Crome Yellow

Aldous Huxley

Crome Yellow

Table of Contents
Crome Yellow......................................................................................................................................................1 Aldous Huxley.........................................................................................................................................1 CHAPTER I.............................................................................................................................................1 CHAPTER II...........................................................................................................................................3 . CHAPTER III..........................................................................................................................................6 CHAPTER IV..........................................................................................................................................9 CHAPTER V.........................................................................................................................................13 CHAPTER VI........................................................................................................................................15 CHAPTER VII.......................................................................................................................................20 CHAPTER VIII.....................................................................................................................................23 CHAPTER IX........................................................................................................................................25 CHAPTER X.........................................................................................................................................29 CHAPTER XI........................................................................................................................................31 CHAPTER XII.......................................................................................................................................33 CHAPTER XIII.....................................................................................................................................36 CHAPTER XIV.....................................................................................................................................43 CHAPTER XV......................................................................................................................................44 CHAPTER XVI.....................................................................................................................................46 CHAPTER XVII....................................................................................................................................48 CHAPTER XVIII..................................................................................................................................53 . CHAPTER XIX.....................................................................................................................................55 CHAPTER XX......................................................................................................................................62 CHAPTER XXI.....................................................................................................................................65 CHAPTER XXII....................................................................................................................................67 CHAPTER XXIII..................................................................................................................................71 . CHAPTER XXIV..................................................................................................................................72 CHAPTER XXV...................................................................................................................................75 . CHAPTER XXVI..................................................................................................................................79 CHAPTER XXVII.................................................................................................................................80 CHAPTER XXVIII...............................................................................................................................85 . CHAPTER XXIX..................................................................................................................................87 CHAPTER XXX...................................................................................................................................90 .


Crome Yellow
Aldous Huxley
• Chapter I • Chapter II • Chapter III • Chapter IV • Chapter V • Chapter VI • Chapter VII • Chapter VIII • Chapter IX • Chapter X • Chapter XI • Chapter XII • Chapter XIII • Chapter XIV • Chapter XV • Chapter XVI • Chapter XVII • Chapter XVIII • Chapter XIX • Chapter XX • Chapter XXI • Chapter XXII • Chapter XXIII • Chapter XXIV • Chapter XXV • Chapter XXVI • Chapter XXVII • Chapter XXVIII • Chapter XXIX • Chapter XXX This page copyright © 2001 Blackmask Online.

Along this particular stretch of line no express had ever passed. All the trains−−the few that there were−−stopped at all the stations. Denis knew the names of those stations by heart. Bole, Tritton, Spavin Delawarr, Knipswich for Timpany, West Bowlby, and, finally, Camlet−on−the−Water. Camlet was where he always got out, leaving the train to creep indolently onward, goodness only knew whither, into the green heart of England. They were snorting out of West Bowlby now. It was the next station, thank Heaven. Denis took his chattels off the rack and piled them neatly in the corner opposite his own. A futile proceeding. But one must have something to do. When he had finished, he sank back into his seat and closed his eyes. It was extremely hot. Crome Yellow 1

The train came bumpingly to a halt. He was a large. for example. Misery and a nameless nostalgic distress possessed him. S−T−O−N−E. volupte. The guard paid no attention. and had to put them down again in order to open the door.. Crome Yellow 2 . He was overcome by the beauty of those deeply embayed combes. Oh. "A bicycle!" Denis repeated. But he really must find that word. they were all good. Denis groaned in the spirit. was good. they seemed the dinted imprints of some huge divine body that had rested on these hills. a bicycle!" he said breathlessly to the guard. none. two hours in which he might have done so much. sir. they were informed with the subtlety of art. leaned out of the window and shouted for a porter. Denis jumped up. "A bicycle. the treeless sky−lines that changed as he moved−−yes. and oh! so agonizingly conscious of the fact. Here was Camlet at last. He felt himself a man of action. trying as he did so to find some term in which to give expression to his appreciation. that was inadequate. and that one fine morning one really might get up at six. peau. he found. That was a good word. but through them he seemed to be getting nearer to what he wanted. so much−−written the perfect poem. surrounded by a numerous family. curves: he repeated the word slowly. punctured. stately man with a naval beard. pervers. Curves. pudeur: vertu. but continued methodically to hand out. he had had hundreds of hours. Cumbrous locutions. When at last he had safely bundled himself and his baggage on to the platform. He was twenty−three.Those little valleys had the lines of a cup moulded round a woman's breast. One pictured him at home.Crome Yellow Oh. condemned himself utterly with all his works. It was part of the theory of exercise. "A green machine. this journey! It was two hours cut clean out of his life. but all the same it was nice to feel that the bicycle was there. or Stratford−on−Avon−−anywhere.. and pushed off on his bicycle. as though to scoop the achieved expression out of the air. Dinted. What right had he to sit in the sunshine. One hundred and twenty minutes. drinking tea." said the guard soothingly.. none. or read the one illuminating book. but it was French. Nothing. Two hours. gonfle. and what had he done with them? Wasted them. cross−framed. The world." "All in good time. Galbe. Curves−− no. Somehow they never did get seen." Denis's man of action collapsed. The far−away blue hills. seized a bag in either hand. He left his luggage to be called for later. and almost fell off his bicycle. deranged his pile of baggage. Anything might be done in that time. crammed his hat over his eyes. to be alive? None. he ran up the train towards the van. scooped in the flanks of the ridge beneath him. Instead of which−−his gorge rose at the smell of the dusty cushions against which he was leaning. one by one. Curves curves. these. the packages labelled to Camlet. goulu: parfum. to occupy corner seats in third−class carriages. sir. Anything. Galbe.. One day one would get up at six o'clock and pedal away to Kenilworth. potele. He made a gesture with his hand. he felt his spirits mounting. And within a radius of twenty miles there were always Norman churches and Tudor mansions to be seen in the course of an afternoon's excursion. What was the word to describe the curves of those little valleys? They were as fine as the lines of a human body. He always took his bicycle when he went into the country. spilt the precious minutes as though his reservoir were inexhaustible. name of Stone. the harvests whitening on the slopes of the ridge along which his road led him. It was in that tone that he must have spoken to his children when they were tiresome. "All in good time. Once at the top of the long hill which led up from Camlet station. Le galbe evase de ses hanches: had one ever read a French novel in which that phrase didn't occur? Some day he would compile a dictionary for the use of novelists.

with its pale lemon walls. stood Crome. He left his bicycle leaning against the wall and walked in. and he at his table. Lying on the table in the morning−room he saw his own book of poems. book−lined from floor to ceiling. There was the library. into a considerable valley. she was damnable! It occurred to him that perhaps his hostess might be in her boudoir. Perhaps. hoping that the poem would tell her what he hadn't dared to say. The house basked in full sunlight. how superbly mellow! And at the same time. "What genius I had then!" he reflected. its unobtrusive. there was nobody to take. with its great mahogany table. he would go and see. He loosed his grip of the levers." He read at hazard: ". he liked to think so. The front door stood hospitably open.But silence and the topless dark Vault in the lights of Luna Park. in the morning−room. deserted Pompeii." He put it down again. his destination. the slim Hamadryad whose movements were like the swaying of a young tree in the wind. Denis wandered from room to empty room. It was a possibility. Becoming once more aware of the outer world. The facade with its three projecting towers rose precipitously from among the dark trees of the garden. He had given her the book when it came out. where the huge chintz−covered arm−chairs stood. on the opposite slope. he was glad to think he would never write anything of the same sort again. its Chinese sculptures. its painted Venetian chairs and rococo tables. That was all. spacious. dateless furniture. echoing the aged Swift. 3 .. There was the panelled drawing− room. its mirrors. haggard with anxiety. oases of comfort among the austere flesh−mortifying antiques. at all the little untidy signs of life that lay scattered here and there. he found himself on the crest of a descent. solidly. portwinily English. how austere! The hill was becoming steeper and steeper. It was nearly six months since the book had been published. Among the accumulations of ten generations the living had left but few traces. one couldn't publicly admit it) rather boring Italian primitives. There was the dining−room. looking with pleasure at the familiar pictures and furniture. with its rows of respectable and (though.. cool. this view of Crome was pleasant to linger over. something of Anne. And Blackpool from the nightly gloom Hollows a bright tumultuous tomb. perhaps. A little staircase cork−screwed up to it CHAPTER II. rich in portentous folios. "The Woman who was a Tree" was what he had called the poem. meticulous animal paintings. Mrs. How ripe and rich it was. He shut his eyes and saw a vision of her in a red velvet cloak. What sort of life would the excavator reconstruct from these remains. perhaps. the old brick rosily glowed. The road plunged down. he wondered? Anne. Five minutes later he was passing through the gate of the great courtyard. swaying into the little restaurant where they sometimes dined together in London−−three quarters of an hour late. What tact! He picked it up and opened it. He took nobody by surprise. He was rather glad that they were all out. hunger. and dark. its eighteenth−century chairs and sideboard. There was the morning−room. He was enamoured with the beauty of words. she had at last recognised herself in the Hamadryad of the poplar sapling. and in a moment was rushing headlong down. too. its modern pictures.Crome Yellow dimpled. shook his head. steep and straight. Who could have been reading it. She had never referred to it. Wimbush's boudoir was in the central tower on the garden front. and sighed. All was quiet. He put on his brakes. its eighteenth−century pictures−−family portraits. There. wimpled−−his mind wandered down echoing corridors of assonance and alliteration ever further and further from the point. CHAPTER II. of course. He would take them by surprise. irritation. What could one reconstruct from such data? There was much of Henry Wimbush in the long gallery and the library. how would he people these empty chambers? There was the long gallery. it was amusing to wander through the house as though one were exploring a dead. It was what the reviewers call "a slim volume. Oh. he was gaining speed in spite of his brakes. a little higher up the valley.

He opened the door. He contented himself. Her voice. "Come in." "Well. The number of thousands varied in the different legends. A blotting−pad rested on her knees and she was thoughtfully sucking the end of a silver pencil. But he was too late. Denis always thought of Wilkie Bard as the cantatrice. I'm afraid. I used to lose thousands. In the Old Days." said Denis deprecatingly. and he hesitated. before I had the Stars to help me. made her look more than ever like something on the Halls. A little pained. still frigid and mono−syllabic. Denis mounted. an Amico di Taddeo. That's the Stars. Priscilla Wimbush was lying on the sofa. "I'm awfully sorry. isn't it? Everything is in the Stars. looking up. middle−aged face. 4 . it seemed. and with good effect. by way of revenge. and sprightlier−−had lost a great deal of money. "Wonderful. sing in op'ra. "To begin with. Mrs. were deep and masculine. Denis decided to reserve his story for more receptive ears. "Well. almost voluptuously. the whole surmounted by a lofty and elaborate coiffure of a curiously improbable shade of orange. There had been something of a bust up. but all put it high." said Denis. Everything about her was manly.Crome Yellow from the hall. "That's why I'm going to Sing in op'ra. She had a large. a gambit in the polite game. that was all he knew. But he was too discreet and. dropped it in handfuls and hatfuls on every race−course in the country. For the first time in his life Henry asserted himself. and four or five nameless Sienese−−to the Americans. It was a little conversational flourish.. Wimbush laughed. "I'd forgotten you were coming. look at that four hundred on the Grand National. "Did I tell you how I won four hundred on the Grand National this year?" "Yes. without even being aware that she had interrupted him. he had rather hoped she wouldn't be. Now"−−she paused an instant−−"well. with a massive projecting nose and little greenish eyes. her laughter." Denis would have liked to hear more about the Old Days. still more. "Hullo." Today she was wearing a purple silk dress with a high collar and a row of pearls. it asked for no answer. Wimbush's question had been what the grammarians call rhetorical. square." she said. so suggestive of the Royal Family. She had gambled too. of course. The costume.. CHAPTER II. she was there. He had a tremendously amusing account of London and its doings all ripe and ready in his mind." Mrs. She must have told him at least six times. so richly dowagerish." Ah. There was a crisis." he replied. It would be a pleasure to give it utterance. too shy to ask. tapped at the door. "What have you been doing all this time?" she asked. with saying "Oh?" rather icily." he said." she said. Old Priscilla−−not so old then. Henry Wimbush was forced to sell some of his Primitives−−a Taddeo da Poggibonsi. here I am. Looking at her. "You find me busy at my horoscopes. Sing in op−pop−pop−pop−pop−popera.

" she waved her hand. cultivating a rather ill−defined malady. supper every day. Her passion for racing still possessed her. I marked it. and had a large notebook in which she registered the horoscopes of all the players in all the teams of the League. "And then there's the next world and all the spirits.Crome Yellow Priscilla's gay and gadding existence had come to an abrupt end. "'What are thousand pound fur coats. theatre. and Mrs. Here am I at Crome." said Mrs. I have the Stars. such a pity. A match between the Spurs and the Villa entailed a conflict in the heavens so vast and so complicated that it was not to be wondered at if she sometimes made a mistake about the outcome. tea. Pleasure−−running about. allowed her forty pounds a month betting money. dinner. Denis looked at it. Denis." Holding the book almost at arm's length. He wrote about the Conduct of Life. "Who?" "Mr. that's because you don't know what it's like to have faith. "Inman's horoscope. "Do you know him. You've no idea how amusing and exciting life becomes when you do believe. distinct voice. you know. Wimbush in her deep." Denis knew of him vaguely. of course. "Here's the passage I was thinking of. just running about.. "No. that's all it was." she explained.) I have the Infinite to keep in tune with. and Henry. Nowadays she spent almost all her time at Crome. There's rather a good thing about that in Barbecue−Smith's new book. 5 . and the Christian Mysteries and Mrs. who was a kind−hearted fellow at bottom. "I've invited him for next week−end. she began to read. It makes life so jolly. She betted on football too. It's all splendid. Was it the Real Thing and henna. you'd think. "I can't say I feel it so. and one's Aura. I don't regret the Old Days a bit. nothing you do is ever insignificant. All that happens means something. but no. Where is it?" She sat up and reached for a book that was lying on the little table by the head of the sofa." he said. not personally. or was it one of those Complete Transformations one sees in the advertisements? CHAPTER II. I always mark the things I like.. "Such a pity you don't believe in these things. while it lasted. and she invested her money scientifically. Barbecue−Smith." She turned over the pages of the book. Lunch. "(I thought I'd like to have a little fling on the billiards championship this autumn. But there wasn't much left of it afterwards. slowly. It was fun. For consolation she dallied with New Thought and the Occult. and making suitable gestures with her free hand. fascinated. Barbecue−Smith was a name in the Sunday papers. what are quarter million incomes?'" She looked up from the page with a histrionic movement of the head. Dull as ditchwater. I don't find it so. One's never dull for a moment. Besant. he wondered. for she was somewhat long−sighted. I can't think how I used to get on before−−in the Old Days. Eddy and saying you're not ill. her orange coiffure nodded portentously. by the way?" she asked. dramatically. Most of Priscilla's days were spent in casting the horoscopes of horses." "Ah." She picked up the sheet of paper that was lying on the blotting− pad. as the stars dictated. The process of balancing the horoscopes of two elevens one against the other was a very delicate and difficult one. He might even be the author of "What a Young Girl Ought to Know".

Looking up the valley. dropped suddenly and boomed reply. It's time we went to see if tea's ready. to the right." She held up the book again and read. what is the pride of the Great.'" Mrs. Seen from below. The things that matter happen in the doubt of it.Crome Yellow "'What are Thrones and Sceptres?'" The orange Transformation−−yes. Barbecue−Smith was tossed on the floor. from the balusters to the sloping lawn beneath was a drop of thirty feet. one by one. Denis preferred not to hazard an opinion. On the farther side of the stream the land rose again in a long slope." And then the little twiddly bit of accompaniment at the end: "ra−ra. dandelion seed in the wind. Sing in op−pop−pop−pop−popera.. "'What are the gaieties of the Rich. which had risen in tone. it's a fine book this.. but uttered a non− committal "H'm. the splendours of the Powerful. what are the gaudy pleasures of High Society?'" The voice... and that reminds me. faintly humming to himself: "That's why I'm going to Sing in op'ra. You've no idea of the things that happened. It lies in a little dell embowered with wild roses and eglantine. the gleam of the narrow river. Wimbush lowered the book." said Priscilla.mixed bathing. sing in op'ra..." "Ah. one saw a line of blue. it must be a Transformation−− bobbed up again. you know. and the terrace was a remarkably high one. He compares the Soul to a Lotus Pool..sent for a pair of field− glasses to make sure. shutting the book with a clap and uttering her big profound laugh−−"that reminds me of the things that have been going on in our bathing−pool since you were here last. the high unbroken terrace wall. thin vapours of fever.. and.. Beyond it stretched the park.. fluff. built like the house itself of brick. Below. "Beautiful. far−off hills. Below the house the ground sloped very steeply away. It is the unseen that counts in Life. Within the pool the Lotuses blossom." The laughter broke out again. as she let the pages flick back. hedged in by solid masses of sculptured yew trees. from under her thumb. 6 . at the bottom of the valley.. but those unseen are a thousand times more significant. questioningly. every now and then she uttered a deep gurgle of laughter. with its massive elms. ". had the almost menacing aspect of a fortification−−a castle bastion. "And here's the passage about the Lotus Pool. and the birds of the air come to drink and bathe themselves in its crystal waters. She hoisted herself up from the sofa and went swishing off across the room. striding beneath the trailing silk. a beautiful book.' Ah." She leaned forward. its green expanses of grass. CHAPTER III. speaking in a confidential whisper. bounded along its outer edge by a graceful stone balustrade." said Priscilla. "'They are nothing.. The terrace in front of the house was a long narrow strip of turf. isn't it?" she said. Vanity. Two little summer−houses of brick stood at either end. from whose parapet one looked out across airy depths to distances level with the eye. in the foreground. lay the stone−brimmed swimming−pool. We gave the village people leave to come and bathe here in the evenings. Seen things are sweet. chequered with cultivation.saw them out of my window. from sentence to sentence. among which the nightingale pours forth its amorous descant all the summer long. "'A Friend of mine has a Lotus Pool in his garden." CHAPTER III. Denis laughed too. Denis followed her." Priscilla exclaimed.

his vitality. his dark eye had the shining quickness of a robin's. In all those years his pale. sat Jenny Mullion. and dry. slender body reposed in an attitude of listless and indolent grace. but separated from him and from the rest of the world by the almost impenetrable barriers of her deafness. passed Anne's other inheritance−−quick laughter. In her enigmatic remoteness Jenny was a little disquieting. like a gay melody dancing over an unchanging fundamental bass. Scogan might look like an extinct saurian. appearing in its female members as a blank doll−face. He was one of those ageless. clipped like a page's. lazy laughter. for she was smiling to herself. Gombauld would have been completely Byronic−−more than Byronic. In the secret tower of her deafness she sat apart. Next to Mary a small gaunt man was sitting. it was like the pale grey bowler hat which he always wore. Mr. Was it surprising that Anne should like him? Like him?−−it might even be something worse. Indeed. In the old−fashioned natural histories of the 'thirties he might have figured in a steel engraving as a type of Homo Sapiens−−an honour which at that time commonly fell to Lord Byron. Scogan was like one of those extinct bird−lizards of the Tertiary. at the moment. Scogan looked far older and.Crome Yellow The tea−table had been planted in the shade of one of the little summer−houses. Denis reflected bitterly. he smiled. he made quick gestures with his hands. and wore her brown hair plaited and coiled in two lateral buns over her ears. In her low deck−chair Anne was nearer to lying than to sitting. when it was no more than a lazy mask of wax. moonlike innocence of Mary Bracegirdle's face shone pink and childish. it ran in the family. a black− haired young corsair of thirty. His nose was beaked. CHAPTER III. The skin of his wrinkled brown face had a dry and scaly look. Denis had known him almost as long as he could remember. She was nearly twenty−three. Henry Wimbush's school−fellow and exact contemporary. In appearance Mr. as he walked at Priscilla's side down the long grass terrace. Scogan a very much lowered deck−chair presented its back to the new arrivals as they advanced towards the tea−table. far more youthfully alive than did that gentle aristocrat with the face like a grey bowler. and the rest of the party was already assembled about it when Denis and Priscilla made their appearance. serenely without expression. he envied Gombauld his looks. his face moved vivaciously. when the oval face. Mr. What did she think of men and women and things? That was something that Denis had never been able to discover. his hands were the hands of a crocodile. his easy confidence of manner. Henry Wimbush had begun to pour out the tea. calm. On his other side the serious. But across this dollish mask. pale blue eyes. She was perhaps thirty. Within its setting of light brown hair her face had a pretty regularity that was almost doll−like. That laughter−−how well he knew it! What emotions it evoked in him! He quickened his pace. with more hair and less collar. with flashing teeth and luminous large dark eyes. but one wouldn't have guessed it. Denis looked at him enviously. even. Between Gombauld and Mr. But there was nothing soft or gracious or feathery about him. with its long−lashed. for Gombauld was of Provencal descent. fluty. rather handsome face had never grown any older. Next him. and her brown eyes were like very bright round marbles. She had large blue china eyes. expressed nothing. who might be thirty. From the depths of the chair came up a sound of soft. but Gombauld was altogether and essentially human. She was Henry Wimbush's own niece. whose expression was one of ingenuous and often puzzled earnestness. 7 . had a tilted nose and a pink− and−white complexion. Her long. at the same time. that bowler−like countenance was one of the Wimbush heirlooms. winter and summer−− unageing. His movements were marked by the lizard's disconcertingly abrupt clockwork speed. Even now some interior joke seemed to be amusing her. unchanging men on the farther side of fifty. Denis started as he heard it. Gombauld was leaning over it. rigid and erect in his chair. hung in a bell of elastic gold about her cheeks. looking down at the world through sharply piercing eyes. He was jealous of his talent: if only he wrote verse as well as Gombauld painted pictures! Still more. Her short hair. he laughed. And indeed there were moments when she seemed nothing more than a doll. his speech was thin. who might be anything.

as though the subject of her health were a secret that could not be publicly divulged. It would be nice to have a little literary conversation. An infinity of slightly malicious amusement lurked in those little folds. Jenny?" he shouted to her. where he lives among the artists. and on either side of it two tiny wrinkles had formed themselves in her cheeks. "How are you. "What have you been writing lately?" she asked. and the changing expressions of many moods. he called it. when Mr. the hero. "quite extraordinary!" He helped himself to another slice of cake. in the puckers about the half−closed eyes. "What about?" Denis felt rather uncomfortable." "Prose?" Mr." "Has Priscilla told you of our great antiquarian find?" Henry Wimbush leaned forward. in the eyes themselves. but he was always clever. "You've been writing prose?" "Yes." "Last week." said Denis−−"just verse and prose." said Denis desperately." "Not a novel?" "Yes. he carries CHAPTER III. verse and prose. Jenny nodded and smiled in mysterious silence. about the usual things.Crome Yellow light ironic amusement. "there was the Ballet. "to begin with. "we dug up fifty yards of oaken drain−pipes. just tree trunks with a hole bored through the middle. "Oh. you know. For some time past Mary's grave blue eyes had been fixed upon him. "Oh. Whether they were laid down by the monks in the fifteenth century. he was damped.. was never good at games. Scogan. Wimbush had finished.. The moment had come. 8 . "To begin with. "Extraordinary!" he said. Very interesting indeed. Wimbush went on softly and implacably. He didn't even want to tell his tale about London now." Denis listened gloomily. smiling happily." "Of course." Mr.." said Denis. He is bowed down with melancholy thought. "How's London been since I went away?" Anne inquired from the depth of her chair.." Mr." "My poor Denis!" exclaimed Mr. "Well. She was smiling now as Denis looked down at her: her cat's smile. Scogan groaned. the most promising of buds was nipped. The mouth was compressed. The preliminary greetings spoken. "I'll describe the plot for you. Denis found an empty chair between Gombauld and Jenny and sat down. for no very good reason.. bright and laughing between the narrowed lids. or whether. Scogan pounced alarmingly on the word.. He passes through the usual public school and the usual university and comes to London. the tremendously amusing narrative was waiting for utterance. Little Percy.

" "I entirely disagree with you. only two chapters were written. Jean−Christophe is the stock artist of literature. His hair might have been more golden. were long and elegant. "As a lover or a dipsomaniac. He found himself alone with Jenny. like myself. He decided to wear white flannel trousers−−white flannel trousers and a black jacket. he dabbles delicately in Amour and disappears. and a book about artists regarded as lovers." It was a heroic lie. you're an exception. and I've always found their mentality very interesting. 9 . just as Professor Radium of "Comic Cuts" is its stock man of science. but there was something rather pleasing about the notion of black patent leather." said Mr. made him seem robuster than he actually was. But you can't expect an ordinary adult man. with a silk shirt and his new peach− coloured tie. into the luminous Future. But his forehead was good. As for the artist." 'I'm sorry to hear I'm as uninteresting as all that. She was somehow always out of breath when she talked." Mr. husbands. He made an effort to laugh. he reflected. to be much moved by the story of his spiritual troubles..Crome Yellow the whole weight of the universe upon his shoulders. CHAPTER IV. he is preoccupied with problems that are so utterly unlike those of the ordinary adult man−− problems of pure aesthetics which don't so much as present themselves to people like myself−−that a description of his mental processes is as boring to the ordinary reader as a piece of pure mathematics. but it would pass. Denis woke up next morning to find the sun shining." "Ah. Mr. Luckily. but went on: "Why will you young men continue to write about things that are so entirely uninteresting as the mentality of adolescents and artists? Professional anthropologists might find it interesting to turn sometimes from the beliefs of the Blackfellow to the philosophical preoccupations of the undergraduate. Mr. at the end of the book. "You're entirely wrong. Tschuplitski. I've no doubt of your being a most fascinating specimen. Especially in Paris. discreetly padded. His forehead made up in height what his chin lacked in prominence. Most of the party had already finished their breakfast. Scogan had described the plan of his novel with an accuracy that was appalling. its yellowness had the hint of a greenish tinge in it. And her speech was punctuated by little gasps. but then you're an exception. the sky serene. He writes a novel of dazzling brilliance. His legs. He would tear them up that very evening when he unpacked. you must honestly admit it. And after all. Scogan paid no attention to his denial. you're a bore." he said. "Not at all. His eyes might have been blue and not green. Satisfied. even in Germany and Russia. for example−−I saw a great deal of Tschuplitski in Paris this spring. dipsomaniacs. "You are a femme superieure. "I've known a great many artists. But his coat was very well cut and. Before he went down−−patent leather was his final choice−−he looked at himself critically in the glass. As it was. my dear Gombauld. But as a combiner of forms. there are more adults than adolescents. he reflected." Denis blushed scarlet. he descended the stairs. "My novel is not in the least like that. Scogan hastened to explain. His nose might have been longer." said Gombauld. heroes. even in England. He lay in bed for several minutes considering the problem. Mary. Scogan. CHAPTER IV.." A flush of pleasure turned Mary's face into a harvest moon. A serious book about artists regarded as artists is unreadable." exclaimed Mary. and the like is really not worth writing again. And what shoes? White was the obvious choice. in their white casing.

"Don't you think so? Or are you above being frightened?" "No. "because lightning goes downwards and not flat ways. She just smiled at him. when Anne came down. One is so much safer lying down. When you're lying down you're out of the current. he turned to Jenny and asked: "Do you consider yourself a femme superieure?" He had to repeat the question several times before Jenny got the hang of it. giving two rapid little nods." said Jenny." There was a silence. across the grass. Jenny was only a little more parallel than most. Denis went out on to the terrace to smoke his after−breakfast pipe and to read his morning paper. "Shall I tell you what I think of that man? I think he's slightly sinister. with a show of irritation. "You speak as though I were a child in a new frock." he said. meet only at infinity. helping himself to porridge. Scogan told Mary she was one. For lack of anything better to say. "They are very alarming. isn't it lovely?" Jenny replied." he said." Parallel straight lines." Denis was dreadfully taken aback." "That's very ingenious. she entered the ivory tower of her deafness and closed the door. smiled and occasionally nodded." "It's true. Denis finished his porridge and helped himself to bacon. Denis. these thunderstorms. could not induce her even to listen." she exclaimed. rather indignantly. 10 ." Having made this pronouncement. and because Mr. By this time he had got to the Court Circular and the Forthcoming Weddings. she found him still reading. "No. Scogan's absurd phrase was for some reason running in his head. Has anyone been suggesting that I am?" "No. An hour later. when at last she heard what Denis was saying. Denis could not induce her to say anything more." "Why?" "Because. CHAPTER IV. He got up to meet her as she approached." he said. Denis reflected. "But we had such awful thunderstorms last week. I always go to bed in a storm. He might talk for ever of care−charmer sleep and she of meteorology till the end of time. Did one ever establish contact with anyone? We are all parallel straight lines.Crome Yellow "I hope you slept well." said Denis. making a descriptive gesture. "Mr. "you look perfectly sweet in your white trousers." "Did he?" Jenny lowered her voice. There was no possible retort. "Why. a Hamadryad in white muslin." she said. "Yes. "Certainly not.

Pomponazzi. The July borders blazed and flared under the sun." said Anne. and feel you've clinched the argument with the mere magical sound of them. "It's the fault of one's education." "Then you oughtn't to.. ye firemen! Oh how sweet And round your equal fires do meet." "You may regret your education. But echoes to the eye and smell.Crome Yellow "But that's how I feel about you. if you didn't think you were going to look sweet in them?" "Let's go into the garden. grubbing dirtily for their food." "But I can't help it. "It's like passing from a cloister into an Oriental palace..' How does it go? "'Well shot. the dominant features of the scene. I find it humiliating. Education again.." he said−−"books. One reads so many. It was as beautiful by moonlight as in the sun. Whose shrill report no ear can tell. you opened a wicket in a wall. He had planned a very different opening. his pride was hurt. "'In fragrant volleys they let fly. Iamblichus." she said. flower−scented air.. And I like the way the tits cling to the flowers and pick out the seeds. startlingly and suddenly. And then there are lots of lovely names and words−−Monophysite." He was silent. gesticulating a little as he talked. Denis dear. For colour there was the flower−garden." he said. "You look adorable this morning.'" "You have a bad habit of quoting. "As I never know the context or author. and took a deep breath of the warm. the conversation had taken such a preposterous and unexpected turn. but walked backwards and forwards in front of the bench. The silver of water. That's what comes of the higher education." he said. Within its high brick walls the garden was like a great tank of warmth and perfume and colour. And now she had got in first with the trousers. the dark shapes of yew and ilex trees remained. at all hours and seasons. in which he was to lead off with. why shouldn't I say so? And why did you put them on. while the other loutish birds. it lay to one side of the pool. He was put out. He did not sit down. and one sees so few people and so little of the world. CHAPTER IV. "Books. Do they look up in envy? That's the literary touch. It was provoking. It was a landscape in black and white. That part of the garden that sloped down from the foot of the terrace to the pool had a beauty which did not depend on colour so much as on forms. "I'm ashamed of my lack of it. Things somehow seem more real and vivid when one can apply somebody else's ready−made phrase about them. You passed through a tunnel in the hedge." Denis apologized. "Four years older. separated from it by a huge Babylonian wall of yews. 11 ." said Denis. It always comes back to that. look up in envy from the ground. I'm so much older than you. in the world of colour. "Do I?" and then there was to be a pregnant silence." or something of the kind. I'm afraid. and she was to answer." "And if you do look perfectly sweet in your white trousers. "I'm listening." "I like that. Anne had sat down on a bench that stood in the shade of an old apple tree." said Anne. Look at those sunflowers! Aren't they magnificent?" "Dark faces and golden crowns−−they're kings of Ethiopia. you bring them out triumphantly. Denis held open the little iron gate for his companion. and you found yourself.

" said Anne." "Of course it is. was silent a moment. "What you need. he would−−he would. "But does one suffer about these things? It seems very extraordinary. "It's so much simpler. There are the twenty tons of ratiocination to be got rid of first. avoids the nasty ones. no. in life all was obscure.. dancing. I suppose I am. I have to say that art is the process by which one reconstructs the divine reality out of chaos." "It's still more incredible to me.Crome Yellow Great thick books about the universe and the mind and ethics. I am perpetually assuring myself that they're the broad highway to divinity. Otherwise I can't enjoy it with an easy conscience. facts. He moved his hands. and as he asked this last question he stretched out his arms and stood for an instant in an attitude of crucifixion. even the most difficult of them. is a nice plump young wife. "What I need is you. Pleasure is one of the mystical roads to union with the infinite−−the ecstasies of drinking." "You're like Scogan. having ready−made ideas about everything. But. things were horribly complicated. deceptively simple. and drew in her skirt with a gesture that indicated that he was to sit down beside her. Twenty tons of ratiocination. and then talked on. One enjoys the pleasant things.." He would say it. you were born a pagan. Beauty. "You regard me as a specimen for an anthropologist. In the world of ideas everything was clear. "It seems so obvious. that was what he wanted passionately to say. horribly unhappy? Denis came to a halt in front of the bench. "My poor Denis!" Anne was touched. Well. then. and to−day he looked charming−−charming! One entered the world." He went on walking up and down. but not a sound issued from his lips. embroiled. art." "What I need is you. love−making." Mentally he shouted the words. "that anyone should have been a victim to them. He sat down." "Nothing−−for you. As for women. "But it's a lesson to be learnt gradually. He looked at her despairingly." That was what he ought to have retorted. one's pushed out into the world. sometimes he waved his arms. a justification for everything that's delightful." cried Denis bitterly. Weighted with that. pleasure. as though she were at a lecture. His voice rose. He could not say it. Denis. fell. Anne looked and listened quietly. His desire fought against his shyness. And to think that I'm only just beginning to see through the silliness of the whole thing! It's incredible to me that anyone should have escaped these horrors. ideas. 12 ." said Denis. Denis pursued. a fixed income." The amused malice of her smile planted two little folds on either side of her mouth. You've no idea how many there are. Was it surprising that one was miserable. and through their half−closed lids her eyes shone with laughter." "No." "I've always taken things as they come." said Anne. I can enjoy nothing as it comes along. I must have read twenty or thirty tons of them in the last five years. and a little congenial but regular work.Life. I make up a little story about beauty and pretend that it has something to do with truth and goodness. I should like to see myself believing that men are the highway to divinity. He was really too pathetic as he stood there in front of her in his white flannel trousers. I can take nothing for granted. women−−I have to invent an excuse. Couldn't she see what was going on inside him? Couldn't she understand? "What I need is you." she protested. He was a nice boy. "Why can't you just take things for granted and as they come?" she asked. I am trying laboriously to make myself one. There's nothing more to be said. then let them fall again to his sides. CHAPTER IV. One had a philosophy and tried to make life fit into it. One should have lived first and then made one's philosophy to fit life.

Squealing shrilly. all six of them−−Henry Wimbush. "It's so hot. there was a sound of heavy footsteps. and when they're past working or breeding or begetting. He halted on the outskirts of the group. Denis. She only had five in her litter. Mr. Mr. Anne." he pointed towards a farther sty. solid man." said Mary. slowly and CHAPTER V. The mud of years flaked off his sides in a grey powdery scurf." A gate slammed." "Farming seems to be mostly indecency and cruelty." The opportunity had passed. "This is a good sow. black belly. Rowley had the air of a great English statesman of the mid−nineteenth century. had been unable to secure a place at the banquet. If only one could always be kind with so little expense or trouble. looking into one of the styes. CHAPTER V. I shall give her another chance. 13 . It's extraordinary. brownish−black swine. the runt.. presented itself to the assault of an army of small. Scogan. and now they were standing. "Fine old beast. Make them breed." "How cruel!" Anne exclaimed. Wimbush went on. "Fourteen?" Mary echoed incredulously. then let them fall onto the seething mass of elan vital that fermented in the sty. isn't he? But he's getting past his prime. Gombauld. slaughter them. Her round. With a frantic greed they tugged at their mother's flank. The animal moved a little so as to bring himself within easier range of the instrument that evoked in him such delicious sensations." said Anne. the weakling of the litter. still unbent. with grey side−whiskers and a steep. He was the most venerable of the labourers on the farm−−a tall." said Denis. There's the boar. "There ARE fourteen. He'll have to go too. An immense sow reposed on her side in the middle of the pen. fringed with a double line of dugs. and Mary−−by the low wall of the piggery. The old sow stirred sometimes uneasily or uttered a little grunt of pain. "But how practical. "What a pleasure it is." "The sow next door. splendidly respectable. I counted. "You're quite right. Grave. Rowley turned at last. "In this farm we have a model of sound paternal government. One small pig." Mr." old Rowley answered." said Henry Wimbush. She turned astonished blue eyes towards Mr. then he stood stock still. trying to push in among his stronger brothers or even to climb over their tight little black backs towards the maternal reservoir." said Anne. If she does no better next time. "to do somebody a kindness.Crome Yellow "I think I shall go and bathe. dignified profile. "has done very badly. Wimbush had taken them to see the sights of the Home Farm. make them work. "She had a litter of fourteen. Rowley!" said Henry Wimbush.. "Morning. and for a moment they all looked at the pigs in a silence that was only broken by the sound of grunting or the squelch of a sharp hoof in the mire. Scogan. softly grunting his contentment. he ran backwards and forwards. With the ferrule of his walking−stick Denis began to scratch the boar's long bristly back. Wimbush. sir. how eminently realistic!" said Mr. I believe I enjoy scratching this pig quite as much as he enjoys being scratched. "Morning. I shall fat her up and kill her. weighty in his manner.

" Mr. what judgment. Denis examined the group. listening−−Henry Wimbush. Mary ought to have them−−dozens and dozens. calm and polite beneath his grey bowler. Mary had perforce to resign herself. His tail lashed savagely from side to side. Mr." said Mr. with a motion of his hand towards the wallowing swine. "Personally. The spectacle of so much crude life is refreshing. and beside her stood Mr. then turned back again satisfied. life. He was a very calm bull. Wimbush shook his head." he said. Scogan pronounced. and still more life. The bull turned his head to see what was happening. bolt upright in an attitude of metallic rigidity that contrasted strangely with that fluid grace of hers which even in stillness suggested a soft movement. Life. was its centre. a little apart. "I am abashed by that man. Anne looked on through half−shut eyes. short and dense. Wimbush agreed. they rushed off in disorder. and his face wore an expression of melancholy stupidity. hissing horribly as they went. And I wish I could. met them in the way. say. what a sense of values! 'Rightly are they called swine. Red calves paddled in the dung and mud of a spacious yard. and Mary. unnatural." Mr. But he's getting a little old. "What wisdom. 'Rightly are we called men. Everybody ought to have children−−Anne ought to have them. Gombauld. it seemed to have nothing to do with his impassive bulk. smiling. They hesitated. even as they were doing. with parted lips and eyes that shone with the indignation of a convinced birth−controller. He gazed with reddish−brown eyes at his visitors. "Rightly is they called pigs. Mary." he said. "I'm so sorry for the poor things. with as much justice. and addressed himself to Henry Wimbush. and Denis to little Denises. "I rather like seeing fourteen pigs grow where only one grew before. horizontal snakes. CHAPTER V. a sin against life. Standing with his back against the farmyard pump. In another enclosure stood the bull. Scogan's fluty voice had pronounced the opening phrases of a discourse. There was no hope of getting so much as a word in edgeways. like the boar. sir. Scogan. chewed thoughtfully at the tangible memories of an earlier meal. Before she could utter a word Mr. The ribs of the placid bull resounded. He emphasised his point by thumping with his walking−stick on the bull's leather flanks." said Henry Wimbush. "Look at them. cackled. Between his short horns was a triangle of red curls. with a delicate old−maidish precision of utterance. as old Rowley plodded off slowly and with dignity." Mr. opened her mouth to refute him. everything ought to increase and multiply as hard as it can. swallowed and regurgitated. taking the air this fine morning. then. Scogan ought to pass on his intelligence to little Scogans. Five white geese. The others stood round. massive as a locomotive.Crome Yellow ponderously and nobly." Gombauld broke in warmly." "Rightly indeed.'" They walked on towards the cowsheds and the stables of the cart− horses." "Fat him up and slaughter him. that nothing was happening. 14 . passionate and vivacious. chewed again. I like pullulation. But she was too slow. Gombauld ceased talking. "Pedigree stock. flushed and outraged.' Yes." "I'm glad to hear you say so. as he did everything. "Couldn't you give the animals a little holiday from producing children?" asked Anne. "Lots of life: that's what we want. converting their lifted necks into rigid. regarded the drumming stick for several seconds. Sterility was odious." Gombauld grew lyrical. Scogan. "Splendid animal. it seemed.

" "I knew you would like that. argal. In vast state incubators. rows upon rows of gravid bottles will supply the world with the population it requires. Priscilla received him with every mark of esteem. and for a simple and obvious reason: Greatness is nothing more nor less than the harmonious functioning of the faculties of the head and heart. sapped at its very base. "Do you really think so? Bottles. and the automatic pistol. society. the more closely these two organs approach one another. from without." he was saying−−"even your eloquence must prove inadequate to reconvert the world to a belief in the delights of mere multiplication. Barbecue−Smith was duly introduced. failed−−our descendants will experiment and succeed." he kept repeating. "Splendid. but was comforted by reading in Balzac's "Louis Lambert" that all the world's great men have been marked by the same peculiarity. my dear Gombauld. Barbecue− Smith. "Bottles?" she said. An impersonal generation will take the place of Nature's hideous system. with a very large head and no neck. I look forward to it optimistically." she said in her large. He sported a leonine head with a greyish−black mane of oddly unappetising hair brushed back from a broad but low forehead. He had a rich. He did so no longer. a kind of prophet. will have to find new foundations. He was a teacher now. Priscilla praised his latest book. rather unctuous voice." Mary's china blue eyes. is now an entirely free god. were fixed on Mr. Mr. I thought it was. Swan of Lichfield. Scogan. Barbecue−Smith arrived in time for tea on Saturday afternoon. experimented−−and. Barbecue−Smith was full of admiration. jolly way. In the course of the next few centuries. They went out into the garden for tea. ever so slightly. CHAPTER VI. the cinema. Mr. He had never been to Crome before. so old−world.. his deplorable associations with Lucina may be broken at will.. It came to me. you know.Crome Yellow "Even your eloquence. "Oh. The family system will disappear. He was a short and corpulent man. "I'm happy to think you found it a comfort. Mr. In his earlier middle age he had been distressed by this absence of neck. "The distant future always does. Mr. the goddess of Applied Science has presented the world with another gift. more serious and more astonished than ever. beautifully and irresponsibly free. And somehow he always seemed slightly. With the gramophone. Where the great Erasmus Darwin and Miss Anna Seward." He waved his hand to indicate the astral world." said Anne. "So quaint. who knows? the world may see a more complete severance. soiled.. she showed him round the house..It was convincing. for all their scientific ardour. for those who wish it. Barbecue−Smith belonged to the old school of journalists. Eros." "It sounds lovely. and Eros. 15 . tremendously! And the bit about the Lotus Pool−−I thought that so beautiful. Some of his books of comfort and spiritual teaching were in their hundred and twentieth thousand." CHAPTER VI. In younger days he had gaily called himself a Bohemian. more precious even than these−−the means of dissociating love from propagation. will flit like a gay butterfly from flower to flower through a sunlit world." said Mr. the shorter the neck.

" and looked away. "You write. three hundred words an hour at your best. they both used pen and ink. he had to do some writing before dinner. Mr. "I only make noises." "Oh. He wondered who it could be. you know." CHAPTER VI. warming himself at the memory of last winter's fires. he smiled to himself and rubbed his large white hands together." he asked." he said. "I fancy I do a twelve−hundred−word review in about four hours. who got up hurriedly and with some embarrassment as he came into the room. Had Priscilla no sense of proportion? She was putting them in the same category−−Barbecue−Smith and himself. But no. He scowled at her." There was a silence. looking up at Denis with an expression of Olympian condescension." said Priscilla. "When I'm in good form." Denis replied. He could not control his interior satisfaction. "Do go on." "How many words do you find you can write in an hour?" "I don't think I've ever counted. "Excellent." "Then I couldn't possibly go on. turned round on his heels. Stone is a writer too. "don't you?" "Well. he felt himself blushing hotly. To Mr. but still went on smiling to himself. Barbecue−Smith. "I am very fond of music. At last he turned to Denis. "Yes. Barbecue−Smith excused himself. as she introduced Denis. excellent. Barbecue−Smith nodded. you ought to. Barbecue−Smith. and. as he descended the stairs. "And what sort of things do you write?" Denis was furious. Priscilla quite understood. Mr. and he squeezed Denis's arm encouragingly." Denis exercised his memory." It was Anne's voice. nothing much. Barbecue−Smith smiled benignly. you ought to. They were both writers. nothing. In the drawing−room someone was playing softly and ramblingly on the piano. and she smiled back exasperatingly. "Oh." Mr. "Mr. Barbecue−Smith stood with his back to the hearth. it was only Denis. "Indeed!" Mr." said Mr. "Guess how many words I wrote this evening between five and half−past seven. and. But sometimes it takes me much longer." said Mr. and confronted Denis again." As soon as tea was over Mr. It's most important. yes−−a little. 16 . Stone is one of our younger poets. He was in a good humour. One of the young ladies. do go on. Barbecue−Smith's question he answered." He walked out into the middle of the room. and. to make matters worse." "I can't imagine. Barbecue−Smith came down to the drawing−room at ten to eight. The prophet retired to his chamber. perhaps.Crome Yellow "Mr. "The Bard's is a noble calling.

" "No. Barbecue−Smith repeated." Mr. in those days I was never able to do more than six−fifty words an hour." The clock struck eight." he said. "Try again. everyone has Inspiration. "Oh. "Inspiration. Three thousand eight hundred." Denis looked at him in astonishment. no. "The secret of writing. Why. so I know what it's like. Let me give you a little sound advice." Denis opened his eyes. laying his hand on Denis's sleeve. Barbecue−Smith nodded. I often didn't sell CHAPTER VI. "That's my secret. "Well. Barbecue−Smith patted his arm several times and went on. no." Mr. All I wrote I squeezed out of myself by sheer hard work. He pulled up a stool to the side of Denis's arm−chair. I did it myself." What was the fellow going to do? Denis wondered: give him an introduction to the editor of "John o' London's Weekly". steady young man like you exhausting his vitality and wasting the best years of his life in a grinding intellectual labour that could be completely obviated by Inspiration." "Twelve hundred words. "But what if one hasn't got Inspiration?" "That was precisely the question I was waiting for. "You must get a lot done in a day. "You ask me what one should do if one hasn't got Inspiration. you're young." "Fifteen hundred.Crome Yellow "No. "Listen to me. I answer: you have Inspiration." he said. breathing it into the young man's ear−−"the secret of writing is Inspiration." said Denis. I'll tell you." said Denis.) "I'll help you to find your Inspiration. Mr. "I give it you freely. Barbecue−Smith's writing. you're inexperienced. but you must guess. Up till the time I was thirty−eight I was a writer like you−−a writer without Inspiration." he said. Barbecue−Smith's expanded face shone with gaiety." "I give it up.. then I entirely agree with you. It's simply a question of getting it to function. sat down in it. or tell him where he could sell a light middle for seven guineas? Mr. and began to talk softly and rapidly." (Denis made a suitably grateful murmur and grimace.. because I don't like to see a nice. everybody was always late at Crome." Denis hazarded. 17 . "You want to make your living by writing. There was no sign of any of the other guests. "No." said Mr. "You mean the native wood−note business?" Mr. Between five and half−past seven−− that's two and a half hours. Mr. and what's more. He found he couldn't summon up much interest in Mr." he said. Barbecue−Smith. Barbecue−Smith went on. Barbecue−Smith suddenly became extremely confidential.

Barbecue−Smith went on. at fifty. Four thousand. The gong sounded in a terrific crescendo from the hall. I was writing my first little book about the Conduct of Life−−'Humble Heroisms'. I sat biting the end of my pen and looking at the electric light." He paused modestly and made a little gesture. Inspiration came to me regularly. But the style. the thought−−all the essentials were admirable. "It was one evening. Denis didn't think he had. such as there generally are in automatic writing. well. "Certainly not." he said. Before Inspiration and after." "What a very extraordinary thing. "At thirty−eight I was a poor. away from one another. Barbecue−Smith replied. sleek. Just a few spelling mistakes and slips. "That's what happened to me. "It came quite suddenly−−like a gentle dew from heaven. CHAPTER VI. I was afraid I might have written nonsense. I found that it was past midnight. "That's my secret." There was none. I might almost say.. It was a great success. Besides. I wrote the whole of 'Humble Heroisms' like that. under the moon. of Mr. by which he could dissociate himself from Mr. Barbecue−Smith. somehow. trying not to show how deeply he had been insulted by that final "well. Barbecue−Smith solemnly." "By cultivating your Inspiration. quite fair. I was in the middle of the second chapter. one of the few. perhaps the only one. After that. for Mr." he repeated. "we intellectuals aren't much appreciated here in England. with a trace of annoyance. turning to Denis. Still no sign of the others.Crome Yellow what I wrote." "But how?" asked Denis. Denis was horribly hungry. Barbecue−Smith's works he had not read." Mr. Fatigue. to produce a literary composition unconsciously. Denis thought of that advertisement of Nestle's milk−−the two cats on the wall. and besides. moving his fat hands outwards." He snapped his fingers. Now. tired." said Denis. He was exhibiting himself. and I could get no further. opening his mouth very wide on the "ou" of thousand. unknown journalist. "and that's how you could write too." He lifted his hand and let it fall back on to his knee to indicate the descent of the dew. 'Pipe−Lines to the Infinite'?" Denis had to confess that that was. "When I came to." said Mr. that it was quite right. and I was stuck. "You can hypnotise yourself that way. Have you ever read my little book.. with politeness. of course. and so has everything been that I have written since. It didn't seem to me natural. Barbecue−Smith's "we. it was too late now. overwork−−I had only written a hundred words in the last hour. I didn't feel. and expanding his fingers as though in demonstration. Barbecue−Smith was once more pursuing the tenor of his discourse. fluently. and fat. "We artists." He sighed. a little above and in front of me." Mr. one black and thin. by getting into touch with your Subconscious. precisely. 18 . "Have you ever looked at a bright light intently for a long time?" he asked." He leaned forward and jabbed at Denis with his finger. overworked. "Inspiration has made the difference. "I was afraid of it at first." he said parenthetically. consistent. and I had written four thousand words. "Inspiration had come to me. the other white." He indicated the position of the lamp with elaborate care. if you tried−−without effort. it has been a comfort−−at least I hope and think so−−a comfort to many thousands. "Certainly not. which hung above my table. It was admirable. struggling. "I was hypnotised. I lost consciousness like that. You may have read it." "And had you written nonsense?" Denis asked." Denis wondered if there was any method." said Mr.

Barbecue−Smith. don't you think? Without Inspiration I could never have hit on that. but in aphorismic drops. Some of Mr." (Denis again hung up his little festoon of quotation marks. I bring it down through pipes to work the turbines of my conscious mind." Mr. that ensures that the Universe shall come flowing in. for ten minutes before I go into the trance I think of nothing but orphans supporting their little brothers and sisters. the way the Infinite sometimes repeated itself. no doubt. beating time." "The Things that Really Matter happen in the Heart. That sets the key. but the air is pure up there. I see God. and find that inspiration has done its work. "Precisely. Get into touch with the Subconscious and you are in touch with the Universe. then addressed himself to the next aphorism." "It all sounds wonderfully simple. even in the things that seem to be evil. Barbecue−Smith continued. of dull work well and patiently done. I find the train very conducive to good work. Barbecue−Smith looked up from his notebook.) "When I have to do my aphorisms. You follow me?" "Perfectly. Denis reflected." he commented reflectively." he said. and it is from the Summit that one gets the view. lie before me. "I canalise it." It was curious. "Straight from the Infinite." said Denis." He leaned forward." (Quotation marks again. "is particularly subtle and beautiful. Here they are. "The flame of a candle gives Light. All the great and splendid and divine things of life are wonderfully simple." Mr. "It is. Mr. Two or three hours later I wake up again. 19 ." He cleared his throat and read: "The Mountain Road may be steep." Denis suggested. not in a continuous rush. "Before I go off into my trance. "That last one. and with a raised forefinger marked his points as he made them.) "Then I pop off. If I believe in God. and the alchemical transformation of leaden evil into golden good. comforting. Barbecue−Smith replied. Barbecue−Smith's remarks sounded strangely like quotations−−quotations from his own works." "Like Niagara. uplifting words. never mind. Inspiration. so to speak. And this is how I do it. "I prelude my trance by turning over the pages of any Dictionary of Quotations or Shakespeare Calendar that comes to hand. but Believing is also Seeing." He re−read the apophthegm with a slower and more solemn utterance. to his discourse. "But don't you find that the Universe sometimes sends you very irrelevant messages?" "I don't allow it to. "I did a few in the train to−day. turning over the pages." he said. Barbecue−Smith put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a notebook. Let us say I am writing about the humble heroisms. Like Niagara. You see the idea?" Denis nodded." said Mr. Thousands of words. I concentrate on the subject I wish to be inspired about." said Denis." Mr. as it were. I type them out neatly on my machine and they are ready for the printer. but it also Burns. in fact. Yes." CHAPTER VI. perfectly.Crome Yellow "Never mind. "Just dropped off into a trance in the corner of my carriage. "It's just a little book about the connection of the Subconscious with the Infinite. and I focus my mind on such great philosophical truths as the purification and uplifting of the soul by suffering. "Seeing is Believing.

absurd little posteriors of the sprawling putti. it seemed imploringly: dinner was growing cold. There are intimate. He turned to Denis. come in. very few first−rate things in the world. within its sleek bell of golden hair. peered round the opening door. Beds carved and inlaid." she said. She looked up. of rare exotic woods. who built the house. It roused Mr. and cherubs. Barbecue−Smith got up. to the time of his namesake in the late eighteenth century. isn't it?" The tone in which Mary pronounced the word "second−rate" implied an almost infinite denigration. The body of the bed was like a great square sarcophagus. One could apply it. And remember. "I thought I'd just look in for a moment to say good−night. Barbecue−Smith's forehead. Two candles stood on the little table beside her." "Of course.Crome Yellow Puzzled wrinkles appeared on Mr. son to Sir Ferdinando." A face. of course to the Higher Education−− illuminating." There was the sound of feet on the stairs. CHAPTER VII. but all of them grandiose. Sir Julius. She was accustomed in London to associate only with first−rate people who liked first−rate things. falling on the sculptured panel of the bed. Beds of walnut and oak." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. the tight. round and childish. clamorously. but provoking the Lower Classes to discontent and revolution. It was Mary. Beds of every date and fashion from the time of Sir Ferdinando. the last of the family. But it's gnomic. Let your Subconscious work for you. 20 ." said Denis. Barbecue−Smith from meditation." "What are you reading?" She looked at the book. On the black ground−work of the panels the carved reliefs were gilded and burnished. Mr. "You understand me now when I advise you to cultivate your Inspiration. and luscious putti wallowed among the roses. I rely absolutely on your discretion in this matter. and said: "No more now. turn on the Niagara of the Infinite. and she knew that there were very. The golden roses twined in spirals up the four pillar−like posts. "That was very sweet of you. At Crome all the beds were ancient hereditary pieces of furniture. More childish− looking still. with furled sails of shining coloured stuff. laid his hand for an instant on Denis's shoulder. "I don't exactly know what that means. and sat down on the edge of the bed. Anne closed her book. lingered in a broad caress on the blown cheeks. and that those were mostly French. Early seicento Venice had expended all its extravagant art in the making of it. like four−masted ships. in their rich light her face. Clustering roses were carved in high relief on its wooden panels. "It's very gnomic. "Come in. seated at the top of each column. and the soft light. supported a wooden canopy fretted with the same carved flowers. There was a discreet tap at the door. sacred things that one doesn't wish to be generally known. Huge beds. I suppose that's what it is. beds painted and gilded. "I quite understand. Yes. "Rather second− rate. a suit of mauve pyjamas made its entrance. magnificent." he said. The finest of all was now Anne's bed." CHAPTER VII. her bare arm and shoulder took on warm hues and a sort of peach−like quality of surface. had had it made in Venice against his wife's first lying−in. Here and there in the canopy above her carved golden petals shone brightly among profound shadows. the dimpled bellies. Anne was reading in bed. Another time. it's gnomic. broke restlessly among the intricate roses. The gong sounded again.

I see." "It sounds too awful." said Mary at last. I constantly dream that I'm falling down wells. Leaning back on her mound of heaped−up pillows. It's always dangerous to repress one's instincts." "Well. I'm only too happy. Mary darling. I'm beginning to detect in myself symptoms like the ones you read of in the books. Solemnity was expressed in every feature of her round young face. "We come next to the desirability of possessing experience." she began sententiously." "No. I'm afraid I like it. I understand. She pronounced the words on the tail−end of an expiring breath. The silence that followed was a rather uncomfortable one. about getting rid of repressions. It's most disquieting. "I presume we may take for granted that an intelligent young woman of twenty−three who has lived in civilised society in the twentieth century has no prejudices. "But repressions of what?" Mary had to explain. But what about them?" "That's just it. "The natural instincts of sex." she began didactically. bursting suddenly and surprisingly into speech." "Why." said Mary. yes. There was nothing more to be said. "Yes. Repressions! old maids and all the rest." said Anne. not many about repressions." said Mary." said Anne.. The symptoms are only too clear. But Anne cut her short. You've no idea how serious these repressions are if you don't get rid of them in time." "Are they?" "One may become a nymphomaniac of one's not careful. I hope we are agreed that knowledge is desirable and that ignorance is undesirable." "But not about repressions. and had to gasp for new air almost before the phrase was finished. repressions." "Exactly." CHAPTER VII. of course." "Oh. Perfectly.Crome Yellow "Well. "I'm so awfully afraid of repressions. "I presume." said Anne. Mary fiddled uneasily with the bottom button of her pyjama jacket." "So much for our fundamental postulate. I confess I still have a few. rather. and sometimes I even dream that I'm climbing up ladders. Anne waited and wondered what was coming. "But I don't see that I can do anything to help you." "Or." "I thought I'd just like to talk it over with you.. radiated from her large blue eyes. "What's there to be depressed about?" "I said repressions. not depressions. that's true." Mary coughed and drew a deep breath. 21 . "I'm afraid of them.

.." said Mary. somebody with intellectual interests that I can share. smiling the tight cat's smile." "Then." Anne exclaimed. looking relieved.. Shall we say that the choice is limited to the last two?" Mary nodded. to begin with. Mary darling." "But that's just where the question comes in." "Well" said might. "I think we had better. I thought that perhaps you might. "whether they really were unattached." she said." "But who?" A thoughtful frown puckered Mary's brow." "Well." "It is. they are both entirely unattached. "And we are equally agreed.. "And repressions being what they are.Crome Yellow Obedient as one of those complaisant disciples from whom Socrates could get whatever answer he chose. at all easy to find the right person. "What is it?" "I was wondering.. I hope." said Mary. I should wait till you are. "before you began. somebody who's prepared to talk seriously about his work and his ideas and about my work and my ideas. It isn't." said Mary. The question is now. "I'm not in love with anybody.. "It must be somebody intelligent. "We are now confronted with the question: Which of the two?" CHAPTER VII. if I were you. if it really is TOO dangerous. and then hesitated. which is more than I could have done.. if I may express myself so baldly. All that remains is to impart the information to someone you like−−someone you like really rather a lot. someone you're in love with. with a certain air of embarrassment." "But where does the question come in? You've reached your only possible conclusion−−logically. It's too dangerous. Anne gave her assent to this proposition." "But I can't go on dreaming night after night that I'm falling down a well. "One must do things logically. then of course you must do something about it. but now it's been proved. as you see." said Anne. but perhaps he's rather too much of a genuine antique.. "there are three unattached and intelligent men in the house at the present time." "There would therefore seem to be only one conclusion. And there are Gombauld and Denis." Mary exclaimed." "It was very nice of you to think of me. that marriage is what it is." "I'm very glad of that." "Good!" said Mary." "Exactly. 22 . There's Mr. And it must be somebody with a proper respect for women. with a gasp. Scogan. "But as far as I'm concerned." "Yes." "But I knew that. you must find somebody else.

" Mary went on reflectively. Breakfast on Sunday morning was an hour later than on week−days." repeated Mr. "by four wickets." she said. hissing delicately on the opening sibilant." she said. "I refuse to take any responsibility. and wondered as she said the words why Anne was smiling in that curious way. in the very front of her mouth. An enormous Sunday paper concealed all but the extreme pinnacle of her coiffure from the outer world. "but of their merits. whether he isn't rather a dilettante. But then. "but he is less civilised than Denis. "Yes. "What?" she said. We must weigh them and consider them carefully and dispassionately. "I won't run the risk of advising you wrongly. and Priscilla. "Ladders are worse. "Well. it was probably just a habit. who usually made no public appearance before luncheon. "I won't advise. The sun is in Leo: that would account for it!" "Splendid game. What do you think?" "I'm not listening. "comes from Marseilles." she said. like the first−rate works of art. It's a matter for your taste. and they." said Anne." "Gombauld's family." "It's not a matter of my taste. she presided." Mary pronounced. cricket. when one thinks of the Latin attitude towards women." she said. "I hope I shan't dream of falling down wells again to−night. Rather a dangerous heredity. ladders are much graver." Jenny." "Carefully and dispassionately. Anne often smiled for no apparent reason. Barbecue−Smith heartily to no one in particular. Dressed in black silk. "Civilisation is most important.Crome Yellow "I can give no advice. It was probably nothing." said Anne. were mostly French. Mary nodded. don't you think?" Anne held up her hand. "English? Of course I am. "I see Surrey has won. "I think I had better go to bed and think about it. So few people were civilised." Mary began." remarked Mr. surprised. "What?" "So English. with her mouth full. she reflected. It's very difficult." said Anne. honoured it by her presence. "Good−night. Jenny looked at him." said Anne." Mary sighed." she added. I sometimes wonder whether Denis is altogether serious−minded." CHAPTER VIII." "Gombauld has more talent. 23 . At the door Mary turned round. Barbecue−Smith. She uttered it meticulously. "so thoroughly English. who was sitting next to him. there was still the trace of a smile at the corners of her mouth and round the half−closed eyes. woke up suddenly with a start. with a ruby cross as well as her customary string of pearls round her neck. "You must make the decision." "You must do the weighing yourself." Mary's pronunciation of "civilised" gave the word a special and additional significance." CHAPTER VIII.

Crome Yellow He was beginning to explain, when Mrs. Wimbush vailed her Sunday paper, and appeared, a square, mauve−powdered face in the midst of orange splendours. "I see there's a new series of articles on the next world just beginning," she said to Mr. Barbecue−Smith. "This one's called 'Summer Land and Gehenna.'" "Summer Land," echoed Mr. Barbecue−Smith, closing his eyes. "Summer Land. A beautiful name. Beautiful−−beautiful." Mary had taken the seat next to Denis's. After a night of careful consideration she had decided on Denis. He might have less talent than Gombauld, he might be a little lacking in seriousness, but somehow he was safer. "Are you writing much poetry here in the country?" she asked, with a bright gravity. "None," said Denis curtly. "I haven't brought my typewriter." "But do you mean to say you can't write without a typewriter?" Denis shook his head. He hated talking at breakfast, and, besides, he wanted to hear what Mr. Scogan was saying at the other end of the table. "...My scheme for dealing with the Church," Mr. Scogan was saying, "is beautifully simple. At the present time the Anglican clergy wear their collars the wrong way round. I would compel them to wear, not only their collars, but all their clothes, turned back to frantic−−coat, waistcoat, trousers, boots−−so that every clergyman should present to the world a smooth facade, unbroken by stud, button, or lace. The enforcement of such a livery would act as a wholesome deterrent to those intending to enter the Church. At the same time it would enormously enhance, what Archbishop Laud so rightly insisted on, the 'beauty of holiness' in the few incorrigibles who could not be deterred." "In hell, it seems," said Priscilla, reading in her Sunday paper, "the children amuse themselves by flaying lambs alive." "Ah, but, dear lady, that's only a symbol," exclaimed Mr. Barbecue−Smith, "a material symbol of a h−piritual truth. Lambs signify..." "Then there are military uniforms," Mr. Scogan went on. "When scarlet and pipe−clay were abandoned for khaki, there were some who trembled for the future of war. But then, finding how elegant the new tunic was, how closely it clipped the waist, how voluptuously, with the lateral bustles of the pockets, it exaggerated the hips; when they realized the brilliant potentialities of breeches and top−boots, they were reassured. Abolish these military elegances, standardise a uniform of sack− cloth and mackintosh, you will very soon find that..." "Is anyone coming to church with me this morning?" asked Henry Wimbush. No one responded. He baited his bare invitation. "I read the lessons, you know. And there's Mr. Bodiham. His sermons are sometimes worth hearing." "Thank you, thank you," said Mr. Barbecue−Smith. "I for one prefer to worship in the infinite church of Nature. How does our Shakespeare put it? 'Sermons in books, stones in the running brooks.'" He waved his arm in a fine gesture towards the window, and even as he did so he became vaguely, but none the less insistently, none the less uncomfortably aware that something had gone wrong with the quotation. Something−−what could it be? Sermons? Stones? Books?



Crome Yellow

Mr. Bodiham was sitting in his study at the Rectory. The nineteenth−century Gothic windows, narrow and pointed, admitted the light grudgingly; in spite of the brilliant July weather, the room was sombre. Brown varnished bookshelves lined the walls, filled with row upon row of those thick, heavy theological works which the second−hand booksellers generally sell by weight. The mantelpiece, the over−mantel, a towering structure of spindly pillars and little shelves, were brown and varnished. The writing−desk was brown and varnished. So were the chairs, so was the door. A dark red−brown carpet with patterns covered the floor. Everything was brown in the room, and there was a curious brownish smell. In the midst of this brown gloom Mr. Bodiham sat at his desk. He was the man in the Iron Mask. A grey metallic face with iron cheek−bones and a narrow iron brow; iron folds, hard and unchanging, ran perpendicularly down his cheeks; his nose was the iron beak of some thin, delicate bird of rapine. He had brown eyes, set in sockets rimmed with iron; round them the skin was dark, as though it had been charred. Dense wiry hair covered his skull; it had been black, it was turning grey. His ears were very small and fine. His jaws, his chin, his upper lip were dark, iron−dark, where he had shaved. His voice, when he spoke and especially when he raised it in preaching, was harsh, like the grating of iron hinges when a seldom−used door is opened. It was nearly half−past twelve. He had just come back from church, hoarse and weary with preaching. He preached with fury, with passion, an iron man beating with a flail upon the souls of his congregation. But the souls of the faithful at Crome were made of india−rubber, solid rubber; the flail rebounded. They were used to Mr. Bodiham at Crome. The flail thumped on india− rubber, and as often as not the rubber slept. That morning he had preached, as he had often preached before, on the nature of God. He had tried to make them understand about God, what a fearful thing it was to fall into His hands. God−− they thought of something soft and merciful. They blinded themselves to facts; still more, they blinded themselves to the Bible. The passengers on the "Titanic" sang "Nearer my God to Thee" as the ship was going down. Did they realise what they were asking to be brought nearer to? A white fire of righteousness, an angry fire... When Savonarola preached, men sobbed and groaned aloud. Nothing broke the polite silence with which Crome listened to Mr. Bodiham−−only an occasional cough and sometimes the sound of heavy breathing. In the front pew sat Henry Wimbush, calm, well− bred, beautifully dressed. There were times when Mr. Bodiham wanted to jump down from the pulpit and shake him into life,−− times when he would have liked to beat and kill his whole congregation. He sat at his desk dejectedly. Outside the Gothic windows the earth was warm and marvellously calm. Everything was as it had always been. And yet, and yet...It was nearly four years now since he had preached that sermon on Matthew xxiv. 7: "For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." It was nearly four years. He had had the sermon printed; it was so terribly, so vitally important that all the world should know what he had to say. A copy of the little pamphlet lay on his desk−−eight small grey pages, printed by a fount of type that had grown blunt, like an old dog's teeth, by the endless champing and champing of the press. He opened it and began to read it yet once again. "'For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.' "Nineteen centuries have elapsed since Our Lord gave utterance to those words, and not a single one of them has been without wars, plagues, famines, and earthquakes. Mighty empires have crashed in ruin to the ground, diseases have unpeopled half the globe, there have been vast natural cataclysms in which thousands CHAPTER IX. 25

Crome Yellow have been overwhelmed by flood and fire and whirlwind. Time and again, in the course of these nineteen centuries, such things have happened, but they have not brought Christ back to earth. They were 'signs of the times' inasmuch as they were signs of God's wrath against the chronic wickedness of mankind, but they were not signs of the times in connection with the Second Coming. "If earnest Christians have regarded the present war as a true sign of the Lord's approaching return, it is not merely because it happens to be a great war involving the lives of millions of people, not merely because famine is tightening its grip on every country in Europe, not merely because disease of every kind, from syphilis to spotted fever, is rife among the warring nations; no, it is not for these reasons that we regard this war as a true Sign of the Times, but because in its origin and its progress it is marked by certain characteristics which seem to connect it almost beyond a doubt with the predictions in Christian Prophecy relating to the Second Coming of the Lord. "Let me enumerate the features of the present war which most clearly suggest that it is a Sign foretelling the near approach of the Second Advent. Our Lord said that 'this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.' Although it would be presumptuous for us to say what degree of evangelisation will be regarded by God as sufficient, we may at least confidently hope that a century of unflagging missionary work has brought the fulfilment of this condition at any rate near. True, the larger number of the world's inhabitants have remained deaf to the preaching of the true religion; but that does not vitiate the fact that the Gospel HAS been preached 'for a witness' to all unbelievers from the Papist to the Zulu. The responsibility for the continued prevalence of unbelief lies, not with the preachers, but with those preached to. "Again, it has been generally recognised that 'the drying up of the waters of the great river Euphrates,' mentioned in the sixteenth chapter of Revelation, refers to the decay and extinction of Turkish power, and is a sign of the near approaching end of the world as we know it. The capture of Jerusalem and the successes in Mesopotamia are great strides forward in the destruction of the Ottoman Empire; though it must be admitted that the Gallipoli episode proved that the Turk still possesses a 'notable horn' of strength. Historically speaking, this drying up of Ottoman power has been going on for the past century; the last two years have witnessed a great acceleration of the process, and there can be no doubt that complete desiccation is within sight. "Closely following on the words concerning the drying up of Euphrates comes the prophecy of Armageddon, that world war with which the Second Coming is to be so closely associated. Once begun, the world war can end only with the return of Christ, and His coming will be sudden and unexpected, like that of a thief in the night. "Let us examine the facts. In history, exactly as in St. John's Gospel, the world war is immediately preceded by the drying up of Euphrates, or the decay of Turkish power. This fact alone would be enough to connect the present conflict with the Armageddon of Revelation and therefore to point to the near approach of the Second Advent. But further evidence of an even more solid and convincing nature can be adduced. "Armageddon is brought about by the activities of three unclean spirits, as it were toads, which come out of the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet. If we can identify these three powers of evil much light will clearly be thrown on the whole question. "The Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet can all be identified in history. Satan, who can only work through human agency, has used these three powers in the long war against Christ which has filled the last nineteen centuries with religious strife. The Dragon, it has been sufficiently established, is pagan Rome, and the spirit issuing from its mouth is the spirit of Infidelity. The Beast, alternatively symbolised as a Woman, is undoubtedly the Papal power, and Popery is the spirit which it spews forth. There is only one power which CHAPTER IX. 26

denies the possibility of miracles. "We may assume. The God who sent bears to devour the mockers of Elisha. 'I saw an angel standing in the sun. I come as a thief. perhaps. that the three evil spirits are Infidelity. 'and all the fowls will be filled with their flesh. as men reckon time. and False Morality. are at war with six anti−papal states−−England. They will realise then. Germany and Austria. then. of course. To−day France is an anti−papal state. not to the Supper of the Lamb.' is therefore meant for the present period−−for you and me and all the world. what will happen? Those who are in Christ. Serbia. CHAPTER IX. and there can be little doubt that the presence on the Allies' side of an element so essentially hostile has done much to hamper the righteous cause and is responsible for our comparative ill− success. The Higher Criticism. and the flesh of mighty men.' The spirit that issues from the mouth of the False Prophet is the spirit of False Morality. Higher Criticism has thus made the war possible. and have joined together to make the world war. unless they make haste to repent. and the flesh of captains. It is the true principle of Jesuitry applied to international politics. Those who are found fighting against Him will be called to the Supper of the Great God−−that grim banquet where they shall not feast. prediction. "The spirit of False Morality has played as great a part in this war as the two other evil spirits. and real inspiration. Russia. Have these three influences been the real cause of the present conflict? The answer is clear. during the last eighty years. for it would be absolutely impossible for any Christian nation to wage war as Germany is waging it. the Lord will come and deliver the world from its present troubles. and he cried in a loud voice. The warning. saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven. "It may be soon or it may.' All the enemies of Christ will be slain with the sword of him that sits upon the horse. St. "The spirit of Infidelity is the very spirit of German criticism. that God is a God of Wrath as well as a God of Forgiveness. the God who smote the Egyptians for their stubborn wickedness. and of them that sit on them. Italy. though not. and Portugal. The Scrap of Paper incident is the nearest and most obvious example of Germany's adherence to this essentially unchristian or Jesuitical morality. but be feasted on.' That is the Supper of the Great God. the agent of the devil working in the guise of the Lamb. "And when He returns. will assuredly smite them too.' as St. as it is mockingly called. And woe unto them who are called. any means are justifiable. whose influence in causing the war was quite as great as that of Infidelity. Slowly but surely. 'Behold. and the flesh of horses. Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the Great God. the three evil spirits have gone forth just as the decay of the Ottoman power was nearing completion. and in the attainment of this end. both free and bond. but sooner or later. Two papally controlled states. "We come next to the spirit of Popery. but to the Supper of the Great God. the spirit of Infidelity has been robbing the Germans of their Bible and their faith. 27 . be long. while Germany possesses a powerful Roman Catholic minority. France. while in Germany it has steadily increased. As was predicted in Revelation. the wolf in sheep's clothing. This war will lead on inevitably to the war of Armageddon. will be called to the Supper of the Lamb. but too late. and will only be brought to an end by the Lord's personal return. Since the Franco−Prussian War the Papal power has steadily declined in France. and attempts to account for the Bible as a natural development. "The identification is now complete. while the rebellion in the Roman Catholic parts of Ireland has merely confirmed a conclusion already obvious to any unbiased mind. both small and great. so immediately obvious. a thoroughly papal state. 'For. inevitably. Popery. Belgium is. John tells us. That the spirit of Popery is behind the war is thus seen clearly enough in the grouping of the opposed powers. so that Germany is to−day a nation of unbelievers. John says. and that power is the so−called 'Society of Jesus. and the flesh of all men. The end is German world−power.Crome Yellow answers to the description of the False Prophet. that ye may eat the flesh of kings.

But. indeed. in all sizes. Above her black dress her face was pale with an opaque whiteness. From nine guineas. The argument was sound. in Anatolia. and England was at peace. in clerical evening dress. The prospect. Red marginal lines. like a thief? In a little while. "Soutane in best black merino. Mr. the people of Crome were as wicked and indifferent as ever−−more so. The envelope was unsealed. dressed in jackets. Ready to wear. he began to rebuke himself for his rebellious impatience. She held a large envelope in her hand. in frock−coats. The knuckles of his hands whitened. And as for the war having come to an end−−why. Sudden and silent as a phantom Mrs. he could have screamed aloud. He gripped the arms of his chair−− gripping. If only he could understand. in spite of all his comfortable reasoning. It contained a pamphlet. not a moment to look forward to with terror and trembling. "A large assortment of chasubles. the discontent in Egypt and India was preparing the way. dissatisfied. And now he suffered too. Four years ago he had been so confident. gliding noiselessly across the room. and her strawy hair was almost colourless. Bodiham tried to assure himself. In a few seconds he was able to relax the tension. May it be for all of you an object of hope. in a moment even. Clerical frock coats. and then. in Ireland. the genuine Armageddon might soon begin. God's intention seemed then so plain. some Rugbeian and muscular. the coming of the Lord is at hand. "The House of Sheeny." she said softly. and yet−− it was four years since he had preached that sermon. of course. that. tailored by our own experienced ecclesiastical cutters. Four years. in surplices. smouldering away in Silesia. Bodiham closed the little pamphlet and leaned back in his chair. the real. he remained unhappy. Who knows but that to−morrow. then. like a thief in the night. he did well to be angry. for a great extension of the slaughter among the heathen peoples.. he bit his lip. Mechanically Mr. in black Norfolk suitings. the sun shone. Bodiham tore it open." Half−tone illustrations represented young curates. if that were possible. Be ready. Mr.. little red crosses took the place of full stops. some dapper. perhaps." He turned over the pages. larger than his own and more elegant in appearance. 28 . The catalogue was tastefully and ecclesiastically printed in antique characters with illuminated Gothic initials. gripping for control. Clerical Outfitters. was illusory. after all? It must inevitably take a long time for Armageddon to ripen to yeast itself up. "This came for you by the post. if the heavens would but make a sign! But his questionings remained unanswered. Bodiham turned the pages. who knows? The angel standing in the sun may be summoning the ravens and vultures from their crannies in the rocks to feed upon the putrefying flesh of the millions of unrighteous whom God's wrath has destroyed. Rope girdles. and the rivalries of that country and America in the Pacific. her eyes were pale as water in a glass. It was still going on. Christ may be upon us unawares. CHAPTER IX." Mr. A dressy garment. might be breeding a great new war in the East. And now? Now. The episode of 1914 had been a preliminary skirmish. The Chinese boycott of Japan. enclosed each page of type. what were four years. Birmingham. crossed at the corners after the manner of an Oxford picture frame. some with ascetic faces and large ecstatic eyes. was hopeful. absolutely compelling. four years.Crome Yellow But perhaps it is already too late. Bodiham appeared. he reflected. Seated there in his brown varnished chair under the Ruskinian window.

on the other hand.." With a gesture of horror and disgust Mr. Wild inside. baa. apparently. writhing with desire. At the pianola. Mrs. brazen rams that thumped against the walls of cities till they fell. speaking through strains of the "Wild. trod out the shattering dance music with serene patience. Henry Wimbush. raging. Tied by a string about the waist. Bodiham looked at him. "Optimism.. But outwardly he was hopelessly tame. He sat in one of the window−seats. glaucous eyes reflected his action without comment." "How true!" sighed Priscilla. Yes. it is a h−piritual self−unification with the Infinite. Barbecue−Smith discussed higher things. then things began to dance inside him. damn them! A wild man. but when ragtime came squirting out of the pianola in gushes of treacle and hot perfume. her pale. Little black nigger corpuscles jigged and drummed in his arteries. without.. they were. it seemed. "the village grows worse and worse every day. "writhing" was the word. Sodom and Gomorrah had come to a second birth." "What has happened now?" asked Mr. solemnly buffoonish.Crome Yellow Sheeny's Special Skirt Cassocks. in a big red notebook. pretending to read. Barbecue−Smith with a tone of finality. it is a focusing of the self upon a point in the Lower Plane. The beast with two backs." The refrain sang itself over in Denis's mind. nodding the baleful splendours of her coiffure. It was very uncomfortable. Why? It was the baa−baa business again. it is an expansion towards and into God. "The village. CHAPTER X. feeling suddenly very weary. smoking a long cigar through a tunnelled pillar of amber. "I'll tell you. scribbling. CHAPTER X. is the contraction of the soul towards darkness. being disturbed by the noise on the Lower Plane. so it seemed. He became a cage of movement.When worn under a surplice presents an appearance indistinguishable from that of a complete cassock. Anne and Gombauld. baa. glumly pretending to read. He was born with a different face−−a woolly face. There they were. Scogan. moving together as though they were a single supple creature. Locked together. Why was he born with a different face? Why WAS he? Gombauld had a face of brass−−one of those old. And he sat in a corner." said Mr. writhing−−yes. outwardly−−baa. Bodiham. Wild Women"−−"optimism is the opening out of the soul towards the light. but not wild enough. like the preliminary symptoms of a disease. 29 . two− headed and four−legged. to gross physical phenomena. it is a h−piritual slavery to mere facts. in jets of Bengal light. pretending he rather despised dancing.. Jenny sat in the shadow behind the piano. "Pessimism. shuffled round the room with Mary. Priscilla and Mr." She pulled up a brown varnished chair and sat down. a walking palais de danse. In the village of Crome. Denis did not dance. that was the trouble. Mr." she said in her quiet voice." "They're making a wild man of me.Recommended for summer wear and hot climates. pretending he didn't want to dance. Bodiham threw the catalogue into the waste−paper basket. In arm−chairs by the fireplace. Gombauld and Anne moved with a harmoniousness that made them seem a single creature.

From the arm−chair by the fireplace he heard Priscilla's deep voice. and Smut. It was not only Anne who made him miserable. "Rum. "I don't know why one dances. more graceful.. "This adolescence business." Denis made no reply. "is horribly boring. Mr Barbecue−Smith−−you know all about science. She had broken from the uncomfortable embrace of Mr. "A waltz this time." Mary renewed her attack. Flushed. she exacerbated him. It's so boring. the future." "I think you are so sensible to sit and read quietly. I do not know what I desire. He trod off the old roll and trod on the new. "This Einstein theory. "I do not know what I desire When summer nights are dark and still. why was he born with a different face? "What are you reading?" He looked up." she said. You see." The melody wallowed oozily along. uncomplaining and beautifully well bred. life in general. I do not know. with the laconism of one who is absolutely certain of his own mind.. The four− legged creature. When the wind's many−voiced quire Sleeps among the muffled branches.Crome Yellow The music stopped. I know−−" A deprecating noise came from Mr." CHAPTER X. please. After kicking all the clothes off the bed. Denis was filled with fury. Tum." he replied. a little breathless. more harmonious in its movements than ever. Scogan. Uncle Henry.. Mildew. Wimbush's shoulder. It makes me so worried about my horoscopes. startled. slid across the floor. Rum−ti−ti. It was Mary. He looked at the title page." he repeated to himself every now and then. Anne swayed across the room to the pianola. Why couldn't this pest of a girl leave him alone? He wanted to listen to the horrible music. "A waltz. "Which of the contemporary poets do you like best?" she asked. and turned to the cabinet where the rolls were kept. a slave at the mill. I long and know not what I will: And not a sound of life or laughter stanches Time's black and silent flow. Oh. "Tell me. Vague but agonising miseries possessed his mind. It seems to upset the whole starry universe. "What are you reading?" "I don't know. Tum−ti−ti. the book was called "The Stock Breeder's Vade Mecum. laid her hand on Mr." said Denis truthfully. he was wretched about himself. the universe. like a ship moving forward over a sleek and oily swell.. as though they had been made for one another!−−to savour his misery in peace. He wanted to imprison his nameless misery in words. It was several hours before Denis managed to go to sleep that night. 30 . The single harmonious creature broke in two. to watch them dancing−−oh. he got up and sought relief in composition. who had now seized on Jenny for his victim." he repeated. But the fact that he knew his disease did not help him to cure it. At the end of an hour. with what grace. nine more or less complete lines emerged from among the blots and scratchings. Barbecue−Smith's chair. And she came and put him through this absurd catechism! She was like "Mangold's Questions": "What are the three diseases of wheat?"−−"Which of the contemporary poets do you like best?" "Blight. fixing him with her china eyes." said Mary.

turning with raised inquiring eyebrows to Denis. then threw the scribbled sheet into the waste−paper basket and got into bed again. Civilised and CHAPTER XI. The perpendicular lines of the three towers soared up.' No. Scogan did not respond. civilised.' which. if I remember rightly−− "'Seems not now a work of human art. in the heart Of earth having assumed its form and grown Out of the mountain. A considerable detachment had come into the courtyard to speed him on his way. "Well?" It was time for someone to begin. immensely tall. but using them as a stone quarry for his barns and byres and outhouses. It has no likeness to Shelley's tower." He waved his hand in the direction of the house and was silent. But the house of an intelligent. 31 . "Well?" he said. Barbecue−Smith was gone. Sir Ferdinando was not content merely to adapt the old monastic buildings to his own purposes. "I doubt it." "Was he?" said Henry Wimbush reflectively. with the whole height of the built−up terrace added to its own seventy feet of brick facade. he only repeated the question. in the 'Epipsychidion. They had descended. no doubt. The house towered above them. Denis declined the invitation. seizing the opportunity to speak." said Denis. The motor had whirled him away to the station. under the flank of the terrace. He inherited the estate from his father. enhancing the impression of height until it became overwhelming. It should rather be an expression of his grand unnatural remoteness from the cloddish life. towards the terrace and the garden. "is the fact that it's so unmistakably and aggressively a work of art. and now they were walking back. imposing. CHAPTER XI. a faint smell of burning oil commemorated his recent departure. Since the days of William Morris that's a fact which we in England have been unable to comprehend. "A very agreeable adjunct to the week−end. "The man who built this house knew his business. "He was an architect. Lifting itself in caverns light and high. and sophisticated man should never seem to have sprouted from the clods. without paying much attention where they were going. uninterrupted. to the pool." he said. the steep yew−walk that went down.Crome Yellow He read it through aloud. They walked in silence. for Crome was originally a cloister of monks and this swimming−pool their fish−pond. It makes no compromise with nature. no. he built for himself a grand new house of brick−−the house you see now. almost menacing. to which their inmates are attached. That the hovels of the peasantry should look as though they had grown out of the earth. round the side of the house. he passed it on to Mr Scogan." said Mr. from the living stone. Mr. "Well?" said Anne at last. Scogan. there isn't any nonsense of that sort about Crome. Mr. In a very few minutes he was asleep. nobody had yet ventured to comment on the departed guest. They paused at the edge of the pool to look back. is right. to whom it had been granted at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. Crome loomed down on them. "The great thing about Crome. His tone was obituary. who flourished during the reign of Elizabeth. The builder of this house was Sir Ferdinando Lapith. "Well?" It was left for Henry Wimbush to make a pronouncement. But as it were titanic. and suitable. but affronts it and rebels against it. severe.

and it became once more the replica of the grave. he had any views about architecture at all. To counteract these degrading effects he advised that the privy should be in every house the room nearest to heaven." exclaimed Mr. studiedly quaint imitations and adaptations of the village hovel. Scogan at last. At the top of each of the three projecting towers he placed a privy." The contemplation of the glories of the past always evoked in Henry Wimbush a certain enthusiasm. ancient or modern. he argues in the third chapter of his 'Priuy Counsels'. Hence quaintness. Permanence. Sanitation was the one great interest of his life. reduplicated in endless rows. the apophthegms of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. which possesses undoubtedly. in which the whole matter is treated with great learning and elegance. and all other works. he's prepared to wait. Under the grey bowler his face worked and glowed as he spoke. the 'Enchiridion' of Erasmus. And the instruments of renowned virtuosi−− he goes in for them too. which testify to the nobility of the human soul. very true. indeed. the necessities of nature are so base and brutish that in obeying them we are apt to forget that we are the noblest creatures of the universe. "is certainly very just. he CHAPTER XI. he won't get it till she's dead.L. the light gradually died out of his face. I very much doubt. a little book−−now extremely scarce−−called. His guiding principle in arranging the sanitation of a house was to secure that the greatest possible distance should separate the privy from the sewage arrangements. cottage architecture. The total depth of the shafts from the top of the towers to their subterranean conduits was a hundred and two feet. beautiful! I like to think of them all: the eccentric milords rolling across Europe in ponderous carriages. For. Crome still stood. swept away these monuments of sanitary ingenuity. The eighteenth century. In Crome he was able to put his theories into practice. We now employ our wealth. ignorance. To have a theory about privies and to build an immense and splendid house in order to put it into practise−−it's magnificent. Boethius's 'Consolations of Philosophy'. One is going to Venice to buy La Bianchi's larynx. and that the walls of the chamber should be lined with bookshelves containing all the ripest products of human wisdom. Sir Ferdinando was. "to hear of these fantastic English aristocrats. In the suburbs of our cities you may see. such as the Proverbs of Solomon. Hence it followed inevitably that the privies were to be placed at the top of the house. being connected by vertical shafts with pits or channels in the ground. "It does one's heart good. and into a series of conduits provided with flowing water tunnelled in the ground on a level with the base of the raised terrace. There was a long silence. The thought of these vanished privies moved him profoundly. our technical knowledge. he has a collection. transience−−Sir Ferdinando and his privies were gone. 'Certaine Priuy Counsels' by 'One of Her Maiestie's Most Honourable Priuy Counsels. Could imbecility go further?" Henry Wimbush took up the thread of his interrupted discourse." he began. F. Were it not for tradition and the explicit account of them left by Sir Ferdinando. It must not be thought that Sir Ferdinando was moved only by material and merely sanitary considerations. and all the rest of it. 32 . we should be unaware that these noble privies had ever existed. In 1573 he even published.. the ways of man were stranger still. that it should be well provided with windows commanding an extensive and noble prospect. of course. arts and crafts. the same gently melancholy thoughts seemed to possess the mind of each of them. bound on extraordinary errands. He ceased to speak. in suitable surroundings. "All that you say. its own 'as it were titanic' charm. as a matter of fact. In building this house. preoccupied by only one thought−−the proper placing of his privies. polite hat which shaded it. with its passion for modernisation. more than seventy feet. on this subject. Poverty. How brightly the sun shone and how inevitable was death! The ways of God were strange. that is to say. We should even suppose that Sir Ferdinando built his house after this strange and splendid model for merely aesthetic reasons. of the throats of famous opera singers. our rich variety of materials for the purpose of building millions of imitation hovels in totally unsuitable surroundings.. but no matter. and a limited range of materials produced the hovel. But whether Sir Ferdinando shared your views about architecture or if. From these a shaft went down the whole height of the house. through the cellars. These conduits emptied themselves into the stream several hundred yards below the fish− pond. Knight'. pickled in glass bottles. my dear Scogan. for the placing of his privies in an exalted position he had also certain excellent spiritual reasons.Crome Yellow sophisticated men have solemnly played at being peasants.

Cavendish. Perhaps her ears had played her false. you must have a class of people who are secure. a little grossly. looked up once more at the towering house. his meridional heredity was a little disquieting. Glorious eccentrics! Every age is enlivened by their presence.It's the justification of all aristocracies. You must have a class of which the members can think and. to lead Italians against their oppressors." Mr. lavish on anything that is wild or out of the ordinary." or even "Abercrombie." said Mr Scogan. "Blight." two or three times. Some day. and disgust which the burgesses instinctively feel towards them. After the social revolution there will be no Reservations. Portland digs holes in the ground. True. The eccentricities of the artist and the new−fangled thinker don't inspire it with that fear." Mr. a little too flamboyantly.. do what they please. but he has small hope of success. He had deliberately repelled her attempts to open a serious discussion. At home they cultivate themselves at leisure and with greater elaboration." CHAPTER XII. interrupting him. You must have a class in which people who have eccentricities can indulge them and in which eccentricity in general will be tolerated and understood. and Rabindranath Tagore. in his white top hat. be allowed to live in this house of the splendid privies. my dear Denis.. unhappy Henry. solely for his private delectation−−by anticipating the electrical discoveries of half a century.. That's the important thing about an aristocracy. and Smut. within the obvious limits." or "Childe. Beckford builds towers. Scogan paused. another.. A man who would not talk seriously to a woman just because she was a woman−−oh. "Blight. If you're to do anything reasonable in this world. Scogan replied. Mildew. not compelled to waste their time in the imbecile routines that go by the name of Honest Work.' What a subject! I should like to undertake it myself. "Squire. lives in a stable." Perhaps. "will you be allowed to go on talking?" "You may rest assured. loathing. reluctantly. safe from public opinion. Others have no business at all. and Shanks.. an amateur. "Eccentricity. and when kindred spirits are born outside the pale it offers them some sort of refuge from the hatred which the Poor Whites. but at least he was a serious worker. turning a beady bright regard in his direction−−"some day you must become their biographer−−'The Lives of Queer Men. the millionaire.. my good Denis? Will you. what WAS Denis? A dilettante. Perhaps Gombauld would be more satisfactory. they are just giving their oddity a continental airing. then murmured the word "Eccentricity." Mary was puzzled and distressed. Perhaps what he had really said was. Mildew. But then her ears never did play her false. Gombauld had annexed for his painting−room a little disused granary that stood by itself in a green close beyond the farm− yard." The impression was distinct and ineffaceable. but perhaps he might sacrifice one of his guitars. Binyon. It was a square brick building with a peaked roof and little windows set high up in CHAPTER XII. leisured. Paganini won't sell his fiddle. impossible! Egeria or nothing. the Redskins will be drowned in the great sea of Poor Whites. Not only is it eccentric itself−−often grandiosely so.. Blunden. that Denis had indeed pronounced those improbable words. Within its boundaries wild men disport themselves−−often. "that I shall not. safe from poverty. eats nothing but mutton.. and amuses himself−−oh. it also tolerates and even encourages eccentricity in others." "And you." said Anne. it must be admitted. What then? Will they suffer you to go on writing villanelles." she was forced to the conclusion. and Smut..Crome Yellow will try to bribe Paganini to part with his little Guarnerio. Blight. Mildew. And Denis? After all. It justifies leisured classes and inherited wealth and privilege and endowments and all the other injustices of that sort. and it was with his work that she would associate herself. It is a sort of Red Indian Reservation planted in the midst of a vast horde of Poor Whites−−colonials at that. That was horrible. en bons bourgeois. Others are bound on crusades−−one to die miserably among the savage Greeks. 33 . and Earp. I shall have some Honest Work to do. to continue your quiet delving in the mines of futile knowledge? Will Anne. Drinkwater..

between the legs of the towering beast." of "Peter Crucified. that astonishing ruffian. it would be something terrific. the eye looked through into an intense darkness. if only he could catch it. She had only dared to mount half−way up the ladder. 34 . he had risen from nature into the world of pure form. He found the process arduous and exhilarating. lay the foreshortened figure of a man. he had worked his way industriously through cubism. the thing was good. Its head. lowered towards the ground. the space was closed in by the figure of the prostrate man. He took from nature its rich. but his aim was always to work them into a whole that should have the thrilling simplicity and formality of an idea. round them. externalised in the abstract geometrical forms of the mind's devising. Here Gombauld worked.. a universe in themselves. Forms of a breathing. then. filled the upper half of the picture with its great body. He had done with cubism. Memories of Caravaggio's portentous achievements haunted him. Gombauld had been at work all the morning on the figure of the man. frozen to stillness in the midst of their trampling. to combine prodigious realism with prodigious simplification. the body and the legs. the legs. were sharply illuminated. A ladder of four rungs led up to the door. He had made a portfolio full of studies. The huge animal. till in the end he was painting nothing but his own thoughts. the form of Mary. CHAPTER XII. subtle. During the last eight years. For a long time an idea had been stirring and spreading. he looked thoughtfully at his canvas. A central gulf of darkness surrounded by luminous forms. something terrific. He was pursuing something new. Now he had come out on the other side. was in shadow. limited it on either side. if only he could catch it. on four massive toadstools of grey stone. a gaunt white cart−horse. And then. in hot pursuit. Nobody ever disturbed him while he was at work. he grew dissatisfied. nearly half of which had been spent in the process of winning the war. The picture was more than half finished. between his legs. living reality emerged from darkness. "Come in!" he called. and the narrow shaft of sunlight that came slanting in at every hour of the day through one of the little windows was always alive with silvery motes. little by little. Tilting back his chair till it touched the wall. below. On the ground.. But the cubist discipline preserved him from falling into excesses of nature worship. He had begun by painting a formalised nature. there lingered a faint smell of dust and cobwebs. quite suddenly. Gombauld turned his eyes towards the door. his arms outstretched towards the sides of the picture. which came down on either side of the picture like the pillars of an arch. If he didn't want her. Within. He was out on the other side. And beneath lay the man.Crome Yellow each of its walls. tat! Surprised. The beast." of the "Lute players." He had the secret. he had the secret! And now Gombauld was after it. A white. revealing. and out of reach of the rats. he knew it. during six or seven hours of each day. beyond and behind them. and now he was taking a rest−−the time to smoke a cigarette. He was humiliated to find how few and crude and uninteresting were the forms he could invent. and now the idea was taking shape on canvas. Under the arch of the horse's belly. swung open. built themselves up into compositions as luminously simple and single as a mathematical idea. Yes. with a kind of concentrated ferocity." of "Magdalen. the great hoofs. the head in the extreme foreground. the immense bony body was what arrested the eye. inconceivably subtle and elaborate. He thought of the "Call of Matthew. in his mind. The horse's body filled the upper part of the picture. his foreshortened face at the focal point in the centre. he felt himself cramped and confined within intolerably narrow limitations. and at the same time he was desolated. retreat would be easier and more dignified than if she climbed to the top. elaborate forms. from the waist upwards. A man fallen from a horse. the fallen man. it was one of the unwritten laws. The door. He was pleased. relentless light poured down from a point in the right foreground. "May I come in?" she asked. yeastily. the inventions of nature were without number. tat. the arms flung wide to right and left. which was ajar. They were alone in the darkness. for the granary was perched above the ground. In itself. he had drawn a cartoon. But that something he was after. was the night. that something that would be so terrific if only he could catch it−−had he caught it? Would he ever catch it? Three little taps−−rat.

? At eighteen she might have done so. Trompe−l'oeil−−there was no other word to describe the delineation of that foreshortened figure under the trampling feet of the horse. and here was a picture of a man and a horse." he said. Mary was pleased. What could Gombauld be up to? She had felt so safe in admiring his work before. "When I was in Paris this spring I saw a lot of Tschuplitski. isn't there?" she ventured at last. so I brought it out to you. and she moved with him. But in a modern. But now." Her eyes. in any case he wouldn't begin work again till he had finished. he says. He would give her the five minutes that separated him from the bitter end. His arm was round her. But I'm going on painting. He moved slowly. he accepted her criticism." she said. He just throws a few oblongs on to his canvas−−quite flat. her hair swung back.Crome Yellow "Certainly. but even aggressively in drawing. there'll be just the blank canvas. you know. "Do you agree with him?" she repeated.. Mary went on gaspingly. Mary looked at the picture for some time without saying anything.too. she was at a loss. "Tschuplitski's finished painting. almost imperceptibly. and inwardly congratulated herself on having found a critical formula so gentle and at the same time so penetrating.trompe−l'oeil for my taste. he's finishing it. CHAPTER XII." Gombauld agreed. Obviously. it was a serious discussion. Gombauld had only half smoked his cigarette. after five years of schooling among the best judges." She looked at Gombauld. away from the picture. her childish face were luminously candid as she handed him the letter. Painting's finished. When he's reached pure abstraction he's going to take up architecture. Her eyes were serene.. 35 . But his design is wonderful. and painted in pure primary colours.. Gombauld dropped his cigarette end and trod on it.. advancing towards her. He says it's more intellectual than painting." And. It was very difficult. very difficult. Do you agree?" she asked. gazing meditatively all the time at his picture." he said. He's getting more and more abstract every day. "I think it's awfully fine. That's the logical conclusion. Indeed. who made no response. a soundless bell of gold. "I thought it might be important. "But of course it's a little too. So the moment had come. She had expected a cubist masterpiece.. What was she to think. "it isn't at all important. Gombauld looked at the envelope and put it in his pocket unopened. "There is. Thanks very much all the same. but she would not cease to be intellectual. but continued to smoke. she smiled. One could admire representationalism in the Old Masters. But now−−she didn't know what to think." she said. Soon. "A letter came for you by the second post. "Luckily. her instinctive reaction to a contemporary piece of representation was contempt−−an outburst of laughing disparagement. "There's rather a lot of chiaroscuro. "May I have a look at what you've been painting?" she had the courage to say at last. it's frightfully abstract now−−frightfully abstract and frightfully intellectual. "I've finished my cigarette. not only recognisable as such." he said. The moment might have come. Of course. I admire his work so tremendously. She put her head on one side and screwed up her eyes. she was taken aback. There had never been a flimsier pretext. Mary felt a little uncomfortable. Mary looked up at him. "This is the best place to see it from." There was a silence. she didn't know what to say. He'd given up the third dimension when I was there and was just thinking of giving up the second. Complete abstraction. with a final gasp." She skipped up the remaining two rungs and was over the threshold in an instant. serious. he put his arm round her shoulders and turned her round.. what was she to say? Her orientations were gone. It was a peripatetic embracement.

36 . his hand dropped from her shoulder. and helped herself to another glass of wine. "I'll read you an episode from my History that will make you admit that even the Lapiths." "Shall we be allowed to read it now it's finished?" asked Denis. The hand that had rested on her shoulder made itself felt lower down her back. The door closed behind her and she was alone in the little green close. CHAPTER XIII." said Henry Wimbush. and printed at Crome by my own press. respectable crew. Wimbush." Gombauld loosened his embrace. from Sir Ferdinando Lapith's birth to the death of my father William Wimbush−−more than three centuries and a half: a history of Crome. in their CHAPTER XIII. and half a dozen little blots on the scutcheon in the way of misalliances. Mary looked round. a little piqued by his wife's disparaging comment on the masters of Crome." he said. Wimbush nodded. They were in front of the open door. on the whole." he added modestly. "If I were to write my family history now! Why. No. "It has taken me nearly thirty years. The writing and the printing of this Magnum Opus had been going on as long as she could remember." She laughed jovially. I shall have to think about it. And now it's finished−−the whole chronicle. Replying automatically to its stimulus. All her childhood long Uncle Henry's History had been a vague and fabulous thing. exhibiting it with a certain solemnity. four or perhaps five broken hearts. "it wouldn't exist. it's a placid and uneventful record. it administered three or four kindly little smacks. Scogan remarked. written at Crome." Mr. "Sir Ferdinando and the rest of them−−were they amusing? Were there any crimes or tragedies in the family?" "Let me see. She walked slowly back through the farmyard. "to− day I have finished the printing of my 'History of Crome'. "To−day. with a note of scorn in her voice. she was pensive." said Gombauld once more." "The famous History?" cried Anne. "I can only think of two suicides. She was careful. Mr. it would be one long continuous blot from beginning to end." said Priscilla. "And I hope you will not find it uninteresting. "Our muniment room is particularly rich in ancient records. natural children.Crome Yellow "I don't know. I helped to set up the type of the last page this evening. often heard of and never seen. and the like. After the second generation we Scogans are lost in the mists of antiquity. and I have some genuinely new light to throw on the introduction of the three− pronged fork." he said. she moved forward. "If I were to write mine. "Certainly. startled. one violent death." "And the people?" asked Gombauld. "Be careful going down the ladder." he added solicitously." "After dinner. "Twenty−five years of writing and nearly four of printing. Henry Wimbush brought down with him to dinner a budget of printed sheets loosely bound together in a cardboard portfolio." "The Wimbushes and the Lapiths were always an unadventurous. She remained standing there for a moment in bewilderment. "Be careful going down the ladder." Henry Wimbush rubbed his chin thoughtfully." said Mr. seductions.

" said Priscilla. and master of a considerable fortune. the father of a lusus naturae. he was christened Hercules. Hercules remained the only surviving child. he was no larger and heavier than a well−grown child of two. in the hope of making him grow. among normal." said Priscilla. had their tragedies and strange adventures. planning for him in his imagination a military career equal to that of Marlborough. which was very handsome and nobly shaped." "I'm glad to hear it. His mother. which carried him very rapidly to his grave. after eating two dozen of oysters. and. but for his dwarfish stature. and he remained for the rest of his life a pigmy of three feet and four inches. found himself a disappointed man. in which his progress from month to month was recorded. he would have taken his place among the CHAPTER XIII. and took to solitary drinking. Wimbush gave a little preliminary cough and started to read. the party had adjourned to the drawing−room. pulling up a chair to the lamp. His parents. He was a very small baby." and popped back. was turned by disappointment to moroseness and savagery. yawning. ashamed to show himself. smiled. as he said. but in vain. In the course of the next three years Hercules gained perhaps two inches. kept a notebook. His father. was too big for his body. "Hercules thus found himself at the age of twenty−one alone in the world. one of whom died of croup during infancy. to an attack of typhoid fever. One ordered a very plentiful meat diet. Their various prescriptions were followed to the letter. but from the first he was sturdy and healthy. "Glad to hear what?" asked Jenny. "Do. emerging suddenly from her private interior world like a cuckoo from a clock. Sir Hercules Occam of Bishop's Occam. After that his growth stopped completely. for half an hour every morning and evening. He put on his round pince−nez. The beauty and intelligence of his childhood had survived into his manly age. "Now. In honour of his maternal grandfather. for the year before Hercules came of age his father was taken off by an apoplexy. Meanwhile. His head. his mother had borne two other children. a boy and a girl. who had built the most extravagant hopes upon his son. with excruciating torments. In the midst of an attentive silence Mr. another exercise. She received an explanation. consulted all the most eminent physicians of the time. His temper.' he would say. whose love for him had increased with the growth of his father's unkindness. He avoided all company (being. He found his place at last. and. and he took so violent a dislike to his son that the boy dared scarcely come into his presence. and before his second year was out he had learnt to speak a number of words. but otherwise he was exquisitely proportioned. His mother. like many other mothers. healthy human beings). rimmed with tortoise−shell. He walked at ten months. of great strength and agility. for his size. Dinner was eaten.Crome Yellow own respectable way. "On his twelfth birthday Hercules was still only three feet and two inches in height. and began cautiously to turn over the pages of his loose and still fragmentary book. including the estate and mansion of Crome. did not long survive. cuckooed at last "I see. modelled on those employed by the Holy Inquisition. weighing not more than three pounds at birth. "Shall I begin?" he asked. a third constructed a little rack. which had been serene. 37 ." said Henry Wimbush. but little more than a year after her husband's death succumbed. 'I have brought an abortion into the world. looking up. though he could read and write perfectly and showed a remarkable aptitude for music. At three years he weighed but twenty−four pounds. "The infant who was destined to become the fourth baronet of the name of Lapith was born in the year 1740. clapping shut the door behind her. and at six. while the other was carried off by smallpox before it reached the age of five. nodded. on which young Hercules was stretched.

impatient of their sinful brood. ah. the hero takes his place. yet perversely proud. The rare precursors of the nobler breed! Who come man's golden glory to foretell. if the public were to read them it would not be because I am a poet. Sad is the Fate of those. Accordingly. no member of which was above four feet high and the smallest among them scarcely two feet and six inches. though conscious of his great powers in this art. And in our vaunted race of Men behold A form as gross. if we may judge from the poem quoted above. he sold or gave away as too large and too boisterous for his house. Men of their imperfections boast aloud. he would never publish any specimen of his writing. wherein the soul shall be From all superfluous matter wholly free. 'My stature. Nature's most delicate and final birth. seated on a chair with the instrument between his legs. To the music of the harpsichord and clavichord he was extremely partial. but because I am a dwarf. the dull heroic Block: At one we shudder and at one we mock.' "As soon as he came into the estate. Teeming again. he determined to retire absolutely from it and to create. A single specimen will suffice to illustrate his qualities as a poet. a Mind as dead and cold.Crome Yellow handsomest and most accomplished young men of his time. Mankind perfected shall possess the earth. heroically dull. As we in Giants see. replacing them by pugs and King Charles spaniels and whatever other breeds of dog were the smallest. In the course of a few years he had assembled about himself a numerous household. For Art grew great as Humankind grew small. in which all should be proportionable to himself. whenever he was melancholy. Vain of their bulk. "'In ancient days. The Giant dies. A time will come. he regarded himself as being in many ways superior to the ordinary race of man−−he found the presence of full−grown men and women embarrassing. Of old when Heroes fought and Giants swarmed. mastiffs. Slighter in muscle but of vaster Mind. Till God. and a pack of beagles. Gross and repulsive. From an early age he practised the composition of poetry. The smaller carcase of these later days Is soon inform'd. or Italian. Sir Hercules set about remodelling his household. bow and bill. tramps the Earth's fair face. by others of dwarfish stature. he used to play a simple country air or jig. greyhounds. Thus man's long progress step by step we trace. in warriors of old. And learn'd to wield the Pencil and the Quill. His name emblazon'd on Fame's temple wall. though diminish'd. But can we think that Providence will stay Man's footsteps here upon the upward way? Mankind in understanding and in grace Advanc'd so far beyond the Giants' race? Hence impious thought! Still led by GOD'S own Hand. His CHAPTER XIII. which he used to play like a bass viol. books of Sir Hercules's poems survive. Witlessly bold. 38 . but the smallness of his hands made it impossible for him ever to perform upon these instruments. that he must abandon all ambitions in the great world. Huge towers of Brawn. The glowing canvas and the written page Immortaliz'd his name from age to age. Man last appears. When happy mortals of a Golden Age Will backward turn the dark historic page. A time will come (prophetic. and was no indifferent performer on the violin. He was well read in the Greek and Latin authors. And Jabal dwelt in tents and Jubal struck the lyre. too. the Soul unwearied plays And like a Pharos darts abroad her mental rays. as it were. Long ages pass'd and Man grown more refin'd. repeopled Tellus bore The lubber Hero and the Man of War. The Giant vile. He had a small ivory flute made for him. Huge. not yet! For still the Giants' race. on which. such as setters. When the light body. At all that's small they point their stupid scorn And. French. When blacksmith Tubal tamed creative fire. Ere Abram fed his flocks or Homer sung. He had a good ear for music.' he would say. In him the Soul's pure flame Burns brightlier in a not inord'nate frame. I descry Remoter dawns along the gloomy sky). 'is reflected in my verses. think themselves divinely born. His father's dogs. agile as a fawn's. as well as in all the moderns of any merit who had written in English. monsters. as he was able to find suitable successors. he discharged all the old servants of the house and replaced them gradually. while yet the world was young. The spirit slept and all the mind was crass. Gave rein to wrath and drown'd them in the Flood. Wearied by leavening so vast a mass. but. Smiled at his grandsire's broadsword. But pointing Heav'nwards live themselves in Hell. For though by no means ashamed of his deformity−−indeed. Realising. Shall sport with grace along the velvet lawns. sad indeed. But ah. at Crome a private world of his own. Men were huge mounds of matter scarce inform'd. affirming that this rustic music had more power to clear and raise the spirits than the most artificial productions of the masters. topp'd with an empty Skull. Flesh grown corrupt brought forth a monstrous birth And obscene giants trod the shrinking earth.' Several MS. of all they still retain Of giant ugliness absurdly vain. Mankind proceeds towards the Promised Land.

and had more than once. for he was so much charmed by Filomena's grace and beauty. But to find a suitable wife was. Seated together at the harpsichord. "Crome and its household of dwarfs delighted Filomena. especially that of music. that at the end of three days' courtship he made her a formal offer of marriage. was rejected by him because her face. For his own use. Four dwarf grooms. while another young lady. however. felt what it was to love. an orphan belonging to a very good family in Hampshire. as it proved. in green CHAPTER XIII. at that time very much more extensive than it is now. dressed in scarlet liveries and mounted on white Exmoor ponies. When she had become a perfectly proficient rider. when not overfed. though he often fell in love. a kind of dog which. to a life of uneventful happiness. "Having thus settled his household entirely to his own satisfaction. Finally. In course of time. for he would marry none who was not distinguished by beauty and gentle birth. amorous temper−−he must choose her as he had chosen his servants−−from among the race of dwarfs. the young lady herself used to tell it as a particularly pleasant anecdote−−and the taunts and mockery it occasioned were a source of the most acute distress to Hercules. The dwarfish daughter of Lord Bemboro he refused on the ground that besides being a pigmy she was hunchbacked. with four very choice piebald animals of New Forest breed. The story soon got about−−indeed. both in English and Italian. he went immediately on his arrival to pay his respects to the count. but never again.Crome Yellow father's stable was also sold. it only remained for him to find some suitable companion with whom to share his paradise. he heard from a reliable source that Count Titimalo. who felt herself now for the first time to be a free woman living among her equals in a friendly world. She had many tastes in common with her husband. between the ages of sixteen and twenty. at which the English ambassador acted as one of the witnesses. Sir Hercules and his bride returned by sea to England. She had a beautiful voice. for the sale of his diminutive daughter Filomena. whether riding or driving. where they settled down. while their master and mistress. occupations in which. she would sing all the liveliest and tenderest airs from the operas and cantatas of her native country. Indeed. From the poems written at this period we gather that he meditated taking his own life. possessed a daughter of exquisite beauty and great accomplishments. the count was so far reduced in his circumstances that he was even then negotiating (so it was rumoured) with a travelling company of clowns and acrobats. but rabbits. she had picked him up and shaken him like an importunate child. telling him to run away and plague her no more. which he played. as one plays a bass viol. he saw that. a Venetian nobleman. can course a rabbit as well as any of the smaller breeds. a circumstance which gave Sir Hercules unfailing pleasure. Filomena and her husband used often to go hunting in the park. They hunted not foxes nor hares. and could touch A in alt without effort. Filomena especially delighted. he found. he lived down this humiliation. did he dare to make any advances to those in whom he was interested. he had been received with laughter. was wizened and repulsive. After coming to the estate and finding that he was in a position to create his own world as he desired it. but more often riding or driving. indeed. having once dared to declare himself to a young lady of his choice. "When they were not making music or reading together. and that very passionately. they found that they could with their four hands play all the music written for two hands of ordinary size. he had six black Shetland ponies. they spent their time in healthful outdoor exercises. hunted the pack. because they were entirely new to her. who had had the misfortune to lose their performing dwarf. 39 . sometimes rowing in a little boat on the lake. like that of so many dwarfs. which was accepted by her no less joyfully than by her father. whom he found living with his wife and five children in a very mean apartment in one of the poorer quarters of the town. After an unostentatious marriage. who was by three feet in height. which they often did. using a pack of about thirty black and fawn−coloured pugs. Setting out at once for Venice. as we have noted before. for. a matter of some difficulty. Sir Hercules had a susceptible heart. Accompanied by her husband on his fine Cremona fiddle. of a power surprising in one so small. when he was almost despairing of success. who perceived in an English son−in−law a rich and unfailing source of revenue. if he was to have a wife−−which he very much desired. Sir Hercules arrived in time to save her from this untoward fate. On his persisting. being of an affectionate and. But here his deformity had been a source of the most bitter humiliation.

to send him to school. 'the name of Lapith will be preserved and our rarer and more delicate race transmitted through the generations until in the fullness of time the world shall recognise the superiority of those beings whom now it uses to make mock of. 40 . and masters−−was painted by William Stubbs. Extremely put out by this occurrence. He had bought it from an old man at Windsor who had found the beast too expensive to feed.' On his wife's being brought to bed of a son he wrote a poem to the same effect. a day when we should have been rejoicing at the health. horses. 'It seems not natural. but in the secrecy of their respective diaries they brooded over it in terror and dismay. the strength. A picture of the whole hunt−−dogs.' Ferdinando. inconsiderate. though reluctantly. 'we discussed the situation. in another instant it must infallibly have had her by the throat. Turning on his son. Could it be that Ferdinando was destined to become a man of the normal. on pain of his utmost displeasure. Sir Hercules was overjoyed. followed either on the black Shetlands or on the piebald New Forest ponies. knocked her down. Ferdinando refused to move. His mother at this moment coming into the room. who was a man of thirty−six. he ordered him to leave the room immediately. "On his third birthday Ferdinando was taller than his mother and not more than a couple of inches short of his father's height. had not Sir Hercules drawn his sword and stabbed the animal to the heart.' he wrote in his day−book. God give us strength to bear this cross.Crome Yellow habits. 'If God is good. Sir Hercules wears a plum−coloured velvet coat and white breeches. "One summer holidays about three years later Ferdinando returned to Crome accompanied by a very large mastiff dog. Stubbs likewise painted a portrait of Sir Hercules and his lady driving in their green enamelled calash drawn by four black Shetlands. grooms. He was packed off to Eton at the beginning of the next half. On this. and beauty of our child. hardly had it entered the house when it attacked one of Sir Hercules's favourite pugs. his sword drawn and still bloody. "In this way four years passed happily by. Ferdinando returned for the summer holidays larger and stronger than ever. we wept together over the ruin of our happiness. so commanding were his voice. The two figures in their gay carriage stand out sharply against a dark background of trees. seizing the creature in its jaws and shaking it till it was nearly dead.' wrote Filomena in her diary. and in a twinkling had very severely mauled her arm and shoulder. For the child was growing with an extraordinary rapidity. but to the left of the picture the trees fall away and disappear. His father.' wrote his father. received no corporal chastisement. Ferdinando sullenly answered that the dog was his. and he would keep it where he pleased. unamenable to persuasion. his third birthday. so that the four black ponies are seen against a pale and strangely lurid sky that has the golden−brown colour of thunder− clouds lighted up by the sun. A profound peace settled upon the house. his gestures. whose work Sir Hercules admired so much that he invited him. Filomena is dressed in flowered muslin and a very large hat with pink feathers. One day he knocked down the butler and broke his arm. to come and stay at the mansion for the purpose of executing this picture. It was a savage. 'Ferdinando goes crescendo. though a man of ordinary stature. who at this age was already seventeen inches taller than his father. gigantic dimensions? It was a thought to which neither of his parents dared yet give open utterance. the dog flew at her. The child was christened Ferdinando in memory of the builder of the house. At the end of that time Filomena found herself great with child. So awe−inspiring was the spectacle of Sir Hercules standing with one foot on the carcase of the gigantic dog. growing angry. unreliable animal. 'He is rough. 'To−day for the first time' wrote Sir Hercules. 'The only thing that will teach him manners is corporal chastisement. The hideous truth can be concealed no longer: Ferdinando is not one of us. Sir Hercules ordered that the beast should be chained up in the stable−yard.' At eighteen months the baby was almost as tall as their smallest jockey. as being unfit to remain in the same place with the mother whom he had nearly murdered. "With the passage of the months a certain sense of disquiet began to invade the minds of Sir Hercules and his lady.' "At the age of eight Ferdinando was so large and so exuberantly healthy that his parents decided. and the CHAPTER XIII. At a year he weighed as much as Hercules had weighed when he was three. bade him take the animal out of the house at once.

He received the young gentlemen with grave politeness and sent the servants to the kitchen. 'Welcome home. the aged butler. Sir Hercules rose to his feet and. There was a breaking of glass. the beauties of art and nature to be met with abroad. with orders that they should be well cared for. who could only just look over the edge of the big table. but his wife felt herself too old and. 41 . Sir Hercules replied that it was. "'I hope I see you well. prepared to go and see what was happening. The Lady Filomena had lost her voice and Sir Hercules was grown too rheumatical to play the violin.' said Sir Hercules in a voice that trembled a little. The young men were not particularly attentive to his discourses. but the laws of hospitality had to be obeyed. giving as his excuse that he must see how his lady did. the shouting articulated itself into CHAPTER XIII. He. that he used to hunt the rabbit with a pack of pug dogs. it is true. They covered their laughter by violent and repeated fits of coughing or choking. was helped at supper by the three servants brought by Ferdinando and his guests. she had been lying on her bed listening to the sound of enormous laughter and the tread of strangely heavy feet on the stairs and along the corridors. and on other topics of a similar nature. as he had heard. "The old family dining−table was dragged out into the light and dusted (Sir Hercules and his lady were accustomed to dine at a small table twenty inches high). The young men roared with laughter. bade them good−night. The uproar continuing for several minutes. Sir Hercules drew a chair to her bedside and sat there for a long time in silence. a stamping of feet. The noise was louder here. the singing of the orphans in the churches of the same city. she would follow the hunt at a distance in a little gig drawn by the safest and oldest of the Shetlands. Simon. retired to her chamber and her bed. were a period of happy repose for his parents. and each of the young men had brought a servant. but changed the subject of the conversation to sport. Sir Hercules was appalled and indignant. Sir Hercules climbed down from his chair and. making the Grand Tour. Two friends of his own age accompanied him. they were occupied in watching the efforts of the butler to change the plates and replenish the glasses. lowering himself from stair to stair and standing for a moment on each tread before adventuring on a new step. sick with vague dreads and presentiments. with an outburst of shouts and laughter. too nervous for such sports. nor were they able to solace themselves with all the diversions of their younger days. A giant in a brown travelling−suit entered the room. Filomena was not asleep. Sir Hercules affected not to notice. There was no light on the staircase. "When supper was over.Crome Yellow expression of his face that Ferdinando slunk out of the room in terror and behaved himself for all the rest of the vacation in an entirely exemplary fashion. and proceeded to describe the chase in some detail. and with his usual grace supported a conversation on the pleasures of foreign travel. Filomena. since the episode of the mastiff. At most.' Ferdinando bent down to shake hands. but the effect on her mind of this adventure was ineradicable. "Ferdinando had not come alone. from that time forth she lived always among imaginary terrors. But even now the thought of the future haunted them. Sir Hercules received his son alone. Upon this one of the young men asked whether it was true. The sound of laughter followed him up the stairs. "The two years which Ferdinando spent on the Continent. my son. Not for thirty years had Crome been desecrated by the presence of so many members of the common race of men. "Sir Hercules presided. The top of his father's head reached to the level of his hip. then straightened himself up again. the opera at Venice. and Sir Hercules groped his way down cautiously. His mother soon recovered from the bites of the mastiff. "The day fixed for Ferdinando's return came round. sir. to please her husband. still rode after his pugs. in spite of his wife's entreaties. At about ten o'clock they were startled by a violent noise. holding his wife's hand and sometimes gently squeezing it.

non dormir piu. "Sir Hercules would look and listen no further.' added one of his companions. Caligula. no place for him and Ferdinando together. In the middle of the ravaged table old Simon. and preparing a dose of opium twenty times as strong as that which she was accustomed to take when she could not sleep. he poured into his bath the water that had been brought up in accordance with his orders. 'I do not want to see to−morrow.' 'With father Hercules wearing his club and lion−skin. While he was still engaged in this task he rang for a servant and ordered hot water and a bath to be made ready for him at eleven o'clock. The colour deepened. but had a stentorian voice.' They were silent for a time.' said Sir Hercules. Going into his closet he wrote in his day−book a full and particular account of all the events of the evening. "At last Filomena said. long. which so dazed and surprised the little man that he staggered and fell down on his back. The tears came into her eyes. to her questioning glance he answered. He returned to his closet. He opened the book at random. floating through the water in dissolving wreaths and spirals.' 'And you playing on the violin. To−morrow it will be our turn. He crossed the hall once more and began to climb the stairs.Crome Yellow recognisable words and phrases. who was not quite two feet in height and weighed seventeen pounds. When he had finished writing he went into his wife's room. shouting and laughing encouragement. a rivederti. His feet crunched and tinkled among the broken glass.' "'It is better not. he took down from the shelf his copy of Suetonius. so primed with drink that he could scarcely keep his balance. gave him some brandy to drink. In a little while the whole bath was tinged with pink. the butler. Soon he was sound asleep. lying back on the pillow.' he read. taking a razor in his hand. who had called his friends about him at the last. This same Augustus. 'Seneca his preceptor. there was no place for him now in the world.' And there was Petronius. 'They are making mock of old Simon. had exhibited in the amphitheatre a young man called Lucius.' said Ferdinando. Sir Hercules tiptoed across the hall towards it. The three servants leaning against the wall laughed too. he remembered. They raised him up. he brought it to her.' He winced as though he had been struck. not of the consolations of philosophy. sitting out there sulla terrazza in the summer−time?' She began singing softly in her ghost of a cracked voice a few bars from Stradella's 'Amor amor. The three young men sat round. "His wife was still awake.' She drank off the draught and. There was not much blood in his small body. he threw off his dressing−gown and. The blood oozed out. Sir Hercules kissed her hand and tiptoed away. thumping the table with their hands or with the empty wine bottles. amore. while the life was ebbing away through his opened veins. and his shoes were wet with spilt wine. upsetting a decanter and several glasses. putting the toes of one foot into the water and finding that it was not too hot. closed her eyes. but did not drink immediately. he forced to kill himself. as though he were afraid of waking her. 'To−morrow. sat down in the bath. saying. 'we'll have a concerted ballet of the whole household. thumped him on the back. Tiberius. it seems such a short time ago. and having recorded his wife's last words to him. 'Do you remember the songs we used to sing. lifting his knees painfully high at each degree. 42 . he was sinking from vague dream to dream. long. Just as he approached the door there was another terrific crash of breaking glass and jangled metal. bidding them talk to him. This was the end. and all three roared with laughter. With one deep cut he severed the artery in his left wrist. 'Here is your sleeping−draught. The old man smiled and hiccoughed. The water being too hot for him to get into the bath at once. Claudius. and yet so long. Addio.' "Filomena took the glass and lay for a little time.' Then. Sir Hercules felt himself mastered by an invincible drowsiness. A line of light was visible under the dining−room door. Dipping his pen once more in the ink he wrote on the last page of his diary: 'He died a Roman death. He wished to read how Seneca had died. was dancing a jig. but of love and gallantry. of good family. 'he held in abhorrence as being lusus naturae and of evil omen. then lay back and composed his mind to meditation. What could they be doing? Standing on tiptoe he managed to look through the keyhole." CHAPTER XIII. Nero: it was a tale of growing horror. He turned over the pages. 'But dwarfs. Ferdinando suddenly threw a handful of walnuts at the dancer's head.

Crome Yellow

For their after−luncheon coffee the party generally adjourned to the library. Its windows looked east, and at this hour of the day it was the coolest place in the whole house. It was a large room, fitted, during the eighteenth century, with white painted shelves of an elegant design. In the middle of one wall a door, ingeniously upholstered with rows of dummy books, gave access to a deep cupboard, where, among a pile of letter−files and old newspapers, the mummy−case of an Egyptian lady, brought back by the second Sir Ferdinando on his return from the Grand Tour, mouldered in the darkness. From ten yards away and at a first glance, one might almost have mistaken this secret door for a section of shelving filled with genuine books. Coffee−cup in hand, Mr. Scogan was standing in front of the dummy book−shelf. Between the sips he discoursed. "The bottom shelf," he was saying, "is taken up by an Encyclopaedia in fourteen volumes. Useful, but a little dull, as is also Caprimulge's 'Dictionary of the Finnish Language'. The 'Biographical Dictionary' looks more promising. 'Biography of Men who were Born Great', 'Biography of Men who Achieved Greatness', 'Biography of Men who had Greatness Thrust upon Them', and 'Biography of Men who were Never Great at All'. Then there are ten volumes of 'Thom's Works and Wanderings', while the 'Wild Goose Chase, a Novel', by an anonymous author, fills no less than six. But what's this, what's this?" Mr. Scogan stood on tiptoe and peered up. "Seven volumes of the 'Tales of Knockespotch'. The 'Tales of Knockespotch'," he repeated. "Ah, my dear Henry," he said, turning round, "these are your best books. I would willingly give all the rest of your library for them." The happy possessor of a multitude of first editions, Mr. Wimbush could afford to smile indulgently. "Is it possible," Mr. Scogan went on, "that they possess nothing more than a back and a title?" He opened the cupboard door and peeped inside, as though he hoped to find the rest of the books behind it. "Phooh!" he said, and shut the door again. "It smells of dust and mildew. How symbolical! One comes to the great masterpieces of the past, expecting some miraculous illumination, and one finds, on opening them, only darkness and dust and a faint smell of decay. After all, what is reading but a vice, like drink or venery or any other form of excessive self− indulgence? One reads to tickle and amuse one's mind; one reads, above all, to prevent oneself thinking. Still−−the 'Tales of Knockespotch'..." He paused, and thoughtfully drummed with his fingers on the backs of the non−existent, unattainable books. "But I disagree with you about reading," said Mary. "About serious reading, I mean." "Quite right, Mary, quite right," Mr. Scogan answered. "I had forgotten there were any serious people in the room." "I like the idea of the Biographies," said Denis. "There's room for us all within the scheme; it's comprehensive." "Yes, the Biographies are good, the Biographies are excellent," Mr Scogan agreed. "I imagine them written in a very elegant Regency style−−Brighton Pavilion in words−−perhaps by the great Dr. Lempriere himself. You know his classical dictionary? Ah!" Mr. Scogan raised his hand and let it limply fall again in a gesture which implied that words failed him. "Read his biography of Helen; read how Jupiter, disguised as a swan, was 'enabled to avail himself of his situation' vis−a−vis to Leda. And to think that he may have, must have written these biographies of the Great! What a work, Henry! And, owing to the idiotic arrangement of your library, it can't be read." "I prefer the 'Wild Goose Chase'," said Anne. "A novel in six volumes−−it must be restful." CHAPTER XIV. 43

Crome Yellow "Restful," Mr. Scogan repeated. "You've hit on the right word. A 'Wild Goose Chase' is sound, but a bit old−fashioned−−pictures of clerical life in the fifties, you know; specimens of the landed gentry; peasants for pathos and comedy; and in the background, always the picturesque beauties of nature soberly described. All very good and solid, but, like certain puddings, just a little dull. Personally, I like much better the notion of 'Thom's Works and Wanderings'. The eccentric Mr. Thom of Thom's Hill. Old Tom Thom, as his intimates used to call him. He spent ten years in Thibet organising the clarified butter industry on modern European lines, and was able to retire at thirty−six with a handsome fortune. The rest of his life he devoted to travel and ratiocination; here is the result." Mr. Scogan tapped the dummy books. "And now we come to the 'Tales of Knockespotch'. What a masterpiece and what a great man! Knockespotch knew how to write fiction. Ah, Denis, if you could only read Knockespotch you wouldn't be writing a novel about the wearisome development of a young man's character, you wouldn't be describing in endless, fastidious detail, cultured life in Chelsea and Bloomsbury and Hampstead. You would be trying to write a readable book. But then, alas! owing to the peculiar arrangement of our host's library, you never will read Knockespotch." "Nobody could regret the fact more than I do," said Denis. "It was Knockespotch," Mr. Scogan continued, "the great Knockespotch, who delivered us from the dreary tyranny of the realistic novel. My life, Knockespotch said, is not so long that I can afford to spend precious hours writing or reading descriptions of middle−class interiors. He said again, 'I am tired of seeing the human mind bogged in a social plenum; I prefer to paint it in a vacuum, freely and sportively bombinating.'" "I say," said Gombauld, "Knockespotch was a little obscure sometimes, wasn't he?" "He was," Mr. Scogan replied, "and with intention. It made him seem even profounder than he actually was. But it was only in his aphorisms that he was so dark and oracular. In his Tales he was always luminous. Oh, those Tales−−those Tales! How shall I describe them? Fabulous characters shoot across his pages like gaily dressed performers on the trapeze. There are extraordinary adventures and still more extraordinary speculations. Intelligences and emotions, relieved of all the imbecile preoccupations of civilised life, move in intricate and subtle dances, crossing and recrossing, advancing, retreating, impinging. An immense erudition and an immense fancy go hand in hand. All the ideas of the present and of the past, on every possible subject, bob up among the Tales, smile gravely or grimace a caricature of themselves, then disappear to make place for something new. The verbal surface of his writing is rich and fantastically diversified. The wit is incessant. The..." "But couldn't you give us a specimen," Denis broke in−−"a concrete example?" "Alas!" Mr. Scogan replied, "Knockespotch's great book is like the sword Excalibur. It remains struck fast in this door, awaiting the coming of a writer with genius enough to draw it forth. I am not even a writer, I am not so much as qualified to attempt the task. The extraction of Knockespotch from his wooden prison I leave, my dear Denis, to you." "Thank you," said Denis.

"In the time of the amiable Brantome," Mr. Scogan was saying, "every debutante at the French Court was invited to dine at the King's table, where she was served with wine in a handsome silver cup of Italian workmanship. It was no ordinary cup, this goblet of the debutantes; for, inside, it had been most curiously and ingeniously engraved with a series of very lively amorous scenes. With each draught that the young lady swallowed these engravings became increasingly visible, and the Court looked on with interest, every time she put her nose in the cup, to see whether she blushed at what the ebbing wine revealed. If the debutante CHAPTER XV. 44

Crome Yellow blushed, they laughed at her for her innocence; if she did not, she was laughed at for being too knowing." "Do you propose," asked Anne, "that the custom should be revived at Buckingham Palace?" "I do not," said Mr. Scogan. "I merely quoted the anecdote as an illustration of the customs, so genially frank, of the sixteenth century. I might have quoted other anecdotes to show that the customs of the seventeenth and eighteenth, of the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries, and indeed of every other century, from the time of Hammurabi onward, were equally genial and equally frank. The only century in which customs were not characterised by the same cheerful openness was the nineteenth, of blessed memory. It was the astonishing exception. And yet, with what one must suppose was a deliberate disregard of history, it looked upon its horribly pregnant silences as normal and natural and right; the frankness of the previous fifteen or twenty thousand years was considered abnormal and perverse. It was a curious phenomenon." "I entirely agree." Mary panted with excitement in her effort to bring out what she had to say. "Havelock Ellis says..." Mr. Scogan, like a policeman arresting the flow of traffic, held up his hand. "He does; I know. And that brings me to my next point: the nature of the reaction." "Havelock Ellis..." "The reaction, when it came−−and we may say roughly that it set in a little before the beginning of this century−−the reaction was to openness, but not to the same openness as had reigned in the earlier ages. It was to a scientific openness, not to the jovial frankness of the past, that we returned. The whole question of Amour became a terribly serious one. Earnest young men wrote in the public prints that from this time forth it would be impossible ever again to make a joke of any sexual matter. Professors wrote thick books in which sex was sterilised and dissected. It has become customary for serious young women, like Mary, to discuss, with philosophic calm, matters of which the merest hint would have sufficed to throw the youth of the sixties into a delirium of amorous excitement. It is all very estimable, no doubt. But still"−−Mr. Scogan sighed.−−"I for one should like to see, mingled with this scientific ardour, a little more of the jovial spirit of Rabelais and Chaucer." "I entirely disagree with you," said Mary. "Sex isn't a laughing matter; it's serious." "Perhaps," answered Mr. Scogan, "perhaps I'm an obscene old man. For I must confess that I cannot always regard it as wholly serious." "But I tell you..." began Mary furiously. Her face had flushed with excitement. Her cheeks were the cheeks of a great ripe peach. "Indeed," Mr. Scogan continued, "it seems to me one of few permanently and everlastingly amusing subjects that exist. Amour is the one human activity of any importance in which laughter and pleasure preponderate, if ever so slightly, over misery and pain." "I entirely disagree," said Mary. There was a silence. Anne looked at her watch. "Nearly a quarter to eight," she said. "I wonder when Ivor will turn up." She got up from her deck− chair and, leaning her elbows on the balustrade of the terrace, looked out over the valley and towards the farther hills. Under the level evening light the architecture of the land revealed itself. The deep shadows, the bright contrasting lights gave the hills a new solidity. Irregularities of the surface, unsuspected before, were picked out with light and shade. The grass, the corn, the foliage of trees were stippled with CHAPTER XV. 45

" cried Mary triumphantly. With one arm he embraced a large stone flower−pot. here I am. Mr. "Look!" said Anne suddenly. am I?" He hoisted himself up on to the balustrade. CHAPTER XVI. Scogan filled his glass. and. That was charming and vivacious. Women are always wonderfully the same. it was its expression." "You're in time to answer a question. At least. Scogan asked. leaning his head sideways against its hard and lichenous flanks in an attitude of trustful affection. approaching. his nose aquiline. CHAPTER XVI." Ivor's vocabulary was rich." "I'm delighted to hear it. Scogan." said Mr. but a little erratic. but with an engaging gracefulness. His frail and slender body seemed to be fed by a spring of inexhaustible energy. at twenty−six. he was smiling at some private joke. The ladies had left the room and the port was circulating." said Mr.Crome Yellow intricate shadows. it was not the structure of his face that impressed one. lowering his hand. "Perfectly. His head was narrow. and his eyes were of a very brilliant. "I'm not late for dinner." "I told you so. He was forever moving. "Most certainly. 46 ." "One can occupy oneself with it. In England"−−he put the tip of his forefinger against the tip of his thumb and. "But in what sense serious?" Mr. A horn with the voice of a sea−lion made itself heard." he cried. Scogan. In Spain"−−with his free hand he described a series of ample curves−−"one can't pass them on the stairs." Ivor continued. drew out this circle into an imaginary cylinder−−"In England they're tubular. his face thin and rather long. "No. kicking his heels." said Mr. "Well. His hair waved in the wind of his own speed. "always and everywhere. "What's amusing you?" he asked. He had brown. "I mean as an occupation. and pointed. restlessly and rapidly. "Anne." "I see. "We were arguing whether Amour were a serious matter or no. but he disregarded it. looked about him for a moment in silence. that's all. Scogan. a cloud of dust flushed by the sunlight to rosy gold was moving rapidly along the sky−line. at the crest of the ridge. Scogan. What do you think? Is it serious?" "Serious?" echoed Ivor. But now." The dust cloud descended into the valley and was lost. and sat there. I've come with incredulous speed. One can go on with it without ever getting bored. On the opposite side of the valley. wavy hair. One can tell by the speed. Gombauld noticed his smile. darling. But their sentiments are always the same. leaning back in his chair. you're not late. improbable blue. and embraced her. "It's Ivor. The surface of things had taken on a marvellous enrichment. very nearly embraced Mr. passed on the decanter. and his smile was an irradiation. pale. The conversation rippled idly round him. he laughed as he saw them. In old age−− though it was difficult to imagine Ivor old−−he might grow to have an Iron Ducal grimness. Shapes vary a little. A minute later Ivor came leaping round the corner of the house. embraced Mary. I've always found it so.

he will not. disembowelled. or great. I passed my youth doing a great deal of utterly senseless hard work for a very little money. each mental and emotional bias. who was much too stupid to be a development of anything in my character. reading of the exploits of the Bourbons in South Italy. after all. The resulting image gives me his Caesarean formula. But circumstances were against me. too. "They are characters functioning. and that Ivor remains only potentially a Caligula. if they had had the chance to develop. We feel sympathy. Tiberius. mangled. if you were given the opportunity of behaving like a Caesar. When I meet someone for the first time. The rest will blossom into Caesars. The Caesars are one of my touchstones. The result is that now. Since the war we wonder at nothing." Mr. I ask myself this question: Given the Caesarean environment. "all−−with the possible exception of Claudius. it's better so. Hence their unequalled value as a touchstone. But. We differ from the bees in so far that. Scogan drank off what was left of his port and refilled the glass. are all within me. given the proper food. unhappy blackamoors on the Congo and the Amazon were being treated as English serfs were treated in the time of Stephen. sitting round this table. Scogan. But perhaps it is as well. I am the poor thing that I am." said Mr. their dead bodies rot and their eyes decay with the rest. no doubt. the full horror of their potentialities." he went on. each little oddity. of Augustus's prudence. untrammelled. Caligula. no doubt. the most academic of speculations. I might have been something fabulous. but do we enjoy life any the less because of them? Most certainly we do not. Scogan explained. of the libidinousness and cruelty of Tiberius. or intelligent. Claudius." Mr. But it would have been more amusing. as the special food and the queenly cell make the queen bee. To−day we are no longer surprised at these things. With us there is no such certainty. in the void. "I am potentially all of them. the Poles maltreat the Silesians. I was born and brought up in a country rectory. Screams of pain and fear go pulsing through the air at the rate of eleven hundred feet per second." "And which of the Caesars do you resemble?" asked Gombauld. The seeds of Julius's courage and compelling energy. Seventy and eighty years ago simple−minded people. Scogan replied. and magnify them a thousand times. as a spectacle. slashed. The Black and Tans harry Ireland. of Caligula's folly. People are being crushed. a standard. Yes. At this very moment.Crome Yellow "I was just looking at you all. we represent to ourselves imaginatively the sufferings of nations and individuals and we deplore them. Perhaps. After travelling for three seconds they are perfectly inaudible. It would have been pleasant and interesting to watch their tics and foibles and little vices swelling and burgeoning and blossoming into enormous and fantastic flowers of cruelty and pride and lewdness and avarice. in middle age." Mr. out of every ten men placed in the Caesarean environment one will be temperamentally good. "Are we as comic as all that?" "Not at all. We have created a Caesarean environment and a host of little Caesars has sprung up. what are CHAPTER XVI. the bold Fascisti slaughter their poorer countrymen: we take it all for granted. Scogan answered politely. They are human beings developed to their logical conclusions. Given the opportunities. which of the Caesars would this person resemble−− Julius. These are distressing facts. cried out in amazement: To think that such things should be happening in the nineteenth century! And a few years since we too were astonished to find that in our still more astonishing twentieth century. "I was merely amused by my own speculations. so to speak. of Nero's artistic genius and enormous vanity. Augustus." "And what were they?" "The idlest. What could be more natural?" Mr. The Caesarean environment makes the Caesar. 47 . it's as well that Denis hasn't been permitted to flower into a little Nero. I was looking at you one by one and trying to imagine which of the first six Caesars you would each resemble. "the most frightful horrors are taking place in every corner of the world. Nero? I take each trait of character. they can be sure of making a queen every time.

unless the person for whom we feel sympathy happens to be closely involved in our affections. for if one had an imagination vivid enough and a sympathy sufficiently sensitive really to comprehend and to feel the sufferings of other people. honestly. he could improvise. For a mind like his. on the piano. and was the hero of more amorous successes than he could well remember. "So do I. There was just a hint in that triumphant harmony that the seventh had been struck along with the octave by the thumb of the left hand. For painting symbolical pictures he had a dashing style. "I think perhaps we ought to go and join the ladies. Scogan. 48 . Henry Wimbush pushed back his chair. And. "but I for one prefer these still more wonderful arm−chairs. "Wonderful!" and gasped for new breath as though she were suffocating." CHAPTER XVII. Training would only have destroyed his natural aptitudes. But after a month or two I had to admit that. I'm afraid. possessed an irresistible charm of manner. we aren't a sympathetic race. with a startling brilliance. He excelled in amateur theatricals and. He looked for a moment over his pince−nez in Ivor's direction and then." said Mr. I didn't. rapidly and loudly. CHAPTER XVII. but it makes pleasure possible for the rest of the world. Ivor brought his hands down with a bang on to the final chord of his rhapsody. He had a beautiful untrained tenor voice. "Let's go out into the garden. as I've already said. His accomplishments were extraordinary for their number and variety. education seemed supererogatory. and had a considerable first−hand knowledge of the next world. We are not always condemned to be happy alone. with those who physically suffered. And a good thing too." "Thank you. the colour was always pyrotechnical. A really sympathetic race would not so much as know the meaning of happiness." he said. the fact is depressing when one happens to be the sufferer. At the beginning of the war I used to think I really suffered. Henry Wimbush was also happy. And yet I think I have a more vivid imagination than most. one would never have a moment's peace of mind. He was good looking. he could cook with genius. and even then they don't go very far." Murmurs of applause and gratitude were heard. and Mary. returned to the grimy little sixteenth−century account books which were now his favourite reading. Nature and fortune had vied with one another in heaping on Ivor Lombard all their choicest gifts. and if the drawing was sometimes a little weak. He knew more about Sir Ferdinando's household expenses than about his own. besides. He turned round in his seat and tossed the hair back out of his eyes. Scogan. He turned to Mr. Small details matter little so long as the general effect is good. that hint of the seventh was decidedly modern. But luckily." Ivor suggested. without saying anything. "There." said Ivor. her large china eyes fixed on the performer." His pipe had begun to bubble oozily every time he pulled at it. He was perfectly happy. One is always alone in suffering. "That's the best I can do for you. jumping up with alacrity." he said. through imagination and sympathy. He could write rhymed verses with an extraordinary rapidity. "Fortunately. He was a good amateur medium and telepathist." he said. He had wealth and he was perfectly independent. "we can share our pleasures.Crome Yellow sympathy and imagination? Precious little. cried out aloud. but the general effect of splendid noise emerged clearly enough. when occasion offered. "It's a wonderful night." There was a pause. He resembled Shakespeare in knowing little Latin and less Greek.

From somewhere behind Ivor began to sing again." cried Denis. Denis shambled in the rear. Denis. who headed the party. 49 . groped his way cautiously. dropped his head sideways onto her shoulder." he shouted once more. Mary. Outside it was warm and dark. But the ground grew level beneath her feet. After that. like all his emotions. he wondered? They had become like young kittens after a dose of cat−nip. dry concussion that might have been the sound of a slap." said Ivor. Jenny. a gap in the yew hedge. It seemed the easiest. they could see between the high black hedges a strip of sky and a few stars. this blind rush through the dark. Between the blank precipitous wall of the house and the tall yew trees the path was a chasm of impenetrable gloom. The incident. singing unevenly as he went: "Trente baisers pour un mouton. vainly exhorting everyone to caution: the slope was steep. there was no moon. He disengaged his embrace and turned round to shepherd his little flock." "Here are the steps. Ivor put his arm round Anne's waist. enrolled under Ivor's banner.. singing as he walked. followed by the long "F−f−f−f−f" of a breath indrawn with pain and afterwards by a very sincere. Suddenly from behind him he heard a shrill. in this darkness. They walked up and down the terrace. full speed. and in that position walked on. The atmosphere began to palpitate. Un jour exigea a Silvandre Trente moutons pour un baiser. she felt she would never stop. Jenny's voice was heard pronouncing. He hated Ivor. softly: "Phillis plus avare que tendre Ne gagnant rien a refuser. "I am going back to the house." Her tone was decided. It was tremendously exciting. It was lighter here." Went on Ivor. What was wrong with these people. Looking up. "I'm going to run down. and hardly were the words out of his mouth when. Denis wondered why he had never done it. "Be careful. He trotted down the slope towards the unseen sufferer. rather unexpectedly. and. one might break one's neck. but it was. startled. down the invisible slope. Somewhere there were steps down to the right. and in a moment they had the turf of the yew−tree walk under their feet. He guided his companions over the danger. close−−with something about the little Spanish girl to follow. and they wouldn't listen. he had told them so. whatever it had been. They made their way along the side of the house to the entrance of the yew− tree walk that led down to the lower garden. the most natural. of horrible spiked obstructions. thing in the world. Denis. or at least it was just perceptibly less dark." The others followed. thump! there was the sound of a heavy fall in front of him.Crome Yellow The outdoor party. the warm darkness seemed to pulse like blood about them. "Let's go down to the pool. He himself felt a certain kittenishness sporting within him." and he was off. and even as she pronounced the words she was melting away into the darkness." The melody drooped and climbed again with a kind of easy languor. the idiots. her speed insensibly CHAPTER XVII. was closed.. "Oh!" and then a sharp. stretti"−−close. nouvelle affaire: Pour le berger le troc fut bon. for the yew walk was wider than the path that had led them under the lea of the house. and then interrupted himself to shout.. and Ivor sang a Neapolitan song: "Stretti. "Oo−ooh!" Denis was almost pleased. rather a theoretical feeling. it did not overmasteringly seek to express itself in a practical demonstration of kittenishness. Mary came down the hill like a runaway steam−engine. Denis resumed his forward groping. one had an irrational fear of yawning precipices.. "Car il obtint de la bergere. "Le lendemain. consisted of Anne.

Fut trop heureuse de lui rendre Trente moutons pour un baiser. Anne. bare arms. "But then." She made an effort to release herself. The light spurted and then grew steady. They walked along by the side of the pool. and found himself breathing the faint. He rubbed his cheek. to lay his head on her shoulder. In a little while he began to sing again. when he had finished cleaning and bandaging her hand." "My poor Anne. and there was something in her tone that made him feel that she had lost her superiority over him. and so they sat in silence. the night trembled amorously to the sound of his voice." she commanded. The feeling was so strong that instinctively he put his arm about her. Denis? I've hurt my ankle so−−and my knee. they heard the sound of Ivor's singing. the shimmering orange of her dress. When he had finished he kissed her. "So it is!" he exclaimed. "I seem to be making nothing but floaters this evening. from below. I've already made one with Jenny. "you're caught now. a patch of green turf−−and round about a darkness that had become solid and utterly blind. caressed and caressing. delicious atmosphere of perfume that she carried always with her. She drew closer. leaned against him. "Is that you." he said. both were green and earthy with her fall. almost a child." He felt in his pockets for the match−box. It's Mary. "Well. Mary was too short for him to be able. 50 ." "Ass!" she retorted in a tone of tearful irritation. and my hand. "it was silly to start running downhill in the dark. suddenly. "Any damage done?" he called out. and. that she was younger than he. He felt tremendously large and protective. Ne voulant deplaire au berger. meekly and gratefully. soft but wonderfully clear through the still darkness. but the general effect was the same." he couldn't help adding. with any comfort." Ivor burst into a peal of amused laughter. and the left exhibited two or three red abrasions. "It's not Anne. he saw that the trace of tears. I'm all in pieces. interlaced. It didn't seem to make much difference which it was. of course. Then. Anne held out her hands. a world of colours and forms−−Anne's face. her white. The match went out. and his emotion was intensified when. "Thank you. He was going on with his half−finished song: "Le lendemain Phillis plus tendre.Crome Yellow slackened. lingered on her eyelashes." she said. "I want to look at my wounds. Anne or Mary: Mary or Anne." He laughed again. had become. against the thick. He did not remove his encircling arm. "Not so bad." she said." He sat down beside on the grass." CHAPTER XVII. looking up at her face. Anne allowed herself to be attended to. There were differences in detail. "of course it was. sleek mass of her hair. a little universe had been created. and suddenly she was caught by an extended arm and brought to an abrupt halt. involuntary tears of pain. after all." said Ivor as he tightened his embrace. Magically. He pulled out his handkerchief and began to wipe away the dirt from the wounded hand. the general effect was the important thing. and there was something so jolly about his laughter that Mary could not help laughing too. Denis made his way down the hill. But Denis was terribly distressed. "Light a match. it was not worth while to light another. and somehow it was all so amusing and natural that Mary made no further attempt to escape from it.

A wave of courage swelled through him. "I'll carry you.." "Why not?" "It spoils our friendship.." The sheep. Anne averted her head. He turned his head." she protested. and that was so jolly. he kissed the ear. "Are you comfortable like this?" She nodded a Yes to both questions. Then the voice sang on: "Le lendemain Phillis peu sage Aurait donne moutons et chien Pour un baiser que le volage A Lisette donnait pour rien.? Or the shepherd? isn't our stunt at all.." Reasons of health could not be gainsaid." It was true. and helped his companion to her feet. Somehow she had never thought of Denis in the light of a man who might make love.. warm as wine. she had never so much as conceived the possibilities of an amorous relationship with him." "But if I say it is?" "It makes no difference." Denis offered. and began to kiss her face. "Trente moutons pour un baiser. It was as though time were being allowed for the giving and receiving of a few of those thirty kisses. at first rather randomly. then. "You couldn't." "Because it isn't." "Bosh!" said Denis. decidedly. by the way. on the mouth. "no. that's a horrible and inappropriate expression. He was the master. "Why isn't it our stunt?" asked Denis." "I shall make you say it is. CHAPTER XVII. but on the cinema it always looked an easy piece of heroism. with more precision..." she said. but she knew what she meant. Denis. 51 . he felt himself to be the shepherd now. baa. Denis. the woolly mutton−− baa." The last note died away into an uninterrupted silence.." said Anne. "Ooh!" She halted and leaned heavily on his arm." "All right. It's beginning to swell. the smooth nape that this movement presented him.Crome Yellow There was a rather prolonged pause. "No. "it isn't. She tried to explain.she couldn't find the adjective. He had never tried to carry a woman. "And. the protector. baa.. She took a cautious step. "Are you better?" Denis whispered. I must go in and get my ankle into hot water. I say it isn't. But you must do it another time. He was so absurdly Denis got up reluctantly. "Can't you see. so.

regardless of the absence of the justifying R. thus supported. Anne was shaking with laughter. CHAPTER XVII. He selected a book and a comfortable chair. he should have been holding her in his embrace. with something of a bump. to compose himself for an evening's reading. He was surprised to find them all sitting just where he had left them. as he looked at them.Crome Yellow "Of course I can. what a weight! He took five staggering steps up the slope." "It's perfectly sweet of you to offer." he ordered. somehow. she was once more the far−off being. "What have you done with the rest of your party?" she asked. thanks. then almost lost his equilibrium.. he was silent. On the back of each sheet descriptive titles were written: "Portrait of an Angel. He helped Anne upstairs." She laid her hand on his shoulder and. began to limp slowly up the hill. It seemed incredible that. without conviction. "We waited to see the moon rise. kissing her. Diamonds were embedded in her high−piled coiffure. my poor Denis. Ivor and Mary were still in the garden. All silent and all damned. seated in her favourite arm−chair at the corner of the hearth. 3rd December '19. Mr. and came down again to the drawing−room. you know. but I'd rather walk. It was a batch of Ivor's drawings−−sketches of Spirit Life. as far as the disturbed state of his mind would permit him. looking up as Denis entered the room. Gombauld." said Ivor. An immensely long cigarette− holder projected at an angle from her face. Jenny was mysteriously scribbling in her red notebook. It was nearly an hour later when Ivor and Mary made their appearance. "I said You couldn't. He explained. on the slope of her mauve−powdered decolletage diamonds twinkled. "It was gibbous. looked long and attentively through half−closed eyelids. Anne had gone to bed. "My poor Denis!" she repeated. Scogan's pipe still wheezed. was reading. Incredible. The lamplight was utterly serene. One by one she held them out at arm's length and. and had to deposit his burden suddenly. she turned it over to read the title. only two minutes ago. everything would be quite different−−it seemed such a prodigious time since he went away. in horn−rimmed spectacles. She wore a pale sea−green dress." "Astral Beings at Play. that was the only sound. and laughed again. All silent and all damned." "I can. Humiliated. stooping. he had just made the discovery that Sir Ferdinando was in the habit of eating oysters the whole summer through. desired and unassailable. She had to be content with the reported experiences of others." "A Party of Souls on their Way to a Higher Sphere. left her in the hands of a maid. Now she had regained all her superiority. throwing back her mountainous orange head. he picked her up under the knees and lifted her from the ground. he reflected. He had expected that. Try as she could−−and she tried hard−−Priscilla had never seen a vision or succeeded in establishing any communication with the Spirit World. And. made in the course of tranced tours through the other world. a child." said Denis. "I'll try again. there was no movement save the stir of Priscilla among her papers." Before examining the drawing on the obverse of each sheet. 15th March '20. very technical and scientific. and tried. all silent and all damned.. 21st May '21. they glittered every time she moved. She was helpless then. Priscilla was looking through a pile of drawings. Denis repeated to himself. Good heavens." Mary explained. Henry Wimbush was still deep in his account books." He felt larger and more protective than ever. "Put your arms round my neck. 52 . Why had he been such a fool as to suggest that carrying stunt? He reached the house in a state of the profoundest depression. She did so and.

the scent of flowers. "The earth must just be coming into the summer shower of them. exactly three hundred and fifty years ago. And then they had had such interesting conversation. down there in the garden−−suspicious of what. He had a natural piety which made him delight in the celebration of memorial feasts. art. the rising moon and its gibbosity. had an interesting mind. Inwardly. In the parish church of Crome Mr. Sir Ferdinando had eaten seven dozen oysters. music. The three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the seven dozen oysters. Ivor. Not that she minded. The discovery of this fact gave Henry Wimbush a peculiar pleasure. and weather by a glazed sedan that rose. 18: "And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops"−−a sermon of immediately local interest. What about? About almost everything. he would have ordered champagne. the stars. poetry. The light was out in Anne's room. dust. the stars.. On this very July day.Crome Yellow "It was so beautiful down in the garden! The trees. the meteorites through whose summer shower the earth was now passing. faintlier. It was a smart. The two young ladies parted affectionately. without appearing to be seriously disturbed. and they were gone. or mental energy. "Why didn't you come down to the garden with us?" Mary asked. she thought. the stars. Mary had never been to a Roman Catholic service. when the car moved off through the great gates of the courtyard. "There were a great many meteorites. But she didn't like the idea that perhaps she was the victim of a put−up job.He wished he had known before dinner. but she was not yet asleep. by a quarter to ten. the relations of the sexes. science. Denis helped me home. the scent of the flowers. too. Ivor.. The sea−lion horn roared. the stars. 53 . In July and August. The nearest Roman Catholic church was upwards of twenty miles away. the rising moon. "I do hope you'll be better to−morrow. religion. the scent of flowers. or CHAPTER XVIII. thought it would be an interesting experience. He even put in a nightingale that was not there." she said. an elegant eighteenth− century hump. expensive−looking machine. from the midst of the body of the car. He played the garden. For the past two years the problem of the War Memorial had exercised the minds of all those in Crome who had enough leisure. it was really too much. It made me burst into tears. Nature.. faintlier. of course." said Mary to anyone who would listen. Mary looked on and listened with parted lips. spiritualism. There were two seats−−three if you squeezed tightly enough−−and their occupants were protected from wind. Bodiham preached on 1 Kings vi. but there had seemed to be something a little louche in the way she had suddenly found herself alone with Ivor.. who was punctilious in his devotions. "And when the moon came up. and she commiserated with Anne on all she had missed−−the garden." Mary was full of sympathy. came down early to breakfast and had his car at the door. She had been vaguely suspicious." Ivor waved his arms. On her way to bed Mary paid a call. and. CHAPTER XVIII. "I fell down and twisted my ankle. she was relieved to find Anne's non−appearance so simply accounted for. The others pursued their occupations. enamelled a pure lemon yellow and upholstered in emerald green leather.. far from it.. she was occupying the spare seat in the sedan." He sat down at the piano and opened the lid. she hardly knew. ready to start." But Ivor had already begun to strike the keys.

stocked with county histories. These were works dedicated to man. dancing−−social amusements in which they would have partaken as members of a conscious community. drearily guffawing as they smoked their cigarettes. these young men would have had their Sunday diversions even at Crome. Sir Julius. Meanwhile a difficulty stood in the way. CHAPTER XVIII. remote and rustic Crome. A lich−gate had been suggested. he built a house all carved with knops. Bodiham scornfully and indignantly condemned the idea. They made way for Henry Wimbush. Further delay was disastrous. a work dedicated to God. It was high time that the War Memorial was erected. Boredom or the urban pleasures of the county metropolis were the alternatives that presented themselves to these poor youths. or. Country pleasures were no more. Bodiham touched lightly on Solomon's temple. what could be more to the taste of the world's wisest man? He might have dug a reservoir−−what more useful in a parched city like Jerusalem? He did neither. his bowler and face were one in their unruffled gravity. for example. making up parties of a Sunday afternoon to look for fossils and flint arrow−heads." Mr. nothing had been done. His last had been delivered in March. Funds were inadequate. useless and unpractical. it was pleasanter than the road. were assembled. he reflected. it was at the same time a visibly embodied supplication that God might not long delay the Advent which alone could bring the final peace. nothing except Mr. monographs on the local antiquities. A library. But nothing would be easier than to make a second entrance into the churchyard. a monument of marble. From thence he passed to temples and churches in general. But the busiest and most articulate party followed Mr. Why? Because he was dedicating the work to God." Solomon might have built a library−−indeed. He liked to think of the villagers. complete uselessness. A War Memorial was. Stained−glass windows. Henry Wimbush was all for a library−−a library of local literature. in its very nature. inspired by such reading.Crome Yellow party spirit to think of such things. Henry Wimbush walked home thinking of the books he would present to the War Memorial Library. if ever it came into existence. it was high time that his congregation had a fresh reminder. like a thief in the night. Bodiham in demanding something religious in character−−a second lich−gate. in the time of his son. Now they had nothing. It might soon be too late. 54 . Bodiham preached a sermon on the subject. handbooks of the local geology and natural history. He took the path through the fields. they had been stamped out by the Puritans. All should subscribe according to their means. There would have been archery. Bodiham's forbidding Boys' Club and the rare dances and concerts organised by himself. loutish young fellows all dressed in the hideous ill−fitting black which makes a funeral of every English Sunday and holiday. Those who had lost relations in the war might reasonably be expected to subscribe a sum equal to that which they would have had to pay in funeral expenses if the relative had died while at home. already existed. The villagers themselves favoured the idea of a memorial reservoir and water supply. touching their caps as he passed. a stained−glass window. At any moment. He appealed to the patriotism and the Christian sentiments of all his hearers. all three. He returned their salute. the fact of their. partly because the memorial committee had never been able to agree. As a War Memorial they were totally unsuitable. They were unpractical buildings "carved with knops. skittles. So far. dialect dictionaries. Every three or four months Mr. There had been much talk in Crome about the proposed War Memorial. Other suggestions had been made. a reservoir? Mr. not to God. old maps of the district. especially the latter. In Sir Ferdinando's time. a monument of marble. The War Memorial must be built at once. This was an object which answered perfectly to the definition of a War Memorial: a useless work dedicated to God and carved with knops. "And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops. It was a token of thankfulness that the first stage in the culminating world−war had been crowned by the triumph of righteousness. it was true. from a human point of view. however. At the first stile a group of village boys. Both these were admirable. One lich−gate. and a second entrance would need a second gate. if possible. What were the characteristics of these buildings dedicated to God? Obviously. partly for the more cogent reason that too little money had been subscribed to carry out any of the proposed schemes. God might come.

it drove him finally to suicide. had had wind of a scandal. Or there's Sir Cyprian." He turned the pages more rapidly. drunk and loved away about half his capital. how helpless without their clothes against armed and booted horsemen! The dancers were arrested. "I think I shall read about my grandfather. Certain magistrates in Berkshire. He liked to think so. there's his son. and that in despite of the hard times (for Sir Ferdinando married in 1809 in the height of the Napoleonic Wars). The country was desolate..Crome Yellow In Manningham's Diary for 1600 there was a queer passage. he even became temperate. he applied himself forthwith to the task of spending it. "and the events that led up to his marriage with the eldest daughter of the last Sir Ferdinando. Puritan magistrates. By the time he was forty he had eaten and." insisted Mr. whipped. set in the stocks. Unchanged for fifteen hundred year. Panic rite came to extinction here? he wondered. was due. among the sheepcotes. which he did in an ample and jovial fashion. Scogan. But Providence willed otherwise. I must say a few preliminary words about Sir Ferdinando. 55 . Then. Ferdinando found himself in possession of the family fortune. Sir Julius.. One moonlit summer night they had ridden out with their posse and there. dancing. The pious magistrates had snuffed out for ever a little happy flame that had burned from the beginning of time. "And as on Tullia's tomb one lamp burned clear. if he had not had the good fortune to become so madly enamoured of the Rector's daughter as to make a proposal of marriage. The magistrates and their men had ridden their horses into the crowd. Scogan. "We are listening. a very queer passage. To Napoleon. earthy. without life of its own. he remembered. gaoled. And now it was no more. taking his pipe out of his mouth. the untimely and CHAPTER XIX. A prosperous and dignified old age. and there seemed no good reason why she should not bear many more of them." "Before I begin reading. cheered by the spectacle of his children's growth and happiness−− for Lady Lapith had already borne him three daughters. though perhaps indirectly. The "History of Crome" lay on his knee. What old." "But you must read something. rarely drinking more than a bottle and a half of port at a sitting. CHAPTER XIX. the moonlight dance is never danced again. An extraordinary reformation made itself apparent in Sir Ferdinando's character." "Good. and in less than a year had become the absolute mistress of Crome and her husband.. without indigenous pleasures. "Sir Ferdinando's voyages are not without interest. of course. and would infallibly have soon got rid of the rest in the same manner. Henry Wimbush's long cigar burned aromatically. and was desolated to think of all the murdered past. How self−conscious the poor people must suddenly have felt." said Henry Wimbush. He grew regular and economical in his habits." said Mr." said Henry Wimbush. Or Sir George. The young lady accepted him." he said thoughtfully. not a little increased by his father's temperance and thrift.No. I'm inclined to think I won't read about any of these. would have to bicycle six miles to the town. These weary young men. It was he who suffered from the delusion that his perspiration engendered flies. if they wanted to dance. above all. looking up from the book and taking off the pince−nez which he had just fitted to his nose−−"before their begin. Who knows?−− perhaps their ancestors had danced like this in the moonlight ages before Adam and Eve were so much as thought of. At the death of the virtuous and unfortunate Sir Hercules. "Or Sir Henry." He repeated the lines to himself. slowly he turned over the pages. stark naked. the last of the Lapiths. and sons as well−−a patriarchal decline into the family vault. among the hills. they had come upon a company of men and women. cause already of such infinite mischief. The waning fortune of the Lapiths began once more to wax.. seemed now to be Sir Ferdinando's enviable destiny. "I can't decide what episode to read you to−night.

and later. taking a place on whichever of the outgoing coaches he happened to light on first. "It was in the spring of 1833 that my grandfather. Sir Ferdinando suddenly toppled sideways off his seat and fell. His skull was fractured in two places. a victim to his own patriotism. The coach was brought to a standstill. the guard ran back with a light. doubtful days. from the earliest days of the conflict with the French. and Sir Ferdinando found that it was not enough to take a nip at every stage: to keep up his vital warmth he was compelled to drink between the stages as well." said Mr. after the Nile. then came the glorious news of Waterloo. his joyous youth awoke again within him. he bribed his way on to the box and. twins of two. but unconscious. There had been a succession of anxious." he said. and once more put on his pince−nez.Crome Yellow violent death which put a period to this reformed existence. Wimbush waited. Thus. and. "Fire away." Mr. Scogan. he sat through all a chilly October night on the box of the Norwich "Meteor" with a nautical keg of rum on his knees and two cases of old brandy under the seat. to drive through the country proclaiming the good news to all he met on the road and dispensing it. but determined to devote the rest of her life to the well−being of her three children−−Georgiana. George Wimbush. an East Indian merchant. They spoke together in whispers. had adopted. At Didcot one of the ostlers was so much overcome by patriotic emotions and the 1760 brandy that he found it impossible to do up the buckles of the harness. seated in glory beside the driver. Henry Wimbush fired away. "till I've refilled my pipe. They picked him up. first made the acquaintance of the 'three lovely Lapiths. An unpleasant jolt awakened the slumbering passengers. His father. "So much by way of introduction.' as they were always called. It so happened. Sleeping Reading was awakened by the great news. He found Sir Ferdinando still alive. without having manifested the slightest premonitory symptom of unsteadiness. Leipzig. into the road. at every stopping−place to all who cared to listen or drink. When the happy news reached London. it was his custom to purchase immediately a large store of liquor and. along with the liquor. Scogan had lighted his pipe again. he enjoyed hunting and all other field sports. when the coaches. who was above all things a patriot. now five years old. Ivor was showing Mary his sketches of Spirit Life. and Emmeline and Caroline. breaking most of his ribs and both arms. the retreat from Moscow. The back wheels of the coach had passed over his body. head foremost. They clattered through Uxbridge. were setting out with the news of Nelson's victory and death. proclaimed aloud the downfall of the Corsican bandit and passed about the warm liquid joy." Henry Wimbush paused. The coach was travelling at a dizzy speed−−six miles in the last half−hour−−when. He hurried to his wine merchant and bought a dozen bottles of 1760 brandy. It was too much for Sir Ferdinando. This genial custom was one of the many habits which he abandoned on his marriage. had destined him for a political career. "Now I can begin to read about my grandfather. though his circumstances were comfortable to the verge of affluence. with cypress for mourning. he had driven as far as Edinburgh. "Sir Ferdinando. He had been educated at Harrow and Christ Church. wreathed with laurel for triumph. Seated apart in a corner of the room. Lady Lapith did not marry again. however. The victories in the Peninsula. They were approaching Swindon. Maidenhead. and had gone to considerable expense in acquiring a CHAPTER XIX. Mr. with curly yellow hair and a smooth pink face that was the mirror of his youthful and ingenuous mind. The night began to grow chilly. The Bath coach was on the point of starting. 56 ." he said. his own peculiar method of celebrating our victories. blood was oozing from his mouth. and the abdication of the tyrant all went uncelebrated. He was then a young man of twenty−two. his pleasures were temperate and innocent. that in the summer of 1815 Sir Ferdinando was staying for a few weeks in the capital. Slough. So perished Sir Ferdinando." "One moment. but he was dead before they reached the next stage.

They waved away whatever was offered them with an expression of delicate disgust.' She made a little gesture of CHAPTER XIX. Georgiana. 'are you a classicist or a transcendentalist?' George did not lose his presence of mind. You went to hear Paganini last week. 'so am I. the eldest. "'Alas!' Emmeline sighed. no meat. The inauguration of George's political career had to be postponed. of course. 'But one must live. had almost compensated for the tediousness of the rest of the concert.' said George. with their delicately turned− up noses. She hoped and expected that her daughters would all marry into the peerage. 'One must. but for the invincible attraction exercised by their beauty. the trifle. They talked of Nature. was about to go on speaking. and three grapes−−that was her whole dinner. 'I am glad. but held that London during the season also had its charms. Death is very beautiful. and chestnut hair. ventured to comment on the sisters' lack of appetite. grunt.. don't you think?' She broke a corner off a piece of toast and began to nibble at it languidly. He noticed with surprise and a certain solicitous distress that Miss Emmeline's appetite was poor. the loin of veal. "The prayer of Moses"−−ah!' She closed her eyes. to be so forbidding that. he replied. He was justly indignant when. leaning forward and fixing him with her large dark eyes. who occupied. that it didn't. decidedly. Emmeline protested that to her high mountains were a feeling and the hum of human cities torture.' said Emmeline. and so. the Reform Bill of 1832 swept the borough out of existence. George's partner was Emmeline. the duck. At the time he got to know the lovely Lapiths he was waiting. in fact. 57 . character. with a promptitude which did him credit. George. The man had made his fiddle bray like an ass. cluck like a hen. Two spoonfuls of soup. 'We find it so coarse. but. he was no classicist in music. would make an excellent second string for one of the twins. her noble aquiline profile. "'Pray. one must live. 'I don't. "George followed up this first introduction by paying a call on the young ladies and their mother. no bird.' Georgiana smiled bewitchingly. one couldn't. squeal.' she said. so unspiritual. bellow. as you say. however. she thought. and having found that George's financial position. exist. "At this first dinner. her flashing eyes. But what was almost worse was the question with which Georgiana opened her conversation with him. with her black ringlets. a small but elegant house in the neighbourhood of Berkeley Square. The twins.Crome Yellow pleasant little Cornish borough as a twenty−first birthday gift for his son. he was a thoroughgoing transcendentalist. my sisters and I. she knew it was advisable to prepare for all contingencies. George would never have had the courage to follow up the acquaintance. and the twins.' he said. during the season. a morsel of fish. George agreed that the country was very agreeable. that last item. One can't think of one's soul while one is eating. Yes. and family were all passably good.' He hesitated. were an identical pair of ravishingly English charmers. looking up their noses at him with an air of languid superiority. "The lovely Lapiths did not fail to impress him. 'Do you know anything more transcendental than that?' 'No. were objects revolting to the sight and smell. who thought the dinner capital. her swan−like neck. Georgiana and Caroline seemed to be quite as abstemious. and growl. he was not at all impatient. He smiled with pleasure at the thought of it. He looked from time to time at her two sisters. He had enough appreciation of music to know that he hated anything classical.. as though the lemon sole. she asked him to dine.' she asked. on the very eve of George's majority. 'In music. shutting their eyes and averting their faces from the proffered dish. George Wimbush. in George's estimation.' "George agreed. don't talk to me of eating. "Their conversation at this first meeting proved. neigh. asked him what he thought of the latest French poetry and whether he liked the "Indiana" of George Sand. drooping like a sensitive plant. quack. 'But since. Lady Lapith made a few discreet inquiries. bark. 'I am a transcendentalist. was orientally dazzling. and then decided that after all it would be wiser not to say−− what was in fact true−−that he had enjoyed above all Paganini's Farmyard Imitations. being a prudent woman. their blue eyes. and sloping shoulders.

"'In my young days−−' Lady Lapith was launched into her subject. could stop her now. To George the thought was a continual agony.. so did her sisters. that one couldn't help liking him. he thought. having broken away CHAPTER XIX. If she were to die. "George regarded her with some surprise. Perhaps if you were really spiritual you needed less food. pray. she might loose her precarious hold on this material world and become all spirit. if all the world acted on your principles?' "'Mamma!. and natural surroundings might have restored to the three sisters their appetites and the roses of their cheeks.. Nowadays. of the three she ate least. and his soul was a hell of jealousy and despair.' she said. They never ate.. people told you you needed a dose of rhubarb. routs. but he was such a pleasant. George looked on.. too spiritual for this world. Georgiana had swooned sideways on to Lord Timpany's shoulder. they often complained of fever. 'Luckily a very little suffices to keep one alive. She was as pale as ever.Crome Yellow resignation. He enveloped them all in a warm. They all liked him. "'In my young days. 'In my young days. unpretentious. Love is incompatible with life. George was invited to spend the month of August at Crome. One morning. was not spiritual. For they needed protection. and was the palest−−with a pallor that was so startling as to appear positively artificial. he shrank from them.. Indiana and Sir Rodolphe celebrated the mystic wedding of their souls by jumping into Niagara. 58 . "'True love. they were altogether too frail.' She put down her corner of toast half eaten. For his part. my dear. seeking gloom and solitude. wonderful.' said Lady Lapith. 'I should have been laughed out of countenance if I'd said a thing like that. 'being infinite and eternal.' "'Mamma!. It was a desperate expedient. stout and practical. True. In the middle of July the whole household moved down to the country. in company with the rest of the lovely trio. come. kind−hearted young man. clearly. repose.. "The days passed in an uneventful round of pleasures. two or three salted almonds. At any moment. The wish of two people who truly love one another is not to live together but to die together. Of all the gay party George alone was unhappy. in the list of visitors figured the names of two marriageable young men of title.' Emmeline and Caroline implored in unison. "After this he saw them frequently. to live through the season. The boisterous company of the young men became intolerable to him.' "There was a cry. For dinner. and that in spite of the numerous balls. and dropped her eyes. talked most of death. especially Georgiana.' Georgiana protested. He. if you didn't eat.' "'Come. It was just unpleasant. he thought them wonderful. but she looked extraordinarily healthy. however. nothing. George had hoped that country air. it seemed. but it was successful. Lord Timpany was paying his court to Georgiana. Georgiana ate only an olive. it seemed... swooned most often. from Lady Lapith downwards. the first evening. She was pale. and it was clear that he was not unfavourably received. Georgiana was the most ethereal of all. he was not very romantic or poetical. During the meal she spoke of love. He was mistaken. and half a peach.' Lady Lapith went on. can only be consummated in eternity. Lady Lapith was stopped. they frequently swooned. "The house−party was distinguished. protective affection. they talked much and lovingly of death. 'What would become of the next generation. they were always pale. she never failed to attend. and other parties of pleasure which. "She contrived. But then in my young days souls weren't as fashionable as they are now and we didn't think death was at all poetical.

and silver. George was astonished that he had not noticed it before. Suddenly determined. but his attention wandered. the brown cannon ball of a cold plum− pudding. then! The solution of the problem would not be so simple. he would go to seek her beyond the grave. this partial satisfaction had but whetted its appetite. On the last stroke. a little door swung open. without her tray. they did not customarily make their appearance till luncheon. He tiptoed onward and upward. mutely gaping.−−all the shining apparatus of an elegant meal−−were mirrored in its polished depths. and a door confronted him. A slit−like window admitted the daylight. "At any moment she might die. a slender Hock bottle. He paused for a moment to look out. for five minutes he struggled heroically with his curiosity. Wimbush remarked parenthetically−−stood a small circular table of mahogany. popped out of the door that led from the kitchen regions into the hall. it was so obvious. would be a piece of unforgivable rudeness and indiscretion. the staircase. now he had seen it. that to explore the secrets of that surprising door. he perceived. He pulled back the catch and peeped inside. revealing the foot of a winding staircase. The young men were bathing in the pool below. George sat down in the hall and abandoned himself to thought. then he would die too. corkscrewed round. of which the degrees were made not of stone but of blocks of ancient oak. The carcase of a cold chicken. opened the hidden door. he kept repeating−−no business of his. The door closed behind her with a click.. holding a large covered tray. horribly underbred. The staircase. that mysterious staircase within. he told himself. George rose.ah. unobserved) with an idle curiosity. but at the end of that time he found himself standing in front of the innocent sheet of panelling through which the little maid had disappeared. almost as obvious as the cupboard door in the library with its lines of imitation shelves and its dummy books. A quarter−past twelve sounded on the harmonious clock. "George closed the door and went back to his seat. It was just an ordinary door let in flush with the panelling. petrified by what he saw. making the quiet house seem lonelier and more silent. It was in vain. Putting his eye to the keyhole. A glance sufficed to show him the position of the secret door−−secret. their cries and laughter floated up to him. From his deep arm−chair George watched her (himself. If she died. porcelain. was extremely ungentlemanly.Crome Yellow from them on some vague pretext. as though he were affronting some unknown danger. he was at the foot of the central tower. What he was doing. No latch nor handle betrayed its position. Indeed. She reached out her hand and. the little maid darted in with a rapid crab−like motion. But then suppose she were in love with Timpany−−though it seemed incredible that anyone could be in love with Timpany−− suppose her life depended on Timpany. then half a turn. George tried to recompose his thoughts. the little maid. to George's extreme astonishment. Where did the staircase lead? What was the errand of the little maid? It was no business of his. like an automaton released by the turning clockwork. only to those who looked with a careless eye. A minute later it opened again and the maid. wound up and out of sight. Turning sideways in order to get her tray through the narrow opening. at any moment she might become Lady Timpany. listened. He passed the first window. deeply gashed to its heart of tenderest white and pink. He halted before it. but an invincible curiosity drew his mind towards the hidden door. and the little window looked out over the terrace. "In the middle of a pleasantly sunny little room−−'it is now Priscilla's boudoir. a bowl of fruit. but an unobtrusive catch sunk in the wood invited the thumb. Crystal. he returned to the house alone. If she became Lady Timpany. If she became Lady Timpany: it was a horrible thought. Emboldened. terrible.' Mr. and came to another. he turned the handle and stepped across the threshold. a great ham.. he could hear no sound. and began to ascend the stairs. and a decanter of claret jostled one another for a place on this festive CHAPTER XIX. they were still shouting and splashing in the pool below. hurried back across the hall and disappeared in the direction of the kitchen. it was evident. so that the male guests had the morning to themselves. There he halted. crossed the room. One turn more. It was in vain he told himself that the matter was none of his business. 59 . But his curiosity was not satisfied. his heart beat uncomfortably. he saw nothing but a stretch of white sunlit wall. a little maid. He tried to read. The lovely sisters and their mamma still kept their chambers. It was terrible. suppose she couldn't live without him? He was fumbling his way along this clueless labyrinth of suppositions when the clock struck twelve. She pattered across the room and came to a halt in front of what seemed a blank expense of panelling.

'I'll give you twenty−four hours to decide. gazed at him with dark. her little finger. when he congratulated her on this increase of appetite. 60 .' "'I don't care. The other two sisters had turned round to look at the intruder. Emmeline's fingers were round the stem of her claret glass. Emmeline sprang to her feet. They were a group of statues. she caught George's eye. she had hoped for better things−−for Timpany and a coronet. Georgiana. uttering a cry. he turned and. George? Promise you won't tell anyone. it remained. the three lovely Lapiths−−eating! "At George's sudden entrance they had all looked towards the door. For what seemed a very long time. Priscilla. and there. The wave of panic reached George. She looked up. "What's about a ham?" "What Henry has been reading. "My poor grandfather!" Mr. with a nervous laugh." she said.Crome Yellow board. smiled. Georgiana toyed with some French beans and a spoonful of calves'−foot jelly." She closed the red notebook lying on her knees and slipped a rubber band round it. "At luncheon it was noticed that the sisters ate a little more than usual.' she said to Lord Timpany. 'I feel a little stronger to− day.. 'It would make us look so ridiculous.' said George brutally.. 'I'll tell everyone. mumbling something unintelligible as he went. said George. highly centralised. in mid−air. elegantly crooked. "In the garden that afternoon they found themselves for a moment alone. he began to laugh. frozen. as he closed his book and put away his pince−nez. who sat immediately facing the door. rushed out of the room and down the winding stairs. He came to a standstill in the hall. Then suddenly there was movement. but the drumstick had never reached its destination." she announced. "I'm going to bed. stood apart from the rest of her hand. And round the table sat the three sisters. enormous eyes. The movement propagated itself. Her mouth was open. Wimbush added. "Whenever I read in the papers about oppressed nationalities. And besides.' "'It's blackmail.' "Lady Lapith was disappointed. a blush suffused her cheeks and she looked hastily away. Caroline still grasped her knife and fork. suddenly woke up. "What?" she said in the startled tones of one newly returned to consciousness. 'a little more material. In the silence that ensued Ivor's whispered commentary on the spirit sketches once more became audible. "It was a maternal government. and now they sat." He relighted his cigar. nodded reassuringly. isn't it? Say you won't tell anyone. But George. suspended. of course. Caroline's knife and fork clattered on her plate.' "'I will. all by himself in the quiet house. unless. Between the thumb and forefinger of her right hand she was holding a drumstick of the dismembered chicken.' she implored. grew more decisive. who had been dozing. and there were no representative institutions. Georgiana dropped her chicken bone. "It's about a ham. I think of him. CHAPTER XIX." Henry Wimbush ceased speaking. "what?" Jenny caught the words. eating IS unspiritual. wasn't so bad. Looking up. George and the three sisters stared at one another in silence. petrified by the same astonishment which kept George fixed and staring. and got up. after all. "You won't tell anyone. They were married at the New Year.' she added.

But she lacked the energy to rise from her arm−chair. the monumental coiffure nodded exorbitantly at her slightest movement. like a tight−rope dancer. "perhaps. and cautiously added. for the next. One gets bored by oneself on a tower. Then there was a patter of feet on the tiles. I concentrate my will: I say. 'I will sleep." "I shan't sleep. but sank back on her pillows. and when one meteorite had streaked across the sky. were crying their good− nights across the dividing gulf. "Oh!" she said.Crome Yellow "So am I. followed by a scrabbling noise and a whispered "Damn!" And suddenly Ivor's head and shoulders appeared above the parapet. Even through the mattress one could not fail to be aware that the leads were extremely hard. perhaps he was walking in his sleep! Suppose he were to wake up suddenly. Round the open windows the curtains hung unmoving. was recognisably Ivor's." "Out of doors! What a wonderful idea!" In the end they decided to sleep on the towers−−Mary on the western tower." said Anne. With the mournful scream of a soul in pain. "What are you doing here?" "I couldn't sleep. Mary felt less sleepy than she had when she first came out. in the moonlight. narrow clouds barred the east. all the geese of the farmyard burst into a sudden frenzy of cackling. That's the power of thought. On Mary the sleep−compelling charm of the open air did not work with its expected magic. assuredly they would sleep. For what seemed an immensely long time there was no sound. he began to walk forward along the roof−tree of the house. The sky was pale and watery. The night was hot and oppressive. their edges bright with orange fire. Had Ivor been able to sleep? she wondered. roused by some unknown terror." Priscilla turned her head in his direction." "But does it work on stuffy nights?" Ivor inquired. the moon climbed higher and higher in the sky." "Nor can I. I know. Ivor. "You must make an effort. She dared look no more. One leg followed. He swayed terrifyingly as he advanced. Time passed. Mary looked on speechlessly. and you could get a mattress through the trap doors that opened on to them. She listened intently. then the other. and an hour later the two insomniasts." she said. CHAPTER XIX. Mary pretended to wake up with a start. "When I can't sleep. The stars and the gibbous moon demanded to be looked at." he explained. alighted on the parapet of the tower. There was a flat expanse of leads on each of the towers. She sat up and looked over the parapet. sheets and blankets were spread." said Mary." he declared. and once. flying heavily up from below. "so I came along to see if you couldn't. "I simply cannot sleep on a stuffy night. fanning himself with the portrait of an Astral Being. The mattresses were hauled up. each on his separate tower. a monstrous peacock. Under the stars. Spreading his arms to right and left. I am asleep!' And pop! off I go. And as though in answer to her mental question. Long. "except out of doors. Ivor and Mary started broad awake. from behind the chimney−stack at the farther end of the roof a white form noiselessly emerged−−a form that. 61 . looked out into the darkness and drew a breath. Ivor on the eastern. you could not help waiting. "The air's like wool." said Henry Wimbush. under the gibbous moon. Don't you find it so?" It was light before five. open−eyed and alert. now! If she spoke or moved it might mean his death. yawning. He was on the leads. "It will get cooler after midnight. Then there were noises: the owls screeched tirelessly.

" The frightened peacock ran up and down the parapet in an absurd distress. "An angel's feather. but then." she said at last. he was a martyr to them. "I'll go down through the house and up at the other end. and then sank down. a long−lashed eye of purple and green.. "All right." he said. It's dangerous. It was all extremely symbolic. Ivor was gone. a sort of Teddy−bear−−but a Teddy bear with an angel's head. But he had left a trophy. Mary looked at it for a moment." "Ivor. He had gone back just in time. the feather of an angel's wing. from the beginning of July till the end of September. from Elizabethan manor− house to Georgian mansion. on Saturday in the West riding. From below. Mauve pyjamas and white pyjamas. Lounging behind the wind−screen in his yellow sedan he was whirling across rural England. A minute later he had reappeared on the farther tower. from castle to castle." said Ivor at last. unjointed toy. The varletry will soon be up and about. gravely and intently. "Extraordinary!" Ivor echoed. he waved his hand. out of sight. Profound and beautiful truth! "I must be getting back to my tower. Then with a flap and swish he launched himself upon the air and sailed magnificently earthward. Ivor had his feather. What luck!" He put his arm round her shoulders and they stood looking eastward. Ivor. Please. she looked like some large. his long tail swung ponderously back and forth as he turned and turned again." he said. he devoted himself to his engagements. of blue and gold. The first sunlight had begun to warm and colour the pale light of the dawn.. if you choose to think so. and hair like a bell of gold. An angel's face. Social and amorous engagements of the most urgent character called him from hall to baronial hall." There was a prolonged and silent farewell. "It's extraordinary to think of sexual selection. jumping up. behind the parapet. Her purple pyjamas clothed her with an ampleness that hid the lines of her body. curtseying and bobbing and clucking. in the house. CHAPTER XX. "We'll have a feather. over the whole expanse of the kingdom. "And now. To−day in Somerset." He vanished through the trap door into the darkness that still lurked within the shuttered house. with a recovered dignity. pink cheeks. In the autumn he went back to CHAPTER XX." said Ivor. The whole summer through.Somehow the whole atmosphere of this sunrise was rather angelic. He handed it to his companion. The rising sun touched their faces.. by Tuesday morning in Argyll−−Ivor never rested." He had to yield at last to her entreaties." Mary threw her arms round his neck. you select me.. "You mustn't.Crome Yellow "Catch him!" cried Ivor. "I repeat my tight−rope stunt. comfortable. to−morrow in Warwickshire. came the thin wasp−like buzzing of an alarum−clock. they were a young and charming couple. 62 . "I select you. looking up from her contemplation of the miraculous feather. nothing in this world is not symbolical. "Already?" "I'm afraid so.

but not disagreeable. fierce and fiery. On the label was a list of its virtues. "from the fact that beautiful words don't always mean what they ought to mean." "Well. The carminative virtues of burgundy. when he had finished. rose−coloured and warm. You have a first−hand knowledge of the workings of a poet's mind. Scogan. whence they had bidden their last farewells." Mr. "I am only troubled by the butterfly's auricular wings. I adored the word." Denis went on. In all that singing flies and flying sings. of Aleatico. "Carminative." "What could be simpler. according to his invariable custom in these cases. for example. an evanescent bubble on the stream of his life. "carminative. long way ahead. but nobler. Meanwhile there was Gobley. And on Thursday morning−−but that was a long. still more vaguely with caro−carnis. that glow. I imagined vaguely that it had something to do with carmen−carminis. I classified them. Marsala is rosily." said Denis. In rain. despairingly−−"now I know what carminative really means. 'Isn't it carminative?' I used to say to myself when I'd taken my dose." said Denis. a little impatiently. I had a whole table of carmination values. Recently. Who webbed enchantment on the bowls of night. Denis." "One suffers so much. Scogan agreed. of Lacryma Christi. Scogan read it aloud: "The magic of those immemorial kings. Scogan. meanwhile Zenobia. Denis and Mr. of stout. of Marsala. a golden liquor. Haunts like a ghostly−peopled necropole. what DOES it mean?" asked Mr. They used to give me cinnamon when I had a cold−−quite useless. "And what does it mean?" "It's a word I've treasured from my earliest infancy. Sleeps in the soul of all created things. palms upwards. 63 . Later. By tea−time he would be at Gobley. much more cogent spells Weave here their wizardries about my soul. and Ivor wanted to say that the wings were golden. CHAPTER XX. downily carminative. I had a whole poem ruined. of claret. But much more magic. perhaps you can explain. lingering lovingly over the syllables. He had improvised it magisterially in the ten minutes preceding his departure. gin pricks and refreshes while it warms. It seemed so wonderfully to describe that sensation of internal warmth. In the eyed butterfly's auricular wings And orgied visions of the anchorite. 'carminative' described for me that similar. open. and among other things it was described as being in the highest degree carminative. In the visitor's book at Crome Ivor had left. Carminative−−it's admirable. Mr. in pain.Crome Yellow London for a holiday. isn't it?" "Admirable. more spiritual glow which wine evokes not only in the body but in the soul as well. One poured it drop by drop out of narrow bottles. when I discovered alcohol. it belonged already to the past. Crome had been a little incident. of rum. of the raw new wine of this year's Tuscan vintage−−I compared them. "It's a beautiful word. Scogan strolled back together from the gates of the courtyard. th' Acroceraunian height. on the writing−table in the hall they found the visitor's book. and its derivations. He would think of Thursday morning when Thursday morning arrived." "You make it luminously clear." said Denis. in delicate delight. Fate tears me hence. a poem." "Very nice and tasteful and tactful. And now"−−Denis spread out his hands. Crome calls me like the voice of vesperal bells. of gin. "treasured and loved. Hard fate! since far from Crome My soul must weep. like carnival and carnation. that−−what shall I call it?−−physical self−satisfaction which followed the drinking of cinnamon. just because the word 'carminative' didn't mean what it ought to have meant. and Ivor's composition scarcely dry. Carminative−−there was the idea of singing and the idea of flesh. remembering its Home." said Mr. In the blue sea. of old brandy. of champagne. and there would be Zenobia's welcoming smile.

Your mind is not a literary mind. it was a complete landscape with figures.' CHAPTER XX. very aptly compendiously expressive. hue! Poste et j'ajouterai. dia! Si tu ne fuis onze−bis Rue Balzac. is essentially carminative. Scogan.' Windtreibend!" he repeated. indefinite hinterland of suggestion. And then suddenly it occurred to me that I had never actually looked up the word in a dictionary. perhaps. the death of something young and precious. half a century.' was what I wrote. and all at once I felt I would like lexicographical authority for it. an immense." Denis went on. ca. "Ah.. There were the years−−years of childhood and innocence−−when I had believed that carminative meant−−well." he said. "for me it was no laughing matter." said Denis. elaborate work of art. and they were silent for a time.. for example. "Words. For me it marked the end of a chapter. A small English−German dictionary was all I had at hand. unless they leave you pitiful. Everything was in the word carminative−−a detailed. the glow. You are too much preoccupied with mere things and ideas and people to understand the full beauty of words. "that the effects of love were often similar to the effects of wine. Carminative: for me the word was as rich in content as some tremendous. you can't see that 'Apte a ne point te cabrer." protested Mr. it was also. Mr." Denis repeated. Instead of which.' It was the first time I had ever committed the word to writing. carm. "words−−I wonder if you can realise how much I love them." "Carminative. I flattered myself. car.." "Others have done the same before you." said Mr. that Eros could intoxicate as well as Bacchus.. It had always been taken for granted. before me lies the rest of my life−−a day. 'Plus ne suis ce que j'ai ete Et ne le saurai jamais etre." said Denis at last. "Carminative." "Well. 'And passion carminative as wine. my dear Denis..' It is a realisation that makes one rather melancholy. chez cet Heredia. It gives one the sense of warmth. the interior ripeness were all in the word. exact foreground. 64 ." said Mr. "Do come to the point. Scogan. "I wrote a poem about the effects of love.' I was not ill−pleased. 'And passion carminative as wine. Carminative had grown up with me from the days of the cinnamon bottle.. carminative. "There is no need to be ashamed. ten years. Gladstone finding thirty−four rhymes to the name 'Margot' seems to you rather pathetic than anything else.Crome Yellow with a suggestion of the jollities of mi−Careme and the masked holidays of Venice. Mallarme's envelopes with their versified addresses leave you cold. I wrote a poem the other day. Carminative−−the warmth." "Do come to the point. I turned up C. Scogan laughed. Not only was the line elegantly sonorous. The spectacle of Mr. the glow.. And now. when I shall know that carminative means windtreibend. 'And passion carminative as wine. Scogan thoughtfully. There it was: 'Carminative: windtreibend." "I was putting forward the notion.. Denis shook his head. Love.

and did not stay their flight till they were safely in the farmyard. Perched on its four stone mushrooms. little fragments of dirt and crumbled wood rained down among them. Some stood. verbal part of literature is simply a development of magic. "Poor ducks!" Anne repeated. For example. The creation by word−power of something out of nothing−− what is that but magic? And. and she looked at Gombauld through half−closed eyes. morticing their verbal formulas together." "You're right. 'Black ladders lack bladders. and. wooden chair." "That's the test for the literary mind. the sense that words have power. She was smiling. 65 . their spells are more subtly powerful. for they evoke emotions out of empty minds. "Don't lose your temper.' translated into magic significance as. The sound of their quacking was faint in the distance. "I can't work with you dangling about distractingly like this. Suddenly their jovial repose was shattered. I proffer the constatation. Words are man's first and most grandiose invention." "A mental carminative. I may add. and from time to time some pointed tail would execute a brilliant Lisztian tremolo. preening themselves. Scogan.' it becomes. "Listen! You've frightened the ducks. the whole granary trembled." CHAPTER XXI. harmonious words the magicians summoned rabbits out of empty hats and spirits from the elements. unforgettable. trembling with delight and awe. moving. some reposed with their long bellies pressed to the ground. Her right elbow rested on the back of the chair and she supported her cheek on her hand. still go on with the process. "I can't. 'Les echelles noires manquent de vessie. a family of white ducks had sought shelter from the afternoon sun. the literary men. as though the cool grass were water. Here. in the green dampness.' A self−evident truth.' or. A prodigious thump shook the wooden flooring above their heads. Poor dears! no wonder. With language he created a whole new universe. had I chosen to formulate it in such words as 'Black fire−escapes have no bladders.' And you can't appreciate words. what is that but literature? Half the world's greatest poetry is simply 'Les echelles noires manquent de vessie. He glared at her round the half−finished portrait on the easel. "the feeling of magic.Crome Yellow is a little miracle. the little granary stood two or three feet above the grass of the green close." Anne was saying. slender body drooped into curves of a lazy grace." "You don't feel it to be magical?" "No." said Mr. "That's what you need.' But since I put it as I do." said Denis. 'Black ladders lack bladders. Their descendants. Formulated by their art the most insipid statements become enormously significant. for all its self−evidence. With a loud." said Mr. in the shadow. "Can't you see you make me lose my time?" he asked. and stamped his foot again. it was inaudible. significant. Scogan reflectively. continuous quacking the ducks rushed out from beneath this nameless menace. "Damn you!" Gombauld repeated. I'm sorry for you. Rabbits out of empty hats? No. The technical. 'Black ladders lack bladders. before the power of the finished spell. one on which it would not have been worth while to insist." She was sitting sideways in a low. Beneath it there was a perpetual shade and a damp growth of long. Her long. Little social noises burst fitfully forth. what wonder if he loved words and attributed power to them! With fitted." CHAPTER XXI. luxuriant grasses.

66 . with a gravity that was somehow a little too solemn." Recovering her calm." said Gombauld. My poor Gombauld! Surely you're not going to sing that old song again. when I do. "It's always the same old story about the woman tempting the man." "So like a man again!" said Anne. "Can't you see that you're simply externalising your own emotions? That's what you men are always doing. "You're playing the same game with him. You have the mentality of savages." "Thanks." he said. renewing the conversation as though it had only just been broken off. "It's perfectly untrue about Denis. "Be a little objective. The woman lures.. "I'm at a loss to know whether you're more silly or more rude." she said indignantly. Anne shrugged her shoulders and gave vent to a sigh. except to be painted?" Gombauld made a noise like a growl. all I can say is that this must be the hundredth case. when you're in a good temper−−and that I think you're a good painter. with conviction.. "I suppose you'll be saying next that you didn't start the game. innocent man−−falls a victim." After painting for a little time in silence Gombauld began to speak again. that it was I who made the first advances. and I always thought you were a man of sense. "And then there's Denis.Crome Yellow "You'd lose less time if you stopped talking and stamping your feet and did a little painting for a change. It's so unintelligent." Anne went on." Gombauld replied. it's so barbarously naive." "For the simple reason"−−Gombauld mimicked her voice−−"that you want me to make love to you and. to have the amusement of running away. and that you were the innocent victim who sat still and never did anything that could invite or allure me on. "Why do you ask me to come and stay here? Why do you tell me you'd like me to paint your portrait?" "For the simple reasons that I like you−−at least." he said. Why can't you leave that wretched young man in peace?" Anne flushed with a sudden and uncontrollable anger. "I never dreamt of playing what you beautifully call the same game with him. "So you think it amuses me to have to evade your advances! So like a man! If you only knew how gross and awful and boring men are when they try to make love and you don't want them to make love! If you could only see yourselves through our eyes!" Gombauld picked up his palette and brushes and attacked his canvas with the ardour of irritation." "Well. she added in her ordinary cooing voice and with her exacerbating smile. fascinates." "I have. "You're awful. without looking up. "You've become very protective towards poor Denis all of a sudden. You feel one of your loose desires for some woman. "I don't like to see a young man. You might just as well say that a plate of strawberries and cream deliberately lures you on to feel greedy. invites." Anne threw back her head and laughed. of deliberately provoking and inviting the desire." CHAPTER XXI. In ninety−nine cases out of a hundred women are as passive and innocent as the strawberries and cream. what am I dangling about for." said Gombauld. and because you desire her strongly you immediately accuse her of luring you on. After all. and man−−noble man.

thought Denis. "Not so fast. When it was finished. She became somewhat pensive. and at the same time it was the most malicious of lies. the grace of the painted figure seemed to be melting into a kind of soft decay. the hopeless kind−−the quiet. 67 . making work impossible. Perhaps that was the ideal kind of love. We'll go together. so recently eaten. towards the front. seemed now to have converted itself into a kind of feverish energy. But Denis−−no. and lunch. theoretical kind of love. They crossed the courtyard in front." said Anne. he was possessed by that bored and hopeless post−prandial melancholy which the coenobites of old knew and feared under the name of "accidie. she was going to sit for him again. talking. Gombauld painted on with fury." He felt. I share them. He looked down from his window. I was just going down to the flower garden to take the sun." he said. laughing together.. it would be diabolic when it was finished. For the sake of peace and quiet Denis had retired earlier on this same afternoon to his bedroom." when his attention was attracted by a sound from outside. but in vain. Scogan. the lines sagged as they crossed the canvas." Denis abandoned himself.. Evoking colour's bloodless ghost. here that he had kissed her. and passed out of sight through the gate in the right−hand wall. His pleasantly depressing melancholy was dissipated by a puff of violent emotion. He wanted to work. here that Anne had fallen. before. he wondered what she would think of it.Crome Yellow ".. The hand that lay along the knee was as limp as a glove. she had never flirted with Denis. here−−and he CHAPTER XXII. The portrait was terribly like. but the hour was a drowsy one. The restlessness of an unsatisfied desire. He had emphasised the lazy curves of her body. continuing his sentence for him. He began to write. He was painting her in the pose she had naturally adopted at the first sitting.being whirled along the road to ruin. of love hopeless and unattainable. expressionless mask which was sometimes her face. the man seemed to be lying in wait. Scogan's eye glittered like the eye of the Ancient Mariner." indeed! In the hall he saw Mr. it had begun to emerge on the canvas. "The stealth of moonbeams. something a little droopy and at the same time−−how should he put it?−−a little infinite. believe me. her elbow on the back of the chair. Gombauld might have some slight ground for his reproaches. That was the way to the green close and the granary. her head and shoulders turned at an angle from the rest of her body. stretching out a small saurian hand with pointed nails−−"not so fast. there they were. like Ernest Dowson. Yes. she had fallen into an attitude of indolent abandonment. had distracted his mind. Poor boy! He was very sweet. Scogan put on his hat and they went out arm in arm. "a little weary. One elegant quatrain had flowed from beneath his pen: "A brooding love which is at most The stealth of moonbeams when they slide. On the shaven turf of the terrace Henry Wimbush and Mary were playing a solemn game of bowls. It was here. He was at work on the face now. the portrait would be diabolic. doll−like in its regularity and listlessness." She was curiously irritated at what Gombauld had said about Denis. weighed heavily on body and mind. CHAPTER XXII. I admire your sentiments and. Denis tried to escape. Mr. which. he told himself. In this sad mood of repletion he could well believe it. Seated sideways. angrily he threw his quatrain into the waste−paper basket and ran downstairs.. The meridian demon was upon him. It was Anne's face−−but her face as it would be. It was the lazy. O'er some scarce−breathing breast or side. He thought of Anne." He was in the mood to write something rather exquisite and gentle and quietist in tone. Mr. utterly unillumined by the inward lights of thought and emotion. It happened to be so completely untrue. They descended by the yew−tree walk. Anne and Gombauld. Gombauld decided.

Scogan shrugged his shoulders and. We're too sane." Mr. besides. Erasmus was no longer listened to. at the head of one of the alleys stood a green wooden bench. It was here. he was thinking of other things. The smell of burning tobacco began to mingle with the sweetly acrid smell of the lavender. Gombauld is better looking than I. he's already somebody and I'm still only potential. violent. and somehow rather fiendish laugh. dry perfume instead of air−−it was here that Mr. made a gesture of resignation−−"It's futile to complain that things are as they are. Wherever the choice has had to be made between the man of reason and the madman. and. The only hope is a maniacal crusade. but at the same time I shall feel a little ashamed of myself. People listened to him at first−−a new virtuoso performing on that elegant and resourceful instrument. Scogan elected to sit. but the tireless insistence of Mr. passionate." he said to himself−−"after all. and men rushed to follow him. our rulers persevere in their customary porkishness. have never achieved anything. the compelling enthusiastic mania. to beat a tambourine with the loudest. CHAPTER XXII. Sanity appeals and argues. the intellect. decently. It is humiliating to find how impotent unadulterated sanity is. 68 . or at least a little less porkishly than usual? He did not. the case of Luther and Erasmus. People are quite ready to listen to the philosophers for a little amusement. you must set about persuading them in a maniacal manner. For the madman appeals to what is fundamental. But as to acting on the advice of the men of reason −−never." Mr. the philosophers to what is superficial and supererogatory−−reason. is a sane and reasonable exploitation of the forces of insanity. I am just Vox et praeterea nihil. taking his pipe out of his mouth. pipe in hand. then.Crome Yellow blushed with retrospective shame at the memory−−here that he had tried to carry her and failed. to move men to action. Erasmus was only reason and decency. But did he move them to behave as he wanted them to behave−−reasonably. for example. and. he was reviled for his reasonableness. informs us that the only way in which we can preserve civilisation is by behaving decently and intelligently. to passion and the instincts. being a sage. such as you may possibly become. to all intents and purposes I don't exist. I am nothing at all. "Consider. more confident. "If you want to get men to act reasonably." They entered the garden." Denis made no response. suddenly breaking a long silence." Mr. in this curious establishment. we're merely reasonable. embayed in the midst of a fragrant continent of lavender bushes. just as they would listen to a fiddler or a mountebank. Denis tried not to listen. Scogan lighted a match. more entertaining. We sane men will have the power yet. Luther was serious. And then Luther appears. He shouted. The very sane precepts of the founders of religions are only made infectious by means of enthusiasms which to a sane man must appear deplorable. "After all. while we acquiesce and obey. Life was awful! "Sanity!" said Mr. Sanity. for example. It's a melancholy story. Europe followed Luther and embarked on a century and a half of war and bloody persecution. "Men such as I am." He took out his pipe and began to fill it as he talked. he gave vent to his loud. a man of reason if ever there was one. dry. I am ready. when it comes. He thrived on untempered sunlight. when you're old enough to be sane or insane. The fact remains that sanity unassisted is useless. Scogan's discourse gradually compelled his attention. though the place was shadeless and one breathed hot." "Everything that ever gets done in this world is done by madmen. Scogan went on. the world has unhesitatingly followed the madman. "Sanity−−that's what's wrong with me and that's what will be wrong with you. Scogan. "There was Erasmus. Scogan's eyes shone with a more than ordinary brightness. he lacked the power.. Luther was reality−− like the Great War. as things are. a madman insanely convinced about matters in which there can be no conviction. We lack the human touch. In a sane world I should be a great man. However"−−Mr. In the intense light the flame was all but invisible. they even admired and venerated him. What we want. my dear Denis..

and seize power from the imbeciles and maniacs who now direct us. Scogan additional vitality. Scogan. 69 .. Scogan went on. must conspire. We can't leave the world any longer to the direction of chance. "The three main species. and will be set. and the whole concern will go to pieces. a long white pointer for the lantern pictures. But I divagate. not according to the colour of their eyes or the shape of their skulls. to perform those functions which human beings of his variety are capable of performing. shading his eyes from the intolerable light. to go on casually appearing and turning everything upside down." The heat that was slowly paralysing all Denis's mental and bodily faculties. who believe in things unreasonably. his voice went on sounding and sounding in Denis's ears with the insistence of a mechanical noise. nor is it his business." He paused." he said. "There's only one thing to be done. Mr. cleared his throat. Examining psychologists. lying across one corner. I will do more than indicate the three main species into which the subjects of the Rational State will be divided." Mr. But it is not in the power of a prophet to go into details. as I have been calling them. how limited. They will employ as their instruments of power the second great species of humanity−−the men of Faith. Scogan waved away the interruption." Mr. We men of intelligence will learn to harness the insanities to the service of reason. "human beings will be separated out into distinct species. and are ready to die CHAPTER XXII. Some people want power to persecute other human beings. and the Herd." said Denis." said Denis. He was sitting in limp discomfort at one end of the bench. in adult life. A few more knocks like the Great War." "How many species will there be?" asked Denis. Scogan saying. will be the governors of the Rational State. In the past it didn't so much matter. you expend your lust for power in persecuting words." "Making electricity to light a Swiss hotel.. quick. his eyes shone. "the time will come. but our modern machine is too delicate. "In the Rational State. Among the Intelligences will be found all those capable of thought. and coughed once or twice. "A great many. mad about dogma. "the classification will be subtle and elaborate. "Everybody wants power. torturing them to obey you. the child will be given the education suitable to members of its species. bolt upright at the other end. his hands moved in sharp. mad about himself. We can't allow dangerous maniacs like Luther. those who know how to attain a certain degree of freedom−−and. alas. is made to do useful work. "Power in some form or other. no doubt. the men of reason must see that the madness of the world's maniacs is canalised into proper channels.Crome Yellow "But I don't want power. and continuous. another Luther or two. the Men of Faith. "will be these: the Directing Intelligences. laughed again. twisting them. unheeding. seemed to bring to Mr. evoking in Denis's mind the vision of a table with a glass and water− bottle. like a mountain torrent driving a dynamo. The sort of power you hanker for is literary power. like Napoleon. and. trained to what would now seem an almost superhuman clairvoyance. precise gestures. but according to the qualities of their mind and temperament. He talked with an ever−increasing energy. "The men of intelligence must combine. Scogan answered. even among the most intelligent. "You ought to complete the simile. A select body of Intelligences. Hard. moulding them." Mr. "Yes. drawn from among those who have turned their attention to the problems of practical life." he heard Mr." Mr. Duly labelled and docketed. will test each child that is born and assign it to its proper species." he said. dry. Scogan continued." "Do you?" asked Denis faintly. They must found the Rational State. with passion. In future. that freedom is!−−from the mental bondage of their time. the Madmen.

convinced of their own grandeur and significance and immortality. with their fearful potentialities for good or for mischief. "It's difficult to see where you would fit in. as soon. the round. Denis emitted the imitation of a loud Homeric laugh. for the sake of solidarity. it was as though he were taking a revenge. 70 . "You couldn't do manual work." he said. The old−fashioned Man of Faith and Desire. Systematically." Mr. When any particular effort is required of the Herd. These wild men. no more Luthers and Mohammeds. the Men of Faith will have had their special education under the eye of the Intelligences. They passed a bed of opium poppies." he said at last. Scogan. when it is thought necessary. At ordinary times. still bubbling with a seemingly spontaneous enthusiasm." He paused and shook his head. will be replaced by a new sort of madman. When these projects are accomplished. as the examining psychologists have assigned them their place in the classified scheme. that is. they will be made to believe that they are happy. ripe seedheads were brown and dry−−like Polynesian trophies. In the upbringing of the Herd. still externally the same. they will be marvellously happy. how very different from the madman of the past! For the new Man of Faith will be expending his passion. Denis pulled a sprig of lavender and sniffed at it. filling and ever filling again with the warm liquor that the Intelligences. they will have to be marvellously clear and merciless and penetrating. "From their earliest years. severed heads stuck on poles. Scogan chuckled maliciously." "And what will be my place in the Rational State?" Denis drowsily inquired from under his shading hand. that haphazard creature of brute circumstance. and they walked slowly away down the narrow path. He will be. no more Joanna Southcotts. then some dark leaves of rosemary that smelt like incense in a cavernous church. will brew for the intoxication of their subjects. and got up. when the high spiritual temperature of a Crusade would be unhealthy. on enthusiasts. in sad and sober privacy behind the scenes. that humanity shall be kindled and united by some single enthusiastic desire or idea. no more Comstocks. happier than any race of men has ever been. but. you're too independent and unsuggestible to belong to the larger Herd. I can see no place for you. you have none of the characteristics required in a Man of Faith. the Men of Faith. He liked the fancy enough to impart it to Mr. primed with some simple and satisfying creed. in the name of reason. brushing the blue lavender flowers in their passage. The principal function of the Men of Faith will be to move and direct the Multitude. The Men of Faith will play the cup−bearers at this lifelong bacchanal. Mr. As for the Directing Intelligences. its members will be assured that there is no happiness to be found except in work and obedience." Deeply hurt. preaching and practising with a generous mania the coldly reasonable projects of the Directors from above. from which they will never awake. the Intelligences will inspire a new generation of madmen with a new eternal truth. CHAPTER XXII. Mr. obeying their betters. "I'm getting sunstroke here. the tool of some superior intelligence. humanity's almost boundless suggestibility will be scientifically exploited. ah. There will be no more Caesar Borgias. They will go through life in a rosy state of intoxication. Scogan followed his example. will no longer be allowed to react casually to a casual environment. the Men of Faith will be quietly and earnestly busy with the great work of education. For the lower species the earth will be restored to the centre of the universe and man to pre− eminence on the earth. Scogan looked at him for a moment in silence. from earliest infancy. that they are tremendously important beings. who might drive men to tears and repentance. "No. they will go out into the world. or when the ideas that were useful a decade ago have ceased to be useful. Oh.Crome Yellow for their beliefs and their desires. Denis thought. and his enthusiasm in the propagation of some reasonable idea. will be sent out on a mission of evangelisation. Moulded by a long process of suggestion. dispetaled now. and that everything they do is noble and significant. all unawares. that third great species consisting of those countless millions who lack intelligence and are without valuable enthusiasm. or who might equally well set them on to cutting one another's throats. only the lethal chamber. his desire. I envy the lot of the commonality in the Rational State! Working their eight hours a day.

and knocked the ashes out of his pipe. one brown and pointed. have always taken particular pleasure in Cubismus. if that is possible. I like to see pictures from which nature has been completely banished. infuriatingly. as they strolled slowly onward. never by bus if I CHAPTER XXIII. or anything that reminds me of nature. if I choose to set my mind to it.Crome Yellow "Like Polynesian trophies. I am at home with the works of man. the other round and pale. The energy born of his restless irritation was dying within him. "I thought you were one of the fellows who went in exclusively for balanced masses and impinging planes. They give me the same pleasure as I derive from a good piece of reasoning or a mathematical problem or an achievement of engineering. pictures which are exclusively the product of the human mind. "It is satisfactory to think. Denis climbed the little ladder and stepped over the threshold. Mr. Like every other good thing in this world." He pointed to the face. CHAPTER XXIII. A moment more and he would have been losing his temper again−−and Anne would be keeping hers. Nature. meanwhile. Scogan. He had suddenly remembered Anne. Indeed. and with his extended finger followed the slack curves of the painted figure. Gombauld was by no means so furious at their apparition as Denis had hoped and expected he would be." he said." said Mr. "Come in. He looked suspiciously from Gombauld to his sitter.. appeared in the frame of the open door. But I'm surprised to find you putting in all this psychology business. was looking at the portrait. It was an intolerable thought. I can understand anything that any man has made or thought. That is why I always travel by Tube. "Excellent." Uttered aloud. yes. 71 . There was a silence. he was positively glad to see them.. the fancy seemed less charming and significant than it did when it first occurred to him. Let us be duly thankful for that. "excellent. or were they cunningly simulating gladness? He wondered. "I'm sorry. positively too true." said Mr. disturbs me. leisure and culture have to be paid for. come in." he repeated. Scogan. Were they really glad. "Shall we go and pay a call on Gombauld?" he suggested carelessly. and could learn nothing from the expression of their faces except that they both seemed pleased to see the visitors. my dear Denis−−duly thankful. "This is a little infidelity. he was rather pleased than annoyed when the two faces. without ever having had the slightest appreciation of painting. too complicated. it is too large. "I for one. above all too utterly pointless and incomprehensible. and in a growing wave of sound the whir of the reaping machines swelled up from the fields beyond the garden and then receded into a remoter hum. returning to its emotional elements. It would be amusing to see what he's doing now. "that a multitude of people are toiling in the harvest fields in order that we may talk of Polynesia. Followed by Mr." he said approvingly. however." he called out hospitably. Scogan. Scogan. Denis was not listening. Almost too true to character." He laughed inwardly to think how furious Gombauld would be when he saw them arriving." Gombauld laughed. She was with Gombauld−−alone with him in his studio. Yes. it is not the leisured and the cultured who have to pay. Fortunately.

There was the big canvas of the man fallen from the horse. All is human and the product of friendly and comprehensible minds." was written in capital letters on the cover. so snug and neat and simple and well made. but she was blushing as she spoke.Crome Yellow can possibly help it. Not to be opened. travelling by bus. to say. All philosophies and all religions−−what are they but spiritual Tubes bored through the universe! Through these narrow tunnels. looking up with an inquiring smile. where Anne was sitting. for example. there was a painting of flowers. He pulled them out and began to look at the paintings. or. He raised his eyebrows. What was he asking of her? He hardly knew himself. the flowers in the window−boxes. rather. an occasional tree. give me ideas. as though it had cost him a great effort to utter the words." she managed to say. Denis had nothing more. don't you?" she said at last. and for answer echoed his "Well?" in another. Two or three canvases stood in the corner behind Anne's chair. For a long time they looked at the pictures. for the most part. there was a small landscape. where he had been making an unsuccessful effort to write something about nothing in particular. And preserve me from nature. while Denis. Yes. even in London. found the drawing−room deserted. Denis nodded. It was noon. looking at her almost fiercely. "May I see too?" Anne requested. Scogan was discoursing. where all is recognisably human." It was a remark which Anne had heard a good many times before and mostly heard with equanimity. He was about to go out into the garden when his eye fell on a familiar but mysterious object−−the large red notebook in which he had so often seen Jenny quietly and busily scribbling. "Private. and then in a queer. strangled voice. For. Denis leaned over her. "Well?" he demanded. "My poor Denis. It was the sort of thing one wrote in one's Latin Grammar while one was still at one's preparatory school. CHAPTER XXIV. a laughing key. preserve me from all that's inhumanly large and complicated and obscure. descending from his chamber. on the low chair. perhaps for some other reason−−the words provoked in her a certain surprised commotion. Denis had crossed over to the farther side of the little square chamber. give me the Tube and Cubismus every time. Anne looked at the pictures. still in her graceful. endless and unexplored. I haven't the courage. Anne looked up at him. But on this occasion−−perhaps because they had come so unexpectedly . Anne had to turn round in her chair to look at them. straight lines of concrete. I haven't the time to start wandering in that labyrinth. a few stray works of God −−the sky. But travel by Tube and you see nothing but the works of man−−iron riveted into geometrical forms. above all. The temptation was great. looked at Anne. His hands on the back of the chair. with a laugh. "I love you. one can't avoid seeing. contriving to forget that all round and below and above them stretches the blind mass of earth. saying nothing. "I like the man and the horse. She had left it lying on the window−seat. one travels comfortable and secure. he said. patterned expanses of tiles. CHAPTER XXIV. Denis. lazy pose. He picked up the book and slipped off the elastic band that kept it discreetly closed. Scogan was talking away. their faces turned to the wall." While Mr. 72 . and. He stood them in a row against the wall. at the moment. From behind the easel at the other side of the room Mr.

of Mr. recognisable as Gombauld and Anne. There were caricatures of other people: of Priscilla and Mr. But blacker the theif who steals this book!" It was curiously childish. this was how Jenny employed the leisure hours in her ivory tower apart. He turned over the leaves. to be quite honest. Beneath. an attitude of studious and scholarly dignity. and he smiled to himself. Barbecue−Smith. was the likeness. The fruit of Jenny's unobtrusive scribbling lay before him. The red notebook was one of these discoveries. somehow. whom Jenny had represented in a light that was more than slightly sinister. Denis was his own severest critic. he reflected. in a vague way he imagined that nobody beside himself was aware of them at all. but to see them was a privilege reserved to him alone. Still chewing on it. 73 . The expression of the face. A fearful desire to know the worst about himself possessed him. inglorious Rouveyre appeared in every one of those cruelly clear lines. It seemed. when they took beasts to illustrate their tractates of human morality." He had disobeyed the injunction. at least. In the background a dancing couple. His weaknesses. what they stood for and concretely symbolised." Fascinated and horrified. Thoughtfully he closed the book. it seemed. thick and greedily fleshy at the roots. Scogan. his absurdities−−no one knew them better than he did. Sitting on the balustrade of the terrace. that was. and slid the rubber band once more into its place. He opened the book. the legend: "Fable of the Wallflower and the Sour Grapes. A caricature of himself. somehow. A peacock and his hen trailed their shabby finery across the turf of the lower lawn. black is the rook. impossible that other people should be in their way as elaborate and complete as he in his. In his own eyes he had defects. Denis pored over the drawing. For the rest of the world he was surely an image of flawless crystal. periodically he would make some painful discovery about the external world and the horrible reality of its consciousness and its intelligence. He liked to think of himself as a merciless vivisector probing into the palpitating entrails of his own soul. could watch the crowds shuffle past. he reflected. uncritical creature! It was he. it was what she and the phenomenon of her red book represented. It seemed. of Anne and Gombauld. He could stand at Piccadilly Circus. The discovery was a painful one. A mute. he was Brown Dog to himself. And. was the magisterial certainty with which his physical peculiarities were all recorded and subtly exaggerated. They represented all the vast conscious world of men outside himself. who was the fool. Denis looked deeper into the book. inconceivable that he should appear to other people as they appeared to him. Animals resemble men with all CHAPTER XXIV. the distressing thing wasn't Jenny herself. Not to be opened. Impossible. a footprint in the sand. he ruminated this unpleasant truth for some time. he strolled pensively down towards the swimming−pool. "Private. and was irreparably shattered. indeed. And so this. they symbolised something that in his studious solitariness he was apt not to believe in. he thought. and still imagine himself the one fully conscious. tapered up to the cruel inanity of their brainless heads. diabolic. so. of Mary and Ivor. he had always believed. the attitude of the body and limbs. Sadder and wiser. And he had thought her a simple−minded. inconceivable that they ever spoke of him among themselves in that same freely critical and. lingering at nothing that was not his own image. No. of Henry Wimbush. Indeed. The fabulists were right.Crome Yellow "Black is the raven. It put beyond a doubt the fact that the outer world really existed. Odious birds! Their necks. intelligent. and yet. reading (the book was upside−down). It was masterful. their flat eyes and piercing beaks. He was not his own severest critic after all. he went out on to the terrace. mildly malicious tone in which he was accustomed to talk of them. He scarcely glanced at them. individual being among all those thousands. he had only got what he deserved. It was almost axiomatic. given away by the fidgety pose of the turned−in feet−−these things were terrible. an assumed aloofness and superiority tempered by a feeble envy. He felt no resentment towards Jenny. What he saw made him wince as though he had been struck. Seven full pages were devoted to him. On opening the red notebook that crystal image of himself crashed to the ground. more terrible still.

He sat down beside her under the shadow of the pudic goddess. with a facade sixteen windows wide.Crome Yellow the truthfulness of a caricature. or was it simply an education? He walked slowly round the water's edge.. The abolition of her repressions. he saw Mary pensively sitting. There was a prolonged silence. At breakfast that morning Mary had found on her plate a picture postcard of Gobley Great Park. thinking it was something to eat. reflecting in its bronze mirror the blue and various green of the summer day. 74 . At the moment.. "Hullo!" she answered in a melancholy. maid of moonlight! Bride of the sun. parterres in the foreground. Mary looked up. And bouncing Barbary. With arms like rubber bands. He walked on. a brawny man is he. large hand. had brought nothing but disquiet. (Oh. The pool lay before him. it spread its long arms abroad. uninterested tone. a new and CHAPTER XXIV. He emerged once more into the sunshine.−− Ivor. They rushed towards it. anything in it that was truly his own. he would have to try and do his Muller exercises more regularly. a single quatrain." He tried to remember who the poem was by. however. smooth lawns receding out of the picture to right and left. In an embayed recess among the surrounding yew trees. the red notebook!) He threw a piece of stick at the slowly pacing birds. will be deserted and decaying. in Ivor's bold. huge." Oh. There sleep within my heart's most mystic cell Memories of morning. memories of the night. They will have vanished as the monasteries vanished before them. for he was passing so close to her that he had to say something. Like a great wooden octopus. with all its peers. and the countryside will know the old landmarks no more. "Hullo!" he said. farewell! Like bright plumes moulted in an angel's flight. executed by some nameless mason of the seicento. Fifty years.. was written." There followed a postscript of three lines: "Would you mind asking one of the housemaids to forward the packet of safety− razor blades I left in the drawer of my washstand. Mary considered life and love. her moving knees and feet. A stately Georgian pile. but couldn't. On the back of the postcard. "Under the spreading ilex tree." Just like his. "The smith. The profound shade of a giant ilex tree engulfed him. the atmosphere seemed to Denis agreeably elegiac. next to the address. he thought of Anne's bare arms and seal−sleek bathing−dress. In this alcove hewed out of the dark trees. "Hail. Mary's mind was not moved by these considerations. Looking at it. so far from bringing the expected peace of mind. "And little Luce with the white legs. Seated under the Venus's immemorial gesture. Ten years more of the hard times and Gobley. Thanks.. indeed. leaning her back against the pedestal of a pleasantly comic version of the Medici Venus. these rags and tags of other people's making! Would he ever be able to call his brain his own? Was there.

so was Zenobia. as the case may be−−must almost inevitably receive or inflict suffering.She couldn't do without him now." she said. What a nightmare! Couldn't you put a stop to it. Phillis peu sage Aurait donne moutons et chien Pour un baiser que le volage A Lisette donnait pour rien. she−−or he." he began." "Heavens!" cried Anne. a little hurt that she should exhibit such a desperate anxiety for her food and so slight an interest in his spiritual experiences. she avoids contacts. and Denis. but his confidences were cut short. "I hope you all realise. Mary knew Zenobia. Ivor. "The difficulty. generalising for herself. "It's an awful problem." He made a gesture that was faintly suggestive of the drawing off of a rubber band. He was at Gobley now. and that you will all be expected to help in the Fair. CHAPTER XXV." said Mary thoughtfully.. of course. "One has to have had first−hand experience. They made their way up to the house without speaking. "When one individual comes into intimate contact with another." said Denis. it's a dilemma." "When I think of my own case. Our minds are sealed books only occasionally opened to the outside world." He leaned towards her and slightly lowered his voice. As you see.. she risks the equally grave sufferings that follow on unnatural repressions." Denis nodded." Mary was not listening. that Ivor could very well do without her. If one individual seeks intimate contact with another individual in the natural way. She thought of the last verse of the song he had sung that night in the garden. "Le lendemain. Mechanically Mary rose to her feet. when he is forced to take cognisance of the existence of other universes besides himself." he began in a soft and sadly philosophical tone. "I am amazed how ignorant I am of other people's mentality in general. floated down from the house. she had never been so unhappy in all her life before. "makes itself acutely felt in matters of sex. "The Fair−−I had forgotten all about it. from the poem on the back of the picture postcard. "is not a self− supporting universe. It was the first gambit in a conversation that was to lead up to Jenny's caricatures. making a more decided move in the desired direction.Crome Yellow hitherto unexperienced misery. It was lunch−time.. on the other hand. Denis went on. 75 . for example." "Exactly. Uncle Henry?" CHAPTER XXV." Mary shed tears at the memory. of their opinions about myself. "This very morning. "to be so spellbound by the spectacle of one's own personality that one forgets that the spectacle presents itself to other people as well as to oneself. and. she is certain to receive or inflict suffering." said Mary. followed her. "that next Monday is Bank Holiday. It was Denis who first broke the silence. tempered by distance to a pleasant booming. The deep voice of the gong. "One has to have had personal experience to realise quite how awful it is. "True." "One is apt. and above all and in particular. There are times when he comes into contact with other individuals.. she added. Ivor. It was evident. "The individual. If on the other hand." said Henry Wimbush during dinner." He had contrived this highly abstract generalisation as a preliminary to a personal confidence.

The swings and the merry−go−round arrive on Sunday. What will you do. "I've made all the arrangements already. It spoke highly for Mr." Mary agreed. Now." "My dear. flocked into the park for their Bank Holiday amusement." "That's splendid. as usual. It was a modest affair then. "You'll have to be dressed up. "the Fair has become an institution. "I think I should be good at telling fortunes.." "Then you'll look after the children's sports. from putting a stop to the nuisance which yearly desecrated his park and garden. Mary?" "I won't do anything where I have to stand by and watch other people eat. "I'll look after the children's sports. Wimbush." she said. with even a contingent from the county town." Anne murmured rebelliously. It was the local St. and turning to Gombauld. Bartholomew. turning to the rest of the party. to whom the Fair was a cause of recurrent and never− diminishing agony. "I have more important things to think about than the Fair. and the people of all the neighbouring villages." he made a sweeping movement with his hand and was silent. Do you still persist?" "I'm ready to suffer all indignities." he said. Wimbush went on." "But you can't tell fortunes in that costume!" "Can't I?" Mr." Mr. it must be twenty−two years since we started it." Henry Wimbush went on.Crome Yellow Mr. My job is the tea tent." said Mrs. Scogan reflected. "May I be allowed to tell fortunes?" he asked at last. Wimbush. "I fear I cannot. Let me see." "And Mr. "Aunt Priscilla will encourage the villagers. "You must be our lightning artist." said Anne. The local hospital profited handsomely." "Good!" said Anne." "All right. and it was this fact alone which prevented Mr. Aunt Priscilla. Scogan?" Mr. Scogan surveyed himself. "Alas." said Anne." "Besides. But you need have no doubt that I shall do my best when Monday comes to encourage the villagers... "You'll all have to do something. I should have liked to put an end to it years ago. "'Your portrait for a shilling in five minutes. "it's justice." "So there's no escape. As a special favour you're allowed to choose your slavery. interrupting her. Wimbush's public spirit that he still continued to tolerate the Fair.'" CHAPTER XXV. "Some of the larger marquees will be put up to−morrow. but the claims of Charity are strong.. Wimbush sighed and shook his head. Crome's yearly Charity Fair had grown into a noisy thing of merry−go−rounds." "It's not charity we want. and miscellaneous side shows−−a real genuine fair on the grand scale. 76 . cocoanut shies. Beginning as a sort of glorified church bazaar.

"what will you do?" Denis thought of suggesting that she might draw caricatures at sixpence an execution." "Well. "I'll just be one of those men who wear a thing in their buttonholes and go about telling people which is the way to tea and not to walk on the grass. "And a very good lot too. in proof of her assertion. whatever your personal views may be. come. and I can do nothing but lisp in numbers. psychical research is a perfectly serious subject." he said." "The drums?" Jenny nodded." Anne shook her head. "I have no accomplishments." she added." concluded Anne." she began." she said severely." "It ought indeed. and. Could it really be true that he looked like that? "What will I do. "Jenny. His mind reverted to the red notebook." said Gombauld. 77 ." protested Gombauld. then." said Mr Wimbush." Denis protested. "If there's any opportunity of playing the drums." "Isn't it?" Anne turned an ingenuous mask towards him. "by speaking with levity of serious subjects. "No." he said. CHAPTER XXV." "And what about Denis?" Denis made a deprecating gesture. That's the lot. "But of course. "what will I do?" She frowned thoughtfully for a moment. then her face brightened and she smiled. "I could throw in a picture of their Auras for an extra sixpence." "Sixpence. "there's any amount of opportunity. We'll put you down definitely for the drums. after all. You must do something more than that. no." she said. "When I was young. agitated her knife and fork.Crome Yellow "It's a pity I'm not Ivor." Mr Scogan assented.. "Nobody will pay more than twopence. raising his voice." "But what? All the good jobs are taken. but decided it would be wiser to go on feigning ignorance of her talent. "Twopence. "Nothing is to be gained." said Gombauld. "That won't do. "My holiday at Crome isn't being a disappointment. like a pair of drumsticks." said Anne." "No. with a laugh." Mary flushed." "And now there's Jenny." Jenny echoed.. No holiday is ever anything but a disappointment." "Come. you must lisp. "You must write a poem for the occasion−−an 'Ode on Bank Holiday. "But you may rest assured that it won't be. It ought to be gay." said Anne. And." she repeated firmly." he answered. "I look forward to my Bank Holiday. over her plate.' We'll print it on Uncle Henry's press and sell it at twopence a copy. "It'll be worth sixpence. "I learnt to play the drums. it isn't.

I read the works of the mystics. a complete holiday is out of the question. altogether more amusing. while I may have a certain amount of intelligence. of course. expanding the fingers of his right hand. but we never succeed. Confronted by a picture. I have looked at all the right works of art in every part of Europe. if I could feel them. while I am naturally addicted to venery." "You're depressing. Education has further limited my scope. the true aesthetic emotion. and so appears merely grotesque. Scogan checked himself." "It's in the very nature of things. I don't pretend. but about all the periods that were fashionable before 1900 I am. For other mystics that cosmology is a symbol of the rich feeling. to know anything about nigger sculpture or the later seventeenth century in Italy. he continued: "A complete and absolute change. to get away from myself. which is in itself inexpressible. as specimens of Homo Sapiens. Out of the ten octaves that make up the human instrument." he added. A melancholy fact! But I divagate. "But always without success. In my youth I was always striving−−how hard!−−to feel religiously and aesthetically. Having been brought up in society. I know it by experience. more about the cryptic Amico di Taddeo. and. To−day. very well. I felt nothing but a certain interest in the subject of the picture. or more often. when the subject was hackneyed and religious. in terms of intellect and logic. There was no sign of dissent. I must have gone on looking at pictures for ten years before I would honestly admit to myself that they merely bored me. As for the aesthetic−−I was at even greater pains to cultivate that. For the unreligious it is a symbol of nothing. You agree with me in my definition?" Mr. "always without success. how can we hope to have anything like an absolute change? We are tied down by the frightful limitation of our human faculties." Mr. There was a time when. warmer. Yes. "I mean to be. The mystic objectifies a rich feeling in the pit of the stomach into a cosmology. Thus. I am wholly without the religious emotions. his sharp nose moved in a series of rapid jerks through all the points of the compass. I repeat it. as members of a society.Crome Yellow "I'm delighted to hear it. omniscient. for example. but without vanity I can assert that it was prodigious. the influences that had gone to make it what it was−−I felt none of that strange excitement and exaltation which is. not only should I be afraid of taking a holiday from them. Scogan glanced from face to face round the table. For us. For it is the emotion that matters. Yes. he went on: "Look at me. The written work is simply an attempt to express emotion. But isn't a complete and absolute change precisely the thing we can never have−−never. I have forgotten most of the knowledge I then so laboriously acquired. "our holidays can't help being disappointments. Nevertheless. I can compass perhaps two. my insufferable mental surroundings!" Mr. How often have I tried to take holidays. even than Henry does. I felt nothing but a great weariness of spirit. I go on cultivating my old stale daily self in the CHAPTER XXV. as I am informed by those who do feel it. I should also feel it painful to try to do so. Scogan sighed. my range is a limitation within a limitation. As ourselves. I try to feel them. I have little ambition and am not at all avaricious. the Platonic Holiday of Holidays is surely a complete and absolute change. my own boring nature. brighter. Here. I have a conscience as well as a fear of gaol. by the notions which society imposes on us through our fatal suggestibility. Some of us struggle manfully to take one. or was. I am impregnated with its laws. Life would be richer. Scogan replied. if I may be allowed to express myself metaphorically. said I to myself." Mr. of which I could tell you all the known and presumed history−−the date when it was painted. But did that fact make me any more appreciative of art in general? It did not. by our own personalities. They seemed to me nothing but the most deplorable claptrap−−as indeed they always must to anyone who does not feel the same emotion as the authors felt when they were writing. are two tremendously important and exciting emotions. What is a holiday? The ideal. I have no aesthetic sense. I venture to believe. the character of the painter. Scogan once more looked rapidly about him. What sort of a holiday can I take? In endowing me with passions and faculties Nature has been horribly niggardly. In a word. I knew more about Taddeo da Poggibonsi. omniscient. Since then I have given up all attempts to take a holiday. in the very nature of things?" Mr. "Of course it is." Mr. "So much for the religious emotion. Reflect for a moment. The full range of human potentialities is in any case distressingly limited. Scogan went on." said Anne. 78 . while I possess the mathematical faculty. we never succeed in getting farther than Southend. I am happy to say.

It was time for him to descend from the serene empyrean of words into the actual vortex. standing on the sun−baked leads. Denis had climbed to the top of one of Sir Ferdinando's towers. A holiday. with a long nose and long. long legs cased in pearl−grey trousers−−legs that bent unsteadily at the knee and gave a kind of sideways wobble as he walked. tenuous membrane. absurdly. Beside him. as a fountain balances a ball on its breaking crest. in the green expanse of the park. short and thick−set. inverted bunch of many−coloured grapes. the venerable conservative statesman.. Young girls didn't much like going for motor drives alone with Mr." On the terrace stood a knot of distinguished visitors. quivering in the blast of noisy life. The steam−organ sent up prodigious music.. like a huge. and lower down." he said. bobbing." Mr." or better−− "My soul is a pale. scarlet and gold and crystal. the balloons strained upwards. monotonous see− saw.. "Perhaps.. 79 . But personally I found the war quite as thorough a holiday from all the ordinary decencies and sanities. "my standards aren't as elevated as yours. tenuous membrane. the men dressed mostly in black−−holiday best." "Yes. Callamay. and above his head. Denis leaned over the gulf of swirling noise. that its alternate tonic and dominant detached themselves from the rest of the music and made a tune of their own. In the midst of the canvas town.. A little canvas village of tents and booths had sprung up. The balloon−man walked among the crowd. The clashing of automatic cymbals beat out with inexorable precision the rhythm of piercingly sounded melodies. funeral best−−the women in pale muslins. and there. "My soul is a thin. and short white hair. indeed! I'm sorry for you.Crome Yellow resigned spirit with which a bank clerk performs from ten till six his daily task. such resonance.. It had the right anatomical quality. all the common emotions and preoccupations. if you still look forward to having a holiday. It was a step beyond Southend. With a scythe−like motion the boat−swings reaped the air. Another fancy came to him. There was old Lord Moleyn. it was almost Ilfracombe. CHAPTER XXVI. "Yes. The harmonies were like a musical shattering of glass and brass. and with such persistence. scarcely wavering column of black smoke. Gombauld. He went down slowly. "My soul is a thin white sheet of parchment stretched Over a bubbling cauldron. tenuous membrane. Scogan thoughtfully agreed. drooping moustaches and long teeth of old ivory. But he liked the idea of something thin and distended being blown up from underneath. his elbows resting on the parapet. as I ever want to have. A crowd thronged its streets. "My soul is a thin tent of gut." That was pleasing: a thin. a short covert coat. just beyond the boundaries of the garden. bad. Tight blown. this time in metrical form. with a face like a Roman bust. Here and there tricolour bunting hung inert. stood Mr. like a caricature of an English milord in a French comic paper: a long man. and below that long. he surveyed the scene. a loud. Far down in the bass the Last Trump was hugely blowing. If he threw himself over the parapet. the merry−go−round glittered in the sun." CHAPTER XXVI. it was Weston−super−Mare. keep him suspended. and from the funnel of the engine which worked the roundabout rose a thin." Bad. the war was certainly something of a holiday. the noise would surely buoy him up." Gombauld shrugged his shoulders.

was it possible. but calmly. the Largest Rat in the World. using a magnifying glass and a pair of horn spectacles. indicating with a movement of the finger that they were to sit down opposite him and to extend their hands for his inspection. each with his own private face and all of them real.. He then examined the palm that was presented him. Could one believe it? But the evidence of the red notebook was conclusive.. the one profoundly. A placard pinned to the curtain of the doorway announced the presence within the tent of "Sesostris. who towered over her−−a massive figure dressed in purple and topped with a queenly toque on which the nodding black plumes recalled the splendours of a first−class Parisian funeral. Mr. the other hootingly. they thought. as the hag shook her head over their hands.. 80 . and started to push his way. with an uncomfortably beating heart. From the home of the Rat he emerged just in time to see a hydrogen−filled balloon break loose for home." Sometimes. She was a formidable− looking woman. still to come. His eyes were suddenly become innocent. tremulous. frowning and clicking with his tongue as he looked at the lines. Sometimes he would whisper. they had minds.Crome Yellow Callamay. which it could hardly fail to be. Sesostris had a success of horror. "I was afraid so. Everything is still to come. They were talking to Anne. Scogan would suddenly look up and ask. pale membrane. After a long and silent inspection. they functioned by themselves. twopence more. They seemed. Dressed in a black skirt and a red bodice. People stood in a queue outside CHAPTER XXVII. a perfect sphere of flushed opal. A child howled up after it. He paid twopence and saw the Tatooed Woman. separate. such as. and of old Lord Moleyn one wondered why he wasn't living in gilded exile on the island of Capri among the other distinguished persons who. He had a terrifying way of shaking his head. 'tis folly to be wise. terrible!" or "God preserve us!" sketching out the sign of the cross as he uttered the words. "Terrible. unprejudiced.. Scogan received his clients in mysterious silence. His soul was a tenuous. he would just whisper. aimlessly but officially. "How d'you do?" But at the moment Denis did not want to talk. Denis followed it with his eyes until it became lost in the blinding sunlight. some horrifying question. "Have you ever been hit on the head with a hammer by a young man with red hair?" When the answer was in the negative. His soul fluttered as he approached the noise and movement of the fair. He paused for a moment on the brink. could it be. though it can't be very far off now. childlike. for the oracle to speak. Mr. alive: the thought was disquieting. Budge from the big house on the other side of the valley. the Sorceress of Ecbatana. it mounted. after all. If he could but send his soul to follow it!. inconceivably fantastic. brown. "Where ignorance is bliss. Scogan had been accommodated in a little canvas hut. find it impossible to live in England. through the crowd. He would keep its sensibility intact and virgin as long as he could. Denis peeped at them discreetly from the window of the morning− room. and wrinkled−−like the Bohemian Hag of Frith's Derby Day. laughing. And yet they really existed. A black silk balloon towing a black−and−white striped parachute proved to be old Mrs.And they waited. Cautiously he crept out by a side door and made his way down towards the park. with a yellow−and−red bandana handkerchief tied round his black wig. She stood low on the ground. for one reason or another. he looked−−sharp−nosed. stuck his steward's rosette in his buttonhole. Moreover. after a long examination. He sighed. CHAPTER XXVII." and refuse to divulge any details of a future too appalling to be envisaged without despair. saying." Seated at a table. It would have been polite to go and say. Mr. Mr. they were conscious. they began to take the witch seriously. in a hoarse whisper. Hundreds of people. these people. and the spikes of her black−and−white sunshade menaced the eyes of Priscilla Wimbush. he was like them. could not have talked. that there was something in this sort of thing after all? After all. as though to himself. Scogan would nod several times. mounted. The clients who came in laughing grew suddenly grave. then stepped in and was engulfed.

Scogan's bandana−covered head was just below him. has announced the fact upon your hand.' and walk with him down towards the little hazel copse. I cannot read what will happen after that. The old lady was succeeded by a girl dressed in white muslin. Scogan." Mr. looked with curiosity at this crowd of suppliants before the shrine of the oracle. do tell me!" The white muslin figure leant eagerly forward. which interests itself in small things no less than in great." Mr. Denis went to the tea−tent and borrowed a wooden bench and a small Union Jack. Mr." He was silent." He lifted up a sharp. not exactly good looking nor precisely young." The young lady giggled and exclaimed. 81 . "Very well. They are only specific about this one rather crucial incident. Scogan played his part." he said. "Very soon. With these he hurried back to the booth of Sesostris. I'll show you. Scogan sighed. "He will ask you." he said. Between its walls and its sagging roof were long gaping chinks and crannies. Scogan looked at her hand. Scogan sepulchrally. so that Denis could not see her face. "You are still virtuous." added Mr." He lingered hissingly over the word. "Afterwards. 'Yes.Crome Yellow the witch's booth waiting for the privilege of hearing sentence pronounced upon them. Listen. At that moment a man will appear walking along the footpath. The witch seemed to ignore her remark. "This is what the fates have written. death by apoplexy. Next Sunday afternoon at six o'clock you will be sitting on the second stile on the footpath that leads from the church to the lower road. then whispered. but from her figure and the roundness of her bare arms he judged her young and pleasing. "Please. garnished with pink ribbons. lor'!" "But you will not remain so for long. "Is there going to be another war?" asked the old lady to whom he had predicted this end. The canvas booth was a rickety. Mr. ill−made structure." "What is it? What is it? Oh. Scogan looked at her hand again as though to refresh his memory of the details of the scene. It's as clear as day. claw− nailed forefinger. The young lady giggled again. destruction by air−raids in the next war. please!. it's not at all clear. CHAPTER XXVII." she implored. in the course of his round. She was wearing a broad hat." There was a silence. he climbed up. 'Can you tell me the way to Paradise?' and you will answer. Scogan shook his head. "Destiny. "A man. Through the crannies in the canvas he could see almost the whole of the interior of the tent. "What's clear?" asked the girl. But if anything untoward happens you must blame your own curiosity." Mr. the pendulous brass ear−rings which he had screwed on to his ears tinkled. you must know. Scogan took up the magnifying−glass and began once more to examine the white palm. The fates don't say whether you will settle down to married life and have four children or whether you will try to go on the cinema and have none." he repeated−−"a small man with a sharp nose. Listen. but fascinating. with an air of quiet confidence. "if you must know. Denis. Mr. his terrifying whispers came clearly up." said Mr. and with a great air of busy efficiency began to tie the Union Jack to the top of one of the tent−poles. Denis looked and listened while the witch prophesied financial losses. Setting down the bench at the back of the booth. He had a great desire to see how Mr. "Very interesting. "I don't think I ought to tell you. "Oh. as though to himself−−"very interesting.

A crowd of sleek. Anne was sitting behind a long table filling thick white cups from an urn. Holding his tortoise−shell−rimmed pince−nez an inch or two in front of his eyes... tied insecurely and crookedly to the tentpole. decidedly! But how unpleasant the crowd smelt! He lit a cigarette. merry. as he carried the bench back to the tea−tent.' Fadingly. The Russian snow flowered with bright blood whose roses spread Petals of fading. That will be sixpence. Where all must drudge and all obey. free. He looked at the broadsheet in his hand and read the lines to himself relishingly as he walked along: "This day of roundabouts and swings. 'Free. Good afternoon. Sing Holiday! You do not know How to be free. Denis took one of them and looked at it affectionately. Blood was there A red gay flower and only fair." Denis stepped down from the bench. "Only three so far. diminishingly: 'Free. Switchbacks.. The swimming−pool was a centre of noise and activity. Sing Holiday! Sing Holiday!" He folded the sheet carefully and put it in his pocket. smooth. His grey bowler hat. The thing had its merits. he read out names from a list.!' But Echo answers Faintly to the laughing dancers. Anne put her head on one side deprecatingly." Denis made no reply.' and laughter faints away. 82 . "Second Heat in the Young Ladies' Championship. Sing Holiday! Beneath the Tree Of Innocence and Liberty. A neat pile of printed sheets lay before her on the table. was an island of aristocratic calm. and old creed. Paper Nose and Red Cockade Dance within the magic shade That makes them drunken. The frozen air received their breath. round. the Union Jack hung limp on the windless air. but walked slowly away. seal−like figures in black bathing−dresses surrounded him. and motionless in the midst of a moving sea. fading red That died into the snow again. tossed rings. Into the virgin snow. and masks might laugh At things the naked face for shame Would blush at−−laugh and think no blame. Miss Rebecca Balister. and men From all ancient bonds were freed. Thank you. The smell of cows was preferable. I'm afraid. old custom.. It was his poem. Old right and wrong there bled to death. A little smoke that died away. "If only I could do things like that!" he thought. 'Free'−−and faintly laughs. Yes. They had printed five hundred copies. So in any case it's having a circulation. shied cocoa−nuts.. Aunt Sallies. Old law. Struck weights. and strong To laugh and sing their ferial song: 'Free. The witch gave a shrug of the shoulders. Oh. Good afternoon. "Have you sold many?" he asked in a casual tone. Miss Doris Gabell.. But I'm giving a free copy to everyone who spends more than a shilling on his tea. and very nice the quarto broadsheets looked. A holiday? But Galba showed Elephants on an airy road. Faintlier laughs and whispers. And round about them where they lay The snow bloomed roses. and all such small High jinks−−you call it ferial? A holiday? But paper noses Sniffed the artificial roses Of round Venetian cheeks through half Each carnival year. decidedly. Jumbo trod the tightrope then. "Miss Dolly Miles. and still. "I merely tell you what I read in your hand.Crome Yellow "Is it really true?" asked white muslin. I have change." CHAPTER XXVII. He passed through the gate in the park wall into the garden. Within the hollows of the hill." It was the polite voice of Henry Wimbush. And in the circus armed men Stabbed home for sport and died to break Those dull imperatives that make A prison of every working day.

like a short− winded lap−dog. "Delighted to see you again. CHAPTER XXVII. he looked down. Somebody plucked him by the sleeve. having read in the "Daily Mirror" that the Government needed peach stones−−what they needed them for she never knew−−had made the collection of peach stones her peculiar "bit" of war work. leaning forward over his walking− stick. It was as though a dog should suddenly begin to speak. she had only won a heat. "So nice to see the young people enjoying themselves. Callamay. she complained. His voice seemed to come from just behind his teeth. Stone. Budge huskily. "Pretty little thing." Denis nodded agreement. Why didn't they go and watch the sack races? The two old gentlemen were engaged at the moment in congratulating the winner of the race.' go. "Do you know. so that she was able to eat peaches practically the whole year round. "When I say 'Go. for that matter." she said in her rich. There was an almost simultaneous splash.' go. Look at old Lord Moleyn and dear Mr. and Lord Moleyn. Go!" he said. In 1916 she ate 4200 peaches. rubbing one foot nervously on the other. and sent the stones to the Government. She panted a little as she spoke. "Very good indeed. Mr. "When I say 'Go. There was an expectant silence." said Lord Moleyn. now she did not eat more than two or three peaches a day. He wasn't sure whether it was so very delightful after all. Callamay readjusted his spectacles. and panted two or three times. From their seats of honour at the other end of the pool. he said to himself. Old Mr. isn't she?" said Mrs. but it had suffered for a good cause. He smiled again. for between January 1st and the date of the Armistice she ate 3300 peaches. In 1917 the military authorities called up three of her gardeners. Her constitution. a toothy voice. it seemed an act of supererogatory graciousness. old Lord Moleyn and Mr. Budge who. as well as four hot−houses in which trees could be forced." said Mrs. Denis pushed his way through the spectators." Mr. Budge went on. I never could learn to swim. She stood with her hands behind her back. showed his long ivory teeth. The victor wriggled with embarrassment. She had thirty−six peach trees in her walled garden." Mrs. had suffered. Callamay was saying in his deep voice. a torso of black polished marble. It was old Mrs. Denis answered her greeting by a vague and polite noise. she only managed to eat 2900 peaches during that crucial period of the national destinies. Henry Wimbush raised his hand. Go!" Splash! The third heat had started. Budge. Callamay looked on with eager interest. Her wet bathing−dress shone. Mr. after all. "And the old people too.Crome Yellow Five young persons ranged themselves on the brink. slender. Since the Armistice she had relaxed her efforts. "Yes. 83 . and laid up the phrase in his memory as a happy one. husky voice. and what with this and the fact that it was a bad year for wall fruit. Sixteen. capital. hungrily smiling. for. Callamay had put on his spectacles to congratulate the victor. but nubile. Budge. In 1918 she did rather better. Isn't it delightful to see the way they enjoy themselves?" Denis looked. "Capital performance. It was Mrs.

"I've never seen such energy. The last one. A blown black bladder. speaking apparently from just above his head. no. They were looking over his head.. serious voice. One really ought. Denis saw two heads overtopping the hedge immediately above him. The path along which he was walking passed under the lee of a wall of clipped yew. and they fell on Denis's upturned curious face.." She turned towards him a face. Denis continued his promenade. this one was a bad Rubens. Denis conveniently remembered that his duties as a steward called him elsewhere. It was time. colourless face of his wife. the membrane of his soul flapped tumultuously in the noise and laughter. over the heads of the spectators. others clustered about the skirts and trousers of their parents. through the thronged streets of the canvas village. "Do you know. pronounce the single word "Disgusting!" He looked up sharply." Denis imagined her floating−−up and down." he said. hissing softly. making a shrill. "You're wonderful. that wasn't good at all. "how long?" He lowered his eyes again. coming up behind her and touching her on the arm. He pushed out through the lines of spectators and made his way along the path left clear behind them. "Disgusting!" Mrs. that wasn't good. "It's appalling. had been an Eve by Cranach. She was atrociously stubby and fat. Denis. In a roped−off space beyond. Budge. for one standing on the higher ground it was easy to look over the dark barrier. Mary was directing the children's sports. Denis looked on in admiration. Behind the hedge the ground sloped steeply up towards the foot of the terrace and the house. to move on. Another batch of young ladies dived in. Looking up. Mary became once more the centre of a dangerous vortex. gasping a little as she spoke−−"do you know that there's a woman here who has had three children in thirty−one months?" "Really." said Denis. as though to himself. "How long?" he said. Bodiham repeated. at the swimmers in the pond. with an immense output of energy she started a three−legged race. making rapid mental calculations. Little creatures seethed round about her. the golden bell of her hair swung silently as she moved her head and quivered to rest. He wandered past the merry−go− round. and honest as the setting sun. tenuous membrane. in a low.. Bodiham popped out of sight behind the hedge.Crome Yellow "Really?" "But I used to be able to float. red.go−−go−−go!" Henry Wimbush's polite level voice once more pronounced the formula. Grown a little weary of sustaining a conversation with Mrs." she said. A new winner was being congratulated. Mary's face was shining in the heat. up and down on a great green swell. tinny clamour. long and harmoniously. when he was startled by hearing a thin. I've been telling her about the Malthusian League. and Mrs. Denis thought. He was thinking again that his soul was a pale. he might CHAPTER XXVII. There was an abrupt movement.. but this. continuously curved from knee to breast. He recognised the iron mask of Mr. round. sibilant voice. and Mr. "." But a sudden violent renewal of the metallic yelling announced the fact that somebody had won the race. The rector turned up his iron mask towards the solid cobalt of the sky. Bodiham and the pale. 84 .

Looking at her. There. "I never showed you our oaken drainpipes. with a terrified village beauty. shuffling crowd. Round this patch of all but daylight. and then for the cups that inebriate as well as cheer. The slow vortex brought the couples round and round again before him. with an unusual expression of grimness on her flushed face. There was nothing. Bars of light reached out into it. cast a piercing white light. jovial laughter and her manly voice. Somebody touched him on the shoulder and he looked up. CHAPTER XXVIII. to disappear again as quickly and surprisingly as they had come. A minute later he was walking briskly up the shady yew−tree walk. talking. very seriously. she smiled to herself. wearing away the grass with their booted feet. He turned back towards the canvas village. Anne. alive with motion and noise. Carrying his well−filled tumbler with care. But Denis sat apart. obedient to its scraping and blowing.. a bottle of crystal gin and a quart of soda water. Male and female created He them. 85 . was encouraging the villagers. Priscilla. A whole subterranean life seemed to be expressing itself in those loud rat−tats. the glass on the corner of the table beside him. It was the hour for the dancing to begin. It was Henry Wimbush. Mr. In one corner sat the band. Jenny was performing wonders of virtuosity upon the drums. He stood irresolute at the entrance to the tent. Acetylene lamps. as it were. That tenuous membrane of his had been too rudely buffeted by the afternoon's emotions.Crome Yellow be asked to do something if he stayed too long. if he went back to the house.. Towards sunset the fair itself became quiescent. There was Lord Moleyn. went unobtrusively.. and. as Denis could see. on the sustaining wings of movement and music−−dissipated these preoccupations. What about? he wondered. who had stayed on to the disorganised. interlaced. Denis stood by the entrance of the enclosure. watching the swaying. Portentous. as though he were passing them in review. A beautiful thought suddenly came to him. and every now and then a lonely figure or a couple of lovers. he settled into a chair with a volume of Sainte−Beuve. Anne and Gombauld. But the sight of Anne and Gombauld swimming past−−Anne with her eyes almost shut and sleeping. his bent knees more precariously wobbly than ever. the night seemed preternaturally dark. in her royal toque. tea. tea. he went into the library. Would you like to come and see them?" CHAPTER XXVIII. like a Causerie du Lundi for settling and soothing the troubled spirits. it required a rest. he alone lacked his complementary opposite. he found. passoverish meal that took the place of dinner on this festal day. But the tea−tent was horribly thronged. Denis ruefully remembered the red notebook. Within the house it was deliciously quiet and cool. in the farther corner of the tent. flashing for a moment into visible existence. still wearing her queenly toque." he said. he told himself.. he wondered what sort of a figure he was cutting now. The thought of tea was making itself insistent in his mind. The Malthusian League. this was no place for one who wanted tea. without being observed. Clearly. Seated in the corner among the band. was furiously working the handle of the urn. In a momentary lull Denis could hear her deep. would cross the bright shaft. still encouraging the villagers−−this time by dancing with one of the tenant farmers. Tea. Scogan trotted round with another. those long rolls and flourishes of drumming. "Some of the ones we dug up are lying quite close to here. two or three hundred dancers trampled across the dry ground.. then! In the cool recess within he would find bottles and a siphon. At one side of the village of tents a space had been roped off. he one−stepped shamblingly. the brown liquid spurted incessantly into the proffered cups. Her eyes shone. all but he. They were all coupled but he. if he tiptoed into the dining−room and noiselessly opened the little doors of the sideboard−−ah.There they were.. Mary was in the embrace of a young farmer of heroic proportions. and a hundred couples more−−all stepping harmoniously together to the old tune of Male and Female created He them. perhaps. There was Priscilla. hung round it on posts. she was looking up at him.

desire it. of Dr. give me the past. perhaps." "Come. "But what about the desirable human contacts." Denis agreed. tuneless and meaningless in their ears. privately−−by reading. It's the same with current events. like myself." said Henry Wimbush. and. I don't know anything about them. rising from behind a belt of trees." "I do not know how it is. rather than any gaiety or excitement. and you can get to know about it comfortably and decorously and. which I should have to do if they were living now. I'm more at home with these pipes. They're aren't in my line. Henry Wimbush halted. in living people. It's appalling." Mr." he said. they're not my line. taking an electric torch out of his pocket. with a rather tepid enthusiasm. above all. The music was nothing but a muffled rhythmic pulse. and entirely secure from any human intrusion. Johnson. Wimbush continued. it's all there in black and white. The fact is. Some of the higher notes faded out altogether. But I know nothing of your present. when machines have attained to a state of perfection−−for I confess that I am. they give me no emotion. What do I know of contemporary politics? Nothing.Crome Yellow Denis got up." Mr. "when this function comes at last to an end. But stamps. It is a beautiful thought. The music grew fainter behind them. Wimbush continued. Jenny's drumming and the steady sawing of the bass throbbed on. A faint white glare. They don't interest me. of St. I'm afraid. no. scooped out into the semblance of pipes. "Here we are. to live in a dignified seclusion. By reading I know a great deal of Caesar Borgia." "Beautiful. which were lying forlornly in a little depression in the ground. you may suddenly jump up and try to murder me in a moment's time. and neither you nor I know anything of your future. "True." He jerked his head sideways towards the hollowed logs. For all I know. They are my line. like Godwin and Shelley. "Very interesting. come. how can I find out anything about them except by devoting years to the most exhausting first−hand study. in a collection of postage stamps. and they walked off together into the darkness. "the little I know about your past is certainly reassuring. and I have been spared the tedious and revolting process of getting to know them by personal contact." said Denis. 86 . involving a terrible expense of time." "I can believe it. it will be possible for those who. in the future. are things I can't guess at. like love and friendship?" CHAPTER XXVIII. "I shall be glad. Francis. involving once more an endless number of the most unpleasant contacts? No. How gay and delightful life would be if one could get rid of all the human contacts! Perhaps. one is dealing with unknown and unknowable quantities. they don't very much interest me. for example. What do I know of the people I see round about me? Nothing. One can only hope to find out anything about them by a long series of the most disagreeable and boring human contacts. indicated the position of the dancing− floor. a believer in perfectibility. It's rather the same with people. "The trouble with the people and events of the present is that you never know anything about them. surrounded by the delicate attentions of silent and graceful machines. They sat down on the grass. "but the spectacle of numbers of my fellow−creatures in a state of agitation moves in me a certain weariness. he cast a dim beam over two or three blackened sections of tree trunk. What they think of me or of anything else in the world. It doesn't change. what they will do in five minutes' time." said Denis. You follow me? I could never take much interest. a few weeks have made me thoroughly acquainted with these interesting characters. the perfectibility of machinery−−then. Primitives or seventeenth−century books−−yes.

"this festivity would be extremely agreeable. Wimbush. "If all these people were dead. By the edge of the pool two figures lingered." They had come to the entrance of the enclosure and stood there. "Why not?" he said." said the polite level voice. "I must go and see if all is well on the dancing−floor. "You won't. It turns out to be merely this. Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together. An expanse of worn grass. please. CHAPTER XXIX. "Ah." Her raised voice had become imperative. The world." Anne was saying in a breathless whisper." They got up and began to walk slowly towards the white glare. As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread." With a sudden effort Anne freed herself. Crome Fair was over. how pretty and how amusing! But when the ball takes place to−day. To−morrow the tents would be struck. and even if I were to tell you. 87 . an action as obvious. Nothing would be pleasanter than to read in a well−written book of an open−air ball that took place a century ago. in future their natural tendency will be to seek solitude and quiet. "No. blinking in the dazzling light." CHAPTER XXIX.Crome Yellow The black silhouette against the darkness shook its head. you must remember. The proper study of mankind is books. "I found myself." said Mr. quite fortuitously.52 from Surbiton to go to business on a Monday morning. leaning backwards. and they are just a slice of life like the rest. turning her head from side to side in an effort to escape Gombauld's kisses." He waved his hand in the direction of the acetylene flares. a shabby brown patch in the wide green of the park. while I was actually performing this rather dangerous feat. with a sigh. involved in a series of the most phantasmagorical amorous intrigues. is only just becoming literate. no. Human contacts have been so highly valued in the past only because reading was not a common accomplishment and because books were scarce and difficult to reproduce. as much to be taken for granted. "I will. in my bald style. while they were happening−−these romantic adventures−−they seemed to me no more and no less exciting than any other incident of actual life. In literature they become as charming as this dismal ball would be if we were celebrating its tercentenary. No. then one sees the thing in its true light. would be all that remained. It was after ten o'clock. But I assure you. "Instead of which. To climb by night up a rope−ladder to a second−floor window in an old house in Toledo seemed to me. you would be amazed at the romantic tale." Henry Wimbush went on. the dismantled merry−go−round would be packed into waggons and carted away. the details of these adventures. "You've tried to take the most unfair advantage of me. as−−how shall I put it?−−as quotidian as catching the 8. "In my youth. no. if only we were!" Henry Wimbush added. A novelist could have made his fortune out of them. an ever−increasing number of people will discover that books will give them all the pleasures of social life and none of its intolerable tedium. "It seems to me doubtful whether they are equal to the pleasures of private reading and contemplation." she retorted. Live them. he was wondering if Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together." "I sometimes think that it may be. The dancers had already dispersed and the last lights were being put out." he went on after a pause." said Denis. Gombauld relaxed his embrace a little. Adventures and romance only take on their adventurous and romantic qualities at second−hand. when one finds oneself involved in it. How charming! one would say. "The pleasures even of these contacts are much exaggerated. At present people in search of pleasure naturally tend to congregate in large herds and to make a noise. "No.

But then why allow oneself to be distressed? After all. two steps at a time. "Under any circumstances. the two pale figures in a patch of moonlight. In ten minutes he was deeply. Scogan. It was too much. "you look disturbed. "I know the feeling. dazed and hardly conscious of what he was doing or where he was. innocently asleep. while I'm still reeling drunk with the movement. depressed. "What?" Then breaking away he dashed up the stairs. the candle which he had left CHAPTER XXIX. Denis stood there for a moment like a somnambulist. Denis had mechanically undressed and. clad in those flowered silk pyjamas of which he was so justly proud. When his pipe had burned itself to its stinking conclusion he took a drink of gin and went to bed. who was walking up and down the hall smoking a final pipe. But Denis was already far out of hearing. 'What's the point of it all? All is vanity. It was ungrammatical to begin with. "It's a most distressing symptom.. Mr." said Anne. You attack me after I've been dancing for two hours." Anne began in her most detached and conversational tone. when I've got no mind left but only a rhythmical body! It's as bad as making love to someone you've drugged or intoxicated. he felt. Scogan patted him on the arm. "What's the matter?" Mr." he added. I know exactly how you feel. Shall we take a few turns round the pool?" she added. Scogan went on. Denis had seen them. They paced off slowly. and at the sight he had fled. Scogan ran to the foot of the stairs and called up after him. damn Degas!" Gombauld was almost shouting. "Call me a White Slaver and have done with it. raising his voice to a shout. side by side. yes. "What?" he said. What's the good of continuing to function if one's doomed to be snuffed out at last along with everything else?' Yes. "Worried about the cosmos. But what difference does that make?" At this point the somnambulist suddenly woke up.Crome Yellow "Unfair advantage?" echoed Gombauld in genuine surprise. Mr. his mind to−night was proof against all the consolations of philosophy. "Yes. was lying face downwards on his bed. none whatever. blinking and frowning at his interlocutor." Denis shook his head without replying. always. Dashing blindly into the house." For answer Gombauld made an irritated noise. He had seen the beginning of what promised to be an endless passionate embracement. "I am now completely sobered. "It makes no difference. eh?" Mr. 88 . and even if he had not been." Gombauld laughed angrily. "Hullo!" said Mr. leaning in an attitude of despair against the parapet of the terrace. When at last he looked up. catching him by the arm. From where he stood.. Life is gay all the same." he said. was it true? And is life really its own reward? He wondered. under whatever circumstances−−under whatever circumstances. he almost ran into Mr." he repeated to himself. "Oh. he couldn't stand it. when I've lost my head. "What I like about the painting of Degas. "The night is delicious. he would have burst into irrepressible tears. and if you try and kiss me again I shall box your ears. It's most distressing if one allows oneself to be distressed. In another moment. far down by the pool's edge." "Luckily. we all know that there's no ultimate point. unfair advantage. distressed. Time passed. Scogan. Scogan replaced his pipe between his teeth and resumed his meditative pacing.

he hesitated. He advanced cautiously into the blackness. desolate place? Was it to look at the moon? Was it to commit suicide? As yet he hardly knew. An hour later he was reposing with his head on Mary's knees. Death−−the tears came into his eyes when he thought of it. laughing more bitterly and artificially than before. now up towards the rare stars and the waning moon. "What ARE you doing. he could not afterwards remember what. Within was a pitch− dark cupboard−like boxroom. His heart was beating terribly. with an affectionate solicitude that was wholly maternal. he lifted the trap−door above his head. He made a gesture with his hand. He got up. What on earth were you doing?" Denis laughed melodramatically. then turning to the right he opened a little door at the end of the corridor. and he was pale when. and perhaps one might clear the narrow terrace and so crash down yet another thirty feet to the sun−baked ground below. tiptoed noiselessly along the passage. He looked at his watch. "What IS the matter. and smelling of dust and old leather. CHAPTER XXIX. it was nearly half−past one. his dry. opened the door. but the fact that he had said it aloud gave the utterance a peculiarly terrible significance. he was certain of that. If she hadn't woken up as she did. groping with his hands. Denis?" He sat down on the edge of the mattress. It was a mood in which he might have done almost anything." said Denis. jumping too rapidly to conclusions. he saw something he had not previously noticed−−an oblong shape. He found the ladder. and very nearly went over the parapet in good earnest. Mary had slept out every evening. the moonlit sky was over him. and set his feet on the rungs. was running her fingers through his tangled hair. and she. Then he looked down once more into the depths. "Are you ill?" In the profound shadow that slept under the eastern parapet of the tower. A good leap. and began to mount the stairs towards the higher floors. now. Denis uttered a cry of frightened surprise. noiselessly. Why had he climbed up to this high. muttered something. it was a sort of manifestation of fidelity. recovering himself. however foolish. stuffy. It was a mattress. "I didn't know you were here. Since that first memorable night on the tower. colourless landscape. He paused at the corner of the tower.Crome Yellow alight at his bedside had burned down almost to the socket. gazing out over the dim. His misery assumed a certain solemnity. In a moment he was standing on the leads. hot. and for all reply went on laughing in the same frightful and improbable tone. he would be lying in pieces at the bottom of the tower. He advanced towards the farther parapet. and the blood was beating within his ears a loud arterial drum. He had told her everything. indeed!" he said." she went on. he was lifted up on the wings of a kind of exaltation. Denis?" questioned a voice from somewhere very close behind him. "to wake up and see you waving your arms and gibbering there. Arrived at the servants' quarters under the roof. "It gave me a fright. "You hadn't got designs on me. cool air of the night. It was from this den that the ladder went up to the leads of the western tower. and someone was lying on it. looking now down into the shadowy gulf below. "What. he turned round in the direction from which the voice had come. looking perpendicularly down at the terrace seventy feet below. the drop was sheer there and uninterrupted. he breathed the fresh. His head ached. I hope?" Mary inquired. sleepless eyes felt as though they had been bruised from behind. 89 .

For if he had told Mary everything about his miseries. 90 ." "I'm sure of it. In this condition he might have remained for another hour if he had not been disturbed by a violent rapping at the door. or very nearly everything. The latch clicked. about her own. "It's the safest thing. "You'd better go away. utterly dejected. And it was not only in receiving sympathy that Denis found serenity and even a kind of happiness. but in spite of the parted curtains he had dropped off again into that drowsy. His room was dark.." she concluded. but she wouldn't allow herself to be weak.that Gombauld. reacting to these confidences. she might have guessed that Ivor wasn't precisely a monument of constancy. his jealousy." "But I've arranged to stay here three weeks more." She wanted to cry. Startlingly. "Poor Mary!" He was very sorry for her. a hand seized him by the shoulder and he was rudely shaken. I can't go on like this. cautiously descended the creaking stairs. without opening his eyes." "You must concoct an excuse." advised Mary. And now his soul was floating in a sad serenity. Denis had been called.. He got into bed and fell asleep almost at once. his suicide−−as it were providentially averted by her interposition. CHAPTER XXX." he said at last." Mary answered decisively." Denis clambered down the ladder. There was a silence. and the most sensible. Still.Crome Yellow everything: his hopeless love.." "I know I am. He had solemnly promised never to think of self− destruction again. Mary." he mumbled." he echoed. can you?" "No. who was recovering all her firm self− possession. "You can't go on like this." said Mary. the church clock struck three." she said. his despair. There was another long pause. the candle had long ago guttered to extinction. "I'd no idea it was so late." "I suppose you're right. get up!" CHAPTER XXX. "Well. "Do you think. Mary invented a plan of action. "Come in. "You must go to bed at once.. It was embalmed in the sympathy that Mary so generously poured. "I don't know what to do about it. it was also in giving it. "Get up. dozy state when sleep becomes a sensual pleasure almost consciously savoured. "one must put a good face on it. Immensely practical. in the darkness. had told him in return everything." asked Denis hesitatingly−−"do you really think that she.

"Get up!" she repeated. The sight of Mr. For a long while he CHAPTER XXX." he said. which would in a few hours evoke an answer ordering him back to town at once−−on urgent business. and their shaken foliage twinkled and glittered like metal in the sun. but he comforted himself by recollecting how decisively he was acting. from the drawing−room window made him precipitately hoist the "Times" once more. Everything seemed marvellously beautiful. He looked out of the window. disinterested. He had sent a long telegram. Scogan looking out. "Good−morning.. 91 . "You must go and send the telegram." he repeated aloud. he meditated. with a hungry expression. And what if he had seen them embracing in the moonlight? Perhaps it didn't mean much after all. Great florid baroque clouds floated high in the blue heaven. He was blowed. I should be a happy man." said Mr.Mary was gone. Don't you remember?" "O Lord!" He threw off the bed−clothes." said Mr. "that I had nothing worse to prey on my mind. "I was only wondering." said Mary. Secure behind the crackling pages. a mere friendly acquaintance. strong enough to be aloof. Satisfaction glowed within him as he returned. and it would be nice if you could catch it. And even if it did. wouldn't it?" "Awfully nice. At the thought that he would soon be leaving all this beauty he felt a momentary pang. Denis repaired to the terrace. and going over to the sideboard he helped himself to an agreeable mixture of bacon and fish. It was an act performed. sitting there.. raised the enormous bulwark of the "Times" against the possible assaults of Mr. In the light of this brilliant morning the emotions of last night seemed somehow rather remote. he felt pleased with himself. "Was I?" he lightly asked. thrusting in upon him over the top of the paper.Crome Yellow His eyelids blinked painfully apart. who showed an unappeased desire to go on talking about the Universe. Scogan. bright−faced and earnest. And even if he weren't strong enough. Denis started guiltily. Breakfast over." Denis enunciated. "I don't know at all. "Action. "I wish. thinking of the telegram." Denis tried to laugh away the impeachment. Denis dressed as quickly as he could and ran up the road to the village post office. No.." "Better?" "You were rather worried about the cosmos last night. a decisive step taken −−and he so rarely took decisive steps. and. "because there's a very good train at 3. Scogan." "One is only happy in action. Train leaves Waterloo 3. "What time do you think the telegram will arrive?" asked Mary suddenly. his tormentor retired. It was with a whetted appetite that he came in to breakfast. Scogan. why shouldn't he stay? He felt strong enough to stay. No flowers.27. he was blowed if he'd let himself be hurried down to the Necropolis like this.. A wind stirred among the trees. He felt as though he were making arrangements for his own funeral. "I hope you're better.27." he agreed weakly. and he saw Mary standing over him.

utterly miserable. amused. when he had done gaping at her. "To go on with our interesting conversation about the cosmos. Discrete. when Mr." She sat down on the bench beside him. "Don't bludgeon me. As if he had any family business! Wouldn't it be best just to crumple the thing up and put it in his pocket without saying anything about it? He looked up. "But you've only been here such a short time. He lost his head." He frowned at the telegram ferociously. if only she could understand! Women were supposed to have intuition." "They're at the wash." she said airily. 92 . He blushed more deeply than ever." Anne protested. Denis blushed guiltily as he took the orange envelope from the salver and tore it open. quite charming. was what I was saying. Denis was speechless. "What's your telegram about?" Mary asked significantly." he began. "But that's absurd. with what astonishment! confronted by Anne's faint. "I know. She had been standing by the window talking to Gombauld. He was a nice boy. He was just preparing a scheme to manoeuvre the conversation back to the proper path." Denis replied rather curtly." "You were.But would you mind. Anne held up her hand as though to ward off a blow. "Why don't you wear white trousers?" she asked.−−the woman who was a tree. "It's urgent.−−the swaying grace of her movement arrested in a pose that seemed itself a movement. hesitated in a horrible uncertainty.." It was too ridiculous. seriously. and came to a halt in front of the bench on which they were seated. moving a shade to your right?" He wedged himself between them on the bench. please. It was the first time he had ever had the courage to utter a personal remark of the kind. Scogan suddenly darted out of the house." he mumbled.. "I become more and more convinced that the various parts of the concern are fundamentally discrete." Denis exclaimed. "I'm afraid. malicious smile. This white− trouser business was all in the wrong spirit. but at Denis's words she came swaying across the room towards him. about half an hour. Urgent family business." cried Anne. impossible. She was standing before him. Denis. my dear Anne. and Gombauld's violent insistences were really becoming rather tiresome.. "How long have you been standing there?" he asked. "Oh. "I'm afraid this means I shall have to go back to town at once. he found himself. "You were so very deep in your paper−−head over ears−−I didn't like to disturb you. "Return at once. I suppose. Mary's large blue china eyes were fixed upon him..Thank you. "I like you so much in white trousers. I think. she thought." he repeated desperately. "And if you would shift a few inches to the left." "You look lovely this morning. crossed the terrace with clockwork rapidity.Crome Yellow kept it hoisted." he said. Lowering it at last to take another cautious peep at his surroundings. penetratingly. CHAPTER XXX. Oh. They were taking their after luncheon coffee in the library when the telegram arrived." said Anne.

Wimbush out of the conversation. Camlet. he must. It was time for him to lay himself in his coffin." she said. Mary looked at the clock again. "I think perhaps you ought to go and pack. finally. Nobody had noticed." said Mary. "I am wretched you should be going. London. Priscilla got up from her chair in some excitement.Crome Yellow "If he must go. good−bye. and then. quoting Landor with an exquisite aptness." He looked at the telegram again for inspiration.. The whole party had assembled to see him go. This was what came of action. brushing Mrs. He looked quickly round from face to face. it's urgent family business. "You'll have nice time to pack. never again would he do anything decisive." She looked at the clock on the mantelpiece. Never again. Scogan. 93 .'" he said. "You see. I must. The funeral was well under way. Denis turned towards her. Mechanically he tapped the barometer that hung in the porch. Spavin Delawarr." Henry Wimbush rang the bell." put in Mary firmly. He climbed into the hearse. the needle stirred perceptibly to the left. "There's a very good train at 3. no doubt. West Bowlby." "A mere coincidence.. And what on earth was he going to do in London when he got there? He climbed wearily up the stairs. of doing something decisive. "I shall miss your conversation. he said to himself. The car was at the door−−the hearse. It was awful." said Mr. and then all the other stations." she said. If only he'd just let things drift! If only. A sudden smile lighted up his lugubrious face. "'It sinks and I am ready to depart. The thought of the journey appalled him. "I had a distinct presentiment of this last night." he explained. Obediently Denis left the room. "A distinct presentiment. "Yes. He abandoned himself hopelessly. Knipswich for Timpany. awful.27. fatalistically to his destiny. she really did look wretched." said Anne." "I'll order the motor at once. CHAPTER XXX. Good−bye.