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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 .
• 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. http://www.blackmask.com
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
That was a good word. none. name of Stone. Anything. they were all good. 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. Galbe. potele. and pushed off on his bicycle. one by one. crammed his hat over his eyes. scooped in the flanks of the ridge beneath him. but continued methodically to hand out. the harvests whitening on the slopes of the ridge along which his road led him. Two hours. and that one fine morning one really might get up at six. "All in good time. he felt his spirits mounting." Denis's man of action collapsed. But he really must find that word. but all the same it was nice to feel that the bicycle was there. pervers. The train came bumpingly to a halt. volupte. He felt himself a man of action. One hundred and twenty minutes. curves: he repeated the word slowly. Curves. these. The world. Instead of which−−his gorge rose at the smell of the dusty cushions against which he was leaning. pudeur: vertu. seized a bag in either hand. they seemed the dinted imprints of some huge divine body that had rested on these hills. Somehow they never did get seen. "A bicycle!" Denis repeated. the packages labelled to Camlet. Here was Camlet at last. peau. gonfle. and oh! so agonizingly conscious of the fact.. and had to put them down again in order to open the door. It was part of the theory of exercise. Denis jumped up. sir. Dinted. to occupy corner seats in third−class carriages. and what had he done with them? Wasted them. trying as he did so to find some term in which to give expression to his appreciation. or Stratford−on−Avon−−anywhere. drinking tea. He was a large." said the guard soothingly. deranged his pile of baggage. S−T−O−N−E.. to be alive? None. two hours in which he might have done so much. The guard paid no attention. leaned out of the window and shouted for a porter. He made a gesture with his hand. so much−−written the perfect poem. goulu: parfum. Cumbrous locutions. but through them he seemed to be getting nearer to what he wanted. Nothing. stately man with a naval beard. It was in that tone that he must have spoken to his children when they were tiresome. "A green machine. Curves curves. the treeless sky−lines that changed as he moved−−yes. or read the one illuminating book.Crome Yellow Oh. a bicycle!" he said breathlessly to the guard. One pictured him at home. Anything might be done in that time. What right had he to sit in the sunshine. spilt the precious minutes as though his reservoir were inexhaustible. as though to scoop the achieved expression out of the air. he had had hundreds of hours. none. surrounded by a numerous family. Once at the top of the long hill which led up from Camlet station. punctured. He was overcome by the beauty of those deeply embayed combes. sir. they were informed with the subtlety of art. cross−framed. Galbe. He always took his bicycle when he went into the country. The far−away blue hills. condemned himself utterly with all his works. this journey! It was two hours cut clean out of his life. He was twenty−three. was good. Crome Yellow 2 . "A bicycle. What was the word to describe the curves of those little valleys? They were as fine as the lines of a human body." "All in good time. Oh. When at last he had safely bundled himself and his baggage on to the platform. for example. he ran up the train towards the van. Denis groaned in the spirit. Curves−− no. Misery and a nameless nostalgic distress possessed him. He left his luggage to be called for later. and almost fell off his bicycle.. 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. he found.Those little valleys had the lines of a cup moulded round a woman's breast. but it was French. that was inadequate. One day one would get up at six o'clock and pedal away to Kenilworth..
A little staircase cork−screwed up to it CHAPTER II. how austere! The hill was becoming steeper and steeper. deserted Pompeii. He left his bicycle leaning against the wall and walked in. where the huge chintz−covered arm−chairs stood. rich in portentous folios. There was the dining−room. He had given her the book when it came out. There was the panelled drawing− room. this view of Crome was pleasant to linger over. What tact! He picked it up and opened it. Oh. How ripe and rich it was.. into a considerable valley. Who could have been reading it. he wondered? Anne." He put it down again. how superbly mellow! And at the same time. the slim Hamadryad whose movements were like the swaying of a young tree in the wind. Mrs. on the opposite slope. the old brick rosily glowed. What sort of life would the excavator reconstruct from these remains. his destination. and he at his table. There was the morning−room. He would take them by surprise. CHAPTER II. irritation. he was gaining speed in spite of his brakes. He loosed his grip of the levers. shook his head. too. There. wimpled−−his mind wandered down echoing corridors of assonance and alliteration ever further and further from the point. That was all. one couldn't publicly admit it) rather boring Italian primitives. Denis wandered from room to empty room. cool. "The Woman who was a Tree" was what he had called the poem. He shut his eyes and saw a vision of her in a red velvet cloak. What could one reconstruct from such data? There was much of Henry Wimbush in the long gallery and the library. perhaps. and dark. It was what the reviewers call "a slim volume. its Chinese sculptures. he would go and see. of course. "What genius I had then!" he reflected. its mirrors. in the morning−room. he was glad to think he would never write anything of the same sort again. echoing the aged Swift. Lying on the table in the morning−room he saw his own book of poems. he found himself on the crest of a descent. with its pale lemon walls. There was the library. meticulous animal paintings. she was damnable! It occurred to him that perhaps his hostess might be in her boudoir. dateless furniture. He was enamoured with the beauty of words. The road plunged down. oases of comfort among the austere flesh−mortifying antiques. there was nobody to take. stood Crome. its modern pictures. at all the little untidy signs of life that lay scattered here and there. It was a possibility. she had at last recognised herself in the Hamadryad of the poplar sapling. Becoming once more aware of the outer world. He put on his brakes. he liked to think so. something of Anne. The house basked in full sunlight. its eighteenth−century chairs and sideboard. He was rather glad that they were all out. and in a moment was rushing headlong down. Wimbush's boudoir was in the central tower on the garden front." He read at hazard: ". hoping that the poem would tell her what he hadn't dared to say. book−lined from floor to ceiling. Among the accumulations of ten generations the living had left but few traces. swaying into the little restaurant where they sometimes dined together in London−−three quarters of an hour late. He took nobody by surprise. steep and straight. And Blackpool from the nightly gloom Hollows a bright tumultuous tomb. with its great mahogany table.. spacious. Five minutes later he was passing through the gate of the great courtyard.Crome Yellow dimpled. and sighed. She had never referred to it. portwinily English. 3 . The front door stood hospitably open. looking with pleasure at the familiar pictures and furniture. solidly. haggard with anxiety. It was nearly six months since the book had been published.But silence and the topless dark Vault in the lights of Luna Park. with its rows of respectable and (though. its painted Venetian chairs and rococo tables. a little higher up the valley. its eighteenth−century pictures−−family portraits. perhaps. All was quiet. Perhaps. hunger. it was amusing to wander through the house as though one were exploring a dead. its unobtrusive. The facade with its three projecting towers rose precipitously from among the dark trees of the garden. how would he people these empty chambers? There was the long gallery.
without even being aware that she had interrupted him. too shy to ask. "You find me busy at my horoscopes. He opened the door. She had a large. "What have you been doing all this time?" she asked. it seemed. looking up. she was there. "Hullo. "Come in. made her look more than ever like something on the Halls. Wimbush's question had been what the grammarians call rhetorical. A blotting−pad rested on her knees and she was thoughtfully sucking the end of a silver pencil." Ah. Wimbush laughed. The number of thousands varied in the different legends. isn't it? Everything is in the Stars. "Did I tell you how I won four hundred on the Grand National this year?" "Yes. Denis always thought of Wilkie Bard as the cantatrice." Mrs." Today she was wearing a purple silk dress with a high collar and a row of pearls. She must have told him at least six times. and sprightlier−−had lost a great deal of money. For the first time in his life Henry asserted himself. that was all he knew.Crome Yellow from the hall. Sing in op−pop−pop−pop−pop−popera. Everything about her was manly. Denis mounted. still frigid and mono−syllabic. Now"−−she paused an instant−−"well. Priscilla Wimbush was lying on the sofa. In the Old Days. tapped at the door. But he was too late. "I'd forgotten you were coming. Old Priscilla−−not so old then. There had been something of a bust up. 4 ." she said. her laughter. with a massive projecting nose and little greenish eyes. Henry Wimbush was forced to sell some of his Primitives−−a Taddeo da Poggibonsi.. I used to lose thousands. He contented himself.. Her voice. It was a little conversational flourish." said Denis. so richly dowagerish." she said. He had a tremendously amusing account of London and its doings all ripe and ready in his mind. Mrs. with saying "Oh?" rather icily. and he hesitated. the whole surmounted by a lofty and elaborate coiffure of a curiously improbable shade of orange. square. still more. "Well. "To begin with. She had gambled too. "That's why I'm going to Sing in op'ra. look at that four hundred on the Grand National. CHAPTER II. I'm afraid. here I am. of course. so suggestive of the Royal Family." Denis would have liked to hear more about the Old Days. There was a crisis. an Amico di Taddeo. before I had the Stars to help me. and with good effect. a gambit in the polite game. "I'm awfully sorry. A little pained. but all put it high. "Wonderful. by way of revenge. were deep and masculine." he said. Looking at her. That's the Stars. Denis decided to reserve his story for more receptive ears." "Well. dropped it in handfuls and hatfuls on every race−course in the country. it asked for no answer. The costume. and four or five nameless Sienese−−to the Americans. But he was too discreet and. he had rather hoped she wouldn't be. almost voluptuously. middle−aged face." said Denis deprecatingly. It would be a pleasure to give it utterance. sing in op'ra." he replied.
Nowadays she spent almost all her time at Crome." She picked up the sheet of paper that was lying on the blotting− pad. One's never dull for a moment. "No. Denis looked at it. "I've invited him for next week−end." Holding the book almost at arm's length. I can't think how I used to get on before−−in the Old Days. But there wasn't much left of it afterwards. The process of balancing the horoscopes of two elevens one against the other was a very delicate and difficult one. It was fun. Eddy and saying you're not ill.. I don't regret the Old Days a bit. I always mark the things I like. "'What are thousand pound fur coats. such a pity. and she invested her money scientifically. It's all splendid. by the way?" she asked. There's rather a good thing about that in Barbecue−Smith's new book. 5 . "I can't say I feel it so. not personally. He might even be the author of "What a Young Girl Ought to Know". and one's Aura. Her passion for racing still possessed her. theatre. nothing you do is ever insignificant. slowly. You've no idea how amusing and exciting life becomes when you do believe. tea. she began to read." he said. who was a kind−hearted fellow at bottom. "Such a pity you don't believe in these things. just running about. that's all it was. and making suitable gestures with her free hand." Denis knew of him vaguely." she waved her hand. and the Christian Mysteries and Mrs. All that happens means something. Pleasure−−running about. I marked it. allowed her forty pounds a month betting money. supper every day. "And then there's the next world and all the spirits.Crome Yellow Priscilla's gay and gadding existence had come to an abrupt end. that's because you don't know what it's like to have faith. "(I thought I'd like to have a little fling on the billiards championship this autumn." she explained. Wimbush in her deep. he wondered. Where is it?" She sat up and reached for a book that was lying on the little table by the head of the sofa. Most of Priscilla's days were spent in casting the horoscopes of horses." She turned over the pages of the book." said Mrs. Dull as ditchwater. "Here's the passage I was thinking of. Lunch.) I have the Infinite to keep in tune with. 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. cultivating a rather ill−defined malady. I don't find it so.. while it lasted. you know. you'd think. of course. Barbecue−Smith. Denis. Barbecue−Smith was a name in the Sunday papers. what are quarter million incomes?'" She looked up from the page with a histrionic movement of the head. her orange coiffure nodded portentously. distinct voice. and Mrs. I have the Stars. Besant. She betted on football too. It makes life so jolly. Here am I at Crome. "Who?" "Mr. but no. or was it one of those Complete Transformations one sees in the advertisements? CHAPTER II. fascinated. Was it the Real Thing and henna. For consolation she dallied with New Thought and the Occult. as the stars dictated. "Do you know him. and had a large notebook in which she registered the horoscopes of all the players in all the teams of the League. "Inman's horoscope. for she was somewhat long−sighted." "Ah. He wrote about the Conduct of Life. dinner. dramatically. and Henry.
.. He compares the Soul to a Lotus Pool. but those unseen are a thousand times more significant. from whose parapet one looked out across airy depths to distances level with the eye.' Ah. She hoisted herself up from the sofa and went swishing off across the room. with its massive elms. dropped suddenly and boomed reply. "'They are nothing. and the birds of the air come to drink and bathe themselves in its crystal waters. speaking in a confidential whisper. hedged in by solid masses of sculptured yew trees. Seen things are sweet. Denis laughed too. It's time we went to see if tea's ready.mixed bathing." She leaned forward. its green expanses of grass. "And here's the passage about the Lotus Pool.." Priscilla exclaimed. from the balusters to the sloping lawn beneath was a drop of thirty feet. The things that matter happen in the heart. questioningly. it must be a Transformation−− bobbed up again. Vanity. Denis followed her. as she let the pages flick back. every now and then she uttered a deep gurgle of laughter. sing in op'ra.Crome Yellow "'What are Thrones and Sceptres?'" The orange Transformation−−yes.. what are the gaudy pleasures of High Society?'" The voice. which had risen in tone. On the farther side of the stream the land rose again in a long slope. Looking up the valley. You've no idea of the things that happened. built like the house itself of brick. lay the stone−brimmed swimming−pool. Two little summer−houses of brick stood at either end. and. the splendours of the Powerful. 6 . a beautiful book.no doubt of it. one saw a line of blue. We gave the village people leave to come and bathe here in the evenings.. Beyond it stretched the park. and that reminds me." The laughter broke out again. but uttered a non− committal "H'm. to the right. The terrace in front of the house was a long narrow strip of turf.. from under her thumb. from sentence to sentence.'" Mrs. Denis preferred not to hazard an opinion.. Below. had the almost menacing aspect of a fortification−−a castle bastion. "'A Friend of mine has a Lotus Pool in his garden. far−off hills. Sing in op−pop−pop−pop−popera. the gleam of the narrow river. "Beautiful." "Ah. isn't it?" she said. "." CHAPTER III. 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." She held up the book again and read. and the terrace was a remarkably high one. thin vapours of fever.. CHAPTER III. faintly humming to himself: "That's why I'm going to Sing in op'ra. among which the nightingale pours forth its amorous descant all the summer long. you know." And then the little twiddly bit of accompaniment at the end: "ra−ra. one by one. It lies in a little dell embowered with wild roses and eglantine. it's a fine book this. striding beneath the trailing silk. fluff.. in the foreground. Barbecue−Smith was tossed on the floor. the high unbroken terrace wall. what is the pride of the Great. Seen from below.sent for a pair of field− glasses to make sure.. "'What are the gaieties of the Rich.. at the bottom of the valley. dandelion seed in the wind.." said Priscilla. Below the house the ground sloped very steeply away. Within the pool the Lotuses blossom.saw them out of my window." said Priscilla. Wimbush lowered the book. chequered with cultivation. It is the unseen that counts in Life. bounded along its outer edge by a graceful stone balustrade.
fluty. had a tilted nose and a pink− and−white complexion. Next him. From the depths of the chair came up a sound of soft. 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. he made quick gestures with his hands. Denis had known him almost as long as he could remember. with flashing teeth and luminous large dark eyes. The skin of his wrinkled brown face had a dry and scaly look. his face moved vivaciously. his speech was thin. Mr. In all those years his pale. appearing in its female members as a blank doll−face. Scogan might look like an extinct saurian. for Gombauld was of Provencal descent. And indeed there were moments when she seemed nothing more than a doll. when the oval face. She had large blue china eyes. She was Henry Wimbush's own niece.Crome Yellow The tea−table had been planted in the shade of one of the little summer−houses. whose expression was one of ingenuous and often puzzled earnestness. he smiled. She was nearly twenty−three. Her long. hung in a bell of elastic gold about her cheeks. Next to Mary a small gaunt man was sitting. Denis reflected bitterly. his dark eye had the shining quickness of a robin's. at the moment. but separated from him and from the rest of the world by the almost impenetrable barriers of her deafness. as he walked at Priscilla's side down the long grass terrace. But across this dollish mask. Between Gombauld and Mr. his hands were the hands of a crocodile. looking down at the world through sharply piercing eyes. and dry. unchanging men on the farther side of fifty. His movements were marked by the lizard's disconcertingly abrupt clockwork speed. even. Her short hair. when it was no more than a lazy mask of wax. but Gombauld was altogether and essentially human. serenely without expression. and wore her brown hair plaited and coiled in two lateral buns over her ears. In the secret tower of her deafness she sat apart. he envied Gombauld his looks. CHAPTER III. What did she think of men and women and things? That was something that Denis had never been able to discover. but one wouldn't have guessed it. Even now some interior joke seemed to be amusing her. a black− haired young corsair of thirty. Scogan was like one of those extinct bird−lizards of the Tertiary. Scogan a very much lowered deck−chair presented its back to the new arrivals as they advanced towards the tea−table. that bowler−like countenance was one of the Wimbush heirlooms. slender body reposed in an attitude of listless and indolent grace. who might be thirty. at the same time. Indeed. it ran in the family. Scogan looked far older and. Mr. his easy confidence of manner. Denis started as he heard it. Within its setting of light brown hair her face had a pretty regularity that was almost doll−like. Henry Wimbush's school−fellow and exact contemporary. rather handsome face had never grown any older. Denis looked at him enviously. In her low deck−chair Anne was nearer to lying than to sitting. for she was smiling to herself. sat Jenny Mullion. But there was nothing soft or gracious or feathery about him. winter and summer−− unageing. On his other side the serious. She was perhaps thirty. rigid and erect in his chair. Was it surprising that Anne should like him? Like him?−−it might even be something worse. He was one of those ageless. like a gay melody dancing over an unchanging fundamental bass. He was jealous of his talent: if only he wrote verse as well as Gombauld painted pictures! Still more. and her brown eyes were like very bright round marbles. moonlike innocence of Mary Bracegirdle's face shone pink and childish. lazy laughter. That laughter−−how well he knew it! What emotions it evoked in him! He quickened his pace. In appearance Mr. Henry Wimbush had begun to pour out the tea. and the rest of the party was already assembled about it when Denis and Priscilla made their appearance. calm. he laughed. Gombauld was leaning over it. who might be anything. passed Anne's other inheritance−−quick laughter. pale blue eyes. In her enigmatic remoteness Jenny was a little disquieting. it was like the pale grey bowler hat which he always wore. expressed nothing. 7 . his vitality. far more youthfully alive than did that gentle aristocrat with the face like a grey bowler. with its long−lashed. clipped like a page's. Gombauld would have been completely Byronic−−more than Byronic. His nose was beaked. with more hair and less collar.
in the puckers about the half−closed eyes. "How's London been since I went away?" Anne inquired from the depth of her chair. the hero. and on either side of it two tiny wrinkles had formed themselves in her cheeks." "Prose?" Mr." Mr." said Denis desperately. It would be nice to have a little literary conversation." "My poor Denis!" exclaimed Mr. but he was always clever. the tremendously amusing narrative was waiting for utterance. just tree trunks with a hole bored through the middle. or whether." "Of course. "You've been writing prose?" "Yes." "Not a novel?" "Yes.. Scogan groaned. An infinity of slightly malicious amusement lurked in those little folds. "Extraordinary!" he said. he carries CHAPTER III. the most promising of buds was nipped. Whether they were laid down by the monks in the fifteenth century. 8 . "What have you been writing lately?" she asked. "To begin with.. The mouth was compressed. Little Percy. "I'll describe the plot for you. you know. bright and laughing between the narrowed lids. about the usual things. when Mr. "to begin with. For some time past Mary's grave blue eyes had been fixed upon him. The moment had come. for no very good reason. "Oh. he called it." "Has Priscilla told you of our great antiquarian find?" Henry Wimbush leaned forward. She was smiling now as Denis looked down at her: her cat's smile. He didn't even want to tell his tale about London now. "quite extraordinary!" He helped himself to another slice of cake.. The preliminary greetings spoken. in the eyes themselves. He passes through the usual public school and the usual university and comes to London. He is bowed down with melancholy thought. he was damped. where he lives among the artists. and the changing expressions of many moods." "Last week. verse and prose. "Well. Jenny?" he shouted to her.. "we dug up fifty yards of oaken drain−pipes." said Denis−−"just verse and prose. Wimbush had finished.. Denis found an empty chair between Gombauld and Jenny and sat down." Mr.. Scogan. Very interesting indeed. Wimbush went on softly and implacably. "there was the Ballet. "What about?" Denis felt rather uncomfortable. "How are you. as though the subject of her health were a secret that could not be publicly divulged. was never good at games. "Oh.Crome Yellow light ironic amusement." said Denis. Scogan pounced alarmingly on the word." Denis listened gloomily. smiling happily. Jenny nodded and smiled in mysterious silence.
Satisfied. my dear Gombauld. Scogan hastened to explain. Jean−Christophe is the stock artist of literature. like myself. His eyes might have been blue and not green. husbands. But his forehead was good. "You are a femme superieure. in their white casing. "Not at all. even in Germany and Russia. dipsomaniacs. but there was something rather pleasing about the notion of black patent leather. Scogan had described the plan of his novel with an accuracy that was appalling. As it was. Mary. were long and elegant. its yellowness had the hint of a greenish tinge in it. As for the artist." Denis blushed scarlet. into the luminous Future. discreetly padded." said Mr. he reflected. He made an effort to laugh. CHAPTER IV. Especially in Paris." "Ah. But you can't expect an ordinary adult man. at the end of the book. He lay in bed for several minutes considering the problem. Luckily. but then you're an exception. But as a combiner of forms. Before he went down−−patent leather was his final choice−−he looked at himself critically in the glass. Most of the party had already finished their breakfast. he dabbles delicately in Amour and disappears. heroes. he reflected. "As a lover or a dipsomaniac.Crome Yellow the whole weight of the universe upon his shoulders." 'I'm sorry to hear I'm as uninteresting as all that. "I've known a great many artists. you're an exception. He decided to wear white flannel trousers−−white flannel trousers and a black jacket. CHAPTER IV." Mr. He found himself alone with Jenny. And after all. Denis woke up next morning to find the sun shining. Scogan paid no attention to his denial. His hair might have been more golden." said Gombauld. A serious book about artists regarded as artists is unreadable. 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. And her speech was punctuated by little gasps." exclaimed Mary. 9 . He writes a novel of dazzling brilliance. and I've always found their mentality very interesting. And what shoes? White was the obvious choice. He would tear them up that very evening when he unpacked. 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. there are more adults than adolescents.. made him seem robuster than he actually was. but it would pass." "I entirely disagree with you." A flush of pleasure turned Mary's face into a harvest moon. he descended the stairs. Mr. the sky serene.. to be much moved by the story of his spiritual troubles. you're a bore. you must honestly admit it. "You're entirely wrong. But his coat was very well cut and. for example−−I saw a great deal of Tschuplitski in Paris this spring. His legs. "My novel is not in the least like that." It was a heroic lie. even in England. and the like is really not worth writing again. Scogan. with a silk shirt and his new peach− coloured tie. I've no doubt of your being a most fascinating specimen. Tschuplitski. His forehead made up in height what his chin lacked in prominence. Mr. just as Professor Radium of "Comic Cuts" is its stock man of science. only two chapters were written." he said. She was somehow always out of breath when she talked. and a book about artists regarded as lovers. His nose might have been longer.
she found him still reading. "Yes. smiled and occasionally nodded. 10 ." she exclaimed. a Hamadryad in white muslin. When you're lying down you're out of the current. He got up to meet her as she approached." "Did he?" Jenny lowered her voice. For lack of anything better to say." he said.Crome Yellow "I hope you slept well." she said. across the grass. "you look perfectly sweet in your white trousers. she entered the ivory tower of her deafness and closed the door." he said. isn't it lovely?" Jenny replied." Having made this pronouncement. I always go to bed in a storm." Denis was dreadfully taken aback." "That's very ingenious. and because Mr. Denis reflected. giving two rapid little nods. meet only at infinity. She just smiled at him. "because lightning goes downwards and not flat ways." "Why?" "Because. Scogan told Mary she was one. CHAPTER IV. An hour later. "But we had such awful thunderstorms last week. "No. "Certainly not. "You speak as though I were a child in a new frock. Has anyone been suggesting that I am?" "No. There was no possible retort. Denis. helping himself to porridge." said Denis. Denis finished his porridge and helped himself to bacon. these thunderstorms. when at last she heard what Denis was saying. Denis could not induce her to say anything more. "Shall I tell you what I think of that man? I think he's slightly sinister." "It's true. One is so much safer lying down. Scogan's absurd phrase was for some reason running in his head. 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. He might talk for ever of care−charmer sleep and she of meteorology till the end of time. "Why. "Don't you think so? Or are you above being frightened?" "No." he said. making a descriptive gesture." said Jenny. "They are very alarming. Did one ever establish contact with anyone? We are all parallel straight lines. Denis went out on to the terrace to smoke his after−breakfast pipe and to read his morning paper. with a show of irritation." There was a silence. when Anne came down." Parallel straight lines. "Mr. By this time he had got to the Court Circular and the Forthcoming Weddings. rather indignantly. Jenny was only a little more parallel than most. could not induce her even to listen.
the dark shapes of yew and ilex trees remained." he said. his pride was hurt. if you didn't think you were going to look sweet in them?" "Let's go into the garden." "Then you oughtn't to. and you found yourself. Pomponazzi. "Four years older... For colour there was the flower−garden. in the world of colour." He was silent. It was provoking. gesticulating a little as he talked.' How does it go? "'Well shot. Within its high brick walls the garden was like a great tank of warmth and perfume and colour. "I'm listening. 11 . ye firemen! Oh how sweet And round your equal fires do meet. why shouldn't I say so? And why did you put them on. the dominant features of the scene. and one sees so few people and so little of the world. It always comes back to that. He had planned a very different opening. separated from it by a huge Babylonian wall of yews. But echoes to the eye and smell. And then there are lots of lovely names and words−−Monophysite.Crome Yellow "But that's how I feel about you." Denis apologized." said Anne. and feel you've clinched the argument with the mere magical sound of them. grubbing dirtily for their food. "'In fragrant volleys they let fly. Things somehow seem more real and vivid when one can apply somebody else's ready−made phrase about them. Look at those sunflowers! Aren't they magnificent?" "Dark faces and golden crowns−−they're kings of Ethiopia. Denis dear. Denis held open the little iron gate for his companion." "And if you do look perfectly sweet in your white trousers. And now she had got in first with the trousers. flower−scented air." "You may regret your education. I'm so much older than you. at all hours and seasons. "It's like passing from a cloister into an Oriental palace. while the other loutish birds.'" "You have a bad habit of quoting. The July borders blazed and flared under the sun." "I like that. and took a deep breath of the warm." said Denis. You passed through a tunnel in the hedge. It was a landscape in black and white. I'm afraid." she said. "Books. you bring them out triumphantly. "It's the fault of one's education. it lay to one side of the pool. Anne had sat down on a bench that stood in the shade of an old apple tree.. Do they look up in envy? That's the literary touch. The silver of water. Education again. but walked backwards and forwards in front of the bench. That's what comes of the higher education. "I'm ashamed of my lack of it. look up in envy from the ground." he said−−"books.. you opened a wicket in a wall. Whose shrill report no ear can tell. He did not sit down. and she was to answer. One reads so many. 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. "Do I?" and then there was to be a pregnant silence. I find it humiliating. "You look adorable this morning. CHAPTER IV. He was put out. Iamblichus." he said. startlingly and suddenly. It was as beautiful by moonlight as in the sun." or something of the kind." "But I can't help it. in which he was to lead off with." said Anne. the conversation had taken such a preposterous and unexpected turn. "As I never know the context or author. And I like the way the tits cling to the flowers and pick out the seeds.
CHAPTER IV. He moved his hands." cried Denis bitterly. I have to say that art is the process by which one reconstructs the divine reality out of chaos. love−making. horribly unhappy? Denis came to a halt in front of the bench. There's nothing more to be said. art. and to−day he looked charming−−charming! One entered the world. Denis pursued. "It seems so obvious. He was a nice boy. One had a philosophy and tried to make life fit into it. "My poor Denis!" Anne was touched. As for women. is a nice plump young wife." "Of course it is." said Denis.Crome Yellow Great thick books about the universe and the mind and ethics. "But it's a lesson to be learnt gradually.Life. Denis. There are the twenty tons of ratiocination to be got rid of first." "Nothing−−for you." she protested. One enjoys the pleasant things. "It's so much simpler. I must have read twenty or thirty tons of them in the last five years. avoids the nasty ones. His voice rose. But. pleasure. deceptively simple. "What you need. women−−I have to invent an excuse. a justification for everything that's delightful. things were horribly complicated. "Why can't you just take things for granted and as they come?" she asked. ideas. He looked at her despairingly. fell. and then talked on. having ready−made ideas about everything. 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. "But does one suffer about these things? It seems very extraordinary. "that anyone should have been a victim to them. then let them fall again to his sides." said Anne. Was it surprising that one was miserable. I make up a little story about beauty and pretend that it has something to do with truth and goodness. sometimes he waved his arms. Well. I am trying laboriously to make myself one. he would−−he would. and drew in her skirt with a gesture that indicated that he was to sit down beside her. One should have lived first and then made one's philosophy to fit life. even the most difficult of them." "No.. no. in life all was obscure. Couldn't she see what was going on inside him? Couldn't she understand? "What I need is you. I can enjoy nothing as it comes along. as though she were at a lecture.. His desire fought against his shyness." "What I need is you." He went on walking up and down. and a little congenial but regular work. Otherwise I can't enjoy it with an easy conscience. you were born a pagan. He could not say it. but not a sound issued from his lips. Weighted with that. I am perpetually assuring myself that they're the broad highway to divinity. was silent a moment. He was really too pathetic as he stood there in front of her in his white flannel trousers. "What I need is you. that was what he wanted passionately to say. I should like to see myself believing that men are the highway to divinity. and as he asked this last question he stretched out his arms and stood for an instant in an attitude of crucifixion. facts. a fixed income. You've no idea how many there are." "I've always taken things as they come. 12 . "You regard me as a specimen for an anthropologist." The amused malice of her smile planted two little folds on either side of her mouth. I suppose I am." He would say it." Mentally he shouted the words." said Anne. In the world of ideas everything was clear." "You're like Scogan. I can take nothing for granted. dancing. one's pushed out into the world. Beauty. and through their half−closed lids her eyes shone with laughter. Pleasure is one of the mystical roads to union with the infinite−−the ecstasies of drinking." "It's still more incredible to me. embroiled. Anne looked and listened quietly. Twenty tons of ratiocination." That was what he ought to have retorted. then. He sat down.
" old Rowley answered. and when they're past working or breeding or begetting. "This is a good sow. and now they were standing. Wimbush went on. Rowley turned at last. fringed with a double line of dugs. He'll have to go too. Grave. I counted. He was the most venerable of the labourers on the farm−−a tall. "She had a litter of fourteen. She only had five in her litter. had been unable to secure a place at the banquet. softly grunting his contentment.." "Farming seems to be mostly indecency and cruelty. sir. 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. looking into one of the styes. splendidly respectable. slowly and CHAPTER V. Mr." said Anne. I believe I enjoy scratching this pig quite as much as he enjoys being scratched. "Fine old beast. It's extraordinary." said Mary. Gombauld.. With a frantic greed they tugged at their mother's flank. presented itself to the assault of an army of small. With the ferrule of his walking−stick Denis began to scratch the boar's long bristly back. with grey side−whiskers and a steep. Wimbush. isn't he? But he's getting past his prime. still unbent. how eminently realistic!" said Mr. I shall give her another chance. "to do somebody a kindness. If only one could always be kind with so little expense or trouble. The old sow stirred sometimes uneasily or uttered a little grunt of pain. trying to push in among his stronger brothers or even to climb over their tight little black backs towards the maternal reservoir. One small pig. and Mary−−by the low wall of the piggery. "Morning. I shall fat her up and kill her. CHAPTER V. Denis. weighty in his manner. solid man. slaughter them. Wimbush had taken them to see the sights of the Home Farm. If she does no better next time. Scogan. 13 ." he pointed towards a farther sty. She turned astonished blue eyes towards Mr. black belly. "has done very badly. then he stood stock still. Anne. Squealing shrilly. there was a sound of heavy footsteps." The opportunity had passed. "What a pleasure it is. dignified profile. Rowley had the air of a great English statesman of the mid−nineteenth century." A gate slammed." said Anne. he ran backwards and forwards." "How cruel!" Anne exclaimed. The animal moved a little so as to bring himself within easier range of the instrument that evoked in him such delicious sensations. all six of them−−Henry Wimbush. make them work." said Denis. "Morning." said Henry Wimbush." "The sow next door.Crome Yellow "I think I shall go and bathe." Mr. Make them breed. He halted on the outskirts of the group. "You're quite right. There's the boar. Rowley!" said Henry Wimbush. "Fourteen?" Mary echoed incredulously. Her round. then let them fall onto the seething mass of elan vital that fermented in the sty. the runt. "It's so hot. brownish−black swine. "There ARE fourteen. The mud of years flaked off his sides in a grey powdery scurf. Scogan. "But how practical. Mr. the weakling of the litter. "In this farm we have a model of sound paternal government. An immense sow reposed on her side in the middle of the pen.
" Gombauld grew lyrical. say. met them in the way. He was a very calm bull. and Mary. "Pedigree stock. and addressed himself to Henry Wimbush. with parted lips and eyes that shone with the indignation of a convinced birth−controller. regarded the drumming stick for several seconds. Gombauld ceased talking. Mary. with a delicate old−maidish precision of utterance. Before she could utter a word Mr. and his face wore an expression of melancholy stupidity. unnatural. with as much justice. 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. with a motion of his hand towards the wallowing swine. "What wisdom. Scogan. then turned back again satisfied.'" They walked on towards the cowsheds and the stables of the cart− horses. 14 . taking the air this fine morning. horizontal snakes. Gombauld." he said. "I'm so sorry for the poor things. life. The ribs of the placid bull resounded. Sterility was odious. Between his short horns was a triangle of red curls." said Mr. Standing with his back against the farmyard pump. like the boar. The bull turned his head to see what was happening. converting their lifted necks into rigid. a sin against life. Scogan pronounced. cackled. what judgment." Mr. and still more life. short and dense. "Rightly is they called pigs. Everybody ought to have children−−Anne ought to have them. as old Rowley plodded off slowly and with dignity. sir. And I wish I could. even as they were doing. opened her mouth to refute him. In another enclosure stood the bull. The others stood round. it seemed to have nothing to do with his impassive bulk. everything ought to increase and multiply as hard as it can. and beside her stood Mr. "Personally. Wimbush agreed. they rushed off in disorder. and Denis to little Denises." he said. "I rather like seeing fourteen pigs grow where only one grew before. it seemed. massive as a locomotive. was its centre. "Splendid animal. Red calves paddled in the dung and mud of a spacious yard. flushed and outraged. chewed thoughtfully at the tangible memories of an earlier meal. Scogan ought to pass on his intelligence to little Scogans. Mary had perforce to resign herself. Denis examined the group." "Fat him up and slaughter him. They hesitated. Anne looked on through half−shut eyes. 'Rightly are we called men. "Look at them. "Couldn't you give the animals a little holiday from producing children?" asked Anne. "Lots of life: that's what we want.Crome Yellow ponderously and nobly. Scogan's fluty voice had pronounced the opening phrases of a discourse." Mr. He emphasised his point by thumping with his walking−stick on the bull's leather flanks. Scogan. calm and polite beneath his grey bowler. a little apart. hissing horribly as they went. Mr. "I am abashed by that man. listening−−Henry Wimbush. Five white geese. His tail lashed savagely from side to side. then. Mary ought to have them−−dozens and dozens. smiling. He gazed with reddish−brown eyes at his visitors. CHAPTER V. There was no hope of getting so much as a word in edgeways. what a sense of values! 'Rightly are they called swine. Wimbush shook his head." "I'm glad to hear you say so. The spectacle of so much crude life is refreshing. But he's getting a little old. as he did everything." Gombauld broke in warmly. Life." "Rightly indeed. that nothing was happening. swallowed and regurgitated. But she was too slow. I like pullulation.' Yes." said Henry Wimbush. chewed again. passionate and vivacious." Mr.
"Oh. a kind of prophet. He did so no longer. Scogan. 15 ." said Anne. experimented−−and. He had a rich. is now an entirely free god. sapped at its very base. soiled. Eros. With the gramophone. "Splendid. jolly way. for all their scientific ardour. beautifully and irresponsibly free." he was saying−−"even your eloquence must prove inadequate to reconvert the world to a belief in the delights of mere multiplication. the cinema. Barbecue−Smith was duly introduced. with a very large head and no neck. the more closely these two organs approach one another. CHAPTER VI. Mr. who knows? the world may see a more complete severance. and the automatic pistol. will flit like a gay butterfly from flower to flower through a sunlit world. ever so slightly. Barbecue− Smith. failed−−our descendants will experiment and succeed. Priscilla received him with every mark of esteem.. will have to find new foundations. In vast state incubators. Barbecue−Smith was full of admiration. I thought it was. so old−world. the goddess of Applied Science has presented the world with another gift. "The distant future always does." he kept repeating." "I knew you would like that. Barbecue−Smith belonged to the old school of journalists. you know.Crome Yellow "Even your eloquence. They went out into the garden for tea. It came to me. she showed him round the house.. He was a teacher now. Mr. his deplorable associations with Lucina may be broken at will. The family system will disappear. And somehow he always seemed slightly. but was comforted by reading in Balzac's "Louis Lambert" that all the world's great men have been marked by the same peculiarity." Mary's china blue eyes. "Bottles?" she said. He had never been to Crome before. An impersonal generation will take the place of Nature's hideous system. the shorter the neck. rather unctuous voice. society. argal. rows upon rows of gravid bottles will supply the world with the population it requires. and Eros. Mr." said Mr. Barbecue−Smith arrived in time for tea on Saturday afternoon." "It sounds lovely. more serious and more astonished than ever. "So quaint.. my dear Gombauld. In his earlier middle age he had been distressed by this absence of neck." she said in her large. Mr. "Do you really think so? Bottles. 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. Priscilla praised his latest book. from without. In younger days he had gaily called himself a Bohemian.. Where the great Erasmus Darwin and Miss Anna Seward. In the course of the next few centuries. Swan of Lichfield.It was convincing. Some of his books of comfort and spiritual teaching were in their hundred and twentieth thousand. more precious even than these−−the means of dissociating love from propagation. tremendously! And the bit about the Lotus Pool−−I thought that so beautiful." CHAPTER VI. I look forward to it optimistically. "I'm happy to think you found it a comfort. He was a short and corpulent man. were fixed on Mr. for those who wish it." He waved his hand to indicate the astral world. He sported a leonine head with a greyish−black mane of oddly unappetising hair brushed back from a broad but low forehead.
you know. and he squeezed Denis's arm encouragingly." There was a silence. it was only Denis. and. 16 . nothing. Barbecue−Smith smiled benignly. Barbecue−Smith excused himself." "Then I couldn't possibly go on. "You write. you ought to. turned round on his heels. He wondered who it could be. The prophet retired to his chamber." and looked away." He walked out into the middle of the room." CHAPTER VI." Denis exercised his memory." "I can't imagine. Barbecue−Smith stood with his back to the hearth. Barbecue−Smith came down to the drawing−room at ten to eight. Mr. you ought to. But sometimes it takes me much longer. To Mr. Barbecue−Smith nodded." Denis replied. It's most important. One of the young ladies." said Mr. "Mr. Stone is one of our younger poets. But no. looking up at Denis with an expression of Olympian condescension. and. they both used pen and ink. and confronted Denis again. He was in a good humour." Mr. do go on. Barbecue−Smith. "Oh. warming himself at the memory of last winter's fires. he had to do some writing before dinner. yes−−a little. "When I'm in good form." "How many words do you find you can write in an hour?" "I don't think I've ever counted. and." It was Anne's voice." "Oh. Barbecue−Smith's question he answered. He scowled at her. He could not control his interior satisfaction. They were both writers. three hundred words an hour at your best. "The Bard's is a noble calling. nothing much. "Indeed!" Mr. Stone is a writer too. "Yes. "I am very fond of music. Priscilla quite understood. but still went on smiling to himself." As soon as tea was over Mr." said Priscilla. Barbecue−Smith. "I fancy I do a twelve−hundred−word review in about four hours. to make matters worse." he asked. "Guess how many words I wrote this evening between five and half−past seven. Mr. and she smiled back exasperatingly. At last he turned to Denis." he said. "I only make noises. who got up hurriedly and with some embarrassment as he came into the room. as she introduced Denis. "Excellent. perhaps. he felt himself blushing hotly.Crome Yellow "Mr. excellent. Had Priscilla no sense of proportion? She was putting them in the same category−−Barbecue−Smith and himself." said Mr. "don't you?" "Well. as he descended the stairs. In the drawing−room someone was playing softly and ramblingly on the piano. "Do go on. he smiled to himself and rubbed his large white hands together. "And what sort of things do you write?" Denis was furious.
Why." he said. Barbecue−Smith nodded. Barbecue−Smith went on. so I know what it's like. He pulled up a stool to the side of Denis's arm−chair. There was no sign of any of the other guests. Barbecue−Smith suddenly became extremely confidential. Barbecue−Smith repeated." he said. "But what if one hasn't got Inspiration?" "That was precisely the question I was waiting for. "No. "You ask me what one should do if one hasn't got Inspiration. and began to talk softly and rapidly." said Mr." "Twelve hundred words. 17 . everybody was always late at Crome.Crome Yellow "No. laying his hand on Denis's sleeve. "Try again. Let me give you a little sound advice." "Fifteen hundred. "Well. sat down in it. "Inspiration. and what's more." he said. breathing it into the young man's ear−−"the secret of writing is Inspiration. Barbecue−Smith's writing. It's simply a question of getting it to function. All I wrote I squeezed out of myself by sheer hard work." Mr. Three thousand eight hundred. I did it myself. "You mean the native wood−note business?" Mr.) "I'll help you to find your Inspiration." said Denis." "No. He found he couldn't summon up much interest in Mr." Denis looked at him in astonishment." Mr. "You want to make your living by writing. "Listen to me." he said. in those days I was never able to do more than six−fifty words an hour." said Denis.. or tell him where he could sell a light middle for seven guineas? Mr. but you must guess." "I give it up. you're young." Denis opened his eyes. Mr. "I give it you freely. Mr. "Oh. Barbecue−Smith patted his arm several times and went on." The clock struck eight. because I don't like to see a nice. Barbecue−Smith's expanded face shone with gaiety. Barbecue−Smith. "You must get a lot done in a day." (Denis made a suitably grateful murmur and grimace. "The secret of writing. 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. Between five and half−past seven−− that's two and a half hours. no. "That's my secret.. I answer: you have Inspiration. I'll tell you. I often didn't sell CHAPTER VI. you're inexperienced. Up till the time I was thirty−eight I was a writer like you−−a writer without Inspiration." What was the fellow going to do? Denis wondered: give him an introduction to the editor of "John o' London's Weekly". then I entirely agree with you. everyone has Inspiration." Denis hazarded. no.
a little above and in front of me. I didn't feel." "But how?" asked Denis. such as there generally are in automatic writing. "We artists. unknown journalist. opening his mouth very wide on the "ou" of thousand. I might almost say. and I could get no further." He paused modestly and made a little gesture. and I was stuck. Denis didn't think he had. overwork−−I had only written a hundred words in the last hour." Denis wondered if there was any method." He leaned forward and jabbed at Denis with his finger." Mr. one black and thin. turning to Denis. I lost consciousness like that. Barbecue−Smith replied. Barbecue−Smith's works he had not read. "It came quite suddenly−−like a gentle dew from heaven. well. I was in the middle of the second chapter. under the moon. if you tried−−without effort. by getting into touch with your Subconscious." he said. and I had written four thousand words." He lifted his hand and let it fall back on to his knee to indicate the descent of the dew. and besides." He sighed." There was none. Before Inspiration and after. He was exhibiting himself. It didn't seem to me natural.. it has been a comfort−−at least I hope and think so−−a comfort to many thousands. "I was hypnotised. Still no sign of the others. Just a few spelling mistakes and slips. perhaps the only one. "When I came to. I wrote the whole of 'Humble Heroisms' like that. Barbecue−Smith's "we. it was too late now. to produce a literary composition unconsciously. tired. I was writing my first little book about the Conduct of Life−−'Humble Heroisms'. quite fair. the thought−−all the essentials were admirable. of course. "Certainly not. Barbecue−Smith solemnly. It was admirable.. Barbecue−Smith went on. somehow. Denis thought of that advertisement of Nestle's milk−−the two cats on the wall. You may have read it." "And had you written nonsense?" Denis asked.Crome Yellow what I wrote." said Denis. Denis was horribly hungry. I sat biting the end of my pen and looking at the electric light. "You can hypnotise yourself that way. which hung above my table. "That's what happened to me. away from one another." "By cultivating your Inspiration." said Mr." "What a very extraordinary thing. "and that's how you could write too. "Have you ever looked at a bright light intently for a long time?" he asked." said Mr. of Mr." He indicated the position of the lamp with elaborate care. precisely. "At thirty−eight I was a poor. "we intellectuals aren't much appreciated here in England. 'Pipe−Lines to the Infinite'?" Denis had to confess that that was. with politeness. and fat. Barbecue−Smith. overworked." He snapped his fingers. It was a great success. Four thousand. sleek. The gong sounded in a terrific crescendo from the hall. I was afraid I might have written nonsense. moving his fat hands outwards. for Mr. I found that it was past midnight. at fifty. "Inspiration had come to me. consistent. After that. one of the few. with a trace of annoyance. by which he could dissociate himself from Mr. "Inspiration has made the difference. 18 . CHAPTER VI. "That's my secret. Fatigue. "Certainly not. "It was one evening. Have you ever read my little book. Now. and expanding his fingers as though in demonstration. that it was quite right. But the style." he said parenthetically. "I was afraid of it at first. struggling. the other white. Inspiration came to me regularly." he repeated. trying not to show how deeply he had been insulted by that final "well. fluently. Barbecue−Smith was once more pursuing the tenor of his discourse." Mr. Besides. and so has everything been that I have written since.
" He cleared his throat and read: "The Mountain Road may be steep. "But don't you find that the Universe sometimes sends you very irrelevant messages?" "I don't allow it to. Like Niagara." (Denis again hung up his little festoon of quotation marks. and I focus my mind on such great philosophical truths as the purification and uplifting of the soul by suffering." Mr.Crome Yellow "Never mind. Yes. no doubt. even in the things that seem to be evil. and it is from the Summit that one gets the view. Barbecue−Smith's remarks sounded strangely like quotations−−quotations from his own works. beating time. lie before me. "I prelude my trance by turning over the pages of any Dictionary of Quotations or Shakespeare Calendar that comes to hand." he said." Denis suggested. Get into touch with the Subconscious and you are in touch with the Universe. Mr. "Seeing is Believing. "Just dropped off into a trance in the corner of my carriage. and find that inspiration has done its work. Here they are. Denis reflected." said Denis. 19 . "It is.) "Then I pop off. You follow me?" "Perfectly." CHAPTER VI. perfectly." He re−read the apophthegm with a slower and more solemn utterance. Some of Mr. Two or three hours later I wake up again. uplifting words. then addressed himself to the next aphorism. not in a continuous rush. If I believe in God. Inspiration. Barbecue−Smith." It was curious. don't you think? Without Inspiration I could never have hit on that. "I canalise it. I type them out neatly on my machine and they are ready for the printer. I concentrate on the subject I wish to be inspired about. the way the Infinite sometimes repeated itself. of dull work well and patiently done. and with a raised forefinger marked his points as he made them." He leaned forward. "is particularly subtle and beautiful. for ten minutes before I go into the trance I think of nothing but orphans supporting their little brothers and sisters.) "When I have to do my aphorisms. Let us say I am writing about the humble heroisms." "The Things that Really Matter happen in the Heart. I bring it down through pipes to work the turbines of my conscious mind. "Precisely. You see the idea?" Denis nodded." Mr." he said. I see God. Barbecue−Smith put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a notebook. "The flame of a candle gives Light. to his discourse." said Denis. as it were. but Believing is also Seeing. All the great and splendid and divine things of life are wonderfully simple. I find the train very conducive to good work. comforting. "Straight from the Infinite. That sets the key. but it also Burns. "I did a few in the train to−day. And this is how I do it." "It all sounds wonderfully simple. "Before I go off into my trance. in fact. that ensures that the Universe shall come flowing in. Barbecue−Smith looked up from his notebook." said Mr." Mr. "That last one. "It's just a little book about the connection of the Subconscious with the Infinite." "Like Niagara. never mind. Barbecue−Smith continued." he commented reflectively. so to speak. Thousands of words. turning over the pages." (Quotation marks again. and the alchemical transformation of leaden evil into golden good. Barbecue−Smith replied. but in aphorismic drops. but the air is pure up there.
clamorously. She was accustomed in London to associate only with first−rate people who liked first−rate things. She looked up." said Denis. with furled sails of shining coloured stuff. and luscious putti wallowed among the roses. "I thought I'd just look in for a moment to say good−night. broke restlessly among the intricate roses. like four−masted ships. peered round the opening door. but provoking the Lower Classes to discontent and revolution." A face. Anne closed her book. Barbecue−Smith's forehead. "You understand me now when I advise you to cultivate your Inspiration. It roused Mr." CHAPTER VII. "I quite understand. within its sleek bell of golden hair. and that those were mostly French. very few first−rate things in the world. and she knew that there were very. There are intimate. beds painted and gilded. and said: "No more now. "Come in. Beds carved and inlaid. turn on the Niagara of the Infinite. Barbecue−Smith from meditation." There was the sound of feet on the stairs. a suit of mauve pyjamas made its entrance. Clustering roses were carved in high relief on its wooden panels. One could apply it. and the soft light. her bare arm and shoulder took on warm hues and a sort of peach−like quality of surface. Early seicento Venice had expended all its extravagant art in the making of it. CHAPTER VII. Barbecue−Smith got up.Crome Yellow Puzzled wrinkles appeared on Mr. The finest of all was now Anne's bed. the tight. He turned to Denis. The body of the bed was like a great square sarcophagus. supported a wooden canopy fretted with the same carved flowers. It was Mary." "What are you reading?" She looked at the book. Yes. sacred things that one doesn't wish to be generally known. Sir Julius. "It's very gnomic. There was a discreet tap at the door. lingered in a broad caress on the blown cheeks. but all of them grandiose. And remember. 20 ." "Of course. of course to the Higher Education−− illuminating. in their rich light her face. On the black ground−work of the panels the carved reliefs were gilded and burnished." he said. I rely absolutely on your discretion in this matter. who built the house. Beds of every date and fashion from the time of Sir Ferdinando. laid his hand for an instant on Denis's shoulder. The golden roses twined in spirals up the four pillar−like posts. "That was very sweet of you. absurd little posteriors of the sprawling putti. Mr. Beds of walnut and oak. come in. seated at the top of each column. son to Sir Ferdinando." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. I suppose that's what it is. Anne was reading in bed. Another time. had had it made in Venice against his wife's first lying−in. Let your Subconscious work for you. and sat down on the edge of the bed. Two candles stood on the little table beside her. of rare exotic woods. falling on the sculptured panel of the bed. At Crome all the beds were ancient hereditary pieces of furniture. The gong sounded again. But it's gnomic. it's gnomic. "Rather second− rate. to the time of his namesake in the late eighteenth century. the last of the family." she said. isn't it?" The tone in which Mary pronounced the word "second−rate" implied an almost infinite denigration. magnificent. it seemed imploringly: dinner was growing cold. Huge beds. round and childish. "I don't exactly know what that means. Here and there in the canopy above her carved golden petals shone brightly among profound shadows. More childish− looking still. the dimpled bellies. and cherubs.
" "No. Leaning back on her mound of heaped−up pillows." "It sounds too awful. and had to gasp for new air almost before the phrase was finished. I see. that's true. I'm afraid I like it. But Anne cut her short. I'm beginning to detect in myself symptoms like the ones you read of in the books." "Are they?" "One may become a nymphomaniac of one's not careful." "Well." "Exactly. about getting rid of repressions." she began didactically." said Anne. "The natural instincts of sex." "But not about repressions. "I presume. I confess I still have a few. The symptoms are only too clear. 21 ." said Anne.. But what about them?" "That's just it." "So much for our fundamental postulate. "I'm afraid of them. "But repressions of what?" Mary had to explain. "I'm so awfully afraid of repressions. not depressions. Perfectly. I'm only too happy. not many about repressions. "We come next to the desirability of possessing experience. Mary darling. Solemnity was expressed in every feature of her round young face." said Mary at last. of course. "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." "Why." CHAPTER VII. She pronounced the words on the tail−end of an expiring breath. I understand. I hope we are agreed that knowledge is desirable and that ignorance is undesirable. repressions.Crome Yellow "Well. bursting suddenly and surprisingly into speech. There was nothing more to be said. I constantly dream that I'm falling down wells. You've no idea how serious these repressions are if you don't get rid of them in time. yes. and sometimes I even dream that I'm climbing up ladders." she began sententiously. Anne waited and wondered what was coming." said Anne." "Or. "What's there to be depressed about?" "I said repressions. "But I don't see that I can do anything to help you." "Oh." Mary coughed and drew a deep breath. rather." said Mary.. It's always dangerous to repress one's instincts. It's most disquieting. Repressions! old maids and all the rest." "I thought I'd just like to talk it over with you. "Yes. radiated from her large blue eyes. Mary fiddled uneasily with the bottom button of her pyjama jacket." said Mary. The silence that followed was a rather uncomfortable one.
with a certain air of embarrassment." Anne exclaimed. Shall we say that the choice is limited to the last two?" Mary nodded. And it must be somebody with a proper respect for women." said Mary. someone you're in love with.. "But as far as I'm concerned." "Yes. you must find somebody else." "But I can't go on dreaming night after night that I'm falling down a well. I should wait till you are.." "But that's just where the question comes in." said Mary. "And we are equally agreed. as you see." said Mary." "But I knew that.. if I were you. Anne gave her assent to this proposition.Crome Yellow Obedient as one of those complaisant disciples from whom Socrates could get whatever answer he chose. they are both entirely unattached." Mary exclaimed. with a gasp. "before you began. It isn't." "There would therefore seem to be only one conclusion.. looking relieved.." "It was very nice of you to think of me. which is more than I could have done.you might. There's Mr." said Anne. "I'm not in love with anybody. 22 ." "Good!" said Mary. It's too dangerous. smiling the tight cat's smile." "But where does the question come in? You've reached your only possible conclusion−−logically. I thought that perhaps you might.. then of course you must do something about it." "Then. somebody with intellectual interests that I can share. "I think we had better. Mary darling. And there are Gombauld and Denis. "We are now confronted with the question: Which of the two?" CHAPTER VII. somebody who's prepared to talk seriously about his work and his ideas and about my work and my ideas. "It must be somebody intelligent. The question is now." she said." "Well" said Anne. to begin with. but perhaps he's rather too much of a genuine antique. if I may express myself so baldly. at all easy to find the right person. "What is it?" "I was wondering. but now it's been proved.. "And repressions being what they are. "there are three unattached and intelligent men in the house at the present time. All that remains is to impart the information to someone you like−−someone you like really rather a lot. I hope." "Well. "One must do things logically." "But who?" A thoughtful frown puckered Mary's brow." "It is. Scogan. and then hesitated." "Exactly. "whether they really were unattached.. that marriage is what it is. if it really is TOO dangerous." "I'm very glad of that.
"I refuse to take any responsibility." CHAPTER VIII. "I see Surrey has won. Barbecue−Smith heartily to no one in particular. But then." "You must do the weighing yourself. "but he is less civilised than Denis. "Yes." said Anne. "Civilisation is most important. honoured it by her presence. "I think I had better go to bed and think about it. What do you think?" "I'm not listening." Mary went on reflectively. with her mouth full. Barbecue−Smith. "What?" "So English. "Good−night." CHAPTER VIII. don't you think?" Anne held up her hand." "Carefully and dispassionately. "You must make the decision. surprised." she said. Rather a dangerous heredity. "I won't advise." she said. in the very front of her mouth.Crome Yellow "I can give no advice. "so thoroughly English." remarked Mr. We must weigh them and consider them carefully and dispassionately. "I hope I shan't dream of falling down wells again to−night. It was probably nothing." "Gombauld's family." said Anne." Mary's pronunciation of "civilised" gave the word a special and additional significance. "Ladders are worse. It's a matter for your taste." "It's not a matter of my taste. when one thinks of the Latin attitude towards women." Mary began. At the door Mary turned round. "comes from Marseilles." Mary pronounced. ladders are much graver. and wondered as she said the words why Anne was smiling in that curious way. Breakfast on Sunday morning was an hour later than on week−days. she presided. whether he isn't rather a dilettante. cricket. It's very difficult. "English? Of course I am." she said. Dressed in black silk. So few people were civilised." Jenny." said Anne. Mary nodded. who was sitting next to him. and Priscilla. "I won't run the risk of advising you wrongly." she added. The sun is in Leo: that would account for it!" "Splendid game. with a ruby cross as well as her customary string of pearls round her neck. I sometimes wonder whether Denis is altogether serious−minded. woke up suddenly with a start." she said. "What?" she said. "Well." "Gombauld has more talent. were mostly French. Jenny looked at him." said Anne. she reflected. there was still the trace of a smile at the corners of her mouth and round the half−closed eyes. who usually made no public appearance before luncheon." repeated Mr. 23 . "but of their merits. She uttered it meticulously. hissing delicately on the opening sibilant. An enormous Sunday paper concealed all but the extreme pinnacle of her coiffure from the outer world. like the first−rate works of art." Mary sighed. it was probably just a habit. Anne often smiled for no apparent reason. "by four wickets. and they.
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?
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
a thoroughly papal state. "And when He returns. John says. and he cried in a loud voice. Two papally controlled states.' The spirit that issues from the mouth of the False Prophet is the spirit of False Morality. while in Germany it has steadily increased. perhaps.Crome Yellow answers to the description of the False Prophet. that ye may eat the flesh of kings. It is the true principle of Jesuitry applied to international politics. France. and False Morality. but be feasted on. but sooner or later. that God is a God of Wrath as well as a God of Forgiveness.' is therefore meant for the present period−−for you and me and all the world. and that power is the so−called 'Society of Jesus. of course. "The spirit of Infidelity is the very spirit of German criticism. and in the attainment of this end. "The identification is now complete. The Higher Criticism. for it would be absolutely impossible for any Christian nation to wage war as Germany is waging it. "It may be soon or it may. saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven. as it is mockingly called. while Germany possesses a powerful Roman Catholic minority. and of them that sit on them. during the last eighty years. Italy. 'and all the fowls will be filled with their flesh. That the spirit of Popery is behind the war is thus seen clearly enough in the grouping of the opposed powers. the Lord will come and deliver the world from its present troubles. "The spirit of False Morality has played as great a part in this war as the two other evil spirits.' All the enemies of Christ will be slain with the sword of him that sits upon the horse. any means are justifiable. "We come next to the spirit of Popery. They will realise then. and will only be brought to an end by the Lord's personal return. I come as a thief.' That is the Supper of the Great God. are at war with six anti−papal states−−England. The Scrap of Paper incident is the nearest and most obvious example of Germany's adherence to this essentially unchristian or Jesuitical morality. and real inspiration. The end is German world−power. whose influence in causing the war was quite as great as that of Infidelity. so immediately obvious. 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. will assuredly smite them too. 'I saw an angel standing in the sun. the God who smote the Egyptians for their stubborn wickedness. be long. but to the Supper of the Great God. St. and attempts to account for the Bible as a natural development. John tells us. while the rebellion in the Roman Catholic parts of Ireland has merely confirmed a conclusion already obvious to any unbiased mind. and the flesh of mighty men. and Portugal. The warning. will be called to the Supper of the Lamb. the wolf in sheep's clothing. so that Germany is to−day a nation of unbelievers. prediction. Serbia. the three evil spirits have gone forth just as the decay of the Ottoman power was nearing completion. Germany and Austria. inevitably. and the flesh of captains. Since the Franco−Prussian War the Papal power has steadily declined in France. denies the possibility of miracles. Have these three influences been the real cause of the present conflict? The answer is clear. Popery. both small and great. that the three evil spirits are Infidelity. 'Behold. This war will lead on inevitably to the war of Armageddon. Russia. and the flesh of horses. Higher Criticism has thus made the war possible. 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. CHAPTER IX. and the flesh of all men. 'For. unless they make haste to repent. what will happen? Those who are in Christ. the spirit of Infidelity has been robbing the Germans of their Bible and their faith. 27 . To−day France is an anti−papal state. Belgium is. And woe unto them who are called. "We may assume. the agent of the devil working in the guise of the Lamb. but too late. Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the Great God. and have joined together to make the world war. Slowly but surely. As was predicted in Revelation. both free and bond.' as St. not to the Supper of the Lamb. though not. as men reckon time. The God who sent bears to devour the mockers of Elisha. then.
Who knows but that to−morrow. crossed at the corners after the manner of an Oxford picture frame. dissatisfied. in clerical evening dress. some with ascetic faces and large ecstatic eyes. Rope girdles. dressed in jackets. little red crosses took the place of full stops. indeed. CHAPTER IX. Bodiham tore it open. and England was at peace. Seated there in his brown varnished chair under the Ruskinian window. might be breeding a great new war in the East. and then." she said softly. like a thief in the night. Red marginal lines. A dressy garment. and the rivalries of that country and America in the Pacific. The prospect. the discontent in Egypt and India was preparing the way. He gripped the arms of his chair−− gripping. Bodiham appeared. The Chinese boycott of Japan. then. he bit his lip. for a great extension of the slaughter among the heathen peoples. the coming of the Lord is at hand. he could have screamed aloud. not a moment to look forward to with terror and trembling. Bodiham turned the pages. It contained a pamphlet. Be ready. if that were possible. Bodiham tried to assure himself." He turned over the pages. And now he suffered too. "Soutane in best black merino. Birmingham. was hopeful. Mr. in surplices. gripping for control. what were four years. Clerical Outfitters. was illusory. In a few seconds he was able to relax the tension. absolutely compelling." Mr. in all sizes. The knuckles of his hands whitened. in a moment even. 28 . "The House of Sheeny. enclosed each page of type. Bodiham closed the little pamphlet and leaned back in his chair.. and yet−− it was four years since he had preached that sermon. The episode of 1914 had been a preliminary skirmish. he reflected. some Rugbeian and muscular. God's intention seemed then so plain. and her strawy hair was almost colourless. her eyes were pale as water in a glass. in spite of all his comfortable reasoning. in Anatolia. the sun shone. From nine guineas.Crome Yellow But perhaps it is already too late. gliding noiselessly across the room.. the genuine Armageddon might soon begin. May it be for all of you an object of hope. perhaps. Four years ago he had been so confident. the real. Christ may be upon us unawares. after all? It must inevitably take a long time for Armageddon to ripen to yeast itself up. And now? Now. in black Norfolk suitings. in frock−coats.But. that. larger than his own and more elegant in appearance. The envelope was unsealed. Four years. "A large assortment of chasubles. in Ireland." Half−tone illustrations represented young curates. Ready to wear. smouldering away in Silesia. some dapper. Mr. he remained unhappy. 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. if the heavens would but make a sign! But his questionings remained unanswered. the people of Crome were as wicked and indifferent as ever−−more so. She held a large envelope in her hand. Above her black dress her face was pale with an opaque whiteness. four years. If only he could understand. It was still going on. Sudden and silent as a phantom Mrs. "This came for you by the post. tailored by our own experienced ecclesiastical cutters. And as for the war having come to an end−−why. The argument was sound. he did well to be angry. he began to rebuke himself for his rebellious impatience. of course. like a thief? In a little while. Mechanically Mr. The catalogue was tastefully and ecclesiastically printed in antique characters with illuminated Gothic initials. Clerical frock coats.
"I'll tell you. 29 ." she said in her quiet voice. to gross physical phenomena. Wild Women"−−"optimism is the opening out of the soul towards the light. it is a focusing of the self upon a point in the Lower Plane. He sat in one of the window−seats. Gombauld and Anne moved with a harmoniousness that made them seem a single creature. Yes. Scogan. raging." The refrain sang itself over in Denis's mind. pretending he rather despised dancing. but when ragtime came squirting out of the pianola in gushes of treacle and hot perfume. CHAPTER X. is the contraction of the soul towards darkness. Priscilla and Mr. shuffled round the room with Mary." "What has happened now?" asked Mr. feeling suddenly very weary. Why was he born with a different face? Why WAS he? Gombauld had a face of brass−−one of those old." She pulled up a brown varnished chair and sat down. baa. Little black nigger corpuscles jigged and drummed in his arteries. like the preliminary symptoms of a disease. smoking a long cigar through a tunnelled pillar of amber. baa. "The village." "They're making a wild man of me. on the other hand. brazen rams that thumped against the walls of cities till they fell. Mr. CHAPTER X. The beast with two backs. so it seemed. pretending to read. He became a cage of movement.When worn under a surplice presents an appearance indistinguishable from that of a complete cassock. Bodiham looked at him. in a big red notebook." said Mr... Locked together." "How true!" sighed Priscilla. Barbecue−Smith with a tone of finality. Henry Wimbush. Tied by a string about the waist. Mrs.. In arm−chairs by the fireplace. Sodom and Gomorrah had come to a second birth. damn them! A wild man. Anne and Gombauld. He was born with a different face−−a woolly face. There they were. it is a h−piritual slavery to mere facts. in jets of Bengal light.Crome Yellow Sheeny's Special Skirt Cassocks. Bodiham threw the catalogue into the waste−paper basket. At the pianola. her pale. It was very uncomfortable.. Denis did not dance." With a gesture of horror and disgust Mr. being disturbed by the noise on the Lower Plane. speaking through strains of the "Wild. solemnly buffoonish. it is a h−piritual self−unification with the Infinite. glaucous eyes reflected his action without comment. but not wild enough.Recommended for summer wear and hot climates. that was the trouble. Barbecue−Smith discussed higher things. Why? It was the baa−baa business again. In the village of Crome. Wild inside. without. Jenny sat in the shadow behind the piano. apparently. But outwardly he was hopelessly tame. two− headed and four−legged. "Pessimism. then things began to dance inside him. writhing−−yes. glumly pretending to read. And he sat in a corner. scribbling. it is an expansion towards and into God. trod out the shattering dance music with serene patience. "writhing" was the word. outwardly−−baa. nodding the baleful splendours of her coiffure. they were. writhing with desire. it seemed. Bodiham. pretending he didn't want to dance. a walking palais de danse. moving together as though they were a single supple creature. "the village grows worse and worse every day. "Optimism.
" she said. she exacerbated him. with what grace. "Which of the contemporary poets do you like best?" she asked." said Mary. The single harmonious creature broke in two. It seems to upset the whole starry universe. he got up and sought relief in composition. I do not know." he repeated to himself every now and then. the future. "Rum. You see. the universe. slid across the floor. It was Mary. who had now seized on Jenny for his victim. She had broken from the uncomfortable embrace of Mr. "What are you reading?" "I don't know. Why couldn't this pest of a girl leave him alone? He wanted to listen to the horrible music. and turned to the cabinet where the rolls were kept. "This Einstein theory. He trod off the old roll and trod on the new.. "I do not know what I desire When summer nights are dark and still. It was not only Anne who made him miserable." CHAPTER X. He looked at the title page. nine more or less complete lines emerged from among the blots and scratchings. please. life in general. "Tell me." Mary renewed her attack." he replied. 30 . a little breathless. more harmonious in its movements than ever.Crome Yellow The music stopped. laid her hand on Mr. After kicking all the clothes off the bed. It's so boring. At the end of an hour. It makes me so worried about my horoscopes. "A waltz." he repeated. When the wind's many−voiced quire Sleeps among the muffled branches. He wanted to imprison his nameless misery in words. "This adolescence business. I do not know what I desire. Oh. more graceful. Mildew.." Denis made no reply." "I think you are so sensible to sit and read quietly. a slave at the mill. Flushed. Wimbush's shoulder. The four− legged creature. he was wretched about himself." The melody wallowed oozily along. Uncle Henry. startled.. Barbecue−Smith's chair. From the arm−chair by the fireplace he heard Priscilla's deep voice. as though they had been made for one another!−−to savour his misery in peace. Tum. "I don't know why one dances. why was he born with a different face? "What are you reading?" He looked up. "is horribly boring." said Denis truthfully. Vague but agonising miseries possessed his mind. Anne swayed across the room to the pianola. It was several hours before Denis managed to go to sleep that night. uncomplaining and beautifully well bred. to watch them dancing−−oh. 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. Scogan. Denis was filled with fury.. like a ship moving forward over a sleek and oily swell. Tum−ti−ti. Mr Barbecue−Smith−−you know all about science. fixing him with her china eyes. Rum−ti−ti. with the laconism of one who is absolutely certain of his own mind. and Smut. I know−−" A deprecating noise came from Mr. But the fact that he knew his disease did not help him to cure it. the book was called "The Stock Breeder's Vade Mecum. I long and know not what I will: And not a sound of life or laughter stanches Time's black and silent flow. "A waltz this time.
if I remember rightly−− "'Seems not now a work of human art. "is the fact that it's so unmistakably and aggressively a work of art. 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. uninterrupted. Sir Ferdinando was not content merely to adapt the old monastic buildings to his own purposes." said Denis. CHAPTER XI. The builder of this house was Sir Ferdinando Lapith. "Well?" said Anne at last. imposing." he said. the steep yew−walk that went down.' No. he only repeated the question. 31 . then threw the scribbled sheet into the waste−paper basket and got into bed again. to the pool. from the living stone. Mr. under the flank of the terrace. severe. and sophisticated man should never seem to have sprouted from the clods. civilised. is right. Lifting itself in caverns light and high. It has no likeness to Shelley's tower. in the heart Of earth having assumed its form and grown Out of the mountain. Civilised and CHAPTER XI." "Was he?" said Henry Wimbush reflectively. and now they were walking back. They had descended. The perpendicular lines of the three towers soared up. towards the terrace and the garden. His tone was obituary. no doubt. Mr. It makes no compromise with nature. seizing the opportunity to speak. In a very few minutes he was asleep. Scogan did not respond. round the side of the house. They paused at the edge of the pool to look back. Since the days of William Morris that's a fact which we in England have been unable to comprehend. The motor had whirled him away to the station." He waved his hand in the direction of the house and was silent. to whom it had been granted at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. a faint smell of burning oil commemorated his recent departure. who flourished during the reign of Elizabeth. almost menacing. "Well?" It was time for someone to begin. But the house of an intelligent.Crome Yellow He read it through aloud. he built for himself a grand new house of brick−−the house you see now. "A very agreeable adjunct to the week−end. "Well?" he said. They walked in silence. but affronts it and rebels against it. nobody had yet ventured to comment on the departed guest. A considerable detachment had come into the courtyard to speed him on his way. without paying much attention where they were going. there isn't any nonsense of that sort about Crome. in the 'Epipsychidion. for Crome was originally a cloister of monks and this swimming−pool their fish−pond. Barbecue−Smith was gone. no. "The great thing about Crome. with the whole height of the built−up terrace added to its own seventy feet of brick facade. "Well?" It was left for Henry Wimbush to make a pronouncement. he passed it on to Mr Scogan. Scogan. to which their inmates are attached. Crome loomed down on them. turning with raised inquiring eyebrows to Denis.' which. Denis declined the invitation. He inherited the estate from his father. "The man who built this house knew his business. and suitable. "He was an architect. "I doubt it." said Mr. but using them as a stone quarry for his barns and byres and outhouses. enhancing the impression of height until it became overwhelming. immensely tall. The house towered above them. But as it were titanic.
One is going to Venice to buy La Bianchi's larynx." he began. Sanitation was the one great interest of his life. more than seventy feet.Crome Yellow sophisticated men have solemnly played at being peasants. which possesses undoubtedly. To counteract these degrading effects he advised that the privy should be in every house the room nearest to heaven. "It does one's heart good. its own 'as it were titanic' charm. Permanence. such as the Proverbs of Solomon. for the placing of his privies in an exalted position he had also certain excellent spiritual reasons. and it became once more the replica of the grave. which testify to the nobility of the human soul. At the top of each of the three projecting towers he placed a privy. Could imbecility go further?" Henry Wimbush took up the thread of his interrupted discourse. The eighteenth century. but no matter. 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. Were it not for tradition and the explicit account of them left by Sir Ferdinando. a little book−−now extremely scarce−−called." exclaimed Mr. To have a theory about privies and to build an immense and splendid house in order to put it into practise−−it's magnificent. It must not be thought that Sir Ferdinando was moved only by material and merely sanitary considerations. we should be unaware that these noble privies had ever existed. How brightly the sun shone and how inevitable was death! The ways of God were strange. Hence it followed inevitably that the privies were to be placed at the top of the house. We should even suppose that Sir Ferdinando built his house after this strange and splendid model for merely aesthetic reasons. For. "is certainly very just. From these a shaft went down the whole height of the house. swept away these monuments of sanitary ingenuity. ignorance. These conduits emptied themselves into the stream several hundred yards below the fish− pond.L. But whether Sir Ferdinando shared your views about architecture or if. There was a long silence. Sir Ferdinando was. in which the whole matter is treated with great learning and elegance. he had any views about architecture at all. and that the walls of the chamber should be lined with bookshelves containing all the ripest products of human wisdom. Under the grey bowler his face worked and glowed as he spoke. In 1573 he even published. Scogan at last. indeed. cottage architecture." The contemplation of the glories of the past always evoked in Henry Wimbush a certain enthusiasm. beautiful! I like to think of them all: the eccentric milords rolling across Europe in ponderous carriages. of course. the same gently melancholy thoughts seemed to possess the mind of each of them. my dear Scogan. he won't get it till she's dead. he has a collection. he argues in the third chapter of his 'Priuy Counsels'. in suitable surroundings. and all other works. In Crome he was able to put his theories into practice. The total depth of the shafts from the top of the towers to their subterranean conduits was a hundred and two feet. Hence quaintness. Crome still stood. of the throats of famous opera singers. and all the rest of it. our technical knowledge. and into a series of conduits provided with flowing water tunnelled in the ground on a level with the base of the raised terrace. reduplicated in endless rows. very true. he's prepared to wait. that it should be well provided with windows commanding an extensive and noble prospect. The thought of these vanished privies moved him profoundly. the 'Enchiridion' of Erasmus. preoccupied by only one thought−−the proper placing of his privies. and a limited range of materials produced the hovel. he CHAPTER XI. through the cellars. the light gradually died out of his face. our rich variety of materials for the purpose of building millions of imitation hovels in totally unsuitable surroundings. "to hear of these fantastic English aristocrats. In building this house. In the suburbs of our cities you may see. the ways of man were stranger still. 'Certaine Priuy Counsels' by 'One of Her Maiestie's Most Honourable Priuy Counsels. as a matter of fact. the apophthegms of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. on this subject.. bound on extraordinary errands. And the instruments of renowned virtuosi−− he goes in for them too. studiedly quaint imitations and adaptations of the village hovel. being connected by vertical shafts with pits or channels in the ground. with its passion for modernisation.. that is to say. He ceased to speak. Poverty. We now employ our wealth. I very much doubt. Knight'. F. polite hat which shaded it. 32 . arts and crafts. "All that you say. ancient or modern. 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. pickled in glass bottles. transience−−Sir Ferdinando and his privies were gone. Boethius's 'Consolations of Philosophy'.
What then? Will they suffer you to go on writing villanelles. to continue your quiet delving in the mines of futile knowledge? Will Anne. but perhaps he might sacrifice one of his guitars. and disgust which the burgesses instinctively feel towards them.." or even "Abercrombie.Crome Yellow will try to bribe Paganini to part with his little Guarnerio. Cavendish. but he has small hope of success. Others are bound on crusades−−one to die miserably among the savage Greeks." Mr." she was forced to the conclusion. and Shanks.It's the justification of all aristocracies. en bons bourgeois. Not only is it eccentric itself−−often grandiosely so.. then murmured the word "Eccentricity. the millionaire. Blight. an amateur. unhappy Henry. do what they please. and Smut." said Mr Scogan. and Rabindranath Tagore. You must have a class of which the members can think and.. "Squire. not compelled to waste their time in the imbecile routines that go by the name of Honest Work. That was horrible. "Blight. "that I shall not. Perhaps Gombauld would be more satisfactory. looked up once more at the towering house. Binyon. impossible! Egeria or nothing. and Smut.. True. Blunden. Portland digs holes in the ground. and when kindred spirits are born outside the pale it offers them some sort of refuge from the hatred which the Poor Whites. After the social revolution there will be no Reservations. Beckford builds towers. lavish on anything that is wild or out of the ordinary. it must be admitted.. reluctantly. a little grossly. they are just giving their oddity a continental airing. 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. A man who would not talk seriously to a woman just because she was a woman−−oh. it also tolerates and even encourages eccentricity in others.. Some day. It justifies leisured classes and inherited wealth and privilege and endowments and all the other injustices of that sort. to lead Italians against their oppressors. within the obvious limits. in his white top hat. and amuses himself−−oh." Mr. At home they cultivate themselves at leisure and with greater elaboration." The impression was distinct and ineffaceable. what WAS Denis? A dilettante. eats nothing but mutton. It is a sort of Red Indian Reservation planted in the midst of a vast horde of Poor Whites−−colonials at that. loathing." said Anne. but at least he was a serious worker. my dear Denis. solely for his private delectation−−by anticipating the electrical discoveries of half a century.. But then her ears never did play her false. Mildew." "And you. If you're to do anything reasonable in this world." two or three times. 33 . a little too flamboyantly." or "Childe. He had deliberately repelled her attempts to open a serious discussion. the Redskins will be drowned in the great sea of Poor Whites. interrupting him. Mildew. Drinkwater. That's the important thing about an aristocracy. Scogan paused.. "will you be allowed to go on talking?" "You may rest assured. Within its boundaries wild men disport themselves−−often. Perhaps her ears had played her false. I shall have some Honest Work to do. his meridional heredity was a little disquieting. Others have no business at all.' What a subject! I should like to undertake it myself. The eccentricities of the artist and the new−fangled thinker don't inspire it with that fear. Gombauld had annexed for his painting−room a little disused granary that stood by itself in a green close beyond the farm− yard. It was a square brick building with a peaked roof and little windows set high up in CHAPTER XII. "Blight. that Denis had indeed pronounced those improbable words." Perhaps. you must have a class of people who are secure. safe from public opinion. safe from poverty. be allowed to live in this house of the splendid privies. And Denis? After all. Paganini won't sell his fiddle. "Eccentricity. Scogan replied. my good Denis? Will you.." Mary was puzzled and distressed. lives in a stable. and Earp." CHAPTER XII. leisured. and it was with his work that she would associate herself.. Mildew. Glorious eccentrics! Every age is enlivened by their presence. another. Perhaps what he had really said was. turning a beady bright regard in his direction−−"some day you must become their biographer−−'The Lives of Queer Men.
He was humiliated to find how few and crude and uninteresting were the forms he could invent. 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. with a kind of concentrated ferocity. and now he was taking a rest−−the time to smoke a cigarette. in his mind. the immense bony body was what arrested the eye. below. They were alone in the darkness. He was pursuing something new. Forms of a breathing. the form of Mary. revealing. the inventions of nature were without number. subtle. to combine prodigious realism with prodigious simplification. He found the process arduous and exhilarating. A central gulf of darkness surrounded by luminous forms. between the legs of the towering beast. he looked thoughtfully at his canvas. in hot pursuit. which came down on either side of the picture like the pillars of an arch. the legs. beyond and behind them. and at the same time he was desolated. And beneath lay the man. frozen to stillness in the midst of their trampling. the body and the legs.. In itself. he grew dissatisfied. inconceivably subtle and elaborate. swung open. on four massive toadstools of grey stone. Now he had come out on the other side. Memories of Caravaggio's portentous achievements haunted him. the thing was good. Tilting back his chair till it touched the wall. If he didn't want her. He had made a portfolio full of studies. it was one of the unwritten laws. The beast. He thought of the "Call of Matthew. But that something he was after." He had the secret. built themselves up into compositions as luminously simple and single as a mathematical idea. quite suddenly. his foreshortened face at the focal point in the centre. it would be something terrific. On the ground. Yes. he had drawn a cartoon. he felt himself cramped and confined within intolerably narrow limitations. he had worked his way industriously through cubism. The horse's body filled the upper part of the picture. that astonishing ruffian. were sharply illuminated.Crome Yellow each of its walls. For a long time an idea had been stirring and spreading. Its head. if only he could catch it. CHAPTER XII. "May I come in?" she asked. 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 head in the extreme foreground." of "Peter Crucified. externalised in the abstract geometrical forms of the mind's devising. Gombauld turned his eyes towards the door. yeastily. The huge animal. filled the upper half of the picture with its great body." of "Magdalen. there lingered a faint smell of dust and cobwebs. tat. lay the foreshortened figure of a man. which was ajar. for the granary was perched above the ground. A white. his arms outstretched towards the sides of the picture. Here Gombauld worked. and now the idea was taking shape on canvas. Gombauld had been at work all the morning on the figure of the man. limited it on either side. the arms flung wide to right and left. little by little. but his aim was always to work them into a whole that should have the thrilling simplicity and formality of an idea.. And then. Nobody ever disturbed him while he was at work. "Come in!" he called. She had only dared to mount half−way up the ladder. He had done with cubism. during six or seven hours of each day. elaborate forms. But the cubist discipline preserved him from falling into excesses of nature worship. he had risen from nature into the world of pure form. relentless light poured down from a point in the right foreground. He took from nature its rich. He had begun by painting a formalised nature. the fallen man. he knew it. the great hoofs. till in the end he was painting nothing but his own thoughts. and out of reach of the rats. was the night. tat! Surprised. Under the arch of the horse's belly. Within. was in shadow. retreat would be easier and more dignified than if she climbed to the top. round them. The door. 34 . lowered towards the ground. nearly half of which had been spent in the process of winning the war. living reality emerged from darkness. the space was closed in by the figure of the prostrate man. he had the secret! And now Gombauld was after it. The picture was more than half finished. He was out on the other side. He was pleased. from the waist upwards. A ladder of four rungs led up to the door. a universe in themselves. between his legs. if only he could catch it. a gaunt white cart−horse. During the last eight years." of the "Lute players. the eye looked through into an intense darkness. A man fallen from a horse. then. something terrific.
He's getting more and more abstract every day. He says it's more intellectual than painting. but continued to smoke.trompe−l'oeil for my taste. she was at a loss.. her hair swung back. "May I have a look at what you've been painting?" she had the courage to say at last. Soon.too." she said. "There is. gazing meditatively all the time at his picture. and she moved with him. But I'm going on painting. she didn't know what to say. He'd given up the third dimension when I was there and was just thinking of giving up the second. "There's rather a lot of chiaroscuro. His arm was round her. He moved slowly.Crome Yellow "Certainly. Painting's finished. "But of course it's a little too. What was she to think. it was a serious discussion." And.. He just throws a few oblongs on to his canvas−−quite flat. Gombauld looked at the envelope and put it in his pocket unopened. she smiled." She skipped up the remaining two rungs and was over the threshold in an instant." She looked at Gombauld. in any case he wouldn't begin work again till he had finished." he said. It was a peripatetic embracement. a soundless bell of gold. Trompe−l'oeil−−there was no other word to describe the delineation of that foreshortened figure under the trampling feet of the horse. CHAPTER XII. away from the picture. The moment might have come. "Tschuplitski's finished painting. I admire his work so tremendously. Gombauld had only half smoked his cigarette. he's finishing it. "This is the best place to see it from.. "A letter came for you by the second post. she was taken aback. so I brought it out to you. But his design is wonderful. her childish face were luminously candid as she handed him the letter." he said. Do you agree?" she asked. There had never been a flimsier pretext. and inwardly congratulated herself on having found a critical formula so gentle and at the same time so penetrating..." she said. What could Gombauld be up to? She had felt so safe in admiring his work before. very difficult. almost imperceptibly. he says. and here was a picture of a man and a horse. She put her head on one side and screwed up her eyes.. "I think it's awfully fine. Indeed. he accepted her criticism. what was she to say? Her orientations were gone. It was very difficult. not only recognisable as such. "Luckily. One could admire representationalism in the Old Masters. he put his arm round her shoulders and turned her round. Thanks very much all the same. Mary went on gaspingly." Her eyes. But in a modern. Obviously. 35 . and painted in pure primary colours. Mary was pleased." Gombauld agreed. it's frightfully abstract now−−frightfully abstract and frightfully intellectual. "When I was in Paris this spring I saw a lot of Tschuplitski. her instinctive reaction to a contemporary piece of representation was contempt−−an outburst of laughing disparagement. That's the logical conclusion. advancing towards her. isn't there?" she ventured at last." There was a silence. "it isn't at all important." he said. with a final gasp. But now−−she didn't know what to think. Complete abstraction. Mary felt a little uncomfortable. who made no response. "I thought it might be important. you know. but even aggressively in drawing. But now. "Do you agree with him?" she repeated. "I've finished my cigarette. He would give her the five minutes that separated him from the bitter end. after five years of schooling among the best judges. Mary looked up at him. Of course. She had expected a cubist masterpiece. serious.? At eighteen she might have done so. Mary looked at the picture for some time without saying anything. So the moment had come. there'll be just the blank canvas. but she would not cease to be intellectual. Her eyes were serene. Gombauld dropped his cigarette end and trod on it. When he's reached pure abstraction he's going to take up architecture.
exhibiting it with a certain solemnity. "To−day." She laughed jovially." "The Wimbushes and the Lapiths were always an unadventurous. Henry Wimbush brought down with him to dinner a budget of printed sheets loosely bound together in a cardboard portfolio. it administered three or four kindly little smacks. They were in front of the open door. "I'll read you an episode from my History that will make you admit that even the Lapiths. on the whole. with a note of scorn in her voice. I helped to set up the type of the last page this evening. natural children. "Our muniment room is particularly rich in ancient records. Scogan remarked." "Shall we be allowed to read it now it's finished?" asked Denis. one violent death. and I have some genuinely new light to throw on the introduction of the three− pronged fork. I shall have to think about it. 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." "After dinner. No." "The famous History?" cried Anne. Mary looked round." Mr. "Be careful going down the ladder. Mr. his hand dropped from her shoulder. She remained standing there for a moment in bewilderment. and printed at Crome by my own press. Wimbush nodded. and the like." he added modestly. "If I were to write mine. she moved forward. "Be careful going down the ladder. Replying automatically to its stimulus. and helped herself to another glass of wine. it would be one long continuous blot from beginning to end. She walked slowly back through the farmyard. in their CHAPTER XIII. Wimbush. "Twenty−five years of writing and nearly four of printing." he added solicitously." said Priscilla. written at Crome." Henry Wimbush rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "I can only think of two suicides. respectable crew. often heard of and never seen." he said. a little piqued by his wife's disparaging comment on the masters of Crome. "it wouldn't exist." Gombauld loosened his embrace." said Henry Wimbush. "to− day I have finished the printing of my 'History of Crome'." said Mr. "Certainly.Crome Yellow "I don't know. startled. "Sir Ferdinando and the rest of them−−were they amusing? Were there any crimes or tragedies in the family?" "Let me see. The hand that had rested on her shoulder made itself felt lower down her back. She was careful. CHAPTER XIII. it's a placid and uneventful record. seductions. The writing and the printing of this Magnum Opus had been going on as long as she could remember. The door closed behind her and she was alone in the little green close. All her childhood long Uncle Henry's History had been a vague and fabulous thing. "If I were to write my family history now! Why. After the second generation we Scogans are lost in the mists of antiquity. "It has taken me nearly thirty years." "And the people?" asked Gombauld. four or perhaps five broken hearts. and half a dozen little blots on the scutcheon in the way of misalliances. "And I hope you will not find it uninteresting. 36 . And now it's finished−−the whole chronicle. she was pensive." said Gombauld once more." he said.
another exercise. Hercules remained the only surviving child. the father of a lusus naturae. nodded. smiled. as he said. cuckooed at last "I see. after eating two dozen of oysters." said Priscilla. In the course of the next three years Hercules gained perhaps two inches. His father. who had built the most extravagant hopes upon his son. One ordered a very plentiful meat diet. and began cautiously to turn over the pages of his loose and still fragmentary book. His mother. he was christened Hercules. His head. In the midst of an attentive silence Mr. rimmed with tortoise−shell. weighing not more than three pounds at birth. consulted all the most eminent physicians of the time. He found his place at last. which was very handsome and nobly shaped. Their various prescriptions were followed to the letter. "On his twelfth birthday Hercules was still only three feet and two inches in height. on which young Hercules was stretched. Meanwhile. but in vain. "The infant who was destined to become the fourth baronet of the name of Lapith was born in the year 1740. He put on his round pince−nez. among normal. while the other was carried off by smallpox before it reached the age of five. to an attack of typhoid fever. which had been serene. the party had adjourned to the drawing−room. Dinner was eaten. She received an explanation. he was no larger and heavier than a well−grown child of two. but for his dwarfish stature. but from the first he was sturdy and healthy. After that his growth stopped completely. did not long survive. "Do." said Henry Wimbush. pulling up a chair to the lamp. was turned by disappointment to moroseness and savagery. "Now. Wimbush gave a little preliminary cough and started to read. though he could read and write perfectly and showed a remarkable aptitude for music. "Glad to hear what?" asked Jenny. healthy human beings). had their tragedies and strange adventures. a boy and a girl. in the hope of making him grow. He walked at ten months. which carried him very rapidly to his grave. 'I have brought an abortion into the world. In honour of his maternal grandfather. but otherwise he was exquisitely proportioned. including the estate and mansion of Crome. clapping shut the door behind her. He was a very small baby. Sir Hercules Occam of Bishop's Occam. was too big for his body. and at six. At three years he weighed but twenty−four pounds. kept a notebook. looking up. in which his progress from month to month was recorded. but little more than a year after her husband's death succumbed. His mother. and he remained for the rest of his life a pigmy of three feet and four inches. yawning. 37 . and he took so violent a dislike to his son that the boy dared scarcely come into his presence. and master of a considerable fortune. whose love for him had increased with the growth of his father's unkindness. emerging suddenly from her private interior world like a cuckoo from a clock. and. "Hercules thus found himself at the age of twenty−one alone in the world. His temper. found himself a disappointed man. like many other mothers. with excruciating torments." "I'm glad to hear it.Crome Yellow own respectable way. and took to solitary drinking. for the year before Hercules came of age his father was taken off by an apoplexy. ashamed to show himself. "Shall I begin?" he asked. for half an hour every morning and evening." and popped back. and." said Priscilla. his mother had borne two other children. and before his second year was out he had learnt to speak a number of words. He avoided all company (being. one of whom died of croup during infancy. a third constructed a little rack. His parents. modelled on those employed by the Holy Inquisition. planning for him in his imagination a military career equal to that of Marlborough.' he would say. of great strength and agility. The beauty and intelligence of his childhood had survived into his manly age. he would have taken his place among the CHAPTER XIII. for his size.
sad indeed. Teeming again. He was well read in the Greek and Latin authors. too. but the smallness of his hands made it impossible for him ever to perform upon these instruments. The glowing canvas and the written page Immortaliz'd his name from age to age. 'is reflected in my verses. Vain of their bulk. he discharged all the old servants of the house and replaced them gradually. tramps the Earth's fair face. The spirit slept and all the mind was crass. affirming that this rustic music had more power to clear and raise the spirits than the most artificial productions of the masters. the dull heroic Block: At one we shudder and at one we mock. For Art grew great as Humankind grew small. When blacksmith Tubal tamed creative fire. though conscious of his great powers in this art. as he was able to find suitable successors. on which. replacing them by pugs and King Charles spaniels and whatever other breeds of dog were the smallest. And Jabal dwelt in tents and Jubal struck the lyre.' he would say. Till God. He had a good ear for music. In him the Soul's pure flame Burns brightlier in a not inord'nate frame. he determined to retire absolutely from it and to create. he used to play a simple country air or jig. the hero takes his place. whenever he was melancholy.Crome Yellow handsomest and most accomplished young men of his time. he regarded himself as being in many ways superior to the ordinary race of man−−he found the presence of full−grown men and women embarrassing. Of old when Heroes fought and Giants swarmed. Wearied by leavening so vast a mass. His CHAPTER XIII. though diminish'd. Mankind perfected shall possess the earth. From an early age he practised the composition of poetry. if we may judge from the poem quoted above. Mankind proceeds towards the Promised Land. Witlessly bold. "'In ancient days.' "As soon as he came into the estate. impatient of their sinful brood. Shall sport with grace along the velvet lawns. and a pack of beagles. but because I am a dwarf. When the light body. Nature's most delicate and final birth. in warriors of old. But ah. but. in which all should be proportionable to himself. 38 . or Italian. Realising. agile as a fawn's. Smiled at his grandsire's broadsword. seated on a chair with the instrument between his legs. His name emblazon'd on Fame's temple wall. His father's dogs. A single specimen will suffice to illustrate his qualities as a poet. Men of their imperfections boast aloud. books of Sir Hercules's poems survive. at Crome a private world of his own. Sir Hercules set about remodelling his household. and was no indifferent performer on the violin. think themselves divinely born. he sold or gave away as too large and too boisterous for his house.' Several MS. bow and bill. The Giant dies. greyhounds. Men were huge mounds of matter scarce inform'd. 'My stature. a Mind as dead and cold. Man last appears. Gross and repulsive. And in our vaunted race of Men behold A form as gross. ah. Thus man's long progress step by step we trace. as it were. The smaller carcase of these later days Is soon inform'd. such as setters. To the music of the harpsichord and clavichord he was extremely partial. I descry Remoter dawns along the gloomy sky). 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. Sad is the Fate of those. But pointing Heav'nwards live themselves in Hell. Flesh grown corrupt brought forth a monstrous birth And obscene giants trod the shrinking earth. which he used to play like a bass viol. repeopled Tellus bore The lubber Hero and the Man of War. The Giant vile. yet perversely proud. Accordingly. As we in Giants see. monsters. In the course of a few years he had assembled about himself a numerous household. Ere Abram fed his flocks or Homer sung. When happy mortals of a Golden Age Will backward turn the dark historic page. mastiffs. of all they still retain Of giant ugliness absurdly vain. At all that's small they point their stupid scorn And. wherein the soul shall be From all superfluous matter wholly free. by others of dwarfish stature. A time will come (prophetic. The rare precursors of the nobler breed! Who come man's golden glory to foretell. heroically dull. French. he would never publish any specimen of his writing. For though by no means ashamed of his deformity−−indeed. not yet! For still the Giants' race. Gave rein to wrath and drown'd them in the Flood. while yet the world was young. that he must abandon all ambitions in the great world. if the public were to read them it would not be because I am a poet. the Soul unwearied plays And like a Pharos darts abroad her mental rays. no member of which was above four feet high and the smallest among them scarcely two feet and six inches. A time will come. topp'd with an empty Skull. as well as in all the moderns of any merit who had written in English. Huge. Huge towers of Brawn. Long ages pass'd and Man grown more refin'd. He had a small ivory flute made for him. Slighter in muscle but of vaster Mind. And learn'd to wield the Pencil and the Quill.
a circumstance which gave Sir Hercules unfailing pleasure. he went immediately on his arrival to pay his respects to the count. she had picked him up and shaken him like an importunate child. which he played. Indeed. because they were entirely new to her. they found that they could with their four hands play all the music written for two hands of ordinary size. who was by three feet in height. dressed in scarlet liveries and mounted on white Exmoor ponies. Filomena and her husband used often to go hunting in the park. who had had the misfortune to lose their performing dwarf. In course of time. he had been received with laughter. where they settled down. On his persisting. between the ages of sixteen and twenty. Filomena especially delighted. being of an affectionate and. though he often fell in love. did he dare to make any advances to those in whom he was interested. which was accepted by her no less joyfully than by her father. She had a beautiful voice. who perceived in an English son−in−law a rich and unfailing source of revenue. Finally. telling him to run away and plague her no more. both in English and Italian. for the sale of his diminutive daughter Filomena. having once dared to declare himself to a young lady of his choice. which they often did.Crome Yellow father's stable was also sold. Four dwarf grooms. They hunted not foxes nor hares. he had six black Shetland ponies. she would sing all the liveliest and tenderest airs from the operas and cantatas of her native country. as we have noted before. but never again. of a power surprising in one so small. while their master and mistress. however. sometimes rowing in a little boat on the lake. at which the English ambassador acted as one of the witnesses. like that of so many dwarfs. for he would marry none who was not distinguished by beauty and gentle birth. But here his deformity had been a source of the most bitter humiliation. 39 . a kind of dog which. for. but rabbits. as one plays a bass viol. "Crome and its household of dwarfs delighted Filomena. when not overfed. and that very passionately. for he was so much charmed by Filomena's grace and beauty. The story soon got about−−indeed. For his own use. while another young lady. occupations in which. he found. it only remained for him to find some suitable companion with whom to share his paradise. Accompanied by her husband on his fine Cremona fiddle. a matter of some difficulty. to a life of uneventful happiness. a Venetian nobleman. 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. "Having thus settled his household entirely to his own satisfaction. in green CHAPTER XIII. hunted the pack. whom he found living with his wife and five children in a very mean apartment in one of the poorer quarters of the town. and could touch A in alt without effort. an orphan belonging to a very good family in Hampshire. When she had become a perfectly proficient rider. that at the end of three days' courtship he made her a formal offer of marriage. using a pack of about thirty black and fawn−coloured pugs. as it proved. 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. when he was almost despairing of success. whether riding or driving. She had many tastes in common with her husband. From the poems written at this period we gather that he meditated taking his own life. and had more than once. he saw that. was wizened and repulsive. Seated together at the harpsichord. if he was to have a wife−−which he very much desired. felt what it was to love. with four very choice piebald animals of New Forest breed. The dwarfish daughter of Lord Bemboro he refused on the ground that besides being a pigmy she was hunchbacked. After an unostentatious marriage. was rejected by him because her face. he heard from a reliable source that Count Titimalo. But to find a suitable wife was. Setting out at once for Venice. especially that of music. "When they were not making music or reading together. indeed. 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. Sir Hercules had a susceptible heart. at that time very much more extensive than it is now. but more often riding or driving. who felt herself now for the first time to be a free woman living among her equals in a friendly world. they spent their time in healthful outdoor exercises. After coming to the estate and finding that he was in a position to create his own world as he desired it. possessed a daughter of exquisite beauty and great accomplishments. Sir Hercules and his bride returned by sea to England. Sir Hercules arrived in time to save her from this untoward fate. he lived down this humiliation.
as being unfit to remain in the same place with the mother whom he had nearly murdered. Sir Hercules ordered that the beast should be chained up in the stable−yard. growing angry. and in a twinkling had very severely mauled her arm and shoulder. The two figures in their gay carriage stand out sharply against a dark background of trees. a day when we should have been rejoicing at the health. The child was christened Ferdinando in memory of the builder of the house. God give us strength to bear this cross. so commanding were his voice. his sword drawn and still bloody. It was a savage. to send him to school. and beauty of our child. Ferdinando refused to move. His mother at this moment coming into the room. 'we discussed the situation. whose work Sir Hercules admired so much that he invited him. At the end of that time Filomena found herself great with child. received no corporal chastisement. on pain of his utmost displeasure. who at this age was already seventeen inches taller than his father. grooms. hardly had it entered the house when it attacked one of Sir Hercules's favourite pugs. though a man of ordinary stature. had not Sir Hercules drawn his sword and stabbed the animal to the heart. "In this way four years passed happily by. followed either on the black Shetlands or on the piebald New Forest ponies. seizing the creature in its jaws and shaking it till it was nearly dead. For the child was growing with an extraordinary rapidity. "On his third birthday Ferdinando was taller than his mother and not more than a couple of inches short of his father's height. 'To−day for the first time' wrote Sir Hercules. he ordered him to leave the room immediately. unamenable to persuasion. 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. unreliable animal. knocked her down. One day he knocked down the butler and broke his arm. his gestures. gigantic dimensions? It was a thought to which neither of his parents dared yet give open utterance. Ferdinando sullenly answered that the dog was his. we wept together over the ruin of our happiness. 'He is rough. A picture of the whole hunt−−dogs. "One summer holidays about three years later Ferdinando returned to Crome accompanied by a very large mastiff dog. though reluctantly.' he wrote in his day−book.' wrote his father.' wrote Filomena in her diary. inconsiderate. He was packed off to Eton at the beginning of the next half. Sir Hercules was overjoyed. Could it be that Ferdinando was destined to become a man of the normal. 'The only thing that will teach him manners is corporal chastisement. '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. and masters−−was painted by William Stubbs. and the CHAPTER XIII. but in the secrecy of their respective diaries they brooded over it in terror and dismay. in another instant it must infallibly have had her by the throat. the strength.' At eighteen months the baby was almost as tall as their smallest jockey.Crome Yellow habits. who was a man of thirty−six. Filomena is dressed in flowered muslin and a very large hat with pink feathers. Ferdinando returned for the summer holidays larger and stronger than ever. 40 . Stubbs likewise painted a portrait of Sir Hercules and his lady driving in their green enamelled calash drawn by four black Shetlands. So awe−inspiring was the spectacle of Sir Hercules standing with one foot on the carcase of the gigantic dog. 'Ferdinando goes crescendo. Extremely put out by this occurrence. On this. 'It seems not natural. but to the left of the picture the trees fall away and disappear. 'If God is good. The hideous truth can be concealed no longer: Ferdinando is not one of us.' Ferdinando. He had bought it from an old man at Windsor who had found the beast too expensive to feed. his third birthday. the dog flew at her. Sir Hercules wears a plum−coloured velvet coat and white breeches. to come and stay at the mansion for the purpose of executing this picture.' On his wife's being brought to bed of a son he wrote a poem to the same effect. Turning on his son. A profound peace settled upon the house. and he would keep it where he pleased. bade him take the animal out of the house at once. horses. "With the passage of the months a certain sense of disquiet began to invade the minds of Sir Hercules and his lady. His father. At a year he weighed as much as Hercules had weighed when he was three.' "At the age of eight Ferdinando was so large and so exuberantly healthy that his parents decided.
Simon. "When supper was over. they were occupied in watching the efforts of the butler to change the plates and replenish the glasses. The young men roared with laughter. Sir Hercules replied that it was.' Ferdinando bent down to shake hands. holding his wife's hand and sometimes gently squeezing it. bade them good−night. The sound of laughter followed him up the stairs. it is true. and with his usual grace supported a conversation on the pleasures of foreign travel. "Sir Hercules presided. my son. Two friends of his own age accompanied him. but changed the subject of the conversation to sport. with orders that they should be well cared for. Upon this one of the young men asked whether it was true. but the effect on her mind of this adventure was ineradicable. was helped at supper by the three servants brought by Ferdinando and his guests. she had been lying on her bed listening to the sound of enormous laughter and the tread of strangely heavy feet on the stairs and along the corridors. the singing of the orphans in the churches of the same city. Sir Hercules rose to his feet and. "The day fixed for Ferdinando's return came round. and each of the young men had brought a servant. The noise was louder here. but his wife felt herself too old and. "'I hope I see you well. Filomena. the beauties of art and nature to be met with abroad. the shouting articulated itself into CHAPTER XIII. The uproar continuing for several minutes. At most. that he used to hunt the rabbit with a pack of pug dogs. and on other topics of a similar nature. giving as his excuse that he must see how his lady did.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. in spite of his wife's entreaties. The Lady Filomena had lost her voice and Sir Hercules was grown too rheumatical to play the violin. with an outburst of shouts and laughter. "Ferdinando had not come alone. as he had heard. A giant in a brown travelling−suit entered the room. But even now the thought of the future haunted them. His mother soon recovered from the bites of the mastiff. then straightened himself up again. since the episode of the mastiff. nor were they able to solace themselves with all the diversions of their younger days. from that time forth she lived always among imaginary terrors. who could only just look over the edge of the big table. lowering himself from stair to stair and standing for a moment on each tread before adventuring on a new step. too nervous for such sports. she would follow the hunt at a distance in a little gig drawn by the safest and oldest of the Shetlands. prepared to go and see what was happening. Sir Hercules was appalled and indignant. still rode after his pugs. There was a breaking of glass. There was no light on the staircase. 'Welcome home. making the Grand Tour. but the laws of hospitality had to be obeyed. the opera at Venice. to please her husband. the aged butler. Sir Hercules climbed down from his chair and. retired to her chamber and her bed. "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). At about ten o'clock they were startled by a violent noise. Not for thirty years had Crome been desecrated by the presence of so many members of the common race of men. They covered their laughter by violent and repeated fits of coughing or choking. Sir Hercules drew a chair to her bedside and sat there for a long time in silence. sick with vague dreads and presentiments. Sir Hercules received his son alone. The young men were not particularly attentive to his discourses. sir.' said Sir Hercules in a voice that trembled a little. and Sir Hercules groped his way down cautiously. "The two years which Ferdinando spent on the Continent. The top of his father's head reached to the level of his hip. and proceeded to describe the chase in some detail. Sir Hercules affected not to notice. 41 . were a period of happy repose for his parents. He received the young gentlemen with grave politeness and sent the servants to the kitchen. He. a stamping of feet. Filomena was not asleep.
he remembered. taking a razor in his hand. but had a stentorian voice. saying.' said Sir Hercules. long. he took down from the shelf his copy of Suetonius. What could they be doing? Standing on tiptoe he managed to look through the keyhole. 'They are making mock of old Simon. had exhibited in the amphitheatre a young man called Lucius. He crossed the hall once more and began to climb the stairs. a rivederti. of good family. 'But dwarfs. His feet crunched and tinkled among the broken glass. but of love and gallantry. which so dazed and surprised the little man that he staggered and fell down on his back. "Sir Hercules would look and listen no further. lifting his knees painfully high at each degree. no place for him and Ferdinando together. he forced to kill himself. putting the toes of one foot into the water and finding that it was not too hot. the butler. Going into his closet he wrote in his day−book a full and particular account of all the events of the evening. so primed with drink that he could scarcely keep his balance. while the life was ebbing away through his opened veins. and having recorded his wife's last words to him. While he was still engaged in this task he rang for a servant and ordered hot water and a bath to be made ready for him at eleven o'clock. The three young men sat round. Ferdinando suddenly threw a handful of walnuts at the dancer's head. He turned over the pages. Sir Hercules tiptoed across the hall towards it. Claudius. 'To−morrow. who was not quite two feet in height and weighed seventeen pounds. thumping the table with their hands or with the empty wine bottles. 'he held in abhorrence as being lusus naturae and of evil omen.' They were silent for a time. he poured into his bath the water that had been brought up in accordance with his orders. Caligula. not of the consolations of philosophy. 'Seneca his preceptor. When he had finished writing he went into his wife's room. lying back on the pillow. They raised him up.' And there was Petronius. it seems such a short time ago. 42 . non dormir piu.' She drank off the draught and.' Then. The water being too hot for him to get into the bath at once. To−morrow it will be our turn. With one deep cut he severed the artery in his left wrist. Sir Hercules felt himself mastered by an invincible drowsiness. and his shoes were wet with spilt wine. shouting and laughing encouragement.' he read. and preparing a dose of opium twenty times as strong as that which she was accustomed to take when she could not sleep. there was no place for him now in the world.' said Ferdinando. In the middle of the ravaged table old Simon. bidding them talk to him. then lay back and composed his mind to meditation.' added one of his companions. The old man smiled and hiccoughed. amore. 'Here is your sleeping−draught. 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. gave him some brandy to drink. sat down in the bath. The three servants leaning against the wall laughed too. Dipping his pen once more in the ink he wrote on the last page of his diary: 'He died a Roman death. The colour deepened. He returned to his closet. 'I do not want to see to−morrow. "At last Filomena said. This same Augustus." CHAPTER XIII. Just as he approached the door there was another terrific crash of breaking glass and jangled metal. but did not drink immediately. Soon he was sound asleep. The blood oozed out. he was sinking from vague dream to dream. He opened the book at random. This was the end. 'Do you remember the songs we used to sing.Crome Yellow recognisable words and phrases. and all three roared with laughter.' He winced as though he had been struck.' "'It is better not. who had called his friends about him at the last. he threw off his dressing−gown and. In a little while the whole bath was tinged with pink. Nero: it was a tale of growing horror. was dancing a jig.' 'With father Hercules wearing his club and lion−skin. A line of light was visible under the dining−room door. Sir Hercules kissed her hand and tiptoed away. "His wife was still awake. as though he were afraid of waking her. he brought it to her. thumped him on the back. long. Tiberius. closed her eyes. The tears came into her eyes. There was not much blood in his small body. and yet so long. 'we'll have a concerted ballet of the whole household. Addio.' 'And you playing on the violin. He wished to read how Seneca had died. to her questioning glance he answered. floating through the water in dissolving wreaths and spirals.' "Filomena took the glass and lay for a little time. upsetting a decanter and several glasses.
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
In Spain"−−with his free hand he described a series of ample curves−−"one can't pass them on the stairs." Ivor's vocabulary was rich. "Perfectly. The surface of things had taken on a marvellous enrichment. One can tell by the speed." said Mr. "It's Ivor." The dust cloud descended into the valley and was lost. The conversation rippled idly round him. Scogan. it was not the structure of his face that impressed one. CHAPTER XVI. That was charming and vivacious. but with an engaging gracefulness. One can go on with it without ever getting bored. "I'm not late for dinner. very nearly embraced Mr. "I mean as an occupation. He had brown. His frail and slender body seemed to be fed by a spring of inexhaustible energy. Scogan. leaning his head sideways against its hard and lichenous flanks in an attitude of trustful affection." said Mr. "What's amusing you?" he asked. A horn with the voice of a sea−lion made itself heard. he was smiling at some private joke.Crome Yellow intricate shadows." "One can occupy oneself with it. Mr. and. "Anne. "No. improbable blue. His head was narrow. am I?" He hoisted himself up on to the balustrade. 46 . He was forever moving. and his smile was an irradiation. Scogan. With one arm he embraced a large stone flower−pot. kicking his heels. At least. Women are always wonderfully the same. "always and everywhere. looked about him for a moment in silence. pale. But now. I've always found it so. The ladies had left the room and the port was circulating. you're not late. restlessly and rapidly. a cloud of dust flushed by the sunlight to rosy gold was moving rapidly along the sky−line. "Look!" said Anne suddenly." cried Mary triumphantly. leaning back in his chair. and sat there. here I am. that's all. at twenty−six. approaching. it was its expression. His hair waved in the wind of his own speed. I've come with incredulous speed." "I'm delighted to hear it. Scogan asked. What do you think? Is it serious?" "Serious?" echoed Ivor. A minute later Ivor came leaping round the corner of the house." "I see. embraced Mary. In old age−− though it was difficult to imagine Ivor old−−he might grow to have an Iron Ducal grimness. and embraced her." "I told you so. "We were arguing whether Amour were a serious matter or no. but he disregarded it. passed on the decanter. "But in what sense serious?" Mr. lowering his hand. darling. "Most certainly. he laughed as he saw them." he cried. and pointed. his face thin and rather long. Gombauld noticed his smile. wavy hair." said Mr. But their sentiments are always the same. "Well. Scogan. but a little erratic. at the crest of the ridge. his nose aquiline. CHAPTER XVI. Shapes vary a little." Ivor continued. In England"−−he put the tip of his forefinger against the tip of his thumb and. drew out this circle into an imaginary cylinder−−"In England they're tubular." "You're in time to answer a question. Scogan filled his glass. On the opposite side of the valley. and his eyes were of a very brilliant.
The Black and Tans harry Ireland. People are being crushed. "all−−with the possible exception of Claudius. The Caesars are one of my touchstones. "I was merely amused by my own speculations. We differ from the bees in so far that. Scogan explained. Tiberius. of the libidinousness and cruelty of Tiberius.Crome Yellow "I was just looking at you all. But it would have been more amusing. The resulting image gives me his Caesarean formula. "I am potentially all of them. of Augustus's prudence." Mr. disembowelled. We feel sympathy. untrammelled. I passed my youth doing a great deal of utterly senseless hard work for a very little money. what are CHAPTER XVI. Scogan drank off what was left of his port and refilled the glass. no doubt. These are distressing facts. are all within me. The seeds of Julius's courage and compelling energy. they can be sure of making a queen every time. I am the poor thing that I am." "And which of the Caesars do you resemble?" asked Gombauld. the most academic of speculations. To−day we are no longer surprised at these things. mangled. of Caligula's folly. after all. Augustus. Nero? I take each trait of character. Hence their unequalled value as a touchstone. Yes." Mr. and that Ivor remains only potentially a Caligula. their dead bodies rot and their eyes decay with the rest. he will not. "the most frightful horrors are taking place in every corner of the world. I might have been something fabulous." he went on. Perhaps. as a spectacle. When I meet someone for the first time. But perhaps it is as well. They are human beings developed to their logical conclusions. which of the Caesars would this person resemble−− Julius. but do we enjoy life any the less because of them? Most certainly we do not." Mr. given the proper food. of Nero's artistic genius and enormous vanity. We have created a Caesarean environment and a host of little Caesars has sprung up." said Mr. as the special food and the queenly cell make the queen bee. sitting round this table. 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. and magnify them a thousand times. What could be more natural?" Mr. 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. But circumstances were against me. I ask myself this question: Given the Caesarean environment. or great. who was much too stupid to be a development of anything in my character. it's better so. too. "They are characters functioning. Given the opportunities. "Are we as comic as all that?" "Not at all. slashed. Seventy and eighty years ago simple−minded people. Scogan. Claudius. I was looking at you one by one and trying to imagine which of the first six Caesars you would each resemble. Screams of pain and fear go pulsing through the air at the rate of eleven hundred feet per second. After travelling for three seconds they are perfectly inaudible. in the void. But. unhappy blackamoors on the Congo and the Amazon were being treated as English serfs were treated in the time of Stephen." "And what were they?" "The idlest. Caligula. each mental and emotional bias. we represent to ourselves imaginatively the sufferings of nations and individuals and we deplore them. it's as well that Denis hasn't been permitted to flower into a little Nero. each little oddity. a standard. reading of the exploits of the Bourbons in South Italy. if they had had the chance to develop. the Poles maltreat the Silesians. Scogan answered politely. if you were given the opportunity of behaving like a Caesar. the bold Fascisti slaughter their poorer countrymen: we take it all for granted. so to speak. 47 . With us there is no such certainty. The Caesarean environment makes the Caesar. The rest will blossom into Caesars. the full horror of their potentialities. The result is that now. or intelligent. I was born and brought up in a country rectory. in middle age. no doubt. out of every ten men placed in the Caesarean environment one will be temperamentally good. Scogan replied. Since the war we wonder at nothing. At this very moment.
that hint of the seventh was decidedly modern. her large china eyes fixed on the performer. for if one had an imagination vivid enough and a sympathy sufficiently sensitive really to comprehend and to feel the sufferings of other people. "Fortunately. 48 . with a startling brilliance. And yet I think I have a more vivid imagination than most. Nature and fortune had vied with one another in heaping on Ivor Lombard all their choicest gifts. His accomplishments were extraordinary for their number and variety." he said. "I think perhaps we ought to go and join the ladies. For painting symbolical pictures he had a dashing style. returned to the grimy little sixteenth−century account books which were now his favourite reading. Training would only have destroyed his natural aptitudes. but it makes pleasure possible for the rest of the world. "That's the best I can do for you." "Thank you. unless the person for whom we feel sympathy happens to be closely involved in our affections. He turned round in his seat and tossed the hair back out of his eyes. "Let's go out into the garden. He turned to Mr." said Ivor. He resembled Shakespeare in knowing little Latin and less Greek. He had a beautiful untrained tenor voice. He was perfectly happy. "we can share our pleasures. Henry Wimbush was also happy. But luckily. one would never have a moment's peace of mind." CHAPTER XVII. possessed an irresistible charm of manner. and Mary.Crome Yellow sympathy and imagination? Precious little. as I've already said. Small details matter little so long as the general effect is good. he could improvise. the colour was always pyrotechnical. And a good thing too." Murmurs of applause and gratitude were heard. He was good looking. Henry Wimbush pushed back his chair. Scogan. "Wonderful!" and gasped for new breath as though she were suffocating." said Mr. He had wealth and he was perfectly independent. and even then they don't go very far. One is always alone in suffering. A really sympathetic race would not so much as know the meaning of happiness. he could cook with genius. But after a month or two I had to admit that. and was the hero of more amorous successes than he could well remember. 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. the fact is depressing when one happens to be the sufferer. jumping up with alacrity. I didn't. on the piano. At the beginning of the war I used to think I really suffered. CHAPTER XVII. and if the drawing was sometimes a little weak. He was a good amateur medium and telepathist." he said. when occasion offered. "So do I. He excelled in amateur theatricals and. "It's a wonderful night. "There. For a mind like his. Ivor brought his hands down with a bang on to the final chord of his rhapsody. we aren't a sympathetic race." Ivor suggested. without saying anything. He could write rhymed verses with an extraordinary rapidity. "but I for one prefer these still more wonderful arm−chairs. He knew more about Sir Ferdinando's household expenses than about his own. Scogan. honestly." There was a pause. education seemed supererogatory. cried out aloud. but the general effect of splendid noise emerged clearly enough. And. I'm afraid. besides. and had a considerable first−hand knowledge of the next world. through imagination and sympathy. He looked for a moment over his pince−nez in Ivor's direction and then." he said. with those who physically suffered. rapidly and loudly. We are not always condemned to be happy alone." His pipe had begun to bubble oozily every time he pulled at it.
"Oo−ooh!" Denis was almost pleased. and they wouldn't listen. thump! there was the sound of a heavy fall in front of him. followed by the long "F−f−f−f−f" of a breath indrawn with pain and afterwards by a very sincere. and hardly were the words out of his mouth when. of horrible spiked obstructions. a gap in the yew hedge. But the ground grew level beneath her feet." and he was off. this blind rush through the dark. dry concussion that might have been the sound of a slap. softly: "Phillis plus avare que tendre Ne gagnant rien a refuser. From somewhere behind Ivor began to sing again. dropped his head sideways onto her shoulder. He trotted down the slope towards the unseen sufferer. Denis shambled in the rear. he had told them so. the most natural.Crome Yellow The outdoor party." he shouted once more. there was no moon. the warm darkness seemed to pulse like blood about them. full speed. He hated Ivor. Mary. "I am going back to the house. Between the blank precipitous wall of the house and the tall yew trees the path was a chasm of impenetrable gloom. "Le lendemain. rather a theoretical feeling. nouvelle affaire: Pour le berger le troc fut bon. close−−with something about the little Spanish girl to follow. they could see between the high black hedges a strip of sky and a few stars. Jenny's voice was heard pronouncing. stretti"−−close. thing in the world. Somewhere there were steps down to the right. the idiots. and Ivor sang a Neapolitan song: "Stretti. Looking up." "Here are the steps. one had an irrational fear of yawning precipices." said Ivor. It was lighter here.. and in a moment they had the turf of the yew−tree walk under their feet. "Car il obtint de la bergere. was closed. and. "Be careful. it did not overmasteringly seek to express itself in a practical demonstration of kittenishness." Went on Ivor. down the invisible slope. What was wrong with these people. Suddenly from behind him he heard a shrill. 49 . singing as he walked. Un jour exigea a Silvandre Trente moutons pour un baiser. and in that position walked on. Ivor put his arm round Anne's waist. but it was." The others followed. whatever it had been. who headed the party. her speed insensibly CHAPTER XVII. Denis resumed his forward groping. He guided his companions over the danger. After that. and even as she pronounced the words she was melting away into the darkness. He disengaged his embrace and turned round to shepherd his little flock. "Let's go down to the pool. They walked up and down the terrace. in this darkness. He himself felt a certain kittenishness sporting within him. or at least it was just perceptibly less dark. she felt she would never stop. Mary came down the hill like a runaway steam−engine.. The incident.. "Oh!" and then a sharp. It seemed the easiest. "I'm going to run down. Denis wondered why he had never done it.." The melody drooped and climbed again with a kind of easy languor. consisted of Anne. he wondered? They had become like young kittens after a dose of cat−nip. Denis." Her tone was decided. and then interrupted himself to shout. Denis. 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. startled. rather unexpectedly. The atmosphere began to palpitate. one might break one's neck. like all his emotions. for the yew walk was wider than the path that had led them under the lea of the house. singing unevenly as he went: "Trente baisers pour un mouton. Outside it was warm and dark." cried Denis. enrolled under Ivor's banner. vainly exhorting everyone to caution: the slope was steep. groped his way cautiously. Jenny. It was tremendously exciting.
She drew closer. a patch of green turf−−and round about a darkness that had become solid and utterly blind. "I want to look at my wounds. The feeling was so strong that instinctively he put his arm about her. Then. lingered on her eyelashes. Mary was too short for him to be able. and somehow it was all so amusing and natural that Mary made no further attempt to escape from it. the night trembled amorously to the sound of his voice. Magically. "it was silly to start running downhill in the dark. interlaced." "My poor Anne. and my hand." He laughed again. the general effect was the important thing. The light spurted and then grew steady. Anne. after all. "you're caught now. "Not so bad. sleek mass of her hair. but the general effect was the same. When he had finished he kissed her. "I seem to be making nothing but floaters this evening. when he had finished cleaning and bandaging her hand. There were differences in detail. and the left exhibited two or three red abrasions. a little universe had been created. Ne voulant deplaire au berger. "Any damage done?" he called out. "of course it was. and so they sat in silence. meekly and gratefully. soft but wonderfully clear through the still darkness. he saw that the trace of tears. caressed and caressing. and there was something so jolly about his laughter that Mary could not help laughing too. leaned against him. The match went out. He was going on with his half−finished song: "Le lendemain Phillis plus tendre." she said. It didn't seem to make much difference which it was." He felt in his pockets for the match−box. looking up at her face." he couldn't help adding. bare arms." CHAPTER XVII. "Is that you. "So it is!" he exclaimed. Anne or Mary: Mary or Anne. In a little while he began to sing again." she commanded. they heard the sound of Ivor's singing. and his emotion was intensified when. "But then. Anne held out her hands. involuntary tears of pain.Crome Yellow slackened. to lay his head on her shoulder. "Light a match. from below. "Thank you." She made an effort to release herself. He rubbed his cheek. Fut trop heureuse de lui rendre Trente moutons pour un baiser. and suddenly she was caught by an extended arm and brought to an abrupt halt." He sat down beside on the grass. it was not worth while to light another." said Ivor as he tightened his embrace. of course. He felt tremendously large and protective. that she was younger than he. against the thick. But Denis was terribly distressed." he said. He did not remove his encircling arm. and there was something in her tone that made him feel that she had lost her superiority over him." Ivor burst into a peal of amused laughter. almost a child. and found himself breathing the faint. her white. "It's not Anne. had become. the shimmering orange of her dress. and. I'm all in pieces. Anne allowed herself to be attended to. both were green and earthy with her fall. He pulled out his handkerchief and began to wipe away the dirt from the wounded hand. Denis? I've hurt my ankle so−−and my knee." "Ass!" she retorted in a tone of tearful irritation. I've already made one with Jenny. They walked along by the side of the pool. suddenly. with any comfort. It's Mary. "Well. a world of colours and forms−−Anne's face. delicious atmosphere of perfume that she carried always with her. 50 . Denis made his way down the hill." she said.
" "Bosh!" said Denis. Somehow she had never thought of Denis in the light of a man who might make love. Anne averted her head. with more precision. "Why isn't it our stunt?" asked Denis. "Are you better?" Denis whispered. but she knew what she meant. "Can't you see.. I must go in and get my ankle into hot water. the woolly mutton−− baa." "Because it isn't. "Are you comfortable like this?" She nodded a Yes to both questions." Denis offered. by the way. "it isn't." "I shall make you say it is.." "But if I say it is?" "It makes no difference.." "All right." It was true.so. "No. the protector. "no.it isn't our stunt at all. He turned his head. 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. "Ooh!" She halted and leaned heavily on his arm. "You couldn't." The last note died away into an uninterrupted silence. But you must do it another time. baa..? Or the shepherd? Yes. and began to kiss her face. It was as though time were being allowed for the giving and receiving of a few of those thirty kisses.. decidedly.Crome Yellow There was a rather prolonged pause. the smooth nape that this movement presented him. and helped his companion to her feet.. Denis. I say it isn't. It's beginning to swell. 51 ." Reasons of health could not be gainsaid." said Anne. warm as wine. at first rather randomly. "I'll carry you. She tried to explain. Denis got up reluctantly. so." she protested. CHAPTER XVII. he felt himself to be the shepherd now. then. "Trente moutons pour un baiser. He had never tried to carry a woman. A wave of courage swelled through him." she said. baa. She took a cautious step. He was the master. He was so absurdly young. on the mouth.. he kissed the ear. "And. Denis." The sheep.she couldn't find the adjective. and that was so jolly. that's a horrible and inappropriate expression. but on the cinema it always looked an easy piece of heroism.." "Why not?" "It spoils our friendship. she had never so much as conceived the possibilities of an amorous relationship with him.
thanks. "It was gibbous. It was nearly an hour later when Ivor and Mary made their appearance. And. somehow. 15th March '20. He selected a book and a comfortable chair. to compose himself for an evening's reading. everything would be quite different−−it seemed such a prodigious time since he went away. only two minutes ago. stooping. he should have been holding her in his embrace. Mr. seated in her favourite arm−chair at the corner of the hearth. throwing back her mountainous orange head. All silent and all damned. "We waited to see the moon rise. He explained. on the slope of her mauve−powdered decolletage diamonds twinkled. thus supported. and had to deposit his burden suddenly. "I'll try again. Anne had gone to bed. she was once more the far−off being. looked long and attentively through half−closed eyelids. It seemed incredible that. Jenny was mysteriously scribbling in her red notebook.." he ordered. Scogan's pipe still wheezed. as he looked at them. with something of a bump. One by one she held them out at arm's length and. Try as she could−−and she tried hard−−Priscilla had never seen a vision or succeeded in establishing any communication with the Spirit World. he was silent." said Denis. "Put your arms round my neck. Humiliated. Incredible." said Ivor. She did so and. He was surprised to find them all sitting just where he had left them. he picked her up under the knees and lifted her from the ground." "It's perfectly sweet of you to offer. and tried. my poor Denis. Why had he been such a fool as to suggest that carrying stunt? He reached the house in a state of the profoundest depression. in horn−rimmed spectacles. Anne was shaking with laughter. what a weight! He took five staggering steps up the slope. very technical and scientific. kissing her." Before examining the drawing on the obverse of each sheet. She had to be content with the reported experiences of others. "I said You couldn't. She wore a pale sea−green dress. regardless of the absence of the justifying R. An immensely long cigarette− holder projected at an angle from her face." He felt larger and more protective than ever." "Astral Beings at Play. looking up as Denis entered the room. a child. Now she had regained all her superiority. made in the course of tranced tours through the other world. but I'd rather walk." "I can. Denis repeated to himself. she turned it over to read the title. 21st May '21. you know. He helped Anne upstairs." Mary explained. Priscilla was looking through a pile of drawings. CHAPTER XVII. "My poor Denis!" she repeated. Ivor and Mary were still in the garden. 3rd December '19. left her in the hands of a maid. It was a batch of Ivor's drawings−−sketches of Spirit Life. desired and unassailable. The lamplight was utterly serene. All silent and all damned. began to limp slowly up the hill. Henry Wimbush was still deep in his account books. He had expected that." She laid her hand on his shoulder and. without conviction.. Gombauld. On the back of each sheet descriptive titles were written: "Portrait of an Angel. "What have you done with the rest of your party?" she asked. She was helpless then. he had just made the discovery that Sir Ferdinando was in the habit of eating oysters the whole summer through.Crome Yellow "Of course I can. 52 . as far as the disturbed state of his mind would permit him. they glittered every time she moved. all silent and all damned. Diamonds were embedded in her high−piled coiffure. there was no movement save the stir of Priscilla among her papers. Good heavens. that was the only sound. and came down again to the drawing−room. and laughed again. then almost lost his equilibrium. he reflected." "A Party of Souls on their Way to a Higher Sphere. was reading.
expensive−looking machine. she was occupying the spare seat in the sedan. dust. science. by a quarter to ten. the scent of the flowers. the stars. CHAPTER XVIII. But she didn't like the idea that perhaps she was the victim of a put−up job. but she was not yet asleep. and weather by a glazed sedan that rose.. who was punctilious in his devotions. poetry. For the past two years the problem of the War Memorial had exercised the minds of all those in Crome who had enough leisure. In July and August. Denis helped me home. without appearing to be seriously disturbed. Ivor. the stars." said Mary to anyone who would listen. religion. The nearest Roman Catholic church was upwards of twenty miles away. the scent of flowers. exactly three hundred and fifty years ago. when the car moved off through the great gates of the courtyard. enamelled a pure lemon yellow and upholstered in emerald green leather. she thought. There were two seats−−three if you squeezed tightly enough−−and their occupants were protected from wind. art.. Nature. Mary had never been to a Roman Catholic service.He wished he had known before dinner. ready to start." He sat down at the piano and opened the lid. Inwardly. the scent of flowers. On this very July day. the relations of the sexes. "And when the moon came up. from the midst of the body of the car. the rising moon. the rising moon and its gibbosity. 53 .. the stars. faintlier. In the parish church of Crome Mr. It made me burst into tears. She had been vaguely suspicious. had an interesting mind. the stars. He had a natural piety which made him delight in the celebration of memorial feasts. Ivor." Mary was full of sympathy. faintlier. On her way to bed Mary paid a call. but there had seemed to be something a little louche in the way she had suddenly found herself alone with Ivor. "I fell down and twisted my ankle. The three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the seven dozen oysters. thought it would be an interesting experience. The discovery of this fact gave Henry Wimbush a peculiar pleasure." But Ivor had already begun to strike the keys. 18: "And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops"−−a sermon of immediately local interest. and she commiserated with Anne on all she had missed−−the garden. spiritualism. far from it.. and they were gone. and. the meteorites through whose summer shower the earth was now passing. Mary looked on and listened with parted lips. Not that she minded. he would have ordered champagne." she said. "Why didn't you come down to the garden with us?" Mary asked. Bodiham preached on 1 Kings vi. And then they had had such interesting conversation. He even put in a nightingale that was not there. of course. she was relieved to find Anne's non−appearance so simply accounted for. an elegant eighteenth− century hump. Sir Ferdinando had eaten seven dozen oysters. The sea−lion horn roared. The two young ladies parted affectionately. "I do hope you'll be better to−morrow. or mental energy." Ivor waved his arms. too. came down early to breakfast and had his car at the door.. it was really too much. It was a smart. down there in the garden−−suspicious of what. The others pursued their occupations. or CHAPTER XVIII. she hardly knew.. He played the garden. "There were a great many meteorites. "The earth must just be coming into the summer shower of them. music. The light was out in Anne's room.Crome Yellow "It was so beautiful down in the garden! The trees. What about? About almost everything.
Country pleasures were no more. Now they had nothing. a monument of marble. It might soon be too late. CHAPTER XVIII. stocked with county histories. From thence he passed to temples and churches in general. it was true. These were works dedicated to man. 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. dancing−−social amusements in which they would have partaken as members of a conscious community. 54 . Bodiham's forbidding Boys' Club and the rare dances and concerts organised by himself. At the first stile a group of village boys. nothing except Mr. He liked to think of the villagers. he reflected. and a second entrance would need a second gate." Mr. God might come. Both these were admirable. if possible. There would have been archery. "And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops. from a human point of view. They made way for Henry Wimbush. useless and unpractical. handbooks of the local geology and natural history. In Sir Ferdinando's time. dialect dictionaries. not to God. Other suggestions had been made. it was pleasanter than the road." Solomon might have built a library−−indeed. partly for the more cogent reason that too little money had been subscribed to carry out any of the proposed schemes. the fact of their. making up parties of a Sunday afternoon to look for fossils and flint arrow−heads. Meanwhile a difficulty stood in the way. or. He took the path through the fields. Funds were inadequate. skittles. A library. Boredom or the urban pleasures of the county metropolis were the alternatives that presented themselves to these poor youths. remote and rustic Crome. drearily guffawing as they smoked their cigarettes. nothing had been done. a monument of marble. all three. Bodiham scornfully and indignantly condemned the idea. were assembled. What were the characteristics of these buildings dedicated to God? Obviously. Why? Because he was dedicating the work to God. these young men would have had their Sunday diversions even at Crome. The War Memorial must be built at once. a work dedicated to God. touching their caps as he passed. however. 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 War Memorial was. But the busiest and most articulate party followed Mr. All should subscribe according to their means. Sir Julius. in its very nature. a reservoir? Mr. The villagers themselves favoured the idea of a memorial reservoir and water supply. It was a token of thankfulness that the first stage in the culminating world−war had been crowned by the triumph of righteousness. monographs on the local antiquities. he built a house all carved with knops. This was an object which answered perfectly to the definition of a War Memorial: a useless work dedicated to God and carved with knops. 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. He returned their salute. So far. it was high time that his congregation had a fresh reminder. They were unpractical buildings "carved with knops. There had been much talk in Crome about the proposed War Memorial. partly because the memorial committee had never been able to agree. Every three or four months Mr. Henry Wimbush walked home thinking of the books he would present to the War Memorial Library. for example. complete uselessness. if ever it came into existence. his bowler and face were one in their unruffled gravity. like a thief in the night. At any moment. It was high time that the War Memorial was erected. they had been stamped out by the Puritans. loutish young fellows all dressed in the hideous ill−fitting black which makes a funeral of every English Sunday and holiday. in the time of his son. old maps of the district. Stained−glass windows. Bodiham preached a sermon on the subject. especially the latter. Further delay was disastrous. a stained−glass window. Henry Wimbush was all for a library−−a library of local literature.Crome Yellow party spirit to think of such things. Bodiham in demanding something religious in character−−a second lich−gate. A lich−gate had been suggested. As a War Memorial they were totally unsuitable. already existed. One lich−gate. His last had been delivered in March. inspired by such reading. He appealed to the patriotism and the Christian sentiments of all his hearers. Bodiham touched lightly on Solomon's temple. But nothing would be easier than to make a second entrance into the churchyard.
And now it was no more. A prosperous and dignified old age. among the sheepcotes. Or there's Sir Cyprian. Puritan magistrates. slowly he turned over the pages. "I can't decide what episode to read you to−night." he said thoughtfully. These weary young men. "and the events that led up to his marriage with the eldest daughter of the last Sir Ferdinando. would have to bicycle six miles to the town. By the time he was forty he had eaten and. The "History of Crome" lay on his knee.Crome Yellow In Manningham's Diary for 1600 there was a queer passage. they had come upon a company of men and women. "Or Sir Henry." said Mr. set in the stocks. whipped. seemed now to be Sir Ferdinando's enviable destiny. Scogan.. "And as on Tullia's tomb one lamp burned clear. But Providence willed otherwise. Panic rite came to extinction here? he wondered. The country was desolate. drunk and loved away about half his capital. and sons as well−−a patriarchal decline into the family vault. Henry Wimbush's long cigar burned aromatically. Unchanged for fifteen hundred year. "We are listening. cause already of such infinite mischief. earthy. among the hills. had had wind of a scandal." insisted Mr." said Henry Wimbush. not a little increased by his father's temperance and thrift. Or Sir George. if they wanted to dance. above all. gaoled.. What old. Ferdinando found himself in possession of the family fortune. without life of its own. he applied himself forthwith to the task of spending it. stark naked. I must say a few preliminary words about Sir Ferdinando. which he did in an ample and jovial fashion. rarely drinking more than a bottle and a half of port at a sitting. was due.. a very queer passage." He repeated the lines to himself. Sir Julius." "But you must read something. To Napoleon. 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. taking his pipe out of his mouth. and there seemed no good reason why she should not bear many more of them. The pious magistrates had snuffed out for ever a little happy flame that had burned from the beginning of time. it drove him finally to suicide. and would infallibly have soon got rid of the rest in the same manner." "Good. the untimely and CHAPTER XIX. How self−conscious the poor people must suddenly have felt. he remembered. Certain magistrates in Berkshire. and was desolated to think of all the murdered past. looking up from the book and taking off the pince−nez which he had just fitted to his nose−−"before their begin. the last of the Lapiths. He liked to think so. At the death of the virtuous and unfortunate Sir Hercules. He grew regular and economical in his habits. of course. and in less than a year had become the absolute mistress of Crome and her husband. I'm inclined to think I won't read about any of these. dancing. An extraordinary reformation made itself apparent in Sir Ferdinando's character.. One moonlit summer night they had ridden out with their posse and there. there's his son. 55 . 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. Then. without indigenous pleasures. "Sir Ferdinando's voyages are not without interest. CHAPTER XIX. the moonlight dance is never danced again. and that in despite of the hard times (for Sir Ferdinando married in 1809 in the height of the Napoleonic Wars). "I think I shall read about my grandfather." He turned the pages more rapidly. he even became temperate.No." said Henry Wimbush. though perhaps indirectly." "Before I begin reading. The young lady accepted him. Scogan. It was he who suffered from the delusion that his perspiration engendered flies. The waning fortune of the Lapiths began once more to wax. Who knows?−− perhaps their ancestors had danced like this in the moonlight ages before Adam and Eve were so much as thought of. how helpless without their clothes against armed and booted horsemen! The dancers were arrested.
blood was oozing from his mouth. Lady Lapith did not marry again. "So much by way of introduction. Scogan had lighted his pipe again. but determined to devote the rest of her life to the well−being of her three children−−Georgiana. They spoke together in whispers. taking a place on whichever of the outgoing coaches he happened to light on first. and. he enjoyed hunting and all other field sports. "Now I can begin to read about my grandfather. "Fire away. He found Sir Ferdinando still alive. and once more put on his pince−nez. It was too much for Sir Ferdinando. "It was in the spring of 1833 that my grandfather. There had been a succession of anxious." "One moment." he said. with cypress for mourning. proclaimed aloud the downfall of the Corsican bandit and passed about the warm liquid joy. into the road. his own peculiar method of celebrating our victories. So perished Sir Ferdinando. The coach was travelling at a dizzy speed−−six miles in the last half−hour−−when. The coach was brought to a standstill. Scogan. 56 . doubtful days. who was above all things a patriot. along with the liquor. "till I've refilled my pipe. however. Sleeping Reading was awakened by the great news. and later. then came the glorious news of Waterloo. an East Indian merchant. first made the acquaintance of the 'three lovely Lapiths.Crome Yellow violent death which put a period to this reformed existence. "Sir Ferdinando. after the Nile. that in the summer of 1815 Sir Ferdinando was staying for a few weeks in the capital. wreathed with laurel for triumph. the guard ran back with a light. twins of two. head foremost. without having manifested the slightest premonitory symptom of unsteadiness. at every stopping−place to all who cared to listen or drink. from the earliest days of the conflict with the French. Slough. Thus. Wimbush waited. but unconscious. had destined him for a political career. though his circumstances were comfortable to the verge of affluence. His skull was fractured in two places. seated in glory beside the driver. This genial custom was one of the many habits which he abandoned on his marriage. and the abdication of the tyrant all went uncelebrated. Henry Wimbush fired away. were setting out with the news of Nelson's victory and death.' as they were always called. 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. He was then a young man of twenty−two. 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. The back wheels of the coach had passed over his body." said Mr. with curly yellow hair and a smooth pink face that was the mirror of his youthful and ingenuous mind. Ivor was showing Mary his sketches of Spirit Life. his joyous youth awoke again within him. Seated apart in a corner of the room. The Bath coach was on the point of starting." Mr." Henry Wimbush paused. his pleasures were temperate and innocent. Maidenhead. They picked him up." he said. The night began to grow chilly. when the coaches. to drive through the country proclaiming the good news to all he met on the road and dispensing it. Mr. It so happened. he bribed his way on to the box and. George Wimbush. Leipzig. He hurried to his wine merchant and bought a dozen bottles of 1760 brandy. and Emmeline and Caroline. His father. They were approaching Swindon. had adopted. The victories in the Peninsula. the retreat from Moscow. He had been educated at Harrow and Christ Church. now five years old. he had driven as far as Edinburgh. When the happy news reached London. An unpleasant jolt awakened the slumbering passengers. breaking most of his ribs and both arms. 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. Sir Ferdinando suddenly toppled sideways off his seat and fell. and had gone to considerable expense in acquiring a CHAPTER XIX. but he was dead before they reached the next stage. They clattered through Uxbridge. a victim to his own patriotism. it was his custom to purchase immediately a large store of liquor and.
he was no classicist in music.' said George.' she asked. the Reform Bill of 1832 swept the borough out of existence. quack. would make an excellent second string for one of the twins. The man had made his fiddle bray like an ass. and so. He noticed with surprise and a certain solicitous distress that Miss Emmeline's appetite was poor. "'Alas!' Emmeline sighed. Lady Lapith made a few discreet inquiries. and family were all passably good. 'I am glad. their blue eyes. and having found that George's financial position. however. 'We find it so coarse. that last item. and chestnut hair. she knew it was advisable to prepare for all contingencies. He had enough appreciation of music to know that he hated anything classical. "Their conversation at this first meeting proved. as though the lemon sole. Georgiana. my sisters and I. looking up their noses at him with an air of languid superiority. during the season. the eldest.Crome Yellow pleasant little Cornish borough as a twenty−first birthday gift for his son. Yes. Death is very beautiful. he was a thoroughgoing transcendentalist. with a promptitude which did him credit. drooping like a sensitive plant. in fact. Emmeline protested that to her high mountains were a feeling and the hum of human cities torture. Georgiana and Caroline seemed to be quite as abstemious. bark. cluck like a hen. 'In music. 'I am a transcendentalist. to be so forbidding that. but held that London during the season also had its charms. but. The twins. "'Pray. "At this first dinner..' he said. one couldn't. who thought the dinner capital. George. a small but elegant house in the neighbourhood of Berkeley Square. on the very eve of George's majority. 'But since. were an identical pair of ravishingly English charmers. he was not at all impatient. The inauguration of George's political career had to be postponed. was about to go on speaking. in George's estimation.' She made a little gesture of CHAPTER XIX. You went to hear Paganini last week. no bird. They waved away whatever was offered them with an expression of delicate disgust. 57 . He smiled with pleasure at the thought of it. neigh. George agreed that the country was very agreeable. grunt. leaning forward and fixing him with her large dark eyes. One can't think of one's soul while one is eating. he replied. She hoped and expected that her daughters would all marry into the peerage. and growl. was orientally dazzling. had almost compensated for the tediousness of the rest of the concert. don't you think?' She broke a corner off a piece of toast and began to nibble at it languidly. 'so am I. as you say. George's partner was Emmeline. 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. decidedly. the duck. Two spoonfuls of soup. 'Do you know anything more transcendental than that?' 'No.' Georgiana smiled bewitchingly. 'are you a classicist or a transcendentalist?' George did not lose his presence of mind. so unspiritual. "The lovely Lapiths did not fail to impress him. no meat. a morsel of fish. exist. He was justly indignant when. who occupied. the loin of veal. bellow. asked him what he thought of the latest French poetry and whether he liked the "Indiana" of George Sand. At the time he got to know the lovely Lapiths he was waiting.' she said. ventured to comment on the sisters' lack of appetite. she thought. of course.' "George agreed. and sloping shoulders. He looked from time to time at her two sisters. George Wimbush. They talked of Nature. but for the invincible attraction exercised by their beauty. with their delicately turned− up noses. "The prayer of Moses"−−ah!' She closed her eyes.. she asked him to dine. her swan−like neck. 'But one must live.' He hesitated. one must live. 'I don't. with her black ringlets. were objects revolting to the sight and smell. But what was almost worse was the question with which Georgiana opened her conversation with him. the trifle. don't talk to me of eating. being a prudent woman. and three grapes−−that was her whole dinner.' said Emmeline. 'One must. her noble aquiline profile. "George followed up this first introduction by paying a call on the young ladies and their mother. and the twins. squeal. George would never have had the courage to follow up the acquaintance. shutting their eyes and averting their faces from the proffered dish. her flashing eyes. that it didn't. character.
'I should have been laughed out of countenance if I'd said a thing like that.. pray. Love is incompatible with life. Georgiana ate only an olive. nothing. they often complained of fever. Perhaps if you were really spiritual you needed less food. come. stout and practical.. and that in spite of the numerous balls.. 'In my young days. Lady Lapith was stopped. routs.' She put down her corner of toast half eaten. he shrank from them. the first evening. and natural surroundings might have restored to the three sisters their appetites and the roses of their cheeks. She was pale. of the three she ate least.' she said. my dear. She was as pale as ever. he thought them wonderful. Georgiana was the most ethereal of all. 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. 'being infinite and eternal. and it was clear that he was not unfavourably received. she might loose her precarious hold on this material world and become all spirit. unpretentious. swooned most often. One morning. but he was such a pleasant. two or three salted almonds. "After this he saw them frequently. they were always pale. Nowadays. He enveloped them all in a warm. For they needed protection. talked most of death. The boisterous company of the young men became intolerable to him.' "'Come. in company with the rest of the lovely trio. "'In my young days−−' Lady Lapith was launched into her subject. and dropped her eyes. and was the palest−−with a pallor that was so startling as to appear positively artificial. He. can only be consummated in eternity.' "There was a cry.' Lady Lapith went on. George was invited to spend the month of August at Crome.Crome Yellow resignation. It was a desperate expedient. protective affection. could stop her now. in the list of visitors figured the names of two marriageable young men of title. "George regarded her with some surprise. "'True love.' Georgiana protested. so did her sisters. George looked on. "She contrived. kind−hearted young man. but it was successful. 'Luckily a very little suffices to keep one alive. was not spiritual. At any moment.. too spiritual for this world. especially Georgiana. they talked much and lovingly of death.. During the meal she spoke of love. clearly. True. they were altogether too frail. if you didn't eat. he thought. it seemed.' said Lady Lapith. however. 58 . For his part. "'In my young days.. In the middle of July the whole household moved down to the country. and half a peach. that one couldn't help liking him.. Lord Timpany was paying his court to Georgiana. repose. To George the thought was a continual agony. If she were to die. "The days passed in an uneventful round of pleasures.' Emmeline and Caroline implored in unison. having broken away CHAPTER XIX. and other parties of pleasure which. Of all the gay party George alone was unhappy. They all liked him. but she looked extraordinarily healthy. he was not very romantic or poetical. to live through the season.' "'Mamma!. seeking gloom and solitude. They never ate. wonderful. and his soul was a hell of jealousy and despair. she never failed to attend. they frequently swooned. The wish of two people who truly love one another is not to live together but to die together. from Lady Lapith downwards. Georgiana had swooned sideways on to Lord Timpany's shoulder. 'What would become of the next generation. people told you you needed a dose of rhubarb. it seemed. "The house−party was distinguished. Indiana and Sir Rodolphe celebrated the mystic wedding of their souls by jumping into Niagara.. George had hoped that country air. if all the world acted on your principles?' "'Mamma!. It was just unpleasant. He was mistaken. For dinner.
He halted before it. But his curiosity was not satisfied. A quarter−past twelve sounded on the harmonious clock. Putting his eye to the keyhole. George rose. 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. would be a piece of unforgivable rudeness and indiscretion. Emboldened. He tried to read. "George closed the door and went back to his seat. opened the hidden door. A glance sufficed to show him the position of the secret door−−secret. 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 could hear no sound. porcelain. it was evident. so that the male guests had the morning to themselves. The young men were bathing in the pool below. almost as obvious as the cupboard door in the library with its lines of imitation shelves and its dummy books.−−all the shining apparatus of an elegant meal−−were mirrored in its polished depths. that mysterious staircase within. a slender Hock bottle. to George's extreme astonishment. now he had seen it. he told himself. From his deep arm−chair George watched her (himself. he returned to the house alone. One turn more. that to explore the secrets of that surprising door.' Mr. If she became Lady Timpany. at any moment she might become Lady Timpany. the little maid. Indeed. he saw nothing but a stretch of white sunlit wall. then he would die too. What he was doing. then! The solution of the problem would not be so simple. popped out of the door that led from the kitchen regions into the hall. a great ham. "In the middle of a pleasantly sunny little room−−'it is now Priscilla's boudoir. this partial satisfaction had but whetted its appetite. No latch nor handle betrayed its position. a bowl of fruit. It was in vain. like an automaton released by the turning clockwork. terrible. On the last stroke. If she became Lady Timpany: it was a horrible thought. and came to another. he kept repeating−−no business of his. they were still shouting and splashing in the pool below. The door closed behind her with a click. Suddenly determined. of which the degrees were made not of stone but of blocks of ancient oak. Wimbush remarked parenthetically−−stood a small circular table of mahogany. and a door confronted him. A minute later it opened again and the maid. Turning sideways in order to get her tray through the narrow opening. She reached out her hand and. for five minutes he struggled heroically with his curiosity. the staircase. corkscrewed round. There he halted. he turned the handle and stepped across the threshold. he perceived. only to those who looked with a careless eye. as though he were affronting some unknown danger. and the little window looked out over the terrace. A slit−like window admitted the daylight. and began to ascend the stairs. It was in vain he told himself that the matter was none of his business. He passed the first window. he would go to seek her beyond the grave. crossed the room. but an unobtrusive catch sunk in the wood invited the thumb. wound up and out of sight. Crystal.ah. a little maid. holding a large covered tray. but an invincible curiosity drew his mind towards the hidden door. but his attention wandered. George was astonished that he had not noticed it before.. their cries and laughter floated up to him. He tiptoed onward and upward. making the quiet house seem lonelier and more silent. George sat down in the hall and abandoned himself to thought. he was at the foot of the central tower. without her tray. "At any moment she might die. then half a turn. The staircase. the brown cannon ball of a cold plum− pudding. The carcase of a cold chicken. they did not customarily make their appearance till luncheon. mutely gaping. He pulled back the catch and peeped inside. listened. 59 . He paused for a moment to look out. hurried back across the hall and disappeared in the direction of the kitchen. petrified by what he saw. it was so obvious. It was terrible. Where did the staircase lead? What was the errand of the little maid? It was no business of his. horribly underbred. a little door swung open. revealing the foot of a winding staircase. suppose she couldn't live without him? He was fumbling his way along this clueless labyrinth of suppositions when the clock struck twelve. the little maid darted in with a rapid crab−like motion. was extremely ungentlemanly. and silver. If she died. It was just an ordinary door let in flush with the panelling.Crome Yellow from them on some vague pretext. unobserved) with an idle curiosity. George tried to recompose his thoughts. his heart beat uncomfortably.. The lovely sisters and their mamma still kept their chambers. deeply gashed to its heart of tenderest white and pink. and a decanter of claret jostled one another for a place on this festive CHAPTER XIX.
as he closed his book and put away his pince−nez. "My poor grandfather!" Mr.. wasn't so bad." she announced. mumbling something unintelligible as he went.' she said to Lord Timpany. said George. But George. And besides. nodded reassuringly. "What?" she said in the startled tones of one newly returned to consciousness. 'a little more material. and there were no representative institutions. unless. isn't it? Say you won't tell anyone. "In the garden that afternoon they found themselves for a moment alone. a blush suffused her cheeks and she looked hastily away." she said.' she implored. Georgiana toyed with some French beans and a spoonful of calves'−foot jelly." She closed the red notebook lying on her knees and slipped a rubber band round it. frozen. it remained. 60 . smiled. George and the three sisters stared at one another in silence. eating IS unspiritual. elegantly crooked. Wimbush added. She looked up. Then suddenly there was movement. "what?" Jenny caught the words. her little finger. Emmeline sprang to her feet. In the silence that ensued Ivor's whispered commentary on the spirit sketches once more became audible. suddenly woke up. grew more decisive. but the drumstick had never reached its destination. "You won't tell anyone. Georgiana dropped her chicken bone. Emmeline's fingers were round the stem of her claret glass. The other two sisters had turned round to look at the intruder.Crome Yellow board. Looking up.' "Lady Lapith was disappointed. uttering a cry.' "'I will. "What's about a ham?" "What Henry has been reading. 'I'll tell everyone. rushed out of the room and down the winding stairs. in mid−air. the three lovely Lapiths−−eating! "At George's sudden entrance they had all looked towards the door. They were married at the New Year." Henry Wimbush ceased speaking. he turned and. she had hoped for better things−−for Timpany and a coronet. all by himself in the quiet house. They were a group of statues." He relighted his cigar. Between the thumb and forefinger of her right hand she was holding a drumstick of the dismembered chicken. George? Promise you won't tell anyone. He came to a standstill in the hall. For what seemed a very long time. Caroline's knife and fork clattered on her plate. petrified by the same astonishment which kept George fixed and staring. 'I'll give you twenty−four hours to decide. Caroline still grasped her knife and fork. gazed at him with dark. I think of him.' "'I don't care. who sat immediately facing the door. and now they sat. The movement propagated itself. "It's about a ham. And round the table sat the three sisters. "It was a maternal government. "I'm going to bed.' said George brutally. with a nervous laugh. The wave of panic reached George. stood apart from the rest of her hand. "At luncheon it was noticed that the sisters ate a little more than usual. enormous eyes. Priscilla. and there. who had been dozing.' "'It's blackmail. of course.' she added. when he congratulated her on this increase of appetite. "Whenever I read in the papers about oppressed nationalities. Her mouth was open. he began to laugh. after all. Georgiana. suspended. she caught George's eye. CHAPTER XIX. 'I feel a little stronger to− day.. 'It would make us look so ridiculous. and got up. highly centralised.
from behind the chimney−stack at the farther end of the roof a white form noiselessly emerged−−a form that. sheets and blankets were spread." said Mary. for the next. roused by some unknown terror. "It will get cooler after midnight. a monstrous peacock." "But does it work on stuffy nights?" Ivor inquired. like a tight−rope dancer. and you could get a mattress through the trap doors that opened on to them. The sky was pale and watery. "You must make an effort.Crome Yellow "So am I. The mattresses were hauled up. With the mournful scream of a soul in pain." she said. "When I can't sleep. "except out of doors. But she lacked the energy to rise from her arm−chair. assuredly they would sleep. all the geese of the farmyard burst into a sudden frenzy of cackling. each on his separate tower. their edges bright with orange fire. followed by a scrabbling noise and a whispered "Damn!" And suddenly Ivor's head and shoulders appeared above the parapet. And as though in answer to her mental question. under the gibbous moon. Had Ivor been able to sleep? she wondered. Time passed. One gets bored by oneself on a tower. fanning himself with the portrait of an Astral Being. Mary looked on speechlessly. now! If she spoke or moved it might mean his death. I know. you could not help waiting. narrow clouds barred the east. "Oh!" she said. I am asleep!' And pop! off I go. The night was hot and oppressive. alighted on the parapet of the tower. and once. and when one meteorite had streaked across the sky. He swayed terrifyingly as he advanced. were crying their good− nights across the dividing gulf. Long. and cautiously added. One leg followed. Mary pretended to wake up with a start. He was on the leads. Ivor on the eastern." "Out of doors! What a wonderful idea!" In the end they decided to sleep on the towers−−Mary on the western tower. CHAPTER XIX. he began to walk forward along the roof−tree of the house. the monumental coiffure nodded exorbitantly at her slightest movement. Then there was a patter of feet on the tiles. in the moonlight. "I simply cannot sleep on a stuffy night. The stars and the gibbous moon demanded to be looked at. She listened intently. "so I came along to see if you couldn't. Ivor. "The air's like wool." Priscilla turned her head in his direction. yawning. I concentrate my will: I say. Ivor and Mary started broad awake." he explained. the moon climbed higher and higher in the sky." he declared. Spreading his arms to right and left. That's the power of thought. Don't you find it so?" It was light before five. Under the stars." "Nor can I. and an hour later the two insomniasts. Even through the mattress one could not fail to be aware that the leads were extremely hard. She sat up and looked over the parapet. then the other. She dared look no more. but sank back on her pillows. "perhaps. Round the open windows the curtains hung unmoving. 61 ." "I shan't sleep. Then there were noises: the owls screeched tirelessly. For what seemed an immensely long time there was no sound." said Anne. looked out into the darkness and drew a breath." said Henry Wimbush. "What are you doing here?" "I couldn't sleep. was recognisably Ivor's. On Mary the sleep−compelling charm of the open air did not work with its expected magic. Mary felt less sleepy than she had when she first came out. open−eyed and alert. perhaps he was walking in his sleep! Suppose he were to wake up suddenly. 'I will sleep. flying heavily up from below. There was a flat expanse of leads on each of the towers.
"I'll go down through the house and up at the other end. He handed it to his companion.. The first sunlight had begun to warm and colour the pale light of the dawn." said Ivor. Ivor had his feather. they were a young and charming couple. The whole summer through. It's dangerous. The varletry will soon be up and about. jumping up. looking up from her contemplation of the miraculous feather. of blue and gold. comfortable. behind the parapet. A minute later he had reappeared on the farther tower. Mauve pyjamas and white pyjamas. he waved his hand. Lounging behind the wind−screen in his yellow sedan he was whirling across rural England. Ivor was gone. in the house. he devoted himself to his engagements. Mary looked at it for a moment. by Tuesday morning in Argyll−−Ivor never rested. pink cheeks. Please." He vanished through the trap door into the darkness that still lurked within the shuttered house. The rising sun touched their faces. you select me..Somehow the whole atmosphere of this sunrise was rather angelic. Ivor. from Elizabethan manor− house to Georgian mansion." he said. but then. It was all extremely symbolic. his long tail swung ponderously back and forth as he turned and turned again. nothing in this world is not symbolical. But he had left a trophy.." "Ivor. with a recovered dignity." The frightened peacock ran up and down the parapet in an absurd distress. An angel's face. To−day in Somerset.Crome Yellow "Catch him!" cried Ivor. came the thin wasp−like buzzing of an alarum−clock. from castle to castle." There was a prolonged and silent farewell. and then sank down. Profound and beautiful truth! "I must be getting back to my tower. "I select you. Then with a flap and swish he launched himself upon the air and sailed magnificently earthward. In the autumn he went back to CHAPTER XX. Her purple pyjamas clothed her with an ampleness that hid the lines of her body. Social and amorous engagements of the most urgent character called him from hall to baronial hall. he was a martyr to them. 62 . From below. the feather of an angel's wing. she looked like some large. "Extraordinary!" Ivor echoed. He had gone back just in time. "All right. "An angel's feather. "Already?" "I'm afraid so. "You mustn't. over the whole expanse of the kingdom. on Saturday in the West riding. and hair like a bell of gold. out of sight." He had to yield at last to her entreaties." Mary threw her arms round his neck. What luck!" He put his arm round her shoulders and they stood looking eastward." she said at last.. "And now. "It's extraordinary to think of sexual selection. CHAPTER XX. a long−lashed eye of purple and green. if you choose to think so. curtseying and bobbing and clucking. from the beginning of July till the end of September. unjointed toy. to−morrow in Warwickshire. gravely and intently." said Ivor at last." he said. "We'll have a feather. a sort of Teddy−bear−−but a Teddy bear with an angel's head. "I repeat my tight−rope stunt.
" said Mr. and Ivor wanted to say that the wings were golden. 'carminative' described for me that similar. I had a whole table of carmination values. I had a whole poem ruined. long way ahead. what DOES it mean?" asked Mr. an evanescent bubble on the stream of his life. but not disagreeable. that−−what shall I call it?−−physical self−satisfaction which followed the drinking of cinnamon. Scogan. Carminative−−it's admirable. Denis. just because the word 'carminative' didn't mean what it ought to have meant. "treasured and loved. of stout. And now"−−Denis spread out his hands.Crome Yellow London for a holiday. And on Thursday morning−−but that was a long. 63 . of old brandy. of Aleatico. for example. of the raw new wine of this year's Tuscan vintage−−I compared them. "It's a beautiful word. "from the fact that beautiful words don't always mean what they ought to mean. It seemed so wonderfully to describe that sensation of internal warmth." "One suffers so much. when he had finished. In rain. of Marsala. that glow. "carminative. th' Acroceraunian height. "Carminative. still more vaguely with caro−carnis. of gin. perhaps you can explain. Fate tears me hence. Who webbed enchantment on the bowls of night. You have a first−hand knowledge of the workings of a poet's mind. a poem. palms upwards. Later. fierce and fiery. more spiritual glow which wine evokes not only in the body but in the soul as well. "And what does it mean?" "It's a word I've treasured from my earliest infancy. according to his invariable custom in these cases. Haunts like a ghostly−peopled necropole." "Well. He had improvised it magisterially in the ten minutes preceding his departure. On the label was a list of its virtues. isn't it?" "Admirable. By tea−time he would be at Gobley. downily carminative. in pain. They used to give me cinnamon when I had a cold−−quite useless. and Ivor's composition scarcely dry. One poured it drop by drop out of narrow bottles. Denis and Mr. and its derivations. CHAPTER XX. Carminative−−there was the idea of singing and the idea of flesh." said Denis. like carnival and carnation. remembering its Home. when I discovered alcohol. a little impatiently. In the blue sea. Recently. Scogan agreed. of champagne." "What could be simpler. of Lacryma Christi. Crome had been a little incident." "Very nice and tasteful and tactful. despairingly−−"now I know what carminative really means. Hard fate! since far from Crome My soul must weep." Mr. I adored the word. But much more magic. Marsala is rosily. 'Isn't it carminative?' I used to say to myself when I'd taken my dose. and there would be Zenobia's welcoming smile. on the writing−table in the hall they found the visitor's book. it belonged already to the past. Scogan strolled back together from the gates of the courtyard. whence they had bidden their last farewells. a golden liquor. rose−coloured and warm. In all that singing flies and flying sings. lingering lovingly over the syllables. much more cogent spells Weave here their wizardries about my soul. Scogan read it aloud: "The magic of those immemorial kings. In the visitor's book at Crome Ivor had left. Crome calls me like the voice of vesperal bells. but nobler. The carminative virtues of burgundy. Scogan." Denis went on." said Denis. in delicate delight. gin pricks and refreshes while it warms. He would think of Thursday morning when Thursday morning arrived. of claret. I classified them. of rum. Meanwhile there was Gobley. and among other things it was described as being in the highest degree carminative. I imagined vaguely that it had something to do with carmen−carminis. meanwhile Zenobia. Sleeps in the soul of all created things. Mr." said Denis. In the eyed butterfly's auricular wings And orgied visions of the anchorite. "I am only troubled by the butterfly's auricular wings." "You make it luminously clear. open.
is essentially carminative. Gladstone finding thirty−four rhymes to the name 'Margot' seems to you rather pathetic than anything else. the interior ripeness were all in the word. Scogan." Denis went on. "for me it was no laughing matter. carm." "I was putting forward the notion." protested Mr. "I wrote a poem about the effects of love. Carminative: for me the word was as rich in content as some tremendous. I turned up C. ca. 'And passion carminative as wine. an immense. Carminative−−the warmth." "Others have done the same before you. that Eros could intoxicate as well as Bacchus. dia! Si tu ne fuis onze−bis Rue Balzac. it was a complete landscape with figures. 'And passion carminative as wine. Everything was in the word carminative−−a detailed.. before me lies the rest of my life−−a day. It gives one the sense of warmth. Scogan laughed. Instead of which. "Do come to the point.' I was not ill−pleased. The spectacle of Mr." he said. Mallarme's envelopes with their versified addresses leave you cold.Crome Yellow with a suggestion of the jollities of mi−Careme and the masked holidays of Venice. I flattered myself. elaborate work of art. Scogan. "words−−I wonder if you can realise how much I love them. my dear Denis." said Mr. unless they leave you pitiful. ten years.' was what I wrote.. You are too much preoccupied with mere things and ideas and people to understand the full beauty of words. "Carminative. Love. Carminative had grown up with me from the days of the cinnamon bottle. carminative.. "Words. it was also. There it was: 'Carminative: windtreibend. very aptly compendiously expressive. "There is no need to be ashamed. "Ah. the death of something young and precious. perhaps. And then suddenly it occurred to me that I had never actually looked up the word in a dictionary." said Mr. hue! Poste et j'ajouterai. Not only was the line elegantly sonorous. 'Plus ne suis ce que j'ai ete Et ne le saurai jamais etre.' Windtreibend!" he repeated. Scogan thoughtfully. "that the effects of love were often similar to the effects of wine. For me it marked the end of a chapter.' CHAPTER XX." Denis repeated.. chez cet Heredia. and all at once I felt I would like lexicographical authority for it.. exact foreground." "Carminative." said Denis.' It is a realisation that makes one rather melancholy. when I shall know that carminative means windtreibend. the glow. A small English−German dictionary was all I had at hand.. And now." "Well..' It was the first time I had ever committed the word to writing. the glow. 64 . Mr. Your mind is not a literary mind. and they were silent for a time." said Denis at last. you can't see that 'Apte a ne point te cabrer. car. half a century. There were the years−−years of childhood and innocence−−when I had believed that carminative meant−−well. It had always been taken for granted. indefinite hinterland of suggestion. Denis shook his head. I wrote a poem the other day." "Do come to the point. 'And passion carminative as wine.. for example.
the little granary stood two or three feet above the grass of the green close. moving. and. their spells are more subtly powerful." "A mental carminative. luxuriant grasses. in the shadow. I'm sorry for you.' And you can't appreciate words. significant. Words are man's first and most grandiose invention." CHAPTER XXI. The technical. Their descendants.' translated into magic significance as. 65 . one on which it would not have been worth while to insist. "the feeling of magic. it was inaudible. Poor dears! no wonder. Rabbits out of empty hats? No. 'Black ladders lack bladders.' But since I put it as I do. 'Black ladders lack bladders.' A self−evident truth. Little social noises burst fitfully forth. for they evoke emotions out of empty minds. "I can't work with you dangling about distractingly like this. Scogan. the sense that words have power." said Denis. continuous quacking the ducks rushed out from beneath this nameless menace. "Poor ducks!" Anne repeated. what wonder if he loved words and attributed power to them! With fitted. a family of white ducks had sought shelter from the afternoon sun. and she looked at Gombauld through half−closed eyes. Her right elbow rested on the back of the chair and she supported her cheek on her hand. Formulated by their art the most insipid statements become enormously significant." CHAPTER XXI. the whole granary trembled. had I chosen to formulate it in such words as 'Black fire−escapes have no bladders." She was sitting sideways in a low." Anne was saying. unforgettable. For example. morticing their verbal formulas together. and did not stay their flight till they were safely in the farmyard. "Can't you see you make me lose my time?" he asked." "You don't feel it to be magical?" "No.Crome Yellow is a little miracle. "I can't. She was smiling. "That's what you need. Here. and stamped his foot again. and from time to time some pointed tail would execute a brilliant Lisztian tremolo. Suddenly their jovial repose was shattered. verbal part of literature is simply a development of magic. 'Les echelles noires manquent de vessie. harmonious words the magicians summoned rabbits out of empty hats and spirits from the elements. what is that but literature? Half the world's greatest poetry is simply 'Les echelles noires manquent de vessie. He glared at her round the half−finished portrait on the easel. Scogan reflectively." "You're right. the literary men. wooden chair." said Mr.' it becomes. "Damn you!" Gombauld repeated. With a loud. With language he created a whole new universe. A prodigious thump shook the wooden flooring above their heads. "Listen! You've frightened the ducks. 'Black ladders lack bladders." said Mr. Some stood. still go on with the process." "That's the test for the literary mind. before the power of the finished spell. in the green dampness. I may add. I proffer the constatation. as though the cool grass were water. The sound of their quacking was faint in the distance. preening themselves. "Don't lose your temper. slender body drooped into curves of a lazy grace. some reposed with their long bellies pressed to the ground. The creation by word−power of something out of nothing−− what is that but magic? And. Perched on its four stone mushrooms. little fragments of dirt and crumbled wood rained down among them. for all its self−evidence.' or. Her long. trembling with delight and awe. Beneath it there was a perpetual shade and a damp growth of long.
Crome Yellow "You'd lose less time if you stopped talking and stamping your feet and did a little painting for a change. You have the mentality of savages. "I don't like to see a young man. with a gravity that was somehow a little too solemn. fascinates. "It's always the same old story about the woman tempting the man. when I do." CHAPTER XXI. "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." Recovering her calm." Gombauld replied. what am I dangling about for. In ninety−nine cases out of a hundred women are as passive and innocent as the strawberries and cream. My poor Gombauld! Surely you're not going to sing that old song again." said Gombauld." she said indignantly. all I can say is that this must be the hundredth case. "It's perfectly untrue about Denis. invites. "I never dreamt of playing what you beautifully call the same game with him." he said. to have the amusement of running away." "So like a man again!" said Anne." "Well. The woman lures. "You're awful." "For the simple reason"−−Gombauld mimicked her voice−−"that you want me to make love to you and. it's so barbarously naive.. You might just as well say that a plate of strawberries and cream deliberately lures you on to feel greedy. "I'm at a loss to know whether you're more silly or more rude. "And then there's Denis.." he said. It's so unintelligent. Why can't you leave that wretched young man in peace?" Anne flushed with a sudden and uncontrollable anger. "Be a little objective. and that you were the innocent victim who sat still and never did anything that could invite or allure me on. renewing the conversation as though it had only just been broken off. she added in her ordinary cooing voice and with her exacerbating smile. "Can't you see that you're simply externalising your own emotions? That's what you men are always doing. "You've become very protective towards poor Denis all of a sudden. and I always thought you were a man of sense. 66 . without looking up. with conviction." Anne threw back her head and laughed." Anne went on. and because you desire her strongly you immediately accuse her of luring you on. After all. that it was I who made the first advances." said Gombauld. except to be painted?" Gombauld made a noise like a growl. of deliberately provoking and inviting the desire. Anne shrugged her shoulders and gave vent to a sigh. "You're playing the same game with him. "I suppose you'll be saying next that you didn't start the game. You feel one of your loose desires for some woman. when you're in a good temper−−and that I think you're a good painter." "I have. innocent man−−falls a victim." After painting for a little time in silence Gombauld began to speak again. and man−−noble man." "Thanks. "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.
thought Denis. He began to write. One elegant quatrain had flowed from beneath his pen: "A brooding love which is at most The stealth of moonbeams when they slide. he wondered what she would think of it. laughing together. something a little droopy and at the same time−−how should he put it?−−a little infinite. making work impossible. He thought of Anne. there they were. Seated sideways. When it was finished. and at the same time it was the most malicious of lies. here that he had kissed her. he was possessed by that bored and hopeless post−prandial melancholy which the coenobites of old knew and feared under the name of "accidie. so recently eaten. Evoking colour's bloodless ghost. the portrait would be diabolic. he told himself.Crome Yellow ". They descended by the yew−tree walk. believe me." Denis abandoned himself. she had never flirted with Denis. Poor boy! He was very sweet. it would be diabolic when it was finished. It was the lazy. the man seemed to be lying in wait. CHAPTER XXII. Gombauld might have some slight ground for his reproaches. The portrait was terribly like. "The stealth of moonbeams. theoretical kind of love. and passed out of sight through the gate in the right−hand wall. It happened to be so completely untrue. He looked down from his window." indeed! In the hall he saw Mr. In this sad mood of repletion he could well believe it. Mr. Perhaps that was the ideal kind of love. weighed heavily on body and mind." he said. That was the way to the green close and the granary. Gombauld painted on with fury. towards the front. But Denis−−no. Mr. here that Anne had fallen. the grace of the painted figure seemed to be melting into a kind of soft decay. Denis tried to escape. Scogan's eye glittered like the eye of the Ancient Mariner..being whirled along the road to ruin. I was just going down to the flower garden to take the sun. His pleasantly depressing melancholy was dissipated by a puff of violent emotion. the hopeless kind−−the quiet. He wanted to work. it had begun to emerge on the canvas. Scogan put on his hat and they went out arm in arm." when his attention was attracted by a sound from outside. she had fallen into an attitude of indolent abandonment. The hand that lay along the knee was as limp as a glove. He was painting her in the pose she had naturally adopted at the first sitting. the lines sagged as they crossed the canvas.. "Not so fast. We'll go together. 67 . talking." He was in the mood to write something rather exquisite and gentle and quietist in tone." She was curiously irritated at what Gombauld had said about Denis. They crossed the courtyard in front. of love hopeless and unattainable. and lunch. She became somewhat pensive. The meridian demon was upon him. doll−like in its regularity and listlessness. It was here. here−−and he CHAPTER XXII. which. continuing his sentence for him. He was at work on the face now. The restlessness of an unsatisfied desire. I share them. For the sake of peace and quiet Denis had retired earlier on this same afternoon to his bedroom. It was Anne's face−−but her face as it would be. He had emphasised the lazy curves of her body. before.. her head and shoulders turned at an angle from the rest of her body. Scogan. seemed now to have converted itself into a kind of feverish energy. O'er some scarce−breathing breast or side. Anne and Gombauld. Gombauld decided. "a little weary. but the hour was a drowsy one. I admire your sentiments and. 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.. but in vain. had distracted his mind. angrily he threw his quatrain into the waste−paper basket and ran downstairs." said Anne. like Ernest Dowson. her elbow on the back of the chair. she was going to sit for him again. Yes. utterly unillumined by the inward lights of thought and emotion. expressionless mask which was sometimes her face." He felt.
is a sane and reasonable exploitation of the forces of insanity. "Sanity−−that's what's wrong with me and that's what will be wrong with you. "After all. What we want. while we acquiesce and obey. he gave vent to his loud." He took out his pipe and began to fill it as he talked. a man of reason if ever there was one. the world has unhesitatingly followed the madman. However"−−Mr. I am just Vox et praeterea nihil. embayed in the midst of a fragrant continent of lavender bushes. violent. and men rushed to follow him. for example. dry perfume instead of air−−it was here that Mr. Luther was serious.. We sane men will have the power yet. such as you may possibly become. in this curious establishment. he lacked the power. "If you want to get men to act reasonably. we're merely reasonable. But as to acting on the advice of the men of reason −−never. or at least a little less porkishly than usual? He did not. and. 68 .. Scogan elected to sit. informs us that the only way in which we can preserve civilisation is by behaving decently and intelligently. It's a melancholy story. We're too sane. being a sage. though the place was shadeless and one breathed hot." he said to himself−−"after 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. passionate. And then Luther appears. made a gesture of resignation−−"It's futile to complain that things are as they are." They entered the garden. Gombauld is better looking than I. to passion and the instincts. dry. Wherever the choice has had to be made between the man of reason and the madman. the compelling enthusiastic mania. the intellect. The smell of burning tobacco began to mingle with the sweetly acrid smell of the lavender. Scogan's discourse gradually compelled his attention. Sanity appeals and argues. We lack the human touch. to all intents and purposes I don't exist. pipe in hand. Erasmus was no longer listened to. Denis tried not to listen. taking his pipe out of his mouth. you must set about persuading them in a maniacal manner. Luther was reality−− like the Great War. more confident. He shouted." Mr. Scogan." Mr. Life was awful! "Sanity!" said Mr. "Men such as I am. "Consider. he was reviled for his reasonableness. I am nothing at all. our rulers persevere in their customary porkishness. For the madman appeals to what is fundamental. then. my dear Denis. "There was Erasmus. In the intense light the flame was all but invisible." Denis made no response. as things are. for example. It is humiliating to find how impotent unadulterated sanity is. and somehow rather fiendish laugh. the case of Luther and Erasmus. just as they would listen to a fiddler or a mountebank. at the head of one of the alleys stood a green wooden bench. People are quite ready to listen to the philosophers for a little amusement. Scogan shrugged his shoulders and. he's already somebody and I'm still only potential. Scogan lighted a match. Scogan's eyes shone with a more than ordinary brightness.Crome Yellow blushed with retrospective shame at the memory−−here that he had tried to carry her and failed. decently. Erasmus was only reason and decency. a madman insanely convinced about matters in which there can be no conviction. to move men to action. Europe followed Luther and embarked on a century and a half of war and bloody persecution. but at the same time I shall feel a little ashamed of myself. they even admired and venerated him. The only hope is a maniacal crusade. he was thinking of other things. suddenly breaking a long silence. but the tireless insistence of Mr. when you're old enough to be sane or insane." "Everything that ever gets done in this world is done by madmen. Sanity. But did he move them to behave as he wanted them to behave−−reasonably. CHAPTER XXII. The fact remains that sanity unassisted is useless. more entertaining. People listened to him at first−−a new virtuoso performing on that elegant and resourceful instrument." Mr. and. Scogan went on. He thrived on untempered sunlight. In a sane world I should be a great man. the philosophers to what is superficial and supererogatory−−reason. I am ready. have never achieved anything. to beat a tambourine with the loudest. besides. It was here. when it comes.
unheeding." Mr. the Men of Faith. The sort of power you hanker for is literary power. trained to what would now seem an almost superhuman clairvoyance. "will be these: the Directing Intelligences. a long white pointer for the lantern pictures. evoking in Denis's mind the vision of a table with a glass and water− bottle. Scogan went on. A few more knocks like the Great War. Scogan continued. will test each child that is born and assign it to its proper species. A select body of Intelligences. cleared his throat. no doubt. Scogan additional vitality." "Do you?" asked Denis faintly. not according to the colour of their eyes or the shape of their skulls. In the past it didn't so much matter. another Luther or two. Scogan saying. quick. precise gestures. and continuous. those who know how to attain a certain degree of freedom−−and. They must found the Rational State. mad about dogma. and." Mr. "In the Rational State. "Everybody wants power.. you expend your lust for power in persecuting words. torturing them to obey you. moulding them. We can't allow dangerous maniacs like Luther. "The three main species. "Yes. Examining psychologists. But it is not in the power of a prophet to go into details. bolt upright at the other end. "A great many. Scogan." said Denis. but our modern machine is too delicate. Scogan waved away the interruption." said Denis. how limited. the men of reason must see that the madness of the world's maniacs is canalised into proper channels. like Napoleon. the Madmen." he said. "The men of intelligence must combine. like a mountain torrent driving a dynamo. mad about himself. that freedom is!−−from the mental bondage of their time." he said. with passion. lying across one corner. the child will be given the education suitable to members of its species. But I divagate. who believe in things unreasonably. "the classification will be subtle and elaborate.Crome Yellow "But I don't want power. twisting them. and will be set. We can't leave the world any longer to the direction of chance. alas. must conspire. and seize power from the imbeciles and maniacs who now direct us. I will do more than indicate the three main species into which the subjects of the Rational State will be divided. seemed to bring to Mr. to go on casually appearing and turning everything upside down. drawn from among those who have turned their attention to the problems of practical life. his voice went on sounding and sounding in Denis's ears with the insistence of a mechanical noise. even among the most intelligent." he heard Mr. dry. He was sitting in limp discomfort at one end of the bench. as I have been calling them. his eyes shone. shading his eyes from the intolerable light. Some people want power to persecute other human beings. Scogan answered. They will employ as their instruments of power the second great species of humanity−−the men of Faith. laughed again. "You ought to complete the simile. "There's only one thing to be done." He paused. Hard. to perform those functions which human beings of his variety are capable of performing. Duly labelled and docketed. 69 . Mr.." "How many species will there be?" asked Denis." The heat that was slowly paralysing all Denis's mental and bodily faculties. his hands moved in sharp. "the time will come." "Making electricity to light a Swiss hotel. "Power in some form or other. Among the Intelligences will be found all those capable of thought. but according to the qualities of their mind and temperament. He talked with an ever−increasing energy. "human beings will be separated out into distinct species. In future. nor is it his business. and are ready to die CHAPTER XXII." Mr. in adult life. and the whole concern will go to pieces." Mr. is made to do useful work. and the Herd. will be the governors of the Rational State. and coughed once or twice. We men of intelligence will learn to harness the insanities to the service of reason.
For the lower species the earth will be restored to the centre of the universe and man to pre− eminence on the earth. Moulded by a long process of suggestion. and his enthusiasm in the propagation of some reasonable idea. They will go through life in a rosy state of intoxication." "And what will be my place in the Rational State?" Denis drowsily inquired from under his shading hand. brushing the blue lavender flowers in their passage. ah. preaching and practising with a generous mania the coldly reasonable projects of the Directors from above. There will be no more Caesar Borgias. "You couldn't do manual work. on enthusiasts. convinced of their own grandeur and significance and immortality. Mr. Scogan looked at him for a moment in silence. when the high spiritual temperature of a Crusade would be unhealthy. all unawares. As for the Directing Intelligences. they will be made to believe that they are happy. When these projects are accomplished. I can see no place for you. CHAPTER XXII. These wild men. "From their earliest years." He paused and shook his head. Systematically." he said. the Men of Faith. the round. you're too independent and unsuggestible to belong to the larger Herd. its members will be assured that there is no happiness to be found except in work and obedience. Denis thought. When any particular effort is required of the Herd. will no longer be allowed to react casually to a casual environment. no more Joanna Southcotts. they will go out into the world. and they walked slowly away down the narrow path. then some dark leaves of rosemary that smelt like incense in a cavernous church. that third great species consisting of those countless millions who lack intelligence and are without valuable enthusiasm. the Men of Faith will be quietly and earnestly busy with the great work of education. they will have to be marvellously clear and merciless and penetrating. or when the ideas that were useful a decade ago have ceased to be useful." Mr. Scogan followed his example. in sad and sober privacy behind the scenes. The principal function of the Men of Faith will be to move and direct the Multitude. The old−fashioned Man of Faith and Desire." he said at last. Scogan chuckled maliciously. He will be. and that everything they do is noble and significant. that is. Denis pulled a sprig of lavender and sniffed at it. 70 . or who might equally well set them on to cutting one another's throats. ripe seedheads were brown and dry−−like Polynesian trophies. will be replaced by a new sort of madman. He liked the fancy enough to impart it to Mr. primed with some simple and satisfying creed. the tool of some superior intelligence. "I'm getting sunstroke here. that humanity shall be kindled and united by some single enthusiastic desire or idea. filling and ever filling again with the warm liquor that the Intelligences. At ordinary times. no more Comstocks. the Intelligences will inspire a new generation of madmen with a new eternal truth. humanity's almost boundless suggestibility will be scientifically exploited. when it is thought necessary. that they are tremendously important beings. Oh. dispetaled now. in the name of reason. They passed a bed of opium poppies. will brew for the intoxication of their subjects. no more Luthers and Mohammeds. obeying their betters. for the sake of solidarity. and got up. Scogan. his desire." Deeply hurt.Crome Yellow for their beliefs and their desires. only the lethal chamber. happier than any race of men has ever been. as the examining psychologists have assigned them their place in the classified scheme. they will be marvellously happy. who might drive men to tears and repentance. the Men of Faith will have had their special education under the eye of the Intelligences. severed heads stuck on poles. how very different from the madman of the past! For the new Man of Faith will be expending his passion. The Men of Faith will play the cup−bearers at this lifelong bacchanal. that haphazard creature of brute circumstance. In the upbringing of the Herd. still externally the same. Mr. Denis emitted the imitation of a loud Homeric laugh. "No. still bubbling with a seemingly spontaneous enthusiasm. I envy the lot of the commonality in the Rational State! Working their eight hours a day. from earliest infancy. from which they will never awake. but. it was as though he were taking a revenge. will be sent out on a mission of evangelisation. as soon. "It's difficult to see where you would fit in. with their fearful potentialities for good or for mischief. you have none of the characteristics required in a Man of Faith.
come in. Mr. it is too large. "Shall we go and pay a call on Gombauld?" he suggested carelessly. without ever having had the slightest appreciation of painting. "Excellent.. meanwhile." he said. "that a multitude of people are toiling in the harvest fields in order that we may talk of Polynesia. Scogan. as they strolled slowly onward. and with his extended finger followed the slack curves of the painted figure. above all too utterly pointless and incomprehensible. he was rather pleased than annoyed when the two faces. I like to see pictures from which nature has been completely banished. 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. Followed by Mr. She was with Gombauld−−alone with him in his studio." said Mr. It would be amusing to see what he's doing now. if that is possible." he repeated.Crome Yellow "Like Polynesian trophies." Gombauld laughed. But I'm surprised to find you putting in all this psychology business. I can understand anything that any man has made or thought. "excellent. yes. or were they cunningly simulating gladness? He wondered." He pointed to the face. he was positively glad to see them. "This is a little infidelity. the other round and pale. Scogan. never by bus if I CHAPTER XXIII. He had suddenly remembered Anne. "Come in. pictures which are exclusively the product of the human mind. appeared in the frame of the open door. Almost too true to character.. too complicated. "I'm sorry. infuriatingly. was looking at the portrait. if I choose to set my mind to it. however. The energy born of his restless irritation was dying within him. A moment more and he would have been losing his temper again−−and Anne would be keeping hers. Scogan." He laughed inwardly to think how furious Gombauld would be when he saw them arriving. CHAPTER XXIII." he called out hospitably. Scogan. have always taken particular pleasure in Cubismus. Denis was not listening. one brown and pointed. Fortunately. positively too true. my dear Denis−−duly thankful. It was an intolerable thought. I am at home with the works of man. or anything that reminds me of nature. Nature. Gombauld was by no means so furious at their apparition as Denis had hoped and expected he would be. Indeed. That is why I always travel by Tube. "I thought you were one of the fellows who went in exclusively for balanced masses and impinging planes. disturbs me." said Mr. "It is satisfactory to think. and knocked the ashes out of his pipe. "I for one. Yes. 71 . and could learn nothing from the expression of their faces except that they both seemed pleased to see the visitors. He looked suspiciously from Gombauld to his sitter." Uttered aloud. They give me the same pleasure as I derive from a good piece of reasoning or a mathematical problem or an achievement of engineering. the fancy seemed less charming and significant than it did when it first occurred to him. Like every other good thing in this world. Denis climbed the little ladder and stepped over the threshold. returning to its emotional elements. it is not the leisured and the cultured who have to pay. leisure and culture have to be paid for. Let us be duly thankful for that. There was a silence." he said approvingly. Were they really glad.
Scogan was discoursing. What was he asking of her? He hardly knew himself. Yes. and. He picked up the book and slipped off the elastic band that kept it discreetly closed. All is human and the product of friendly and comprehensible minds. Anne had to turn round in her chair to look at them. for the most part. From behind the easel at the other side of the room Mr. All philosophies and all religions−−what are they but spiritual Tubes bored through the universe! Through these narrow tunnels. The temptation was great. I haven't the time to start wandering in that labyrinth. he said. or. looked at Anne. Scogan was talking away. "My poor Denis. where Anne was sitting." While Mr. "Well?" he demanded. Denis had nothing more. "Private. She had left it lying on the window−seat. Two or three canvases stood in the corner behind Anne's chair. Denis leaned over her. on the low chair. straight lines of concrete. CHAPTER XXIV. I haven't the courage. where he had been making an unsuccessful effort to write something about nothing in particular. Anne looked at the pictures. at the moment. for example. the flowers in the window−boxes. He stood them in a row against the wall. 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. Not to be opened. one travels comfortable and secure. "I like the man and the horse. an occasional tree. Anne looked up at him. CHAPTER XXIV. endless and unexplored. as though it had cost him a great effort to utter the words. but she was blushing as she spoke. contriving to forget that all round and below and above them stretches the blind mass of earth. He pulled them out and began to look at the paintings. found the drawing−room deserted. so snug and neat and simple and well made. Denis nodded. their faces turned to the wall. with a laugh. Denis had crossed over to the farther side of the little square chamber. perhaps for some other reason−−the words provoked in her a certain surprised commotion. travelling by bus. There was the big canvas of the man fallen from the horse. Denis. He raised his eyebrows. one can't avoid seeing. looking up with an inquiring smile. and then in a queer. 72 . And preserve me from nature. a laughing key. But travel by Tube and you see nothing but the works of man−−iron riveted into geometrical forms. rather. above all. For a long time they looked at the pictures. a few stray works of God −−the sky. still in her graceful.Crome Yellow can possibly help it." was written in capital letters on the cover. there was a painting of flowers. It was noon. saying nothing. looking at her almost fiercely. strangled voice. while Denis. But on this occasion−−perhaps because they had come so unexpectedly . His hands on the back of the chair. don't you?" she said at last. "I love you. give me ideas. patterned expanses of tiles. For. and for answer echoed his "Well?" in another." she managed to say. preserve me from all that's inhumanly large and complicated and obscure. there was a small landscape. It was the sort of thing one wrote in one's Latin Grammar while one was still at one's preparatory school. descending from his chamber. give me the Tube and Cubismus every time. lazy pose. "May I see too?" Anne requested. where all is recognisably human. to say." It was a remark which Anne had heard a good many times before and mostly heard with equanimity. even in London.
and yet. And so this." Fascinated and horrified. He liked to think of himself as a merciless vivisector probing into the palpitating entrails of his own soul. But blacker the theif who steals this book!" It was curiously childish. he was Brown Dog to himself. diabolic. in a vague way he imagined that nobody beside himself was aware of them at all. an assumed aloofness and superiority tempered by a feeble envy. this was how Jenny employed the leisure hours in her ivory tower apart. of Mr. mildly malicious tone in which he was accustomed to talk of them. Beneath. And he had thought her a simple−minded. It was masterful. who was the fool. he thought. he reflected. what they stood for and concretely symbolised. And. In his own eyes he had defects. Barbecue−Smith. inglorious Rouveyre appeared in every one of those cruelly clear lines. Still chewing on it. an attitude of studious and scholarly dignity. Scogan." He had disobeyed the injunction. He felt no resentment towards Jenny. but to see them was a privilege reserved to him alone. It was almost axiomatic. intelligent. he ruminated this unpleasant truth for some time. and he smiled to himself. given away by the fidgety pose of the turned−in feet−−these things were terrible. he went out on to the terrace. lingering at nothing that was not his own image. The fabulists were right. periodically he would make some painful discovery about the external world and the horrible reality of its consciousness and its intelligence. He scarcely glanced at them. The expression of the face. somehow. more terrible still. recognisable as Gombauld and Anne. 73 . The red notebook was one of these discoveries.Crome Yellow "Black is the raven. Impossible. whom Jenny had represented in a light that was more than slightly sinister. Not to be opened. No. Indeed. he had only got what he deserved. Seven full pages were devoted to him. he reflected. A mute. of Anne and Gombauld. It seemed. it was what she and the phenomenon of her red book represented. impossible that other people should be in their way as elaborate and complete as he in his. the attitude of the body and limbs. he strolled pensively down towards the swimming−pool. to be quite honest. black is the rook. and was irreparably shattered. reading (the book was upside−down). so. Sitting on the balustrade of the terrace. the legend: "Fable of the Wallflower and the Sour Grapes. he had always believed. his absurdities−−no one knew them better than he did. He could stand at Piccadilly Circus. A peacock and his hen trailed their shabby finery across the turf of the lower lawn. the distressing thing wasn't Jenny herself. of Henry Wimbush. It seemed. their flat eyes and piercing beaks. Animals resemble men with all CHAPTER XXIV. that was. They represented all the vast conscious world of men outside himself. a footprint in the sand. His weaknesses. uncritical creature! It was he. was the likeness. There were caricatures of other people: of Priscilla and Mr. Denis was his own severest critic. For the rest of the world he was surely an image of flawless crystal. and still imagine himself the one fully conscious. "Private. tapered up to the cruel inanity of their brainless heads. Denis looked deeper into the book. He opened the book. A fearful desire to know the worst about himself possessed him. Denis pored over the drawing. when they took beasts to illustrate their tractates of human morality. could watch the crowds shuffle past. He was not his own severest critic after all. they symbolised something that in his studious solitariness he was apt not to believe in. it seemed. Sadder and wiser. Odious birds! Their necks. A caricature of himself. thick and greedily fleshy at the roots. inconceivable that he should appear to other people as they appeared to him. It put beyond a doubt the fact that the outer world really existed. The fruit of Jenny's unobtrusive scribbling lay before him. at least. Thoughtfully he closed the book. On opening the red notebook that crystal image of himself crashed to the ground. was the magisterial certainty with which his physical peculiarities were all recorded and subtly exaggerated. individual being among all those thousands. somehow. The discovery was a painful one. inconceivable that they ever spoke of him among themselves in that same freely critical and. of Mary and Ivor. What he saw made him wince as though he had been struck. In the background a dancing couple. indeed. He turned over the leaves. and slid the rubber band once more into its place.
indeed. and the countryside will know the old landmarks no more. They rushed towards it. he would have to try and do his Muller exercises more regularly. with all its peers. with a facade sixteen windows wide. They will have vanished as the monasteries vanished before them. parterres in the foreground. At the moment. There was a prolonged silence. a new and CHAPTER XXIV. will be deserted and decaying. Looking at it. "And little Luce with the white legs. Thanks.. had brought nothing but disquiet. he thought of Anne's bare arms and seal−sleek bathing−dress. reflecting in its bronze mirror the blue and various green of the summer day.Crome Yellow the truthfulness of a caricature. or was it simply an education? He walked slowly round the water's edge. however." Oh. memories of the night. At breakfast that morning Mary had found on her plate a picture postcard of Gobley Great Park. was written. The profound shade of a giant ilex tree engulfed him. the atmosphere seemed to Denis agreeably elegiac. In an embayed recess among the surrounding yew trees. (Oh. Seated under the Venus's immemorial gesture." 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. And bouncing Barbary. "The smith. uninterested tone. these rags and tags of other people's making! Would he ever be able to call his brain his own? Was there. Mary's mind was not moved by these considerations. Mary considered life and love.. huge. The pool lay before him. "Hullo!" he said.. next to the address. but couldn't. With arms like rubber bands. for he was passing so close to her that he had to say something.. a single quatrain. anything in it that was truly his own. Mary looked up. He sat down beside her under the shadow of the pudic goddess. a brawny man is he. the red notebook!) He threw a piece of stick at the slowly pacing birds. 74 . Like a great wooden octopus. it spread its long arms abroad. There sleep within my heart's most mystic cell Memories of morning. her moving knees and feet. He emerged once more into the sunshine. On the back of the postcard.−− Ivor. "Hullo!" she answered in a melancholy. large hand. Fifty years. Ten years more of the hard times and Gobley. The abolition of her repressions. In this alcove hewed out of the dark trees." He tried to remember who the poem was by. leaning her back against the pedestal of a pleasantly comic version of the Medici Venus." Just like his. thinking it was something to eat. He walked on. "Under the spreading ilex tree. "Hail. he saw Mary pensively sitting. maid of moonlight! Bride of the sun. smooth lawns receding out of the picture to right and left. executed by some nameless mason of the seicento. farewell! Like bright plumes moulted in an angel's flight. in Ivor's bold. A stately Georgian pile. so far from bringing the expected peace of mind.
she is certain to receive or inflict suffering. generalising for herself." he began. she−−or he." Mary shed tears at the memory. They made their way up to the house without speaking. of their opinions about myself.. CHAPTER XXV. tempered by distance to a pleasant booming. she added.She couldn't do without him now. What a nightmare! Couldn't you put a stop to it. Phillis peu sage Aurait donne moutons et chien Pour un baiser que le volage A Lisette donnait pour rien. It was Denis who first broke the silence. It was lunch−time. He was at Gobley now." "One is apt. floated down from the house." said Henry Wimbush during dinner. Our minds are sealed books only occasionally opened to the outside world. "that next Monday is Bank Holiday. Ivor. but his confidences were cut short. and Denis." He leaned towards her and slightly lowered his voice. She thought of the last verse of the song he had sung that night in the garden. and. Uncle Henry?" CHAPTER XXV. of course. and above all and in particular. she risks the equally grave sufferings that follow on unnatural repressions. "makes itself acutely felt in matters of sex." said Mary.Crome Yellow hitherto unexperienced misery. "This very morning." said Mary thoughtfully.. As you see. "It's an awful problem. "When one individual comes into intimate contact with another." she said. "The individual. when he is forced to take cognisance of the existence of other universes besides himself. If one individual seeks intimate contact with another individual in the natural way. "Le lendemain. 75 . and that you will all be expected to help in the Fair. for example. There are times when he comes into contact with other individuals. "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. "is not a self− supporting universe. Mary knew Zenobia. that Ivor could very well do without her." "When I think of my own case. from the poem on the back of the picture postcard. Denis went on." "Heavens!" cried Anne. "The Fair−−I had forgotten all about it. she avoids contacts. it's a dilemma. "I am amazed how ignorant I am of other people's mentality in general. The deep voice of the gong. Mechanically Mary rose to her feet.." Mary was not listening." He had contrived this highly abstract generalisation as a preliminary to a personal confidence. followed her. "One has to have had first−hand experience. "One has to have had personal experience to realise quite how awful it is. It was evident. making a more decided move in the desired direction. Ivor. If on the other hand. as the case may be−−must almost inevitably receive or inflict suffering. It was the first gambit in a conversation that was to lead up to Jenny's caricatures." "Exactly. "I hope you all realise. she had never been so unhappy in all her life before. "The difficulty. a little hurt that she should exhibit such a desperate anxiety for her food and so slight an interest in his spiritual experiences." said Denis." He made a gesture that was faintly suggestive of the drawing off of a rubber band. "True.." Denis nodded. so was Zenobia. on the other hand." he began in a soft and sadly philosophical tone.
Wimbush. as usual. but the claims of Charity are strong. "Alas. it must be twenty−two years since we started it. The local hospital profited handsomely." "Then you'll look after the children's sports. to whom the Fair was a cause of recurrent and never− diminishing agony. "I have more important things to think about than the Fair. with even a contingent from the county town. turning to the rest of the party.Crome Yellow Mr. Bartholomew. Now. "I've made all the arrangements already. and the people of all the neighbouring villages." said Anne.'" CHAPTER XXV. Do you still persist?" "I'm ready to suffer all indignities. Let me see. The swings and the merry−go−round arrive on Sunday. "I fear I cannot. But you need have no doubt that I shall do my best when Monday comes to encourage the villagers.." said Anne." Henry Wimbush went on. "'Your portrait for a shilling in five minutes." Mr. and it was this fact alone which prevented Mr." "All right. from putting a stop to the nuisance which yearly desecrated his park and garden. "Aunt Priscilla will encourage the villagers. Wimbush. It was a modest affair then. Wimbush sighed and shook his head." he said." he made a sweeping movement with his hand and was silent." "But you can't tell fortunes in that costume!" "Can't I?" Mr.. "Some of the larger marquees will be put up to−morrow. Scogan reflected." Mary agreed. It was the local St. "You must be our lightning artist. Beginning as a sort of glorified church bazaar. As a special favour you're allowed to choose your slavery. and miscellaneous side shows−−a real genuine fair on the grand scale. "You'll all have to do something. Aunt Priscilla. "You'll have to be dressed up." "So there's no escape." "Besides. and turning to Gombauld. "May I be allowed to tell fortunes?" he asked at last. Scogan?" Mr. Wimbush went on. "I think I should be good at telling fortunes. interrupting her." "That's splendid. Mary?" "I won't do anything where I have to stand by and watch other people eat. Crome's yearly Charity Fair had grown into a noisy thing of merry−go−rounds.. cocoanut shies. flocked into the park for their Bank Holiday amusement. Scogan surveyed himself. My job is the tea tent. Wimbush's public spirit that he still continued to tolerate the Fair. "it's justice." she said." "It's not charity we want." "Good!" said Anne." said Mrs. I should have liked to put an end to it years ago. 76 ." "My dear. What will you do." Anne murmured rebelliously." "And Mr.. "I'll look after the children's sports. It spoke highly for Mr. "the Fair has become an institution.
" Mary flushed." said Anne.' We'll print it on Uncle Henry's press and sell it at twopence a copy. after all." Anne shook her head.. "Twopence." "Sixpence.Crome Yellow "It's a pity I'm not Ivor. "what will I do?" She frowned thoughtfully for a moment. That's the lot. come. "If there's any opportunity of playing the drums. And. whatever your personal views may be. in proof of her assertion." "Isn't it?" Anne turned an ingenuous mask towards him. "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. with a laugh. "there's any amount of opportunity." said Gombauld. "I have no accomplishments." she repeated firmly. "When I was young. His mind reverted to the red notebook. agitated her knife and fork. "And a very good lot too. but decided it would be wiser to go on feigning ignorance of her talent." she said. "Nobody will pay more than twopence. "I look forward to my Bank Holiday. "It'll be worth sixpence." Jenny echoed." "Come." "Well." he answered." protested Gombauld. "That won't do. and I can do nothing but lisp in numbers." he said. and." "And what about Denis?" Denis made a deprecating gesture. "I could throw in a picture of their Auras for an extra sixpence." said Gombauld." "The drums?" Jenny nodded." "It ought indeed. "by speaking with levity of serious subjects." she began." he said." "No. "Nothing is to be gained." she said severely." Mr Scogan assented." said Mr Wimbush.. "Jenny. CHAPTER XXV." Denis protested. We'll put you down definitely for the drums." said Anne. then her face brightened and she smiled." "And now there's Jenny. raising his voice. "No. like a pair of drumsticks. "But of course. It ought to be gay." "But what? All the good jobs are taken. psychical research is a perfectly serious subject. No holiday is ever anything but a disappointment. "My holiday at Crome isn't being a disappointment. then." she added. "But you may rest assured that it won't be." concluded Anne. no. it isn't. Could it really be true that he looked like that? "What will I do. You must do something more than that. you must lisp. "You must write a poem for the occasion−−an 'Ode on Bank Holiday. 77 . over her plate. "I learnt to play the drums. "what will you do?" Denis thought of suggesting that she might draw caricatures at sixpence an execution.
Nevertheless. Yes. for example. For the unreligious it is a symbol of nothing. "Of course it is. the character of the painter. For it is the emotion that matters. I am happy to say. while I am naturally addicted to venery. "I mean to be. Here. which is in itself inexpressible. I have no aesthetic sense. as members of a society. and so appears merely grotesque. Thus. I go on cultivating my old stale daily self in the CHAPTER XXV. in terms of intellect and logic. omniscient. In my youth I was always striving−−how hard!−−to feel religiously and aesthetically. we never succeed in getting farther than Southend. my range is a limitation within a limitation. of which I could tell you all the known and presumed history−−the date when it was painted. I am impregnated with its laws. I felt nothing but a certain interest in the subject of the picture." Mr. how can we hope to have anything like an absolute change? We are tied down by the frightful limitation of our human faculties.Crome Yellow "I'm delighted to hear it. as I am informed by those who do feel it. my own boring nature. To−day. but without vanity I can assert that it was prodigious." "It's in the very nature of things. his sharp nose moved in a series of rapid jerks through all the points of the compass. What sort of a holiday can I take? In endowing me with passions and faculties Nature has been horribly niggardly. The mystic objectifies a rich feeling in the pit of the stomach into a cosmology. or more often. "So much for the religious emotion." said Anne. As for the aesthetic−−I was at even greater pains to cultivate that. What is a holiday? The ideal. when the subject was hackneyed and religious. I should also feel it painful to try to do so. 78 . There was no sign of dissent." Mr. Scogan replied. a complete holiday is out of the question. omniscient. I knew more about Taddeo da Poggibonsi. as specimens of Homo Sapiens. Scogan went on. I repeat it. the true aesthetic emotion. but about all the periods that were fashionable before 1900 I am. 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. I have forgotten most of the knowledge I then so laboriously acquired. said I to myself. by our own personalities. Scogan once more looked rapidly about him. brighter. Yes. expanding the fingers of his right hand. A melancholy fact! But I divagate. Some of us struggle manfully to take one. very well. of course. I know it by experience. the Platonic Holiday of Holidays is surely a complete and absolute change. are two tremendously important and exciting emotions. and. In a word. more about the cryptic Amico di Taddeo. I venture to believe. I don't pretend. Having been brought up in society." "You're depressing. but we never succeed. Life would be richer. he continued: "A complete and absolute change. "always without success. my insufferable mental surroundings!" Mr. Confronted by a picture. But isn't a complete and absolute change precisely the thing we can never have−−never. I felt nothing but a great weariness of spirit. I have a conscience as well as a fear of gaol. As ourselves. I have looked at all the right works of art in every part of Europe. You agree with me in my definition?" Mr. For other mystics that cosmology is a symbol of the rich feeling. while I may have a certain amount of intelligence." he added. in the very nature of things?" Mr. if I may be allowed to express myself metaphorically. Education has further limited my scope. or was. But did that fact make me any more appreciative of art in general? It did not. I try to feel them. I read the works of the mystics. I am wholly without the religious emotions. if I could feel them. I must have gone on looking at pictures for ten years before I would honestly admit to myself that they merely bored me. to get away from myself. How often have I tried to take holidays. Scogan sighed. altogether more amusing. Since then I have given up all attempts to take a holiday. For us. not only should I be afraid of taking a holiday from them." Mr. even than Henry does. while I possess the mathematical faculty. Scogan checked himself. by the notions which society imposes on us through our fatal suggestibility. The full range of human potentialities is in any case distressingly limited. There was a time when. The written work is simply an attempt to express emotion. Out of the ten octaves that make up the human instrument. to know anything about nigger sculpture or the later seventeenth century in Italy. Scogan glanced from face to face round the table. I have little ambition and am not at all avaricious. "our holidays can't help being disappointments. 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. I can compass perhaps two. he went on: "Look at me. warmer. Reflect for a moment.
Here and there tricolour bunting hung inert. The balloon−man walked among the crowd. If he threw himself over the parapet. long legs cased in pearl−grey trousers−−legs that bent unsteadily at the knee and gave a kind of sideways wobble as he walked. It had the right anatomical quality. There was old Lord Moleyn. that its alternate tonic and dominant detached themselves from the rest of the music and made a tune of their own. CHAPTER XXVI.. short and thick−set. Gombauld." CHAPTER XXVI. "My soul is a thin white sheet of parchment stretched Over a bubbling cauldron." he said.. scarcely wavering column of black smoke. In the midst of the canvas town.. and with such persistence. the noise would surely buoy him up. Callamay. A little canvas village of tents and booths had sprung up. as I ever want to have. he surveyed the scene. keep him suspended. "My soul is a thin. the war was certainly something of a holiday.. Tight blown. standing on the sun−baked leads. a short covert coat." Gombauld shrugged his shoulders.Crome Yellow resigned spirit with which a bank clerk performs from ten till six his daily task. Denis leaned over the gulf of swirling noise. The harmonies were like a musical shattering of glass and brass. such resonance. and short white hair. and above his head. and from the funnel of the engine which worked the roundabout rose a thin. stood Mr. absurdly. it was almost Ilfracombe." or better−− "My soul is a pale. indeed! I'm sorry for you. and there. the balloons strained upwards. in the green expanse of the park. inverted bunch of many−coloured grapes. a loud. The clashing of automatic cymbals beat out with inexorable precision the rhythm of piercingly sounded melodies. Another fancy came to him. "Yes. "Perhaps. the venerable conservative statesman. "my standards aren't as elevated as yours. and lower down. funeral best−−the women in pale muslins. "My soul is a thin tent of gut. the merry−go−round glittered in the sun. tenuous membrane. 79 ." Bad. all the common emotions and preoccupations. tenuous membrane. tenuous membrane. But he liked the idea of something thin and distended being blown up from underneath. the men dressed mostly in black−−holiday best. A holiday. his elbows resting on the parapet. scarlet and gold and crystal. drooping moustaches and long teeth of old ivory. with a long nose and long. just beyond the boundaries of the garden. as a fountain balances a ball on its breaking crest. and below that long." "Yes.." On the terrace stood a knot of distinguished visitors. monotonous see− saw. Beside him. it was Weston−super−Mare. It was a step beyond Southend. Denis had climbed to the top of one of Sir Ferdinando's towers. A crowd thronged its streets." Mr. like a caricature of an English milord in a French comic paper: a long man. But personally I found the war quite as thorough a holiday from all the ordinary decencies and sanities. With a scythe−like motion the boat−swings reaped the air. if you still look forward to having a holiday. like a huge." That was pleasing: a thin. quivering in the blast of noisy life. He went down slowly. Young girls didn't much like going for motor drives alone with Mr.. bobbing. Far down in the bass the Last Trump was hugely blowing. The steam−organ sent up prodigious music. this time in metrical form. Scogan thoughtfully agreed. It was time for him to descend from the serene empyrean of words into the actual vortex. bad. with a face like a Roman bust.
It would have been polite to go and say. using a magnifying glass and a pair of horn spectacles." Sometimes. laughing. Denis peeped at them discreetly from the window of the morning− room. for the oracle to speak. 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. Dressed in a black skirt and a red bodice. She stood low on the ground. with an uncomfortably beating heart. they thought. He then examined the palm that was presented him. Scogan would suddenly look up and ask. as the hag shook her head over their hands. From the home of the Rat he emerged just in time to see a hydrogen−filled balloon break loose for home. Hundreds of people. stuck his steward's rosette in his buttonhole. but calmly. Scogan would nod several times. the other hootingly. after a long examination. brown. Cautiously he crept out by a side door and made his way down towards the park. If he could but send his soul to follow it!. indicating with a movement of the finger that they were to sit down opposite him and to extend their hands for his inspection. frowning and clicking with his tongue as he looked at the lines. A child howled up after it. Sesostris had a success of horror. that there was something in this sort of thing after all? After all. terrible!" or "God preserve us!" sketching out the sign of the cross as he uttered the words." Seated at a table. Everything is still to come. "Where ignorance is bliss. aimlessly but officially. His soul was a tenuous. Denis followed it with his eyes until it became lost in the blinding sunlight. separate. "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. after all. "Terrible. he was like them. could not have talked. They were talking to Anne. CHAPTER XXVII.. alive: the thought was disquieting. the one profoundly.. a perfect sphere of flushed opal. with a yellow−and−red bandana handkerchief tied round his black wig. though it can't be very far off now. such as. Could one believe it? But the evidence of the red notebook was conclusive.. and started to push his way. Mr. 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. through the crowd.Crome Yellow Callamay. "I was afraid so. After a long and silent inspection. mounted. they were conscious. He paid twopence and saw the Tatooed Woman. which it could hardly fail to be. His soul fluttered as he approached the noise and movement of the fair. they functioned by themselves. still to come. then stepped in and was engulfed. Mr. was it possible. they began to take the witch seriously. the Sorceress of Ecbatana.And they waited. He paused for a moment on the brink. childlike. could it be. he looked−−sharp−nosed. some horrifying question." and refuse to divulge any details of a future too appalling to be envisaged without despair. it mounted. 'tis folly to be wise. A black silk balloon towing a black−and−white striped parachute proved to be old Mrs. unprejudiced. Scogan had been accommodated in a little canvas hut. as though to himself. saying. twopence more. He had a terrifying way of shaking his head. His eyes were suddenly become innocent. And yet they really existed. People stood in a queue outside CHAPTER XXVII. find it impossible to live in England. Budge from the big house on the other side of the valley. She was a formidable− looking woman. A placard pinned to the curtain of the doorway announced the presence within the tent of "Sesostris. for one reason or another. Moreover. in a hoarse whisper. He sighed. these people. pale membrane. The clients who came in laughing grew suddenly grave. and the spikes of her black−and−white sunshade menaced the eyes of Priscilla Wimbush. Scogan received his clients in mysterious silence. He would keep its sensibility intact and virgin as long as he could. they had minds.. each with his own private face and all of them real. inconceivably fantastic. 80 . Sometimes he would whisper. Mr. and wrinkled−−like the Bohemian Hag of Frith's Derby Day. tremulous. the Largest Rat in the World. he would just whisper. Mr. They seemed. "How d'you do?" But at the moment Denis did not want to talk.
I'll show you." Mr. "Very well." He lifted up a sharp." He lingered hissingly over the word. Denis went to the tea−tent and borrowed a wooden bench and a small Union Jack. Between its walls and its sagging roof were long gaping chinks and crannies. please!. then whispered. death by apoplexy. his terrifying whispers came clearly up." Mr. "He will ask you. "if you must know. Scogan played his part. do tell me!" The white muslin figure leant eagerly forward. Scogan looked at her hand. "Very soon. Listen. Denis looked and listened while the witch prophesied financial losses. 'Can you tell me the way to Paradise?' and you will answer. The canvas booth was a rickety. he climbed up. lor'!" "But you will not remain so for long. At that moment a man will appear walking along the footpath. "You are still virtuous." Mr.Crome Yellow the witch's booth waiting for the privilege of hearing sentence pronounced upon them. it's not at all clear. and with a great air of busy efficiency began to tie the Union Jack to the top of one of the tent−poles. Denis. Mr." she implored. He had a great desire to see how Mr.' and walk with him down towards the little hazel copse. "Oh. has announced the fact upon your hand. the pendulous brass ear−rings which he had screwed on to his ears tinkled. Scogan looked at her hand again as though to refresh his memory of the details of the scene. looked with curiosity at this crowd of suppliants before the shrine of the oracle. They are only specific about this one rather crucial incident. Mr. The witch seemed to ignore her remark. you must know. 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." he repeated−−"a small man with a sharp nose. The old lady was succeeded by a girl dressed in white muslin. but from her figure and the roundness of her bare arms he judged her young and pleasing. 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's clear?" asked the girl. With these he hurried back to the booth of Sesostris. not exactly good looking nor precisely young. "This is what the fates have written." said Mr. which interests itself in small things no less than in great. "Destiny. She was wearing a broad hat. "I don't think I ought to tell you. "Please. Scogan shook his head." he said." There was a silence. Listen. It's as clear as day. Scogan took up the magnifying−glass and began once more to examine the white palm. "Is there going to be another war?" asked the old lady to whom he had predicted this end. Scogan sepulchrally. I cannot read what will happen after that. claw− nailed forefinger." "What is it? What is it? Oh. Through the crannies in the canvas he could see almost the whole of the interior of the tent. Scogan sighed. with an air of quiet confidence. "Very interesting. Scogan. Mr. The young lady giggled again. "Afterwards. destruction by air−raids in the next war." added Mr. 'Yes. 81 . but fascinating." he said. in the course of his round." He was silent." The young lady giggled and exclaimed. CHAPTER XXVII. garnished with pink ribbons. so that Denis could not see her face. Setting down the bench at the back of the booth. as though to himself−−"very interesting. ill−made structure. "A man. Scogan's bandana−covered head was just below him. But if anything untoward happens you must blame your own curiosity.
"Miss Dolly Miles.' Fadingly.!' But Echo answers Faintly to the laughing dancers. Yes. but walked slowly away.. Sing Holiday! You do not know How to be free. A holiday? But Galba showed Elephants on an airy road. Into the virgin snow. and very nice the quarto broadsheets looked.. Miss Doris Gabell. Paper Nose and Red Cockade Dance within the magic shade That makes them drunken. The thing had its merits. the Union Jack hung limp on the windless air. and motionless in the midst of a moving sea. The frozen air received their breath. and old creed." Denis stepped down from the bench. decidedly! But how unpleasant the crowd smelt! He lit a cigarette..Crome Yellow "Is it really true?" asked white muslin. Struck weights. Miss Rebecca Balister.. A crowd of sleek. round. Aunt Sallies. Blood was there A red gay flower and only fair." Denis made no reply. "I merely tell you what I read in your hand. old custom. 82 . They had printed five hundred copies. Good afternoon. That will be sixpence. and masks might laugh At things the naked face for shame Would blush at−−laugh and think no blame. Thank you. merry. But I'm giving a free copy to everyone who spends more than a shilling on his tea. 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. Oh. Good afternoon. The swimming−pool was a centre of noise and activity. His grey bowler hat. he read out names from a list. diminishingly: 'Free. decidedly. smooth. and strong To laugh and sing their ferial song: 'Free. So in any case it's having a circulation. Sing Holiday! Beneath the Tree Of Innocence and Liberty.. The witch gave a shrug of the shoulders. and still. He passed through the gate in the park wall into the garden. Anne was sitting behind a long table filling thick white cups from an urn. as he carried the bench back to the tea−tent. A little smoke that died away. It was his poem. was an island of aristocratic calm. "Second Heat in the Young Ladies' Championship. Within the hollows of the hill. The smell of cows was preferable.. The Russian snow flowered with bright blood whose roses spread Petals of fading. Old right and wrong there bled to death. "Have you sold many?" he asked in a casual tone. 'Free. Old law. Sing Holiday! Sing Holiday!" He folded the sheet carefully and put it in his pocket. A neat pile of printed sheets lay before her on the table. Anne put her head on one side deprecatingly.' and laughter faints away. fading red That died into the snow again." CHAPTER XXVII. I'm afraid. seal−like figures in black bathing−dresses surrounded him. Jumbo trod the tightrope then. 'Free'−−and faintly laughs. And round about them where they lay The snow bloomed roses. "Only three so far. "If only I could do things like that!" he thought." It was the polite voice of Henry Wimbush. free. He looked at the broadsheet in his hand and read the lines to himself relishingly as he walked along: "This day of roundabouts and swings. and men From all ancient bonds were freed. Switchbacks. shied cocoa−nuts. 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. Where all must drudge and all obey. I have change. tied insecurely and crookedly to the tentpole. Holding his tortoise−shell−rimmed pince−nez an inch or two in front of his eyes. tossed rings. Faintlier laughs and whispers.
and what with this and the fact that it was a bad year for wall fruit. He wasn't sure whether it was so very delightful after all. "Delighted to see you again." Mrs. Budge huskily. Since the Armistice she had relaxed her efforts. rubbing one foot nervously on the other. Callamay readjusted his spectacles. leaning forward over his walking− stick. 83 . isn't she?" said Mrs. so that she was able to eat peaches practically the whole year round.' go. Mr." said Lord Moleyn. Stone. now she did not eat more than two or three peaches a day. had suffered. "When I say 'Go. he looked down. It was Mrs. and laid up the phrase in his memory as a happy one. It was old Mrs." Mr. showed his long ivory teeth. Go!" Splash! The third heat had started. Look at old Lord Moleyn and dear Mr. "Yes. old Lord Moleyn and Mr. slender. capital. but it had suffered for a good cause. she had only won a heat. Denis answered her greeting by a vague and polite noise. The victor wriggled with embarrassment. CHAPTER XXVII. He smiled again. after all. Budge. In 1917 the military authorities called up three of her gardeners." she said in her rich. she only managed to eat 2900 peaches during that crucial period of the national destinies. she complained. and Lord Moleyn. like a short− winded lap−dog. There was an almost simultaneous splash. a torso of black polished marble. Callamay looked on with eager interest. Denis pushed his way through the spectators. and sent the stones to the Government." Denis nodded agreement. I never could learn to swim. Budge went on. Callamay. "Pretty little thing. His voice seemed to come from just behind his teeth. for that matter.' go. Somebody plucked him by the sleeve. Old Mr. In 1916 she ate 4200 peaches. "So nice to see the young people enjoying themselves. From their seats of honour at the other end of the pool. it seemed an act of supererogatory graciousness. "Very good indeed.Crome Yellow Five young persons ranged themselves on the brink. he said to himself. Callamay had put on his spectacles to congratulate the victor. Sixteen. 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. There was an expectant silence. "When I say 'Go. Go!" he said. Isn't it delightful to see the way they enjoy themselves?" Denis looked. Budge. a toothy voice. as well as four hot−houses in which trees could be forced. husky voice. She panted a little as she spoke. She stood with her hands behind her back. and panted two or three times." said Mrs. "Capital performance. "And the old people too. In 1918 she did rather better. Mr. Her wet bathing−dress shone. Henry Wimbush raised his hand. She had thirty−six peach trees in her walled garden. It was as though a dog should suddenly begin to speak. for between January 1st and the date of the Armistice she ate 3300 peaches. but nubile. hungrily smiling. for. Her constitution. 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. "Do you know. Budge who. Callamay was saying in his deep voice.
. It was time. the membrane of his soul flapped tumultuously in the noise and laughter. sibilant voice. One really ought. "How long?" he said. He wandered past the merry−go− round. Another batch of young ladies dived in. serious voice. Mary's face was shining in the heat. through the thronged streets of the canvas village." Denis imagined her floating−−up and down.Crome Yellow "Really?" "But I used to be able to float. Denis looked on in admiration. ". colourless face of his wife. but this. that wasn't good at all. to move on. A new winner was being congratulated. for one standing on the higher ground it was easy to look over the dark barrier. Bodiham popped out of sight behind the hedge. and honest as the setting sun. The last one. There was an abrupt movement. up and down on a great green swell. the golden bell of her hair swung silently as she moved her head and quivered to rest. "You're wonderful.go−−go−−go!" Henry Wimbush's polite level voice once more pronounced the formula. "I've never seen such energy. Denis conveniently remembered that his duties as a steward called him elsewhere. tinny clamour. The rector turned up his iron mask towards the solid cobalt of the sky. had been an Eve by Cranach. speaking apparently from just above his head. "Do you know. 84 ." he said. and Mrs. Denis thought. that wasn't good. and they fell on Denis's upturned curious face. "how long?" He lowered his eyes again. Behind the hedge the ground sloped steeply up towards the foot of the terrace and the house. as though to himself. Mary was directing the children's sports. In a roped−off space beyond. Denis continued his promenade. Denis. this one was a bad Rubens. continuously curved from knee to breast. "Disgusting!" Mrs. when he was startled by hearing a thin. They were looking over his head. others clustered about the skirts and trousers of their parents." said Denis. 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. Grown a little weary of sustaining a conversation with Mrs. Budge. He recognised the iron mask of Mr. Bodiham and the pale." she said. long and harmoniously. no. over the heads of the spectators. hissing softly. He was thinking again that his soul was a pale.. Little creatures seethed round about her. red. Mary became once more the centre of a dangerous vortex. round. A blown black bladder. tenuous membrane. in a low.. Bodiham repeated. "It's appalling.. The path along which he was walking passed under the lee of a wall of clipped yew. at the swimmers in the pond. making a shrill. he might CHAPTER XXVII. Denis saw two heads overtopping the hedge immediately above him. Looking up. coming up behind her and touching her on the arm. He pushed out through the lines of spectators and made his way along the path left clear behind them." But a sudden violent renewal of the metallic yelling announced the fact that somebody had won the race. I've been telling her about the Malthusian League. and Mr. with an immense output of energy she started a three−legged race." She turned towards him a face. She was atrociously stubby and fat. pronounce the single word "Disgusting!" He looked up sharply. making rapid mental calculations.
and. perhaps. Portentous. Would you like to come and see them?" CHAPTER XXVIII.. still wearing her queenly toque. the night seemed preternaturally dark. But the sight of Anne and Gombauld swimming past−−Anne with her eyes almost shut and sleeping. Male and female created He them. all but he. talking. she was looking up at him. Carrying his well−filled tumbler with care. Acetylene lamps. was encouraging the villagers. cast a piercing white light. Clearly. this was no place for one who wanted tea. the glass on the corner of the table beside him. What about? he wondered. with a terrified village beauty. in her royal toque. a bottle of crystal gin and a quart of soda water. jovial laughter and her manly voice.. tea. hung round it on posts.. he alone lacked his complementary opposite. Somebody touched him on the shoulder and he looked up. as Denis could see. A whole subterranean life seemed to be expressing itself in those loud rat−tats. who had stayed on to the disorganised. There was nothing. tea. Bars of light reached out into it. shuffling crowd. flashing for a moment into visible existence. A beautiful thought suddenly came to him. Seated in the corner among the band. would cross the bright shaft. he went into the library. with an unusual expression of grimness on her flushed face. Towards sunset the fair itself became quiescent. Jenny was performing wonders of virtuosity upon the drums. he one−stepped shamblingly. But Denis sat apart. He turned back towards the canvas village.Crome Yellow be asked to do something if he stayed too long. the brown liquid spurted incessantly into the proffered cups. wearing away the grass with their booted feet. Her eyes shone. to disappear again as quickly and surprisingly as they had come. still encouraging the villagers−−this time by dancing with one of the tenant farmers. and every now and then a lonely figure or a couple of lovers. Denis stood by the entrance of the enclosure. The Malthusian League. That tenuous membrane of his had been too rudely buffeted by the afternoon's emotions. He stood irresolute at the entrance to the tent. CHAPTER XXVIII. It was the hour for the dancing to begin. passoverish meal that took the place of dinner on this festal day. on the sustaining wings of movement and music−−dissipated these preoccupations. interlaced. if he tiptoed into the dining−room and noiselessly opened the little doors of the sideboard−−ah. she smiled to herself. two or three hundred dancers trampled across the dry ground. Mr. as it were. Mary was in the embrace of a young farmer of heroic proportions. Anne. There. Scogan trotted round with another. "I never showed you our oaken drainpipes. There was Priscilla. Round this patch of all but daylight. watching the swaying. and then for the cups that inebriate as well as cheer. in the farther corner of the tent. But the tea−tent was horribly thronged. very seriously.. he settled into a chair with a volume of Sainte−Beuve. those long rolls and flourishes of drumming. Looking at her.There they were. without being observed." he said. There was Lord Moleyn. his bent knees more precariously wobbly than ever. The slow vortex brought the couples round and round again before him. and a hundred couples more−−all stepping harmoniously together to the old tune of Male and Female created He them. Within the house it was deliciously quiet and cool. The thought of tea was making itself insistent in his mind. then! In the cool recess within he would find bottles and a siphon. was furiously working the handle of the urn. as though he were passing them in review. Tea. went unobtrusively. It was Henry Wimbush. 85 . alive with motion and noise. "Some of the ones we dug up are lying quite close to here. like a Causerie du Lundi for settling and soothing the troubled spirits. Anne and Gombauld. it required a rest. obedient to its scraping and blowing. They were all coupled but he. Priscilla. Denis ruefully remembered the red notebook.. he wondered what sort of a figure he was cutting now. In a momentary lull Denis could hear her deep. At one side of the village of tents a space had been roped off. he told himself. In one corner sat the band.. A minute later he was walking briskly up the shady yew−tree walk. he found. if he went back to the house.
no. I'm more at home with these pipes." Mr. "But what about the desirable human contacts. But I know nothing of your present. of Dr. The fact is. The music grew fainter behind them." "I do not know how it is. It doesn't change. they're not my line. What do I know of contemporary politics? Nothing. You follow me? I could never take much interest. "The trouble with the people and events of the present is that you never know anything about them. like Godwin and Shelley. it will be possible for those who. Wimbush continued. It is a beautiful thought." said Denis. How gay and delightful life would be if one could get rid of all the human contacts! Perhaps. the perfectibility of machinery−−then. which I should have to do if they were living now. surrounded by the delicate attentions of silent and graceful machines." "Beautiful. like myself.Crome Yellow Denis got up. privately−−by reading. for example. in a collection of postage stamps. They're aren't in my line. "the little I know about your past is certainly reassuring. they don't very much interest me. involving a terrible expense of time. give me the past. above all." "I can believe it." "Come. They sat down on the grass. with a rather tepid enthusiasm. are things I can't guess at. how can I find out anything about them except by devoting years to the most exhausting first−hand study. to live in a dignified seclusion." he said." said Denis." He jerked his head sideways towards the hollowed logs. Francis. what they will do in five minutes' time. It's rather the same with people. What do I know of the people I see round about me? Nothing. Jenny's drumming and the steady sawing of the bass throbbed on. one is dealing with unknown and unknowable quantities. you may suddenly jump up and try to murder me in a moment's time. "when this function comes at last to an end. rather than any gaiety or excitement. desire it." Denis agreed. and entirely secure from any human intrusion. a few weeks have made me thoroughly acquainted with these interesting characters. scooped out into the semblance of pipes. in living people. "True. when machines have attained to a state of perfection−−for I confess that I am. Henry Wimbush halted. "Here we are. involving once more an endless number of the most unpleasant contacts? No. and they walked off together into the darkness. and you can get to know about it comfortably and decorously and. it's all there in black and white. They are my line. and. I don't know anything about them. A faint white glare. and I have been spared the tedious and revolting process of getting to know them by personal contact. of St. "Very interesting." said Henry Wimbush. For all I know. "I shall be glad. rising from behind a belt of trees. they give me no emotion. 86 . By reading I know a great deal of Caesar Borgia. But stamps. and neither you nor I know anything of your future. taking an electric torch out of his pocket. like love and friendship?" CHAPTER XXVIII. "but the spectacle of numbers of my fellow−creatures in a state of agitation moves in me a certain weariness. The music was nothing but a muffled rhythmic pulse. perhaps. What they think of me or of anything else in the world. indicated the position of the dancing− floor. a believer in perfectibility. Some of the higher notes faded out altogether. It's the same with current events. One can only hope to find out anything about them by a long series of the most disagreeable and boring human contacts. Wimbush continued. in the future. It's appalling. he cast a dim beam over two or three blackened sections of tree trunk. Primitives or seventeenth−century books−−yes. They don't interest me. I'm afraid. come. Johnson. tuneless and meaningless in their ears." Mr. which were lying forlornly in a little depression in the ground.
But I assure you. It turns out to be merely this. with a sigh. please. Nothing would be pleasanter than to read in a well−written book of an open−air ball that took place a century ago. leaning backwards." said the polite level voice. "I found myself. "No. At present people in search of pleasure naturally tend to congregate in large herds and to make a noise. in my bald style. "Why not?" he said. "You won't. if only we were!" Henry Wimbush added." He waved his hand in the direction of the acetylene flares. you must remember. quite fortuitously. an action as obvious. Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together. How charming! one would say. To−morrow the tents would be struck. involved in a series of the most phantasmagorical amorous intrigues." "I sometimes think that it may be. CHAPTER XXIX. how pretty and how amusing! But when the ball takes place to−day. "Ah. "No." Anne was saying in a breathless whisper. The world. Adventures and romance only take on their adventurous and romantic qualities at second−hand. 87 . A novelist could have made his fortune out of them. an ever−increasing number of people will discover that books will give them all the pleasures of social life and none of its intolerable tedium. blinking in the dazzling light. Gombauld relaxed his embrace a little." she retorted." he went on after a pause. when one finds oneself involved in it.Crome Yellow The black silhouette against the darkness shook its head. Wimbush. the dismantled merry−go−round would be packed into waggons and carted away. while I was actually performing this rather dangerous feat. "In my youth. no. In literature they become as charming as this dismal ball would be if we were celebrating its tercentenary. Crome Fair was over. As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread. then one sees the thing in its true light. The dancers had already dispersed and the last lights were being put out. a shabby brown patch in the wide green of the park. The proper study of mankind is books. An expanse of worn grass. and they are just a slice of life like the rest." They got up and began to walk slowly towards the white glare." They had come to the entrance of the enclosure and stood there. "Instead of which. "I must go and see if all is well on the dancing−floor." Her raised voice had become imperative. "You've tried to take the most unfair advantage of me. 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. he was wondering if Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together." said Denis. By the edge of the pool two figures lingered. "If all these people were dead. "The pleasures even of these contacts are much exaggerated.52 from Surbiton to go to business on a Monday morning. "It seems to me doubtful whether they are equal to the pleasures of private reading and contemplation. turning her head from side to side in an effort to escape Gombauld's kisses." Henry Wimbush went on. No. you would be amazed at the romantic tale. in future their natural tendency will be to seek solitude and quiet. the details of these adventures. as−−how shall I put it?−−as quotidian as catching the 8. It was after ten o'clock. no. would be all that remained. Live them. and even if I were to tell you. as much to be taken for granted." said Mr. is only just becoming literate. while they were happening−−these romantic adventures−−they seemed to me no more and no less exciting than any other incident of actual life." CHAPTER XXIX. "this festivity would be extremely agreeable. "I will. To climb by night up a rope−ladder to a second−floor window in an old house in Toledo seemed to me." With a sudden effort Anne freed herself.
clad in those flowered silk pyjamas of which he was so justly proud. Mr." "Luckily. eh?" Mr. he couldn't stand it. and if you try and kiss me again I shall box your ears. Denis had seen them. "you look disturbed. It was too much. But what difference does that make?" At this point the somnambulist suddenly woke up." Denis shook his head without replying. Scogan patted him on the arm. It's most distressing if one allows oneself to be distressed. "The night is delicious. who was walking up and down the hall smoking a final pipe. "What?" he said. "I know the feeling. Scogan ran to the foot of the stairs and called up after him. But then why allow oneself to be distressed? After all. When at last he looked up. "It's a most distressing symptom. blinking and frowning at his interlocutor. he would have burst into irrepressible tears.Crome Yellow "Unfair advantage?" echoed Gombauld in genuine surprise." Anne began in her most detached and conversational tone. "Call me a White Slaver and have done with it. he almost ran into Mr. You attack me after I've been dancing for two hours. "It makes no difference. When his pipe had burned itself to its stinking conclusion he took a drink of gin and went to bed." he repeated to himself. distressed. was it true? And is life really its own reward? He wondered." Gombauld laughed angrily. "What I like about the painting of Degas. 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. In another moment. Denis had mechanically undressed and. From where he stood. Denis stood there for a moment like a somnambulist. Dashing blindly into the house. I know exactly how you feel. But Denis was already far out of hearing. unfair advantage. the candle which he had left CHAPTER XXIX. while I'm still reeling drunk with the movement. depressed. none whatever. Time passed.. yes. Mr. Life is gay all the same.. They paced off slowly. Scogan. "What?" Then breaking away he dashed up the stairs." he added. raising his voice to a shout. his mind to−night was proof against all the consolations of philosophy." said Anne. he felt. the two pale figures in a patch of moonlight. "Worried about the cosmos." he said. He had seen the beginning of what promised to be an endless passionate embracement. 'What's the point of it all? All is vanity. What's the good of continuing to function if one's doomed to be snuffed out at last along with everything else?' Yes. In ten minutes he was deeply. innocently asleep. dazed and hardly conscious of what he was doing or where he was. damn Degas!" Gombauld was almost shouting." For answer Gombauld made an irritated noise. leaning in an attitude of despair against the parapet of the terrace. always. was lying face downwards on his bed. "Hullo!" said Mr. 88 . It was ungrammatical to begin with. and at the sight he had fled. Scogan. side by side. Scogan went on. we all know that there's no ultimate point. Shall we take a few turns round the pool?" she added. and even if he had not been. Scogan replaced his pipe between his teeth and resumed his meditative pacing. "Under any circumstances. far down by the pool's edge. two steps at a time. "I am now completely sobered. "What's the matter?" Mr. "Yes. when I've lost my head. "Oh. catching him by the arm. under whatever circumstances−−under whatever circumstances.
" said Denis. If she hadn't woken up as she did. was running her fingers through his tangled hair. and someone was lying on it. recovering himself. "What ARE you doing. now. Arrived at the servants' quarters under the roof. his dry. An hour later he was reposing with his head on Mary's knees. He made a gesture with his hand. He advanced towards the farther parapet. he turned round in the direction from which the voice had come. he could not afterwards remember what. and set his feet on the rungs. His misery assumed a certain solemnity. the drop was sheer there and uninterrupted. then turning to the right he opened a little door at the end of the corridor. He got up. It was a mood in which he might have done almost anything. looking perpendicularly down at the terrace seventy feet below. He had told her everything. he was lifted up on the wings of a kind of exaltation. sleepless eyes felt as though they had been bruised from behind. Then he looked down once more into the depths. opened the door. "I didn't know you were here. but the fact that he had said it aloud gave the utterance a peculiarly terrible significance. hot. and he was pale when. "Are you ill?" In the profound shadow that slept under the eastern parapet of the tower. His head ached. he hesitated. groping with his hands. desolate place? Was it to look at the moon? Was it to commit suicide? As yet he hardly knew. Denis uttered a cry of frightened surprise. Within was a pitch− dark cupboard−like boxroom. CHAPTER XXIX. the moonlit sky was over him. indeed!" he said. and she. He looked at his watch. with an affectionate solicitude that was wholly maternal. however foolish. Denis?" questioned a voice from somewhere very close behind him. and perhaps one might clear the narrow terrace and so crash down yet another thirty feet to the sun−baked ground below. stuffy. He found the ladder. What on earth were you doing?" Denis laughed melodramatically. and smelling of dust and old leather. His heart was beating terribly. and the blood was beating within his ears a loud arterial drum. It was from this den that the ladder went up to the leads of the western tower. He paused at the corner of the tower. and began to mount the stairs towards the higher floors. It was a mattress." she went on. noiselessly. cool air of the night. gazing out over the dim. In a moment he was standing on the leads. I hope?" Mary inquired. "It gave me a fright. it was a sort of manifestation of fidelity. Denis?" He sat down on the edge of the mattress. and very nearly went over the parapet in good earnest.Crome Yellow alight at his bedside had burned down almost to the socket. it was nearly half−past one. "What IS the matter. he would be lying in pieces at the bottom of the tower. "to wake up and see you waving your arms and gibbering there. muttered something. and for all reply went on laughing in the same frightful and improbable tone. looking now down into the shadowy gulf below. he breathed the fresh. "What. Death−−the tears came into his eyes when he thought of it. A good leap. Mary had slept out every evening. jumping too rapidly to conclusions. now up towards the rare stars and the waning moon. "You hadn't got designs on me. laughing more bitterly and artificially than before. he lifted the trap−door above his head. Why had he climbed up to this high. 89 . colourless landscape. He advanced cautiously into the blackness. he saw something he had not previously noticed−−an oblong shape. Since that first memorable night on the tower. tiptoed noiselessly along the passage. he was certain of that.
Mary invented a plan of action. In this condition he might have remained for another hour if he had not been disturbed by a violent rapping at the door. Denis had been called." "But I've arranged to stay here three weeks more. "You can't go on like this." Mary answered decisively.. There was another long pause. the church clock struck three. I can't go on like this. There was a silence." "I know I am. "I'd no idea it was so late." said Mary. "You'd better go away. it was also in giving it.. a hand seized him by the shoulder and he was rudely shaken. He had solemnly promised never to think of self− destruction again. his suicide−−as it were providentially averted by her interposition.that Gombauld. she might have guessed that Ivor wasn't precisely a monument of constancy. utterly dejected. "You must go to bed at once." advised Mary." he echoed." she concluded.. The latch clicked." "I'm sure of it." She wanted to cry. his jealousy. the candle had long ago guttered to extinction. "Get up. His room was dark. 90 . Startlingly. CHAPTER XXX. or very nearly everything. dozy state when sleep becomes a sensual pleasure almost consciously savoured. "Poor Mary!" He was very sorry for her. without opening his eyes. but in spite of the parted curtains he had dropped off again into that drowsy. Mary. cautiously descended the creaking stairs." asked Denis hesitatingly−−"do you really think that she. And it was not only in receiving sympathy that Denis found serenity and even a kind of happiness. get up!" CHAPTER XXX. "It's the safest thing. Still." he said at last. It was embalmed in the sympathy that Mary so generously poured. "Well.Crome Yellow everything: his hopeless love. can you?" "No. had told him in return everything. And now his soul was floating in a sad serenity. For if he had told Mary everything about his miseries. "Do you think." Denis clambered down the ladder. in the darkness." he mumbled." she said. He got into bed and fell asleep almost at once.. "one must put a good face on it. reacting to these confidences. about her own." "You must concoct an excuse. his despair. who was recovering all her firm self− possession. Immensely practical." "I suppose you're right. "I don't know what to do about it. "Come in. and the most sensible. but she wouldn't allow herself to be weak.
Scogan. why shouldn't he stay? He felt strong enough to stay. Everything seemed marvellously beautiful. who showed an unappeased desire to go on talking about the Universe." Denis enunciated. and their shaken foliage twinkled and glittered like metal in the sun. Scogan looking out." "Better?" "You were rather worried about the cosmos last night. Denis dressed as quickly as he could and ran up the road to the village post office.Crome Yellow His eyelids blinked painfully apart." Denis tried to laugh away the impeachment." said Mr. And even if he weren't strong enough. his tormentor retired. Denis started guiltily. strong enough to be aloof. I should be a happy man. thrusting in upon him over the top of the paper. wouldn't it?" "Awfully nice. sitting there. He looked out of the window. a decisive step taken −−and he so rarely took decisive steps." he said. "You must go and send the telegram. from the drawing−room window made him precipitately hoist the "Times" once more. And what if he had seen them embracing in the moonlight? Perhaps it didn't mean much after all. "I wish. Train leaves Waterloo 3. The sight of Mr.. Secure behind the crackling pages.. Satisfaction glowed within him as he returned. A wind stirred among the trees. No flowers.. and going over to the sideboard he helped himself to an agreeable mixture of bacon and fish. Great florid baroque clouds floated high in the blue heaven." he repeated aloud. It was with a whetted appetite that he came in to breakfast. 91 ." said Mr. At the thought that he would soon be leaving all this beauty he felt a momentary pang. and it would be nice if you could catch it. It was an act performed. "I don't know at all." said Mary. "that I had nothing worse to prey on my mind. "Action. raised the enormous bulwark of the "Times" against the possible assaults of Mr. and he saw Mary standing over him. but he comforted himself by recollecting how decisively he was acting. "Get up!" she repeated. "Was I?" he lightly asked. he was blowed if he'd let himself be hurried down to the Necropolis like this. and. a mere friendly acquaintance. Scogan. "What time do you think the telegram will arrive?" asked Mary suddenly. No.Mary was gone.. He had sent a long telegram. Scogan. bright−faced and earnest. Breakfast over. "I was only wondering. "I hope you're better. In the light of this brilliant morning the emotions of last night seemed somehow rather remote. Don't you remember?" "O Lord!" He threw off the bed−clothes.27.27." he agreed weakly. he felt pleased with himself. thinking of the telegram. "Good−morning. And even if it did." "One is only happy in action. with a hungry expression. He was blowed. he meditated. disinterested. "because there's a very good train at 3. For a long while he CHAPTER XXX. He felt as though he were making arrangements for his own funeral. Denis repaired to the terrace. which would in a few hours evoke an answer ordering him back to town at once−−on urgent business.
"I become more and more convinced that the various parts of the concern are fundamentally discrete.−−the woman who was a tree." he mumbled. They were taking their after luncheon coffee in the library when the telegram arrived." He frowned at the telegram ferociously.. amused." She sat down on the bench beside him. Denis. Denis blushed guiltily as he took the orange envelope from the salver and tore it open. quite charming. I think. was what I was saying. he found himself. utterly miserable. with what astonishment! confronted by Anne's faint.Thank you. Denis was speechless. crossed the terrace with clockwork rapidity. "And if you would shift a few inches to the left. I suppose. Discrete. "Why don't you wear white trousers?" she asked. She was standing before him. "To go on with our interesting conversation about the cosmos. "I'm afraid. Lowering it at last to take another cautious peep at his surroundings. "But you've only been here such a short time. "It's urgent." "They're at the wash. "Oh." he repeated desperately. impossible. please. He was a nice boy." she said airily." he began. hesitated in a horrible uncertainty. It was the first time he had ever had the courage to utter a personal remark of the kind." he said.Crome Yellow kept it hoisted." said Anne. Urgent family business." cried Anne." It was too ridiculous. This white− trouser business was all in the wrong spirit. moving a shade to your right?" He wedged himself between them on the bench." Denis replied rather curtly..−−the swaying grace of her movement arrested in a pose that seemed itself a movement. and Gombauld's violent insistences were really becoming rather tiresome. malicious smile. "But that's absurd.. 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. Mary's large blue china eyes were fixed upon him. my dear Anne.. "How long have you been standing there?" he asked.But would you mind. "Don't bludgeon me. Scogan suddenly darted out of the house. "You were so very deep in your paper−−head over ears−−I didn't like to disturb you. "I like you so much in white trousers. "What's your telegram about?" Mary asked significantly." Denis exclaimed." "You look lovely this morning. He lost his head. but at Denis's words she came swaying across the room towards him. about half an hour. He blushed more deeply than ever. She had been standing by the window talking to Gombauld. when Mr." Anne protested. when he had done gaping at her. seriously. and came to a halt in front of the bench on which they were seated. CHAPTER XXX. Anne held up her hand as though to ward off a blow. He was just preparing a scheme to manoeuvre the conversation back to the proper path. "Return at once." "You were. penetratingly. Oh. "I know. "I'm afraid this means I shall have to go back to town at once. 92 . if only she could understand! Women were supposed to have intuition. she thought.
good−bye." she said. it's urgent family business. Denis turned towards her. quoting Landor with an exquisite aptness. Never again. 93 ." He looked at the telegram again for inspiration. And what on earth was he going to do in London when he got there? He climbed wearily up the stairs. A sudden smile lighted up his lugubrious face. Priscilla got up from her chair in some excitement. Obediently Denis left the room. The whole party had assembled to see him go.'" he said. "'It sinks and I am ready to depart. brushing Mrs." she said. Good−bye. This was what came of action. Nobody had noticed. London. I must." said Mr. Mechanically he tapped the barometer that hung in the porch." he explained." She looked at the clock on the mantelpiece. Wimbush out of the conversation. and then. the needle stirred perceptibly to the left. He abandoned himself hopelessly. It was awful. awful. Mary looked at the clock again." said Mary. Scogan. "I had a distinct presentiment of this last night." said Anne. He looked quickly round from face to face.27. "You see. If only he'd just let things drift! If only. Knipswich for Timpany. The car was at the door−−the hearse. "I think perhaps you ought to go and pack. "You'll have nice time to pack. he must." "A mere coincidence. West Bowlby. "Yes. The thought of the journey appalled him. He climbed into the hearse." Henry Wimbush rang the bell. never again would he do anything decisive. The funeral was well under way. "I shall miss your conversation. Spavin Delawarr. he said to himself." "I'll order the motor at once. CHAPTER XXX. Camlet.. "There's a very good train at 3.Crome Yellow "If he must go. It was time for him to lay himself in his coffin. no doubt.. and then all the other stations." put in Mary firmly. fatalistically to his destiny. "A distinct presentiment. finally. she really did look wretched. "I am wretched you should be going. of doing something decisive.
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