his wife caughttheir breath. why. and stayedon up in the bright noondaysky. Now with both handsoff the bough. my good womanj-.y.' Gonsuk6gripped the bough with his left hand the tighter.Leaveeverythingto me. softly steppingon the blue sky.H. too. insteadof dropping like a brick.Wyndham and diedin Boston 1835 Tower (1879)and An Old Town by the Sea(/893).

and this sensationwas actuallypleasant comparison in with what he had felt before. with little liking for wronging anybody.tumed to witing.Ben-Tobith lay down anew.hung a beadof cold sweat.rnadehis reputation. wheneverthe tongue touchedit. and tried his bestto fall asleep. He took a mouthful of water from a clay iug: for a few momentsthe raging pain vanished. bethought him of his newly acquired young ass.andhad not considered illthe boding symptomsof any importance. ragingworsethan before. And by now he could not tell whether it was only the tooth that had botheredhim yesterday whetherother teethhad alsomadecommon or with it: all his mouth and his headwerefilled with a dreadfulsensation cause of pain.while onetooth (the oneiust beforethe to wisdom tooth) seemed havebecomea little higher and.while on the noseitself. did he greet the first rays of that sun which was fated to behold Golgothawith its three crosses and then grow dim from horror and grief.and Ben-Tobithsatup on his palletand swayed and to fro like a pendulum. felt a trifle painful. as though someone were rousing him to attendto somevery importantmatter. Ben-Tobith forgot all about it and felt rather on good terms with the world-he had made a profitable deal that day. swayingand groaningfrom his pain.Ben-Tobith studied at theunioersities Moscou.his teethwereaching. a trader of Jerusalem. even t7 . as though he were compelled to chew a thousand red-hot. after depressions which led to seoeral themes.the achehad subsided entirely. but just before the dawn somethinghad begun to trouble him. Christ An that dread day. His whole face puckered up and was drawn toward his prominentnose. After supper. the teeth throbbed and undulated. had begun to ache unbearablyfrom the earliesthours of the morning. But the waterhad beenwarm.and when Ben-Tobithangrily awoke. And thus. all the fullnessof a sharp in and piercing pain.as well as nurnerous his plays. sharp nails.yet when his wife awokehe told her many unpleasant things. and Jesus lr.wasin a very merry mood. when a universalwrong was wrought.9) by suicideattempts.-fwas crucified betweentwo thieveson Golgotha-on that day the teeth of Ben-Tobith.toward evening:at first his right iaw had begunto pain him slightly. now all white from his torments. St Petersburg law of and Leonid Andreyev(1871-19/. and five minuteslater the pain returned.however. His sensational amangst worksare In the Fog (1902)and The Red Laugh (1904). reflected how happyhe would be if it werenot for thoseteethof his. encouraged but. Gorki. And he had slept very well and most soundly. exchanging old assfor a his youngand strongone. Ben-Tobith was a good man and a kindly. That toothache had beguneventhe day before.achingfrankly and malevolently. treatedin a highly realisticrnanner.

to howl and writhe in his pain.in a shawl.sincehis whole headwas swathed. he madea wry. since she realized that they were not uttered from an evil heart.for eachtime.such as purified rat droppings.in a shawl. werecrowdedwith people who did not havea singlething to do.bending under the weight of their crosses. while the lashes the Roman legionaries of writhed over their headslike black serpents. Putting his headto the one side.like a woman's.aswell asall the roofsnear by. Nor wasthat the only unpleasant thing: the street. shutting one eye and propping up his sore cheek with his hand. And during the brief momentsof respiteBen-Tobith consoledhimself by thinking of the young assand making plans concerningit. Oneof the condemned-that fellowwith the long. and threatened dashhis brainsout against stoneif the pain would not to a abate. but avoidedcoming too near the edgethereof for very shame. wasgoinghelterskelter through the narrow street that ran uphill.' 'Leave me in peace. and brought him many excellentremedies. like an iridescentsea. he wasa kindhearted man and lovedchildren. while at such times as his teeth worsened moaned.woman. The rat droppingseased pain a little. and complainedthat he had been left alone like a iackal. like a woman's. but not for long. his seamless chiton all torn and stainedwith blood-stumbled against rock that had beenthrown a under his feet and fell. light hair.closedover the fallen man. apparently.And all the while he kept pacingup and down the flat roof of his house.Ben-Tobith would stop his pacing and listen to them for a few momentswith his face puckering but then stamphis foot in angerand drive them from him. .and a true shard of the tabletsof the law. His wife acceptedthe unmerited reproacheswith patience.And he was just about to comedown from the roof when his wife told him: 'Look there-they're leadingthe robbers.but now he waswroth because they annoyed him with all sortsof trifles. raisinggreatdust and an incessant din. The shoutsgrew louder. Ben-Tobith shudderedfrom pain-it was just as though someonehad plungeda red-hot needleinto his tooth and then given that needlea twist for goodmeasure. splintered off at the time Moseshad shattered them. the pain returnedwith new vigor. but stareat Ben-Tobithwith his headswathed. to be applied to the cheek.became he wroth with his wife. speaking very fast. told him somethingor other about Jesusof Nazareth. In the midst of this mob walked the malefactors. Canstthou not seehow I suffer?'Ben-Tobith her surlily. The childrencamerunning to him several timesand. and the motley crowd.l8 THE BOOK OF FANTASY though he wasbarely able to open his mouth. An enormous mob.and lookeddown. it wasrhe same the way with the infusion and the shard.Maybe that will make thee forget thy pain. and he grudginglyapproached parapetof his roof. let out a long-drawnmoan: 'Oo-oo-oo!'andleft the parapet. weepyface. after a short-livedrelief. He wryly apathetic and in a vile temper. a pungent infusion of scorpions. answered But the words of his wife held out a vaguehopethat his toothache might let up.

was now moving slowly. Somebody ought to take a stick to them and disperse them! Take me downstairs. The sun. and he succeeded falling asleep.He wasin a particularlyeloquentmood.and there was only a gumboil swelling on his nght iaw. Later on.Sarah.and he wantedto round out the story of his toothache. and Ben-Tobith. 'Yea.the threeof them set out for Golgotha. droppedin.while the grey-bearded Samuelshook his head commiseraringly and declared: 'Tsk-tsk-tsk!How that must havehurt!' Ben-Tobith was so gratified by the sympatheticreceptionaccordedto his story that he repeatedit. was turning chill. had to alreadyset beyondthe distant knolls. verily! If he would but rid me of my toothache would sufficer'Benit Tobith retortedsarcasticially.and sheskimmeda pebbletoward the spot whereJesus. picturing to himself the widely openmouths. it glanceat the crucifiedmalefactors. On the way Ben-Tobith told Samuelall about his miseryfrom the very beginning. while somefigures glimmered vagueand white as they knelt at the foot of the centralcross. and he beganto low like a calf: 'Moo-oo-oo!' 'They say He restored'sight the blind.' to said Ben-Tobith'swife.how last night he had felt a naggingachein his right jaw. To make his recital graphic he assumedan expressionof suffering. His wife said that it was altogerher unnoticeable. Against this backgroundthe crosses showeddark and indistinct. in animatedtalk. And thus.shut his eyes.to have a look at the crucified.with strongteeththat did not ache.while his head bobbedfast. Thus did they wend their way homeward. and Ben-Tobith took him to seehis youngassand listenedwith pride to the tanner'swarm praises the animaland of its master. althoughit may havebeenthe rat droppingsthat had helpedat last. condemned shedits light upon the world on that dreadday. to the accompaniment Samuel'ssympathetic of nods and exclamations. a lower. heedingthe pleaof the inquisitiveSarah. addedwith a bitterness and begotten irritation: of 'Look at the dust they are raising! For all the world like a drove of cattle.BEN-TOBITH 19 'Hearken to them screaming!'he enviouslymumbled. so small a gumboil that one could hardly notice it. Samuelthe tanner. who had risen to his feet under the lashes. and Ben-Tobith. and then went back to the remote time when his first tooth had begunto botherhim. after a casual took Samuelby the arm and discreetly headed him for home.tossedhis headand moaned.the pain had practically vanished. And because that mental picture his pain became of ferocious.' The good wife turned out to be right: the spectacle had diverted Ben-Tobith somewhat. on his left jaw. The peoplehad long sincedispersed. and how she liked to say things that would pleasethe hearer. assumed an . and how he had awakened the night from the in frightful pain.and imagined what a shout he himself would set up if only he were well. and a ruddy scarletstreakwas glowing like a bloodstainin the west.just one. a neighbor. in And when he awoke. they reached Golgatha. Ben-Tobithsmiledslyly at that: he knew what a kindhearted but wife he had. who was glued to the parapet.

tossedhis head. As though it would screenfrom the sight of heaventhe great malefactionthe earth had wrought.from the distant. in wasthe Sonof a Shoe-maker Hereford:One of Night as he lay in Bed.D. . he sawthe Phantome and Headband one of the Apprenticessitting in a Chair in his red $Tastcoat. borninViltshire in 1626. about his Head. the while. Britishantiquary. the black night rose. as he was in Bed he sawa Basket of comeSailingin the Air alongby the Valence his Bed. f. which deak with dreams fantasies. sun-parched plains.2A rHE BooKoF FANTAsy expression suffering.diedin Oxfordin 1697 His wmks John Aubrey. from of out the deepravines. and includeSacredArchitecture and The Miscellanies(1696). the Moon shiningvery bright. (Chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgman Lord Keeper) a IYllearn'd and soberPerson. and asleep The Fellow was Living 167I.and sawhim. which Apprenticewas really abed in with anotherFellow-apprentice the sameChamber. and Strap upon his Knee. I think he saidtherewas Fruit in the Basket:It was a Phantome. Basket ThePhantom .From himself. and moanedartfully. Another time.fi r Trahern B.

Around the marginsof the figure the sandhad beenwashed away. at 1|. The two fishermenwere standingbetweenthe immenseplinths of the feet. The library wheremy colleagues I werecarrying out our research and wasalmostdeserted when we set off for the coastshortly after two o'clock. in an attitude of repose. Puzzledby this spectacle. h.Everyone seemed reluctantto approach giant.forming a hollow.red to bui be a little largerthan a baskingshark. and throughoutthe day peoplecontinuedto leavetheir officesand shops accounts as of the giant circulatedaroundthe city. was It then at low tide. Their discretion deterredthe spectators the shorefrom wadingout across sand. He madehis reputation the late 1950s imagined tuming to morepersonaland obsessitse thetnes fantasiesand nooelsof catastrophes.as if asleepon the mirror of wet sand.and we could seethe body lying in the shallowwater two hundred yardsaway.. with Crash(1973)and High-Rise(/975).oi. remainedsceptical. wavingto us like touristsamongthe columnsof some*rt. and we immediatelyrealizedthat this drowned leviathanhad the massand dimensions the largestspermwhale. Ballard (bom 1930) oneof England'smostsutcessful speculatioe in and 60swith a sniesof finely fiction. my friends and I steppeddown from the duneson to the shingle.|" the morning after the storm the body of a drowned giant was washed \-/ashore on the beachfive milesto the north-westof the city. but half an hour later the two fishermen wadingbootswalkedout across sand. the reflectionof his blanched skin fadingasthe waterreceded.the feet . Despitethis the majority of people. By the time we reachedthe dunesabovethe beacha substantial crowd had gathered. myselfamongthem.As their diminutive in the figuresnearedthe recumbent body a suddenhubbub of conversation broke out among the spectators. the crews watching from the bows. He achined widerfamc with Empire of the Sun. Although his heelswerepartly submerged the sand.At first the estimates its sizeseemed of greatlyexaggerated. The first news of its arrivalwasbroughtby a nearbyfarmerand subsequently confirmedby the local newspaper reportersand the police. of Three fishingsmacks arrivedon the scene with keelsraisedremained had and a quarter of a mile off-shore.eagerfor a closerview. and dissatisfied with the matter-of-factexplanations of the crowd.pp. a setti-autobiogaphical nooelsetin Shanghai tlw endof the war. He lay on his back with his arms at his sides.i-6pped temple on 2l . the return of more and more eyebut witnesses attestingto the vast size of the giant was finally too much for our curiosity. on the Impatientlyeveryone steppeddown from the dunesand waited on the shingle slopes. and almostall the giant'sbodywasexposed. G.TheDrouned Giant is witers of what hasbeen called J. the clearsunlight In his body glistenedlike the white plumageof a sea-bird. to at least in twice the fishermen'sheight. The two men were completelydwarfed by the giant. . as if the giant had fallen out of the sky.

bleached a paleyellow by the water. shielding their eyes as they gazed up at its Grecian profile. groups of three or four people towardsthe handsand feet.his legscarriednearerthe beach. our excited chatter fell away again.There was a roar of surpriseand triumph from the crowd.straight high-bridgednoseand curling lips remindedme of a Roman copy of Praxiteles.and this foreshonening his disguised true length. The shallowforehead. which waslying in a pool of water the the size of a field. mingled with the sweet in brine camefrom the potent scentof the giant'sskin.masked contoursof the below the left knee. the to Abruptly there was a shout from the crowd.\We passed clinging to its sides. if iniectedwith some were invested of liquid. and a hundred arms pointed towardsthe sea.22 THE BOOK OF FANTASY the Nile. and preservinga tenuouspropriety. The lips as partedslightly. For a moment I feared that the giant was merely asleepand might suddenly stir and clap his heelstogether. but up \7e stoppedby his shoulderand gazed at the motionlessprofile. the crowd formed itself into a wide circle.I edgeof the back. distended immersionin saltwater. they disappeared from sight betweenthe arm and chest. Startledby this apparition. then re-emerged survey to the head.and then sawthat a groupof youthshad climbedup on to the face stepped were iostling eachother in and out of the orbits. unawareof the minusculereplicasof himself betweenhis feet. but the delicatearches the nostrilsand eyebrows blue milky charm that belied the brutish power of the chestand the face with an ornate shoulders. was a shawl of heavy across to material.Draped loosely flexed slightly. in The ear wassuspended mid-air over our headslike a sculptureddoorway.hand over hand alongthe lips and . Despitethe two fishermenstandingon his abdomen. was stretchedout at a slight He had angleto the shore.\fith a start I sawthat one of the fishermenhad climbed on to the giant's chestand wasnow strolling about and signallingto the shore.strolling pastthe long white flanks of the legs. and recliningarmsprovided all werenow clambering overthe giant. lost in a rushing avalanche of shingle as everyonesurgedforward acrossthe sand.From the palmsthey walkedalongthe forearms the elbow of belly of the bicepsto the flat promenade and then crawledover the distended chest. whose and I walked around the seaward My companions hips and thorax toweredaboveus like the hull of a strandedship. The fisherrnenthen begana circuit of the corpse. A strongodour of open-weaved garmentas it steamed the sun. tentativelyadvancing side of the giant. subdued by the huge physicaldimensionsof this moribund colossus.and the elegantlyformed cartouchesof the nostrils emphasized resemblance monumentalsculpture. threadsof damp seaweed the midriff. the openeyecloudyand occluded. As we approached recumbentfigure.After a pauseto examinethe fingersof the supinehand. which was enormousmusclesand tendons. but his glazedeyesstaredskywards. His pearlthe by colouredskin. whose People to a doublestairway. appeared over the touch the pendulouslobe someone As I raisedmy hand to foreheadand shouteddown at me. the which covered upper half of the smoothhairless the pectoralmuscles From here they climbed up on to the face.

they reachedthe outstretchedhand the senior officer offered to assistthem up on to the palm. Returning to the shore. each cut symmetrically to within six inches of the quick.arms wavering at his sides. The hugemuscles and wrist-bonesof the hand seemed deny any sensitivityto to their owner. argued a certain refinement of temperament. and stopped to examine the outstretchedright hand. Somesix or sevenfishing boats had collected off-shore. That afternoonthe policereturned. coveringthe arms and legs like a denseflock of gulls sitting on the corpseof a large fish. the crowd once more climbed on to the giant. carrying away all trace of the giant's identity and his last uagic predicament. like the residue of another world. the distension the tissues but of had almostobliteratedthem.THE DRO$TNED GIANT 23 nose. A small pool of water lay in the palm.armsand legs or circulating in a ceaseless m€l6e acrosshis chest and stomach. from which he emitted barking noises like a dog. shouting down at his companions. \$7econtinued our circuit through the crowd. now being kicked away by the people ascendingthe arm.The expertsstrodearound the giant. and watched the continuousstream of people arriving from the city. we sat down on the shingle. My friends ar the library had returned to their work. One youth was even standing. searching someclue to the for giant'scharacter. but the expertshastily demurred. but after walking up to the recumbent figure any such thoughts left their minds.toppling eachother off the cheeksand sliding down the smooth planes of the iaw. crowdedalonghis.or forayeddown the abdomento meetotherswho had straddledthe ankles and were patrolling the twin columns of the thighs. I next visited the beach three days later. headsnodding in vigorousconsultation'preceded the policemenwho pushedback the pressof by \Uilhen spectators. on which the townsfolk were now sitting like flies. Two or three straddled the nose. After they returned to the shore. Perhapsthey sensed particular interest my .illustrated in the Grecianfeaturesof the face. and they went off together with bemusedbackwardglances. and wasin full possession when we left at five o'clock.on the very tip of the nose. The gang of youths and most of the people on the ti"ttt climbed down. but the delicateflexion of the fingers and the well-tendednails. and cleareda way through the crowd for a party of scientific experts-authorities on grossanatomyand marine biologyfrom the university. leavingbehind a few hardy spirits perchedon ttri tips of thJtoes and on the forehead. and delegated me the task of keepingthe giant under to observationand preparinga report. and their crews waded in through the shallow water for a closer look at this enormousstorm-catch. An hour later there were a thousandpeoplepresenton the beach.at leasttwo hundred of them standingor sitting on the giant. Later a party of police appearedand made a half-heartedattempt to cordon off the beach.but the face of the giant still retainedits massivecomposure. and anothercrawledinto one of the nostrils.A large gangof youthsoccupiedthe head. I tried to readthe palm-linesthat groovedthe skin.

There was nothing necrophilic about this. of Severalrather more smartly attired individuals. The uneven contours of the beachhad pushed his spine into a slight arch. Among the morning's visitors were a number of men in leather iacketsand eye. r$7hat I found so fascinatingwas partly his immensescale.which seemed confirm the identity of my own miniature limbs.thicker noseand templesand narrowing eyesgavehim a age. Atthough the vast proportionsof the featuresmadeit impossible of the to assess ageand character the giant.continuedto fascinate life to discharge beginning of the giant's surrenderto that all-demandingsystemof marked the time in which the rest of humanity finds itself. existedin providing a glimpseinto a world of similar absolutes which of an absolutesense.from where I could seethe new arrivalsand the children clamberingover the legsand arms.swinginghis headand shoulderstowardsthe beach. \$ilhateverelse inourlivesmightbeopentodoubt. indeedmore alive than many of the peoplewatching him. but above all the mere categoricalfact of his existence. and some two or three hundred people sat on the shingle. his huge body dwarfing the fishing boats beachedbesidehis feet. our finite lives are the concluding products. look of well-fed maturity that evennow hinted at a growing corruption to come. however. .it long overcoats. The successive carried the giant nearerthe shore. and of which. circus proprietors and the on like.and strolled slowly around the giant. alsoappeared the scene. the damp sand from their feet coveringthe white skin. I took up my position on the shingle directly opposite the giant's head. so that he seemeddoubly to gain in size. It in themselves a brief final resum6. \flhen I arrived at the beachthe crowd was considerablysmaller. like the million twisted ripples of a fragmentedwhirlpool.he appeared be at leastin early middle and The puffy cheeks. jetsam. I assumed piece no doubt wondering how to disposeof this gargantuan municipal bodies.as if the This accelerated of his personalityhad gainedsufficient momentum during his latent elements me. post-mortemdevelopmentof the giant's character.forcing him into a more expressly and the tumefactionof the tissueshad given the facea sleekerand less seawater yourhful look. on we spectators the beachwere such imperfect and puny copies.24 THE BOOK OF FANTASY in the case. and the youths wrestled with eachorher over the supine face. for to all intents the giant was still alive for me.The combinedeffectsof head. handsin sayingnothing to one another. thegiant. the too great for their matchlessenterprise. After they had gone the bulk was children conrinued ro run up and down the arms and legs.who peeredup critically at the giant with a professional rough calculationsin the sand with spars of our his dimensionsand making them to be from the public works departmentand other driftwood.and it was certainly true that I was eagerto return to the beach. on my previousvisit his classically that mouth and nosesuggested he had beena young man of discreet modelled to modesttemper. deadoralive. Now. pacing cloth caps. expandinghis chest and tilting back the heroic posture.the huge volumesof space to occupiedby his armsand legs. picnicking and watching the tides had groups of visitors who walked out acrossthe sand. Evidently its pocke6 of th.

and the people on the shore remainedhuddled beneaththeir coats. and looked down at the recumbentfigure.the giant still retainedhis magnificent Homeric stature. The white skin was dappled by the darkening bruises of countlessfootprints.I steppedout on to the broad promenade the of chest. and the continuousthickening of his features. I climbed up on ro the palm and began my ascent.THE DRO$TNED GIAN'T 25 The following day I deliberatelypostponedmy visit until the late afternoon. The rounded bulk of the hip towered aboveme. Safelyrounding the shoulder. his feet crushing the palisadeof a rotting breakwater. alonepermitted me to set foot a on the corpse.The giant had beencarried still closerto the shore.The slopeof the firmer sandtilted his body towardsthe sea. completelyoccluded by some milk-coloured fluid. cutting off all sight of the sea.this ceaseless metamorphosis.As I had hoped when delaying my visit. The face of the drowned giant loomed to my right. in which the patternsof individual heel-marks were clearlyvisible. However repellent it seemed. still carried the figure into another dimension.The sweetlyacrid odour I had noticed before was now more pungent.surveyingme asI approached. Someone had built a small sandcastle the centreof the sternum. and the huge columns of the arms and legs. and through the opaqueskin I could seethe serpentinecoils of congealed blood vessels. and at the far end a solitary youth stoodperchedhigh on one of the toes. The giant's supine right hand was coveredwith broken shells and sand.I sat down on a large metal winch which had been shackledto a concretecaissonabovethe shingle. Seenobliquely from below. I stepped down on to the sand.But despitethis.The skin was harder than I expected. whose blue globe.and was now little more than seventy-fiveyards away. Clumps of seaweed filled the intervals betweenthe fingers and a collection of litter and cuttle boneslay in the crevicesbelow the hips and knees. His blanchedskin had now lost its pearly translucence wasspatteredwith and dirty sand which replaced that washed away by the night tide. and the giant seemed more authenticimageof one of the drowned Argonauts a or heroesof the Odysseythan the conventionalhuman-sized portrait previously in my mind.and the bruised face was avertedin an almost consciousgesture.across which the bony ridgesof the rib-cagelay like huge rafters. and when I arrived there were fewer than fifty or sixty people sitting on the shingle.the drawn mouth and raised chin . The enormous breadth of the shoulders.barely yielding ro my weight. the face was devoid of all graceand repose. the cavernous nostrils and huge flanks of the cheekslike the cone of somefreakish volcano. Two small boyswere sitting in the well of rhe ear. no one else paid any attention to me. gazedsightlesslypast their miniature forms. visible life in death. The two childrenhad now scaled earand werepulling themselves the the into right orbit.and I climbed on to this on partly demolished structureto give myselfa better view of the face. Using the iutting thumb asa stair-rail. Quickly I walked up the sloping forearm and the bulging balloon of the biceps. in which a scoreof footprints were visible. and walked between the pools of water towardsthe giant.

blackeningthe surroundingskin. no lesspainful for his awareness the collapsing of musculatureand tissues. For the first time I becameawareof the extremity of this last physicalagony of the giant.The absoluteisolationof the ruined figure. a steelhawserfixed to the large toe. This was only the first of a sequ. I returnedto tion.draggedup the slopeand trundled away by cart.the bruisesand dirt that coveredhis body made him appear merely human in scale. Retreatingfrom the fouled air. ballooningfaceby countless \$7hen visited the beachthe following day I found. \7hen I next crossed dunesand set foot on the shinglethe giant was little more than the twenty yards away. signs had been cut into the grey skin. Despitehis immensesize.I gatheredthat a fertilizer companyand a cattle food manufacturer were responsible.and stainedthe sandand the white cones the cuttlefish.drawingthe lips back in a monumental and flattened. that I the head had been removed. evidently in preparationfor the following day.26 THE BooK oFFANTASy propped up by its gigantic slings of musclesresembling the torn prow of a colossalwreck. which hung like a cloud over my head. by signatureof putrefacA foul smell envelopedthe cadaver. The fine wood ashwasstill being scattered the wind. The lobe of one of the a colossus released suddenflood of repressed had ears was pierced by a spearof timber. . As I steppedforward.and with this closeproximity to the rough pebblesall traces had vanished of the magic which once surrounded his distant wave-washed form. The giant's swollencheekshad now gape.and a gust of fetid gasblew through an aperturebetweenthe ribs. transformedhis face into a mask of exhaustionand helplessness. His right hand and foot had beenremoved.A dark brackishfluid leakedfrom the of stumps. The surrounding beachhad beendisturbed by a scoreof workmen. and a small fire had burnt out in the centreof the chest.l of depredations. my foot sank into a trough of soft tissue.As I walked swastikas other and down the shingleI noticed that a number of iocular slogans. almost out of sound of the waves.awarethat I had probably witnessedthe approachingend of a magnificentillusion. The giant's remaining foot roseinto the air.The once almostclosedhis eyes.the undisguisable gatheringof youths.I spent the following two daysin the library. After questioning the small group of people huddled by the breakwater. his vast dimensionsonly increasinghis vulnerability.rr. castlike an abandonedship upon the empty shore. for somereasonreluctant to visit the shore. almost with relief. as if the mutilation of this motionless spite. To my surprise I saw that the giant's left hand had been amputated. I turned towardsthe seato clearmy lungs. while the solitary youth recliningon hisaerialperchahundredfeetawaysurveyed with a sanguinary me eye. and deepruts marked the ground where the handsand foot had beenhauledaway. which had at last driven awaythe usual the shingleand climbed up on to the winch. stamped into the straight Grecian nose had been twisted heels. I staredwith bewildermentat the blackeningstump.

and the foreshore wasdeserted exceptfor an elderly beachcomber the watchmansitting in the and doorwayof the contractor's hut. and the first five or six sections had beenparedawayfrom the midriff. For somereason. of The lower iaw. of Both the thigh-bones had beenremoved.\7hat remainedof the skin over the thorax and abdomenhad beenmarkedout in parallelstrips with a tar brush.THE DRO\flNED GIANT 27 beforeI mademy next journey to the beach. I lookedacross road As the at the premisesof the largest wholesalemerchantsin the meat market. collar bonesand pudendahad likewise been dispatched.found its way to the museumof naturalhistory. long metal-handledknives and grappling irons.while sailingdown the of . Severalmonths later. I nodded to the watchman. to one of the shipyards(its twin for severalyearslay on the mud among the piles below the harbour'sprincipal commercial wharf). Most of these were bones. the carcass resembled that of any headless sea-animal-whale whaleor shark. In the sameweek the mummified right hand wasexhibitedon a carnivalfloat during the annualpageant the guilds. various pieces of the body of the dismemberedgiant began to reappear all over the city. is probablystill lurking in the waste of but groundsor private gardens the city-quire recently. A loosewoodenscaffoldinghad beenerectedaround the carcass.. from which a dozenladdersswungin the wind. when the news of his arrival had been generally forgotten. but as eachof the limbs waschoppedoff.and I had the sudden visionof the giantclimbing to his knees upon thesebare bonesand striding awaythrough the streetsof the city. I recognized two enormous the thigh-bones either sideof the doorway. who regarded me dourly over his brazier of burning coke. the interestof the spectators expired.with the assistance a small crane of drapedin the gauze-like fabric which had oncecoveredthe waist of the giant. and the few tracesof personalitythat had clung tenuouslyto the figure.On closeinspection the recumbentthorax and abdomenwere unmistakablymanlike. A few days later I saw the left humerus lying in the . a flock of gulls wheeleddown from the sky and alighted on the beach.They on toweredover the porters' headslike the threateningmegalithsof someprimitivl druidicalreligion. and then at shoulderand ftlgh. and the opensockets gapedlike barn doors.and by then Someweekselapsed the human likenessI had noticedearlierhad vanishedagain. typically.and the huge tendons and discs of cartilage attached to their joints. The remainder the skull hasdisappeared.The upper arms. first at the kneeand elbow. and their massive had size. the pebblesoily with blood and piecesof bone and skin. The whole area was pervadedby the pungent smell of huge squares blubber being simmeredin a vat behind the hut. \fith this lossof identity. revealingthe greatarch of the rib-cage. which the fertilizer manufacturers found too difficult to crush. As I left.nirrn. immediately identified them. and the surroundingsandwaslittered with coils of rope.picking at the stainedsandwith ferociouscries.thesedisembodiedfragmentsseemed better to convey the essence the giant's original magnificencethan the bloated of appendages had beensubsequently that amputated. picking up the scattered fragmentsof himself on his return journey to the sea.

Men (1919).Soames failedso in piteouslyasall that! Nor is therea counterpoise the thoughtthat if he had had like thoseothers. and I have no doubt that elsewhere the city. The contractor's hut.and the sand beingdriven into the bay alongthe coasthasburied the pelvisand backbone. stunningin its proportions potency. And thus the omission failure to impresshimself by me wasan all the deadlierrecordof poor Soames' on his decade. but in the summerthey provide an excellent EnochSoames and Max Beerbohmwiter. the craneand the scaffolding havebeenremoved.forms a backclothto the dolls and masks in a novelty shop near the amusementpark. And EvenNow (1920). ZuleikaDobson(1911). perch for the sea-wearying gulls. possibleconfusedwith the jaw-bones a whale. as a largebeast.occupies complete and sometime a boothto itself.28 THE BOOK OF FANTASY river. in the hotelsor golf clubs. batteredby the breakingwaves. in Mr Holbrook Jackson's found book wasasthoroughasit wasbrilliantly written. now remember giant.As for the immense pizzle.diedin Rapalloin (1896). The lived againfor me. The irony is that it is wrongly identified as that of a whale. out of my he of somemeasure success might have passed. if at the all.This monumentalapparatus.Seven was \\f/hen a book about the literature of the eighteen-nineties given by Mr W HotUrookJackson the world. I lookedeagerly the index for Sonrrrcs. and indeedmost people.Author of A Defenceof Cosmetics (1899).Many writers whom I had quite forgotten. humorist caicatuist. In the winter the high curvedbonesare deserted. in to ENocH. I noticed two ribs of the giant forming a decorativearch in a waterside garden.I had fearedhe would not be there. they and their work. The remainderof the skeleton.or remembered faintly.eventhosewho first sawhim castup on the shoreafter the storm. He was not there. had I I daresay am the only personwho noticedthe omission. bomin Londonin 1872.this endsits daysin the freak museumof a circuswhich travelsup and down the north-west.More 1956. the sizeof an Indian blanket. But everybody but elsewas. still restson the seashore. .the mummifiednose in and earsof the giant hangfrom the wall abovea fireplace. the clutter of bleachedribs like the timbers of a derelict ship.The Happy Hypocrite (1897).stripped of all flesh. pages. A large squareof of tannedand tattoedskin.

this meteorite? From Paris. with everypassing year. how am I to hush up the horrid fact that he was ridiculous? shallnot be ableto do that.p breath. in that exuberant vistaof gilding and crimsonvelvet set amidst all thoseopposingmirrors and upholding caryatids. and 'This indeedr' said I to myself. It was Rothensteinthat took me to see.he wasgoingto include of a few undergraduates. By him I wasinductedinto anotherhaunt of intillect and daring.wasincluded. aim? To do a series Its of twenty-four portraits in lithograph. He knew every one in Paris. discussingnothing but it. Its name?\7ill Rothenstein.He was a wit. And I may aswell get the thing done now. In the SummerTerm of '93 a bolt from the blue flasheddown on Oxford. had meekly .I It liked Rothensteinnot less than I feared him. with fumesof tobacco everrising to the paintedand pagan. It wasto him I owedmy first knowledgeof that foreverenchantinglittle world-initself.He knew \Thistler. of Not my compassion. and there arose between us a friendship that hasgrown everwarmer. It is ill to deride the dead. i. Pimlico.is life!. to return only at the historian'sbeck. Already the r$Tarden A. He wasParisin Oxford. I should be inclined to keep my pen out of the ink. however. sooner later. Thesewereto be publishedfrom the Bodley Head. It is true that had his gifts. But it is from thosevery results that the full piteousness him glaresour. and with the hum of presumably cynicalconversation broken into so sharply-now and again by the clatter of dominoesshuffled on marble tables.I . He wore spectacles He that flashedmore than any other pair ever seen. Dignified and of doddering old men. who had never consented sit to any one. wasa proud day for me when I .in Cambridge Street. He knew Edmond de Goncourt.that I haveno option. . He knew them all by heart. There.sar'. and the of Master of B. Dons and undergraduares stood around. the domino room of the Caf6 Roval. It waswhispered that. was twenty-oneyearsold. he did not invite: he commanded. For his sake.. rather pale. he would never have made the in bargain I saw him make-that strangebargain whose results have kept him alwaysin the foreground of my memory. London. and beenmore and more valuedby me. write abouthim I I or must. It drovedeep. and the RegiusProfessor c. meteoritically into-London.ENOCH SOAMES 29 mind. At the end of Term he settledin-or rather. could not to withstand this dynamic little stranger. my first acquaintance and with \Talter Sickertand other august elderswho dwelt there. a young man whosedrawingswere alreadyfarnousamong the few-Aubrey Beardsley.impels me to write of him. And how can I write about Enoch Soameswithout making him ridiculous? Or rarher. Yet. You will see. He was brimful of ideas.t$(lithRothensteinI paii my first visit to the BodleyHead.by name.poor fellow.. been acknowledged his lifetime. . on that Octobereveninf-there. \$Thence came it.ilit g. suchas they were.in due course.it hurtlingly embedded itself in the soil. sosoonashe had polishedoff his selection dons. He did not sue: he invited. The matter was urgent.I drew . Chelsea.

' did not.'he told Rothenstein. our The dim man wasnow againapproaching table. de mal. I was sorry I was out. I now. 'It is bad for you. with longishand brownish hair. . 'And I cameto your studio once. Men were constantlycoming in through the swing-doorsand wandering slowly up and down in searchof vacanttables.pass I almost wondered that Mr Soames along. and was immenselykeen on the motjuste. wasmore self-assertive. I dor' he replied after a moment. perhapsbecause waswaterproof. He had a thin vaguebeard-or rather. 'Yes. You showedme someof your paintingsr YoUknow . brightly focussed Rothenstein 'Edwin Soames.rather tall. not seenhim.shamblingperson. rather like a donkey 'hungry' was looking over a gate. and this time he madeup mer' he saidin a toneless pause front of it.30 THEBooKoFFANTAsy It was the hour before dinner. than they are now.' (But you were in. He wasa had stooping. 'Enoch Soamesr' said Enoch.' saidRothenstein drily. The young writers of that era-and I was sure this man was a writer-strove earnestlyto be distinct in aspect. rather like a dumb animal.' . it intention. wore a soft black hat of clericalkind but of Bohemian He grey waterproofcapewhich. He had twice passed table.or of tablesoccupiedby friends. him. and a 'dim' was the mot juste for him.' hear you're in Chelsea 'Yes. He stoodpatiently there. but Rothenstein.though he had not invited him to Chelsea. He he Seated. \il7e drank vermouth. after this monosyllable. One of theseroversinterested because wassurehe wantedto catchRothenstein's me I eye. A sad figUre.' with pride ratherthan effusion-pride in a retentivememory. in the thick of a disquisitionon Puvis de Chavannes. I had failed to be romantic. with a hesitating our look. . very pale. but in the 'nineties odd apparationswere more frequent. 'Enoch Soamesr' repeatedRothensteinin a tone implying that it was enough 'We met in Paristwo or three times when you were to havehit on the surname. 'Danscernonde n'y a ni debienni 'Nothing is bad for oner' answered il Soames.' 'Oh yes.' nujours fiddle. that Holy to Grail of the period. Those who knew Rothensteinwere pointing him out to thosewho knew him only by name. his. I think.' living there. It occurred to me that perhaps the mot justefor him. And he ordered an absinthe. and Rothenstein. but-hungry for what? He looked as if he had little apperitefor anything. he had a chin on which a large numberof hairsweaklycurledand clustered coverits retreat. 'd la sorciilre glauque. flung back the wings of his capewith a wings been waterproof-might have seemedto gesturewhich-had not those 'Je mc tims hurl defianceat things in general. 'You don't remember in his mind to voice. \$(le met at the Caf6 Grouche.He wasan oddto looking person.This man had striven unsuccessfully. I wassorry for him.did ask him to sit down and have something to drink. I decided that already essayed write.

Even as it was. exclaimedat the hour. Soames written a book. and with finger-tips much stained by nicotine. This taw (graven on the tablets brought down by \Thistler from the summit of Fuiiyama)imposedcertain limitations. I shouldhavereveredSoames.lookinghard at Rothenstein. not well washed. he clearedhis throat and said 'Parlons d'autre chose. Rothenstein repeated that Soames non-existent.of course.rafell flat. paid the waiter. Soames quite five or was six yearsolder than either of us.He had weak white hands. I askedif Rothenstein had had readI. Rothenstein askedif this wasto be the title of the book.ENOCH SOAMES 3l 'Nothing good and nothing bad?How do you mean?' 'I explainedit all in the prefaceto Negations. of 'Ifr' he urged. 'My poems..I respected him. 'I don't professto know anythingaboutwriting. havea I drawing of myself as frontispiece. He then lookedat his watch. I think he felt he was not doing himself iustice.'And ratherwantr'he added. and mentionedthat he wasgoing into the country and would be theri fot sometime. 'In Life there are illusionsof goodand evil.' Rothensteinadmitted that this wasa capital idea. was Still. of course I should have my name on the coverr' Soames answered 'to earnestly. course 'Of in Art thereis the goodand the evil. It was wonderful to havewritten a book.' It occursto you that he wasa fool? It didn't to me. But did you explain-for instance-that therewasno such thing as bad or good grammar?' 'N-nor' said Soames.' A reservation very characteristic the period!painters of would not then allow that any one outsidetheir own order had a right ro any opinion about painting. and went awaywith me to dinner. The poet meditatedon this suggestion. He saidhe had lookedinto it. Also. But in Life-no.and had not the clarity of iudgement that Rothenstein alreadyhad. If other arts than painting were not utterly unintelligible to all but the men who .'he addedcrisply. and feared that Rothensteinwas going to point out fallacies. waving his cigarette. 'But.' I admitted. And I wasvery nearindeedto reverence when he saidhe had anotherbook comingout soon. 'I went into a bookseller's and said simply .' 'Oh yes.But my mot ju. I wasyoung.Haveyou got?" or "Have you a copy oP" how would they know what I wanted?' 'Oh. but'-his voicetrailedawayto a murmur in which the words 'oieuxjeu' and'rococo' were faintly audible. '\$7hy wereyou so determinednot to draw him?' I asked.' he answered. Rothenstein obiected that absence title might be bad for the saleof a book. 'If a book is good in itself-' he murmured.' He was rolling a cigarette. If Rothenstein had not beenthere.I askedif I might ask what kind of book it wasto be. but said he rarher thought of giving the book no title at all.{egations. 'Draw him? Him? How can one draw a man who doesn'texist?' 'He is dim. Anyway.' 'Negations?' 'Yesl I gaveyou a copy of it. he had written a book. Soames remained his pott of fidelity to the at glaucous witch.

a mannequin. there was a great variety of form. Lean nearto life. far as I could gather. Life is web. Soames gesturethat I shouldsit down.' he I askedhim if he often read here. and I knew that I must form an unaided judgementon Negations.It to seemed me like a story by Catulle Menddsin which the translatorhad either Next.It wasrather the substance at any there. Not to buy a book of which I had met the author faceto facewould havebeen for me in thosedaysan impossibleact of self-denial.How wasI to know that Soames prose. He lookedfrom his book to me. I had readL'Apris-midi the was! I inclinedto d'un Faune without extracting a glimmer of meaning. Lean oety near-nearer. I passed table at which sat a pale man with an open aforesaid book beforehim.did not hold good. was a sort of music in his haunting.abouta midinettewho. dgogiopato Throughout. 'Yesl things of this kind I read here.32 THE BOOK OF FANTASY practised them. of indicatingthe title of his book-The Poems SheIlEt. or was about to murder. and the ). Therefore no painter would offer an opinion of a book without warning you at any rate that his opinion was worthless.and in that labyrinth nothing to explain the preface. do let swift Mood weaoe It isfor thisI am Catholickin church therewhat the shuttleof Mood wills. I rather felt.Going into the a domino room. Next.but perhaps.ttr(lhen returned to Oxford I for the ChristmasTerm I had duly securedNegations. but preferr' 'to be interruptedr' and I obeyedhis replied in his tonelessvoice. some aphorisms(entitled St Ursula-lacking. and whenever friend took it up and asked on a what it wasaboutI would say'Oh. I awaitedhis poemswith an open mind. . \trflas rival hypothesis: suppose. it's rather a remarkable book. and I looked back over my him. the law tottered-the MonroeDoctrine. and laden perhapswith meaningsas deep as Mallarm6's own. usedto keep it lying I carelessly the tablein my room.I saidwith a glanceto the open pay my respects. but web only. It's by a man whom I know. 'I book. in 'snap'. yet and in thought.Heador tail was no iust what I hadn't madeof that slim greenvolume.I was EnochSoames a fool! Up croppeda me: suppose give Soames benefitof the doubt.but thosewhich followedwere Then came'Stark: A Conte'. so lesseasyto understand.not indeedarresting. of Thesewere the openingphrases the preface. substance all?It did now occurto that eludedme. asit were. forms had evidentlybeenwrought with much care. I returnedto that I ought to haverecognized shoulderwith a vaguesense a After exchanging few words.I wondered. 'I seeI am interrupting your' and was about to passon. and thereinnor warp nor woof is. in fact. answered. No one is a better iudge of literature than Rothensteinlbut it wouldn't have done to tell him so in those days.I found in the preface clue to the exiguouslabyrinth of contents.'Just'whatit wasabout'I neverwasableto say. Yet Mallarmd-of wasn't another? There course-was a Master. And I looked forward to them with positive impatienceafter I had had a secondmeetingwith him.I thought. murdered. This was on an eveningin January. a dialoguebetweenPan and skipped or cut out every alternatesentence.

ztizta voce. laying eyes. yes .ENOCH SOAMES 33 'Anything that you really'-and I was going to say'admire?' But'I cautiously left my sentenceunfinished. at last. 'It's not exactly worship. 'wasn't sentimental.' 'Diabolism? Oh yes? Really?' said I.' 'Je l'6tais d cetteipoque. for he said. I live near the Museum. It does suggest something of the quality of the poems . 'Next week. I go there every day.' 'And you go round to the reading-room to read Milton?' 'Usually Milton. 'he's very uneven. I could seethat what was upmost in his mind was the fact that I had read Negations.' he qualified. But it is the best I can find.' Soamestook up the book and glanced through the pages. strange growths. But I had rather gathered from the preface to Negalrozsthat you were a-a Catholic. 'It was Milton.and manyhued. 'Milton. but did not in specify them.'as though I had been so impertinent as to inquire.' 'You do? I've only been there once.' Also.' 'It does. with that vague discomfort and that intense desire to be polite which one feels when a man speaks of his own religion. and was glad that I had done so. And'\7hat a country!' he added. 'And are rhey to be published without a title?' 'No. The lower one's vitality.' And again. . The noise of this place breaks the rhythm. A deadly evenness. I found a title. I'm afraid I found it rather a depressing place. yet exquisite. I asked rather nervously if he didn't think Keats had more or less held his own against the drawbacks of time and place.' he told me.' This profession he made in an almost cursory tone. a the book down. Perhaps I still am. I hastity asked him how soon his poems were to be published.'he said. with unwonted emphasis.' I had read little of Shelley.' 'Ah.He uttered the snort that was his . Soames'laugh was a short.' He looked at me.' 'The reading-room?' 'Of the British Museum. 'I can always read Milton in the reading-room. He laughed. unaccompanied by any movement of the face or brightening of the 'What period!'he uttered. sipping his absinthe. Yes. he seemedto like only Milton. and full of poisons.'Anything second-rate. I felt as one who is about to be examined. .' 'Of courser' I murmured. I'm a Catholic Diabolist. But I shan't tell you what it is. natural and wild.' he certificatively added. 'I am not sure that it wholly satisfiesme. I have rooms in Dyott Street. . the more sensitive one is to great art. single and mirthless sound from the throat. That's why I read him here. That's why I go there. 'who converted me to Diabolism. It seemed to sap one's vitality. 'Milton had a dark insight.' I asked him what he thought of Baudelaire. .'You-worship the Devil?' Soamesshook his head. . but 'I should have thought evennesswas just what was wrong with him. He admitted that there were 'passages Keats'.' he added. He's tolerable here. on the very subiect in which he is shakiest. as he called them. Of 'the older men'. His pale eyeshad for the first time gleamed. 'It's more a matter of trusting and encouraging.

oddly enough. at he predicted. The little book-bought by me in Oxford-lies beforeme as I write. that Soames all. I suppose is my capacity faith. in But'I'. he was anything. to the young English oneswho owed somethingto them.thereis a certaingraceof cadence. and what shehad madeof it felicity. I sadlysuspect it at evennow.with a melancholy interest. 'was a bourgeois malgrdlui. when first I read Fungoids. I wonderedwho the Young \il0oman could not havemademore of it than she. I did not. Lie bleeding Being woundedwith wounds. To n YouNc rVorvrnN Thouart. I tried. Might it not failure as wholly incompatiblewith a meaningin Soames' 'rougedwith As the depthof his meaning? for the craftsmanship. . who hastnot been! Paletunesirresolute of And traceries old sounds Blown from a rotted flute Mingle with noiseof cymbalsrougedwith rust.evena influencein his life. ratherindicate 'nor not' insteadof 'and' had a curious to rust' seemed me a fine stroke. I thought the author of Fungoids did-unconsciouslyr no doubt-owe something the young Parisian to decadents. and 'Baudelairer'he said.' France had had only onepoet:Villon.' up.There were 'passages' Villiers de I'Isle-Adam. For this it is That is thy counterpart mockeries Of age-long Thou hastnot beennor art! the as to There seemed me a certaininconsistency between first and last lines with bent brows.34 THE BOOK OF FANTASY laugh. 'You'll see. Its pale-grey buckramcoverand silverletteringhavenot worn well.in so far as the sound. But at the time of their publicationI had a vaguesuspicion that they mightbe. They are not much. to resolvethe discord. quite see that. he summed 'owenothingto France. Nor haveits contents. not poor Soames'work.'Henodded me. poor fellow! It seemedto me.' Altogether.and reads iust for was Soames an artist.Yet. Through these. .But I did not take my of this.'and two-thiids of Villon weresheerjournalism. and was. he rated French literaturelower than English.that.I still or think so. the to Diabolisticsideof him wasthe best. forms and epicene Nor not strange in the dust.rather to my surprise.I haveagainbeenlooking. mind. it for that is weakerthan it oncewas . Diabolismseemed be a cheerful. if onedoesn'ttry to makesense all of the poem.'Verlaine was 'an dpiciermalgri lui. when the time came. wholesome.

evenaccordingtothe tenetsof Soames'peculiar sectin the faith. modernity throughout . I felt. He addedthat he wasnot a tradesman. 'wnight \Vhich of us rans thefaster? Thereis rnthing to fear to-night In tlu foul moon'slight!' Then I look'd at him in the eyes.i[r'cut a the quite heartening figure. The secondclasswas the larger. none of his poemsdepresses so much as . that I hopedFungoidswas 'selling splendidly'. andlaughing'full rh. I scream'd'I will raceyou. 'You don't suppose care.EN(rcH SOAMES NocruRNn Round and round the shutter'd Square I stroll'd with the Devil's arm in mine. It was true.Nocturne'. They seemed fall into two classes: to thosewho had little to say and those who had nothing. . Mastn!' 'What rnatterr' he shiek'd. The second wasslightly hystericalperhaps. for I fanciedhe wasnot so sureof his intrinsic greatness he seemed. He looked at me acrosshis glassof absiniheand askedif I had bought a copy.as at a iest.Thesetripping numbers'-prestott .when next I did seehim. in the light of what befell. carednot a sou for recognition. I thought-then! Now. the Iiaid mildly that I wasn't. He r"ia n.rather coarsely. insomuchthat 'Strikes a note of Telegraph was the solelure offered in advertisements Soames' by publisher. I agreedthat the act of creationwas its own reward. No sound but the scrapeof his hoofs was there And the ring of his laughterand mine. 35 There was. either. Not much 'trusting and encouraging'here! Soames triumphantlyexposing Devil asa liar. I laughed. \Ufehad drunk black wine. and the words of the first were cold. I I disclaimed notion. I had hoped that when next I met the poet I could congratulatehim on having madea stir. His publisher had told him that three had been sold. quite a swing about that first stanza-a ioyous and rollicking note of comradeship. wasbui as I able to say. . me I looked out for what the metropolitan reviewerswould have to say.do you?' he said. and murmured that an aftist who gave truly new and great things to the world had alwaysto wait long for recogniiion. what I'd time and again been told: He wasold-old.But I liked the third: it wasso bracingly unorthodox. with somethinglike a snarl. And I laugh'd full shrill at rhe lie he told And the gnawing fear he would tain disguise.

Soames standingnear it. to Rothenstein and that I believedhe would literally die for want of recognition. nobodysaida word for or against this to it. Partly to showoff. at the time of its publication. 'He hasan income. and he hated to talk of anything about which he So The news that couldn't be enthusiastic. He wasn't resented. the autumn of expense.It didn't occur to anybodythat he or his Catholic '96. tentativelyask Harland if he knew I anything of the work of a man called Enoch Soames.Anybody . \trfherevercongregated jeunes fdroces the arts.' Harland wasthe most joyousof men and most generousof critics.ln London I regarded myselfasvery much indeeda graduate now-one whom no Soames couldruffle.but for the poetsand for theirs. his lastbook. in whatever Soho restaurantthey had just discovered. Soames an incomedid not take the edgeoff solicitude. But ah! hadn't both John Lane and Aubrey Beardsley suggested that I should write an essay the greatnew venturethat wasafoot-The YellousBooft? for And hadn't Henry Harland.\$flhen.Rothenstein He scoffed. I behetda pastelportrait of was to like him. and later of The Saaoy. I told Soames ought to contribute he to The Yellow Book. he was for spiritual pathosabout him. he prosaists The YellowBook.36 THE BooK oFFANTASy His moroseness might havealienated if I had regarded me myselfasa nobody. this wasso.' It wasvery few weekslater. threw up his handstowards the ceiling. neverbateda iot of his arrogance evenhumble. Nevertheless. to buy it. and very like Rothenstein havedoneit. sharpened me now by the possibility that even Telegraph might not havebeenforthcoming had he not the praisesof the Preston which I could man. He had a sort of weakdoggedness beenthe sonof a Preston the not but admire.To the paintershe wasrespectful.I learnedafterwards had bookseller Preston. He never sought to propitiate his fellowabouthis own work or of his contempt writers. aseditor. a dim but inevitablefigure. saidI wastrying to get credit for a kind heartwhich I didn't possess.but in and that he wasthe son of an unsuccessful deceased had inherited an annuity of f300 from a married aunt.Neither he nor his work received slightestencouragement.and groaned aloud: he had often met 'that absurdcreature'in Paris and this very morning had received somepoemsin manuscriptfrom him. he brought out (at his own in Diabolismmattered.But I did. in his soft hat and his waterproofcape. there was Soames the midst of them. and had no surviving 'all right'. a day or two later. He uttered from the throat a sound of scorn for that publication.in whatevermusic-hallthey were most in frequenting.all through the afternoon. I dropped the subjectof Soames. accepted essay? my And wasn'tit to be in the very first number?At Oxford I wasstill iz statu pupillari.. or rather on the fringe of them. I neversawit. Materially. did.say evenremember was that I thought poor old Soames reallya rather tragic figure.but forgot. Esq. But there was still a relativesof any kind. then. Harland pausedin the midst of his characteristic stride aroundthe room. But at the privateview of the New EnglishArt Club' a and perhaps 'Enoch Soames. and am ashamed sayI don't what it wascalled. 'Has he ro talent?'he asked. partly in sheergoodwill. had nevera word but of of scorn. alwayshe kept his dingy little flag but he persistedin behavingas a personage: of the flying. time) a third book. I meant.He's all right.

Frank Harris had engagedme to kick up my heels in the Saturday Reoiew. He had become a plain. 'You read only at the Museum now?' asked I. Preston man. but had now been more or less abandoned in favour of some later find. But on the evening of that . And he shamed my gloss. with attempted cheerfulness. I don't think it lived long enough to justify its name. but it carried conviction now. made nightly encampment in darkness and hunger among dust and rats and old legal parchments. gave out. 'No absinthe therer' he muttered. a tittle girl. Had I known that he really and firmly believed in the greatnessof what he as an artist had achieved. by this time. He. the waiters were his two daughters. It was the sort of thing that in the old days he would have said for effect. Soames'dignity was an illusion of mine. were occupied. that there was space for twelve of them. Also. Failure. John Lane had published. if it be plain. One day in the first week of June. and at its withdrawal he gave in. He said he never went there now. day Soameswent too. looked ghastly now-a shadow of the shade he had once been. y€s. Absinthe. in Soames' countenance.I was iust what Soameswasn't. Alfred Harmsworth was letting me do likewise in the Daily Mail. was solace and necessity now. unvarnished. and almost opposite to that house where. has always a certain dignity. as I went in. as it was too late to reach home in time for luncheon. six jutting from either wall. and the food. it was bound to. known to us at Monsieur Vingtidme. according to faith. it had not that expression of faint happiness which on this day was discernible. No man who hasn't lost his vanity can be held to have altogether failed. having lost all wish to excite curiosity. a few doors from Soho Square. The tables were so narrow. He no longer called it 'la sorciire glauque'. He had felt the breath of Fame against his cheek-so late. gave up. was good. and with her a boy named De Quincey. but nobody who didn't know him would have recognized the portrait from its bystander: it 'existed' so much more than he. I was a-slight but definite-'personality'. 1897 that illusion went. Twice again in the course of the month I went to the New English. to give it its full title-had been discovered in'96 by the poets and prosaists. and. Only the two nearestto the door. On one side sat . complete failure. and even though it be a squalid failure. He still frequented the domino room. in the first years of the century. but at that time there it still was. Fame had breathed on him. unvarnished. Looking back. I avoided Soamesbecausehe made me feel rather vulgar. but. The proprietor and cook was a Frenchman. The Vingtidme was but a small whitewashed room. and were set so close together. I regard the close of that exhibition as having been virtually the close of his career. I sought 'the Vingtidme'. for such a little while. erst but a point in the 'personality' he had striven so hard to build up. and on both occasionsSoameshimself was on view there. and they had had a pleasant little successof esteem. I might not have shunned him. in Greek Street. He had shed away all his French phrases.ENOCH SOAMES 37 who knew him would have recognized the portrait at a glance. Rose and Berthe. This little place-Restaurant du Vingtidme Sibcle. leading out into the street at one end and into a kitchen at the other. he no longer read books there. two little books of mine. who had never looked strong or well. I had been out most of the morning.

I gatheredthat this was his first visit to the VingtiEme. And my sense discomfortin his presence in intensified by the scarletwaistcoatwhich tightly. but with a hardly native idiom and accent. I felt that his behaviourmademe ridiculousin the eyesof the other man. And the reading-room. as I could not explain to him that my insistence silent. who waited on him. flashy. whereit is. I saidthat the preparationsfor the Jubilee made London impossible. \fithout turning my head. did not think he was French. '\7e shall not be here. and took the chair oppositeto his. really. quarrellingin whispersas they did so).This waistcoat heat. '$fle shall not be here!' I briskly but fatuouslyadded.' he droned. gave a fixity to his smile.and a spasm of actualpain contortedhis features. rather Mephistophelian man whom I had seenfrom time to time in the domino room and elsewhere. had been following. he was sinister. And peoplewill be ableto go as and readthere.I was sure Soames didn't want my company. was of Decidedly. Failure. after a long pause' minded. and the points of his moustache. at sight of whom I more than ever wondered whether he was a diamondmerchant. He did I wonderedwhat train of thought poor Soames 'You think I haven't not enlighten me when he said. The gang:way betweenthe two rows of tablesat the VingtiEmewashardly more than had alwaysto edgepast two feet wide (Roseand Berthe. too narrow and set too closetogether. and so.His nosewaspredatory.I was merelycharitable. I wastrying to accountfor its wrongness when Soames suddenlyand strangely broke silence. and any one at the table abreast yours waspracticallyat yours. he spokeFrench fluently. and he wasquite silent.'He inhaledsharply.but Berthewas off-handin her mannerto him: he had not madea goodimpression. To Berthe. asin a trance. and so unseasonably June. In vain a did I attunemyselfto his gloom. I thought our neighbourwasamused of at my failure to interest Soames.in their ministrations.' .He seemed to hearme nor evento see not me. I hopedI lookedlessvulgar than he in I contrastwith Soames.I became had him well within my rangeof vision.or the headof a privatedetective agency.'A hundredyearshence!'hemurmured. and this other. either. No. It was somehowall wrong in itself.)I professed wish to go right awaytill the wholething wasover.38 THE BOOK OF FANTASY a tall.waxed up beyond his nostrils.with an untastedsalmi of somethingon his plate and a half-emptybottle of Sauterne beforehim. Soames?' 'Neglect. of wasn't wrong merely because the his sheathed ample chest. (I rather liked them. the other side sat Soames.but what ans his I nationality?Though his iet-black hair was m brosse.but I asked. It wouldn't have done on Christmas morning. He wassmokinga cigarette. 'but the Museum will still be iust just whereit is. whetherI might join him. On They made a queercontrastin that sunlit room-Soames sitting haggardin that hat and cape which nowhereat any season had I seenhim doff.' 'Minded what. but-like the Vingtidme'stablesHis eyeswerehandsome. wassurehe wasnot an Englishman.as it would haveseemed brutal not to. It would have struck a iarring note at the first night of 'Hernani'. this keenly vital man. eachother.a conjurer.

into that reading-room. for 'It's the only important thing I ever heard you sayr' he continued.'And I've never forgottenit. 'I havebeenunablenot to hear. commanding full view a of Soames. but that's quite another matter. You've gone on believingI'm abovethat sort of thing. for that! Think of the pages I'd and pagesin the catalogue:"So.' I couldn't help it: I laughed. 'Any artist who givestruly new and greatthings to the world hasalways to wait long for recognition'. too-very known to me.now. but the flattery would not out: in the face of his misery. I rocked to and fro. Mr Your nameand fame-Mr Beerbohm's Soames. but presentlyhe resumed. I knew therewasnothing ro laugh at. into that future. 'Posterity!\7hat use is it to mc?A deadman doesn'tknow that peopleare visiting his gravevisiting his birthplace-putting up tabletsto him-unveiling starues him. And then-he said them for me. . Of course you haven't beenBut what then? Any artist who-who gives-' What I wantedto appreciated. biographies'-but here he was interrupted by a suddenloud creakof the chair at the next table. I lay back aching.'he said softly. 'Failure?' I repeated vaguely. 'Neglect-yes." And you believedme.Might I take a liberty? In this little restaurant-sans-faEon'-he spreadwide his hands'might I. apologetically intrusive. Berthe had appeared the kitchen at door. It's a horrible truth. did but the more dissolve me.just for this one afternoon! sellmyselfbody and soulto the devil. my rudenessshamedme.my lips would not saythe words. I flushed. ENocH" endlessly-endlesseditions. He wavedher awaywith his cigar. speaking with a forcethat I had neverknown in him.ENOCH SOAMES 39 'Failure?' I said heartily. I need not have done so at all. Your point is: who am 1?' He glancedquickly over his shoulder. the'-his voicebroke. The Devil's quiet dignity. read!Or betterstill: if I could be proiected. 'Excuse-permit me. prolegomena. saywas. . a misery so genuineand so unmasked.qurs. 'That's what you were going to say. perhaps. You're shallow.'I know my London well. A hundred years hence!Think of it! If I could comeback to life then-iust for a few hours-and go to the reading-room.' I flushed the more. . Our neighbourhad half risen from his place. as the phraseis. It's a true thing.tUfhatshouldyonknow of the feelingsof a man like me? You imaginethat a great artist's faith in himself and in the verdict of posterity is enoughto keep him happy . commentaries. "cut in"? ' I could but signify our acquiescence. the surpriseand disgustof his raisedeyebrows. A of dead man can't read the books that are written about him. But-d'you remember what I answered? said I "I don't care a sou for recognition. 'How did you know?' 'It's what you said to me three yearsago. and in anothermomenthad seated himselfbesideme.I tried not to. 'Though not an Englishmanr' he explained. thinking the stranger wantedhis bill. I behaved deplorably.and in a lowered voicesaid'I am the Devil.isn't it?' he asked.He was leaningtowardsus. when Fungoidswas published. at and this moment. but-I laughed with increasingvolume. You've never guessed the bitterness at and loneliness.

removedthe cigarettefrom his mouth and droppedit into his glassof Soames Sauterne.eh?ttrfhat me furiously to hope. sitting at this table. That concludes presentvisit on to your greatcity. of to whom the very mention of my nameis-oh-so-awfully-funny! In your theatres the dullest comddien needsonly to say "The Devil!" and right awaythey give him "the loud laugh that speaks vacantmind".yes'? now-this afternoon Time-an illusion. 'I andr' he said.' he nodded. I my am dining tonight dansle monde-dansle higlif . 'It will be the more pleasant. Sobe it. summersamethen asnow: seven At seveno'clock'-pouf!-you find yourselfagainhere. 'Oh.' he said. . 'soames!'againI cried. Pastand but of a hundred yearshence. The Devil had madeas though to stretch forth his hand acrossthe table and forearml but he pausedin his gesture. He brought it slowly down on-the table-cloth. yes?and to stay there till closingtime? Am I right?' nodded. thought I wasin the companyof gentlemen.I proiectyou-pouf! You wish to be in the reading-room iust as it will be on the afternoonof June 3rd. Soames 'Closing time in The Devil looked 8t rriSwatch. 'Be it neverso humble!' said the Devil lightly. genially. 'Go on.or at any rateonly what you call I "just-round-the-corner".'You wishr'he resumed. I comeand fetch you here.' 'A CatholicDiabolist. with his elbowssquaredon the table.this very minute.He sat crouched forward. as nowr' he smiled.' said Soames. and readdressed himself to Soames. with intenseemphasis. as they sayin the States.staringup at the Devil. You wish to find yourself standingin that room.I had no remnantof laughterin me now. but coldly. little dealr'the Devil went on. exceptto light a fresh cigarette.nichtwahr?'I 'There is a type person heardhim sayto Soames. accepted He them. 'and alwaysI he would put things through "right now". 'soames!'I entreated. o'clock.' 'Home?'I echoed. touch Soames' 'A hundred yearshence. and his headjust abovethe level of his hands. switchyou on to any date. 'I am a man of businessr' said. But my friend movednot a muscle. 'Can't you'-but the Devil had now stretchedforth his hand acrossthe table. Mr Soames' my way home. don't!' 'Curious. 'because you our are-I mistakenot?-a Diabolist. as future-they areasever-present the present. Les affaire.r-you detest you havesaidjust now gives them. You are a poet. 'Ten past two. 'no smoking allowed in the You would better therefore-' reading-room. That will give you almostfive hours.' 'Don't!' I gasped faintly.'to visit the The Devil accepted reservation of as-ever-is-thereading-room the British Museum. just past the swing1997? doors.40 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'I am a gentleman. Is it not so?' the I had now iust breathenoughto offer my apologies. But with me you will deal. 'All rightr' saidSoames.yes?Parfaitement.' Soames had not moved.

\flith an effort I controlled myself and rose from the 'But.poring over booksnot yet written.vulgarly triumphant.Air camein listlesslythrough the opendoor behindme. I havebut the haziest recollection what I did. But poor Soames!-doomedto pay without respite an eternal price for nothing but a fruitlesssearchand a bitter disillusioning. It had wasnot until I wasout in the openair that I beganto feel giddy.The Time Machine chair.A hurdygurdy beganto play. Now and againRoseor Bertheappeared a moment. I wouldn't have lifted a little finger to save Faust. whosepoemsyou may or may not know .it is a quite other thing to be a Supernatural Power. odd and uncanny it seemedto me that he.ENOCH SOAMES 4I Soames' chair wasempty. that tonight and evermore would be in Hiff . . .Long befoie and seveno'clock I was back at the Vingtidme. \fas there no way of helping him-saving him? A bargainwasa bargain.I had scored. A shudder shook me.\U7as Piccadilly. who had alsorisen. abruptly drowning the noise of a quarrel between some . whereI wandered. but to sally forth for a brisk sight-seeing walk arounda new London.' I rememberwildly conceivinga letter (to reach\ilflindsorby express messenger told to await answer): Mnnnm-well knowing that your Majesty is full of the garnered wisdomof sixty yearsof Sovereignty.' All the same. Uncannierand odderstill. Almost I wishedI had gonewith Soames-not indeed to stay in the reading-room. I wandered restlessly of the Park I had sat in. His cigarette floatedsodden his wine-glass. ventureto ask your advicein the I following delicatematter. . trying to read an eveningpaper?There was a phrasein the leadingarticlethat went on repeating itself in my fagged mind-'Little is hidden from this augustLady full of the garnered wisdomof sixty yearsof Sovereignry. Intolerablewasthe strain of the slow-passing empty minutes. soames. out Vainly I tried to imaginemyselfan ardenttourisi from the eighteenth century. 'but it is one thing to write about a not possiblemachine. . is a delightful book. I satthere iust whereI had satfor luncheon. the glaringsunshine of in of that endless afternoon. Mr Enoch Soames.truth was strangerthan fiction. in There was no other traceof him. was at this moment living in the last decadeof the next century. Endlessthat afternoonwas. I explained her that Mr to Soames beencalledaway.in the flesh.I rememberthe soundof carpenters' hammersall along 'srands'.or wherewas it that I sat on a chair beneatha tree.and I was the last man to aid or abet any one in wriggling out of a reasonable obligation. don'r you think? So entirely original!' 'You are pleased sneerr' to said the Devil. gazingatme out of the cornersof his eyes. he Assuredly. I foi had told them I would not order any dinner till Mr Soames came. For a few momentsthe Devil let his hand rest whereit lay. Berthehad comeforth at the soundof our rising. in the waterproof cape. or in KensingtonGardens.and the bare chaoticlook of the half-erected it in thi GreenPark.and that both he and I would be dining here.' I said condescendingly. 'Very clever. and seeing and seenby men not yet born.

to drop it. I unfolded it. laid it impatientlyaside.\Tellrwhatthen? . I glanced me a crumpledbit of I of gibberish. . so that I had no view of anything but it . and to utter: '\$7hat shall we haveto eat. . closeto my face. Rather a tremulous sheet?Only because the draught.tossingacross assr'he strangely wasnot offended. 'Don't be right was horribly clear from the look of him. Stop at Calais. now that you've seez Diabolismrun mad!' I filled the brute-' 'It's no goodabusing him. to the hour! I remembered that clocks in restaurants are kept five minutesfast. now. . hence.' he said. Soames?' 'Il estsouffrant. It was as though he had nevermoved-he who had movedso unimaginablyfar.'And a treacherous at paperwhich he had beenholding in his hand.Live in Calais. Soames! pull yourselftogether!This isn't a mere matter of life and questionof eternaltorment.'But I to added. but I could not drop themIhadacertainty. Five minutes.apparently. But been horribly 'Perhaps only that you-didn't leaveenough it's discouraged. .'to spendmy lasthourson earthwith an ass.' I askedher to get somewine-Burgundy-and whatever sat food might be ready. forced me. 'Yesr' his voicecame. at its full width. do you?' I .He'd never hour to spare. \$(lhatelsehadl . 'It's like my luck. I told myself.I've no choice. I had bought anothereveningpaper on my way.42 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Frenchmenfurther up the street. exactlyas when last I had seenhim.' 'You must admit there'snothing Miltonic about him. three centuries time. Once or twice in the afternoonit had for an instant occurredto me that perhapshis iourney wasnot to be fruitless-that perhapswe That we had had alt beenwrong in our estimateof the works of Enoch Soames.' 'I don't say he's not rather different from what I expected.'I've thought of that. Only the soundof Berthe's comefor? Yet I held tight that barrier of newspaper.' 'He's a vulgarian.' 'Come! This is "trusting and encouraging"with a vengeance! This is his glasswith wine. of My arms gradually becamestiff. now.' 'And now-now for the more immediatefuture! \(Ihere are you going to hide? Almost an from CharingCross? How would it be if you caughtthe Parisexpress go on to Paris. corridorsof trains going to the Riviera and steals about the presidedover by him!' Imagineeternaltorment 'You don't suppose look forward to it.he's a swell-mobsman. I concentrated eyeson the paper. My eyesgazedever away from it to the clock over the kitchen door . 'He's only-tired. .'Ifalteringlysaid.perhaps-' Two.cepauoreMonsieurSoamcs?'asked Berthe. 'Surely. \flhenever the tune was changedI heard the quarrel still raging.Ihadasuspicion. the writing on it-some sort 'Come. It's a you're going to wait limply here till the Devil comesto fetch you?' 'I can't do anythingelse.I held it upright.Don't think of looking for you in Calais. he's the sort of man who hangs ladies'iewel-cases.I vowedI would not my look awayfrom it again. Soames crouchedforward againstthe table. mind you! You don't mean to say death. Soames. brisk footstepfrom the kitchen enabledme. they ached.

tU(lhat did the reading-room look like?' 'Much as usualr' he at length muttered. 'How wasit allr'I asked. perhaps?-a number on a large disc of metal sewnon to the left sleeve? DKF 78.'\rith a number on it. 'I'm awfully sorry for you. Soames. miserablewaiting. The men at I the round deskin the middle seemed havea sort of panic wheneverI went to to makeinquiries.'heexplained.' I madea gesture despair. Greyish-yellowish stuff. No wonder!Foodless had gone he into futurity.' 'Sflhatdid you do when you arrived?' \ilflell.mechanically. wherever went. I told Soames that for the honour of the human racehe ought to make someshowof resistance.' 'A sort of uniform?'He nodded. 'Many peoplethere?' 'Usual sort of number.Eat a little more bread. But better anything than this passive. meek.and I myself in ate hardly at all.he had gonestraightto the catalogue. I think so. He did not eat. askedwhat the He humanracehadeverdonefor him. course-to the S volumes.and always.' 'They'd make first-rate wouldn't they?' "copy". of course not. and I make all possible allowances. out of you?' 'I The poor fellow pressed handsto his forehead. of and . don'r knowr' he said.I began of the to realize that the wine had cloudedhis brain. but what earthly right haveyou to insinuatethat I should make "copy". 'I his had somereason. 'No. the capture certain. I'm sealed. Try to remember everything. 'Besidesr' said.'At last a he had donethat! 'I think I rather scared them.' My mind took a fearsome leap. But-' 'They staredat rne. It was maddeningto think that he. I attracted greatdealof attention.'yonder? come! Tell me your adventures.I cantell you. I urged him to eat at any rate somebread. I've no will. didn't you?There'san end of it.' '\I[hat did they look like?' 'looked Soames tried to visualize them. but the wine kindled no sparkof enterprise him. very like one another.he emptied it. might tell nothing. .They followedme aboutat a distance. who had so much to tell.' 'That's right. 'I hadn't time to look at or them very closely. The chasewould be swift.'can't you understand he that I'm in his power?You sawhim touch me. 'They allr' he presentlyremembered.ENOCH SOAMES 43 'Then why not slip quietly out of the way?' Again and again I filled his glass. I did not in my heart believethat any dashfor freedom could savehim. Soames was only not sure whetherthe men and womenwere hairless shorn. 'And all of them-men and womenalike-looking very well-cared-for? very Utopian? and smelling rather strongly of carbolic?ana ait of them quite hairless?'I was right every time.I'm sure .910-that sort of thing?' It wasevenso. foodlesshe still was. They movedawaywheneverI camenear.He went on repeating word 'sealed'. I'll try to remember. as you call it. 'All dressed Jaeger?' in 'Yes. .

bestmodernbook on latenineteenth-century and the Nupton's bookwasconsidered best. went to the middle desk He and askedwherethe catalogue upentieth-century of bookswaskept.\(here's that bit of paper?Give it me back. He gathered that there was still only one catalogue.' I'm 'And yours. .' I. noddingand smilingat me disagreeably.Again he looked up his name.I lookedit up in the catalogue filled in a form for it. bi Littacher 1890-1900. 'I looked up the Dictionaryof National Biographyand some encyclopedias . his because heartwasbeatingso . K. but-Yes!' of he saidwith a suddenchange tone. published From p. Nupton wasdriving at.rote a stauriin wich e pautraidan immainari 'Enoch Soames'-a thurd-rait poit hoo beleevzimself a karrakter kauld jeneus maix a barginwith th Devvl in auderter no wot posterriti grate an thinx ov im! lt iz a sumwotlabud sattirebut not without vallu az showing Nou that took themselvz.hoo woz stil alivein th twentiethsenchri. sort of phoneticspelling. I went backto the middledeskand askedwhat wasthe . staredat the three little pastedslips he had known so well.and my excitement. the littreri profeshnhaz bin auganized our ritershav found their levvl an hav lernt ter doo their duti without thort 'Th laibreriz werthi ov hiz hire. But for that. . 1992: a Fr. T. Strange years poor Soames seventy-eight copyout for you werecopiedout for me by iust h e n c e . Nupton. So I took the trouble to Readit. Soames.' 'Your own name?Really?Soames. .. amungus to-dai! we hav no Enoch Soameses .'an that iz aul. It. and handwritingwascharacteristically the I snatched paper.44 THE BOOK OF FANTASY had stoodlong beforeSNN-SOF.' 'No!' 'I thought I should find you waiting here tonight. that the words I here The documentlies beforeme at this moment. At first. I all mightn't havenoticedmy own name. naimd Max Beerbohm.They told me Mr T. It wasbroughtto me.Some glancingthrough Nupton's bookr' he resumed. Then he went and sat down foralongtime. My namewasn'tin the index. egzarmpl. 'And then. had forgottenthat cryptic screed. . hou seriuslithe yung men ov th aiteen-ninetiz of az a department publik servis.' he droned. found myself 'Not very easyreading.. All the modern books I sawwere phonetic. 234of Inglish by th Stait. . unableto take this volume out of the shelf.' 'The proper namesseemed to be spelt in the old way.he wasn'rdisappointedhe only thought therewassomenew arrangement. and handedit to him. literature. 'That's what I'd forgotten.' copyout the passage. 'I it He smoothed out. .' 'Then I don't want to hearany more. too.Soames' mademe all the slowerto graspwhat spetling. riter ov th time.I found it fallen on the floor. K. oery glad.. the noisome T. K. Thank hevvn ov th morro. he said. dim. please.

then it's this wretched Nupton who must havemade-must be going to make-some idiotic mistake. Soames! you know me better than to suppose that I . "Enoch Soames" a namethat might occurto any one writing a story. 'quite sureyou copiedthe thing out correctly?' 'Quite'.' 'But.parlons d'autrechose. so far from beingableto imaginea thing and makeit seemrrue. at the table.' I acceptedthat suggestionvery promptly. but cruelly did not cease look at me. The sheen his tilted hat and of his of . is And I don't write stories:I'm an essayist. . Afar. come lightness.I shouldneverbe sucha brute as toAgain I examinedthe screed.' 'You aren'tan artistr'he 'And you'reso hopelessly rasped.' saidSoames quietly. the name"Max Beerbohm"is not at all an uncommon onerand theremust be several EnochSoameses running around-or rather. . observer. past me. 'In Life and in Artr' he said.more hopefullythan I felt. . 'rVell. The bringer of that 'inevitableending' filled the doorway. I havenevermadeout that word. .Soames repeated thoselastthreewordsin a toneof intensescorn. I returned straight to the more immediatefuture.ENOCH SOAMES 45 I found that by murmuring the words aloud (a devicewhich I commendto my reader)I wasable to masterthem. . fixing on me a Baze that made me hot all over. K. the greaterwasmy bewilderment. not an artistthat. And he added. 'an endingthat canbe avoide isn't d. . The whole thing was a nightmare.in the thick of which it suddenlyseemed me that Soames to saw he was in the wrong: he had quite physicallycowered. I managedto turn in my chair and to say.' I urged. I admit an a that it's an extraordinary coincidence. little by little. . Look here. Soames said nothing. After all. the great grisly backgroundof what was in store for the poor dear art of letters. You're a miserable as bungler. and we had a rather heatedargument.with a touchof his old manner. remembersayingat last that to I 'stauri' had if indeed I was destinedto write about him. . I spent most of the long evening in renewedappealsto Soames slip awayand seekrefugesomewhere. inevitable. And 'labud'-what on earth was that? (To this day.) 'It's all very-bafflingr' I at lengthstammered. And it's like my luck. you're goingto makeevena true thing seem if you'd madeit up. but no: whateverdowngrademy character might take in comingyears. . but with more dignity than I had ever known in him. But you must see-' 'I seethe wholething. Nupton.alas!than I. to 'Are you surer'I temporized. But I wondered why-and now I guessed with a cold throb iust why-he staredso. The clearerthey became. here.' I protested that the miserable bunglerwasnot I-was not goingto be l-but T.my distress and horror. the poor fellow whom-whom evidently . not without a semblance of 'Aha. 'all that mattersis an ineaitable ending. no more imaginary. recorder. in!" Dreadwasindeedratherbluntedin me by his looking so absurdlylike a villain in a melodrama.'Immajnari'-but here Soames was. the supposed better haveat leasta happyending.

we believeyou meant well. Soames was wretchedly rising from his chair quick gesture.long and long. but-' up your pleasant 'You don't: you complete I assured itr' him. 'Soames!'he said as to an underling. ringing in my brain and bearing in on me how tragically different from the happy scene imagined by him was the poet's actual of experience that prince in whom of all princes we should put not our trust. 'Mr Soames I want to havea and little talk with you.And for yearsI did not set foot on evenin SohoSquare. But of coursethe bargain. and now. is off. with a desperate were on the table.and with it the whole stanza. so he thought. actuallyhavedied.It washe that spoke. and I supposeI paid Berthe or Rose for my dinner and luncheon. Dazed. and cameback bearing that port wine and spices'but for which he might. the shutter'dSquare'-that line cameback to me on my lonelybeat. 'Mr Soames. There wasmoonlightand lamplight. I stoodthere. and laid their bladesacrosseachother. 'I am sorryr'he sneered witheringly.46 THE BOOK OF FANTASY shirtfront. Ever since that night I have avoidedGreek Street altogether. and for Soames':I hope so. make them know that I did exist!' In anotherinstant I too was through that door. but without turning his face. the 'glassof 'stony-hearted stepmother'of them both. On the contrary. 'to break party.He merely looked at Soames and pointed with rigid forefinger to the door. The Devil stepped sharp back againstthe table behind him. but my poor friend did the Devil's bidding. 'try to threw back at me asthe Devil pushedhim roughtly out through the door. . for I never went to the Vingtibme again. 'You are not superstitious!' hissed. into the little room. Dazed. 'put those knivesstraight!' ttrfith an inhibitive gestureto my friend. at lenglh. I tried to speak. he 'Not at allr' I smiled. the repeatednrristshe was giving to his moustache.' The Devil gaveno verbal answer. . the causeof her sudden vanishing from the ken of her .but therewas nor not Soames that other. it neverso stricken.across down it.he 'Try. 'is a Catlnlic Diabolist'. the street.\U7e don't wish to say that the whole thing was a swindle-a common swindle. be But-strange how the mind of an essayist.I swept togethertwo dinner-knivesthat when.'was the prayerhe shuffledpastme.rovesand ranges!-I remember pausing before a wide doorstep and wondering if perchance was on this very one that the young De Quincey lay ill and faint it while poor Ann flew as fast as her feet would carry her to Oxford Street. he arose. with his master's eyesagain fixed on him.' said emphaticallyto I the Devil. \7on't you sit? Mr Soames nothing-frankly nothinggot by his iourney this afternoon. I turned back. averting his face and shuddering.because that samenight it wasthere that I pacedand of loitered. not mine. I \[as this the very doorstepthat the old De Quinceyusedto revisit in homage? ponderedAnn's fate. of He wasat our tablein a stride.and most of all the magnificence his sneer.gavetoken that he was there only to be foiled.suchas it was. with somesuchdull sense hope as a man hasin not 'Round and round strayingfar from the placewhere he has lost something. I stoodstaringall ways-up it.

You wouldn't sayso if you had ever in seen him.. can be explained only on the hypothesis that they will somehow have been preparedfor his ghostly visitation.but unconscious automatic and ghosts. and thereSoames will be.that on that afternoon. and more than once I caught myself wonderingwhether Nupton. Suchlack of of thoroughness a seriousfault in any one who undertakes do scholar's is to work. '$7hat has becomeof that man Soames?' I neverheard any such question but asked. but no echo of theseresounded.ENOCH SOAMES 47 boyfriend.The solicitorthroughwhom he waspaid his annuitymay be presumed to have made inquiries. and follow him around.Hadn't I betterget a hansomand drive straight to ScotlandYard? . You for realizethat the reading-room into which Soames proiectedby the Devil was was in all respectspreciselyas it will be on the afternoon of June 3rd. that babe unborn.Poor vanishedSoames! And for myself. In his first visit. I like to think that sometime between1992 and 1997somebody will have looked up this memoir. palpable. He was utterly forgottenbeforeany one. so far as I am aware. After all.There was something rather ghastlyto me in the generalunconsciousness Soames that had existed.in a building that was itself an . guaranteed. though I havehere mentioned him by nameand havequotedthe exactwordshe is going to write. I vocal. is not going to graspthe obviouscorollarythat I haveinventednothing?The answercanbut be this: Nupton will not havereadthe later passages this memoir. I reassured myself.and one very dim figure might easilydrop out of it unobserved-now especially. I thought. there the selfsame crowdwill be. They would think I was a lunatic. punctually. provenghost. when it comesround. were going to be right in thinking him a figment of my brain.Now and againsomepoet or prosaist may havesaidto another. and will haveforced on the world his inevitableand startlingconclusions.You may saythat the meredifferenceof his costumewasenoughto make him sensational that uniformedcrowd. Recaltnow Soames' accountof the sensation he made. and seem afraid of him.Better saynothing at all. Soames' disappearance madeno stir at all. How is it that the author. In that extract from Nupton's repulsive book there is one point which perhapspuzzlesyou.noticedthat he was no longer hangingaround. And I hope thesewords will meet the eye of somecontemporaryrival to Nupton and be the undoing of Nupton.whereas creatures was of the into whosemidst he wasproiected werebut ghosts. An authentic. ttrflhat had I better do? ufould there be a hue and cry-Mysterious Disappearance an Author.And whenhe doescomethe effect will of coursebe-awful.therefore. and presently I blamed myself for letting the past override the present. And I was right. take it-solid. I assure that in no periodcould Soames anythingbut dim.alas!Only that. 1997. They will have been awfully waiting to seewhetherhe reallywould come.he and they doing too preciselywhat they did before. the in blinding glareof the near Jubilee. The you be fact that people are going to stare at him. too. London was a very largeplace. Soames a creature fleshand blood.but-only a ghost.You realize. And I havereasons believingthat this will be so. and all that? of He had lastbeenseen lunchingand dining in my company. I beganto be troubled. . .

wish he had this one brief escape.' thought. I oneself:to prevent it requiresa very sharp passed Devil. one is so usedto nodding and smiling in the streetto almost independentof anybody whom one knows.My notion is that tails are given to conceal as ambition to be as impassive the Sphinx. The whole thing wasa very shabbytrick.stared straightat me with the utmost haughtiness.consciously. but I vindictiveness. and swingingan advancing to belonged as behaving thoughthe wholepavement ebonycane.Tiredof life. the to the more detestable Devil seems me. I admit. is noted for his Ambrose Bierce (born 1842).sincethat day at the Of him I havecaughtsight several Vingtitme. above and that vanity shouldbe chastened. But there was no need for the average.hereand there.Ameican journalistand short-story in as and brittiant cynicism. Only once. times. that I noddedand smiledto him.the Devil must have known that my friend would gain nothing by his visit to futurity. maintainthat he wasinducedto do so by fraud. \(rell-informedin all things. To be cut-deliberately cut-by him! | was. And my shamewas the deeperand hotter because if you please. The TaiI of theSphinx witer. the was miserablyaware. that the action becomes of effort and greatpresence mind. I still am.It is well was. la.along the Rue d'Antin. he disappeared Mexicosorne A Dog of a taciturn dispositionsaid to his Tail: '\. and I drew myselfup to my full height. EnochSoames'vanity for special treatment. physically.For my part. The more I think of it. I was walking. But-well.48 THE BOOK OF FANTASY will illusion. when I am pleased you wag. to look forward to. this onesmalltreat. that building andthosecreatures be real. I neverforgethim for long. It is my dearest . He is where he is.however. Next time. when I saw him as from the oppositedirection-over-dressed ever.and altogether eternallyin sufferers and him. one afternoon. The more rigid moralistsamongyou may sayhe has only himselfto blame.You are too mercurialwhen I am alarmed you discloseall my emotions. yes. in Devil's Dictionary(1906).trfheneveram angryyou rise and bristle.a greatcold wrath filled me. At thoughtof EnochSoames the myriadsof other this brute'sdominion. furious at havinghad that happento me. and for ever. displayed Can Such Things Be? (1893)and The imagination timein 1913. I think he hasbeenvery hardly used.and called to You sayhe contracted pay the price he is paying. I the world actually.This wasin Paris. It is of Soames to I wish I could think him destined revisit that therewill be but the semblance.haveI seenhim at closequarters. I you tuck yourselfin out of danger.as I he.

Leaving behind heroic times. when farms near the border were troubled by Indians.El lado de la sombra con amores (1e62). which although it never actually happened.' 'And.primary school . cholera some time later-an outbreak which luckily did not reach maior proportionsl and the threat of a surprise attack by the Indians. kept people in check for five years.?' 'A stone tail. Of broad mind and advancedideas. In short. let me first presenr my credentials to the reader. you must recognizethe laws and limitations of your beingr' uttered. I shall end this short list with the Foundation Centenary party.'and try to to repliedthe Tail. candidates of every kind. with flexionsappropriate the sentiments be greatsomeother way. a custom passeddown from the Middle Ages and Obscurantism. 'One hundred and fortv-nine tons of sandon its tail.La Trama celeste Morel (1940).Guirnalda (1959).Historiaprodigiosa (1955). one that has witnessed countless outstanding events: its foundation in the middle of the nineteenth century. I practise my skill as a writer in modest local publications. I shall skip several visits by governors. members of parliamenr. I try to carry on and to illuminate my neighbours . a genuine pageant of homage and homilies. and. I devour any book I can get my hands on in my Spanish friend Villarroel's bookshop. In order fully to appreciate what I am saying. now . Walter Scott and Goldoni.Author of La invenci6n de (1945). but I'm already approaching those 'damned thirty years' and I'm afraid I have more to learn than I already know. The Sphinx hasone hundredand fifty qualifications which you lack. J\7f ore has happened in this town during the last few days than in the whole of lVrthe rest of its history. though overly fond of the siesta.' TheSquidin lts Own Ink Adolfo Bioy Casares. from Doctor Jung to Hugo. remember that I'm talking about one of the oldest towns in the province.and iournalist.' for impassiveness '\$fhatare they?' the Dog asked.El suefro los hdroes de (1954). not forgetting the last little volume of Scenesof Madrid.THE SQUID IN ITS O\urN INK 49 'My friend. as well as comics ahd one or two big names in sport.Argentine writer bom in BuenosAires.all lovely.Plan de evasi6n (1945). My objective is culture. beautiful people. I'm a teacher . As I am about to recount an event of great importance. to come full circle.

a real chalet with a flowery gardenon to the street. figuresof comparable knows. Las Margaritas. of or focus..if you like. the constitutethe handlebars upright familiesof the villagesteered ideas man expounds old-fashioned that It must be recognized this exceptional idealists.As to the sprinkler. we uncovered somethingabout which little was natural and which turned out to be quite a surprise. mother and only adviserto suchan overwhelming . suchas relicsfrom shipsat the bottom of the sea. The subject'matter this chroniclehas a specialpeculiarityI cannotomit: of not only did the eventin questiontake placein my hometown) but it happened in the block wheremy wholelife unfolded. loosewomen or a lapseinto politics.asfar asI canremember. of stout bearing.early in the month. The epicentre the phenomenon.Ina new country. the sprinkler mysteriously went missing.Not for nothing in thoseharsh yearsdid that moustache by.50 THEBooKoFFANTASy factotum for The Sunflousn (a badly chosen title. whitened hair combed in docile parallelto thoseof his moustache and to the halves.wherewe restless local youthswould go night after night.This personinfectedthe others.Throughout his life. didn't let our hair down?.nobody. governedby order and breeches.the ladswould be bubbling with questions the and comments. wasJuanCamargo's yard.whereweremy home. As everyone Our hierarchyplacedno one abovethis figure. now for Nuezsa Patia. therewasonewho wasbesetby curiosity from the first moment.We had so far considered him a pillar of the community. it alwaysturned in the garden.Not for nothing did the very auditorsof the Cooperative-hardly respectablepeople. had everspotteda weakness him.spats. the bottomof which adioinedthe hotelon the eastsideand our yard on the north. the gardenbeganto fade. in One Sunday. if we'regoingto talk infamy. frankly-recognize his authority.had so far not producedany great and that our ranks. in restraint. very late.His portrait is a faithful representation the character of of our fifty-year-old: tall. by tVhilst many watchedwithout seeing. whereinnumerable things werepiled up. giving rise to taunts and attractingan enormous amountof mistakencorrespondence.and at night. In a past which we be it drunkenness. itching with natural. themselves are mettle. naive curiosity.whosewavesform arches gentleman: lower onesof his watchchain.don Juankept clean.so much so that it wasone of the oldesttraditionsand one of the most interesting pecularities our town. And the phenomenon itself was heraldedby a coupleof circumstances which not everyone would havelinked together:I meanthe requestfor booksand the withdrawalof the sprinkler. Other detailsrevealan old-fashioned leathergaiters. To the extent that. would willingly forget-which of us. without tradition there can be no stability. Sinceit hadn't reappeared the end of the week. $(/eknew very well that don Juanwasnot a man who would carelessly off cut the water in the gardenduring a dry summer. don Juan's private petit-hotel.my schoolmy second home-and a hotel bar oppositethe station. layabouts. sincewe aretaken for a cerealpublication). son. exceptfor dofla Remedios.new ideas shorton tradition.takesup half the front and a smallpart of the bottom of the yard. etcetera. in the bar opposite station.

I handedover the bookson the spot and forgot the episode though it had all as beenpart of a dream. I Later. Sincedoffa Remediosand don Juan rarely tolerate in strangers the house.and on the platform. on the way to the station. surethat I would find don Tadefto.54.somewhere betweentwo and four in the afternoon.30Plazaexpress. a deliberateeffort. mentioned I this on the platform as we waited for the 19. calls him names. sinceenvy is not one of my sins. 'This time it's for I real'. The reply confusedme totally.I wasright. in searchof sleep. at siesta-time.s. which shonefully into my eyes.the lad takeson the roles in of labourerand assistant the yard and asservant-boy Las Margaritas. my mind was srill working on the interpretationof the mystery. as if this weren't a time for unpleasantvisits. I understood he was asking straight out. utteredwords to inappropriateto a teacherand. we would get back into our usual stride. That he was gloriously turned down for national service mattersto me not at all. I handedover the books and went back to my bed. 'Godfatheraskedfor themr' he replied. 'It can be no other'. because. . That particular Sunday.' '\Uflhat for?' I managed articulate. iudging by the noise.and evenlessdid I link one eventwith the other. murmured. the I imaginedthat after such a restless day. 'Is interrupting your teacher to become habit?' I growledon receivingback a the pile of books. believeme. I didn't refer to rhe requesr for the textbooks.but I did so. stretchingout the walk to kill time.neither ashelpersnor asguests. 'Godfatherwants the all third-. because I got was. one of my studentsat eveningclasses. I staggered my feet. 'And what'sup with him today?If I catchhim kicking that door. but the fringe of my ponchowas still tickling my nosewhen the rumpus started. I saw that the sprinkler wasn't back in its placeand that the yellowishtinge wasspreading the garden. which turned up at 20. There he was. iokingly or out of pure spite. in Add to this the fact that the poor devil regularly attends my classes and you will understandwhy I let rip at anyonewho. to 'Godfatherwants themr' explaineddon Tadefto. A few hourslater. there wasa knock at my door. the godson. I had barely registered former in my memory. I as said.' I slippedon my espadrilles went ro and the hall. asI wason my way to the station.and fifth-year ones. joyfully said to myself. his faceso thin it didn't evenblock out the sun. {Ufould you mind telling me what for?' I inquired irritably.I postulated in all sorts of far-fetchedideas.Muttering.and I mentionedit that night in the bar.I confess did sleep. On Monday. the smiling. for first-. don Tadefto. fourth. I'll makehim shedtearsof blood.mocking him.to break it down. second-and third-yeartextbooks.THE SQUID IN ITS O\TN INK 5t To complete the picture of those who live in the chalet. opened door. in the air. and in that voice which suddenlydrops. as I showedoff my body to frivolous groups of young ladies. there is only one undoubtedlyminor appendix to add. I noticedthe sprinklerwasmissingin LasMargaita.

Don Pomponio'sbrassyvoice.52 THE BOOK OF FANTASY tilTatching moon.' '\trfhywould you seeit?' '\$7hywouldn't I?' 'Because wateringthe depot. the enormousdon Pomponio of the dropsicalstomach. Our don Juan must havehad his reasons!' Badaracco. Let us not attribute. the lads were all perplexed what I had to tell them.' it's we I should explain that amongstourselves call the last shed in the yard. I ran to the hotel.First I tried to dazzle don Tadefto with the truism that rain is goodfor plants.' 'I don't seeit in the garden. don Tadefto lookedat me with sheep's '\flhat doesdon Juan do with the books?' '\(Iell . himself for an explanation?' His sarcasmawakenedone of us.because are blinded by pride of intellect. saidto correspondence '\ilfhy don't you tell your student to eavesdrop conversations between on me. stoves Prompted by the desire to tell the lads the news about the sprinkler. then finally got straight went as follows: to the point. tablesand crockery. then. called us to order. 'he puts them in the depot. to inquire. after class.' Bewildered. a Or perhaps the landlord lent an ear. and don Juan?Then useyour cattle prod on him.' he shoutedback. which don't sell much. enormousin the distant sky. 'Does don Tade(tohavea good memory?'asked Badaracco. t$fle contributedan opinion.' Remedios dofla 'Vhat prod?' 'Your schoolteacher's authorityr' he clarifiedwith hate.in front of your lifelongfriends!). I approvedthe idea and appliedit that night. one of us. . eyes. alwaysgiven to the romantic notion of cutting the figure of a man of the 'It's country (for goodness' sake. who takes he and courses wearsa white tie. because previoustimes. and statues. apartfrom a a in bank salary.he earneda certainsum asan informant.commented. a dry moon. I both my student without questioning dismissed and remembered yelledafter him at one and the sametime. the removalof the deviceto a forecastof rain. . '\trfhydon't you approach idiot about it?' the '$[ho?' 'Your studentr'he replied. The conversation 'Is the sprinkler out of order?' 'No. whose surnamewas Aldini. sharplad. I him on the other point. . Just as I had predicted.whom thosein the group could barely tell apart from the we pillars. with a mole. suchas strange wheredon Juanpilesup the materials the monolithsand mizzenmasts. muffled by rivers of gin. sinceit was by pity ro say nothing at the time. Seven faceslooked up and fourteen eyes fixed on one shiny red face. From the hallway. split by his '\7hy don't you appointa committee go and askdon Juan to mouth. depot. I think it was Di the Pinto. and luckily nobody listenedto anybodyelse. askedme. Arching his eyebrows.

'If there's no mystery. Next siesta-time. naturally enough the knocks resounded. second and third years of secondary school. what is there?' Since the conversation was getting sidetracked.TI{E SQUID IN ITS O\flN INK 53 'He doesr' I asserted. for how could I leavewhat was to be consideredimportant or not to the lad's discretion? Needlessto say. As we had feared. Badaracco.' 'If there is any mystery. the Spaniard asked. famous for his equanimity. Not for nothing do they say rhat the punishment is in the crime. t$(/iththe books under my arm I added. thing. grumbled.' 'Before a witness like his godson. mate. it will be revealedr' Toledo prophesied. 'they will talk in complete freedom.' 'Don't take it to heart. you're so bitter. Needless to say. That night I was subjectedto such rorture as I had not foreseenin my rapacious curiosity: to listen to those interminably uninteresring dialogues recounted in every detail. 'Ladsr' he reprimanded them. wake up the Spaniard by banging loudly on the door and subsequently pacify him with the knowledge that it was don Juan who was asking for the books. Judging by my palpitations. iust as I was falling into a deep sleep.' We didn't seea soul on the way there and back. he only wants to borrow them. he was perfectly aware. because even the humblest irrational being doesn't expose himself in his right mind to the heat of the two-o'clock sun. 'you sound like an Argentine. I was occasionallyabout to make some cruel. 'Anything entering his skull is temporarily photographed.so he himself gave me to understand. but not before several days had passed. who works as an assistantat the market. of whose disappearance.' It was revealed.' 'If there's any mystery. 'Tonight we're meeting in the bar of the hotel to debate all this. they were beating on the door and in my heart at the same time. '\ilflhat's got into that man? Never in his life has he bought a book and all of a sudden .' I told him about the previous requests fbr primary textbooks and marntarned the strictest reserve as to the sprinkler. Toledo repeated.' declared Di Pinto. the next day he interrupted my siestato bring the books back . I told my student to report to me verbatim the conversations between don Juan and dofra Remedios. except for the butcher's rustcoloured dog. As the more advanced book was outside my scope. restrained the contenders. that's where you'll find us. Chazarreta. revealed. Don Tadefto was bringing back the books from the day before and asking for those of the firsr.' 'Don 'asks dofra Remedios' advice about everyJuanr' continued Aldini. ironic comment to the effect that I didn't care about doria Remedios' opinions on the last lot of yellow soap and the flannelette for don Juan's rheumatism but I restrainedmyself. 'you're old enought not to waste your energy. which must have been suffering from indigestion again. it will be Just to have the last word.patting him on the back. If you'd like to chip in. we had to go to Villarroel's bookshop.' I reasoned.

without the slightestalterationin his tone to announce a changeof subiect.I couldn't adiustto the lull. Suddenlyhe rememberdthe bucketsof water but got no appreciable to sprinklerand. wantedsomething happen.' 'Of courser'he answered. 'You're right.' 'Did the conversation take placetoday?'I venturedto ask. Accustomed I to to living intensely.' 'Well. as if breathing moist air suited appreciable he him admirably.'dying of curiooity. and that he remainedcool-headed remindedhim of a catfish gaspingout of the lake.' I/ith deepsorrowhe repeated. He filled the trough with result. 'Did your godfathersayanythingelse?' 'Of course. were to end up in the depot.didn't want any moretextbookslhe wantedold newspapers. like a doctorwho tries. he ran to fetch the sprinkler and connected up. quite frankly. a he because wasinspecting sort of funfair swingwhich hadn't beenenteredin although its statewas pitiful and the books.As the in visitor was. He said he hit on the idea of that he without thinking he had understood bringing a bucketof water.he learnt all the primary courses two he school. he said. halfhis like to way through a conversation. you interruptedme.Next. the In due courseI discovered'that newspapers. said don Tadefto. carry on tomorrow or never. saidGodfather.' 'I know I interruptedyou.variousremedies savea dying it man. Godfathersaid he senthis godsonto askfor the primary-schooltextbooksfrom the teacher. very sharp. He's not goingto leave teacher this. make an effort.' 'Or never.Godfathersaidhe spentsometime with the visitor. the like the books beforethem. That's when the first new developmentoccurred: don Juan.' the studentexplained. quite frankly. .54 THE BOOK OF FANTASY for Villarroel. 'Don Tadeftois a goodman. It's all my fault.but I don't remember. Afterwards there came a period when nothing happened. and the visitor was.because die wasbeing askedfor water and he wasn't going to let a fellow-creature whilst result and preferredto draw a he stoodby and watched. butcher's and the baker's. At last.I missedthat sameknocking at the door which before had wrenched me from my siesta.after on an orderly inventory of the effects of salt and other nourishing substances dofla Remedios'system. '\|fell.recited. because askedasbest he could if he neededanything. days. you interruptedme. The result was visibly the because dying creaturerevived.a Remediosthat they havea guest living in the depot and he very nearly bumped into him the other day.The soul is never satisfied.' 'All your faultr' he repeated."I don't remember"?'I protestedangrily. very sharp. onenight the student.goodor bad. But you're not going to leaveme like thisr' I argued. 'Whilst they were havingcoffee.and after a quarter of an hour wassayingthe odd word in Spanish and asking him for the basicsso that he could teachhimself. 'Godfathersaidto dof.and in onewhat he felt like of secondary to started to read the newspapers find out what was going on in the world.' 'lfhat do you mean.Comeon.He got no appreciable drinking trough near rather than touch the visitor. which he wasto buy by the kilo from the haberdashery.

'Gentlemenr' shouted. do "Ah. but our world is nearby and they fear that they could be involved in a chain reaction. important newsand a witnesswho will not let of me lie. is staying-guesswho?-an inhabitantfrom anotherworld. Don't be alarmed. don Juan told his mother of the event and my faithful studentdidn't missa word. was somethingwhich had to be seento.I grabbedhim violentlyby the arm I and pushedhim towardsthe bar. '\uflhat you rnean. not complete if ne'er-do-wells. at the gravity of the matter. 'I left them talking together and came here.gentlemen. I repeated last sentence don Tadefto'snarrative.with blood. If worthy peoplehad it in their care. rUfrith admirablepresence mind I reflectedthat the lads wouldn't believemy srory of unless took don Tadeftoalongasa witness.THE SQUID IN ITS OITN INK 55 I was annoyed. they would end up dropping it. I don't know"?' I repeated. because over there there's a shortageof adequatematerialsand it's the result of yearsof investigationand work.Apparently the travelleris not of robust constitution. angry onceagain. 'Godfather said that the visitor was stunnedon discoveringthat the governmentof this world wasn't in the handsof worthy people. bringlhe explanation the whole thing.as though somethingof great value were being stolen from me.' My student carried on indifferently.'He readthe papersto find the in out what wasgoing on in the world. 'Have you been reading On ThingsYou Can See the in S[y by Doctor Jung?' Fortunately he didn't hear the interruption and proceeded. sweatand tears. There wereby friends. because is clear that when somebodyhas it. hadn't hesitatid to botherdoflaRemedios. 'I I as I pusheddon Tadeito against our tab1e. askfor her opinion.saidthe visitor. 'Ah. In great detail. since they were far away. it makesmy teacherhappy. That he cameasa friend and liberator.I asked what the ladv had answered. and that he was asking for the full support of Godfatherro executehis plan to savethe world. As long as I am capableof rememberingrl shall never forget that night.but I suddenly saw a glimmer of hope in that very rhought. I don't know why it was that I reflected that our dialogue consistedof repetitions. but that it shouldbe in the handsof that rabblejust wasn'ton. since . In the depotin the yard.' The incredible suspicionthat don Tadefto was making fun of me made me inquire of him gravely. with the additoin of the Spaniard Villarroel.'Godfather said that he camefrom his planet in a vehiclemadespecially. they it drop it. and suchworlds the inevitably blew up. Godfather said the interview with the visitor had taken place that afternoon and that he. that they didn't care if they blew up. That sucha rabbleshouldhavethe atom bomb in their care. right here.the other sideof this wall. I don't knowr' he replied.' Sincehe did not resume after the pause which followed. his sheep's face awaited my congratulations. He said that they had discovered bomb in other worlds beforenow. becauseit was time for my lessons.which he already to took for granted was the sameas his own.but ratherin thoseof half-castes. thought to myself: when I'm not late.' I Shining with pride.

' saidthe bookseller. '\7ith my hand on my heart. don't know. Sooneror later we'll all be blown up by the atom bomb. On my way hereI passed Margaritasandby the light of the moon I could distinguish perfectly the sprinkler watering the gardenas before.' else. Juandoesn'tlike his positionto be challenged. Mr Badaracco. mean.for paintingsby Vel6zquezand Murillo. so we dou't know what they decidedto do. 'your pretty humanity is quickly exposed and showsitself iust as it is. The worst alwayswins.don Juansetup the sprinkler for him. I seeno escape. apparentlythe motive for the arrival of the monstershouldnot provokeanxiety. for Cervantes' neither form is that love worth anything as an argumentto postponethe end of the world.' replied Villarroel. 'Let us call love of humanity for compassion the pain of others and venerationfor the works of our great Don Quixote. humanity. Mr Badaracco? you think of men. 'What do we know?' 'Don't get upsetr' said Villarroel.all that aboutthe travellerdying if they removethe sprinkler. whilst he drank his coffee. and after the end of the world- . who can seeunder water. Badaracco thoseold people.' murmured Aldini.I inquired.betweenthe two of them. enviousr'declared Villarroel.' 'Why do you have. 'I tell you the traveller wasn't lying. In minds. It is unfortunatethat this youngman here'-I shookdon Tadefto. Let's do somethingr'exhortedBadaracco.' 'Reluctance the unknownr'I commented.' Blushing.' 'I alsosawitr' confirmedChazarreta. '\7hen there are electionsr' agreed Chazarreta. much love for humanity?' askedthe so Spaniard. Naturally don Juan.asthoughhe were a puppet-'left just in time not to hear dofla Remedios'opinion.' 'Is the love of humanity a hollow phrase?' 'No.don Juanhas Las condemned him to die.'Obscurantism. \(Ihat's more. Badaracco 'r|fhat do we know. cruel.' '\Wedo know. 'I stammered. that the world is goingto be blown up by an He hascometo saveus.' at They say that fear sharpensthe mind. convinced his atom bomb.It's a way comefrom someone ratherthe world blew up than havesalvation of loving humanity. Only for men do theseworks exist. moving his thick wet lips like a snout. consulted dofra Remedios. 'Don't tell me that As though he were talking to himself. and he expressed point of view to don Juanoutright. \(le all know. do you find them If admirable?I find them the opposite:stupid. 'For the love of 'Courage[ads.' said. havekilled our last hope. 'If it's like you say. and we were all contributing ideas.' 'He'd 'Don saidthe Spaniard.56 THE BOOK OF FANTASY he cannotwithstand the dry air of our city very well-we can still competewith C6rdoba-and to preventhim dying like a fish out of water. Mr Teacher. which constantlymoistensthe air in the depot. I felt uncomfortableat havingbeencorrectedabout newswhich I thought was a scoop. The truth is that somethingstrange hung over the bar that night.

.Badaracco lads.' Later. so that the sum of pain will be minimal!' . don Di Juan might get angry.We're wastingtime with the preciousness an academic of discussion whilst right here. As to compassion.'saidVillarroel. Looking at her one I man boughta girl for the sum of four thousand r rdayr he burst into tears. For somereasonI don't fully understand. denarii. to tell us what the travellerfrom anotherplanetis like. proposed.on the other sideof this very wall. we don't evendare go in there.from a collection of folk tales.'rilfhy don't you detail don Tadefto as advance scout?That would be the prudent thing to do. He replied:'Your eyes are sobeautifulthat they makeme forgetto worshipGod. .' Badaracco. Sincethere is no way anyonewill escape death. Practically pleaded. he repeated.' observed 'Soonit will be too late. his OppositeLas Margaitas.'It's late. Don Pomponio.' \J(re disbanded sadly.' man.who had approached without our hearinghim and gaveus such a start that we jumped.' 'It's late'. \Ufetwo. when shewas . plottings and to-ingsand fro-ings. an eloquence '\|fle haveto act now. thereweremarches in and countermarches. companywas a comfort to me. in tears.The fateof all the mothersand all the childrenin the world in hangson us.' 'Don 'preferredto live within the constaints a limited of Juan. Finally Badaracco gatheredup courage and pushed don Tadefto inside.'Be generous. blameour lack of curiosityr'adding.THE SQUID IN ITS OWN INK 57 the day will come.' suggested Pinto.I exclaimed. No matter that we shouldput ourselves danger. 'Don Tadeftois to connectthe sprinklerin the depot and spy.lookingabsorbed at 'How many Americas the constellations. whilst the sprinkler monotonouslywatered the 'I garden.' 'All rightr' approved Toledo. Nothing more is knrun of hin. me.The bookseller cameback with me. 'If we invadehis yard. with the bomb or by natural causes-they will have no justificationor excuse. a winnerwhen the end believe it's is nigh .' \fle rushedout into the night. My student came back after an endlesswait to inform us: 'The catfishhas died.The girl asked why he wept. I admire his courage. and infinite Terranovashave we lost tonight.' \7e scrambled front of the yard. our lasthopeis dyingr' I saidwith which I was the first to admire. I said. let it come soonfor all of us. illuminated by the impassive moon. Guihy Eyes Ah'med Ech Chiruani is a natnefrom a notebook.

L6on Bloy. but the feelingwasreal enough. Leon Bloy devant les Cochons Juifs (lS9S). muddy.and felt the needto dissipate lust with He had just left his mistress's a gentle and peacefulwalk home.diedat Bourg la Reinc(1917). he Nonetheless. f. The girl was dead.Autlnr (1857). wascontemplating A loud clamourcould be heardcoming from the Boulevardde Grenelle. the other end of which he knew he would find a quieter street that would be more sympatheticto his amorousreverie. a grosswoman who cametowards him to offer the preciousgift of her love. Maxencesaw. 'It won't cost much.trying to make itself soundagreeable.in unspeakable trifle uneasy.ChristopheColomb devantlesTaureaux(1890).' Shereplied: 'I would not wish any part of me to stop you worshipping God.' Sueur de SangLa Femme Pauvre(1897). It was ridiculous.but sheincreased value her in ours and we have taken her from you.The wayfarer listened.l You havedevaluedyour own worth. opposite military academy. emergingfrom the shadowsof a nearby wall.58 THE BOOK OF FANTASY alone.The dark alley. fi axence.a streetthat is was prudent to avoid. Frmch witer. '\Uflell. the man dreamedand heard a voice telling him: 'The girl devalued herselfin your eyes. had become. bom in Puigueux (1846). especially. his arms. which made the night reveller a worked for pennies.but he could not say why that voicemovedhim. merely unpleasantby daylight. he found four thousanddenarii under his pillow.' \$[hen he awoke. and a horror of beingcaughtup in somedrunkenbrawl madehim feelinclinedto turn at into the dirty passage. as if hearingthe poundingof his own heart. the the place.Cellequi Pleure(1906).arrived at the point where the The IYImain road crosses RuelleDupleix. neglectedthoroughfarewhere artillerymen and cavalrymenlived and quarters.Le Salutpar les of Le Ddsesp6re (/892). Anything You Vant! . a little sinister. it.and it turned into an unbearable .' That night. Come with me and I'll do anything you want' sweetheart.L'Ame de Napoldon(1912). makeyour mind up-yes or no?'cried a horrible voice. without interruption.weary after an eveningof pleasure. the girl plucked out her eyes. stock-still. The poor wretch could not havesaidwhy to savehis anguishas life.' She outlined a possibleprogramme. at one o'clock in the a offeredlittle reassurance: morning. 'Why do you so disfigure yourself.

Hearingthem. And now! It was horrible. abandoned lambs who only wanted to return to their shepherd. the voicehad become immeasurably coarsened.werebeinghorribly desecrated. togetherwith fifty other passengers. 'come with me. murderous pits.would have cleansed filth of Sodom. in contrastto his presentexistence which was-alas!-not at all glorious. . I havea good fire and a strong bedr' urged the hag. as his own life took its course. Oh God!. like shivering.and the sound of it made him want to run. in a notoriousshipwreckoff one of the most dangerous coastlines the Gulf of of Gascony. in such language-he was hearinghis sister. and from whom he had learnedall that was good in him. sweet. Her body had neverbeenrecovered. he would call into his mind thesememories. devouredby fish a quarter of a century before. .wonderful memorieswhich. rheumy. They had comeunbidden-orr rarher. 'Never cause your guardianangelany painr' murmured the other.enioininghim to worship God and love the poor. as His memoriesof childhood were sacredthings. 'If you knew how lovely my thighs are!' said the crone. \(/heneverhe neededto recoverafter a party or drinking-bout. like a . In suchwayscanthe deadminglewith the living-or rhosewho pretendto be alive! Whilst the old whore offeredhim her vile flesh-and. had come to an equally tragic end. fallen from had heaven and beendragged throughslimy. .His mother was dead.it wasanother aoice that had summonedthem: a voicethey clearly heededasmuch ashis own-and it wasterrible not to understand how it could havehappened. monstrous. but it washer voiceall the same. No. . the Admittedly. burned alive in a fire.ANYTHING YOU WANT! 59 he felt his mind drifting awayon theseshamefulwords. screamingand sobbing. no . His only sister. Sheraisedher old. who had seemed him an angeland whosefeet. But this time he had not calledthem. which somehow seemed to carry him back to his earliestdays . .had his sister'svoice-the voiceof his favourite creaturein all the world. recalled under suchcircumstances these.fifteen yearshis senior. you want! I'll do anythingyou fancy.which alwayscamerushing back to him.and beganto tremble. my dear . the whore was startled. The oceanhad swallowedher.in this hellishplace.who had raisedhim so tenderly. . bloodshot eyes-dull mirrors which seemed reflecteveryscene to of debauchery and every kind of torture-and looked sharply at him. Thesetwo tragic figuresdominatedhis thoughtswheneverhe peeredover the edgeof his memory. He remembered a calcifiedhand. you rascal.that this sow who clutchedat him in the street. 'If you knew how lovely is!' Jesus said the saint. the only part of her that they had daredto show him. away. he uttered the words rhat had filled his childh ood out Ioud. $Tithout realizing it. faithful and true.this was Anything intolerable. he to believed.

who greeted and who would haverevoltedSin itself. 'Sir. and you'll walk straightinto trouble. between Not a word passed him much more than the situationwarranted.' 'It doesn'tmatterif you return and takea differentroute altogether. but very slowly. But shewasright. The policehavegiventhem the run of the place. He noticed. of There was a moment of silence. several his that shesqueezed them. overwhelmed running after He had not gone ten paceswhen the old whore reappeared. fortunately. 'Very wellr' he said. sheexplained through . into Maxence. .and may God protect you. . But somestrangeforce was at work within him.with a surprisingsoftness.' Maxence was tempted to reply that he had no need of protection but. I beg you.If you want if takesan hour longer.astounded. district.'It is on my way.' Maxencehesitatedtoo. so you'll haveto let me take your arm. 'Really! And what might that be?' that as shewasso well known in that delightful Very humbly. he must go home. it would be easyfor her to escortsomeone 'peoplemust think that you're 'Onlyr' sheadded. I live in Vaugirard. though.60 THE BOOK OF FANTASY sky drowning man looking for the last time at the sea-green through the window water that is choking him.It's a bit strong.t watchedas shedisappeared the shadows. a clown for the street-urchins mock. Go home. and he was able to proceed unharmedthrough the dirty crowd on the arm of his creature. I am very tired. fearing a trap. half the pimps in Paris are gatheredthere. The encounter had completely him. . don't go that way!' 'And why should I not go that way?' he asked. 'Sirr' shesaidat last.and that against arm and pressed anguishthat he had felt The extraordinary almostconvulsive. her graspseemed He now that shewasno longerspeaking. 'You must forgiveme.however. sooncameto the conclusion lessened knows and everyone that the whole thing had beensomekind of hallucination. friend.You'll be attacked to know.he realizedthat such bravadowould be misplaced.' 'There might be another wsyr' said the old woman. I shouldn'thavespokento you. . to old I'm just a wicked-minded woman. They stretch from the works. and to have to make another detour is extremely annoying. and you shouldhavekicked me into the gutter. 'I'll go back alongby Les Invalides.The midnight travellerturned towardsthe Boulevard de Grenelle. or any unusualsensation how useful this preciousword can be in explaining foreboding.They should sendthe cavalryin on thesescoundrels. villains as they passed. evenif it you go down that street. a . abattoirsto the tobacco There'll be no onethereto look after you. him. after a moment's hesitation. his reluctancequickly vanished.

translated into English. the misleading encyclopedia goes by rhe name of The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia (New York. . iardin de senderos sebifurcan(1941).and took out his pursewith the intentionof rewardinghis srtsng€r silent companion. into I9g). Carriego HistoriaUniversal la Infamia(1935). that'snot what I want. and is a literal if inadequate reprint of the 1902 Encyclopaedia Britannica.' Only then did he seethAt shewascryingr rS he had not daredto look at her during the half-hour that they had beenwalking together. and she hugged him as if she wanted to devour him. Maxencemumbled some banal word of thanks. '\Uflhat I do for you?' can 'If you will let me embrace your' shereplied. OrbisTertius bom in Buenos Aires. 'Now I can die. Evaristo (1930).who may havesavedhis life. forever. and instantly her headwascrushedunder the wheelof a night wagonthat wasdriving by at lightning speed. andfounderof sezteral important in Author o/Fervor de BuenosAires (1923). groaningwith love. sir.a collection de of shortstories.El hacedor (1960. Historiade la Eternidad(1936). The whole affair happened some five years ago. Argentina's modern witer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) foremost periodicals tlu 1920s. Otras inquisiciones (1952).' Shefell beforeher brother could make any move to help her.my poor brother. is currentlycompletinghis novitiateas He of a lay brother at the monastery Grande-Chartreuse. 'What is the matter?'he asked. Bioy Casareshad dined with me that night and talked to us at length about a great schemefor writing a novel in the first person.'that would be the greatest of ioy my life-my disgusting life-and after that I think I shouldhavethe strengthto die. no Maxence longerhasa mistress. in Ramos Mejfa. Tltin. 1962). Uqbor. but she stoppedhim with a gesrure: 'No.' Seeing that he assented. Goodbye and forgive mer' shecried.Maxenc€:ffiy little Maxence. lgl7). El Idioma de los Argentinos(1928). que El Ficciones(1944.very moved.translated Englisftas Dreamtigers. CuadernoSan Martin (1929). T owe the discovery of Uqbar to the coniunction of a mirror and an I encyclopaedia.ANYTHING YOU ITANT! 6l \flhen it was time for them to part.El Aleph (1949).The unnerving mirror hung at the end of a corridor in a villa on Calle Goana. 'Goodbye. A cry from the man she was smotheringmadeher disentangle herself.Discussion (1932). threw herselfupon him.

A few days later. so variouscontradictions. in its arricle on Uqbar. though. The passage probableenough. in words almostidentical to the oneshe had repeated me.nt.Both.\ilfleascertained the between two volumes. supposed heresiarch had been deliberately invented by Bioy out of modesty. and he replied that it wasrecordedin theAnglo-AmeicanCyclopaedia. naturally. of Volume XLVII. a little dull. Armenia.Oukbahr . . Ucbar. Ooqbar. *ultipty the numbers of man. Mirrors and fatherhoodare abominablebecause multiply it and extendit. He had remembered: 'Copulationand mirrors are abominable. He told me that he had in front of him the article on Uqbar. Bioy telephonedme from BuenosAires. Thesefour additional for pages of consisted the article on Uqbar-not accounted by the alphabetical afterwardsthat there was cipher. that the inevitabilityof discoveries of that oneof the heresiarchs recalled grotesque aboutthem. The volume which Bioy brought was indeed Volume XLVI of The Anglokey was the On Amnican Cyctopaedic. The rest seemed keepingwith the generaltone of the work and. the fourteen namesmentionedin the geographical only three-Khurasan. This surprised me. In the final pages Volume XLVI. rg7e rememberedby Bioy was read the article with somecare.very much in perhapsthe only startling one. the title pageand spine.In vain he tried everypossible he informedme Ukbar. this it wasa regionin either Iraq or Asia Minor.' I said. and Erzurum-and section. he brought it.a sophism. I asked him the sourceof that memorable . did not specifythe nameof the heresiarch. not one word on Uqbar. becausethe failed to mention scrupulouscartographicindex of Ritter's Erdkundecompletely the nameof Uqbar.62 THE BOOK OF FANTASY and who ran into using a narrator who omitted or corruptedwhat happened a handful of readers'a very small handful. in all sincerity.we recognized . the alphabetical it sameasin our copy. Then Bioy Cesares sincethey both Uqbar had statedthat mirrors and copulationare abominable.Ookbar. are no other difference Bitannica. I must saythat I acknowledged and its anonymous country that this undocumented I a little uneasily.'The text of the encyclopedia read: 'For one of those gnostics. It so happenedthat the villa (which we had rented of a furnished)possessed copy of that work. . but insteadof 917pages. that only would be able to decipherthe horrible or banalreality behind the novel. On the following day. a Of fundamentalvagueness. Bioy had acquiredhis copy in one reprints of the renth Encyclopaedia of a number of book sales. beneath the superficial authority of the prose. Beforeleaving. asI think I pointedout. the visible universe was an illusion or. the mirror waswatchingus. it did note his to doctrine. I would s?y: inferior from a literary point of view. more they precisely. to of of A a substantiate phrase.. futile examination oneof the atlases JustusPerthes my strengthened doubt. A little put spellingthe out. asthe readerwill havenoticed.that I would like to seethe article.n.. we we ran acrossan article on Upsala. Readingit over. in Volume XLVI of the but It encyclopedia. we discovered.. and we discovered. Bioy consulted indexvolumes. From with the far end of the corridor. had 921.in the beginning but found one on Ural-Altaic languages. mirrors havesomething madelate at night.

an engineer the southern for railroads. The notesappeared to fix preciselythe frontiers of Uqbar. but the points of reference were all.described imaginarycommunityof Rosae the Crucisthe communitywhich waslater foundedby othersin imitation of the onehe had preconceived.to whom I had referred the whole business. Lesbareund lesenswerthe of Bemerkungen iiber dasLand Ukkbar in Klein-Asien. That night. . widower.caught sight.Every so many years. . at the top of page 918.he went a to Englandto visit-iudging by the photographs showed he us-a sundialand rHaslam has also published A General History of Labyinths. In the historical sectoin(page920). The bibliography listed four volumes. in and I knew that it wasthe nameof a Germantheologian who. Neither did the generalindex of Bioy's encyclopedia showthe name. .riversand craters and mountainchainsin that same region.\I7e read.. in a Corrientesand Talcahuanobookshop. he sufferedfrom a senseof unreality.for instance. but to the two imaginary regions of Mlejnas and Tliin .hangson in the hotel in Androgud. the of orthodoxsoughtrefugein the islands. that the southernfrontier is definedby the lowlandsof Tsai Haldun and the Axa delta. Among the historical names.he is not eventhe ghostlycreature he wasthen. to The language and literature section was brief. This. that of the imposter.I understand. and that wild horsesflourish in the islandsof that delta.even althoughthe third-Silas Haslam: History of the Land Called (Jqbar. UQBAR. vaguely enough. II Somesmall fading memoryof one Herbert Ashe.and that its epicsand legendsneverreferredto reality. of the black and gold bindings of The Anglo-Ameican Cyclopaedia .and whereit is a commonenoughoccurrence dig up one of their stonemirrors. The fact is signficant. He was. dated 1641.his timp squared beardhad oncebeenred.and it wasinvokedin a rathermetaphorical sense. ar the beginningof the seventeenth century.asdo so many Englishmenldead. we recognizedonly one. There was one notable characteristic:it remarked that the literature of Uqbar was fantastic in character.and childless. He went in and lookedup VolumeXLVI.memoirs of travellers and catalogues. Smerdis the Magian.a coupleof yearslater I ran across that nameaccidentally the thirteenthvolumeof De Quincey'sVitings.* The first. iust after the religiouspersecutions the thirteenth century. He wastall and languid. In life.between luscious the honeysuckle and the illusory depths of the mirrors.which we have not yet come across. ORBIS TERTIUS 63 they were draggedinto the text in a strangelyambiguousway. Fruitlesslywe exhausted atlases.TLON. Naturally.and is a work of is JohannValentin Andre[. 1874-appears in the library catalogues Bernard Quaritch. CarlosMastronardi.wheretheir obeliskshavesurvived. . therewas . we gatheredthat.The following day. not the slightestmention of Uqbar. we visitedthe National Library. yearbooksof geographicalsocieties. historians-nobody had ever beenin Uqbar.

I read these words: A First Encyclopaediaof Tliin.F. . I would not feel what I felt that afternoon. in a volume of a pirated encyclopaedia. now a classic.of the Brazilian etymology of the word gaucho(which some old people in the east still pronounce gailcho). Ashe left it in the bar where. without any apparent dogmatic intention or parodic undertone. of capangas. My father and he had cemented (the verb is excessive)one of those English friendships which begin by avoiding intimacies and eventually eliminate speech altogether. \7e spoke of rural life. succeededin refuting this doubt. now. something to be reckoned with. It was a book. Some days before. adding that this work had been commissioned by a Norwegian in Rio Grande do Sul. has denied the existenceof those corollary volumesl Ezequiel Martinez Estrada and Drieu La Rochelle have. North and South America upside down-in vain. its algebra and its fire. called the Night of Nights. and duodecimal functions. Volume XI. I forget which. on which the secret gatesof the sky open wide and the water in the water iugs tastessweeter. that . On the first page and on a sheet of silk paper covering one of the coloured engravings there was a blue oval stamp with the inscription: oRBIsrnnrtus. half seriously. They used to exchange books and periodicals. and its fishes. There was nothing to indicate either date or place of origin. a brief description of a false country. a mathematics textbook in his hand.He calculates. The book was written in English.which I will not go into. One afternoon' we discussed the duodecimal numerical system (in which twelve is written l0).). In nothing more was said-God forgive me-of September. since this is the story. The fact is that. chance was showing me something much more valuable. its theological and metaphysical arguments. I began to leaf through it and felt a sudden curious lightheadedness. Herbert Ashe died of an aneurysmal rupture. and again on the title page. up to now. I had in my hands a substantial fragment of the complete history of an unknown planet. I found it. Ndstor Ibarra.1937 (we ourselveswere not at the hotel at the time). . \ile have turned the libraries of Europe. with its architecture and its playing cards.without saying a word . its minerals. \tr7ehad known him for eight years and he had never mentioned having stayed in that part of the country . but of Uqbar and Tl6n and Orbis Tertius. proposes that we all take on the task of reconstructing the missing volumes. On the yellow leather spine. months later. coherent. they would beat one another at chess. into sexagesimats(in which sixty is written 10). . The eleventh volume of which I speak refers to both subsequent and preceding volumes. its emperors and its oceans. I remember him in the corridor of the hotel. the most patient investigations have proved fruitless.64 THE BOOK OF FANTASY some oak rrees. its mythological terrors and the sound of its dialects. and had 1001 pages. In the Islamic world. many and vast as they were: ex ungueleonem. registered package. in an article (in the N. Now. if those gates were to open. Alfonso Reyes. its birds. not of my particular emotions. . Hlaer to Jangr. he had received from Brazil a stamped. there is one night. It was two years since I had discovered. an octavo volume. all clearly stated. bored with the tedium of this minor detective work. he was transcribing some duodecimal tables. gazing now and again at the passing colours of the sky.R. Ashe said that as a matter of fact. I think.

Nouns are formed by an accumulation adjectives. There are plenty of individuals who have masteredthese various disciplineswithout having any facility for invention. of One doesnot say moon. ideal objectsabound.but there is a verb to moon to moondle. I should towersof blood scarcely the like to take somelittle time to deal with its conception the universe.with pardonable in it. to The happening completely is fortuitous. The popularmagazines zeal. Sometimes.Their language. This plan is so vast that each to individualcontributionto it is infinitesimal. but it falls down completelyin Tltin. For them.invoked and dissolved momentarily. massof adjectives the corresponds a real object. faintest simultathe neousness bringsthem about. the other auditory-the colour of a sunriseand the distantcall of a .\U7e sometranscendental coniecture that this 'brave new world' was the work of a secret society of astronomers. and geometricians.that its transparenttigers and its deserve unwaveringattentionof aII men. however. far lessfor submitting that inventiveness a strict.This bold estimatebrings us back to the basicproblem: who werethe peoplewho had inventedTltin? The plural is we unavoidable.the zoology and topographyof Tltin. there are impersonalverbs qualifiedby monosyllabic suffixesor prefixeswhich havethe force of adverbs. the world is not a concurrenceof objects in space.) The previouspassage refersto the languages the southernhemisphere. but the monosyllabic the adjective. For example. one visual. Tl6n wasthoughtto be nothing more than a chaos. It is serial and temporal. freeand irresponsible a work of the imagination. This dictum is emphaticallytrue as it appliesto our world. moralists. ?noon oz)er seawould be written hldr ufang The or rose the axaxaxasmlii. The nationsof that planetare congenitally idealist. so lucid and clearis the scheme of maintained havepublicized.It is enoughto note that the apparentcontradictions the eleventhvolume are the basisfor in proving the existence the others. to put it in order: upward beyond constantflous the thqe was (Xul Solar translatesit succinctly: upward. In the chosen example. I think. of Hume remarkedonceand for all that the arguments Berkeleywerenot only of thoroughly unanstverablebut thoroughly unconvincing. painters.There are no nounsin the hypotheticalUrsprache Tl6n. ORBIS'TER'TIUS 65 one generationof Tltinists would be enough. biologists.chemists.and that the strict laws which governit havebeen carefullyformulated. metaphysicians. literature.engineers. systematicplan.albeit provisionally. or. the Leibnitz working in modestobscurity. now it was clear that it is a completecosmos. one says airy-clear ozser dark-round orange-faint-of-sky someother accumulaor or tion.There areobjectsmadeup of two sense elements.To beginwith. which is the of source of the living languageand the dialects. but not spatial.accordingto poetic necessity.In the literatureof this hemisphere (as in the lesserworld of Meinong). under the supervisionof an unknown all genius. UQBAR. mathematicians. it mooned. basicunit is not the verb. behindthe onstreaming moondling.there is no word correspondingto the noun rnoon.TLON. but a heterogeneous seriesof independentacts. with its derivatives-religion. of In (the eleventhvolumehaslittle informationon thoseof the nothernhemisphere its Ursprache). and metaphysics-presupposes idealism. poets. because haveunanimously rejected ideaof a singlecreator.

'past moments' is inadmissible.is that sciences number. they are after a kind of amazement. . des advanceto be a dialecticalgame. 1921. nobody would understandthe juxtaposition of the of first. however.* Another school hope.conjectures that our planetwas createda few of ago. with the second. that is of classifyingit. explain This monism. The paradox.that the future hasno other reality than memory. thereis only to It is no exaggeration statethat in the classical that of psychology.They consider is literature. invalidates To idealism. in countless rational thought. In philosophy.which can in no way affect Eachstateof mind is irreducible. The metaphysicians Tltin are not looking for truth.or extreme or to iudge an eventis to identify or unite it with anotherone.the degreeobiects can be combined with others. The fact that no one believes paradoxicallyenough.They know that a system nothing metaphysics branchof fantastic a of more than the subordinationof all the aspects the universeto someone of the be them. let alone to exist. using certain abbreviations. moments . The perceptionof a cloud of smoke of on the horizon and. There are famouspoemsmade up of one is enormousword. which is only characteristic certain statesof being. The languages the northern hemisphereof Tliin include all the namesin Indoof Europeanlanguages-plusa greatmany others. such connexionis a later stagein the mind of the observer. Other obiectsare madeup of many elements-the sun. the water against when the eyesare the swimmer'schest. unbelievablesystems. From all in this.All others are subordinatedto it. a word which in truth forms a poetic object.and of pastmoments.since it supposes the in operarion. . that there is no limit to the numbers of them.and providedwith a humanitywhich'remembers'anillusory past.The mereact of or illuminatethe earlierstage. of a half: extinguished cigar which caused the conflagration would be consideredan of exampleof the association ideas. culture of Tl6n. put it anotherway-they do not To which is a in conceive the spatialaseverlasting time.Thesesecond closed. Spinozaattributes to the inexhaustiblydivine in man the qualities of extension and of thinking. In Tl6n. In Tliin. writer. implies a falsification of it. it would be possible deducethat there is no science Tltin.a Philosophie Als Ob. the samething happensas happenswith the nouns in systemis bound in The fact that any philosophical the northern hemisphere. the another impossible plural.the vaguequivering pink which one sees feeling of being swept away by a river or by sleep.beautifully constructed or else sensationalin of effect.completely science. One of the schools Tl6n hasreached point of denyingtime.66 THE BOOK OF FANTASY bird. remarked that the men of that planet conceiveof the universe as a seriesof only asa time sequence.page l59). Even the phrase'allthe aspects'can rejected. I have one discipline. later. is that It reasons the present undefined.the process practically an infinite one.the creationof the that nounsrefer to an actualreality means. perfectsynonymfor the cosmos.sinceit presupposes impossible inclusionof the presentmoment. later.Evenso.that the pastis no morethan present aspresent *Russell(The Analysis Mind. of the countrysideon fire and. whoseunfoldingis to be understood mentalprocesses. meansthat systems abound. nor even for an approximation of it. giving it a name.

sinceit assumes what must be demonstrated-the continuing existence of the four coins betweenThursday and Tuesday. three between Tuesday Friday afternoon. Another believesthat. Y finds on the road four coins. based on the reckless use of two neological expressions. we are awakesomewhere else. There are many versionsof this 'feat of of specious reasoning' which vary the number of coins and the number of Here is the commonest: discoveries. .Somethinkers haveformulatedit with lessclarity than zeal. Z comes across three coins in the road. Another maintainsthat the universeis comparable thosecodesystems which not all to in the symbolshave meaning. that is.and in which only that which happensevery three hundredth night is true. is the handwriting produced by a minor god in order to communicatewith a demon.They declared to that it was a verbal fallacy. On Friday. the defendersof conrmon sense confined themselves denying the truth of the anecdote. ventures X alonga deserted roadandloses nine coppercoins.dbeit in somesecret way. doubtlessfalse and fragmented.They explainedthat equality is with the duodecimalsystem. one eleventhcenturyf heresiarchoffered the parableof nine copper coins. rain-has only metaphysical value. suppose to that four of the coins have not existedbetweenTuesdayand Thursday.and contrary to the laws of not by strict thought-the verbs to find and ro /oseentail a petitioprincipii. two between and and Tuesday Friday and morning.Another schoolhas it that the history ot the universe. on Thursday. since they presuppose that the first nine coins and the secondare identical. On Friday morning.s rain'. manq6Thursday.which contains the history of our lives and the most tenuousdetailsof them. The languageof Tl6n is by its nature resistant to the formulation of this paradox. It is logicalto assume that they hazte existed. On Tuesday. and that thus every man is two men. They denied the misleading detail 'somewhatrusted by rUfednesday. asone might put forward a paradox. in accordance forty-four years.signifiesa period of one hundred and fA century. ueBAR. none has occasioned greaterscandalthan the doctrine of materialism.lIt is absurd.he states. somewhatrusted by Wednesday's rain. X finds two coins in the corridor of his house. substantiated common usage. of an irrevocable process. At first. V(/ednesday. the continuity. while we are asleep here.of the nine recovered coins. in a manner whoseunderstanding concealed is from men.in all threeplaces. in every moment.To clarify the generalunderstanding of this unlikely thesis. Among the doctrinesof Tl0n. [The heresiarchis trying to deduce from this story the reality. oRBIs TERTIUs 67 declares that the wlnle of tine has alreadyhappened and that our life is a vague memory or dim reflection.TLON.most peopledo not understandit. They recalled that any noun-man. which enioyedin Tl6n the samenoisy reputation as did the Eleatic paradoxes Zeno in their day.

They arguedthus: that if equality entailsidentity. The latter systemcorresponds our geometry. All men who repeat one line of Shakespeare are $flilliam Shakespeare.one thinker no lessbrilliant the heresiarch himself.and statesthat. and then with all probity explore the psychologyof this interestinghomme lettres. visualone and a The geometry Tl6n hastwo somewhat of a tactile one.. volumegivesus to understand that there were three principal reasons which led to the completevictory of this pantheistic idealism. \tr7e the sourceof all-knowing is single and eternal. advanced most a than daring hypothesis. it would haveto be admitted at the sametime that the nine coinsare only one coin.A critic who is timeless and two dissimilarworks-the Tao T0 Ching and The Thousand One will choose Nights. and that this indivisible Individual is every one of the separate beingsin the universe. the dominant notion is that everything is the work of one singleauthor.The conceptof plagiarismdoesnot that all books are the work of one single writer. . exist. and formulated a kind of reductio absurdum.they asked. distinct systems. All men.First. Schopenhauer. make up the only reality there is. The eleventh . one of the churches of Tliin maintains platonically that such and such a pain.and that thosebeingsare the instrumentsand masksof divinity itself.The fact that severalindividualscounting the same quantity arrive at the sameresult is. it has been established and anonymous. for Third. X finds only two in the corridor because remembersthat the he othershavebeenrecovered. Z finds threecoinsbecause remembers he that X lost them. it repudiated solipsism. claimthat this pain is the was They saidthat the heresiarch motivatedmainly by the oneeachtime?* same blasphemousintention of attributing the divine category of being to some he ordinarycoins:and that sometimes wasdenyingplurality. them from statesthat the operationof counting modifiesquantitiesand changes indefinitesinto definites.they considerit to inferior to the former. suffer a hypothetical caseof nine men who. on nine successive the to violentpain. as man movesabout. but in the orthodox tradition.not the point. are the same man. such and such a sound etc. it Second. The arithmeticalsystem is basedon the idea of indefinite numbers.theserefutationswere not conclusive. de *Nowadays.he altersthe forms which surroundhim.This felicitoussuppositiondeclaredthat there is only one Individual.After the problem for had beenstatedand restated a hundred years. Criticism is prone to invent authors. . \fould it not be ridiculous. it permittedthe cult of the gods to be retained. It emphasizes importanceof the the greater which our mathematicians symbolize ) and <. saytheir psychologists.68 THE BOOK OF FANTASY ad one thing and identity another.. Booksare rarely signed. The foundationof visual geometryis the surface. advanced very similartheoryin the first volumeof his Parerga a und Paralipomena. . such and such a greenish-yellow colour. Amazingly enough. the passionate and clear-headed Schopenhauer. It as concepts and lesser. in the climatic instant of coitus. X is Y and is Z. exampleof the an alreadyknow that in Tl6n of association ideasor the good use of memory. In literary matterstoo. This systemrejectsthe principle of parallelism.let us say-and attribute them to the samewriter. nights. such and such a temperature. madepossible the retentionof a psychological basis the sciences. at other timesnot.

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69

The books themselves also odd. \$florksof fiction are basedon a single are plot, which runs through every imaginable permutation. \|(Iorks of natural philosophy invariably include thesisand antithesis,the strict pro and con of a theory. A book which does not include its opposite, or 'counter-book',is incomplete. considered of and centuries idealismhavenot failedto influencereality. In the Centuries for of very oldestregions Tlcin, it is not an uncommonoccurrence lost objectsto be duplicated.Two peoplearelookingfor a pencil;the first onefinds it and says pencil,no lessreal, but morein keepingwith finds a second nothing;the second objectsare called hri)nir and, even though his expectation.These secondary awkward in form, are a little larger than the originals. Until recently, the hrdnir It and children of absent-mindedness forgetfulness. seems were the accidental production of them has been going on for improbable that the methodical almost a hundred years,but so it is statedin the eleventhvolume. The first is the operandi worthy of note. The attemptswerefruitless.Nevertheless, modus prisonsannounced the convictsthat in an ancient to director of one of the state river bed certaintombswereto be found, and promisedfreedomto any prisoner who made an important discovery.In the months precedingthe excavation, printed photographs what was to be found were shown the prisoners.The of first attemptprovedthat hopeand zealcould be inhibiting; a weekof work with in shovel and pick succeeded unearthing no hriin other than a rusty wheel, waslater This waskept a secret,and the experiment postdating experiment. the repeatedin four colleges.In three of them the failure was almost complete; in the fourth (the director of which died by chanceduring the initial excavation), dug up-or produced-a gold mask,an archaicsword,two or three the students earthenwareurns, and the moldered mutilated torso of a king with an inscription on his breast which has so far not been deciphered.Thus was who of nature of the discovered unfitness witnesses wereaware the experimental producedobjectswhich contradicted one of the search.. . Massinvestigations spontaneous, preferred. are another;now, individual proiects,asfar aspossible of development hriinir, states eleventhvolume,hasbeenof the The methodical It to service archaeologists. hasallowedthem to questionand evento enormous modify the past, which nowadaysis no less malleableor obedient than the and third degree-that is, the future. One curiousfact: the hriinirof the second hriinir derived from another hriin, and the hriinir derived from the hriin of a hriin-exaggeratethe flaws of the original; thoseof the fifth degreeare almost with thoseof the second; uniform; thoseof the ninth canbe confused and those of the eleventhdegreehavea purity of form which the originalsdo not possess. is The process a recurrentone; a hriinof the twelfth degree beginsto deteriorate the in quality. Strangerand more perfectthan any hrtinis sometimes zr, which is an a thing producedby suggestion, object brought into being by hope. The greatgold mask I mentionedpreviouslyis a distinguished example. Things duplicatethemselves Tltin. They tend at the sametime to efface in themselves, losetheir detailwhen peopleforget them. The classic to example is that of a stonethresholdwhich lastedas long as it wasvisited by a beggar,and

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THE BOOK OF FANTASY

a which fadedfrom sight on his death.Occasionally, few birds, a horseperhaps, (1940.SahoOriental.) havesavedthe ruins of an amphitheatre.

articlejust asit appearedinThe Book Postscipt. 1947.I reprint the foregoing of Fantasy, L940,omitting no more than somefigures of speech,and a kind of burlesquesummingup, which now strikesme asfrivolous. Somany things have happened sincethat date. . . . I will confinemyself to putting them down. In March, 1941,a manuscriptletter by Gunnar Erfiord cameto light in a volume of Hinton, which had belongedto Herbert Ashe. The envelope bore the postmarkof Ouro Preto.The letter cleared entirelythe mysteryof Tl6n. The up text of it confirmed Martinez Estrada'sthesis. The elaboratestory beganone century. A benevolent night in Lucerne or London, in the early seventeenth secretsociety(which counted Dalgarno and, later, GeorgeBerkeley amongits members) came together to invent a country. The first tentative plan gave prominence to 'hermetic studies', philanthropy, and the cabala. Andreii's curious book dates from that first period. At the end of some years of conventicles premature and syntheses, they realized that a singlegeneration was not long enoughin which to define a country. They madea resolutionthat each one of the master-scholars involved shouldelect a discipleto carry on the work. prevailed;and after a hiatus of two centuries,the That hereditaryarrangement persecutedbrotherhood reappeared America. About 1824, in Memphis, in Tennessee, of the members one with the millionaireascetic, had a conversation Ezra Buckley. Buckley listenedwith somedisdain as the other men talked, and then burst out laughing at the modestyof the project. He declaredthat in America it was absurd to invent a country, and proposedthe invention of a whole planet. To this gigantic idea, he added another, born of his own nihilism*-that of keepingthe enormousproiect a secret.The twenty volumes of the Encyclopaedia Bitannica were then in circulation; Buckley suggested a systematic encyclopedia the imaginaryplanet. He would leavethe societyhis of mountain rangeswith their gold fields, his navigablerivers, his prairies where bull and bison roamed, his Negroes,his brothels, and his dollars, on one condition: 'The work will have no uuck with the imposter Jesus Christ.' Buckley did not believein God, but nevertheless wished to demonstrate the to nonexistentGod that mortal men were capableof conceivinga world. Buckley was poisonedin Baton Rougein 1828;in 1914,the societyforwardedto its collaborators, three hundred in number, the final volume of the First Encyclopaedia Tliin. The edition was secret; the forty volumes which of comprisedit (the work wasvasterthan any previouslyundertakenby men) were to be the basisfor another work, more detailed, and this time written, not in of English, but in someone of the languages Tl0n. This review of an illusory world was called, provisionally, Orbis Tertius,and one of its minor demiurges wasHerbert Ashe,whetherasan agentof GunnarESord, or asa full associate, I do not know. The fact that he receiveda copy of the eleventhvolume would
*Buckley was a freethinker, a fatalist, and an apologist for slavery.

TLON,

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7l

view. But what aboutthe others?About 1942,eventsbeganto favour the second speedup. I recall with distinct clarity one of the first, and I seemto have felt somethingof its premonitory character.It occurredin an apartmenton the Calle Laprida, facing a high open balconywhich looked to the west. From Poitiers, the Princess FaucignyLucinge had received silver table service.Out of of her the recesses a crate, stamped all over with international markings, fine of immobile pieceswere emerging-silver plate from Utrecht and Paris, with hard heraldic fauna, a samovar.Amongst them, trembling faintly, iust perceptibly, like a sleepingbird, was a magneticcompass. shiveredmysteriously.The It princessdid not recognizeit. The blue needlelonged for magneticnorth. The metal casewasconcave.The letters on the dial corresponded thoseof one of to of the alphabets Tltin. Suchwasthe first intrusion of the fantasticworld into the real one. A disturbing accidentbrought it about that I was alsowitnessto the second.It happenedsomemonths afterwardsin a grocery store belongingto a Brazilian, in Cughilla Negra. Amorim and I were on our way back from Sant'Anna.A suddenrising of the Tacuaremb6river compelledus to test (and to suffer patiently) the rudimentary hospitality of the generalstore. The grocer set up some creaking cots for us in a large room, cluttered with barrels and wineskins. rUfewent to bed, but were kept from sleepinguntil dawn by the drunkenness of an invisible neighbour, who alternated between shouting indecipherable abuseand singingsnatchesofmilonga.s, rather, snatches the or of samernilonga.As might be supposed, attributed this insistent uproar to the we fiery rum of the proprietor. . . At dawn, the man lay deadin the corridor. The of coarseness his voicehad deceived he wasa young boy. In his delirium, he us; had spilled a few coins and a shining metal cone, of the diameterof a die, from his heavygauchobelt. A servinglad tried to pick up this cone-in vain. It was scarcelypossiblefor a man to lift it. I held it in my hand for someminutes. I remember that it was intolerably heavy, and that after putting it down, its remained.I alsorememberthe precisecircle it markedin my flesh. oppression This manifestationof an obiect which wasso tiny and at the sametime so heavy left me with an unpleasant sense of abhorrence and fear. A countryman proposedthat it be thrown into the rushing river. Amorim acquiredif for a few pesos.No one knew anything of the dead man, only that 'he camefrom the frontier'. Those small and extremelyheavycones,made of a metal which does not exist in this world, are imagesof divinity in certain religions in Tltln. part of my narrative.The rest, when it is not in Here I conclude personal the their hopesor their fears,is at least in the memoriesof all my readers.It is enoughto recall or to mention subsequent events,in as few words as possible; that concave basin which is the collectivememory will furnish the wherewithal to enrich or amplify them. About 1944, a reporter from the Nashville, Tennessee, Arnnicdn uncovered,in a Memphis library, the forty volumesof the FirstEncyclopaedia Tliin Even now it is uncertainwhether this discoverywas of accidental,or whether the directorsof the still nebulousOrbls Tertius condoned it. The secondalternativeis more likely. Someof the more improbablefeatures of the eleventh volume (for example, the multiplying of the hriinir) had been either removedor modified in the Memphis copy. It is reasonable suppose to

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THE BOOK OF FANTASY

that theseerasures were in keepingwith the plan of projectinga world which would not be too incompatiblewith the real world. The dissemination obiects of from Tl6n throughout variouscountrieswould complementthat plan. . .* The fact is that the internationalPressoverwhelmingly hailed the 'find'. Manuals, anthologies,summaries, literal versions, authorized reprints, and pirated editions of the Master \trflorkof Man poured and continue to pour out into the world. Almost immediately, reality gaveground on more than one point. The truth is that it hankered give ground.Ten yearsago,any symmetrical to system whatsoever which gavethe appearance order-dialectical materialism,antiof Semitism,Nazism-was enoughto fascinate men. \ilfhy not fall under the spell of Tltin and submit to the minute and vast evidenceof an ordered planet? Useless reply that reality, too, is ordered.It may be so, but in accordance to with divine laws-I translate:inhuman laws-which we will nevercompletely perceive. Tltin may be a labyrinth, but it is a labyrinth plotted by men, a labyrinth destinedto be deciphered men. by Contact with Tl6n and the ways of Tltin have disintegratedthis world. Captivatedby its discipline, humanity forgets and goeson forgetting that it is the disciplineof chessplayers,not of angels.Now, the conjectural'primitive language' Tl0n hasfound its way into the schools. of Now, the teachingof its harmonious history, full of stirring episodes, obliteratedthe history which has dominatedmy childhood.Now, in all memories,a fictitious past occupies the placeof any other. \Ufle know nothing aboutit with any certainty, not eventhat it is false. Numismatics,pharmacology, and archaeology have been revised. I gather that biology and mathematicsare awaiting their avatar. . . A scattered dynastyof solitaries changed faceof the world. Its taskcontinues. our has the If foresight is not mistaken,a hundred yearsfrom now someone will discoverthe hundred volumesof the Second Encyclopaedia Tlbh. of Then, English, French, and mere Spanishwill disappear from this planet. The world will be Tliin. I take no notice. I go on revising, in the quiet of the daysin the hotelat Androgud,a tentativetranslation into Spanish, the styleof in which I do not intend to seepublished,of Sir ThomasBrowne'sUrn Quevedo, Burial.

tThere remains, naturally, the problem of matter of which some of these obiects consisted.

Odin
,T,h.y saythat an old man arrived onenight, wrappedin a dark cloak, with the I brim of his hat down over his eyes,at the court of Olaf Tryggvason,which had been convertedto the new faith. The king asked him if he could do anything; the strangerreplied that he could play the harp and tell stories. He playedold tuneson the harp, he talked aboutGudrun and Gunnarand, finally, he told of the birth of Odin. He saidthat the three Parcae cameand that the first two promisedmuch happiness, the third saidangrily, 'The child shall live but no longerthan the candle which burnsat his side.'His parents then blew out the candleso that Odin shouldn't die. Olaf Tryggvasondidn't believethe story; the strangerinsistedthat it was true, took out a candleand lit it. As they were watchingit burn, the man saidit waslate and that he must go. \fhen the candle had burneditself out, they went searching him. A few stepsfrom the king's for house,Odin had died. JORGELUIS BORGESand DELIA INGENIEROS

The GoldenKite, TheSilaerWind
Ray Bradbury (bom 1920), Arneican witq of fantasy and science fiction, beganwiting for cheapgenre magazinesin the 1940s, but deoelopeda poetic, eoocatioestyle that is eoident in collections such as Dark Carnival (1947), The October Country (1955) and The Martian Chronicles (1950), as well as in nooels/ifte Something r$(iickedThis tVay Comes (1962) and Fahrenheit 451 (1953).

Tn the shapeof a pig?' cried the Mandarin. I'In the shapeof a pigr' said the messenger, departed. and 'oh, what an evil day in an evil yearr' cried the Mandarin. 'The town of Kwan-Si,beyondthe hill, wasvery smallin my childhood.Now it hasgrown so largethat at last they are building a wall.' 'But why shoulda wall two miles away makemy goodfather sadand angry all within the hour?' askedhis daughterquietly.

(

73

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THE BOOK OF FANTASY

'They build their wall,' saidthe Mandarin,'in the shape a pig! Do you see? of Our own city wall is built in the shapeof an orange.That pig will devour us, greedily!' 'Ah.' They both sat thinking. Life was full of symbols and omens. Demons lurked everywhere,Death of swamin the wetness an eye,the turn of a gull's wing meantrain, a fan held so, the tilt of a roof, and, yes, even a city wall was of immense importance. Travellers and tourists, caravans,musicians, artists, coming upon these two 'The city shaped like an orange? towns, equallyiudging the portents,would say, No! I will enter the city shapedlike a pig and prosper, eating all, growing fat with good luck and prosperity!' The Mandarin wept. 'All is lost! These symbolsand signs terrify. Our city will come on evil days.' 'Thenr' said the daughter, 'call in your stonemasons temple builders. I and will whisper from behind the silken screenand you will know the words.' 'Ho, stonemasons! builders Ho, The old man clappedhis handsdespairingly. of towns and palaces!'

The men who knew marble and granite and onyx and quartz camequickly. The Mandarin facedthem most uneasily,himself waiting for a whisperfrom the silken screenbehind his throne. At last the whisper came. 'I have called you herer' said the whisper. 'I havecalledyou herer'saidthe Mandarinaloud, 'because city is shaped our like an orange,and the vile city of Kwan-Si has this day shapedtheirs like a pig- -' ravenous groanedand wept. Death rattled his canein the outer Here the stonemasons of courtyard. Poverty madea soundlike a wet cough in the shadows the room. 'And sor' saidthe whisper,said the Mandarin, 'you raisersof walls must go bearing trowels and rocks and changethe shapeof our city!' gasped.The Mandarin himself gasped what he at The architectsand masons 'And you will change The Mandarinwent on: had said.The whisperwhispered. our walls into a club which may beat the pig and drive it off!' rose up, shouting. Even thg Mandarin delighted at the The stonemasons 'Quick!' he his mouth, applauded,stood down from his throne. words from 'To work!' cried. When his men had gone, smiling and bustling, the Mandarin turned with 'Daughterr'he whispered,'I will embrace you.' greatlove to the silken screen. and shewas gone. There was no reply. He steppedaroundthe screen, Suchmodesty,he thought. Shehad slippedawayand left me with a uiumph, as if it were mine. The news spreadthrough the city; the mandarin was acclaimed.Everyone carried sroneto the walls. Fireworks were set off and the demonsof death and poverty did not linger, asall worked together.At the end of the month the wall had been changed.It was now a mighty bludgeon with which to drive pigs,

THE GOLDEN KITE, THE SILVER \TgIND

75

boars, even lions, far away. The Mandarin slept like a happy fox every night. 'I would like to seethe Mandarinof Kwai-Si when the newsis learned.Such pandemoniumand hysteria; he will likely throw himself from a mountain! A little more of that wine, oh Daughter-who-thinks-like-a-son.'

But the pleasure waslike a winter flower; it died swiftly. That very afternoon the messenger rushed into the courtroom. 'Oh, Mandarin, disease,early grasshopper plagues,and poisonedwell water!' sorrow, avalanches, The Mandarin trembled. 'The town of Kwan-Si,' said the messenger, 'which was built like a pig and which animal we drove away by changingour walls to a mighty stick, has now turned triumph to winter ashes. They havebuilt their city's walls like a great bonfire to burn our stick!' The Mandarin's heart sickenedwithin him, like an autumn fruit upon an ancient tree.'Oh, gods! Travelers will spurn us. Tradesmen, reading the symbols, will turn from the stick, so easily destroyed,to the fire, which all!' conquers 'Nor'said a whisperlike a snowflakefrom behind the silken screen. 'Nor' said the startledMandarin. 'Tell my stonemasonsr' the whisper that said was a falling drop of rain, 'to build our walls in the shapeof a shining lake.' The mandarinsaid this aloud, his heart warmed. 'And with this lake of waterr' said the whisper and the old man, 'we will quenchthe fire and put it out forever!' The city turned out in ioy to learn that onceagainthey had beensavedby the magnificent Emperor of ideas.They ran to the walls and built them nearerto this new vision, singing,not asloudly asbefore,of course,for they weretired, andnot asquickly, for sinceit had takena month to build the wall the first time, they had had to neglectbusiness cropsand thereforeweresomewhat and weaker and poorer. There then followed a succession horrible and wonderful days, one in of another like a nest of frightening boxes. 'Oh, Emperorr' cried the messenger, 'Kwan-Si has rebuilt their walls to resemble mouth with which to drink all our lake!' a 'Thenr' saidthe Emperor,standingvery 'build our closeto his silken screen, walls like a needleto sewup that mouth!' 'Emperor!' screamed messenger. 'They make their walls like the a sword to break your needle!' 'Then shift the stones The Emperorheld, trembling, to the silken screen. to form a scabbard sheathe to that sword!' 'Mercyr'wept the messenger following the morn, 'they haveworkedall night and shaped their walls like lightning which will explode and destroy thar sheath!' Sicknessspread in the city like a pack of evil dogs. Shopsclosed. The population,working now steadilyfor endless monthsupon the changing the of

cried out: At last the whisperbehind the screen 'In the nameof the gods. resembled Death himself. Funeralsbeganto appearin the streets.Then our wallsmust be a net for that eagle.76 THEBooKoFFANTASY walls.embraced.sendfor Kwan-Si!' Upon the last day of summerthe Mandarin Kwan-Si. a warrior. will make a last nothingmoreor lessthan the wind. 'It is nothing. The voice behind the screen was weak now. What doesit need to sustainit and make it beautifuland truly spiritual?' 'The wind. like the wind in the eaves.And the kite will breakthe sameness the wind's existence and give it purposeand meaning. the Swordand this. and faint. and other things.' all will be beautyand co-operation Whereuponthe two mandarinswere so overjoyedthat they took their first and weregivenstrength. lavished in nourishment days.' 'This I admitr' said the mandarinsof the towns of the Cage. Coloredkites. to love. our citiesto a differentshape and to fish.the sameness the of sky. They are a our net. clattering his white bones like musical instrumentsin the wind.' saidthe faint voice. The wind will beautify the kite and carry it to of wondrousheights. They haveno time to hunt. And we rebuildingof your town to resemble shall build like a goldenkite. Together.' said the Mandarin's daughter. 'Those are nothing but kitesr' said the two old men. The first Mandarin'sdaughterstoodby his bed.The wereproppedup.the Fire. too. to break the monotony. miserably giving his architecturalorders.momentarily praiseupon eachother. of course!'said the others. The old men were borne out under the sun and up a little hill. 'But what is a kite on the ground?'shesaid.' The old men nodded. 'Kwan-Si is an eagle. Then we build a moon to eclipsetheir sun!' sun to burn Like a rustedmachine. a time when all should be tending and harvesting. Almost immediatelythey pillar. to be good to their ancestors their ancestors' children. 'Carry us into the sunlightr' said the voice.the city ground to a halt. Kwan-Si. a stone son.the color of the seaand the color of coinsand wheat. A voicesaid: 'Let us put an end to this. and frogs and grass. very ill and withered away. a man.One without the other is nothing. that. Their breaths flutteredlike two mandarins winter winds in their mouths. of course-many kites. and a true and unforgettable .the Moon. 'Seer'she said.wascarriedinto our Mandarin's courtroomby four starvingfootmen. 'This cannotgo on. the Spear. and a long and enduringlife. 'You.The Mandarin fell so ill that he had his bed drawn up by the silken screenand there he lay. everyhour. calledthe Mandarin'sdaughtera boy. 'And what do the sky and the wind needto make thembeautiful?' 'A kite.'Our peopledo nothing but rebuild everyday. flying!' 'So. In the late a summerbreeze few very thin children wereflying dragonkites in all the colors of the sun. facingeachother.though it was the middle of summer.

His best fiction anthologies. Perhaps hadn't evenbeenawareof it. a stockingcap stretched over and encasing arms.without his giving it a thought. . his hand the left. that our real homeis another(and slower)globe-which.And ran on everynight of the yearthe inhabitantsin the Town of the Kite could hear the goodclearwind sustainingthem. the that Obstfelderwasright. that man is a srranger. only logic possibility. . and beautifyingthem.And harvestings were harvested and business tended again. And so. takessevenhours more than the Earth to rotate aboutits own axis .a his saggingtent-like umbrella dimming out the outsideworld. In the paper he read about a Frenchman who for variousreasons had himselfimprisoned.whispering. . well as witing plays.inside had a small chamber300 feet under the earth's surface.rising. children'sstories (1974). oneof Norway's leadingauthors. that this is the genuineEden-the gardenwe havebeen turned out from Ptk pointed in amazement his own mirror image. TheMan Who Collected the Firstof September. Now the grey film he had thickenedto a crust.THE MAN WHO COLLECTED THE FIRST OF SEPTEMBER. calling out and singing. . And thosein the Town of the \7ind could hear the kite singing. edited number has a of as science and nooels. The handsof his wristwatchflamed.and at neither aspirinsnor valium was able to make him think otherwise. 'So be itr' said the Mandarin in front of his silken screen. and he no longerknew on which side his hair was parted: the mirror said the right. 1973 77 parted and hurried to their towns.and the flesh returned. But no one dared of to makethe inference. imaginatioe work is r'zKaravane I that he wasaboutto losehis grip on reality. In fact it had been Dtk discovered I building up for years(he suddenly realized)-without his caring. .but counts hoursin theday-night 3l cycle. the towns becamethe Town of the Golden Kite and the Town of the Silver tilflind. scientistswere able to affirm that man has 'a 'is naturalrhythm-a buih-intimekeeper'and this time-keeper notadjusted that to thesun. 1973 Tor Age Bringsvaerd(bornlg3g). weakly but happily.naked.instead 24'. in time.\trfhenhe returned from isolation after three months.and disease off like a frightenediackal. lighted by an unknown sun.

He dared not blink for fear that Friday the 24th might weigh down his eyelids. bought all of that day's Oslo papers(Saturdaythe l8th of August 1973)and went home. frying or chewingit over.And evenso . column by column.in order to get under the creature'sskin by meansof the 1973.and wasall set glue. despitethe best will in the world . Having considered of tissue. .In a detailedstudy of one singlehead. scissors. paediaat hand. beasthe resigned. study of papersfrom the rest of Scandinavia. an notesand xerox copieson his bedroomwalls. . He developed interestin curves and diagrams.but choseinstead Confrontedwith reality as a many-headed to cut off one of the heads. He had his fixed seatin the university library. $7hen at last he felt that he had got some sort of grip on Saturday the l8th of August.to try to orientatehimself in the reality he was strandedin. He readthem thoroughly-page by page.78 THE BOOK OF FANTASY il Ptk decidedto facehis everyday. clung like ivy to his legs and tightened like a belt the 22nd and round his stomach. in the meantimeTuesdaythe 2lst of August had arrived-and reality had changedits facethree times. He went out. . Saturdaythe 25th went over his head completely.He who consumes much newshas no time for boiling.News fell in heapsaround his feet. Ptk realizedthat the sum on of information wastoo weighty for any singleman to balance his head. He went to eveningclasses Spanishand Russian. but is obliged to swalloweverything political digestionand protectivefatty layers raw and whole. He selected lst of September he advance had equippeda cornerof his bedroomasa laboratory. and at night he stuck cuttings. He fought in despair against \$fednesday Thursday the 23rd. paper and a 24-volumecalf-boundencyclowith a typewriter. . . ilI too Ptk realizedthat he'd actedin haste.Ptk wrote to papersall over the world and askedfor a copy or from the lst of September1973-whether he had commandof the language in not. V Soon his bedroom grew too small. t$(/ithouthesitation he delved into the primarily Denmark and Sweden. he decided to attack the problem from quite a different angle. In order to make his material for study as completeaspossible. IV By the end of OctoberPtk had finished all the Norwegianpapersfrom the lst of September(including weekly papers).

and as championGeorgeForeman struck a powerful right hook the photographaswell as the picture curled up.the rooms were divided with hundreds of partitions.a fridge. a coffee table and a wooden chair there was no furniturel no ornaments. the storm of fire. But whenever anyone spoke of the war in South America. about4.). wason his way homefrom a privatelesson Mongolian wasin he dialects. a bed. choosingthat particular day!' He still used the partition system.But here he had mainly Deaths from the personalcolumnsand unAll sortedobituaries. Apart from a cooker.he spent all his time in his historical archives. absolute whole archive was in ashes. and spentthe rest of his life (two years)in hospital.and when he met one of them in the street(going to or from his office) he found it hard to carry on a sensible conversation. only neededhalf a wall.THE MAN $rHO COLLECTED THE FIRST OF SEpTEMBER. By 1982he knew-more or less-twenty different languages and dialects.Somesubjects.ignored invitations.t$7hen openedhis front door the title fight world heavyweight flames. Nothing wassaved.)Ptk wasbadlyburnt. The Subiectturned out to be just about inexhaustible. while others. as for Business instance and Finance. Working hours apart (Ptk was an accountant). VII Twice he had to find a bigger flat. ft. It wasan PuertoRicanchallenger Beforethe fire brigadegot there.050sq. IX During these two years both doctors and patients tried in vain to get through to him. and the passages were so narrow that Ptk had to walk sidelong(very carefully) when he wanted to remind himself of an important cutting or add a new note. and busied himself organizing it all as systematically as possible. grew more and more appalledat how little peopleknew of the He lst of SeptemberL973.He neglectedfriends and relatives.coveredthe whole dining room alone(all in all thirty walls. 'lI7hat luck I had. But all the time there were more things to \Iflhowould have learn. 1973 79 VI Four yearslater his flat had beenexploitedto the full. VIII On a grey and cloudy day in February 1983a fire startedin the Gamesand in Ptk Sportsdepartment.had the telephone removedand madedetours.Not all subjectsrequired the sameamount of space.that is. like Temperatureand Wind. Ptk talked of . of peripheralinterest. guessed that so much had happenedon exactly the lst of September1973? 'What a coincidence!' saidto himself(he hadn't talkedto anyone Ptk elsefor six years). of course.(Apart from the two basementstore rooms. In the end he cut himself off completely.

If he waswilling to reply at all.Ptk smiled. Ptk was allowedthe peacehe so ardently yearnedfor.the birds and the sky.80 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Asia. Stil some bits were missing. One by one he brought forth the fragments. 'There'snothing we can do. a quarterof an hour. The picture shattered the hospital and filled all of the park outside. . 'A hopeless X And when no one tried any more.Ten minutes. .one by one he painstakinglyput them together. Somebits were still missing. He spenthis last three monthslying happily on his back.He now and then talked about on rescued after beingtrappedin a mini-submarine the floor of two Englishmen the Atlantic. Borderdisputes and cinemaadvertisements and diagrams. . If anyonementionedthe EEC. onedoctorsaid. But then one transparent he'd alreadybeendead . Most of the time Americanpresident caser'the doctorssaid. he referredto the king asthe crown prince and alwaysspokeof the as'Nixon'.The picture of the lst of September getting bigger and clearerday to day. Namesand numbersmelted into maps merged.' he was not. unfolded like a film and became with the trees.He found them.If the other patients talked about games. starting at the back righthand corner of his brain and working 1973slowly grew in his mind. He found them. His head becametoo small. And neither noticedthat it was autumn. The picture shatteredhis head and filled the whole hospital. Ptk replied that he thought South-East there still was a Norweigianmajority againstit-certainly he was. saidthe other. leftwards. Ptk always shook his head and mumbled something about an illegal punch and the first world championships in synchronizedswimming starting in Belgrade. A few. The picture filled his head.

later the rabbi of Rymanov.Gog u. polyglot and Sir Richard Burton (1821-90). The TaIe and thePoet explorer. it becameknown that on that day an edict directed to the against Jewsof the wholecountry had beenpresented the emperorfor his alwayshappened Time after time he took up his pen.translated Englislras For the Sakeof Heaven. orientalist. a despot imprisoned him in a stone tower.translated Englishas I and Thou. They would have of laughedout loud. so that the souppouredover the table. broke open the tower. Years afterwards. who laid low the city. the Hindu poet. (1937.Histoian of the orthodox philosophu. and lch und Du into Magog(1941. OnceRabbi Elimelekhwaseatingthe sabbath set servant the soupbowl down beforehim. 1945).died in Israel in 1965. Finally he signedthe paper. oersion o/A Thousandand One Nights. Lusiads (1880). and freed Tulsi Das. 1937). however. in 1878.did not smile. 81 . All at onceyoung Mendel. created the tale of Hanuman and his army of fulsi I monkeys. 1956). to interrupt him. bom in Austia. had not the presence their teacherrestrainedthem. Then he reachedfor the sandbut took the inkwell insteadand upsetit on the document.and thefirst unexpurgaged The Das. but something signature. Alone in his cell.Hereupon container he tore it up and forbadethem to put the edict beforehim again. He. Las as translated Lusiadasby thePortuguese Luis deCamiies 1524-80) athropologist. and from his meditation came Hanuman and his monkey army. He nodded to young Mendel and said: "Do not be afraid. the distinguished poet (c. into 1t is told: I The mealwith his disciples.tanslatedintoEnglisftas The Talesof Rabbi Nachman. my son!" Sometime after this.Rabbi TheCareless Martin Buber. His wnks includeDie Geschichtendes Rabbi Hassidicsectand existential Nachman(1906. what are you doing?They will put us all in iail!" The other disciplessmiled at thesefoolish words.cried out: "Rabbi. he fell to meditating. Rabbi Elimelekhraisedit and upset it.

his new capacity an invalid.and so. on of Shortparenthesis thePhilosoplry History He madehis entrance. Argentinianwriter. In the Ldinez newspaper Diario' this urban episodewas highlighted as a final incident in the struggle between Civilization and Barbarism.who for of fifteenyears had beena coachman with the Buenos AiresTram Company.Reartewas investedthe character symbolof Progress the anonymous of by columnist.in order to savea few minutes-he had a commitmentof a non-professional nature with one of the possiblehelpers at the LezamaPark charity fair. and given that the many miraclesof Nature do not include that of correctingmedicalerrors. Author of a collection talesof of (1935). Socr6ticas Pilar de Lusarreta. as though it were simple and incomplete.which was to direct and total. by virtue of the carelessness which preventedhim from stoppingthe horsesof his coachon the slopein Calle Comercior. in as (\(lhat personwith a limp haveyou seenwho doesn'twalk in a hurry. 1939):In 1964shepubtished El manto de No6 . The involuntary aggressor the last cart from Tucumfn was taken to the of Charity Hospital. and limping he entered the twentieth century. Juan Pedro Rearte left the hospital limping.broke his leg at the end of the last century.Author of Tres relatos Porteflos(1922). organizedby the Ladies of the Trust-shortened the poor tram driverls right leg by four centimetres. moustache 82 .His wasan allegorical turn-of-the-century accident:the tram he wasdriving ran into the last oxcartcrossing streets the of 'El the city centre. El Burro de Maruf (1925).This old Argentine. The good discipleof Pirovano. with someprecipation.he hadtreatedthe fracture.Fate is o Fool Arturo Cancela. In his haste attendthe charityevent.dipd in thesamccityin 1957. in one of whosewards he waited with the patienceof the humble for time to weld together the two fragmentsof tibia which had been violently separated the crashand no lessviolently put back in conractwith in each other by the hurried surgeonwho had administeredfirst aid.and of theptay El sin fantasyentitled Job el Opulento(1925)Celimena Caraz6n culto de los h6roes(in collaboration with Arturo Cancela. bom in BucnosAiresin 1882. Palabras (1928)Film Porteflo(1933). nor what 'Humberto I was still triumphantly paradingthrough the cities of Italy the crown and debonair inherited from his father. Argentiniannmselist and art titic. On hous into Jr*n PedroReartemadehisentrance the 20th centuty 'things come in threes' The arguablepopular principle that was never more obiectionable than in the case JuanPedroRearte.

left him to his misfortune.FATE IS A FOOL 83 stammerer who doesn't talk in a rush? The majestic slownessis the most obvious sign of faith in the effort. a natural attitude in all those is who are timid-a comedyI shallentitle Tlw Rodeos tlw Timid Man andwhich. like all historians.who. in some of solemnitywith a stammer. Now. on the other hand. Thesebelong Nothing could be further from his soul than suchspeculations. the dandywasinstinctively conservative. inflexible determinismof facts. . Beforeit cameinto force.what was. I'm certainalready. ills. with themselvest. Peoplefrom our provincesare instinctively awareof this law and take advantage it to the extent of combining. or even vaguelyfeel. Their pride in their status frangaise they outlined in the air with their was obviousat all times.revolutionaryvirtue par excellence. because law of occupational It until shouldhaveprotectedhim had not yet beendecreed. in their entirety to the historian of this episode. drainpipe trousers d la and short bootswith a high military heel. in the arabesques 'It is discontentment with oneself. silk scarf around the neck. in every rebellious spirit there is a great underlying timidity. that austerity. carnation behind the ear.whetherdue to obscurityof origin. he couldn't have waited in hospital all that time. Revolutionaryactivity is the violent reactionof the timid who disturb societyfor encouragement. We insist that the driver Rearte brought forward in unseemlyfashion his the accidents which entry into the presentcentury. And. without of reflectingon the injusticeof his fate or on the selfishness the Companywhich. merely because of they achievedtheir own spiritual liberation first. is in Sometimes. The Philosophy of History basicallyconsistsof that constant anachronism the which twists with the imagination. was not enacted sixteenyearslater. but even had he had any inkling of it. that leadsmany men to revolutionaryactivity. effectof that law hasbeenthe extension of It's true that the most noticeable periodsof convalescence. thoseiniured in their daily work quickly either got better or died. there is nobody more vain and are all men who are pleased about their person than those coachmen with their uniform peaked cap. r$flhich the sameas setting fire to somebody else'shousein order to warm up. Juan Pedro Rearte choseto get back to work as soon as possible.This is the secret psychologicalcauseof the desertion of so many impetuousprophetswho have left the emancipation their peoplehalf way. Tlte dandy and socialorder Juan Pedro Reartecouldn't think. which is the most completecure for all . what might have been and what should have been. . of It will not be a great success. although the one offered the greatestresistance . shallwrite a comedyfull of sharpobservations the subiectI I on amongstothers. shy losetheir timidity the and becomeconservative. when it is successful. would be a different matter if it were premiBredin Paris and were entitled Le dinur du timide. after fifteen years' service. any of the foregoing like all thoseof his professionhe was what was called in the colloquial because of as language the time a dandy. r$flhen losemy literary shyness.in everysense. the courseof revolutionaryactivity.) cases.blends in his reflectionsthe past and the present.the real and the possible. a physicaldefector the lack of brilliant spiritual conditions.

The Uni6n an Official Publication.'The July Revolution'. in the the of dizzydexterity with which they turned the brake handle. work frequentlyborrowedby his neighbours. where the bellicosedecorationof the Park of contrastedwith the studied attitude of statesmanship Alem. two oil paintings had and a few books. The former. he barely left his tidy celibate's bedroom. and the latter. But that return to obscurity was too short to give him time to reflect on the insubstantiality his pride. as though he had witlingly deserted post.It is pointless saythat neither the paintingsnor the books to had reproduced the birds. WhiteMagic and the Key to The to Secretary.84 THE BOOK OF FANTASY whips as they spurred on the horses. In the fortnight that passed until his return to work. because that multitude of songbirdshad all originatedfrom a singlecouplelegitimatelyinherited from a room-mate. The Businesses aid . in the sly sweetness of their compliments the maids. in addition to the pair of canaries which. he shyly his expressed desireto return to work. the sourceof all bad habits. particularly of the most terrible of all: the philosophicalvice of pessimismand timidity .Reartespentthe money.togetherwith the advicethat he should shortenthe heel of his left boot by threecentimetres order to partly restorethe balance his in of bearing. . Lozters' whoseepistolary he would neverdreamof goingand. Not until he left the high platform-mobile rostrum for compliments and insults-did the tram coachman return to his humblestatusasa proletarian. finally.Reartehad a few moments of leisure.who six yearsearlier had run off with all his savingsand his only two suits.Theymadehim take a few steps'to see his how his iegwasdoing'.Mr McNab. In addition he he gavehim fifty pesos. The relicsof a cohabitation However. imposingvolume which C{aica:In Origin and Trends. althoughhe didn't follow the advice. the administrator. proved to be so fertile. . Of that ill-fated cohabitation. in which the outline of in an illustriousorator stood out like a rock on a seaof three thousandidentical galleons. in compensation. He devotedall that time to caring for the two dozenpairs of canaries which were the luxury of his existence and the pride of his starusas a breederand tutor. As soon as he was out. and althoughhis limp wasvery obvious.and in the mockingcontemptof their insultsto to their rivals in the traffic. he went to the Company's Administrationwhere. in the flourishes with which they embellished most well-knownphrases popular tuneson their horns.which he had occupied the lastten yearsin a quiet house for on calle Perf. a Dreams. of Working ten hours a day. the tramdriver had never dared browsethrough. decided couldreturn to work in a fortnight'stime. because had a specialknack of teachingthe chicks the tuneshe played he on his tramdriver'shorn.Rearte had left. They werethe sameoneshis disloyalroom-mate like had abandoned his flight: 'The Meetingat the Cliff. they had no leisure time.in the daysfollowing his discharge from hospital.

posted him to hitching was complete. under the garagein which the trams were lined up with the wise air of beastsin the manger. making me the championof and that underdevelopment.a fictional story which had instilled in Reartea bewilderedmistrust of banksand bureauxde change. the old driver sat on the windowsill of a low window.the symbolof the greatconquests his centuryin the field of urban transport.several times a day Reartewould take from inside the stationto the middle of the street older.deeplymelancholic. He returned somewhatdiminished in physical stature. . but morally exalted by the glorious misfortune which earnedhim an item in 'El Diario'. for several in who outlinedarabesques the air with his whip. modestappendage minutes. in carriages Caridadstation. Opposite him a half-closed tap dripped isochronously and melancholically. by EduardoGutidrrez. can opposite effects On how a singlecause produce After that brief domesticrespitewhich Reartededicatedto teachingthe first few our barsof the waltz 'On the Waves'to his forty-eightcanaries. widening with imperceptible tenacity an eye in the water whose brightness livened up the hostile appearanceof the depot. A Road Accident Fifteen years after resigning himself to being a ghost of his pristine glory on the street. and after a But. . indeed. During training.'he saidto himself. .all human glory is ephemeral.'Bright's disease'-and not precisely the Bright of the Anglo Argentine Company-makes men become early risers. eachtime he tried to kick with his heel in warning. . allegorical The obscuredriver had for a time been the champion of progress. destinednow to be a the old trams. Rearte arrived at the station earlier than usual. which were becomingincreasingly to the motor coaches.the of of destroyer carts.' of And that.washow it was. which provoked much in bitter reflections the poor occasioned merrimentamongstthe other learners. driver. . Rearte witty and conquering behind his ear and played'I like them all . Complaining. very few months of baskingin it. as the Imitationof Chrisrsays. hero returnedto the sceneof his triumphs.for oncethe electrification the tramlines the new administrator. This episode. I like them all' wore a carnation on his horn every time he sawa black woman. Electric trams arrived on the scene. 'progress left me with a limp 'So. with the palms of his hand on his waist and swearing through clenched teeth. a parody of himself: of that In this way he cameto be. he lost his balance. \flith a teamof increasinglyscraggyhorses. which hinderedhim from ringing the warning bell. has samelimp preventsme from following it.FATE IS A FOOL 85 of CarlosLanza.and althoughReartetried to becomea of motormanhe couldn't because his limp. Mr Bright. that sameprogressof which he was made championhad left him behind.

. still immersedin them.'\flill you hand me by basket. when after four drops of rain Aires would flood. they were all . you could havea chat and smokea 'Sublime' or an 'Ideal' with anybody. Pip6n!' the tram set off amid the squeakingand creakingof all its hinges.and whilst the black womansearched pocketfull of crumbs and medalsfor the two pesosfor the fare. he thought.couplings. an Argentineof pure Spanishdescent. thosesqualid horses.' I'd Good-for-nothings! soon becomingmore and more careless. . the famlies out for a breath of fresh air would send regardsto your family .fed like pigs on a messof bran and water.He would happily go for a ride. the electric tram must be waiting for him. and you had to wait until the rain died down. spurred on the wretchedhorses with a click of the tongueand with an ironic 'Geeup. will you!' she shouted. In a few moments the water was overflowing from the stone basin which contained it and ran sinuously to the straight and predictable canal formed by the rails. he boughtand hitchedthe hairy teamof nagsto the carriage. Thesenightwatchmen are sort them out. paleand melancholiclike an old photograph. sometimes the inside of the coaches . and from the doorways. Outside. .climbedinto the driver's seatafter wrappinghis scarf the around his neck. smilling at his memories and. He tried to adjust the tap. sitting with the passengers the on flooding to the backsof the seats avoid the water which reached step.'It's a cool morning. But the people were different.The chill air peckedat the driver's templesand hands. drive. That feebleflow brought to his mind old times. Around the Cinco Esquinas.now?.'Not payingattention. but he was distractedby the desperate gesturingfrom the street by a high mulatta. whistled a happy reveille betweenhis teeth. . had neverbeenableto do with patience. you knew who you were dealingwith and who you all were taking. 'The truth isr' he thought. .'he thought. The bell. Bonito! Gee up.' . isn't it?' 'Good for bathing in the river.' He adjusted chains. That's what he. asked the tram conductor.are you?' Rearte suddenly drew to a halt and the black woman heaved aboard the trembling bulk of her flaccid flesh. alongthe worst roads to in the city. the rebellious tap continued to run. her He compliedgallantly.windowsand boards. 'that they're not worth eventhat. the step creakedunder the weight of her enormousespadrilleand with a flash of white in betweenher fleshy lips. madehim leavethe tap. 'Stop. who appreciated and was a friend of good beasts. friends. But no: the road was clearand in the cold morning mist the city wasfading. Unusual that the bell wasn't iingling under the SpaniardPedrosa's worn hell.86 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'It musr havebeenlike that all night. announcingthe scheduled time for the departureof the first coach. but after severalfruitless attemptsin which all he managedto do was splash his boots and hurt his finger. the unevenroadsof Buenos the mud! Even with extra draught it was impossibleto get out of the mire. they commentedon the weather. loadedwith a basketcoveredby a white scarf. acquaintances. now with a sort of hoarsewhistle like a teacherat the end of the year.in summer.

.furtively picked from the plant which floweredin a large coffee tin in the yard. After giving the service. . I had to preparea sermon.the tram's here!' A solemn gentleman with frock coat and top hat rushed out. were looseand holding their hats.Father Prudencio Hegueratook the tram everyday. granting plenary indulgence. greetingeveryonelike someone Rosario was hiding her basket. he felt reiuvenatedand involuntarily put his hand up to his ear to check whether the largecarnationwasin place. Father Prudencio.cap in hand. from a low balcony. Don Mdximo took off his hat. Don Mdximo.' . the teachersand guests.FATE IS A FOOL 87 'Enough to make you perish. protesting vigourously. one with a big belly and dirty-looking.' '\U[hatdid you preachon?' 'On the Gospels. and after mass. pretending to look out of the twiddling her silver rings which shoneon her dark bony hand. Rearte lashed out right and left with his formidable whip. 'Get awayfrom there. healthy breathing this air.' Further on. No. the black woman clearedher throat and with a swirl of his skirts the priest sat down. Don Mr{ximo cougheddiscreetly. . . shoutinginto the house. 'Morning. 'Up early. Rosarior' and referring to somethingimplicit. with the 840 students. The bells were calling them to church in Balvanera.' . '\U7hat hopeless a timetable! It's impossibleto havebreakfast. Don Mdximo?' '\U[hatdoesYour Reverence expect. . Reartewas rememberingthosevoices. master. .' the mulatta humbly cut in . the other scraggyand equally dirty. 'That's how accidents happenr'the black womanremarked.' 'Did you attend last night's conference. the driver stoppedthe tram. get away at once or I'll tell your father!' shouted Don M6ximo to a boy running behind the coachwith the obviousintention of iumping on. .' 'The eventshall was too small to contain the public. the National College. two priests. he wasn't wearing it-but of course! It was winter.the delicatearomaof cooking. .Father?' in 'I couldn't make it. \$flouldyou care for one?' The solemngentlemanaccepted crispy pasty which scatteredgolden scales a on the dull lapel of his frock coat. 'Good morning. . . 'are they nice and tender?' 'Just out of the frying pan. which the boy evadedby running away and mocking him from the road.cassocks them. while the reverendsaid goodbye. taking advanrage .with this Company's appallingservice!' 'It's very chilly this morning. . boy. . gives you a good appetite. a chubby-cheeked maid signalled him to stop.and even so one is late everywhere!Appalling service.\(ithout any signalfrom talking excitedly. He waiteda coupleof minutes.'The tram.the black woman crossed herselfdevoutly. In the portico. .

. They smell good today.' 'And evenif you were told to . .' A maize-pudding crossed mire of the cornerof Piedadand Andesat a cart the trot. . . 'And you. Taking advantage the tram stopping. 'You maniac!' 'Beast!' 'Peace. do you want me to scrub your face for free?' The tram becamefull oppositePiedad. 'So early and on your own?' 'From church. The girl replied stonily. and then.'Is there any newsabout our wages?' 'Not that I know of .' Don Mdximo threw somecoinsinto her lap. . unfortunately I've comefrom the club. wasvoted that two hundredthousandpesos paperbe it on spenton furnishing the Courts' archives. .on my way back . wood and newspaper sellers. affectingreluctance. 'Certainlynot. She barely respondedcondescendingly and madea friendly gestureto a man with a fair. It is scandalous think that in to yesterday's session.' '\|7ouldyou carefor one?' Thin-voiced. . '\ilflouldn'tyou like a ride? I'll take you for freer' Rearteaskeda dark ptump girl scrubbinga doorstep. becomingdistracted.88 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'And you.' the propaganda . Father Prudencio?' The reverend. Christian?' 'As long as I'm not told to change.pastry cooks. drenchingthe conductorand passengers. certainlynotr' protestedthe priest. from that maizepuddingwhich old peoplestill recall and which disappeared alongwith cobblestones. the street beganto fill with peopleand the familiar shouting of sellers joined the tooting of the tram.to which the generation '85 of awokeevery morning. . salt-and-pepper beard. peacer'intervenedthe priest in conciliatorytone. always a good The priest turned round in his seat. Teodorita. . . 'It's paid for. its for and the to present and its future are in our hands.' 'We haven'thad anythingsince January.concerned with the honestyof commerce.Father Prudenciomade room very deferentially to an elegantlady with a veil over her eyesand a rosary tangled around her extremelyfine fingers. A pale sun filtered through the mist. you know I comeeverymonth speciallyto take communion. saying.Basques with their churnsat the side of their mounts and street vendorsselling Paraguayan oranges and Brazilian bananas madea readychorusfor the dogcatcher's concert. '$(Iill you be taking confession tomorrow. Rosario. .' 'You're telling me! \ilfhat a scandal!' 'The thing is.the womanofferedthem.had a measure of maize pudding and milk filled to the brim.' 'Salaries teachers priesthoodshouldbe sacred the country. Any you. where are you off to at this hour by tram?' 'I'm on my way back. all night long discussing programme. .two elderly womenwalking alongthe of street askedthrough the window.

'Have you hurt yourself. spreadingof so many diseases . Don Bernardohas the support of reason. which is so careless these matters. that of the people. . . . in to it seems me that your proposalto the Council.' 'Are you scared?Oh well. and the latter. I assure you. . gentleman alsogot off. lady and the distinguished mutrer a rosary. When you think of Teodorini's "Lucrezia"! And the bass?In "Vieni. to this.Teodorita?' 'Jesus. when a cart went by and ran over his foot .' take the sewage and havecanals 'Not to mendon that with irrigation and fertilization.The elegant forecasting crisisin the the Two men travellingon the platform occupied seats. Borghi Mamo is not that great?' 'She wasn't very good.beganto with his usual protestations.FATE IS A FOOL 89 '!(/ell. . the British cabinet.' 'It's the only way to put an end to the plaguesof mosquitoesand the .' the passengers deferentiallygreetedanother in a hazelA man with a handlebarmoustache 'Congratulations and of foreign appearance.' he sneezedl was readingthe newsin 'What?' inquired a young man who was amusing himself by composing decorating inside of the coach.' 'It's the only thing I'd dare deny you.' 'Listen The 'La Naci6n'readerremarkedon a terrible incident in the news. to Teodorita. since I've just come from confession and I've promisednot to gossip. giving The tram swervedso that passengers rise to terrible protestations. on the other hand.' 'Don't be so critical. but.at the cornerof Cangalloand La Florida. How was "Lucrezia"?' 'Lucrezia" wasawful.couldn't be a better one .lcaza old chap. . colouredovercoat .' The teacher badefarewellto the priest The clockat SanIgnaciostruck seven. if you'd seen " Guillermina .You just ploughten blocksof land aroundthe depots by theresothat they disappear absorption. Let's talk about something else.' The gentleman tried to distracther. . I suffer from that a greatdeal . half closinghis eyelids.' 'What's it all about?'askedDr V6lezfrom the other end. weren't you at the Col6n last night?' 'I am not blessed with ubiquity. . . so that won't get cold feet.I'll never again take a tram even if I have to ask for transport at Cabral'sat four in the morning!' 'These vehiclesshould be for men on their own .y. a poor old porter was having a quiet rest sitting on the kerb of the pavement.But tell me then. . . . . 'H. mia vendetta" I thought my eardrums would burst!' A man with dandruff and thick elasticatedboots with holes at the bunions 'La Naci6n'.' were thrown againsteachother. . . 1So.' 'And fu6rez. . the soil will become very fertile indeed. the aloud out of the advertisements anagrams 'They're askingfor doormatsin the tramwaysof San Jos6de Flores. 'somethingvery simple. for Judrezto be chosenas candidate. this isn't bad. .

A lucky Spaniard.the ladies in shawlsand the gentlemenin top hats . the familiar landscapedisappeared:the gendarmesin their kepis and white spats. . . I'm sure .notebook and pencil in hand like a diligent reporter. is it true that Rodriguez's The younger man inquired. . . Proud of his horses. Spurredon by a nightmarishimpatience. . Rearte paid no attention to the passengers' desperate ringing of the bell . Suddenly his vision blurred and. . . like a balloon bursting. . If you could give me more precise details . buys it will becomerich. my dear Cambaceres . Next to him a fair-haired gendarrne.if ever there was one!' 'I'm told that thirty leagues on salewith no reserve price next to La Rosita are and I imagined . . greetedhim ironically as he in went by. The gendarmes. he found himself lying by a doorwayin the shadow house. Rearteclosedhis eyesin resignedsadness asnot to seethe last ghostsof his so world annihilated: a lamplighter who disappeared elasticallywith his pole over his shoulder and a water cart draggedheavily by three small mules. . kepis and white shakosand spats. land in San Juan is being auctinoedofP' 'Somehope.and suddenlyrealizedhow behind schedulehe was . .' 'But of course! The land belongsto the Arcadinis.superiorintelligence. .' the 'Tell me.He wassurroundedby a circle of peoplethrough whose of a seven-storey legshe could seeon the road the remainsof the carriageand the inert bodiesof the two nagslying in a pool of blood. \Yhere Juan Pedro Reartejumps 30 years A formidable crash of glass and boards was drowning out the passengers' conversations. the Basque milkmen on horseback.' in At that moment someone a hurry consultedhis watch. I'm interested. the maize-pudding carts. merging like the last stretchesof a railway line. the situation is imminent . an old family who are travelling around Europe whilst a villain is managingit for them . 'And what do yo think of the result of Dr Pellegrini's negotiations?' 'A skillful diptomat. . . Whoever . the bearded coachdrivers. . Mr Poblet.my friend! Don Ernestois becoming richer all the time. Even the double row of low housesbecamelost on the horizon. \[hen he reopenedthem. . land with a future. he'll secure loan. and from the high driver's seatsof their coupds.interestedin the comments.Reartewas desperately sounding his horn and crossing the intersections like a whirlwind. He whipped the horsesenthusiastically and the gallopedround the bend in Maipri at risk of derailing.the coachmenwith long moustaches and pointed beardswere encouraginghim to go faster. . was questioninga pale and talkative motorrnan. .90 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Gladstoneand his supporterswill fall. . He had to reachthe Baio del Retiro at seventhirty for the extra horses. and straightenedup to head northwards. 'Good grief! Twenty past sevenalready!' What! Reartehad let the scraggybeatsgo at their own pace.

because the clashes deludedand reality. 'S7hatyear?'insistedRearte. Once in the ambulance.He would have liked to have with kepis and shakos. On recoveringconsciousness.FA'TE IS A FOOL 9l Rearterealizedhe had crashed into a electrictram. . that I had to break my left leg. He was ashamedat having becomethe object of public curiosity and having to answerpolicemen'surgent questions.JuanPedroRearteclosedhis eyes.Later.who didn't that this contraptioncould havecrossed stop repeating. thirty yearsearlier-on 26th July 1888-the horses Because had boltedon the samestretchand. I should have broken it thirty years ago. And now. ever sinceI first got into a tram. But how could he explain that to the common servantof a machine? F a t e i s a f o o. . . they havethe ineffable key to the mystery. he had almostbroken his shinbone. the gendarmes his youth. 'The tibia appears be broken in three places.with the loquaciousness Rearteexplainedthe mystery. '\ilfhat day is it?' he askedanxiously. Fate madea mistakeand broke my trousers. induced by the morphine. without even brushing past into the cart.pretendingto faint.so arbitrary beenquestionedby one of thosegendarmes and so good-natured the sametime. as though to himself.'the nursewho was feelinghis ankle replied. Fate is a rogue and a fool like the "gringos" . 'July 26th. The present at of foreign to him. when I crashed my right leg. It's a real devil. 'The thing is.' to 'It's not much for a 3O-year jump . isn't it!' . and added. It was ordainedby God. three bullets crossedthe platform at knee height. In '90. . according the doctor. has set this trap to it haveit its own way. the only thing he was worried about was what day it was. but I was savedby a miracle. . of And he wasirritated aboveall by the amazement the motorman. together with the pain. and to makea statement them seemed him like to to onesseemed abdicatinghis nationality.' the old driver remarkedphilosophically.l.'But how is it possible the whole of the city at this time and the wrong way?How is that possible?' in betweenthe Rearteknew how it had been possible. through fear that I would escape.the first day of the revolution. 'l9l8r' answeredthe nurse. to After that stoicalreflection. at Lavalle and Paran6. and by the alreadyfamiliar symptomshe knew he had just broken his other leg.

889). 92 .He had a tall red night-capon. 'Come and look at him!' the brotherscried.He published his (1888-93) CuriosaMathematica and SymbolicLogic (1896). with a tassel.Heroesand Hero-\Torship (1841).snoringloud'fit to snorehis headoff!' as Tweedledumremarked.The Hunting of the Snark(1876)and Sylvieand Bruno (i. 'Isn't he lwely sight?'said Tweedledum. Scots (1837).Latter Day Pamphlets of of Frederick the Great (1851). in 1881. FoolishDoctor! Did he.Ghost An ActualAuthentic in histoian and essayist.could anythingbe more miraculous I IThe EnglishJohnson longed. well-nigha million of Ghostsweretravellingthe streets his side. 6 Jt's only the red King snoring. to seeone. look round him into that full tide of human Life he so loved. never.diedin London Thomas Carlyle. died at Guildford in 1898.' saidTweedledee.all his life. Alice couldn't sayhonestlythat he was. though he went to Cock Lane. compress yearsinto threeminutes:what elsewashe. did he neverso much as look into HimselP The good Doctor was a Ghost. Bom in Ecclefechan 1795.Author o/ Alice's mathematician. and thenceto the church'vaults.and tappedon coffins.Though the Looking-Glass (1876).History Lettersand Speeches Oliver Cromwell(1845).with the mind's eyeaswell aswith the body's. as actual and authenticasheart could wish. I and they eachtook one of Alice's hands.and manyessdJs lectures. underhisown narne.sweep by awaythe illusion of Time. that are shaped into a body.bothmatlumatical treatises.but could not.Oncemore I say. into an Appearancel and that fade awayagaininto air and invisibility?' TheRed King'sDream Lewis Carroll (pen-name the Reoerend of Charles Lutatidge Dodgson) Englishwriter and Bom at Daresbury 18j2. what elsearewe?Are the threescore we not Spirits. Authoro/The FrenchRevolution (1850).and let her up to where the King was sleeping. and than an actualauthenticGhost? 6 [ Sain.Phantasmagoria Adventuresin \(/onderland(1865). in (1871). and he waslying crumpledup into a sort of untidy heap.

' he said: 'at least-not under here. it's no useyour talking about waking himr' said Tweedledum. 'At anyrateI'd betterbe gettingout of the wood. 'Ditto.it all seemed so ridiculous. you're only a sort of thing in his dream!' 'If that thereKing wasto waker'added 'you'dgo out-bang!Tweedledum.what areyou. I'm afraid.' saidTweedledum. if I'm only a sort of thing in his dream. 'No.' ditto!' cried Tweedledee. where you you'd be? do suppose 'Vhere I am now.'saidTweedledee: 'and what do you think he's dreaming about?' Alice said'Nobodycan guess that.THE RED KING'S DREAM 93 'I'm afraid he'll catch cold with lying on the damp grass.' aboutyou!'Tweedledeeexclaimed. He shoutedthis so loud that Alice couldn't help saying.cappinghis hand triumphantly.You know very well you're not real.'I shouldn'tbe ableto cry. of courser'said Alice.'Besides.for reallyit's comingon very dark. 'And if he left off dreamingabout you.'when you're only oneof the thingsin his dream.' 'I hopeyou don't suppose thoseare real tears?'Tweedledum interruptedin a tone of greatcontempt.' Alice said-half-laughingthough her tears.' 'l am real!' saidAlice.' Tweedledee remarked: 'there'snothing to cry about.I shouldlike to know?' 'Ditto. and beganto cry.' 'If I wasn'treal. if you make so much noise. Do you think it's going to rain?' Tweedledum spread a large umbrella over himself and his brother. 'Hush! You'll be waking him.and went on as cheerfullyas she could. I don't think it is. 'Not you!' Tweedledee 'You'd be nowhere. retortedcontemptuously. 'You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying.' So shebrushedawayher tears.' 'Well. "$fhy. Nohow. and looked up into it.' . \(Ihy. 'I know they'retalking nonsenser'Alice thought to herself:'and it's foolishto cry about it. just like a candle!' 'I shouldn't!' Alice exclaimedindignanantly.

G. and it wasthat which oncespokefrom a in tree in the guise of a great serpent.and The Paradoxes Mr Pond (1e36).There. Magic (1913). The Crimes of England (1915). and returned to the quiet tribe of trees. in the warm green twilight of one summer eveningit becameconscious somethingsitting and speakingin of its branches the guiseof a greatbird. K. His booksincludeHeretics (1905). (1927). nooelist poet. I have only visited the place once. on the twilight border of the Dark Continent. always lucid yet ardent. F. and. detecttoe and CharlesDickens(1906). with the wood loud with lions at night and that dark red solitude beyond. literary citicivn. they were the mildest and most blameless the creatures.but this put forth feathersof a strangehue and . lyric poetry.since.like a schoolmaster with his boys.But they saythat when spring cameall the other trees put forth leaves. For the treeswerethus freed under strict conditionsof discipline. though it lies so to speak. and on He stories. it is said that one of the treesheard a voice that was not the saint's. And he prayed that they might be loosenedfrom time to time to walk like other things. and pluck them to pieces.grew to love them like companions.as they were at the songsof Orpheus. As the voice grew louder among its murmuring leaves tree wastorn with a greatdesireto stretchout and snatch the at the birds that flew harmlesslyabout their nests. seeingthe saint walking with a walking grove.you will find the nativesstill telling a strangestory about a saint of the Dark Ages. They wereto return at the soundof the hermit's bell.ning (1903)G. polemics. biography.Collected Poems FatherBrown Stories of Four FaultlessFelons(1930). Finally. aboveall. though great giants with many arms like Briareus.He wrote and rnioed oarious literary srylesincluding nooels. And the spirit of the brute overcame spirit of the the tree. (1927). and esscyrst.Bom in Londonin 1874.94 THE BOOK OF FANTASY The Treeof Pride diedin 1936. Chesterton. you feel the Dark Ages. where the last wedge of the forest Inarrows down betweenthe desertand the great tidelesssea. Orthodoxy (1908). The Uses of Diversity (1920). but rather openedtheir armsto all the little birds. A Short History of England (1917). and yet you would hardly believe how the ropsyturveydomand transmigrationof this myth somehow seemed mad than they less really are. And the treeswere moved upon the prayersof Securis.living there amongtrees. the tempter filled the tree-top with his own birds of pride. ff you go down to the Barbary Coast.The Poetand the Lunatics(1929).They saythat the hermit St. \Yans(1904). English He publisheda oastamountof work. that. is the authorof essays RobertBrw.The men of the desertwere stricken from afar with fear. the starry pageantof the peacocks.Autobiography(1937). Manalive (1912). Securis. and it rent and consumed blue-green the birds till not a plume wasleft.they did of not devour like the lions. The Man tUflho$[as Thursday (1908). Well. oppositeto the Italian city where I lived for years. to copy the wild beasts in walking only-to destroy and devour nothing.

has always fascinated me rather.h. And Allah cast him down to earth with a thunderbolt. the story about that hole in the ground. which sank into the earth.c. They only wanted a tower that would reach heaven. a mere trifle. . till it made a well that was without a bottom as the tower was to have been without a top. not our friend of the lamp. But the builders of the Tower of Babel were quite modest and domestic people. and rise above it. 369-286b. It's all about somebody they call the Sultan Aladin. but rather like him in having to do with genii or giants or something of that son. He wanted a tower that would passheaven. . TheTowerof Babel '. that goes down nobody knows where. and whenhe woke 1 up he saidhe did not know whetherhe wasChuangTzu who had dreamed he was a butterflyr or a butterfly now dreamingthat it wasChuangTzu. but I shouldn't wonder if the tale is a long way older than Mahomet. Gilesand publislud in 1926.' The Dreamof theButterfly His Chuang Tzu (c. compared with old Aladin. work it fuU of allegoical haoe into tales. They say he commanded the giants to build him a sort of pagoda rising higher and higher above all the stars. of course. . And down that inverted tower of darkness the soul of the proud Sultan is falling for ever and ever. tT. Theyweretranslated Englishby HerbertA. boring a hole. Chinesetaoistphilosopher. deeper and deeper. and go on rising for ever and ever. The Utmost for the Highest. as the people said when they built the Tower of Babel.of whichonlythirty+hree sunsiaed. philosopher he ChuangTzu dreamed wasa butterfly. like mice. And by that monstrousassimilationthe saint knew of the sin and he rootedthat onetree to the earthwith a judgement that evil shouldfall on any so who removedit again.THE TOI$(/EROF BABEL 95 pattern. It's Mahomedan in form now.).

4. it kept the memories of great-grandparents. which was crazy: eight people could have lived in that place and not have gorten in each othei's way. Les MonstresSacris. Le Les Enfants T6rribles.Rayuela (1963.'did you givemy gardener threatening a look this morning?' 'It was not a threateninglookr' replied Death.apart from its being old and spacious (in a day \Y/. then there was nothing left to do but a few dirty plates. That afternoon. into liked the house because.Author of Julio Cortazar (/.For I sawhim herethis morning.9/. and I knew that I would takehim in Ispahantonight. who liaedand workedin Europe. is Poetry:L'Opdra. \$flerose at seven in the morning and got the cleaning done. by somemiracle. Irene and I got used to staying in the house by ourselves. 1965. PortraitsSouvenirs.I might be far away. secreras Loi premios (translated Englislr as The Winners. 1966). It was pleasant to take lunch and commune with the great hollow. cnricism:Le Rappel i I'ordre. Les ParentsT6rribles. Le Mystdre Layc. \7e lunched at noon precisely. our parents and the whole of childhood.'he asked. Playsinclude:La Voix Humaine. armas La (1959).' HouseTakenOzser witer. Outstanding amazingly and Jean Cocteau (1891-1963). W when old houses go down for a profitable auction of their construction materials).the Prince camefaceto face with Death.84). novels: GrandEcart. Of his books. Bestiario Final del juego(1956).translated Englisftas Hopscotch. our paternal grandfather.in Ispahan. young Persiangardener said to his Prince: 'Saveme! I met Death in the gardenthis morning. and he gaveme a threatening look. and about eleven I left Irene to finish off whatever rooms and went to the kitchen. 'It was an expression of surprise.' The Prince lent him his swiftesthorse. I wish that tonight. thefollou:ing a selection.Historias de cronopiosy famas into (1962). '\flhy. Argentinian (1949). L'Ange Heurtebise. Los reyes (1951).TheLook of Death prolific Frenchwriter. sileni 96 .ashe waswalking in the garden.

then unravel it the next moment becausethere was something that didn't pleaseher. needlesflashing. Stacked amid a great smell of camphor-it was like a shop.the one that faced toward Rodrfguez Pefra. a living room with tapestries. we would topple it ourselves before it was too late. I didn't have the nerve to ask her what she planned to do with them. sweaters for winter. I'm not very important. and for me the hours slipped away watching her. it was pleasant to seea pile of tangled wool in her knitting basket fighting a losing battle for a few hours to retain its shape. But it's the house I want to talk about. the library and three large bedrooms in the section most recessed. was pleasedwith the colours and never a skein got to be returned. Sometimesshe would do a jacket. One day I found that the drawer at the bottom of the chiffonier. our bedrooms and the hall. and one or two knitting baskets on the floor. but once a pullover is finished you can't do it over again. rWe were easing into our forties with the unvoiced concept that the quiet. it's some kind of disgrace. the house and Irene. the doors to our bedrooms were on either side of this. Only a corridor with its massive oak door separated that part from the front wing. Nothing worthwhile had arrived in Argentina since 1939. or more justly and better yet. \[e ended up thinking. Irene never bothered anyone. have it torn down. and Maria Esther went and died on me before we could manage to get engaged. uselessly asking if they had anything new in French literature. Saturdays I went downtown to buy wool. socks for me. You had to come in through the vestibule and open the gate to go into the living room. and opposite it was the corridor leading to the back section. she always knitted necessities. one swung open the oak door beyond which was the other part of the house. I wonder what Irene would have done without her knitting. her hands like silver seaurchins. she spent the rest of the day on the sofa in her bedroom. sell the bricks and get rich on the building plot. where there was a bath. even piling up. was filled with shawls. the kitchen. lilac. the balls of yarn fumping about. one could turn to the left and go down a narrower passage- . at times. One can reread a book. One entered the house through a vestibule with enamelled tiles. It was lovely. tU(/e would die here someday. going down the passage. But Irene was not like that. But Irene was only interested in the knitting and showed a wonderful dexterity. and a wrought-iron grated door opened on to rhe living room. We didn't have to earn our living-there was plenty coming in from the farms each month. simple marriage of sister and brother was the indispensible end to a line established in this house by our grandparents. I took advantageof these trips to make the rounds of the bookstores. white. Irene had faith in my good taste. knitting. The dining room. that that was what had kept us from marrying. How not to remember the layout of that house. I couldn't tell you why she knitted so muchl I think women knit when they discover that it's a fat excuse to do nothing at all. green. or iust before the door. and it was enough for us just to keep it clean. obscure and distant cousins would inherit the place.HOUSE TAKEN OVER 97 house. Once the morning housework was finished. replete with moth-balls. Irene turned down two suitors for no particular reason. handy morning robes and bedjacketsfor herself.

picking up her needles again.like the onesthey build today. They've taken over the back part. My collectionof Frenchliterature. or a secondlater.'we'll haveto live on this side.' She let her knitting fall and looked at me with her tired. moreover. when I heard somethingin the library or the dining room. Irene got into the habit of comingto the kitchen thought about it and decidedon this: while I with me to help get lunch. I went down to the kitchen. The first few days were painful. and settleagaina minute later on the pianosand the furniture. seriouseyes.for example.98 THE BOOK OF FANTASY way which ted to the kitchen and the bath. but she took her time starting her work again. a chair being knockedover on to the carpetor the muffled At buzzingof a conversation. Irene wasknitting in her bedroom. too. leanedon it with the weight of my body.I went down the corridor asfar asthe oak door. and it's back on the marble consoletops and in the diamond the slightestbreeze patterns of the tooled-leatherdesk set.' I sipped at the matevery carefully. I heard it at the which led from thosetwo roomstoward the door. It's a lot of work to get it off with a featherduster. 'You're sure?' I nodded. I missedmy briar pipe. regretted the loss of an ancient bottle of Hesperidin. I think. Irene had left several slippersthat sheuseda lot in the winter. when it was closed. you had the impressionof an apartment. the key wason our side.'shesaid. and Irene. I liked that vest. You becameaware of the size of the house.iust to be safe. 'In that case. It may be Buenos sheowesit to her populationand nothing else.by elevenwe were sitting aroundwith our armsfolded. I hurled end of the passage myselfagainstthe door beforeit wastoo late and shut it. and when I got back with the tray of rnate. heatedthe kettle. the motesrise and hangin the air. which was a ajar. it so I'll alwayshavea clearmemory of it because happened simply and without fuss.' One thing more amongthe many lost on the other side of the house. folios of stationeryand a pair of was still in the library. but on much dust collected the furniture. nine-thirty for instance. 'It's not here.I rememberit wasa grey vest shewasknitting.it was eight at night. with barely enough room to move around in. sincewe'd both left so many things in the part that had beentaken over. Irene and I alwayslived in this part of the houseand hardly ever went beyondthe oak door exceptto do the cleaning. But there were advantages) The cleaningwas so much simplified that. \fhen the door was open. luckily. \tr(Ie . the sametime.There's too much dust in the air.Incredible how Aires is a cleancity. and I suddenly decidedto put the waterup for mate. evenwhen we got up late.I ran the great bolt into place. The sound came through muted and indistinct. then turned into the hall toward the kitchen. It happened repeatedly(but only in the first few days)that we would closesomedrawer or cabinetand look at one anothersadly.I told Irene: 'I had to shut the door to the passage.

then the housegrew quiet. but at night you could heareverythingin the house. The oak door was massive. Irene was content. Irenemight say: 'Look at this pattern I figured out. In the kitchen or the bath. In a kitchen there's always too much noise.still muffled but louder. Sinceit left her more time for knitting. Now we made do with the table in lrene's room and platters of cold supper.Now there was nothing to be heard. as happenedfrequently. and beforewe went to sleep. During the day there were the householdsounds.I nevercould get usedto this voicefrom a smtueor a parrot.the metallic click of knitting needles. of We were fine. (WheneverIrene talked in her sleep. we endedby steppingaroundmore slowly so asnot to disturb one another. but when we went back to our roomsor to the living room. Irene said that in my sleepI flailed about enormouslyand shookthe blanketsoff. \U[eseldom allowed ourselvessilencethere. Aside from our nocturnal rumblings. then the bath.I wasthirsty that night. we managedto talk loudly.growing more and more sure that they were on our side of the oak door.and came up besideme without a word. We stood listening to the noises. I was a little lost without my books. You could hear the noises. the plates and glasses. a voicethat cameout of the dreams.for there to be interruptions from other sounds.I think I said that. We had the living room betweenus.) Except for the consequences. coughing. if not the kitchen then the bath. which adioined the part that was taken over. or in the hall itself at the turn. Irene would cook up dishesthat could be eatencold in the evening. You can live without thinking. From the door of the bedroom (shewas knitting) I heard the noisein the kitchen. doesn't it look like clover?' iust After a bit it wasI.We heardeachother breathing. everything was quiet in the house. neither of us could fall asleep. Irene noticed how brusquely I had paused. or Irene sang lullabies. could even feel each other reaching for the light switch when. and little by little we stopped thinking. Everyoncein a while.HOUSE TAKEN OVER 99 preparedthe lunch.I told lrene that I was going to the kitchen for a glassof water.I tok Irene's arm and forcedher to run with me to the wrought-iron door.the rustle of stamp-albumpagesturning. iust behind us.I woke up immediatelyand stayedawake.which wasthe morecomfortable. eachwith his own thing. pushing a small squareof paperin front of her so that she could seethe excellence somestampor anotherfrom Eupen-et-Malmddy. I think it was because this that I woke up irremedially and at once of when Irene beganto talk in her sleep. . but so as not to inflict myself on my sisrer. We amusedourselves sufficiently. the passageoff at that angle dulled the sound. half-lit.that killed sometime. I set about reorderingpapa'sstampcollection. almost alwaysgetting togetherin lrene's bedroom. almostnext to us. not waiting to look back. \ilfledidn't wait to look at one another. I slammedthe grating and we stoppedin the vestibule. if not the kitchen. nearly a matter of repeatingthe samescene it's over again. \trflewere happy with the arrangementbecause was always such a it bother to haveto leaveour bedroomsin the eveningand start to cook. not from a throat.

publisludposthutnously. my desperatepleas. But never let it be said that I have exhaustedsuffering. BeingDust authm. nothing.100 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'They've taken over our section. I locked the front door up tight and tossedthe key down the sewer. she dropped the knitting without looking at it.' Irene said. of a doubledeath. And don't take my complaintsand expression bitternesshere as anything other than a variation of on thesesingularlyharshwords: 'There is no hope for the heart of man!' I said my goodbyes the doctors. 'No. cemeterywhich gaveme the impression Just oppositethat dusty abandoned and into ruins. Right oppositethat ruin I met . further pain. to pills and the whole arsenalof my pharmacopoeia. further tears to endure. 'Did you havetime to bring anything?'I askedhopelessly. The knitting had reeledoff from under it. several iniectionsof morphineand other substances would file down the clawsused that to torture me by the unrelenting disease: cruel trigeminal neuralgia. I still had my wrist watchon and sawthat it was 11 p.La muerta y su traie. usual. her hands and the yarn ran back toward the door and disappeared When she saw that the balls of yarn were on the other side.bornin Moron in Argattina in 1889.The point wasto dampen that species voltaic battery or coil which tormented my trigeminal with its of current of sharp.m. painful throbbing. that nothing can exceedthis pain. I felt terrible. is of crueltyof circumstance! doctorswho weretendingto me had the J\fi ercilessly lVrto administer.across forty kilometresI had oftentravelled as the betweentowns.taking with me a syringefor hypodermicinjections. Beforewe left.the oneit sheltered its own-it wascollapsing brick by brick.It wouldn't do to havesomepoor devil decideto go in and rob the house. opium I rodeon horseback. a I for my part took more poisons than Mithridates. SantiagoDabove Argentinian diedin 1951. there will always be further suffering. I took Irenearound the waist (I think she was crying) and that was how we went into the street. I remembered fifteen thousand pesos in the wardrobein my bedroom. pieceby piece-disaster struck. at my insistent request. a collection histalesof fannsy.' t$[e had what we had on.at that hour and with the housetaken over. Too late now.

Thosefirst few black nights fear got the better of me.I think. except for my head. and soonwanderedaway.Night fell. without beingswallowed. . Leaguesof fear.I had expected like that.My body felt heavierthan lead It wasa strange at times. was hard. which preserved sensitivity.BEING DUST 101 my bane. at other times I didn't feel it at all. inhabitedby worms and to and criss-crossed corridorsfreqentedby ants. nourishedby the mud just like a plant. went by in that stateand the black pills kept slipping Several into my mouth and.After me I had fallen. .I'm glad. the memoriescome second!I'm not going to cry for myself. 'specimens'-pill after pill of opium. My hopeand my horsedisappeared afternoon over the horizon.the earth was spongy. I was left abandoned that solitaryroute. Everything has to cometo me. As the ground on which I fell. paralysis exhausted the which had beenthreatening for a long time. A curiousthing: the body is attackedby the gnawingforcesof life and it is a hotchpotchin which no anatomist would distinguishanythingother than mud. But sincethere is no respitein any condition. I think I musthavean ants'nestsomewhere my heart. and you can't be madeof mud and walk. itself on my lips and no longer meant anything. A fine persistent drizz\ecried for me.of any sensation. asit couldn't actuallydefeathim.Judgingby the tingling sensation have I insideme. the horse grazedfor a while. I devotedmy energiesto patiently digging the ground around my body with my pen-knife. The task turned out to be rather easy. which provedto be a tolerablebed.I devotedtime to swallowing. The hemiplegia. settlingbelowto turn slid everythinginto blackness and into earth. which must havedeterminedthe 'dream' preceding'my death'. knockedme off my horse. The fled. cursinghad exhausted for days. a of also adopteda horizontal position. just like Jacobwhen the angel touchedhis thigh in the mist and him. on the side of the road.memories!No. horrific and sticky with blackness.because beneaththe hard surface. Only my head seemedto remain intact.That's the way it was. . At dawn the following day my body was stuck well into the earth. down. it with the despairof worlds. Cursing for me had been the equivalentof the expressions gratitude to fate made by someone of whoselife is rich in gifts. I shall not go in searchof the dawn or the sunset. wheresometimes human being passed on no by several I did cursemy fate.My body wasfeeling beetles with a certain warmth and a certain pleasurein being of mud and in becoming graduallyhollower.I graduallyburied myself in a sort of trench. its days. and enthusiastically regularly. waking dreamand a death-life. with a moon and stars. My headfelt and knew it belonged an earthybody. it had to gnashin self-defence the birds of prey which wantedto at eat its eyesand the flesh from its face. almostprotectedby the warm damp. near but I feelimpelledto walk. dark and close. and as I might have to remain there for quite sometime and I could hardly move. no.which initially maintained certainindependence movement. nor for . despair.and the extraordinary thing wasthat my very arms.

. I do not make an issueof dignity or to privileges-the stateof planthoodis ashonourable animalhood. mere masksof \il7ill they exhaustthem all? Cloudsamusethosewho cannotdo anything steam? other than look at the sky.Absurd ideascrossed mind: I wanted my to be a tobaccoplant so that I wouldn't needto smoke! . At times I amusemyself watching the cloudsfloat by with interest.why don't they represent It would be more in tune with the reality and animality of the matter. Alone in that desert. Their mode of amorousfulfilment and realization. when they unsuccessfully repeat unto exhaustiontheir attempt to take on animal shapes.and we would rub out what is written in the book of destinyif it hadn't alreadyhappened us. . I'm going to be a plant but I don't feel it. . Or that those political historians. I boredom. a soonI'm going to be defunct. if everythingof mine had practicallyturned into earth? I felt that my transition to plant wasn't progressingmuch. Men discovereverything. [et'sbe as human ascendancies a deer'santlers? with logical. becauseI was tormentedby a strongdesireto smoke. But it is not easyto be content. its horny nature iust like nails and skin. feel so disappointedthat I I could watch impassivelyas a ploughsharecamestraight at my head. insteadof the blood. The lid which closed overthe clockworkwasopenand a smallstring of ants went in and out. but directly.evena muddy two-cent coin. .r02 THE BOOK OF FANTASY corridors and neat constructionsof insectsinstalling their home. is . . should notice the of vegetalization my head. I would haveliked to cleanit and put it away. How sad! To be almostlike the earth and still havehopesof moving. My headbent mechanically towardsthe pocketwatch I had placedat my side whenI fell.My headwasalmosthappy to becomelike a bulb. But what happens now? Things change.but. and we'll seewhat their voluptiousness like. . of loving. protectiveearth. . . . cannotsatisfyus like our closecarnallove. which nervously drives the heart. The fear that one of thosepalaeontologists lives snifling out death will discoverit. because their ecstaticand selfishlife. and yet the its brain preserves intelligence. I realizedthat my headwasreceivingthe powerful nourishmentof the earth.but in which vestigeof my suit. I find I'm stuck. a tuber. . How many shapes they plan to assume do beforethey no longer exist. the days slowly passedover my sorrow and how long I'd beenburied by the length of my beard. and who spendtheir now it's full of fear. . but. plants are awareof . through telegrams pollen. ltr(/hat strangeplant my headis! It's uniqueness cannotlong remainunknown. a potato. If I want to move. . The imperativeneedto move wasgivingway to the needto be firm and nourishedby a rich. it would fluff up hike plant fibres. . .I estimated noticed it was a bit swollenand. to . the other funeral directors who turn up after unhumation. The sapmovedslowly up and down. I consoled myself thinking that there are trees . . . but it is of a matter of trying. But luckily they didn't seeme. just like plants. I'm diffusing. . solidified with the earth. How I've cometo hatethe term'family tree': it remindsme too much of my tragic state of regression a plant.

BEING DUST 103 as expressive an animal or human being. who had closed my left eye as though for a pistol duel. he hasput somethinglike a piston on his legsand steampressurein his chest. innocentand desirable. . a rope as stretchingfrom the sky to the earth. could not reconcileitself to the silent . he cameback and. I rememberseeinga poplar. solesof a walker perhaps. . because the he couldn't afford the ticket to comethis far. tried to dig me out with a pen-knife. I7ould it be sapor blood?If it wasthe latter. .and my choleric eyes were challenging. then.quick to react.He stoppedasthough he had suddenly brakedin front of my beardedface. . what with? All my senses were becomingduller in geometricprogression.At first he wasfrightenedand turned to flee. . .I would pat their sweatybacksand would inhale with pleasure 'their humansmell'. and only by closingone eye. . . As though in secret. Oppositethat old cemeteryI was becominga solitary cactuson which idle youths would test their pen-knives.very tall.He took offenceand hit me with the back of his hand. a rumour.With those huge fleshy gloved hands that cacti have. somethingabout myself. His simplicity asa peasant.' The man didn't hear me.or. would the chlorophyllof peripheralcellsgive it I an illusory green appearance? don't know. I hearda man'sfootsteps. prettier than a decorated mast. The wind. 'Leave me alone. no doubt accustomedto the great voices of the country. twisting his neck back for a long time to keepon looking .don't kill this modeof existence which there is actuallysomething in pleasant. You will have noticed that without a mirror you cannot see much more of your facethan the sideof your noseand a very small part of your cheekand lip. . music. almosta soundlike a a violin's bow. Just asthe variedand sharpsoundsof door hingeswill neverbecome my animal frenzy.like thoseof a fencer buried with his swordsand the skilful edgewhich aim to hurt. all very blurred. which makesthe stringsvibrate with gradedspeed and intensity. could glimpse on the right side in the imagesconfusedby being so close. But in all this there was somethingwhich made me shudder. but I think that each day I'm becominglessof a man. my face becameflushed. A commonoccurrence with many a man when he becomes angry. I could glimpse. . dependingon its strength. no itself over any inclination towardsinvestigationor inquiry. I didn't know how to speakto him. and tried to go on digging. asa man I will havenothing functional left and as a plant you will kill me. I. shrillnessin creation. drew from the foliagedifferent expressions: murmur. Their smell?By that time. It wasa leafy tree with short branches. He seemedto want to moveawaywithout delving any deeperinto the mystery . in that cheek which had once been so fatiguedby pain. But it doubt asserted to seemed me that a waveof blood wasrising to my head.I said to him. because my voice was by then half-silent becauseof the almost complete absenceof lungs. leaveme alone! If you dig me out of the ground. thinking perhapsof a crime. If you want to preservemy life and not merely be a policeman. Then I spatin his face. overcomeby curiosity. The expressionon the man's face of a distressedand helpful good person warned me that he wasn't of that chivalrous and duelling race. and indeed he went.ah! the rising of a 'greenflush'.

but it will take quite someferment ashes. soruns the story. Boudisme. a broth madewith the fisheshe had just caught.The monk. in man moves.comesand goesin a long. trunk cut by an axe.Eachtime die more like a man and that death coversme in thorns and layersof chlorophyll. oppositethe dusty cemetery. . enteredthe river and micturated. (Chineseand Korean Buddhist monks never eat animal food. . met on his way a man who wasboiling.are perhaps 'scenery'they go to makeup offersto all to equivalent the intuition of beautythe man. then. is All in much the samecircumstances. le Le Lamaiques. . took the pot and swallowedthe boiling broth. hagiogaphy and customs. . neara A river. tacit kiss betweena plant and the earth.And the only thing I in what the latter don't know: that they are elements wasprecisely understood the landscape. 'mine'. .and bomin Pais. The man was to astonished seehow he could bear the touch of the boiling liquid. with their subdued ease.walks. with his water the fishescameout living and went away swimming in the river. Frenchorientalist Author o/ Initiations was oety familiar with Tibetan life. . . this tiring oneself not worth the mutual.He who most cases very familiar walls as a horizon isn't so very different from he who has four uavelsalong the sameroadseveryday to fulfil taskswhich are alwaysthe same.104 THE BOOK OF FANTASY and sereneactivity of plants. ruin. Lioed in Tibetfor many Nexandra David-Neel. But all this is nothing but a sophism. their possible ecstasies. without uttering a word. Ashesto its the cactus dust to dust! Neutral?I don't know. Les Theories Individualistesdansla PhilosophieChinoise. filiform cage.) But the monk. changeand movementare valued. Lama aux Cinq Sagesses. However highly human activity. . still keeping silent.sesDoctrineset sesMethodes. but yet scoffed at him reproachinghim for his sinful gluttony. so riddled with disappointmentsand to work again with matter like defeat! A Parableof Gluttony years.And.oppositethe anonymous 'to which I belong' disintegrates. 'I . Their innocence and tranquillity. . And now. A holy monk.

I want ro the kill her. cruelfellow tellshim: 'You had betterhelp me.' Again. and a whenhe interferes.after a long tramp.Naropa wandersfrom town to town.utterly disgusted. r purgatories. The proud Brahmin is left aloneon the solitary road.Naropa flees.setsfreethe woman .This time the yogin doesnot disappear. He looks at him . Once. . . The glimmer alows Naropa to vaguelydiscerna man lying besidethe pyre. .' One evening. knocking at the door of a house. a man comesout who offers him wine. just left it a little beforehis arrival.A crumbled-down a pyre is smouldering a corner. in India. I: Tilopa. and the invisible Tilopa scoffsat him: 'That man was myself. is done only by untouchable outcastes. a dark reddishflame leapsfrom it. with the only result that eachtime he reaches placewhereTilopa is said to be staying. . Such work. .the latter had. unclean.He understood. he reaches cemetery.passyour way and let me do it. in showing shrivelled-up carbonized remains. and lo! once more the phantasmagoria disappearswhile the same voice repeats scornfully:'I wasthere. At least. The mere approachof suchmen makesa hindu. the travellersees brutal husbandwho dragshis wife by her hair.he falls prostrateon the ground. belongingto one of the pure castes. The house and its master vanish immediately.' Another day. a invariably. At times.to beg food. while a mocking voice laughs: 'That man wasI: Tolopa. a mocking laugh answers inspection.' Naropacan hear nothing more. He knocksthe man down on the ground.The Persecution theMaster of in his eagerness learn the doctrine that could savehim from the to fhen. Naropa feels deeply offended and indignantly refuses the impure beverge. a villager askes Naropa to help him to skin a deadanimal. his holding Tilopa's feet and placingthem on his head.

then would the watchersfastenup the gateand go into that chamberto the king.I cameto the gateof that city.He (1934). fell forward iro* Heaven'sedge. The Argimenesand the unknown \urarrior(1911).And listening to them somecalmermood would comeupon the king.and bendinghis headbetweenthem. unhappy Far-off Things of \UToman Patches Sunlight (1938).'Go down and show the strengthof mine arm unto that city and slayhalf of the ' dwellerstherein.But they sentback a Death. but half of them sparealive that they may yet remembertheir old forsakengods. sitting on the floor.They were seated ground betweenhim and the gate. sayingunto him: . A white agowandering.TheIdIe City Lord Dunsany (Edward John Mneton Drax Plunkett).andin tg57.yet sparea half of them that they may know that I am God. And it wasthat city's customto tax all men that would enter in.dipdin lrel.and the spring of his anklesshot him downwardswith his wings furled behind him.then turned andwent 'Slay awayforever. Curseof the Vise of publishcd hismemoirs tVoild \Var II' also here was once a city which was an idle city. they of the turned and looked through the gleamingfolds of the twilight for the last time at their city.The Swordof \felleran (1908). Irish autlw. Thereat the angel pointed his armsdownwards.' 'But God senta destroying angelto showthat He wasGod." 'And at oncethe desuoyingangelput his hand to his sword. And in a certain hour of the night when the king of that city aroseand went pacingswiftly up and down the chamberof his sleeping.who bore a scythe'sayingto it: half in the city that forsook us. Author o/Time and ihe Gods(1906). and going into the hazeamongthe hills passed olive grovesinto the sunset. with the toll of someidle story in the gate. born in London in l87B. And the man said: 'Now the city of Nombros forsook the worship of the gods and turned towards God. and the sword with a deep breath.and an autobiogaplry.King (1919).and eachone held a spear.Near him two the other travellerssat on the warm sandwaiting.and all the watcherssilently would arise and stealaway from the chamber. and listening still he would lie down again and at last fall asleep. Soall men paid to the watchersin the gatethe toll of an idle story' and passed into the city unhindered and unhurt. So he went slanting earthward through the evening r05 . like to the breath that a broad cameout of the scabbard woodman takes before his first btow at some giant oak. So the gods threw their cloaksover their facesand strode away through the trunks from the city. and.A Dreamer'sTales (1910). and they lookedhalf in angerandhalf in regret.. And evenas I camea on cross-legged man stood up to pay his toll to the watchers. and called upon the name of the dead queen. wherein men told vain tales. Foughtin thcBoer Var and in \Vorld\Var I.But when they had alreadyleft the earth. would tell him all the tales that they had gathered.

"there wereclouds. Suddenly of they fell on oneanother. and there are no mountainsin the world but thosethat I casrup every morning out of the deepsof the mud. and he was like a javelin that some hunter hath hurled that returneth againto the earth: but iust beforehe touched it he lifted his headand spreadhis wings with the under feathersforward. and therefore they are not high.greetedthem. and the flamesin the eyesof the angelillumined with a red glarethe mist that lay in the hollowsof the sockets the Death.and there are no cloudsbut thou And as for Huhenwazi and Nitcrana.sword to scythe. saying .thou art inded the clouds. and to hearthe earth-worm's comfortable speech. and at the same time down the other bank the Death from the gods wenr mowing. earth-mist. and not to be a wandererin the cheerless heights. And down the bank of the Flavro he fluttered low. 'And indeedit is better to be asthe earth-mist.o. and the Death leeredback at him.' in Then another traveller rose up.Perhaps mad onethinks he the is the clouds.but to leavethe mountainsalonewith there vast aspectover all the citiesof men. and said: 'Solemnly between Huhenwazi and Nitcrana the huge grey clouds came floating.and Nitcrana. and still the Death hath not gone back to die with the dead gods. and all the while the centuriesslipped quietly by going down the Flavro seawards.and to keepcloseto the warm mud at night.\Ufhatare thoseshapes that dare to move aboveus and to go where Nitcrana is and Huhenwazi?' 'And the earth-mist saidin answerunto the vapoursof evening. and alightedby the bank of the broad Flavro that divides the city of Nombros. calling them brothers. I cannot see them.And the cloudswereglad of their greetingfor they meetwith companions seldomin the lonely heightsof the sky.' And the watchers the gatesaidr'Enterin.' 'Then spake the earth-wormsfrom the warm deepsof the mud.heavenlyHuhenwazi. and set up over them the sign of God." 'And the earth-mist and the vapoursof eveningwereglad at the voiceof the earth-worms. and still on eachsideof the Flavro the city lives.but all through Nombros they fight up and down. and others worship the godsin the temple of God. and hasin his madness thoughtthat his placeis with Huhenwaziand Nitcrana. 'But the vapours of eveningsaid unto the earth-mist.And the angelcapturedthe templesof the gods. the king of peaks.THEIDLECITY IO7 with his sword stretchedout before him. 'At once they saw each other. And thosegreat mountains. and still the angelhath not returned againto thl reioicing choirs. 'And now some worship God in the temple of the gods.' of . and led into them the ceremonies and sacrificesof the gods.asour forefathers havesaid.but this wasmany and manya day ago. and looking earthwardbelievedwhat they had said.' "Oncer" saidthe vapoursof evening. like to a hawk over a new-cur cornfield when the little creaturesof the corn are shelterless. and the angel glared at the Death. . and from the whispersthar they hear at evening unknowndistantGods.'It is only an earth-mist that has becomemad and has left the warm and comfortableearth.

r08

THE BOOK OF FANTASY

'Enter in.' in And the watchers the gatesaid, Then a man stood up who cameout of the west, and told a westerntale. He said: 'There is a road in Rome that runs through an ancient temple that once the godshad loved;it runs alongthe top of a greatwall, and the floor of the temple lies far down beneathit, of marble, pink and white. 'Upon the temple floor I counted to the number of thirteen hungry cats. ' "it "sometimesr"they saidamongthemselves, wasthe godsthat lived here, now it's cats. So let us enjoy the sun on the hot it sometimes was men, and marble beforeanotherpeoplecomes." 'For it wasat that hour of a warm afternoon whenmy fancyis ableto hearthe silent voices. 'And the fearful leanness all those thirteen cats moved me to go into a of neighbouringfish shop, and there to buy a quantity of fishes.Then I returned and threw them all over the railing at the top of the greatwall, and they fell for marblewith a smack. thirty feet, and hit the sacred 'Now, in any other town but Rome, or in the minds of any other cats, the had sightof fishesfalling out of heaven surelyexcitedwonder.They roseslowly, themselves, then they cameleisurelytowardsthe fishes."It is and all stretched only a miracle," they said in their hearts.' 'Enter in.' in And the watchers the gatesaid, Proudly and slowlyr BSthey spoke,drew up to them a camel, whoserider by with the sunset which for long to soughtfor entrance the city. His faceshone toll. \Thereathe spoke for he had steered the city's gate.Of him they demanded from to his camel,and the camelroaredand kneeled,and the man descended wrought him. And the man unwrappedfrom many silks a box of diversmetals and by the Japanese, on the lid of it were figures of men who gazedfrom some shoreat an isle of the Inland Sea.This he showedto the watchers,and when 'It to they had seenit, said, hasseemed me that thesespeakto eachother thus: "Behold now Ooini, the dearoneof the sea,the little mother seathat hath no storms.Shegoethout from Ooini singinga song,and shereturnethsingingover to by her sands.Little is Oojni in the lap of the sea,and scarce be perceived afar, they are told wonderingships.White sailshaveneverwaftedher legends of not by beardedwanderers the sea.Her firesidetalesare known not to the North, the dragonsof China have not heard of them, nor those that ride on through Ind. elephants "Men tell the talesand the smokearisethupwards;the smokedepartethand the talesare told. "Oojni is not a name among the nations, she is not known of where the meet, sheis not spokenof by alien lips. merchants "Indeed, but Oojni is little among the isles,yet is she loved by thosethat hidden from the sea. and her inland places know her coasts glory, without fame,and without wealth,Ooini is greatlylovedby a "rilflithout little people,and by a few; yet not by few, for all her deadstill love her, and oft by night come whisperingthrough her woods. \flho could forget Ooini even amongthe dead?

THE IDLE CITY

109

"For here in oojni, wot you, are homesof men, and gardens,and golden temples of the gods, and sacred places inshore from the sea, and many murmurous woods. And there is a path that winds over the hills to go into mysteriousholy lands where danceby night the spirits of the woods, or sing unseenin the sunlight; and no one goesinto theseholy lands, for who that love Ooini would rob her of her mysteries, and the curiousalienscomenot. Indeed, but we love Ooini thoughsheis solittle; sheis the little motherof our race,and the kindly nurse of all seafaringbirds. "And behold, even now caressing her, the gentle fingers of the mother sea, whosedreamsare afar with that old wandererOcean. "And yet let us forgetnot Fuzi-Yama,for he stands manifestover cloudsand sea,misty below, and vagueand indistinct, but clearabovefor all the islesto watch.The shipsmakeall their iourneys his sight, the nightsand the daysgo in by him like a wind, the summersand winters under him flicker and fade, the lives of men passquietly here and hence,and Fuzi-Yamawatches there-and And the watchers the gatesaid 'Enter in.' in And I, too, would havetold them a tale, very wonderful and very true; one that I had told in many cities, which as yet had no believers. But now the sun had set, and the brief twilight gone) and ghostly silences were rising from far and darkeninghills. A stillness hung over that city's gate.And the grearsilence of the solemnnight was more acceptable the watchers the gate than any to in soundof man. Thereforethey beckoned us, and motionedwith their hands to that we should passuntaxedinto the city. And softly we went up over the sand, and between high rock pillars of the gate,and a deepstillness the settledamong the watchers,and the starsover them twinkled undisturbed. For how short a while man speaks,and withal how vainly. And for how long he is silent. Only the other day I met a king in Thebes,who had been silent alreadyfor four thousandyears.
knows.tt t

Tantalia
bom in Buatos Airesin and Macedonio Fernandez, Argentinianmetaphysicist humorist, No ari7inolwork, whichittcludes toda esVigilia la de los 1952.His extremeb diedin 1874, (1930),is distinguished its inunsi|t de for Oios Abiertos (1928) andParyeles Recienvenido ane and continualinoentio ss.

The world is of tantalic inspiration. First rnoment:The careerof a little plant He is finally convincedthat his sentimentality,his capacityfor affection, which and, in the pain of this haslong beenstruggling to recover,is totally exhausted discovery,pondersand comesto the decisionthat perhapscaring for a fragile little plant, a minimal life, the most in needof affection,should be the first step in the re-educationof his sentimentality. A few days after this meditation and the projectspending, having no inkling of his thoughts but moved by a vague apprehensionshe had had of the emotional impoverishmenttaking place in him. She sent him a gift of a little clover plant. He decidedto adopt it to initiate the procedurehe had been contemplating. He looked after it enthusiasticallyfor some time, gradually becoming more to awareof the infinite careand protection, susceptible a fatal lapse,required to the ensure life of sucha weakbeing,which a cat, a frost, a knock, heator wind, it couldthreaten.He felt intimidatedby the possibilityof seeing die oneday asa but result of the slightest carelessness; it was not only the fear of losing his gift. Talking with Her, worried just like all thosewho arepassionate, beloved's that there was an is the more so when that passion flagging, it became obsession an intertwining of destiniesof the life of the plant and their lives, or that of their love. It was Shewho one day cameto tell him that the clover wasthe symbol of life of their love. They beganto fear that the little plant might die and that with it oneof them might die, and, what'smore, their love, the only deaththereis. They saweach whilst the fear in which they other frequently, going over it in conversations, trapped grew. They then decidedto destroythe recognizable found themselves identity of the little plant so that, avoidingthe bad omen which killing it would their life entail, therewould be nothing identifiablein the world whoseexistence and love wassubordinate;and in sodoing, ensuringthat they would neverknow whether that vegetableexistencewhich had so uniquely becomepart of the lived or died. Then they decided,at night, to of vicissitudes a human passion unfamiliar to them. loseit in a vast clover field somewhere il0

TANTALIA

lil

Second rnoment: Identity of a clooer But the excitementwhich had been mounting in Him for sometime, and the disappointmentof both at having had to give up the attempr on which they had embarkedto re-educate sensitivity and the habit and affecrionemergingin his him as he looked after the little plant, were translatedinto a covert deedon his return from the missionto forget in the shadows. the way back, without Her On noticing for certain, yet feeling a certain anxiety, He bent down and picked another clover. '$flhat are you doing?' 'Nothing.' They parted at dawn, Shesomewhatfrightened, both of them relievedat no longer seeingthemselves dependenton the symboliclife of that little plant, and in both alsowasthe fear that we feel at the point of no return, when we haveiust created an impossibility, as in this case the impossibility of ever knowing whetherit wasliving and which onewasthe little plant which had initially been a gift of love.

The torturerof a clmsq Third moment: 'For sundry reasons afflictionsI find myselfenjoyingneitherthe pleasures and pleasures, which are there for the taking. I'm of the intellect or art, nor sensual pleasure; longwalksamongst the deaf,musichavingbeenmy greatest becoming the hedgerowsare becoming impossiblebecauseof a thousand details of physiologicaldecadence. And similarly in other ways . . . 'This little clover plant has been chosenby me for Pain, out of a myriad Poorthing! I'll seeif I cancreate world of Painfor it. I'll seeif others.Chosen! a its Innocenceand Torture becomesuch that somethingexplodesin Being, in will claim and achieve for Universality, sothat Nothingness total Cessation itself and for the whole,for the world is suchthat thereis not evenindividualdeath:a ceasingof the I(/hole or inexorableeternity for everyone.The only intelligible is cessation that of the $flhole;the ideathat he who had once'felt' shouldcease to feel, the remaining reality still existing but he having ceased,is a contradictionin terms, an impossibleconcept. 'Chosenamongstmillions, it befell you to be so, to be so for Pain! Not yet; from tomorrow I shall be an artist in Pain with you! 'For three days, sixty, seventy hours, the summer wind was constant, swingingwithin a smallangle;it cameand went from an accent and directionto a small variation of an accent and a direction, and my bedroom door, its swinginglimited by its frame and a chair I placedin its path for this purpose, swungunceasingly, the shutterof my window alsobangedunceasingly, and at the mercy of the wind. Sixty, seventyhours of the door and shutter giving in minute by minute to their differentpressures, I likewise,sitting or swinging and in the swingseat. 'It's as though I said to myself, this is Eternity. It's as though what I was

tL2

THE BOOK OF FANTASY

the of things,the aimlessness, the feeling,that recipeof weariness, senselessness the same-pain, pleasure,cruelty, kindnessfeeling of everything being the spawned thought of becomingthe torturer of a little plant. 'I'l[ practiser'I repeated myself, 'without trying any more to love again, to the torturing the weakestand most defenceless, tamestand most vulnerable form of life; I'll be the torturer of this little plant. This is the poor little one and to chosenfrom thousands put up with my creativeness zeal as a torturer. when I wanted to make a clover happy, I had had to give up the Because, attempt and banish it from me under sentenceof unrecognizability,the pendulum of my pervertedand battered will swung to the other extreme' in all emerging of a sudden a contrarymutation,in dislike, and quickly gaverise and ro rh; ideaof martyringinnocence isolationin orderto obtain the suicideof shouldthrive in its and cowardlya scene that so repulsive by the Cosmos shame has bosom.After all, the Cosmos alsocreatedme! 'I deny Death. There could be no Death, not evenas the occultationof one beingfor another,when for them all waslove; and I don't deny it only asdeath for its own sake.If there is no deathof he who oncefelt, why shouldthe total of cessation beingnot exist,annihilationof the Whole?You areindeedpossible, In eternalCessation. you all thoseof us who do not believein deathbut who are being,with life, would take refuge.And I believethat Desire with not satisfied without mediationby our bodies,that cancometo work directly on the cosmos, I believe,eventhough no other being might. Faith can move mountains; 'I cannot rekindle the lascerating memory of the life of pain I planned, new cruel methodseachday to make it suffer without killing it. inventing 'To skim over the matter, I would placeit everyday closeto but untouched of by the sun's rays and with the meticulousness cruelty push it away as the it I patchof sunlightadvanced. watered just enoughto stopit from dying, whilst surroundingit with bowls of water, and I had invented realistic soundsof neighbouringrain and drizzle,which neverrefreshedit. To tempt and not give interposed . . . The world is a tablesetwith Temptation,with infinite obstacles and no lessa variety of impedimentsthan of things offered. The world is of which is tantalic inspiration; a display of an immensemaking-itself-desired called Cosmos, or rather, Temptation. Everything a clover wants and everythinga man wantsis offeredand denied.I alsothought: tempt and deny. of My internal orders,my tantalism,was to seekout the most exquisitestates on tormentwithout harminglife, seeking the contrarya fuller life, a morelively making it tremble and excitedsensitivityto suffering.And in this I succeeded, from the pain of tantalicdeprivation.But I could neitherwatch it nor touch it; filled me with disgust(whenI putledit up, that night soblackin my own actions my spirit, I didn't look towardswhereit wasand its contactwas too odiousto outsideits always me). It would writhe at the soundof rain, the moist freshness reach. 'Chosenamongstmillions for a martyr's destiny! Chosen!Poor thing! Oh' your Pain would leap over the world! Vhen I pulled you up, you had already by beenchosen my yearningto torment.'

TANTALIA

ll3

Fourth myment: New smile

The radical, intimate formula of what He was doing so wretchedlywas the of ambition and anxietyof achievingthe replacement the \(hole by Nothingness,of everythingthat thereis, that therewas, that is, of all the Realityof the the materialand spiritual. He thought that the Cosmos, Real, couldn't survive of to long, beingashamed harbourin its midst sucha scene torture inflicted on a of member of one of the lower echelons the weakestand most fragile of lifeforms, becauseof the greater power and endowment of the living. Man tyrannizinga clover! So that's what the adventof man was about! The irritation of denialof what hasbeenofferedcandrive the mostthoughtful satisfaction of men to perversity.Thus the cowardlymartyrdom,the disgusting of the greaterpower in the treacherytowardsa minimal life. and Being,and thought of He conceived the equalpossibilityof Nothingness plainly intelligible a total substitutionof the All-Being by the All-Nothingness as He, asthe highestof Life Consciousness, a man, and a man who and possible. endowed,wasthe one who could, in an ultimaterefinementof is exceptionally thought, have found the mainspring, the talisman which could choosethe or 'pushing out' of option of Being for Nothingness,option or replacement Because truly, tell me if I'm mistaken,isn't it true that Being by Nothingness. or which candecidethat Nothingness Beingdiffer in thereis no mentalelement of the possibility being in some degree; is it not entirely possible that the should exist insteadof Being. This is true, evident, because Nothingness its and thus, its cessation, not world is or is not, but if it is, it is causalistic, being, is causable;although the mainspring sought doesn't determine the of of cessation Being, perhapsanothermight determineit . . . If the existence in equallypossible, this equilibrium or are the \florld or Nothingness absolutely a of balance Beingand Nothingness, wisp, a dewdrop,a sigh, a desire,an idea, could be capableof pushing the alternativeto a \7orld of Non-Beingfrom a \ilorld of Being. would come . One day the Saviour-of-Being
(I comment and theorize on what He did' but I am not He.) 'Tell me, what did you do that night, becauseI heard But She came one day: the dampened sound of a little plant being uprooted, the sound of the earth muffling the pulling up of a tender root? Is that what I heard?' But He felt he was once more in his element after a long pilgrimage in search of the answer, and he burst into tears in Her arms and loved her once more, immensely, as before. They were tears which hadn't been shed for ten or twelve years which swelled his heart, which had made him want to blow up the world, and as he was reminded of the little scream, the humbling murmur of vegetable pain, of a torn rootlet, that was it! what his nature needed so that tears, overflowing, should rinse his entire being and return him to the days of his abundance of love . . . The suffocated scream of a suffering root in the earth, just as all Reality was able to decide towards Non-Being, was able to change His entire inner life. I believe in it. And what the whole world believes is much more than I say I

ll4

THE BOOK OF FANTASY

me believein-who is judged by their beliefs?-thereforedon't accuse of an in absurd rashness belief. Any woman believesthat the life of her belovedcan dependon the wilting of the carnationshe gavehim, if her belovedforgets to put water in the glassshe once gavehim. Every mother believesthat her son who leaves with her 'blessing' departs protected from evil; every woman believesthat what she prays for fervently can overcomefate. Everything-ispossibleis my belief. Thus I believeit. I am not deceivedby the swollen verbiageof the placid ideology of many with their opinionsfoundedon opinions.An Event, an ev€nt metaphysicians, which drives one mad with humiliation, with horror, the Secret,the BeingMystery, the martyrdom of Vegetable Innocencefor the maximum personalizapower. I believesuch tion of Consciousness: Man, for extremenon-mechanical an event,without needof proof, merelyconceived humanconsciousness, by can edgetowardsNon-Beingeverythingthat is. \Ufe It is conceived; therefore Cessation potentiallycaused. canawaitit. But is the miraculousre-creationof love conceived the sametime by the author will at perhaps battle with Cessationor triumph later after the realization of NonBeing. In truth the psychological continuum of conscience a series of is cessations re-creations and rather than a continuum. I haveseenthem love eachother onceagain;but I cannotwatchhim or listen to him without experiencingsudden dread. I wish he had never made his terrible confession me. to

EtemalLife
anthropologist, in Glasgoat 1854, born in di.ed 1941. in JamesGeorge Frazer Bitish social (1890-1915). Hisrnajorworkis TheGoldenBough Healsowrote TheDevil'sAdvocate: A (1909)and Totemismand Exogamy Pleafor Superstition (1910).

A fourth story, taken down near Oldenburg in Holstein, tells of a jolly dame I lthat ate and drank and lived right merrily and had all that heart could desire, and she wished to live always. For the first hundred years all went well, but after that she began to shrink and shrivel up, till at last she could neither walk nor stand nor eat nor drink. But die she could not. At first they fed her as if she were a little child, but when she grew smaller and smaller they put her in a glass bottle and hung her up in the church. And there she still hangs, in the church of St Mary, at Ltibeck. She is as small as a mouse, but once a year she stirs.

with thelacesleeping covered (Sheputs handbehind ear.Her hair is pulled to thenapeof herneckwith a red bout. VICENTE MEJIA (aged28).) dress): in Childrendon't make DONA GERTRUDIS (appearing a pink 1930s coming? mistakes. can hear them. MAMA pSUSmA (aged80).In oncof thmt. a white dress wotrtaround1865. LIDIA (aged32). VOICE OF CLEMENTE: No.) VOICE OF DONA GERTRUDIS: Clemente.) one this unless something awful has happened to the Ramfrezes times. a foreigner (Interior of a smallroomwith stone walls and ceiling. bom in Puebla. Gertrudis! (CATITA and as in emerges. Gertrudis!Gertrudis!Help me find my metacarpi! always them. . tralala!(CATITA jumpsand clapsherhands. Mamd and The is Jesusin. VOICE OF CATALINA: There are lots of feet. Jesusita!All you like doing is sleeping: . . prophesying so impatient? disasters.Catita is right! The footstepsare approaching. Thereareno windouss doors. carried away by your nostalgiafor catastrophies . you get . I know! I knew eversincethey first came. built into thpwaII and alsoof stone. Look at me. DONA GERTRUDIS (ageda0). has us neighbourhood alreadydisappointed several CATALINA (iumping):You go to sleep. sotne bunks.Iittle blackboots a coralnecklace aroundherneck.)Goody. from.that's where the bad habit of forgetting things comes much. CATALINA (aged5). 28). MUNI (aged (aged20). I VOICE OF DONA GERTRUDIS: I$ileII. but this time I'm not VOICE OF mistaken. scenp oay dark. completein my uniform. in MAMA JESUSITA (straightming cap). Her books intlude theoolumeof comedies Un hogar s6lido and the nooelLos recuerdos porvenir (1963). wearinga lacenightdress lace sleeping-cap. and I can't shakehandswithout dressed a Jutirez partisan): as You've read too VICENTE MEJIA @ppearing Don Clemente. . woman.A Secure Home Elena Garro Mexican witer. del CLEMENTE (aeed60).Clemente!I hear footsteps! hearingfootsteps! VOICE OF CLEMENTE: You're always Why arewomen Always anticipating what's going to happen. all alone! in CLEMENTE (He appears a black suit and white cuffs. Aunt Catalina.that somebody's CATALINA: Yes.)zI think they're losingthem I'm right. you're alwaysmistaken.asthough The first oneshavestopped her listening.I wasso scared here. or To theleft. EVA. DONA GERTRUDIS: That's true . alwaysreadyfor any arrival! herself her bunk and pokingout her head. goody!Tralala.Isn't it true.

(Vfu heara bangaboaeand Gertrudis intemrpts herself.leavethat child alone!And as to you.The sound foonteps MAMA JESUSITA: Catita!Comehereand polish my forehead. to break the ice of my cubesleft out in the open.wherehaveyou left Clemente's femur? CATALINA: Jesusita! They want to take my trumper away from Jesusita! me! MAMA JESUSITA:Gertrudis. GERTRUDIS: I don't know. be fair.The wholeof wasthereto seeRicardoBell.surroundedby heliotrope. . and I neverforgot her . CLEMENTE: (intemtpting): pity's sake. looking like a butterfly. . GERTRUDIS: But mother.sleep. . mother. Blessed wasthe time when I ran aroundthe houselike lightning. and thoseevenings when you would go with father to the Teatro de los Hdroes. when everythingshonelike a comet. sweeping. life is so short! Every time I got to the box. Gertrudis? That was living. Clemente.has beenhelping JESUSITA to fix her cap. meanwhile. ir's Clemente's femur! CATALINA: You're horrid. GERTRUDIS: Aunt Catalina.They stop. surrounded by my children. The cockerel's crowing in SanAgustin. to (Abooe. straightand cleanas slatepencils.How pretty you looked with your fan and your earringson! MAMA JESUSITA: You see.now I can't find my femur! For MAMA JESUSITA: How inconsiderate! Interrupring a tady! (CATITA. \il7e CLEMENTE: Don't complain.) foonteps. didn't I? \trfe'dbeento the circusthe night before.I told you I fell. . mother . but what did you expectthe girls and Clemente do. suddenly tightrope-walker Chihuahua a cameout. later.shaking the dust which fell on the piano in deceitful torrentsof gold. mean!I'll hit you! It's not his femur. think that out of respect . suchlack of respect? GERTRUDIS: Had I beenrhere. it's my sugartrumpet! CLEMENTE (to Gertntdis): Perhaps she'seatenit? Your aunt is unbearable. Sheloved the whitewashed trails left by the scar.116 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Sleep. want it ro I shinelike the Pole Star.) . .DofraJesris. . .) VINCENTE: I sawCatitaplaying the trumpet with it. And I alsorememberthe little burnt cork you would useto paint rings under the eyes. Is the breaddone? MAMA JESUSITA: And what do you expectme to do? They left me in my nightdress. . GERTRUDIS: Yes. I say: worsethan my child being ill is what it has done to her will .Do you remember. MAMA JESUSITA: Out of respect! And out of respect.Shelost my broken collar-bone for me.And it wasmy favourite bone! It remindedme of the doors of my house.and the lemonsyou usedto eat so that your blood would become water. .and bathewith the waterfull of winter stars.child.we hearrnany of retums. .

F/esings.SinceI broke it. GERTRUDIS: Uncle Vicente.ITE: Muni and my sister-in-law missing. my son! Can you hear that the That's how the seabeatsagainst rocksof my house. MAMA JESUSITA: Be quiet. it's coming.in Dolores' Pantheon. . Somebody's his No comingrw€ havevisitors. oeryyoung.) you rememberhow we usedto danceat that Carnival?(He carcies dancing. her.I didn't know I had bones. Muni. . There was more respect. sojealous . . travelling foreign. in a 1920s dress.) GERTRUDIS: . seeif it dispelsyour gloom.) on Your pink dresswhirled around and around. Look at thoseintrusive people! In my day. . \[hat would Ramonsaynow?He.As a child. Don't give me any explanations. .be quiet! You'll be upsetting l've alreadyexplainedto you. in the morning I wenr ro rhe brambles.) in.You usedto be so cheerful. . .) EVA: Muni was arounda momentago. and your neck was very closeto mymouth.the only thing you enjoyeddoing .Let's cousins. all (Abaoewe heara louderbang. . Of course.) As night castsits shadow The moon glitters And in the lagoon The kingfisher sings . the time we had no moneyto move him. One of those strangerswho married the girls! God strikes down the humble.whilst he rots alone. Vicente!It's not the time to sing. and a en Do wasdancingpolkas (hehums'Jesusita Chihuahua' dances feu: steps. Jesusita! with everything. Vicente!Don't remindme of cousin MAMA JESUSITA:For goodness'sake.fair-haired. because night long I dreamt I was her . one doesn'tknow anything. fall in and we will arise! are CLEMEI. as poor old Ramonusedto say. tall. MAMA JESUSITA:And the girls.(. sad. are MAMA JESUSITA: You foreigners alwayswanderingoff.) VINCENTE (smoothing moustaclze): doubt. thosesilly things.. Life's full of surprises! (The bangs follout morerapidly. Dofla Jesris.God rest his soul.. You find fault VINCENTE: You haven't changedfor the better. and VINCENTE (laughirug): you and me here together.that at CLEMENTE (alarmed).A SECURE HOME ll7 GERTRUDIS (continuing):.)l sawa sabre! Michaelis St CATALINA: I sawlight! (A ray of lightcomes coming to visit us again!Look at his spear! VINCENTE: Are we all here?Well then. noneof you beating? . son?You canplay and laughwith them again.. . peoplesaid they would be coming before dropping in for a visit. I alwayssayit wasthe first boneI had. . (EVA appears.perhaps one of your GERTRUDIS: Muni! Muni! Somebody's Don't you like it.to danceon one foot. (lVe heara louderbang.Let's seewho they bring us now. what are rhey waitingfor to bring him? You alwayswere lacking in tact.

. camein through the chimney. comes by She upright. . . Jesusita? MAMA JESUSITA: Yes. Catita. the Catita. \[hat a lot of smallfry! t$7hat's more modern?I thought it was at leastmore hygienic. . it wason a rock. is her suspmded ropes.il8 THE BOOK OF FANTASY knew it . .): Iilho could it be? (Abooe.Did shefrighten you. Do you rememberher? Shehad fingersof cottonwool and didn't let me breathe. plink. . . Beatenby the winds which rocked us at night. child. my GERTRUDIS: Clemente. sangin the drips in the basins . . and a of A shiny dolphin's tail heraldedthe day.) Clemente. And wasthe MissesSimson's pretty? MAMA JESUSITA:Very pretty. . plonk! . And since . sister. At night. on sayingthe lastphrase. armsuossed bentand qes closed. . Jesusita!Somebody'scoming! \ilho's bringing him Jesusita:Dofla Diphtheria or St Michael? MAMA JESUSITA: Sflait.child.Lidia starts descent. the sea. .The whitewashin the kitchen becamegolden with my father's sunny hands . the first stoneslnb is remooed. .I couldn't read. . And the iodine spreadaround the houselike sleep. with a white dress. . herfingersmakinga cross. and you could no longer go. . The luxurious dresses dusty and the faces pale.) CATALINA: Look. and I readit. Abooe. plink. (He caresses glrl.) MAMA JESUSITA: That's all we needed!Now we have the whole set of with the crematorium? Isn't that grandchildren. Plink. plink.a Diphtheria brought me. child! Here thereis room for everyone. The little girl CATALINA jumps with delieht. Jesusita. CATALINA: And did you learnhow to spell?That's what motherwasgoing to sendme there for. how lovely that you've died so soon! (Eoeryone quiet. in MUNI (He enters pyjamas. curled up in the flames.Mother cried a lot. CATALINA: Silly! You didn't know you'd be comingto play with me?That day St Michael sat next to me and with his spearof fire he wrote it in the sky of school my house. tall as a wave. with fair hair. salt. and we girls too. .thoseare Lidia's feet! How lovely.raises arm and pointsto theflood of light hn Tlw room is bathedin mteing the crypt.fire. head her ooerher clust.hisface blue.throughthepieceof oauh opento the sky.Mother senrus with blackbows. Like that! t$(rith cascade scales coral! (EVA. I rememberthey took you away and the patio of the housewascoveredin purple petals. we'll see! CATALINA: Dof.) Lidia? CATALINA: ttrflho's MUNI: Lidia? She'sthe daughterof Uncle Clementeand Aunt Gertrudis.u)ecan see feet of a won an the in suspended a circleof light. exceptpoor old Ramon! EVA: How she'sgrown! $(/henI cameshewas as small as Muni. that Lidia isn't real? CATALINA: Isn't it true. plonk! Plink. are sunlight. the of creatures the wind. MAMA JESUSITA: If only it were. . Swirls of salt coveredits windows with seastars.

morher.Let homes memblebefore the mercilessParcae. I can iust rememberyou. CLEMENTE: Good God! Is that idiot still around? MAMA JESUSITA: \fhat's no good thrives! LIDIA: Yes. You know. how composedshe alwayswas .) VOICE: The generous earth of our belovedMexico opensits armsto give you loving shelter. to appearlike this before Our Lord God. of course! We had her on the piano. but nobody remembersold people . Lili. . . LIDIA: And grandmother? CLEMENTE: Shecouldn't get up. she hides. . .Virtuous lady. whoseabsence shall grieve with growing sorrow we with the passage time. EVA: And don't you rememberyour Aunt Eva? LIDIA: Aunt Eva! Yes. of the flag and of Mother's Day . Lili.) GERTRUDIS: You look very well. here I am lying down for ever and ever. and I rememberyour purple parasoland your palefaceunder its lights. CATALINA: rtr7hen Michael comesto seeus. VINCENTE: t$flhatmadness!And what are so many blind people doing together? MAMA JESUSITA: But why doeshe treat you so familiarly? GERTRUDIS: It's the fashion. in uniform. of the Knights of Colombus. St LIDIA: And who are you. GERTRUDIS: My mother's ideas.) Mother! Muni! (she hugs them. and your empty chair rocking to the rhythm of your songafter you had gone. VOICE: Most cruel loss. . . darling? CATALINA: Catita! LIDIA: Ah. . . you deprive us of your overwhelmingcharm and you of alsoleavea secureChristian home in the most pitiless orphanhood. modelwife. so melancholic. . How sad when we saw her. . . Thm slu opens eyes. MAMA JESUSITA: The worsr thing would be. with the brocaderuffles and the little bunch of violets . niece? to LIDIA: Uncle Vicente! $/e alsohad you in the lounge. most exemplary mother. (A ooi.A SECURE HOME II9 (Lidia renwinsstandingin tluir midstas thq watch her. . ffid your medal was in a little red velvet box. to talk familiarly to the dead. like that of a beautiful drownedwoman . you leavean irremediablevoid. . Do you rememberwe madethe mistake of burying her in her nightdress? MAMA JESUSITA: Yes. Presidentof the Societyfor the Blind. child. MAMA JESUSITA: \7ho's talking to you with such familiarity? LIDIA: It's Don Gregoriode la Huerta y Ramfrez Puente. Don't you think it's wicked? tUflhy didn't you think of bringing me a dress? That grey one. painted in her white dress! I'd forgotten she was here. Now she'sin Evita'shouse. A speech. with your fair hair in the sun . VINCENTE: And aren't you pleased meet me. .) hu LIDIA: Father! (she hugs him.And now she'sChair of the Bank. .ce erupts from the circleof light. child.

Catita. .and Eva didn't saya word to us.exceptyour housewith its white pine table and the wavesin the windows and the boats' sails . very frightened. . still dazedby the flashes. why. I want to seemy mummy!'rU(Ihat battlethis child gaveme! I tell you. . MUNI: Aren't you happy. especially seeing the yard of the police stationwith that smell of urine coming from broken slabs. a moon for eachwindow and planetsin the rooms. . . I had neverseena blue deadbody. I was down here. why? CATALINA: So did I.full of flies. everything was so quiet here. You said. Muni. I wanteda joyful city. like the house had we aschildren:with a sun at eachdoor. CATALINA: Until one day Eva arrived. Nor to seethe corners.looking for bonesin butchers' shops.The scene graduallydarkens. in VOICE: Requiescat pace! (They beginto replacethe stoneslabs. . (Silence.Do you remember Lilf ? It had a labyrinth of laughter. faith. EVA: You'll seeeverythingyou want to see. MAMA JESUSITA: I've told you already.Isn't that right. and you sleepingon the bunk. .why nobody ever cameback again. you'll see. MAMA JESUSITA: Itls nor Don Hilario. VINCENTE: The situationwasratherstrained. MUNI: \7hy. .Its kitchenwas it. and the butcher.r20 THE BOOK OF FANTASY . little angel has flown!' And it wasn't true. full of sunsandmoons. Christian resignationand compassion . . alone. with open wounds and . EVA: I felt intimidated . MAMA JESUSITA: Leavethe lad alone!Blue suits fair peoplevery well. with his fingers soaked blood from choppingso much meat?Well. Vicente?Isn't it true that I don't tell lies? VINCENTE: You're telling me! I arrived here. I askedmyself. Jesusita told me later that cyanidehasmany brushesand only one tube of paint: blue.we went to Mexico. Don Hilario died a mere yearsago . sixty-seven 'A CATALINA (arulout hearingher): Vhen they brought me here. VOICE: Only unshakable CATALINA: Don Hilario alwayssaysthe samething. that she wasa we foreignerbecause didn't know her. LIDIA: Still wait? GERTRUDIS: Yes. I in didn't want to walk alongany more grim pavements looking for a boneamongst the blood.A secure city. \7hen I sawyou lying that night in LIDIA: Yes. . and my house . placeswhere dogs pee. . child. . .Catita. and I was thinking of Muni . . Lilf? you.what do I see?Catita crying: 'I want to seemy a mummy. I evenmissedthe French . amongstthe policemen'sfeet. Lilf.Theyreplace lastslab. . Vicente. Vicente?\ilfe didn't CATALINA: t$(/e know what was happening. cousin Lilf? Haven't you seenstray dogs wanderingforever along the pavement.) were alonea long time. your pyjamas crumpledand your faceblue. he said. Then there was the Revolution. .) the LIDIA: And now what do we do? CLEMENTE: rUfait. props for drunks. weren't we.

live on the the corners. wasin vain. . If I could find the spiderwhich lived in my house. Muni .I polishedthe floors. bang! bang!. full of fishesand nets. the birth of nations . LIDIA: Yes.because then you'll be all the eyesof the dogs looking at absurd feet. on to grey roofs and red caps. in order to open up avenues that circular inferno. I embroidered with intertwinedinitials.the bed of all rivers. . . MUNI: I couldn't grow either. to make thosewho read by a window cry! MUNI: Don't worry when your eyesbegin to disappear. and man. the root of everygrass. far away for ever from that other yard in whosesky a belltower told us the hours we had left to play. MUNI: You told me at the polic station. . with its invisible thread linking flower to light.castles. flagsand battles. . Muni! That's exactlywhat I wanted . .the most secure point of everyrock. nor do you need a river. apple to perfume. I would open in books.A SECURE HOME L2l its a crossroads. And in you I kept the last day we were children. . in of order not to seethe thousands deadwords the maidssweptin the mornings. .I wanteda secure home. but suddenlyyou don'r need a house. I wanted my house. MAMA JESUSITA: Oh. Muni. In that strangeyard. I hopeyou neverhaveto be the blind eyes a blind of fish in the deepest You don't know what a terriblefeelingit gaveme: it was sea. and you'll be the snowfalling in an unfamiliar city. LIDIA: A securehome. CLEMENTE: Lilf. Afterwardsthere was only one: Lidia sitting facing the wall.which watchedfor years. waiting . . I would sewbeautifuleyelids to theseeyes this house would enter the solar order. MUNI: Yes. Lili. garden. but I couldn't find the thread. . they took me to a strange and I found nothing therebut clocksand someeyeswithout eyelids. to find the unbreakable serviettes. I wasexpectingthat one morning the loving image would arise from its quicksilver. They polishedthe mirrors. and it would laugh with the laughterof my father. or a gold thistle. Muni. . you don't know it yet. lUfeshall not swim in Mescal.Now your houseis the centreof the sun.Sosecure that the sea could beat againstit every night. hands. . like seeingand not seeing. magicthreadwhich makestwo namesone . aren't you happy?You'll find the threadand you'll find the spider. Each balcony would be a different country. Lili. GERTRUDIS: Sometimes you'll feelvery cold. MUNI: I know. and the whole of it. . The angryeyesneverstoppedlooking at LIDIA: But everything me. to drive awayour hostile looks. from my children's from the sheets. sprinklerswould sprout from its glasses. my son. we shall be Mescal. . woman to on which would look at me. And you house know. its furniture would flower. the heartof everystar. magic carpetsto travel through a dream. EVA: Sodid I. CATALINA: \(rhat I like most is to be a sweetin a little girl's mourh.I would sayto myself.

it'll give somebeautiful in reflections. encased this nightdress? CATALINA: I want to be God the Father's index finger! EVERYONE IN CHORUS: Child! into a cloud! with salt. . when you MAMA JESUSITA: Now the rats will comeback.) we MAMA JESUSITA: Jesus. GERTRUDIS: Especiallysinceyou barely learn to be a man in the world. the worst thing was being the murderer'sdagger. . embroidering. I'm the wind. CATALINA: And I the window which looks out on the world! we'll be all MAMA JESUSITA: There will be no moreworld.And you'll be the pine tree and the stepsand the fire.' it? I haven'tseenanything. you'll scare be all those things.which climbs in a whirlwind the stepsI never climbed' . Granny. LIDIA: And I the Virgin's seamstress's embroidering. LIDIA: And could I be a pine tree with a spider'snest and build a secure home? CLEMENTE: Of course.because thesethings after the Last Judgement. Don't scream your own face.and I alwaysforget.Virgin most pure! The trumpet of the Last Forgiveme.And what wilt I do. Ah! Yes.cenrreof the Universe. Catita.! GERTRUDIS: And I the music from St Cecilia'sharp. Lord. It's the curfew. LIDIA: And then? MAMA JESUSITA: Then God will call us to His bosom. And me in my nightdress! Judgement! LIDIA: No. . There'll be no moreworld?And whenam I goingto see CATALINA (crying). VICENTE: Seeit now. It's frighteninglearningto CLEMENTE: Don't tell her that. yourselfscurry across her.r22 THE BOOK OF FANTASY when you were and CATALINA (/aagfting clapping):You alsogot very scared the worm going in and out of your mouth! VICENTE: For me. There's a barracks next to the pantheon. they've told me before. MUNI: I want to be the fold in an angel'stunic! MAMA JESUSITA: Your colourwould go very well.I haven'tevenlearnedhow to spell. MAMA 'Whoever JESUSITA: a thought of putting a barracksso closeto us?t$(/hat government!It's so confusing! VICENTE: The curfew! I'm off. transformed EVA: And I a wavesplattered fingers.St Michael's spearwill appear.And under its light will emergethe divine host of angelsand we will enter the celestialorder. this immodesty. I want thereto be a world. . CLEMENTE: After you've learnedto be everythinB. . CLEMENTE: And I a particleof St Peter'sstone. The wind which opensall the doors I never opened. VICENTE: And I the fury of St Gabriel'ssword. . Catita! (In the distance heara trumPet.

'Don't desuoymy faith that terrified. freshness! MAMA JESUSITA:Rascal! CLEMENTE: Ah. rain on water! (He disappears.) beautiful unknown women .) CATALINA: The table at which nine children are eating! I'm the game!(Sfte disappears. Ah.) EVA: Lightning sinking into the black sea!(. At dawn the coffin rose up of its own accordand hung noiselesslyin the air.) TheMan WhoDid l{ot Beliez)e in Miracles hu Fu Tze. two feet from the ground. who didn't believe in miracles. Ah. died. The pious son-in-law was father-in-law. .'At that point the coffin descended his raith.'hebegged. his son-in-law was watching over him.) disappears.S&e LIDIA: A securehome! That's what I am! The slabsof my tomb! (Sfte disappears.) MUNI: Can you hear that? A dog is howling. and the son-inmiraclesarepossible.) MAMA JESUSITA: The fresh heart of a lettuce!(Sftedisappears. . melancholy! (He disappears. GILES . law regained _HERBERT A.THE MAN WHO DID NOT BELIEVE IN MIRACLES I23 which runs through the streetsnew to my officer's uniform and lifts the skirts of (He disappears. 'Oh venerable slowly.

all and threw in.likewise.He alsowrotemany which wue Catastrophe'. who had evidentlycomethither as a looker on. month's magalast year'swithered leaves.wheelbarrows.and wherea vastassemblage spectators by of would be endangered admire the show. the torch had alreadybeen condemned plain. asit appeared. 'Oh.there camefoot travellers. into the mist of the dark ages.I made it to convenient journeythither and be present.The sitefixed upon at the representation themselves it by a general insurancecompanies. might commodiously and imagining. 'rWhatmaterialshave been used to kindle the flame?' inquired I of a bystanderlfor I was desirousof knowing the whole processof the affair from beginningto end.' to As he spokesomerough-lookingmen advanced the vergeof the bonfire. pedigreesthat back. in fact.and last that will take fire like a handful of shavings. the crests and devicesof illustrious families.Here now comessomeantiquatedtrash zines.like a far off star Amid that boundless applied. Beforeanswering question. somevery dry combustiblesr' repliedhe.women holding up their lumbering baggage wagons.With every moment. althoughthe heapof rubbish wasasyet comparatively small.greatand small. He struck me immediatelyas and having weighedfor himself the true value of life and its circumstances. globe. fifty yearsold or thereabout. men on horseback. the rubbishof the herald'soffice-the blazonry of coat armor. Having a tastefor sightsof this kind.that the illumination of the bonfire might revealsome profundity of moral truth heretoforehidden in mist or darnkess. than yesterday's newspapers. was The personwhom I addressed a graveman. and from far and near ladenwith articlesthat were judgedfit for nothing but to be burned.wasoneof the broadest whereno humanhabitation the flames.and aprons. imaginatioestoiessuch as'\Vakefield' and'Mr Higginbotham's influentialin the history Amuican witing. like lines of light. and as being as central a spot as any other on the the prairiesof the ril7est.therewasmerelyvisibleone tremulousgleam. of enormously fince upon a time-but whetherin the time pastor time to comeis a matterof \-rrlittle or no moment-this wide world had become overburdened so with an trumpery that the inhabitants determinedto rid accumulationof wornout of of bonfire.At my arrival.Earth's Holocaust camc Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) for from an old Puritanfamily and won acclaim his of sketches New England ltfe and hisnooelThe ScarletLetter (1850). in the dusk of the evening.he lookedme in the faceby the kindling light of the fire. other vehicles.togetherwith extended 124 .whence as none could have anticipatedso fierce a bLaze was destinedto ensue. judgmentthe world might interst in whatever as therefore feelinglittle personal my form of them. however. 'and extremelysuitableto the purpose-no other. alonein the firmament.

were the medalsof our own societyof Cincinnati.werethosewho kept alive from ageto agethe old chivalrousspirit. but here there arosean outcry. the men of the privileged orders. the sculptor-all the beautiful artsl for we were their patrons. And besides. There. of onewhohadbeenborn to the superiority. ideaof hisown social and till 'People. vast and was still. glad to shelterhimself under his new-foundinsignificance. That was their moment of triumph. and createdthe atmosphere which they flourish. seemed havebeenforcibly wrenchedaway. \fe. which was tossedinto the flamesby armfuls at once. comprising those of all the European soveriegnties.by means which. 'And henceforth no let man dareto showa pieceof musty parchmentashis warrantfor lording it over his fellows. were innumerablebadges of knighthood.and clappedtheir hands set with an emphasisthat made the welkin echo.had oncepossessed significance.and indignant. too. hadneverfelt it questioned that moment. after long ages. and Napoleon's decoration of the Legion of Honor.EARTH'S HOLOCAUST r25 stars. ashistory tells us. insomuchthat. you cast off the poer. 'Let him thank his stars that we have not flung him into the same fire!' a shouted rude figure. reckonedamongthe most preciousof moral or material factsby the worshippers the gorgeous past. or other badgeof rank. who had dared to assumethe privileges due only to betterworkmanship.Mingled with this confused of heap.he shrunk back into the crowd.'criedhe. spurningthe embers with his foot.garters. contemptuous.but nevertheless with a degree statelinessr-'people. and English peers. of an order of hereditaryknights came near being constitutedout of the king quellersof the revolution. wearinga coat. or that could havepreventedyour relapse thither. that gushed and eddied forth from this immense pile of earthy distinctions.and embroidered collars. the more refined and delicatelife. the ribbons of which were entangledwith those of the ancientorder of St Louis. But now thererushedtowardsthe blazingheapa Heaven's grayhaired man. too. In abolishingthe majesticdistinctionsof in rank. habitualandalmostnativedignity. sportive. that altogetherdrowned the appealof the fallennobleman. the gentle and generousthought. it is one species of . well and good.there were the patentsof nobility of German counts and barons.from the breastof which a to star. tI7ith the nobles. of what have you done?This fire is consuming that markedyour advance all from barbarism. but still there was the the demeanor. casting onelook of despairat his own halfburned pedigree.mingledwith vivid jetsof flame.He had not the tokens of intellectual power in his face. gazingat the ruin of what wasdearest his eyes to with grief and wonder. as paltry a bawbleas it might appearto be the uninstructedeye. achieved.eachof which. the painter. At sightof the dense volumesof smoke.but its steadfastness'More he would doubtlesshave spoken. societylosesnot only its grace. the higher. the purer. in truth. Spanishgrandees. If he have strength of arm.from the worm-eateninstruments signedby \$(lilliamthe Conquerordown to the brand new parchment the latestlord who hasreceived honorsfrom the fair hand of his of Victoria. overcreatures the same of clayand the same spiritual infirmities. of statelypresence. the multitude of plebeianspectators up a joyousshout.

but with which universal manhood at irs full-grown stature could no longer brook to be insulted.126 THE BOOK OF FANTASY superiority.and soon beheld them burst into a the blaze that reachedthe clouds and threatenedto set the sky itself on fire.' observedmy new enveloped in the smokeof a royalwardrobe. for. this species in comes its place. 'And in good timer' remarkedthe graveobserverby my side. afterwardsflung into the 'The smell of singed garmets is quite intolerable here. and how the posts and pillars of the a French throne became heapof coals. with that great apostle at their head.' within reachof the flames.And now let us standoff and see the fire. And well it might.playthingsat best.but. Accordingly. Let me add. which they rolled beforethem across prairie. and sceptresof emperorsand kings.' us \U[eaccordinglypassed around. If he have wit. They brought a rich and contribution to the bonfire-being nothing less than all the hogsheads the barrelsof liquor in the world. wisdom. but from this day forward no mortal must hope for place and considerationby reckoning up the mouldy bones of his is That nonsense done away. as if a star had into fragments.' ancestors. Satandeal with his own liquor. the breeze get to windward and seewhat they are doing on the other sideof the bonfire. which he exiledPolesstirring up the bonfire with the Czarof Russia's flames. courage.The splendorof the ruined fallen in that spot and beenshattered reflection save in those inestimable precious stones. fit only for the infancy of the as condemned useless it world or rods to govern and chastise in its nonage.force of character' let these attributes do for him what they may.' There was little spaceto muse or moralizeover the embersof this timehonored rubbish. which. for here wasthe whole world's stock of spirituousliqours. however. before it was half burned out. Into such contempthad theseinsignianow fallen that the gilded crown and tinselled robesof the player king from Drury Lane Theatre had beenthrown in among the rest. doubtlessas a mockery of his brother monarchson the great stageof the world. It wasa strangesight to discernthe crown jewelsof Englandglowing and flashingin the midst of the fire. bearing the purple robes of royalty.that I noticed one of the sceptre. however. when they reached vergeof the 'one shovemore.'if no worsenonsense has of nonsense fairly lived out its life.which it was impossibleto distinguish from thoseof any other wood. there came another multitude from beyond the sea. globes. having placedtheir woodenvessels processionstood off at a safedistance. and the work is done. But monarchy had no enough on this subject. .'Let us as acquaintance. and the whole now blazed with a dazzlinglustre. and the crowns. It were but tedious to describehow the Emperor of Austria's mantle was convertedto tinder. and were just in time to witnessthe arrival of tUflashingtonians-as votaries of temperancecall the a vast processionof themselvesnowadays-accompaniedby thousandsof the Irish disciples of Father Mathew. Someof them had beendelivereddown with vast revenues. 'Now. at all events. All these had been bawbles. from the time of the Saxonprinces. in a low voice. my childrenr' cried Father Mathew. otherswere purchased perchance ravished from the dead brows of the native potentates of or Hindostan.

And while ir rosein a gigantic spire that seemed waveagainstthe arch of the firmament and combine itself to with the light of stars. which lapped up the contentsas if it loved rhem. not worth an honestfellow's living in. '\flhat is this world comingto?Everythingrich and racy-all the . Never again will the insatiablethirst of the fire fiend be so pampered.and mellowedin the sun. the gold. Meantime numberless bottles of preciouswine were flung into the blaze. and hoardedlong in the recesses the earth-rhe pale. aggregated it to the size of a mountain.The present sacrificeseemed startlethe loversof the weedmore than any that they had to hitherto witnessed. It was the aggregate that fierce fire which would otherwisehavescorchedthe heartsof of millions. a selfishworld. a cold world. and incensedthe atmosphere with such potent fragrancethat methoughtwe should neverdraw pure breath again. And now camethe plantersof Virginia. leavingthe poor fellow without a soul to countenance in sippinghis liquor. but. and contributingto heightenthe selfsame blaze. I overheardmuttered expostulations from several gentlemenwith red nosesand wearing gouty shoes. a low world.and a ragged respectable worthy. reformersnext induced them to replenishthe fire with all the boxesof tea and bagsof coffeein the world. 'Vell. they've put my pipe outr' said an old gentlemanflinging it into the flamesin a pet. preposterous as was the sentiment.beingcastupon the heapof inutility. 'now that we can neverbe jolly any more?tUfhatis to comfort the poor man in sorrowand perplexity?How is he to keephis heart warm againstthe cold winds of this cheerless earth?And what do you proposeto give him in exchange the solace for that you take away? How are old friends to sit together by the fireside without a cheerful glass between them?A plagueupon your reformation!It is a sadworld. and grew. Many deemedthat human life would be gloomier than ever when that brief illumination should sink down. whose boon companionshad dwindled away from his side. bringing their cropsand tobacco. But the ioy was not universal. These. Not that this wasquite the true stateof the caselfor I had observed him at a critical moment filch a bottle of fourth-proof brandy that fell besidethe bonfire and hide it in his pocket. the of ruddy iuice of whatevervineyardswere most delicate-the entire vintage of Tokay-all mingling in one streamwith the vile fluids of the commonporhouse. the multitude gavea shout as if the broad earth were exulting in its deliverance from the curseof ages. soared upwardswith a bewilderinggleamthat startledall mankind. like other drunkards' the merrier and fiercer for what it quaffed. now that good fellowshipis goneforever!' This harangue excitedgreatmirth amongthe bystanders. I could not help commiseratingthe forlorn condition of the last toper. '\ilfhat is this world good forr' said the last toper.Here were the treasuresof famousbon vivants-liquors that had beentossedon ocean. whoseface looked like a hearth where the fire is burned out. \ilhile the reformers were at work. now his expressed discontentmore openlyand boldly. him nor indeedany liquor to sip. The spirituousand fermentedliquors being thus disposed the zealof the of.EARTH'S HOLOCAUST r27 insteadof kindling a frenzied light in the eyesof individual topers as of yore.

all of which proved even more in evanescent the fire than it had been in the fashion. and a his a of drugsand medicinesl physician library.yellow[ace. to the flames.slyly threw in her deadhusband's heart into would willingly haveflung his own desperate iilted by his mistress. It in somewhatstartled me to overheara number of ladies. which he had formerly of fine gentleman the old schoolhis codeof manners. The Rev. politician. however. offices.and half-delirious girl. will come to that in the a end. secondmarriage. They will first fling us in.and proposingto fling their appearance. who. One were of a very amusingcharacter. resolvingon a miniature. A multitude of lovers of and couplesmutually weary of one maids or bachelors both sexes-discarded A sonnets.ran to her rescue. a fit for nothing but to be burnedwhen matterand creationof humanfantasyare oncethey havehad their day. SydneySmith-having voyaged the across Atlantic for that solepurpose-came up to the bonfire with a bitter bonds. my attention being suddenly drawn to a poor.An American by author. A written down for the benefit of the next generation. deceived. highly respectable gownsand petticoats into the flames. and betook himself to some less discouragingoccupation. togetherwith the manners.threw in his playthings. A good man. threw in their lastseason's and such other half-worn milliner's ware.and responsibilities.duties. in the premature broad sealof a sovereign his of manliness the presentepoch. and finally themselves. threw his pen and paperinto the bonfire.fortified thoughthey werewith the grin and threw in certainrepudiated state. In manyinstances to this memorable the individualcontributions poor fellow threw in his empty purse. an apothecary. if thesenonsensical be well enough!' 'it 'Be patientr' responded staunchconservative. poorgirl!'said he.whoseworkswereneglected the public.but couldfind no means wrenchit out of his bosom.a collegegraduate his whole stock ruined by the spreadof homeopathy. to \7hat favor was accorded this schemeI am unable to say. ashe drewher backfrom the fierceembrace my 'Be patient. and abide Heaven'swill.Fashionable and anothera bundleof counterfeitor insolvable of bonnets. 'Patience. whosefrenzy seemed now to havesunk down is blottedout of it!' and into deepdespondency-'yes the sunshine and that It wasnow rumoredamongthe spectators all the weapons munitions . the assume garb.A little boy of five yearsold. diploma. into it.r28 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Now that they havekindled the as spiceof life-is to be condemned useless. Thesethings of possess living soul. all may be restoredto its first freshness. a parsonhis old sermons. hack of perfumedlettersand enamored another-tossedin bundles of bread by the loss of office. being deprived which happenedto be false ones. to thing aliveor dead.attempted cast that shewasthe mostworthless exclaiming herselfinto the fire amid all that wreckedand brokentrumpery of the world. of the oppositesex. widow. So long as you of the destroyingangel. ladies bank notes.' of measures reform I now turned to consider and systematic From the general these bonfire. all would reformerswould fling themselves bonfire.togetherwith heaps ribbons. but your day is eternity!' 'Yesr' said the wretchedgirl. threw in his teeth. A young man.

generosity. one who neither felt benevolencenor had faith in it.' '\|fhy.EARTH'S HOLOCAUST r29 of war were to be thrown into the bonfire. 'do you imagine that the human race will ever so far return on the steps of its past madness as to weld another sword tlr cast another cannon?' 'There will be no need. except possibly a few old king's arms and rusty swords and other trophies of the Revolution in some of our state armories.' . all tattered with shot holes and inscribed with the names of victorious fields. 'Vhen Cain wished to slay his brother. cast one look upward at their banners. the battering rrains of Marlborough. with their military music playing triumphant marches. he might have been one of Napoleon's famous marshals-who. Then the armies of the earth wheeled around the mighty furnace.but in the end. which. But I saw a grim smile pass over the seared visage of a stately old commander-by his warworn figure and rich military dress. sir. This ceremony being over. They comforted themselves. fervor. while persons of another stamp. nobleness. and that beneficence. however. The blessed tidings were accordingly promulgated. with the rest of the world's soldiery. It was wonderful to behold how these terrible instruments of slaughter melted away like playthings of wax. it had now waxed so intense that neither brass nor iron could withstand it. This intelligence seemed to awaken grear diversity of opinion. Be that as it might. in the future annals of the earth. and caused infinite reioicings among those who had stood aghastat the horror and absurdity of war. as they affirmed.likewise. whose thunder had long been the voice of battle-the artillery of the Armada. The standard-bearers. with the exception of the world's stock of gunpowder. the world was left without a single weapon in its hands. giving them a last flourish on the breeze.' exclaimed I. he was ar no loss for a weapon. but that it would henceforth be the contention of the human race to work out the greatest mutual good. would claim the praise of valor. as a prelude to the proclamation of universal and eternal peace and the announcement that glory was no longer to be won by blood. The hopeful philanthropist esteemed it a token that the millennium was already come. they lowered them into the flame. and magnanimity of the race would disappear-these qualities. as the safest mode of disposing of it. and the adverse cannon of Napoleon and \Tellington-were trundled into the midst of the fire.' observed. prophesied that all the old sroutness. in whose view mankind was a breed of bulldogs. and. we shall find that all this foolery has only made more work for the armorors and cannon founders. had already been drowned in the sea. 'Let them proclaim what they please. numberless great guns. and flung in their muskets and swords. had just flung away the sword that had been familiar to his right hand for half a century. 'Ay! ay!'grumbled he. And now the drums were beaten and the trumpets brayed all together. with a sneer. By the continual addition of dry combustibles. which snatched them upward in its rush towards the clouds. in the belief that the proposed abolition of war was impracticable for any length of time together. requiring blood for their nourishment. in astonishment.

telling the distant sky of the triumph of the earth's redemption.' 'You forget.' rejoined I. A shudder passed through the multitude as these ghastly emblems were dragged forward. 'Stay. Bear it back.An ill-looking fellow. perhaps. The gallows is a Heaven-ordained instrument.What! is there a field for all the petty disputes of individuals? and shall there be no great law court for the settlement of national difficulties? The battle fietd is the only court where such suits can be tried. Even the flames seemedat first to shrink away. the necessity of war lies far deeper than these honest gentlemen suppose. It was little matter of surprise. those horrible monstersof mechanism. you know not what to do. but in my opinion. in this advancedstageof civilization. but it deservedspecialnote that men of a far different sphere-even of that consecrated class in whose guardianship the world is apt to trust its benevolence-were found to take the hangman's view of the question. when the gallows made its appearance. and which had lurked in the dusky nooks of ancient prisons. But the loudest roar of applausewent up. putting himself in the path of the reformers.with the rust of noble and royal blood upon them. that the executioner should thus do his best to vindicate and uphold the machinery by which he himself had his livelihood and worthier individuals their death. rushed forward. and set it up in its old place. those inventions which seemedto demand somethingworse than man's natural heart to contrive. without pretending to philosophize about the matter. I had forgotren that. and a vast collection of halters that had choked the breath of plebeian victims. were thrown in together. general. so much the better. A shout greeted the arrival of the guillotine.' 'Ah. bellowed hoarsely. and fought with brute fury to stay their progress. my brethren!' cried one of them. and. A body of reformers had travelled all over the earth in quest of the machinery by which the different nations were accustomed to inflict the punishment of death. reverently. Those old implements of cruelty. displaying the shape and murderous conrrivance of each in a full blaze of light. 'You are misled by a false philanthropy. 'Into the flames with the accursed instrument of man's blood policy! How can human law inculcate benevolence and love while it persists in setting up the gallows as its chief . then. Reason and Philanthropy combined will constitute iust such a tribunal as is requisite. 'that . Headsmen'saxes.130 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'We shall seer' replied the veteran commander. which of itself was sufficient to convince mankind of the long and deadly error of human law. however. The fire was now to be replenished with materials that had hitherto been considered of even greater importance to the well being of society than the warlike munitions which we had already consumed. else the world will fall to speedily ruin and desolation!' 'Onward! onward!' shouted a leader in the reform. 'If I am mistaken. the subject of terror-stricken legend-were now brought forth to view. which was thrust forward on the same wheels that had borne it from one to another of the blood-stained streets of paris. as he limped away. indeed!' said the old warrior.

'That was well done!'exclaimed I. For instance. and surely that thing cannot be wrong nor wrongly timed. first black. holier. another party demanded that all written constitution. at all events. and more comprehensive union than that which had subsisted from the birth of time under the form of the connubial tie. There was then a cry that the period was arrived when the title deeds of landed property should be given to the flames. kindest. the notes and obligations of their creditors. the heart have its voice here as well as the intellect. then ashes. it is well that the experiment should now be tried.the thoughtful observer who was still at my side. \fhether any ultimate action was taken with regard to these propositions is . And as for ripeness. At this intelligence the bankers and speculators in the stocks grew pale. legislative acts. and as for progress. it has attained the perception of. There its fatal and abhorred image was beheld.and thrust the ominous burden far. statute books. was to be the golden currency of the world. now lent their assistance. and alluther evidencesof debts due to themselves. is an idea that cannot easily be dispensed with in any condition between the primal innocence and that other p . from whom it had been wrongfully abstracted and most unequally distributed among individuals. should at once be destroyed. it was well doner'replied.' 'Too cold! too cold!' impatiently exclaimed the young and ardent leader in 'Let this triumph. and declared themselves candidates for a higher. however. uncoined and exhaustless.ity and perfection which perchance we are destined to attain after travelling round the full circle: but. and tons of coin to be melted down by its intensity. far into the centre of the raging furnace. or whether the good people around the bonfire were really growing more enlightened every instantg but they now proceeded to measuresin the full length of which I was hardly prepared to keep them company. and everything else on which human invention had endeavoured to stamp its arbitrary laws. leaving the consummated world as free as the man first created. set forms of government. then a red coal. and a pickpocket. who had reaped a rich harvest among the crowd. good friends. some threw their marriage certificates into the flames. Death. noblest thing that. and the whole soil of the earth revert to the public. fell down in a deadly fainting fit. let mankind always do the highest. if the world be good enough for the measure.while perhaps a somewhat larger number satisfied their zeal for reform with the sacrifice of any uncomfortable recollection of their own indebtment. as any given period. Others hastenedto the vaults of banks and to the coffers of the rich-all of which were open to the first comer on this fated occasion-and brought entire bales of paper money to enliven the blaze. 'Yes. and the world will be redeemedfrom its greatest error.' A thousand hands. they said.EAR'T}I'S HOLOCAUST 13l symbol? One heave more. universal benevolence. Henceforth. that nevertheless loathed the touch. but with lessenthusiasmthan I expected.' I know not whether it were the excitement of the scene. 'well done. A few men of business burned their daybooks and ledgers.

who did not 'Now we shall have a glorious blaze!' seem to be a lover of literature. The small.' 'If they can reach so high. nor even when the works of his own elucidators were flung upon him did he ceaseto flash forth a dazzling radiance from beneath the ponderous heap. 'Could a poet but light a lamp at that glorious flame. and had brought the world's entire mass of printed paper. 'See! see! \flhat heaps of books and pamphlets!' cried a fellow. gradually reddening into a coal. The truth was. Milton's works. 'but that task requires a giant. by all means. and threw an infernal light over the visages of the spectators. Accordingly a thorough and searching investigation had swept the booksellers' shops. generally exhibiting the properties of sound oak logs. with the hundred volumes of Voltaire among rhem. It is my belief that he is blazing as fervidly as ever. that the human race had now reached a stage of progress so far beyond what the wisest and wittiest men of former ageshad ever dreamed of that it would have been a manifest absurdity to allow the earth to be any longer encumbered with their poor achievementsin the literary line. conflagration of past literature undoubtedly is. converting them all to the aspect of party-coloured fiends. heavy folios.to swell the alreadymountain bulk of our illustrious bonfire. went off in a brilliant shower of sparkles and little iets of flame. or at least 'The chief benefit to be expected from this to attempt. let them accompanytheir merchandise. and even the little book-shelf by the country fireside. answered a critic.' said I. \flell done. who may afterwards distribute the light among inferior men. some matters were in progress that concerned my sympathies more nearly. 'Now we shall get rid of the weight of dead men's thought. for. public. containing the labours of lexicographers. From Shakespeare gushed a flame of such marvellous splendor that men shaded their eyes as against the sun's meridian glory. hawkers' stands. sent up a powerful blaze. bound or in sheets.' 'That is the very thing which modern poets have been too apt to do. commentators and encyclopaedists. and falling among the embers with a leaden thump. were flung in. 'he might then consume the midnight oil to some good purpose. smouldered away to ashes like rotten wood. 'That's just the thing!' said a modern philosopher. 'Oh. The English standard authors made excellent fuel.' coolly observed 'It will be a noble funeral pile!' an author.' remarked I. while the current literature of the same nation burned red and blue. It is not every one that can . my lads! Into the fire with them! Now you are enlightening the world indeed!' 'But what is to become of the trade?' cried a frantic bookseller. and private libraries. thick. that writers will henceforth be compelled to light their lamps at the sun or stars. A collection of German stories emitted a scent of brimstone. richly gilt French tomes of the last age.r32 THE BOOK OF FANTASY beyond my knowledge. which promised to endure there longer than almost any other material of the pile. which has hitherto pressed so heavily on the living intellect that it has been incompetent to any effectual self-exertion. in particular. just then.

EARTH'S HOLOCAUST

133

sealthe fire from heavenlike Prometheus; but, when once he had done the deed,a thousandhearthswere kindled by it.' It amazed much to observe me how indefinitewasthe proportionbetween the physical mass of any given author and the property of brilliant and longcontinuedcombustion.For instance, there wasnot a quarto volumeof the last century-nor, indeed, of the present-that could competein that particular with a child's little gilt-covered book, containingMother Goose's melodies.Tfte Life andDeathof TomThumb outlasted biographyof Marlborough.An epic, the indeeda dozenof them, wasconverted white ashes to beforethe singlesheetof an old balladwashalf consumed. more than one case,too, when volumesof In applauded verseproved incapable anything better than a stifling smoke,an of unregarded ditty of some namelessbard-perchance in the corner of a newspaper-soared amongthe starswith a flame as brilliant as their own. up Speaking the properties flame,methoughtShelley's of of poetryemitteda purer light than almostany other productions his day, contrasting of beautifullywith the fitful and lurid gleamsand gushes black vapor that flashedand eddied of from the volumes Lord Byron. As for Tom Moore, someof his songs of diffused an odour like a burning pastil. I felt particularinterestin watchingthe combustion Americanauthors,and of scrupulously noted by my watch the precisenumber of momentsthat changed most of them from shabbily-printed booksto indistinguishable ashes. would It be invidious, however,if not perilous, to betray theseawful secrets; that I so shall content myself with observingthat it was not invariably the writer most frequent in the public mouth that made the most splendid appearance the in bonfire. I especially rememberthat a greatdealof excellent inflammabilitywas exhibitedin a thin volumeof poemsby Ellery Channing;although,to speakthe truth, there were certain portions that hissed and spluttered in a very fashion.A curious phenomenon disagreeable occurredin reference several to writers, native as well as foreign. Their books, though of highly respectable figure, insteadof burstinginto ablaze,or evensmouldering their substance out in smoke,suddenlymeltedawayin a mannerthat proved them to be ice. If it be no lack of modesty to mention my own works, it must here be confessed that I looked for them with fatherly interesr, but in vain. Too probablythey werechanged vaporby the first actionof the heat;at best,I can to only hopethat, in their quiet way, they contributeda glimmeringspark or two to the splendorof the evening. 'Alas! and woe is me! thus bemoaned himself a heavy-looking gentleman in 'The world is utterly ruined, green spectacles. and there is nothing to live for any longer.The business my life is snatched of from me. Not a volumeto be had for love or money!' 'Thisr' remarkedthe sedateobserver besideme, 'is a bookworm-one of those men who are born to gnaw dead thoughts. His clothes, you see, are covered with the dust of libraries.He hasno inward fountain of ideas;and, in goodearnest, now that the old stockis abolished, do not seewhat is to become I of the poor fellow. Have you no word of comfort for him?' 'My dear sir,' saidI to the desperate bookworm,'is not Nature better than a

r34

THE BOOK OF FANTASY

book? Is not the human heart deeperthan any systemof philosophy?Is not life havefound it possibleto write repletewith more instruction than past observers down in maxims?Be of goodcheer.The greatbook of Time is still spreadwide open before usl and, if we read it aright, it will be to us a volume of eternal truth.' 'Oh, my books,my books,my precious printed books!'reiterated forlorn the 'My only reality was a bound volume; and now they will not leave bookworm. pamphlet!' me evena shadowy In fact, the last remnant of the literature of all the ageswas now descending upon the blazingheapin the shapeof a cloud of pamphletsfrom the pressof the New \$7orld.Theselikewisewere consumedin the twinkling of an eye, leaving the earth, for the first time since the days of Cadmus,free from the plagueof letters-an enviablefield for the authorsof the next generation. '\$fell,and doesanythingremainto be done?'inquiredI somewhat anxiously. 'Unlesswe setfire to the earth itself, and then leapboldly off into infinite space, I know not that we can carry reform to any farther point.' 'Believeme, the 'You arevastlymistaken,my goodfriendr'said the observer. fire will not be allowed to settle down without the addition of fuel that will who havelent a willing hand thus far.' startlemany persons Neverthelessthere appearedto be a relaxation of effort for a little time, during which, probably, the leadersof the movementwere consideringwhat should be done next. In the interval, a philosopherthrew his theory into the flames-a sacrifice which, by those who knew how to estimate it, was pronouncedthe most remarkablethat had yet been made. The combustion, people,scorningto take however,wasby no meansbrilliant. Someindefatigable in now employed themselves collectingall the witheredleaves a moment'sease, and fallen boughsof the forest, and thereby recruited the bonfire to a greater height than ever. But this was mere by-play. 'Here comesthe fresh fuel that I spokeofr' said my companion. 'To my astonishment,the personswho now advancedinto the vacant space around the mountain fire bore surplicesand other priestly garments,mitres, crosiers, and a confusion of Popish and Protestant emblems, with which it from the seemedtheir purpose to consummatethe great act of faith. Crosses were cast upon the heapwith as little remorseas if the spiresof old cathedrals reverence centuries,passingin long array beneaththe lofty towers, had not of looked up to them as the holiest of symbols. The font in which infants were vessels whencepiety receivedthe hallowed to consecrated God, the sacramental it draught, weregiven to the samedestruction.Perhaps most nearly touchedmy heart to seeamong thesedevotedrelics fragmentsof the humble communion pulpits which I recognized having beentorn from the as tablesand undecorated of meeting-houses New England. Those simple edifices might have been permitted to retain all of sacredembellishmentthat their Puritan foundershad eventhough the mighty structureof St Peter'shad sentit spoilsto the bestowed, fire of this terible sacrifice. Yet I felt that these were but the externalsof religion, and might most safelybe relinquishedby spirits that best knew their deepsignificance.

EARTH'S HOLOCAUST

r35

'All is well,' said I, cheerfully. 'The woodpathsshall be the aislesof our carhedral-the firmamentitself shall be its ceiling. \7hat needsan earthly roof Our faith canwell afford to loseall the the between Deity and his worshippers? eventhe holiestmen havethrown aroundit, and be only the more draperythat sublime in its simplicity.' 'Truer' said my companion;'but will they pausehere?' The doubt implied in his question was well founded. In the general destructionof booksalreadydescribed,a holy volume, that stoodapart from the wasat its head,had been of catalogue human literature,and yet, in one sense, spared.But the Titan of innovation-angel or fiend, double in his nature, and of capable deedsbefitting both characters-at first shakingdown only the old laid of and rotten shapes things,had now, asit appeared, his terrible hand upon the main pillars which supported the whole edifice of our moral and spiritual state.The inhabitantsof the earth had grown too enlightenedto define their faith within a form of words, or to limit the spiritual by any analogyto our Truths which the heavens trembledat werenow but a fable materialexistence. of of the world's infancy.Therefore,asthe final sacrifice humanerror, what else remained to be thrown upon the embers of that awful pile except the book which, though a celestialrevelationto past ages,was but a voice from a lower raceof man?It wasdone!Upon the blazingheap the as sphere regarded present and wornout truth-things that the earth had neverneeded,or had of falsehood to ceased need, or had grown childishly weary of-fell the ponderouschurch Bible, the great old volume that had lain so long on the cushion of the pulpit, and whencethe pastor's solemn voice had given holy utteranceon so many a Sabbathday. There, likewise, fell the family Bible, which the long-buried patriarchhad readto his children-in prosperityor sorrolry, the firesideand by downwardas the heirloom in the summershadeof trees-and had bequeathed There fell the bosomBible, the little volume that had beenthe of generations. soul's friend of some sorely-triedchild of dust, who thence took courage, confrontingboth in the strong whetherhis trial werefor life or death,steadfastly of assurance immortality. All thesewere flung into the fierce and rioutous blaze; and then a mighty the howl, asif it were the angry wind cameroaringacross plain with a desolate lamentation of the earth for the loss of heaven'ssunshine; and it shook the gigantic pyramid of flame and scattered the cinders of half-consumed around the spectators. abominations 'This is terrible!' said I, feelingthat my cheekgrew pale, and seeinga like about me. changein the visages 'Be of goodcourage yetr' answered manwith whom I had sooftenspoken. the He continuedto gazesteadilyat the spectacle with a singularcalmness, if it as him merely as an observer.'Be of good courage,nor yet exult too concerned much; for there is far lessboth of goodand evil in the effect of this bonfire than the world might be willing to believe.' 'How can that be?' exclaimed I, impatiently. 'Has it not consumed Has it not swallowed or melted down every human or divine up everything? appendage our mortal statethat had substance of enoughto be actedon by fire?

136

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til7ill there be anything left us tomorrow morning better or worsethan a heapof embersand ashes?' 'Assuredly there willr' said my grave friend. 'Come hither tomorrow morning, or whenever combustible portion of the pile shallbe quite burned the out, and you will find amongthe ashes everythingreallyvaluablethat you have seencast into the flames.Trust me, the world of tomorrow will againenrich itself with the gold and diamondswhich have been cast off by the world of today.Not a truth is destroyed buried sodeepamongthe ashes is will be nor but rakedup at last.' This was a strangeassurance. Yet I felt inclined to credit it, the more especially I beheldamongthe wallowingflamesa copyof the Holy Scriptures, as the pages which, insteadof beingblackened of into tinder, only assumed more a dazzlingwhitenessas the finger marks of human imperfection were purified away. Certain marginal notes and commentaries, is true, yielded to the it intensityof the fiery test,but without detrimentto the smallest syllablethat had flamedfrom the pen of inspiration. 'Yesl thereis the proof of what you sayr'answered turning to the observerl I, but if only what is evil can feel the action of the fire, then, surely, the has beenof inestimable conflagration utility. Yet, if I understandaright, you intimatea doubt whetherthe world's expectation benefitwould be realized of by it.' 'Listen to the talk of theseworthiesr'saidhe, pointing to a group in front of the blazing pile; 'possibly they may teach you something useful without intendingit.' The personswhom he indicatedconsisted that brutal and most'earthly of figure who had stoodforth sofuriouslyin defence the gallows-the hangman, of in short-together with the last thief and the last murdererall three of whom the wereclustered about the last toper. The latter wasliberally passing brandy from the general destructionof winesand spirits. which he had rescued bottle, as This little convivial party seemedat the lowest pitch of despondency, be that that the purified world must needs utterly unlike the sphere considering abodefor they had hitherto known, and thereforebut a strangeand desolate gentlemen their kidney. of othat,assoonaswe 'The bestcounsel all of us isr'remarkedthe hangman, for have finished the last drop of liquor, I help you, my three friends, to a comfortableend upon the nearesttree, and then hang myself on the same bough. This is no world for us any longer.' 'Poh, poh, my goodfellows!' saida dark-complexioned personage, who now joined the group-his complexionwas indeed fearfully dark, and his eyes glowedwith a redder light than that of the bonfirel 'be not so castdown, hy dearfriends;you shallseegooddaysyet. There'sonething that thesewiseacres have forgotten to throw into the fire, and without which all the rest of the is conflagration just nothing at all; yes,though they had burned the earth itself to a cinder.' 'And what may that be?'eagerlydemanded last murderer. the '\7hat but the human heart itselP' said the dark-visaged strangerwith a

ENDING FOR A GHOST STORY

t37

portentuous grin. 'And, unless they hit upon somemethodof purifying that foul cavern,forth from it will reissue the shapes wrong and misery-the same all of old shapes worseones-which they havetaken sucha vastdealof trouble to or consume ashes. havestoodby this livelongnight and laughed my sleeve to I in at the whole business. Oh, take my word for it, it will be the old world yet!' This brief conversationsupplied me with a theme for lengthenedthought. How sad a ftuth, if true it were, that man's agelongendeavourfor perfection had servedonly to render him the mockery of the evil principle, from the fatal circumstance an error at the very root of the matter! The heart, the heartof there was the little yet boundless spherewhereinexistedthe original wrong of which the crime and misery of this outward world were merely types. Purify that inward sphere,and the many shapes evil that haunt the outward, and of which now seemalmostour only realities,will turn to shadowy phantomsand vanishof their own accord;but if we go no deeperthan the intellect,and srrive, with merely that feebleinstrument, to discernand rectify what is wrong, our whole accomplishment will be a dream, so unsubstantial that it marterslittle whether the bonfire, which I haveso faithfully described,were what we choose to call a realeventand a flamethat would scorchthe finger, or only a phosphoric radianceand a parableof my own brain.

Endingfor a Ghost Story
I. A. Ireland,,Englishsaaant bornin Hanlq in 1871^. claimed He descent from theinfamous impostorWilliam H. Ireland, wln had inoentedan ancestor,rViliam Henrye lrlaunde, to whomShakespeare allegedly had bequeathed manuscipx.He pubtished Brief History his A of Nightmares(/,899), Spanish Literature(19ll), The Tenth Book of Annalsof Tacitus. newlydoneinto English(l9lI).

eerie!'saidthe girl, advancing 6ffow cautiously. And what a heavydoor!' r rShe touchedit as shespokeand it suddenlyswungto with a click. 'Good Lord!' said the man, 'I don't believethere's a handle inside. \[hy, you'velockedus both in!' 'Not both of us. Only oneof usr' saidthe girl, and beforehis eyesshepassed straight through the door, and vanished.

Paw TheMonkey's
diedin 1943. witer, bom in 1843, and W. W. Jacobs,Englishhumorist prolilic short-story \tr7ooine(l9ll) and SeaWhispers (1896),The Skipper's Many Cargoes include His works

(r926).
I (Wfithout, the night wascold and wet, but in the smallparlourof Laburnum W Vitta the blinds weredrawn and the fire burnedbrightly. Fatherand son ideasaboutthe gameinvolvingradical the wereat chessl former, who possessed perils that it even putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary changes, placidlyby the fire. old provokedcommentfrom the white-haired lady knitting 'Hark at the wind', said Mr White, who, having seena fatal mistakeafter it was too late, was amiably desirousof preventinghis son from seeingit. 'I'm listening,' saidthe latter, grimly surveyingthe board ashe stretchedout his hand. 'Check.' 'I shouldhardly think that he'd cometonight,' saidhis father, with his hand poisedover the board. 'Mater' replied the son. 'Thar's the worst of living so far out,' bawledMr t$fhite, with suddenand 'of placesto live unlooked-forviolencel all the beastly,slushy,out-of-the-way in, this is the worst. Path'sa bog, and the road'sa torrent. I don't know what in only two houses the road are let, because peopleare thinking about. I suppose they think it doesn'tmatter.' 'Never mind, dear,' said his wife soothingly;'perhapsyou'll win the next one.' Mr White looked up sharply, just in time to intercept a knowing glance morherand son. The words died awayon his lips, and he hid a guilty between grin in his thin grey beard. 'There he is,' said Herbert \flhite, as the gate bangedto loudly and heavy footstepscametowards the door. The old man rose with hospitablehaste,and openingthe door, was heard condolingwith the new arrival. The new arrival alsocondoledwith himself, so 'Tut, tut!' and coughed gently asher husbandenteredthe that Mrs \(lhite said, by a tall, burly man, beadyof eyeand rubicund of visage. room, foltowed 'sergeant-Maior Morris,' he said, introducinghim.The sergeant-major shookhands,and taking the profferedseatby the fire, watched contentedlywhile his host got out whisky and tumblers and stood a small copperkettle on the fire. At the third glasshis eyesgot brighter, and he beganto talk, the little family interestthis visitor from distantparts, ashe squared with eager circleregarding and in the chair and spokeof wild scenes doughty deeds;of his broad shoulders plaguesand strangepeoples. wars and 138

THE MONKEY,S PA\v

139

'Twenty-oneyearsof it,'said Mr $/hite, noddingat his wife and son.'\trfhen he went awayhe was a slip of a youth in the warehouse. Now look at him.' 'He don't look to havetaken much harm,' saidMrs tl7hite politely. 'I'd like to go to India myself,'saidthe old man, 'just to look round a bit, you know.' 'Better where you arer' said the sergeant-major, shakinghis head. He put down the empty glass,and sighing softly, shook it again. 'I shouldlike to seethoseold templesand fakirs and iugglers,'said the old man. '\(/hat wasthat you startedtelling me the orherday abouta monkey'spaw or something, Morris?' 'Nothingr' said the soldier hastily. 'Leasrways nothing worth hearing.' 'Monkey's paw?' said Mrs tffhite curiously. 'Well, it's just a bit of what you might call magic,perhaps,'said sergeantthe major offhandedly. His threelisteners leaned forwardeagerly. The visitor absenrmindedly his put empty glassto his lips and then set it down again.His host filled it for him. 'To look atr' said the sergeant-maior, fumbling in his pocket, 'it's iust an ordinary little paw, dried to a mummy.' He took somethingout of his pocket and proffered it. Mrs \il7hitedrew back with a grimace,but her son, taking it, examined curiously. it 'And what is therespecial aboutit?'inquired Mr tilThite he took it from his as son, and havingexamined placedit upon the table. it, 'It had a spellput on it by 'a an old fakirr' saidthe sergeant-major, very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could eachhavethree wishesfrom it.' His mannerwasso impressive that his hearers wereconscious that their light laughteriarred somewhat. '\[ell, why don't you have three, sir?' said Herbert rilThite cleverly. The soldier regardedhim in the way that middle age is wont to regard presumptuous youth. 'I haver'he saidquietly, and his blotchy facewhitened. 'And did you really have the three wishesgranted?'askedMrs tilfihite. 'I did,' saidthe sergeant-major, and his glass tappedagainst strongteeth. his 'And has anybodyelsewished?'persisted the old lady. 'The first man had his threewishes.Yesr'wasthe reply; 'I don't know what the first two were, bur the third was for death.That's how I got the paw., His toneswere so gravethat a hush fell upon the group. 'If you'vehad your threewishes,it's no goodto you now, then, Morrisr' said the old man at last. '\ilfhardo you keepit for?' The soldier shook his head. 'Fancy, I suppose,'he said slowly. 'I did have someidea of sellingit, but I don't think I will. It hascaused enoughmischief peoplewon't buy. They think it's a fairy rale, someof them; already.Besides, and thosewho do think anythingof it want to try if first and pay me afterward.' 'If you couldhaveanother threewishes,' saidthe old man,eyeing him keenly, 'would you havethem?' 'I don't knowr' said the other. 'I don't know.'

stoopeddown and snatchedit off. and that's a factr' he saidslowly. and placing chairs' motionedhis of friend ro the table. 'A Eifle. then you can't be henpecked. His wife and son ran towardshim. I warn you of the consequences. .140 THE BOOK OF FANTASY He took the paw. the arm. and famous. 'I Mr White took the paw from his pocketand eyedit dubiously. 'He didn't want it. wish for two hundred pounds. Morrisr' said the other. held up the talisman.' to catchthe last train. Herbert.with a slight cry. that'll iust do it. If you keepit. 'wish for somethingsensible.' closely.' He dartedround the table. saidhis friend doggedly.and then all threeburst into with a look of alarmon his face. 'If you must wishr' he saidgruffly. and danglingit betweenhis forefingerand thumb.'Don't you think you might wish for four pairs of handsfor me. 'Better let it burn.and happy. with pretended horror. 'but 'Hold it up in your right handand wish aloud. sat with a solemnface. don't blame me for what happens. 'Did you givehim anythingfor it.' 'I won't. asthe door closed 'we shan't make much out of it. we're going to be rich. marred by a wink at his mother. don't know 'It seems me I've got all I to what to wish for.' 'soundslike the Arabian Nightsr'said to Mrs \7hite.' 'If you only clearedthe house. interruptedby a shuddering cry from the old man.iust in time beentelling us.you'd be quite happy. '\7hy.' at His father.' saidHerbert. In the business supperthe talismanwaspartly forgotten.' saidhe.' 'Likely. but I madehim take me it.\$fishto be an emperor. suddenly rhrew it upon the fire.to beginwith.' saidthe sergeant-maior. colouringslightly. pursuedby the malignedMrs \Ufhitearmedwith an andmacassar. wouldn't you!' said 'Vell.' said the old man distinctly. want. And he pressed againto throw it away. regarding her husbandclosely.father.'said Herbert. smiling shamefacedly his own credulity. at the piano and struck a few impressive down 'I wish for two hundred pounds. 'give it to me. sat listening in an enthralled fashion to a second and afterward the three in instalmentof the soldier'sadventures India. with his hand on his shoulder.' Mr \trhite dropped it back in his pocket.' said the soldiersolemnly.'How do his The other shookhis headand examined new possession you do it?' he inquired. 'If the tale about the monkey'spaw is not more truthful than thosehe has behindtheir guest. father?'inquiredMrs \$7hite.somewhat as his son.caughthim by laughteras the sergeant-major.' Her husbanddrew the talismanfrom his pocket. then. 'If you don't want it. assheroseand began set the supper.Pitch it on the fire againlike a sensibleman. \trflhite.'I threw it on the fire. chords. A fine crashfrom the piano greetedthe words.

though. the thing movedin my hand. it twisted in my hand like a snake.' They sat down by the fire again while the two men finished their pipes.when he comes homer'shesaid.' said his wife.as they sat at dinner.Well.gazingat the dying fire.don't break into the money beforeI comebackr' said Herbert as he rosefrom the table. no 'I suppose old 'The idea all soldiersare the same. there'sno harm done. There was an air of prosaic wholesomeness about the room which it had lackedon the previousnight. His hand grasped monkey'spaw.' '\trfell.' He sat alonein the darkness. 'Herbert will have somemoreof his funny remarks. that I'll swearro. but it gave me a shockall the same. the wind was higher than ever. father?' 'Might drop on his headfrom the sky. which lasteduntil the old couple rose to retire for the night. and seeingfacesin it.with a glance disgust of at the objectasit lay on the floor.' said the frivolous Herbert. and the old man started nervouslyat the sound of a door bangingupstairs.I expect. 'I expectyou'll find the cashtied up in a big bagin the middle of your bedr' saidHerbert. and returningto the breakfast table. ashe pickedit up and placedit on the table. ashe badethem goodnight.' His mother laughed.avaricious man. A silenceunusualand depressing settled upon all three. father.'said Mrs \tr7hite. He shookhis head.'that you might so if you so wishedattribute it to coincidence. 'and I bet I nevershall.wasvery happyat the expense her of husband's credulity. 'and something horrible squattingup on top of the wardrobewatchingyou as you pocketyou ill-gotten gains.' . Outside. and the dirty. regardinghim anxiously.' 'It must havebeenyour fancy.' said Mr ltr(lhite. II In the brightnessof the wintry sun next morning as it streamedover the breakfast table he laughed at his fears. watchedhim down the road. and we shall haveto disownyou.and following him to the door. pouring himselfout somebeer. how could two hundred poundshurt you. 'Morris saidthe things happened naturallyr'saidhis father.' . shrivelled little paw waspitchedon the side-board with a carelessness which betokened great belief in its virtues. 'As I wished. 'but for all that. with a little uneasylaugh. the and with a little shiverhe wiped his hand on his coat and went up to bed.THE MONKEY'S PAW t4r 'It movedr'hecried. 'I'm afraid it'll turn you into a mean. The last facewasso horrible and so simianthat he gazed it in amazement.All of which did not preventher from scurryingro rhe door at the postman'sknock. he felt on the table for a glass containinga little water to throw over it. at It got so vivid that. nor prevent her from referring somewhat shortly to retiredsergeant-maiors bibuloushabitswhen shefound that the post brought of a tailor's bill. 'Never mind. of our listeningto suchnonsence! How could wishesbe grantedin thesedays?And if they could. 'I dare say. I don't seethe moneyr'said his son.

He satstaringblankly out of the window. In mental connexionwith the two hundred pound.' 'Caughtin the machineryr' Mr repeated \7hite. and wore a silk hat of glossynewness.' 'The firm The other coughed. he wasat first strangelysilent. laid her trembling old hand upon his.and her Therewasno reply.' he saidquietly. 'I sayit did. 'yes. and taking his wife's handbetween it his own. to anythinghappened Herbert?What is it? tUflhat it?' is Her husbandinterposed. her eyes . andhurriedly unfastening stringsof her apron. claspingher hands. Mrs tfflhite at the samemomenr placedher handsbehindher. There was a long silence.and then walkedon again.r42 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'You thought it did. He gazed at her furtively. You'venot broughtbadnews.'said the visitor at length in a low voice. wished me to conveytheir sinceresympathywith you in your great loss. he eyedthe other wistfully. there. pressed as he had beenwont to do in their old courting daysnearly forty yearsbefore. She was watching the mysteriousmovementsof a man outside. and turning to her slow-witted husband. without looking round. ill into the room.'Is anything the matter?'she askedbreathlessly.' staring. she noticed that the strangerwas well dressed.I'm sure.who seemed at ease.who.'There. peeringin an undecided fashionat the house. and listenedin a preoccupied fashionasthe old lady apologized for the appearance the room.' 'Oh. the put that useful article of apparelbeneaththe cushion of her chair. 'Is he hurt?'demanded motherwildly. but 'I-was askedto callr' he saidat last. 'Sit down.Shethen waited aspatiently asher sexwould permit for for him to broachhis business. Three times he pausedat the gate.turning gently to the visitor. 'He was caughtin the machinery.a garmentwhich he usually reserved the garden.'I comefrom "Maw and Meggins".appeared be to trying to make up his mind to enter. the 'Badly hurt. 'I'm sorry-' beganthe visitor. beg that you will underatand am only their servantand merelyobeyingorders. walked slowly to the window. andher husband's of coat. motherr' he said hastily.' he 'I I said.' said the old lady soothingly. and stooped and picked a pieceof cotton from his trousers. 'but he is not in any The visitor bowedin assent.' repliedthe other. pain.and rising. I had iusttVhat's the matter?' His wife made no reply. 'He wasthe only one left to usr' he said. thank God!' said the old woman. 'There wasno thought about it. 'It is hard.' 'Has The old lady started. 'Thank God for that! Thank-' dawnedupon Shebroke off suddenlyasthe sinistermeaningof the assurance her and shesawthe awful confirmationof her fearsin the other'savertedface. The fourth time he stood with his hand upon it. Shebrought the stranger. and then with sudden resolutionflung it openand walkedup the path. She caught her breath. in a dazedfashion. the old woman'sfacewaswhite.sirr'and anddon't iump to conclusions.

'sherepliedrapidly. sometimesmiscalled apathy. He raisedhimself in bed and listened. It was about a week after that the old man. ''We've only had one. 'You've not destroyed it?' 'It's in the parlour. \flhere is it? ril[hat'sthe matter?' the Shecamestumblingacross room towardhim. and out stretched his hand and found himselfalone.The bed waswarm.' 'Was not that enough?'he demanded fiercely.and bendingover. and rising to his feet. 'I want itr' shesaidquietly. 'Comeback. Unconscious his wife's shriek. and wish our boy alive again. resignation of the old. wasall over It dead.a senseless handslike a sightless heapto the floor. m sometwo miles distant.' 'It is colderfor my sonr' said the old woman. 'Thepawl'she criedwildly. marvelling. 'The other two wishes. waking suddenlyin the night. Go down and get it quickly. on the bracket.'\il7hy?' Shecried and laughedtogether.and camebackto the housesteeped shadow so quickly that at first they could hardly realizeit. for now they had nothing to talk about.'You will be cold.'continued the other. gazed with a look of horror at his visitor. Sometimesthey hardly a exchanged word.The room wasin darkness. of they wish to presentyou with a certainsum as compensation. 'The monkey's paw!' ''Where? He startedup in alarm. kissedhis cheek.'\fhy didn't I think of it before?\$fhy didn't yoz think of it?' 'Think of what?' he questioned. .' he replied. gaveplaceto resignation-the hopeless and expectation But the dayspassed. too heavyfor old heartsto bear. The soundof her sobsdied awayon he ears. and his eyes heavywith sleep.' she said hysterically. and then slept until a suddenwild cry from his wife awokehim with a start. in and silence. and dropped. 'Nor' she cried triumphantly.THE MONKEY'S PA\T t43 breath inaudible. but in consideration your son'sservices.' The man sat up in bed and flung the bedclothes from his quaking limbs.aghast. the old man smiled faintly. 'rilfle'llhave one more. and their dayswere long to weariness. sergeant 'I wasto saythat Maw and Megginsdisclaimall responsibility. the soundof subduedweepingcamefrom the window. on the husband'sface was a look such as his friend the might have carried into his first action. 'GoodGod. FUt out his of man.'he saidtenderly. you aremad!'he cried. and wept afresh.He dozedfitfully. the old peopleburied their In the hugenew cemetery. 'They admit no liability at all. 'How much?' the 'Two hundredpoundsr'wasthe answer. and remainedin a stateof expectationas though of somethingelseto happen-something elsewhich was to lighten this load.' Mr rtrflhite droppedhis wife's hand. 'I only just thought of it. His dry lips shaped words.

with an unspeakable backto his bed.' he faltered. as momenta knock. how now?' 'Bring him backr'cried the old woman. Then he turned his until the knock wasrepeated. with a flicker larger than the rest. throwing pulsatingshadows the ceiling and walls. A stair mousescurriednoisily through the wall. and striking one. after tying for sometime screwing his courage'he took for downstairs a candle. 'Wish!'shecried.but lay silently listeningto the ticking of the clock. 'Go and get it and wish. 'You don't know what you are saying. and a minute or two afterwardthe old womancamesilentlyand besidehim. andhis voiceshook. talisman wish might bring his mutilated son before him ere he could escapefrom the upon him. motionless.but-I could only recognize ten days.'He hasbeendead The old man turned andregarded he-I would not tell you else. in a strongvoice. to At the foot of the stairsthe matchwent out. second?' 'A coincidencer' the stammered old man.and a horrible fearthat the unspoken The mantelpiece. apathetically Neither spoke. 'Wish!' repeated wife. her. quiveringwith excitement. went the box of matches. Then he sank trembling into a chair as the old woman. It waswhite and as and to his fearsseemed havean unnaturallook upon it. until. with burning eyes. 'It is foolish and wicked. 'why not the '\$7e had the first wish granted. and he regardedit fearfully.and besides him by his clothing.The old sense relief at the failure of the talisman. and wish-Oh.' unsteadily. his He raisedhis hand. it expired. at He sat until he waschilled with the cold. and draggedhim towardsthe door. 'Do you think I fear the child I havenursed?' and He went down in the darkness.' shepanted. audible. my boy!' 'Get back to bedr' he said Her husband suuck a match and lit the candle. He was expectant.t44 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Get it. If he was too terrible for you to seethen. His brow cold with sweat. The darkness creaked. 'I wish my son alive again.'saidthe old womanfeverishly.'get it quickly. and then to the wasin its place.walked to the window and raisedthe blind.and a squeaky up and wasoppressive. glancingoccasionally the figure of which had burned the old womanpeeringthroughthe window. and he paused strike another. my boy.crept of man. The candle-end.he felt his way round the table. breathsuspended . with the and gropedalongthe wall until he found himself in the small passage thing in his hand. The talismanfell to the floor. unwholesome Evenhis wife's faceseemed changed he enteredthe room.' cried his wife. He stood The matches fell from his hand and spilled in the passage. and he caughthis breathashe found that he had lost the room seized directionof the door. on was belowthe rim of the chinacandle-stick. felt his way to the parlour. to afraid of her. soquiet and stealthy to be scarcely and at the same soundedon the front door.

and catchingher by the arm. startingup. through change of manners. 'What'sthat?'cried the old woman.IYHAT IS A GHOST? r45 and fled swiftly back to his room.What are you holding me for? Let go. 'It's Herbert!' shescreamed.and he heard the perfect fusilladeof knocks reverberated scrapingof a chair ashis wife found the monkey'sprw.' cried the old man. Her husband He as after her appealingly shehurried downstairs. forgot it was two miles away. and frantically breathed his third and last wish. I can't reachit. He heard the chair drawn back.although the echoes it were still in the The knocking ceased and the door opened. it's Herbert!' shecried. of suddenly.' .A cold wind house. 'A rat.Ulysses (1914).' 'For God's sakedon't let it in. 'The boltr' shecried loudly. heardthe chain and called and the bottom bolt drawn slowly and stiffly from the socket. particularlywith words. struggling. Irishauthor. I'm coming Herbert. 6\\f/hat W into impalpabilty through death. a loud loud wail of disappointment miseryfrom gavehim courage run down to her side. Portraitof the Artist as a YoungMan (1916). 'You're afraidof your own sonr'shecried. The streetlamp flickering oppositeshoneon a quiet and deserted What is o Ghostl He diedin Zurichin /. wrenchbrokefreeandran from the room. (1921)and Exiles(1918).'said the old man in shaking me tones-'arat. strugglingmechanically. and another. through absence.It passed on the stairs. A third knock soundedthrough the house. The old woman with a sudden followedto the landing. 'Comedown. Dubliners technician. and and rushedup the staircase.' But her husbandwas on his handsand kneesgroping wildly on the floor in searchof the paw. and closedthe door behind him. 'One who has faded is a ghost? Stephen said with tingling energy.Then ratrle back the old woman'svoice. If he could only find it beforethe thing outsidegot in. trembling. A loud knock resounded His wife sat up in bed listening. wasa billiant bornin Dublin in 1882. ( FinnegansS(/ake I 939). strainedand panting.' There was another knock.and then to the gatebeyond.941. held her tightly. A through the house. I must open the door. are 'I 'It's my boy. but her husbandwasbeforeher. 'r0flhat you going to do?' he whisperedhoarsely.' through the house. I'm coming. JamesJoyce.'Let me go. to his wife road. He published Chamber Music (1907).'It's Herbert!' Sheran to the door.

horse. steer. She fixes her noseless. nag.Red railsfly spacatsards. on Christass. Stephen's emaciated. . A choir of virginsand confessors ooicelessly. starkthrough floor. Bight midges danceon walls.Gumhe'sa taso tickies Frauenzimmer from peerfrom banel reo. sing THE CHOIR Liliata rutilantium te confessorum . Roomwhirls back. eoensong champion. Starsall around suns turn roundabout. Iubilantium te virginum . . Baraabum! Thecouples aside.Conmce bell.Eyesclosed fall he totters.Baraabum! On nags hogs bellhorses Gadarene swineComy in coffin steel sharkstone onehandled Nelson plumstaincd pramfalling bawling. Her bluecircled holloutqtesockets Stephen opens toothless on and her mouthutteing a silentword.) STEPHEN Ho! m. hair is scantand lank. no Thm in last switchback lumbering and dutsnbumpmashtubsortof zsicnoy up and reinerelishfor tublumber bumpshire rose. stands split scone his hand. Fuseblue Looe on hacknq jaunt Blazesblind coddoubled bicyclers DilIy with snoutcake fancy clothes. jester's (From thetop of a tmserBuck Mulligan. in particoloured dress puce of gapingat her. in lepergrry with a ises the wreath of faded orangeblossoms a tom bidal aeil. He stops dead. (Bangfresh barangbangof lacquey's piglings. . a smoking andyellru and clown'scapwith curlingbell.) buttered in t46 . lame crutchand leg sailor in cockboat armfoldedropepulling hitching stamp hompipe throughand through.May Goulding SIMON Think of your mother'speople! STEPHEN Danceof death.Stephen whirls giddily. herface worn and and greenwith grazsemould.other.

Iart of magic.the deanwent to Toledo in search him.bom in Escalona 1282. a man of good standingand of good prospects. The pity of it! Mulligan meetsthe afflicted mother. (lu upturnshiseye) Mercurial Malachi! THE MOTHER (with thesubtle smileof death's madness)wasoncethe beautiful May Goulding. The Wizord Passed Ozter prince. Beforethis. eaten.Hearingthat don lll6n of Toledo knew more about magicthan anyoneelse. wrotetheLibro de Patronio(l128-35. taking the deanby the hand. that werehe to teachhim all his knowledge. and he beggedto be taught the craft of magic. he went straightto don lll6n's and found him readingin a room at the backof his house. he led him to the next room.A man of Latin cultureand Islamic prose.Showinghis guestinto pleasant don Ill6n saidhe felt very happy about the dean'svisit. and. in whosefloor therewasa largeiron ring. told the serving he partridges supperbut not to put them on to roastuntil he so maid to prepare for ordered. B. the dean told don Ilkin why he had come. . entdition.diedin Penaful in Infante Don tuan Manuel. don Ill6n explained that the magic arts could not be learned save in a plcce of deep seclusion. I I am dead. therewasa deanwho had a burning desireto learnthe Jn the city of Santiago. The deansworethat he would neverforget Don lll6n's bounty and that he would alwaysbe at his call. Spanish in 1349. Trendin 1924). of The very morning he arrived. After their meal.heis oneof thefathersof Spanish He into translated English byJ. however. Oncethey cameto an agreement. Don Illdn said that he alreadyknew that his guestwas a dean. He was the nephewof Alfonso X of Castile.THE WIZARD PASSED OVER r47 BUCK MULLIGAN She'sbeastlydead. day might come but the when the deanwould fail to repayhis services-asmen in high places often are wont to do.Don Ill6n received deancordially the and askedhim to postpone telling him the objectof his visit until after they had quarters.

don Ill6n kissed His Holiness's feet. in which he read that the bishop had died. and processions. At the foot of the staircasewas a cell. and there arrived several men in mourning bearing further letters for the dean. t$flhen don Ill6n saw these things. becausehe would be forced to interrupt his studies. they should. The pope told don Illdn that by now . becauseof his uncle's illness.148 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Don Ill6n and his guest lifted the ring and went down a well-worn. reminded him of his old promise. but that as he had given his word to shed favour on don Ill6n. where they were received with honours. The archbishop told him that he had already set aside the bishopric for his own uncle. together with the son. winding stairway until it seemed to the dean they had gone down so far that the bed of the Tagus must now be above them. it seeming better that he be absent during his election. The letters advised him to remain where he was. where they were received with honours and Masses. when suddenly two men appeared bearing a letter for the dean. elevating him to the cardinalate and leaving in his hands the naming of a successor. and that they hoped by the grace of God that the dean would be elected. Learning of this.and messengers from the pope came to the bishop. He then asked for the now vacant deanery for his son. his uncle. Four years elapsed. but in the end he was forced to agree. Masses. and that if the dean wanted to find him alive he should not tarry. and in it were a library of books and a kind of cabinet with magic instruments. and two finely dressed squires came. Two years passed. choosing to stay. They made their way to the city of Santiago. he reminded the cardinal of his old promise and asked for the vacant title for his son.\$fhen don Ill6n heard this. and the pope died. and he begged that they all three leave together for Santiago. for another. The news was very upsetting to the dean-for one thing. The three then set out for Rome. in which the bishop informed him that he was gravely ill. Don Ill6n had no recourse but to agree. Three days passed. surely some favourable opportunity would present itself. all leave for Toulouse. The three set out for Toulouse. that a successorwas being chosen. written by the bishop. In the end. and our cardinal was elected to the papacy by all the other cardinals. They were leafing through the books. The bishop answeredthat he had already set aside the deanery for his own brother but that he would find the son some post in the Church. offering him the archbishopric of Toulouse and leaving in his hands the naming of a successor. where they were received with honours. and messengers from the pope came to the archbishop. Ten days elapsed. his mother's brother-a good old man-but that if don Illdn and his son were to accompany him to Rome. Six months passed. Don Ill6n protested. he turned to the new prelate with great joy and said that he thanked the Lord that such good news should have come to his house. his father's brother. throwing themselves down at the dean's feet and kissing his hands and greeting him as bishop.$7hen don Illdn learned this. he reminded the archbishop of his old promise and asked for the vacatedtitle for his son. and asked for the vacant cardinal's office for his son. The cardinal told him that he had already set aside the archbishopric for his own uncle. he wrote an apology and sent it to the bishop.

even supposing-only it does not happen-that we were ro yearn . or theMouseFolk Franz Kafka. we do not get even so far. translatedinto Englisft as The Trial. and with a smile born of such cunning we are wont to console ourselves for all shortcomings. to rise to anything so high and remote from our usual routine as music. a certain practical cunning. refused the dean his share of the partridges. Poor don Il[6n could only answer that he was going back to Spain. a tribute all the greater as we are not in general a music-loving race. includingthefamous Die Verwandlung (1. our life is hard. But we do not much lament that. no more than dean of Santiago. Anyone who has not heard her does not know 1|ut \-/fte power of song. and he asked the pope for something to eat during the long seajourney.JOSEPHINE THE SINGER. which admittedly we stand greatly in need of. Tranquil peaceis the music we love best. taking leave of him with great courtesy. and so taken aback with shame that he did not know what to say.2. Immediately the pope found himself in the underground cell in Toledo. tanslated into English as Metamorphosistl96l). l. Austrian writer. OR THE MOUSE FOLK t49 he was weary of his continued requests and that if he persisted in importuning him he would clap him in gaol. singer is called Josephine. 'In that case. There is no one but is carried away by her singing.' The serving maid came forward. where. since he knew full well that don Illdn was no more than a wizard and that in Toledo he had been a teacher of the arts of magic.953). In all his boohslonelinessis a recurring theme. in ahnost all of them he dwells on the process infinite of and excruciatingdelay. died in Vienna in 1924. 1933). Once more the pope refused him. Der Schloss(1926.91. translated into Englisl as The Castle. Don lll{n said that this test was sufficient. the Josephine Singer.Amerika (1927) and many short stories. he wished him a safe journey home. born in Prague in 1883. we hold to be our greatest distinction. I shall have to eat the partridges that I ordered for tonight. and saw him to the door. even on occasions when we have tried to shake off the cares of daily life. we are no longer able. His warhsinclude Der Prozess(/925. and don lll6n ordered the partridges roasted. whereupon don Illdn (whose face had changed in a strange fashion) said in an unwavering voice.

Among intimateswe singing. indeedwithout noticing it. but this answeris not satisfactory. thereis first of all this peculiarityto consider.is nothingout of admit freelyto oneanotherthat Josephine's the ordinary. no one cannow sing.150 THE BOOK OF FANTASY is oncein a way for the kind of bliss which music may provide. it is the real artistic accomplishment our of expression our but people. After all. sheis the only onel whenshedies. besides alleged vocalskill doing his work-if that wereall true.music-who knowsfor how long-will vanishfrom our lives. so no one would everdare to collectan audience onedoesdo that and But it orderto enrertain with nut-cracking. her singing would have to give one an immediate and lasting feeling of being something out of the ordinary.If you post yourself quite far awayfrom her and listen. a feeling that from her throat something is soundingwhich we haveneverheard beforeand which we are not evencapable aloneand no one elsecan enableus to of hearing. since quite unmusical.assinging. but of courseno one dreamsof making out that piping is an life. if all the same in succeeds entertainingthe public. perhapsher strengthis not evenquite equalto our usualpiping. hardly rises abovethe level of our usual to piping-yet.as it seems me at least. Thus somesongs art we have an inkling of what singing is.shehasa love for music and knows too how to transmit it. denies that. and Josephine's does not really is it singingat all? Is it not iust a piping? And piping is to correspond it. somethingthat Josephine hear. To out making a ceremonial is someone in cracka nut is truly no feat.the enormousinfluenceshehas. this is mentionedin legends haveactuallysurvived.how is it that we understandJosephine's it. at leastthink we can understand The simplestanswer Josephine would be that the beautyof her singingis so greatthat eventhe most insensitive If cannotbe deafto it.or ratherno mereaccomplishment a characteristic r$7e pipe. Yet if you sit down beforeher. I haveoften thought about what this music of hers really means.For we are singing or. and there are even many among us who are quite unaware that piping is one of our doesnot singbut only pipesand So characteristics. So of somethingwe all know about.that here usualworkaday performance of doing the usualthing.I do not feel this and havenever observedthat othersfeel anything of the kind. which needssolving. by trying to identify her voice.which. it is true. to comprehend not her art it is necessary only to hearbut to seeher.But in my opinion that is just what doesnot happen. all art. it is only a kind of piping that she produces. whereasan ordinary farmhand can keep it up effortlesslyall day long. it were really so. Josephine the soleexception. whenevershehappensto be singing alongwith others. which at most differs a little from the others through being delicateor weak. if it weretrue that Josephine perhaps. then indeedJosephine's but that would merelyclearthe ground for the real riddle might be disproved. Evenif herswereonly our piping.in the old daysour peopledid sing. it is not merelya piping. you will undoubtedlydistinguishnothing but a quite ordinary piping tone. Is it in fact singingat alt? Although we are unmusicalwe havea tradition of and singing.put your iudgmentto the test.'still better. then it cannotbe a matter of simple nut- . we pipe without thinking of it.or.

and when we are happy we pipe. but her audience neverpipes. Or it is a matter of nut-cracking. Now it wasjust the sameaswhat we were hearingfrom Josephine. whateverintervenesfrom outsideto hinder the purity of her song' to be overcome with a slight effort. teachthem not to perhapsunderstanding awedrespect. we makeno sound.whereas struck up her most triumphal notesand was quite Josephine beyondherself. And when her you take a seatbeforeher. but . shewasat onceawareof at it herself. I wasoncepresent when someone. she and but has long learned not to expect real understanding.but Josephine doesnot want mere admiration. every casualincident. That is what she is like always. every trifle.with which I too am half in sympathy.a failure in the lighting a incites her to heighten the effectiveness her song.when you sit before her.sheis of onemind in I with us. Sincepiping is one of our thoughtless habits. yet ar oncewe hissed to but and whistled the interrupter down. although it would not really have been necessary. and controlled herself. for the opposition. evenwith no effort at all.a grinding of teeth. can help to awakenthe masses. creakingin the parquet. For those who are of the contrary opinion she has only contempt and probably unacknowledged hatred.spreading armswide and strerching throat as high as it her her could reach.who in appearance I is delicacyitself. At any rate she deniesany connectionbetweenher art and ordinary piping. OR THE MOUSE FOLK 15l cracking. her art makesus feel happy. but it turns out that we have overlooked the art of cracking nuts because were too skilled in it and that this we newcomerto it first showsus its real nature. in any caseshe would certainlyhave crawledaway in fear and for shame. evenfinding it usefulin making his effectsto be rather lessexpert in nut-cracking than most of us. conspiculously evenamongour peoplewho areprolific in such so feminine types.A smilesosarcastic to that and arrogantas shethen assumed haveneverseen. from which our in we own piping at the very leastholdsus back. by the w?y.it sits in mouselike stillness. This is not simple vanity.thereis no lack of enthusiasm applause.JOSEPHINE THE SINGER. front of us the piping soundthat despite rehearsal in all wasstill tentativeand herein the audience unselfconscious the piping of a child.as she conceives So all it.she. every nuisance. you understandher. mere admirationleaves cold. disturbanceis very welcometo her. she believesanyhow that of sheis singingto deafears. drew her attention to the folk piping everywhere going otrr making only a modest reference it. with her extremesensibility.we admirein her what we do not at all admirein ourselves. certainly admiresher no lessthan the crowd does. of course as often happens. you know: this piping of hers is no piping. one might think that people would pipe up in Josephine's audience too. Perhaps is much the samewith Josephine's it singing.shewants to be admired exactlyin the way sheprescribes. seemed that moment actuallyvulgar. it would havebeenimpossible definethe difference. merely by confronting it. yet for Josephine wasmorethan enough. if we had become as partakers the peace long for. this respect. may say. opposition is possibleonly at a distance.Is it her singing that enchants or is it not rather the solemnstillness us enclosing frail little her voice?Onceit happened while Josephine singingthat somesilly little thing was in all innocence beganto pipe up too.

that onefeels by creature. harm to her reputation. Now. obsmcles are likes best to sing just when things are most upset. listenswith indrawn breath.which.on the roads and postedwho waveon newcomers urgethem to can all aroundsentries be seen gathered. singleindividualto bearit all did he for rerrors.asI said.headthrown Josephine her back. mouth half-open.as if while she is so abandoned. without any malice. who are 'She can't evenpipe.apprehensions. sometimes. it neednot be a cornerpitchedon in a moment'scapricewill serveas long way off. to be sure.sheactuallybites. is kept in ignorance the fact that this is being done. Then Josephineholds that her time has come.eyesturned upwards. as if she were laid bare.if it were possibleto assertthat because her singing our But this is simply not the case. to mostlyneeds do nothing elsethan take up her stand.inevitableis yet fleetingand ro seems us.many intervene.insteadof curbinga little her excessive summon fresh are to exert themselves meet them. it is asif shehasconcentrated her strength her from everythingin her that doesnot directly subserve singingall strength power of life. is hurry. are supposed be her opponents in the habit of saying: to shehasto put sucha terrible strainon herselfto forceout not a song-we can't call it song-but some approximationto our usual customarypiping. of secondquestion. And to gatheraroundher this massof our peoplewho are almostalwayson that the run and scurryinghither and thither for reasons areoften not very clear.with which aboutJosephine's than the first question to no easier answer One could eliminatethat and combinethem both in the it is closelyconnected. the delicate so belowthe breastbone.all the same. frequently as many as a thousand shoulders are trembling under a burden that was really meant only for one pair. Shecando this whereshelikes. this goeson until at last a tolerablylargeaudience This is sake? for I(/hat drivesthe peopleto make suchexertions Josephine's singing.' So it although. peopleareunconditionally unconditional devotion is hardly known among us.how much more do greatones.Josephine ways.in the positionthat indicates placevisiblea intentionto sing. ours are people who love slynessbeyond everything.t52 THE BOOK OF FANTASY And if smalleventsdo her suchservice. then shestampsher feet. Ve too are soon sunk in the feeling of the mass. But just when she makes such an appearance. but this impression transient. and life is very uneasy. So there she stands.with the bestwill in the forceus then to take devious worriesand dangers wants. any secluded well. devotedto Josephine. messengers sent out to of she hearers.every day brings surprises.shaken vibrationsespecially on her song. and on as ourselves quickly as Josephine world we cannot assemble statefor quite a time without a sufficient therein ceremonial she occasion stands in audience-then indeedsheturns furious. The news that she is going to sing flies around at once and soonwhole processions on the way there. warmly pressed body to body.but evenso it often becomesvery difficutt. has been withdrawn. But evensuch behavour people demands.so that it would be impossible a not alwayshaveby day and night the supportof his fellows.asif all for anxious her. and childish .Our hopes. swearing doesno most unmaidenlyfashion. almost all committedmerely to the careof good angels. wholly withdrawn and living only in her songa cold breathblowing upon her we might kill her.

admirably. sure. we think.IOSEPHINE THE SINGER. and childish gratitude.' much as a father takesinto his carea child So the peoplelook after Josephine whoselittle hand-one cannottell whetherin appealor command-is stretched out to him. To drawn into the warmth of their nearness certainly. OR THE MOUSE FOLK 153 whisperingand chatter. to be sure. at leastgivesus the strength to bear it. One might think that our peopleare not fitted to exercisesuch paternal duties. believes is shewho protectsthe people.at our elbows.one should not go of In making such generalized too far.so to speak.to make such claims.'Your protection Josephine. protectionand in someway remarkable. pronouncements. innocent. they would not be capableof laughing at there is much to make one laugh. in their wild. but in reality they dischargethem. is rathera thoroughlychildishway of doing. It Josephine. It is certainly a habit of children. course. while a father's way of doing is to pay no attentionto it. For instance. And her it besides protestis no realcontradiction. Sure. to laughwould be a breach of is of duty.is entrustedto their careand they must look after her. can be admitted:in Josephine and laughterfor its own sakeis neverfar awayfor usl in spite of all the miseryof our lives quiet laughteris always.Vhenever we get bad news-and on many daysbad news thick and fastat once. no single individual could do what in this respectthe peopleas a whole are capable doing. that she. at least in this case.liesand half-truthsincluded-she risesup at once.but we do not Many a time I have had the impressionthat our people laugh at Josephine. old song. the utmostmalicewhich the mostmalicious us wreakon Josephine 'The sight of is enough to make one stop to say now and then: Josephine laughing. To be sure. and that Josephine certainly feels. in interpret their relationshipto Josephine this way. her own opinion remarkable in needing for her gift of song. Yet there is something elsebehind it which is not so easyto explainby this relationship between peopleand Josephine. just the opposite. the that is to say. but it flashesfrom her eyes. our people are all the same devoted to Josephine.on her closed lips-few amongus cankeeptheir lips closed. one doesnot dare mention such ideas.thinks Josephine. comes whereas usuallyshesits listlesslyon the ground.that is what sheis fighting againstwith all the force of her feeble throat. the differencein strengthbetweenthe of peopleand the individual is so enormous that it is enoughfor the nursling to be and he is sufficiently protected.but shecanit is plainly legible. only not unconditionally. she is silent amongthe chatterers. but peopleof herself such a kind cannotgo in for unconditionaldevotion. she says very little anyhow.only the fact seems be established. the But to reasonfor this is not clearto anyone. impulsive fashion. but Josephine's not quite so unfoundedas are . and if it doesnot drive awaythe evil. sherisesup and stretches her neck and tries to see over the heads of her flock like a shepherd before a thunderstorm. superficialchatter. to what is entrusted one'scareonedoesnot laughat. isn't worth an old songr' she saysthen. Shedoesnot put it in thesewords or in any other.her singing is supposedto save us. nothing lessthan that.this frail creature.\(hen we arein she it a bad way politically or economically.

inured as they are to suffering. shedoesnot saveus and shegivesus no strength.and an assembly whereexceptfor the small piping voicein front there is completestillness. which risesup whereeveryone elseis pledgedto silence.Although we are at with quite other things and it is by no meansonly for the bottom preoccupied prevailsand many a listenerdoesnot evenlook sakeof her singingthat stillness fur.we like to cometogether. and shecan be brought fairly easilyto overlookmuch more.a mere nothing in execution.True.shegetseffects her in a sense. unnoticed performer in a of cornerof an assembly the people. shewould certainlynot make us the sacrifice her singing.if ever sucha one should be found amongus. But thereareother things shecould takecomfort from: we do reallylisten to probablymuch asone listensto a trainedsinger. so that Josephine in front seems up up but burieshis facein his neighbour's purpose. A really trainedsinger.the hour is much too grave for us to wasteit in chatter. necessary. we would certainlynot endureat sucha time and we should May of unanimouslyturn awayfrom the senselessnessany such performance.sheasserts doesus good to think of that. Josephine's piping like a message exertsherself. more submissive Josephine's to domination. although at the cost of sacrifices which make historians-generally speaking ignorehistoricalresearch we entirely-quite horror-struck. It is not so much a performance songsasan assembly the of of people. who have alwayssomehowmanagedto save themselves.And yet it is true that just in emergencies hearken better than at other times to we voice. The menaces that loom over us make us quieter.for that. swift in decision. well acquainted with death.a merenothingin amidstthe tumult of a hostileworld.I say. A relationship of this kind.154 THE BOOK OF FANTASY children's. there is yet something-it cannot be to be exerting herself to no piping. not sparingthemselves. a swarm of flatterersis alwaysbusy about her to this end. and asprolific besides they arebold-it is easy.comesalmost thin from the wholepeopleto eachindividual. of course. especially an occasion apartfrom the on set troublespreoccupying it is asif we weredrinking in all haste-yes.An intuition of it shemust have. it voice. would never content Josephine. of Nor doessheneedto. Despiteall the nervousuneasiness fills Josephine that because positionhas her neverbeenquite defined. hasteis us. This denied-that irresistablymakesits way into us from Josephine's piping. Josephine to herselfand getsacross us. more Josephine's humble. too Josephine often forgetsthat-from a cup of peacein common beforethe battle.elsewhy doessheso passionately deny that we do listen.to smge as oneself after the event as'the savior of our people.it is easyto stageoneself as a savior of our people. thus really doing a public service-and yet to be only an incidental.blinded by her self-conceit. only she keepson singingand piping her intuition away. there is still much that shedoesnot see. amongus and which areonly which a trainedsingerwould try in vain to achieve . that the merefact of our listeningto her is be Josephine sparedfrom perceiving proof that sheis no singer. althoughin itself it would be no small thing.timorousonly to the eyein the atmosphere reckless of daring which they constantlybreathe. we like to huddle closeto eachother. for her art doesnot go unnoticed.

our enemies numerous. but soonall the old waysarebackagain. demandsare put forward that the children should be granted a specialfreedom. tough and strong in hope that it is in general.Our lack of . yet amongthem it is alwaysthe samechildren that come out day after day for a long time. we did so. a certain weariness hopelessness and spreading from that leaves broadtrail through our a people'snature. it would bring them to if an early grave. the children have no time to be may fostertheir childrencarefully. in the reality of our daily life.but from our racecome pouring at the briefest intervals the innumerableswarms of our children. the future of the race.J O S E P H I N ET H E S I N G E R . havea little senseless to respected the exercise it encouraged. rosy with happiness. the areas on which. \Ufehaveno schools. something of this survives in it without a doubt. Childhoodand old agecomeupon us not asupon others.in direct oppositionto what is bestin us. From this childishness our peopleJosephine hasprofited sincethe beginning. For this. that this right should be carefree. These depressing considerations reinforced by another.a little play. often behavewith the utmost foolishness. clumsily carrying everything before them by massweight. And although our enjoyment of it cannot of coursebe so wholeheartedas a child's enioyment. and then we stay grown-up too long. we simply cannot give a real childhood to our children. O R T H E M O U S E F O L K I55 producedpreciselybecause meansare so inadequate.grandiosely. and of suchdemands put forward and are nearlyeveryone approves them. And that has its consequences. One generation-and eachis the numerous-treads on the heels of another. it is true. there is nothing onecould approveof more. we are all at once grown-up. Among our people there is no ageof youth. without a break. our children! And not the same children.Other races may be erected for their little ones. rolling or tumbling along by sheer impetus so long as they cannot yet run. as in those schools. howeverdelightful this may be and howevermuch others may envy us for it.schools children. and rightly. fertility of our race. Regularly. we are too dangers lying everywhere wait for us too incalculable-we cannotshelter in the for our childrenfrom the struggle existence.one makesattemptsto meet them. hardly does a child appearthan it is no more a child. Truly. for economic reasons. must look after itself just like an adult. our childishness our infallible practicalcommonsense. a specialprotection. as to soonas it can run about a little and a little distinguish one thing from another.$7ehaveno youth.Our life happens be suchthat a child. but there is also nothing. that is less likely to be granted. are which is not depressing. scarcelythe briefest childhood. doubtless.one approves thesedemands. irresponsibly. always new children again and again. of too Yet our peopleare not only childish. haveto live in dispersion too wide. so long as they cannot yet see. her our way of life is mainly responsible. as wastefully.no. while behind it new childish facesare already crowding so fast and so thick that they are indistinguishable. out of theseschoolsthe children may come pouring daily. kind of unexpended A ineradicable pervades people. without end. we are alsoin a sense prematurelyold. senselessly.and all that often for the sakeof sometrivial amusement. that their right to be a little giddiness. merrily lisping or chirping so long asthey cannotyet pipe. we with exactlythe samefoolishness children.

\$fhoknows. is only the very young who are it interestedin her singing as singing.its excitement. One could Josephine . wherehere piping is set free from the fetters of daily life and it sees too for a little while. but can hardly be countedas one of Josephine's titles to fame. that doesnot disturb us. we call it staccato.at least. shecallsit pearllike. unaccountable yet springingup andnot to be obliterated. unexpectedly who was responsible it all. especially when dangeris mostimminent. this last statementis unfortunatelytrue. But from that point it is a long. expelsthe air between pretty front teeth.the character of our people would suppressthem before they could unfold. especiallyconsidering that when such large gatherings have been flushedby the enemyand many of our peopleleft lying for dead.confidentially. Here in the brief intervalsbetweentheir struggles our peopledream.Something of our poor brief childhoodis in it. But our people.156 THE BOOK OF FANTASY musicalgifts hassurelysomeconnection with this. without making the slightestdemandupon yet us. At her concerts. and yet people keep running to whateverplace decideson next. of its small gaieties. rapture do not suit our heaviness.we contentourselves with pipingi a little piping hereand there. courseit is a kind of piping. and indeed perhapsattractedthe for Josephine. hasalwaysoccupiedthe safest first to whisk away quietly and speedily under cover of her escort. sometimes little hoarsely. or sing or whatever shelikes to call it. on Josephine the other hand can pipe as much as shewill. in whispers. get still more than this from Josephine. any musictheremay be in it is reduced the leastpossible to tracela certain tradition of music is preserved. half diesin sheer her wondermentat the soundssheherselfis producingand after such a swooning swellsher performance new and more incredibleheights.finding the moment wait for it as music scarcely ever does. For ordinary people. but also something of active daily life.warm bed of the community. that we canwell put up with.beingwhat they are. only manya onepipeshis wholelife long and doesnot know it. Why not? Piping is a Of our people's daily speech. placeand was alwaysthe enemyby her piping. at any rate here it is in its right place.theremay be talentsfor musicamongus.' Now.whereas real to the massof the people-this is plain to see-are quite withdrawn into themselves. we are too old for music. long way to Josephine's claimthat shegivesus new strengthand so on and so forth. its wearily we waveit away. everyonereally knows that. but if therewere. in And into thesedreamsJosephine's piping drops note by note. if the harried individual once in a while as couldrelaxand stretchhimselfat ease the great. that is enoughfor us. something lost happiness of that can neverbe found again.'Vhat otherexplanation couldtherebe?'-they saywith quite shameless sauciness-'howelsecouldyou explainthe greataudiences. and And indeedthis is all expressed not in full round tones but softly.as nowhere but else. at whatevertime she risesup to sing.not for her train of flatterers. in especially times of stress. that suitsus. which haveevenoften enoughhinderedproper precautions being taken in time to avert danger. they alone gazein astonishment she as pursesher lips. Still.it is as if the limbs of eachwere loosened. \I7e certainly should not want to do without these performances.

sheshouldbe relievedof all responsibility earningher daily bread which-apparentlyand being involved in the generalstrugglefor existence. and not to her either. should be transferred on her behalf to the people as a whole. for recuperate more singing. her voice.JOSEPHINE "fHE SINGER.that and it hasan inner justification. beyond their jurisdiction. But shehasno enemies. retreatwould be self-betrayal. and eventhoughsheis oftencriticizedhereand there. as If shereallyhad enemies. really wants is not what she puts into Now it is clear that what Josephine words. this extraentirely comprehensible.sheappears submit. perhaps as but as a whole individualsthe peoplemay surrendertoo easilyto Josephine. of ordinary gift grantedto her and to no one elsein direct contravention the laws. sheavers. A facile enthusiast-andtherehavebeensuch-might arguefrom the mereunusualness to of this demand.her work would not at all get in the way of her singingnor would her singinggrow any better-what she wants is public. sings as best she can. so easilymoved. shirking in any caseis quite unknown amongus.that the strainof working is of course but it preventsher from being able to rest sufficiently after singing and to her and yet. never rise to the peak of her abilities. but now she beginning.without havingto lift a finger. one could seean admissionof the fact that they marvel helplesslyat her in the unworthyof it. OR THE MOUSE FOLK r57 standsalmostbeyondthe law.Josephine nothing to the strainof singing. Our people. She is honourable.The people listen to her argumentsand pay no attention. unambiguous. even Josephine's yes. If this were so. perhaps of from all daily work on account her hasbeenfighting for exemption Josephine for singing. permanentrecognitionof her art. Their refusalis sometimes decidedthat sometimes is takenaback. they surrenderunconditionallyto no one. now shemust standor fall by her petition. sincethe very beginningof her artisticcareer. that she can do arguefrom this that Josephine the at what shepleases. so cannotbe moved at all. if her petition were grantedshe would certainlylive the samelife as before. try to assuage pity sherouses them by art. feelthemselves for sacrifices her and. the risk of actuallyendangering community.perhapssheherselfsees cannotdraw back.and will be claims would be forgiven for everything.they could get much amusement from watchingthis struggle. to the sameextent that her art is making really desperate considerher personalityand her wishesto lie beyond their comprehension. it is based. For a long time back. instance. doesher proper shareof to evenJosephine work.shehasto exhaust strengthcompletely can in thesecircumstances.from the spiritualattitudeneeded framesucha demand. \7ell. this eludes her persistently.no onefinds this struggle . then with renewed inexhaustible-shetakesup the strength-for this purposeher strengthseems fight again. that is simply not ffue at all. but all only for a time. Nor do they troublemuch aboutdisprovingthe assumptions which for that the strain of working is bad for argues. But while almost everything else seemswithin her reach.But our peopledraw other conclusions quietly on refuseit. in this freedom to be allowed her. going far beyondany precedentso far known.Perhapsshe should have taken a different line of attack from the that her approach waswrong.she is not work-shy.

a real delight not by popular standards.for the peopleaffirm that they have alwaysdelighted in her singing. sinceshe . is not important thing. for this very member of the people.Her rights seembeyond questionto herl so sincein this world. shefeels quite capableof singingin sucha way that all levelsof the populace. but the fact that the peopleare capableof presentinga stony.However. if that weretrue. that he one had madesuperhuman sacrifices Josephine the firm belief that there wasa for in natural limit to his capacityfor sacrifice. yet it may be that such considerations enter into josephine'sway of taking the matter and so add a certainbitterness the pain of being refused. we think will run her into greaterdangers. and that he then cut her off with a final refusalwhich long held in reserve. but a delight by her own standards. both in the people's refusaland in Josephine's the action itself.their respect for josephineis well tried and genuine. she adds. that he had sacrificedmore than was needful merely to hasten the process. Shereaches the highestgarlandnot because is momentarily it hanginga little lower but because is the highest. and that it is all the more impenetrable in because other respects they show an anxiouspaternalcare.Recently she has even intensified her attack. impenetrable front to one of their own.the very ideathat suchan aspectmight be turned upon oneselfsomeday preventsamusement from breakingin. The petition. Josephine growingold and no falling off in her voice. that insteadof the peopleone had an individual to deal with: one Suppose al! might imaginethat this man had beengiving in to Josephine the time while nursing a wild desireto put an end to his submissiveness fine day. And howeveronemay approveit in this case.yes. Her supportershavelet it be known that. especially what doesit matter how shesecures that is why shehastransferred are it. For her thereis no but of it of If shemakesdemands is not because outwardcircumstances because it for an inner logic. she is Many believethat Josephine becomingso insistentbecause feelsherself growing old and her voicefalling off.Just because the fact that the peopleshowthemselves of herein their cold.Now. do not believeit. This contempt for externaldifficulties.shedoesnot let them deter her from But pursuing the campaign.158 THE BOOK OF FANTASY of hersamusing.merely to spoil Josephineand her encourage to askfor more and more until shedid indeedreachthe limit with this last petition of hers. to whateverher ideason the subject.which is otherwiserarely seen among us.would find it a real delight.evento the remotestcornersof the opposition. judicial aspect. and more than paternalcare.and Josephine's are demands after all sofarreachingthat any simple child could havetold her what the outcomewould be. besides. and so shethinks it high time to wagethe I would not be Josephine lastbattlefor recognition. honestmethods boundto fail. hitherto she has used only words as her weaponsbut now she is beginning to have but to which shethinks will provemoreefficacious which recourse othermeans.if she had any say in the matter shewould haveit still higher. accordingto herself. to be sure. the people have no need of such guile. doesnot hinder her from using the most unworthy methods. as she them. Perhaps sees the battle for her rights from the field of songto anotherwhich shecareslittle about. this is certainly not how the matter wascurt because stands.

but do not as bother much about the shorteningof her songs. though she showsherselfin this patheticconditoin oftener than usual. shecannotdo a it after all. asif her decisionabout the gracenoteshad beentoo severe too suddena move or againstthe people. and have never noticed any in singing.so singing.not. But when it comesto her campaignfor exemptionfrom work. for instance.althoughI for onehaveobserved difference her no in performance. The other day.and until her petition wasfavorablyregardedthey would never recur. The peopleas a whole listenedin the usualway without making on any pronouncement the gracenotes.much as usual.JOSEPHINE THE SINGER.just assheis aboutto strike up. Yet though she lets herselfbe led about like a cripple. Although she limps and leans on her no supporters. caneven if of one . decisions counterdecisions in at oneearand out at and the other.perhaps.her armsnot widespread usual as but hanging lifelesslydown. \$flell. for is Josephine's the present. like a grown-uppersondeepin thought turning a deafear to a child's well disposed babble. Presumably she hascarriedout her threat.the rumor went meantto cut short her gracenotesif her petition werenot aroundthat Josephine granted.sheis yet one of us and we area raceof workersl if we were to startlimping everytime we got a scratch. it is of coursealsoa campaign behalf of her on weapon her song.fundamentally but not accessible.To be sure. not in the mood for singing.feelingfaint. so that one gets the impressionthat they are perhaps little too short. \|7e seeJosephine's as in supporters the background beggingand imploring her to sing. sheannounced that next time shewould put in all the grace notesagain. her singing will have to stay as it is. It must be admitted that Josephine's way of thinking. Shewould be glad to oblige. weary. only to cut them short. is oftenvery charming. onebelieves that sheis reallyhurt. after that performance.shepleadsthat sheis tired. up obviouslyat the end of her resources. we get a different story. for instance. At last. an unwilling shake the headtells us soand shebreaksdown before of our eyes.And so.They comfort and caress with flatteries. her songs would now have to be cut short.the peoplelet all go theseannouncements. the peopleall the samelisten to her singingthankfully and appreciatively before. Sinceshe cannot very well go on limping forever. there wasto be definitely an end of thesegreatariaswith the gracenotes.shepulls herselftogether againand sings.shegiveswoy.they her almost carry her to the selected spot where she is supposed sing. Josephine.Thus.Yet after the next concert shechangedher mind oncemore. Grantedthat her frail body is extra sensitive. And so we get a theatricalperformance well as a concert. but sinceshe could not sing exceptstandingup. onehasan earfor the finer shades expression. like her just figure.yet sheis not fighting directlywith the priceless of any instrument she usesis good enough. does not give in.she claimed that she had hurt her foot at work.the wholepeoplewould neverbe done limping. there.nor did their response her petition to vary by a jot.to cut them out entirely. so that it was difficult for her to stand up to sing.however. but when shestands to sing. I know nothing about grace notes. for instance.but shecannot. to burstinginexplicablyinto tears.I fancy.But Josephine goingto cut shorther gracenotes. OR THE MOUSE FOLK 159 cannot falsify the highest standardsnor pander to the lowest. she thinks of something else.

if onecan usesucha term for her tripping gait.this time shehas deserted entirely.eventhough ment.all to the good. Not that it will Still.! eforethe Law standsa doorkeeper. however. a self-confident are appearances misleading. road. many aredevotingthemselves the search. evenfrom Josephine. however.with a firm tread.How could sheeverhave destroys powershehasgainedoverpeople's the gainedthat power. . so constituted.which in our world cannotbe anythingbut a sad one. It is not only her supporters to who arelooking for her. The time will sooncomewhen Josephine's in her last notessoundand die into silence.sincesheknowssolittle aboutthese heartsof ours?Shehides herselfand doesnot sing.Sheis a small episode the eternal historyof our people.will rise to the heights of redemptionand be forgottenlike all her brothers. is possible. refusingall help from her supporters and measuring with cold eyesthe crowd which respectfullymakes way for her. That happened day or two ago. a just at a time when shewassupposed sing. all in vain. but the latestis that shehas disappeared. from the earthly sorrowswhich to her thinking lay in wait for all redeemed of throng of the heroes chosen spirits. us Curiously.and the peoplewill get overthe lossof her. without visible disappointmassin perfectequilibrium.The man thinks it overand says 'but 'It then asksif he wilt be allowedin later.'saysthe doorkeeper. of her own accord she hearts. And in the end sheis actuallylesstired than before. this doorkeeper IJfrom the country and praysfor admittance the Law. she will not even be cajoledinto Josephine singing.she will not sing. how can our gatherings \trflas actualpiping notably her was they not silentevenwhenJosephine present? it louder and more alive than the memory of it will be?\trfas evenin her lifetime singingwas more than a simplememory?\flas it not ratherbecause Josephine's past losing in this way that our peoplein their wisdom prized it so already highly? So perhaps we shall not miss so very much after all.will happilyloseherselfin the numberless our people. clever creature. sincewe are no historians. Of her own accord she abandonsher singing. how mistakenshe is in her calculations.which is. to but has vanished.so the mistakenthat one might fancy she has madeno calculations all but is only at beingdriven on by her destiny. peoplecontinueon their way.quietly.that they can only bestowgifts and not receive our them. were take placein utter silence? be easyfor us.must go downhill. BeforetheLaas there comesa man To f. But the doorkeeper to at that he cannotgrantadmittance the moment.160 THE BOOK OF FANTASY hearthat sheis singingwith unusualfeeling. and soon. but our people. shemovesoff. while Josephine.

And I am only the least of the doorkeepers. he only grumbles to himself. as usual.BEFORE THE LA$T 16l not at the moment. He waves him nearer.' 'Everyone strives to reach the Law. The man. From hall to hall there is one doorkeeper after another. the Law. and wearies the doorkeeper by his importunity. Before he dies. The doorkeeper has to bend low towards him. he thinks. but the quesrions are put indifferently. roars in his ear: 'No one else could ever be admitted here. the doorkeeper laughs and says: 'If you are so drawn to it. with his big sharp nose and long.' Since the gate stands open. but as he now takes a closer look at the doorkeeper in his fur coat. There he sits for days and years. and since in his yearlong contemplation of the doorkeeper he has come to know even the fleas on his fur collar. much to the man's disadvantage. and the doorkeeper steps to one side. Observing that. The doorkeeper acceptseverything. since he can no longer raise his stiffening body. however valuable.' says the man. Now he has not very long to live. He curses his bad luck. but always with the remark: 'I am only taking it to keep you from thinking you have omitted anyrhing. At length his eyesight begins to fail. all his experiencesin these long years gather themselvesin his head to one point. I am now going to shut it. and always finish with the statement that he cannot be let in yet. to let his failing sensescatch the words.' During these many years the man fixes his attention almost continuously on the doorkeeper. sacrificesall he has. and. He becomes childish. The doorkeeper frequently has little interviews with him.you are insatiable. But take note: I am powerful. as great lords put them. he begs the fleas as well to help him and to change the doorkeeper's mind. a quesrion he has not yet asked the doorkeeper. and he does not know whether the world is really darker or whether his eyesare only deceiving him. asking him questions about his home and many other things. The third doorkeeper is already so terrible that even I cannot bear to look at him.' . 'so how does it happen that for all these many years no one but myself has ever begged for admittance?'The doorkeeper recognizesthat the man has reached his end. just try to go in despite my veto. black Tartar beard. and this first one seemsto him the sole obstacle preventing accessto the Law. The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him sit down at one side of the door. He forgets the other doorkeepers. He makes many attempts to be admitted. in his early years boldly and loudly. Yet in his darkness he is now aware of a radiance that streams inextinguishably from the gateway of the Law. '\trflhatdo you want to know now?' asks the doorkeeperl . should surely be accessibleat all times and to everyone. thin. he decides that it is better to wait until he gets permission to enter. the man stoops to peer through the gateway into the interior. who has furnished himself with many things for his journey. as he grows old. later.' These are difficulties the man from the country has not expected. to bribe the doorkeeper. each more powerful than the last. sincethis gatewas made only for you.

from the Iin his yourh. mention (1896). He might not speak. happy. highest bidder.the administrationof the Indian Empire. He had stepped of his place.he had not appearedat his office at the proper time.Of hisvastliterary should made be o/Plain Talesfrom the Hills (/887). The Light That Failed legacy. (1899). well. seaporttown-twelve hundred miles away. For these reasons.This wasbeforehe wasengaged Miss Youghal-an affair which has t62 .azd Something (1918). and dicd in Englandin 1936. Actions and Reactions(1909).Stalky and Co.The Five Nations (1891). down the weredispatched wellswereplumbed. 'twas a piteousthing to see The dumb ghostfollow his enemy! Ihe Baron.telegrams Pondsweredragged. The doors were wide. saw fit to rent the bungalowfrom the native to landlord. His guns. Then the work of the great Indian and Imray from beinga it Empire sweptforward. that Empire microscopical pausedfor one microscopicalmoment to make inquiry into the fate of Imray. in a degree. a man became mystery-such a thing asmen talk overat their tablesin the Club andcartsweresoldto the for a month. the story saith. and in great evidenceamong the billiard tablesat his Club.Debitsand Credits(1926). storyteller epicpoet. and his dog-cart was not upon the public roads.Limits and Renewals Between of Myself(1937). andthen forgetutterly. sayingthat Imray had unaccountably stoodempty. for no conceivable motive. because could not be delayed.horses. A Diversity of Creatures(1917).Kim (1901).The SevenSeas (1903). The Years (1935). was born in Bombayin 1865. my friend Strickland. His superior officer wrote an altogetherabsurd letter to his and disappeared. He roved the castleto seekhis kin.He won thBNobelPize fn Literaure in 1907.TheReturnof Imray Rudyard Kipling. and his place knew him no more.and he could not stir A hair of the Baron'sminivera and Speechless strengthless. tfflithoutwarning. shadowthin. his bungalow mother. and becausehe was hampering. Upon a morninghe wasnot. at the thresholdof his career. Upon a day he was alive.he choseto disappear world-which is to say. And oh. and no mannerof search out couldmakesurewherehe might be. lines of railwaysand to the nearest wires. He was nor but Imray wasnot at the end of the drag-ropes the telegraph gone. Out of the night camethe patient wraith. the Jmray achieved impossible.of the Police. the little Indian stationwherehe lived. fatnousnooelist. After three or four months of the scorchinghot weatherhad gone by.

Strickland had contrived to claw togethera sort of meal which he calledlunch. The landlordhad repaintedit when Stricklandtook the bungalow. I quartered myselfupon Strickland. Stricklandwould take stepsat once. the Club quartersbeing full.a blanket.but therewereno his manners regular times for meals. she saw things calculatedto desuoy the peaceof Her Maiestythe Queen-Empress. His domesticequipmentwaslimited to six rifles. She owned a bedstead. Tietiens caughtthe man ashe wascrawling into Strickland'stent with a daggerbetween his teeth. From that date Tietjens wore a collar of rough silver. putting her paws on my shoulder to show she was glad to see me. and after his record of iniquity was established the eyesof the law in he was hanged.He ate. and a collection of stiff-iointed mahseer-rods. three shot-guns. who camein the grey dawn to send Strickland much farther than the Andaman Islands. Macarnaght.walking abroad. and a drinking-trough. when he wasill with fever. because did she not know how to help her master and would not allow another creature to attemptaid. Tietiens met me in the verandahwith a bay like the boom of the bell of St Paul's. and if anyone cameinto Strickland'sroom at night her customwasto knock down the invader and give tongue till someone camewith a light.eight-roomed heavily and thatched againstany chanceof leakagefrom rain.five saddles. for she was a delicatedog. madegreat trouble for the doctors.and the end of his labours was trouble and fine and imprisonment for other people. and immediately after it was finished went out about his business. and employed a monogram on her night blanket. and this is not good for human beings. returnedto her masterand she laid information. Shespoketo Strickland in a language of her ownl and whenever. standingup and walking about. ants.my business took me through that Station. bigger and stronger than the largest Theseoccupiedone half of his bungalow.The nativesbelieved that Tietjens wasa familiar spirit.Unlessyou knew how Indian bungalows were built you would never havesuspected that above the cloth lay the dark three-cornered cavernof the roof. One room in the bungalowwasset apart for her special use. Strickland owed his life to her when he wason the Frontier in searchof a local murderer. and the blanket was of double woven Kashmir cloth. A short time after Strickland had taken Imray's bungalow. whateverhe might find at the sideboard. Under no circumstances would shebe separated from Strickland.and the other half was salmon-rods. and men complainedof Therewasalways and customs.THE RETURN OF IMRAY 163 beendescribedin anotherplace-and while he was pursuing his investigations into native life. His own life was sufficiently peculiar. of beather over her head with a gun-butt beforeshecould understandthat shemust give room for those who could give quinine. bats. the Indian MedicalService.I was left . food in his house. given up to Strickland and his dog Tietiens-an enormousRampur slut who devoureddaily the rations of two men.It wasa desirable bungalow. and foul things.and once. and treatedher with the great reverence that is born of hate and fear. where the beamsand the undersideof the thatch harbouredall mannerof rats. Under the pitch of the roof ran a ceiling-clothwhich looked just as neat as a white-washed ceiling.and naturally.

dog. and thinking better of it. and the first thing he saidwas: 'Has anyonecalled?' that my servanthad summonedme into the I explained. and died away. but the rain fell like ramrodson the earth. telling rooms. and storm after storm cameup. to Theremight or might not havebeena callerwaiting-it seemed me that I saw there was nothing a figure by one of the windows-but when the lights came saverhe spikesof the rain without. The heatof the summerhad broken up and turned to the warm damp of the rains.in the verandah. iust beforedinner. which wasnext exposed to the statelychamberset apart for Tietjens. If a merewife had wished to sleep out of doorsin that pelting rain it would not havemattered.the . and flung up a blue mist when it and the back.I explained my servant to went back ro the verandah talk to Tietiens. The bamboo. prickly heat.but Tietienswasa dog. Tietjens encampedoutside my bedroom felt in being thus window. My own servantcameto me in the twilight.and I had no desireto sit amongthesethings.and the custardapples. The roomsof the housewere dark behind me.The lightning spatteredthe sky asa thrown eggspattersa barn door. 'She has done this ever sinceI moved in someunpleasant 'Let her go. Tietiens. He smiledqueerly. not sleeping. and to nostrils. and told me that a gentleman his drenched of of because the darkness the someone.asa man would smileafter telling domestictragedy.Tietjenscameout with me and put her headin my the thing called lap and wasvery sorrowful. I could seethe great dog standing. looking through my split bamboo blinds. but only my man to bring the lights. splashed in the gardenstoodstill while the warm water lashedthrough them. even with biscuitswith sugartops. but the light was pale blue. and thereforethe better animal. but I felt all that Strickland The dog was Strickland's made light of.and sinceit was a real dinner with a white we tableclothattached. who had been tying underneaththe table. and I wastired too. or that some loafer had tried to call on Strickland. I looked at Strickland. I sat in the back verandahand heard I myself because was coveredwith and scratched the water roar from the eaves.A little before the light failed. Strickland ordereddinner.' herer'saidhe. and. and I could hardly coax her back to me.and I took tea in the back verandahon account of the little coolnessfound there. and sung into the least as verandah soonasher mastermovedto his own room.the poinsettias. and the smell of the drinking earth in my that he wasno wiserthan he ought to be.I went into the nakeddrawing-room. thunderedon the thatch. not yellow. Stricklandcamehome. the muslin of his clothesclinging tightly to had calledand wishedto see body.with apologies. had fled after giving his name. drawing-room on a false alarm. Shehad goneout into the wet. There was no motion in the heated air. I could smell Strickland'ssaddlery and the oil on his guns. so I saidnothing. dripping wet. Very much againstmy will.t64 THE BOOK OF FANTASY alonewith Tietiens and my own affairs. sat down. and when the rain wasat its worst. soI gaveher biscuitswhen teawasready. expectingto see him flay her with a whip. mangotrees and the frogs began to sing among the aloe hedges. without comment. At nine o'clock Stricklandwantedto go to bed. rose up.

whispering. rWe werealonein the house. I ran into Strickland's room and askedhim whetherhe wasill. and.I neversawhim. half awake. that I would go over to the Club to and find for myself quartersthere. leaving me alonefor eight or ten hourswith Tietiensfor my only companion. for he is a man who understands things. 'Have I beenwalking round the houserecently?' I explainedthat he had beentramping in the dining-roomand the smokingroom and two or three other places. lurking. but in the twilight sheand I movedinto the back verandah and cuddledeachother for company. He waslying on his bedhalf dressed. All I Stayon and wait. pipe in his mourh. 'I thought a you'd comer'he said. walkedabout and about through the house.but nonethe lessit wasmuch too fully occupied by a tenantwith whom I did not wish to interfere. gentlyasmight be. but through all my mixed dreamsI was sure I was doing someone injustice in not attendingto his an wants. He heardme out to the end. \7hat thosewants were I could not tell. you havetalkedaboutI haveknownsince took the bungalow.and he laughedand told me to go back to bed.waspleased with his gunsandrods. I lived in that housefor two days. loitering Someone was reproaching me for my slackness. and then smiledvery wearily. She never enteredthe rooms. but her eyes moved interestedly:that was quite sufficient.Dogs are cheerfulcompanions.but his voicewasno morethan a husky whisper. I explained Strickland. and Somebody tried to openmy door.' he said. of but it seemed that someone wantedme very urgently.but without contempt. watchingan invisible extra man as he movedabout behind my shoulder. Tietjenshasleft me.and so wasTietjens. Tietienswent into the gardenand howledat the low moon.'Stayon. I admiredhis hospitality.The thunderceased. and had been callingme. and stoodbreathingheavilyin the verandahs. I went back to bed and slept till the morning.THE RETURN OF IMRAY 165 hacklesalift on her back and her feet anchoredastenselyasthe drawn wire-rope of a suspension bridge. Only when my servantcameto trim the lampsand make all light and habitableshewould comein with me and spendher time sitting on her haunches. but I could see the curtainsbetweenthe roomsquiveringwherehe had iust passed through.I heardthe howlingof Tietjensin the gardenand the threshingof the rain. and following the motions of somethingthat I could not see. but a fluttering. whoeverhe was. In the very short pauses the thunder I tried to sleep.He. Tietiens madethe twitight more interestingby glaring into the darkened rooms with every hair erect.was trying to call me by name. just when I wasfalling asleep and I fanciedthat I hearda wild hammeringand clamouringabovemy heador on the door. bolt-fumbling.but I did not muchcarefor his house and its atmosphere. Are you goingroo?' .'and seewhat this thing means.Stricklandwent to his officedaily. I could hear the chairscreakingas the bamboos sprungunder a weight that had just quitted them. and I could feel when I went to get a book from the diningroom that somebodywas waiting in the shadowsof the front verandahtill I should havegone away. long as As the full light lastedI wascomfortable.

The snake-tails \7e up themselves and disappeared. I don'r wonder. course-'said Strickland. Hand me up the two last joints of a mahseer-rod. If I shake and break their backs. I'll and prod it. and we'll poke 'em down.' He put his hand to the cornerof the stuff and ripped it from the cornice. Besides fatal. and it twists up trouserlegs.and set it againstthe sideof the room. 'Give me a mahseer-rod. This was after dinner. but I took the cleaning-rod I wasnot anxiousto assist ladder and waited in the dining-room. 'em.' .and his voicerolled and rumbled in the roof. could hear the dry rushing scuttle of long bodiesrunning over the baggyceiling-cloth.with his eyeson the ceilingcloth.It gave with a great soundof tearing. when Tietjens had gone out to lie in the verandah. 'I can't stand snakes 'em down. whoeveryou are! Headsbelow there! It's falling.' saidStrickland.' 'They'll hide amongthe roof-beamsr' said Strickland.I'm going up into the roof. for I had not the leastknowledgeof what might descend. 'There's is room for anotherset of rooms up here. of if I hate and fear snakes. and. They threw long shadows the lamplight.' I handedup the rod. 'H'm!' saidStrickland. and that it feels all the contempt that the Devil felt when Adam was evicted from Eden. It's a buffalo. connectedwith a heathenidol' that had brought me to the doorsof a lunatic asylum. ThereforeI explainedmore clearlythan ever that I liked him immensely.166 THE BOOK OF FANTASY I had seenhim through one little affair. someone occupying 'em!' 'Snakes?' said from below. Strickland took a lamp with him. and the heatof the room is The bricks aretoo cold for iust what they like.because you look into the eyesof any snakeyou will seethat it knows all and more of the mystery of man's fall. '\il(/hata nest for owls and serpents!No wonder the snakeslive herer' said Strickland.and would be happy to seehim in the daytime. 'Nonsense!'said Strickland.'They're sureto hide nearthe wallsby the cloth.' cleaning-rod Stricklandin his work. climbing farther into the roof. 'Comeout of that.while Stricklandbrought a gardener's drew from the verandah. was a man to whom unpleasantness do dinners to ordinary people. I could seehis elbow thrusting with the rod. apart from the deteriorationof property causedby ripping out ceiling-cloths. stand by with a overhead. by Jove. I 'No.and I had no desireto help him arrived as He through further experiences. and Strickland put his headthrough the opening I into the dark of the angleof the roof-beams. 'If you are afraid of snakes. 'Look at that!' werehangingbetweenthe cloth and the cornice The tails of two brown snakes in of the wall. but that I did not careto sleepunder his roof. which its bite is generally 'You ought to get your thatch overhauled. setmy teeth and lifted the rod. ' 'Pon my soul. It's lying on the main roof-beam. betweena while I tried to make clear to him the dangerof hunting roof-snakes ceiling-cloth and a thatch.'I said.

and allowed him to make the darkness. 'If I call in all the servants they will standfast in a crowd and lie like Aryans. What do you suggest?' 'Call'em in oneby oner'I said. He has only beenhere o\ilflhat's your notion?' two or three daysr'I answered.'saidStrickland.' saidhe. $flhenI took this bungalowI took over most of Imray's servants. Shelookedat Strickland. split. Shesniffedand wasstill. Tietjenscamein and satdown. and we lit tobaccoand thought.'$(e 'em. 'Is it Imray?' I said. swayed.tore. Oh! you would. to be by I back-broken the butt of the mahseer-rod. because was afraid. I snatched lamp out of dangerand stoodback.THE RETURN OF IMRAY t67 I sawthe ceiling-clothnearlyin the centreof the room sagwith a shapethat was pressingit downwards and downwards towards the lighted lamp on the the table. Then the cloth ripped out from the walls. Imray wasguileless and inoffensive. 'They'll run awayand give the newsto all their fellows. The arrangement under the cloth made no more signsof life.' 'That's why he whispered Then we spoke.though the heapunder the cloth had lookedneither one thing nor the other.' Tietjens. Stricklandthought. 'It's a bad business. in the garden. 'Excellentidea! Turn the lampsout. 'our friend Imray has come back. 'and his throat is cut from ear to ear. I 'Imray is back. her teethbaredunderher lip and her forepaws planted. 'It strikesme. but he picked up the loose end of the tableclothand threw it over the remnantson the table. and they don't fastenup the ceiling-clothbehind 'em. and shotdown upon the tablesomething that I dared not look at. being a man of few words. Stricklandmeditated. \$fe'll get into my room. beganto bay furiously.wasn't he?' I agreed. for aughtI know.both togetherand to ourselves: about the house.' saidhe. and looked. wassufficientlysick to make no remarks worth recording. Stricklandturned back the cloth for a moment. and a little snakewriggledout. putting down the lamp. and there washardly room to move awayfrom the discovery. A little later her great nose heavedopen the dining-roomdoor. Do you suppose your servantknows anythingabout it?' must segregate 'He may. I smokedfuriously. lady. I've a notion of my own. He did not saymuch. but I don't think it's likely. Let's think it out.' saidStrickland.and helpedhimselfto drinks. would you?' There wasa movement under the cloth.' 'Let's think it out somewhere elser'I said. . 'It is Imrayr' he said. 'Men don't climb up into the roofs of old to their bungalows die.' I did not turn the lampsout.Then he followed me. till Strickland had slid down the ladder and was standingby my side.'The question is-who killed Imray?Don'r talk. The tatteredceiling-cloth hung down almostto the level of the table. I went into Strickland's roornfirst.

tugging off his boots.' 'And Imray Sahibwent to Europe?' 'It is so saidamongthosewho were his servants.Sahib.had wakedfrom sleepand wishedto put Suickland to bed. isn't it?' said that it BahadurKhan. if God pleases. but I go buck-shooting tomorrow.y. \flalking among us. lies in the next room. his body servant.Give me the little sharprifle that I usefor black-buck. How the dickensdid the man get the wrong side of the ceiling-cloth?' There wasa heavycoughingoutsideStrickland'sbedroomdoor.'It's a very warm night. 'I have seen.Then he reached down to the gun-case. Sahib. 'It will be so. He looked for a moment at the black depths behind the ceiling-cloth. is in the case yonder. at the thing under the tablecloth. a grey glaze settling on his face. at the writhing snake under foot.yawningdolefully. rtrflhatelse?' 'For killing him? N. This showed that BahadurKhan. which. his servants.Go!' The man picked up a lamp. I am very tired. r$(lhat does the Presencedo?' 'Hang thee within the month. handed barrels. 'Go and look!' said Strickland.THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'I can't quite tell. Bahadur Khan. But thou shalt know more anon.\fhat time wasrhat?' 'Has the Heaven-born forgotten?It was when Imray Sahibwent secretlyto Europewithout warninggiven. six-footMohammedan.He was a good master.who fitted all together. by his Honour's favour. 'Comeinr' said Strickland. but that there was more rain pending.' 'And thou wilt take servicewith him when he returns?' 'Assuredly.' 'Sahib!' at The lamplight slid along the barrelsof the rifle as they levelledthemselves BahadurKhan's broad breast. 'And Imray Sahibhasgoneto Europesecretly! That is very strange. that I have worked thee remorselessly many days-ever sincethat time when thou first camestinto my service. stock. and fore-end to Strickland. and last. Heaven-born?' 'Very little.and cherished dependants. was a very warm night. Bahadur Khan. waiting his servant. 'It is in for my mind. would bring relief to the country. and he waitsthee. 'Take a lamp. consider.and slippedit into the breechof the 360 Express. Thy masteris tired.' said Strickland. is it not?' '\fhat do I know of the waysof the white man.' it The man stoopedover the case. took a solid-drawn cartridge. and I-even l-came into the honouredservice of the protectorof the poor. 'Hast thou seen?' said Strickland after a pause. and went into the dining-room. truly. and almost pushing him with the muzzle of the rifle. a great. It has reachedme that and that evennow he Imray Sahibhas returnedfrom his so long journeyings. Strickland following. he . green-turbaned.' his 'That is true. I am clay in the white man's hands.

'only such could know what I did. 'Take him to the police station.' 'Do I hang.and the policemanbore him and the thing under the tablecloth to their appointedplaces. Be it remembered that the Sahib'sshirts are correctly enumerated. and said. The Heaven-born knows all things. 'I heardr' I answered. and to the little toe there clung the headof the half-killed snake. rocking wherehe stood. making no attempt to escape.arait. 'Go!'said Strickland. 'If the sun shinesor the water runs-yes!' said Strickland.and in ten dayshe died of the fever-my child!' '\U7hat said Imray Sahib?' 'He saidhe wasa handsome child.' saidBahadurKhan.' At the end of an hour he died. as they die who are bitten by the tittle brown h. and that thereis an extrapieceof soapin his wash-basin. and the coincidence a little seasonal of fever. BahadurKhan stepped backonelong pace.THE RETURN OF IMRAY t69 casthis eyesupon my child. Did you hear what that man said?.' He Bahadur Khan stood ashengrey in the light of the one lamp. BahadurKhan had beenwith him for four years. when he had come back from office. The need for justification came upon him very swiftly. The two policemenwaited further orders. Him he bewitched.All were neededto make clearthe disappearance Imray. very calmly.\flherefore I draggedhim up into the roofbeamsand madeall fast behind him.'said BahadurKhan.and stoodstill. 'Look! I am evennow a dead man.But thous shouldsthavelashedhim to the beamwith a rope.' Stricklandlookedat me abovethe rifle. 'I am trappedr' he said. and patted him on the head.quivered. child wasbewitched. and I killed and hid him.My own servanthad been with me for exactly that length of . 'is called the nineteenthcentury.firm fixed in the agonyof death. I am the servantof the Heaven-born.' 'It wasclever. 'It were a disgraceto me to go to the public scaffold:thereforeI take this way. and Tietjens sat wondrousstill.' he glaredat Tietjens. of 'Thisr' said Strickland. thou thyself wilt hang by a rope. He wasfollowedby another. 'but the offencewasthat man's. 'Nay. \Therefore I killed Imray Sahib in the twilight. Now.'Thouart witnessto this saying? haskilled. and was sleeping.' 'Simply and solely through not knowing the nature of the Oriental. who wasfour yearsold. Only suchas are servedby devils.' He lifted his foot. Orderly!' A drowsypoliceman answered Strickland'scall. as he climbed into bed.in the vernacular.and I My slewthe wizard.whereforemy child died. then?' said BahadurKhan. \tlhy shouldyou seekto slayme with the rope?My honour is saved.couchedstolidly beforehim.' said Strickland. and keepinghis eyeson the ground. and-and-I die. 'I comeof land-holding stock. 'Imray madea mistake.He castan evil eyeupon my child.' I shuddered.'There is a casetoward. but I go very swiftly.

\Uflhen went over to my own room I found my man waiting. wasat home poetry. La (/. The great deerhoundwas crouchedstatelily on her own on bedstead her own blanket. He in diedin el Tigre. while.BuenosAires 1874. impassive the copperheadon a penny. This great tradition drew horse and master together much more closely than . which is now called .in theprooinceof Cordobain in prooince. Moreover. Odas Secularcs (19/. to win distinction for horses was no mean achievement. and all the Thracian people from Cicilia to Bisalta paid a special tax to the Bithynians. in the next room.t70 as I time. fDy the Aegean Sea lay the Thracian City of Abdera. to pull off my boots. bom in Rio Seco. In Thrace.homericstudies del Montaf. of TheHorses Abdera Leopoldo Lugones. had lead to wonderful results. His literary legacyinchtdesthe follwing titles: Las history.917). and fiction. Historia de Sarmiento (1905). and Abdera's reputation in this regard was unsurpassed. 'He was bitten by a snakeand died.Let me pull off thoseboots. the business of horse-rearing-a ioy as well as a trade-occupied everyone. The horses of Abdera commanded extraordinary prestige. Lunario Sentimental(1909). the idle. The rest the Sahib knows. Argentinianwriter.asdel Oro (1897).each and every citizen took great pride in the care and rearing of these noble creatures. Beligerancia Mi (1916). carefully nurtured over many years until it had grown into a deepty-rooted tradition. Los Crepusculos Jardin (1905)' El Imperio Jesuistico (1910). 1938. Nuevos EstudiosHelenicas Torre de Casandra (1930).El Libro de los Paisaies (lgl l). '\flhat hasbefallenBahadurKhan?' said I.DBahstra and must not be confused with its Andalusian namesake.biography. and their devotion to horses.and which was famous for its horses. the conquerors of Abdera. empty ceilingcloth waggledas it trailed on the table. from the King down to the lowliest citizen. 'And how much of this matter hast thou known?' 'As much as might be gatheredfrom One coming in in the twilight to seek Gently.' satisfaction. I had iust settledto the sleepof exhaustionwhen I heard Strickland shouting from his sideof the house'Tietjens hascomeback to her place!' And so she had.' was the answer. El Payador (1928)' La GrandeArgentina (1919). Roca(/938). Sahib.7).

The tiippodrome at Abdera thus became renownednot only for its troupesof acrobatsbut alsofor its bronze-armoured teamsof horses and for its ceremonial funerals. She tore them off the walls of her master'sbedroomwith her teeth. and the mannerof their treatmentmight make one forget that they were beastsat all. she becamevisibly coquettish. A mare demandedmirrors in her stall.so that peoplecamefrom far and near to wonder at the excellence the trainers of and horsesalike.t!flhenher whim was finally indulged.the finesthorsein the district. They were uuly remarkablesteeds. the most common architecturaldecorations in were the equesuian bas-reliefs. and I believethat the current practice of carving a ship's prow in the shapeof a horse'sheadderivesfrom the temple decorations. even in parlour games. and they were always A extremely punctual. except when they neededto be saddledor harnessed. even(sinceenthusiasmleadsto understandable excess) the extent to of allowing the horsesto eat at table with their owners. The stablecameto be regardedas a natural extensionof in the home. whilst in the horses'cemetery thereweretwo or threereal masterpieces among the conventionallyover-elaborate gravestones.othershad the walls of their stallsdecorated with simple frescoes. on for the banks of the River Kossinites. But this also lead to someinstances rather curious behaviour.asdid their moral the conscience. the horse that Neptune conjured from the ground with a singleblow of his trident. sinceit had beenfound that completefreedomfrom all constraintbrought out their best quatities. This practiceof nurturing horses. their self-possession during formal ceremonies-all defied credulity. since not a few vetinarians maintained that the equine race displayedartistic taste.their bravery in combat.for it should be addedthat horses were given human names. of which aroused much public debate. died of a broken heart. The usual method of communicationwith them was by the spokenword and. and when he protestedshe kicked them to pieces.THE HORSES OF ABDERA t7l elsewhere Thrace.they were left to roam freely to feed and frolic in the lush meadows reserved them on the outskirts of the city. Some slept under fine linen bedcoversand.the general.so much so that Podargosand Flash of Light becamenamesin dark and terrible legends. whether it was for work or for feeding. Abdera's most beautiful temple was dedicated to Orion. horn wasthen soundedto summonthem in. any event.It was the King who showedthe greatestdevotion to horses. But on the whole the horsesof Abdera were so well-trained that bridles were unnecessary were usedonly for adornment-a practicegreatly appreciated and by the horsesthemselves.cultivating and idealizingtheir qualitiesin short. an elegant rttd highlystrungwhite colt who had survivedtwo military campaigns who thrilled at and the soundof heroic hexameters.but his leniencytowards his own steeds'mischief turned them into particularly ferociouscreatures. and the lady madeno anemptto . He had beenstriken with lovefor the wife of his master. Another instance: Balios. this humanizing of the equine race-gradually brought about something on which the Bithynians gloated as another glorious national achievement: intelligenceof the animalsbeganto develop. Their skill in all manner of circus tricks.

The city was paralysed the surgingmass. howeverlat attemptto storm the city. and they raidedthe for hempplantations.The horses developed tastes fish and for hemp. on Doors had beenkicked down and they lay shattered the ground. . rebellious crowds of peoplerushed to and fro without purposeor clear direction. Two or three teamsof horses Soontherewere more significantoccurrences.the horses themselves the fishesand then were seenambling slowly and menacingly on back towardsthe open meadows the suburbsof the city. by grew asthey became intoxicated and maddened. motherly by mules. Suddenly. The conflict first in of the brokeout at midnight. waswhisperedthat his bizarreaffairegratified It her vanity. despiteall attemptsto disciplinethem-but these werehalf-hearted best. they alsobegan rebelagainst to their masters a numberof in scattered outbreaks.Somehorses at still took no action. The cause wasnot discovered sound coming out of the the time there was merely surpriseat the unexpected night's darkness. the horses ignoredthe soundof the horn and their owners had to go and round them up from the meadows.it eruptedlater. however.grew and fadedin intensityasfrantic hooves which. the destruction light was the full extent of its horrors revealed. dismissing with a laugh as a passing it mood. inhabitants the outlying regions hearda persistent of thunderasthe horses stampeded togetherin an muffled but sound until later.There was blood.and had to be quelledwith burning irons.for the Bithynianswerebesotted at with their horses and took no heedof the growing unrest. had long coveted latter-and their fury Escape seawasimpossible. and it was rent by a weird tumult in which cries of rage or of pain mingled with whinnyings as subtle as speechand the violent crashesof and horrifying soundswhich addedto the visible terror of destruction:strange pounding of the the onslaught.and sincethe horsesalsoknew their master'shouses It wasan appallingnight.t72 THE BOOK OF FANTASY disguise what had happened. The ground trembled with the ceaseless like a hurricane.its skiesdarkenedby the cloudsof dust that it by raised. corruptedby luxuriousliving.and men's own weaponswere turned againstthem to wreak destruction. main assault. which increasedat such an alarmingrate that they had to be forestalled giving the foalsto old. On a certainday.On this day. offering pouring through in an unending no obstacleto the hordesof frenziedhorses stream. This sternpunishmentwasemployedmore and more as the horses became increasingly restless. The horsesplunderedthe fields of hemp and even the wine cellars-some of the the beats. There were also casesof equine infanticide.The horses beganto resistbeing harnessed yoked. bandedtogetherto attacka carterwho had floggedan unruly mare. the rebelliondid not break but the out at once. were within the city walls nothing could containthe Sincethe pasturelands inside out. whips proving inadequate. and donkeysstartedto be usedin and would not be saddled all. but their wealthyowners their place. when the tide had covered beachwith stranded gorged fishes-as had often happened before. and no suspicionthat an attack might be imminent. for many citizenswere crushedbeneaththe sharp hoovesor torn apart by the greatflashing teeth of the raging beasts. Things of this sort occurredfrequentlyin the capital. yet only in the day's wasdevastating.

threw the ranks into greatdisarray. They fired arrowsat any horsewhich approached. their numbersseemingly undiminished. Strangerumours spreadamongstthe cowering citizens: that the attack had beenintendedasnothing more than a pillagingexpedition.It was. its lips curling with pleasure and revealing loathsome its teeth. the From the fortressthe men could see the fearfularmy congregating. thick-lippedmouth of a black colt rubbing againsthers. the jewellery and the other finery that lay within.and its solid Doric rampartswere severely strained. as They had slaughtered the asses.THE HORSES OF ABDERA 173 for the horsesknew the purpose of the boats and barricadedthe way to the harbour. humangleamfull of lust.but. It wasthe resistance they met that had aroused their fury. Most destructivewere the shod horsesand mules.and that. the thunderousroar of the rampaginghorsescontinuedto shakethe fortress. the muleshad joined in the rebellionall but mindlessly. They told of cruel and deliberatemurders.the horseslaunchedanotherattack. if it fell and within reach they draggedit inside for food.they quickly closedtheir ranks in frantic rage.revelling in destructionfor its own sake and taking a particular pleasurein cruelly tormenting and then trampting dogs. how she cried out in sheerterror at the presence an animal that had of turnedinto a slavering beast.and the crashingsoundsof the destructiongrew louder. the hippodrome. how shewasawakened the her vile experience in dim lamp-light of her chamberby the foul. purposeof of the which was impossible discern. but. A suddensilencepreceded assault.had managed stammerout the tale of to beforeshebroke down utterly. Others whisperedof unthinkable acts of rapine. the animals for confinedthemselves to running past the fortressand returnedriddled with arrows. They launched anotherattackfrom the furthestpart of the city and its impact on the city's defences was enormous. thoughtheir assailants' sheerpowerin strengthand numbermadeit impossibly dangerous. now that they had had a tasteof what they had craved. when maresgleefully bit their victims with the frenzy of she-devils they crushedthem with their hooves. no more than a demonstration.They told of a virtuous young noblewoman who. The men gathered their arms. a suddenbout of prancingand a series high-pitchedneighings. when everything seemedready. which fell by the dozen.thehorses had battered down the doors and broken into the chambersmerely to try and adorn themselves with the sumptuousdraperies. If the huddling citizens were to save their city from utter destructionthey must escapesomehow.and from within its walls men beganto plan a defence. rackedwith tears. All the while.but it very soonattackedagain.This time the enemywasrepulsed. .its eyesburning with an evil. not in This took the animalsseveralhours and.if onemay use the term. The entire fortressreverberated beneath the storm of hooves. to The sunwasalready settingwhenthe first charge came. without someconfusion. and how shewasalmostdrownedin a seaof hot blood when the horsewas run through by her servant's sword. of women set upon and crushedwith bestialviolenceon their own beds. Only the fortressitself remainedsafe.

others necklaces. the matted hair of its mane merging with the twilight-tinged leaves. foam. they would burst into unexpected frolics. hurrah!'from the fortress. Motionlessagainstthe trembling foliage. bows. and to the steel mesh blunted the arrows. arching their tails. Amalthea.raising a storm of sand and beach. stoodstraight up on his hocksand walked someway like this. and its bellow-like breathing. One of them. which. would soon turn into a roar. And suddenlyit beganto walk. althoughgraduallydying out. where they headed beneaththe waves. childlike in their very fury. Towering abovethe dark trees.panic reigned.and writhing his neck with snake-likeelegance. the Using eachother's rumps and backs Suddenly. Someof them were recognized from the ramparts: Dione. wondrousmiracle! . fortress walls were beginning to the yield. Despite their prodigiousstrengthand numbers. it rose on the horizon like one of those as bouldersupon which Pelasgian. a fearful sight met and when the defenders their eyes. Xanthi! They greetedthe men with ioyous whinnies. for the head soaredabovethe tallest ffees. ioyouscriesof aggressive 'hai[!' and'hip.carved his savage deities. It was one of those wild predevastated which. making the whole city tremble with fear. until an arrow pierced his chest. horrifying againstthe early eveningsky. obviouslya leader. Aedon. shining tike gold in the setting sun. too exhaustedto even reload their from the ffees. as many disappeared fortress. they raisedthemselves abovethe other and stretchedout their necksto peer at the poplar grovethat grew alongthe banksof the Kossinites. they rushedto the towards Macedonia.You could hear the foliage being forced apart beneathits chest. its eyeshalf-closed againstthe tight. then immediately chargingat them with fiery ierks. Meanwhile. But never had anything so monstrous been seen before. and in reply camethe triumphant. as slowly as the ocean.174 THE BOOK OF FANTASY The worst thing was that somehad managed put on fighting armour. Oh. been a fight againstcivilized animals). Others wore gaudy strips of cloth. when the monsteremerged a roar did not break from its iaws: insteadcamea human war-cry' the Yet 'hollo!' of battle. still occasionally historic beasts the Rhodope Mountains. undoubtedly. its wild smell wafted towards them in the fitful breeze. one for support. gracefullywaving his forelegsin the air. the attack was succeeding.an alarm paralysed beasts.In one thrust. and.its giganticmaneglowing rusty-red. They could see its enormousteeth gleamingbrightly. asif he weredancinga military two-step. after all.What could they do againstsuch an enemy? In the \flhat bronzedoor-hingecould resist its jaws?What wall could withstand its huge claws?They were alreadybeginningto prefer past dangers(it had. the colossalhead of a lion gazedtowards the city. old as the mountains. turned to look in the samedirection. the insurgenthorseswere of unableto endurethe presence sucha beast.

'$flhata silly little girl!' the nurse had said.the shadow a shadow. But againit was a summerday. And a cry. The woman carried . significantas old tapestry.THE HORSES OF ABDERA 175 Beneaththe feline head the face of a deity. The wide woodswellinglike the sea. the It was somethingbetweenthe pillar and the pyramid in shape. born 1863. rather remembered she the memory. Sheremembered how. filled the eveningair: 'It is Hercules. gorgeous. But there were in her mind broken remnantsof another and far earlier impression. on a hot afternoon. translator joutnalist.srone.but a sensation. lit from above. and a woman.his arms of oak and his splendidmuscles. and she cried out and ran back in panic terror.dyingin pooerty 1947. to But alwaysthat hot day.'It's only the .so vaguethat it might It of well havebeena dreamthat had mingledwith the confused waking thoughtsof a little child. Shedid not know that sheremembered. perhapsthe same nurse. Hercules coming!' is The Ceremony Arthur Machen. wasall uncertain. remainednot a on memory.he wrote stories and navelson these themcs. shehad strayedoneday.'Shehad quite forgotten the name that the servant had given. and Fascinated by black magicand the supematural.shecould feel it and seeit all. and she was always ashamed ask as shegrew older.was the old grey shapeof the stone.andonly a little way in the woodthe greystonerosefrom the grass.the tossing the of bright boughsin the sunshine. \Velsh nooelist.suchas The GreatGod Pan (1894)and The Hill of Dreams(1907). when shewas quite a little girl. a concertedcry of freedom.and its grey solemnityamidst the leavesand the grassshoneand shonefrom those early years. his marblechest.from her nurse's side. in 'prom her childhood. and went through the wood.and it blendedmagnificently with his honey-coloured skin. essayist. indistinct. where strangeplantsgrew grossin shadow. of gratitude..the sweetsmell of the grassand flowers.the gloomof the underglade rich.held her in her arms.appeared.from thoseearly and misty days which beganto seem I unreal. the beatingof the summerwind upon her cheek.alwayswith somehint of wonder. And in the midst of the picture. sherecollected grey stonein the wood. of pride. that burning afternoonof her childhoodwhen she had first looked consciously the grey image in the wood. and the scentof it was in her nostrils.

Indeed. was the grey ancient figure rising from dark grass. her elders spoke of many things which she could not understand. One thing was noticeable: that all through the summer months the passers-bydropped flowers there. it seemed. but for a moment. so that sight became illusion. and she peered through the net of boughs. the rapping of parted boughs returning to their place. almost in the seeing.L /6 THE BooK oF FANTASY bright flowers in one hand. and in the Bible there were many phrases which seemed strange. mysterious. that hinted strange things. And then again the folding darkness. and on the stone fresh blooms constantly appeared. with the incongruous episode of the nursemaid. wonderful for her knowledge of the Jewish Kings. through the days of girlhood. mistletoe and holly. heavy. one spied through a pinhole a storied town that flamed. the dream had in it a glow of bright red. She hid herself in a nook of hazel. the inconsequent terror that sent her away shrieking. with fire about its walls and pinnacles. almost the senseof what was to happen dawned upon her. Withered blossoms were always on the ground. Her face had taken an expressionthat whispered. as if there had been a fire in the wood. even now. she could feel. and the red colour stained the grim stone. and then. she was often puzzled by her parents' conduct. who wept at night. She often used to think of the strangenessof very early life. And in her hand she bore lilies. and her soul was full of poetry. Her concealment was but a little way from the stone. all the stone shone and all the ground about it was bright with roses. She watched Annie crown the stone with flowers. for the twinkling of an eye. Then she saw herself put down for a moment on the grass. running to the nurse's skirts. the stone had taken its place amongst the vast array of unintelligible things which haunt every child's imagination. Once she had been drawn through the bushes by a red glow. She knew her quite well: it was Annie Dolben. It was as if one gazed at a velvet curtain. there was a glow of light. by their looks at one another. and amongst all these problems which she hardly recognized as problems. she watched the amazing ceremony that followed. by their half-words. of the red colour spilled upon it. Afterwards. she opened books and was dimly amazed. one came. doubtful vision of the grey stone. carrying with her a book that she was reading. It was part of her life. when there was a rustling. impenetrable blackness. From the daffodil to the Michaelmas daisy there was marked the calendar of the cottage gardens. Annie was a nice-mannered girl. from a dark cloud. The lady hidden in hazelswatched Annie come close to the grey imagel for a moment her whole body palpitated with expectation. So to her was that earliest. and in the winter she had seen sprays of juniper and box. and saw a girl timidly approaching. lately a promising pupil at Sunday school. . amongst the grass. and there was nothing elseexcept that one night she woke up and heard the nurse sobbing. and when she came to the place. Some semi-conscious impulse made her haunt the wood where shadow enshrined the stone. But the later memory was clear. and afterwards the night. never failing in her curtsey. In her eighteenth year she went one day into the wood. the daughter of a labourer. there was a light and a glow behind the veil of flesh. and the perfume of cottage roses. to be accepted and not questioned.

you shalldo just as you pleas€. t )Harriet and Dorothea. just one. a greatcedartree outstretched branches \U7hen children werecomeout of the cab(five sitting insideand two beside the presence. quaveringvoice.\ililliam and Henry. performedthereall the antiqueimmemorialrite. too. dears.I am an old woman. my dears.cameto live with their grandmother.so that I cannotromp with you.to Dorotheaa painted Then to oneshe to ball. TheRiddle English poet and noaelist. and crimson exotic flowers.and bring me smilingfaces. fascinatian Listeners(i. morning and . I would haveyou ffiy remember. And every morning and every eveningyou must all come in to seeyour granny. but shewasvery old.'shesaid.And thereis only one thing.but not there.The housein which their grandmotherhad lived sinceher childhood was built in the time of It and squareland the Georges.and in hisfine anthologComeHither (1939). when schoolis done. natureand dreams. in spiteof all her blushingshame. Shelaid white hot-house orchids of dying purple. to And the sevenchildren. Qo these seven children. seated her bow-window. all was new to them.And sheasked in little black eachnamein her kind.but roomy. They stoodin a the driver). smilingat them. they wereshowninto their grandmother's group beforethe old lady. and her eyesseemed seenothing of this world.912). Ann and Matilda.Play anywhereelsein the house.'I wish to seeall of you bright and gayin my house.and repeated gavea work-box.to William a jack-knife. but Ann must look to you.and wood a few months later.His writing reoealshis Walter de la Mare (1873-1956). notablydra Henry Brocken(1904)and The with childhaod. Having kissed the grey she imagewith devoutpassion.soon beganto be happyand at homein the greathouse. that call backto my mind my own sonHarry.In the large sparebedroomthat looks out on the slateroof there standsin the corneran old oak chestjayerolder than I. But all the rest of the day. to eacha presentaccording age. 'My dears.THE RIDDLE 177 to And yet.' Shespokekindly to them all. and Mrs Fenn. substantial. wasnot a pretty house.a greatdeal older. older than my grandmother.There wasmuch to interest and to amusethem there.And shekissedall her grand-children to the youngest. them eachtheir names. Twice everyday.sheherselfbore blossoms the lilies upon the stone. though at first they were gloomy and strange. James. its almostto the windows.

These things brought strangely to his memory his mother who in her glimmeringwhite dressusedto readto him in the dusk. Heedmy warningasbestyou may. It was evening twilight when Henry went upstairs from the nursery by himselfto look at the oak chest. and he climbedinto the chest. And while Henry seeming was looking in.he stepped in on tiptoe \flilliam leanedover..and spoketo the dark-smilingheadsat the corners.f dark-smilingheads. do not meddlewith the oak chest.He pressed fingersinto the carvedfruit and his flowers. and her childhood. 'Dearieme. and smellingsweetof pot-pourri.just as Henry had done. they camein to seetheir grandmother.' Now Harriet and \Tilliam were friends together.'But remember. wasthereanythingto alarm nor the eye.and then.and shespokepleasantly them of her mother. So Ann. he heard the softenedlaughterand the clinking of the cups downstairsin the nursery. Sleeping through the thorns and comesin.so sweet-scented secretit seemed that shetook her doll with her into it. they filed into their grandmother's room for her good-nightand her sugar-plums. They went together for it and searched the small. She looked out betweenthe candlesat them as if she were uncertain of somethingin her thoughts.and the lid closedgently down over him. and to give namesto the '.' Harriet looked gently and strangelyat her and brother but shegot into the box and lay down.singingunder her breath all shecould makeup aboutit. The chest was empty. finding no pleasurein playingwithout him.dark hole from whence had comeout.' saidthe old lady. On a silent afternoon in October. maybeyou will go to them. know! Let's pretend you are 'and I'll be the Prince that squeezes Beauty. Shepaused.And so the weeks passed by. and seeing . and they heardthe squeakand frisking of a mousebehind them in the room. with a glance over his shoulder.all of you. they beganto finger the carving of the chest.178 THE BOOK OF FANTASY evening. pretending to be while James Dorothealiked wild games hunting.. And when one bright morning shepeeped on in and the chest. Then he must be goneawayfor a time. neithergold nor baubles.and t$(/illiam. andfishing and sweethearts. of and battles. exceptthat it was lined with silk of old-rose darkerin the dusk.just as Henry himself had done. And shecarriedher woodendoll in her barearms.looking out over the slateroof at the greenfields. But the chest no concealed treasure. But finding no hole. how big wasthe chest. he opened the lid and looked in. Harriet. When the other six children weretired with their playing. pretendingto be fast asleep.' But Matilda could not forget her brother Henry. child.' said \flilliam.Harriet and Dorotheawere left at home to play together. and James.who every day seemed more feeble. Harriet and r$(/illiamwere talking softly together.but to never forgetting to visit her store of sugar-plums.'Someday maybethey will come back to you. my dearsr'said 'or their grandmother. So shewould loiter in the housethinking wherehe might be. and out at the window he saw the day darkening.The next day Ann told her grandmother that Henry wasnot anywhere to be found.

and she squeezed Ann's fingers betweenher own knuckled finger and thumb. moved silently through the vacanthouse. Ann walkedinto the the strange room beneath if shewerebeingguidedby the hand towardsthe oak as chest. Shedrew up her kneesunder the sheets.But shecouldnot seefar. and the advent of . her handsupon her knees.There. Through the long day. in the fragrantplace. left to herself. And Vega rhe farshiningstoodoveragainst window abovethe slateroof.to be sure!'Ann kissedher grandmother's soft.was too old to careovermuchfor sugar-plums.The ascenthad shortenedher breath.and her head turned sidelongtowardsher. Her magnifying spectacles resredupon her nose.and so mellifluent were the words of the story. Nor could she detect rhe faint fragranceas of autumnalleaves.Dorothea's for facewas red. and faint swift picturesbeforeher eyes. shelaid herselfdown in the old-rose silk. and her wild eyessparkledthrough her tousledhair. brandishinga walking-stick a harpoon.so to silent was the greatmany-roomed house.and. the grandmothersat in her bow-window. my dearr' she said with trembling head.THE RIDDLE 179 to kiss the SleepingBeauty and to wake her from her quiet sleep.and shecould hear in fancy fairy voices.shefell asleep. and vehicles to rolled by. Her lips were pursed. Slowly the carvedlid turned on its noiseless hinges. inquisitive scrutiny upon the street wherepeoplepassed and fro.pretendingto be an Esquimau.And the lid closedsoftly and gently down asbefore. Be quick now!' He shouted with laughterashe was drawn into the openchest. Snowwasfalling through the still air upon the roof. 'Well.But in her mind was a tangledskein of memories-laughter and tears. restingher book upon them. Her story wasaboutfairiesand gnomes.'You must struggle. And Jameshad a crookedscratchupon his cheek. Pastthe room whereher grandmother wassnoringin brief. \(/hen Ann was gone to bed she usedto sit readingher book by candlelight. and the gently-flowing moonlightof the narrarive seemed illumine the white pages. and her hearing extremelydifficult. and Dorotheawasa fish in the oak chest. and children long ago becomeold-fashioned. because siitrt wasdim her and the light of day feeble. Ann. At eveningsheclimbed the stair and stoodin the doorwayof the largesparebedroom. she but would go solitary to bid her grandmothergood-night. Presently put out her candle. with a confused she babelof voices closeto her ear.she steppedlightly and surely. and she looked with dim. and Jamesstood over the hole in the ice. heavyslumber.And only the clatter of Jamesand Dorotheacamein sometimes recallAnn from her book.But it wassodark in the room that the movementof the lid was indistinguishable. and with eyeswide open yet seeingnothing of reality. to But their old grandmotherwas very feeble. and the old lady looked wistfully at her over her spectacles. 'tUflhat lonely old people we two are.Leaning her hand on the doorpost she peeredin towards the glimmering squareof window in the quiet gloom. and her sight dim. loosecheek.Dorothea. And in the deadof night sheroseout of her bed in dream.and then I shall swim backanddragyou out. and down the wide staircase. just asif sheweredreamingit washer bed.Sheleft the old lady sitting in her easychair.

WhoKnows? witer. or to havedinnerwith friends.died at Auteuil in 1893. evenwith the peopleI know best.deceived somestrange I am writing this in a privatementalhospital. get on my nerves-and with a growingexasperation I long to seethem go. du Monsieur Parent(1888). tire me out. nor resentment which comesover me when I am with other result of a kind of uneasiness I people. or go awaymyself. crazy! If I were not certainabout what I haveseen. who knows? by somehallucination. the old lady went down again to her window-seat. bearing neither bitterness towardsheaven. Le Horla (1887). content with little.or to chatto them.but when I've beenwith them for sometime. Perhaps is so I can get it out of my system. no error in my investigations. . I havealways philosopher. would considermyself simply the victim of I of fantasy. It's not that I refuseto seepeople.and Le Lit (/895). Les SoeursRondoli (1884). .He wrotc oaious nooels and two hundred and His fifteen short stories.Notre Coeur (1890).as a towardsmen.and because am afraid. French nooelistand short-story Mirotnenil in 1850.After all.I find that they wearyfr€.La Main Gauche(1889). of had to endurethe continuedpresence other people. here it for I can feel it rising within me. I [fiv God! My God! So at last I am going to put down in writing all that has lYlhsppened to me! But how canI do it? How dareI do it? It's all so bizarre. works includeLa Maison Tellier (1881). And now I am going to write it it down-I don't really know why. bom in the Chdteaudp Guy de Maupassant. Only one living soul knows my story: the doctor in charge here.certainthat there has beenno weak link in my logic. all of which haoebeentranslated.How can I explainthis? I don't suppose can explainit. Well.I havealwayslived alone. Bel Contes Jour et de la Nuit (/885). with herself. inarticulately.180 THE BOOK OF FANTASY friends.But I havecomein hereof my I own free will-as a precaution. And if I This feelingI haveis morethan a desire:it is a compellingnecessity.a sort of lone had a solitarydisposition.if I had to go on listening . alwaysbeena dreamer. like an unbearable is. and last farewells. Ami (1885). so so incomprehensible. so that I can be alone.no lapsein the relentless progression my observations.kind to others. And gossipingfitfully. nightmare .

if I happened feellike it. lost. I am so passionately fond of solitudethat I can't eventolerateother people sleepingunder the sameroof. and several timesI nearlyfell into a ditch.which seemto me to take on the importanceof living creatues. in It fact. On that particularday therehad beena performance ErnestReyer'sSigurd of at the theatre in town. I couldfind all the to socialactivitiesin which I took an occasional interest. \fhat exactlywould it be? Ah. cheerful. There are a lot of peoplein my situation . fairy-talescenes. .yet it it waswithin reachof a town where. it for like a lingering death.the oneyou seerising at four or five o'clock in of the evening.vHo KNOI0TS? t8l to their conversation any length of time. melancholy the crescent the moon'slast quarter. just so that I could enjoy it evenlonger. which seemed me to be as warm and to I friendly ashumanfaces. I can't bear to live in Paris because. surrounded by physical things-familiar items of furniture and other odds and ends. which was surrounded a high wall. of The crescent the first quarter. the sky aheadof me seemed grow a little lighter. had become-a whole world in which I lived a solitary yet active life. swarmingcrowds of peoplewho are living all aroundme. wasvery dark indeed-so dark. And I can neverget any rest myselfwhen I know-or when I suspect-that on the other sideof a wall there are lives being interrupted by thoseregulareclipses which we call sleep. a It would be aboutoneo'clockin the morning-possiblyaslateashalf pastone. who knows?PerhapsI should faintsomething like that. but I also seems find that my body and nervesare tortured by the vast. as it were. The embrace sombrenights in the silence this by of of houseof mine.and it had given me the greatest pleasure. As I walked. of I waswalking back home. but the oneyou seerising aftermidnightis reddish. submerged amongst foliageof greattrees. evenwhen they are asleep. that I could hardly makeout the edgeof the main road. This housestoodin a beautifulgardenwhich isolated from the roads.is bright. I find the sleepof other humanbeingsevenharderto bearthan their endless talking. something for would certainlyhappen to me.disturbing-the sinister moonof the \il7itches' .with my headfull of rich melodies and pretty. of consciousness tWhy do I feel like this? tilflho knows? Perhaps there is a very simple I explanation:perhapsit's because tire very quickly of anything which takes placeoutsideof me. My househas become-or rather. yes.All my servants sleptin a building somedistanceaway at the bottom of the kitchen-garden. One of the resultsof all this is that I becomedeeplyattachedto inanimate objects.at a brisk and cheerfulpace. had graduallyfilled and adorned homewith these my things. . and a slender to crescent-moon appeared. It was the first time that I had heard this beautiful romanticopera.glisteningwith silver. perhaps little more-let us saytwenty minutesat normal walking pace.was the so restful and so good for me that every eveningI would delaygoing to bed for several hours. dismal. The distance from the toll-gateto my houseis about a mile.Not only do I suffer a spiritual death. Oh.tranquillizingnecessity. hidden. me. and when I was safeinside I felt as contentand satisfied and genuinely happy as if I were in the arms of a loving woman whosefamiliar caress had becomea gentle.

moredistinct.\[ho knows? inexplicable? As I moved slowly forwardsI felt my skin tingling all over.and my eyeswide open. or bells as often get that. I was determinedto masterthis nervousness \trfhatwas it? Somekind of premonition? Was it the mysteriousforeboding when he is about to seesomething of which takes possession a man's senses Possibly.Alt thosewho are out late at night must havenoticed this difference. murmuring sound. There was not a sound to be heard. It was as though all my articlesof furniture were vibrating. But I did not touchit. with my headleaningback againstthe wall of the house. getter idea of what was going on inside. my earswith this And there was no doubt whateverthat it was comingfrom inside my house. evenif it is only as slenderasa thread.I knew that I would haveto wait a few minutes beforeI could open the door and go inside.The crescentof the last quarter strugglesto shed its dying light. and when I got to the wall of my vasthousewith its closedshutters.182 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Sabbath. staring at the gloomy foliage. and I would have leaped upon him without a moment's hesitation. of The crescent the first quarter. would have made me furious. treeswhich I openedmy gateand walked down the long avenueof sycamore led up to rhe house. which is so feeblethat it hardly castsany shadowsat all. morerecognizable. So I sat down on a sear under the windows of my drawing-room.but a very peculiar. trembling a little. It sometimes marching footsteps. ringing. For ten yearsI had on the breeze. It was arched overhead. being moved from their accustomedplaces. I stayed there for a while. .the sort of confusedsoundyou would expectif a number of things were being moved about. I can assure my But when I had pressed ear againsta shutter so I could get a my senses.rather iumblednoise. beencoming homelike this without feelingthe slightestbit of anxiety. and for some reason or other I felt uneasy at the thought of entering it. Through the wall I could make out this continuousnoise-more like a vibration than a noise. I I stood stitl. I wasnot afraid-and I never have been afraid-when coming home late at night. I becameabsolutelyconvincedthat . being gently draggedabout the house. That greatclusterof treeshad the look of a tomb in which my housewas buried. of time I doubtedthe evidence you that for an appreciable Oh. There was not a leaf stirring in '\Uflhat earth'sthe matterwith me?'I thought.like a high tunnel. I Besides. some prowler or burglar. moonlit lawnson which flower-beds dense of their oval patches wan colours. shedsa the cheerfulradiancewhich gladdens heartand lights up the earth sufficiently to leaveclear-cut shadows. because stirring within me. or louder. The night wasvery mild. superimposed \tr7hen got near the houseI wasovercomeby a strangefeeling of agitation. wasarmed:I hadmy revolverwith me. In the distanceI noticed the gloomy massof trees surrounding my garden. The mere sight of a strangeman. became But soonthesehead-noises that wasfilling It wasnot the usualsurgingin my arteries I had beenmistaken.There was a sort of rushing soundin my ears-but I seems though I can hear trains going by. I my slackened pace . . and ran past of masses shrubberyand round dark. For the first few momentsI noticednothing unusual.

s t u n n e dw i t h astonishment. the ones out of my drawing-room. Strugglinglike a desperate to man against -back.standingthere. I waited-but not for long! Now I couldhearan extraordinary stampingnoise on the stairs' on the floors.swaying and waddlingasit went . suddenlyfeelingashamed my cowardice. My piano. I rushedforward and flung myselfon rhis desk. instanrly. . the goblets. pushingon the door with all my strength. I wasflung to the ground still wrestling to hold it . The tiniest little obiectswere running over the gravel: the glasses. dependingon the size and weight. The curtains and . .I waited.ry. Other chairs followed it. took my bunch of keys. thinking very clearly.because I the on I felt sure there would be no needto use it . The noiseit maderang out like a gun-shot-and. spiteof all my anger. but the stamping of crutches-wooden crutches. entirestoryof my personal all the life.I wasafraid no longer.It was going out of the house. . crouchingdown. . I simply waited. so that I recoiled a few steps. didn't evenrelease safety-catch my revolver. from the whole of my house. horrible.from top to bottom."tp. and-though I still knew it was useless-I drew my revolverfrom its holster. a long storywhich hasbroughtme much suffering!And therewerephotographi in there. of I found the one I needed.tt of were writhing and slithering along. but beside myselfwith anxiety. unableto cometo any decision.pushedit into the keyhole. in which the moonlight gleamedwith the phosphorescence glow-worms. boundingalonglike rabbits. desk appear.rattling and tinkling with music. I waitedfor a long time. . and iron crutcheswhich made a noiselike the clashingof cymbals .listeningall the time to the noisewhich wasnow growinglouder. so deafening. .I swungit openso violently that it bangedagainstthe inner wall. my huge grand piano. Suddenly. I was was n o t e x a c t l ya f r a i d . Then came the low couches. . someslowly. . one item after the other. somequickly.occasionally reaching kind of violent a intensity. . And then it was that I suddenlynoticedan armchairon the thresholdof my front door-the big armchairI alwaysusedwhen reading. Then I sawmy writing.WHO KNO\VS? 183 something abnormaland incomprehensible taking placein my home. on the carpets-not the stampingof shoesworn by human beings.going off into the garden. There it was. like octopuses . gallopedpast like a runawayhorse.I in couldn't evenmanage slow it down. . What a stateI wasin! I ran out and hid in the shrubb. . It was a valuableantique from the eighteenthcentury and it contained the lettersI haveeverreceived. grabbing hold of it as if I were tackling a burglar. Then. which seemedlike a growl of impatience or anger-a sort of mysterious rebellion.Then out on cameall the rest of my chairs. But it continued irresistiblyon its way.turned it fully in the lock and.and the little stools. draggingthemselves alonglike crocodiles their shortlegs. . unableto takemy eyesoff this march-past my furniture-for everystick of it of wasgoing. . It wasso unexpected. and in spiteof all my struggles.b u t I w a s . too.as if in reply to this loud bang. h o w c a n I p u t i t ? . there camethe mosttremendous uproar. leapingabout like goats. this terrifying strength.

I neverdid go back.which was now filled with the sonorous shut from top to echoes an empty house. this massescape. articles.and at the hotel I story that I had lost my bunch of keys. But I didn't start re-furnishingmy house.I'll get dressed The investigationswent on for five months. I knew how to keepmy mouth shut. The whole businesswould have startedall over again.from where I watchedall into the night-every single one of them: the my possessions disappearing lowliest.which alsoincludedthe key to told the wereasleep a in I the kitchen-garden.the rest of the furniture passed over my body. Oh. vegetables I gaveme a bed. bury it tell anybodyabout 'It him by saying: must deepin my mind like somefrightful secret. but all of them belongingto me. Then. lfe must inform the police and be with you in iust a few moments. and at seven soonasit was door. but I managed drag myself out of the drive and hide onceagainamongstthe trees. absolutelyeverything. . told them that this waswheremy servants building surroundedby the high wall which protected my fruit and detached from prowlers. monsieurr'he said.the smallest. 'All 'somethingdreadfulhashappened during the night.certainthat I could hide this thing. the tremendous shut.They could neither tracethe smallest my possesions uncover the thieves. and though I buried myselfunder the sheets couldn't They listeningto the poundingof my heart. The police discoverednothing nor of whatever.If I had told them . tU7hy? I felt and not my certainthat I would be ableto conceal feelings in control of myself. lay therewaiting for daybreak. draggedme alongthe gravel-and the furniture that had beencoming alongbehind it startedto walk over me.184 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Then it sent me rolling over. . what I had seen. . '$fith my handsI had dashed dirt off my clothes. which in my folly I had openedto permit slammedshut last of all. not the thieves-me.running all the way to the town. assoonasI had let go of the desk.The doorsof the building slammed of bottom until finally the front-door.' evendown to the smallest \I7hoknows?I wascompletely pleased when I heardhim saythis. It would have been quite pointless. clatter of doors being Then I heard. the man who had beenable to seewhat I had seen. I neversawit again. your furniture has been stolen. . to By this time I wasout of my mind with terror. my I took flight myself. most ordinary. and I only recovered self-controlwhen I got into the streetswhere there were a few peopleabout. just like cavalry charging over a dismountedsoldier.I answered be the samepeopleas the oneswho stole my keys. some distanceaway. they would havelockedme up-me.but as of in I had told somebody the hotel to inform my servants my whereabouts on o'clock in the morning my valetbanged my light. coming home late. trampling on my legsand bruisingthem badly.' immediately. It camefrom my own house. I went and rang at the door of a hotel where I was well the known. sleep. . My God! If I had told them what I the slightest clue about knew . monsieur-everything. eventhe onesI had neverpaid much the attentionto. From his faceI could seethat he was terribly upset.I didn't want to go backto my house.

Neversand Moustiers. church garments ornaments. They strongly advisedme to ravel. a placewhich has and wonderful historicalsites.and for a whole week I wanderedin a museumof enthusiasm throughthis medieval city.I was gazing of when my attentionwassuddenly up at the queer. I consultedvariousdoctorsabout the state of my nerves. I took their advice .peopledby camels. in which God no longer resided.Then I travelledthrough Sicily. where I had never been before. The sunshine wanderedfrom Genoato Venice. obiectswhoselife seemed be to over.of course. I beganby visiting Rouen. somethingwhich has been worrying me a great deal ever sincethat appallingnight. and beforewinter set in I wantedto take a trip through Normandy. from Venice to Florence. extraordinary aboutfour o'clock.from Rometo Naples. Now oneafternoon.I turned down a mostpeculiarstreet. perched abovethis sinster-lookingstream. returning to Europe I felt as a sick man must feel when he himselfto be cured-and then a dull pain remindshim that the focusof believes infection has not been eliminated.calm yellow desert.and. For six months I I beganwith a trip to Italy. There they were in this weird alley.ancientfagades the houses of a whole row of shopsdealingin second-hand caughtby the. of various kinds.\YHO KNO\YS? 185 I cameto Paris and stayedin a hotel. some painted.sothey could be bought ascurios by new generations. what wooden tabernacle strange. either by night or day. the fact that the skieswere lessbright than in Africa made me rather On depressed. bored. worn by priests. in spite of the ProvenEal gaiety. My passion for antiques was being aroused again in this stronghold of . and yet which had outlived their mortal owners-even outlived their century.relics from the daysof both wonderful scenery the Greeksand the Normans. their period and their fashion. from Florence to Rome.sight furniture. some in oak.therewereevenholy chalices and an old painted gold. In the depths of these gloomy shops you could see a higgledy-piggledy potteryfrom Rouen. . II there did me good. By now it was I cameback to Paris. alongwhich flowed an inky-black streamcalledthe Eau de Robec. this amazing stateof ecstatic Gothic buildings.Oh.statues of assortment carvedchests. across atmosphere there is no suggestoin any of Arabs. . I returned to France by way of Marseilles. and abovethem werethe angularroofsof tilesand slates which therestill creaked on of the weather-cocks a bygoneage. in How well they had chosetheir site. I went over to Africa and made a safe journey gazelles nomadic and that great. thesesordid dealers old iunk.and after a month here I became autumn.mysteriousgrottoesthere werein thesetall houses crammedfrom cellar to attic with objectsof everyconceivable kind. and wherein the crystal-clear haunting vision. images of saints.

which would havebeenrecognized straightawayby anyone who had seenit evenonce. Gracious God! til(rhata shock! I found myself looking aI one of my own wardrobes-one of the finest I had. I replied:'A customer. and this was nowhereto be seen.' I simply dared not go towardshim-and he was not coming out to me.I calledout once nearly again. The bright glow was still coming from his lamp and lighting up a tapestry which on hoveringover the corpses a battle-field.186 THE BOOK OF FANTASY antique-dealers. taking quick.trembling all over.' I got up and went towardshim. going down stepsleadingto lower floors. too.my antique weaponseverythingwasthere exceptthe writing-deskcontainingmy letters.then.my two Henry II tables. I went up to the of wardrobe. but I am not a coward. wasall alonesoul in this vast labyrinth of a building. trembling so much that I hardly daredtouch it. light stepsacrossthe I little bridges made from three or four rotten planks which lay acrossthe evilsmellingwater of the Eau de Robec. but nobodyanswered. then climbing to ones I higherup. a place which looked like the entranceto the catacombs a cemeteryfor old furniture. my curtains.and I sawa light appearin an adioiningroom. Every now and then I shoutedout: was determinednot 'Hello! Hello! Is anybodythere?' I must have been there for more than an hour when I heard the sound of in footsteps-light. booksrfry pictures.the onesupholstered petit in point tapestry. I went on.This item. depictedtwo angels to belonged me. I jumpedup and ran out in the streetbut. bracingmyself.' 'Tomorrow I shall haveleft Rouen.and in spiteof my agonyof mind I movedforward.isn't The answercameback: it?' 'I've beenwaiting for more than an hourr' I reioined. and at eachstepI took I found something my my chandeliers. I noticed three of my armchairs. I to that had belonged mewent on. I wasalmostpetrified with fear. .I calledout. still deeperin the gallery.Suddenlylooking a little further into the gloomydepths of this gallery. there was not another on Night fell. '\Uflho's there?'askeda voice. I wasall alone.for I to leavethe place. 'You could comeback tomorrow.so rare that peopleused to come all the way from Paris to seethem. and I had to sit therein the darkness oneof my own chairs. like a knight from the Dark Ages thrusting his way into a place that is haunted and bewitched. then?Are you coming?' He replied: 'I'm waiting for you. It was standingat the side of a vaulted gallery which was cluttered up with antiques.' 'It's very late for you to be cominginto a shop. went from shop to shop. HesitantlyI reached my hand. Just imaginehow I felt! Just think of my stateof mind! I movedfurther into the gallery. slow footsteps-coming from somewhere the gallery. I calledout: 'Vell. And yet it really wasmine: a unique Louis out XIII wardrobe.

I'll have him here by then. and I can question him againin your presence. He sawme to the door. disappeared. . '\$fe'venot found this thief of yours. with a nightmareat the end of eachbrief interval of sleep. who was waiting for me. Shehasn't seenhim tonight. 'And it must be donestraightawaybecause might havegot suspicious and had your belongingsremoved. . At last we had him.' 'Ah!' I gasped. He immediately sent a telegram to the department which had been investigating the burglary. disappeared!' 'Disappeared?' 'Yes.He usually spends his evenings at the house of a neighbour. his eyeswere so sunken they could hardly be seen. An hour later the reply came. The chairs were to be delivered the following morning by nine o'clock. thoseancientstreetsof Rouen. I didn't want to give them the impressionthat I was too anxiousor in too much of a hurry. like somehideousfreak. If you can go and havea meal and come back in a couple of hours. very short and very fat.' I left the police station. My men haven'tbeenable to get their handson him at all. which waspatchy and yellowish-and there wasnot a hair on his head!Not a hair! As he lifted up his candleat arm's length in order to seeme better. round moon in this enormousroom clutteredwith old furniture. and paid him a large sum for them in cash. 'I'm going to have this man arrestedand questionedr'said the superintenhe dent. and suddenlyfelt as though I was going to faint. now. giving him only the number of my room and the name of the hotel. 'surely you've managed Iind his house?' to 'Yes. Ah. how hauntedthey now seemed me! to I slept very badly that night. phenomenallyfat. and asked me to wait until he received the information he required. confirming my story. and she can't tell us where he is. I bargainedwith him for three chairs which belongedto me. . I am extremelygrateful to you. monsieur. His facewaswrinkled and bloated. Two hours later I went back to the police officer. '\ilell. The dealerhad not turned up. And I'm going to have it kept under surveillanceuntil he gets back. His shopwas still closed. Then I left. monsieur!'he said as soonas he sawme. But as for the man himself . how disturbing.like himself-a queer old witch of a woman. a widow by the nameof Bidoin. .I suppose was feelingrather pleased had worked out. indeed. I then went to the local superintendentof police and told him about how my furniture had been stolen and what I had iust discovered.' 'I can certainly do that.a woman who is a second-hand dealer. . He had a thin.$THO KNONTS/ r87 In the middle of a largeroom there stooda little man.' I went to my hotel and dined with a heartier appetite than I could have I about the way things believedpossible. 'Butr' I askedhh. t$[e shall have to wait until tomorrow. behavingvery courteously. his skull looked iust like a little. stragglingbeard. The next day I waited until ten o'clock beforegoing to the police. how sinister.

were standingin front of the shop.'I said. my heart. It was just like that the day everythingdisappeared. My God! My God! \7ho couldeverhavebeenany problemto a man like that. philippe . Your obedientservant' Raudin.Now we know his hide-outit won't be long beforewe get our handson this villain. when I had beenin Rouen exactlya fortnight. my heart. how madly it was beating! I stayedin Rouenfor a fortnight. or caughthim off his guard? Now. eventhe police. .' \trfedrove there in a carriage. and it looks as though they'd draggedeverythingfrom the gate right up to the front-door.I'm going to give this casemy personal attention. you were wrong to buy those things of yours yesterday-and pay for them as well. want forcedopen. nor my \7hen I went in I could seeneithermy cupboard. with nor a singlething missing. And I daresaythis housecommunicates oneson eachside .' his '\$7hat simply can't understand.188 THE BOOK OF FANTASY steps. on the morning of the fifteenth day.' Ah. Policemen and with them there was a locksmith-who soonopenedit up for us.and yet the night beforeI could hardly move a stepwithout coming somethingof mine.it's a remarkable at hasdisappeared the sametime as the dealer. I'll haveit I touch with headquarters. monsieur. I receivedfrom the gardenerwho had been left in chargeof my lockedand empty housethe following strangeletter: Dear Sir. The man nevercameback. that the furniture coincidence I said: 'My word. monsieur. 'is that everysinglespace that was I occupiedby my furniture has now beenfilled by other articles. nor anything at all that had once furnished my house-nothing whatever. and then you can show me what belongsto you.It's all here. and at first he looked at me rather suspiciously. 'You know. It'll have aroused suspicions.All the furniture hascomeback-all of it. monsieur.I've beenin said The superintendent to me: 'I've takenall the necessary you to comewith us to this shop.nor my armchairs. my poor heart. tables. with the as helpedby accomplices well. across The superintendentwas surprised. Don't worry.and I remain.' 'he's had all night-and probably been 'Ohr' replied the superintendent. which noneof us can I beg to inform you that last night somethinghappened not understand. The houseis now exactlythe sameasit wason the night of the burglary.The whole drive has got deepruts in it.' 'That's certainlytruer' he saidwith a smile. down to the tiniest little things. . It's enough in to drive you out of your mind. It happened the middle of the night-between Friday and Saturday. 'We're waiting for you to comeback.

no! I couldn't go on living that kind of life.$fhat doesla care?I am the only personwho could possibly confronthim-and I don't want to! No.' '\(ould you like any of your friends to come and visit you?' 'No. 'It's a very cleverpieceof restitutionr' he said.I'd be glad to. who will be able to prove that my furniture was on his premises? Mine is the only evidence againsthim. Oh. . After he had spent a long time asking me he would you be willing to stay here for a while?' 'Yes. .' 'Have you sufficientmoney?' And I have been alone. Even the prisons are not safe. monsieur! No! I don't want anybody! The man from Rouen might try to get at me here-out of revenge.' But they haven'tnabbedhim. '\$fle'dbetter lie low for the time being. And yet I couldn't keepquiet aboutwhat I haveseen.what if he doescomeback. . we'll nab this fellow one of thesedays. monsieur. Don't worry. for three months.and I told him everything. . all alone. and suppose they brought him into this place . no. I have only one fear . what if he doesreturn to his shop. . Nobody canpossiblyfind him. . So I cameto seethe doctor who runs this privatementalhospital. My nerves are more or less calm now. Suppose the antique-dealer went mad .' 'Yes. Untraceable! this monsterwith the moon-likeskull. He'll nevergo back to his shop. .I couldn't go on living a normallife solong asI dreaded the possibilityof this business startingall over again. and I'm well awarethat the police are beginningto treat it with suspicion. That's what he is-untraceable. anyway.NTHO KNO\U/S? 189 Oh no! Oh no! No! No! No! I shallnevergo back! I took this letter to the Rouensuperintendent. Oh. They haven'tnabbedhim-and I'm as scaredof him now as if he were a ferociousbeastabout to spring on me from behind my back. monsieur.. I don't want to! I don't want to! I don't want to! And.. They'll nevercatchhim.

El Escanaloy el Fuego (poeuy.La Fatalidadde los Cuerpos (ptay.1956). 19SS). veiled by the mist. an eventperhaps he which we only manageto think of as an incredibleidea. Homo Atomicus(essays.El Circulo de los Paraisos 1962).tne May morning on which it took place. leaving he the house.Las Leyesde la Noche (short El (poeny. 1953).I9Sl). 1959). (shortstoies. Relampago la Duracion(poetry. Toward dusk. Vida Nueva(poeny. He told himselfthat perhaps would operate her sake.However. seemed truer than any other.El Demonio de la Armonia (FoeW' 1964).El Pecado Original de America(esscys.He has bom in Buenos of H. Messengersarrive with reports of the battle. El iuez La pubtished Primer Testamento 1954). 1963). \trflhen suddenly the secretand impressivecontrol the other one had over her. and on raising his eyesbefore the blinding clarity. SobreSubversion T Tow long had he beenshut awaY? as If.to degradingseduction. the kings do not seem to hear them and. 1958).' comes to tell him: _ED\TIN MORGAN The Cat Aires. bent over the silver chessboard. Ensayos de 1961).of TheShadow thePlayers J n one of the tales which make up the series of the Mabinogion. one of the kings overturns the board becausehe has been checkmated. he saw in the sky a 190 . Centro del Infierno (shortstoies. Gradually it becomes apparent that the vicissitudes of the battle follow the vicissitudesof the game. You have lost the kingdom. (nooel. but unrealto him asthe dayhe wasborn. two enemy Ikings play chesswhile in a nearby valley their respectivearmies battle and destroy each other. sawthat the wind had driven awaythe mist.they move the gold pieces. he was thinking of her from a useless. 1958). (essays. free himself. story. he wasfollowing a road first taken long ago. and presently a blood-spattered horseman 'Your army is in flight. 1923-). Murena (pseudonym HectorAlbenoAloarez.1946).after it had att happened. he discovered for he decidedto do it. A.And that morning.

he miaowed. and carriedon dozing. but it was so distant. they looked at him with fear and disgust. he couldn't make out what they were saying. and with permissionfrom his temporary owner. whenhe returnedto his room. peeredat him.the soundof waves against rocks. He watchedthe cat: he had alsogot up and waslooking towardsthe shutters. with a certain indifference.with its surprisinglyugly and rickety furniture if you lookedclosely. and. not too dirty or uncomfortable.THE CAT l9l black cloud which looked like a huge spider fleeing acrossa field of snow. despitebeing extremely intense. without anyoneknowing how. not knowing for a moment why he did so. floatingin the air. But what he would neverforgetwasthat from that momenton. Then he openedhis mouth. but was very calm.into the room. and he got back into the house. sitting in the armchair. . his His whole body pulsated. for he still botheredaboutthat. the cat whoseowner had boasted that he would neverabandonhim. the other man'scat. He wantedto do something. their facesthe colour of blood or pale green. So he won. The cat.remainedundisturbedin his armchair.They threw him out a second time. beganto follow him.shrilly.$Tithoutknowingwhy.For one of the voices belonged the ownerof the boardinghouse. dirty white a in parts.Suddenlyhe felt such tensionin his headthat it seemed though as when it stoppedhe would disintegrate. he found the cat installed there.purple forests. and finally he miaowed. he beganto be ableto the pleasant contemplate images: light of the lamp-for everon-waned until it the vanished. The cat waslargeand muscular.he barely raisedhis head. womencovered long clothes in appeared. dissolve. He found the boarding house.and couldn't. with infinite despair.grey-haired. because from then on the owner of the boarding houseand her acolytesgaveup the fight.He wanted to do something.but the other onewas to fters:shemust havefinally discovered wherehe was. meanwhile. One day he heardwomen'svoicesat his door. Can oneconceive a cat influencing the life of a man to the extent of altering of its course? At first he went out a lot. the habitsof an easylife madethat room.that he realized would be several it hoursbeforehe couldreact. That increased feelingof imporence. He sat on the bed. leavingmany cornersin shadow.horsesof an intensesky-blue. The next day. .almost with parienceat his initial attempts to scarehim off. they threw him out. until he becamehis shadow.and the voicesdidn't cease. Although he tried. They didn't like him. . but their tones were sufficient. with its little lamp glowing a weak yellow. It was as though he had an enormousflabby belly and they were driving a stakeinto it and he could feel the stimulus. He gavethe impressionof an old and degradedgod who had not yet lost all his power to harm men.

tUilang family.' \$7ang 'At last I Wang'shand.of The Story theFoxes Niu Chiao.and finally he shotat the oneholdingthe page.and his mother showedhim the letter in which he askedthem to sell off all their property and ioin him in the city. who were on their way to the capital.' had given up for dead.he ordered.' saidthe brother when \7ang cameto the part about the Foxes.\fang tried to frighten them off but they stood their ground. gentleman turnedinto a Fox and fled. 'Ah. a Wfang sawtwo Foxesstandingon their hind legsand leaningagainst tree. have back what I wanted.Tearingit from the root of all the evil. if storywith interestandasked he might not be shownthe to He listened \trflang's paper.\7ang was just about to produceit when the innkeepernoticedthat the 'He's a Fox!' he shouted. but wererepeatedly the paper.The Fox washit in took awaythe pieceof paper.'Let's go back. as together W One of them held a sheet paperin its hand. he to the other guests. studyingthe letter. changinghimself into a Fox. On the road he met his whole back. Vang. The Foxestried time after time to recover set writing. He wrote more than thirty books. t92 .'there lies showed him the pagein question. At the inn \flang told the story the eyeand \Ufang lUfhite spokea gentleman eye havinga bandaged camein. sawthat the pagewasblank. Although they no longerhad a roof over their heads. he made his escape. whom everyone One day a youngerbrother appeared He askedabout the family's misfortunesand \$fangtold him the whole story.' Then. and on the spot the the newcomerhad a tail. They said that he had ordered them to undertakethe journey.which wasfilled with indecipherable decidedat last to return home. and they laughed of thoughthey weresharinga joke. the brother stuffedthe sheetinto his pocketand said. ninth-century Chinesepoet and saaant.

Now I realize that it was. 'Are you going to be hired by the circus?'I asked. I contemplated the sceneuntil Antonio draggedme trembling to the bed. with no difficulty other than that which my conscience his timidity created. The Forgotten (1945). my wedding to Antonio at five in the afternoon.TheAtonement Silvina Ocampo.The Poemsof Love in Despair (1949). Antonio didn't stopkissingme whenhe sawme soengrossed the spectacle. I could see'asclearly asif the imagewerepainted on the wall. which. My memoriesflew around my mind with the sameinsistence. in peckingof the orangefascinated The bird's merciless me. all flew into the room. ntonio summonedRuperto and I to the room at the back of the house. surroundedwith weddingpresents. Ruperto and I? $fhy had he not waited for Cleobulato arrive? I thought that the whole purposeof this show was to demonstratethat Ruperto was not blind. Imperiously. Garden Journey (1937).The Fury (1960).He went out to the patio and opened the door of the birdcage. 'I'm going to show you a trick'.from the hot window in the bedroom where I took off my wedding dressand veil.in the month of December.The Bitter for the Sweet(1962). and that he would prove it in a moment of emotion. Mandarin pecking at the only remaining orangeon the tree in the patio. The Autobiographyof Irene (1948). Argentinianwriter bom in Buenos Aires. I shut my eyesand hardly knew what happened on afterwards. I saw a canary.At the beginning' I think that Antonio and I loved each other equally. The canaries flying aroundmademe feel tired.The Guests (1961).to my surprise. more high pitched and tremulous this time. then came back and lay down on the bed. he said. without seeingor understandingthe pleasureand the pain that it causes.They say that at the moment of death one reviewsone'swhole life-I relived mine that afternoonwith a remote feeling of sadness.The Names(1953). Metric Spaces Sonnets(19a8).The dark-redvelvetbedspread a stagecoach journey had embroidered it. in fact. It wasalready and whenwe arrivedat our house. Inventory of the Motherland (1942). Author of. I learnt its lessons. The bed wasmade. Maria Callasand Mandarin.in the faceof Antonio'sdistress. He whistled two or three times and Favorita. had beena sourceof pleasure him and of terror to me on to the eveof our wedding. who was red. he again gavea whistle.he told us to sit down. Love is also a iourneyl for many days after that. Staring at the ceiling. \Ufas this the trick? t0flhy had he summonedus. but mad. and The tiny housewith its equallytiny gardenis situatedat the enrrance the to 193 .

Chusco.murmured Antonio. would ask. or an orangejuice if it who werelike washot.an aprontied in at my waist.But what . or my handscovered soapwhen I wasaboutto washsomeclothes. he hadn't chose him. therewasnot the slightest hint of flirtatiousnessin the way I treated him. 'lfhat eyes!' he'd repeat incessantly. $(Ie alreadyhad a radio and a fridge. cheap penholders or the decorationson a grandmother's hat. Ruperto would sit in a corner of the patio and. of sitting in the shadeof the vine where he alwayssat. shuffling along in my slipperslike an old woman.Albahaca and Serranito flew to the container which held littte thorny arrows. Numerous friends would come to our someeventin the family. repeated obeymy ordersmore easily Antonio. Often in my carelessness. Cleobula. but. Often. I said with a strangevoice.for a matetea.' one of the cleverest I jumped when I heardhis voice. Was that the trick? After all.that oneonly noticeswhen they are broken or put in a different place. They looked like toy birds. while he was tuning his guitar. ratherI had chosen that sheshouldremain faithful to him. I thought of him asone of the many friendsor relatives part of the furniture in the house. who is not a malicious person.I would handthe mateor the glass orangejuice to Ruperto.they would enthusiastically to other containers fly which held a dark liquid in which they dipped the minute tips of the arrows. The fresh mountain air surrounds us and we can see the nearby countrysidewhen we open the windows. 'Thesecanaries sing well'. shewould havedoneso because hated she them. 'It's to to tricks I've ever managed do. I think he sawme comeout of the bathroomwrappedin a towel.Carryingthe arrows. He attachedlittle importanceto money.I would openthe door and askhim to comein without evenlookingat him. they had known this. after having washed hair. 'Like Ruperto'.194 THE BOOK OF FANTASY village. looking an absolutefright. my or maybewith my toothbrush in my mouth and with toothpasteon my lips. what was so extraordinaryabout it? 'Like Ruperto'.' The three of us were in that darkened room as if in penance. in a Vienna chair. His only ambitionwasto be lovedby his wife and me. with my wet hair held back by clips. \fhat would she have said if she had seen them perform so many ridiculous tricks without Antonio having to give them a single little lettuce leaf or a single sweet! Automatically. had noticed and told me that Ruperto staredat me far too intently. had she beenableto kill them with a broom. He hadn't lookedfor me. like a dog in its corner.I didn't think of him asa womanthinks of a man. without any preamble. Antonio had fallen in because love with me.with a largestomach like a pregnantwoman. '\$7hat wonderful eyes!' 'I've managed keepmy eyesopenwhen I sleep'. houseon dayswhen therewasa holiday or to celebrate $flhat more could we ask for? Cleobulaand Ruperto would visit us more often they had been friends of ours since childhood. 'The canaries than my eyelids. Cleobulawould invariably remark.

During the months when my lack of awareness he him.I'd preparethe little nests. falling asleep. Peopletold me he often got drunk. I'd clean the birdcage. iust as he fixed them on the glassof orangejuice or mate tea that I servedhim. with the in excusethat he had a headacheor an inexplicable queasiness his stomach.the huge birdcagefull of canaries lay alwayslookedafter so conscientiously forgotten. like fragmentsof sky. when he met me. set them apart from the others. Soon after we were married. breadcrumbs. Antonio had spent his free time training animals. he thought of training canaries I because liked them. the winged messengers to houseto mine without faltering.then with a skunk that had had an operation and that he carried around for a time in his pocket. Antonio had alwayslooked after thesethings.half drunk in the patio. Sincechildhood. The room was so dirty! Canary grass. if I had the time. !flere all husbandslike this? that Antonio had At the back of the house. whoseeyes seemed dull or dead. with a dog. but he no longer showed the slightestinterest in doing it or even in my doing it. \[fle had been married for two yearsand not one child! Instead. he wasa pair of eyes. without a body. One night. put canary grass. Antonio of tobaccoand sweat.Ruperto wasnot a man.THE ATONEMENT 195 possiblelink could there be betweenhis eyesbeing open during sleepand the orders he gave to the canaries? No wonder Antonio left me somehow perplexed-he was so different from other men! Cleobulahad also assuredme that while Ruperto tuned his guitar he would look me over from the tip of my hair to the tips of my feet.cigaretteends and ash were scatteredover the floor.even to sleep. During the months of our courtship. at the slightestexcuse would talk to me abruptly or makeme do arduous tasks. . eyesthat he didn't close. a horse.but Ruperto smelt only of alcohol.for he wasa true artist. so as to win my heart.water and lettuce in the white containersand when the femaleswere going to lay eggs. to without voice. how many young had the canariesgiven birth to! The smell of musk and cedar filled the room. Ruperto looked at me through a kind of mask into which his animal-like eyeswere set. He first put his art into practice. Incredible asit may seem.without face. From the housewhere he lived to went from his mine there were fifteen large blocks. No one in the whole province. The canariessmelt like hens. Later.\fith a mysteriousintensity. he began to frequently miss work. he had sent written to the canaries me carrying little piecesof paperwith romantic messages on them or flowers tied with a little ribbon. or so it seemed me but Antonio didn't share cameto exasperate my feeling. It grieved me to seehow Antonio had changed. as if I had been his slaveinsteadof his wife. The result of this was that I becameseH-conscious and maybe even flirtatious. he would fix his eyeson me when he wasthirsty.they managed put in the flowers in my hair and a little message the pocket of my blouse. lettuce leaves. in the whole world had eyes that stared so-a deep shining blue. his eyeshad stayedfixed on me. In the morning. was the trick that he wanted to show us? The Men are so strange! \Uflhat businessabout the circus hadn't been a ioke. God knows with what intention.

Antonio slepton an ottomanwheremy brother usedto take a nap when he cameto visit us but he would spendwhat I suspectwere sleepless nights.even if no more than a quarrel over work or politics. He addednew sectionsto the birdcageand the little dead tree which stood ar its cenrre was replacedby another larger and more graceful one which made the cagemore atffactive. Had I not . was being driven out of his mind with the of iealousy. I trembled to look at him. 'If you hypnotizedwomen like you do birds nobody would resistyour charms'. \Uflouldhe be capable killing them?Cleobula of had told me that he wascruel.or iust to do nothing. Antonio's face grew dark with anger. His naked torso seemedmade of bronze. tiAying wardrobesthat had alreadybeingtidied or washingspotless cushioncovers. Antonio didn't let any of his feelingsshow. Going againstmy naturalmodesty.As I havealready mentioned.t96 THE BOOK OF FANTASY putting flowers in my hair and little papersin my pocket.$fe needednothing else to make us happy. His life became to full oi mysterious occupations. Antonio now no longer allowedme to cleanout the birdcage.n him naked before?\$fhy was I so surprised? But Antonio's character underwent another change which calmed me somewhat:he went from being apatheticto being extremelyactive. Dropping their arrows.. or to talk for a while about the events the day.His love and assiduous carefor the birds redoubledand took up a large part of the day. which. Sincethe ageof fifteen he had worked as a mechanicand. she had added. two of the canaries startedto fight: the little feathers flew around the room. his auntswould telt him in the hope that their nephewwould marry somemillionairess. we didn't evenhavea moment'speace listen to the radio or to to read the daily papers.which is what he offeredme when he proposed. exceptfor in that changeof characterwhich only I knew how to interpret. I couldn't understand why Antonio didn't find an excuseto keep Ruperto away. from being melancholyhe appeared becomecheerful.of a coming and going which seemedto denote great interest in life. as I could hear him pacing up and down until dawn. I rememberedthat before marrying him I blushedwhen I sawa statuewhich looked very much like him. becamepossessed his by restlessness and.I realized that because me my husband. Sometimes he .Antonio wasnot interestedin money. overpoweredby the necessityto keep up *ith my husband's enigmatic occupations.hehad all he wanted. was that Canaries not more difficult than the ridiculous things they were doing with those wretchedlittle arrows? Antonio cameto enioy greatprestigein the village. Antonio whistled and took off his vest. I.whom i nra always of considered most reasonable men. 'He looksasif he carriesa knife at his beh'. Neither wereSundays holidaysan excuse allowourselves of or to a rest. Any reasonwould have been good enoughfor the purpose. without escalating into a fullblown fight using fists or weapons. who am like Antonio's mirror image. After dinner..paced around the house.At that time he left the marital bed to sleepin the room which was used as a sroreroomat the back of the house. would have meant that Ruperto was barred from entering our house.

It seemed if he glances.Laughing. I sat up-my legshurt. discover give myself to him. as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Had it been dressedas a gaucho it could have it our decorated bedroom. During the carnival. As if I had actually gone to do so. 'I don't like with annoyance. Sometimes. flying! But I pity canaries. on the contrary. r$flhenhe flew out in the direction of the birdcage. who took it from me 'It's a souvenirfrom my childhood'.til(ehad to put him in the room that Antonio provisionallyslept in. a freshbreezestrokedmy cheeks. that time he madea iourney by bus which lastedtwo weeks-I don't know where he went and he returnedwith a bag full of plants.I I remembered as had discovered a punishmentfor my sins. whom he had always called 'the Queen of Disobedience'. so Cleobulatold me. as to would find an excuse makeme return. pretendednot to. unawareof the bad feelingthat his visits caused. I don't like to be still for so long. he went to rhe extremeof inviting him to stayat our house. he The canaries started to fly around again.one night that he stayeduntil very late. husband my Ruperto's staresnow somehowenjoyedthat which he found so unpleasant.my husbandand I. I gavea sideways tUfhenhad they stainedmy skirt? I looked at them with hatred-I like to be cleanevenin a darkenedroom. never so married him or felt his careess as to have been able to meet him. opened.a whole flock of canaries my that to Antonio dressed wound but. How I envy birds They seemto suffer when they obey commands. cameas often as Ruperto. never looked at me or. uttereda word that I could not understand. the rag doll. he encouraged them. we slept togetheragain. I tried to follow his movements through the paintedwindowpanes.They let landed on the back of a chair and started singing softly. Antonio said to me: 'Don't move'. lying on Antonio's wardrobe.THE ATONEMENT r97 would shut himself for hours at a time in that wrechedroom. you touchingmy things'. I thought of picking it up. But who regainsthat which he has alreadylost? him. That night. the For a time. in the marital bed. asif he suspected it wasiust an excuse At attract his attention. cut my I hand on purpose with a knife so that I dared knock at his door. one of my most ardent desireswasto havenever known him. or so I thought. other hand. Antonio didn't try to stop Ruperto'svisits. Birds are so small and so dirty. his manner was abrupt and suspicious. on shamefulthings when. under the table with the light on it.with largeblue eyesmadeof cloth with two dark circlesin the centre made to look like pupils. 'Vhat harm is there in touching a doll that you played with in your . he told me. glanceto my sttainedskirt. that day during carnivalweekwhen I wastidying the rooms. when I left the patio to avoid his usual and had the samehabits. I could just make out the famousdoll. In a corner. me obscene:they undressed in the shadeof the vine and made me do seemed Antonio. at dusk. From that momentmy life returnedto normal. Antonio sat up and looking at Maria Callas.I showed to Antonio. One by one the canaries the little arows drop from their beaks.

his way of treatingwomen.' I didn't ask her what 'Curare' meant.the lawyer. 'I don't haveto give you any explanation.\ilflas my husband a statue? accused it or He Rupertoof being mad.stemsand dark pieces bark.sheasked. but maybehe was evenmore mad.Antonio againplacedthe doll on top of the wardrobeand didn't say a word to me for severaldays. The room had been transformedinto a kind of laboratory.I would probably not have sufferedso much.I spiedon him.198 THE BOOK OF FANTASY of childhood?I know boys who playedwith dolls.I recountedthe scene Cleobulawho told me: to 'That is what the Indians do: they usearrowsdipped in Curare. evenMaria Callasare more frank than he is.there was a pile of leaves. his mysteriousness which setshim apart from other men.driven by my curiosity. His reserve.his high cheek Haven't you noticed bones? how Indian he is? Mandarin. 'They aregivento witchcraft. I could seeAntonio'snakedtorso. I shook my head. My husbandwas my husband. insteadof buying me a washingmachine! One day I caughtsight of the doll lying on the bed.' Antonio wassweating and the sweatmadehis torsoshine. are you ashamed it? Aren't you a grown man now?' I askedhim. she told me that my husbandwas .In a earthenware container. How much money had he spenton buying canaries.Your husbandis an Indian.Had my curlers come undone? Luckily. I had to stand on a chair. Nor did I know if shewas telling me this with scornor with admiration.the bookkeeper. It seemed if I had as alreadyseen thoseobjectsin dreams and. 'Haven't you lookedat his eyes.'Didn't you know?' Annoyed. my I passed hand over my damp forehead. The best thing is for you to shut In a temper. as the window wasvery high up (this naturallydid not allow me to look inside the room when I was passing through the patio).' And on seeing my surprise. But we slept togetheragainas in happier times. there was no mirror in the room as I would not have resistedthe that I found so of temptationof lookingat myselfinstead lookingat the canaries silly. In anothercontainer of therewassomelittle arrowsmadewith thorns. They took him awayfrom a settlement when he wasfive yearsold. But what sensitivewoman marries for money?They say there are men who train fleasand what is the point of that? I lost faith in Cleobula. isn't his a that enoughto prove that he is an Indian?My mother knowsall aboutit.Undoubtedly. soasto put an end to my perplexity. In anotherone therewas a shining brown liquid.or Roberto Cuentas. 'How do you know?' I askedvehemently. One afternoon.Sucha solid young man and wastinghis time! If I had marriedJuanLeston. A whole group of little birds fluttered around it. I had never thought of him belongingto anotherraceor to a world other than my own. Antonio often shut himself in the back room and I noticedthat he left the door of the birdcage openso that oneof the little birds could fly in through the window. Maybe that is what you like about him. way of not answering question.

1e would send the canarieswith messages Ruperto. the dark colour of his skin. Instead. That whole drama. Antonio came into my room and. she answered. your husband'. Ve went to church with Cleobula to do the Stations of the Cross. My pride as woman suffered. 'That's what everyone in the village calls him'. whY not? Maria Callas nodded her little head to one side. Antonio didn't answer me. I saw the similarity between Antonio and those naked men adorned with feathers. said to me: rWeapon used by Argentine gauchos which consists of several ropes tied together with metal balls at the ends. as if announcing that the house was on fire. 'How is the Indian?' asked Cleobula insolently. At that time.THE ATONEMENT 199 Indian so as to hurt me or to make me lose my faith in him. Antonio was in an attitude of prayer. He was staring at the canarieswhich began flying around the room again. Mandarin separated himself from his companions and from the darkness he could be heard singing like a lark. .I like Indians. In a circus Antonio could earn money with his tricks. as they did once exchange some Spanish cards. uniustly in some wxY. then to the other and landed on the back of a chair. Did I have to concede that friendship was more important than love? Nothing had separated Antonio and Ruperto.The Indian. Antonio showed off his powers. One morning. So as to occupy to himseff. But on leafing through a history book which showed illustrations of Indian settlements and Indians on horseback carrying bolas*. 'rffhat about the trick?' I asked. During Easter week. My solitude increased. trying to continue my prayers. I answered. my morher had asked him to receive communion but Antonio did not comply. I also noticed that what had maybe attracted me to Antonio was the difference between him and my brothers and their friends. the torment thar had resulted from the jealousy of a husband driven mad for so many days? $7e stitl loved each other in spite of everything. A kind of camaraderie. I told no one of my worries. Even if my husband were not one I would still like them'. Meanwhile Antonio and Ruperto's friendship grew stronger. as it tends to do during Easter week. from which I was somehow excluded. Antonio. 'Who?' . Ruperto continued to stare at me. Had he ever prayed before? On our wedding day. Antonio insisted that Ruperto stayed as a guest in our house for the second time. . \flere they making fun of me? The game that the two men were playing annoyed me and I decided not to take them seriously. It was raining. had moved away from me. his slanting eyes and that Indian look about him which Cleobula mentioned with perverse enioyment. united them in a way which seemedgenuine. People said that they were using them to play some kind of cardgame. had it been nothing but a farce? Did I miss the coniugal drama.

Antonio didn't answer. 'Come on'. I am going to see him. How he had changed! I looked at his cold inanimate face. that I couldn't shut my eyelids to protect my eyes.' Busying myself with chores in the house. Antonio brought a chair to him so that he could sit down. I waited for Antonio until midday. Antonio's eyes. his dark hands. Ruperto answered at last: 'I dreamt that the canarieswere pecking my arms. But I could hear the birds singing and the normal morning noises. trying to hid my annoyance: 'Vhat's happened?' A long silence which made the birds' singing clearly audible quivered in the sun. I quickly tied back my hair. who did not understand anything. Maria Callas hovered over him for an instant before sticking another little arrow in his chest. I asked Ruperto. '\Uflhatis he doing?' said Ruperto. I couldn't scare away with my hands the horrible beaks that were pecking at my eyes. I saved him with artificial respiration. Mandarin unexpectedly flew by Antonio and stuck one of the little arrows in his arm. who came to me. covered his face with his hands. I saved him. Ruperto. he looked at the ceiling as if he were holding his breath. Nevertheless it seemeda ridiculous trick. 'but without words. sitting down. staring fixedly at the ceiling. I saw darkness. seemed to change colour. my chest. 'Ruperto is in the patio. I regained my strength but not my sight. murmured Antonio and he added slowly. I couldn't say another single word. He returned when I was washing my hair. '\iflhat does all this mean?' I mused." "\7hat from?" asked my sister. I clapped as I thought this would please Antonio. Ruperto stood immobile by the door and was staring unseeingly at rhe tiles on the patio floor. dressed and went our to the patio. Half an hour which had seemedlike a whole century to me! Slowly as Antonio moved my arms. I called my sister. \flhy did he not use his ingenuity to cure Ruperto! On that fatal day. I(/hen would they leave me alone! I had to put my wet hair into curlers. They came to fetch me. \(Ihen I awoke from that dream which was not a dream.' 'How? Was it a ioke?' 'Not at all. Making a huge effort. Antonio didn't look at me.' Not understanding anything.' Favorita followed Mandarin and stuck a little arrow in Antonio's neck. I dreamt that my arms and my legs were heavy like sacksof sand. \$(lith a voice that was not my own I said: ' "You have to call Antonio so that he can saveme. he said to me. my neck.' 'I am going to make a confession to you'. Was Antonio an Indian? Could an Indian have blue eyes? His eyes somehow looked like Ruperto's. I was sleeping without being asleep as if I had taken some kind of drug. My sister ran out and came back half an hour later with Antonio.2W THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Ruperto is dying. He remained immobile like a statue while the canaries .

I ordered Ruperto to shut the door and windows so that the room should be in complete darkness. I now understood that Antonio wasdoubly guilty. and his own. his friend. So that nobodywould find out about his crime.t Just as the light had left Ruperto's eyes. the eyes of Ruperto.I went up ro the bedand shook him. I said. I covered his face with my face and hair. It was almost as if his glances were necessaryto our love. Slowly I understood Antonio's confession. In tears. kissedhim on the mouth as only a film star could I havedone. That morning Antonio lookedat Rupertowith horror.'Answerme. which is as thick as a shawl. I thought despairingly. he had said to me and had said afterwards everybody: to 'Rupertohasgonemad. that friendship was more important than love in the life of a man. 'What doesall this mean?'. Answerme. A flock of canaries fluttered aroundmy head. How long did I remain like that? I don't know.' He did not reply. ever again.I embraced him and threw myselfover his body. Ruperto can seebut he thinks he is blind'. love left our house. He thinks he is blind but he can seeaswell asany of us. \0(IhenI stopped kissing Antonio and took my face away from his. poor things. It was a confessionthat united us in a frenzied misfortune. so that they would not be able to look at me. maybe with jealousy. Losing any self-restraint. Antonio fell into a deep gloom. I saw that the canarieswere about to peck at his eyes. He would explain to me: 'A friend's madnessis worse than death. My legs ached. .THE ATONEMENT 201 piercedhim with the inoffensive-looking arrows. The gatherings in the patio had become quiet and dull. waiting for the canariesto go to sleep. with a minute dose of Curare and the winged monsters which obeyed his whimsical commands. I understood the pain that he had endured when sacrificing in such an ingenious way.

and I had only comeout to get awayfrom the soundof a wood fire crackling in the grate. Sant' L'uomo Carducci(1918). my smiling followergor in too. The man still followed me. Giovanni Papini.so I amused myselfwatchingthis man althoughtherewasnothing remarkable abouthis appearance. 'He may be a humorisr me with nothingto dor' I thought. I turned off into one of the principal streets. wassurehe wasn'ta detective. Translator of Bnkelq4 Bergson. asI wasleavinghome. looking more and more pleasedas he went on.and beganto walk more quickly.to TheMan WhoBelonged Me Born in Florcncein 1871. because left off keepinga diary yearsago. Authoro/Il tragicoquotidiano(1906). All this amused and irritated me at the sametime. he got out iust behindme.which were untidy. L'Europa Occidentale (1931). I boughta paperand he boughtexactlyrhe same paper. I so 202 . Although therewasno reason why I shouldhavebeenfollowed. I begangoing round and round the complicatedstreetsin the middle of the town.and laziness clumsiness any sort of and in manual work have savedme from earning my living through crime. to on One morning.and he took one out too and waited to light his untit I had lit mine. and he sat down on anotherbench quite closeto me. I didn't think this man in blue could be a thief after my purse. Everyone in the neighbourhoodknew I was rather poor. Italinn short-story Florencein 1956. seemed and lively (but not gay he too much so) and followed me at a respectfuldistanceso that I could not very well turn round and ask him what he was doing. (1912). the unknown man cameinto the sameshop and also bought a three-halfpenny stamp. Jarnes and Schopenhauzr.Boutroux. and I so much dislike being talked about that I havealways kept out of activepolitics. I sat down on a bench. I took out a cigarette. I went into a post office to buy a three-halfpennysramp.died in writer and essayist.Un Uomo Finito (1912).'At last I madeup my mind to solvethe problemin the quickesrway possible. to make sure I hadn't madea mistakeabout it.I am ratherabsent-minded.I noticedI wasbeingfollowedby a man of aboutforty.Then I got into a tram. Agostino I J can't say exactlyhow long Amico Dite's body and soul had beenfollowing I mine.Vita de Nessuno contro la Mitteleuropa(|9/.8). I so probably I did not notice what day my secondshadow(a solid and more or Iessliving shadow) happened makeits entrance the dim stageof my life. not studiedlycareless. but there was still the samedistancebetweenme and the man in blue. 'so he wantsto amuse himselfat my expense. and when I got out. and you could tell I wasn't rich by looking at my clothes. who worea long blue overcoat. I had nothing in particular to do.because I I'm so lackingin physicalcourage.

. . b u t .' I began. However. 'I shouldlike to know .THE MAN \UrHO BELONGED TO ME 203 went and stoodin front of the man asif I were going to ask him who he wasand what he wanted..I havethe greatest trust in you.too respectable.' ' T h a n k y o u .Didn't I tell you who I was. took off his hat. I'm too cautious. without orderinganything. I'm in rather a difficult and unforrunatesituation-but I'll tell you at once. !7ell. to havea really thrilling and amazing life.I know.' 'I assure you. You've written so many fantasticstories. I'll tell you what sort of personI am-I'm an ordinaryman-appallingly ordinary. The only thing to do is to look round till you find an aurhor who . Otherwise I'm quite an ordinarykind of person. up till now .Excuseme-I'll expliin everything-but first let me introducemyself: I am Amico Dite. . As soonaswe sawa caf6we both dashed in.we satdown in a corner by the fire.I sometimes think I seethem in the streerand then.' 'Forgiveme. yes.my spiritual adviser. the kind of personyou canmeetanywhere any day. my namedoesn'ttell you anythingaboutme. like peoplewho want a drink at oncein a greathurry. . and all full of smokeand cabbiesand the waiter looked a fearful scoundrel. .il you but . . I've got lots of things to t. but I want to live in an extraordinaryway.althoughyou might sometimes think . I get absolutelywild and despairing.I want to suppress them and forget them for ever and ever . then.please.Let me explain.' 'Yes. . 'I'll tell you all about everythingr' said the man.' Here Amico Dite stopped and hesitated little. you'll see everythingin a moment. . and you'vegot this crazeof wantingto live a gloriouslife. then he wenron quickly. . I simptymusrsaywhat I have to say . . all risks and adventures. ' '\7ait onemoment. smiled and said very quickly: . The man in blue got up.. . . . I put myselfin your hands. Here I am.The cafdwas little.' 'But I don't see. . well.so may extraordinarynovels-and I've lived so much amongall your characters that I dreamabout them in the night and think about them in the daytime. 'I don't want to keep anythingfrom you. I'll explainnow why I thoughtaboutyou and why I followed you. I trust you implicitly.but we hadn't time to choose anywhere else.I'll forgive everything. asif a he had suddenlyrememberedsomethingextremelyimportant: '\$Touldn't you like to drink something? drop of Marsalaperhaps-or some A coffee?' We both went off togetherquickly as if we both had the sameinstinct to get the matter clearedup then and there.But therewasno needfor me to askhim. I haven'i any definite occupation but that doesn'treally matter.. I wantedto write to you-I actuallyiid write to you two or threetimes but I don't alwayssendthe lettersI write. . . I'm too much of a gentleman-too much iust like myself. .But you've no imaginationso you can't expectto havethat sort of life.I'm yours to do what you like with . the peoplein six-pennystories like and cheapnovels.only asI told you.and masterof my body and my soul. A few daysago I said to myself: "You are a fool. You shall be my saviour.

Up till now you haveonly beenableto control imaginary people. . taking charge of a soul and a body as well. a pen missing.I had always beena little grievedthat I could makeup the livesonly of imaginarypeople.one of the most celebrated II That evening I did not go to bed as terribly bored as I usually did. .but to day you've got a real man. beautiful and unexpected .please.Amico Dite wasfulfilling one of my oldestdesires. the only be conditionbeingthat I shouldconstantly directinghim so that he shouldlead tife. . waiter. but sayit quickly!' but to I pretended think it over for a few seconds. Let's see the conditions. 'so I'll acceptyour offer althoughyou must realizewhat a greatresponsibility it is for fte. . I had really madeup my mind already. I put myself in your hands-not like a corpsethough. I had somerhing new and important to think about.with his usual bittersin the world. that was quite worth spending a . Now the very man wasoffering himself up to me. charmingsmile.after having promisedto write to him next dayand orderinghim not to follow me but to have somestrongdrink.?' 'Justa moment. who movesand who suffersand you can do whateveryou like with him. makehim a presentof your life so that makesup extra-ordinary reallyexcitingand and turn it into something he he cando whatever likeswith it ' . . just as and ink! There'sonly the dateand you signature you feel.Everythingwasin order. From now on." 'So you'd like me to . .money want to help you makeit interesting.In my sparemomentsI often thought of what I would do if I had a real flesh-andblood creatureto do what I liked with. got the properdocumentherein my pocket .' Amico Dite handedme an official-lookingdocumentin a thick gray paper coverand I readit in a few moments. You wouldn't know what to do with me if I died-but like a that cantalk and laughand do whatever marionette toy. The contractlasteda year. . And as I wasgoingout I sawhim ordering. By signingthis the paperI became rightful ownerof the wealthand life of Amico Dite. 'I neverwastetime in bargainingr'I said after my pretendedconsideration.I still belongto myselffor the moment!I've only onething you to be my director and so I makeyou a to tell you and that is-I've chosen you present my life and whatever.204 THE BOOK OF FANTASY and characters. with the way I managed renewedif Amico Dite was satisfied I signedwithout hestitationand left Amico Dite immediately. I give you my life and a thousand picturesque and to pay for all the things you'll need to make my life I've adventurous. with a good incomethrown in as well. of you'll easilybe able to break the ghastly You have plenty of imaginationand monotonyof my life. a few minutesI shalldo exactlywhat you want and In then you can srop my talking when you like. only now I would like to finish what I've got ro say. but it could be an illustriousand adventurous him.Sayyesor no. mechanical an amazing poundsa year' you order it to.

THE MAN I$(/HO BELONGED TO ME 205 sleepless night for. I could lead him. The worst of it was that I had not the slightest idea what to do with this man who belonged to me. Next day I wrote and told him that until he heard to the contrary. this man came up and glared at him. and I sent him back to his home. a woman who was always masked and never spoke to him. and when he had got out into a lonely place. and even more difficult to train her. and no one reported the mysterious disappearanceof Amico Dite. gagged and bound. On the evening of his gift. to the house I had ready. Now what could I make him do next day? Ought I to order him to do some fixed thing. in the little housewhere I had installed him. Luckily Amico Dite was something of a misogynist and was over forty. he was to sleep all day and spend the night out of doors wandering about in all sorts of lonely places. my accomplicesattacked him and took him. One day.Amico Dite knew nothing whateverabout duelling and it was just becauseof this that he struck out violently at the very beginning and wounderJ his adversary seriously. In four days everything was ready. drive him. \|fho else but a really queer person would have imagined such a subtle kind of slavery? A man I knew who was an excellent swordsman agreed to help me at this iuncture. As I could think of nothing better I resorted to the old trick of sending to live with him. so none of the things you might have expected actually did happen. It was very difficult finding a woman who would agree to do this. who wanted paying as well as feeding. like a newspaper serial. I produced two of my friends who obliged him to fight although he did not want to in the least. A man had become my property. when Amico Dite was sitting quietly drinking a glassof milk in a very smart caf6. and even then she wouldn't engage herself for more than a month. I began to realize that Amico Dite hadn't behaved in the least like the ordinary man he said he was when he made me take charge of him like this. he slapped him two or three times quite calmly as if he did not want to hurt him too much. send him anywhere I wanted. After a fortnight I realized that I should have to change my tactics. Unfortunately no one noticed what we were doing. for several months. I could experiment with him and give him strange emotions and unheard of adventures. Next day I went to an estateagent's and took a lonely house outside the town for six months. but he would not hear of going away without me. I had thought that kidnapping him would be an excellent beginning for an exciting life but I had not bothered to think about what could happen afterwards. and really belonged ro me. so I had my two unemployed set my man free. Then I hired two of the unemployed who were looking for work for the winter. . so I had to provide for two strong men. or should I leave him in the dark and then spring something on him suddenly? Finally I chose something that combined rhe rwo methods. then he jostled him and as soon as Dite said something. I took this opportunity of explaining to him that he must leavethe town at once. Yet even Amico Dite's life wanted its next instalment at once. On the appointed evening I had Amico Dite followed. Amico Dite asked my permission to send his secondsto challenge the man who had insulted him.

but.took away his it chair from under him. 'I don't think there'sbeenanythingreally extraordinary in what you'vemademe do. we looked so sure of ourselveswandering round the mazesof little streetsthat are all exactly alike. 'rJflell. that he might nevercomeback at all.but that it wasn't much better than ordinary men. the usual painted brazen-faced 'viveursr' but no one paid any attentionto us.it promised them they would seereal spirits. so I had to leavemy house. and so. then escape now ghosts! You don't seem have and to beenableto think of anythingbetterthan these old-fashioned ricks-the sort of . perhapsthey thought we were something to do with the police. After consulting a good map of London. He had come across Italian friend of his in Edinburgh-a'cellist who had goneto Scotland an yearsago. I wasreally getting tired of this man who belongedto me. Indeed it seemdto have been rather more foolish than most peoplebecause stole his handkerchief. Excuse if I speak you openly-but I think me to you must agreewith me that in your novelsyou've got much more originality and more amusingimagination than in real life. reallyr' he said. I took Amico Dite into the most disreputableparts. ghostswho could talk and so on. perfectlydisguised. But I wouldn't give up yet. \$fhen we reachedLondon I was in a greater muddle than ever.n excellent in succeeded getting out of the prison one day iust before dawn.who gaveme somevague instructions in abominableFrench. It seemedalmost to impossible. and giving him only twenty or thirty shillings beyondhis railway fare. *hrt I wasdoing*6.206 THE BOOK OF FANTASY to he preferred being tried before the Court. I ordered Amico Dite to apply for membershipimmediately and to go there regularly every evening.my work and my country all in order to arrangehis escape. Then I had the idea of sendingAmico Dite all by himself into the North of England. and numbers of noisy thrifty sailors. In somenewspaper had seenthe address a I of little club for psychicalresearch. and who had askedhim to stayand amused him during the time he wasthere.But after a fortnight had gone by Amico Dite cameback to London in perfecthealthand spirits. that waslooking for new members. and for whom I worked so hard and gaveup somuch. then a masked womanand a duel. As he knew no English either I hoped something very disagreeable might happento him or. and in the midst of that huge unknown city I wasless than ever in a position to find any exciting adventuresfor my man's benefits. then one morninghe cameto me and told me that he had actuallymet a ghost. I couldn't speaka word of English. He kept on going for a week and saw nothing at all. but after a day or two I began thinking it was my duty to set Amico Dite free. nothing whateverhappenedto him there. and so he got himself sentenced three months' imprisonment. pulled his hair and hit him in the back. by meansof bribes. I wassimply longing for the day when I could get back to my own dearold town full of caf6sand loiterers. We cameacrossthe usual drunken women. I managed convincetwo peoplethat Amico Dite thing. Finally I had to ask the adviceof a private detective. I really thought I shouldbe free from him for that time. Just think-kidnapping. This time he really had to go into exile. but. to my great annoyance. better still.

' Pride preventedmy answeringthis extraordinaryingratitude. he was a gentlemanand had a great respectfor his word and signature. it meantthat the poor man would certainlybe dead. . because lived in a I boardinghouse long way from whereAmico Dite wasstaying. I. It seemed hopeless try to pick him up so I quickly paid the cabbyand lookedround for to anothercab. SinceI had taken possession Amico of Dite's life.merelythe manager into 'more impressive' of his personal existence.At the very beginningI of usedto do everythingyou did.In spiteof being so particular. Shouldyou disobeymy ordersI give up any responsibilityI may ever havehad for your life. and much as I dislike doing it I am obligedto you find something tell you that unless betterto makeme do I shallhaveto look for anothermaster.somethingthat had no needof accomplices. After having thought the matter over quietly for a day or two.had reallydegenerated his slave.he must find something As than what I had done for him.or at best.evenbeforeour contracthasrun out. On SaturdayeveningI ordereda cab for eight o'clock. but after about ten minutes he stumbled and fell down in the streer. I really can't understand this suddencollapse your imagination. to worry myself inventing romantic adventures and reliablepeopleto carry them out.witha sort of pseudo-gallop. iust beforehe took the lastpill. There are much more thrilling things in Hoffmann and Poe. I wrote to him as follows: 'My dearDite. nominally the his master.THE MAN n.-Since you belongto me according to a formal contract.I can arrangefor your life or your death as I seefit. which would inevitablykitl him if he took it./HO BELONGED TO ME 207 thing you get in French novels. I had beenobligedto leaveall my work in the middle' to leavemy country. indeed.and a policeman held up his handto stopour goingby.' I knew that Amico Dite would not flinch at the fearof death. I thought to myselfhow for months-ever sinceI had takenover control of that man-I had not beenmasterof my own life.I bought a strongemeticand arranged be at his housejust before to nine-that is.and I supposedyou must keep all your invention for your novels: but now I'm beginningto doubt this as well. The horsestartedoff. he said. and moreover. half pasteight take another At one and at nineexactly take the third. Luckily I found one at onceand I calculated that at nine o'clock exactly I ought to be at Amico Dite's house. and much more ingeniousideasin Gaboriauand Ponsondu Terrail. and much more thrilting things in Hofmann and poe. from this day onwards. I trying leaptout of the cablike a madmanand rushedup to the hugepoliceman. really expectingto havean exciting life. but I soon cameto the conclusionthat your life was just like anyoneelse's. I thereforeorder you to shut yourselfup in your room on Saturdaynight at eight o'clockl then lie down on your bed and take oneof the pills hereenclosed. rUfle wereat the end of an important street full of carsand 'buses. soI impressed the driver the fact that I was on in a greathurry. I had had to sacrifice whole of my own life to him. Then suddenlythe cab pulled up. I began to worry a little therewasa thick fog and evenif we wereonly five minutes nevertheless because late.The cabdid not a turn up until a quarterpasteight.

But he either did not understand or would not understand. It is several years now since I have been in prison. Argentine witer. In the morning I was found with the dead man. the little box I had sent him was empty. I felt whether his heart was beating and whether he was breathing still. It was only a few minutes before nine. I shook him and called him by name. to tear numerous pagesfrom a cheap pad and slip them into the typewriter. Amico Dite had kept his word to the last.208 THEBOOKOFFANTASY was at to make him understand that I was in a great hurry and that a man's life stake.He has been editor or director of aaious mngazines. but I am not sorry for what I have done. to exist was to cut up animals tirelessly in the foetid coolnessof the butcher's shop. I stayed all night in his room. and rang the bell frantically. for me. No: he was indeed a corpse. but partly becauseof the fog and partly becauseI did took a wrong turning and I only noticed I was going know London very wellrl in the wrong direction when I'd been rushing along for about ten minutes. The trial was extremely short becauseI did not even put up a defence or show the contract I still had put away somewhere. as pale and as silent as he. Almost all . But I only reached the boarding house at seven minutes past nine. I had intended to give him the terror of certain death and then the shock of resurrection. So. still running. real and irrevocable death. pale and stiff as a corpse. and a book of essdys. He was lying in his shirt-sleeves on the bed. Amico Dite has made my life much more worth telling than it would have been without him. and my last letter to Dite was found as well. and I was making prodigious efforts so as to get there in time. I rushed into Amico Dite's room. Our lives were very different. For him. witing for them and other publications. but instead I had given him death. I turned back and went in the other direction. translationsto his name and has also worked on filmscripts. RA^A1/ Carlos Peralta. numb with grief. and I don't think I have managed so badly even though in the year in which he belonged to me I spent a good deal more than the thousand pounds he gave me. I had to go the rest not of the way on foot. My papers were all confiscated. The moment someoneopened it.He signshis satirical and humorouswork with the pseudonymCarlos del Peral. He has sezseral T) etween Don Pedro the butcher and I there existed only a rather restricted Drelationship so far. Author of a satirical book Manual del gorila.

Carracidor' I said to him. like a cough. you mean the meat? No. Apparently some comedian had been imitating animal noises. or at least one. barely managing to carry a basket with a quarter of beef. However. Once. but I wouldn't go to his daughter's engagment party. I would visit him to pay my bill. flat 4B. lifting a tragic bloodstained finger to his lips. they must have thrown a very noisy party. they were orderly people.' I replied. what interested me most was not the private attitudes I might have but the general search for closer relationships between men. that's something else.' ago. tough on them. aren't you?' 'Nor' he said. my liver.' 'But then. and two. The man was short and wore brown. which as far as I could see was their only bad habit. 'Shh!' said Don Pedro. apparently. how come . for example. . A man dressedin brown came in. Here you are. And anyway.'Goodness knows what's up with 'Each family is a world unto itself. Apart from that and the quarter of beef. at about eight o'clock in summer and five in winter. . 'I make do with anything. because she was always dishevelled when she received the butcher. wouldn't you say?'said the butcher.' I could have sworn there was a pleading note in his voice. 'No. because two neighbours complained.RANI 209 our daily deedswere subject to differing rituals. gloomy and then gave a sort of false laugh. .' he said. which intrigued me. He was a lawer. on Saturday or 'You know. 'I will. if they don't eat it. Being in a hurrY. crisp bills. 'See you Saturday. Come around to my house early one afternoon. had the casearisen.' him. a chat with you. 'They have the same thing every d"yr' answered Don Pedro. 'Vould that be for the restaurant around the corner?' I asked. . I was ruminating on these ideas when I noticed the butcher leaving. 'Four thousand. He got his wallet and begun counting out large. I very soon found out that 48 was occupied by a childless couple. ?' 'Ah. for a greater exchange between those rituals. you understand. 'Six hundred . flat 4B. friend. 'Next door to you. They eat all that?' 'Vell.'He seemedto become 'I've got a lot to do. The woman must be very lazy. the concierge had told Don Pedro.' he said. Things seem to be going well for you. if he was assisted by his noble consort. Not that I would have had any obiection to doing so. 'How are you. It's for acrossthe road. he didn't see me. I'd like to have Sunday. Eating well. Goodbye.' 'They must have a "frigidaire"r' said a female verbal ghost which took power over me. Peralta? How are things? Do you live nearby?' he asked with his old administrative warmth.' Don Pedro followed him with his gaze.' 'Hello. They never returned home after sunset. 'You don't say. I live at number 860. undoubtedly the same one who ate two cows a week.' He hesitated. 'Do you remember me?' I'd met him years 'Ve seem to be neighbours.

of course. I meant to go early on Saturday. quite a gambler and something of a thief. 'I don't like that chapr' he said later. after a lot of trying. You're a bit late. 'He's a nasty character. a great meat-eater. I think he's not getting on with his wife. felt rather frustrated and went to number 860. sooneror later they'll be punished.' The band was happily murdering a waftz. The man began to prosper. He remembered him and didn't like the memory.' . She goesher own way and he goeshis. sustained by vilification and curiosity. a fellow-student from university days. Do you know what he said to me? "Shut up. It was half-past seven. but he was a friend of the manager's and was able to replace the missing money. too. 'Just see how things are: he's been having affairs with all the employees at the Ministry. opening the door very slowly. 'Hello. First Carracido. I haven't mentioned it to you yet. we'll leave it until tomorrow or the day after. This G6mez Campbell. 'I was pleased. with the greatest respect. and since the inheritance was from his father-in-law. that day I met two. with whom I went for a coffee at the Boston. and told him I'd seen Carracido.'continued G6mez. 'He can go to blazesas far as I'm concernedr'G6mezCampbell finished. G6mez Campbell shook my hand coldly and disappeared into calle Florida. He was already said. I. but somewhat uneasily. put on clean clothes. Men should know how to forget quarrels and trifles.' he said. if you have something to do. that was obvious.' 'Listen. 'It was through him I got the job. a number of houses.' He paused to highlight the severity of his admonition. flat 48. Don Juan. you know. a colleague from work. That casual encounter. I had intended finishing a short story I was to hand in on Monday (perhaps this same one) but I didn't manage it. He kept quiet whilst the waiter served coffee. His wife ignores him. but couldn't. And if they don't know. 'and I went to congratulatehim.honestly. I had a bath. that's what he called me. I think he came into an inheritance. and got away with it.' 'He seemspretty harmlessto mer' I remarked. Just think. They nearly sacked him. then G6mez Campbell. I had to report him becausehe had taken a stack of money to the races. You can see she's too pretty and too big for him.full of troubles and goings-on.' 'We soon said goodbye. 'I met him many years agor' he 'Before joining the Ministry he worked at the Credit Bank. And now. 'I wasn't expecting you. with open arms. like this Carracido. married to a beautiful and presumably unfaithful woman. That is just not on.he has to put up with her. was a bit of a bad sort. married. you hypocrite". who was the first to go and congratulatehim. exhausted itself prerry quickly. The truth is we never really know anyone. Afterwards he was appointed consultant at the Ministry. Carracido received me very politely. Carracido seemed more and more exciting to me.2t0 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Years go by and you never see an old school friend.

It was followed by a loud outburst which mademe leap to my feet. . Moreover. got up and shookher hand. 'Nothing. 'Yes.'he repliedfirmly.silent. nothing. I lookedat her. '\Whatwas that?' I yelled. An incongruous of the speed an express wasdrumming his fingerson the tableat me: Carracido train.that dog-likeair.with an easy from her towards the window.' He went to the sideboard sitting down. 'Rani.I don't green know-I don't think I've everseen more beautifulwoman.' The furniture wasin variousstyles. nice here. closedand tight' over the vicufla skin. The purring came from the inner bedrooms. 'It'll pass. 'Ve could go for a drink in the bar. He's jealous.aswell asthat pleadingquality I had but noticedbefore. 'All right. Justa moment. best. I pushedhim awayso violently that he fell to one side. never I eyes. The womangot up and disappeared through a door. This man must bear his wife's than a bull. The only thing which clashedwas the vicufra skin coveringthe couch.I thought to myself.RANI 2tl comein. blockingmy way. And then.but the combination wasnot unpleasant. dearr' she replied sweetly.This annoyed It's and I saidto him. 'Don't 'Don'[ shout!' he said stupidly. he lookedat his watch.smiling.I'd ratherstay. 'Perhaps that would be best after all. be scared!' I had already 'Nor' he saidwith genuine warmth. his warmth returned.' suggested me Carracido. I said to myself. 'Shame. your bath must be readyby nowr'he said. on the armchair.'he said.he wantsher to go. God knows what's Before and brought a bottle and two glasses.nothing and legswhich movedwith the gentleness energyof the waves. I didn't answerhim. torn lengthwise thoughwith a knife and almostsplit in two.'No. but what a purr! I felt as though my head were in a beehive.And I couldn't havedrunk one glassful.the legsof as the couch openedtoo far outwards.Making an effort I lookedaway couch. 'Ranir' insistedCarracido.I'll call my wife. then more violent.First slow. It was a purr.a moreperfectand delicate taking my eyesoff hers. going towardsthe door.' he said. fascinated.moreintense a movement. stainedthe soft blue of the BuenosAires sunsetsavefor a cloud which wasiust noisedistracted then changingcolour from copperto purple.if you don't mind. but without ceasingto keep in my mind those Outside. I lookedat him and he stopped. 'This is Rani. whims with more naturalness And at that momentthe purring began.stretchingher hand. Shebarely loweredher eyelidsand sat besideme on the felinegrace. deepand low.I stroked the skin and left it as I heard Carracido's voice. Tacit command.' 'It's nothingr'saidCarracido solicitously.' He hestitated. EverythingI cansaywould not be enough. First sheturned around and lookedat me. G6mezCampbellis right.

I opened the door. when would she sleep? 'Bumburumbum. I did likewise. You can't let a tiger loose in the street!' 'No. 'I'm a peaceful man. I told him the story. reached the front door. . one of these days I'll go and see him. He let his head fall to one side. one night. My wife won't harm anyone. The tiger stopped in front of me. and this time it got tired of the game.' He was apologizing. . have no fear. a magician .000. 'I told you to come early. It was Rani. I went back the flat. . totally out of place. went out and left. I went down. when we lived in the suburbs . Don Pedro was right: each family is a world unto itself. I must have slept too. At first I didn't seea thing. like an object. last week I had to sell off some land very cheaply in order to pay the butcher .'said Carracido. now a little drunk. Gradually his sobs were replaced by the sound of peaceful snoring.in order not to despair-I met G6mez Campbell again. . At about seven o'clock the bell rang. A huge tiger. Rani ruining the couch.212 THE BOOK OF FANTASY opened the door. opened it and got into the lift.bounding down the stairs. a sinuous shape approached me in the darkness. . The worst thing is I don't know what to do. I smoked for a long while. I went up again and the tiger went up. files. And Carracido rhere. documents. I pushed him again. Carracido leant his head on his arms and sobbed. inert. . the zoo. fearful and advancing. 'I married Rani never dreaming that at night she turned into a tiger. . Her hair was uncombed.' He stopped talking and continued sobbing quietly. perhaps he . or weaving her long body in and out of the furniture. It was a tiger. 'They say there is an Indian here in Buenos Aires . the circus. Rani devouring the raw meat at some time during the night. watching her . I pulled back. I turned my head away so as not to hurt her. striped. like anyone who shares a secret. Afterwards I moved to another neighbourhood. Don't complain. I covered my eyes so as not to seeits green eyes and pressed the button. I let her come in.definitely drunk. It was incredible.' he added. Several months later-it's strange how things unfold and we think of them as coincidences. becauseshe wasn't allowed to frolic. this time forwards. bur he was apologizing. I stayed until daylight. I imagined-what a nightmare-some of the habitual scenesof his life. . 'IWe have to call the police. 'Vhat do I care where you lived!' I shouted in exasperation. She seemed confused and ashamed. then. I felt Carracido take me by the arm. it snorted triumphantly and went out into the street. . perhaps he can do something. He had finally returned to the simple world of work. She sometimes frightens people at little. in a bar on Rivadavia at about number 5.' He drank down two or three glasseslike an animal.' he hiccupped. There was a little bone under the armchair. It had Rani's amethyst necklace around its shiny neck. 'Now she's gone. 'Vhy didn't you do as I said?' said Carracido. her clothes in a mess' her nails dirty.'he began. opposite the square. 'You've no idea what it was like at {irst. as though in a dream. The tiger followed as I descended. you idiot!' He poured himself a glass of whisky and drank it in one go.

and wrote nans short stoies featuring this aristouatic took. I don't think he even heard me. really-a woman and fate. walking in silence through the square. and The Tilted Moon (1949). British time fiction witer.Don't greet him. Ladies in Retreat (1935). TheBlind Spot Barry Perowne. and saw carracido with a huge dog. true. Other works includeArrest This Man (1932). He had been in so many places since seven o'clock the previous evening. I don't like these things. . The best thing with these people is not to become involved. Same thing. but tame and calm. and things were a bit hazy. A nnixter loved the little man like a brother. 'The Indian!'I exclaimed.You get good an' plastered. Its owner hadn't seen us.' In vain I told him that I considered as harmful the distance which is maintained between one man and another in Buenos Aires and the displeasureat the peculiarities of others. He had been drinking earnestly since seven o'clock the previous evening. Homung. it looks like his problem has been partly alleviated. A large dog. Enemy of Women (1934). frightened and upset. \V. 'In a nutshellr'confided Annixter. 'You sit there an' you drink as' you brood-an' in the end you find you've 'At's the way it brooded up iust about the best idea you ever had in your life! 'an' 'at's my philosophy-the harder you kick a goes. So what? So you think it's the finish. partly from affectionand partly to prevent himself from falling. Shall we go and see the couple?' 'Don'tr' said G6mez Campbell. a lot of noise. with an amethyst collar. Annixter had no idea what this place was called. \fle left.' said Annixter. I'm a straight chap. He took tlu Raffles character. he changed the subject. 'Poor Carracido. It was now nudging midnight. I could swear it looked at me with its wide green eyes. The lobby was full of the thump of hot musicl down two steps.THE BLIND SPOT 213 thought I was mad. createdat the turn of the century by lV. a lot of people. or how he had got here.' said Annixter. He put an arm aroundthe little fa. or when. in vain I advised him to be tolerant and understanding. and get plastered. the better he works!' . an' you go out 'an'you brood. there were a lot of tables. 'a woman fetches you a kick in the face. or fate fetches you a kick in the face.man's shoulders. leaning heavily on the little man. playwright. Girl at Zero (1939). Blonde with Escort (1940).

'you ought to go home of now? I've beenhonouredyou shouldtell me the scenario your play. RoomBlue by James He stepped. The hat-checkgirl lookedwonderinglyat Annixter-at the plasteron his forehead. squealingwheelson the wet road. then?' said Annixter.' headedon a slightly elliptical course He crammedhis hat on shapelessly.' said the hat-checkgirl. Mr JamesAnnixter. I can still hear it now-a weekafter! Horrible!' 'You're sensitiver' saidAnnixter. said what a play! \flhat a murder. too-a straightline. 'My. swingingin towardsthe place he had iust left. worehexagonal suit. He looked a spectacles. smiling. The little man was poker-backed. It was. and a taxi. a lot of noise. 'I got work to do. almostcolourless. lurched out acrossthe lobby.'I kept hearingit all night long. winking and tilting across by Annixter. swayinga little-then noddedabruptly. No. but-' 'I had to tell someoner' Annixter. He stood frowning. boy.a lot of people.and all the lights he had been hit seeingexplodedin his face. to his inflamedimagination. BIue room. Rooz Resented James-No. it. hand. doors open with both hands.zDas knocked dmanby a taxi late lastnight when leaaingthe CasaHaztana. black sling the which supportedhis left arm.After hospitaltreatment shockand superficial for injuies. Something Annixter violently in the chest. skiddedwith suddenlylocked. 'I got too much imagination.off the kerb. to The lobby of the Casa Havana wasfull of the thump of music. gropedfor the little man's considering.the hat-check 'Don't you thinkr' the little man said to Annixter. he returned hishome. thepla3tafight. black hard-felthat. just I hneut wasyou evenbeforeI run to the door and seeyou lying there.That man it . Then there weren't any lights.down two sreps there were a lot of tables. by the dark. eh?That climax-' The full.214 THE BOOK OF FANTASY if that he would havecollapsed the little He gesturedwith such vehemence his him. dazzlingperfection of it struck him again. 'I ought tor' saidthe hat-check girl. grip was firm. a neatpepper-and-salt rimless pale and prim besidethe flushed. man hadn't steadied He His mouth wasfirm.'the girl hat-check admitted. 'I certainly didn't expectto seeyoz againso soon!' 'You rememberme.rumpled Annixter' girl watchedthem indifferently' From her counter. SealedRoom James Annixterno. 'You costme a night's sleep!I heardthose brakessqueal right after you went out the door that night-and therewasa sort of a thud!' She shuddered. rhrust the double into the night. warmly pumphandled 'Sorry I can't stick aroundr' said Annixter.'or blow my top! Oh. what a play. oblivious.'F'rinstance.RoomBlue.full of lights.

'and I haven't seen him since. slightly anxious glance. the best thing I ever did in my life-it would have been finished two days ago if it hadn't been for this-' he knuckled his forehead-'this extraordinary blind spot." ' said Annixter. 'funny? | was just someonehe'd met. hoped desperately. He hesitated for iust an instant.THE BLIND SPOT 2t5 you was with was standing just outside. She shook her head. It was a slightly puzzled. But when the taxi driver starts shouting for witnessesit wasn't his fault. for a different answer. "He's not my friend. it didn't bother me. "My heavensr" I saysto him.' There was no need to explain to her how curious. Becausehe must have seen it. it's barely a week since-' 'A week!' Annixter said. Give yourself a chance. 'She doesn't know the man. look what I've done in that week! The whole of the first two acts. is: Don't worry. My advice to you. 'killed before your eyes. A waiter led them to a table. eh?' Annixter moistened his lips. He had hoped. Ransome put a hand on his arm. at least. 'r never saw him beforer' she said. but-man you been drinking with. James. Bill-the whole play. that's all. he had counted on it. I looks around for that man-an' he's gone!' Annixter exchangeda glance with Ransome. his producer. had been the effect of that 'shaking up' upon his mind. at the hat-check girl. You'd think he'd 'a' been interested. and Ransome gave him an order. 'Anywayr' said Ransom. and the third act right up to that crucial point-the climax of the whole thing: the solution: the scene that the play stands or falls on! It would have been done. restrainingly. He's just someoneI met. I woke up in the ambulance with .' They went down the two steps into the room where the band thumped. 'Just shaken up a bit. let's have a drink. then asked the question he had come to askthe question which had assumed so profound an importance for him. 'I never even felt it. 'There was no point in pressing that girlr' Ransome said to Annixter. 'Not quite "killed before his eyes. he went out right after you. there's that imagination of yours!' said Annixter.' 'Yes. "it's your friend!" ' '\7hat did he say?' Annixter asked." Funny.' said the hat-check girl. After all. and that's that. Get your mind on to something else. 'If you could 'a' seen yourself lying there with the taxi's lights shining on yo u -' 'Ah. then. He glanced down ar the sling on his arm. But he smiled.' Annixter felt as though she had struck him in the face. 'as we're here. 'How d'you meanr' he said carefully. 'He says. He asked. this damnable little trick of memory!' 'You had a very rough shaking-up-' 'That?' Annixter said contemptuously. who was with him. 'Hell. 'Thar man I was with-who was he?' The hat-check girl looked from one to the other. how eccentric.

belout. A winner-a thing that iust couldn't miss!' 'If you'd restedr' Ransome said. There zrcs something a little queer about that. trying to get that idea back-how it was done! It won't come.dea a dramq will communicate for with the Box No. 'scores of writers. 'You don't rest when you've got a thing like that. He's A little man who had said. have tried to put that sealedroom murder over-and never quite done it convincingly: never quite got away with it: been over-elaborate.) How did the killer get to her? Hms was it done? 'Hell. iust someoneI met-' but hadn't waited to give evidenceA little man who'd seen an accident The hat-check girl had been right. and knew what I had.u it was done! That was what I got. better men than I am. I could finish my play. that it wasn't till I actually came to write that last scene that I realized what I'd lost! Only my whole play. becauseI was stone cold sober then. during the past five days. 'as the doc told you. perfect.2t6 THE BOOK OF FANTASY my play as vivid in my mind as the moment the taxi hit me-more so' maybe. Bill? I've got to!' If the gentlemanwho. / had it! Simple. thinking. at the Casa Haaana on the night of January 27th. and laughed harshly. I've lived so utterly in them. I'm going to find that little man. but it'd be like all those others-not quite right. Time and again he sat down before his almost completed manuscript. Bill. I'm a competent playwright. Rest?' said Annixter. in those eight characters. phony! It wouldn't be my play! But there's a little man walking around this city somewhere-a little man with hexagonalglasses-who's got my idea in his head! He's got it becauseI told it to him. read it through with close. it began to seem to Annixter very queer indeed. instead of sitting up in bed there scribbling night and day-' 'I had to get it on paper. but he couldn't work. when the advertisements he'd inserted failed to bring any reply.' Annixter said. glaringly obvious when you've seen it! And it's my whole play-the curtain rises on that sealedroom and falls on it! That was my revelation-hm. 'he's not my friend. and get back what belongs to me! I've got to! Don't you see that. A little queer? During the next few days. 'I've spenr two days and two nights. That is living! I've lived eight whole lifetimes. That's what you live for-if you're a playwright. grim 'lt'sbound to come back this time!'-only to find himself up attention. . I know my iob. Bill. His arm was out of its sling now. because a woman I thought I loved kicked me in the face-I brooded up the answer to the sealed room! And a taxi knocked it out of my head!' He drew a long breath.phony! I had it-heaven help me. he will hear of somethingto his advantage. by way of playwright's compensarion. that's all! How was Cynthia stabbed in that windowless room into which she had locked and bolted herself. so patiently listenedto a plaryright's outlining of an i.

The crowd from the train . He patted the little man's shoulder affectionately. ran up the stairs two at a time.rimless glasses-a pale grey. probably.' The little man said. especially at the rush hours. His mouth was a stright line. for his failure to reply to the advertisements. conceived reasonsfor his fading away after the accident. Then he turned his head and looked at Annixter. He saw a he million faces.THE BLIND SPOT 2r7 against that blind spot again. his flashed. put a hand on the little man's shoulder. perhaps. at the touch of Annixter's hand. 'I've got to talk to your' said Annixter. Light from the train shone on his prim. He left his work and prowled the streets. standing on the platform with a brief casein one hand. to let a woman pass. Merely finding the little man was a relief so great that it was like the lifting of a black cloud from his spirits.. the more he felt that the hat-check girl had been right. It was so absurd that it was laughable. Annixter's imagination played around the man he was seeking. And with no idea of what he had: without the imagination. his black hard-felt hat was set so squarely on his headThe doors of the subway train were just closing when Annixter saw him.' He moved slightly to one side. that there was something very queer indeed about the way the little man had behaved after the accident. tried to probe into his mind. squeezedbetween them on to the platform. that blank wall. to appreciate what he had! And certainly with no idea of what it meant to Annixter! Or had he some idea? \7as he. a folded evening paper under his other arm. almost colourless. The little man was so respectable. 'I've been looking for you. it was torture to think The thought of him obsessedAnnixter. 'It won't take a minute.his shoulders were so straight. pale face. ordinary. His eyes were pale behind the hexagonal. Annixter's was an active and dramatic imagination. The little man who had seemed so ordinary began to take on a sinister shape in Annixter's mindBoth the moment he actually saw the little man again. 'Just a minuter' Annixter said. that maddening hiatus in his memory. that a little. chance-met citizen was walking blandly around somewhere with the last link of his. Let's go somewhere. he haunted bars and saloons. Craning his head to seeabove the crowd. he realized how absurd that was. He turned towards the exit as Annixter lunged for hexagonal spectacles the closing doors of the train. the celebrated James Annixter's play-the best thing he'd ever done-locked away in his head. 'I can't imagine what you want to talk to me about. It was uniust. but the face of the little man with hexagonalglasses did not see. his pepper-and-salt suit was so neat. not quite so ordinary as he'd seemed? Had he seen those advertisements.' The little man checked instantly. Annixter loved the little man like a brother. drawn from them tortuous inferences of his own? \$[as he holding back with some scheme for shaking Annixter down for a packet? The more Annixter thought about it. Annixter elbowed his way through. he rode for miles on buses and subway.

of concern to me and me only.' 'Thank heaven for that!' said Annixter. You say you've never seen me before. Annixter stared after him. I don't know and I don't care. weren't you?' 'I've never been drunk in my life. 'You had me going there.'he said. 'Then you won't have any difficulty in remembering the little point I want you to remember. and I don't want to.' 'You didn't seeme get hit by a taxi?'Annixter pursued. caught the little man by the arm. between his teeth. 'an impossibility. though. He's just someone I met"?' 'I don't know what you're talking aboutr' the little man said sharply. I want you to tell the story back to me-that's all I want! I don't want to know who you are. 'I'm sorryr' he said. 'Let me get this right. my impression is that you were dead sober. it's so damned silly! But it's about that p lay .' He turned and stared up the stairs. or anything about you. I'll give it to you. for a minute. since I never heard it. 'seemsevident. I'm sorry. then a rush of anger and suspicion swept away his bewilderment. Then you weren't at the Casa Havana on the 27th-somewhere between ten o'clock and midnight? You didn't have a drink or two with me. You may have some good reasonfor this act you're pulling on me. I have my reasonspersonal reasons. Good night. I'd go so far as to give you a share in the play! Annixter felt a faint anxiety.' Annixter kept an iron hold on himself. sure you're mistaking me for somebody else. He raced up the stairs. 'I may have been drunk. "He's not my friend.218 THE BOOK OF FANTASY had thinned. 'Look.' He grinned.'I was drunk that night-I . Do you mind taking your hand off me?' Annixter controlled himself. very drunk! But looking back. 'You didn't say to the hat-check girl. I thought-' 'I don't know what you thoughtr' 'But I'm quite the little man said.I just want you to tell me that story!' 'You askr' the little man said. 'I've never set eyes on you before. 'I've told your' the little man said. Annixter said. at Annixter. He made to turn away. 'Just a minuter' said Annixter. affairs. but Annixter gripped his arm again. You may have had some good reason for wanting to duck giving evidence as a witness of that taxi accident. 'Of course you can't. I never saw you before in my life. He said. 'I 'anything about your private don't knowr'Annixter said. shook his head. I haven't any idea what you're talking about. He stared blankly after the little man for an instant. The little man looked. tensely. You were. politely inquiring. He couldn't believe his ears. But it is an act! You are the man I told my play to! 'I want you to tell that story back to me as I told it to you.'Is it money? Is this some sort of a hold-up? Tell me what you want. and listen to an idea for a play that had just come into my mind?' The little man looked steadily at Annixter. but-' 'Thatr'the little man said. now. but there were still people going up and down the stairs. .' 'Play?' was very. Lord help me.

He wasgone.THE BLIND SPOT 2t9 That'll meanreal money. I And maybemayber'saidAnnixter.But the time he reached the street. works outwards-right? So he starts on the outside. He's drunk. \Uflas idea. perhaps. It was Ransome.though. stealhis play?By somewild chance the to did the little man nurture a fantasticambition to be a dramatist?Had he. works back inward. where he was beginningto feel better. below. I know. would be a laugh! That would be ironyHe took another drink. mister! Keep talking!' That wasa laugh. and Annixter washeavy.' said Ransome. racedup the stairs. where his mind was beginningto work.graduallyhad dawnedupon him. light. It was also the stage. How's that?' He swayed. leaning with his knuckles on the table. 'Look. He needed it. but he didn't notice the noise-till someone came up and slapped him on the shoulder.he's bottled-he'll haveforgotteneveryword of it by the morning! Go on! Go on. He wasa smallman. for years.' . Other thingsAnnixter forgot. and Annixter was beginning to reach had hexagonal the stagewhere he lost count of how many placeshe had had drinks in tonight.but neverin his life had he forgotten the minutest detail that was to his purpose as a playwright. To hell with him! Annixter had to fill in that blind spot himself. he's soused. Peoplewere hurrying down. becausea taxi had knocked him down. 'I'd need to think that out. He had quite a lot more drinks. unimportantthings. too! Eh?' 'You're insane drunk!' the little man said. Annixter took another drink. see? He wants to get it back-gotta get it back! Idea comes from inside. or t$(lith suddenmovement. He was on his own now. There wasn't any little man with hexagonal glassesto fill in that blind spot for him. He could imaginejust how the little man must havefelt as the quality of the play he was being told. Billr' Annixter said. He weavedand dodged amongthem with extraordinary celerity. 'Better have a little drink. The little man was gone. peddledhis preciousmanuscriptsin vain. He was gone as though he'd never been. with hiccups.there was no sign of the little man. Annixter thought. It was his fifteenth since the little man with the glasses given him the slip.A train a he was rumbling in. 'I've got to havethis.around the managements? to Had Annixter's play appeared him asa blinding flash of hopein the gathering darknessof frustration and failure: somethinghe had imaginedhe could safely it stealbecause had seemed him the randominspirationof a drunkard who by to morning would have forgotten he had ever given birth to anything but a hangover? That.Annixter wondered. Annixter stood up. struck by a suddenthoughtr'youknow it. 'This is mine!'the little man would havethought. because know my business. peering at Ransome. 'how about this? Man forgets an idea. Never! Except once. jerkedhis arm free. too-the ideathat Annixter would haveforgottenhis play by the morning. He had to do it-somehow! He had another drink. The bar was crowded and noisy.

but he didn't begin to read. once in a while. sir. 'I'll go and throw a few things into a bag.' who opened the door of his apartment to him. the woman who was afraid.' Annixter went into his big living-room-study. and the pillow was dented. stood frowning down at the untidy stack of yellow paper. for the door-and his apartment. he had reproduced the circumstances. 'I rather enjoy a quiet evening in.' said Joseph. he went into the hall. Annixter stared at him. He got at her with a knife-in a room with no windows. Room Blue by James AnnixterJoseph had evidently been lying on the bed. 'This is how she sat. his 'man. 'Good evening. so afraid that she had locked and bolted herself into a windowless room. 'Be seeingyou. Appropriate. the door remaining locked and bolted on the inside. It was a plain little room. had thought of that way. He had put his person in the position of the . he had conceivedit. I got work to do!' He started. opposite the door. the paper lay on the rumpled quilt. the decanter and glass and cigarette box on the table. and the cigarette box. He leaned back in the chair. some twenty minutes later. Thus laden. Annixter. smoking. The manuscript of his play lay on the desk. the decanter and a glass. It was joseph. he switched on the light. lighted a cigarette. walked acrossit to the door of Joseph's room. and the room was the only one in the apartment which had no window-both facts which made the room the only one suitable to Annixter's purpose. swaying a little. With his free hand. There was a bolt on the inside of this door. invented it-and forgotten it. He waited until he heard the outer door click shut behind Joseph. was a small table littered with shoebrushes and dusters.' said Joseph.' 'You got to get out of herer' said Annixter. Joseph opened the door while Annixter's latchkey was still describing vexed circles around the lock. the woman in his play. a sealed room. on a slightly tacking course. and went acrossand bolted the door. His idea had produced the circumstances. deliberately. How was it done?' There was a way in which it could be done. poured himself a drink. the door locked and bolted. 'I didn't tell you to stay in tonight. Yet he got at her. letting his mind ease into the atmosphere he wanted-the mental atmosphere of Cynthia. but Annixter noticed. He pulled the basket chair up to the table. Annixter.' 'I hadn't any real reason for going out. with a faint grin. sir. He. that the bedspread and the cushion in the worn basket chair were both blue. 'hqve thought it out!'He crammed his hat shapelessly to on his head. 'Thank you. he thought-a good omen.220 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Ir'said Annixter.Now. glassin hand. that he might think back to the idea.'Annixter told himself. sirr' Joseph explained. 'iust as I'm sitting now: in a room with no windows. then he gathered up his manuscript. reading the evening paper. Beside the head of the bed. He put his stack of manuscript. He helped Annixter off with his coat. Bill. sat down. Annixter swept this paraphernalia onto the floor.

All the money in the universe wouldn't have made that little man admit that he had seen Annixter before-that Annixter had told him the plot of a play about how to kill a woman in a sealed room! Why. 'I talked about "real" money!' That was a laugh. in whose body were found three knife wounds. Then he relaxed.the only danger.THE BLIND SPOT 22r victim. The other had made the play reality! 'And I actually. was the one person in the world who could denounce that little man! Even if he couldn't tell them. Annixter. Relax. Then he poured himself a drink. he could still put the police on the little man's track. He felt a strange senseof wonder. He must have been very frightened when he had read that the playwright who . Try again in a minute. Annixter sat unmoving. as a result. almost inevitably. then let the paper fall to the floor. so that they could trace him. He splashed himself a strong drink. He had almost recovered what he sought. It was a big one. He sat unmoving until the intensity of his concentration began to waver. His face was grey. pale man with the hexagonal spectacles. One. And once on his track. any of which might room the only door to which was locked and haztebeenfatal. 'Easy.' he warned himself. offered him a share!' Annixter thought.Rest.The only menace-as. The woman. was probably the only menace. of awe. his heart stopped. the doctor's estimatefrom the condition of the body as somenpelve ta fourteen days. At the first words that caught his eye. had conceived a murder play.he had told the little man the murder was to be committed. as thepolice kntus her to haae beena persistentand pitilessblackmailer. A queer thought-that he. he. He could describe him. then reached for the decanter. For a long time. Twelve to fourteen days? He could put it closer than that . The pulse was heavy in his head. with the dead woman. and he needed it. he had felt it close. Annixter. and no doubt shewent in continual fear of her life. that his mind might grapple with the problem of the murderer.' He looked around for something to divert his mind. the little man must know very well. tonight. He pressed the palms of his hands to his forehead for a moment. It was exsctb thirteen nightsago that he had sat in the Casa Haaana and told a little man with hexagonal glasses hous to kill a woman in a sealedroom! Annixter sat very still for a minute. of course. 'take it easy. just hm. the police would ferret out links. Theseelaborateprecautionsappear to haztebeen habitual with bolted on the her. had been on the very verge of it. They had both been kicked in the face by a woman. picked up the paper from Joseph'sbed. Apart from the unique problem set by the circumstanceof the sealed room is the problem of hma the crime could haoe gone undiscooered for so long a peiod. becausehe had forgotten. Twelve to fourteen daysAnnixter read back over the remainder of the story. was in a windousless inside. to the little prim. They had been in the same boat. he and the little man-thirteen nights ago. the whole apartment. It was very quiet: not a sound in the room.

The Satyricon.yet of identifiableas a kind of laughter.icy and wild panic. He was.into his back. with the door lockedand alonein the apartment-alone in a windowless bolted on the inside.Theonly information (Annals.That discovery had beenpublishedtonight and the little man had had a paperunder his armimagination. picked up ftri. Annixter'strail. betweenthe ribs. when he'd lost the little man'strail at It was. o/ which mtly a fat proseand aerse fragmentshaoesunsioed.' He must havebeenstill more frightenedwhen Annixter's advertisementshad begunto appear. It was too late. a deadly danger as from the moment the discoveryof the murder in the sealed room was published. And Annixter had sentJoseph out. because that moment the knife slid.of course. Annixter felt a sudden. He half rose. TheWoIf Caius Petronius Arbitrus. The fact was. He is theputatioe thewritings Tacitus of author of a major wnk of fiction. I fell in love with the wife of Terentius the innkeeper.BookXVI. precisely from tonight.but it was too late. XIX).now. Annixter had just remembered.when Annixter's hand feh hadfallen on hisshoulder? A curiousideaoccured. at his back. probableauthorof The Satyricon. He madeonly onesound*a queersound. the subway station. because the of inferences the little man must infallibly draw. thin and keen and at delicate. . we were living down a narrow street-Gavilla 6\\f/hen W owns the house now-and there as heaven would have it. Annixter's head bowed slowly forward until his cheek rested on the manuscript his play. It wasfrom tonight.V(/hat musthehazte tonight. XVIII. He was. I was still in service.222 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'superficial had beenknockeddown outsidethe Casa Havanahad only received iniuries. chapters XVII.it dawnedslowlyupon Annixter. to Annixter. Annixter's wasa lively and resourceful just in the cardsthat. the little man might have turned back. fatally.who lioed and dicd in the aboutthisauthorhascomc dausn via RomanEmpirein thefirst centuty. room. that he was a danger to that little man.indistinct.

and I fairly slaughtered the early morning shadows rill I arrived ar my girl's house. A wolf got into the grounds and went for all the livestock-it was a shambles. 'I was just like a ghost when I got in. rJ/e get to where the tombs are and my chap starts making for the grave-stones. my eyes were blank and siaring-I could hardly get over it. a friend in need is a friend indeed. you know. She made a penny. He was a soldier as it happened. ' "If you'd come a bit earlierr" she said. It came as a surprise to my poor Melissa to find Iid walked over so late. singing away. uo to them.*olf and afterwards I couldn't have taken a bite of bread in his company. After all.' 'I couldn't close my eyes again after I heard this. 'Luckily the master had gone off to Capua to fix up some odds and ends. Honest to god. But he didn't have the last laugh... he pissed a ring round his clothes and suddenly turned into a wolf. it was more becauseshe had such a nice nature. Anyway. Donit think I. If other people think differently about this.TI{E WOLF 223 all used to know Melissa from Tarentium. But I pulled out my sword. as I began to say.m joking. If I asked her for anything. f wouldn't tell a lie about this for a fortune. not if you killed me for it. But when it was broad daylight I rushed off home like the innkeeper after the robbery. I seized my chance and I talked a guest of ours into walking with me as far as the fifth milestone. If ever a man was dead with fright. and as brave as hell. I got half of it. it wasn't her figure or just sex that made me care for her. About cock-crow we shag off. even though he got away. he stripped off and laid all his clothes by the side of the road. I found nothing but bloodstains. But me-if I'm telling a lie may alr your guardian spirits strike me iown!' 'You . "at least you could've helped us. aftei he turned into a wolf. I looked in my mate's direction. and the moon was shining like one o'clock. 'At first I didn't know where I was. that'. when I got home. However. One of the slavesput a spear right through his neck.while I. *-. However.r. sits down and starts counring them. So I did my best ro get her by hook or by crook. Then prt. my soldier friend was lying in bed like a great ox with the doctor seeing to his neck. he started howling and rushed off into the woods. I stood there like a corpse. then I wenr up to collect his clothes-but they'd turned to stone. And when I came to the spot where his clothes had turned to stone. it was me. it was never refused. 'One day her husband died out on the estate. I practically gasped my last. the sweat was pouring down my crotch. My heart was in my mouth. I gave her what I had to look after and she never let me down. I realized he was . an absolute peach to look at.

pressed r rthe material with his fingers.. El estruendo de las rosas (19a5). who. Author of La espadadormida (i. He had been unable to be at the church. was his friend. Las leyes del juego (1959). taking him by surprise. being impeccable was a form of comfort. dark. or whatever it is . carefully closing the front door behind him. 'I don't know what you're talking about . a pair of bright earrings and a few other artificial miniature meteors glittered under the lights. a topaz ring. Satisfied. fantasies. His instinct had taught him to disdain the habit displayed by those who live in the capital of laughing at what they don't understand.TheBust Manuel Peyrou. The display cabinets in the room with the gifts exhibited expensive jewellery. It's got something of Blumpel aboutit. Satisfiedwell satisfied-he left. stopping in his tracks. In any case.' His nephew didn't answer. frowning. more than a relative. think it looks worst seenfrom the front. 'Don't tell me it isn't odd!'his nephew suddenly said. a dark presencein a place which is full of light things . A necklace of various different gemstonesdiffused a tiny rainbow on its red case in the background.He put on his blue coat and checked the overall effect. He went past the concidrges of the neighbouring houses and casually wished them good night. He checked whether the brooch he had chosen for his brand-new niece and the diamond cufflinks for the groom had pride of place. avoiding any small creases. his hair lightly streaked with silver. . . . It was the wedding day of his eldest nephew. He took a few steps towards it. His was an elegant silhouette. 'The bust . For instance. .' 'I don't know. despite his age: tall. so that there was a fold from the knot. but I think it's an intrusion. LTe tied the knot in his tie and. but it's not bad. but hoped to arrive at his sister's house before ten. For him. La noche repetida (1953). Argentine witer bom in San Nicolds de los Aroyos (prooince of Buenos Aires).. who gave it to you?' 224 . son.I don't think it's right that you should attribute to the author an intention he was probably far from having.' 'From the front? Which is the front?' He stoppedand frowned. walked around the 'I pedestalwhich supported the bust and said. 'I don't think it has a front. .' 'Fantasies.' he replied. a pleat in the middle.' He followed the youth's gaze and then approached.944). . he went forth in search of the new couple. as he tugged downwards to tighten it. 'Yes ir's peculiar . . You've always been very imaginative. . El rirbol de Judas (1961). Uncle. And you always forget the most important thing. He had been in the same room and not noticed his presence. Acto y Ceniza (te63).

' 'So it does. . 'Yes. I've not heard the name before.' Eduardo Adhemar remembered. I can't explain. as though he could make out fingerprints or any other trace simply by looking ar it. I only like it as a theory. He looked at his nephew with an ironic frown. he had always liked to be the arbiter of his relatives'decisions. 'And people have already seen it here . 'No.' His nephew was shocked by the bust. 'you could take advantageof the opportunity to do something original.THE BUST 225 'Here's the card. . 'I know! Send it to Olegario! He isn't here. . it says: "The man of this century". 'For example. present. 'Perhaps you didn't seeit becauseit was covered in dust. but I don't know how . 'Perhaps it's an old classmateyou've forgotten about?' he suggested. with his usual frown. and another with a prehensile tail-most useful in the forest. 'In any caser' he added. I prefer to imagine it in a dark street. Nature. .' 'Don't talk nonsenser' replied Adhemar. mysterious. Perhaps this is the man which might have been. they soon will . 'But for whom? Most of my friends are here and even if they haven't seen it. . like stilts. and another with long hair. The other four have remained a mystery. 'It's a form of provocation. . emerging from a carriage entrance. 'Haven't you seen this little bronze plaque?' he asked. who was very sensible when other people became imaginative.handing back the tiny rectangular card. Not that I seeit like that.it's good for a iust itr'replied Eduardo Adhemar. talking in barks and saying. I've checked the list I made before sending the invitations. And while you're at it. like a sheep.' Adhemar was a pleasant and educated dilettante. 'I hadn't noticed it. he would discourse superficially on anything and took pleasure in it. he turned it over and then looked at the front again. The name isn't on it.' Eduardo Adhemar looked at him calmly. unvarying tendernessrising. but they do not lack interest for that reason.' the young man replied. suddenly inspired. He felt his abundant. He didn't think it would go down very well if he gave it to anybody. I'm the rejected project for Man". But which century does it refer to? And whichever it is. . with two pairs of arms and the nose to one side. a shapelessbeing to our present concept. . '\Ufhy do you insist on seeing this bust from an aesthetic point 'I of view?' he asked.' he said. It's a perfectly uselessarticle . .' 'You would reply.' His excitement encouragedhis nephew. Look.' His uncle took the card and studied it carefully. "I see your kind at the club every night". 'I don't think you should do thatr' he said.' His nephew blinked at him. had five proiects for the horse and chose the one we know. take advantage of the gift too . Perhaps there was one with extremely long legs. . . say.' His uncle went up to the bust and looked at it close to. suggest you view it as something peculiar. but I don't like it. "Excuse me.' 'That's 'Because it's useless. I'd like to chuck it out. I don't like it. imagine a being who lacked the possibility of becoming real. 'I prefer the idea of the giftr' said his nephew.

' The sentence was unfinished because a bust.a very deserving man. He spaced our his social commitments and restricted himself to going to the club in the afternoon and sometimes at night.226 THE BOOK OF FANTASY He went to his farm yesterday and is getting married in a fortnight.\flhat had to be done in time? wondered Adhemar. Banfield's house. seemed to have had unforeseeable consequences. Perhaps that's why-probably for no other reason-he got a fright when he came face to face with the bust when going from one room to another. the young lawyer and politician. hardworking. He didn't know what. Judging by the few words he was able to make out. expressed with almost childish impatience his desire to see the presents. in the autumn. allowing no time for the introductions which were already pouring forth from the chairman's wife. which everyone nervously got rid of as soon as they received it. a habit. who was fast becoming one of the new names in the Traditional Party. . under the crystal chandelier. He turned up with his usual propriety. a novel tie-and his undoubtedly distinguished air. He greeted the hosts and the bride and groom. he went to another reception. He knew that the chairman.' t$(rhenEduardo Adhemar arrived a fortnight later at Olegario M. Adhemar. he had already forgotten the matter. when it was already summer. But the tyranny of business conventions didn't allow him to think up any excuses. A month later. The bust was in the centre of the large room. and that the owner of the house was going to introduce him enthusiastically to a number of rich bourgeois women. Two members were talking excitedly. Eduardo Adhemar attended two or three more weddings. a force. waiter went by rattling a tray of glasses. During the summer and later. . the company chairman's son was getting married. He felt a bit uncomfortable in the Banking and Stock Exchange environment. It was a single bust. But that idea was triumphantly refuted by Pedrito Defferrari Marenco. One afternoon he got to the lounge just at the end of a conversation amongst several friends. kept quiet. Unfortunately he wasn't on speaking terms with either of the gentlemen. and then. but decided to find out. At all of them he came acrossthe bust. an incident arising in a moment of joviality on his nephew's wedding day. which sometimessparkled in a light youthful displaya flower. The bust was in a corner of the room and yet seemedto be the centre of the lighting and ddcor. They had fallen out on the day of the renewal of the board. Adhemar greeted two or three people and left. a fashion. One unsettled night at the beginning of winter he was comfortably installed drinking his whisky and reading the paper when a conversation behind him made him sit up and listen. He decided to be alert during the next few days in casehe heard other allusions to the bust. He thought he understood that someonehad held that there existed several busts. having checked to his satisfaction that the presents received by the couple were not as expensive as those received by his niece and nephew. A trace of humour.He had set something in motion. . but with no background-boasted about being his friend. he realized they were talking about the 'Luckily they had time to . They climbed up a stairway bordered with baskets of flowers to the first floor. in a sort of dizzy state.

almosta shadow.because he went on he cameacross as him. whoseidentity had to be kept secretfor the time being. made him suspect that he also was being . the friend to whom his nephewhad given the bust. he analysedhis situation in detail-that a generous impulse. But two or three dayslater he noted with alarm that he beganto be interested in the fate of OlegarioBanfield. visit friends they had in commonin order to obtain details.like a conspirator. Only by comparisoncould he get a precisepicture. He thereforeresortedto a private investigationagency.Adhemarsmiledimperceptibly. one misty night when he was wandering around the Recoleta district. his of aspects his married life. Adhemarnoticeda hint of irony in the inspectoron two or threeoccasionsr. was preparing an enormousmoral and financial registerof the country.they had plenty of money and his profession as an engineer was the young man's fulfilled vocation. This spreadinfinitely complicatedthe investigations.THE BUST 227 for From then on he startedfeeling deeplyworried. After a few months. After talking about trivia relatedto the trip. Everythingwasfine. naturally thought of affairs of the heart. so he soonabandonedall considerations irrelevant to his routine work and cooperated most efficiently. his happiness. He started. without knowing about of their previous life.requestedreports. The problem was rather more difficult. becausehis friendship with Banfield was limited and there weren't many excuses seehim.he to invented innumerablesubterfuges and excuses find out everythingabout the to life of young Olegario and his wife. The couplehad not yet returned from a long trip to Europe and Adhemar suffered real anxiety during the weeks prior to their return. The latter.One afternoonhe invited the young man to havea whisky at the club. he got a fright. he understood-sitting in his usual armchair in the club. The reasons his disquiet did not respond to an egotistic feeling. It is normal for a gentleman of means to have an expensiveliaison and to yearn for relative faithfulness. the put the All the work.At first he found it difficult to overcomeInspector Molina's professionaldistrust. and was satisfied once again. his nephewand his wife werehappy. it But when the investigation had to extend to ten or fifteen newly created households. is alsonormal for him to try to obtain proof of that faithfulness. r$(/hen they finally arrived. profession. a large credit company. to nonetheless. wasto be donewith a view to creatinga file. was increasingly and silently taking over. In Adhemar himself decided to take action. an experiencedman. The inspectorfor his part receiveda considerable monthly instalment for his activities. starting from possession the bust. inspectorfinally accepted reasons forward by Adhemar. he carefully exploredthe topics which interested him. of course. The next few investigations turned out to be more peoplevirtually unknown to complicated. order to assistthe inspector. He started to think constantlyabout his nephew.but sincethe man carried out his work conscientiously immediatelyforgot about he that. For days and nights he held interviews. he had to restrainhimself for a few days. After some time Adhemar realized it was impossible to get a picture of somebody'slife. He achievedhis aim. the gentlemen explained. half-seenas he turned his face. A slight form.satisfied. although still hidden. followed unknown peoplealong the street for long periods.

rheumatism or whatever it was. His slight discomfort had turned into lumbago. Half an hour later he heard a knock and a messengercame in without waiting for a reply. darkness spread like spilt coffee and advanced into the bedroom. He spent the day in bed. The blood throbbed at his temples. his physical state and his energy had flagged over the past few weeks. He had never seen the name before. Bent double by the pain. he realized that his gathering was doomed. like a tide. Adhemar opened the letter and took out a card. handed him a letter and left. A sharp pain. A diet. having asked permission to go to the cinema. A few hours later. the latter explained. it was dead. He managed to quicken his step. did he have the right to prevent somebody spying on him? But he didn't think any more about it becausehe was very tired. made all movement impossible. He was struggling under a very heavy parcel. At nine o'clock that night he left. But when he woke up. he had seen it before: the night of his nephew's wedding. a feeling of horror was about to paralyse him. filled his chest and rose and rose. he had calmed down. the parcel was a dark shadow. For a month he continued his work. turned two or three corners unexpectedly-or what he thought was unexpectedly-and finally reached his house. fruitless effort to sit up. The following day was his birthday and he wanted to be well enough to receive his friends. Then he approached the bed. He returned to his flat in Calle Arenales and got into bed. Under the archway of the hall. Adhemar suggestedthat he leave the door aiar in caseany more friends turned up. on the card accompanying the bust! Anxiously. which he left on the hall table.228 THE BOOK OF FANTASY followed. He put the earpiece to his ear. a series of injections and he would be as good as new. a few presents also arrived. . In the next room. He had pried into the lives of others. he stretched out his arm and picked up the telephone. Yes. until an upset stomach and a slight stitch in his left side forced him to go and visit the doctor. reduced alcohol intake. A growing oppression. His manservant let in two or three friends who came to wish him well. It was nothing to worry about. unable to sit up. He made another painful. always with the feeling of being closely observed.

Amnican witen Bom in Bosnn in 1809. He accosted with excessive my me warmth. His The narrativeof Arthur Gordon Pym (/838).In this respectI did not differ from him materially: I was skilful in the Italian vintagesmyself. You.wasa quack-but in the matterof old wineshe was sincere.who reuioedthe gothicfantasy ganre.that I gaveutterance a threat. for he had beendrinking much. He had on a tight-fitting parti-stripeddress. I saidto him.and I havemy doubts.I continued. He had a weak point-this Fortunato-although in other regardshe was a man to be respected and evenfeared. I must not only punish. Tales of the Grotesqueand worksirrclu.The Coskof Amontillado diedin hospital Nmt York in in Edgar Allan Poe. It was about dusk.' 'How?' saidhe. I vowedrevenge. For the most part their is enthusiasm adoptedto suit the time and opportunity-to practiseimposture upon the British and Austrian millionaires. to smilein his face.At length to of my soul. 'My dearFortunatoryou areluckily met. Fortunato. to and he did not perceive that my smile nouwasat the thoughtof his immolation.I by was so pleased seehim that I thought I should never havedone wringing his to hand.He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. as influenced ConanDoyleandPaul Valry. thousand iniuriesof FortunatoI had borneas I bestcould. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit.It is equally unredressed fails to make himself felt as such to him who hasdone the wrong. A wrong is unredressedwhen when the avenger retribution overtakesits redresser. Eureka(1848). but when he I venturedupon insult. The man wore motley.this was a point definitively settled-but the very definitiveness with which it was resolvedprecludedthe idea of risk. that I encountered friend.de (IAS). TlLeinoentoraf thc crimefiction genre.aswasmy wont.and his headwassurmounted the conicalcapand bells. I would be avenged.h. but punish with impunity.The Ravenand Other Poems the Arabesque His workshaoebeen reproduced almostall tlrc othermedia. 'Amontillado?A pipe?Impossible!And in the middle of the carnival!' 229 . How remarkablywell you are looking today! But I have received a pipe of what passesfor Amontillado. (/839).like his countrymen. He 1849. who so well know the nature however. Tales(1845). one eveningduring the suprememadness the carnival of season. and bought largely wheneverI could. It must be understoodthat neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause doubt my good-will. witers asdiaerse Baudelaireand Chesterton. In painting and gemmary.will not suppose. in (ROME) tT.

'The pipe. as one sufficient.' He turned towards me. I had told them that I shouldnot return until the morning. followed. I has it is he. Luchesi-' 'I haveno engagement.' 'Amontillado!' 'As you areengaged. Amontillado!You have The been imposed upon. It is not the engagement.and stoodtogetheron the of damp ground of the catacombs the Montresors.at length.' 'And yet somefools will haveit that his tasteis a match for your own. bowed him through severalsuites of rooms to the archwaythat led into the vaults. corne.and the bells upon his cap iingled as he strode.'said I. and I was fearful of losinga bargain. 'It is farther on.let us go. no.230 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'I have my doubtsr' I repliedl 'and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consultingyou in the matter. and had given them explicit ordersnot to stir from the house.' 'Come. You were not to be found.-' 'Luchesi cannottell Amontilladofrom Sherry. nol I will not imposeupon your good-nature.I well knew. he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.' 'My friend. I took from their sources two flambeaus. nevertheless. and giving one to Fortunato. 'Nitrer' I replied. they had abscondedto make merry in honor of the time.' '\Thither?' 'To your vaults. And as for Luchesi. 'but observe white web-workwhich gleams from the thesecavernwalls.' 'Amontillado!' 'And I must satisfythem. 'How long haveyou had that cough?' . There were no attendantsat home.Theseorderswere disappearance.' 'My friend.Fortunato possessed himself of my arm. and looked into my eyeswith two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication. the severe but cold with which I perceiveyou are afflicted. They are encrusted with nitre. to insuretheir immediate soonas my back was turned. The vaults are insufferablydamp. The gait of my friend was unsteady.If anyone a critical turn.' said he. 'Nitre?'he asked. cold is merelynothing. am on my way to Luchesi. and drawing a roquelairecloselyabout my person.' Thus speaking. I passed requestinghim to be cautiousas he down a long and winding staircase.I sufferedhim to hurry me to my palazzo.I perceiveyou have an engagement.' 'Let us go. and all.' 'Amontillado!' 'I havemy doubts. He will tell me . Putting on a maskof black silk. \il(/e cameat length to the foot of the descent.

into the inmost recessesof the catacombs. 'were a great and numerous family.' 'How?' 'You are not of the masons. His eyes flashed with a fierce light.' 'A huge human foot d'or. beloved. it increases. 'Drinkr' I said. You are a will go back. presenting him the wine. 'It is nothingr' he said. the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel. indeed. it will not kill me. 'Then you are not of the brotherhood.It hangs like moss upon the vaults. The wine sparkled in his eyesand the bells iingled. 'see. we will go back ere it is too late. 'Not Ir' I replied.' Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand. 'You do not comprehend?'he said. He emptied it at a breath.. another draught of the Medoc. I shall not die of a cough.' 'I forget your arms.' I said. and I man to be missed. \Ufle are below the river's bed. He raised it to his lips with a leer. in a field azure. 'to the buried that repose around us.' 'The Montresors. Come. 'These vaultsr' he said.'he said. You are rich. 'the cough is a mere nothing.' He again took my arm. I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily-but you should use all proper caution. He repeated the movement-a grotesque one. admired. you will be ill. at last. 'and.' I replied. as once I was. Your cough-' 'It is nothingr' he said.' 'Good!'he said. Besides.THE CASK OF AIUONTILLADO 23r 'Ugh! ugh! ugh!-ugh! ugh! ugh!-ugh! ugh! ugh!-ugh! ugh! ugh!-ugh! ugh! ugh!' My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes. But first. \U7e cannot be responsible. with decision. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. He paused and nodded to me familiarly. 'I drinkr' he said. 'let us go on. 'are extensive. and we proceeded. For me it is no matter. respected. while his bells iingled.' 'True-truer' I replied.' I broke and reached him a flagon of De GrAve.' 'And I to your long life. with casks and puncheons intermingling. 'Come. 'we will go back. you are happy.' 'And the motto?' 'Nemo me impune laccessit. 'The nitre!' I said. I passed again. and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. there is Luchesi-' 'Enough. We had passed through walls of piled bones. I looked at him in surprise. your health is precious.' .

It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use within itself. In its sufrace were two iron staples. 'over the wall. arrived at a deep crypt. THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'yes. a few paces.Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see. piled to the vault overhead.' 'The Amontillado!' ejaculated my friend. Throwing them aside. 'But let us proceed to the Amontillado. I stepped back from the recess. A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. \fle passedthrough a range of low arches. producing a trowel from beneath the folds of my roquelaire. yes. stood stupidly bewildered. He leaned upon it heavily. descending again. 'Pass your hand. yesr'I said. Indeed it is zterydamp. in height six or seven. forming at one point a mound of some size. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power. you cannot help feeling the nitre. and again offering him my arm.' I said. while I followed immediately at his heels. distant from each other about two feet. 'It is this.232 'Yes. as he stepped unsteadily forward. in width three. 'herein is the Amontillado. passedon. endeavored to pry into the depth of the recess. 'the Amontillado. I soon uncovered a quantity of building . At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious.' I said. In an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche. 'A signr'he said. recoiling.' 'Be it sor' I said. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down. From one of these depended a short chain. Its walls had been lined with human remains.' I answered. \Tithdrawing the key. 'You jestr' he exclaimed. not yet recovered from his astonishment. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. and lay promiscuously upon the earth. 'Proceed. in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaus rather to glow than flame.' As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken. Throwing the links about his waist. ril(ithin the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones. replacing the tool beneath the cloak. in depth about four feet. and finding his progress arrested by the rock.' 'You? Impossible! A mason?' 'A masonr' I replied. He was too much astounded to resist. and. Once more let me implore you to return. it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. uplifting his dull torch. horizontally. \fle continued our route in search of the Amontillado. 'Truer' I replied. we perceived a still interior recess. and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite. It was in vain that Fortunato. descended. but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs. No? Then I must positively leave you. from the other a padlock. As for Luchesi-' 'He is an ignoramusr' interrupted my friend.

But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs. but the thought of an instant reasured me. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. \ilfith these materials and with the aid of my trowel. I reapproached the wall. seemed to thrust me violently back. It was now midnight.THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO 233 stone and mortar. There was then a long and obstinate silence. It was not the cry of a drunken man. during which. But is it not getting late? Sfill nor they be awaiting us at the palazzor-the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone. It was succeededby a sad voice. and finished without interruption the fifth. which I had difficulty in recognizing as rhat of the noble Fortunato. and the third. There came forth in return only a iingling of the bells. Unsheathing my rapier. \fhen at last the clanking subsided. \|7e will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo-he! he! he!-over our wine-he! he! he!' 'The Amontillado!' I said. A successionof loud and shrill screams. Against the . I re-echoed-I aided-I surpassed them in volume and in strength. and the fourth. For a brief moment I hestitated-I trembled. the Amontillado. I placed it partially in its destined position. threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within. 'let us be gone. I forced the last stone into its position. I again paused. 'for the love of God!' But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. The noise lasted for severalminutes. I ceasedmy labors and sat down upon the bones. and holding the flambeaus over the mason-work. I began to grope with it about the recess. I replied to the yells of him who clamored. and felt satisfied. and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. I did this. I called again'Fortunato!' No answer still. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. I resumed the trowel. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I had completed the eighth.' 'For the lozteof God. that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction. I laid the second tier. the sixth. Montresor!' 'Yesr' I said.' 'Yesr' I said. and the sevenrh tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventhl there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. 'He! he! he!-he! he! he!-yeS. I began vigourously to wall up the entrance of the niche. I hastened to make an end of my labor. and the clamorer grew still. and the tenth tier. I struggled with its weight. I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. the ninth. My heart grew sick-on account of the dampnessof the catacombs. I plastered it up.bursting suddenly from the throat ot the chained form. I grew impatient. I called aloud'Fortunato!' No answer. The voice said'Ha! ha! ha!-he! he! he!-a very good joke indeed-an excellent iest. and my task was drawing to a close.

Li Ndng. and then the magistrate. and now I shall not let you off.as as Strange Stories from a gradunte of ten years'standing. but we knoat that in 165l he ?L. stepped forward and said that he would. he was sorry for what he had done.on. But the old woman would not be comforted. he betook himself to the Ch'€ng-huang temple in the eastern suburb. and at length. Of this. This *. so the magistrate. falling on his knees. so collecting together these men. he proceeded to spend day and night among the hills in the hope of catching a tiger. or Lao Tse. however.' Li N6ng was at his wits' end. whereupon the \trflhenour *rtrrnt was immediately issued and the old woman went away. during which he received several hundred blows with the bamboo. who laughed and asked her how she thought the law could be brought to b. asked his attendants which of them would undertake the iob. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. and at length the magistrate lost his temper and bade her begone. thought . who AnaO an only son. as familiar in China a as the Arabian Nights. One day he went up to the hills and was eaten by a tiger. A month passedaway. where. promised her that he would have the tiger arrested. at a loss what to do.ded. in compassionfor her great age and unwilling to resort to extremities.r. The Tiger of Chao-ch'hng P'U Sung Ling rucs thc author of a huge colbction of talesand legends. Li N€ng. in a great fright. got sober. did not trouble himself much about it. she took no notice. Upon this one of them. By-and-by a tiger walked in. . and Li N0ng. and begged that he might be allowed to impress the hunters of the district. handing in the 'Not sor' cried the magistrate' 'you said warrant as if the arrest had been made. and thus making a show of having fulfilled his dutY.. Even then she would not go until the warrant had been actually issued. in despair. he prayed and wept by turns. A t Chao-ch'€ng there lived an old woman more than seventy years of age.234 THE BOOK OF FANTASY new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. who happened to be gloriously drunk. friend. With tears and lamentations she ran and told her story to the magistrate of the place. In pace requiescat. on a tiger. at which his mother was so overwhelmed with grief that she hardly wished to live.. Biogtaphical details are scanty. but reflecting that the whole thing was a mere trick of his master's to get rid of the old woman's importunities. His great work hasbeentranslated Chinese Studio. you could do this.

disappeared again.Then the peopleof that place built a shrinein honour of the Faithful Tiger.'The tiger againnodded gaveordersthat he shouldbe released. But the tiger took no notice of anything.But if now you will be as a son to her. thinking that the tiger ought to have paid with its life for the destructionof her son.' and.out rusheda tiger and sent them all running away in fear. wasableto purchase food. remaining seated in the doorway. your crime shall be pardoned. But the tiger merely went up to the mound. suffer me to bind thee with this cord. and was much better cared for than she had been even by her own son. that shebecame so quite rich. From that day this became commonevent. and allowing itself to be bound. The tiger drooped its ears. and accordinglythe magistrate at which the old womanwashighly incensed. drawing a rope from his pocket. Li N€ng then addressedthe animal as follows:. Next morning. threw it over the animal's neck.and sometimes a the tiger would evenbring her moneyand valuables.'That murderersshouldsuffer death haseverbeenthe law. upon which the tiger walkedin and roaredits lamentations the hall. assent. the therelay a deaddeerbeforeit. and after roaring like a thunder-peal.'O tiger. and giving no cause of fear either to man or beast.In a few yearsthe old womandied. followed Li N€ng to the magistrate's office. 'Did you eat the old woman'sson?' which to the tiger replied by nodding its head. this old womanhad but one son. remainingfor a wholeday at a time. Consequently. which often cameand to sleptin the verandah. when sheopened door of her cottage.THE TIGER OF CHAO-CH'ENG 235 he was going to be eaten alive. and by killing him you took from her the solesupport of her declining years. . Besides. andthe old woman. The latter then askedit.whereupon magistrate the reioined. became she very well-disposed the tiger. however. if thou didst slay that old woman'sson. saying.with all the in money she had saved.shewas able to have a splendidfuneral. However. and while her relativeswere standinground the grave. and it remainsthere to this day.by sellingthe fleshand skin.

it fell point downward. and sailed on.rippers.pincers. spear-shafts. scythes. augers and wimbles. mattocks. cartilages. scissors. How did they differ from beasts?They had skin. we reached Tool Island in less than two days. looked like a man or beast standing on his head.How WeAffiaed at the Islandof Tools Frangois Rabelais. poniards. as Theophrastus proved in his Treatise on Plants. Below another kind of tree-I don't know its name-I saw various speciesof tall grassesthat looked like pikestaves. Others bore daggers.glands.the coming of rain. spades. brains and articulation. partisan hafts.Supplicatio Topographiae l5e). pickaxes. adzes. I must add that these trees were in reality animals. the trees furnishing the appropriate blade for each wooden utensil. you. These trees. trowels. It was deserted land with a vast number of trees bearing hoes. lancehilts. veins. French satricalwriter. but existed and functioned none the less. wasa clqic wlw practised (1532' Franceand ltaly. branches)kicked out into the air.534). In order to convince you that Plato. it fell snugly to earth to meet a hollow stalk of scabbard-grass which enclosed it like a sheath. broadblades. their feet (i. Did you wish a tool or weapon. as carefully as fond mothers provide coats for infants ere they grow out of swaddling clothes. flesh. dirks. ligaments. knives and arrows. in your sciaticlegsand rheumatic shoulders. These grew all the way up to the trees' where heads. blades and hafts met. halberdshafts. Your very bones presage a change of weather. arteries. helves. marrow. 236 . trunks) grew downwards. You had to take care it did not land on your head. you had but to shake the tree: it fell at your feet like a plum. tf(/hat is more. It might thus seriously wound any one who was not sPry. These were not immediately apparent. humors. pruning bills. (1535) and La Sciomachie Apostasia ballasted our stomachs well. O my beloved venereals. died in Pais in France. handles and stakes. cutlasses. Anaxagoras and Democritus (no mean philosophers!) were right when they assigned intellect and feeling to plants. From leagueshence. tissues. points. shears. These trees differed from animals merely in that their heads (r. shovels. with IVfe W our main mizzen aloft. Born in Chinon about 1494. as in the caseof animals.a. He also (1549). on your foot or on any other part of your body. their hair (i. roots) was invisible.e. and weeks aforetime.He traoelled inoariouscitiesin southem medicine He 1553. if you will. scimitars. in other words. So these trees. since.e. steels. saws.feel. nerves. hatchets. to be sheathed properly. sickles. Mostfamous Pantagrueland Gargantua throughout extensioely for pro pubtishcd AntiquaeRomaeEpistola(/. the wind at our stern. knives. matrices. through root. wind and calm. bones.

God knows what people. too. died in 1916in lVorld \Var I in theassault Beaumont on Hamel. to put one'strust in the Lord is a noble thing! \Wereturned to the ships.doing God knows what. . His work includes The Riseof the Russian Empire (1900).A pikestaff.\Whentilfilliam Came(1913). but belonged to that more successful class of fighters who are pugnacious by circumstance.4). and in spite of his unaffected indiftbrence to women. H. I glimpsed.are subiectto error: evenNature is not exempt.but to a broom. and usually she had iust managed to come through winning. of Q vlvia Seltoun ate her breakfast in the morning-room at Yessney with a tJpleasant sense of ultimate victory. Munro). (What matter?That grotesque implementwould servethe pushingup from the ground. in the teeth of the cold hostility of his family.not to a metal head. sensedthe kind of staff growing beneaththem. Beasts The Stories Saki(1930). roseto meet a tool-bearingtree. producesdeformitiesand monstrosities. might betterto scourthe chimney. was indeed an achievementthat had neededsome determination and adroitness to carry through.Not So Stories(1902). all things.) Verily. Fate had willed that her life should be occupied with a series of small struggles.)A spearshaft. To be sure.with resultsI can describeonly as hermaphroditicin appearance. Englishwiter bornat Akyab.sinceNature. On our wty. 'Dead Mortimer' as his more intimate enemiescalled him. To have married Mortimer Seltoun. Burma.Beasts and Super(i. sap and guffi. and prepareda blade to suit it. behind God knows what bushes. and God knows how.which they held in God knows what place. TheMusic On TheHiU of Saki (pseudonym H. She was scarcely pugnacious by temperament.and wieldedto God knows what advantages . And now she felt that she had brought her hardest and certainly her most important struggle to a successful issue. (Very good: it would serveto trim treesand rid the meeta pair of gardenshears? gardenof caterpillars!) The haft of a halberdfound itself ioinedto the bladeof a ($0hy scythe. growing high aloft the earth. They were sharpeningGod knows what blades. yesterdayshe had brought her victory to its concluding stage . worry? It would do yeomanservicein the mowing season. and found itself accidentallyfastened. . Occasionally. God excepted. such as a fervent Ironside might have permitted himself on the morrow of \Worcester fight.THE MUSIC ON THE HILL 237 stock. usually with the odds slightly against her.9/. thesetreeswrought amiss.

that she ventured on a tour of inspection of the farm buildings. Her will-power and strategy had prevailed. Distrust of town-life had been a new thing with her. Mortimer would stay. One can understand what holds him to Town. but most of his children have been stillborn. who had joined her. Yessney throws almost as much a spell over him as Town does. And if you're wise you won't disbelieve in him too boastfully while you're in his country. and beyond its low hedge of neglected fuschia bushes a steeper slope of heather and bracken dropped down into cavernous combes overgrown with oak and yew. 'Other newer gods have drawn aside his votaries from time to time. 'one could almost think that in such a place the worship of Pan had never quite died out.' She was accustomed to nothing much more sylvan than looked on the country as something excellent and wholesome in its waY. which was apt to become troublesome if you encouraged it overmuch. but Yessney-' and the dowager had shrugged her shoulders. but it was at least something new and hopeful to hear Dead Mortimer speak with such energy and conviction on any subiect.238 THE BOOK OF FANTASY by wrenching her husband away from Town and its group of satellite wateringplaces and 'settling him downr' in the vocabulary of her kind. Sylvia smiled complacently as she gazed with a School-of-Art appreciation at the landscape. which the indulgent might call a lawn. 'It is very wild. and Sylvia. notwithstanding her name. with churns and flails and smiling dairymaids.' 'The worship of Pan never has died outr' said Mortimer. 'I've been a fool in most thingsr' said Mortimer quietly. 'leafy Kensington. but he is the Nature-God to whom all must come back at last. 'You will never get Mortimer to gor' his mother said carpingly. and did not like to hear her betiefs spoken of as mere aftergrowths. 'the and she had watched with satisfaction the gradual fading of what she called Jermyn-Street-look' in his eyesas the woods and heather of Yessney had closed in on them yesternight. 'but if he once goes he'll stay. then came a senseof furtive . As she wandered among the gaunt grey buildings of Yessney manor farm her first impression was one of crushing stillness and desolation.' It was not till a week later. There was a sombre almost savagewildness about Yessney that was certainly not likely to appeal to town-bred tastes. Outside rhe morning-room windows was a triangular slope of turf. In its wild open savagerythere seemeda stealthy linking of the ioy of life with the terror of unseen things. and teams of horses drinking knee-deep in tJuck-crowded ponds. 'but I'm not such a fool as not to believe in Pan when I'm down here. born of her marriage with Mortimer.' Sylvia was religious in an honest. when Sylvia had exhausted the attractions of the woodland walks round Yessney. in this remote wood-girt manor farm which was his country house. and then of a sudden she almost shuddered.'she said to Mortimer. vaguely devotional kind of way. He has been called the Father of all the Gods. as though she had happened on some lone deserted homestead long given over to owls and cobwebs. 'You don't really believe in Pan?' she asked incredulously. A farmyard suggestedin her mind a scene of cheerful bustle.

stole away under a gate at her approach. gigantic beyond the town-woman's wildest computation of swine-flesh. turning a corner quickly. Astretch in a pool of mud was an enormous sow. but people would think you dreadfully silly if they knew of it. and slipped out again as noiselessly when she had passed by. Contemptuous annoyance dominated her thoughts as she strolled slowly homeward. questing for food under a rick. she came to an open spacein a nut copse. 'I suppose it was your doingr' she observedf it's a harmless piece of lunacy. the same shadow of unseen things that seemedto lurk in the wooded combes and coppices. Sylvia felt that if she had come acrossany human beings in this wilderness of barn and byre they would have fled wraith-like from her gaze.' 'Then who was he?' asked Sylvia. It was a beautiful piece of workmanship. and as Mortimer appeared to have no theory of his own. brown and beautiful. and then gave way to a sharp feeling of something that was very near fright. At last. she started suddenly at a strange sound-the echo of a boy's laughter. when questioned. Jan. I suppose.THE MUSIC ON THE HILL 239 watchful hostility. From a distant corner a shaggy dog watched her with intent unfriendly eyes. with unutterably evil eyes. It was not till she had reached the house that she discovered that she had dropped the bunch of grapes in her flight. she came upon a living thing that did not fly from her. all pathways round Yessney were lonely for the matter of that. farm and woods and trout-streams seemedto swallow him up from dawn till dusk. following the direction she had seen him take in the morning. across a thick tangle of undergrowth a boy's face was scowling at her. From behind heavy doors and shuttered windows came the restless stamp of hoof or rasp of chain halter. she passedon to recount her finding of the votive offering. in the centre of which stood a stone pedestal surmounted by a small bronze figure of a youthful Pan. a tow-headed.' 'Did you meddle with it in any way?' asked Mortimer. . Once.' 'A reasonabletheoryr' said Mortimer. A few hens. and she sped forward without waiting to give a closer scrutiny to this sudden apparition. It was a lonely pathway. The memory of that untraceable echo was added to her other impressions of a furtive sinister 'something' that hung around Yessney. the only boy employed on the farm. wizen-faced yokel. 'only there aren't any gipsies in these parts at present. 'I saw youth a in the wood todayr' she told Mortimer that evening. knew of no other probable or possible begetter of the hidden mockery that had ambushed Sylvia's retreat. further shut in by huge yew trees. but her attention was chiefly held by the fact that a newly cut bunch of grapes had been placed as an offering at its feet. and at times a muffled bellow from some stalled beast. A gipsy lad. and Mortimer. and speedily alert to resent and if necessaryrepel the unwonted intrusion. but a scoundrel to look at. As she threaded her way past rickyards and cowsheds and long blank walls. It was Sylvia's turn to make an unobtrusive retreat. was visibly at work on a potato clearing half-way up the nearest hill-side. Grapes were none too plentiful at the manor house. as she drew near it slipped quietly into its kennel. 'brownfaced and rather handsome. Of Mortimer she saw very little. and Sylvia snatched the bunch angrily from the pedestal. golden and equivocal.

fitful piping. Sylvia could presently seea dark body. and she grew tense with the excited sympathy that one feels for any hunted thing in whose capture one is not directly interested. the sea. and give a wide berth to the horned beasts on the farm. She had left the piping notes behind her. A low. The ram who fed in the narrow paddock below the orchards she had adjudged. As to the horned cattle. and sinking again and again out of sight as he crossedthe combes. It seemed so silly. and there seemed to be some subtle connection between the animal's restless pacing and the wild music from the wood.' But the music of the pack seemedto have died away for a . it had carried her on to ground that she was already anxious to quit. for the from corner to usually tranquil beast was roaming with every sign of restlessness corner of his meadow. however. 'I 'All the samer' said Mortimer in his even. and the hunted deer sometimes came that way.' said Sylvia.' Her victory had not been so complete as she had supposed. And at last he broke through the outermost line of oak scrub and fern and stood panting in the open. but you seeI don'tr' retorted Sylvia.' she thought. but acrossthe wooded combes at her feet the wind brought her another kind of music. 'I don't think you will ever go back to Town. 'I've heard it said that the Wood Gods are rather horrible to those who molest them.To Sylvia's surprise. while behind him steadily swelled that relentless chorus. for she had always regarded them as of doubtful neutrality at the best: her imagination unsexed the most matronly dairy cows and turned them into bulls liable to'see red' at any moment. Mortimer's warning was scarcely needed.' 'Horrible perhaps to those that believe in them. to be of docile temper. today. and thence make his way towards the red deer's favoured sanctuary. watching Mortimer's impassive face for a sign of annoyance. dispassionatetone. under my very eyes. of course. the straining bay of hounds in full chase. He seemedto be paraphrasing his mother's prediction as to himself. should avoid the woods and orchards if I were you. was coming from the depth of a neighbouring copse. 'the hounds will pull him down heather. she decided to leave his docility untested. Yessney was just on the outskirts of the Devon-and-Somerset country.'I think we will go back to Town some time soon. 'Mortimer.' It was all nonsense. Sylvia turned her steps in an upward direction and climbed the heatherclad slopes that stretched in rolling shoulders high above Yessney. His obvious course was to drop down to the brown pools of Undercombe. but in that lonely wood-girt spot nonsense seemed able to rear a bastard brood of uneasiness. as of some reedy flute. he turned his head to the upland slope and came lumbering resolutely onward over the 'It will be dreadful. breasting hill after hill. however.' said Mortimer. after ample and cautious probation.240 'I-I THE BOOK OF FANTASY threw the grapes away. 'I don't think you were wise to do thatr'he said reflectively. Sylvia noted with dissatisfaction and some self-contempt that the course of her next afternoon's ramble took her instinctively clear of the network of woods.'said Sylvia suddenly. a fat September stag carrying a well-furnished head.

(1914). and she had come to tell him that and say good-bye before he left her. the thick heather roots mocked her scrambling efforts at flight. but her eyeswere filled with the horror of something she saw other than her oncoming death.919). His ship was to sail the next day. 'Drive it off!' she shrieked. a human figure stood a few paces aside. And in her ears rang the echo of a boy's laughter. The path slanted widely up the field from the orchard gate to the site under the elder tree. Years afterwards. George \(/aring waited for her there. And then with a quick throb of joy she saw that she was not alone. The huge antler spikes were within a few yards of her. gentle face. Harriott Leigh went out.$YHERE THEIR FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED 241 moment. But the figure made no answering movement. She had made the latch slip into its notch without a sound. seeming to come from the bushes at her very feet. and in its place she heard again that wild piping. and sleek. his black-blue eyes. Englishwritn. The Divine Fire (1904). as though urging the failing stag to a final effort. his flanks dark with sweat. and in a flash of numbing fear she remembered Mortimer's warning. and she looked frantically downward for a glimpse of oncoming hounds. the acrid smell of the hunted animal was in her nostrils. olive-brown hair. hot. and watched him swing stiffly upward. wine-scent of the elder flowers.and Mary Oliver (/. now on that. Sylvia stood well aside from his path. bomin Cheshire 1865. The pipe music shrilled suddenly around her. . and at the same moment the great beast slewed round and bore directly down upon her. TheirFire Is l{ot Quenched Where in in diedat Aylesbury 1946. which rose now on this side. Years afterwards. half hidden in a thick growth of whortle bushes.The Three Sisters was nobody in the orchard. The antlers drove straight at her breast. knee-deep in the whortle bushes. golden and equivocal. like a poet's or a musician's. He was a naval lieutenant. carefully. when she thought of George \trfaring she smelt the sweet. fhere I through the iron gate into the field. In an instant her pity for the hunted animal was changed to wild terror at her own danger. when she smelt elder flowers she saw George \faring. Yesterday he had asked her to marry him and she had consented. with his beautiful. to beware of horned beastson the farm.Authorof May Sinclair. the coarse hair on his neck showing light by contrast. But her father hadn't.

'He'll be back in three monthsr' she said. living. the whole length of the Park. We're quite old. 'And I shall be seventeenin September. They kissed. could see Stephen Philpotts the very minute he came through the side door. He won't let us. Harriott. There was something wrong with the engines of his ship. If she married Stephen she would not be unfaithful. and the sweet. It was the place he always chose to read his poems aloud in.' He pressed her close. 'He's a perfect beast. pressed close together.' But he never came back.' 'I was twenty last Augustr' he said. we might be dead. At the end of the left arm.his darkness and sallow whiteness. Across the yellow fields of charlock they heard the village clock strike seven. Up in the house a gong clanged. He says we're too young.242 THE BOOK OF FANTASY He was eager and excited. double gates and a side door. that anything he didn't want to happen could happen. on her stone seat at the back of the pavilion. \7hen you came to the middle they branched off right and left in the form of a cross. There were elder bushes in flower at the back of the pavilion. Three weeks later she went down in the Mediterranean. really. He couldn't believe that anything could stop their happiness. It was not as though Stephen were taking George'splace. and Harriott throught of George t$flaring. under the elder tree. struggling with her tears. in an unearthly way. He had asked her to wait for him there. and five more. and George with her. Harriott said she didn't care how soon she died now. wine-scent of the elder flowers mixed with their kisses. '\J7ell?' he said.' She put her arms round him to make him feel safe.Stay fioe minutes. But her body quivered like a stretched wire when the door opened and the young man came towards her down the drive under the beech trees. aggrieved. she loved his slenderness. She loved Stephen with her soul. 'Oh stay. while Harriott went along the fieldpath. She knew what he was going to say. How long doeshe mean us to wait?' 'Three years. and at the end of the right arm there was a white stucco pavilion with pillars and a three-cornered pediment like a Greek temple. It lasted five minutes. She was quite sure it would be soon. slowly. 'I can live through three month. Then he was running fast down the road to the station. She told herself that George was nearer to her now than he could ever have been. the west entrance to the Park. the Alexandra. Five years passed. 'Darling. She loved him.' 'And this is June. hot. George. The poems were a pretext. becauseshe couldn't live without him. I must gor' she said.' 'Three years before we can be engagedeven-\ufhy. a broad green drive between. And she knew what she would answer. because she loved him with another part of herself. . They srood. The two lines of beech trees stretched on and on.

why. To which he had answered savagely:'I needn't. ashamedand beaten. sitting very straight in her chair. stone-cold and stiff. till I knew it was all right. And she was sorry for him. Shefelt that her momentwascoming. Once it was forgotten. as if his feet were lifted with wings.' And she. She lived there ever since her father's death two years before. the way his black hair swept back from his forehead. Harriott Leigh sat waiting in the drawing-room of a small house in Maida Vale. she couldn't. hanging his head. squaring his broad shoulders to meet the blow. Harriott-do you know what it's like to be "Uilhy. after she had sent him away yesterday. that no. it had come. She told herself she had been unnecessarily hard. She could seeherself. the way he walked.' Her lips parted.Did you?' Her voicecamestammering. tiptoe. she oughtn't to let him come to her again. I don't quite know how to begin. . she couldn't forget he had a wife. terribly happy?' She knew. ashamedand beaten. She was restless. the moment before he told her. that he must think of Muriel. She had shown him plainly what she meant. If she really meant what she had said then. Today she meant to ask him to forget what he had said to her. uplifted by a passionateintegrity. She sat there. Shepantedlightly. 'I wanted to seeyou alone because there's somethingI must say to you. Oscar. serenely. nothing would make her change her mind.' 'Do you mean it?' 'Yes. withgreat dignity: 'And for the look of the thing. we must leave off seeing each other. the hour that Oscar \$7adehad appointed. Oh. listening to his raptures. she had let him come to-day.WHERE THEIR FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED 243 his black eyes lighting up with the intellectual flame. I didn't meanto. while he stood before her. Ten years passed. 'You've heardme speakof Sybill Foster?' 'N-no. t$(/e only live together for the look of the thing. Her motives were not altogether clear. he must seethat she couldn't. they could go ono being friends as if nothing had happened. I only heardyesterday. She was not sure that he would some.' 'Heard what?' that she'll haveme. 'Vell. We must never seeeach other again. He sat down besideher. She kept on looking at the clock to see if it was four. \flhy shouldn't they seeeach other again. when she had sent him away yesterday. Stephen. She could see him. Never again. she could feel again the throb in her voice as she kept on saying that she couldn't. . Pleasego. That's all over. Shecould seehis handstremble. . She had known iust now.' And he had gone then. now he understood where they must draw the line? Until yesterdaythe line had never been very clearly drawn. listening to her own voice saying she was glad. She now asked herself. .

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It was four o'clock. Half-past. Five. She had finished tea and given him up when, between the half-hour and six o'clock, he came. He came as he had come a dozen times, with his measured, deliberate, thoughtful tread, carrying himself well braced, with a sort of held-in arrogance, his great shoulders heaving. He was a man of about forty, broad and tall, leanflanked and short-necked, his straight, handsome features showing small and even in the big square face and in the flush that swamped it. The close-clipped, reddish-brown moustache bristled forwards from the push-out upper lip. His small, flat eyes shone, reddish-brown, eager and animal. She liked to think of him when he was not there, but always at the first sight of him she felt a slight shock. Physically, he was very far from her admired ideal. So different from George \0flaring and Stephen Philpotts. He sat down, facing her. There was an embarrassedsilence, broken by Oscar \7ade. 'rJ7ell, Harriott, you said I could come.' He seemed to be throwing the responsibility on her. 'So I suppose you've forgiven mer' he said. 'Oh, yes, Oscar, I've forgiven you.' He said she'd better show it by coming to dine with him somewhere that evening. She could give no reason to herself for going. She simply went. He took her to a restaurant in Soho. Oscar Wade dined well, even extravagantly, giving each dish its importance. She liked his extravagance.He had none of the mean virtues. It was over. His flushed, embarrassedsilence told her what he was thinking. But when he had seenher home, he left her at her garden gate. He had thought better of it. She was not sure whether she were glad or sorry. She had had her moment of righteous exaltation and she had enjoyed it. But there was no joy in the weeks that followed it. She had given up Oscar \fade becauseshe didn't want him very much; and now she wanted him furiously, perversely, because she had given him up. Though he had no resemblanceto her ideal, she couldn't live without him. She dined with him again and again, till she knew Schnebler's Restaurant by heart, the white panelled walls picked out with gold; the white pillars, and the curling gold fronds of their capitals; the thick crimson velvet cushions, that clung to her skirts; the glitter of silver and glass on the innumerable white circles of the tables. And the facesof the diners, red, white, pink, brown, grey and sallow, distorted and excited; the curled mouths that twisted as they ate; the convoluted electric bulbs pointing, pointing down at them, under the red, crinkled shades.All shimmering in a thick air that the red light stained as wine stains water. And Oscar's face, flushed with his dinner. Always, when he leaned back from the table and brooded in silence she knew what he was thinking. His heavy eyelids would lift; she would find his eyes fixed on hers, wondering, considering.

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She knew now what the end would be. She thought of George !flaring, and Stephen Philpotts, and of her life, cheated. She hadn't chosen Oscar, she hadn't really wanted him; but now he had forced himself on her she couldn't afford to let him go. Since George died no man had loved her, no other man ever would. And she was sorry for him when she thought of him going from her, beaten and ashamed. She was certain, before he was, of the end. Only she didn't know when and where and how it would come. That was what Oscar knew. It came at the close of one of their evenings when they had dined in a private sitting-room. He said he couldn't stand the heat and noise of the public restaurant. She went before him, up a steep, red-carpeted stair to a white door on the second landing. From time to time they repeated the furtive, hidden adventure. Sometimes she met him in the room above Schnebler's. Sometimes, when her maid was out, she received him at her house in Maida Vale. But that was dangerous, not to be risked too often. Oscar declared himself unspeakably happy. Harriott was not quite sure. This was love, the thing she had never had, that she had dreamed of, hungered and thirsted for; but now she had it she was not satisfied. Always she looked for something iust beyond it, some mystic, heavenly rapture, always beginning to come, that never came. There was something about Oscar that repelled her. But becauseshe had taken him for her lover, she couldn't bring herself to admit that it was a certain coarseness.She looked another way and pretended it wasn't there. To iustify herself, she fixed her mind on his good qualities, his generosity, his strength, the way he had built up his engineering business. She made him take her over his works, and show her his great dynamos. She made him lend her the books he read. But always, when she tried to talk to him, he let her see that that wasn't what she was there for. 'My dear girl, we haven't timer' he said. 'It's waste of our pricelessmoments.' She persisted. 'There's something wrong about it all if we can't talk to each other.' He rvas irritated. 'Woman never seem to consider that a man can get all the talk he wants from other men. vhat's wrong is our meeting in this unsatisfactory way. t$(/e ought to live together. It's the only sane thing. I would, only I don't want to break up Muriel's home and make her miserable.' 'I thought you said she wouldn't care.' 'My dear, she cares for her home and her position and the children. you forget the children.' Yes. She had forgotten the children. She had forgotten Muriel. She had left off thinking of oscar as a man with a wife and children and a home. He had a plan. His mother-in-law was coming to stay with Muriel in October and he would get away. He would go to Paris, and Harriott should come to him there. He could say he went on business.No need to lie about it; he ftad business in Paris.

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He engaged rooms in an hotel in the rue de Rivoli. They spent two weeks there. For three days Oscar was madly in love with Harriott and Harriott with him. As she lay awake she would turn on the light and look at him as he slept at he side. Sleep made him beautiful and innocent; it laid a fine, smooth tissue over his coarseness;it made his mouth gentle; it entirely hid his eyes. In six days reaction had set in. At the end of the tenth day, Harriott, \U7hen returning with Oscar from Montmartre, burst into a fit of crying. Saint Pierre was too hideously questioned, she answered wildly that the Hotel ugly; it was getting on her nerves. Mercifully Oscar explained her state as faifuu. following excirement. She tried hard to believe that she was miserable becauseher love was purer and more spiritual than Oscar's; but all the time she knew perfectly well she had cried from pure boredom. She was in love with Oscar, and Oscar bored her. Oscar was in love with her, and she bored him. At close quarters, day in and day out, each was revealed to the other as an incredible bore. At the end of the second week she began to doubt whether she had ever been really in love with him. Her passion returned for a little while after they got back to ['ondon. Freed from the unnatural strain which Paris had put on them' they persuaded themselvesthat their romantic temperaments were better fitted to the old life of casual adventure. in Then, gradually, the senseof danger began to wake in them' They lived chances of discovery. They tormented p.rp.to"ifear, face to face with att the have ihemsetvesand each other by imagining possibilities that they would never It was as though they were beginning to considered in their first fine momenrs. all ask themselvesif it were, after all, worth while running such awful risks, for if he had been free he would have married they go out of it. Oscar still swore that n.r. U. pointed out that his intentions at any rate were regular. But she asked over herself: \fould I marry him? Maniage would be the Hotel Saint Pierre all But, if she wouldn't marry him, was again, without any poisibility of escape. he wasn't she in love with him? That was the test. Perhaps it was a good thing were morbid, and that the question free. Then she told herself that these doubts wouldn't arise. Muriel was One evening Oscar calted ro seeher. He had come to tell her that ill. 'seriously ill?' 'I'm afraid so. It's pleurisy. May turn to pneumonia. \7e shall know one way or another in the next few daYs.' pleurisy; and if A terrible fear seized upon Harriott. Muriel might die of her Oscar. He was looking at her queerly, as Muriel died, she would have to marry had if he knew what she was thinking, and she could seethat the same thought too' occurred to him and that he was frightened Muriel's life Muriet got well again; but their d"t g.t had enlightened them' to them both; she stood between them and that was now inconceiv.bly pr..ious

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perrnanentunion, which they dreadedand yet would not have the courageto refuse. After enlightenmentthe rupture.
It came from Oscar, one evening when he sat with her in her drawing-room. 'Harriott,' he said, 'do you know I'm thinking seriously of sertling down?' 'How do you mean, settling down?' 'Patching it up with Muriel, poor girl . . . Has ir never occured to you that this little affair of ours can't go on forever?' 'You don't want it to go on?' 'I don't want to have any humbug about it. For God's sake, let's be s6aight. If it's done, it's done. Let's end it decentlv.' 'f see. You want to get rid of me.' 'That's a beastly way of putting it.' 'Is there any way that isn't beastly? The whole thing's beastly. I should have thought you'd have stuck to it now you've made it what you wanted. \U(hen I haven't an ideal, I haven't a single illusion, when you've destroyed everything you didn't want.' '\$7hat didn't I want?' 'The clean, beautiful pan of it. The part I wanred.' 'My part at least was real. It was cleaner and more beautiful than all that putrid stuff you wrapped it up in. You were a hypocrite, Harriott, and f wasn,r. You're a hypocrite now if you say you weren't happy with me.' 'I was never really happy. Never for one moment. There was always something I missed. Something you didn't give me. perhaps you couldn't.' 'No. I wasn't spiritual enoughr' he sneered. 'You were not. And you made me what you were.' 'oh, I noticed that you were always very spiritual afta you'd got what you wanted.' '\$fhat I wanted?' she cried. 'Oh, my God-' 'If you ever knew what you wanted.' '\u[hat-I-wantedr' she repeated, drawing out her bitterness. 'comer' he said, 'why not be honest? Face facts. I was awfully gone on you. You were awfully gone on me-once. rVe got tired of each othei and it's over. But at least you might own we had a good time while it lasted.' 'A good time?' 'Good enough for me.' 'For you, because for you love only means one thing. Everything that's high and noble in it you dragged down to that, till there" ttoihing teft for us but that. That's what you made of love.' Twenty years passed. It was Oscar who died first, three years after the rupture. He did it suddenly one evening, falling down in a fit of apoplexy. His death was an immense relief to Harriott. Perfect security had been impossible as long as he was alive. But now there wasn't a living soul who knew her secret.

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Stilt, in the first moment of shock Harriott told herself that Oscar dead would be nearer to her than ever. She forgot how tittle she had wanted him to be near her, alive. And long before the twenty years had passed she had contrived to persuade herself that he had never been near to her at all. It was incredible that she had ever known such a person as Oscar \[ade. As for their affair, she couldn't think of Harriott Leigh as the sort of woman to whom such a thing could happen. Schnebler's and the Hotel Saint Pierre ceasedto figure among prominent images of her past. Her memories, if she had allowed herself to iemember, would have clashed disagreeably with the reputation for sanctity which she had now acquired. For Harriott at fifty-two was the friend and helper of the Reverend Clement Farmer, Vicar of St. Mary the Virgin's, Maida Vale. She worked as a deaconess in his parish, wearing the uniform of a deaconess,the semi-religious gown, the cloak, the bonnet and veil, the cross and rosary, the holy smile. She was also secretary to the Maida Vale and Kitburn Home for Fallen Girls. Her moments of excitement came when Clement Farmer, the lean, austere likeness of Stephen Philpotts, in his cassockand lace-bordered surplice, issued from the vestry, when he mounted the pulpit, when he stood before the altar rails and lifted up his arms in the Benedictionl her moments of ecstasywhen she received the Sacrament from his hands. And she had moments of calm happiness when his study door closed on their communion. All these moments were saturated with a solemn holiness. And they were insignificant compared with the moment of her dying' She lay dozing in her white bed under the black crucifix with the ivory Christ. The basins and medicine bottles had been cleared from the table by her pillow; it was spread for the last rites. The priest moved quietly about the room, arranging the candles, the Prayer Book and the Holy Sacrament. Then he drew a chair to her bedside and watched with her, waiting for her to come up out of her doze. She woke suddenly. Her eyes were fixed upon him. She had a flash of lucidity. She was dying, and her dying made her supremely important to Clement Farmer. 'Are you ready?' he asked. 'Not yet. I think I'm afraid. Make me not afraid'' He rose and tit the two candles on the altar. He took down the cruci{ix from the wall and stood it against the foot-rail of the bed' She sighed. That was not what she had wanted' 'You will not be afraid now,'he said. .I,m not afraid of the hereafter. I suppose you get used to it. Only it may be terrible iust at first.' ,Our first state wi1 depend very much on what we are thinking of at our last hour.' 'There'll be my-confession,' she said. .And after it you will receive the Sacrament. Then you will have your mind your fixed firmly upon God and your Redeemer . . . Do you feel able to make confession now' Sister? Everything is ready.'

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Her mind went back over her past and found Oscar \flade there. She wondered: Should she confess to him about Oscar \7ade? One moment she thought it was possible; the next she knew that she couldn't. She could not. It wasn't necessary. For twenty years he had not been part of her life. No. She wouldn't confess about Oscar \$flade. She had been guilty of other sins. She made a careful selection. 'I have cared too much for the beauty of this world . . . I have failed in charity to my poor girls. Becauseof my intense repugnance to their sin . . . I have thought, often, about-people I love, when I should have been thinking about God.' After that she received the Sacrament. 'Now,' he said, 'there is nothing to be afraid of.' 'I won't be afraid if-if you would hold my hand.' He held it. And she lay still a long time, with her eyes shut. Then he heard her murmuring something. He stopped close. 'This-is-dying. I thought it would be horrible. And it's bliss . . . Bliss.' The priest's hand slackened, as if at the bidding of some wonder. She gave a weak cry. 'Oh-don't let me go.' His grasp tightened. 'Try,'he said, 'to think about God. Keep on looking at the crucifix.' 'If I lookr' she whispered, 'you won't let go my hand?' 'I will not let you go.' He held it till it was wrenched from him in the last agony. She lingered for some hours in the room where these things had happened. Its aspectswas familiar and yet unfamiliar, and slightly repugnant to her. The altar, the crucifix, the lighted candles, suggestedsome tremendous and awful experience the details of which she was not able to recall. She seemed to remember that they had been connected in some way with the sheeted body on the bed; but the nature of the connection was not clearl and she did not associate the dead body with herself. r$(/henthe nurse came in and laid it out, she saw that it was the body of a middle-aged woman. Her own living body was that of a young woman of about thirty-two. Her mind had no past and no future, no sharp-edged, coherent memories, and no idea of anything to be done next. Then, suddenly, the room began to come apart before her eyes, to split into shafts of floor and furniture and ceiling that shifted and were thrown by their commotion into different planes. They leaned slanting at every possible angle; they crossed and overlaid each other with a transparent mingling of dislocated perspectives, like reflections fallen on an interior seen behind glass. The bed and the sheeted body slid away somewhere out of sight. She was standing by the door that still remained in position. She opened it and found herself in the street, outside a building of yellowishgrey brick and freestone, with a tall slated spire. Her mind came together with a palpable click of recognition. This object was the Church of St. Mary the

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THE BOOK OF FANTASY

Virgin, Maida Vale. She could hear the droning of the organ. She opened the door and slipped in. She had gone back into a definite space and time, and recovered a certain limited section of coherent memory. She remembered the rows of pitch-pine benches, with their Gothic peaks and mouldings; the stone-coloured walls and pillars with their chocolate stencilling; the hanging rings of lights along the aislesof the nave; the high altar with its lighted candles, and the polished brass cross, twinkling. These things were somehow permanent and real, adiusted to the image that now took possession of her. She knew what she had come there for. The service was over. The choir had gone from the chancel; the sacristan moved before the altar, putting out the candles. She walked up the middle aisle to a seat that she knew under the pulpit. She knelt down and covered her face with her hands. Peeping sidewaysthrough her fingers, she could see the door of the vestry on her left at the end of the north aisle. She watched it steadily. Up in the organ loft the organist drew out the Recessional,slowly and softly, to its end in the two solemn, vibrating chords. The vestry door opened and Clement Farmer came out, dressed in his black cassock. He passed before her, close, close outside the bench where she knelt. He paused at the opening. He was waiting for her. There was something he had to say. She stood up and went towards him. He still waited. He didn't move to make way for her. She came close, closer than she had ever come to him, so close that his features grew indistinct. She bent her head back, peering short-sightedly, and found herself looking into Oscar \(ade's face. He stood still, horribly still, and close, barring her passage. She drew back; his heaving shoulders followed her. He leaned forward, covering her with his eyes. She opened her mouth to screamand no sound came. She was afraid to move lest he should move with her. The heaving of his shoulders terrified her. One by one the lights in the side aisles were going out. The lights in the middle aisle would go next. They had gone. If she didn't get away she would be shut up with him there, in the appalling darkness. She turned and moved towards the north aisle, groping, steadying herself by the book ledge. \U(/henshe looked back, Oscar \fade was not there. Then she remembered that Oscar \trfade was dead. Therefore, what she had seen was not Oscar; it was his ghost. He was dead; dead seventeenyears ago. She was safe from him for ever. \[hen she came out on the steps of the church she saw that the road it stood in had changed. It was not the road she remembered. The pavement on this side was raised slightty and covered in. It ran under a successionof arches. It was a long gallery walled with glittering shop windows on one side; on the other a line of tall grey columns divided it from the street. She was going along the arcadesof the rue de Rivoli. Ahead of her she could

The revolvingglass crossed grey. she staircase. Shefelt him moving about in there. sultry vestibuleunder the pillared arches. To the right and left were the long raking lines of the hills. That was the porch of the her. to At the corner. quick and blind. where the corridor turned by the window. The revolving doors caught her and pushed her out into the srreet. barrier of the clerk's bureauon her night. Sheturned and ranl her kneesgaveway under her.foreign corridor lit by a dull window at one end. So now she thought: If I could only go back and get to the place where it hadn't happened. by the window. wine-coloured. she doorsswungforward to receive Hotel SaintPierre. It was there that the horror of the placecameon her. and into the long. There wasa sharp-pointed streakof light at the top. But there was somethingthere. She was aware of things happening and about to happen. A blank wall. The road dropped to the green valley. curve after curve. Something had happened there. she fixed them by the place they occupied. Mary's Church. She the pen on her left. Shecould seethe number on it now.They were coming from the bed to the door. and cameup on to a landing that sheknew. and measured their duration by the space she went through. deliberate. This third corridor was dark and secretand depraved. shesankand ran on. the left. She leanedforward. past the latticeddoorsof the lift. ash-grey. the end of all the corridors. and to the right againwhere the night-light splutteredon the table-flapat the turn.She knew the soiled walls.and listened. All space and time were here. but she had forgotten altogether what it was like. wine-coloured.and the warpeddoor at the end. she turned down another long ash-grey corridor on her right. that it had no time.If shewent the other way shewould escape The corridor stoppedthere. It mounted the humped bridge over rhe river. Oscar\ilade wasin the room waiting for her behind the closeddoor. her ear to the key-hole. Beyond it she saw the twin gables of the grey house pricked up over the . climbed the endless shemadestraightfor the greatgrey carpeted flights that turned round and round the caged-inshaft of the well. mahogany shining. To get back fartherShe was walking now on a white road that went between broad grass borders. she Sheremembered had to go to the left. Shehad no longer any memory of St. a hunted beastseeking for cover. She was driven back past the stairhead the left. shimmering in a thin mist.She knew it. down the long grey corridors and the stairs. at it. If shewenr in it would happenagain. so that shewasunawareof her backwardcourse through time. hearing his feet coming after her.WHERE THEIR FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED 25r seerhe edgeof an immensegrey pillar jutting out.thoughtful footsteps. She remembered dimly that there had once been a thing called time. and the mahogany knew the porter's shining.Shecould hear the measured. The strange quality of her state was this. 107.

looking up and down the road. She must get back to the place where she was younger still. and she was about to cover it up again when she was aware of a light heaving. with its one black window blinking under its vine. And now she was in a large.' past the post office. grey garden wall. Suddenly she broke away. and from the high bridge of the nose ro the chin. his big chest rising and falling. in a cold. She ran towards it through the village. She lifted the sheet and folded it back acrossthe breast of the dead man. but not young enough. under the Park walls. turned and ran. The outline of the sheet sank from the peak of the upturned toes ro the shin bone. the eyes opened. The tall iron gate stood in front of it between the balltopped stone pillars. to the Park and the green drive under the beech trees and the white pavilion at the cross. to where the south gate made a delicate black pattern on the green grass. stretched out in the middle under the drawn white sheet. stilled and smoothed in the innocence of sleep. on his back with his hands folded on his waist. pat the grocer's shop. The dead face frightened her. She knew how to find it. each held there by the other's fear. These things appeared insubstantial. If she could get further back she would be safe. The dead body. Then the body drew itself forwards from the hips and sat up. It was her father's bed. She was standing before the wide double bed. over the bridge and up the hill and acrossthe downs she would come to the arcadesof the rue de Rivoli and the dreadful grey corridors of the hotel. his mouth half open. They opened out. not knowing by which way she must go to escapeOscar. She would be safe. out of Oscar's reach. out of the house. the south gate stood there at the top looking down the narrow street. floated pat and away from her. the broad ends of the fingers appeared above the edge. its eyespeering into her eyes. To the left the road went through the village. She remembered how he used to lie like that beside her in the room in the Hotel Saint Pierre. At the end of the village the high road ran right and left. past the church and the yew-trees in the churchyard. fascinated. She stood at the gate. out of the room. a rhythmical rise and fall.252 THE BOOK OF FANTASY high. Standing by her farher's death-bed she had been young. pitiless joy. clutching it to keep it down. the hands under it began to struggle convulsively. Oscar was dead. east and west. the whole face stared back at her in a look of agony and horror. low-ceilinged room with drawn blinds. As she drew the sheet up tighter. past the long grey barns of Goodyer's 'Queen's farm. drawn back behind a sheet of air that shimmered over them like thin glass. If he was dead. She stared at it. past the yellow front and blue sign of the Head. and instead of the high road and park walls she saw a London street of . The face she saw then was Oscar lilflade'sface. it would never happen again. he and she remained for an instant motionless. was her father's body. To the right. The mouth opened. the supreme innocence of death.

'Come.\''HERE'IHEIR FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED 253 dingy white fagadesand instead of the south gate the swinging glass doors of Schnebler'sRestaurant. . We can't. moving mechanically. She came to him. above her. It dropped. and she saw Oscar Vade's face. she could almost feel the vibration of its power. thoughtful tread. but not here. And go on.' 'Ended for ever. she knew the sprawling stain on the drab carpet by the table. and he leaned to her over the table. where a man sat alone. And go on.' 'Ended there. At the top of the flight she found the white door of the room she knew.' She ate and drank with him in silence. and she was not sure of the upper part of the face above the straight. nibbling and sipping slowly. turning and turning in it like beastsin a cage. inimical.' And she went before him. she sat down beside him. Anything but thar. We must. she could feel the warmth of his red. Ve've done with it for ever.' . dragged. At last they stood still. the smell of wine floated towards her on his thick whisper. 'There couldn't be any other end to it-to what we did. she at the door. drawn edge. and jaw. the white pillars and their curling gold capitals. the gilt looking-glass over the chimney-piece that reflected Oscar's head and shoulders grotesquely between two white porcelain babies and bulbous limbs and garlanded loins. 'It's no good your getting away like thatr' he said. The table napkin he was using hid his mouth. She swerved from it. the shabby. We must. hearing behind her Oscar's measured. \U7e've got to begin again. That's whar we're here for. uneasy. . the length of the room between. His long bulk stood before her. red-carpeted staircaserose up before her. the flushed faces of the diners. no. but he turned her back. staving off the abominable moment it would end in.' 'Oh.' '\$flecan't. The scenebeat on her with the hard impact of reality: the white and gold panels. slowly. and chest. They moved about the room. 'You know the wayr'he said. Don't you remember how it bored us?' 'Remember? Do you supposeI'd touch you if I could help it . She knew the long windows guarded by drawn muslin blinds.' 'rifle haven't. The glass doors swung open and she passedinto the restaurant. No. deliberate. The steep. he at the window. glittering. infamous couch behind the screen. congested face.' 'But that aras ended. She was driven forward by some irresistible compulsion to a table in the corner. 'I knew you would come. At last they got up and faced each other.' 'There isn't anything else. 'Comer' he said. avoiding each other. without power to resist. slipping out through the mazeof the tables. the white circles of the tables.

' 'Time enough to talk about immortality when we're dead . moving slowly. Their with intolerable reluctance. She could feel on her lips and in all her body excitement of her Youth. . went suddenty her knees sank under her. \(hen she passed through she south gate her the Hotel Saint suddenly young and clean. he came towards her. of thi drive where it branched right and with its pediment of a cross. No.254 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'No. She him. they stretched them out towards rose slowly. to where flowers came to her waited for her under the elder tree. oh. back. She had seen him coming. ir. watching that Stephen would come in bY. She had got away' she was going back.rr. and pillars. to the where he would the Park. but what's that in an immortality?' 'Immortality?' 'That's what we're in for. young. But the man \$(/ade' before her between the pillars of the pavilion was Oscar the orchard And now she was watting along the fietO-path that slanted from young George \Taring door to the stile. Ah-' They were being drawn towards each other acrossthe room. She was Harriott Leigh herself' a slender Philpotts in the pavilitn opposite the west gate. ih. forgot Schnebler's Restauttttt and the room at the going to wait for Stephen She was back in her youth. like figures in some monstrous and appalling dance. At the end of the right arm the white Greek temple. heavy Their feet each other. Harriott. all her being and terror. Sn* forgot the rue de Rivoli and top of the stairs' pierre. skimming The door was pushed open. as if they held up an overpowering weight' dragged and were drawn. she shut her eyes. she beat on it with her hands. further and further back. gleamed against the wood' the side door She was siiting on *reir seatat the back of the pavilion. I shall get away-now. down before him in darkness green drive of It was over. The smell of the elder the sweet. She gave a cry. innocent over the field. their heads thrown back arms over their shoulders. She could feel great beech trees' The figure moving fast over the grassbetween the lines of the freshnessof her yguth was upon her' left in the form Slie came to rh. George?' . 'George. between thgbeech trees' whereOscar had never been. aching. 'stephen!' who stood It had been Stephen. . 'You can'tr' he said. memory became never find her.' 'Oscar-what did you do that for?' '\(/e always did it.' She turned to the door to oPen it. If you got out now you'd only have to come back again' you might stave it off for an hour or so. Don't you remember?' She turned to the door again and shook it. their facesturned from the horrible approach. 'The door's locked. 'It's no use. light and rose up to meet between the beeih uees with his eager. tiptoeing stride.

rffe're in hell.. keeping even with her. 'Life doesn't go on for ever. flesh loathing spirit. Their arms hung by their sides. 'I shall get awayr' she said. Don't you know what this iJ Don'r you know where you are? This is death. We shall lie here together. the elder tree. one sin repeated for ever.' 'Die? vle have died. Every path brings you back to me. 'Oscar-how long will it last?' 'I can't tell you. and the field floated away from her. and George \ilfaring's? you?' 'Because I did take them. But the man who stood waiting for her under the elder tree was Oscar rUflade. 'And. She was . Harriott. unescapable boredom of immortality. \ffe're not quite dead yet. Their passion weighed on them with the unbearable.ve life in us to turn and run and get away from each other. \Ifle shall have no need to look for each other. I shall go with you.' 'Never. you were what you were to be.' 'But how did you get here?' 'As I got into the pavilion. as long as we. You'll find me at every turn. And presently there was grey pavement under her feet and a row of grey pillars on her right hand. You think the past affects the future. this time. 'I told you it's no use getting away. as long as we can escape into our memories.s nothing beyond it-t$/hen there's no memory but this'In the last hell we shall not run away any longer. 'In the last death we shall be shut up in this room. t$fe shall be one flesh and one spirit. There can't be anything worse than this.' 'Your love for me was part of it. behind that locked door. the south gate and thi village. $fle're dead. step by step. on to his death bed. or the eternity of one moment. rJTe shall die.d.' 'This isn't the worst. Has it never struck you that the future may affect the past? In your innocence there was the beginning of your sin. My love for them was innocent. But when you've got back to the farthest memory of all and there. so fast that even ioined God can't put us asunder. How could you take my father's place. and everl spirit loathing flesh. slinking close to the right-hand row of trees. She was going under the beech trees down the Park drive to*. and tree by tree. BecauseI zlas there.' 'Yes.' The stile. I am in all your memories.' 'It must end some dmer' she said.' 'My memories are innocent. you and I loathing each other. They were sitting together now on the edge of the dingy white bed.*rr. we shall find no more roads.. no more passages'no more open doors. As I got into your father's room. together. heavy and limp.' . and Stephen's. their heads drooped. averted. that Oscar Wade was going with her under the left-hand row. I don't know whether rftis is one moment of eternity. Harriott. for ever and ever. They were watking side by side down the rue de Rivoli rowards the hotel.IVHERE THEIR FIRE TSNOT QUENCHED 255 As she went along the field-path she had seen him.

A _$r. something that frightened her. She was walking along a garden path between high borders of phlox and larkspur and tupin. and when that cloth shall be finished the world will be no more. An ash-grey door instead of an iron gate. their flowers swayedand nodded above her head. She had gone back so far that she was a child again. Gold-fish swam in the olive brown water. The walk led her out through a yew hedge on to a bright green lawn. she had the blank innocenceof childhood. In the middle of the lawn there was a shallow round pond in a ring of rockery cushioned with small flowers. She pushed it open and came into the last corridor of the Hotel Saint Pierre. and adds Gaggar Allum was the cloth sansistah one thread yearly of line pearls. The old one with the white scaleswould come up first. to be blank and innocent. She knew what she would find there. They were taller than she was. pushing up his nose.\UT. making bubbles in the water. which weaves itself. there was nothing beyond it.256 THE BooK oFFANTASy 't$fhy?\il(rhy?' shecried. her mother was in the orchard. She said to herself then that she was safe. Something was different here. was to be safe. SKEAT . She tugged at the tall stems and had no strength to break them. without memory. ltself TheClothwhichWeaaes mong the sacred obiects belonging to a sultan of Menangcabow named kallah. to go small under the heads of the lupins. 'Because that's all that's left us. At the bottom of the lawn there was a privet hedge cut by a broad path that went through the orchard. She would lift her up in her arms to play with the hard red balls of the apples that hung from the tree. it blotted out the room. yellow and white and purple. She had got back to the farthest memory of all. There would be an iron gate in the wall of the orchard. She was a little thing. She would be safe when she saw the gold-fish swimming towards her. It would lead into a field. That's what vou madeof love. To be a child.' The darkness came down swamping.

'that there is nothing in charity essential to the soul. scicntist Author of and mystic.h. he sat at his table. and Men in London (1932). This omission being remarked by the angels.Swedenborg bem translated eightyeasterfl western has into and languages.Last and First Men (1930). and think they are still in the natural world.' He spoke with great assurance.Swedish theologian.De Coeloet Inferno Daedalus Hyperboreus (1758). (This happens to most newcomers in eternity upon their first arrival-it is why they are ignorant of their death. the desk with its drawers.unsuspecting that he was dead and that his lot lay outside Heaven. As soon as Melancthon awoke in this new abode.) All the things in his room were similar to those he had had before-the table.Last in 1950. and each was constantly faced with many possible courses. they departed. Since in every evolutionary sequenceof the cosmos there were very many creatures. and the combinations of all their courseswere innumerable. angels told me that when Melancthon died he was provided with a house I deceptively like the one in which he lived in this world. (1716). ThesaurusBibliorum Embelaticus Allegoricus et (1859-68). they sent messengersro question him.Englishutopianandearlyscience fiction writer. an infinity of distinct universes exfoliated from every moment of every temporal sequencein this cosmos. Bom in i.died Authoro/A Modern Theory of Ethics(1915). Philosophy Living (1939). it took them all.887.EconomiaRegni Animalis (1704). A Theologian Death In Emmanuel Swedenbory (1688-1772). and spent severaldays writing-as usual-on iustification by faith alone. 'I have proved beyond refutationr' Melancthon replied to them. whenever a creature was Iseveral possible courses of action. and that to gain salvation faith is enough. ApocalysisRevelata(1766). the shelvesof books. took up his literary work.StarMaker (1937). tT.History Uniztersal Wiltiam Olaf Stapledon. 257 . thereby creating many distinct temporal dimensions and distinct histories of the cosmos. \(Ihen the angelsheard him say these things. without so much as a single word on charity. faced with Jn one inconceivably complex cosmos.

and his inkstand. and was allowed to return to his former room. and soon discovered that the other rooms no longer matched those of his old house in the natural world. and the floor with a yellow glaze. but he felt shame at being found in so run-down a lodging. the table. One evening. but he went on writing about faith while denying charity. Locked up for a few days. but its doors and windows opened onto vast sandbanks. . t$(/hatis more. another had shrunk so small that entrance was impossible. but he tried hard to convince himself that what had iust happened to him was no more than a hallucination. He was now clad in a hairy skin.258 THE BOOK OF FANTASY After a few weeks. He began examining the house. One was cluttered with instruments whose use he did not understand. He wondered at these changes. In order to have them believe he was in Heaven. where he is now a kind of servant of demons. This was becausethe pageshad been written without conviction. the walls of the room became encrusted with lime. until at last there was nothing left but the armchair. the furnishings in his room began to fade away and disappear. and was so persistent in this exclusion that he was suddenly transported underground to a kind of workhouse. and he went back to extolling faith and belittling charity. but since some of the visitors were faceless and others seemeddead he ended up hating and distrusting them. It was at this point that he decided to write something concerning charity. where there were other theologians like him. Melancthon felt cold. leaving the former plaster and draftiness. One of the rooms at the back of the house was full of people who worshipped him and who kept telling him that no theologian was ever as wise as he. a third had not changed. the paper.Melancthon's own clothes were now much coarser. Melancthon received many visits from persons newly dead. The moment his visitors had gone-and sometimes a little before-these adornments vanished. who tricked the company with appearancesof peace and splendor. These praises pleased him. Melancthon fell to doubting his doctrine. The only difficulty was that what he wrote one day he could not seethe next. The last I heard of Melancthon was that the magician and one of the faceless men had taken him away into the sand hills. he hired a neighboring magician.

\U7hen uncle was unable to dissuade the him. Unfortunately.rprovince. 'Five yearshavepassed and they will no longer be angry with us. or Ch'ienniang. got up and calledout: '\Whois it.' Ch'ienniang rejoiced and they made ready to go back with their children. their love grew day by day. youth embarked one afternoon.shewasan only child and spentall her time with her cousin.d. he supplied the youth with funds along with some presentsand offered him a farewell banquet. torn betweenlove and filial piety. 259 . She had also fearedthat. an intelligent and handsome youth. was the only personaround who did not notice. a public official in Hunan fh'ienniang \. And so she had defied general disapproval and parentalwrath and had now cometo follow him whereverhe might go. he said he would accept\il7ang Both the young peopleheardand markedthe promise. He invented somepretext or other and told his uncle that he must go to the capital. Ch'ienniangr' came the reply. In a desperatestate. sinceChangYi both loved Chu as his son-in-law. that her father had beenuniust. The two cousinshad grown up togetherand. Let us go home. and onenight sheconfessed anxiety to \7ang her Chu. But Wang Chu could not fall asleep. Chang Yi. and approvedof the boy. heedless forgetful of his earlierpromise. he might have been driven to suicide. Surprised and overioyed he brought her aboard. some time around midnight he heard footsteps He approaching. Shehad a cousinnamedVang Chu. Five yearsof happiness passed.TheEncounter (618-906a. But there was no news of Ch'ienniang's family and every day she thought of her father. The happily re-united pair thereupon continued the iourney on ro Szechwan.) A talefrotn the T'ang Dynasty was the daughter of Chang Yi. \DfangChu did not leave off moaning throughout the feastand wasmore than ever determinedto go awayrather than persistin a hopeless love affair. He orderedhis sailorto tie up so that they might rest. and that shecould not resignherselfto their separation. It wasthe only cloud in their happy sky. and she bore Wang Chu two children. nearly died of grief. she 'You havethe heartof a good daughterand I will standby your'\$fangChu told her. her father. he had sailed only a few miles when The night fell. Because was an only daughtershe felt guilty of a gravefilial impiety. walking aboutat this hour of the night?' 'I. The father.consented. the young man fell into such despairthat he resolvedto leavethe district rather than watch his mistress married to anotherman. She told him that she had hoped and expectedto be his wife. One day a young public official askedChangYi for his daughter'shand. And the day came when they were no longer children and their relations grew intimate. finding himself alonein a strange land. Shedid not know whetheror not her parentswerestill alive.

The pilgrims lay on deck. of Russia's and Ann Kareninaas well as manycollections stoies of celebrated authoro/\7ar and Peace andfolk tales. Struck with wonder.' 'But I have told you the truth. the maids-in-waiting returned to the parental house. and now seemed freed of her ill.' Chang Yi did not know what to think and sent two maids-in-waiting to see Ch'ienniang. Chang Yi gazed upon him with amazement and said: '\7hat are you talking about? For the past five years. Her parents were overioyed. and begged his pardon. in a coma. For more than forty years \7ang Chu and Ch'ienniang lived together in happiness. The wind favourable and the weather fair. Ch'ienniang has been lying in bed. he could feel his heart pounding. or sat in groups talking to one another. she made her way towards the ship. beautifully gowned and radiant. She has not gotten up once. The two met on the river-bank. At the same time. The voyage was a smoooth one. and . made his obeisance. and as he was pacing up and down he noticed a group of men standing near the prow and listening to a fisherman. The ThreeHermits greatest is one witers and philosophers. the girl on the ship began walking toward the house. Iflang Chu told Ch'ienniang: 'Ve cannot tell in what state of mind we will find your parents. knelt down. came on deck. 'She is well. the sick girl had heard the news. There was a new light in her eyes.'said !(Iang Chu. to avoid commentaries. Meanwhile. so that only one Ch'ienniang remained. who was pointing to the sea and telling them something. eating. Let me go on alone to find out. the Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910). she asked them to convey her fondest greetings to her parents. and on the Asame vessel were a number of pilgrims on their way to visit the shrines at that place.260 THE BooK oF FANTAsy When the ship reached their native city. They found her seated aboard ship. The Bishop stopped. Smiling and without a word. too.'At sight of the house. where Chang Yi's bewilderment increased. but they ordered the servants to keep quiet. and awaits us on board the ship. \trflang Chu saw his father-in-law. as youthful and lovely as ever. There they embraced and the two bodies merged. She rose from her bed and dressed in front of her mirror. I Bishop was sailing from Archangel to the Solovdtsk Monastery. The Bishop.

The second is taller but he also is very old.' 'And did they speak to you?' asked the Bishop. they helped him mend his boat. he turned my boat over as if it were only a pail. 'For the most part they did everything in silence. and met an old man standing near it. pointing to a spot ahead and a little to the right. He is stern. and a bit to the left. The oldest one only said: "Have mercy upon usr" and smiled. and muttered something as if he were angry. 'Tell me about them. in the distance. a tradesman. and has a beard as white as snow and reaching to his knees. One of them would iust give a glance. however.' And the fisherman related how once. rather bolder than the rest. \(lhat were you pointing at?' '\7hy. as he wandered abut the island. but never chanced to see them myself till the year before last. He wears a priest's cassock and is very old.' The Bishop looked carefully. that little island you can just see over therer' answered the man. 'Do not let me disturb you. That is the island. and then the tall one was quiet. 'I had long heard tell of them. 'I came to hear what this good man was saying. and spoke but little even to one another. he took off his cap and was silent. 'That is the island where the hermits live for the salvation of their souls. 'On is a small man and his back is bent. 'I cannot see itr' he said. not knowing where he was. The third is tall. 'And what are they like?' asked the bishop. there is just a faint streak. but he is always smiling. but the oldest one took his hand and smiled. In the morning. 'But who are the hermits that live there?' 'They are holy menr' answered the fisherman. He could see nothing. and the others would understand him. he came acrossan earth hut.' 'There. Do you seethat little cloud? Below it. going to the side of the vesseland seating himself on a box. and after having fed him and dried his things. with over-hanging eyebrows. The rest of the people also took off their caps and bowed. I asked the tallest whether they had lived there long.' 'rWhere is the island ?' asked the Bishop. if you will pleaselook along my hand. but his unaccustomed eyes could make out nothing but the water shimmering in the sun. but the sea glistening in the sunshine. I should say. and he wears nothing but a piece of matting tied round his waist. Before I had time to help him. friendsr' said the Bishop. He is a strong man. He frowned. He drew nearer to listen. he had been stranded at night upon that island.THE THREE HERMITS 261 looked in the direction in which the man was pointing. Presently two others came out. he must be more than a hundred. peasant coat.' 'The fisherman was telling us about the hermitsr' replied one. He wears a tattered. I should like to hear. His beard is broad.' . when he was out fishing. He is so old that the white of his beard is taking a greenish tinge. but when the man saw him. and his face is as bright as an angel's from heaven. 'Vhat hermits?' asked the Bishop. and of a yellowish grey colour. He too is kindly and cheerful. 'I see nothing.

and the ship's course was set for the island.'said he.' The Bishop took the telescope. Then. all The passengers collected at the prow.' said the tradesman. 'There. he left the prow of the vessel. and the sails furled. \U7henthey came within a stone's throw. 'but we should lose much time. I have heard say that they are foolish old fellows. A chair was placed at the prow for the Bishop. while we anchor here. now you can seeit plainly. and he sat there. Pleaselet me have a boat. There was a ierk. The Bishop looked. Fishermen say they have seen them. and one very small and bent. so the order was given.' said the Bishop. 'It's right enough. we must ask you to go in the boat. 'I should like to see these hermits. your Lordship. who understand nothing and never speak a word. 'Could I not be rowed ashore?' The captain tried to dissuade him. and then a mud hut was seen. pointing with his hand. The sailors trimmed the sails. a shorter one. Having looked at it a while. the anchor cast. You had better speak to the captain. standing on the shore and holding each other by the hand.' 'I wish to see them. if your Lordship will pleaseto look. but I don't know if it's true. 'How could I manage it?' 'The ship cannot get close to the islandr' replied the helmsman. the oarsmen jumped in. and the vessel shook. 'but you might be rowed there in a boat. after looking through it.' The captain was sent for and came. the steersman put up the helm. and going to the stern. a little to the right of that big rock. and the Bishop descended the ladder and took his seat. And if I might venture to say so to your Lordship. 'and I will pay you for your trouble and loss of time. the old men are not worth your pains.262 THE BOOK OF FANTASY t$trhile the fisherman was talking. 'The vessel can get no nearer in that this. your Lordship. a boat having been lowered.' 'I should like to land on the island and seethese menr'said the Bishop. the ship had drawn nearer to rhe island. Those who had the sharpest eyes could presently make out the rocks on it. 'has no name. and he saw the three men: a tall one. and now he really saw a dark streak-which was the island. If you wish to go ashore.' There was no help for it. asked the helmsman: '\$fhat island is that?' 'That oner' replied the man. and gazedat the island. looking ahead. but of course they may only be spinning yarns. There. The captain turned to the Bishop. There are many such in this sea.got it into position. The men putled at their oars and the boat moved rapidly towards the island.' The cable was quickly let out. any more than the fish in the sea. they saw three old men: a tall one with only a piece of matting tied round his waist: a shorter one in a tattered peasant coat' and a . 'Of course it could be done.' said the Bishop.' 'Is it true that there are hermits who live there for the salvation of their souls?' 'So it is said. There are three men standing on the shore. handed it to the Bishop. At last one man saw the hermits themselves. The captain brought a telescope and.

You have won my affection. telling them of God the Father. That is not the way to pray.' continued the Bishop. and he gave them his blessing. all three raised their eyes to heaven. 'But you do not pray aright. The first hermit repeated. The very old hermit. but the way in which God in the Holy Scriptures has commanded all men to pray to Him.' And when the old man said this. The Bishop repeated the words again. 'Tell me. 'lWe pray in this wsyr' replied the hermit. but listen to me. Listen. 'Our Father. and this is how He taught us all to pray. and repeated: 'Three are ye. .' 'But how do you pray to God?' asked the Bishop. 'Three are ye.' The second hermit sighed. the very ancient one. have mercy upon us. and to do what I can to teach you. I wished to see you. but you do not know how to serve Him. having no teeth.THE THREE HERMITS 263 very old one bent with age and wearing an old cassock-all three standing hand in hand. The old men bowed to him. The oarsmen pulled in to the shore. watching his mouth. and said: 'tVe do not know how to serve God. and I will teach you. and God the Holy Ghost. and God the Son. I see you wish to pleasethe Lord. 'God the Son came down on earthr' said he. also. three are we. an unworthy servant of Christ. 'what you are doing to save your souls.' The old men looked at each other smiling. and the old men stood before him. The Bishop sat down on a stone.'and the third said. three are we. 'to savemen. at which they bowed still lower. and repeating the words as he uttered them.' And the Bishop began explaining to the hermits how God had revealed Himself to men. servant of God. 'I have heardr'he said." ' And the first old man repeated after him. and the old men repeated them after him. to keep and teach His flock. and the tall hermit could not say them properly. not a way of my own. and looked at the oldest. a hundred times over. I. I will teach you. and how you serve God on this island. live here saving your own souls and praying to our Lord Christ for your fellow men. godly men. but remained silent. servants of God. Then the Bishop began to speak to them. also mumbled indistinctly.' but the second blundered over the words. $7e only serye and support ourselves. 'Our Fatherr' and the second said. His hair had grown over his mouth so that he could not speak plainly. 'that you. by God's mercy. The latter smiled. saying a word twenty.' said he. and held on with the boathook while the Bishop got out. thirty. have mercy upon us!' The Bishop smiled 'You have evidently heard something about the Holy Trinity. and repeat after me: "Our Father. '\Iflhich art in heaven.' said the Bishop.' '!7hich art in heaven. godly men. 'Our Father. And all day long the Bishop laboured. am called.

They blundered. the shortest in the middle. nor a fish! It was too large for a man. At last it too vanished. and all was quiet on deck. And as he sat in the boat and was rowed to the ship he could hear the three voices of the hermits loudly repeating the Lord's Prayer. 'It must be a boat sailing after us. and the Bishop took a sear in rhe stern and watched the island they had left. 'fhe steersmanlooked. but they could still be seen in the moonlight. but could say it by themselves.The middle one was the first to know it. For a time he could still see the hermits. but sat alone at the stern. So the Bishop sat.' And he could not make out what it was. but whatever it may be. The Bishop did not wish to sleep. and only the seawas to be seen. rippling in the moonlight. The Bishop made him say it again and again. and approaching the ship as quickly as though it were not moving. and let go the helm in terror. And the moonlight flickered before his eyes. thinking. the anchor was weighed and the sails unfurled. upon the waves. before the Bishop rose to return to the vessel. the middle one on the left. far away a minute ago.' thought he. and thinking of the good old men. my friend? r$(/hat it?'the Bishop repeated. all gleaming white.though is he could now see plainly what it was-the three hermits running upon the water. and besidesa man could not be out there in the midst of the sea. their grey beards shining. \$flhen he took leave of the old men they all bowed down to the ground before him. . or the little gleaming sail of some small boat? The Bishop fixed his eyes on it.z& THE BOOK OF FANTASY and the old men repeated it after him. now there. and to repeat the whole of it alone. It was far. the tallest on the right. He thought how pleased they had been to learn the Lord's Prayer. standing as he had left them on the shore. though the island was still visible. on the bright path which the moon cast acrossthe sea. The pilgrims lay down to sleep. It cannot be a boat. Then he got into the boat and returned to the ship. Suddenly he saw something white and shining. gazingat the seawhere the island was no longer visible. It was getting dark and the moon was appearing over the water. and at lasr the others could say it too. nor a bird. sparkling. and made them begin again. The Bishop did not leave off till he had taught them the whole of the Lord's Prayer so that they could not only repeat it after him. for I can see no sail. He raised them. and gazing at the sea where the island had disappeared. As soon as the Bishop had reached the vesseland got on board. 'but it is overtaking us very rapidly. The Bishop rose. but now it is much nearer. what is that. wondering. \fas it a seagull. As the boat drew near the vessel their voices could no longer be heard. it is following us and catching us up. and he corrected them. and said to the helmsman: 'Look there. and he thanked God for having sent him to teach and help such godly men. The wind filled them and the ship sailed away. now here. but presently they disappeared from sight. telling them to pray as he had taught them. and kissed each of them. Not a boat.

the hermits coming along hand in hand.' And the Bishop bowed low before the old men. the hermits had reached it. Macario B. and leaning over the ship's side. and they turned and wenr back across the sea. And a light shone until daybreak on the spot where they were lost to sight. rain or shine. began to say: 'rVe have forgotten your teaching. had one overwhelming desire which he J\7{ lVIhad nourished for fifteen years. all three as with one voice.MACARIO 265 'Oh Lord! Tht hermits are running after us on the water as though it were dry land!' hearing him. Pray for us sinners. weekday and Sunday alike. and now it has all gone to pieces. tlu author o/The Death Ship (1926).' The Bishop crossed himself. and the two outer ones beckoning the ship to stop. but when we stopped saying it for a time. \il7hat he craved more than anything in this worldwhat he might have traded his very soul for-was to have a roast turkey all for himself combined with the opportunity to eat it in peace. attd proletarian stoies and nmselsset in South Amqica and Mexico. He has been identiJied with the German reoolutionary Ret Marut. said: 'Your own prayer will reach the Lord. All three were gliding along upon the water without moving their feet. They saw The passengers. Before the ship could be stopped. His stomach never fully satisfied. and most recently as a Pole namcd Ono Feige. . the village woodchopper. Traven is one of the most ntysteiousfigures in all literature. nor a well-built house instead of that ramshackle old hut in which he lived with his wife and his eleven children who wore rags and were always hungry. a word dropped out. acario. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1927) and The Rebellion of the Hanged (1936). jumped up and crowded to the stern. with his own agent. As long as we kept repeating it we remembered. men of God. It was not riches he wanted. He would disappear into the woods and by nightfall bring back a load of chopped wood carried on his back. servant of God. and raising their heads. It is not for me to teach you. \trfecan remember nothing of it. Teach us again. and entirely alone. deep in the woods unseen by his ever-hungry children. the Amnican Hal Croaes. he would leave home before sunrise every morning in the year.

It was always the same menu with no variation whatever. for there was not the faintest likelihood that he would ever come into the possession of roast chicken. He never beat her. Macario would throw off his pack with a heavy groan. what have we for supper?' 'Black beans. He might iust as well have prayed that he would like to be given one thousand doubloons.' Frequently he would not say that much.266 THE BOOK OF FANTASY That load. would sell for one bit. Having empried the earthen pot he would. he worked as hard as any man could. sometimes even less than that. moan pitifulty. salt and lemon tear' his wife would answer. by so doing. with the back of his hand. His wife. and in a prayerful voice say: only once in all my dreary life I coutd have a roast turkey all for myself. he merely asked so as to say something and. His wife would shake him: 'We thank our good Lord for what he allows us poor sinners. if only once I could have a roast turkey all for myself. Two bits meant a fortune to his wife. green chilli. Knowing the answer long before he was home. and immediately start eating. . Mother. Amen. Arriving home after sunset. sweetenedwith a little chunk of piloncillo. He would cease eating and drink only the tea. and no matter how little money she had. if mouth. When supper was set before him in earthen vessels.'he would PraY. who looked even more starved than her husband. dear Lord in heaven. tortillas. had every reason to consider him a very good man. when competition was slow. prevent his children from believing him merely a dumb animal.' asleep. On Saturday nights only he would take a three-centavo's worth nip of mezcal. considering it their father's particular way of saying grace after supper. supper's on the table. the most faithful and the most abnegating companion a man would wish for. she would never fail to buy him that squeezeof a drink. wipe his 'Oh. stagger into his hut and drop with an audible bump upon a low crudely made chair brought to the equally crude table by one of the children.he would be profoundly 'Father. I am tired and hungry. brewed of zacated. good Lord.elimon. Yet hardly would he swallow a few mouthfuls of beans when he would note the eyes of his children resting on his face and hands. meaning a full day's iob.though. There he would spread both his arms upon the table and say with a tired voice: 'Oh. he would get as much as two bits now and then for his load of fuel. yet he would never fail to say at least: 'Oh. let alone a heavy roast turkey whose meat no child of his had ever tasted. watching him that he might not eat too much so that they might get a little second helping since the first had been so very small. During the rainy season. She would buy it at the general store becausehe would get less than half the size for the same money if he bought the drink in the village tavern. and who was known in the village as the Woman with the Sad Eyes. I would then die happily and rest in peace until called for the final reckoning.' His children had heard that lamentation so often that none of them paid attention to it any longer.

lovedher and the children. He cameout. dear husband. Not a word she said when her husbandcamehomethat night.hardly openinghis lips.Take it alongwith you ro the deepest and part of the woodswherenobodywill disturb you and whereyou canear densest it all alone. Hurry now before the children smell it and ger aware of that preciousmeal. stuffed and garnished. as always. tired.It did not evenoccur to him to let his wife havejust one little bite of that turkey because mind. Please and thankr *. He took his time finding himselfa well-hiddenplacedeepin the woodsand as . half an hour later he would drowsily rise and drag himself to his cot upon which he would drop as if clubbeddown.readyto leave. For a brief momenthe gazed her.which had seemed to her an eternity. Hurry along. The children were sent to bed early. the wife began savingup any penny she could spareof the little money she earneddoing odd iobs for other villagerswho were slightly better off than she was. there. Macario got up for his day's work and sat down ar rhe table for his lean breakfast. his wife placedherself beforehim as though in his way. 'There now. in his own way. neverbotheredsayinggoodmorningand wasnot usedto hearing He it said by his wife or anybodyin the house. and as usual praying to heavenfor his roast turkey. he would iust mumble for something. wife would understand his him without ever making a mistake. nor fit to handle more than one his thoughtat a time. there's the roast turkey you've been prayingfor during somanylong years. and while standingfor a few seconds the door of his shack by looking at the misty gray of the coming day. for then you could not resistgiving it to them.' He looked at her with his tired eyes and nodded.And thereshehandedhim an old basket in which was the roast turkey. words he neverused. took it homewhile the children she were not in. for he had alreadyfallen asleepat rhe table and. If there ever was prepareda carefully selectedturkey with a true feeling of happiness profoundioy guiding the handsand the tasteof a cook. As his utterings were few and thesefew alwayslimited to what wasabsolutely necessary. worn out and hungry asalways. slightly bewildered ar because that strange of attitudeof hers. She hid the fowl so that none would seeit. sheat last could lay her handson the heaviestturkey brought to the market.how hard he worked to keepthe family going.r. The wife worked all through the night ro get the turkey ready beforesunrise. this one and certainlywas. Almost explodingwith ioy and happiness. If something wasamisson the tableor if he could not find his machete the or ropeswhich he needed tying up the choppedwood. Having thus savedpenny by penny for three long years.all prettily wrapped up in fresh green bananaleaves. wasat this instantexclusively occupied with his wife's urging to hurry and run awaywith his turkey lest the childrenget up beforehe could leave. trimmed. how much he. Shefearednot that her husbandmight seewhat she was about. Now he rose.MACARTO 267 Realizinghow gooda husbandhe was.

a Charroin full dress. he firmly grabbedwith his right one of the turkey's thick legsto tear it off. silverand multicolored His short leathercoatwasadorned of silk embroideryone could imagine. He had a black thesegold coins to send forth a low. had becomesufficientlyhungry by of now. he wasreadyto eathis turkey with genuine gusto.watchinghim tear off the turkey's leg. he suddenlynoted two feet standingright before hi-. abouta fair bite of your tastyturkey for a hungry 'See.' . It is sadthat shenever hasthe chanceto show her skill. the strangersmiled' thin-lipped and malicious. his saint'sday. leaned backagainst hollow trunk of a he his the a heavytree. On looking at the turkey sowell preparedand taking in that sweetaromaof a admiration:'I must turkey. to his surprise. His eyeswere pitch black.268 THE BOOK OF FANTASY he.friend. And while he was trying to do so.richly trimmed with gold laces.To the outsideseams the Charro'sblack trousers. friend. he mutteredin sheer carefullyand skilfully roasted saythis much of her. r$(lith sighof utter happiness. Holding the bird's breastdown with his left hand. she'sa greatand wonderfulcook. tightly fitting pantswhich covered riding bootsasfar down asthe anklesand found. for in her presence would simply refuseto'passhis lips. His wife would haveburst with pride and shewould havebeen This. through the night and now I'm nearly starvedand so. he would neverhavebeenable to do. so that one might virtually believe them needles.and reachingfrom the belt down to wherethey cameto rest upon the heavy spurs of pure silver.He madehis seaton the groundvery comfortable. low He raisedhis eyesup alongthe black.He had in mind to lie down after the mealand sleep the wholeday throughand soturn this day. hardly two yards away.spreadthe huge banana leaves beforehim on the ground and laid the bird upon them with a gestureas if he wereofferingit to the gods. of The Charroworea sombrero immense with the richestgold.the Charro had.and everything his wasasperfectasit shouldbe at sucha solemnoccasion-that is. took the turkey out of the basket. such words though. A slight move the Charro would make now and then while he was speakingto Macario caused tinkle.man or woman. his When Macario'seyesreached face. into a realholidaythe first in his life sincehe could think for himself.would be enticedbeyondhelp. by somewhat which any human.for hell's sake. very narrow and piercing. please. washed handsin a brook near-by. the fulfillment of a man's prayer said daily for an almostuncountable number of years. sweet-sounding moustachio.He evidentlythought his smile a most charmingone. invite me to partakeof your lunch. happybeyondwordshad he only oncein his life saidthat in her presence. 'What do you say.' of That was the most profound praiseand the highestexpression thankshe could think of. and a beard like a goat's. a row of gold coins was sewn. I've had a long ride all he horsemanr' said in a metallicvoice. because so much wanderingabout. size.

and I'll give you these woods in exchangefor iust one wing of your turkey and a fistful of the fillings. Do you understand?' 'No. in fact. if it is worth that much to you. !(lhat could I. and after that they'd chop off one hand of mine for being a thief. it's my holiday dinner and I won't part with it for anybody. utterly unconcerned over the Charro's insistence. stranger. friend. I don't. And now go back to hell where you came from and let me eat my holiday dinner in peace. they're the Lord's. the whole woods. do with one hand less when. 'I have no use for spurs whether they are of iron. 'You aren't my good friend and I'm not your good friend and I hope I never will be your good friend as long as God saves my soul.' Said the Charro: 'Now listen. had it been forked.' the Charro bargained. only a half minure earlier. becauseI have no horse to ride on. think of it. I'll give you my heavy silver spurs just for that thick leg you've grabbed. holding onto his turkey as if he thought that bird might fly away at any moment. friend. I own these woods. once more tried to tear off the leg and start eating when the visitor interrupted him again: 'See here. whoever he may be. All these woods. moistening his lips with a thin dark red tongue which. I could use four if only the Lord had been kind enough to let me have that many. '$fell then. Look here. well-worn as though by a man who has wandered a long and difficult road. If I spent only one single coin they'd clap me in iail right away and there torture me until I'd tell them where I stole it. Understand that. or I couldn't chop in here and provide the villagers with fuel. Macario looked after him. I wouldn't be any richer anyhow becauseI'd have to chop them iust as I do now. a woodchopper. shook his head and said to himself: 'Vho'd expecr to meet such funny iesters in these woods? \$fell. 'And in the second place. And again he noted two feet standing right before him at the samespor where.' Macario corrected. I'[ cut off all these gold coins which you see dangling from my trousers and I'll give them to you for a half breast of that turkey of yours. Ordinary huaraches. Their owner was quite obviously very tired and weary. the Charro had been standing. friend. silver or gold trimmed with diamonds all over. might have been that of a snake.do me no good. cursing the world and all mankind. And if they were your woods and you'd give them to me for a gift or in payment for a part of my turkey. These woods are not yours. .'Macario judged the value of his roast turkey as only a man would who had waited for that meal for many years. my good friend-' 'Now you listenr' Macario broke in impatiently. brass. and all the woods around here.' He sighed and laid his left hand on the turkey's breast as he had done before and with his right grasped one of the fowl's legs. I suppose it takes all kinds of people and creaturesto make it truly our Lord's world. covered these two feet.MACARIO 269 'It's not lunch in the first place. for his feet seemed to sag at the arches.' 'Now you're lying. \fhat about that?' 'That money would. swore at Macario and limped off.' The Charro made a horribly obscenegrimace.' Macario.

v€ry hungry indeed.asI shall give unto you. I pray you. my goodneighbor.my belovedbrother. my Lord. Macario. It would no longerbe a wholeturkey wereI to give awayjust a little bit not eventhe sizeof a fingernail. Lord.my noblebrotherand goodneighbor. and not to haveit of now after a lifetime of praying for it would destroyall the happiness my good and faithful wife who hassacrilicedherselfbeyondwords to make me that great a my gift.' 'You're a very kind man. I have come a long way. I must not misseventhe tiniest little morselof my do oh this turkey. So. 'So I beg of you. and that are to comer' Macario said. as though he waspraying before the image of the Holy Virgin. you. but that mistaken. For see. I am hungry.give me iust one half of the bird's breast.It will satisfymy hungerand it will give me new strength. please.your Lordship. the kindest of men that ever were. enter heaven.understand poor sinner'smind. that are today. please. but well-washed.The wanderer wasdressed very old. my beloved pilgrim. Good-bye. This turkey.I verily do understand peace. for very long still is my way before reaching my father'shouse. you certainlywill not miss it much. really meanto say that I I won't missit much. understand. understand.' to Not oncewhile he had madethesespeeches the Charroand to the wanderer .' Macario explainedas if he were speakingto the archbishopwhom he had never seenand did not know but whom he believed 'If the highestof the higheston earth. please. wasgiven me as a whole and was meantto be eatenas a whole. tU7ith voicethat soundedlike a hugeorganplaying from a distancefar away. The wanderer's eyes held Macario's as though by a charm and Macario becameawarethat in this pilgrim's heart were combined all the goodness and kindnesses earthand heaven. kind man.white cotton pants and a shirt of the in samestuff. thinly bearded.' 'I And the wandererlooked at Macario and said unto him: do understand you. I must sayit evenshouldthat costme my right to your eyesand your voice make me tell the truth. let me havethat leg which you are holding and I shall truly and verily blessyou for it. Just that leg.and in eachof the wanderer'seyeshe sawa little of golden sun. I shall answerthat I feel terribly hurt in my soul because you are very much can't say anything better t0 you. I can't help it. and I for Be blessed ever and ever and eat your turkey in passing through your village I shall go near your hut where I shall blessyour good wife and all your children. you.270 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Macario looked up and met a very kind face.because 'For you see. shall go now. Be with the Lord.I know I should never say sucha thing to you for it comescloseto yet blasphemy. a the wandereer said: 'Give unto me.' 'Oh. Lord and Master. Pray. and he looked not very different from the ordinary Indian peasantof the country. and each little golden sun seemedto be but a little golden hole through which one might crawl right into heavenand seeGodfatherHimself in all His glory. A whole turkey-ir waswhat I haveyearnedfor all my life. my good neighbor. nothing else. wanderer. Please.

It was that box hanging there instead of the hourglass which Macario had expected that confused him at first as to what the new visitor's social standing in the world might be. I would have insulted my dear wife. for he had never seen sandals like these before. But I simply could do nothing else. He looked up and stared at the hungriest face he had ever believed possible.MACARIO 27r had it occurred to Macario. 'Wellr'he said. The newcomer now spoke. with mourning in his voice. would you mind giving me that leg of the turkey you are holding?' Macario gave forth a desperategroan. in the depths of the woods. very hungry. I shall never have a whole turkey for myself. with a clock ticking audibly inside. come what Doy. who rarely spoke more than fifty words a day. bared of lips. again he noted two feet standing before him and at the same spot the others had stood a while ago. There's no way out any more. It was all bone.' 'You don't need to tell me. These two feet were standing in old-fashioned sandals. shrugged and lifted up his arms in utter helplessness. I can seethat. He spoke with a voice that sounded like two sticks clattering one against the other. so . compadre. Besides. could speak as freely and easily as the minister in church and use words and expressionswhich he had never known before. compadrer' Macario asserted. The mouth consisted of two rows of strong teeth. never and never. was dangling on a bit of a string. which was rather carelesslywound around his waist. to stop to think what had made him so eloquent-why it is was that he. 'I am very hungry. a mahogany box. He held a long staff in one hand for support. was neither cotton nor silk nor wool nor any fabric he know. the good God in heavenknows it.not in the least afraid of the stranger's horrible appearance. It would have been a great adventure. 'I most surely feel sorry about him. He shook his head sadly. That face had no flesh. very. never. He was dressed in a faded bluish-white flowing mantle which. From the stranger's belt. His eyesseemedto be but two very black holes hidden deep in the fleshless face. as Macario noted. I cannot spare a leg or part of the breast.' And again he seized the turkey's leg to tear it off and start his dinner when. It all came to him without his realizing what was happening. And all bone were the hands and the legs of the visitor. but fate doesn't want it that way. 'Since you can see that and since you have no doubt that I need something substantial in my stomach.'what can a poor mortal do against fate? I've been caught at last. He followed the pilgrim with his eyes until he could see him no longer. for it would no longer be a whole turkev then. scratched all over. He was so very tired and hungry. and Macario thought that the man must be a foreigner from far-off lands.

ger your belly's fill. There was a big battle in full swing somewhere around Europe. that battle kept me on the run as if I were still a youngster. 'I'll cut the bird in twor' Macario said. \(/ell. are useless. it was like this. 'at first I was slightly upset becauseyou didn't fit into the picture of you I had in my mind. You see. Remembering that he had started to tell something without 'Oh. compadre. Fair enough. sitting down on the ground opposite Macario and widening his row of teeth as if he were trying to grin. naturally. Sit down. Half the turkey's yours and be welcome to it. whether it was an expression of thanks or a gesture of ioy at having been saved from a sure death by starvation. Bone Man?' 'Fair enough. now isn't it a pity that they build such wonderful great museums around things which are only fakes? Coming back to the point: there I was without a correctty adjusted hourglass. I could not take proper care of myself as I usually do to keep me fit. Iilhat has become of your hourglass. savefor decorations on mantel pieceswhich. compadre. he now asked: 'The hourglassin all the museums were all fakes wherever you went to try one out. but to my horror I discovered that they were all fakes.' 'Oh. 'Once I've cut the bird in two. very fine.' A chunk of tender white meat which he chewed at this instant let him forget his story for a while. and many mistakes were bound to happen. You may tell the world if it itches you to do so. if it isn't a secret to know?' 'No secret at all. that next to the edge or that next to the back. which is the fattest spot on earth for me next to China. but I could not buy a satisfactory new one since they are made no longer. Yes.272 THE BOOK OF FANTASY what can I do? I musr give in. And I tell you. with much clever talking on the part of the guest and much laughter on the side of the host. you just look the other way and I'll lay my machete flat between the two halves and you tell which half you want. I know what hunger is like. that is fine. Macario could not make out for sure what the stranger meant by that grin. All right compadre. compadre. compadre. where was I with my tale. Hither and thither I had to dart until I went nearly mad and was exhausted entirely. in a great hurry now lest another visitor might come up and make his own part a third only. And a mighty jolly dinner it was.' Macario presently said. well. like atl such silly knickknacks. 'You know. not a genuine instrument among them. That box of mahogany with the clock in it which you carry hanging from your belt confused me quite a bit and made it hard for me to recognize you promptly. hungry man. sit down. Then it came to passnot long afterwards that I visited a captain sitting in his cabin of a ship that was rapidly sinking away under him and with the crew . compadre?' finishing it.' So they had dinner together. no secret at all. it seemsa British cannon ball fired in the wrong direction by a half-drunken limey smashed my cherished hourglass so completely that it could not be mended again by old smith Pluto who likes doing such odd iobs.' 'Right.' said the hungry man. So.I tried to swipe one in museums. I looked around and around everywhere.

Cap'n. I have never yet missed a single date. for it happens that this chronometer is my personal property and I can dispose of it any way it damn pleases me.' '. I said: "Vhat about it. just allow me fifteen secondsmore to jot down the actual time in my [og-book. . compadre. told one another jokes. would you mind giving me your chronometer? I reckon you can spare it now since you won't have any use for it any longer. nometer.' the hungry man admitted with a grin of his 'The only difference is that a chronometer is a hundred times more bared teeth. And I tell you." "It is. Mr Bone Man. So when I asked him to let me have that pretty timepiece he said: "Now.' So they talked." So I took it with me on leaving the rapidly sinking ship. you are asking for just the very thing. He looked at his chronometer and said: "Please. But it won't happen anymore now. He. compadre. having refused to leave his ship.rdjust that I should ' have in exchange for my hourglass a British-made chronometer. and felt as iolly as old friends meeting each other after a long separation. . There he now sat in his cabin. It was perfectly adjusted a few days before we went on this rather eventful voyage and I can assure you. he smiled at me and said: "Vell. and he said a huge amount of good . I mean. had hoisted the Union Jack and was stubbornly sticking by his ship whatever might happen ro her. the captain I mean. Seeing him so very happy. and I lose a good lot of my reputation whenever something of this sort happens. since I got hold of it. writing up his log-book. 'Yes. seemsmy time is up. You see. compadre.Cap'n. exact in telling the correct time than an ordinary watch or a clock. Exactly." I answered. becauseaboard the ship you will sail from now on you won't have to worry about time at all. 'And I can tell you one thing. that you can rely on this instrument a hundred times better than on any of your oldfashioned glasses. as would become a loyal British captain. also smiling to make it easier for him and make him forget the dear ones he would leave behind." 'Oh. as a matter of fact my hourglass was smashed by a British cannon ball fired by a drunken British gunner in the wrong direction. escaping me is bad business for everybody concerned. dry ones and juicy ones. whereas before that many a man for whom the coffin or the basket or an old sack had already been brought into the house escapedme. Mr Bone Man-Sir. . where was I?' 'You asked the ship's master for the chro . I didn't know that. If it were the company's I would have to deny you that beautiful companion of mine.'Macario broke in. so that's what you call that funny-looking little clock-a chronometer." "Granted. that's what it is called. this British-made gadget works so perfectly that. skipperr" I confirmed. 'When he saw me right before him. sir.MACARIO 273 all off in boats. And he was all happiness that he could write in the correct time. The Bone Man certainly liked the turkey. laughed a great deal together. \7ell. And that's how I came to carry this chronometer instead of that shabby outdated hourglass I used to have in bygone days. and so I think it only fair ai.

you know the Big Boss. But Macario understood that gesture and regarded it as a sure and unmistakable sign that his guest was satisfied and happy in his own unearthly way. or have you?' the Bone Man asked in the course of their conversation. 'You have had two visitors before today. now and then.' 'But the second visitor was-well. to give Our Lord a little part of my turkey. you know.' 'The Devil. compadre?' 'How did I know? I have to know what is going on around the world. you know \flhom I refer to.' 'Why didn't you give him a small piece of your turkey then. And another thing. At the next inn he passeshe can buy if he wishes a half dozen roast turkeys and a couple of young roast pigs besides. Entirely taken in by that excellent meal he. \flho can feed five thousand hungry people with two fishes and five ordinary loaves of bread all during the same afrernoon. Did you know them-those two visitors. 'That fellow can come to me in any disguise and I'd know him anywhere.' Macario said confidently. compadre. I would have considered it a really grave sin giving Him a leg of my turkey. Did you recognize Him?' 'Who wouldn't? I am a Christian. He may give His Son as many roast turkeys as the Son wants to eat. Why should I give him part of my turkey? He had so much money that he had not pockets enough to put it in and so had to sew it outside on his pants. for I could seethat He was very hungry and terribly in need of some food. and try to lick his lips which were not there with a tongue which he did not have. he had made a few mistakes in dressing up. He didn't need a leg or a wing of my turkey. . So it wasn't hard for me to seethat he was a counterfeit Charro. a heathen?' 'The first one was what we call our main trouble. Our Lord. I would know Him anywhere. 'True.274 THE BOOK OF FANTASY words in praise of the wife who had cooked the bird so rastily. He \flho can turn water into wine just by saying so can just as well cause that little ant walking here on the ground and picking up a tiny morsel to turn into a roast turkey with all the fillings and trimmings and sauces known in heaven. poor sinner. I know all his tricks and he won't get me. would become absent-minded and forget himself. I felt awfully sorry that I had to deny Him a little bite. allowed to mention His name. and satisfy their hunger and have still a few dozens of sacks full of crumbs left over-well. This time he tried looking like a Charro. His father owns the whole world and all the birds becauseHe made everything. I mean?' 'Sure I did. I am not I am the chief of the secret police of-of-well. But who am I.' 'Not to me. \7hat do you think I am. t$(/hatis more. I knew him all right. as foreigners are apt to do. but smart as he thinks he is. I thought that He Himself can feed well on just one little leaf of grass if He is really hungry. You see. compadre. since you knew who he was? That hop-about-the-world can do you a great deal of harm. How did you know.

compadre.It's nue I had the heartto denymy wife a bite of that turkey which she preparedfor me with all her love put in for extra spices. You see. 'that's different. 'The only thing that bafflesme now is your attitude toward me. a poor woodchopperwith elevenbrats to feed. You deserve.'Macario'sfacewas a blank. compadre.compadrer' Bone Man said.I like playing iokeson men now and then as my mood will haveit. and so I madeit fifty-fifty. and that your brain functionsperfectly in the direction of that human virtue which is strongly concernedwith safeguardingone's property. I'm a human being and I know what hunger is and how it feelsto be starved. somehow. And 'Ahr' he saidoncemore. come. So I saidto myself. lean as she is.as long as he eatstoo.' 'f've neverheardof that. Yet. compadre. you truly and verily deserve be selected me for a little service. you know what I mean. '\UfhatI would like to hearis why did you give me half of your turkey when iust a few minutes beforeyou had deniedaslittle asa leg or a wing to the Devil and alsoto Our Lord?' 'Ahr' Macario exclaimed. me Jokesthat don't hurt anybody. I've neverheardasyet that you haveany power to createor to perform miracles. realized very I the moment I sawyou standingbeforeme that I would not haveany time left to eat as little asone leg.' less if . compadre. come.with you that's very different. Then he in startedgrinning and soonhe broke into a thunderinglaughterwhich sounded like heavy clubs drumming a huge empry barrel. alwayscrying for food. I can standthe truth. You said"For one thing" when you startedexplaining.Besides.' The Bone Man was cleaningup a wing bone with his strong teeth as he spoke. let alonethe whole turkey. compadre.indeedyou are.' 'That's an interestingphilosophy. a few morsels my roastturkey. no matterhow hungry my children of are. 'By the grear Jupiter. little service to by a which will make my lonely existencenow and then less boresometo me. I was able to put up enoughwill power to deny my poor children. 'I can see the that your mind is strong.I had the heart because. unproductive. for you have no pocketsin your clothes.' 'All right thenr'Macario saidquietly. noneof them looks one-hundredth hungry as you do.and theyamuse and help me ro feelmy iob is.' as 'Now. to humiliate Our Lord by making Him accepta leg of my roast turkey touchedwith my unclean hands?I am a faithful son of the Church. For one thing.Now tell me the other thing as well. she doesn'tlook one-tenthas hungry as you do. I will be able to eat. 'You see. area shrewdone.makingvisibleeffortsto smile. I can bearit. and as such I must respectthe power and might and dignity of Our Lord.' The visitor turned his deepeyeholes greatsurpriseupon his host.'Out with the truth. Nor haveyou any money to buy food with. Don't try to sell me thatr' the dinner guest clattered.You're just an obedient servantof the Supreme Judge.I cannotremember havingmet You sucha cleverand quick-wittedman for a long time.MACARIO 275 '\07hoam I. compadre. throwing up both his hands to emphasizethe exclamation.

Once more they sat down together. tapped the soil with one hand and the water immediately disappeared from view.' 'Thar's just why. compadre? oh. But mind. \We accept that life becauseit was given us. 'Hand me your bottler' the Bone Man said. It's for that reason we feel happy in our way-because we always try making the best of something very bad and apparently hopeless. One drop of this fluid will cure any sickness. was full. but not your helper. bring your guaje bottle over here. 'Let's go back to our eating place.This turkey we ate together today has been the very peak of my life's ambition. the Bone Man. No. compadrer' the visitor suggested. and mind well. and called back: 'Compadre. compadre. your lordship. Yes. please. which held about a quart. Yet that's the way with people in my position. True it is that I've been hungry always all through my life. at that time of the year dry and sandy. crystal-clear water sputtered out of that sandy soil. still kneeling by the pool. You didn't have your roast turkey all by yourself. and I include any sicknessknown as a fatal and as an incurable one.' Speaking thus he rose. looked searchingly at the ground.' 'I don't know if I should Macario was not at all excited over that great gift. That's what I am going to do: make you a doctor. When the bottle.' 'Do you know what I am going to do so as to pay honestly for the dinner you offered me?' 'what. But first pour out all the water which is still in it. I have another idea.276 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'I guess I know how you mean it. for the mouth of the bottle was extremely small. He knelt down by the little pool just forming and with one hand spooned up the water and poured it into Macario's guaje bottle. This procedure took quite some time. anything else you wish. I mean that bottle of yours which looks as though it were of some strange variety of pumpkin. a great doctor who will outwit all those haughty learned physicians and superspecialistswho are always playing their nasty little tricks with the idea that they can put one over on me. I never wanted to go up higher in all my desiresthan to have one roast turkey with all the trimmings and fillings all for myself. don't make me your assistant. please. the present century. all of a sudden. I've been happy in my own way. remained quiet for a few minutes and then. And I promise you that your roast turkey shall be paid for a millionfold. always I've been tired. You gave . sir.' 'I don't need an assistantand I have never had one. The visitor spat seven times upon the dry ground. always been struggling with no end in view. The Bone Man handed Macario the 'This liquid in your bottle will make you the greatest doctor known in bottle. Not that. take that present from you. I shall make you a doctor. there will be no more of that medicine and your curing power will exist no longer. compadre) once the last drop is gone. and be allowed to eat it in peace and all alone with no hungry children's eyes counting every little bite going into my hungry stomach. walked some twenty feet away.' Macario obeyed and came close to where his guest waited for him. You see.

A thousand thanks. You must admit that. and mind you well what I am going to tell you now.' 'I understandr' Macario nodded pensively. yet immediately he realized that he had not been dreaming.MACARIO 277 me half of it. be he old or a scoundrel. vell.' 'Of course. and before two days are gone he will be all right again.' 'Yes.' Macario spoke as though he were walking from a heavy dream. The dinner was excellent. Good-bye. make him drink it.' 'Good-bye) compadre.' 'I never thought of that. he will die no matter what you do and regardless of how many brilliant doctors attempt to snatch him away from me. So. compadre. That's why the final decision in each particular case must remain with me.compadre. I may find as generous a host as you have been. that dinner you gave me will restore my strength for another hundred years. now. iust put one drop of your medicine into a cup or glassof fresh water. You must realize. Anyway. If you see me standing at your patient's feet. 'But ifr' the Bone Man continued. if you understand that word. exquisite I should call it. unprepared as he was for the catch. sane and sound for a good long time to come. that I have had an enjoyable time in your company. compadre. In that case do not use the medicine I gave you becauseit will be wasted and be only a loss to you. Macario got the shivers. shall continue on earth-this power of selection I cannot transfer to a human being who may err or become corrupt. 'You had better nor. let us say goodbye. 'Don't get frightened. and you must obey and respect my selection. Much obliged. and so your life's ambition is still not accomplished. no one else will seeme. do not use the medicine. compadre. or I'll die a most unhappy man. and I admit it with great pleasure. \flould that when my need for another meal is as urgent as it was today. compadre. .' 'I won't forget that. that this divine power to select the one that has to leave the world-while some other. as if speaking to himself.' On hearing that. tell me.' Macario muttered. I must admit. that I had no choice in the matter.' 'You know. Before him on the ground were the well-picked bones of that half turkey which his guest had eaten with so much delight. whatever the reason. compadre. if you wish to buy another turkey without waiting for it another fifteen or twenty years.' 'I suppose you are right. what is it. sirr' Macario answered. 'I surely must have a whole roast turkey all for myself. for if you see me standing thus. there are a few more things which you ought to know before we part for a while. come what hsy. By all means.' 'rVherever you are called to a patient you will see me there also. 'you see me standing at your patient's head. your one and only desire in this world has not yet been satisfied. you will have to cure somebody to get the money with which to buy that turkey.

had touched her whole body. But he said nothing. Next day was a hungry one for the whole family. as he had promised himself that he would after his holiday dinner. Even her husband noted it on giving her a casual glance. \Uflhen she served supper there was still some reflection of that golden ray visible on her face. .' \(lith not a single word did he mention his visitors. Never before had he talked that much to her at one breath. for he was still heavily occupied with his own fortunes of the day. Their breakfast. a strange golden ray which. watching his face sidewise and thoughtfully. No fuel did he bring back that night. When he had turned about to go to his cot. something had come over him. For. she looked at him. She kept it to herself like a very sacred property all her own. while at the same time she had heard inside her heart a sweet music as if played by a huge organ from far. Yet she did not reproach him for having been lazy. as in fact she never criticized anything he did or did not. Yet this morning his wife had to make it smaller still. Nothing of this phenomenon did she tell her husband. all the while trying to find the meaning of the several adventures that were crammed into the limited space of his mind. From that moment on and all the whole day she had felt as though lifted from the ground. when she was busy in the yard washing the children's rags. and her mind had been at peace as she could not remember having ever felt before. Before he went to sleep that night. later than usual. far above the earth. so it appeared. including that of Macario's. with the little experience I've had eating roast turkey. Something was new in him. in his opinion. The thing most difficult for him to understand was how it had been possible for him to talk so much and talk what he believed was very clever as. his wife asked him timidly: husband?' 'Iflhat do you think was the matter with it since you ask me how it was?$7hat do you mean? \$fas there something wrong with it? It was quite all right as far as I could iudge. during the day.278 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Mechanically he cleaned up all the morsels which had dropped and stuffed them into his mouth. Soon he got tired and presently lay down under a tree to sleep the rest of the day. only at home in the presence of his wife and children he had no thoughts whatever and his mouth was as if glued and it cost him much labor to get out of it one full sentence. His wife had not a red cent in the house with which to buy food the next day. The truth was that she felt immensely happy to be alive. But then he knew that when in the woods he always had very clever thoughts. was always lean. dear the day out in the woods. came not from the sun. for he had slept well during 'How was the turkey. for it had to be stretched into two more meals. at about noon. so that nothing should be wasted. but from an unknown source. only a learned man could do.

with soil. The water is good. he might was well have forgotten about the preciousmedicine and all that went with it. Helplessly and stupidly he looked at her the way he always tooked if somethingin the househappened which wasout of the gloomy roudne by which this homeof his wasrun. and wassold that samenight on the first call the older boy made. That night he brought home one of the biggestloadsof heavy fine dry fuel suchashe had not deliveredfor many months. yet this time he found his family in a pitiful distress.will be gone in a halfhour. woman. bringing theguajebottle out and shaking it. His wife. 'Reginito is dying. Regino. tears streamingdown her face. I know. I got it out there in the woods.MACARIO 279 SoonMacario was through with the few mouthfuls of black beansseasoned with greenchilli and a pot of anle for a drink. He took up his machete. partly standing. had reached conclusionthat it might havebeenbut sort of an he the imaginationcausedby a stomachnot usedto being filled up with roast turkey. rushed at him the moment he camein.it's still fullr' Macarioanswered.' the wife said. Only a few paces had he gonewhen his wife calledafter him: 'Husband. on thinking of the happenings. So the family felt like having come into a million. and she had to give him a another one of the severalthey kept in the house.his axeand his ropesand steppedout into the misty morning. \$7hen wife steppedaside. 'It's still full of water.all women. Next day Macariowent about his iob as usual. Consideringthe way he went about his usual hard task of choppingwood.while playing with the cork cut from a corn cob.your water bottle.' This reminded him like a flash that the whole adventureof the day before might afterall not havebeena dreambut reality. Complain he did not hcause he realizedthat the blame was on him.he hid the bottle in dense partly coveringit bushes.' On his way to work and somefair distanceawayfrom his hut which was the lastat his sideof the village. her face swollen her eyesred from long crying. 'Shall I pour the old water out and put in fresh water?' she asked. .he noted that there were his presentseveralneighbors.partly squattingcloseto the cot on which the child had been bedded.' and she broke into heartbreaking lamenution. 'YesterdayI drank from the little brook. for the older boys discovered them growing wild in the bush somewhere. my poor little baby. These bottles cost them nothing.It wassold at threebits. On the night beforehe had told his wife casuallythat he had broken his gwje bottle because heavy trunk had dropped upon it. Just give me the bottle full as it is. 'Yes. a price unheardof. Last night. a bit afraid that not his wife might be too hasty and spill the miraculousliquid away. Again he brought homethat night a goodload of choppedwood.

The mirror held by a woman before the baby's mouth showed no mark of breath. One of our kids died the same way. 'His bowels are all twisted up. in their neighborly zeal to help the so very poor Macario. little angel. or talk to the children who were timidly crowded into one corner of the room where they all sat as if they were guilty of the baby's misfortune. Every woman had brought a different kind of medicinal herb or remedy. he can't live The one next to her observed: another hour. Not knowing what to do or where to go since his home was all in a turmoil. Those women. and feeling as though he were to . their modesty. Often it occurred to Macario that the only reason for being alive rested with the fact that there always would be a little baby around the house smiling at him innocently and beating his nose and cheeks with his little fists. Macario looked at his little son whom he seemed to love best of all as he was the youngest of the bunch. or say something to his wife or to one of the other women. I know it. herbs and ground snake bones mixed with a powder obtained from charred toads.' She broke into a loud sob. Not in the least minding the women's chatter. He liked his innocent smile and felt happy in his way when the little tyke would now and then sit on his lap for a few minutes and play with his tiny fingers upon the man's face. perhaps. compadre. For hours that little creature had been tortured with scoresof different treatments and had been given teas brewed from roots. it's an infection of the stomach. '\$frong. roots. yet they were among the best liked for their questions. poor little angel. And every one of the women made a different suggestion as to what should be done to savethe child. no doubt of that.280 THE BOOK OF FANTASY His was the poorest family in the village. The father stood there and gazed at his baby without knowing whether he ought to step closer still and touch the little face or remain where he was. 'He ate too much. he is done for. The village had no doctor and no drug store and for that reason. there's no helpr'another one corrected the first one. I can see by his little shrunken face that he is winged already for his flight to heaven. The child was dying. seeing his father coming to the child's bed.' '\$[e've done everything possible. bits of bark as used by the villagers in casesof sickness.' one woman said. Macario turned slowly about. tired as he was from his very hard day's labor. They had had no dinner and they felt sure there would be no supper tonight as thier mother was in a horrible state of mind. had brought with them all sorts of herbs. His heartbeat could practically no longer be noted by one or the other woman who would press her ear upon the child's chest. their honesty. it also had no undertaker. walked to the door and went out into the darkness of the night. and on hearing of the child's being sick. and becauseof that unearned virtue that the poor are always liked better than the rich anywhere and by everybody.

can't you seehe has only a few minutes left? You'd better kneel down and say the prayers with us while he is breathing his last. searched for the exact place.MACARIO 281 sink down on his knees. folks. as though still weighing his decision.' Hearing the mother's excited outburst. 'Give me a cup filled with fresh clean waterr' he ordered in a loud and determined voice on opening the door. Get out of here. Yet. Macario closed the door behind them. 'Now. sharply cutting off any further protest. he called in his wife. turned to the cot. the cot with the child in it between the two. she urged the women out of the hut. Macario.' alone 'No use. commanding manner. Hardly could the medicine have reached his stomach when the child began to breathe freely. he stopped. in the early morning. Almost afraid of him. I thank you. I'll see what I can do about it. you leave the room. forced the little mouth open and let the drink trickle into it. They were all gone. started to swallow voluntarily. for it was already mixed with fresh water. and in a few seconds she brought an earthen cup of water. and he moved his head in search of better comfort. and when he looked up he saw his bony dinner guest standing opposite him. Soon he had taken the whole to its last drop. and slowly. took out the bottle. Arriving at the spot where. all the women who had been waiting . Lord in Heaven. as if automatically. and seeing that the baby was recovering miraculously fast. he took. remaining there for the next few secondswhile the father poured a generous dose of the medicine into the cup filled with water. Macario remembered that only one drop would have sufficed for the cure. and quicker than he had moved in many years ran back to his hut. all of you. Macario lifted the baby's head. Never before had his wife heard him speak in such a harsh. it was too late now. Only one look did the mother give her baby when she fell to her knees by the cot and cried out loud: 'Glory be to God and the Holy Virgin. hesitated. taking care that nothing was spilled. and the liquid could not be returned to the bottle. moved toward the baby's feet. The visitor stared at him out of his deep dark holes he had for eyes. he had buried the guaje bottle. so that his soul may be savedr' one of the women told him. once his mouth had been moistened. and leave me with that sone of mine. my little baby will live. 'You heard what I said and you do as you've been advisedr' he said. shrugged. the path which led to the woods-his realm where he was sure to find the quiet of which he was so badly in need. His wife hurried as if given new hope. Seeinghis partner shaking his head in disapproval. To his great ioy he noted that the baby. Color returned slowly but visibly to his pale face. The father waited a few minutes longer.

'Fetch me a little bottle. taciturn as always. a very little glass bottle from your store. pretty even now when near her death. Macario. So he went about his iob for the next six weeks when one night. his little fists pressed close to his chin. Ramiro looked at Macario's eyes. don't worry over that. In the meantime. looked for his machete. his eyes still pressed to the door. You just go home and wait for me. searched for his bottle.282 THE BooK oF FANTASy outdoors rushed in. already close to the door.' Ramiro obeyed. The baby. left home to go out to the woods and there chop fuel for the villagers. he found Ramiro waiting for him. gasped and stared at Macario as if noting his existence for the first time and as though he were a stranger in the house. filled the little crystal flask half full with the precious liquid. an empty medicine flask. The bottle with the medicine he took along with him and buried at the same spot from which he had taken it the night before. on returning home. I will go out in the fields and look for some herbs which I know to be good medicine. turned abruptly with the intention to ask for a glass of fresh water. he peeped through a hole in the door to watch Macario's doings. was profoundly asleep. and she was as close to it as had been his little son.' He went into the night. Macario?' 'Leave that to me. was not quick enough in getting . After a while he said: 'You'd better go out now and leave me alone with your wife.' Ramiro brought the bottle. Ramiro. sat down at the table for his breakfast. Yet. were telling the people. running about the village. buried the bottle again and walked to Ramiro's who lived in one of the three one-story brick houses the village boasted. his cheeks rosy. the principal storekeeper and merchant of the whole community and the richest man in the municipality. Next morning Macario got up at his usual time. She'll hold on all right until I come. '\$fhat are you going to do with the bottle. Ramiro. I'll wait for you here and think over what I perhaps could do for your wife. extremely iealous of his young and very pretty wife. to come around to his place and see what he might do about his wife who had been sick for several days and was now sinking fast. and anybody could see that all danger was past. explained that he had heard of Macario's curing powers and that he would like him to try his talents on his young wife. Macario shrugged for an answer. Ramiro asked him. Ramiro. One hour later the whole village was assembled at Macario's to see with their own eyes whether it was true what the women. ax and ropes and. and seeing what had happened while the father had been alone with his son they crossed themselves. He found the woman rapidly nearing her end. I have to see your wife first before I can say whether or not I can save her. please.

Ramiror' Macario said. once the merchant's wife was cured. a great doctor of whom that arrogant Ramiro expected miracles. that mighty and powerful man. Ramiro was the son of the richest merchant of the village as he himself was the richest man today-whereas Macario was the son of the poorest day laborer in the community as he himself was now the poorest woodchopper with the biggest family of the whole village to support. comprehending what the jealous man had been about. Only you can know what your wife is worth to you. Ramiro. 'How much would you ask for giving her back to me saneand healthy like she was before?' 'I do not sell my medicine for prices. Of course she means far more to me than all my money. But once my wife is gone. standing before him humiliated and with the gesture of a beggar trembling with fear that Macario might refuse to heal his wife. It's you. the poorest and humblest man in the village. 'Not very decent of you. But seeing Ramiro. So name the price yourself. He could not understand himself what had come over him this very minute. her husband would try to chisel down on the one hundred doubloons as much as he possibly could. dear Macario. his first child. 'Just for that I should decline giving your young wife back to you.' 'oh. a common woodchopper. indeed I do. opened the door. thank you. please. I shall never forget what you have done for us. had dared to speak to the haughtiest and richest man. you know that. Realizing all that. in less than four months. my dear good Macario?' 'That's what your wife is worth to you? Only ten doubloons?' 'Don't take it that way. save her. and in the most pitiful way he pleaded with him to savehis wife.' Macario knew Ramiro well. I'll make it one hundred doubloons then. I do not set prices. Money I can make again any day that God will allow me to live. don't you?' He stopped in great surprise. You don't deserve her.MACARIO 283 away and so. and if Macario did not yield there would be a long and nasty fight between the two men for many years to come. Macario had suddenly become aware that he had become a great power himself. I only hope that the unborn will be safe also. Ramior fell full length into the room.' . and not for cutting down on the price but that you're willing to cure her. where would I find another one like her? Not in this world. only. I'm sure. Ramiro begged Macario's forgiveness for having spied upon him.' '\trflouldten doubloons do. by a resolute pull. Why he. when Macario. who have to make the price. And as he knew Ramiro so very well. Macario now said: 'I'll take the ten doubloons which you offered me first. who was about to give him. the millionaire of the village. I thank you. nobody would have to tell him that. Both had been born and raised in that village. only too well did he know him. in a manner which the judge at the county court would hardly have risked. Very humble now. I shall never forget it. Macario.

He realized that Macario had a great future ahead of him. He gambled fast on Macario and he won.' This time Macario was extremely careful in not spending more than exactly one drop of the valuable liquid. and that it would be a very sound investment to keep Macario in the village and make people come here to see him. Hardly had he sent out a few letters to businessfriends in the city. as she could feel him all right. He invited the whole Macario family to his store where everyone. Two days after Ramiro's wife had recovered fully. no spying. if you do I might fail and it will be all your fault. He was too shrewd a businessmanto loan out money without thinking of fat gains. 'Now. Then he threw a splendid dinner to which the Macarios were invited as his guests of honor. By his talk with Ramiro he had suddenly understood how much his medicine was really worth if such a proud and rich man as Ramiro would humble himself before the woodchopper for no other reason than that his wife might be cured by the poor woodman's medicine. Ramiro in his great joy handed Macario the ten gold pieces. Ramiro had done so not solely out of gratitude. many having been declared uncurable by learned physicians. It was he who did all the advertising and all the propaganda to draw attention to Macario's great gift. and all the children. becauseRamiro had loaned him one hundred doubloons at very low interest. rather than have him take up his residencein a city. The more visitors the village would have on account of Macario's fame. husband. As hard as he could he even tried to cut that one drop into two halves. His one-time dinner guest. In realizing that. Macario built a real house now for his family. the quintessenceof that future was an unlimited supply of roast turkeys any time he wanted them. assuredof his success since he had seenhis bonv dinner companion standing where he liked best to see him. leave me alone with the patient. The water was brought and Macario counselled the merchant: 'Don't you dare peep in again for. than sick people flocked to the village in the hope of being cured of their maladies. not only without prattling over that high price but with a hundred thanks thrown in. bought some pieces of good land and began cultivating them. In expectation of this development in the village's future. He won far beyond his most fantastic dreams. the more important would grow Ramiro's business. Now. So remember. she told her husband that she was positively sure that the baby had not been hurt in the least by her sickness. no peeping. wife. Naturally enough.284 'It THE BOOK OF FANTASY surely willr' Macario said. he visioned what his future might be like if he would forget about his woodchopping and stick by his medicine exclusively. . was allowed to take as much home as everybody could carry in his arms. mind you. nodded approvingly when Macario looked at him for advice. Ramiro added to his various lines in business that of banking. seeing him cutting the one drop in half. bring me a glass of fresh waterr' he told Ramiro. .

he soon learned to cut each drop into eight. It happened often for weeks at a time that he would not meet one patient whom he could cure. and rather fast. He bought up all the land around and converted it into gardens and parks. As his one-time dinner guest had promised him. Macario's half turkey was paid for a millionfold. His children were sent to schools and universities as far as Paris and Salamanca. France and other countries and who had come for no other reason than to see him and consult him. The last little bottle had been opened months ago. but worse. had made prices as high as twenty thousand doubloons. whoever they were. No longer would they try arguing with him. he would heal just as well as the rich who. A poor man or woman who had no more to offer than one silver peso or a pig or a rooster. He knew that a guaje bottle will not only soak into its walls a certain amount of any fluid it may hold. Portugal. so it came to pass. Nothing did he charge for that consultation. he decided to make it known that he would retire from practice and cure nobody any longer. More or less half the people consulting him were savedl the other half were claimed by his partner. Italy. becausehis dinner guest would decide differently. through the bottle's walls. and one day Macario noted to his horror that there were only about two drops left. People. the patients or their relatives would decide the price. no matter how much he cut and divided. regardless of how cleverly he administered each dose to make it as small as possible and yet retain its effectiveness. .MACARIO 285 Soon Macario could build himself a mansion. Anyone who wanted to be cured was asked how much his health was worth to him. if Macario saw the Bone Man stand at the patient's head. Macario remained honest and uncorrupted. Consequently. once he had observed the true value of the liquid.the medicine had frightfully fast become scarcer and scarcer. He acquired all devices known then by which a drop might be divided up into practically an infinite number of mites. Yet.' \(lhile at the beginning of his practice he was able to cut a drop of his precious medicine into two. He had drained the guaje bottle during the first month of his practice. in many instances. It is for that reason that water kept in a guaje bottle of the kind natives use will stay always cool even should the day be very hot.so he did ever after in all other cases-that is. !ilhoever came to consult him would be told frankly that he could do nothing to save him. once he had told them that they were beyond help. the liquid will evaporate. acceptedhis final verdict without discussion. And as Macario had done in his first case. He cured men and women of the highest nobility. Regardless of his riches and his fame. So he had taken out the medicine and poured it into bottles of dark glass. many of whom had crossedthe ocean and had come from Spain. Such weeks the people in the land called 'his low-power periods. tightly sealed.

The doctors admitted frankly that this boy had been stricken by a sickness not known to medical science.no learned medico can cure. and which will safeguardyou against any uniustified court action. understand that. still not believing in the so-called miracles which Macario was said to have performed. fell sick. None could do anything for the boy. don Juan Marquez de Casafuerte. yet said nothing. one-fourth of the fortune which I hold here in New Spain shall be yours. Macario disliked travelling and rarely left his village. These last two drops he meant to keep for members of his family exclusively. and then only for short trips. La Marquesa. That shall be yours also. So he had to go. Her Highness. Apart from all that. Just about that same time it so happened that the eight-year-old son of the viceroy. Yet. ''What I promised you in the casethat you save our son The viceroy went on: follows exactly the suggestion made by Her Highness. less given to dignity when the life of her son was at stake. however.' Macario nodded. 'It was not I who called you. la Marquesa. Who hadn't? But he owed it to his dignity. spoke to him in the same way as he would have spoken to any native wood-chopper. my good man. I believe. The child's mother. made life for the viceroy so miserable that finally he saw no other way out of his dilemma than to send for Macario. my wife. the more so since he was called thus by every doctor who had a title from an accredited university.' . Besides. The best doctors were called for help. education and high social and political position to consider Macario a quack. The viceroy.you may ask anything you seehere in my palace. my good man. Brought before the viceroy he was told what was expected of him. the highest personage of New Spain. an order given by the viceroy himself had to be obeyed under penalty of death. and especially for his beloved wife. The viceroy had heard of Macario. whatever it is that catchesyour fancy and whatever its value. I make it quite clear to you that in case you actually save our child.286 THE BOOK OF FANTASY By now he had become really old and felt that he had a right to spend the last few years of his life in peace. whom he had had to cure two times during the last ten years and whom he was afraid he might lose-a loss which would be very difficult for him to bear. insisted on bringing you here to saveour son whom. and you shall be given a special letter with my seal on it which wilt give you immunity for life against any arrest by police or soldiers. that this is a royal payment for your service. and what I promise I always keep. so it appears. I personally shall hand you a license which will entitle you to practise medicine anywhere in New Spain with the same rights and privileges as any learned medico.

though not rich looking. said nothing and made no gesture. give orders that everybody else will leave. I personally shall show you to our sick child. that is. 'Now. listen to my own suggestionsr' the viceroy continued. I shall hand you over to the High Court of the Inquisition. She had. Macario. so as not to make his gesture seem suspicious.' Macario said briefly. 'Have you understood in full what I have said?' 'I have. 'If you should fail to save our son. please.MACARIO 287 The Marquez stopped for a few seconds. Macario and the Bone Man. The boy was resting on a bed becoming his age. These two casesof hesitation had been the only ones he had ever experienced during his long practice. noting that expressionof uneasiness shown by the viceroy. and you shall be burned alive at the stake on the Alameda and in public. Vhenever they would meet in a sickroom. Now he said: '\urill you. but still said nothing. Your Highness. he beheld the same expression of hesitancy in a person who wanted a great service done but did not trust the man who was the onlv one who could render that service. that perhaps today.' They entered the boy's room where two nurses were in attendance. and will Your Highness. too. as if waiting for Macario to say something. trembling slightly as he attempted to make an awkward bow.' Again the viceroy stopped to see what expression his threat had made upon Macario. I pray. Follow me. by the doctor's order. Macario went close and looked around for a sign of his dinner guest. yet not speak. Macario paled. His mother was not present. Slightly. however. they would only look at each other. evidently being afraid that this ignorant peasant might do his son some harm if left alone with him. And suddenly there appeared his partner. a light bed made of fine wood. Macario. The two. merely watching the child's slow decline. . Your Highness. And Macario wondered whether that might carry some significance in his destiny. so that I may remain alone with the young patient?' The Marquez hesitated. He was now alone with the boy. been confined to her room as she was close to a complete breakdown. taking his stand at rhe boy's head. 'But now. recalled. with only two little drops of his medicine left. unable to do anyrhing save keep him comfortable. leave this room for one hour. his first cure of a patienr not of his own family. charging you with the practice of witchcraft under pacr with the Devil. had never again spoken one to the other since they had had a turkey dinner together. at this very instant. Ramiro had hesitated in a similar way when told to leave the room and let Macario alone with the young woman in bed. Ramiro's young wife in his native village. he touched a special little pocket in his trousers to be sure he had the crystal flask with the last two drops of medicine about him.

. and and break the bottle' so that not even iout out the last diop of your medicine oh please. Never had he claimed from him any individual whom the Bone Man had decided to take. He did not mind losing his fortune. I shall not take poor man and I was happy then in offered me for curing him. All his fortune and all his landed property. not one little favor for the half turkey good dinner more than anything else. in this particular case. I'm we met for the first time'' wood againfor the villagers as I did when long time. I've you ate with never asked any favor of you. If he The Bone Man looked at him with his deep black holes for a Now he looked down before had a heart he was questioning it at this moment. It isn't for my sake what it Iaithful. in this most terrible moment of his whole life.ro.*pr. She would go crazy with grief on learning what had happened to him in that strange. You know. You so much gusto when you needed a I'll gave me voluntarily what I had not asked you for. one little wet spot Ue teft inside to be used for another cure.loued wife's. is burned at the stake alive means for a Christian family if one of its members or touch the riches and in public. ruflhathe did mind above all was the happinessof his children. He would be burned alive at the stake as a witch doctor convicted of having signed a pact with the Devil. his orders were to gesturesclearly showed . Please.ni b. he felt deeply And again he looked at Macario as if pitying him and as though distressed. because their father had been condemned by the Holy Inquisition to suffer the most infamous death a Christian could die.' he pleaded. You found me a willing to chop my own way. It had never meant much to him personally anyhow. as I used to be. to find the most him as though he were delibeiating this casefrom every angle take the child away' He could perfect soluiion. loyal. not for his own. was born. vast city so far away from home. . for a very long while' destined before he more carefully sriil Ma.288 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Macario had never asked of his partner any special favour. yet his for by his attitude he tried to his willingness to tretp a iriend in dire need. which he had meant to leave to his children and grandchildren.Give me thar child. that I ask you this' It is for my dear' give me that boy. let rne have the boy. he was powerless to of both' problems *tti. It was for her sake.tt would meet halfway the -his look rested upon the boy as though iudging Again. Give me that boy. He even had to let go two grandchildren of his without arguing his dinner guest's first claim. I don'imind being poor again. Obviously. discover a way out explain that. But more still than his children he was. would fall into disgrace. 'give him to me for old friendship's sake. Please.ario's plea against the child's fate. that this time he decided to fight it out with the Bone Man.ss his thoughts by his eyes or his face. thinking of his beloved wife. This time everything was different. . or at least you can imagine. and she would be unable to come to his aid oi even comfort him during his last hours on earth. would be confiscated and given to the Church. His children' now all of them in highly honoured positions.

I must take that boy.' The Bone Man shook his head again.Man would stand at the feet. entirely exhausted. Macario grabbed the boy's bed and quickly turned it round so that his partner found himself standing at the boy's feet. you cannottake him. he came to look at the boy's face and he found the boy gone. All I cansayis that in few of my cases havefelt sadder in this. appeared at the boy's head once more. and again the Bone Man disappearedfrom the child's feet and stood at the boy's head. for taking a breath. he discovered that the crystal flask with the last two drops of the precious medicine in it had been smashed during his wild play with the bed. he could stretch these two secondsinto twenty hours only and leave the city under the viceroy's impression that the boy was cured. you mustn't. letting his eyes wander around the whole room. like a flash.'You must not. you must not take that child. He recognized that his fate was upon him and that it would be useless to fight against it any longer. compadre.I can't help it. turning that bed round and round without gaining more than two seconds from eternity. in finds himself utterly helpless a desperate He openedhis fleshlessiaws.' 'No. wild with madness. so he thought. Lying there motionless. then waning.' Macarioyelled in greatdespair. And now. he gazed about the room as though coming out of a trance in which he had been held for an uncountable number of years. as if by a certain impulse. compadre. He heard him say: "Once more. softly this time. he heard his one-time dinner guest speaking to him.MACARIO 289 who in Presentlyhe shook his head slowly as might someone great sadness situation. the little pocket in his trousers. Vaguely. turned the bed round and round as if it were a wheel. centuries perhaps. Fully realizing that loss and its significance. It was too much for the old man. Yet. You mustn't. If. pool you I but in this case cando nothing to help you out of that uncomfortable than I havebeenput into. whenever he stopped. with a resolute jerk. Macario. He was so tired now that he could not turn the bed once more. Quickly Macario again turned the bed so that the Bone. he might escapethat horrible punishment which he had been condemned to suffer. he would see his dinner guest standing at the boy's head. and Macario would start his crazy game again by which he thought that he might cheat the claimant out of his chosen subject. . I won't let you. Do you hear me. woodensticksclubbedon a board he said: 'I am sorry. but said nothing. So. I thank you for the half turkey which you so generously gave me and which restored my strength. compadre. and with a voice that soundedlike heavy very sorry. he felt as if he had been drained of the last spark of his life's energy and that his whole life had become empty. Immediately the Bone Man vanished from sight for two or three secondsand. As if felled he dropped to the floor. believeme. Touching.

dead. he saw his one-time dinner guest standing at his head. greatly worried over her husband's not coming home. called all the men of the village morning to help her find Macario. And this. I shall do for old friendship's sake. in a like manner. becausethat is beyond my jurisdiction. Whoever he was. Yet. compadre. Good-bye. Before him on the ground banana leaves were spread out. "How strange!" said his wife. I have no power to save you from being burned at the stake on the Alameda and in public. who might be hurt somewhere deep in the woods and unable to return without help. compadre." Macario opened his eyes and. Macario's wife. he was discovered at the densest part of the woods in a section far away from the village. After several hours of searching. very happy. there also were. and because you have always played fair and never tried to cheat me. or Macario wouldn't have died so very. thick tears welling out of her sad eyes. But now. I can save you from being burned alive and from being pubticly defamed. he must have been a fine and noble and very gentle person. a big beautiful smile all over his face. serving as a tablecloth. You have lived a very great man. see." . He was sitting on the ground. but untouched. A royal payment you received and you honored it like a royal payment. "I wonder why he cut the turkey in two? It was his dream all during his life to eat it all himself! I just wonder who he had invited to eat the other half of his turkey. banana leavesspread.290 THE BOOK OF FANTASY for another hundred years of tedious labor. coming to where we are at thi shour. It certainly was exquisite. separatedby a spaceof about three feet. so far that nobody would ever dare go there alone. Directly opposite. on looking backwards. compadre. if you understand that word. his body comfortably snuggled in the hollow of a huge tree trunk. and on them were lying the carefully cleaned bonbs of a half turkey. on which was the other half of the turkey.

Ping-erh.I suppose gardenbelongsto somefamily that my this peoplevisit. that you should use the samecharacters your name?You daretry that on again. Chhusenooelist.TheInfinite Dreamof Pao-Yu bont in tlw Prooinceof Kiangsuin c.saidto himselfagain-'Can it really be that someone elsehas waiting-maidsso exactly like Hsi-Jen. we should like to know. Pao-Yu was very much downcast. 'be another courtyard exactly like ours at home?' He went up some steps and walked straightinto a room.But wheredo you comefrom. there's Pao-Yu! How ever did he get out here?'Pao-Yu naturally supposed that she knew it was he.more than ever surprised. Ten years beforehis death lu beganworh on tlu lons nooelfor which Iu is famous. Like Kin Ping Mei and otlpr nnek of the realisticschool. '$7hyshouldtheseparticular girls havetaken sucha distike to me? And is there really anotherPao-Yu?I must somehow discover. and whoseseedylittle drudge are you. 'has ever before treatedme so rudely.hoping that sucha namewould make him havea long and happy life.'No oner' he thought.let me ioin you in your walk.' So they were servantsof another Pao-Yu! 'Dear Sistersr'he said to them. But in any case. 'Can there thenr' he asked himself. and coming forward. all And Pao-Yu. 'Is it possibler' he said to himself in his dream. 'tell me who then is your master?''He is Pao-Yur'they said. Herethe first thing he sawwasa youngman lying on a bed. he said: 'I was iust going for a walk. 'that there is really anothergardenso exactly like mine?' \7hile he was thus wondering to himself.dear Sisters. 29r . What would our Pao-Yuthink if he sawus talking to sucha ragamuffin?'Anothersaid: 'If we staynearhim much longerwe shallall smell nasty!' And at one streakthey weregone.it is full of suneal and fannstic episodes. 'rVhat a silly mistake!' they said: '\$7ethought you were our younger master Pao-Yu. and all my own maids at home?'Presentlyone of the girls called out: 'Look.it pleases him very much that we too shouldcall him by this name. there suddenly appearedin front of him a number of girls who seemed to be waiting-maidsin somegreat house. and he fell t )asleep. The Dream of the Red Chamber. died in 1764.'\(lhile thesethoughts were passingthrough his mind he had beenwalking on without noticing where he was going. Ts'ao Chan (Hsueh Ch'in). It seemed him presentlythat he wasin a greatflower-garden which to was extraordinarily like his own garden at home.' No sooner had he finished speakingthan the girls burst into peals of laughter.I7I6.But of courseyou are not half sogood-lookingand do not talk nearly so nicely. Qo before he knew what had happenedPau-Yu's head nodded. and he now found himself in a courtyard that seemedstrangelyfamiliar. 'It was his grandmother and mother who wished him to use these two charactersPao (precious)and Yu (iade).and we'll beatyour in nastylittle body into ielly!'Another of them said. and though we are only servants. and got herequite by accident.laughing:'Comeon! Let's get awayasquick aswe can.

and hearing him callingout his own namein his dreamsshewoke him. door.292 THEBooKoF FANTAsy round which sat a number of girls laughingand playing while they did their needlework. andit wasnot a dream!''A dream!'criedPao-Yu.'\fhen the realPao-Yuheardthis he wasmore than everastonished.' '\(rhy. 'I have been having such an odd dreamr' said the young man on the bed. and as he left the room the real Pao-Yucalledafter him: 'Come backsoon. The boy on the bed kept on sighingheavily. where I met somegirls who calledme nasty namesand would not play with me.and now it seems that you are the one!' The boy on the bed rose and coming quickly toward him. for all the world like an empty bag. The dream Pao-Yu rushedaway. . though. and he would tell himself that he would gladly die if he could have her in his arms for but one brief moment.His thoughtsand feelings seemed to all haveflown somewhere far away. His desire being . He knew better. . 'He hasjust goneout. he could not containhimselfandcried out to the boy on the bed: 'I cameto look for a Pao-Yu. Pao-Yuis to go to his father'sroom at once.till at last one of the girls saidto him-'Pao-Yu. and said. you arestill dreaming!' saidHsi-Jen. crying: 'Mr. laughing: 'rWhere this Pao-Yuthat you arecalling is to?'Though he wasno longerasleep. than to let himself be seen again at the Yungkuofu.'No. why do you keepon sighing? Can't you gerto sleep? No doubt you areworried over your cousin'sillness. but then he fhia Vwould seePhanix's image before him. Chia Yung and Chia Chiang pressed him for the notes and his grandfather imposed on him more severe tasks as a punishment for his recent escapades. But I followed them back to the house.'Do you know what it is you are staringat. saying:'So you are Pao-Yu. indeed.'His maid Hsi-Jenwasby the bed. 'There he is. screwing your eyesand up making such a funny face?It is your own reflectionin the mirror!' TheMirror of Wind-to-Moon Jui hated Phcnix whenever he thought of her treachery. lovely as ever and now all the more to be desired becausehe knew that she had never cared for him.' $flhenthe real Pao-Yuheardthis dream. embraced him. .and therewhat shouldI find but anotherPao-Yu. This proved only the beginning of his real troubles.' he said.pointing sleepilyat the his mind wasdazedand confused.Pao-Yu!Comeback.But it is silly to makesuch a fuss.much amused.'At the sound of thesewords both Pao-Yustrembled from head to foot.I thought I was in a greatflower-garden.It wasmoretrue than truth itself.' But hardly had he finishedspeaking when someone cameto the door.lying senseless his on bed. . far.

THE MIRROR TO \TIND. . but as Phenix was acting for Madame rWang. who begged his family to send for the Taoist. He took up the mirror and looked. he took pounds upon pounds during his illness. in her best clothes. He woke up from his trance and found the mirror lying wrong side up. peh-chia. Chia Jui took the mirror and looked into the reverse side as the Taoist had directed. the supply of ginseng thus secured did not last very long. Only use the reverse. He felt exhausted from the voluptuous experience that the more deceptive side of the mirror gave him.' He took from his sleevesa 'The Precious mirror that was polished on both sides.' Jui pleaded. The two nights of exposure soon produced their effects and Chia jui was laid up in bed. These were his last words. Phanix. Madame \7ang was appealed to.futze. This happened three or four times. It is intended for youths such as you are. Chia Jui felt himself wafted into a mirror world. Then he thought he would seewhat was on the right side.' He went away without taking any reward. His sleep was infested with nightmares from which he would awake in deliriums. I have a treasure that will heal you if you will follow my directions. The doctors later prescribed the sole use of the best grade of ginseng.' He said to Chia Jui: Goddessof Disillusionment of the Ethereal and Spiritual Palacein the Sphere of the Primordial Void and has curative qualities for diseases resulting from impure thoughts and self-destructive habits. One day a lame Taoist mendicant was asking for alms in the street and proclaimed that he could cure ailments of the soul. He cursed the Taoist for playing such a crude ioke upon him. he was seizedby two men and put in chains. stood beckoning to him. The latter looked at him and said: 'Your affliction is not something to be remedied with medicine. but it was so delicious that he could not resist the temptation of looking into the right side again. he gave way to evil habits and slept but poorly. Again he saw Phanix beckoning to him and again he yielded to the temptation. 'Just a moment. meitung. His cries reached Chia Jui. something that Tai-Ju could not afford. for he saw a gruesome skeleton staring at him with hollow eyes. yuchu. In a year's time he became a victim to a host of aches and oppressions. It can save the world and restore life. In three days I shall be back to get the mirror and to congratulate you on your recovery. revealing the repulsive skeleton.AND-MOON 293 stimulated by the constant image of Phanix. He threw it down with an oath. wherein he fulfilled his desire for Phanix. \7hen he was about to leave the illusive world of the mirror on his last visit. It bore the inscription 'This mirror is made by the Mirror to Wind-and-Moon. officersr'Chia 'Let me take my mirror with me. Of such tonic simples as cinnamon. But do not look into the right side.

and Montefeltres had been stabbing one another with the utmost fervour. He had a saturnine face. diedin Pais in 1889. The theatres of the Boulevard du Crime where. tanslated into English. stood silent. Axel (1885. arousing the idea of commonplace days lived through once for all.The Desireto be o Man Comte P. de For MonsieurCatulleMmdis . L'Amour Supr€me(1986).La Revolte(1870). . He is and tlu authoro/Isis (i. one by one. That Sunday the sad October wind was whistling through the streets.ClaireLenoir (1866). At that time the citizenswere still subiectto military law. it was the psychological moment when every caf6 proprietor thinks fit to show the last customers. trimmed with dubious astrakhan. Under a street lamp level with the Rue Hauteville. long greying hair under a Louis Treize hat. were blown along by the squalls.He contributed nooels. Nature might stand up and say to all the world: 'This wasa man!' sHAKESPE Julius Caesar nxa: he StockExchange clock struck midnight.862). the Caudine Forks of the back door. disappeared into the shadows. bmn at SaintBrieux in 1840. during the evening. here and there.H. Frenchwriter.shortstories plays to the liwrature of fanmsy. under a starry sky. 1925). Inside the boulevard cafds the gas butterflies of the chandeliers fluttered quickly away. the waiters of those establishments which were still lit up were hurriedly closing their doors. suddenly noticing on his 294 . their mute portals guarded by their caryatids.ContesCruels(1883). L'Eve Future (1886). a somnambulist's walk. at the corner of a fairly luxurious-looking cafd.Le Secret I'echafaud (1888)azd HistoiresInsolites(1888).dusty and rustling. black gloves holding an ivory-headed stick. A few yellow leaves. in accordance with the curfew regulations. into the darkness. the fact remains that. all the Medicis. a smooth chin.However. and. and then. with an arm ending in a napkin. like bats. Villiers de L'isle Adam. phosphorescent glows given off by the rubbish-heaps over which they were wandering. Carriages and pedestrians became fewer from one moment to the next. Outside could be heard the noise of the chairs being arranged in quartets on the marble-topped tables. t$(/as this tardy stroller on his way home? Had the mere chance of a walk late at night brought him to that street-corner? It would have been difficult to decide from his appearance. the sceptical lanterns of rag-pickers gleamed already. Salviatis. as if automatically hesitating to cross the roadway separating him from the Boulevard BonneNouvelle. touching the stones and skimming the asphalt. a tall passer-by had come to a stop. and an old greatcoat in royal blue.

had remained in his ecstatic posture on the corner of the Rue Hauteville.THE DESIRE TO BE A MAN 295 sometimes right one of those mirrors-as tall and narrow as himself-which stand like public looking-glasses outside leading caf6s. And the mirror. tilThile he was considering himself with this sort of stupor. heedless of everybody's departure. the scion of a worthy family of Saint-Malo pilots. of the Ellevious and the Laruettes. and the often fortunate rival of Fr€ddrick Lemaitre. He noticed that his hair. His head. a sort of wintry fever took hold of him and a hallucination dilated his pupils. disappearin the twilight round a distant bend in the road. thus unexpectedly bared. reminded him at first of the sleeping waters of a gulf. from his boots to his hat. It was time to take leave for ever. all of a sudden. Only Chaudval. which by a strange oversight was forgotten in the general hurry. A mist passedin front of his eyes. that morning. had fluttered from the wind of Hope. doubtless becauseof the stars deepening its surface. the fact is that in that cruel. of the grand liveries and the soft curves of the Dugazons and the inginues! It was time to get down in a hurry from the chariot of Thespis and watch it drive away with his colleagues. then revealed him as none other than the famous tragedian Esprit Chaudval. which only yesterday had still been grizzly. The long mirror was accordingly deformed under the gaze of his eyes. apart from the one over the mirror. Childhood memories of beachesand silvery waves danced about in his brain. he was finished! It was goodbye to curtains and crowns. the actor had fust seen himself growing old. others were noisily emptying the contents of the nickel money boxes and piling the day's takings on a tray. dark crystal. The haggard fixity with which he was gazing into the providential mirror ended up by giving his eyes that ability to enlarge obiects and endow them with importance which physiologists have observed in individuals under the stressof intense emotion. This pale. suddenly consciousof his fifty years (he was a good fellow). which were filled with dim. and deliberately looked himself up and down. Soon the shutters were bolted into their iron frames. was turning silver. moonlit looking-glass seemed to give the actor the feeling he would have had bathing in a pond. and whom the mysteries of Providence had induced to become a leading man in the provinces' a star abroad. Chaudval. he greeted himself with a certain courtesy. he halted abruptly. with handshakes and tears. planted himself opposite his reflection. This haste and bustle was due to the ominous presence of two policemen who had suddenly appeared at the door and were standing there with folded arms. murky ideas. Then silence descended on the boulevard. on the pavement in front of the forgotten mirror. harrying the laggardly landlord with their cold gaze. to see the baubles and streamers which. Then. raising his hat with an old-world gesture. the waiters in the nearby cafd were helping their last customers into their overcoats and fetching their hats. goodbye to the roses of Thalia and the laurels of Melpomene. heaved a sigh. . born Lepeinteur and known as Monanteuil. Chaudval shivered. Alas.

in the red glow of the street lamp. those two old friends of lonelv hearts. the latter. . . thinking that somebody else had spoken. that's certain. He revelled for some time in his vision. stopped as if changed into a statue of salt. 'I acted prudently the other evening.' The old actor then launched into a dazed monologue.I am alone in the world: without a doubt it is the perfect refuge for my old age. 'Eh?' he went on after a pause. 'Good Lord!' he said. . . luring the doomed vessel of his future to shipwreck.296 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Then. 'when I asked my good comrade Mademoiselle Pinson (who sharesthe Minister's confindence and even his bed) to obtain for me. that letter the postman delivered just as I was coming out must be the reply . 'For nearly half a century now I have been acting and playing other men's .I shall guide the ships in the distance. between two ardent confessions. acrossthe sea. . 'calm down .' he went on. cynical laughter which startled the two policeman under the trees. srruck him. 'Very well.' All of a sudden Chaudval interrupted his reverie. taking him for some drunkard or iilted lover. I was going into this cafd to read it. suddenly roused from sleep. says to the executioner: 'I am at your service. 'My lighthouse! My letter of appointment!' he exclaimed. the mirror took on the appearance of the sea and the night. . He shook off his hallucination and drew himself up to his full height. nowr' he said. as if out of force of habit and in a falsetto voice so sudden and so different from his own that he looked around. feeling inside his greatcoat. After all. as like the glow of a blood-red lighthouse. Luckily for the actor. A lighthouse always gives the impression of a stage-set. He feverishly picked it up and read it at a single glance. Good. thank God!' he added. a ministerial letter fell to the ground. 'Saved. but then the street lamp which was reddening the cold drizzle behind him. 'What did I tell myself just then? To be a Man? . . here it is!' Chaudval had just taken out of his pocket a large envelope from which. above his head. like the condemned man who. thanks to the old man's sighs. continued their official stroll without paying any atrention to the wretched Chaudval. with a nervous burst of bitter. . . And then I shall retire into my lighthouse like a rat into a cheese. 'Come. billowing out even more. 'But . and no mistake! . . Pinson will send me my letter of appointment. let us give up!' he said simply in an undertone. why not?' He folded his arms reflectively. and be a man!' But at these words Esprit Chaudval. and I forgot all about it! I'm losing my grip. that post as lighthouse-keeper which my ancestorsoccupied on the Atlantic coast. as soon as he broke the seal. this remark seemed to have petrified him. reflected as it was in the depths of the dreadful mirror. Ah! Now I understand the weird effect the reflection of this street lamp in this mirror had on me! It was that idea at the back of my mind. born Lepeinteur and known as Monanteuil.

' And he threw the stone at the mirror which shatrered into a thousand shining pieces. yes. 'Remorse! There's a passion that suits my dramatic temperament. the most impressive of alM have it! A fire! I just have time to start a fire. and concluded: '\Well. picked up a srone. I'm entitled to be a man. duly hidden behind the window of a cab. that's settled. 'That's it!'he concluded. 'There's a piece of good reasoning for you. Ambition? . I have tasted it . pack my bags. tilflhen?. \flhy. I must find myself some passions or real feelings-seeing that that is the sine qua non without which nobody can call himself a Man. let us leave that nonsenseto the politicians!' All of a sudden he gave a cry.. 'Nero! Macbeth! Orestes!Hamlet! Erostratus! The ghosts! Oh. . A si ngl e one! B ut a grandiosecrime. So I am like those other men just for fun! So I am nothing but a shadow! Passions. real actions-that is what makes a genuine Man. since my age forces me to rejoin Mankind. And there I shall die alone.' He looked at himself in the mirror. too late . to enjoy my victory in the midst of the horrified crowd.' And after another pause he went on: 'But that doesn't matter! !flhere there's a will there's a way! I'm entitled to become what I ought to be. I c ann o t wait unt il t om orro w . . Glory? . Then I shall go and hide in my brightly-lit eyrie on the shoresof the Ocean-where the police will never find me. . So now to choose the passion most in keeping with my resuscitated nature. 'But how? . come back.' He meditated. Straight away. . . . then went on sadly: 'Love? . it's positively bursting with common sense. 'I have it!' he said. . . feelings. so be it: what does it matter. Consequently. assuming an expressionwhich was drawn and convulsed as if by some supernatural horror. whatever the cost..' Here Chaudval drew himself up and improvised this positively classicalline: 'Saved from suspicion by the grandeur of the crime. And from now on you won't reflect anybody else. . . . . . Do I have to commit crimes in order to feel remorse? All right. 'I shall perpetrare some dreadful crimes .THE DESIRE TO BE A MAN 297 passionswithout ever feeling them-for at bottom I have never felt anything. . so be it!' At this point he began to improvise a dialogue. collect the curses of the dying-and catch the train for the north-west with enough remorse put by to last me the rest of my days. . . .' The great artist looked around to make sure he was alone. of extraordinary cruelty. calculated to rouse all the Furies from the Underworld! . .' He struck his forehead.. I want to see some real ghosts too! Like all those lucky fellows who could not take a single step without meeting a ghost. provided it is in a good cause?Yes indeed. . \[h a t c ri m e s ? . And what crime is that? .. . I'm as innocent as a lamb unwilling to be born. . for the simple reason that my crime is disinterested.

. policemen were holding the people back. the mournful wail of their horns rousing the inhabitants of that populous district from their sleep. drawing aside the blind from time to time and contemplating his handiwork. 'Oh!' he whispered to himself. Everybody was shouting. had come to a standstill. having moved his bed into the lighthouse. Chaudval made off in a hurry-as if satisfied with this first energetic feat*and rushed towards the boulevards. trapped in the crowds. \fhat a man I'm going to be! How I'm going to live! Yes. let us fly like the wind! Let us hide in our lighthouse.298 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Having performed this duty. The tight was of scarcely any use: it was iust an excrescence.a sinecure. he hailed a cab. were left penniless and homeless. where. and disappeared. \flithin less than a quarter of an hour a cordon of troops had been formed round the fire. were howling. those of the workers employed in the burning buildings. reaching his destination safely. the flames of a huge fire. The carriages. loaded with two bulky trunks. and matches. promptly shut himself up there. Two hours later. burning Rome out of artistic fervour. I breathe again! I'm born again! I exist! \flhen I think that I was an actor! Now. 'O wretched man!' he muttered. burning Persepolis out of love for his immortal I Thais! . Already human chains were being hurriedly organized. a solitary cab. In the distance. jumped into it. burn becauseI owe it to myself. burning Moscow out of patriotism. was standing behind the crowd at the ChAteau-d'Eau. which nobody needed except Chaudval. of Alexander. took possession his lonely old lighthouse on the north coast: a ruined building with of an anriquated beacon which ministerial compassion had rekindled for his sake. were reflected in every window-pane in the Faubourg du Temple. born Lepeinteur and known as Monanteuil. at last I'm going to find out what it's like to be tortured by remorse. I for my part burn out of duty. caught in the inferno. to enioy our remorse there in peace. of Erostratus. About a hundred families. Countless hurried steps rang out on the pavement: the Place du ChAteau-d'Eau and the adjoining streets were crowded with people. Chaudval. and the roofs of the housesfalling in on them. . \$(ihatwonderful nights of delicious horror I'm going to spend! Ah. having no other means of existence. of Rostopchin. . sure enough!' The kindly old actor's face lit up. burning the temple of Ephesus out of a desire for glory. that's the work of a criminal.' In the evening. came running up from all sides. coming from some big warehouses stocked with petroleum. So the worthy tragedian. I burn to fulfil an obligation. secure from all human suspicion. Distant screamscould be made out amidst the dreadful crackling of the flames. a few minutes later. oil. In the blood-red light of the torches. a dwelling with a lamp on top. rolling and pushing their pumps. '\Ufhat sleeplessnights I'm going to enioy among the ghosts of my victims! I can feel burgeoning within me the soul of Nero. two days later. 'How loathsome I feel in the eyes of God and men! Yes. And in that cab sat Esprit Chaudval. The victims of the fire. Soon squads of firemen. together with stocks of food and a tall mirror in which to study his facial expressions. as I'm nothing in the coarseeyes of mankind but a gallowsbird.

Something horrifying! Contrary to his hopes and expectations. On the evening of the third day. absolutelynothing! He could not believe the silence. He did not see a single threatening phantom. exclaimed: '\flhat a triumph! \[hat a wonderful scoundrel I am! How I'm going to be haunted! How many ghosts I'm going to see! I knew that I should become a Man! Oh. His efforts were in vain. he noticed that his debonair expression had not changed. It was all to no purpose. one night. Nearly a hundred victims had died. and awaken the longed-for ghosts. which had kept the firemen and the people out in the Faubourg du Temple. it had to be!' Reading the Paris newspaper again. He watched the waves attacking his tower under the shifts of the winds. he was re-reading a Paris newspaper which told the story of the catastrophe which had taken place two days before. Sometimes. The whole place was in mourning and still smoking. It would have been my farewell performance. He felt nothing. looking at himself in the mirror. unfortunate families had been plunged into the direst poverty. He could not get over it. I would have declaimed Orestes. feverishly rubbing his hands. and murmured: '\trflell. I admit that the means I used was drastic. A colossal fire. he suffered a . stimulate his rebellious remorse. he was so stifled by shame and despair.' Thereupon Chaudval began living in his lighthouse. The result was that when. In the distance he followed with unthinking eyes the smoke of steamships or the sails of fishing boats. . and so above all was the criminal's modve. When he read this. His attempted crimes came to nothing. in which the ancient abyss of the heavens bathed the light of its stars. altering them in the radiant hope of sinking some far-off ship. And the evenings and the nights fell. He found it impossible to sleep any more. I would have been marvellously true to life . much as the Stylite must have gazed at the sands being hurled against his column by the shimiel. Chaudval fumped for joy and. Then he would hurl himself in a fury on his signals. sitting in his room. The name of the person who had committed this heinous crime was unknown.THE DESIRE TO BE A MAN 299 Around him moaned the sea. He felt nothing. . Chaudval noticed that a special performance was being given in aid of those who had suffered from the fire. Not a single ghost appeared. sixty feet above the waves.the dreamer kept forgetting his fire. He felt nothing. welM ought to have put my talent at the service of my victims. An unknown malefactor had thrown some matches into the petroleum cellars. Something happened which astounded the actor. His efforts were in vain. his consciencefailed to torment him. so as to rouse' quicken. As he went up and down the stone staircase. but it had ro be. and followed one after anorher.

he had a death-agony which-amid the noiseof in the ocean. his ardent longing to see some ghosts. all this is easy. that head bald and palsied. I have nothing to do but to divest myself entirely of passions.! . without realizingthat he himselfwas what he was lookingfor.with the sea-winds buffeting his tower lost in infinity-he cried out: ' G h o s t s. conceived the same wild proiect.Frenchphilosoplur. I must think a little of how I am to regulate my fortune: why. a loathing stomach. . Now I have only to consider her at present in imagination. emnon one day took it into his head to become a great philosopher.and nothing is more easy. at some time or other. . and I will preserve them. says Memnon. an aching head. the loss of reason. with delicious wines. still expressing. for we shall never have any difference. continued he. There IYIare few men who have not. . I will then only eat to supply the waste of nature. I will have only to figure to myself the consequencesof excess. for. these eyes be encircled with vermilion. All this is so easy that there is no merit in accomplishing it. In the first place. that bosom become flabby and pendant. Memnon. I shall never be under the cruel necessity of dancing attendanceat court: I will never envy anyone.in his vain rhetoric. I will never take amiss anything they may say or do.300 THE BOOK OF FANTASY strokein his luminouseyrie. my health will be always equal.!. as everybody knows.. I have friends. or the charms of society. my desires are moderate. F o r t h e l o v e o f G o d. SaysMemnon to himself: To be a perfect philosopher. and of time. and nobody will envy me. I will be always temperate. It will be in vain to tempt me with good cheer. when I seea beautiful woman.or Human Wisdom Maie Arouet (1694-1778). . L e t m e s e e o n e g h o s t a t l e a s t ! . I will say to myself. But. of Voltaire was the pen-nome Frangois playrightand satirist work is Candide(1764). In the second place. and they will behave in the same way to me. of health. There is no difficulty in all this. my wealth is securely placed with the Receiver General of the finances of Nineveh: I have wherewithal to live independent. and that is the greatest of blessing. whose most famous f. I will never be in love. and certainly a fair face will never turn my head. my ideas pure and luminous. still.l'zte earned it!' But the God he wasinvokingdid not granthim this favour-and the old actor died. and of course to be perfectly happy.. f. as she will afterwards appear. These cheeks will one day grow wrinkled. .

and appeared quite at her ease. Memnon took her affairs exceedingly to heart.' Memnon did not hesitate to follow her. who should come in but the unclel he was armed from head ro foot. OR HUMAN \YISDOM 301 Having thus laid his little plan of philosophy in his closet. the other listening with devout attention.r. they drew ni.. By degrees. clrunk in rnoderation. to examine her affairs philosophicatly and to give her sound counsel. A. I and persuaded you will be able to draw me from the cruel embarrassment I am at present involved in. and of the violence which she pretended to dread from him.knew that he was well enough disposed to pardon. The other was young.and he ii urged to drink and banish care. where they both placed themselves opposite to each other in the attitude of conversation. Memnon put his head out of the window. Memnon counseled her so closely and gave her such tender advices that neither of them could talk any longer of business nor well knew what they were about. not to be sure. covered with shame and confusion. said he. as may easily be imagined. and politely made him sit down with her on a large sofa. The one was old. the one eager in telling her story. with the beauty of the tady (he was roo much determined not to feel any uneasiness that kind) but with the distress which he saw her in. Their discourse was full of tenderness. who made her escape. The afficted lady led him into a perfumed chamber.comforts the heart . The lady spoke with downcast eyes. That lovely person related to him. and seemedon that account still more beautiful. he attendsthe meeting. with what art he had deprived her of some imaginary property. as was iust. the sage Memnon and his niecel the latter. as she now and then ventured to raise them. 'a man of such wisdom that if you will condescend to come to my house and examine into my affairs. and seemingly much agitated: she sighed. got home to his own house. in the warmth of conversation.ordingly. Memnon was obliged to purchase his safety with all he had about him. their legs were no longer crossed. In those days people were happy in getting so easily quit. At his interesting moment. he is discoveredto be uneasyar somerhing.It will therefore be prudent in me to go to my intimate friends. Memnon. and the first thing he said was. and which. always met those of the sage Memnon. and I shall bring upon myself some disease. the injuries she sustained from an imaginary uncle. their legs crossed. with an air of great simplicity. If I remain at home alone. she wept. provided a good round sum were offered to him.MEMNON. and distressed ladies were not nearly as dangerous as they are now. He saw two women walking under the plane trees near his house. I shall forget in the sweets of their society that folly I have this morning been guilty oi. He came of downstairs and accostedthe young Ninevite in the design of consoling her with philosophy. and felt himself every instant more and more inclined to oblige a person so virtuous and so happy. that he would immediately sacrifice. A little wine. whence there somedmes fell a tear. Our philosopher was touched. America was not then discovered. and partake with them of a frugal repast. there he found a card inviting him to dinner with some of his intimate friends.r. I shall have my mind so occupied with this vexatiousadventure that I shall not be able ro ear a bit. and in the most affecting manner. they ceasedto sit opposite. 'You appear to mer' said she. handsome. which redoubled as often as their eyes met.

he is repulsed by a number of officers who are carrying off his furniture for the benefit of his undera planetree. and presented petition. to dare to demand justiceagainst honestbankrupt. and goesto court to solicit iustice from the king againstthe bankrupt. eyedhim askance. play and quarreling.There he finds the fair creditors:he fallsdown almostlifeless dame. Mr. and both set up a and loud laugh on seeingMemnon with his plaster.play is proposed.with the loss of an eye. His graciousmaiestyreceivedhim very favorably. who knew him a little.'Ah! \U7hat and horrid monster!' Another. and still more so. whom I honor with my protection.Here the ague spirit appeared in him. puts a plasteron his eye and a petition in his pocket. Mr. the excesses of the table. The servantreturns and informs him that the Receiver General had that morning been declared a fraudulent bankrupt and that by this meansan hundred families are reducedto poverty and despair. Petrified with astonishment. had been engaged a quarrel. having thus in his closetresolvedto renouncewomen. After the repast. turning upon her heel. Memnon. Three times he kissedthe earth. good friend.drunk and penniless. duped and in robbed by a gentle dame. had been in the short spaceof four-and-twenty hours. and sailingalongwith hoopsfour-and-twentyfeet in circumference.The philosopherMemnon is carried home to his house. you fellow with the one eye.302 THE BOOK OF FANTASY of god and man: so reasons Memnon the philosopher.As he wasaboutto enterhis house. He sleepsout his debauch. and had been at court where he was at sneered and insulted. you must be a comicaldog indeed. and he fell asleep one of the fits. had got his eye knocked out. that he might give him an accountof it. The satrap 'Hark to takesMemnonasideand says him with a haughtyair and satiricalgrin.and his heart broken with grief. The night approached.of the morning. who waswalking with her dearuncle.A little play with one's intimate friends is a harmlesspastime. 'Good-morrow. she tripped awaywithout waiting an answer. had gamed.He plays and losesall that is in his purse. had got drunk. . his That moment at last arrived. if you wish to preserve eyeyou haveleft.Memnon hid himself in a cornerand waitedfor the momentwhen he could throw himselfat the feet of the monarch. In the saloonhe meetsa number of ladiesall in the highest One spirits.and referred the paperto one of his satraps. who was better acquaintedwith him thus accosts him.and becomes intoxicated. almost besidehimself. A disputeariseson somecircumstances the game. Memnon. cried aloud.Proceedno further in this the my business. and strikesout one of his eyes.Memnon.La. Memnon. he sends his servantto the ReceiverGeneralof the financesof Nineveh to draw a little moneyto pay his debtsof honor to his intimate friends. Memnonmadehis bed on somestrawnearthe wallsof his house.and when his headhas got a little clear. Mr. and four times as much on his word. how did you lose your eye?'And. Memnon in returnshomeward despair.and who an is nephew to the waiting-maid of my mistress. when a celestial seized to him in a dream.to address yourselfto the king rather than to me. but especiallyhaving determinednever to go to court.and the in disputantsgrow warm: oneof his intimate friends throws a dice box at his head. a of them. ye.I hopeyou arevery well.' Memnon.

'without women and without eating how do you spend your time?' 'In watching.' said the genius. then.' said the spirit. 'It is a true. because we have none among us. There is a world indeed where all this is possiblel but. 'is five hundred man of affliction. becausewith us there is neither silver nor gold. 'that our tittle terraqueous globe here is the madhouse of those hundred thousand millions of worlds of which Your Lordship does me the honor to speak. . and I am now come to give you consolation. my lord. everything goes on by degrees. when we consider things in relation to the gradation to the whole universe. 'And what world do you inhabit?' said the 'My native countryr' replied the other. the other in a 'Your dungeon. world we inhabit.' 'But are those poets and philosophers wrong. where all are completely fools.' said Memnon. 'why did you not come yesterday to hinder me from committing so many indiscretions?' 'I was with your elder brother Hassan. and could be likened to nothing.' said Memnon. ffiy reason.' then said Memnon. 'but very nearly: everything must be in its proper place. our eyes cannot be knocked out becausewe have not bodies in the form of yours. we are never duped by women. 'As impossible as to be perfectly wise.' 'I am afraid. have nothing of what you talk of.' said poor Memnon. we never commit excesses table. Ve ourselves are very far from it. 'to have a good genius in one's family. in the hundred thousand millions of worlds dispersed over the regions of space. becausewe neither eat nor drink. his hands and feet loaded with chains. but neither feet '\$(/hat art thou?' said nor head nor tail. which you see from hence. except that. 'over the other worlds that are entrusted to us.' 'Not quiter' said the spirit.' 'Pray. 'And are there indeed no jades to dupe a poor devil. you may be sufficiently happy if you never again take it into your head to be a perfect philosopher. you will never recover your eye.' said the celestial being. in whose court he has the honor to serve. has caused bdth his eyes to be put out for some small indiscretionl and he is now in a dungeon. health.' 'It is then impossible?' said Memnon. the other blind of both: one stretched upon straw. 'Thy good geniusr'replied the spirit. and satraps never do us injustice becausein our world we are all equal. they are right.There is less philosophy. in a little star near Sirius. no intimate friends that win his money. and he related how he had lost 'These are adventures which never happen to us in the them all in one day. less in the third than in the second.' 'Alas!' replied Memnon. and knock out an eye for him. OR HUMAN WISDOM 303 It was all resplendent with light: it had six beautiful wings. 'He is still more to be pitied than you are.MEMMON. no fraudulent bankrupts. when out of two brothers one is blind of an eye. my fortun€. perfectly sffong.' "Tis a happy thing rrulyr' said Memnon. no satraps that make a jest of you while 'we they refuse you justice?' 'Nor' said the inhabitant of the star. who tell us that everything is for the best?' 'No. perfectly happy. at we have no bankrupts. but.' 'Oh! I shall never believe it titl I recover my eye again. and so forth till the last in the scale. perfectly powerful. millions of leaguesdistant from the sun.' fate will soon changer' said the animal of the star. 'Restoreto me then my eye' my Memnon. and less enjoyment on the second than in the first. His Most Gracious Majesty the Sultan of the Indies.' 'Charming country!'said Memnon.

Later nooels include Brideshead Revisited (1945) and the 'Sword of Honour' trilog. Black Mischief and so on. McMaster's house was larger than those of his neighbours. His first booh was a biography of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.some banana and mango trees. every exposed surface of skin was scarred by insect and bat bites. is still largely coniectural. McMaster had lived in Amazonas for nearly sixty years. three miles or so across. breast-highwalls of mud and wattle. He closed the cartridge and loaded his gun with it. Venezuela. sitting on the ground.' the man said. whose course. and his' clothes were so torn that it was only by the dampness of his body that they adhered to it. while Mr. and. it ran through of rapids. and a mud floor. alone and very sick. had ever heard of the republic of Colombia. bounded on all sides by forest. a single-barrelled. though boldly delineated in upper waters of the every school atlas. each of whom had at one time or another claimed its possession. The stream which watered it was not marked on any map.but his reputation was made by a series satirical noaels of in the 1920s and 30s: Decline and Fall. but similar in character-a palm-thatch roof. McMaster was engaged in filling some cartridges. He was talking to himself in delirium. None of the inhabitants of the district. a plantation of cassava. 'I'm tired. clearly in a bad way. McMaster reached him. The few commodities which he employed from the outside world came to him through a long succession of traders. his feet were cut and grossly swollen. A Handful of Dust.TheMan WhoLiked Dickens Evelyn Waugh (1903-66). Brazil or Bolivia. My name is Henty 304 . Vile Bodies. a dog. no one Asxsspt a few families of Shiriana Indians was aware of his existence. McMaster approached and addressedhim in English. a Shiriana came to him with the news that a white man was approaching through the forest. breech-loading shotgun. unique in the neighbourhood. The man was already clear of the bush when Mr. to join the River Uraricuera. 'The Man Who Liked Dickens' was later modified and incorporatedinto one of his bestnooels. passed from hand to hand. He was without hat or boots. He owned a dozen or so head of puny cattle which grazedin the savannah. His house stood in a small savannah)one of those little patches of sand and grassthat crop up occasionally in that neighbourhood. except Mr. but stopped when Mr. always dangerous and at most seasons the year impassable. then: 'Can't go on any farther. bartered for in a dozen languages at the extreme end of one of the longest threads in the web of commerce that spreads from Manaos into the remote fastnessof the forest. his eyes were wild with fever. was born in London and educatedat Oxford. put those that were finished into his pocket and set out in the direction indicated. 7| lthough Mr. McMaster. Mr. One day.

well travelled in the more accessibleparts tive of the world. He sipped. too. He was married to a lady of exceptional charm and beauty. I will fetch something for you. McMaster threw out the dregs on the floor. an even-tempered. \trfhen we get there I will give you something to make you better. Mr. supporting him by the arm. McMaster hoisted him to his feet and. of fine architecture and the ballet. The first occasion had been a short-lived infatuation with a tennis professional.. It was full of a mixture of dried leaf and bark.' 'I think you are ill. My name is Henty. barristers. He was a member of four clubs. He was not by nature an explorer. but at three of them he was liable to meet his wife's lover. McMaster went into the back room of the house and dragged a tin canister from under a heap of skins.' Mr. Every stage of the enterprise from the preliminary arrangements in London to its tragic dissolution in Amazonas was attacked by misfortune. 'It is a very short way.THE MAN !$fHO LIKED DICKENS 305 and I'm tired. the second was a captain in the Coldstream Guards.' They went very slowly. my friend. you aren't to bother about anything more. and men of scholarship awaiting election to the Athenaum. Henty lay back in the hammock sobbing quietly. He took a handful and went outside to the fire. 'Lie there in the hammock. You're ill and you've had a rough journey.' 'Jolly kind of you. Henty. Accordingly he chose one which he rarely frequented. shuddering slightly at the bitterness. Here. and it was she who upset the good order of his life by confessing her affection for another man for the second time in the eight years of their marriage. It was due to one of the early set-backs that Paul Henty became connected with it. you speak English.' 'Just tired. a collector though not a connoisseur. I'll take care of you. led him across the hummocks of grass towards the farm. It must be severalmonths since I had anything to eat. That was a long time ago. good-looking young unintellectual. Anderson died. Dr.' Mr. \fhen he returned he put one hand behind Henty's head and held up the concoction of herbs in a calabash for him to drink. Mr.' Presentlyhe said: 'I say. 'Ill-fated'was the epithet applied by the Pressto the Anderson expedition to the Parima and upper Uraricuera region of Brazil. but at length reached the house.' 'Well. popular among hostesses. I expect you think I'm very odd. but appreciaman of fastidious tastes and enviable possessions. and more serious. Mr. The principals were ready-Professor Anderson. revered by his aunts. I'm English. Soon he fell into a deep sleep. a semiintellectual company composed of publishers. . Mr. after dinner. The particular misfortune that was retarding arrangementsat the moment was defalcation of the secretarywith twothirds of the expedition's capital. Necher the biologist. Simmons the anthropologist. he fell into conversation with ProfessorAnderson and first heard of the proposed expedition to Brazil. Henty's first thought under the shock of this revelation was to go out and dine alone. At last he finished it.

' 'You have obviously already discovered that I am a very ordinary person. I adore you. The second difficulty was not to be overcome so easily. the necessary facilities had been stamped and signed by the proper authorities but unless twelve hundred pounds was forthcoming the whole thing would have to be abandoned. Necher's mother was on the ship before them. more?' 'Oh. she carried a missionary iournal in which she had . There and then. Mr. It's probably Tony. You shall have time to think it over. yes.' 'But you are certain you love this guardsman. Henty came with her husband to the boat train and presented him with a pale blue. in a suede case of the same colour furnished with a zip fastener and monogram. there's the telephone. Somewhere in Brazil. If it is. move even his wife's sympathies. Henty settled the account. I am leaving next week for the Uraricuera. Paul.' Had she gone as far as Southampton she might have witnessed two dramatic passages. don't be disagreeable-oh. the expedition would last from nine months to a year. and all that . extravagantly soft blanket. I shall be away a year. Tony what-ever-his-name-is. darling?' 'You are certain that you no longer love me?' 'Darling. Quite a different thing altogether. he could think of no one except Professor Anderson. 'Take care of yourself in wherever it is. enerso much more. over the club fire. There was a glamour about the whole iourney which might. then. Vhen he went home that evening he announced to his wife: 'I have decided what I shall do'.' 'But darling. On his last evening she gave a supper-party for him at the Embassy to which she allowed him to ask any of his friends he liked. wireless operator and mechanic-the scientific and sporting apparatus was packed up in crates ready to be embarked. I do not propose to do anything about a divorce for a year.' 'Now. Brough got no farther than the gangway before he was arrested for debt-a matter of f32. he dicided to accompany Professor Anderson. as had been suggested. danced tirelessly and was something of a failure with everyone. where's that?' 'I am not perfectly sure. he reflected. putting off her soldier twice in order to accompany Henty to rhe shops where he was choosing his equipment and insisting on his purchasing a worsted cummerbund. d'you mind terribly it I talk to him alone for a bit?' But in the ten days of preparation that followed she showed greater tenderness. Henty. he felt. he could shut his country house-his wife. 'Yes. who looked oddly dressed. Next day Mrs.t. was a man of comfortable means.' 'Golly.' 'Very well. She kissed him good-bye and said. It is unexplored. you knw.Mr. I mean. the publicity given to the dangers of the expedition was responsible for the action. would want to remain in London near her young man-and cover more than the sum required. I think.306 THEBooKoFFANTAsy Brough the surveyor. how ordinary! Like people in books-big game.

leaving the company without a biologist. but even there detection seemedprobable. lapsed into coma and died. Henty awoke to find that his boys and his canoehad disappearecl during the night. Henty and Professor Anderson found themselves alone and deprived of the greater part of their supplies. they overtaxed their digestions. They took a few snapshotsof naked. bottled some snakes and later lost them when their canoe capsized in the rapids. but go into those forests alone he should not. For seven weeks they paddled through green. stopping at Manaos only long enough to inform his colleaguesthat he insisted on leaving his case personally before the central authorities at Rio. there had been too many photographs in the illustrated papers before they left London. he made promptly for the coast. ProfessorAnderson fell ill with malignant malaria. when they reachedManaos and refused all inducements to proceed farther. five minutes before the time of embarkation. she would sail with him. they were robbed of the last of their sugar by a Guianeseprospector. For a short time they considered the advisability of going into hiding for six months in Madeira or Teneriffe. she would remain on board until he came ashore with her. Accordingly. humid tunnels of forest. imbibing nauseousintoxicants at native galas. Brough's adherence long maintained. leaving Henty alone wirh a dozen Maku oarsmen. Nor was Mr. none of whom spoke a word of any languageknown to him. One day' a week or so after ProfessorAnderson's death. in low spirits. Finally. In Brazil the officials to whom their credentials were addressed were all out of power.although to a different lady. The ship in which they were travelling was a cruising liner taking passengerson a round voyage. Thus while they were still a month's journey from the start of their labours. the two explorers at last set out alone for the Uraricuera with little hope of accomplishing anyrhing of any value to anyone. If necessary. Brough had not been on board a week and had scarcely accustomed himself to the motion of the ship before he was engaged to be married. he was still engaged. bore her son off in triumph. and he himself imprisoned for some days and subjected to various humiliations which so enraged him that. These were instantly commandeered by the revolutionary garrison. Nothing would induce her to permit her son's departure. misanthropic Indians. when released. chattered feebly for some days in his hammock. The ignominy of immediare return was not to be borne. Simmons proceeded up river to Boa Vista where he establisheda basecamp with the greater part of the stores. borrowing his return fare from Henty and arriving back in Southampton engaged to the lady of his first choice. Dr.THE MAN $THO LIKED DICKENS 307 iust read an account of the Brazilian forests. whom he immediately married. \tr/hile Henty and Professor Anderson negotiated with the new administrators. leaving him with only his hammock and pyjamas some two or three hundred miles from the nearest Brazilian habitation. All argument was unavailing with the resolute old lady who eventually. They reversed their course and drifted down stream with a minimum of provisions and no mutual confidence. Nature forbade him to remain where he was . Mr.

now wading in the water. now scrambling through the bush. but I have not seen it done. It is not twenty yearssincehe died. They iaid that it is possible to bring dead people back to life after they have begun to stink. carrying his dinner. They he forgot that.y snakes. and then irresponsibly disappeared or raised the covers of their dishes and revealed live tortoises. There are plants to cure you and give you fever. McMaster dosed him regularly with herbal remedies.308 THE BOOK OF FANTASY although there seemed little purpose in moving. That is why they obey-for that reasonand becauseI have the gun. Most of the men and women living in this savannah are my children. 'but it does do good. 'to make you well and to make you ill.' 'There is medicine for everything in the forestr' said Mr. all far from nutritious. reflected. but not of starvation. But presently the whole forest became peopled for him with frantic apparitions. McMaster. He was a man of education. too. His recovery was slow. to keep r*. Later he seemed anaesthetizedand was chiefly embarrassedby the behaviour of the inhabitants who came out to meet him in footman's livery. But now he observed that this was far from being the case. He came to British Guiana as a missionary. He plodded on.of fever gi. There are medicines even I do not know. stumbling against boulders in the stream and 'But I mustn't waste my breath. 'It's very nastyr' said Henty. days of lucidity alternated with delirium. and he was pleased to see her. but she soon disappeared. McMaster's house.' 'But surely you are English?' . then his temperature dropped and he was conscious even when most ill. that there was danger of snakesand savagesand wild beasts. My mother was an Indian and she taught me many of them. I have learned others from time to time from my wives. The jungle consisted solely of immense tree trunks. It was then that he remembered that it was imperative for him to reach Manaos. I have had many. He set himself to follow the course of the stream. asking him questions to which he could not possibly know the answers. My father lived to a great age. embedded in a tangle of thorn and vine rope. Many people who knew him in London appeared and ran round him with derisive cries. At first. The Shiriana women are ugly but very devoted.My father was-at least a Barbadian. to kill you and send you mad. He was married to a white woman but he left her in Guiana to look for gold. His wife came. at first in the hope of meeting a canoe. and was conscious of nothing more until he found himself lying in a hammock in Mr. he redoubled his energy.' he getting caught up among the vines. Mr. to intoxicate fish so that you can pick them out of the water with youi hands like fruit from a ree. like all the others. Can You read?' . Vaguely ar the back of his mind he had always believed that the iungle was a place full of food. assuming that she had got tired of her guardsman and was there to fetch him back. finally occurring in the normal system of the tropics between long periods of comparative health. Then he took my mother.* less frequent. too. On the first day he suffered hideously. The days. for no conscious reasonat all.

McMaster propped a ladder against it and mounted. you will see. he lay in the hammock staring up at the thatched roof and thinking about his wife. you shall read to mer' Mr. Mr. McMasrer took him for a stroll around the farm. I have thought about it a greatdealand I still do not know. nodding over the calabash. yes. of coursc. that is just it. Until five years ago there was an Englishman-at least a black man. He died.' 'Oh. Every afternoon until he died. During the early days of his convalescenceHenty had little conversarion with his host. You shall read to me when you are better. McMaster sat on the platform and Henty stood at the top of the ladder looking over. McMaster retired to sleep at sundown. tied up with rag. still unsteady after his illness.' 'Oh yes. passed without distinction. including her affairs with the tennis professional and the soldier. palm leaf and raw hide.' That afternoon Mr. 'Now I think you are well enough to see the books. it is apparenr in all his books. He unwrapped the nearestparcel and handed down a calf-bound book. McMaster said. I think I will put up a cross-to commemorate his death and your arrival-a pretty idea. But there is an oil the Indians know how to make that is useful. he used to read to me. At last when Henty had passed six or seven consecutive days without fever. 'I will show you the black man's graver' he said.' At one end of the hut there was a kind of loft formed by a rough platform erected up in the eavesof the roof. leaving a little lamp burning-a hand-woven wick drooping from a pot of beef fat-to keep away vampire bats. .Dickensdid. Do you believe in God?' 'I've never really thought about it much. rehedrsing over and over again different incidents in their life together.THE MAN \THO LIKED DICKENS 309 'Yes. He used to read to me every day until he died. 'But I suppose you haven't much opportunity here. I will show you when you are better. for two hours.' 'I shall be delighted to.. It was an early American edition of Bleak House.' 'Yes.McMaster began the construcrion of a headpiece for the negro's grave. 'It has been hard to keep out the worms and ants.' Henty laughed apologetically.. leading him to a mound between the mango trees. I cannot. exactly twelve hours each. He worked with a large spokeshave in a wood so hard that it grated and rang like metal. Mr. The first time that Henty left the house Mr. I have a great many books. 'He was very kind to me. There was a heap of small bundles there.' 'You are perfectly right. Mr. Henty followed..' 'I supposeso. but he was well educated in Georgetown. McMaster repeated. The days. 'It is not everyone who is so fortunate. Mr. Two are pracdcally destroyed.

I have all Dickens's books except those that the ants devoured. But Mr. My father used to read them and then later the black man . It is almost as though my father were here again. I hope not.' And always at the end of a sessionhe thanked his guest courteously. far more. . . poor woman. and Henty was feeling strong enough to be restless. it will all turn out well. And you explain better. asking about canoesand rains and the possibility of finding guides. Sometimes after that he had thought it might be agreeableto have children to read to. It is delightful to start again. His of the outcasts in 'I think that Dedlock is a very comments on the story were usually simple. . she remarked that it was torture to her. if I remember rightly. I have forgotten new character was introduced he would say. and following the words.' By the time that they were well into the second volume. though they must have always about the characters. He had always rather enjoyed reading aloud and in the first year of marriage had shared several books in this way with his wife. asking him to repeat them two or three times.' or.' 'You are fond of Dickens?' 'Why. Each time I think I find more to enioy and admire. 'You read beautifully.' or. so many characters.' Henty enioyed the readings almost as much as he did. It takes a long time to read them all-more than two years. More than fond. and now you. of course. Jellyby does not take enough care of her children. The old man sat astride his hammock opposite Henty. It was an extremely distressing chapter. But. why does she say that? Does she really mean it? Did she feel faint because of the heat of the fire or of something in that paper?' He laughed loudly at all the jokes and at some passages which did not seem humorous to Henty. so many changesof scene. Often when a 'Repeat the name.' 'Oh. with his lips. But Mr. . there is always more to be learned and noticed. 'Yes. they are the only books I have ever heard. I remember her well. 'Mrs proud man. McMaster was a unique audience. 'they will well last out my visit.' They took down the first volume of Bleak House and that afternoon Henty had his first reading. You see. He touched more than once on the subiect of his departure. better accent than the black man. 'I enioyed that very much.' said Henty lightly. and later at the description of the sufferings 'Tom-all-alone' tears ran down his cheeks into his beard. running his thumb through the pagesof Bleak Housethat remained . I have heard them all several times by now but I never get tired. fixing him throughout with his eyes. yes. the novelty of the old man's delight had begun to wane. did not concern him-but 'Now. yes. .' He would him. with a far At the end of the first day the old man said. McMaster seemed obtuse and paid no attention to these hints. One day. however.310 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'It does not matter which we take first. She dies. in one of her rare moments of confidence.' '\tr[ell. been unintelligible. not as Henty would have imagined about the circumstances of the story-such things as the procedure of the Lord Chancellor's Court or the social conventions of the time. soundlessly. until one day. so many words. frequently interrupt with questions.

. He addressedthem in the few words of Maku he had acquired during the iourney but they made no sign whether they understood him or not. .THE MAN WHO LIKED DICKENS 3il '\[e still have a lot to get through.' said Mr. . Mr.' 'Yes.' For the first time Henty noticed something slightly menacing in his host's manner. 'The black man was like that. McMaster. There were four or five Shirianas sitting in one of the doorways.' 'How long will that be?' 'A month . strolled acrossthe savannahto the group of Indian houses. . 'Now it is time to make preparations to go. Finally he said. The Indians will not make a boat during the rainy season-it is one of their superstitions. that is impossible. and. the time has come when I must be thinking about getting back to civilization.' 'You must wait for the rains. .' to finish it before I 'Oh. . McMaster. One of the women . There is not enough water in the river now. too.' Mr.' They had finished Bleak House and were nearing the end of Dombey and Son when the rain came. 'Do not disturb yourself about that. .' 'Oh. a brief meal of farine and dried beef eaten just before sundown. He thought of it all the time. then made motions of giving something to them and scratched out the outlines of a gun and hat and a few other recognizable articles of trade. You will have time to finish it. Mr. he went through some vague modons of carpentry.' said Mr. looking as aimless as he could. My friend. I have already imposed myself on your hospitality for too long. They did not look up as he approached them. .. But I really must be thinking of getting back . Henty said.' '\well. any kindness I may have shown is amply repaid by your reading of Dickens. When can I get a boat?' 'There is no boat. Then he drew a sketch of a canoe in the sand. but . I hope I shall be able to be read. but I really must press the point. McMaster bent over his plate. . crunching mouthfuls of farine. . the Indians can build one. . 'You know. yes. That evening at supper. .' 'My friend.' '\Uflell. but made no reply. Next morning Henty went out alone while his host was busy. McMaster. I have. Do not let us mention the subiect again. Henty renewed the subject. I'm very glad you have enjoyed it. But he died here . McMaster.' 'Did I not mention it? I forgot. 'How soon do you think I shall be able to get a boat? .two months .' 'You might have told me. 'Forgive me. go.' Twice during the next day Henty opened the subject but his host was evasive. pointed from them to him. I said how soon do you think I shall be able to get a boat? I appreciate all your kindness ro me more than I can say.

gave him farine and pcssoand sent him on his iourney . Go when you like. I was asking them about a canoe. That evening ar supper only one plate of dried meat and farine was brought in and Mr. \il(Ieekspassed hopelessly. and his gloomy foreboding of permanent exile became suddenly acute when.as my children. . a half-caste prospector' one of that lonely order of men who wander for a lifetime through the forests. But at present you are keeping me here against my will.' 'In that caseyou must humour an old man. Henty lay without speaking. tracing the little streams. the Indians tell me you have been trying to speak with them.'licholas Nickleby and Little Dotit and Oliaer Twist. McMaster. Mr. I will pay a man to read to you all day. and when I get back to civilization I will reward you to the best of my ability.312 THEBooKoFFANTASy giggled.' 'But. but no one gave any sign of comprehension. ounce by ounce' filling the little leather sack of gold dust. on his knee.' 'I hope not. what is keeping you? You are under no restraint. McMaster are alone. .' said Mr. Year 1919.' They finished Dombeyand Son. At their midday meal Mr. You read so well. that they would do nothing without my authority. nearly a year had passedsince Henty had left England. cocked. It is easierthat you say anything you wish through me. sifting the gravel and.quite rightly in most cases. I will give you anything within reason. They read l. I am quite absorbed in the book. more often than not dying of exposure and starvation with five hundred dollars'worth of gold hung round their necks. You saved my life. between the pagesof Martin Chuzzleutitrhe found a document written in pencil in irregular characters. McMaster. You realize.' 'But I have no need of another man. and now if you have finished your meal perhaps we might have another chapter. do you not. They regard themselves. as a matter of fact. Read me another chapter.' 'I have read for the last time. and after it: Mr McMaster made this mark signedBarnabas Washington. my friend. I James McMaster of Brazil do swear to Baruabas Washington of Georgetu. and he went away unsatisfied.Dn that if hefinish this book in fact Martin Chuzzlat:it I will let him go away back as soon as finished. Henty resumed the reading of Martin Chuzzlewft where it had been interrupted.' 'So they gave me to understand .' 'Mr. McMaster was vexed at his arrival. 'Mr. I demand to be released. staring at the thatch. but with it lay his gun. There followed a heavy pencil X. Then a stranger arrived in the savannah. McMasterr'said Henty. as he ate.' 'Vell. Next day at noon a single plate was put before Mr. I swear by anything you like that when I get to Manaos I will find someone to take my place.' 'You know very well that I can't get away without your help. McMaster politely. 'I must speak frankly. McMaster said: 'Mr Henty.

but in that hour Henty had time to scribble his name on a slip of paper and put it into the man's hand. coffee at sunrise. he enfoyed the leisurely river journey to Belem. you've been much longer than you said. 'and they have been making piwari. he proposed a celebration. silence from sunset to dawn with the small wick glowing in the beef fat and the palm thatch overhead dimly discernible: but Henty lived in quiet confidence and expectation. 'May I trouble you to read that passage again? It is one I particularly enjoy. he even felt a slight stirring of cordiality towards his gaoler and was therefore quite willing to join him when. Dickens in the afternoon. 'It is one of the local feast daysr' he explained. received wires of congratulation. while his lips mechanically followed the printed pages. I quite thought you were lost . But it was nor unpleasant. telegraphed for money. Some time. savoured good claret and fresh meat and spring vegetables. . McMaster interrupted. hard and muddy on the palate like most of the beverageshe had been offered in Brazil. Even as he was reading. McMaster. he shaved and bought new clothes at Manaos. You may not like it. 'You must drink it all without lowering the cup. but you should try some. Perhapsat that very moment the search party was in camp a few hours' journey from them. liturgically.' Henty gulped the dark liquid. He lay full .there was no sign of rescue. and they were given hammocks to sit in. qazy host opposite. one evening after a long conference with an Indian neighbour. The disasters to the Anderson expedition would not have passedunnoticed. but Henty endured the day for hope of what might happen on the morrow.' And then Mr. . . Another calabash of piutari rvas of'fered him and he handed it back empty. That is the eriquerre.'Darling. this year or the next. Separatebowls were brought for Henty and Mr. and he began to narrate to himself incidents of his home-coming-the gradual re-encounters with civilization.' Accordingly after supper they joined a party of Indians that were assembled round the fire in one of the huts at the other side of the savannah. he was shy at meeting his wife and uncertain how to address her . Mcmaster pottered about on the business of the farm. cadenceof song rose and fell interminably. ttr7e will go across to this man's home tonight.' The weeks passed. but with a flavour of honey and brown bread. a morning of inaction while Mr. they were singing in an apathetic. Henty could imagine the headlines that must have appeared in the popular Pressl even now probably there were search parties working over the country he had crossedl any day English voices might sound over the savannah and a dozen friendly adventurers come crashing through the bush. farine and passo and sometimes some fruit for supper. The days followed their unvarying routine. He leant back in the hammock f-eeling unusually contented. From now on there was hope.THE MAN IOTHO LIKED DICKENS 313 within an hour of his arrival. trying not to tasteit. . the prospector would arrive at a Brazilian village with news of his discovery. the big liner to Europe. his mind wandered away from his eager. farine and passo at noon. Meanwhile he was warm and 'fhe drorvsy. monotonous manner and passing a large calabash of liquid from mouth to mouth.

' 'Guests?' '\7hy. . indeed. well. It is a pity you missed them. They were pleasedwith that. . he supposed. . He awoke. too. my friend. too. to make you awake and to make you sleep. No one else was about. We will not have any Dickens to-day .' 'You haven't seen my watch anywhere?' 'You have missed it?' 'Yes. They wanted something to take home to your wife who is offering a great reward for news of you. . you are late for the reading this afternoon. as they particularly wished to seeyou. 'I must have been tight last nightr'he reflected. He had left it in the house. They were very easily pleased. your watch. 'Ah. . so-I thought you would not mind-as you could not greet them yourself I gave them a little souvenir. . I thought I was wearing it. He found when he set his feet to the ground that he stood with difficulty. I have been quite gay while you were asleep. . The forest has remedies for everything.But I do not suppose they will visit us again. no pleasuresexcept reading . Your head aches.3t4 THE BOOK OF FANTASY length watching the play of shadows on the thatch as rhe Shirianas began to dance. But what could I do? You were so sound asleep. . does it not . I say. Englishmen. There is scarcely another half-hour of light. Let us read Little Donit again. On the way across the savannah he was obliged to stop more than once. They had come all the way to find you. that. with the impression that he had outslept his usual hour. his walk was unsteady and his mind confused as it had been during the first weeks of his convalescence. A pity for rhem. shutting his eyes and breathing deeply. Then he shut his eyes and thought of England and his wife and fell asleep. yes. McMaster sitting there. He looked for his watch and found to his surprise that it was not on his wrist. and the day after that. \$7hen he reached the house he found Mr. Do you know how long? Two days. They were very pleased with it. our life here is so retired .' 'Yes. . By the position of the sun he knew it was late afternoon. . but to-morrow. 'Treacherous drink. before coming ro the party. It is a long time. It is a pity becauseyou missed our guests. That drink doesn't seem to agree with me. I do not supposewe shall ever have visitors again .'He had a headache and feared a recurrence of fever.' . And they took some photographs of the little cross I put up to commemorate your coming.' 'Nonsense. I will get you some medicine to make you feel better. There are passages that in book I can never hear without the temptation to weep. How do you feel?' 'Rotten. I've never slept so long. and the day after that. well. still in the Indian hut.' 'I will give you something to make you better. I can't have. Three men from outside.' 'Not since you were a baby.

matryingEdward \Vhartonin 1885. a table for the new reviews. rz Ashby paused on her doorstep. where she sat reading by the fire. and she liked that best. Sometimes friends dropped inl sometimes-oftener-she was alone. and on her left her husband's long shabby library.916). marble-flagged vestibule before she inserted her key in the lock. everything was changed.910)and Xingt (i. It was the hour when. imagining what he would say when he sprang up the stairs. The sash curtains drawn across the panes of the inner door softened the light within to a warm blur through which no details showed. she had most liked to return to that quiet house in a street long since deserted by business and fashion. Now. becausethere had never been money enough. till she heard her husband's step. whom she had known very slightlyshe had looked about her with an innocent envy. The contrast between the soulless roar of New York. thinking over what he had said when they parted in the morning.Pomegronate Seed Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was bom in New York City. She turned her back on it. or answering notes at the pleasant roomy desk. upstairs. And now. found her by herself and caught her to him. Until she had made sure whether or not it was 315 . suchas The Houseof Mirth (1905)and theNar Englandtragedy Ethan Frome (I9l l). but which Charlotte had made her own by moving furniture about and adding more books. Ashby-a distant. self-centered woman. in the {irst months of her marriage to Kenneth Ashby. neither furniture nor hangings had been changed. UnderHenryJames'sinfluence wrote nooels she modern analysing ffi. and the grinding rasping sffeet life of the city was at its highest. since it was another way of being with Kenneth. While she stood there she called up the scenewithin: the hall hung with old prints. full of books and pipes and worn armchairs inviting to meditation. she thought of one thing only-the letter she might or might not find on the hall table. collected Talesof Men and Ghosts(/. since the death of Kenneth's first wife. the ladder-like stairs. and she always wavered on the doorstep and had to force herself to enter. or going over her step-children's copybooks. Dark had descended on the l-harlotte \-r6611hncy of the March afternoon. minds and this veiled sanctuary she called home. lives. always stirred her profoundly. another lamp. feeling it to be exactly the drawing room she would have liked for herself. . How she had loved that room! Then. congested houses. its devouring blaze of lights. standing for a moment in the old-fashioned. in the last months. Even on the occasion of her only visit to the first Mrs. and now for more than a year it had been hers to deal with as she chose-the room to which she hastenedback at dusk on winter days. instead of this. In the very heart of the hurricane she had found her tiny islet-or thought she had. her own drawing room. the oppression of its congested traffic. in which. Shealso wrote mnnyshortsnries.

waited for him to open the letter. at first glance.The letter was presumably delivered by hand-but by whose?No doubt it was slipped into the letter box. At any rate. the addresswas always written as thought there were not enough ink in the pen. and she had to go upstairs and leave it lying there. but where she could not recall.some masculine. Esquirer' written on it same-a square grayish envelopewith in bold but faint characters. It usually came before he got home from his office.though there had been several since her marriage-seven. alone on the hall table. probably extracted it. on those evenings. Her eye fell on it before Kenneth's. but he had slipped it into his pocket without a word and followed her into the library. his eyes fixed on the hearth. become 'it. he seldom did before they met for dinner. an exclamation. Sometimes he was silent for . Mind if I take myself off to bed?' 'l'hat was the first time. Since then Charlotte had never been present when he had received the letter. She had waited-waited for a sound. after dark. the writing on the gray envelope. when her husband's glance lit on it. and her first thought was: 'rWhy. The memory was iust definite enough for her to identify the script whenever it looked up at her faintly from the same pale envelopel but on that first day she would have thought no more of the letter if. his back turned to her.' because. The letter was always the 'Kenneth Ashby. he wanted to be by himself to deal with it. raising it to his shortsighted eyes to decipher the faint writing. It all happened in a flash-his seeing the letter. late on the first evening-they had dined at his mother's-she had seen. whatever the letter contained. for all its strength and assurance. her mind had no room for anything else. and when he reappeared he looked years older. I've seen that writing before'. when she closed the shutters and lit the lights. and presently had passedhis hand over his forehead and said: 'rWasn't it unusually hot at my mother's tonight? I've got a splitting head. But even if she had not seen it. and moving away ro the hanging light. Re-entering the house with her husband. The envelope never bore anything but the recipient's name. from which they had returned to New York after an absenceof more than two months.' The first had come the day after their return from their honeymoon-a iourney prolonged to the \flest Indies. his head thrown back broodingly against the armchair. Some hands are sexless. it was always in the evening. that Charlotte saw it lying there. From the first it had struck Charlotte as peculiar that anyone who wrote such a firm hand should trace the letters so lightly. she had not chanced to be looking at him. She thought of the letter in the singular. no stamp. in spite of its masculine curves. putting out his hand for it. And there they had sat down by the fire and lit their cigarettes.316 THE BOOK OF FANTASY rhere. as 'it. the writing was so visibly feminine. whence the parlormaid.was without doubt a woman's. no address. she would have known it had come by the change in his face when he joined her-which. Another curious thing was that. the grey envelope. Evidently. or the writer's wrist were too weak to bear upon it. to be exact-they were so alike in appearance that they had become merged in one another in her mind. and then abruptly withdrawing the arm he had slipped through Charlotre's. and hardly conscious of her presence. and he had remained silent. become one letter. looked emptied of life and courage.

and how she had jokingly replied: 'He may be glad of a little liberty for a change. he had often told her. too confident of filling his life. never remarked to Charlotte. a little nervously. if she didn't think Joyce's nursery governesswas rather young and flighty. it was odd that he had never uttered an impatient comment. She had few illusions about the intricacies of the human heart. Though she had been sure from the first that the handwriting on the grey envelope was a woman's. to ask. Kenneth's never looked at another woman since he first saw Elsie Corder. her friends. for such an idea to occur to her. she knew that there were often old entanglements. suggest some change in the domestic administration. He'll never let you move an armchair or change the place of a lamp. Then again. instead of hinting at such a possibility.' And in this respect she had been right.' Charlotte Ashby was a sophisticated woman. She minded that more than the faultfinding. it was long before she associatedthe mysterious letters with any sentimental secret. During all the years of their marriage he was more like an unhappy lover than a comfortably contented husband. it was usually to hint some criticism of her household arrangements. The look was not unloving. and this time she answered with carelessjoy: 'I suppose I've got him out of his groove. were nearly always tiresome as clients-who did not want her letters opened by his secretaryand therefore had them carried to his house. during the first months. but in that casethe unknown female must be unusually troublesome. that there was a nuisance of a woman who kept badgering him about a casethat had gone against her. and if he spoke. had said: 'You've got your work cut out for you. it was the look of a man who had been so far away from ordinary events that when he returns to familiar things they seem strange. Yes. iudging from the effect her letters produced. It seemedfar more likely that the letters-which certainly did not appear to cause him any sentimental pleasure-were addressed to the busy lawyer than to the private person. At such times Charlotte would remember the friendly warnings she had received when she became engaged to Kenneth Ashby: 'Marrying a heartbroken widower! Isn't that rather risky? You know Elsie Ashby absolutely dominated him'. in a moment of expansion.' But what she noticed after the grey letters began to come was not so much his nervous tentative faultfinding-which always seemed to be uttered against his will-as the look in his eyeswhen he ioined her after receiving one of the letters. .POMEGRANTE SEED 317 the rest of the evening. She was too sure of her husband's love. that her husband was perfectly happy with her. not even indifferent. She had neededno one to tell her. Marrying a Don Juan is a sinecureto it. Probably they were from some tiresome client-women. There was another possibility: what is euphemistically called an 'old entanglement. But when she had married Kenneth Ashby. He had made more than one semiconfidence of the kind-of course without giving names or details. \(rhen they came back from their protracted honeymoon the same friends said: '\(Ihat have you done to Kenneth? He looks twenty years younger'. though his professional discretion was exemplary. or if she herself always saw to it that Peter-whose throat was delicate-was properly wrapped up when he went to school. but concerning this mysterious correspondent his lips were sealed.

Nonsense! What am I worrying about? There . and after an impetuous wooing had married her and carried her off on a tropical honeymoon. for some other ridiculously trivial reason. I thought they oughr to grow up with her looking down on them. and she was almost sorry to find that the portrait of Elsie Ashby. she looked back down the silent street to the whirl and illumination of the great thoroughfare beyond. . motors. telephones. But there the apprehension wasl and on this particular afternoon-perhaps becauseshe was more tired than usual. and on the other side of the door something I can't explain. he had told Charlotte at once thar he was sorry he couldn't afford to do the place over for her. and satisfied her. can't relate to them. moral or physical-she found herself unable to react against the feeling. The desolate widower.' Except for an occasional nervous mistrust as to her ability to manage the children-a mistrust gradually dispelled by her good humour and the children's obvious fondness for her-none of these forebodings had come true. 'Outside there. they returned to the house where his twelve years with his first wife had been spent. And when. movies. and had confessed to Charlotte that from the beginning he had hoped the future held new gifts for him. but his way of beginning their new life in the old setting was so frank and unembarrassedthat it put her immediately at her ease. and up at the sky already aflare with the city's nocturnal life. 'skyscrapers. it was curious that she had lately found herself yielding to a nervous apprehension. airplanes. but he answered: 'oh. but that he knew every woman had her own views about furniture and all sorts of household arrangements a man would never notice. wireless.' she thought. . he'll mentally compare with what Elsie would have done in your place.318 THE BOOK OF FANTASY and whatever you venture to do. It was as if Kenneth's love had penetrated to the secret she hardly acknowledged to her own heart-her passionateneed to feel herself the sovereign even of his past. which used to hang over the desk in his library. she spoke of it to her husband. Latchkey in hand. and all the rest of the twentieth century. two years later. And ever since he had been as tender and lover-like as during those first radiant weeks. since that long coldly beautiful face on the library wall no longer followed her with guarded eyes. with Charlotte Gorse. had been ffansferred in their absence to the children's nursery. Knowing herself to be the indirect causeof this banishment. and as the time went by she had to confessthat she felt more at home in her house. Something as old as the world. or implied that life offered no possibility of renewal. after their marriage. or becauseof the trouble of finding a new cook or. and had begged her to make any changesshe saw fit without bothering to consult him. He had been perfectly simple and natural. of whom his nearest friends said that only his absorbing professional interests had kept him from suicide after his first wife's death. but even then he had assumed no stricken attitude. . more at easeand in confidence with her husband. advertisements. had fallen in love. Before asking her to marry him he had spoken to her frankly of his great love for his first wife and his despair after her sudden death. as mysterious as life.' The answer moved Charlotte. she made as few as possible. As a result. With all this stored-up happiness to sustain her.

. look over her correspondence. The alternative. glance at a book oi review-not with that letter lying below and the knowledge rhat in a little while her husband would come in. and it was not yet six. She knew that now she would have no peace till she found out what was written on that sheet. !7hat should she do. and master of the situation. but to do that seemed even more difficult. but that was the worst of it-one of the worst!-that there were days when she would stand there cold and shivering with the premonition of something inexplicable. Her husband knew from whom the letter came and what was in it. it was justified by the sight of the grey envelope. she'd had enough of it: that was certain. becauseshe never opened the door without thinking the letter might be there. he seemed to recover afterward. looked at it again under the light. II She was almost glad of the sight. She weighed the letter between thumb and finger. . he was prepared beforehand for whatever he had to deal with. No one would be the wiser. he seldom got back from his office before halfpast six or seven. She turned the key and went in. hold it over the kettle which at that hour always simmered by the fire in expectation of her return.POMEGRANTE SEED 319 hasn't been a letter for three months now-not since the day we came back from the country after Christmas. solve the mystery and replace the letter where she had found it. Queer that they always seem to come after our holidays! . as he always did on the days when the grey envelope came. 'I can't stand it! can't I stand it another day!' she exclaimed aloud. . so that ever since the last had come she had taken to feeling cold and premonitory every evening. If her husband turned white and had a headacheon the days when the letter came. She would have time to take the letter up to the drawing room. and her gnawing uncertainty would be over. was to question her husband. pour out her tea. held it against the light and just discerned the outline of the folded sheet within. as she put her key in the lock. She couldn't go on like that. . there would be nothing. disappointed. and there on the table. srarted up the stairs with the envelope-and came down again and laid it on the table. It seemedto iustify everyrhing. 'No. and when she opened the door and went in. looked closely at the faint letters. lay the letter. open it and turn into the library alone. Her husband had not come in. intolerable. I evidently can'tr' she said. and on other days when she felt the same premonitory chill. however bad. and the reason was not far to seek. to rack her brains for less obvious explanations! She took up the envelope with a steady contemptuous hand. but she couldn't. \il/ell. \$flith her the strain had become chronic.'What a fool she had been ever to doubt it. whereas she was shut out in the dark with her conjectures. then? She couldn't go up alone to rhar warm welcoming room. A letter for her husband: a letter from a woman-no doubt another vulgar caseof 'old entanglement. to be faced on the orher side of the curtained panes. . to pur a seal of definiteness on the whole blurred business. \[hy should I imagine rhere's going to be one tonight!' No reason why. of course.

he raised the letter still closer to his eyes. like a man waked out of his sleep. . At length she heard Kenneth's latchkey and iumped up. sat down. her husband turned and looked at her. now that he saw it he knew well enough what it contained. . but at length he put out his hand. I suppose. draw the key from the door and take off his hat and overceat. the color slowly ebbing from his face. It was only when you opened that letter-' He had followed her into the library. Then he turned to throw his gloves on the hall table. in a low bewildered voice. to trick him into betraying anything he wanted to conceal. and went on out into the hall. By leaving the door ajar. 'Kenneth!' she exclaimed. and they stood gazing at each other. and waited. 'In the library. The light was full on his face. Apparently he could not make up his mind to touch it.' 'You didn't look tired when you came in. but she remembered in time and sat down again. The letter clutched in his hand. \fell. then. She simply felt as if she were fighting her way through a stifling fog that she must at all costs get out of. and he instantly put the envelope into his pocket with a slight laugh. I've had a hard day in the office-one or two complicated cases. She saw at once that she would be at a disadvantagein any attempt to surprise his secret. and sitting in the corner behind it. Then he lowered his head. for he did not turn the sheet but continued to stare at it for so long that he must have reread it a dozen times-or so it seemed to the woman breathlesslywatching him. she could watch him unseen. Apparently all the writing was on one page. The impulse to rush out and meet him had nearly made her forget why she was there. and moved with it to the light. But though he had not expected it. Her wish was still to penetrate the mystery. She wondered the idea had never occurred to her before. and at that moment he saw the envelope. As far as she could remember. and she saw only his bent head and slightly stooping shoulders. but only that she .320 THE BOOK OF FANTASY Suddenly she decided. his profession had trained him to rapid mastery of face and voice. as though he had not fully deciphered it. At length she saw him move.I look dog-tired. she would watch him! She drew a chair into the corner. and what Charlotte first noted there was a look of surprise. but she was consciousof no compunction. From her post she covered the whole range of his movements-saw him enter the hall. she would wait in the library and see for herself. waiting for you. it was the first time she had ever tried to surprise another person's secret. matter! Her agitation seemedto calm him. In doing so he turned his back on Charlotte. '\ilflherewere you?' he said. Evidently he had not expected the letter-had not thought of the possibility of its being there that day. see what happened between him and the letter when they thought themselves unobserved. 'Ghastly? ['m sorry. but stood motionless. her eyes on the crack. He did not open it immediately. Charlotte noticed how quickly he had regained his self-control. and she saw his lips touch the sheet. opened the envelope.' She tried to steady her voice: 'Vhat's the rilflhat'sin that letter? You look ghastly. but at the same moment she lost all desire to maneuver.

'That letter? \/hy especially that letter?' 'Because I've noticed that whenever one of those letters comes it seems to have such a strange effect on you. 'Kennethr' she said. rurned to dark red. supposed to look more like a man's. at regular intervals. he stammered . But I had to find out what she writes to you. in the cool and faintly ironic tone of the prosecuting lawyer making a point: 'Ah. then: 'The intervals have not been regularr' he said.' His face.' 'You look after her affairs for her?' 'Yes.' A line of anger she had never seen before came out between his eyes.' 'You've looked after them for a long time?' 'Yes.' 'Kenneth. I don't deny it. turned on her a face of terror and distress. then.' He weighed this for a moment. her heart beating excitedly. as if with a certain hesitation: 'Professional secrecy.' She heard him continue. who had submitted to her cross-questioning with a sort of contemptuous composure. this is the first time I ever noticed it. write to you about?' 'About business.' The effect of the words was so disconcerting that she instantly repented having spoken them. so you're in the habit of watching people open their letters when they don't know you're there?' 'Not in the habit. I wanted to watch you while you opened that letter.' 'And this woman-what does she Charlotte passed this over impatiently. 'Legal business?' 'In a w?y.' Again he seemed to consider a moment.POMEGRANTE SEED 32r might help him to bear the burden it implied. that woman writes to you-' '\7hy do you assume it's a woman?' 'It's a woman's writing. 'I waited here on purpose ro see you come in. which had paled. as though he were humoring an unreasonablechild. Do you deny it?' 'No. in those grey envelopes. then it paled again.' The blood rushed from Charlotte's heart to her temples. won't you tell me who she is?' 'No. and brought out. with an effort. I never did such a thing before. 'Don't say thatdon't!' '$7hy not?' 'Because I saw you kiss the letter. Businessin general.' He paused. Her husband.' she thought. collecting himself. yes. dearest. I asked only becausethe writing is generally He smiled. her magnanimity vanishing at his tone. and she said to herself: 'The upper part of his face is too narrow. I can't. For a minute he seemedunable to speak. 'Even if it is anorher woman. 'Oh. I dare say you've kept a better account of the dates than I haver' she 'All I know is that every dme retorted. A very long time.

If you want me to believe you. 'Kenneth!' Charlotte moved toward him and caught hold of his arm. and still regret them. 'It's not easy to prove anything to a woman who's once taken an idea into her head. It's so easy!' He forced a smile. and at length. unhappy. even from women who are very old friends. 'Ah.' Charlotte felt the tears rushing to her eyes. wiping away her tears. dear.' 'Not now. not that. You say you can't show me this letter. as I told you. you must have seenme holding the letter close to my eyes to try to decipher it. You refuse even to explain it. then.' 'You've only got to show me the letter. 'You won't?' 'I can't.' His hand slipped from hers and he drew back and shook his head. unless they have been their lovers. 'Perhaps. out of pity for me. think! rW'e've been married such a short time.' 'Men don't kiss business letters. Do you supposeI'd lie about it? The writer is a very old friend whom I haven't seen for a long time.' 'I've told you the letter is on business. He paused with a look of weariness and laid his hand over hers. darling. My poor Kenneth!' 'I swear to you she never was my mistress.322 THE BOOK OF FANTASY out: 'The writing is very faint. 'Kenneth. prove it to me.' 'No. and you're struggling. dear. I saw you kissing it.' He shrugged his shoulders slightly and turned away.' 'No. 'Well. he offered neither consolation nor denial.' There was a long interval of suspense. No. she raised her eyes almost timidly to his.' He was silent. I will swear to that too. Never!' She drew back and looked at him with passionateentreaty.' 'A man will swear to anything to screen a woman.' She lifted her hands and hid her face in them. If you'll do that. then-that's hopeless! The prudent ones are the kind that keep their hold on a man. at least tell me her name. as if he considered the discussion at an end and were faintly disgusted at the turn it had taken. I see you disturbed.during which she felt her heart beating .' 'No. I promise you I won't ask to see the letter.' '\ilflhat possible difference can it make to you? The letter is on business. perhaps. Imagine what you're making me suffer. I suppose she's trying to get you back. '!fl'on't you believe me?' he asked gently. And after each one of them I see their mysterious effect on you. 'Ffow can I? I've watched these letters come to you-for months now they've been coming. 'Didn't I seeyou kissing it?' He sank back into indifference. Ever since we came back from the West Indies-one of them greeted me the very day we arrived. Her husband remained silent.' 'Then the woman who wrote it is your mistress. We all know that. as if someone were trying to estrange you from me. that's worse.

asif warning her of the dangershe was incurring. the coming of the grey envelope. she had not spent her last shaft. She 'Poor Kenneth! If you drew nearerand once more laid her hand on his arm.it did not comenaturallyto her explosive rongue.POMEGRANTESEED 323 againsther ribs in quick admonitory knocks. Unstable!' She felt herself at last on the right tack. But after a moment or two. you poor dear. the a Charlottecould not repress faint laugh. resentment. a mysteriousincomprehensiblebeing whom no argumentor entreatyof hers could reach. Charlotte took heart. and drew back a step.though it alwayscast a shadow. and her voice trembled with excitementas she went on: 'Then what about me and this other woman? Haven't you alreadyforgottenElsie twice within a year?' his Sheseldompronounced first wife's name. She had meant to move her only in irritating him. Shefelt as if she had run a hard race and missed the goal. his expression 'I haveneverforgottenElsier' he said. looking at him more calmly.far more difficult to overcome.this time they seemedboth to have reachedthe end of their argumentsand to be helplessly facing each other acrossa baffling waste of incomprehension.' 'You can't tell me anythingmore?' 'No. and this error of reckoning husbandand had succeeded seemedto changehim into a stranger. and then broke off and put his hand to his forehead. inaccessibility. shesawthat he wassuffering asmuch as shewas. knew how sorry I am for you-' of She thought he winced slightly at this expression sympathy. her handsagainsther breast. blotted out of his life. but he took it. His distant guardedfacewas drawn with pain. 'Not evenher name?' 'No.' 'Oh.ignored. her hand and pressed 'I can think of nothing worse than to be incapable of loving longr' she continued. but only of a an remoteness. He turned on her a look of wistful reproach. 'Then. 'Not what?' .had never marked him as deeply as this discussionwith his wife.after all. perhaps.The curious thing was that she was aware in him of no hostility or even impatience. between of us-' three 'There are not-' he began. but showedno Her husband did not move.She felt herself excluded. don't say that of me.Sheflung it out now as if shewere flinging somedangerous into the open spacebetweenthem. waiting to hear the mine go off.t Again a pause. 'to feel the beauty of a great love and to be too unstableto bear its burden. Charlottestood breathingrapidly. 'I can'tr' he said at length. grew sadder.

' Shelookedhim steadily the eyes.then she said. too searchingly close to her. Charlotte said. readingthat other woman'sletter. after all. I think I'll go up and try an hour in the dark. to seeif I can get rid of this neuralgia.'hesaidcoldly. my love. I've got a blinding headache. unimaginative. what- .' 'Oh. and at the sight the quiet routine of her daily life took hold of her and she began to feel as if the strange talk she had just had with her husband must have taken place in another world. 'I'd forgotten how closely I've been watched.' He still lookedat her wistfully. he had eludedall attackson his secret. and went out of the room. and now he wasshut up alonein his room. almost too insistent renderness:the feeling he had given her at times of being too eagerly dependent on her. but phantoms proiected by her fevered imagination.'He looked wan and furrowed enoughfor the statementto be true.Then shedroppedinto a chair and buried her facein her folded arms.' Shewavered.I'm waiting. I don't believe I know what I'm saying. She heard his tired step on the stairs and the closing of his bedroom door above.' 'Time to show you that you haven't lost my love or my confidence. later she would have something brought on a tray to the drawing room.' he said. He turned towardthe door. Mr.' 'r0fell. Her dinner dress was lying on the bed. with desperate resolution:I'm sorry your head aches. It seemedpreposterous. by 'Ah. do wait. III She was still reflecting on this when the surprised parlormaid came in and found her. unhuman. between two beings who were not Charlotte Gorse and Kenneth Ashby. she wasn't going to dress for dinner. costs to find out who it is. She recalled the year since her marriage-her husband's constant devotion: his persistent. No. as she recalled all this. but she was exasperated his evasion. I don't care! If I can't haveyour confidence don't want anything I from you. Her first movement wasoneof compunction. that a few momenrs ago she should have been accusing him of an intrigue with another woman! But then.He had had by his way.'If it costsme me in your love. 'Give me time. yesl the grey envelope headache!' She saw the surprise in his eyes. She mounted the stairs to her bedroom.But beforeyou go I want to saythat sooneror later this questionmust be settled betweenus. didn't careif my insistence me his love!The lying rubbish!' Shestartedup to follow him and cost unsaythe meaningless words. But shewaschecked a reflection. and then glanced backhesitatingly.324 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'I'm sorry. Someone trying to separate and I don't care what it is us.' 'Time for what? It's only a word to say. 'If you'll excuse me. Ashby didn't want to dine. seemed herselfto havebeen she to 'Think of telling him that I hard. as if there were not air enough between her soul and his. He was very tired and had gone up to his room to rest.

Two's company. at the empty wall above her son's desk. with her evening dress lying unheeded on the bed. Once or twice in his evasive eyes she thought she had detected a desire for help. could hardly refrain from exchanging a smile of complicity with her mother-in-law. and the bogy might have been laid. Ashby Senior. 'I'm not particularly well. and yet had been unable to tell her! There flashed through her mind the idea of going to his mother. 'Aren't you coming down?' 'I thought you were not well and had gone to bedr' she faltered. At least she would have known what his secret was. whatever could be got ready quickly. It would be wiser. oppressed by some grief or fearl and he had shown her that he wanted to fight out his battle alone. beg his pardon and try to laugh away the misunderstanding. how strange. but we'd better go down. Dinner was announced. Ashby.l= I'OMEGRANTE SEED 325 Again she was moved by the impulse to go up to him. 'There it is. by and by. with an astringent bluntness of speech which responded to the forthright and simple in Charlotte's own nature. at this reading of her thoughts.' She was still brooding over the problem when there was a knock on the door and her husband came in. at Charlotte's murmured explanation: back. for the idea almost suggested a betrayal. as well as more generous. how unbearable. to surprise a secret which her husband was uying to keep from her? 'Perhaps. coming to lunch for the first time with her new daughter-inlaw. \trfhat right had she to call in anyone. though still drawn. a firm-fleshed clear-eyed old lady. Ashby's almost uncanny directness might pierce to the core of this new mystery. Only.' She rang and gave a whatever it is. It was as if he felt she could have helped him if she had known. had remarked laconically: 'Nonsense. There had been a tacit bond between them ever since the day when Mrs. She was very fond of old Mrs. hurried order that dinner should be served as soon as possible-iust a short meal. He was dressed for dinner and seemed surprised to see her sitting there. But here again she hesitated. to be there. Don't have her eh?' adding. and it seemed to her now that Mrs. and feel herself at the other end of the world! In her nervous agitation she almost regretted not having had the courage to open the letter and put it back on the hall table before he came in. had been received by Charlotte downstairs in the library. he'll talk to his mother of his own accordr' she thought. instantly restrained and suppressed. as both she and Mr. yet from which he could not free himself. But she was resrained by the fear of forcing herself upon his privacy. For she was beginning now to think of the mystery as something conscious. he knows what's in the letter and has fought his battle out again. and then ended: 'But what does it matter? He and I must settle it between us. an impulse of confession. in the next room to his.' she reflected. and glancing up 'Elsie gone.' His face. Ashby were rather tired and not very hungry. malevolent: a secret persecution before which he quailed. and they sat down to it. At first neither seemedable to find a word to sayi then Ashby began to make conversation with an . He forced a smile. to respect his wish. He was troubled and unhappy. looked calmer than when he had fled upstairs an hour earlier.' Charlotte. 'while I'm still in darkness. even so close a relation.

'How tired he is! How terribly overtired!' Charlottesaid to herself. dearl I can't leave them with my mother. and went up to Charlotte'sroom...Your mother will love to haveJoyceand Peterwith her.' Sheroseand stoodbeforehim with suddenresolution. but she was the last woman in the world to say or hint anything before her . we can't.' He tuined to his wife with an almost pitiful gestureof entreaty.. He lookedup at her srarrled. Kenneth.A holidav?' 'Certainly. But she isn. from servants. the health of an old aunt and the installing of the 'Good heavens.No.re goingto start in a fortnight on a month'suoyrg.I can . But this evening. automadctelephone. aviation.his headdrawn back a little from her caress.Don't ask me to. My dear. from the house'From everythingthat's familiar and fatiguing.'No. He shookhis head.' She bent over him and laid her hand on his forehead.. You didn't hesitate to leave them with her for over two months when we went to the $/est Indies. and an exhibition of modern French painting.' 'Different? r$7hy?' 'I mean. He drew a deepbreathand stoodup uneasily.his handson to his knees. f'm not going to haveyou useup your strengthslavingin that way. how tired he is!' t$flhenthey dined alone they usually went into the library after dinner. They satdown nearthe fire. how absurd!Sheadoresthem.' 'I suppose we all overworkat dmes. 'I don't know why you say"again. Ashby had a fearless rongue. And sometimes she talks before them without thinking. dear. .but sat.' Charlottemused. by tacit agreement. It's absurd.they avoided the room in which their strangetalk had taken place. and Charlottesaid:'Your pipe?'afterhe had put down his hardly tastedcoffee.326 THE BOOK OF FANTASY assumptionof ease that was more oppressive than his silence. and lookedup at her with a stareof 'Again? apprehension. and Charlotte curled herself up on the divan with her knitting while he lit a pipe.. On any one of the big cruising steamers.' 'At christmas we spenda week with the children in the counrry.I'm tired.we hauenltiakena real holiday this year. nor tonight.'She pausedand bent closer. as you say.'Vell. touching his forehead with her lips.. I can't possibtygo away..i you'. but this time I meanawayfrom the children. too.e ill. at that time I didn't realize-' He broke off asif to choose his words and then went on: 'My mother adoresthe children.It wastrue that the elder Mrs.t alwaysvery judicious. Prepareto be taken awaysoonon a long holiday. I'm sure they overwork you at the office. 'Yes.' He seemed payno heedto her lastwords.Grandmothers alwaysspoil children.pursuing her own thoughts while he rambled on about municipal politics. Didn't you know I was going to carry you off at Easter?$fle." Kenneth. . He frownedand slowlyshookhis head. 'My poor old Kenneth.That was different..' 'Vhy. you look terribly tired. to somewhere or other.' 'You must go to bed early.. Kenneth.

do you wanr to?' He returned her gaze for a moment. yes. how they make you suffer. Charlotte saw that he was weeping. his head bent.' He continued his troubled pacing of the room. 'The quesrion is. yet resolvedthat no such scruples should arrest her. It's not my way to pry into other people's affairs. 'It's that. and raising her hands. and I should have had the courage to hide what I felt. and for hers. I don't say I shouldn't have suffered from that. his eyes fixed on the carper.' she persisted. that you wanted them. darling. 'Why not admit it? You can't live without them.'she added.POMEGRANTE SEED 327 r I grandchildren at which the most scrupulous parent could take offence. then he stopped short. you must answer me! Is that the reason?Is it becauseshe's forbidden you that you won't go away with me?' She continued to kneel at his side. She had never seen a man cry. Charlotte felt her resentfulness rising with her fears. the musclesof his face quivered. and she remembered still how the sight had frightened her. no matter how much I might want to.' 'And yet-' 'Don't ask me. I can't leave-I can't. and even if the effect had been different-yes.' Charlotte still scrutinized him gravely. hardly above his breath: 'I wanr-anyrhing you want. listen to me?'Won't you try to see what I'm suffering? I'm not unreasonable.Or perhaps. really not. when she was a little girl. I don't suppose I should ever have noticed the letters if it hadn't been for their effect on you. that they gave you something I haven't known how to give-why.. dropped into a chair and covered his face with his hands. except her father after her mother's death. Charlotte looked at her husband in perplexity. and he said. '\$flon't you 'Kenneth-Kenneth!' she pleaded. counting the days between their coming.' 'You mean that you can't go away out of reach of those letters!' Her husband had been standing before her in an uneasy half-hesitating attitude. She was ashamedof her persistence. that you were watching eagerly for them. she drew his gently ashamedof uncovering that batlled down. were lowered. His eyes disordered face. she was frightened nowl she felt that her husband was being dragged away from her into some mysterious bondage. Kenneth. 'I don't understand. and the hope that someday you'd come to feel about me as you did about the writer of the letters. then his lips began to tremble.' He put up his hands and pressed them against his temples. From the shaking of his shoulders. too: but it would have been in a different way. her voice breaking into a cry of accusation-'perhaps it's because she's actually forbidden you to leave. But what I can't bear is to seehow you dread them. 'Not now-not yet. she was making hirn sutter even . and yet how you can't live without them and won't go away lest you should miss one during your absence. kneeling down beside him. Kenneth. listen to me-if I'd seen that the letters made you happy. now he turned abruptly away and walked once or twice up and down the length of the room. and that she must use up her last atom of strength in the struggle for his freedom. 'Can't you see that there's no use in insisting? I can't go away.

his ry Charlotte had said to herself: 'I shall sleep tonightr' but instead she sat before her fire into the small hours.Yet this no longer restrained her.I seeI'm rightr' she said. and their relations were sufficiently lover-like for her to regret having missed their morning hour. There was something frightening. it was long past her usual hour. . and a sense defeatsweptover of her.assherose.he turned and drew her down again.His handscaught hers and pressed them so tightly that she felt her rings cutting into her flesh. shethought. .convulsive his hold. Lulled to quiet by the thought.He wasstaringup at her now as if salvation in the faceshebent over him. 'Of coursewe'll go awaytogether. But after that everything would be different. Ashby lcave no other message?' . But he. and gone downstairs without disturbing her. is it that? go awaytogether?' Shewon't let us Still he did not speakor turn his eyesto her.328 THE BOOK OF FANTASY more than shesufferedherself. Yes. He had given orders that Mrs. and she sat up in bed surprised and vexed at having overslept herself. seemedto be resting after the tumult of the evening. She rang and asked if Mr. She always liked to be down to share her husband's breakfast by the library fire. 'You needn'tanswer. . at any rate.' she thought-'he's undoubtedly ill. 'Kenneth. Yes. nearly an hour ago. and putting his arm about her. he drew her closeand pressed lips on hers. 'He's ill. she iumped out of bed and went into his room' but it was empty. he had gone up to the nursery himself to give the order. All this sounded usual enough. the maid said. Ashby had already gone. Ashby should not be waked and that the children should not come to her till she sent for them. To make sure. but a glance ar the clock made it clear that he must have started long since for his office. and meanwhile the secret influence-as to which she was still so completely in the dark-would continue to work against her.' She drew a breath of relief. No doubt he had looked in on her before leaving.' he said in a low confused go voice. the struggle wasa losingone. and she would have to renew the struggle day after day till they started on their journey. it was the clutch of a in man who felt himselfslippingover a precipice. seen that she still slept. After all. listening for any sound that came from her husband's room. and Charlotte hardly knew why she asked: 'And did Mr. and all to herself. If only they could have staned at once-started for anywhere! She knew it would be uselessto ask him to leave before the holidays. She had fought through the weary fight and the victory was hers-at least for the moment. Once or twice she stole to the door and in the faint light that came in from the street through his open window she saw him stretched out in heavy sleep-the sleep of weakness and exhaustion. Suddenly. she never doubted her power to releasehim from the evil spell he was under. And it's not overworkl it's this mysterious persecution. If once she could get her husband away under other skies. she too slept at last. lay \$(/e'l[ whereveryou want. \(rhen she woke.

she was so sorry she'd forgotten. I don't know how I could have forgotten to mention it.'Charlotte sprang up. But gradually her colour crept back. to say to Mrs. 'Tomorrow-you're sure he said to sail tomorrow?' 'Oh. . lously. and some didn'tand only the fair-she gaily paraphrased-deserve the brave! Certainly she was looking very pretty. ever so sure. walking acrossthe room. She ordered a particularly good dinner. since her . Ah. well. saw that it was close to noon and decided to call him up at his office. ma'am. There was a slight delay. and caught herself singing at her image in the glassas she sat brushing her hair. \7hat a different face she saw! The smile on her pale lips seemed to mock the rosy vision of the other Charlotte. and would she please be ready to sail tomorrow? Charlotte echoed the woman's 'Tomorrowr' and sat staring at her incredu. then she heard his secretary's voice saying that Mr. He had divined what she had suffered. then-he loved her as passionately as ever. who ruled the foreground. Draw my bath. It made her feel young again to have scored such a victory. saw the children off to their classes. He'd told her. had understood that their happiness depended on their getting away at once. like the palms of victory.' As she brushed back her light abundant hair it waved electrically above her head. 'Courage-that's the secret! If only people who are in love weren't always so afraid of risking their happiness by looking it in the eyes. all they knew in the office was that when he left he had said he was in a hurry becausehe had to go out of town. please. How soon was he likely to be back? The secretary answered that she couldn't tell.POMEGRANTE SEED 329 Yes. she had faced the phantom and dispelled it. She burst into a laugh and. some women knew how to manage men. The other woman vanished to a speck on the horizon. and left again almost immediately. He loved her. consulted with the maid about getting out summer clothes-for of course they would be heading for heat and sunshine-and wondered if she oughtn't to take Kenneth's flannel suits out of camphor. The morning danced along like a cockleshell on a bright sea-such a sea as they would soon be speeding over. 'that I don't yet know where we're going!' She looked at the clock. it doesn't matter. The nature of the influence that had come between them did not much matter to Charlotte now. dashed through her dressing. sat down again before her mirror. iust as he was leaving. Ashby that he was going ro seeabout their passages. and Charlotte had been fatuous enough to see the palms of victory on her forehead. Of course he had gone to see that woman-no doubt to get her permission to leave.had her trunks brought down. . as this one. \J(/hyhad he gone out of town? And where had he gone? And of all days. the maid said. why should he have chosen the eve of their suddenly planned departure? She felt a faint shiver of apprehension. Ashby had looked in for a moment early. . he did. Charlotte would ring up later. He was as completely in bondage as that. and finding each other again after yesterday's desperate groping in the fog. smiled back at the reflection of her lips and eyes. Out of town! Charlotte hung up the receiver and sat blankly gazing into new darkness. she had a right to claim the victory. After all.' '\il7ell. 'But how absurdr' she reflected. very well. Oh.

'I hope you'll gradually cure Kenneth of his mania for going over and over a question that could be settled in a dozen words. Charlotte stood silent in the intensity of her surprise. And she did not yet know where they were going the next day! She rang up her husband's oflice and was told that Mr. but nothing mattered now but that she had won the day.must have gone to see his mother. and if he carried the habit into his professional work he'd soon lose all his clients. for he himself. He never used to be like that. He might simply have gone to see a client who lived out of town. She asked for his partner. it was not even necessaryto suppose that his mysterious trip was a visit to the writer of the letters. business matters to wind up. 'I'm always so glad when he gets away. recovering herself. before Mrs. She. she had had no word from him and did not know what her daughter-in-law meant. Then. Mrs. dear. did Kenneth's news surprise you? t$(/hatdo you think of our elopement?' Almost instantly. 'But then. made it obvious that he would have all sorts of matters to decide with her. and began: 'rVell. The hours wore on. Meanwhile she would go on with her ioyful preparations. had thought that Kenneth looked worried and overtired. Gaily she called up Mrs. and in doing so. thank goodness. not what the other woman exacted of him. It was natural enough. Ashby could answer. she was always finding pretexts to prevent his going anywhere. Charlotte knew what her reply would be. or rather were swept forward on a rush of eager preparations. Of course Kenneth. Ashby. Mrs. \7ith you. and she agreed with her daughter-in-law that in such caseschange was the surest remedy. At last the entrance of the maid who came to draw the curtain roused Charlotte from her labours. her conviction that nothing could ever again come between Kenneth and herself. but the partner could add nothing to her information.330 THE BOOK OF FANTASY husband was doing what she wanted. heard her friendly voice. The mere fact that the children-in spite of his vague obiections-would certainly have to be left with old Mrs. too. she explained their sudden decision to Mrs. Ashby's absence. do come in for a minute. Ashby surprised at his not having had time to let her know of his departure. the secretary had hesitated before imparting even such meagre imformation as the fact of Mr. Ashby had not seen her son. Elsie hated travelling. no doubt he'll turn up . had reached the office after Ashby had come and gone. but no doubt he'd drop in before dinner. his suburban train having been behind time. content to learn later in the day to what particular island of the blest she was to be carried. Ashby.' Nor was Mrs. that her husband was still hers and not another woman's. in view of his abrupt decision to leave the next day. if you have time. on the eve of a month's absence. At another time Charlotte might have felt a little hurt at being excluded from their conference. it's different. where hashe been?'she thought. that he should have arrangements to make. Ashby had not been there since the early morning. Ashby. Charlotte stood perplexed. gradually regained her own self-confidence. then she decided to telephone to her mother-in-law. Yes. Of course they would not tell Charlotte at the office. Five minutes' talk was really all they needed. He must have been in a rush from the moment the decision was taken. and she saw to her surprise that the clock marked five. Ashby took the news calmly and approvingly.

Ashby dealt calmly and efficiently with a short but carefully prepared repast. 'But. and during her brief walk through the cold spring dusk Charlotte imagined that every advancing figure was her husband's. Yes. and she darted to it.'The tonic ring of Mrs. it's nearly eight o'clock! He must realize that I've got to know when we're starting tomorrow.' Charlotte called up her own house. Sometimes they have to wait till midnight for the tide. He might have gone to seesome client in the suburbs and been detained there: his mother remembered his telling her that he had charge of the legal business of a queer old recluse somewhere in New Jersey. and hung up the receiver with a trembling hand. Toward seventhe telephone rang. Kenneth had neither telephoned nor come. Now she would know! But it was only from the conscientious secretary. A busy lawyer held so many threads in his hands that any sudden change of plan would oblige him to make all sorts of unforeseen arrangements and adiustments. that's all right. You'll stay and dine? He's sure to drop in here on his way home.' 'Oh. Ashby sat by her bright fire. to say that Mr. Old Mrs. Ashby took off her spectacles and rolled up her knitting. mother. She would tell him as soon as he came that Mrs. he was at his mother's. Something has happened to him. she reflected. Ashby was dining at his mother's. the maid said. Charlotte followed her mother-in-law into the dining room and sat with parched throat before her empty plate. Ashby lived nearby. and when she entered the house she found her mother-in-law alone. it was to be expected. She shut her drawers and cupboards. Mrs. Very likely Kenneth had been stranded there. I wish you'd ring for dinner. Ashby hadn't been back. the boat probably doesn't sail till evening. But perhaps by this time. 'If you begin to let yourself imagine things-' 'Aren't you in the least anxious?' 'I never am till I have to be. while Mrs. and her mere bodily presence gave reassuranceto Charlotte.' Charlotte stood up. her knitting needles flashing steadily through her active old hands. but she immediately added that it only showed what a rush he was in. 'It's not that. Thanks a lot! Charlotte called out cheerfully. it was certainly odd that Kenneth had gone off for the whole day without letting any of them know.POMEGRANTE SEED 331 while you're here. put on her hat and coat and called up to the nursery that she was going out for a minute to see the children's grandmother. Ashby conceded that it was odd. No. . my dear. after all. he has a level head. and before the office closed she thought she ought to let Mrs. Ashby's voice echoed on reassuringly in the silent room while Charlotte continued her prepararions. After all. or sent any word. Mr.' Mrs. But Charlotte felt her nervousnessgaining on her. But she did not meet him on the way. Kenneth's probably counting on that. but. Even Mrs. who was immensely rich but too mean to have a telephone. Ashby asked her at what hour they were sailing the next day and she had to say she didn't know-that Kenneth had simply sent her word he was going to take their passages-the uttering of the words again brought home to her the strangeness of the situation. Ashby know. 'Oh. Ashby hadn't come in and hadn't telephoned. When Mrs.

She took up the envelope and stood staring at it as if she could force her gaze to penetrate to what was within. She disappeared. . Mr. and stood resting on her stick while her wraps were brought. 'Do you know that writing?'she asked. that it was not necessary. somewhere in the uncertainty and mystery of the night.' she instructed the maid as the two women got into the taxi which had been summoned. Mrs. and there lay a grey envelope. '\What is it. something that corresponded with the clearness of her eyes and the texture of her fresh firm complexion. Kenneth turns up. Jane. ring and the two entered. and then stopped.332 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'You'd better eat something. my dear. like an indistinguishable figure prowling on the threshold. Charlotte noticed that the letter shook . She had to feel with her other hand for her and when she had adjusted them she lifted the envelope to the light. 'Oh!' she cried out. or you'll be as bad as Kenneth. but she'd iust go and ring up to make sure. At this hour Kenneth will certainly go straight home. . 'It's not very late. that she would call up as soon as Kenneth came in. At last Charlotte got up and said: 'I'd better go back. As she did so her eyes lit on the hall table. where the fire had been made up. It doesn't take two sparrows long to dine. well. Ashby pushed aside her work and rested her two hands on the arms of her chair. tell him he'll find me at his own house. Yes. Ashby asked with a glance of surprise. During the short drive Charlotte gave thanks that she was not returning home alone. 'You'll see-you'll seer' Mrs. She was slightly lame. I can't keep after nine. Ashby's nearness. child. She turned and held out the envelopeto her mother-in-law. Ashby repeated. and Charlotte turned to take off her hat and cloak.' Mrs. There was something warm and substantial in the mere fact of Mrs.' Charlotte bent down to kiss her. Ashby took the letter. .and the maid said. lurked the answer to the two women's conjectures. As the taxi drew up she 'You'll seel there'll be a message. a little more asparagus. and out there. the stimulus of her mother-in-law's confidence was beginning to flow through her veins.' laid her hand encouragingly on Charlotte's. then they returned to the drawing room. 'I'm going with you. Ashby had already rung for her maid. Then an idea occurred to her.' 'It's 'The fact is.' She insisted on Charlotte's drinking a glass of sherry and nibbling a bit of toast. Charlotte's heart The door opened at Charlotte's beat excitedly. How safe and familiar it all looked. Ashby smiled indulgently. still. 'You're sure the telephone's not out of order?' his mother suggested. eyeglasses. Charlotte did not answer. 'If Mr. for the first time in months she had entered her house without wondering if one of the grey letters would be there.' Mrs. and there had been no messagefrom him. suddenly aware that her husband's name faintly traced on it. Ashby had not come in.please. '\il(Ihy!'she exclaimed. but Mrs. helping herself up. Charlotte protested that it was too late.' she said. it certainly wasn't half an hour ago. Ashby's armchair shaken out and smoothed. and cushions in Mrs. my dear?' Mrs. The maid who opened the door said no.

. The two women had turned into the library. 'But this is addressedto Kennerh. Ashby handed back the letter. in a low voice. 'This letter may tell me where Kenneth is. 'Mother! What do you know? Tell me! You must!' 'That I don't believe any good ever came of a woman's opening her husband's letters behind his back. But I told him I knew that was why.' Her hands had been trembling as they held the envelope. He was sobbing so rhat he could hardly speak. 'But. . her head drooping forward on her breast. \[hat I do know is-' Mrs. Charlotte caught her by the wrist.' Mrs. 'Ah. Always these same grey envelopes. 'Yes. and her voice also. Ashby said at length. 'Ahr' she murmured. She still gazed intently at Mrs. 'So now you understand-' 'Did he tell you it was ro get away from thern?' 'He said. She still held the envelope in her hand. She laughed impatiently and dropped her mother-inlaw's wrist. '\$7hyshould it? t$7hatmakes you believe-It can'r possibly-' Charlotte held her eyes steadily on that altered face. I've rold him I musr know from whom they come.'Mrs. he promised to go away with me-to get away from t h e m. get to away-to get away.' . almost timidly. I know thar well enough. but no matterr' Charlotte spoke with sudden decision. you can't!' 'As if I cared about that-now!' She conrinued to look intently at Mrs. . 'Is that all? No good can come of this letter. becauseI can see they're killing him. then you do know the writing?' she flashed back. I mean to find out what's in it. 'I want to know-do you know the writing?' Mrs.POMEGRANTE SEED 333 in her usually firm hand. She caught her mother-in-law's startled glance. I've kept count of them becauseafter each one he has been like a man who has had some dreadful shock. her firm cheeks seemedto shrink and wither. Ashby's glossy bloom was effaced by a quick pallor. But whatever ill comes. It takes him hours to shake off their effect. with shaking steps. Ashby. 'Know the writing? How should I? r$(lith all my son's correspondents.' The words sounded to Charlotte's irritated ears as flat as a phrase culled from a book of moral axioms. I've told him so. Ashby. Ashby. Her tone seemedto imply that she felt her daughter-inlaw's question to be slightly indiscreet. Charlotte switched on the electric light and shut the door.' 'And what did he say?' 'He took me in his arms and said he'd go wherever I wanted. but now they grew firm.' she said distinctly. had gone to one of the armchairs and sat down in it. 'No. Ashby broke off and looked at her daughter-in-law entreatingly. 'This is the ninth letter addressedin the same hand that has come to Kenneth since we've been married. opened or unopened. He won't answer my questions. 'I'm going to open itr' she announced. dearest-a letter not addressedto you? My dear.' Mrs.

to . The latter fumbled for her eyeglasses. when she had tried to read the letter. and "come. avoid touching it. Charlottefelt the contagion her whiteness. restingher two handson it. not quite. Her sight must 69 blurred. Charlotte did not move or answer. held them to her eyes. 'I can't make it outr' shesaid. Ashby. as if forcing herself to a hateful effort.334 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Ah.during which she continued to sit with head bowed. I've kept count. . and her handsbeganto tremble again. Her mother-in-lawloweredher headover it in the silence. open it. 'Let to me seer'she said. At last shelookedup and spoke.and bent still closerto the outspread pag€. it's no clearer. She advanced the table and.in order. shecould discernonly a few faint strokes. of shethought. asit seemed. This is the ninth.' Mrs.I can't read it.' The words were so unexpectedthat Charlotte felt the blood in her temples. '\trfhen did they begin to come?Do you remember?' Charlotte laughed again. they sent through her the icy chill emanatingfrom the little personaleffectsof someone newly dead. drew a deepbreath. Ashby lifted her head and spoke with suddenenergy.'Are you suretherehavebeenasmany asnine?' 'Perfectly. 'Well?'Mrs. thank God!' said Mrs. Ashby stood up abruptly. Her face was even paler than before. and eyesavertedfrom her daughter-in-law. . The light of the lamp fell directly on her old face.' Mrs.All this time shewas awarethat her mother-in-lawwas watching her intently. sitting down closeto Kenneth's readinglamp. or else dazzled the reflectionof the lamplight on the smoothsurface by of the PsPerrfor.but without touchingit with her pale wrinkled hands.' Shewent back to the tableand.' 'You mean the paper is an absoluteblank?' 'No.' 'And he has absolutelyrefusedto explain?' 'Absolutely. I can make out something like "mine"-oh.' 'All that time?'Mrs. There is writing on it. 'Well. Ashby askedbelow her breath. Charlotte stood watching her as she herself. '\U7hat you do mean.As shepushedabout the familiar obiects his own hands had so lately touched. Ashby spoke through pale contractedlips. There was a silence. 'She knows'. holding it nearer and nearer to the light. 'Remember?The first one came the night we got back from our honeymoon. She pushedthe letter across table. She was bending over the page with wrinkled brows. slippedthe letter under a magnifyingglass. Shedrew out the sheetand carried it to the lamp. Ashby. In the deep silenceof the room the tearingof the paperas sheslit the envelopesoundedlike a human cry. strain her eyesasshewould. dear?' 'The writing's too indistinct.so faint and faltering as to be nearly undecipherable. Shetried to slip her finger under the flap of the envelope. . !Uait. had beenwatchedby Mrs. 'Then-yes.but it wassotightly stuck that shehad to hunt on her husbandis writing table for his ivory letter opener." It might be "come".

How can I tell? I remember his saying to me once that if you were used to a handwriting the faintest stroke of it became legible. exactly this. needn't wait any longer! You've answered me now! You're looking straight at the wall where her picture used to hang!' 'Sh-h. 'I can't-I can'tr' she said in a voice of childish distress.' 'But this letter-after all. first.' 'But you do know the writing?' Mrs. of incredulous dismay and almost cringing defiance.' '\$7ait for what?' Mrs. At length she raised her head. her eyes. She had never seen her mother-in-law's features amusement. Ashby lifted her hand with a murmur of warning. 'Oh. 'I can make out nothingMrs. fly dearr-wait. travelling slowly past Charlotte. wait. were lifted to the blank wall behind her son's writing table. .' 'I Charlotte laughed again.' Mrs. Now they seemed to wear a look of fear and hatred. 'Oh.' 'Startled by the resemblance?' '\U7ell. following the glance. Now I see what he meant. nothing. thought-' I 'You'd better say it out. you needn't imagine that anything can ever frighten me again!'Charlotte cried. 'I Charlotte. and Charlotte saw two tears roll down her cheeks.' 'But the few strokes that I can make out are so pale.' 'Even this?' 'Yes. Her lips moved plaintively. burst into a shrill laugh of accusation. 'Familiar as the writing is to you?' Charlotte insisted with twitching lips. sympathy. a kindly express any but simple and sound emotions-cordiality. No one could possibly read that letter. 'But we're going mad-we're both going mad. her anxious eyes stole with a glance of 'How can I tell? I was startled at apprehension around the quite familiar room. \U0e both know such things are impossible. Her mother-in-law still leaned against the table. . Ashby looked up. 'You can't make it out either?' She shook her head. time now that everything was possible. now and again a flash of wholesome anger.POMEGRANTE SEED 335 and Charlotte reflected what depths of the unknown may lurk under the clearest and most candid lineaments. Ashby lifted her head timidly. He was used to it. there's nothing in this letter-' 'Perhaps there would be to him. my child-my child-don't say it!' . mother! You knew at once it was her writing? 'Oh. . suppose everything's pale about a ghostr'she said stridently. It was as if the spirits warring within her had distorted her face to their own likeness. Ashby did not take up the challenge.' 'I've known for a long Her daughter-in-law looked at her with a pitying stare.

and she saw her mother-inlaw bending over her. his back to the grate. attending Johns Hopkins Unioersity. 'An explanation? Who's going to give it. 'Exactly as if we thought it could do any good to do anything?' Resolutely Mrs. Lukundoo EdwardLucas White (1866-1934)was borninBergen. 6Jt stands to reasonr'said Twombly. when even the bare walls cry it out? \$(Ihatdifference does it make if her letters are itlegible to you and me? If even you can see her face on that blank wall. as well as fantasy and honor stories. Mrs. why shouldn't he read her writing on rhis blank paper? Don't you seethat she's everywhere in this house. There'll be some explanation tomorrow. as usual. and the closer to him because to everyone else she's become invisible?' Charlotte dropped into a chair and covered her face with her hands. You'll see. 'Kenneth himself willr' she cried out in a strong voice.He wrotepoensand histoical nwels such as El Supremoand Andivius Hedulio. I wonder?' Mrs. NewJersqt. Now. But when Singleton spoke he said somerhing.' Charlotte stood up slowly and stiffly. softly. Ashby drew back and straightened herself heroically. Singleton. 'I was thinkingr' he said. 'Tomorrow-tomorrow. At length a touch on her shoulder made her look up. it had been to elicit . A turmoil of sobbing shook her head to foot. but it had resumed its usual quiet look. with his habitual air of dominating the room. after an interval. Twombly was standing on the hearthrug. and the old woman went on: 'But meanwhile we must act.' 'Not alwaysr'put in Singleton. \il7e faced him in that flattering spontaneity of expectant silence which invites utterance. and when eyes and ears agree.' Now. whfuhhe said cameto him in dreams. there can be no doubt.'that a man must accept the evidenceof Ihis own eyes. was as much as possible effaced in a corner. Through all her tossing anguish.' Charlotte cut her short. Ashby's face seemedto have grown still smaller and more wasted. 'of something I both saw and heard in Africa. Charlotte felt the impact of that resolute spirit. we must notify the police.336 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Why shouldn't I say it. Charlotte said nothing. her ioints felt as cramped as an old woman's. if there was one thing we had found impossible. without a moment's delay.butspentmost hislife of in Baltimore. r0flemust do everything-everything. his legs spread out. Ashby cried: 'Yes!'and Charlotte went up to the tellphone and unhooked the receiver. Every man turned towards Singleton. He has to believe what he has both seen and heard.

country. I ril/e were in the Great Forest. if he was movedhe did not show it.but naturallydapperand neatand the sort of man to shave was the sort of British face from which emotion has been so wiry.' He spoke quietly in a soft. focusedon Singleton. a veiled eagerness his eye. . and those small.I was surprised at that..and pretty wett used up he was' too. a palpitating inward solicitudein his demeanourthat moved me at once. but not one of us could ever recall having seenhim go. 'Vho is your chief)' 'Stoner'Etchamlisped. with the Alpinist in the story. the had revelations beenthat he went thereand cameaway. Van Rieten had no sentimentin him. His name was Etcham. He wassmall. 'Ralph Stone?' eiaculated together. all.that he had had but three mealsin the five days. But he listened to Etcham'shalting. in of repressedemotion in his tone. dankest. who could tell only that he went up and camedown. late one afternoon.there was none. we Etcham nodded. But he listened. All of a sudden. exploring for pigmies. he werenearlyasdoneup ashe. and ate with us so if deliberatelythat we should never have suspected.and there was somehasty and furtive lighting of fresh cigars. That electrifiedboth of us. He evenaskedquestions. but I could seelittle beadsof sweat and there wasa tingle oozingout on his upper lip under his stubby moustache. 'My chief is ve'y seedyr'he said betweenpuffs. of him.\ifle werethe only novelty in the deepest. even tone. Even marchto reachus. you could seehe was though he was daily. if it hasany expression principally the resolutionto go through the world decorously. After we had lit up he told us why he had come. .r*ou. had not only heardof us but had madean amazingfive-day .He hopedto discover raceof men three feet tall at most. food. The room readiusted itself. I thought perhaps. expresses without intruding upon or annoyinganyone.drippingestforestall about.Twombly fadedfrom the hearthrug. and the Nativeswere few.and he never relit it. Van Rieten had a theory between that the dwarfsfound by Stanleyand otherswere a mere cross-breed a and ordinarynegroes the realpigmies.LUKUNDOO 337 As from Singletonanything definite about his African experiences.most had never heard of white men. but it went out immediately. His face carefully banished that a foreigner is apt to think the wearer of the face at of incapable any sort of feeling. the kind of facewhich. He introduced himself modestly. our bearershad not had it from his bearers. 'He is bound to go out if he keepsthis way. no nativewe met had evenseena white man before.tf(/ehad found no traceof any suchbeings. there came into our tUfle had heard no camp an Englishman. difficult hints.His sum of Singleton's words now riveted our attentionat once. He was iust the man to refuse at once. exceptgame. gameScarce. or shorter. .Singletonlit one also. His guideand two bearers in tatters and had five days' beard on.

his bride's devodon through it all. their second quarreland second divorce.ir.endingin the rot. too. 'only his zanzibar servantsand the bearersr'Etcham replied.. Then he asked: 'Vhere is \$flerner?' 'Dead.his departure from his nativeland. the too much advertised announcementof his approachingmarriage to the plaintiff in the breach-ofpromise suit. .ir completediscomfiture a and the abasement his tribe beforeStone. of and Van Rietenand I had discussed him over many a camp fire. Van Rieten had never seen him. ''Wereyou long amongthe Mang-Battu?'was Van Rieten'snext question.yr ro of nearly real fame. 'Someweeksr' saidEtcham. as he sat silent. t$(e had heard of him two yearsbefore. had beentike the triumph of Eliiah It over the prophetsof Baal.' 'You were not with StoneaboveLuebo?' 'No.'Stonewasinterested them and madeup a fairin sizedvocabularyof their words and phrases.It bore out Srone's reputationasa notableleaderof men. the frightful scandatoiitre breach-ofpromise suit that followed.his wide rro. and herehe turned up aheadof us and probablyforestallingour quest. the promiseof his youngmanhood. his adventin the dark continent.'said Etcham. if still in had Africa at all.'said Etcham.ori. Now that impressed both Van Rietenand myselfgreatly. 'Game.'I joined him at Stanley Falls. their sudden quarrel after it was all over. but I had beena classmate Stone's.The sense all this rushedover me and I believeVan of Rieten felt it. For up to that time no one had beenable to useMang-Battu as bearersoutsideof their own country. 'Mang-Battu menr' Etchamresponded simply.whosebeauty of and charm were so much heralded. only more real to the Balunda. his fascinatingparents.' 'Who is with him?' Van Rietenasked. or to hotd them for long or difficult expeditions.which had beenringing with his theatricalstrife against Balundawitch-doctor. '$flhat sort of bearers?' Van Rieten demanded. his romantic elopementwith the meteoric authoresswhose suddencascade fiction had madeher sogreata nameso young. their tragic death.mostlyr' Etcham lisped.'He died beforeI joinedStone. u Etcham's naming of Stone brought back to us all his tantalizing story. r$(/e thoughtof Stoneasfar off. their divorce. the brilliance of his collegedays.' '$flhat do you live on?'Van Rieteninquired.He had a theory that they are an offshootof the Balundaand he found much confirmationin their customs.338 THE BOOK OF FANTASY For someminutes Van Rieten and I were silent. his precipitateremarriageto his divorced bride. south of Luebo in the Balundacountry. the dazzle his millions.They had eventroken the fetishof man'swhistleand given Stonethe pieces.

'He is beyond my advice or control. nor to be so painful. though in others they are worse. with his razor. But then they seem to be part of a diseasethat affects his mind. but the others he has hidden most carefully.'he confessed. 'Something like carbuncles. 'I coniecturer' said Etcham. 'But he won't use them. groaning.'said Etcham simply. and will not let me change the dressings or be with him at all. But in some ways they are not so bad. 'I've not felt ve'y fit myself. 'And you saw him do that twice?.Well. 'Two.' 't$flhat's the matter with your chief.' 'I thought I had said they are not carbunclesr' Etcham lisped. They can't be carbuncles. If they had been carbuncles he would have been dead long ago.'Etcham hesitated. Etcham flushed again. Etcham made no answer but looked him steadily in the eyes. 'Does he eat?'Van Rieten inquired.' 'rJ7hat?' Van Rieten shouted. I felt impelled to keep him a watch on him. to my knowledger' Etcham said. 'He ought to get over a carbuncle or twor' Van Rieten declared. Etcham's face.' 'How do you mean?' Van Rieten queried.' 'How many has he had?'Van Rieten asked. showed a flush. as if he was not responsible. 'More than a monthr' Etcham answered. He keeps his tent when they puff up. . 'You startled me. 'And you have been hunting for the camp?' Van Rieten exclaimed. from me and from the men. 'I missed some easyshotsr'he admitted ruefully. 'Little fever. 'They are not carbunclesr' Etcham explained. 'But the man must be crazy!' Van Rieten exclaimed. 'I beg your pardonr' Van Rieten hastenedto say.' 'How is he trearing the swellings?'Van Rieten inquired. 'Nor one or two. sometimes five at once. He'd have been dead long ago. 'rVe have somer'said Etcham doubtfully. 'He crawls a bit.' 'How many has he treated that way?' Van Rieten demanded. 'Just so. 'He slices them off clear down to flesh level. you sayr'Van Rieten ruminated.' Van Rieten agreed. nor to cause so much fever. 'Dozensr' Etcham lisped.'through a crack in the hut.LUKUNDOO 339 'How long has Stone been laid up?' Van Rieten next asked. 'I saw him. He let me help him dress the first.' said Etcham.)' Van Rieten inquired. 'Like a wolfr' said Etcham.' 'I should think not. burnt and flayed as it was. 'that he did the like with all the rest. He has had dozens. 'Two?' Van Rieten queried. .' Etcham replied.' 'Can he walk?'Van Rieten asked. he washes out the dressings and uses them over and over. 'More than any two bearers.' 'Have you plenty of dressings?' Van Rieten asked. 'they do not seem to inflame so deep nor so wide as carbuncles.

his big. 'I did not know that word. They sound more treble. 'Sometimesboth at once. 'only for a different reason. and it sounded right through Stone's basstones. the oddest.' 'Scared?' Van Rieten repeated.' 'One voice answering the other?' Van Rieten asked perfunctorily. I know too little Balunda. too.' he answeredhuskily.' Etcham disclaimed. bleaty voice like nothing I ever heard.' said Etcham. and it scared the narives. only even more piercing. \ilell. Hamed Burghash said it was Mang-Battu for "leopard. He talked in two voices.' 'What did the bearers say?' Van Rieten asked. I do not learn languages readily.' said Etcham. deep-chested baritone rumbling along.340 THE BooK oF FANTASy 'Enough and too muchr'Etcham declared. Etcham's face went grey under his tan.' 'And you didn't go to him?' Van Rieten cried. if you can imagine the smallest girl who could whistle keeping it up tunelessly right along.' '\u0'as he talking their patter in delirium?' Van Rieten demanded. 'I don't wonder they thought so. 'So were the Zanzibar men. 'Has he been delirious?' Van Rieten asked. and through it all we could hear a high. talking steadily. Hamed Burghash said he was talking Balunda. 'once when the first swelling broke. 'Yesr' said Etcham. He would not let anyone come near him then. thin. 'In two voices. more excitedly than he had yet spoken. 'but he was talking some similiar lingo. that whistle was like that.' 'In two voicesr' Van Rieten reflected. and so was Ir' said Etcham. 'It sounded that way to the men. But I seemed to hear words like Mang-Battu words. shrill whistle. 'Etcham "Lukundoo. no matter how shrilly a grown man may whistle. and among the noisesof the shrill voice matotnipa. their terms for "headr" "shoulderr" "thighr" and perhaps kudra and nekere("speak" and "whistle"). He knew Mang-Battu far better than I. 'No. One was his own. the MangBattu bearers were scared. like a conversation.angunzi. wheezy sound. 'And that was not all." ' 'It's Mang-Battu for "witchcraftr" ' said Van Rieten. somehow. 'Could a man talk and whistle at the same time?' he asked. 'But he had threatened. 'How do you mean?' Van Rieten queried. Hamed Burghash said he also heard those words.not . 'They said. the note has a different quality from the whistle of a boy or a woman or a little girl. as nedru. 'Both at once!'Van Rieten ejaculated. among the sounds the deep voice made. You know. Anyhow. I seemed to make out. even Hamed Burghash. Stone learned more Mang-Battu in a week than I could have learned in a year. and once later.' He stopped and looked helplesslyat us for a moment. one a small. and hamomami("killr" "deathr" and "hate"). something like Mang-battu words I knew. Lukundoo!" replied.' said Etcham. 'Only twicer' Etcham replied. questioningly. 'He is not given to threats. metababa. '\We could hear Stone talking away. 'It was enough to make one believe in sorcery to listen to those two voices.and nedo. But we could hear him talking.

these will interest you. One simply could not transgress.LUKUNDOO 341 volubly. After pigmies I go. childish or youthful about the head. that man should die. 'I found them among Stone's effects while rummaging for medicines or drugs or anything that could help me to help him. \florship of Stone was plainly his master passion. 'Where did these come from?' Van Rieten inquired. rarher it was mature to senility. very quietly. the little forehead retreating. about the right size to enclose in an averagehand. Van Rieten wound up. It came to the surface then. The puny chin was sharp on a proiecting iaw.they wouldn't be two feet high! Do you mean to claim that these are adult heads?' 'I claim nothingr' Etcham answered evenly.' . There was nothing babyish. at the risk of my life. I do not know where he got them. and handed them to Van Rieten. They were black.' His absorbing affection for Stone. III Van Rieten had logic on his side and he had a way with him. and the flesh as hard as Argentine ierked beef. A bit of a vertebra stuck out where the muscles of the vanished neck had shrivelled into folds. Etcham sat there apologetic and deferential. but quietly and firmly. 'Pigmies. providing food would be more than doubly difficult. . A dried head it was. 'Pigmies!'Van Rieten exclaimed. perfectly preserved. then.' 'I see. bigger than big plums. 'He's ve'y seedy. Van Rieten had a streak of hard selfishnessin him. He said we carried our lives in our hands from day to day just as genuinely as Stone. like a fourth-form schoolboy before a headmasrer. 'I do not knowr' Etcham replied precisely. the minute teeth white and even between the retracted lips. He took two objects out of the side-pocket of his blouse. his real love for him. that it was enough of a task to hunt for one party. and smaller than small peaches. 'I thought perhaps .' Van Rieten passed one to me. and at first I did not see what they were.' Etcham repeatedhelplessly. Like many competent men. 'I am after pigmies.' said Van Rieten shortly. the tiny nose was flat. Deflecting our march seven full days' iourney (he complimented Etcham on his marching powers) might ruin our expedition entirely. The sun was iust setting and I examined it closely. that the risk of starvation was too great. 'You can see for yourself.' 'Perhaps. there were inconsiderable clumps of stunted wool on the Lilliputian cranium. shone out through his envelope of conventional training. . They were round. that if any man of us (he lumped me in with the men) came near him while he was in his trouble.' said Etcham. that if two were united. nor like a sick man. And it was not so much his words as his manner. But I'll swear he did not have them when we entered this district. that he did not forget the ties of blood in imperilling one party for a very problematical benefit to a man probably beyond any help. It was like a monarch commanding respected privacy for a deathbed. indeed! rilflhy.

' 'You haveexaminedtheseheads?' Van Rietenasked. \U7e could not have done it in seven. 'And you sayhe did not havethem before?' 'To a certaintyhe did not. I'll do my bestto saveStone.' it He put out his hand and Etchamclasped silently. a glow of personal adoration for Stone which blazed under his dry conventional exterior and showed in spite of him. handingme his piece. but a real ardour of devotion. saidVan Rieten. in a repressedfury of anxiety. Etcham had seento a good high thorn zareeba round the camp.' Etchamasserted. Hamed Burghash was not named after two Seyyids for nothing. the huts were well built and thatched. 'I want each of us to write he just what he is most remindedof by theseheads.He wasgratefulall over. no mere fever of duty to his chief. He had kept the . 'Ve'y surer' lisped Etcham. \7e found Stone well cared for. and Stone's was as good as their resources would permit. and Etcham urged us on. 'It is worth following up. And first of all. It took him eight days to retrace with full knowledge of it and our party to help. 'Readthe threer' said Van Rieten. He had in him the making of a sultan.' 'There!' Van Rieten exclaimed. Van Rietentook out his notebook.and HamedBurghash keepsa still tongueand a tight hold on the men.' I had written: 'An old Katongomagician.'Look at that! There is nothing \Ufagabi or Nor anythingpigmy either.'Stoneis we not a talking man. 'But how could he havecomeby them without your knowledge?'Van Rieten demurred.' I handedEtchama pencil and he wrote. IV Nothing but Etcham's fever of solicitude could have taken him in five days over the track. 'I thought as muchr' said Etcham.Then I want to separately comparethe writings.' said Etcham. folded it and divided it equallyinto three pieces.342 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Are you sure?'Van Rietenqueried. 'Minutely. 'I'll go with you.' Etchamhad written: 'An old Mang-Battufetish-man.He was a methodical chap. He gaveme no accountof his doings.He gaveone to me and one to Etcham. Van Rieten had written: 'An old Balundawitch-doctor.his eyesbig and fixed on Etcham's. 'Sometimes wereapartten daysat a time huntingr' saidEtcham.' Batwaor \Tambuttu or \0abotu abouttheseheads. 'Just for a test of my impressionsr' said. He tore out a leaf. Then he handedthe pencil back to me and I wrote.

V Some time in the pitch dark I found myself awake and listening. yet there was an insistent carrying power to it. They made Stone as comfortable as they could. S7eleft Etcham with him and went into massive the next hut. and iust before sunsetwe looked in at him again. alsohis razorin its case. like the shrilling of an insect. I could hear two voices. like a Turkish tabouret. not EtchamhelpedVan Rietento uncoverhim and look him over.all in front.He did not seemto seeus or enter or to know we were there.yellow and wavy. of course. They did not look like boils or carbuncles. not much inflamed.past commanding resistinganyone. one Stone's. Also he was a deft nurseand a faithful servanr. and I was soonfast asleep. Stonewas cleanand not emanciated. He was big and big-chested yet. Two or three were open wounds and four or five barely healed. I knew Stone's voice after all the years that had passed since I heard it last. the other sibilant and wheezy. asif somethingblunt and hard werebeing pushedup through but the healthyflesh and skin. then he heard me and realized that I was listening too.not unconscious. Stone's baritone basso. He had no fresh swellings. and his chestshowedbig and yet. His eyes were dull and he mumbled and babbled mere meaningless syllables. I should have recognizedhim anywhere. which Etcham had resignedto us.the one on the left being higher up and farther out than the other. Though all were hungry. .He was lying on his back. with intervals of silence between. but he lay asif in a stupor. words. and he had kept them in order.his hair was still abundant. both iabbering at once like the voices of two people quarrelling and trying to talk each other down.not a man had slippedoff. and that incredibly stridulous falsetto. There were no scarson him exceptabout his knees. the close. The other was nothing like I remembered. He wasin good musclefor a man so long bedridden.crisped blond beardhe had grown during his illnessdid not alter him. Stonewason a canvas and therewasa sort of collapsible cot camp-stool-table. but I could make out a word or two.by the cot. As I listened I heard Van Rieten breathing near me in the dark. full as if he were in perfect health. on his pectoralmuscles. The voices alternated. The two other Zanzibarishad donesomecreditablehunting. he was far gone.and a dozenor more on eachshoulder.His boyish dash and gracehad vanishedutterly. On eachknee and aboveit he had a full scoreof roundish cicatrices.shouldersand chest. Like Etcham I knew little Balunda. It had less volume than the wail of a new-born baby. one to eachside. It had a water-bottle and somevialson it and Stone's watch.excepttwo.But his head was even more leonine. The iungle noiseswere no different there than anywhereelsefor months past.LUKUNDOO 343 Mang-Battutogether. but but in a daze. 'I shouldnot lancethoser'said Van Rieten. the camp was far from starvation. Then suddenly both sounded at once and fast. and Etchamassented.

as if it were a miniature of the head of a Balunda fetish-man. and relaxed completely now that the load was in a senseshifted from his shoulders to Van Rieten's. But the little head mewled and screechedat us.344 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'I can't stand thisr' said Van Rieten. \flhen he was awake and saw it all. From his flesh. Except for a faint glow from the embers of the bearers' fire we were in complete darkness. Van Rieten turned from Stone and waked Etcham. 'Let's have a look at him. Etcham stared and said not one word. 'Did he bleed much?' Van Rieten demanded. shining black as the blackest African skin. grown out if it. little starlight struggled through the trees. $fle could hear the two voices together and then suddenly the creaking voice changed into a razor-edged. it turned malignantly from side to side and chittered incessantly in that inconceivable falsetto. touched the button and beckoned me to come with him. and the sweep of the razor even and true. We found Etcham utterly asleep. Stone babbled brokenly against its patter. Etcham nodded. there protruded a head. viciously. Both came from Stone's cot. indescribably cutting. .' Etcham replied. Stone had stopped talking the instant the excrescenthead was severed. The whistle had ceasedand the two voices now sounded together. Outside the hut he motioned me to stand still. The swelling on the right breast had broken. He fumbled about for it. Even the light on his face did not wake him. Stone bled amazingly little and Van Rieten dressedthe wound as if it had been a bruise or scrape. He took up Stone's razor and handed me the light.' He had one of those cylindrical electric night-candles. as if seeing made listening difficult. 'Good God!' exclaimed Van Rieten. fuzzy wool on its minikin skull. slicing whistle. chokingly. Snatching up a gun he scannedthe ground by the cot and brought the butt down once and twice. Stone showed no sign of seeing the light or of knowing we were there. It had crisp. and instinctively turned off the light. where the concentrated white ray showed him lying iust as we had left him. the river made but a faint murmur. except that he had tossedhis arms above his head and had torn the coverings and bandagesfrom his chest. wee eyes and showed its microscopic teeth between lips repulsive in their red fullness. Van Rieten's hand was steady. 'You hold his armsr' said Van Rieten to Etcham. Abruptly he turned on the light. It was black. continuing right through Stone's grumbling torrent of croaking words. Van Rieten aimed the centre line of the light at it and we saw it plainly. 'You saw him slice off two swellings?' Van Rieten asked. with some difficulty. even in so diminutive a face. exhausted by his long anxiety and the exertions of his phenomenal march. such a head as the dried specimensEtcham had shown us. 'Ve'y little. Van Rieten did all that could be done for Stone and then fairly grabbed the light from me. it rolled the whites of its wicked.

Then suddenly Stone spoke English.' 'Van Rieten!' he exclaimed. 'I recognizethe end. \fhat's soaked into the bone won't come out of the flesh. Even now I go. but I doubt if I slept. a hundred.' Van Rieten went nearer to him. Luck go with you. the pink spot on the palm was horridly natural. Then we three sat about Stone and watched that hideous. a thousand heads. Let me die in my own way. But Singleton! Ah. it grew out of me. This curse is not put on me. they roved about the hut. 'Let me be. Promise!' His voice had all the old commanding tone of his boyhood and it swayed Van Rieten as it always had swayed everybody. 'I am past all help and all hurting. Almost as he said the word Stone's eyes filmed again. Stoner' I managed to say. The hydra was nothing to this. any more than what's bred there.' His eyes closed and we stood helpless. '!fho are you with my razor?' Van Rieten started back and stood up.'said Stone. I seemto seeEtcham. You can cut off ten. or take off. These arms gesticulated and the right plucked towards Stone's blond beard. VI Next day. spindling little black arms disengaged themselves. Singleton! Ghosts of my boyhood come to watch me pass! And you. like this horror here.' Van Rieten gasped. 'I promiser'said Van Rieten. took up Stone's razor and knelt down by the cot.' 'I've held still for many such twingesr' Stone answered quite distinctly. the adherent figure spouting shritl sentences. we heard the two voices from Stone's hut. 'Never!' 'But we must help you. 'It will be only one twinge. The infinitesimal nails were perfect to the barely perceptible moon at the quick. Stone interjected hoarse vocables into the tinkling gurgle of the portent's utterance. but the curse you can not cut off. Don't hack me any more. The atomy of a head squealed a wheezy snarl at him. Van Rieten. \(e found Etcham dropped asleep by his charge. 'This is my hour. 'I'm alive. near noon. gibbering prodigy grow up out of Stone's flesh. Instantly Stone's eyes opened. and just such another head was there miauling and spluttering. The swelling on the left had broken. strange spectre with the black beard and my razor! Aroint ye all!' 'f'm no ghost. So are Etcham and Van Rieten. 'The end.' he said. as if in life. old manr' he said soothingly. hard and glittering. Etcham woke up and the three of us stood there and glared. tWe are here to help you. 'I can't stand thisr' Van Rieten exclaimed and took up the razor again.LUKUNDOO 345 We went back to our hut. . Van Rieten stepped forward. till two horrid. 'Van Rieten break his word?'he enunciated slowly. 'Just hold still a moment. in broad daylight. 'My work passeson to a better man. Stone's eyes were clear now and bright.

'You speakall tongues?'he askedquickly. I greyness like those curtains of little chains Q uspended vertically from the tJwhich keep out the flies in dairies whilst shutting out neither the air which sustainsthem nor people.Paseo de Sentimental(1946). 'the whole thing is incredible. born in BucnosAires.'he said. Twombly. Luoghi Comuni(1961). verily.' The Donguys fuan Rodolfo Wilcock.96/. could hear \(/hen Singleton'svoiceceased room washushedfor a space.' Singletonturned on him a stern countenance.Il Caos (1960). Ensayosde Poesfa Lirica(1945). wrenchedhimself over on his side. . Sexto (1953). 'I beganby sayingthat althoughI heard and saw it. the tactless.' 'But.He haspublisludpoetryand prose books in and ltalian.346 THE BOOK OF FANTASY In a moment Stonespokeagain. writhing its lips and waggingits headfrom side to side. when I look back on it I cannot credit it myself. 'Has she forgiven me?' Stoneaskedin a muffled strangle. 'unmutilatedas he died.broke the silence.' said the unconscionable Twombly. including:Libro de poemasy canciones Spanish (1940). from the cypressesr'the the stars shine on Lake Pontchartrainwill she forgive. The next instant he was dead. 'I did not expectyou to believeit.' And then Stone. making it impossible to see the mountains although I could sensetheir presencein the gullies.'he said.Peisecuci6n lasMusasMenores (1945).' Singletonstiffened.Teatroin prosae versi(1962). all that you speakr'putting out its microscopictongue. 'Not while 'Not while the mosshangs headsqueaked. And the mergent minikin replied in suddenEnglish: 'Yea. 'you cut off the little minikin and brought it home in alcohol.all with one motion.). 'I presumer' he said.Fatti Inquietanti(/. the rain was falling between the Andes and me when I reached Mendoza. '\Ufeburied Stone. \7e could seethe thready ribs on its exigpousflanks heaveas if the thing breathed.\Uile the eachother breathing. which all seemed to be descending from the same pyramid.

allow us to imposeon your patiencea little.without looking at it. but nobody had actuallyexplainedit to me: I replied. insteadof hiding something they would iust look as though they were hiding something.' And I followed that with the patheticoffering. To salvetheir conscience.specifications otherconstruction and detailsto you.and so on. Balsaaskedme.'althoughI did.partly because a postcardwith a banalview of the Inca's of Bridge bought by chancein a gift shop which turned out to be different from reality.' I suppose that betweenthe two of them they couldn't createa mystery in fourteenyears. my I observed bravenew world. the reasonwe're building the monumentalPunta de Vacashotel?' I knew.' . '\(e'll tell you certain secret details laterr' Balsa explainedto me. with me were two engineers. 'No.' 'Yes. both quite incapableof knowing an anagramfrom a greeting. ha. but I did say to them.Their only honesty-involuntary-consisted in making everything they werethinking obvious. you think that you first usedis by now famous. ha. I caughta memorable visionand devoted myselfto taking in anothergreatlandscape: closeto the thunderingcrashof the river I reflectedthat the moment was a tunnel and I would emergea changed man. $fle continued like a buzzing insect betweengreen. to encourage you tourism.aswhenyou return for example the second for time to the open squarein Siennaand enter from the other side. $0e left by car at seveno'clock.THE DONGUYS 347 The following morning I went up to the terraceof the hotel and saw that in fact the tops were white under the gapsin the sky amongsr nomadicclouds. 'which concernthe constructionand which you will thereforebe informed of when we handoverthe plqns. yellow and purple sheets of basaltand granitealonga dangerous road.In the outskirts.Changeable the entrance between two rocksas tall asthe obelisk. onered. 'Is your family in BuenosAires?' 'I don't havea familv. Certainmomentssuperimposed themselves onto the next few hoursanddays. Balsa and Balsocci.I wasn't surprised.' Balsa glanced at me sidewaysand after another discussionof news from abroad. For the time being. Balsocci talkedwith Balsoin a duet and at onepoint said. shouldsay (Balsocci). as for many travellers. The day I was transferredI rosebeforedawn and got ready in the damp and the faint light. tried to sound me out. I didn't say. 'I imagineit is being built to encourage tourism. 'I don't understand. and then we enteredthe mountains. Engineer.which at this time of the yearstandsout more than anythingelsefor its thunderingnoiseunder the blue beamof bright summerlights shiningtowardsthe bottom of the valley. 'Barnazaeats more than a donguy.for instance. 'Have they explainedto you. the light of dawn was beginningto fall on deformed caction shapeless hillocks:we crossed river Mendoza.from a distancethey looked to me like the mountainsof Switzerland.one black.

I took off my gloves and squeezeda ball. in charge of the maintenance of the railway and swapping the rails around. 'The water rushes by at seven metres per second. those futile jobs of the poor. The luxurious skies were changing into blankets of clouds squashed in between the hills: soon it was raining amongst rainbows. At times we went alongside the river and at others we would catch sight of it at the bottom of a precipice. Blanco. 'Because the water beats them against the rocks' (Balsa). the snow was feathering the car windows and the damp penetrated my boots. this annoyed me because I thought that in winter the snow might leave me stranded without a woman. but so far I haven't seen any).348 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Ah. with neither bugs nor nymphs amongst ageless blocks which some strange thing brought and left behind-modern rivers. to be found naked and skinned' (Balsa). some appear in front of you. because they have no history. tU(/henwe left. slipped and fell on a frozen ditch. 'You don't even notice 21400metres. Sometimes I listen to them standing on a rock. on the other the road which continued upwards along a red gorge between solitary rivers. yellow and marbled. . Colorado and Negro. hopeful). Those rivers of the Andes. we should have a look now and then and seeif we can seehim'(Balsa). specially not if you're young. not even that. . Uspallata with poplars and leafless willows. tore pieces of bark off the branches. 'Those who fall into the water are dragged far away. carrying incredible quantities of mud. They have the names of colours. At the bottom of the valley a simple picture unveiled itself in the sunshine On one side. A few days ago a foreman. they all come to the valley and in the summer they swell. green. '\7hy? (Me).' 'As long as the height doesn't bother you . which naturally could go on for an indefinite period. married to a 20-year-old Argentine woman. with their round pebbles. under the invisible sky. tested it with my lips. his wife is in Mendoza waiting for his body and we can't find him'(Balsocci). some iump out at you (they say there are guanacos. This painfully thin woman seemed to suffer merely from living. then the rain turned inro snow.' (Balsa. assuming I fancied . I understandr' he replied. thinking of nothing. \il(Ie passa geologically interesting yellow alluvial elevation called Paramillo de Juan Pobre and reach the site at lunch-time. I sank my feet into the fresh snow. It's not exactly in Punta de Vacas but some two kilometres before. hearing torrents. cloudless and birdless. but filled me with such desire that I had to step outside in order not to stare at her like a monkey. changing places and colours. purple. rapid. urinated. bit it with my teeth. Antonio. always washed clean. the contract mentioned the construction of unspecified monumental hotels. because for them there was always the possibility of not understanding. clearer than air. fell from the footbridge. equally hopeful).' (Balsocci. 'I don't know. 'And do you intend staying here long?' (Balsocci). 'True. We stopped for a white coffee at the house of a 50-year-old Slav friend of theirs. amongst springs.

Later I calmed down as I understood that in any case I could always walk there. or rather that of St Pancras Station in London. insist on putting them there. quickly. who had thought of them. I. falls pathetically into the valley like a trickle from a tap. II BALSoccI. with these winds which make rocks roll as though they were nothing? I can just hear them saying what a headacheit gives them.Let's not beat about the bush (as though he suddenly decided to delae amongstthe branchesof a leafy skull). The ball belonged to Balsocci. slate or arum and similar weeds. I was finding it difficult to keep myself amused: I managed to insert the inner tube of a football into one of the main concrete columns in the staff annexe when they were filling it. The truth is I went over the top. A hill like a red saw or the roof of a church. not counting the underaged girl at the post-office and this chronicle. if that pain Enrique doesn't turn up. No. The building occupies a sort of platform a good way away from the landslides. The wind! How will the rich women of Buenos Aires manage to live here. but so far. No. and had commissioned the decoration of the building from a marble-cutter in Mendoza with whom there is a disagreementover a batch of a hundred and twenty-eight crossesdestined for the bedrooms. The crossessent are in black granitite and one metre high. bordered on one side by a stream which after forming a respectableseven-metrewaterfall. whose size is not stipulated in any of the specifications.THE DONGUYS 349 any of them. In this place anything that didn't get here on wheels is basalt. you could seewhere the inner tube had rested against the wood. the sky is so narrow here that the sun appears at nine thirty and sets at four thirty. they had to inject cement into the gap. and the incident has become a confused legend which periodically occasionsthe dismissal of someone on the staff. Haven't you noticed anything strange lately in Buenos Aires? ur. BALSA. they have let themselves be horribly manipulated and. but when the shuttering was removed. They were very pleased that no architect had been involved. After lunch the two engineers showed me the plans and the site. always so careful with their hairdos. Have you never heard of the donguys? nE. and that in some way encouragesme to finish the first hotel soon and develop a kind of simple window which once opened cannot be closed. The ground is sloping. Ve went back to the office and my colleaguestackled the secret part of my initiation. nothing. covering roads and railways. even though the moraines fell-these are cones of mineral detritus which periodically slide down. closesthe other side of the gorge. poor things. I had no need to pretend any curiosity since I was interested in hearing them talk about it. but Balsocci fears them. as though embarrassedby the cold and wind which will follow. $7hat are thev? . In a few days' time we shall be opening the temporary section.

I'll tell you . They say that during different eras. live in the dark. they're even better off than we are. but everyone calls it donguy. In London they were even laughing. stations. it's a secret told only to the professionals. they must have dug a tunnel.Like flies. They weren't allowing ships arriving from an infected port to dock rhere. different animals predominated in the world. And they're from Boedo? That's where they started. Donneguy (he writes it drun and shmts it to me) and in England they called it the Donneguy Pig. cement. There are certain leaflets. either way. iron. You should see the Plaza Once tunnel. Sflhat a nasty creature! BALSoccr. And what does the donguy do? BALSA. they may eat it or not. especially those with dead-end tunnels or underground depots. . Through shoots. in New York. they eat it quite . they were afraid they'd be bringing donguys in the hold.Its digestive system is so advanced that these animals can eat anything. The donguys appeared through that hole. whose circulation has been banned. whatever.It looks like a semi-transparent hog. the Chacarita. in Madrid. it stops at a temporary station with wooden flooring.They say it is the animal destined to replace man on Earth. They're blind. BALsA. BALSoccr. Ms. the hole has been boarded up. Constituci6n is riddled with them.You must have seen in the underground from Constituci6n to Boedo that the train doesn't reach Boedo station because it's unfinished. Let me explain. . r*e. BAlsoccr. deaf. in Paris. .In our country they try not to scare people. but who can kill them? If they're given poison BALSOccr. As though they spread seeds. but then they also started in other BALSOCCT. but it does nothing to them. apparently. ms. it became riddled with donguys. . The tunnel continues and where the digging was interrupted. But afterwards they started in the other lines. Do they repoduce? BALSA. Now man predominates becausehe has a highly developed nervous system which allows him to impose himself over the rest. They call it donguy because it was first studied by a French biologist. BALSA. for whatever reason. which analyse the opinion of foreign and Argentine experts. BALS(rccr.350 THE BOOK OF FANTASY BALSA. r'rs. I've read them. becausethey have so many miles of tunnels. that's why they never say anything. BALSA. iellyfish. What are they? BALSA. even earth. But that didn't save them. me. in Palermo there are loads of them in the tunnel which was begun for the extension to Belgrano. Primera Junta lines. Is it a pig? BALSA.And abroad! Wherever there was a tunnel. a sort of worm like a transparent hog. they swallow everything in sight. But this new animal called donguy . BALSoccr. and also to a few nonprofessionals. iust think. They must be killed.

First we thought of solving the problem by consrrucring buildings on piles. shoes. \ilfe would disappear. But they don't matter.My suggestion is that we infect them with some disease.the bastards block the tunnels and escapeby another route. BALSoccr. BALSA. Their problem. That's why we build our monumental hotels here. BALSOCCI. I don't see how they can innoculate a diseaseinto a iellyfish. for instance-that was their work. nobody can dominate him. Those wise men! I suppose the inventor of the hydrogen bomb against us could also invent somethitrg. you cannot attack them directly. they blocked their exit. ur. The Russians. It's they're favourite food. It must be a rumour like so many others. I bet they can't dig under the Andes! And those who are in the know are dying to come here. BALSA. Cases?Ha. do you know what the Russians are doing? Trying to create a light-resistant strain of donguy. Are there any proven cases? BALSoccI. even his identity card. Yes. nr. They eat him? BALSOCCT. They want to dominate man. theirs. clothes.So far. BALSA. BALSOCCT. BALSoccr. They like them. That's why we limit excavationsfor the founclationsto a minumum and none of the planned hotels have basementsor a top floor. they ate a team of eight workmen who were repairing the railway between Loria and Medrano. BALSOCCT. .. most unfortunate. if you'll forgive the exaggeration. you've no family in Buenos Aires. . BALSoccI. & few wretched little blind pigs. Oh! but if they eat him . You can't flood them or demolish the tunnels becausethe city's foundations might subside. I don't believe a word of what I've just told you. for instance.Yes. but on one hand there's the cost. ha. everything. BALSA. \7e'll see how long they last. It can't be true. teeth. They could also dig under the rocks.In the capital. In a t$(/elshcoal-mine they ate 550 miners in one night. Don't breathe a word of this. BAr. If they're gassed. They dig tunnels everywhere. how! Five donguys can eat a person in a minute.You must have heard of those buildings collapsing these last few months. BALSA. And bones. The Lanris depots.sA. Needless to say. who are so intelligent. and meanwhile I suppose somebody will do something. BALSA. and on the other they can always demolish them from below. Anyway. They closed in on them.THE DONGUYS 351 happily iust like any other mineral. BALSA. . they wander about the basement and sewers as though they owned them . but they'd take ages. III The air in BuenosAires has a specialcolloidal quality for transmitting false . man isn't dominated that easily. there's no solution.

solving hieroglyphs and preparing things for Enrique. They were the first I'd seenl I approached with Virginia and showed them to her. and my next interest in a black woman called Colette was growing. and on that pretext I had the cable . Right from the first I found them charming and looked forward to a profitable association. temporarily giving up all enjoyment like the prehistoric kings who had to fast for forty days in the mountains. That deserted. and finally Rosa. damp park with broken statues and a thousand modern vulgarities for the ignorami. That's why when I heard about the donguys two and a half years ago I consigned them to the level of flying saucers. her brother once saw her call me and saw the number she was dialling. There I got rid of Colette. I went home disgusted but happy. and a cable along the side to hold on to. At the time my interest in Virginia. and although she promised to destroy the scrap of paper and learn it by heart. every human being can make up specific rumours without the need to proclaim them on a corner in order for them to come back unchanged a week later. The door to one of these storerooms was open. almost a South American park: how many liaisons of people who call plumbago iasmine has it seen die away under its dusty palm trees. in the dark I could make out the chrysanthemum skirt and on it the epileptic movement of the huge masticating slugs. we were caressingon the twin stepsover some store in the park where the gardeners keep their tools. which twisted the bridges. of a Polish woman who lent me the money for my motorbike. In his days of extroversion. That's why I accepted this iob. I was singing as I left'he park. such that soon after her disappearance Enrique turned up and started pestering me. I find distraction from this vow of chastity in my own wlY.352 THE BOOK OF FANTASY rumours intact. when I arrived. putting them to sleep with a special sweet. the footbridge over the river Mendoza was nothing but one of those scatteredby the deluge in the thirties. in the dark void I suddenly saw eight or ten nervous donguys which didn't dare come out becauseof a hint of lousy light. although her stupidity was provoking an unseemly prolongation of the procedure. a sales assistant in a silk shop. Virginia was wearing a light-coloured skirt with a pattern of large pots of chrysanthemums: I remember it because she fainted in my arms with fright and luckily stopped crying that night for the first time. and shredding in a helical motion.but a friend with varied interests who had iust come from Europe and had it on good authority confirmed the news. an untrustworthy minor. I took her unconscious to the open door and threw her in. In other places. I watched with natural curiosity. My detachment from Virginia took the form of nights in Lezama Park. For instance. but by the river lies are cleanly transmitted. with flowers like stars and only one good fountain. A certain Antonio fell from there. One of those nights when I was suffering most at witnessing suffering. The donguy's mouth is a cylinder lined with horn-like teeth. was in parabolic decline. But Rosa at one point excited me so much that I was reckless enough to give her my telephone number. the atmosphere deforms what it hears.

Once I organized a one-personpicnic which consisted of always going up and up with several ham. it looked like a negativeof the world and was worth seeing. on the staircase kept following a stout prima-donna stood several RoyalAcademicians. disguised artists. Lord Arthur Sovile'sCrime A Studyof Duty Iish-born poet.and it wassaidthat at onetime as was absolutely crammedwith geniuses. heavyTartar-lookinglady. to unhook the pipe when somebody is crossing.talking bad French at the top of her voice.only sharp. Other distractions might be setting fire with a match to the bushes they are so resinous surroundingthe workmen'stents when it's cold. because that they burn on their own.A homosexual mastupieces The iz Ballad of ReadingGaoland De Profundis. and laughingimmoderately at everything that was said to her.loosestones. I wasinterestedin seeingthe roots. I thought it would continue for anotherhundred metresand I found it rather disgusting. who and Oscar Wilde (1854-1900). therewasno earth. That morning I sawinexplicablydirty glaciersand on the bouldersabovefound As blackflowers. Gorgeous peeresses chatted affably to violent Radicals.LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME 353 removedand replacedby a long pipe hooked onto a pole at eachend.the first I've seen.ihe. egg and lettuce sandwiches.and Bentinck House Iwas evenmore crowdedthan usual. at the end of the picture-gallery and stoodthe Princess Sophia of Carlsri. Now it's else to easier hold on to when you crossand. and the Princessstayedtill nearly half-past eleven. somefive centimetres. it was one of the supper-room In Lady Windermere'sbest nights. with tiny black eyesand wonderful a emeralds. fact. perfect bevy of bishops a from room to room. Another time I sawa black sky over fluorescentsnow which absorbedall the light of the moon. dramatist and witer of stories fables. but I got so fed up with climbing that I turned back at midday.all the pretty womenwore their the Speaker's smartest dresses. but produced Being Earnest. It was certainly a wonderful medley of people. billiant success plays like Lady Vindermere's Fan andTheImportance of with enjoyed scandalwreckedhis life.Six CabinetMinistershad comeon from Lev6ein their starsand ribands. the flower measured but clearing the stones I uncovered some two metres of soft stem which disappearedinto the rubble like a smooth black string. last f t was Lady $Tindermere's receptionbefore Easter. popular preachers brushedcoat-tailswith eminent scepdcs. .

Or pur they were-not that pale straw colour that nowadays usurps the gracious name of gold. trying to remember what a chiromantist really was. and with that inordinate passion for pleasurewhich is the secret of remaining young. giving an involuntary start. indeed. for instance. Duchess. I forget which. and hoping it was not the same as a chiropodist.' 'Dear Gladys! you are always so original. 'Of course he is here. I think every one should have their hands told once a month so as to know what not to do. Gladys?' exclaimed the Duchess.' 'I must introduce him to you. and they gave to her face something of the frame of a saint. She looked wonderfully beautiful with her grand ivory throat. Gladys. with not a little of the fascination of a sinner. but such gold as is woven into sunbeams or hidden in strange amber. He tells me I have a pure psychic hand.' 'My dear Duchess. She was a curious psychological study.'and is most interesting about it. so as to be ready at a moment's notice. It is all written down on my little finger. 'he tells fortunes. feeling very much relieved. She was now forty years of age. I am in great danger. Debrett credits her with three marriages. She had more than once changed her husband. surely Providence can resist temptation by this time. and began to tatk to rhe Duchess of Paisley.' 'Good 'he is heavens!' said the Duchess to herself. 'any amount of them. It wouldn't be quite so bad then. her large blue forget-me-not eyes. Next year. and gone into a convent. and said. . I suppose?' 'And misfortunes.' 'But surely that is tempting Providence. so I am going to live in a balloon. How very dreadful. a sort of chiropodist after all. I would not dream of giving a party without him. childless. and draw up my dinner in a basket every evening. where a celebrated political economist was solemnly explaining the scientific theory of music to an indignant virtuoso from Hungary. but as she had never changed her lover. Early in life she had discovered the important truth that nothing looks so like innocence as an indiscretionl and by a seriesof reckless escapades.' 'Introduce him!'cried the Duchessl 'you don't mean to say he is here?' and she began looking about for a small tortoise-shell fan and a very tattered lace shawl. but it is so pleasant to be warned. and that if my thumb had been the least little bit shorter. toor' answered Lady $Tindermere. I can't live without him at present. one does it all the same.' murmured the Duchess. I see!' said the Duchess.354 THE BOOK OF FANTASY As soon as she had gone. half of them quite harmless. '\ilfhere is my chiromantist?' 'Your what. I hope he is a foreigner at any rate. the world had long ago ceasedto talk scandal about her. she had acquired all the privileges of a personality. in her clear contralto voice. Of course. Suddenly she looked eagerly round the room. both by land and sea. 'He bomes to see my hand twice a week regularlyr' continued Lady \il(Iindermere. and her heavy coils of golden hair. or on the palm of my hand. Lady \trTindermerereturned to the picture-gallery. I should have been a confirmed pessimist.' 'Oh. 'My chiromantist.

and Lady \$Tindermere 'Economyis a very goodthingr'remarked the Duchess complacently. Thank you. went off into fits of laughter.this is Mr.and if you saythat shehasa larger mountain of the moon than I have. Podgers. with a funny.and all that.' 'Let me go. he only laughed. Three You will live to a great age. 'Nothing interestingever isr' said Lady lfindermeret'on a fait le mondeairui. I'm really very sorry.' 'Pray go on. . bald head. but I am afraid you wouldn't recognize him. Lady \Tindermerer' said a tall handsomeyoung man.' 'If he is aswonderful asyou say.' 'And now he has twelve houses. 'Nothing would give me greaterpleasurer'said Mr.The line of life.Mr. Podgers!Now.he was very amusing. a man who had blown up eversomany people.He is a little.and all my poetslook exactly asking a most dreadful conspiratorto like pianists. I shall have to go myself. Podgers.' 'Dear Gladys.S CRIME 355 Now if someone doesn't go and fetch Mr.hy pet chiromantist. is excellent. standingby.I hand. the other.combinedwith a strongsense duty. Gladys.this is the Duchessof Paisley.there is nothing of the kind in my handr' saidthe Duchess gravely. Duchess. Podgers.LORD ARTHUR SAVILE.'when I married Paisleyhe had elevencastles.and not a single housefit to live in. Lady Windermere. Podgers.glancing at the little fat hand with its short squarefingers. and carried a daggerup his shirt-sleeveland do you know that when he camehe looked iust like a nice old clergyman. but it is not my fault. I mean he is not mysterious. Kindly bend the wrist. here is Mr. Podgers.he is not a bit like a chiromantist. and be distinct lines of the rascettel extremelyhappy. but I am sorry to say that I seegreat permanence of of affection. Mr.and saidit wasfar too cold to wear in England. No. Ambition-very moderate. Lord Arthur. Ah. who was with an amusedsmile. I really don't think it is quite rightr' said the Duchess. but I was awfully disappointed. 'the mountain of the moon is not developed. do be discreet.and crackedfokesall the evening? Of course. and when I askedhim about the coatof mail. not the left hand.looking quite pleased.'said the Duchess. But I must introduce you. Tell me what he is like.'cried Lady \Tindermere. Duchess.bowing.All my pianistslook exactlylike poets.or romantic-looking. line of heart-' 'Now. 'Your Graceis quite rightr' said Mr. listening to the conversation 'Thanks somuch. and I rememberlast season dinner.and alwayswore a coatof mail.you must take your want you to tell the Duchess'ofPaisley's glove off. 'if the Duchessever had been. and I'll bring him to you at once.' 'I am sure.line of intellect not exaggerated. however. Podgersat once.feebly unbuttoning a rather soiled kid glove. Podgers. Mr. People are so annoying. stout man. and not a single castler' cried Lady \Tindermere. and great gold-rimmed spectacleslsomething betweena family doctor and a country attorney.' '\U7ell. Podgers. Podgers. I will never believein you again. Mr. Duchess. 'Economyis not the leastof your Grace'svirtuesr' continuedMr. I couldn't well miss him. or esoteric.

and held out a thick ruggedhand. room to where Lady \$flindermere would mind. who did not know anything about Lady Fermor's unfortunatestory. but Lady Marvel.and held out a long.' 'Quite true!' exclaimedthe Duchess. beadyeyes. \flindermere could do would induce Monsieur de Koloff. Lady \trflindermerer' said Mr. Podgerswith a greatdealof interest. and high shoulder-blades.Very reserved. Lord Arthur Savile. and who had been watchingMr. Podgers. askedher if shethought Mr.show yours'.' 'You havetold the Duchess's character admirably. many peopleseemed Ambassador. Podgers old in cameforward.Been in shipwrecked three times.and oneto come. ought not to be encouraged. Comfort is the only thing our civilizationcan give us. Podgersquietly. bony hand with spatulate fingers. Podgers.'an excellentpianist. 'and modernimprovements. but perhaps hardly a musician. 'absoturning to Lady \trflindermere. crossed was sitting. and in answerto a nod from the smiling hostess.356 THE BOOK OF FANTASY 'Well. but in dangerof a shipwreckyour next iourney. onethat and wasa mostdangerous felt it wasgenerally that chiromancy exceptin a tdte-d-tdu.' 'Your one mistake. 'Your secondwife's. Mr.' 'Extraordinary!'exclaimed Thomas:'you must reallytell my wife's hand.laughing. my dearr' said the Duchess. a pianist! I seer'said Mr. and.and with a greatloveof animals. his gold spectacles. Your Graceis quite right. and nothing that Lady entirelydeclinedto haveher pastor her future exposed.'But you must readsomemore handsfor us. a melancholy-lookingwoman. and a genial-looking gentleman. with brown hair and sentimental eyelashes.Sir Thomas. Podgers. but wasextremelyfond of musicians. with a very long third finger. A strong Conservative. a white waistcoat.'only I like lions better than collie dogs.' 'Your secondwife's. with a charming blush.wasfilled with an immense curiosityto havehis own hand over the shy read. Sir too. Podgers. that shedid not carea bit for music.with a pompous bow. I shall be charmed'.four long voyages the past. In fact. Great aversion to cats and Radicals. only twice.Had a severeillness betweenthe agesof sixteen and eighteen. t$7asleft a fortune when about thirty.and would turn our town houseinto a menagerie her father would let her. however.and when he told poor Lady Fermor right out beforeevery one. Podgers .sheis only a femaler'wasthe answer.' if 'Well.'I like-' 'Comfortr'said Mr. tall a girl with sandyScotchhair. still keeping Sir Thomas's hand in his. very honest. 'An adventurous nature. steppedawkwardly from behind the sofa. now you and must tell Lady Flora's'. 'Ah. smile.very punctual and with a passionfor collecting curiosities.' said Mr. lutely true! Flora keepstwo dozencolliedogsat Macloskie. the Russian afraid to evento take his glovesoff. that is iust what I do with my houseevery Thursdayeveningr'cried Lady Windermere. his and facethe odd little man with his stereotyped bright. and feelingsomewhat about putting himself forward. hot and water laid on in every bedroom. science. 'If a womancan't makeher mistakes charming.Mr. Come. No.

'I am not afraidr' he answered. Podgerssaw Lord Arthur's hand he grew curiously pale. Then some huge beads of perspiration broke out on his yellow forehead.' 'Ah! I am a little sorry to hearyou saythat.'said Lady as Jedburgh. I shall certainly take him away. irritating way they had when he was eyebrows puzzled.LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME 357 'Of coursehe won't mindr' said Lady \Tindermere. Podgers Suddenly droppedLord Arthur's right hand.Lord experience.like a poisonousdew