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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the course of the next few centuries. Some of his books of comfort and spiritual teaching were in their hundred and twentieth thousand. sapped at its very base. Barbecue−Smith was duly introduced. from without. tremendously! And the bit about the Lotus Pool−−I thought that so beautiful. my dear Gombauld. jolly way. In younger days he had gaily called himself a Bohemian. The family system will disappear." she said in her large. And somehow he always seemed slightly.. Swan of Lichfield. They went out into the garden for tea. He had never been to Crome before. Barbecue−Smith was full of admiration.. argal. will have to find new foundations. Mr. Eros.. "Bottles?" she said. beautifully and irresponsibly free. rather unctuous voice. In vast state incubators. An impersonal generation will take the place of Nature's hideous system. you know. Priscilla praised his latest book. 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. more precious even than these−−the means of dissociating love from propagation. He was a teacher now. society. I thought it was. the cinema. failed−−our descendants will experiment and succeed. It came to me. will flit like a gay butterfly from flower to flower through a sunlit world. but was comforted by reading in Balzac's "Louis Lambert" that all the world's great men have been marked by the same peculiarity. and Eros. Mr. With the gramophone. He was a short and corpulent man. for all their scientific ardour.It was convincing.Crome Yellow "Even your eloquence. the goddess of Applied Science has presented the world with another gift. He sported a leonine head with a greyish−black mane of oddly unappetising hair brushed back from a broad but low forehead." Mary's china blue eyes. In his earlier middle age he had been distressed by this absence of neck. Scogan. Priscilla received him with every mark of esteem. who knows? the world may see a more complete severance. "The distant future always does. she showed him round the house. He did so no longer. the more closely these two organs approach one another.. and the automatic pistol. 15 . were fixed on Mr. Barbecue−Smith arrived in time for tea on Saturday afternoon." CHAPTER VI. more serious and more astonished than ever. "So quaint." "It sounds lovely. "I'm happy to think you found it a comfort. Barbecue−Smith belonged to the old school of journalists. I look forward to it optimistically." said Anne. for those who wish it." He waved his hand to indicate the astral world. is now an entirely free god. the shorter the neck." "I knew you would like that." he was saying−−"even your eloquence must prove inadequate to reconvert the world to a belief in the delights of mere multiplication." said Mr. "Oh. "Splendid. so old−world. He had a rich. a kind of prophet. Mr. ever so slightly. Barbecue− Smith. with a very large head and no neck. Where the great Erasmus Darwin and Miss Anna Seward. his deplorable associations with Lucina may be broken at will. CHAPTER VI. rows upon rows of gravid bottles will supply the world with the population it requires. Mr. "Do you really think so? Bottles. experimented−−and." he kept repeating. soiled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There would have been archery. CHAPTER XVIII. The War Memorial must be built at once. A War Memorial was. Funds were inadequate. God might come. At any moment. remote and rustic Crome. 54 . These were works dedicated to man. Stained−glass windows. 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. like a thief in the night. This was an object which answered perfectly to the definition of a War Memorial: a useless work dedicated to God and carved with knops. In Sir Ferdinando's time. were assembled. if ever it came into existence. At the first stile a group of village boys. drearily guffawing as they smoked their cigarettes. Meanwhile a difficulty stood in the way. A lich−gate had been suggested. He liked to think of the villagers. in its very nature. nothing had been done. dialect dictionaries. complete uselessness. however. a work dedicated to God. from a human point of view. a stained−glass window. stocked with county histories. Henry Wimbush was all for a library−−a library of local literature. There had been much talk in Crome about the proposed War Memorial. it was high time that his congregation had a fresh reminder. Both these were admirable. not to God. a monument of marble. these young men would have had their Sunday diversions even at Crome. the fact of their. it was true. Bodiham touched lightly on Solomon's temple. especially the latter. The villagers themselves favoured the idea of a memorial reservoir and water supply. He appealed to the patriotism and the Christian sentiments of all his hearers. and a second entrance would need a second gate. handbooks of the local geology and natural history. A library. Now they had nothing. old maps of the district. Bodiham's forbidding Boys' Club and the rare dances and concerts organised by himself. "And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops. or. all three. Bodiham in demanding something religious in character−−a second lich−gate. partly because the memorial committee had never been able to agree. Every three or four months Mr. It was a token of thankfulness that the first stage in the culminating world−war had been crowned by the triumph of righteousness. he built a house all carved with knops. nothing except Mr. inspired by such reading." Solomon might have built a library−−indeed. Henry Wimbush walked home thinking of the books he would present to the War Memorial Library. a monument of marble. useless and unpractical. if possible. But the busiest and most articulate party followed Mr. What were the characteristics of these buildings dedicated to God? Obviously. He took the path through the fields. touching their caps as he passed. loutish young fellows all dressed in the hideous ill−fitting black which makes a funeral of every English Sunday and holiday. One lich−gate. Bodiham scornfully and indignantly condemned the idea. It was high time that the War Memorial was erected. Country pleasures were no more. Bodiham preached a sermon on the subject. So far. 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. a reservoir? Mr. his bowler and face were one in their unruffled gravity. skittles. for example. He returned their salute. Boredom or the urban pleasures of the county metropolis were the alternatives that presented themselves to these poor youths. Other suggestions had been made. 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." Mr. They were unpractical buildings "carved with knops. it was pleasanter than the road. he reflected.Crome Yellow party spirit to think of such things. Further delay was disastrous. in the time of his son. partly for the more cogent reason that too little money had been subscribed to carry out any of the proposed schemes. His last had been delivered in March. Sir Julius. already existed. From thence he passed to temples and churches in general. monographs on the local antiquities. As a War Memorial they were totally unsuitable. making up parties of a Sunday afternoon to look for fossils and flint arrow−heads. They made way for Henry Wimbush. It might soon be too late. dancing−−social amusements in which they would have partaken as members of a conscious community. Why? Because he was dedicating the work to God. they had been stamped out by the Puritans. All should subscribe according to their means. But nothing would be easier than to make a second entrance into the churchyard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I cannot read what will happen after that. has announced the fact upon your hand. Scogan's bandana−covered head was just below him. "This is what the fates have written. as though to himself−−"very interesting. "Afterwards. not exactly good looking nor precisely young. it's not at all clear. 81 . Listen. death by apoplexy. He had a great desire to see how Mr. lor'!" "But you will not remain so for long. She was wearing a broad hat. Scogan looked at her hand again as though to refresh his memory of the details of the scene. Scogan took up the magnifying−glass and began once more to examine the white palm. "Destiny. the pendulous brass ear−rings which he had screwed on to his ears tinkled. 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." "What is it? What is it? Oh. Setting down the bench at the back of the booth. CHAPTER XXVII." she implored. Scogan sighed." He was silent." Mr.Crome Yellow the witch's booth waiting for the privilege of hearing sentence pronounced upon them. The old lady was succeeded by a girl dressed in white muslin. please!. Mr. destruction by air−raids in the next war. "What's clear?" asked the girl. 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. Scogan played his part." he said. Denis went to the tea−tent and borrowed a wooden bench and a small Union Jack. At that moment a man will appear walking along the footpath. With these he hurried back to the booth of Sesostris." He lingered hissingly over the word." said Mr. "Very soon. 'Can you tell me the way to Paradise?' and you will answer. "Very well. do tell me!" The white muslin figure leant eagerly forward. "Oh." added Mr." he repeated−−"a small man with a sharp nose. so that Denis could not see her face. Through the crannies in the canvas he could see almost the whole of the interior of the tent. Listen." The young lady giggled and exclaimed." Mr. looked with curiosity at this crowd of suppliants before the shrine of the oracle. Between its walls and its sagging roof were long gaping chinks and crannies. The canvas booth was a rickety. "He will ask you. Denis looked and listened while the witch prophesied financial losses. but fascinating." he said. then whispered. but from her figure and the roundness of her bare arms he judged her young and pleasing. Scogan looked at her hand. which interests itself in small things no less than in great. ill−made structure. "Is there going to be another war?" asked the old lady to whom he had predicted this end. The witch seemed to ignore her remark. "I don't think I ought to tell you. Mr. Denis. Scogan. "Very interesting." Mr. 'Yes. he climbed up. with an air of quiet confidence. Mr. It's as clear as day. They are only specific about this one rather crucial incident. But if anything untoward happens you must blame your own curiosity. "Please. The young lady giggled again. I'll show you. his terrifying whispers came clearly up. claw− nailed forefinger. "if you must know. Scogan shook his head. "You are still virtuous. Scogan sepulchrally." There was a silence." He lifted up a sharp. "A man. you must know. in the course of his round.' and walk with him down towards the little hazel copse. garnished with pink ribbons. and with a great air of busy efficiency began to tie the Union Jack to the top of one of the tent−poles.

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

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

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

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

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

you would be amazed at the romantic tale. How charming! one would say. how pretty and how amusing! But when the ball takes place to−day." He waved his hand in the direction of the acetylene flares. "No. The world. Nothing would be pleasanter than to read in a well−written book of an open−air ball that took place a century ago. Gombauld relaxed his embrace a little. CHAPTER XXIX. 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." Henry Wimbush went on. No. leaning backwards. Wimbush. when one finds oneself involved in it. As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread. in my bald style. To climb by night up a rope−ladder to a second−floor window in an old house in Toledo seemed to me. "I found myself. "Why not?" he said.Crome Yellow The black silhouette against the darkness shook its head. "You won't." said Mr. an action as obvious." They had come to the entrance of the enclosure and stood there. Adventures and romance only take on their adventurous and romantic qualities at second−hand. if only we were!" Henry Wimbush added. while they were happening−−these romantic adventures−−they seemed to me no more and no less exciting than any other incident of actual life. It turns out to be merely this. as much to be taken for granted. a shabby brown patch in the wide green of the park. Crome Fair was over. "The pleasures even of these contacts are much exaggerated. then one sees the thing in its true light." she retorted. quite fortuitously. 87 . In literature they become as charming as this dismal ball would be if we were celebrating its tercentenary. The dancers had already dispersed and the last lights were being put out. "Ah. "You've tried to take the most unfair advantage of me. while I was actually performing this rather dangerous feat." Her raised voice had become imperative. no. An expanse of worn grass. But I assure you. At present people in search of pleasure naturally tend to congregate in large herds and to make a noise." CHAPTER XXIX. By the edge of the pool two figures lingered. would be all that remained. as−−how shall I put it?−−as quotidian as catching the 8. To−morrow the tents would be struck." "I sometimes think that it may be. with a sigh. "No." he went on after a pause. he was wondering if Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together." With a sudden effort Anne freed herself." said Denis. involved in a series of the most phantasmagorical amorous intrigues." said the polite level voice. It was after ten o'clock. the dismantled merry−go−round would be packed into waggons and carted away. 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. "I will. "I must go and see if all is well on the dancing−floor. and even if I were to tell you. A novelist could have made his fortune out of them. "Instead of which. "It seems to me doubtful whether they are equal to the pleasures of private reading and contemplation. Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together. blinking in the dazzling light." Anne was saying in a breathless whisper. "this festivity would be extremely agreeable. Live them. is only just becoming literate. "If all these people were dead. and they are just a slice of life like the rest.52 from Surbiton to go to business on a Monday morning. The proper study of mankind is books. in future their natural tendency will be to seek solitude and quiet. the details of these adventures. please. no. you must remember. turning her head from side to side in an effort to escape Gombauld's kisses." They got up and began to walk slowly towards the white glare. "In my youth.

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

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

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

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

"Oh. "I'm afraid.. "But that's absurd. "I know. quite charming. He was just preparing a scheme to manoeuvre the conversation back to the proper path. and Gombauld's violent insistences were really becoming rather tiresome. malicious smile. and came to a halt in front of the bench on which they were seated. Urgent family business. "Return at once. please." It was too ridiculous. impossible.. "Why don't you wear white trousers?" she asked. CHAPTER XXX. Denis. amused. I suppose. was what I was saying..But would you mind. Denis blushed guiltily as he took the orange envelope from the salver and tore it open.Thank you. penetratingly. she thought. seriously.−−the swaying grace of her movement arrested in a pose that seemed itself a movement. but at Denis's words she came swaying across the room towards him." "You look lovely this morning. "But you've only been here such a short time.. This white− trouser business was all in the wrong spirit. Discrete. Mary's large blue china eyes were fixed upon him." He frowned at the telegram ferociously.−−the woman who was a tree." he mumbled. It was the first time he had ever had the courage to utter a personal remark of the kind. when Mr. "And if you would shift a few inches to the left. He lost his head." he said." he began." he repeated desperately. when he had done gaping at her. "I'm afraid this means I shall have to go back to town at once." Denis exclaimed. "I become more and more convinced that the various parts of the concern are fundamentally discrete." Denis replied rather curtly. 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. She was standing before him." she said airily. he found himself. He was a nice boy. utterly miserable." said Anne. "You were so very deep in your paper−−head over ears−−I didn't like to disturb you." "They're at the wash. moving a shade to your right?" He wedged himself between them on the bench. He blushed more deeply than ever. hesitated in a horrible uncertainty." "You were. Scogan suddenly darted out of the house." Anne protested. about half an hour. Oh. "What's your telegram about?" Mary asked significantly. Anne held up her hand as though to ward off a blow. I think. if only she could understand! Women were supposed to have intuition. "I like you so much in white trousers. crossed the terrace with clockwork rapidity. "How long have you been standing there?" he asked. She had been standing by the window talking to Gombauld. my dear Anne. Lowering it at last to take another cautious peep at his surroundings.Crome Yellow kept it hoisted." cried Anne. with what astonishment! confronted by Anne's faint." She sat down on the bench beside him. "Don't bludgeon me. "It's urgent. Denis was speechless. "To go on with our interesting conversation about the cosmos. 92 . They were taking their after luncheon coffee in the library when the telegram arrived.

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

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