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