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Table of Contents
Crome Yellow......................................................................................................................................................1 Aldous Huxley.........................................................................................................................................1 CHAPTER I.............................................................................................................................................1 CHAPTER II...........................................................................................................................................3 . CHAPTER III..........................................................................................................................................6 CHAPTER IV..........................................................................................................................................9 CHAPTER V.........................................................................................................................................13 CHAPTER VI........................................................................................................................................15 CHAPTER VII.......................................................................................................................................20 CHAPTER VIII.....................................................................................................................................23 CHAPTER IX........................................................................................................................................25 CHAPTER X.........................................................................................................................................29 CHAPTER XI........................................................................................................................................31 CHAPTER XII.......................................................................................................................................33 CHAPTER XIII.....................................................................................................................................36 CHAPTER XIV.....................................................................................................................................43 CHAPTER XV......................................................................................................................................44 CHAPTER XVI.....................................................................................................................................46 CHAPTER XVII....................................................................................................................................48 CHAPTER XVIII..................................................................................................................................53 . CHAPTER XIX.....................................................................................................................................55 CHAPTER XX......................................................................................................................................62 CHAPTER XXI.....................................................................................................................................65 CHAPTER XXII....................................................................................................................................67 CHAPTER XXIII..................................................................................................................................71 . CHAPTER XXIV..................................................................................................................................72 CHAPTER XXV...................................................................................................................................75 . CHAPTER XXVI..................................................................................................................................79 CHAPTER XXVII.................................................................................................................................80 CHAPTER XXVIII...............................................................................................................................85 . CHAPTER XXIX..................................................................................................................................87 CHAPTER XXX...................................................................................................................................90 .
• Chapter I • Chapter II • Chapter III • Chapter IV • Chapter V • Chapter VI • Chapter VII • Chapter VIII • Chapter IX • Chapter X • Chapter XI • Chapter XII • Chapter XIII • Chapter XIV • Chapter XV • Chapter XVI • Chapter XVII • Chapter XVIII • Chapter XIX • Chapter XX • Chapter XXI • Chapter XXII • Chapter XXIII • Chapter XXIV • Chapter XXV • Chapter XXVI • Chapter XXVII • Chapter XXVIII • Chapter XXIX • Chapter XXX This page copyright © 2001 Blackmask Online. http://www.blackmask.com
Along this particular stretch of line no express had ever passed. All the trains−−the few that there were−−stopped at all the stations. Denis knew the names of those stations by heart. Bole, Tritton, Spavin Delawarr, Knipswich for Timpany, West Bowlby, and, finally, Camlet−on−the−Water. Camlet was where he always got out, leaving the train to creep indolently onward, goodness only knew whither, into the green heart of England. They were snorting out of West Bowlby now. It was the next station, thank Heaven. Denis took his chattels off the rack and piled them neatly in the corner opposite his own. A futile proceeding. But one must have something to do. When he had finished, he sank back into his seat and closed his eyes. It was extremely hot. Crome Yellow 1
scooped in the flanks of the ridge beneath him. or read the one illuminating book. the treeless sky−lines that changed as he moved−−yes. "A green machine. But he really must find that word. Curves curves. And within a radius of twenty miles there were always Norman churches and Tudor mansions to be seen in the course of an afternoon's excursion. he had had hundreds of hours. none.. He was overcome by the beauty of those deeply embayed combes. so much−−written the perfect poem. He was a large. The far−away blue hills. and had to put them down again in order to open the door. "A bicycle!" Denis repeated. The guard paid no attention. He was twenty−three. Instead of which−−his gorge rose at the smell of the dusty cushions against which he was leaning. sir. he felt his spirits mounting. but it was French. and pushed off on his bicycle.Crome Yellow Oh. Galbe. Cumbrous locutions.. they seemed the dinted imprints of some huge divine body that had rested on these hills. Anything might be done in that time. It was in that tone that he must have spoken to his children when they were tiresome.. Galbe. "All in good time. pudeur: vertu. this journey! It was two hours cut clean out of his life. but continued methodically to hand out. When at last he had safely bundled himself and his baggage on to the platform. What was the word to describe the curves of those little valleys? They were as fine as the lines of a human body. Denis jumped up. He always took his bicycle when he went into the country. that was inadequate." "All in good time. Once at the top of the long hill which led up from Camlet station. and that one fine morning one really might get up at six. Denis groaned in the spirit. deranged his pile of baggage. to be alive? None. Misery and a nameless nostalgic distress possessed him. The train came bumpingly to a halt. Crome Yellow 2 . the harvests whitening on the slopes of the ridge along which his road led him. One day one would get up at six o'clock and pedal away to Kenilworth. they were informed with the subtlety of art. the packages labelled to Camlet. Anything. Somehow they never did get seen. surrounded by a numerous family. Two hours. He left his luggage to be called for later. but through them he seemed to be getting nearer to what he wanted. seized a bag in either hand.. What right had he to sit in the sunshine. goulu: parfum. drinking tea. for example. they were all good. or Stratford−on−Avon−−anywhere. crammed his hat over his eyes. He felt himself a man of action. none. to occupy corner seats in third−class carriages. gonfle. Nothing. was good. two hours in which he might have done so much. as though to scoop the achieved expression out of the air. potele. but all the same it was nice to feel that the bicycle was there. these. One hundred and twenty minutes. one by one. stately man with a naval beard. sir. curves: he repeated the word slowly. and what had he done with them? Wasted them. 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. volupte. leaned out of the window and shouted for a porter. trying as he did so to find some term in which to give expression to his appreciation. a bicycle!" he said breathlessly to the guard. Curves. Curves−− no. "A bicycle. That was a good word. One pictured him at home. and oh! so agonizingly conscious of the fact.Those little valleys had the lines of a cup moulded round a woman's breast. pervers. Oh. It was part of the theory of exercise. condemned himself utterly with all his works." said the guard soothingly. Here was Camlet at last." Denis's man of action collapsed. S−T−O−N−E. punctured. he found. spilt the precious minutes as though his reservoir were inexhaustible. He made a gesture with his hand. name of Stone. peau. The world. and almost fell off his bicycle. Dinted. he ran up the train towards the van. cross−framed.
The house basked in full sunlight. on the opposite slope. Five minutes later he was passing through the gate of the great courtyard. its Chinese sculptures. She had never referred to it. something of Anne. Becoming once more aware of the outer world." He read at hazard: ". with its great mahogany table. how would he people these empty chambers? There was the long gallery. How ripe and rich it was. in the morning−room. how austere! The hill was becoming steeper and steeper. There was the library. where the huge chintz−covered arm−chairs stood. irritation. "What genius I had then!" he reflected. The front door stood hospitably open.. deserted Pompeii. perhaps. steep and straight. What could one reconstruct from such data? There was much of Henry Wimbush in the long gallery and the library. stood Crome. dateless furniture. the old brick rosily glowed. with its rows of respectable and (though. swaying into the little restaurant where they sometimes dined together in London−−three quarters of an hour late. one couldn't publicly admit it) rather boring Italian primitives. There was the morning−room. He left his bicycle leaning against the wall and walked in. there was nobody to take. and in a moment was rushing headlong down. What tact! He picked it up and opened it. echoing the aged Swift. hoping that the poem would tell her what he hadn't dared to say.. perhaps. It was what the reviewers call "a slim volume. Lying on the table in the morning−room he saw his own book of poems. Denis wandered from room to empty room. He shut his eyes and saw a vision of her in a red velvet cloak.But silence and the topless dark Vault in the lights of Luna Park. There was the panelled drawing− room. It was nearly six months since the book had been published. and dark. rich in portentous folios. Among the accumulations of ten generations the living had left but few traces.Crome Yellow dimpled. wimpled−−his mind wandered down echoing corridors of assonance and alliteration ever further and further from the point. He put on his brakes. the slim Hamadryad whose movements were like the swaying of a young tree in the wind. its modern pictures. book−lined from floor to ceiling. he would go and see. He would take them by surprise. He took nobody by surprise. spacious. What sort of life would the excavator reconstruct from these remains. And Blackpool from the nightly gloom Hollows a bright tumultuous tomb. at all the little untidy signs of life that lay scattered here and there. too. "The Woman who was a Tree" was what he had called the poem. a little higher up the valley. she was damnable! It occurred to him that perhaps his hostess might be in her boudoir. it was amusing to wander through the house as though one were exploring a dead. of course. oases of comfort among the austere flesh−mortifying antiques. All was quiet. he was gaining speed in spite of his brakes. with its pale lemon walls. The road plunged down. The facade with its three projecting towers rose precipitously from among the dark trees of the garden. There. its eighteenth−century pictures−−family portraits. 3 . He loosed his grip of the levers. He was rather glad that they were all out. A little staircase cork−screwed up to it CHAPTER II. He had given her the book when it came out. There was the dining−room. into a considerable valley. he was glad to think he would never write anything of the same sort again. he found himself on the crest of a descent. Perhaps. He was enamoured with the beauty of words. haggard with anxiety. its eighteenth−century chairs and sideboard. It was a possibility. Mrs. CHAPTER II. and sighed. he wondered? Anne. its painted Venetian chairs and rococo tables. his destination. That was all. hunger. Oh. Who could have been reading it. how superbly mellow! And at the same time. its unobtrusive. and he at his table. shook his head. portwinily English. its mirrors. he liked to think so. cool. looking with pleasure at the familiar pictures and furniture. Wimbush's boudoir was in the central tower on the garden front. this view of Crome was pleasant to linger over. she had at last recognised herself in the Hamadryad of the poplar sapling. solidly. meticulous animal paintings." He put it down again.
For the first time in his life Henry asserted himself. "Hullo. She had gambled too." "Well." he replied. and sprightlier−−had lost a great deal of money. "What have you been doing all this time?" she asked. Now"−−she paused an instant−−"well." Denis would have liked to hear more about the Old Days. Henry Wimbush was forced to sell some of his Primitives−−a Taddeo da Poggibonsi. it seemed." said Denis deprecatingly. by way of revenge. with a massive projecting nose and little greenish eyes. "Well. Sing in op−pop−pop−pop−pop−popera. here I am." Ah. still frigid and mono−syllabic. her laughter. without even being aware that she had interrupted him. a gambit in the polite game. before I had the Stars to help me. it asked for no answer. In the Old Days. But he was too discreet and. I'm afraid. made her look more than ever like something on the Halls. "Come in. and with good effect. she was there. It would be a pleasure to give it utterance. That's the Stars. middle−aged face." she said. Priscilla Wimbush was lying on the sofa. he had rather hoped she wouldn't be. tapped at the door. isn't it? Everything is in the Stars. "To begin with. 4 . but all put it high. look at that four hundred on the Grand National. It was a little conversational flourish. There had been something of a bust up. Everything about her was manly. Her voice. and he hesitated. I used to lose thousands. almost voluptuously. "You find me busy at my horoscopes. A blotting−pad rested on her knees and she was thoughtfully sucking the end of a silver pencil. A little pained. too shy to ask. dropped it in handfuls and hatfuls on every race−course in the country. But he was too late. She had a large. square. Looking at her. The costume. "I'd forgotten you were coming." Mrs.Crome Yellow from the hall. CHAPTER II. He contented himself. "I'm awfully sorry." she said. Mrs. were deep and masculine. Denis mounted. that was all he knew. an Amico di Taddeo. There was a crisis." he said." Today she was wearing a purple silk dress with a high collar and a row of pearls. Wimbush's question had been what the grammarians call rhetorical. "Wonderful. Wimbush laughed.. the whole surmounted by a lofty and elaborate coiffure of a curiously improbable shade of orange. Denis always thought of Wilkie Bard as the cantatrice. looking up. and four or five nameless Sienese−−to the Americans. "Did I tell you how I won four hundred on the Grand National this year?" "Yes. still more. Old Priscilla−−not so old then. "That's why I'm going to Sing in op'ra. with saying "Oh?" rather icily. Denis decided to reserve his story for more receptive ears. of course. He had a tremendously amusing account of London and its doings all ripe and ready in his mind. The number of thousands varied in the different legends. so richly dowagerish.. so suggestive of the Royal Family. He opened the door. She must have told him at least six times. sing in op'ra." said Denis.
and one's Aura. "Such a pity you don't believe in these things. not personally. Denis. There's rather a good thing about that in Barbecue−Smith's new book. you know. theatre. you'd think. as the stars dictated. I have the Stars. "And then there's the next world and all the spirits. Pleasure−−running about. and making suitable gestures with her free hand. Nowadays she spent almost all her time at Crome. Besant. and had a large notebook in which she registered the horoscopes of all the players in all the teams of the League. distinct voice. but no. Barbecue−Smith was a name in the Sunday papers. fascinated. Denis looked at it. tea. and the Christian Mysteries and Mrs. for she was somewhat long−sighted." she explained. that's all it was. he wondered." Denis knew of him vaguely." he said." "Ah." she waved her hand. Wimbush in her deep. or was it one of those Complete Transformations one sees in the advertisements? CHAPTER II. nothing you do is ever insignificant." She turned over the pages of the book. "Who?" "Mr. It was fun. Eddy and saying you're not ill." said Mrs. and Henry. Her passion for racing still possessed her. "I can't say I feel it so. Here am I at Crome. and she invested her money scientifically. I don't find it so.. what are quarter million incomes?'" She looked up from the page with a histrionic movement of the head. I can't think how I used to get on before−−in the Old Days.. It makes life so jolly. One's never dull for a moment. Barbecue−Smith. Lunch. Where is it?" She sat up and reached for a book that was lying on the little table by the head of the sofa. she began to read. of course. such a pity. slowly. allowed her forty pounds a month betting money. The process of balancing the horoscopes of two elevens one against the other was a very delicate and difficult one. "(I thought I'd like to have a little fling on the billiards championship this autumn." She picked up the sheet of paper that was lying on the blotting− pad. He wrote about the Conduct of Life. She betted on football too.) I have the Infinite to keep in tune with. Dull as ditchwater. her orange coiffure nodded portentously. 5 . supper every day. "'What are thousand pound fur coats. dramatically. You've no idea how amusing and exciting life becomes when you do believe. "No. and Mrs. cultivating a rather ill−defined malady. But there wasn't much left of it afterwards. that's because you don't know what it's like to have faith. All that happens means something. by the way?" she asked. "I've invited him for next week−end. while it lasted. 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. "Do you know him. "Inman's horoscope. He might even be the author of "What a Young Girl Ought to Know". who was a kind−hearted fellow at bottom. Was it the Real Thing and henna. Most of Priscilla's days were spent in casting the horoscopes of horses. It's all splendid." Holding the book almost at arm's length. dinner.Crome Yellow Priscilla's gay and gadding existence had come to an abrupt end. For consolation she dallied with New Thought and the Occult. "Here's the passage I was thinking of. I don't regret the Old Days a bit. I marked it. just running about. I always mark the things I like.
.." She leaned forward. The terrace in front of the house was a long narrow strip of turf.' Ah. striding beneath the trailing silk. and the birds of the air come to drink and bathe themselves in its crystal waters. She hoisted herself up from the sofa and went swishing off across the room. "'They are nothing.. It lies in a little dell embowered with wild roses and eglantine. had the almost menacing aspect of a fortification−−a castle bastion. On the farther side of the stream the land rose again in a long slope. among which the nightingale pours forth its amorous descant all the summer long. you know. at the bottom of the valley." She held up the book again and read. sing in op'ra. from the balusters to the sloping lawn beneath was a drop of thirty feet. from whose parapet one looked out across airy depths to distances level with the eye. from sentence to sentence.sent for a pair of field− glasses to make sure. but those unseen are a thousand times more significant. Two little summer−houses of brick stood at either end. Denis followed her. "'What are the gaieties of the Rich. but uttered a non− committal "H'm. the gleam of the narrow river. Barbecue−Smith was tossed on the floor. which had risen in tone.saw them out of my window. It's time we went to see if tea's ready." said Priscilla..mixed bathing. speaking in a confidential whisper. built like the house itself of brick.'" Mrs. "Beautiful. Below the house the ground sloped very steeply away." said Priscilla. lay the stone−brimmed swimming−pool. and that reminds me. the splendours of the Powerful. in the foreground. Seen from below. Vanity. questioningly. fluff. what are the gaudy pleasures of High Society?'" The voice.no doubt of it. its green expanses of grass. bounded along its outer edge by a graceful stone balustrade. and the terrace was a remarkably high one. one by one. Denis laughed too. It is the unseen that counts in Life." CHAPTER III.. from under her thumb. "'A Friend of mine has a Lotus Pool in his garden. Within the pool the Lotuses blossom. the high unbroken terrace wall.. We gave the village people leave to come and bathe here in the evenings. chequered with cultivation. isn't it?" she said.. 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. it's a fine book this. The things that matter happen in the heart. with its massive elms. ". it must be a Transformation−− bobbed up again. faintly humming to himself: "That's why I'm going to Sing in op'ra... Seen things are sweet." Priscilla exclaimed." And then the little twiddly bit of accompaniment at the end: "ra−ra. a beautiful book. Sing in op−pop−pop−pop−popera. hedged in by solid masses of sculptured yew trees. He compares the Soul to a Lotus Pool.. 6 .. what is the pride of the Great." "Ah.. Looking up the valley. "And here's the passage about the Lotus Pool. to the right. dandelion seed in the wind. dropped suddenly and boomed reply. You've no idea of the things that happened. Wimbush lowered the book. as she let the pages flick back. and. CHAPTER III. every now and then she uttered a deep gurgle of laughter. Denis preferred not to hazard an opinion. thin vapours of fever. one saw a line of blue. Below. Beyond it stretched the park." The laughter broke out again. far−off hills.Crome Yellow "'What are Thrones and Sceptres?'" The orange Transformation−−yes.
She was perhaps thirty. he laughed. had a tilted nose and a pink− and−white complexion. Scogan looked far older and. at the same time. clipped like a page's. His movements were marked by the lizard's disconcertingly abrupt clockwork speed. Next to Mary a small gaunt man was sitting. The skin of his wrinkled brown face had a dry and scaly look. lazy laughter. his dark eye had the shining quickness of a robin's. who might be thirty. even. That laughter−−how well he knew it! What emotions it evoked in him! He quickened his pace. he made quick gestures with his hands. Next him. and wore her brown hair plaited and coiled in two lateral buns over her ears. CHAPTER III. and her brown eyes were like very bright round marbles. In the secret tower of her deafness she sat apart. sat Jenny Mullion. serenely without expression. slender body reposed in an attitude of listless and indolent grace. Her long. Was it surprising that Anne should like him? Like him?−−it might even be something worse. a black− haired young corsair of thirty. 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. From the depths of the chair came up a sound of soft. Gombauld was leaning over it. like a gay melody dancing over an unchanging fundamental bass. Henry Wimbush's school−fellow and exact contemporary. Scogan was like one of those extinct bird−lizards of the Tertiary. He was jealous of his talent: if only he wrote verse as well as Gombauld painted pictures! Still more. with more hair and less collar. but Gombauld was altogether and essentially human. Indeed. 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 anything. But across this dollish mask. 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. 7 . his hands were the hands of a crocodile. with its long−lashed. Between Gombauld and Mr. He was one of those ageless. rather handsome face had never grown any older. She was Henry Wimbush's own niece. but separated from him and from the rest of the world by the almost impenetrable barriers of her deafness. his vitality.Crome Yellow The tea−table had been planted in the shade of one of the little summer−houses. In her low deck−chair Anne was nearer to lying than to sitting. and the rest of the party was already assembled about it when Denis and Priscilla made their appearance. Henry Wimbush had begun to pour out the tea. winter and summer−− unageing. unchanging men on the farther side of fifty. Denis reflected bitterly. Scogan a very much lowered deck−chair presented its back to the new arrivals as they advanced towards the tea−table. Denis started as he heard it. But there was nothing soft or gracious or feathery about him. Scogan might look like an extinct saurian. when the oval face. for she was smiling to herself. he envied Gombauld his looks. but one wouldn't have guessed it. expressed nothing. with flashing teeth and luminous large dark eyes. Mr. In appearance Mr. far more youthfully alive than did that gentle aristocrat with the face like a grey bowler. whose expression was one of ingenuous and often puzzled earnestness. hung in a bell of elastic gold about her cheeks. appearing in its female members as a blank doll−face. His nose was beaked. In all those years his pale. Even now some interior joke seemed to be amusing her. She had large blue china eyes. She was nearly twenty−three. Her short hair. looking down at the world through sharply piercing eyes. calm. moonlike innocence of Mary Bracegirdle's face shone pink and childish. when it was no more than a lazy mask of wax. he smiled. and dry. Gombauld would have been completely Byronic−−more than Byronic. Mr. his speech was thin. rigid and erect in his chair. Denis looked at him enviously. fluty. at the moment. In her enigmatic remoteness Jenny was a little disquieting. his easy confidence of manner. for Gombauld was of Provencal descent. as he walked at Priscilla's side down the long grass terrace. that bowler−like countenance was one of the Wimbush heirlooms. And indeed there were moments when she seemed nothing more than a doll. it ran in the family. passed Anne's other inheritance−−quick laughter. Denis had known him almost as long as he could remember. his face moved vivaciously. On his other side the serious.
"to begin with. he carries CHAPTER III.. Whether they were laid down by the monks in the fifteenth century." said Denis desperately." said Denis. you know. Wimbush went on softly and implacably. The moment had come. Jenny?" he shouted to her. "What have you been writing lately?" she asked. She was smiling now as Denis looked down at her: her cat's smile. Denis found an empty chair between Gombauld and Jenny and sat down. 8 . Little Percy. Scogan. smiling happily. "there was the Ballet. "You've been writing prose?" "Yes. "Oh. the tremendously amusing narrative was waiting for utterance.." "Has Priscilla told you of our great antiquarian find?" Henry Wimbush leaned forward. Scogan pounced alarmingly on the word. "What about?" Denis felt rather uncomfortable. For some time past Mary's grave blue eyes had been fixed upon him. he was damped. as though the subject of her health were a secret that could not be publicly divulged. He didn't even want to tell his tale about London now.. and the changing expressions of many moods. "I'll describe the plot for you. "To begin with. was never good at games." said Denis−−"just verse and prose." "Of course." "Not a novel?" "Yes. "How are you. but he was always clever. "Oh. The mouth was compressed." "Prose?" Mr. Very interesting indeed. He passes through the usual public school and the usual university and comes to London.Crome Yellow light ironic amusement. Wimbush had finished. or whether. where he lives among the artists. An infinity of slightly malicious amusement lurked in those little folds. "quite extraordinary!" He helped himself to another slice of cake. just tree trunks with a hole bored through the middle. "we dug up fifty yards of oaken drain−pipes. He is bowed down with melancholy thought. in the puckers about the half−closed eyes. when Mr." "Last week. he called it. Scogan groaned." Denis listened gloomily. the hero. verse and prose. for no very good reason. "Extraordinary!" he said. about the usual things. and on either side of it two tiny wrinkles had formed themselves in her cheeks. "Well. Jenny nodded and smiled in mysterious silence... the most promising of buds was nipped." Mr. in the eyes themselves." "My poor Denis!" exclaimed Mr.. bright and laughing between the narrowed lids." Mr. It would be nice to have a little literary conversation. "How's London been since I went away?" Anne inquired from the depth of her chair. The preliminary greetings spoken.
His hair might have been more golden. And her speech was punctuated by little gasps. with a silk shirt and his new peach− coloured tie. 9 . Mary. As for the artist. only two chapters were written. Denis woke up next morning to find the sun shining. Especially in Paris. CHAPTER IV. to be much moved by the story of his spiritual troubles. And after all. He decided to wear white flannel trousers−−white flannel trousers and a black jacket. heroes. husbands. He lay in bed for several minutes considering the problem. Most of the party had already finished their breakfast. Scogan paid no attention to his denial. dipsomaniacs.Crome Yellow the whole weight of the universe upon his shoulders. 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. "My novel is not in the least like that. CHAPTER IV. Scogan hastened to explain. discreetly padded. 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. just as Professor Radium of "Comic Cuts" is its stock man of science. but there was something rather pleasing about the notion of black patent leather." he said. he reflected. "You're entirely wrong. into the luminous Future. Tschuplitski." It was a heroic lie. Before he went down−−patent leather was his final choice−−he looked at himself critically in the glass. but it would pass." "I entirely disagree with you.. you're a bore. "Not at all. its yellowness had the hint of a greenish tinge in it. But his coat was very well cut and. Mr. But his forehead was good. Jean−Christophe is the stock artist of literature. Scogan. and the like is really not worth writing again. even in Germany and Russia. He writes a novel of dazzling brilliance. But as a combiner of forms." said Mr. at the end of the book." Denis blushed scarlet. he descended the stairs. the sky serene.." said Gombauld. he reflected. He found himself alone with Jenny. and I've always found their mentality very interesting. in their white casing. my dear Gombauld. you must honestly admit it. for example−−I saw a great deal of Tschuplitski in Paris this spring. he dabbles delicately in Amour and disappears. His eyes might have been blue and not green. "As a lover or a dipsomaniac." Mr. Luckily. like myself. His forehead made up in height what his chin lacked in prominence. there are more adults than adolescents. As it was. I've no doubt of your being a most fascinating specimen. His legs. But you can't expect an ordinary adult man." 'I'm sorry to hear I'm as uninteresting as all that. "You are a femme superieure. "I've known a great many artists. even in England. His nose might have been longer." exclaimed Mary. Mr. He would tear them up that very evening when he unpacked. Scogan had described the plan of his novel with an accuracy that was appalling." "Ah. you're an exception. made him seem robuster than he actually was. A serious book about artists regarded as artists is unreadable." A flush of pleasure turned Mary's face into a harvest moon. He made an effort to laugh. She was somehow always out of breath when she talked. Satisfied. were long and elegant. and a book about artists regarded as lovers. And what shoes? White was the obvious choice. but then you're an exception.
By this time he had got to the Court Circular and the Forthcoming Weddings. "But we had such awful thunderstorms last week. He might talk for ever of care−charmer sleep and she of meteorology till the end of time." she exclaimed. isn't it lovely?" Jenny replied." he said. "Certainly not. "You speak as though I were a child in a new frock. when at last she heard what Denis was saying. She just smiled at him. When you're lying down you're out of the current. "Don't you think so? Or are you above being frightened?" "No. Has anyone been suggesting that I am?" "No. she entered the ivory tower of her deafness and closed the door. One is so much safer lying down. For lack of anything better to say.Crome Yellow "I hope you slept well." said Jenny. these thunderstorms." "Did he?" Jenny lowered her voice." There was a silence. Denis. "because lightning goes downwards and not flat ways. Scogan's absurd phrase was for some reason running in his head." said Denis." he said. smiled and occasionally nodded. rather indignantly." "That's very ingenious. "you look perfectly sweet in your white trousers. An hour later. Jenny was only a little more parallel than most. she found him still reading. "They are very alarming. 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. "Yes. meet only at infinity. a Hamadryad in white muslin. CHAPTER IV." Parallel straight lines. He got up to meet her as she approached. when Anne came down. I always go to bed in a storm. "No. Denis reflected. Did one ever establish contact with anyone? We are all parallel straight lines. Denis went out on to the terrace to smoke his after−breakfast pipe and to read his morning paper. with a show of irritation. making a descriptive gesture." Denis was dreadfully taken aback. giving two rapid little nods. Denis finished his porridge and helped himself to bacon. "Shall I tell you what I think of that man? I think he's slightly sinister. 10 ." he said. "Mr. There was no possible retort. could not induce her even to listen." she said. across the grass. helping himself to porridge." "Why?" "Because. Scogan told Mary she was one. and because Mr. Denis could not induce her to say anything more." "It's true. "Why." Having made this pronouncement.
Pomponazzi. Anne had sat down on a bench that stood in the shade of an old apple tree. his pride was hurt. He was put out. separated from it by a huge Babylonian wall of yews." said Anne. I find it humiliating. startlingly and suddenly. "Do I?" and then there was to be a pregnant silence." "You may regret your education. Education again.Crome Yellow "But that's how I feel about you.." "I like that. Iamblichus." she said." "But I can't help it. and one sees so few people and so little of the world. It was provoking. "Four years older. One reads so many. in which he was to lead off with." he said−−"books. "Books. "'In fragrant volleys they let fly. I'm so much older than you. The July borders blazed and flared under the sun. CHAPTER IV. while the other loutish birds.. and you found yourself." said Denis. you opened a wicket in a wall. That's what comes of the higher education. if you didn't think you were going to look sweet in them?" "Let's go into the garden. And I like the way the tits cling to the flowers and pick out the seeds. why shouldn't I say so? And why did you put them on." "And if you do look perfectly sweet in your white trousers. Look at those sunflowers! Aren't they magnificent?" "Dark faces and golden crowns−−they're kings of Ethiopia. and she was to answer. For colour there was the flower−garden. "I'm ashamed of my lack of it. ye firemen! Oh how sweet And round your equal fires do meet. "You look adorable this morning. Within its high brick walls the garden was like a great tank of warmth and perfume and colour. and took a deep breath of the warm. 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. And now she had got in first with the trousers." Denis apologized. but walked backwards and forwards in front of the bench." He was silent. He did not sit down. "As I never know the context or author. at all hours and seasons. it lay to one side of the pool. And then there are lots of lovely names and words−−Monophysite. But echoes to the eye and smell. It always comes back to that. It was a landscape in black and white.' How does it go? "'Well shot. gesticulating a little as he talked. the dark shapes of yew and ilex trees remained." "Then you oughtn't to. the conversation had taken such a preposterous and unexpected turn. You passed through a tunnel in the hedge.'" "You have a bad habit of quoting. Things somehow seem more real and vivid when one can apply somebody else's ready−made phrase about them. in the world of colour." he said. "It's the fault of one's education.. Whose shrill report no ear can tell. grubbing dirtily for their food. Denis dear." or something of the kind. the dominant features of the scene. I'm afraid. "I'm listening." he said." said Anne. Denis held open the little iron gate for his companion. The silver of water.. you bring them out triumphantly. It was as beautiful by moonlight as in the sun. and feel you've clinched the argument with the mere magical sound of them. 11 . Do they look up in envy? That's the literary touch. flower−scented air. look up in envy from the ground. He had planned a very different opening. "It's like passing from a cloister into an Oriental palace.
and through their half−closed lids her eyes shone with laughter." "You're like Scogan." "Nothing−−for you. One should have lived first and then made one's philosophy to fit life. "My poor Denis!" Anne was touched. sometimes he waved his arms. There's nothing more to be said. He sat down. but not a sound issued from his lips. "But it's a lesson to be learnt gradually." said Denis. "It's so much simpler. I can enjoy nothing as it comes along. As for women. ideas. and to−day he looked charming−−charming! One entered the world." Mentally he shouted the words. I have to say that art is the process by which one reconstructs the divine reality out of chaos. Pleasure is one of the mystical roads to union with the infinite−−the ecstasies of drinking. one's pushed out into the world." "What I need is you." "Of course it is. he would−−he would. avoids the nasty ones." "No. I must have read twenty or thirty tons of them in the last five years. CHAPTER IV. then. I should like to see myself believing that men are the highway to divinity. I make up a little story about beauty and pretend that it has something to do with truth and goodness." He went on walking up and down. love−making. you were born a pagan. "What I need is you. "You regard me as a specimen for an anthropologist." "I've always taken things as they come. dancing." said Anne. Denis. "that anyone should have been a victim to them. 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. was silent a moment. But. as though she were at a lecture.Life. Well. and drew in her skirt with a gesture that indicated that he was to sit down beside her." she protested. You've no idea how many there are. in life all was obscure. fell. women−−I have to invent an excuse. art. embroiled." The amused malice of her smile planted two little folds on either side of her mouth. He was a nice boy. Beauty. Anne looked and listened quietly. "But does one suffer about these things? It seems very extraordinary. and a little congenial but regular work. horribly unhappy? Denis came to a halt in front of the bench. even the most difficult of them. that was what he wanted passionately to say. pleasure. His desire fought against his shyness. In the world of ideas everything was clear. no. I can take nothing for granted. things were horribly complicated. Was it surprising that one was miserable. Twenty tons of ratiocination. He looked at her despairingly. a justification for everything that's delightful.." cried Denis bitterly." That was what he ought to have retorted. and then talked on." He would say it. One enjoys the pleasant things. and as he asked this last question he stretched out his arms and stood for an instant in an attitude of crucifixion.Crome Yellow Great thick books about the universe and the mind and ethics. I am trying laboriously to make myself one. a fixed income. facts. Denis pursued. He was really too pathetic as he stood there in front of her in his white flannel trousers. having ready−made ideas about everything. then let them fall again to his sides. Weighted with that. I suppose I am. "What you need. I am perpetually assuring myself that they're the broad highway to divinity. Couldn't she see what was going on inside him? Couldn't she understand? "What I need is you. 12 . One had a philosophy and tried to make life fit into it. Otherwise I can't enjoy it with an easy conscience.. deceptively simple. "Why can't you just take things for granted and as they come?" she asked. There are the twenty tons of ratiocination to be got rid of first." said Anne. He could not say it. "It seems so obvious. is a nice plump young wife." "It's still more incredible to me. His voice rose. He moved his hands.
"has done very badly. Gombauld. Scogan. Rowley!" said Henry Wimbush. Wimbush. "to do somebody a kindness. with grey side−whiskers and a steep. "It's so hot. Wimbush had taken them to see the sights of the Home Farm. If only one could always be kind with so little expense or trouble. then he stood stock still." he pointed towards a farther sty. solid man. I believe I enjoy scratching this pig quite as much as he enjoys being scratched. If she does no better next time. Denis. With the ferrule of his walking−stick Denis began to scratch the boar's long bristly back. There's the boar. dignified profile. slaughter them. He'll have to go too. had been unable to secure a place at the banquet. I shall give her another chance. make them work. splendidly respectable. "Fine old beast." said Anne. Anne.Crome Yellow "I think I shall go and bathe... still unbent. Wimbush went on. isn't he? But he's getting past his prime. Scogan. "In this farm we have a model of sound paternal government." said Mary. The mud of years flaked off his sides in a grey powdery scurf. One small pig. She turned astonished blue eyes towards Mr." said Denis. "This is a good sow." "How cruel!" Anne exclaimed." "The sow next door. he ran backwards and forwards." The opportunity had passed. and when they're past working or breeding or begetting. I shall fat her up and kill her. Squealing shrilly. the weakling of the litter. how eminently realistic!" said Mr. Rowley turned at last. It's extraordinary. brownish−black swine. "Morning." said Henry Wimbush. 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. "Fourteen?" Mary echoed incredulously. With a frantic greed they tugged at their mother's flank. She only had five in her litter. trying to push in among his stronger brothers or even to climb over their tight little black backs towards the maternal reservoir. Grave. black belly. softly grunting his contentment. Rowley had the air of a great English statesman of the mid−nineteenth century." old Rowley answered." said Anne. sir. and now they were standing." A gate slammed. looking into one of the styes. An immense sow reposed on her side in the middle of the pen. Her round. "You're quite right. weighty in his manner. He halted on the outskirts of the group." Mr. and Mary−−by the low wall of the piggery. the runt. then let them fall onto the seething mass of elan vital that fermented in the sty. "She had a litter of fourteen. The old sow stirred sometimes uneasily or uttered a little grunt of pain. 13 . I counted. there was a sound of heavy footsteps. "Morning. "What a pleasure it is. He was the most venerable of the labourers on the farm−−a tall. The animal moved a little so as to bring himself within easier range of the instrument that evoked in him such delicious sensations." "Farming seems to be mostly indecency and cruelty. "But how practical. all six of them−−Henry Wimbush. Make them breed. Mr. Mr. fringed with a double line of dugs. CHAPTER V. "There ARE fourteen. slowly and CHAPTER V. presented itself to the assault of an army of small.
converting their lifted necks into rigid. CHAPTER V. Five white geese. and beside her stood Mr. He gazed with reddish−brown eyes at his visitors. taking the air this fine morning. sir. The spectacle of so much crude life is refreshing. 'Rightly are we called men. they rushed off in disorder.'" They walked on towards the cowsheds and the stables of the cart− horses. They hesitated. He emphasised his point by thumping with his walking−stick on the bull's leather flanks. massive as a locomotive. Mr." Gombauld broke in warmly. Mary. opened her mouth to refute him. a little apart. He was a very calm bull. Scogan. that nothing was happening. Life. like the boar. swallowed and regurgitated. "Couldn't you give the animals a little holiday from producing children?" asked Anne." "I'm glad to hear you say so. Standing with his back against the farmyard pump. I like pullulation. flushed and outraged. a sin against life. chewed again. Anne looked on through half−shut eyes. "Splendid animal. "I am abashed by that man. "Rightly is they called pigs. as old Rowley plodded off slowly and with dignity. and Mary. hissing horribly as they went. chewed thoughtfully at the tangible memories of an earlier meal. Scogan ought to pass on his intelligence to little Scogans. "Personally. Mary ought to have them−−dozens and dozens. cackled. Denis examined the group. The bull turned his head to see what was happening. Wimbush shook his head. Red calves paddled in the dung and mud of a spacious yard. with parted lips and eyes that shone with the indignation of a convinced birth−controller. Everybody ought to have children−−Anne ought to have them. "I'm so sorry for the poor things. The ribs of the placid bull resounded. short and dense. But she was too slow. then turned back again satisfied. Between his short horns was a triangle of red curls. "Pedigree stock." "Rightly indeed. But he's getting a little old. Sterility was odious. what judgment. was its centre. "What wisdom.' Yes. Before she could utter a word Mr. Wimbush agreed. Scogan. with as much justice." said Mr. say. everything ought to increase and multiply as hard as it can. calm and polite beneath his grey bowler. even as they were doing. and his face wore an expression of melancholy stupidity. "I rather like seeing fourteen pigs grow where only one grew before. met them in the way. as he did everything. smiling. Gombauld ceased talking." said Henry Wimbush." Mr. with a motion of his hand towards the wallowing swine. horizontal snakes. And I wish I could.Crome Yellow ponderously and nobly. unnatural. 14 . Scogan's fluty voice had pronounced the opening phrases of a discourse. passionate and vivacious. Gombauld. "Lots of life: that's what we want. His tail lashed savagely from side to side. In another enclosure stood the bull. regarded the drumming stick for several seconds. Scogan pronounced. it seemed." Gombauld grew lyrical." "Fat him up and slaughter him. it seemed to have nothing to do with his impassive bulk." Mr. There was no hope of getting so much as a word in edgeways. Mary had perforce to resign herself. The others stood round." he said. what a sense of values! 'Rightly are they called swine. life. and Denis to little Denises. "Look at them. 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. then." he said. and addressed himself to Henry Wimbush." Mr. and still more life. listening−−Henry Wimbush. with a delicate old−maidish precision of utterance.
Crome Yellow "Even your eloquence. Mr. He had a rich. is now an entirely free god. He had never been to Crome before. and the automatic pistol. Barbecue− Smith. I thought it was. "Oh." said Anne. Where the great Erasmus Darwin and Miss Anna Seward. but was comforted by reading in Balzac's "Louis Lambert" that all the world's great men have been marked by the same peculiarity. who knows? the world may see a more complete severance. experimented−−and. sapped at its very base. Barbecue−Smith was full of admiration. Barbecue−Smith belonged to the old school of journalists. rather unctuous voice. With the gramophone. with a very large head and no neck. In the course of the next few centuries. 15 . Scogan.It was convincing. Mr. from without. so old−world. the more closely these two organs approach one another." Mary's china blue eyes. more serious and more astonished than ever. my dear Gombauld. and Eros. the cinema. An impersonal generation will take the place of Nature's hideous system. In his earlier middle age he had been distressed by this absence of neck. Barbecue−Smith was duly introduced. Barbecue−Smith arrived in time for tea on Saturday afternoon. "I'm happy to think you found it a comfort. ever so slightly. the goddess of Applied Science has presented the world with another gift. more precious even than these−−the means of dissociating love from propagation." he kept repeating. In younger days he had gaily called himself a Bohemian. argal." said Mr. Swan of Lichfield." He waved his hand to indicate the astral world. In vast state incubators. And somehow he always seemed slightly. she showed him round the house. "Bottles?" she said. will have to find new foundations. soiled.. rows upon rows of gravid bottles will supply the world with the population it requires. "So quaint. "Splendid. Priscilla praised his latest book. He was a short and corpulent man. I look forward to it optimistically." she said in her large." he was saying−−"even your eloquence must prove inadequate to reconvert the world to a belief in the delights of mere multiplication.. The family system will disappear. Eros. Mr. Priscilla received him with every mark of esteem. "The distant future always does. He sported a leonine head with a greyish−black mane of oddly unappetising hair brushed back from a broad but low forehead. his deplorable associations with Lucina may be broken at will. They went out into the garden for tea. He was a teacher now. the shorter the neck." "It sounds lovely. will flit like a gay butterfly from flower to flower through a sunlit world. for all their scientific ardour. jolly way. He did so no longer. society." CHAPTER VI.. beautifully and irresponsibly free. Mr. CHAPTER VI. tremendously! And the bit about the Lotus Pool−−I thought that so beautiful. It came to me. you know." "I knew you would like that. "Do you really think so? Bottles. and for a simple and obvious reason: Greatness is nothing more nor less than the harmonious functioning of the faculties of the head and heart. failed−−our descendants will experiment and succeed. a kind of prophet. Some of his books of comfort and spiritual teaching were in their hundred and twentieth thousand. for those who wish it. were fixed on Mr..
he smiled to himself and rubbed his large white hands together. Mr. "I only make noises." As soon as tea was over Mr." said Mr. The prophet retired to his chamber." Denis replied. "And what sort of things do you write?" Denis was furious. He could not control his interior satisfaction. excellent. as she introduced Denis. but still went on smiling to himself." "Then I couldn't possibly go on. they both used pen and ink. "Yes. Barbecue−Smith stood with his back to the hearth. looking up at Denis with an expression of Olympian condescension. it was only Denis. you ought to. Barbecue−Smith excused himself. Priscilla quite understood. Barbecue−Smith. Barbecue−Smith's question he answered. One of the young ladies. and. Had Priscilla no sense of proportion? She was putting them in the same category−−Barbecue−Smith and himself." said Priscilla." Mr." He walked out into the middle of the room. "Oh. "I am very fond of music. Barbecue−Smith." "I can't imagine. But sometimes it takes me much longer." he said. perhaps. Stone is a writer too. "Guess how many words I wrote this evening between five and half−past seven. and she smiled back exasperatingly. and confronted Denis again. Mr. yes−−a little. "Do go on. Barbecue−Smith nodded. He was in a good humour. three hundred words an hour at your best. he had to do some writing before dinner. who got up hurriedly and with some embarrassment as he came into the room. He wondered who it could be. as he descended the stairs.Crome Yellow "Mr. and. "The Bard's is a noble calling. "Mr." There was a silence. Barbecue−Smith smiled benignly. you know." and looked away. He scowled at her. "I fancy I do a twelve−hundred−word review in about four hours." he asked. Stone is one of our younger poets. to make matters worse. you ought to." CHAPTER VI. and. and he squeezed Denis's arm encouragingly." It was Anne's voice. 16 . But no. turned round on his heels. Barbecue−Smith came down to the drawing−room at ten to eight. he felt himself blushing hotly. do go on." "Oh. To Mr. They were both writers. "Excellent. At last he turned to Denis. "When I'm in good form." "How many words do you find you can write in an hour?" "I don't think I've ever counted. In the drawing−room someone was playing softly and ramblingly on the piano." said Mr. "Indeed!" Mr. "You write. warming himself at the memory of last winter's fires. nothing. nothing much. "don't you?" "Well." Denis exercised his memory. It's most important.
sat down in it. everyone has Inspiration. Three thousand eight hundred." 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. Mr." "Fifteen hundred. All I wrote I squeezed out of myself by sheer hard work. everybody was always late at Crome. I often didn't sell CHAPTER VI.Crome Yellow "No.. 17 . Barbecue−Smith repeated. then I entirely agree with you." said Mr. breathing it into the young man's ear−−"the secret of writing is Inspiration." he said. "But what if one hasn't got Inspiration?" "That was precisely the question I was waiting for. "Listen to me. "No." said Denis. Barbecue−Smith patted his arm several times and went on. "You mean the native wood−note business?" Mr. I answer: you have Inspiration." The clock struck eight." Denis hazarded. Mr. I'll tell you." he said." "Twelve hundred words. and what's more. "Well. or tell him where he could sell a light middle for seven guineas? Mr. He found he couldn't summon up much interest in Mr. It's simply a question of getting it to function.) "I'll help you to find your Inspiration. no. He pulled up a stool to the side of Denis's arm−chair. Barbecue−Smith. so I know what it's like. "Oh. no. and began to talk softly and rapidly. Up till the time I was thirty−eight I was a writer like you−−a writer without Inspiration. in those days I was never able to do more than six−fifty words an hour." "I give it up." Mr. Barbecue−Smith went on. "Try again. Barbecue−Smith's expanded face shone with gaiety. laying his hand on Denis's sleeve.. Let me give you a little sound advice. "You must get a lot done in a day. "You ask me what one should do if one hasn't got Inspiration. I did it myself. "I give it you freely. "You want to make your living by writing. Between five and half−past seven−− that's two and a half hours. but you must guess." What was the fellow going to do? Denis wondered: give him an introduction to the editor of "John o' London's Weekly". Barbecue−Smith's writing. There was no sign of any of the other guests. "Inspiration. Barbecue−Smith suddenly became extremely confidential. you're young." said Denis." he said." (Denis made a suitably grateful murmur and grimace. you're inexperienced." Denis opened his eyes. because I don't like to see a nice." Mr. "That's my secret. "The secret of writing. Why." "No." he said. Barbecue−Smith nodded.
. "Inspiration had come to me." he said parenthetically. Now. "I was hypnotised. overworked." Mr. I didn't feel. "That's my secret." said Mr. Before Inspiration and after. Still no sign of the others. "I was afraid of it at first. "Have you ever looked at a bright light intently for a long time?" he asked. I was afraid I might have written nonsense. trying not to show how deeply he had been insulted by that final "well. with a trace of annoyance. After that. and expanding his fingers as though in demonstration. opening his mouth very wide on the "ou" of thousand." "What a very extraordinary thing. "Certainly not. Denis thought of that advertisement of Nestle's milk−−the two cats on the wall. It was a great success. Barbecue−Smith's works he had not read. such as there generally are in automatic writing. "we intellectuals aren't much appreciated here in England. the other white. by getting into touch with your Subconscious. perhaps the only one. consistent." He snapped his fingers. CHAPTER VI." "By cultivating your Inspiration. turning to Denis. fluently. one of the few." said Mr. I might almost say. Fatigue. a little above and in front of me. "Certainly not. at fifty. Have you ever read my little book. "We artists." He sighed. "You can hypnotise yourself that way. "It was one evening. I wrote the whole of 'Humble Heroisms' like that. It was admirable. I lost consciousness like that. I sat biting the end of my pen and looking at the electric light." "But how?" asked Denis. moving his fat hands outwards. overwork−−I had only written a hundred words in the last hour. if you tried−−without effort. Denis didn't think he had. one black and thin. which hung above my table." There was none. unknown journalist." he repeated." He lifted his hand and let it fall back on to his knee to indicate the descent of the dew. to produce a literary composition unconsciously. Just a few spelling mistakes and slips. I was in the middle of the second chapter. Barbecue−Smith went on. Denis was horribly hungry. by which he could dissociate himself from Mr. "At thirty−eight I was a poor. that it was quite right.Crome Yellow what I wrote. and so has everything been that I have written since. and I had written four thousand words. "It came quite suddenly−−like a gentle dew from heaven. "and that's how you could write too. I was writing my first little book about the Conduct of Life−−'Humble Heroisms'. Besides. quite fair. Barbecue−Smith was once more pursuing the tenor of his discourse. away from one another." he said. Barbecue−Smith.. struggling." Mr. sleek." "And had you written nonsense?" Denis asked. "Inspiration has made the difference. and besides. and I was stuck." He leaned forward and jabbed at Denis with his finger. it has been a comfort−−at least I hope and think so−−a comfort to many thousands. of Mr. 'Pipe−Lines to the Infinite'?" Denis had to confess that that was. for Mr. You may have read it. Barbecue−Smith solemnly. He was exhibiting himself. The gong sounded in a terrific crescendo from the hall." Denis wondered if there was any method." He indicated the position of the lamp with elaborate care. well. "That's what happened to me. it was too late now. Inspiration came to me regularly. the thought−−all the essentials were admirable. 18 . It didn't seem to me natural. and fat. But the style. and I could get no further. tired." said Denis. under the moon. "When I came to." He paused modestly and made a little gesture. Barbecue−Smith replied. precisely. Barbecue−Smith's "we. with politeness. Four thousand. of course. I found that it was past midnight. somehow.
that ensures that the Universe shall come flowing in." Mr." "The Things that Really Matter happen in the Heart. Inspiration. "Seeing is Believing. I type them out neatly on my machine and they are ready for the printer." said Denis. 19 . and it is from the Summit that one gets the view. uplifting words. to his discourse. Barbecue−Smith continued. "is particularly subtle and beautiful. no doubt. Barbecue−Smith's remarks sounded strangely like quotations−−quotations from his own works. Thousands of words. "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. of dull work well and patiently done. And this is how I do it. You follow me?" "Perfectly. I bring it down through pipes to work the turbines of my conscious mind. comforting. If I believe in God. don't you think? Without Inspiration I could never have hit on that. but it also Burns. for ten minutes before I go into the trance I think of nothing but orphans supporting their little brothers and sisters." said Mr. "But don't you find that the Universe sometimes sends you very irrelevant messages?" "I don't allow it to. "That last one. but in aphorismic drops. "It's just a little book about the connection of the Subconscious with the Infinite.Crome Yellow "Never mind." "Like Niagara. Denis reflected.) "Then I pop off." He leaned forward. That sets the key. "Just dropped off into a trance in the corner of my carriage. but Believing is also Seeing. then addressed himself to the next aphorism.) "When I have to do my aphorisms. even in the things that seem to be evil. "It is. and I focus my mind on such great philosophical truths as the purification and uplifting of the soul by suffering. I concentrate on the subject I wish to be inspired about. beating time. Yes." Mr. but the air is pure up there." Mr. Barbecue−Smith put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a notebook." "It all sounds wonderfully simple. perfectly." He cleared his throat and read: "The Mountain Road may be steep. "Straight from the Infinite. not in a continuous rush. Some of Mr. I find the train very conducive to good work." he said. "I did a few in the train to−day. the way the Infinite sometimes repeated itself." said Denis." Denis suggested. I see God." (Quotation marks again. All the great and splendid and divine things of life are wonderfully simple. Let us say I am writing about the humble heroisms. You see the idea?" Denis nodded." he commented reflectively. Mr. and with a raised forefinger marked his points as he made them. "Before I go off into my trance. Here they are. Barbecue−Smith. Barbecue−Smith looked up from his notebook. in fact. "I canalise it. Get into touch with the Subconscious and you are in touch with the Universe. and find that inspiration has done its work. "The flame of a candle gives Light. lie before me." CHAPTER VI." (Denis again hung up his little festoon of quotation marks." It was curious. so to speak. Like Niagara. as it were. Barbecue−Smith replied." He re−read the apophthegm with a slower and more solemn utterance. never mind. and the alchemical transformation of leaden evil into golden good." he said. "Precisely. turning over the pages.
It roused Mr. her bare arm and shoulder took on warm hues and a sort of peach−like quality of surface. "You understand me now when I advise you to cultivate your Inspiration.Crome Yellow Puzzled wrinkles appeared on Mr. Two candles stood on the little table beside her. There was a discreet tap at the door." "What are you reading?" She looked at the book. Mr. with furled sails of shining coloured stuff. and the soft light. "It's very gnomic. Early seicento Venice had expended all its extravagant art in the making of it. seated at the top of each column. the dimpled bellies. I rely absolutely on your discretion in this matter. the last of the family. very few first−rate things in the world. "Come in. Barbecue−Smith's forehead. clamorously. and luscious putti wallowed among the roses." she said. the tight. falling on the sculptured panel of the bed. Sir Julius. to the time of his namesake in the late eighteenth century. sacred things that one doesn't wish to be generally known. broke restlessly among the intricate roses. Beds of walnut and oak. beds painted and gilded. within its sleek bell of golden hair. "Rather second− rate. Another time. Let your Subconscious work for you. CHAPTER VII. More childish− looking still. of rare exotic woods. Huge beds. magnificent. Anne was reading in bed. "That was very sweet of you. it seemed imploringly: dinner was growing cold. lingered in a broad caress on the blown cheeks." A face. but all of them grandiose. peered round the opening door. The finest of all was now Anne's bed. Here and there in the canopy above her carved golden petals shone brightly among profound shadows. come in. The golden roses twined in spirals up the four pillar−like posts. On the black ground−work of the panels the carved reliefs were gilded and burnished. Clustering roses were carved in high relief on its wooden panels. who built the house. a suit of mauve pyjamas made its entrance. but provoking the Lower Classes to discontent and revolution." "Of course. Anne closed her book. son to Sir Ferdinando. The body of the bed was like a great square sarcophagus. Yes. in their rich light her face. and cherubs. 20 ." said Denis. He turned to Denis. supported a wooden canopy fretted with the same carved flowers." There was the sound of feet on the stairs." CHAPTER VII. I suppose that's what it is. The gong sounded again. It was Mary. of course to the Higher Education−− illuminating. and sat down on the edge of the bed. There are intimate." he said. and that those were mostly French. "I quite understand. At Crome all the beds were ancient hereditary pieces of furniture. One could apply it. turn on the Niagara of the Infinite. absurd little posteriors of the sprawling putti. "I don't exactly know what that means. She looked up. Barbecue−Smith from meditation. "I thought I'd just look in for a moment to say good−night. Beds carved and inlaid. round and childish. and said: "No more now." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. laid his hand for an instant on Denis's shoulder. like four−masted ships. But it's gnomic. Beds of every date and fashion from the time of Sir Ferdinando. And remember. had had it made in Venice against his wife's first lying−in. Barbecue−Smith got up. it's gnomic. 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. and she knew that there were very.
I'm only too happy. Repressions! old maids and all the rest. There was nothing more to be said. "Yes. I'm beginning to detect in myself symptoms like the ones you read of in the books. The silence that followed was a rather uncomfortable one. "But I don't see that I can do anything to help you. "The natural instincts of sex." "It sounds too awful." she began didactically. "We come next to the desirability of possessing experience. You've no idea how serious these repressions are if you don't get rid of them in time." said Anne. The symptoms are only too clear. Solemnity was expressed in every feature of her round young face. "I'm afraid of them.. Perfectly." said Anne. radiated from her large blue eyes." said Mary at last." "Or." "No. But what about them?" "That's just it. I'm afraid I like it. bursting suddenly and surprisingly into speech. I confess I still have a few. and sometimes I even dream that I'm climbing up ladders. about getting rid of repressions." "I thought I'd just like to talk it over with you. Leaning back on her mound of heaped−up pillows." she began sententiously. not depressions. "What's there to be depressed about?" "I said repressions." "So much for our fundamental postulate. repressions. But Anne cut her short. yes.." CHAPTER VII." "Exactly. I understand." "Why. It's always dangerous to repress one's instincts. that's true.Crome Yellow "Well. 21 . Mary darling. "I'm so awfully afraid of repressions. rather." "But not about repressions. "But repressions of what?" Mary had to explain. She pronounced the words on the tail−end of an expiring breath. "I presume. "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." said Anne. It's most disquieting. not many about repressions." said Mary." "Well." said Mary." "Are they?" "One may become a nymphomaniac of one's not careful. Mary fiddled uneasily with the bottom button of her pyjama jacket." Mary coughed and drew a deep breath." "Oh. of course. and had to gasp for new air almost before the phrase was finished. Anne waited and wondered what was coming. I constantly dream that I'm falling down wells. I hope we are agreed that knowledge is desirable and that ignorance is undesirable. I see.
"whether they really were unattached.. as you see." "It is.. "before you began. you must find somebody else.. if I were you. I hope." "It was very nice of you to think of me. but perhaps he's rather too much of a genuine antique." "Yes. "there are three unattached and intelligent men in the house at the present time. "And we are equally agreed." "But that's just where the question comes in. then of course you must do something about it." "But who?" A thoughtful frown puckered Mary's brow." "Well.you might. with a certain air of embarrassment.." "Good!" said Mary. All that remains is to impart the information to someone you like−−someone you like really rather a lot." "There would therefore seem to be only one conclusion. "One must do things logically.. And it must be somebody with a proper respect for women. they are both entirely unattached. and then hesitated. The question is now.Crome Yellow Obedient as one of those complaisant disciples from whom Socrates could get whatever answer he chose. I thought that perhaps you might. if I may express myself so baldly. at all easy to find the right person. Scogan. "It must be somebody intelligent. "I think we had better. "What is it?" "I was wondering." said Anne." said Mary. if it really is TOO dangerous. looking relieved..." "But I knew that." "Exactly. I should wait till you are. Anne gave her assent to this proposition. "I'm not in love with anybody. Shall we say that the choice is limited to the last two?" Mary nodded." Anne exclaimed. There's Mr." she said. smiling the tight cat's smile. 22 . somebody who's prepared to talk seriously about his work and his ideas and about my work and my ideas." "I'm very glad of that." said Mary." said Mary. "We are now confronted with the question: Which of the two?" CHAPTER VII." "Well" said Anne." "Then. It's too dangerous.. It isn't. Mary darling. but now it's been proved." Mary exclaimed. which is more than I could have done." "But I can't go on dreaming night after night that I'm falling down a well. "And repressions being what they are. with a gasp. to begin with. "But as far as I'm concerned. And there are Gombauld and Denis. somebody with intellectual interests that I can share. someone you're in love with." "But where does the question come in? You've reached your only possible conclusion−−logically. that marriage is what it is.
23 . she presided." Jenny. in the very front of her mouth. "What?" she said. she reflected." she added. "English? Of course I am. Barbecue−Smith heartily to no one in particular. I sometimes wonder whether Denis is altogether serious−minded. "but of their merits. Jenny looked at him. who was sitting next to him. It was probably nothing. It's very difficult." CHAPTER VIII. "Good−night. Barbecue−Smith. cricket. "comes from Marseilles." she said. We must weigh them and consider them carefully and dispassionately." she said. woke up suddenly with a start." said Anne. were mostly French." "It's not a matter of my taste.Crome Yellow "I can give no advice. "What?" "So English. Breakfast on Sunday morning was an hour later than on week−days." Mary's pronunciation of "civilised" gave the word a special and additional significance." "Carefully and dispassionately. "so thoroughly English. there was still the trace of a smile at the corners of her mouth and round the half−closed eyes. Rather a dangerous heredity. "Yes. and Priscilla. "I won't advise. with a ruby cross as well as her customary string of pearls round her neck." said Anne. "Well." said Anne. The sun is in Leo: that would account for it!" "Splendid game. "Civilisation is most important. Dressed in black silk. It's a matter for your taste. "Ladders are worse. ladders are much graver. "I see Surrey has won." "Gombauld has more talent. "but he is less civilised than Denis. "I refuse to take any responsibility." remarked Mr." repeated Mr. hissing delicately on the opening sibilant. honoured it by her presence." CHAPTER VIII. At the door Mary turned round. don't you think?" Anne held up her hand. whether he isn't rather a dilettante. like the first−rate works of art." Mary went on reflectively. Mary nodded. But then. "I won't run the risk of advising you wrongly. An enormous Sunday paper concealed all but the extreme pinnacle of her coiffure from the outer world. who usually made no public appearance before luncheon." Mary pronounced." "Gombauld's family." Mary sighed. when one thinks of the Latin attitude towards women." Mary began. with her mouth full. So few people were civilised." she said." "You must do the weighing yourself. "You must make the decision." she said. "by four wickets. and wondered as she said the words why Anne was smiling in that curious way. "I think I had better go to bed and think about it. She uttered it meticulously. What do you think?" "I'm not listening. Anne often smiled for no apparent reason. it was probably just a habit. and they. surprised." said Anne. "I hope I shan't dream of falling down wells again to−night.
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
the spirit of Infidelity has been robbing the Germans of their Bible and their faith. "The spirit of False Morality has played as great a part in this war as the two other evil spirits. Higher Criticism has thus made the war possible. will be called to the Supper of the Lamb.' is therefore meant for the present period−−for you and me and all the world. Russia. what will happen? Those who are in Christ. 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. as men reckon time. 27 . of course. That the spirit of Popery is behind the war is thus seen clearly enough in the grouping of the opposed powers. The Scrap of Paper incident is the nearest and most obvious example of Germany's adherence to this essentially unchristian or Jesuitical morality. the God who smote the Egyptians for their stubborn wickedness. be long. for it would be absolutely impossible for any Christian nation to wage war as Germany is waging it. are at war with six anti−papal states−−England. then. and False Morality.' The spirit that issues from the mouth of the False Prophet is the spirit of False Morality. "We may assume. As was predicted in Revelation. Belgium is. both small and great. 'I saw an angel standing in the sun. 'and all the fowls will be filled with their flesh.' All the enemies of Christ will be slain with the sword of him that sits upon the horse. 'Behold. but too late. any means are justifiable. and will only be brought to an end by the Lord's personal return. so immediately obvious. and real inspiration. the Lord will come and deliver the world from its present troubles. and the flesh of captains. and in the attainment of this end. denies the possibility of miracles. Since the Franco−Prussian War the Papal power has steadily declined in France. that the three evil spirits are Infidelity. a thoroughly papal state. and the flesh of horses. "The identification is now complete. I come as a thief.' as St. 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. prediction. Have these three influences been the real cause of the present conflict? The answer is clear. but sooner or later. the agent of the devil working in the guise of the Lamb. perhaps. Slowly but surely. both free and bond. that God is a God of Wrath as well as a God of Forgiveness. The warning. And woe unto them who are called. will assuredly smite them too. while in Germany it has steadily increased. the wolf in sheep's clothing. and that power is the so−called 'Society of Jesus. France. that ye may eat the flesh of kings. and attempts to account for the Bible as a natural development. but be feasted on. The end is German world−power. This war will lead on inevitably to the war of Armageddon. Two papally controlled states. but to the Supper of the Great God. CHAPTER IX. unless they make haste to repent. Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the Great God. Germany and Austria. "The spirit of Infidelity is the very spirit of German criticism. and the flesh of all men. inevitably.Crome Yellow answers to the description of the False Prophet.' That is the Supper of the Great God. whose influence in causing the war was quite as great as that of Infidelity. "We come next to the spirit of Popery. during the last eighty years. while the rebellion in the Roman Catholic parts of Ireland has merely confirmed a conclusion already obvious to any unbiased mind. St. though not. so that Germany is to−day a nation of unbelievers. John says. Popery. "And when He returns. the three evil spirits have gone forth just as the decay of the Ottoman power was nearing completion. To−day France is an anti−papal state. "It may be soon or it may. and of them that sit on them. The God who sent bears to devour the mockers of Elisha. and have joined together to make the world war. as it is mockingly called. while Germany possesses a powerful Roman Catholic minority. The Higher Criticism. They will realise then. and Portugal. John tells us. and he cried in a loud voice. saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven. 'For. and the flesh of mighty men. It is the true principle of Jesuitry applied to international politics. not to the Supper of the Lamb. Serbia. Italy.
larger than his own and more elegant in appearance.But. if the heavens would but make a sign! But his questionings remained unanswered. was illusory. He gripped the arms of his chair−− gripping. Clerical frock coats. perhaps.Crome Yellow But perhaps it is already too late.. he began to rebuke himself for his rebellious impatience. gliding noiselessly across the room. Mr. like a thief? In a little while. in a moment even. of course. in clerical evening dress. "A large assortment of chasubles." He turned over the pages. Bodiham turned the pages. The envelope was unsealed. The argument was sound. like a thief in the night. some dapper. and England was at peace. And now he suffered too. "Soutane in best black merino. her eyes were pale as water in a glass. gripping for control. If only he could understand. and her strawy hair was almost colourless. Bodiham appeared. May it be for all of you an object of hope. And now? Now. crossed at the corners after the manner of an Oxford picture frame. for a great extension of the slaughter among the heathen peoples. in Ireland.. Sudden and silent as a phantom Mrs. if that were possible. indeed. the real." Half−tone illustrations represented young curates. "This came for you by the post. not a moment to look forward to with terror and trembling. 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. then. what were four years. Red marginal lines. "The House of Sheeny. From nine guineas. Mechanically Mr. Four years ago he had been so confident. little red crosses took the place of full stops. was hopeful. Bodiham closed the little pamphlet and leaned back in his chair." Mr. in surplices. 28 . that. The knuckles of his hands whitened. in Anatolia. four years. and yet−− it was four years since he had preached that sermon. It contained a pamphlet. absolutely compelling. the people of Crome were as wicked and indifferent as ever−−more so. The catalogue was tastefully and ecclesiastically printed in antique characters with illuminated Gothic initials. dissatisfied. Birmingham. The episode of 1914 had been a preliminary skirmish. Ready to wear. CHAPTER IX. in spite of all his comfortable reasoning. he reflected." she said softly. he could have screamed aloud. Rope girdles. the genuine Armageddon might soon begin. in black Norfolk suitings. some with ascetic faces and large ecstatic eyes. dressed in jackets. some Rugbeian and muscular. smouldering away in Silesia. enclosed each page of type. In a few seconds he was able to relax the tension. A dressy garment. the coming of the Lord is at hand. Above her black dress her face was pale with an opaque whiteness. the discontent in Egypt and India was preparing the way. And as for the war having come to an end−−why. Four years. after all? It must inevitably take a long time for Armageddon to ripen to yeast itself up. he did well to be angry. Mr. The Chinese boycott of Japan. he remained unhappy. Seated there in his brown varnished chair under the Ruskinian window. She held a large envelope in her hand. Be ready. might be breeding a great new war in the East. It was still going on. in frock−coats. Bodiham tried to assure himself. Who knows but that to−morrow. and the rivalries of that country and America in the Pacific. God's intention seemed then so plain. tailored by our own experienced ecclesiastical cutters. The prospect. he bit his lip. the sun shone. Christ may be upon us unawares. in all sizes. Bodiham tore it open. Clerical Outfitters. and then.
Bodiham. "writhing" was the word. Little black nigger corpuscles jigged and drummed in his arteries. feeling suddenly very weary. without.Crome Yellow Sheeny's Special Skirt Cassocks. a walking palais de danse. "The village. being disturbed by the noise on the Lower Plane. Bodiham looked at him." she said in her quiet voice. Denis did not dance. writhing with desire. so it seemed. it seemed." She pulled up a brown varnished chair and sat down. smoking a long cigar through a tunnelled pillar of amber. glaucous eyes reflected his action without comment. He was born with a different face−−a woolly face. is the contraction of the soul towards darkness. trod out the shattering dance music with serene patience. But outwardly he was hopelessly tame. Gombauld and Anne moved with a harmoniousness that made them seem a single creature. It was very uncomfortable. "Optimism. then things began to dance inside him. pretending to read." "What has happened now?" asked Mr. In the village of Crome." "They're making a wild man of me. And he sat in a corner. raging. He became a cage of movement. speaking through strains of the "Wild. CHAPTER X. Tied by a string about the waist. Yes. There they were. that was the trouble. "I'll tell you. baa. Priscilla and Mr. but when ragtime came squirting out of the pianola in gushes of treacle and hot perfume. Mrs. outwardly−−baa. in a big red notebook. but not wild enough. writhing−−yes. shuffled round the room with Mary. Bodiham threw the catalogue into the waste−paper basket. to gross physical phenomena. moving together as though they were a single supple creature. nodding the baleful splendours of her coiffure.When worn under a surplice presents an appearance indistinguishable from that of a complete cassock. Why was he born with a different face? Why WAS he? Gombauld had a face of brass−−one of those old." With a gesture of horror and disgust Mr.Recommended for summer wear and hot climates. Locked together. like the preliminary symptoms of a disease. they were. Henry Wimbush. in jets of Bengal light. it is an expansion towards and into God. 29 . CHAPTER X. He sat in one of the window−seats. The beast with two backs. "the village grows worse and worse every day. glumly pretending to read. on the other hand.. pretending he didn't want to dance. it is a focusing of the self upon a point in the Lower Plane. Wild Women"−−"optimism is the opening out of the soul towards the light. scribbling. solemnly buffoonish. it is a h−piritual self−unification with the Infinite. Why? It was the baa−baa business again." The refrain sang itself over in Denis's mind. pretending he rather despised dancing. Barbecue−Smith with a tone of finality. Scogan. At the pianola. Jenny sat in the shadow behind the piano. Anne and Gombauld." "How true!" sighed Priscilla. apparently." said Mr. damn them! A wild man. baa. brazen rams that thumped against the walls of cities till they fell. two− headed and four−legged. Wild inside. Barbecue−Smith discussed higher things.. Mr. "Pessimism. In arm−chairs by the fireplace. her pale.. Sodom and Gomorrah had come to a second birth. it is a h−piritual slavery to mere facts..
"is horribly boring." he repeated to himself every now and then. 30 ." said Mary. At the end of an hour. "Which of the contemporary poets do you like best?" she asked." she said. a slave at the mill. I do not know what I desire. "I don't know why one dances. Flushed. Why couldn't this pest of a girl leave him alone? He wanted to listen to the horrible music. "This Einstein theory. why was he born with a different face? "What are you reading?" He looked up. She had broken from the uncomfortable embrace of Mr. Tum. he was wretched about himself. Uncle Henry. It was Mary. Anne swayed across the room to the pianola. "Tell me. "Rum. he got up and sought relief in composition. more harmonious in its movements than ever." he replied. But the fact that he knew his disease did not help him to cure it. fixing him with her china eyes. He wanted to imprison his nameless misery in words. uncomplaining and beautifully well bred. I long and know not what I will: And not a sound of life or laughter stanches Time's black and silent flow. Tum−ti−ti. as though they had been made for one another!−−to savour his misery in peace. The single harmonious creature broke in two.. "This adolescence business. Denis was filled with fury. I know−−" A deprecating noise came from Mr. Mr Barbecue−Smith−−you know all about science. the future. please. startled. After kicking all the clothes off the bed. laid her hand on Mr. more graceful. with what grace. a little breathless. He trod off the old roll and trod on the new. It's so boring. "A waltz this time. It was not only Anne who made him miserable. The four− legged creature.. Mildew." CHAPTER X. "A waltz. slid across the floor. It makes me so worried about my horoscopes. I do not know." Mary renewed her attack. You see. to watch them dancing−−oh. Scogan. "I do not know what I desire When summer nights are dark and still." "I think you are so sensible to sit and read quietly." Denis made no reply. Rum−ti−ti. with the laconism of one who is absolutely certain of his own mind. Oh. He looked at the title page.Crome Yellow The music stopped.." The melody wallowed oozily along. like a ship moving forward over a sleek and oily swell. It was several hours before Denis managed to go to sleep that night. the book was called "The Stock Breeder's Vade Mecum. "What are you reading?" "I don't know." said Denis truthfully. and Smut. Barbecue−Smith's chair." he repeated. 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. Wimbush's shoulder. When the wind's many−voiced quire Sleeps among the muffled branches. It seems to upset the whole starry universe.. she exacerbated him. From the arm−chair by the fireplace he heard Priscilla's deep voice. the universe. who had now seized on Jenny for his victim. life in general. and turned to the cabinet where the rolls were kept. nine more or less complete lines emerged from among the blots and scratchings. Vague but agonising miseries possessed his mind.
if I remember rightly−− "'Seems not now a work of human art. under the flank of the terrace. and sophisticated man should never seem to have sprouted from the clods." said Denis. "The man who built this house knew his business. civilised. who flourished during the reign of Elizabeth. seizing the opportunity to speak." "Was he?" said Henry Wimbush reflectively. Lifting itself in caverns light and high. Scogan. and suitable. immensely tall. to whom it had been granted at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries.' No. The motor had whirled him away to the station. but using them as a stone quarry for his barns and byres and outhouses. In a very few minutes he was asleep. "A very agreeable adjunct to the week−end. "Well?" said Anne at last. uninterrupted. But as it were titanic. from the living stone. It should rather be an expression of his grand unnatural remoteness from the cloddish life. His tone was obituary. but affronts it and rebels against it. That the hovels of the peasantry should look as though they had grown out of the earth. he only repeated the question. severe." He waved his hand in the direction of the house and was silent. "Well?" It was time for someone to begin. "is the fact that it's so unmistakably and aggressively a work of art.' which. Since the days of William Morris that's a fact which we in England have been unable to comprehend. Barbecue−Smith was gone. towards the terrace and the garden. turning with raised inquiring eyebrows to Denis. to the pool. the steep yew−walk that went down. It makes no compromise with nature. Denis declined the invitation. no doubt. is right. with the whole height of the built−up terrace added to its own seventy feet of brick facade. for Crome was originally a cloister of monks and this swimming−pool their fish−pond." he said. without paying much attention where they were going. But the house of an intelligent. there isn't any nonsense of that sort about Crome. They paused at the edge of the pool to look back. round the side of the house. Mr. Scogan did not respond. A considerable detachment had come into the courtyard to speed him on his way." said Mr. 31 . imposing. no. to which their inmates are attached. nobody had yet ventured to comment on the departed guest. then threw the scribbled sheet into the waste−paper basket and got into bed again. Civilised and CHAPTER XI. "Well?" he said. "The great thing about Crome. Mr. They walked in silence. The perpendicular lines of the three towers soared up. he built for himself a grand new house of brick−−the house you see now.Crome Yellow He read it through aloud. a faint smell of burning oil commemorated his recent departure. almost menacing. It has no likeness to Shelley's tower. CHAPTER XI. The builder of this house was Sir Ferdinando Lapith. in the heart Of earth having assumed its form and grown Out of the mountain. in the 'Epipsychidion. and now they were walking back. Sir Ferdinando was not content merely to adapt the old monastic buildings to his own purposes. The house towered above them. "He was an architect. he passed it on to Mr Scogan. "I doubt it. Crome loomed down on them. "Well?" It was left for Henry Wimbush to make a pronouncement. enhancing the impression of height until it became overwhelming. He inherited the estate from his father. They had descended.
pickled in glass bottles. Sanitation was the one great interest of his life. "All that you say. of course. F. 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. of the throats of famous opera singers. Could imbecility go further?" Henry Wimbush took up the thread of his interrupted discourse. our technical knowledge. the ways of man were stranger still. One is going to Venice to buy La Bianchi's larynx. he argues in the third chapter of his 'Priuy Counsels'. Boethius's 'Consolations of Philosophy'. as a matter of fact. ignorance. Permanence. the apophthegms of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. with its passion for modernisation. For. preoccupied by only one thought−−the proper placing of his privies. In Crome he was able to put his theories into practice. transience−−Sir Ferdinando and his privies were gone. Poverty. indeed. in which the whole matter is treated with great learning and elegance. on this subject. my dear Scogan. How brightly the sun shone and how inevitable was death! The ways of God were strange. which possesses undoubtedly. its own 'as it were titanic' charm.L. he had any views about architecture at all. To have a theory about privies and to build an immense and splendid house in order to put it into practise−−it's magnificent. more than seventy feet. but no matter. through the cellars. for the placing of his privies in an exalted position he had also certain excellent spiritual reasons. a little book−−now extremely scarce−−called. Were it not for tradition and the explicit account of them left by Sir Ferdinando. But whether Sir Ferdinando shared your views about architecture or if. cottage architecture. Scogan at last. 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. 'Certaine Priuy Counsels' by 'One of Her Maiestie's Most Honourable Priuy Counsels. Hence it followed inevitably that the privies were to be placed at the top of the house. From these a shaft went down the whole height of the house. that it should be well provided with windows commanding an extensive and noble prospect. our rich variety of materials for the purpose of building millions of imitation hovels in totally unsuitable surroundings. The thought of these vanished privies moved him profoundly. and all other works. he has a collection. the 'Enchiridion' of Erasmus. swept away these monuments of sanitary ingenuity. Sir Ferdinando was." he began. "is certainly very just. At the top of each of the three projecting towers he placed a privy. We should even suppose that Sir Ferdinando built his house after this strange and splendid model for merely aesthetic reasons.. ancient or modern. And the instruments of renowned virtuosi−− he goes in for them too. beautiful! I like to think of them all: the eccentric milords rolling across Europe in ponderous carriages. It must not be thought that Sir Ferdinando was moved only by material and merely sanitary considerations. studiedly quaint imitations and adaptations of the village hovel. arts and crafts. Knight'. and it became once more the replica of the grave. "It does one's heart good. we should be unaware that these noble privies had ever existed. The total depth of the shafts from the top of the towers to their subterranean conduits was a hundred and two feet. and all the rest of it. Under the grey bowler his face worked and glowed as he spoke. and a limited range of materials produced the hovel. He ceased to speak. These conduits emptied themselves into the stream several hundred yards below the fish− pond. To counteract these degrading effects he advised that the privy should be in every house the room nearest to heaven. reduplicated in endless rows. the same gently melancholy thoughts seemed to possess the mind of each of them. There was a long silence. very true. which testify to the nobility of the human soul. such as the Proverbs of Solomon. bound on extraordinary errands. and that the walls of the chamber should be lined with bookshelves containing all the ripest products of human wisdom. and into a series of conduits provided with flowing water tunnelled in the ground on a level with the base of the raised terrace. he's prepared to wait." The contemplation of the glories of the past always evoked in Henry Wimbush a certain enthusiasm. In the suburbs of our cities you may see. I very much doubt. In 1573 he even published. being connected by vertical shafts with pits or channels in the ground. Crome still stood. We now employ our wealth.. polite hat which shaded it. Hence quaintness. The eighteenth century. that is to say. the light gradually died out of his face." exclaimed Mr. he CHAPTER XI. in suitable surroundings. he won't get it till she's dead.Crome Yellow sophisticated men have solemnly played at being peasants. In building this house. "to hear of these fantastic English aristocrats. 32 .
solely for his private delectation−−by anticipating the electrical discoveries of half a century. Mildew. If you're to do anything reasonable in this world.." The impression was distinct and ineffaceable. Blunden. Some day. my dear Denis. another. loathing. You must have a class of which the members can think and. they are just giving their oddity a continental airing.. an amateur.It's the justification of all aristocracies. in his white top hat." Mary was puzzled and distressed. to continue your quiet delving in the mines of futile knowledge? Will Anne. I shall have some Honest Work to do. and disgust which the burgesses instinctively feel towards them. "will you be allowed to go on talking?" "You may rest assured. "Blight. lives in a stable. A man who would not talk seriously to a woman just because she was a woman−−oh. and Smut. 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. not compelled to waste their time in the imbecile routines that go by the name of Honest Work.Crome Yellow will try to bribe Paganini to part with his little Guarnerio. safe from poverty.. After the social revolution there will be no Reservations. Perhaps Gombauld would be more satisfactory. But then her ears never did play her false. Scogan paused. He had deliberately repelled her attempts to open a serious discussion. "Eccentricity." said Anne." or even "Abercrombie. reluctantly. Within its boundaries wild men disport themselves−−often." Mr. Cavendish. be allowed to live in this house of the splendid privies. Gombauld had annexed for his painting−room a little disused granary that stood by itself in a green close beyond the farm− yard. lavish on anything that is wild or out of the ordinary. Blight.." "And you. and Rabindranath Tagore. What then? Will they suffer you to go on writing villanelles. en bons bourgeois. unhappy Henry." CHAPTER XII. to lead Italians against their oppressors." two or three times. you must have a class of people who are secure. That's the important thing about an aristocracy. a little grossly. but perhaps he might sacrifice one of his guitars. and amuses himself−−oh.. within the obvious limits. "that I shall not. Perhaps what he had really said was. it must be admitted. At home they cultivate themselves at leisure and with greater elaboration. Mildew." Mr.. Mildew." she was forced to the conclusion. True. and Earp. the Redskins will be drowned in the great sea of Poor Whites. Portland digs holes in the ground. then murmured the word "Eccentricity. It justifies leisured classes and inherited wealth and privilege and endowments and all the other injustices of that sort.' What a subject! I should like to undertake it myself. and Shanks.. but at least he was a serious worker. that Denis had indeed pronounced those improbable words. interrupting him. Others are bound on crusades−−one to die miserably among the savage Greeks. impossible! Egeria or nothing." or "Childe. and it was with his work that she would associate herself. Beckford builds towers. Others have no business at all. Paganini won't sell his fiddle. The eccentricities of the artist and the new−fangled thinker don't inspire it with that fear.." Perhaps. the millionaire. And Denis? After all. It is a sort of Red Indian Reservation planted in the midst of a vast horde of Poor Whites−−colonials at that. do what they please. safe from public opinion. turning a beady bright regard in his direction−−"some day you must become their biographer−−'The Lives of Queer Men. it also tolerates and even encourages eccentricity in others. and when kindred spirits are born outside the pale it offers them some sort of refuge from the hatred which the Poor Whites. a little too flamboyantly. eats nothing but mutton.. Drinkwater. Glorious eccentrics! Every age is enlivened by their presence. "Squire. 33 . That was horrible. looked up once more at the towering house. Binyon. but he has small hope of success. Not only is it eccentric itself−−often grandiosely so. leisured. Perhaps her ears had played her false. Scogan replied. what WAS Denis? A dilettante. my good Denis? Will you. "Blight.. his meridional heredity was a little disquieting. and Smut." said Mr Scogan. It was a square brick building with a peaked roof and little windows set high up in CHAPTER XII.
tat! Surprised. For a long time an idea had been stirring and spreading." He had the secret. The horse's body filled the upper part of the picture. which came down on either side of the picture like the pillars of an arch. he felt himself cramped and confined within intolerably narrow limitations. Nobody ever disturbed him while he was at work. And beneath lay the man. A white. On the ground. He was pleased. Under the arch of the horse's belly. but his aim was always to work them into a whole that should have the thrilling simplicity and formality of an idea. round them. 34 . lowered towards the ground. A man fallen from a horse. The huge animal. if only he could catch it. for the granary was perched above the ground. He took from nature its rich. in his mind. a gaunt white cart−horse. there lingered a faint smell of dust and cobwebs. the great hoofs. he had drawn a cartoon. Gombauld had been at work all the morning on the figure of the man. They were alone in the darkness. and now he was taking a rest−−the time to smoke a cigarette. But that something he was after. from the waist upwards. Now he had come out on the other side. Forms of a breathing. with a kind of concentrated ferocity. quite suddenly. something terrific. the space was closed in by the figure of the prostrate man. limited it on either side. the arms flung wide to right and left. and out of reach of the rats. built themselves up into compositions as luminously simple and single as a mathematical idea. tat. the thing was good. during six or seven hours of each day. the head in the extreme foreground. Yes. beyond and behind them. relentless light poured down from a point in the right foreground. He found the process arduous and exhilarating. The door. He was humiliated to find how few and crude and uninteresting were the forms he could invent. Gombauld turned his eyes towards the door. And then. Here Gombauld worked. retreat would be easier and more dignified than if she climbed to the top. the immense bony body was what arrested the eye. lay the foreshortened figure of a man. If he didn't want her. to combine prodigious realism with prodigious simplification. it would be something terrific.. in hot pursuit. Within. The beast. living reality emerged from darkness. little by little. and now the idea was taking shape on canvas. he grew dissatisfied. the inventions of nature were without number. swung open. He had made a portfolio full of studies. and at the same time he was desolated. a universe in themselves. he knew it. he had worked his way industriously through cubism. CHAPTER XII." of "Peter Crucified. then. He had begun by painting a formalised nature. the body and the legs. externalised in the abstract geometrical forms of the mind's devising. But the cubist discipline preserved him from falling into excesses of nature worship. 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.. it was one of the unwritten laws.Crome Yellow each of its walls. he looked thoughtfully at his canvas. A central gulf of darkness surrounded by luminous forms. the fallen man. nearly half of which had been spent in the process of winning the war. between the legs of the towering beast. He thought of the "Call of Matthew. he had the secret! And now Gombauld was after it. between his legs. he had risen from nature into the world of pure form. The picture was more than half finished. the legs. Tilting back his chair till it touched the wall. yeastily. 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. filled the upper half of the picture with its great body. which was ajar. that astonishing ruffian. on four massive toadstools of grey stone. During the last eight years. revealing. below." of "Magdalen. Its head." of the "Lute players. In itself. subtle. "May I come in?" she asked. his foreshortened face at the focal point in the centre. elaborate forms. if only he could catch it. his arms outstretched towards the sides of the picture. Memories of Caravaggio's portentous achievements haunted him. were sharply illuminated. was in shadow. She had only dared to mount half−way up the ladder. He was pursuing something new. frozen to stillness in the midst of their trampling. till in the end he was painting nothing but his own thoughts. inconceivably subtle and elaborate. A ladder of four rungs led up to the door. was the night. "Come in!" he called. He had done with cubism. He was out on the other side. the eye looked through into an intense darkness. the form of Mary.
and painted in pure primary colours.. Thanks very much all the same. I admire his work so tremendously. But in a modern. The moment might have come.. she smiled. with a final gasp. he says.. Mary looked at the picture for some time without saying anything. she was taken aback. "I've finished my cigarette. When he's reached pure abstraction he's going to take up architecture. he's finishing it. a soundless bell of gold. Do you agree?" she asked." she said. It was a peripatetic embracement. "Do you agree with him?" she repeated." There was a silence. So the moment had come. "But of course it's a little too. "When I was in Paris this spring I saw a lot of Tschuplitski." She looked at Gombauld." she said. There had never been a flimsier pretext. It was very difficult. so I brought it out to you.too. But I'm going on painting. it's frightfully abstract now−−frightfully abstract and frightfully intellectual. But now." And.Crome Yellow "Certainly. "May I have a look at what you've been painting?" she had the courage to say at last. her childish face were luminously candid as she handed him the letter. Her eyes were serene. in any case he wouldn't begin work again till he had finished. He just throws a few oblongs on to his canvas−−quite flat. One could admire representationalism in the Old Masters. but continued to smoke. Mary looked up at him." he said. Complete abstraction. Soon." She skipped up the remaining two rungs and was over the threshold in an instant. there'll be just the blank canvas. not only recognisable as such. "A letter came for you by the second post. and she moved with him. she was at a loss. and here was a picture of a man and a horse. isn't there?" she ventured at last. He moved slowly. but even aggressively in drawing. gazing meditatively all the time at his picture. "There is. What could Gombauld be up to? She had felt so safe in admiring his work before. she didn't know what to say. who made no response. Trompe−l'oeil−−there was no other word to describe the delineation of that foreshortened figure under the trampling feet of the horse. His arm was round her.. and inwardly congratulated herself on having found a critical formula so gentle and at the same time so penetrating. But now−−she didn't know what to think. after five years of schooling among the best judges. "Luckily. he accepted her criticism. "it isn't at all important. you know." he said. She had expected a cubist masterpiece. Gombauld had only half smoked his cigarette. That's the logical conclusion. Gombauld dropped his cigarette end and trod on it. Gombauld looked at the envelope and put it in his pocket unopened." Her eyes. very difficult." Gombauld agreed. away from the picture. CHAPTER XII.. 35 . Painting's finished. Mary felt a little uncomfortable. "I thought it might be important. "This is the best place to see it from. He says it's more intellectual than painting. serious. But his design is wonderful.trompe−l'oeil for my taste. Of course. what was she to say? Her orientations were gone. She put her head on one side and screwed up her eyes. but she would not cease to be intellectual. he put his arm round her shoulders and turned her round. her instinctive reaction to a contemporary piece of representation was contempt−−an outburst of laughing disparagement. What was she to think. He'd given up the third dimension when I was there and was just thinking of giving up the second.. Mary went on gaspingly." he said. almost imperceptibly. Mary was pleased. "Tschuplitski's finished painting. Obviously. He would give her the five minutes that separated him from the bitter end. advancing towards her. "There's rather a lot of chiaroscuro.? At eighteen she might have done so. it was a serious discussion. "I think it's awfully fine. He's getting more and more abstract every day. Indeed. her hair swung back.
often heard of and never seen. 36 ." said Priscilla. "Sir Ferdinando and the rest of them−−were they amusing? Were there any crimes or tragedies in the family?" "Let me see." "The Wimbushes and the Lapiths were always an unadventurous. The hand that had rested on her shoulder made itself felt lower down her back. four or perhaps five broken hearts. seductions." Henry Wimbush rubbed his chin thoughtfully. respectable crew. "It has taken me nearly thirty years. it's a placid and uneventful record." "The famous History?" cried Anne. startled. his hand dropped from her shoulder. written at Crome. "And I hope you will not find it uninteresting. CHAPTER XIII. "I'll read you an episode from my History that will make you admit that even the Lapiths." "Shall we be allowed to read it now it's finished?" asked Denis. Wimbush nodded." he added modestly." he said. She remained standing there for a moment in bewilderment. "Certainly." said Mr. and printed at Crome by my own press." said Henry Wimbush. Mr. She was careful. I shall have to think about it. They were in front of the open door. The writing and the printing of this Magnum Opus had been going on as long as she could remember. it would be one long continuous blot from beginning to end." said Gombauld once more. one violent death. "to− day I have finished the printing of my 'History of Crome'. No. a little piqued by his wife's disparaging comment on the masters of Crome." Mr. Replying automatically to its stimulus. And now it's finished−−the whole chronicle. Wimbush. she was pensive. The door closed behind her and she was alone in the little green close. I helped to set up the type of the last page this evening. "Twenty−five years of writing and nearly four of printing. and I have some genuinely new light to throw on the introduction of the three− pronged fork." he said." he added solicitously. natural children. After the second generation we Scogans are lost in the mists of antiquity. "To−day. Scogan remarked." She laughed jovially. in their CHAPTER XIII. Henry Wimbush brought down with him to dinner a budget of printed sheets loosely bound together in a cardboard portfolio." "After dinner. she moved forward. "it wouldn't exist. and half a dozen little blots on the scutcheon in the way of misalliances. "Our muniment room is particularly rich in ancient records. exhibiting it with a certain solemnity. "I can only think of two suicides. "If I were to write my family history now! Why. with a note of scorn in her voice.Crome Yellow "I don't know. "Be careful going down the ladder. on the whole. "If I were to write mine. All her childhood long Uncle Henry's History had been a vague and fabulous thing." Gombauld loosened his embrace. from Sir Ferdinando Lapith's birth to the death of my father William Wimbush−−more than three centuries and a half: a history of Crome. it administered three or four kindly little smacks." "And the people?" asked Gombauld. She walked slowly back through the farmyard. and the like. and helped herself to another glass of wine. "Be careful going down the ladder. Mary looked round.
He put on his round pince−nez. with excruciating torments. He walked at ten months. to an attack of typhoid fever. for half an hour every morning and evening. which carried him very rapidly to his grave. for his size. but in vain. another exercise. a third constructed a little rack. "Glad to hear what?" asked Jenny. among normal. modelled on those employed by the Holy Inquisition. "On his twelfth birthday Hercules was still only three feet and two inches in height. consulted all the most eminent physicians of the time. including the estate and mansion of Crome. In the course of the next three years Hercules gained perhaps two inches. but from the first he was sturdy and healthy. He found his place at last. "Now. rimmed with tortoise−shell. of great strength and agility." said Priscilla. After that his growth stopped completely." said Henry Wimbush. Sir Hercules Occam of Bishop's Occam. 37 . planning for him in his imagination a military career equal to that of Marlborough." and popped back. was turned by disappointment to moroseness and savagery. the father of a lusus naturae. but otherwise he was exquisitely proportioned." "I'm glad to hear it. In honour of his maternal grandfather. At three years he weighed but twenty−four pounds. His father. he was no larger and heavier than a well−grown child of two. yawning. nodded. kept a notebook. as he said. and at six. "Hercules thus found himself at the age of twenty−one alone in the world. in the hope of making him grow. like many other mothers. which was very handsome and nobly shaped. pulling up a chair to the lamp. Wimbush gave a little preliminary cough and started to read. His mother. One ordered a very plentiful meat diet. cuckooed at last "I see. and master of a considerable fortune. while the other was carried off by smallpox before it reached the age of five. and. Dinner was eaten." said Priscilla. He was a very small baby. "The infant who was destined to become the fourth baronet of the name of Lapith was born in the year 1740. His temper. Meanwhile. did not long survive. and before his second year was out he had learnt to speak a number of words. he would have taken his place among the CHAPTER XIII. In the midst of an attentive silence Mr. ashamed to show himself. Hercules remained the only surviving child. which had been serene. in which his progress from month to month was recorded. and he remained for the rest of his life a pigmy of three feet and four inches.' he would say. smiled. but for his dwarfish stature. his mother had borne two other children. after eating two dozen of oysters. had their tragedies and strange adventures. and took to solitary drinking. he was christened Hercules. The beauty and intelligence of his childhood had survived into his manly age. though he could read and write perfectly and showed a remarkable aptitude for music. clapping shut the door behind her. and began cautiously to turn over the pages of his loose and still fragmentary book. Their various prescriptions were followed to the letter. one of whom died of croup during infancy. and he took so violent a dislike to his son that the boy dared scarcely come into his presence. for the year before Hercules came of age his father was taken off by an apoplexy. and. His mother.Crome Yellow own respectable way. the party had adjourned to the drawing−room. found himself a disappointed man. whose love for him had increased with the growth of his father's unkindness. She received an explanation. His head. on which young Hercules was stretched. looking up. "Do. weighing not more than three pounds at birth. healthy human beings). His parents. He avoided all company (being. was too big for his body. but little more than a year after her husband's death succumbed. who had built the most extravagant hopes upon his son. emerging suddenly from her private interior world like a cuckoo from a clock. "Shall I begin?" he asked. 'I have brought an abortion into the world. a boy and a girl.
Till God. Realising. if we may judge from the poem quoted above. The glowing canvas and the written page Immortaliz'd his name from age to age. by others of dwarfish stature. To the music of the harpsichord and clavichord he was extremely partial. His father's dogs. heroically dull. though conscious of his great powers in this art. and a pack of beagles. the hero takes his place. He was well read in the Greek and Latin authors. of all they still retain Of giant ugliness absurdly vain. For Art grew great as Humankind grew small.Crome Yellow handsomest and most accomplished young men of his time. French. And Jabal dwelt in tents and Jubal struck the lyre. 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. Ere Abram fed his flocks or Homer sung. His CHAPTER XIII. Long ages pass'd and Man grown more refin'd. He had a good ear for music. but. repeopled Tellus bore The lubber Hero and the Man of War. When happy mortals of a Golden Age Will backward turn the dark historic page. I descry Remoter dawns along the gloomy sky). 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. affirming that this rustic music had more power to clear and raise the spirits than the most artificial productions of the masters. Men were huge mounds of matter scarce inform'd. When blacksmith Tubal tamed creative fire. in which all should be proportionable to himself. Flesh grown corrupt brought forth a monstrous birth And obscene giants trod the shrinking earth. Mankind proceeds towards the Promised Land. agile as a fawn's. greyhounds. And learn'd to wield the Pencil and the Quill. in warriors of old. Wearied by leavening so vast a mass. if the public were to read them it would not be because I am a poet. Vain of their bulk. but the smallness of his hands made it impossible for him ever to perform upon these instruments. that he must abandon all ambitions in the great world. In him the Soul's pure flame Burns brightlier in a not inord'nate frame. too. on which. Huge towers of Brawn. Sir Hercules set about remodelling his household. books of Sir Hercules's poems survive. "'In ancient days. he sold or gave away as too large and too boisterous for his house. Men of their imperfections boast aloud. wherein the soul shall be From all superfluous matter wholly free. 'is reflected in my verses. topp'd with an empty Skull. such as setters. though diminish'd.' he would say. as well as in all the moderns of any merit who had written in English. The Giant dies. Shall sport with grace along the velvet lawns. not yet! For still the Giants' race. he discharged all the old servants of the house and replaced them gradually. In the course of a few years he had assembled about himself a numerous household. Mankind perfected shall possess the earth. And in our vaunted race of Men behold A form as gross. Man last appears. His name emblazon'd on Fame's temple wall. as it were. The Giant vile. or Italian.' Several MS. ah. But ah. Thus man's long progress step by step we trace. impatient of their sinful brood. whenever he was melancholy.' "As soon as he came into the estate. A single specimen will suffice to illustrate his qualities as a poet. Slighter in muscle but of vaster Mind. he used to play a simple country air or jig. and was no indifferent performer on the violin. a Mind as dead and cold. mastiffs. The spirit slept and all the mind was crass. For though by no means ashamed of his deformity−−indeed. seated on a chair with the instrument between his legs. sad indeed. monsters. Teeming again. the Soul unwearied plays And like a Pharos darts abroad her mental rays. he would never publish any specimen of his writing. yet perversely proud. Sad is the Fate of those. Accordingly. Smiled at his grandsire's broadsword. The rare precursors of the nobler breed! Who come man's golden glory to foretell. which he used to play like a bass viol. As we in Giants see. Of old when Heroes fought and Giants swarmed. tramps the Earth's fair face. Nature's most delicate and final birth. But pointing Heav'nwards live themselves in Hell. 38 . while yet the world was young. the dull heroic Block: At one we shudder and at one we mock. At all that's small they point their stupid scorn And. as he was able to find suitable successors. When the light body. think themselves divinely born. The smaller carcase of these later days Is soon inform'd. A time will come (prophetic. Gross and repulsive. no member of which was above four feet high and the smallest among them scarcely two feet and six inches. He had a small ivory flute made for him. From an early age he practised the composition of poetry. bow and bill. he determined to retire absolutely from it and to create. at Crome a private world of his own. replacing them by pugs and King Charles spaniels and whatever other breeds of dog were the smallest. Gave rein to wrath and drown'd them in the Flood. Witlessly bold. Huge. 'My stature. but because I am a dwarf. A time will come.
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. he heard from a reliable source that Count Titimalo. can course a rabbit as well as any of the smaller breeds. Four dwarf grooms. a circumstance which gave Sir Hercules unfailing pleasure. Finally. 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. Sir Hercules had a susceptible heart.Crome Yellow father's stable was also sold. whether riding or driving. felt what it was to love. and that very passionately. a Venetian nobleman. both in English and Italian. for. he went immediately on his arrival to pay his respects to the count. while another young lady. being of an affectionate and. Filomena especially delighted. possessed a daughter of exquisite beauty and great accomplishments. while their master and mistress. "Crome and its household of dwarfs delighted Filomena. who had had the misfortune to lose their performing dwarf. where they settled down. at which the English ambassador acted as one of the witnesses. She had many tastes in common with her husband. and had more than once. for the sale of his diminutive daughter Filomena. 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. that at the end of three days' courtship he made her a formal offer of marriage. amorous temper−−he must choose her as he had chosen his servants−−from among the race of dwarfs. and could touch A in alt without effort. "When they were not making music or reading together. but more often riding or driving. telling him to run away and plague her no more. an orphan belonging to a very good family in Hampshire. if he was to have a wife−−which he very much desired. But to find a suitable wife was. he had been received with laughter. was wizened and repulsive. They hunted not foxes nor hares. he found. which he played. On his persisting. though he often fell in love. like that of so many dwarfs. When she had become a perfectly proficient rider. Filomena and her husband used often to go hunting in the park. between the ages of sixteen and twenty. who perceived in an English son−in−law a rich and unfailing source of revenue. whom he found living with his wife and five children in a very mean apartment in one of the poorer quarters of the town. Seated together at the harpsichord. but rabbits. "Having thus settled his household entirely to his own satisfaction. After coming to the estate and finding that he was in a position to create his own world as he desired it. hunted the pack. when he was almost despairing of success. dressed in scarlet liveries and mounted on white Exmoor ponies. Indeed. because they were entirely new to her. having once dared to declare himself to a young lady of his choice. was rejected by him because her face. But here his deformity had been a source of the most bitter humiliation. when not overfed. a matter of some difficulty. for he was so much charmed by Filomena's grace and beauty. a kind of dog which. for he would marry none who was not distinguished by beauty and gentle birth. as we have noted before. Sir Hercules and his bride returned by sea to England. in green CHAPTER XIII. he had six black Shetland ponies. but never again. For his own use. In course of time. as one plays a bass viol. which they often did. as it proved. sometimes rowing in a little boat on the lake. with four very choice piebald animals of New Forest breed. it only remained for him to find some suitable companion with whom to share his paradise. which was accepted by her no less joyfully than by her father. he lived down this humiliation. she would sing all the liveliest and tenderest airs from the operas and cantatas of her native country. did he dare to make any advances to those in whom he was interested. they found that they could with their four hands play all the music written for two hands of ordinary size. occupations in which. She had a beautiful voice. The story soon got about−−indeed. Setting out at once for Venice. at that time very much more extensive than it is now. using a pack of about thirty black and fawn−coloured pugs. especially that of music. Accompanied by her husband on his fine Cremona fiddle. he saw that. she had picked him up and shaken him like an importunate child. who was by three feet in height. however. 39 . Sir Hercules arrived in time to save her from this untoward fate. to a life of uneventful happiness. After an unostentatious marriage. The dwarfish daughter of Lord Bemboro he refused on the ground that besides being a pigmy she was hunchbacked. of a power surprising in one so small. indeed.
to send him to school. as being unfit to remain in the same place with the mother whom he had nearly murdered. 'It seems not natural. Sir Hercules was overjoyed. bade him take the animal out of the house at once. and in a twinkling had very severely mauled her arm and shoulder. Sir Hercules ordered that the beast should be chained up in the stable−yard. At a year he weighed as much as Hercules had weighed when he was three. Ferdinando returned for the summer holidays larger and stronger than ever. Turning on his son. horses. So awe−inspiring was the spectacle of Sir Hercules standing with one foot on the carcase of the gigantic dog.' wrote Filomena in her diary. his sword drawn and still bloody. He was packed off to Eton at the beginning of the next half. had not Sir Hercules drawn his sword and stabbed the animal to the heart. gigantic dimensions? It was a thought to which neither of his parents dared yet give open utterance. One day he knocked down the butler and broke his arm. growing angry. God give us strength to bear this cross. For the child was growing with an extraordinary rapidity. It was a savage. unreliable animal. "On his third birthday Ferdinando was taller than his mother and not more than a couple of inches short of his father's height. Could it be that Ferdinando was destined to become a man of the normal. and masters−−was painted by William Stubbs. 'The only thing that will teach him manners is corporal chastisement.Crome Yellow habits. 'we discussed the situation. 40 .' On his wife's being brought to bed of a son he wrote a poem to the same effect. The hideous truth can be concealed no longer: Ferdinando is not one of us. Filomena is dressed in flowered muslin and a very large hat with pink feathers. 'Ferdinando goes crescendo. His mother at this moment coming into the room. he ordered him to leave the room immediately. grooms. Ferdinando refused to move. His father. a day when we should have been rejoicing at the health. though a man of ordinary stature.' Ferdinando. to come and stay at the mansion for the purpose of executing this picture. Extremely put out by this occurrence. The child was christened Ferdinando in memory of the builder of the house. knocked her down. who was a man of thirty−six. He had bought it from an old man at Windsor who had found the beast too expensive to feed. '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. the dog flew at her.' "At the age of eight Ferdinando was so large and so exuberantly healthy that his parents decided. "With the passage of the months a certain sense of disquiet began to invade the minds of Sir Hercules and his lady. At the end of that time Filomena found herself great with child. though reluctantly. and the CHAPTER XIII. "In this way four years passed happily by. Stubbs likewise painted a portrait of Sir Hercules and his lady driving in their green enamelled calash drawn by four black Shetlands. and he would keep it where he pleased. seizing the creature in its jaws and shaking it till it was nearly dead. who at this age was already seventeen inches taller than his father. the strength. unamenable to persuasion. so that the four black ponies are seen against a pale and strangely lurid sky that has the golden−brown colour of thunder− clouds lighted up by the sun. A profound peace settled upon the house. hardly had it entered the house when it attacked one of Sir Hercules's favourite pugs.' At eighteen months the baby was almost as tall as their smallest jockey. inconsiderate. so commanding were his voice. but to the left of the picture the trees fall away and disappear. On this.' he wrote in his day−book. "One summer holidays about three years later Ferdinando returned to Crome accompanied by a very large mastiff dog. The two figures in their gay carriage stand out sharply against a dark background of trees. and beauty of our child. received no corporal chastisement. on pain of his utmost displeasure. 'If God is good. 'To−day for the first time' wrote Sir Hercules. A picture of the whole hunt−−dogs. his third birthday. we wept together over the ruin of our happiness. whose work Sir Hercules admired so much that he invited him. Ferdinando sullenly answered that the dog was his. 'He is rough. Sir Hercules wears a plum−coloured velvet coat and white breeches. his gestures. in another instant it must infallibly have had her by the throat. but in the secrecy of their respective diaries they brooded over it in terror and dismay. followed either on the black Shetlands or on the piebald New Forest ponies.' wrote his father.
The top of his father's head reached to the level of his hip. Sir Hercules affected not to notice. who could only just look over the edge of the big table. retired to her chamber and her bed. were a period of happy repose for his parents. Two friends of his own age accompanied him. Sir Hercules was appalled and indignant.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. with an outburst of shouts and laughter. lowering himself from stair to stair and standing for a moment on each tread before adventuring on a new step. A giant in a brown travelling−suit entered the room. too nervous for such sports. giving as his excuse that he must see how his lady did. Sir Hercules climbed down from his chair and. "Ferdinando had not come alone. the singing of the orphans in the churches of the same city.' said Sir Hercules in a voice that trembled a little. and Sir Hercules groped his way down cautiously. The Lady Filomena had lost her voice and Sir Hercules was grown too rheumatical to play the violin. "The old family dining−table was dragged out into the light and dusted (Sir Hercules and his lady were accustomed to dine at a small table twenty inches high). Filomena was not asleep. But even now the thought of the future haunted them. "When supper was over. the beauties of art and nature to be met with abroad. she would follow the hunt at a distance in a little gig drawn by the safest and oldest of the Shetlands. The uproar continuing for several minutes. "The two years which Ferdinando spent on the Continent. from that time forth she lived always among imaginary terrors. There was no light on the staircase. 'Welcome home. He. "Sir Hercules presided. the shouting articulated itself into CHAPTER XIII. "The day fixed for Ferdinando's return came round. He received the young gentlemen with grave politeness and sent the servants to the kitchen. Sir Hercules received his son alone. Sir Hercules drew a chair to her bedside and sat there for a long time in silence. The sound of laughter followed him up the stairs. Simon. but the effect on her mind of this adventure was ineradicable. that he used to hunt the rabbit with a pack of pug dogs. and on other topics of a similar nature. was helped at supper by the three servants brought by Ferdinando and his guests. sick with vague dreads and presentiments. the opera at Venice. 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. Sir Hercules rose to his feet and. with orders that they should be well cared for. Upon this one of the young men asked whether it was true. my son. At most. but changed the subject of the conversation to sport. to please her husband. and proceeded to describe the chase in some detail. Filomena. There was a breaking of glass. holding his wife's hand and sometimes gently squeezing it. His mother soon recovered from the bites of the mastiff. they were occupied in watching the efforts of the butler to change the plates and replenish the glasses. making the Grand Tour. prepared to go and see what was happening. sir. Sir Hercules replied that it was. The young men were not particularly attentive to his discourses. as he had heard. but his wife felt herself too old and. and with his usual grace supported a conversation on the pleasures of foreign travel. still rode after his pugs. bade them good−night. then straightened himself up again.' Ferdinando bent down to shake hands. it is true. They covered their laughter by violent and repeated fits of coughing or choking. The young men roared with laughter. At about ten o'clock they were startled by a violent noise. the aged butler. 41 . and each of the young men had brought a servant. since the episode of the mastiff. Not for thirty years had Crome been desecrated by the presence of so many members of the common race of men. nor were they able to solace themselves with all the diversions of their younger days. "'I hope I see you well. but the laws of hospitality had to be obeyed. in spite of his wife's entreaties. a stamping of feet. The noise was louder here.
long. he took down from the shelf his copy of Suetonius." CHAPTER XIII. sat down in the bath. The three servants leaning against the wall laughed too. The old man smiled and hiccoughed.' And there was Petronius. of good family. but of love and gallantry. Soon he was sound asleep. He crossed the hall once more and began to climb the stairs. gave him some brandy to drink. had exhibited in the amphitheatre a young man called Lucius. was dancing a jig.' said Sir Hercules. no place for him and Ferdinando together. long. there was no place for him now in the world. Sir Hercules tiptoed across the hall towards it. he remembered. and having recorded his wife's last words to him. The blood oozed out.' She drank off the draught and. There was not much blood in his small body. "Sir Hercules would look and listen no further. the butler. saying. 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. This same Augustus. "His wife was still awake. to her questioning glance he answered. not of the consolations of philosophy. The tears came into her eyes. which so dazed and surprised the little man that he staggered and fell down on his back. With one deep cut he severed the artery in his left wrist. who was not quite two feet in height and weighed seventeen pounds. lying back on the pillow. taking a razor in his hand. he poured into his bath the water that had been brought up in accordance with his orders. He turned over the pages.' "'It is better not.' "Filomena took the glass and lay for a little time. Caligula. bidding them talk to him. Ferdinando suddenly threw a handful of walnuts at the dancer's head. lifting his knees painfully high at each degree. 'They are making mock of old Simon. as though he were afraid of waking her. When he had finished writing he went into his wife's room. it seems such a short time ago. Dipping his pen once more in the ink he wrote on the last page of his diary: 'He died a Roman death. Claudius. 'I do not want to see to−morrow.' added one of his companions. putting the toes of one foot into the water and finding that it was not too hot. 42 . but had a stentorian voice. Just as he approached the door there was another terrific crash of breaking glass and jangled metal. 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. he forced to kill himself. In the middle of the ravaged table old Simon. a rivederti. They raised him up. he threw off his dressing−gown and. and yet so long.' Then. Sir Hercules kissed her hand and tiptoed away. so primed with drink that he could scarcely keep his balance. What could they be doing? Standing on tiptoe he managed to look through the keyhole. and his shoes were wet with spilt wine. He returned to his closet. This was the end.' He winced as though he had been struck. "At last Filomena said. thumping the table with their hands or with the empty wine bottles. who had called his friends about him at the last. but did not drink immediately. He wished to read how Seneca had died. The three young men sat round. amore.' 'With father Hercules wearing his club and lion−skin. Tiberius. thumped him on the back.' 'And you playing on the violin. The water being too hot for him to get into the bath at once. To−morrow it will be our turn. while the life was ebbing away through his opened veins. 'Do you remember the songs we used to sing. non dormir piu.' he read. closed her eyes. A line of light was visible under the dining−room door. floating through the water in dissolving wreaths and spirals. he brought it to her. In a little while the whole bath was tinged with pink. and all three roared with laughter. He opened the book at random. then lay back and composed his mind to meditation. 'Seneca his preceptor.' They were silent for a time. Sir Hercules felt himself mastered by an invincible drowsiness. Nero: it was a tale of growing horror. shouting and laughing encouragement. 'he held in abhorrence as being lusus naturae and of evil omen. 'we'll have a concerted ballet of the whole household. 'To−morrow.' said Ferdinando. 'But dwarfs. Addio. The colour deepened. His feet crunched and tinkled among the broken glass. 'Here is your sleeping−draught. upsetting a decanter and several glasses. and preparing a dose of opium twenty times as strong as that which she was accustomed to take when she could not sleep. he was sinking from vague dream to dream. Going into his closet he wrote in his day−book a full and particular account of all the events of the evening.Crome Yellow recognisable words and phrases.
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
Scogan asked. improbable blue. looked about him for a moment in silence. A minute later Ivor came leaping round the corner of the house. "always and everywhere." "I told you so. The ladies had left the room and the port was circulating." Ivor's vocabulary was rich." he cried. but a little erratic. Gombauld noticed his smile. and embraced her. With one arm he embraced a large stone flower−pot. "It's Ivor. Scogan. CHAPTER XVI. and pointed. his face thin and rather long. you're not late. Scogan filled his glass." said Mr." "You're in time to answer a question. he was smiling at some private joke. A horn with the voice of a sea−lion made itself heard.Crome Yellow intricate shadows. In old age−− though it was difficult to imagine Ivor old−−he might grow to have an Iron Ducal grimness. kicking his heels." "I see. wavy hair. approaching. passed on the decanter. What do you think? Is it serious?" "Serious?" echoed Ivor." "One can occupy oneself with it. In England"−−he put the tip of his forefinger against the tip of his thumb and." cried Mary triumphantly. "I'm not late for dinner. His head was narrow. Mr." The dust cloud descended into the valley and was lost. darling. at twenty−six. he laughed as he saw them. am I?" He hoisted himself up on to the balustrade. leaning back in his chair. and. "Anne. The surface of things had taken on a marvellous enrichment. drew out this circle into an imaginary cylinder−−"In England they're tubular. His hair waved in the wind of his own speed. it was not the structure of his face that impressed one. that's all. Scogan. That was charming and vivacious. pale. at the crest of the ridge. leaning his head sideways against its hard and lichenous flanks in an attitude of trustful affection. One can go on with it without ever getting bored. "What's amusing you?" he asked. Shapes vary a little. and his eyes were of a very brilliant. "Perfectly. his nose aquiline. a cloud of dust flushed by the sunlight to rosy gold was moving rapidly along the sky−line. CHAPTER XVI. "Look!" said Anne suddenly. lowering his hand. "Well. Scogan." Ivor continued." said Mr. But their sentiments are always the same. embraced Mary." "I'm delighted to hear it. On the opposite side of the valley. At least. and his smile was an irradiation. One can tell by the speed. "I mean as an occupation. I've come with incredulous speed. but he disregarded it. He was forever moving. He had brown. I've always found it so. The conversation rippled idly round him. "No. very nearly embraced Mr. In Spain"−−with his free hand he described a series of ample curves−−"one can't pass them on the stairs. here I am." said Mr. and sat there. "Most certainly. His frail and slender body seemed to be fed by a spring of inexhaustible energy. but with an engaging gracefulness. restlessly and rapidly. Women are always wonderfully the same. But now. "But in what sense serious?" Mr. it was its expression. "We were arguing whether Amour were a serious matter or no. Scogan. 46 .
he will not. To−day we are no longer surprised at these things. The Caesars are one of my touchstones. if you were given the opportunity of behaving like a Caesar. but do we enjoy life any the less because of them? Most certainly we do not. it's as well that Denis hasn't been permitted to flower into a little Nero. the Poles maltreat the Silesians. out of every ten men placed in the Caesarean environment one will be temperamentally good. disembowelled. Augustus. the full horror of their potentialities. Claudius. unhappy blackamoors on the Congo and the Amazon were being treated as English serfs were treated in the time of Stephen. reading of the exploits of the Bourbons in South Italy. Seventy and eighty years ago simple−minded people. When I meet someone for the first time. "They are characters functioning. 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. the most academic of speculations. I passed my youth doing a great deal of utterly senseless hard work for a very little money. Scogan replied. I am the poor thing that I am. in middle age. what are CHAPTER XVI. Given the opportunities. after all. Scogan. "all−−with the possible exception of Claudius. their dead bodies rot and their eyes decay with the rest. or great. 47 . I ask myself this question: Given the Caesarean environment. The result is that now. each little oddity." Mr. slashed. 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." he went on. Scogan explained. The Caesarean environment makes the Caesar. no doubt. We have created a Caesarean environment and a host of little Caesars has sprung up. But perhaps it is as well. Scogan drank off what was left of his port and refilled the glass. untrammelled. These are distressing facts. Since the war we wonder at nothing. of Caligula's folly. After travelling for three seconds they are perfectly inaudible. of Nero's artistic genius and enormous vanity. But circumstances were against me. Caligula. Screams of pain and fear go pulsing through the air at the rate of eleven hundred feet per second. given the proper food. What could be more natural?" Mr. so to speak. I was born and brought up in a country rectory. "I am potentially all of them. they can be sure of making a queen every time. no doubt. sitting round this table. the bold Fascisti slaughter their poorer countrymen: we take it all for granted. I was looking at you one by one and trying to imagine which of the first six Caesars you would each resemble. "I was merely amused by my own speculations. The seeds of Julius's courage and compelling energy. in the void.Crome Yellow "I was just looking at you all. The rest will blossom into Caesars. as a spectacle. Scogan answered politely. a standard." "And which of the Caesars do you resemble?" asked Gombauld. or intelligent." said Mr." Mr. "the most frightful horrors are taking place in every corner of the world. But it would have been more amusing. mangled. With us there is no such certainty. At this very moment." Mr. and that Ivor remains only potentially a Caligula. of the libidinousness and cruelty of Tiberius. Perhaps. each mental and emotional bias. Yes. of Augustus's prudence. as the special food and the queenly cell make the queen bee. we represent to ourselves imaginatively the sufferings of nations and individuals and we deplore them. "Are we as comic as all that?" "Not at all. The Black and Tans harry Ireland. who was much too stupid to be a development of anything in my character. I might have been something fabulous. if they had had the chance to develop. But. and magnify them a thousand times. which of the Caesars would this person resemble−− Julius. They are human beings developed to their logical conclusions. People are being crushed. Nero? I take each trait of character. We differ from the bees in so far that." "And what were they?" "The idlest. Hence their unequalled value as a touchstone. are all within me. too. it's better so. We feel sympathy. Tiberius. The resulting image gives me his Caesarean formula.
through imagination and sympathy. "Let's go out into the garden." he said." "Thank you. when occasion offered. 48 . At the beginning of the war I used to think I really suffered. rapidly and loudly. the fact is depressing when one happens to be the sufferer. honestly. but it makes pleasure possible for the rest of the world. I didn't. He excelled in amateur theatricals and. Training would only have destroyed his natural aptitudes. and Mary. He resembled Shakespeare in knowing little Latin and less Greek. And a good thing too. I'm afraid. He looked for a moment over his pince−nez in Ivor's direction and then. Scogan. He was a good amateur medium and telepathist.Crome Yellow sympathy and imagination? Precious little." Ivor suggested. "we can share our pleasures. that hint of the seventh was decidedly modern. and even then they don't go very far. Scogan. he could improvise. Nature and fortune had vied with one another in heaping on Ivor Lombard all their choicest gifts. For a mind like his. returned to the grimy little sixteenth−century account books which were now his favourite reading. For painting symbolical pictures he had a dashing style." said Mr. cried out aloud. He could write rhymed verses with an extraordinary rapidity. unless the person for whom we feel sympathy happens to be closely involved in our affections. But after a month or two I had to admit that. Henry Wimbush was also happy. Henry Wimbush pushed back his chair. One is always alone in suffering. jumping up with alacrity. and was the hero of more amorous successes than he could well remember. her large china eyes fixed on the performer. as I've already said. Ivor brought his hands down with a bang on to the final chord of his rhapsody." There was a pause. the colour was always pyrotechnical. and had a considerable first−hand knowledge of the next world. We are not always condemned to be happy alone. for if one had an imagination vivid enough and a sympathy sufficiently sensitive really to comprehend and to feel the sufferings of other people. And yet I think I have a more vivid imagination than most. "There." His pipe had begun to bubble oozily every time he pulled at it. He turned to Mr. 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. He had wealth and he was perfectly independent. A really sympathetic race would not so much as know the meaning of happiness. we aren't a sympathetic race. one would never have a moment's peace of mind. "Fortunately." he said. "That's the best I can do for you. besides. possessed an irresistible charm of manner. on the piano. Small details matter little so long as the general effect is good. He was good looking. "Wonderful!" and gasped for new breath as though she were suffocating." Murmurs of applause and gratitude were heard. but the general effect of splendid noise emerged clearly enough. He had a beautiful untrained tenor voice. "but I for one prefer these still more wonderful arm−chairs. "So do I. he could cook with genius. education seemed supererogatory. and if the drawing was sometimes a little weak. And. He knew more about Sir Ferdinando's household expenses than about his own. "I think perhaps we ought to go and join the ladies. He was perfectly happy. His accomplishments were extraordinary for their number and variety. with those who physically suffered." said Ivor." CHAPTER XVII." he said. with a startling brilliance. But luckily. CHAPTER XVII. He turned round in his seat and tossed the hair back out of his eyes. "It's a wonderful night. without saying anything.
groped his way cautiously. and in a moment they had the turf of the yew−tree walk under their feet. dry concussion that might have been the sound of a slap." Her tone was decided. vainly exhorting everyone to caution: the slope was steep. Un jour exigea a Silvandre Trente moutons pour un baiser. singing unevenly as he went: "Trente baisers pour un mouton. like all his emotions. was closed. she felt she would never stop. Denis wondered why he had never done it. He guided his companions over the danger. and even as she pronounced the words she was melting away into the darkness. "Let's go down to the pool. 49 . It was lighter here. but it was. They walked up and down the terrace. thump! there was the sound of a heavy fall in front of him. for the yew walk was wider than the path that had led them under the lea of the house. "Oh!" and then a sharp. The incident. Somewhere there were steps down to the right. he had told them so. Mary came down the hill like a runaway steam−engine. startled. He trotted down the slope towards the unseen sufferer. consisted of Anne. this blind rush through the dark. of horrible spiked obstructions." The melody drooped and climbed again with a kind of easy languor. they could see between the high black hedges a strip of sky and a few stars. But the ground grew level beneath her feet.." The others followed. in this darkness. "Oo−ooh!" Denis was almost pleased. Jenny. "Le lendemain. The atmosphere began to palpitate." said Ivor. followed by the long "F−f−f−f−f" of a breath indrawn with pain and afterwards by a very sincere. the idiots. singing as he walked." he shouted once more. there was no moon. rather a theoretical feeling. What was wrong with these people. "Car il obtint de la bergere. Jenny's voice was heard pronouncing. It seemed the easiest. and then interrupted himself to shout. and in that position walked on. her speed insensibly CHAPTER XVII. and they wouldn't listen. one might break one's neck. softly: "Phillis plus avare que tendre Ne gagnant rien a refuser." and he was off. down the invisible slope. the warm darkness seemed to pulse like blood about them. Denis. Ivor put his arm round Anne's waist... "Be careful. nouvelle affaire: Pour le berger le troc fut bon. "I'm going to run down. it did not overmasteringly seek to express itself in a practical demonstration of kittenishness. "I am going back to the house. who headed the party. enrolled under Ivor's banner. It was tremendously exciting. one had an irrational fear of yawning precipices. Mary. Denis. close−−with something about the little Spanish girl to follow. He himself felt a certain kittenishness sporting within him. a gap in the yew hedge.. thing in the world. or at least it was just perceptibly less dark. Suddenly from behind him he heard a shrill. the most natural. Denis shambled in the rear. stretti"−−close. and. and Ivor sang a Neapolitan song: "Stretti. Looking up." Went on Ivor. dropped his head sideways onto her shoulder. whatever it had been." "Here are the steps. From somewhere behind Ivor began to sing again. Outside it was warm and dark. After that. he wondered? They had become like young kittens after a dose of cat−nip. Denis resumed his forward groping." cried Denis.Crome Yellow The outdoor party. Between the blank precipitous wall of the house and the tall yew trees the path was a chasm of impenetrable gloom. and hardly were the words out of his mouth when. rather unexpectedly. full speed. He disengaged his embrace and turned round to shepherd his little flock. 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. He hated Ivor.
to lay his head on her shoulder. and. Anne held out her hands. and the left exhibited two or three red abrasions. Mary was too short for him to be able. "So it is!" he exclaimed. after all." she said. It's Mary. looking up at her face. Anne. a patch of green turf−−and round about a darkness that had become solid and utterly blind. The light spurted and then grew steady. leaned against him. of course. But Denis was terribly distressed. interlaced. Then. Fut trop heureuse de lui rendre Trente moutons pour un baiser. bare arms. In a little while he began to sing again." he said." she said. "Thank you." CHAPTER XVII. "But then." "Ass!" she retorted in a tone of tearful irritation. it was not worth while to light another. Ne voulant deplaire au berger. against the thick. soft but wonderfully clear through the still darkness. When he had finished he kissed her. Anne or Mary: Mary or Anne. He rubbed his cheek. involuntary tears of pain." said Ivor as he tightened his embrace. It didn't seem to make much difference which it was. Anne allowed herself to be attended to. There were differences in detail. a little universe had been created. and there was something so jolly about his laughter that Mary could not help laughing too. Denis? I've hurt my ankle so−−and my knee. "Is that you. I've already made one with Jenny. I'm all in pieces." He laughed again. the general effect was the important thing. Magically. "I want to look at my wounds." He felt in his pockets for the match−box. delicious atmosphere of perfume that she carried always with her. and suddenly she was caught by an extended arm and brought to an abrupt halt. lingered on her eyelashes. "Any damage done?" he called out. "you're caught now. meekly and gratefully. and somehow it was all so amusing and natural that Mary made no further attempt to escape from it. "Not so bad." She made an effort to release herself. "I seem to be making nothing but floaters this evening. 50 . He did not remove his encircling arm. a world of colours and forms−−Anne's face. from below. He felt tremendously large and protective. her white. They walked along by the side of the pool. but the general effect was the same. when he had finished cleaning and bandaging her hand. the shimmering orange of her dress.Crome Yellow slackened. and so they sat in silence. He pulled out his handkerchief and began to wipe away the dirt from the wounded hand. and my hand. She drew closer. the night trembled amorously to the sound of his voice. Denis made his way down the hill." He sat down beside on the grass. with any comfort. and his emotion was intensified when. that she was younger than he." Ivor burst into a peal of amused laughter. "it was silly to start running downhill in the dark." she commanded. he saw that the trace of tears. and found himself breathing the faint. sleek mass of her hair. The feeling was so strong that instinctively he put his arm about her. caressed and caressing. "It's not Anne. The match went out. and there was something in her tone that made him feel that she had lost her superiority over him. "Well. both were green and earthy with her fall. had become. "of course it was." "My poor Anne." he couldn't help adding. "Light a match. suddenly. they heard the sound of Ivor's singing. He was going on with his half−finished song: "Le lendemain Phillis plus tendre. almost a child.
at first rather randomly.it isn't our stunt at all." said Anne. but she knew what she meant. It's beginning to swell.." "I shall make you say it is. Denis got up reluctantly. and that was so jolly.. Somehow she had never thought of Denis in the light of a man who might make love. "No. "Why isn't it our stunt?" asked Denis.? Or the shepherd? Yes. by the way." "Why not?" "It spoils our friendship. the smooth nape that this movement presented him.she couldn't find the adjective. she had never so much as conceived the possibilities of an amorous relationship with him. the woolly mutton−− baa. "And. It was as though time were being allowed for the giving and receiving of a few of those thirty kisses.. warm as wine. on the mouth. so.." "Because it isn't. Denis. the protector." she protested. I say it isn't. decidedly." Denis offered.so. 51 . He had never tried to carry a woman. Denis. I must go in and get my ankle into hot water. baa. CHAPTER XVII.. he felt himself to be the shepherd now. he kissed the ear.." she said." The sheep. "Ooh!" She halted and leaned heavily on his arm. "Trente moutons pour un baiser. She tried to explain. "Are you better?" Denis whispered. But you must do it another time." The last note died away into an uninterrupted silence." "But if I say it is?" "It makes no difference. baa. Anne averted her head." "All right. "no." It was true. A wave of courage swelled through him. then. with more precision. 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..Crome Yellow There was a rather prolonged pause. and began to kiss her face. "Can't you see. "I'll carry you. but on the cinema it always looked an easy piece of heroism." "Bosh!" said Denis. "You couldn't.. He turned his head. that's a horrible and inappropriate expression. "Are you comfortable like this?" She nodded a Yes to both questions." Reasons of health could not be gainsaid. He was so absurdly young. "it isn't. She took a cautious step. and helped his companion to her feet. He was the master.
" "A Party of Souls on their Way to a Higher Sphere. my poor Denis. "What have you done with the rest of your party?" she asked." "It's perfectly sweet of you to offer. and laughed again. left her in the hands of a maid. as he looked at them. stooping. everything would be quite different−−it seemed such a prodigious time since he went away. he reflected. all silent and all damned. there was no movement save the stir of Priscilla among her papers. On the back of each sheet descriptive titles were written: "Portrait of an Angel. She was helpless then. The lamplight was utterly serene. 3rd December '19." he ordered. to compose himself for an evening's reading. CHAPTER XVII. "I said You couldn't. you know. desired and unassailable. "I'll try again. Incredible. a child. "Put your arms round my neck. 21st May '21. made in the course of tranced tours through the other world.. It was a batch of Ivor's drawings−−sketches of Spirit Life. throwing back her mountainous orange head. Why had he been such a fool as to suggest that carrying stunt? He reached the house in a state of the profoundest depression. Denis repeated to himself." Mary explained." Before examining the drawing on the obverse of each sheet. kissing her. that was the only sound. began to limp slowly up the hill. only two minutes ago. seated in her favourite arm−chair at the corner of the hearth. Jenny was mysteriously scribbling in her red notebook. but I'd rather walk.. in horn−rimmed spectacles. what a weight! He took five staggering steps up the slope. He helped Anne upstairs. He selected a book and a comfortable chair. "It was gibbous. One by one she held them out at arm's length and. on the slope of her mauve−powdered decolletage diamonds twinkled. as far as the disturbed state of his mind would permit him. and tried. Ivor and Mary were still in the garden. Good heavens.Crome Yellow "Of course I can. thanks. Scogan's pipe still wheezed. with something of a bump. she turned it over to read the title. they glittered every time she moved. 52 . somehow. And. Anne was shaking with laughter." She laid her hand on his shoulder and. She did so and. without conviction. Mr. then almost lost his equilibrium. Diamonds were embedded in her high−piled coiffure. Humiliated. regardless of the absence of the justifying R. Anne had gone to bed. She wore a pale sea−green dress. He explained. he picked her up under the knees and lifted her from the ground." said Ivor. very technical and scientific. looked long and attentively through half−closed eyelids. He had expected that. It was nearly an hour later when Ivor and Mary made their appearance. All silent and all damned. All silent and all damned. 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. Henry Wimbush was still deep in his account books. he was silent. Priscilla was looking through a pile of drawings. 15th March '20. "My poor Denis!" she repeated." "I can. and had to deposit his burden suddenly." He felt larger and more protective than ever. "We waited to see the moon rise. and came down again to the drawing−room. She had to be content with the reported experiences of others. Try as she could−−and she tried hard−−Priscilla had never seen a vision or succeeded in establishing any communication with the Spirit World. He was surprised to find them all sitting just where he had left them. she was once more the far−off being. Gombauld. An immensely long cigarette− holder projected at an angle from her face. thus supported. he should have been holding her in his embrace." "Astral Beings at Play. It seemed incredible that. Now she had regained all her superiority. was reading." said Denis.
Denis helped me home. expensive−looking machine." she said..Crome Yellow "It was so beautiful down in the garden! The trees. The three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the seven dozen oysters. and they were gone. far from it. of course. the rising moon and its gibbosity.. The discovery of this fact gave Henry Wimbush a peculiar pleasure.. art. Mary looked on and listened with parted lips. Sir Ferdinando had eaten seven dozen oysters. the rising moon. He played the garden. the stars. the stars. faintlier. he would have ordered champagne.He wished he had known before dinner. she was relieved to find Anne's non−appearance so simply accounted for. the meteorites through whose summer shower the earth was now passing. It made me burst into tears. Inwardly. religion.. "And when the moon came up. the stars. the scent of flowers. by a quarter to ten. who was punctilious in his devotions." Mary was full of sympathy. she thought." Ivor waved his arms. What about? About almost everything. "Why didn't you come down to the garden with us?" Mary asked. faintlier. He had a natural piety which made him delight in the celebration of memorial feasts. But she didn't like the idea that perhaps she was the victim of a put−up job. Not that she minded. and weather by a glazed sedan that rose. down there in the garden−−suspicious of what. the relations of the sexes. the scent of flowers." said Mary to anyone who would listen. It was a smart.. There were two seats−−three if you squeezed tightly enough−−and their occupants were protected from wind. thought it would be an interesting experience. "The earth must just be coming into the summer shower of them. And then they had had such interesting conversation. "I do hope you'll be better to−morrow. Nature. poetry. On her way to bed Mary paid a call.. an elegant eighteenth− century hump. or mental energy. she hardly knew. Mary had never been to a Roman Catholic service. "There were a great many meteorites. The others pursued their occupations. 53 . spiritualism. Ivor. In the parish church of Crome Mr. and. The sea−lion horn roared. On this very July day. science. but there had seemed to be something a little louche in the way she had suddenly found herself alone with Ivor. without appearing to be seriously disturbed. ready to start. had an interesting mind. but she was not yet asleep. the scent of the flowers. The light was out in Anne's room. or CHAPTER XVIII. The two young ladies parted affectionately." But Ivor had already begun to strike the keys. when the car moved off through the great gates of the courtyard. too. In July and August. from the midst of the body of the car. "I fell down and twisted my ankle. and she commiserated with Anne on all she had missed−−the garden. Bodiham preached on 1 Kings vi. she was occupying the spare seat in the sedan. 18: "And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops"−−a sermon of immediately local interest. She had been vaguely suspicious. enamelled a pure lemon yellow and upholstered in emerald green leather. the stars. He even put in a nightingale that was not there. Ivor. CHAPTER XVIII. music. came down early to breakfast and had his car at the door. The nearest Roman Catholic church was upwards of twenty miles away. exactly three hundred and fifty years ago. it was really too much." He sat down at the piano and opened the lid. For the past two years the problem of the War Memorial had exercised the minds of all those in Crome who had enough leisure. dust.
So far. These were works dedicated to man. It might soon be too late. a monument of marble. like a thief in the night. Bodiham preached a sermon on the subject. stocked with county histories.Crome Yellow party spirit to think of such things. But nothing would be easier than to make a second entrance into the churchyard. Funds were inadequate. At the first stile a group of village boys. or. What were the characteristics of these buildings dedicated to God? Obviously. dancing−−social amusements in which they would have partaken as members of a conscious community. 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. Every three or four months Mr. A lich−gate had been suggested. especially the latter. monographs on the local antiquities. "And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops." Solomon might have built a library−−indeed. Bodiham touched lightly on Solomon's temple. nothing except Mr. It was a token of thankfulness that the first stage in the culminating world−war had been crowned by the triumph of righteousness. There would have been archery." Mr. his bowler and face were one in their unruffled gravity. partly because the memorial committee had never been able to agree. making up parties of a Sunday afternoon to look for fossils and flint arrow−heads. Bodiham in demanding something religious in character−−a second lich−gate. he reflected. They made way for Henry Wimbush. for example. Country pleasures were no more. Further delay was disastrous. these young men would have had their Sunday diversions even at Crome. he built a house all carved with knops. all three. it was high time that his congregation had a fresh reminder. already existed. He appealed to the patriotism and the Christian sentiments of all his hearers. if possible. In Sir Ferdinando's time. and a second entrance would need a second gate. Sir Julius. Boredom or the urban pleasures of the county metropolis were the alternatives that presented themselves to these poor youths. loutish young fellows all dressed in the hideous ill−fitting black which makes a funeral of every English Sunday and holiday. There had been much talk in Crome about the proposed War Memorial. It was high time that the War Memorial was erected. a reservoir? Mr. This was an object which answered perfectly to the definition of a War Memorial: a useless work dedicated to God and carved with knops. At any moment. drearily guffawing as they smoked their cigarettes. He liked to think of the villagers. not to God. were assembled. Stained−glass windows. a work dedicated to God. if ever it came into existence. Bodiham's forbidding Boys' Club and the rare dances and concerts organised by himself. a monument of marble. Meanwhile a difficulty stood in the way. Henry Wimbush walked home thinking of the books he would present to the War Memorial Library. dialect dictionaries. Bodiham scornfully and indignantly condemned the idea. a stained−glass window. useless and unpractical. partly for the more cogent reason that too little money had been subscribed to carry out any of the proposed schemes. handbooks of the local geology and natural history. touching their caps as he passed. From thence he passed to temples and churches in general. All should subscribe according to their means. But the busiest and most articulate party followed Mr. from a human point of view. CHAPTER XVIII. complete uselessness. As a War Memorial they were totally unsuitable. 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. Henry Wimbush was all for a library−−a library of local literature. His last had been delivered in March. it was true. The villagers themselves favoured the idea of a memorial reservoir and water supply. nothing had been done. God might come. Now they had nothing. they had been stamped out by the Puritans. He took the path through the fields. remote and rustic Crome. in its very nature. The War Memorial must be built at once. He returned their salute. in the time of his son. Why? Because he was dedicating the work to God. however. A library. They were unpractical buildings "carved with knops. Both these were admirable. Other suggestions had been made. it was at the same time a visibly embodied supplication that God might not long delay the Advent which alone could bring the final peace. old maps of the district. skittles. it was pleasanter than the road. inspired by such reading. 54 . One lich−gate. the fact of their. A War Memorial was.
he applied himself forthwith to the task of spending it." "Good. drunk and loved away about half his capital. and would infallibly have soon got rid of the rest in the same manner. rarely drinking more than a bottle and a half of port at a sitting. he even became temperate. CHAPTER XIX. of course. Who knows?−− perhaps their ancestors had danced like this in the moonlight ages before Adam and Eve were so much as thought of. he remembered. which he did in an ample and jovial fashion.. By the time he was forty he had eaten and. "Or Sir Henry. the untimely and CHAPTER XIX.. a very queer passage. Sir Julius." he said thoughtfully. taking his pipe out of his mouth. slowly he turned over the pages. "Sir Ferdinando's voyages are not without interest. there's his son. What old." He repeated the lines to himself. gaoled. The waning fortune of the Lapiths began once more to wax. I'm inclined to think I won't read about any of these. among the hills. At the death of the virtuous and unfortunate Sir Hercules. Unchanged for fifteen hundred year. dancing. without indigenous pleasures. Or there's Sir Cyprian. above all. An extraordinary reformation made itself apparent in Sir Ferdinando's character. Scogan. He grew regular and economical in his habits. But Providence willed otherwise. among the sheepcotes.Crome Yellow In Manningham's Diary for 1600 there was a queer passage." He turned the pages more rapidly. The magistrates and their men had ridden their horses into the crowd." said Henry Wimbush. The pious magistrates had snuffed out for ever a little happy flame that had burned from the beginning of time. and there seemed no good reason why she should not bear many more of them. and in less than a year had become the absolute mistress of Crome and her husband. These weary young men. set in the stocks. had had wind of a scandal. Then. 55 . "and the events that led up to his marriage with the eldest daughter of the last Sir Ferdinando. Scogan. 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. Or Sir George. One moonlit summer night they had ridden out with their posse and there. How self−conscious the poor people must suddenly have felt. seemed now to be Sir Ferdinando's enviable destiny." insisted Mr. stark naked. Henry Wimbush's long cigar burned aromatically. was due. how helpless without their clothes against armed and booted horsemen! The dancers were arrested. "And as on Tullia's tomb one lamp burned clear. would have to bicycle six miles to the town." said Henry Wimbush. To Napoleon. He liked to think so. Ferdinando found himself in possession of the family fortune." "But you must read something. "I can't decide what episode to read you to−night. though perhaps indirectly." said Mr. A prosperous and dignified old age. whipped." "Before I begin reading. "We are listening. The young lady accepted him. and that in despite of the hard times (for Sir Ferdinando married in 1809 in the height of the Napoleonic Wars). It was he who suffered from the delusion that his perspiration engendered flies. I must say a few preliminary words about Sir Ferdinando. and sons as well−−a patriarchal decline into the family vault.. the moonlight dance is never danced again. And now it was no more. earthy. and was desolated to think of all the murdered past.No. The country was desolate.. Puritan magistrates. The "History of Crome" lay on his knee. looking up from the book and taking off the pince−nez which he had just fitted to his nose−−"before their begin. "I think I shall read about my grandfather. cause already of such infinite mischief. Panic rite came to extinction here? he wondered. without life of its own. cheered by the spectacle of his children's growth and happiness−− for Lady Lapith had already borne him three daughters. if they wanted to dance. Certain magistrates in Berkshire. they had come upon a company of men and women. not a little increased by his father's temperance and thrift. the last of the Lapiths.
This genial custom was one of the many habits which he abandoned on his marriage. Slough. and the abdication of the tyrant all went uncelebrated. at every stopping−place to all who cared to listen or drink. They spoke together in whispers. Lady Lapith did not marry again. So perished Sir Ferdinando. The victories in the Peninsula. had destined him for a political career. were setting out with the news of Nelson's victory and death. Leipzig. with cypress for mourning. It was too much for Sir Ferdinando. and once more put on his pince−nez. and later. The coach was travelling at a dizzy speed−−six miles in the last half−hour−−when. Maidenhead. Seated apart in a corner of the room. "till I've refilled my pipe. it was his custom to purchase immediately a large store of liquor and. without having manifested the slightest premonitory symptom of unsteadiness. however. his pleasures were temperate and innocent. he sat through all a chilly October night on the box of the Norwich "Meteor" with a nautical keg of rum on his knees and two cases of old brandy under the seat. to drive through the country proclaiming the good news to all he met on the road and dispensing it. but unconscious. but determined to devote the rest of her life to the well−being of her three children−−Georgiana. Wimbush waited. Henry Wimbush fired away. "Fire away. into the road. There had been a succession of anxious. had adopted. he bribed his way on to the box and. When the happy news reached London. blood was oozing from his mouth. now five years old. "Sir Ferdinando. when the coaches. 56 . He found Sir Ferdinando still alive. It so happened. The back wheels of the coach had passed over his body. his own peculiar method of celebrating our victories. Thus. 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." Henry Wimbush paused. a victim to his own patriotism. then came the glorious news of Waterloo. and Emmeline and Caroline. He hurried to his wine merchant and bought a dozen bottles of 1760 brandy. though his circumstances were comfortable to the verge of affluence. along with the liquor. an East Indian merchant. proclaimed aloud the downfall of the Corsican bandit and passed about the warm liquid joy. His skull was fractured in two places. he had driven as far as Edinburgh. but he was dead before they reached the next stage. the retreat from Moscow. who was above all things a patriot. seated in glory beside the driver. The Bath coach was on the point of starting. first made the acquaintance of the 'three lovely Lapiths. from the earliest days of the conflict with the French. They were approaching Swindon. twins of two. George Wimbush. An unpleasant jolt awakened the slumbering passengers. after the Nile. and had gone to considerable expense in acquiring a CHAPTER XIX. "Now I can begin to read about my grandfather.' as they were always called.Crome Yellow violent death which put a period to this reformed existence." "One moment. The night began to grow chilly." Mr. He was then a young man of twenty−two. Ivor was showing Mary his sketches of Spirit Life. and." he said. wreathed with laurel for triumph. the guard ran back with a light. Sleeping Reading was awakened by the great news. breaking most of his ribs and both arms. Scogan had lighted his pipe again." he said." said Mr. 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. His father. "So much by way of introduction. that in the summer of 1815 Sir Ferdinando was staying for a few weeks in the capital. The coach was brought to a standstill. his joyous youth awoke again within him. taking a place on whichever of the outgoing coaches he happened to light on first. Mr. with curly yellow hair and a smooth pink face that was the mirror of his youthful and ingenuous mind. Sir Ferdinando suddenly toppled sideways off his seat and fell. He had been educated at Harrow and Christ Church. head foremost. "It was in the spring of 1833 that my grandfather. doubtful days. They clattered through Uxbridge. he enjoyed hunting and all other field sports. They picked him up. Scogan.
' said George. You went to hear Paganini last week. who occupied. neigh. her noble aquiline profile. 'I am glad. decidedly. as you say. during the season. 'One must. in George's estimation. she asked him to dine. Lady Lapith made a few discreet inquiries. 'I am a transcendentalist. ventured to comment on the sisters' lack of appetite. who thought the dinner capital. he replied. her flashing eyes. a morsel of fish. their blue eyes. one must live. 'so am I. that last item. 'Do you know anything more transcendental than that?' 'No. as though the lemon sole. 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. quack. and the twins. she knew it was advisable to prepare for all contingencies. 57 . the Reform Bill of 1832 swept the borough out of existence. George Wimbush. Death is very beautiful. a small but elegant house in the neighbourhood of Berkeley Square. he was a thoroughgoing transcendentalist. and three grapes−−that was her whole dinner. with their delicately turned− up noses. exist. They talked of Nature. "Their conversation at this first meeting proved. George agreed that the country was very agreeable. would make an excellent second string for one of the twins. drooping like a sensitive plant.' She made a little gesture of CHAPTER XIX. Yes. "The lovely Lapiths did not fail to impress him. don't talk to me of eating.' He hesitated. don't you think?' She broke a corner off a piece of toast and began to nibble at it languidly. being a prudent woman. but held that London during the season also had its charms. He smiled with pleasure at the thought of it. But what was almost worse was the question with which Georgiana opened her conversation with him. One can't think of one's soul while one is eating. in fact. was about to go on speaking. the duck. "'Alas!' Emmeline sighed. and so. 'But since. The man had made his fiddle bray like an ass. 'are you a classicist or a transcendentalist?' George did not lose his presence of mind. however. with a promptitude which did him credit. asked him what he thought of the latest French poetry and whether he liked the "Indiana" of George Sand. and having found that George's financial position. "The prayer of Moses"−−ah!' She closed her eyes. 'In music.' Georgiana smiled bewitchingly. to be so forbidding that.' he said. were objects revolting to the sight and smell. He noticed with surprise and a certain solicitous distress that Miss Emmeline's appetite was poor. she thought.Crome Yellow pleasant little Cornish borough as a twenty−first birthday gift for his son. the loin of veal. with her black ringlets. were an identical pair of ravishingly English charmers.. no bird. her swan−like neck. looking up their noses at him with an air of languid superiority. She hoped and expected that her daughters would all marry into the peerage. George would never have had the courage to follow up the acquaintance. the eldest. 'But one must live. one couldn't.' "George agreed. shutting their eyes and averting their faces from the proffered dish. had almost compensated for the tediousness of the rest of the concert. The twins. cluck like a hen. 'I don't. He looked from time to time at her two sisters. He had enough appreciation of music to know that he hated anything classical. he was no classicist in music. squeal. At the time he got to know the lovely Lapiths he was waiting. on the very eve of George's majority.. bellow. leaning forward and fixing him with her large dark eyes. "George followed up this first introduction by paying a call on the young ladies and their mother. of course. he was not at all impatient. was orientally dazzling. "'Pray. and growl. my sisters and I.' said Emmeline. They waved away whatever was offered them with an expression of delicate disgust. and sloping shoulders. so unspiritual. and family were all passably good. no meat. George. The inauguration of George's political career had to be postponed. the trifle. Two spoonfuls of soup.' she said. but for the invincible attraction exercised by their beauty. but. that it didn't. Emmeline protested that to her high mountains were a feeling and the hum of human cities torture. 'We find it so coarse.' she asked. George's partner was Emmeline. character. Georgiana and Caroline seemed to be quite as abstemious. He was justly indignant when. and chestnut hair. "At this first dinner. bark. grunt. Georgiana.
"She contrived. if all the world acted on your principles?' "'Mamma!. stout and practical. "'In my young days.' Emmeline and Caroline implored in unison. 'Luckily a very little suffices to keep one alive. 'I should have been laughed out of countenance if I'd said a thing like that. it seemed. They never ate. He enveloped them all in a warm. and it was clear that he was not unfavourably received.' "There was a cry. she might loose her precarious hold on this material world and become all spirit. He was mistaken. he was not very romantic or poetical. talked most of death. that one couldn't help liking him. During the meal she spoke of love.' "'Mamma!. protective affection. Indiana and Sir Rodolphe celebrated the mystic wedding of their souls by jumping into Niagara. and his soul was a hell of jealousy and despair.. swooned most often. they talked much and lovingly of death. but he was such a pleasant. my dear. seeking gloom and solitude.' she said. 'What would become of the next generation. and natural surroundings might have restored to the three sisters their appetites and the roses of their cheeks. To George the thought was a continual agony. but it was successful. "After this he saw them frequently. and half a peach. The boisterous company of the young men became intolerable to him. Georgiana had swooned sideways on to Lord Timpany's shoulder. George was invited to spend the month of August at Crome. For dinner. George looked on. so did her sisters. having broken away CHAPTER XIX. they were altogether too frail. however. in company with the rest of the lovely trio.Crome Yellow resignation.' "'Come. unpretentious. repose. For his part. Lady Lapith was stopped.' She put down her corner of toast half eaten.. routs. people told you you needed a dose of rhubarb. in the list of visitors figured the names of two marriageable young men of title. She was pale. of the three she ate least. 58 . and other parties of pleasure which. Perhaps if you were really spiritual you needed less food. two or three salted almonds. was not spiritual. but she looked extraordinarily healthy. They all liked him. "'True love. He.. If she were to die. The wish of two people who truly love one another is not to live together but to die together. she never failed to attend. 'being infinite and eternal. It was a desperate expedient.. In the middle of July the whole household moved down to the country. kind−hearted young man. For they needed protection. Nowadays. if you didn't eat.. and dropped her eyes. the first evening. Of all the gay party George alone was unhappy.. Love is incompatible with life. Georgiana ate only an olive. "The house−party was distinguished. One morning. it seemed.' Lady Lapith went on.' Georgiana protested. they often complained of fever. too spiritual for this world. Lord Timpany was paying his court to Georgiana. pray. clearly. and was the palest−−with a pallor that was so startling as to appear positively artificial. She was as pale as ever.' said Lady Lapith. 'In my young days. "The days passed in an uneventful round of pleasures. wonderful. nothing. they were always pale. Georgiana was the most ethereal of all. especially Georgiana. he thought. he shrank from them. "'In my young days−−' Lady Lapith was launched into her subject. come. could stop her now. they frequently swooned. True. can only be consummated in eternity. to live through the season.. At any moment. But then in my young days souls weren't as fashionable as they are now and we didn't think death was at all poetical. and that in spite of the numerous balls. he thought them wonderful. It was just unpleasant. George had hoped that country air.. "George regarded her with some surprise. from Lady Lapith downwards.
holding a large covered tray. There he halted. Emboldened.. for five minutes he struggled heroically with his curiosity. and a decanter of claret jostled one another for a place on this festive CHAPTER XIX. corkscrewed round. George tried to recompose his thoughts. Indeed. Wimbush remarked parenthetically−−stood a small circular table of mahogany. only to those who looked with a careless eye. mutely gaping. it was so obvious. 59 . then half a turn. It was just an ordinary door let in flush with the panelling. It was terrible. opened the hidden door. but an invincible curiosity drew his mind towards the hidden door. It was in vain. Putting his eye to the keyhole. popped out of the door that led from the kitchen regions into the hall. petrified by what he saw. his heart beat uncomfortably. listened. now he had seen it. crossed the room. then he would die too. She reached out her hand and. terrible. George rose. as though he were affronting some unknown danger. unobserved) with an idle curiosity. of which the degrees were made not of stone but of blocks of ancient oak. and silver. A quarter−past twelve sounded on the harmonious clock. A glance sufficed to show him the position of the secret door−−secret.Crome Yellow from them on some vague pretext. was extremely ungentlemanly.ah. He halted before it. hurried back across the hall and disappeared in the direction of the kitchen. She pattered across the room and came to a halt in front of what seemed a blank expense of panelling. The door closed behind her with a click. the little maid. porcelain. almost as obvious as the cupboard door in the library with its lines of imitation shelves and its dummy books. One turn more. He passed the first window. at any moment she might become Lady Timpany. Turning sideways in order to get her tray through the narrow opening. The staircase. Crystal. The carcase of a cold chicken. he told himself. No latch nor handle betrayed its position. the staircase. Where did the staircase lead? What was the errand of the little maid? It was no business of his. the brown cannon ball of a cold plum− pudding. a little maid. a little door swung open. they did not customarily make their appearance till luncheon. the little maid darted in with a rapid crab−like motion. a slender Hock bottle.' Mr. a great ham. A slit−like window admitted the daylight. The lovely sisters and their mamma still kept their chambers. A minute later it opened again and the maid. he returned to the house alone. this partial satisfaction had but whetted its appetite. would be a piece of unforgivable rudeness and indiscretion. that to explore the secrets of that surprising door. that mysterious staircase within. It was in vain he told himself that the matter was none of his business. to George's extreme astonishment. But then suppose she were in love with Timpany−−though it seemed incredible that anyone could be in love with Timpany−− suppose her life depended on Timpany. he could hear no sound. he turned the handle and stepped across the threshold. He paused for a moment to look out. He pulled back the catch and peeped inside. and the little window looked out over the terrace. "In the middle of a pleasantly sunny little room−−'it is now Priscilla's boudoir. he perceived. The young men were bathing in the pool below. George was astonished that he had not noticed it before. If she became Lady Timpany. but an unobtrusive catch sunk in the wood invited the thumb. What he was doing. a bowl of fruit. it was evident. so that the male guests had the morning to themselves. Suddenly determined. deeply gashed to its heart of tenderest white and pink. "At any moment she might die. wound up and out of sight. he saw nothing but a stretch of white sunlit wall.. If she became Lady Timpany: it was a horrible thought. and began to ascend the stairs. From his deep arm−chair George watched her (himself. He tiptoed onward and upward. On the last stroke. revealing the foot of a winding staircase. and came to another. then! The solution of the problem would not be so simple. George sat down in the hall and abandoned himself to thought. and a door confronted him. he kept repeating−−no business of his. but his attention wandered. 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. their cries and laughter floated up to him. making the quiet house seem lonelier and more silent. horribly underbred. he would go to seek her beyond the grave. like an automaton released by the turning clockwork.−−all the shining apparatus of an elegant meal−−were mirrored in its polished depths. "George closed the door and went back to his seat. If she died. He tried to read. they were still shouting and splashing in the pool below. without her tray. suppose she couldn't live without him? He was fumbling his way along this clueless labyrinth of suppositions when the clock struck twelve. But his curiosity was not satisfied. he was at the foot of the central tower.
in mid−air. who sat immediately facing the door. "My poor grandfather!" Mr. 60 . Emmeline sprang to her feet. They were a group of statues. he turned and." she said. But George. mumbling something unintelligible as he went. smiled. elegantly crooked. after all. Between the thumb and forefinger of her right hand she was holding a drumstick of the dismembered chicken. 'a little more material. wasn't so bad. "I'm going to bed." She closed the red notebook lying on her knees and slipped a rubber band round it. The other two sisters had turned round to look at the intruder. Georgiana toyed with some French beans and a spoonful of calves'−foot jelly. suddenly woke up. 'I'll give you twenty−four hours to decide.. and there were no representative institutions. Caroline still grasped her knife and fork. enormous eyes. her little finger. The movement propagated itself. "what?" Jenny caught the words.' she added. the three lovely Lapiths−−eating! "At George's sudden entrance they had all looked towards the door. "It's about a ham. 'It would make us look so ridiculous. and now they sat. it remained. "It was a maternal government. They were married at the New Year. And besides. "Whenever I read in the papers about oppressed nationalities. Georgiana. unless. she had hoped for better things−−for Timpany and a coronet.' "'I don't care. George? Promise you won't tell anyone." He relighted his cigar. She looked up. with a nervous laugh. 'I feel a little stronger to− day. she caught George's eye. "At luncheon it was noticed that the sisters ate a little more than usual. Looking up. but the drumstick had never reached its destination.' she implored. uttering a cry. Then suddenly there was movement. rushed out of the room and down the winding stairs. George and the three sisters stared at one another in silence. Priscilla." she announced. said George. "In the garden that afternoon they found themselves for a moment alone. he began to laugh.' "'I will. For what seemed a very long time.. "What?" she said in the startled tones of one newly returned to consciousness. "What's about a ham?" "What Henry has been reading. a blush suffused her cheeks and she looked hastily away. 'I'll tell everyone. Caroline's knife and fork clattered on her plate. petrified by the same astonishment which kept George fixed and staring." Henry Wimbush ceased speaking. "You won't tell anyone. and there. nodded reassuringly. gazed at him with dark.' she said to Lord Timpany. who had been dozing. CHAPTER XIX. I think of him. as he closed his book and put away his pince−nez. grew more decisive.' "Lady Lapith was disappointed. In the silence that ensued Ivor's whispered commentary on the spirit sketches once more became audible. Georgiana dropped her chicken bone. highly centralised.' said George brutally. frozen. all by himself in the quiet house. Emmeline's fingers were round the stem of her claret glass.' "'It's blackmail. Wimbush added. And round the table sat the three sisters. The wave of panic reached George. Her mouth was open. He came to a standstill in the hall. isn't it? Say you won't tell anyone. suspended. and got up.Crome Yellow board. eating IS unspiritual. stood apart from the rest of her hand. when he congratulated her on this increase of appetite. of course.
Had Ivor been able to sleep? she wondered. "Oh!" she said. "so I came along to see if you couldn't. Mary felt less sleepy than she had when she first came out." said Henry Wimbush. Round the open windows the curtains hung unmoving." she said. in the moonlight. She sat up and looked over the parapet. then the other. Even through the mattress one could not fail to be aware that the leads were extremely hard. Mary pretended to wake up with a start. That's the power of thought. assuredly they would sleep. Spreading his arms to right and left. the moon climbed higher and higher in the sky. followed by a scrabbling noise and a whispered "Damn!" And suddenly Ivor's head and shoulders appeared above the parapet. Ivor on the eastern. The mattresses were hauled up. from behind the chimney−stack at the farther end of the roof a white form noiselessly emerged−−a form that. fanning himself with the portrait of an Astral Being." said Anne. 61 . I am asleep!' And pop! off I go. Don't you find it so?" It was light before five. sheets and blankets were spread. open−eyed and alert. She listened intently. One leg followed. "perhaps. Ivor. he began to walk forward along the roof−tree of the house. the monumental coiffure nodded exorbitantly at her slightest movement. "What are you doing here?" "I couldn't sleep. and when one meteorite had streaked across the sky. narrow clouds barred the east. flying heavily up from below. were crying their good− nights across the dividing gulf. There was a flat expanse of leads on each of the towers." "But does it work on stuffy nights?" Ivor inquired. for the next. The night was hot and oppressive. And as though in answer to her mental question. "I simply cannot sleep on a stuffy night." said Mary. Ivor and Mary started broad awake. I know. "except out of doors. yawning. Long." he explained. and an hour later the two insomniasts. I concentrate my will: I say. their edges bright with orange fire. On Mary the sleep−compelling charm of the open air did not work with its expected magic. "When I can't sleep. He was on the leads. and cautiously added. a monstrous peacock. but sank back on her pillows. now! If she spoke or moved it might mean his death. The stars and the gibbous moon demanded to be looked at. Under the stars. like a tight−rope dancer. But she lacked the energy to rise from her arm−chair. each on his separate tower. With the mournful scream of a soul in pain." "I shan't sleep." "Out of doors! What a wonderful idea!" In the end they decided to sleep on the towers−−Mary on the western tower. all the geese of the farmyard burst into a sudden frenzy of cackling. One gets bored by oneself on a tower." Priscilla turned her head in his direction. Mary looked on speechlessly." he declared. perhaps he was walking in his sleep! Suppose he were to wake up suddenly. you could not help waiting. "It will get cooler after midnight. She dared look no more. The sky was pale and watery. For what seemed an immensely long time there was no sound." "Nor can I. CHAPTER XIX. Then there was a patter of feet on the tiles. 'I will sleep. roused by some unknown terror. Then there were noises: the owls screeched tirelessly. alighted on the parapet of the tower. He swayed terrifyingly as he advanced. and once. looked out into the darkness and drew a breath.Crome Yellow "So am I. "The air's like wool. was recognisably Ivor's. under the gibbous moon. "You must make an effort. and you could get a mattress through the trap doors that opened on to them. Time passed.
by Tuesday morning in Argyll−−Ivor never rested. a long−lashed eye of purple and green." He vanished through the trap door into the darkness that still lurked within the shuttered house. "I'll go down through the house and up at the other end. out of sight. Mauve pyjamas and white pyjamas. Her purple pyjamas clothed her with an ampleness that hid the lines of her body. he was a martyr to them. gravely and intently. from castle to castle. pink cheeks. Mary looked at it for a moment. "You mustn't. unjointed toy. The varletry will soon be up and about. a sort of Teddy−bear−−but a Teddy bear with an angel's head.Somehow the whole atmosphere of this sunrise was rather angelic. But he had left a trophy. of blue and gold." "Ivor. came the thin wasp−like buzzing of an alarum−clock." The frightened peacock ran up and down the parapet in an absurd distress. Lounging behind the wind−screen in his yellow sedan he was whirling across rural England. "Already?" "I'm afraid so. CHAPTER XX." he said. "It's extraordinary to think of sexual selection." said Ivor at last. but then. from the beginning of July till the end of September." said Ivor. He had gone back just in time. over the whole expanse of the kingdom. his long tail swung ponderously back and forth as he turned and turned again. Social and amorous engagements of the most urgent character called him from hall to baronial hall. In the autumn he went back to CHAPTER XX. she looked like some large. he devoted himself to his engagements. The whole summer through." He had to yield at last to her entreaties. curtseying and bobbing and clucking. It was all extremely symbolic. to−morrow in Warwickshire.Crome Yellow "Catch him!" cried Ivor. in the house. The first sunlight had begun to warm and colour the pale light of the dawn. "An angel's feather. behind the parapet. nothing in this world is not symbolical. Profound and beautiful truth! "I must be getting back to my tower. The rising sun touched their faces. from Elizabethan manor− house to Georgian mansion. "All right.." he said. An angel's face. Ivor was gone. Ivor. He handed it to his companion. Then with a flap and swish he launched himself upon the air and sailed magnificently earthward. looking up from her contemplation of the miraculous feather. jumping up. It's dangerous. What luck!" He put his arm round her shoulders and they stood looking eastward." she said at last. he waved his hand. with a recovered dignity. Ivor had his feather. on Saturday in the West riding. 62 . comfortable. A minute later he had reappeared on the farther tower. "We'll have a feather. if you choose to think so. "Extraordinary!" Ivor echoed. "And now.." Mary threw her arms round his neck. "I select you. and then sank down. and hair like a bell of gold. they were a young and charming couple. "I repeat my tight−rope stunt. you select me. the feather of an angel's wing." There was a prolonged and silent farewell. Please.. To−day in Somerset.. From below.
downily carminative. whence they had bidden their last farewells. CHAPTER XX. Scogan agreed. on the writing−table in the hall they found the visitor's book. remembering its Home. a little impatiently." said Mr. In the blue sea. and Ivor wanted to say that the wings were golden. when he had finished. Carminative−−it's admirable. You have a first−hand knowledge of the workings of a poet's mind. I adored the word. gin pricks and refreshes while it warms. Hard fate! since far from Crome My soul must weep." Denis went on. And on Thursday morning−−but that was a long. of gin. despairingly−−"now I know what carminative really means. rose−coloured and warm. He would think of Thursday morning when Thursday morning arrived. lingering lovingly over the syllables. Recently. Carminative−−there was the idea of singing and the idea of flesh. still more vaguely with caro−carnis. in delicate delight. "I am only troubled by the butterfly's auricular wings. isn't it?" "Admirable. Later. Denis and Mr. much more cogent spells Weave here their wizardries about my soul." "What could be simpler. and Ivor's composition scarcely dry. when I discovered alcohol. more spiritual glow which wine evokes not only in the body but in the soul as well." "One suffers so much. They used to give me cinnamon when I had a cold−−quite useless.Crome Yellow London for a holiday. an evanescent bubble on the stream of his life. palms upwards. just because the word 'carminative' didn't mean what it ought to have meant. of claret. By tea−time he would be at Gobley. of the raw new wine of this year's Tuscan vintage−−I compared them. of champagne. Crome had been a little incident." "Well. that glow. "from the fact that beautiful words don't always mean what they ought to mean. 'carminative' described for me that similar. and among other things it was described as being in the highest degree carminative. what DOES it mean?" asked Mr. in pain. Mr. perhaps you can explain." "Very nice and tasteful and tactful. But much more magic. meanwhile Zenobia. "treasured and loved. but not disagreeable. 'Isn't it carminative?' I used to say to myself when I'd taken my dose. In all that singing flies and flying sings. th' Acroceraunian height. Scogan. of old brandy. Scogan. I had a whole table of carmination values." "You make it luminously clear. Meanwhile there was Gobley. "carminative. open. I classified them. of rum. I imagined vaguely that it had something to do with carmen−carminis. I had a whole poem ruined. The carminative virtues of burgundy. "It's a beautiful word." said Denis. like carnival and carnation. Marsala is rosily. of stout. Scogan read it aloud: "The magic of those immemorial kings." said Denis. Sleeps in the soul of all created things. but nobler." said Denis. And now"−−Denis spread out his hands. it belonged already to the past. Haunts like a ghostly−peopled necropole. He had improvised it magisterially in the ten minutes preceding his departure. Who webbed enchantment on the bowls of night. Denis. On the label was a list of its virtues. Scogan strolled back together from the gates of the courtyard. of Lacryma Christi. for example. a poem. 63 . In the eyed butterfly's auricular wings And orgied visions of the anchorite. fierce and fiery. long way ahead. that−−what shall I call it?−−physical self−satisfaction which followed the drinking of cinnamon. according to his invariable custom in these cases. "Carminative. One poured it drop by drop out of narrow bottles." Mr. Crome calls me like the voice of vesperal bells. In rain. a golden liquor. It seemed so wonderfully to describe that sensation of internal warmth. In the visitor's book at Crome Ivor had left. of Aleatico. "And what does it mean?" "It's a word I've treasured from my earliest infancy. Fate tears me hence. and its derivations. and there would be Zenobia's welcoming smile. of Marsala.
it was a complete landscape with figures. Carminative had grown up with me from the days of the cinnamon bottle. And then suddenly it occurred to me that I had never actually looked up the word in a dictionary. I wrote a poem the other day." Denis repeated." "I was putting forward the notion." protested Mr. ca. half a century. "I wrote a poem about the effects of love. You are too much preoccupied with mere things and ideas and people to understand the full beauty of words." "Others have done the same before you." said Denis. Gladstone finding thirty−four rhymes to the name 'Margot' seems to you rather pathetic than anything else. "Do come to the point. 'Plus ne suis ce que j'ai ete Et ne le saurai jamais etre. chez cet Heredia. the interior ripeness were all in the word. my dear Denis. "Words." "Do come to the point.. an immense. "Carminative. indefinite hinterland of suggestion.' It is a realisation that makes one rather melancholy. Denis shook his head." said Denis at last. unless they leave you pitiful..' CHAPTER XX. ten years. Love." "Well.. Scogan thoughtfully. hue! Poste et j'ajouterai. There were the years−−years of childhood and innocence−−when I had believed that carminative meant−−well. "for me it was no laughing matter. Instead of which." said Mr. car. Your mind is not a literary mind. before me lies the rest of my life−−a day. Mallarme's envelopes with their versified addresses leave you cold. Carminative: for me the word was as rich in content as some tremendous. Mr. carminative. "Ah. Not only was the line elegantly sonorous. and all at once I felt I would like lexicographical authority for it. There it was: 'Carminative: windtreibend. I turned up C. And now. It had always been taken for granted. very aptly compendiously expressive. "words−−I wonder if you can realise how much I love them." Denis went on. the glow. dia! Si tu ne fuis onze−bis Rue Balzac. 'And passion carminative as wine.. when I shall know that carminative means windtreibend. "that the effects of love were often similar to the effects of wine." he said. For me it marked the end of a chapter." "Carminative.' Windtreibend!" he repeated.' was what I wrote.' It was the first time I had ever committed the word to writing. I flattered myself. exact foreground.. 'And passion carminative as wine. Carminative−−the warmth. Scogan. and they were silent for a time. the death of something young and precious. perhaps. It gives one the sense of warmth.. it was also. 'And passion carminative as wine. is essentially carminative. Scogan. the glow. elaborate work of art.Crome Yellow with a suggestion of the jollities of mi−Careme and the masked holidays of Venice. for example. Scogan laughed.. 64 . A small English−German dictionary was all I had at hand.. Everything was in the word carminative−−a detailed. The spectacle of Mr. that Eros could intoxicate as well as Bacchus. you can't see that 'Apte a ne point te cabrer.' I was not ill−pleased. carm." said Mr. "There is no need to be ashamed.
for they evoke emotions out of empty minds. luxuriant grasses. for all its self−evidence. continuous quacking the ducks rushed out from beneath this nameless menace. as though the cool grass were water. With language he created a whole new universe. slender body drooped into curves of a lazy grace.' translated into magic significance as. I'm sorry for you." "You're right. "Can't you see you make me lose my time?" he asked. it was inaudible. the sense that words have power. unforgettable." "A mental carminative. Scogan. verbal part of literature is simply a development of magic. the whole granary trembled. The technical. "That's what you need.' A self−evident truth. morticing their verbal formulas together. Here. 'Black ladders lack bladders." CHAPTER XXI. 'Black ladders lack bladders. 'Black ladders lack bladders. trembling with delight and awe. had I chosen to formulate it in such words as 'Black fire−escapes have no bladders. Poor dears! no wonder. before the power of the finished spell. Some stood. a family of white ducks had sought shelter from the afternoon sun. She was smiling. Their descendants. He glared at her round the half−finished portrait on the easel. "I can't work with you dangling about distractingly like this. Little social noises burst fitfully forth. Perched on its four stone mushrooms. "Listen! You've frightened the ducks. Her long. little fragments of dirt and crumbled wood rained down among them. and did not stay their flight till they were safely in the farmyard. With a loud. Suddenly their jovial repose was shattered.' And you can't appreciate words. 65 ." said Mr. one on which it would not have been worth while to insist.' it becomes. wooden chair. Beneath it there was a perpetual shade and a damp growth of long. I may add. what is that but literature? Half the world's greatest poetry is simply 'Les echelles noires manquent de vessie. The creation by word−power of something out of nothing−− what is that but magic? And. what wonder if he loved words and attributed power to them! With fitted. I proffer the constatation." said Mr. The sound of their quacking was faint in the distance. "the feeling of magic." CHAPTER XXI. their spells are more subtly powerful. Scogan reflectively. the little granary stood two or three feet above the grass of the green close. 'Les echelles noires manquent de vessie. Formulated by their art the most insipid statements become enormously significant." "You don't feel it to be magical?" "No.Crome Yellow is a little miracle. still go on with the process.' But since I put it as I do. "Damn you!" Gombauld repeated. and she looked at Gombauld through half−closed eyes. A prodigious thump shook the wooden flooring above their heads. For example. Rabbits out of empty hats? No. "Poor ducks!" Anne repeated. and from time to time some pointed tail would execute a brilliant Lisztian tremolo." Anne was saying. Words are man's first and most grandiose invention. significant. in the green dampness. "Don't lose your temper. and. in the shadow. preening themselves." said Denis." "That's the test for the literary mind. and stamped his foot again. the literary men. some reposed with their long bellies pressed to the ground. Her right elbow rested on the back of the chair and she supported her cheek on her hand. harmonious words the magicians summoned rabbits out of empty hats and spirits from the elements.' or." She was sitting sideways in a low. moving. "I can't.
My poor Gombauld! Surely you're not going to sing that old song again." "Well.. "I'm at a loss to know whether you're more silly or more rude. invites. and because you desire her strongly you immediately accuse her of luring you on." "Thanks. it's so barbarously naive. It's so unintelligent." "I have." CHAPTER XXI. You might just as well say that a plate of strawberries and cream deliberately lures you on to feel greedy. "You're playing 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. renewing the conversation as though it had only just been broken off. all I can say is that this must be the hundredth case. without looking up. Anne shrugged her shoulders and gave vent to a sigh." Anne threw back her head and laughed." After painting for a little time in silence Gombauld began to speak again. and that you were the innocent victim who sat still and never did anything that could invite or allure me on. to have the amusement of running away. innocent man−−falls a victim. "Can't you see that you're simply externalising your own emotions? That's what you men are always doing. with a gravity that was somehow a little too solemn. "I don't like to see a young man. with conviction. what am I dangling about for. of deliberately provoking and inviting the desire." Recovering her calm. "You've become very protective towards poor Denis all of a sudden. "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. except to be painted?" Gombauld made a noise like a growl." said Gombauld. "Be a little objective." he said. "And then there's Denis. 66 . she added in her ordinary cooing voice and with her exacerbating smile. In ninety−nine cases out of a hundred women are as passive and innocent as the strawberries and cream. when you're in a good temper−−and that I think you're a good painter." said Gombauld. After all. You have the mentality of savages. when I do. Why can't you leave that wretched young man in peace?" Anne flushed with a sudden and uncontrollable anger. "It's always the same old story about the woman tempting the man. that it was I who made the first advances." she said indignantly. and man−−noble man. "I never dreamt of playing what you beautifully call the same game with him. "It's perfectly untrue about Denis. "You're awful. The woman lures." "So like a man again!" said Anne." Gombauld replied." Anne went on.Crome Yellow "You'd lose less time if you stopped talking and stamping your feet and did a little painting for a change." "For the simple reason"−−Gombauld mimicked her voice−−"that you want me to make love to you and." he said. You feel one of your loose desires for some woman.. "I suppose you'll be saying next that you didn't start the game. and I always thought you were a man of sense. fascinates.
On the shaven turf of the terrace Henry Wimbush and Mary were playing a solemn game of bowls. doll−like in its regularity and listlessness. His pleasantly depressing melancholy was dissipated by a puff of violent emotion.. It was here. the hopeless kind−−the quiet. He began to write. Gombauld might have some slight ground for his reproaches. He was at work on the face now. Scogan put on his hat and they went out arm in arm. Scogan. laughing together. of love hopeless and unattainable. there they were.. Anne and Gombauld. It was Anne's face−−but her face as it would be. Perhaps that was the ideal kind of love. making work impossible. she had never flirted with Denis. before. When it was finished. so recently eaten. Poor boy! He was very sweet. stretching out a small saurian hand with pointed nails−−"not so fast. The portrait was terribly like. her head and shoulders turned at an angle from the rest of her body. Gombauld painted on with fury. continuing his sentence for him. it had begun to emerge on the canvas. something a little droopy and at the same time−−how should he put it?−−a little infinite. believe me. The restlessness of an unsatisfied desire." said Anne. he told himself. here that Anne had fallen. the portrait would be diabolic. He had emphasised the lazy curves of her body. and at the same time it was the most malicious of lies. He was painting her in the pose she had naturally adopted at the first sitting. He thought of Anne. Evoking colour's bloodless ghost. We'll go together.Crome Yellow ". the grace of the painted figure seemed to be melting into a kind of soft decay. It was the lazy." indeed! In the hall he saw Mr. I was just going down to the flower garden to take the sun." he said. "a little weary. the man seemed to be lying in wait. They descended by the yew−tree walk. thought Denis." He felt. which. They crossed the courtyard in front. I share them. she had fallen into an attitude of indolent abandonment. towards the front. Yes. He looked down from his window. For the sake of peace and quiet Denis had retired earlier on this same afternoon to his bedroom. and passed out of sight through the gate in the right−hand wall. expressionless mask which was sometimes her face. He wanted to work. he was possessed by that bored and hopeless post−prandial melancholy which the coenobites of old knew and feared under the name of "accidie. Seated sideways. CHAPTER XXII. Scogan's eye glittered like the eye of the Ancient Mariner.. theoretical kind of love. In this sad mood of repletion he could well believe it. 67 . "Not so fast. Mr.being whirled along the road to ruin. angrily he threw his quatrain into the waste−paper basket and ran downstairs. it would be diabolic when it was finished. here−−and he CHAPTER XXII. he wondered what she would think of it." He was in the mood to write something rather exquisite and gentle and quietist in tone. That was the way to the green close and the granary. It happened to be so completely untrue. her elbow on the back of the chair. weighed heavily on body and mind. Denis tried to escape. "The stealth of moonbeams. seemed now to have converted itself into a kind of feverish energy. the lines sagged as they crossed the canvas. had distracted his mind. One elegant quatrain had flowed from beneath his pen: "A brooding love which is at most The stealth of moonbeams when they slide." when his attention was attracted by a sound from outside." She was curiously irritated at what Gombauld had said about Denis. talking. like Ernest Dowson. she was going to sit for him again. here that he had kissed her. Gombauld decided. O'er some scarce−breathing breast or side. Mr. She became somewhat pensive. But Denis−−no. and lunch.. The meridian demon was upon him. I admire your sentiments and." Denis abandoned himself. utterly unillumined by the inward lights of thought and emotion. but in vain. but the hour was a drowsy one. The hand that lay along the knee was as limp as a glove.
decently. Denis tried not to listen. he lacked the power. more entertaining. and men rushed to follow him. being a sage. I am ready. In the intense light the flame was all but invisible. you must set about persuading them in a maniacal manner." He took out his pipe and began to fill it as he talked. However"−−Mr. the world has unhesitatingly followed the madman. suddenly breaking a long silence. The only hope is a maniacal crusade. People listened to him at first−−a new virtuoso performing on that elegant and resourceful instrument. but at the same time I shall feel a little ashamed of myself. The smell of burning tobacco began to mingle with the sweetly acrid smell of the lavender. to move men to action. when it comes. taking his pipe out of his mouth. Life was awful! "Sanity!" said Mr. have never achieved anything." Denis made no response. It is humiliating to find how impotent unadulterated sanity is. dry. 68 . Luther was reality−− like the Great War. He thrived on untempered sunlight. more confident. at the head of one of the alleys stood a green wooden bench. But as to acting on the advice of the men of reason −−never. he's already somebody and I'm still only potential. and. Scogan elected to sit." Mr." "Everything that ever gets done in this world is done by madmen. We sane men will have the power yet. they even admired and venerated him. informs us that the only way in which we can preserve civilisation is by behaving decently and intelligently. Scogan's eyes shone with a more than ordinary brightness." he said to himself−−"after all. made a gesture of resignation−−"It's futile to complain that things are as they are. In a sane world I should be a great man. Scogan lighted a match. the intellect. then. "Men such as I am.. a madman insanely convinced about matters in which there can be no conviction. he was thinking of other things. It's a melancholy story. "If you want to get men to act reasonably. I am just Vox et praeterea nihil. 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. But did he move them to behave as he wanted them to behave−−reasonably. "Sanity−−that's what's wrong with me and that's what will be wrong with you.Crome Yellow blushed with retrospective shame at the memory−−here that he had tried to carry her and failed. for example. when you're old enough to be sane or insane. He shouted. And then Luther appears. to all intents and purposes I don't exist. as things are. What we want. in this curious establishment. though the place was shadeless and one breathed hot. for example. we're merely reasonable. my dear Denis. Sanity.. "There was Erasmus. dry perfume instead of air−−it was here that Mr. the compelling enthusiastic mania." They entered the garden. just as they would listen to a fiddler or a mountebank. We lack the human touch. passionate. For the madman appeals to what is fundamental. pipe in hand. Europe followed Luther and embarked on a century and a half of war and bloody persecution. the philosophers to what is superficial and supererogatory−−reason. Scogan's discourse gradually compelled his attention. I am nothing at all. Erasmus was only reason and decency. embayed in the midst of a fragrant continent of lavender bushes." Mr. Scogan shrugged his shoulders and. he gave vent to his loud. CHAPTER XXII. is a sane and reasonable exploitation of the forces of insanity. or at least a little less porkishly than usual? He did not. "Consider. to beat a tambourine with the loudest. It was here. Luther was serious. Erasmus was no longer listened to. the case of Luther and Erasmus. Scogan. while we acquiesce and obey. People are quite ready to listen to the philosophers for a little amusement. We're too sane. a man of reason if ever there was one. he was reviled for his reasonableness. violent. besides. our rulers persevere in their customary porkishness." Mr. Gombauld is better looking than I. but the tireless insistence of Mr. to passion and the instincts. The fact remains that sanity unassisted is useless. "After all. Wherever the choice has had to be made between the man of reason and the madman. and somehow rather fiendish laugh. Scogan went on. Sanity appeals and argues. and. such as you may possibly become.
Some people want power to persecute other human beings. A select body of Intelligences. We can't leave the world any longer to the direction of chance. even among the most intelligent. will be the governors of the Rational State." Mr. A few more knocks like the Great War. "the classification will be subtle and elaborate." said Denis. the Madmen. and will be set. to go on casually appearing and turning everything upside down. bolt upright at the other end. evoking in Denis's mind the vision of a table with a glass and water− bottle." The heat that was slowly paralysing all Denis's mental and bodily faculties. But I divagate. with passion. "In the Rational State.Crome Yellow "But I don't want power." "How many species will there be?" asked Denis. Examining psychologists.. but according to the qualities of their mind and temperament." Mr. is made to do useful work. The sort of power you hanker for is literary power. the Men of Faith. They will employ as their instruments of power the second great species of humanity−−the men of Faith. the men of reason must see that the madness of the world's maniacs is canalised into proper channels. who believe in things unreasonably. and. quick. unheeding. He was sitting in limp discomfort at one end of the bench. no doubt. lying across one corner. as I have been calling them. and continuous. laughed again. shading his eyes from the intolerable light. those who know how to attain a certain degree of freedom−−and. Scogan waved away the interruption." He paused. like Napoleon. "The men of intelligence must combine. his eyes shone. We men of intelligence will learn to harness the insanities to the service of reason." he heard Mr. his hands moved in sharp." "Making electricity to light a Swiss hotel. and the whole concern will go to pieces. But it is not in the power of a prophet to go into details. you expend your lust for power in persecuting words. his voice went on sounding and sounding in Denis's ears with the insistence of a mechanical noise. and seize power from the imbeciles and maniacs who now direct us. that freedom is!−−from the mental bondage of their time. Scogan continued. He talked with an ever−increasing energy. how limited. We can't allow dangerous maniacs like Luther. seemed to bring to Mr. "will be these: the Directing Intelligences. "human beings will be separated out into distinct species. "There's only one thing to be done. Duly labelled and docketed. to perform those functions which human beings of his variety are capable of performing. and the Herd. "You ought to complete the simile. Scogan additional vitality. In the past it didn't so much matter. mad about dogma. in adult life." he said. moulding them. mad about himself. cleared his throat. must conspire. Scogan answered. "The three main species." he said. "Everybody wants power. "the time will come." said Denis. I will do more than indicate the three main species into which the subjects of the Rational State will be divided." Mr. In future. alas. but our modern machine is too delicate. twisting them. the child will be given the education suitable to members of its species. drawn from among those who have turned their attention to the problems of practical life." "Do you?" asked Denis faintly." Mr. Among the Intelligences will be found all those capable of thought. torturing them to obey you. not according to the colour of their eyes or the shape of their skulls. Scogan went on.. 69 . and are ready to die CHAPTER XXII. Mr. precise gestures. Scogan saying. will test each child that is born and assign it to its proper species. "Power in some form or other. They must found the Rational State. another Luther or two. trained to what would now seem an almost superhuman clairvoyance. like a mountain torrent driving a dynamo. Scogan. dry. "A great many. and coughed once or twice. "Yes. nor is it his business. a long white pointer for the lantern pictures. Hard.
Mr. that they are tremendously important beings. "I'm getting sunstroke here. then some dark leaves of rosemary that smelt like incense in a cavernous church. will be replaced by a new sort of madman. dispetaled now. for the sake of solidarity. filling and ever filling again with the warm liquor that the Intelligences. as the examining psychologists have assigned them their place in the classified scheme. its members will be assured that there is no happiness to be found except in work and obedience. will be sent out on a mission of evangelisation. that is. that haphazard creature of brute circumstance." He paused and shook his head. In the upbringing of the Herd. The principal function of the Men of Faith will be to move and direct the Multitude. from earliest infancy. only the lethal chamber. happier than any race of men has ever been. Oh. "No. As for the Directing Intelligences. but. as soon.Crome Yellow for their beliefs and their desires. "You couldn't do manual work. The old−fashioned Man of Faith and Desire. still externally the same. the round. will no longer be allowed to react casually to a casual environment. in sad and sober privacy behind the scenes. still bubbling with a seemingly spontaneous enthusiasm. primed with some simple and satisfying creed. or when the ideas that were useful a decade ago have ceased to be useful. it was as though he were taking a revenge. Systematically. "From their earliest years. Denis pulled a sprig of lavender and sniffed at it." Mr. they will be marvellously happy. severed heads stuck on poles. Moulded by a long process of suggestion. I envy the lot of the commonality in the Rational State! Working their eight hours a day. who might drive men to tears and repentance. and they walked slowly away down the narrow path. He will be. There will be no more Caesar Borgias. 70 . the tool of some superior intelligence. the Men of Faith will be quietly and earnestly busy with the great work of education. Scogan followed his example. the Intelligences will inspire a new generation of madmen with a new eternal truth." Deeply hurt. they will go out into the world. Scogan looked at him for a moment in silence. ripe seedheads were brown and dry−−like Polynesian trophies." he said. when it is thought necessary. brushing the blue lavender flowers in their passage. they will be made to believe that they are happy. that third great species consisting of those countless millions who lack intelligence and are without valuable enthusiasm. "It's difficult to see where you would fit in. no more Luthers and Mohammeds. Scogan. Denis thought." "And what will be my place in the Rational State?" Denis drowsily inquired from under his shading hand. He liked the fancy enough to impart it to Mr. obeying their betters. When any particular effort is required of the Herd. that humanity shall be kindled and united by some single enthusiastic desire or idea. CHAPTER XXII. with their fearful potentialities for good or for mischief. When these projects are accomplished. They will go through life in a rosy state of intoxication. Mr." he said at last. For the lower species the earth will be restored to the centre of the universe and man to pre− eminence on the earth. his desire. you're too independent and unsuggestible to belong to the larger Herd. Scogan chuckled maliciously. will brew for the intoxication of their subjects. Denis emitted the imitation of a loud Homeric laugh. and that everything they do is noble and significant. They passed a bed of opium poppies. on enthusiasts. the Men of Faith. in the name of reason. I can see no place for you. no more Comstocks. the Men of Faith will have had their special education under the eye of the Intelligences. when the high spiritual temperature of a Crusade would be unhealthy. ah. they will have to be marvellously clear and merciless and penetrating. The Men of Faith will play the cup−bearers at this lifelong bacchanal. and got up. all unawares. and his enthusiasm in the propagation of some reasonable idea. preaching and practising with a generous mania the coldly reasonable projects of the Directors from above. humanity's almost boundless suggestibility will be scientifically exploited. you have none of the characteristics required in a Man of Faith. from which they will never awake. At ordinary times. These wild men. or who might equally well set them on to cutting one another's throats. how very different from the madman of the past! For the new Man of Faith will be expending his passion. convinced of their own grandeur and significance and immortality. no more Joanna Southcotts.
They give me the same pleasure as I derive from a good piece of reasoning or a mathematical problem or an achievement of engineering. Mr. A moment more and he would have been losing his temper again−−and Anne would be keeping hers. and with his extended finger followed the slack curves of the painted figure. have always taken particular pleasure in Cubismus. But I'm surprised to find you putting in all this psychology business. Nature. if that is possible." he called out hospitably. Scogan. was looking at the portrait. Followed by Mr. meanwhile. positively too true. it is too large.. the fancy seemed less charming and significant than it did when it first occurred to him. "It is satisfactory to think. I am at home with the works of man. my dear Denis−−duly thankful. Were they really glad." he said. or anything that reminds me of nature. There was a silence. I can understand anything that any man has made or thought. appeared in the frame of the open door. Fortunately. Yes. never by bus if I CHAPTER XXIII." said Mr. he was positively glad to see them." said Mr. "This is a little infidelity." He laughed inwardly to think how furious Gombauld would be when he saw them arriving. 71 . disturbs me. He looked suspiciously from Gombauld to his sitter. leisure and culture have to be paid for. "Come in. "excellent. Denis climbed the little ladder and stepped over the threshold. "I thought you were one of the fellows who went in exclusively for balanced masses and impinging planes. It would be amusing to see what he's doing now. one brown and pointed. he was rather pleased than annoyed when the two faces. come in. it is not the leisured and the cultured who have to pay. infuriatingly. Scogan. She was with Gombauld−−alone with him in his studio. "Excellent. That is why I always travel by Tube. pictures which are exclusively the product of the human mind. as they strolled slowly onward. Scogan." He pointed to the face. CHAPTER XXIII." he repeated." Uttered aloud. or were they cunningly simulating gladness? He wondered. Scogan. Almost too true to character. Let us be duly thankful for that. 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. "I for one. Like every other good thing in this world. Gombauld was by no means so furious at their apparition as Denis had hoped and expected he would be. I like to see pictures from which nature has been completely banished. if I choose to set my mind to it. "that a multitude of people are toiling in the harvest fields in order that we may talk of Polynesia. "I'm sorry. Indeed. and knocked the ashes out of his pipe. It was an intolerable thought." he said approvingly.Crome Yellow "Like Polynesian trophies. the other round and pale. however.. above all too utterly pointless and incomprehensible. Denis was not listening. returning to its emotional elements. yes. too complicated." Gombauld laughed. without ever having had the slightest appreciation of painting. "Shall we go and pay a call on Gombauld?" he suggested carelessly. The energy born of his restless irritation was dying within him. and could learn nothing from the expression of their faces except that they both seemed pleased to see the visitors. He had suddenly remembered Anne.
" While Mr. the flowers in the window−boxes. give me the Tube and Cubismus every time. to say. perhaps for some other reason−−the words provoked in her a certain surprised commotion.Crome Yellow can possibly help it. above all. All is human and the product of friendly and comprehensible minds. straight lines of concrete. Yes. The temptation was great. still in her graceful." It was a remark which Anne had heard a good many times before and mostly heard with equanimity. Denis. Not to be opened. a laughing key. But travel by Tube and you see nothing but the works of man−−iron riveted into geometrical forms. give me ideas. He stood them in a row against the wall. Two or three canvases stood in the corner behind Anne's chair. There was the big canvas of the man fallen from the horse. looked at Anne. But on this occasion−−perhaps because they had come so unexpectedly . I haven't the time to start wandering in that labyrinth. saying nothing. It was noon. he said. "I love you. looking at her almost fiercely. Anne had to turn round in her chair to look at them. their faces turned to the wall. where Anne was sitting. For. an occasional tree. a few stray works of God −−the sky. "I like the man and the horse. at the moment. as though it had cost him a great effort to utter the words. and for answer echoed his "Well?" in another. and then in a queer. CHAPTER XXIV. patterned expanses of tiles. All philosophies and all religions−−what are they but spiritual Tubes bored through the universe! Through these narrow tunnels. "Well?" he demanded. Anne looked at the pictures. one travels comfortable and secure. so snug and neat and simple and well made. or. It was the sort of thing one wrote in one's Latin Grammar while one was still at one's preparatory school. CHAPTER XXIV. For a long time they looked at the pictures. while Denis. descending from his chamber. He pulled them out and began to look at the paintings. for example. Denis had crossed over to the farther side of the little square chamber. He raised his eyebrows. And preserve me from nature. She had left it lying on the window−seat. contriving to forget that all round and below and above them stretches the blind mass of earth. and. His hands on the back of the chair. don't you?" she said at last. He picked up the book and slipped off the elastic band that kept it discreetly closed. travelling by bus. preserve me from all that's inhumanly large and complicated and obscure. but she was blushing as she spoke. Denis nodded. where he had been making an unsuccessful effort to write something about nothing in particular. strangled voice. one can't avoid seeing. Denis had nothing more. From behind the easel at the other side of the room Mr. on the low chair. What was he asking of her? He hardly knew himself. for the most part. Anne looked up at him." was written in capital letters on the cover. "Private. Scogan was talking away. 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. there was a painting of flowers. I haven't the courage. lazy pose. even in London. Denis leaned over her. Scogan was discoursing. there was a small landscape. 72 . endless and unexplored. "My poor Denis." she managed to say. with a laugh. "May I see too?" Anne requested. where all is recognisably human. found the drawing−room deserted. rather. looking up with an inquiring smile.
but to see them was a privilege reserved to him alone. what they stood for and concretely symbolised. He turned over the leaves. individual being among all those thousands. And so this. recognisable as Gombauld and Anne. the legend: "Fable of the Wallflower and the Sour Grapes. whom Jenny had represented in a light that was more than slightly sinister. indeed. uncritical creature! It was he. It was almost axiomatic. in a vague way he imagined that nobody beside himself was aware of them at all. In his own eyes he had defects. His weaknesses. so. lingering at nothing that was not his own image. He felt no resentment towards Jenny. Indeed. his absurdities−−no one knew them better than he did. And. He liked to think of himself as a merciless vivisector probing into the palpitating entrails of his own soul. inconceivable that they ever spoke of him among themselves in that same freely critical and. He was not his own severest critic after all. to be quite honest. The discovery was a painful one. The fabulists were right. that was. The red notebook was one of these discoveries. when they took beasts to illustrate their tractates of human morality. he strolled pensively down towards the swimming−pool. periodically he would make some painful discovery about the external world and the horrible reality of its consciousness and its intelligence." He had disobeyed the injunction. he ruminated this unpleasant truth for some time. What he saw made him wince as though he had been struck. tapered up to the cruel inanity of their brainless heads. Animals resemble men with all CHAPTER XXIV. They represented all the vast conscious world of men outside himself. A peacock and his hen trailed their shabby finery across the turf of the lower lawn. more terrible still. The fruit of Jenny's unobtrusive scribbling lay before him. intelligent. Seven full pages were devoted to him. he reflected. Not to be opened.Crome Yellow "Black is the raven. It seemed. he had always believed. he reflected. Scogan. an attitude of studious and scholarly dignity. The expression of the face. "Private. mildly malicious tone in which he was accustomed to talk of them. black is the rook. Denis pored over the drawing. Still chewing on it. He opened the book. was the magisterial certainty with which his physical peculiarities were all recorded and subtly exaggerated. Odious birds! Their necks. this was how Jenny employed the leisure hours in her ivory tower apart. they symbolised something that in his studious solitariness he was apt not to believe in." Fascinated and horrified. A mute. On opening the red notebook that crystal image of himself crashed to the ground. It seemed. There were caricatures of other people: of Priscilla and Mr. he went out on to the terrace. Sadder and wiser. it seemed. Barbecue−Smith. impossible that other people should be in their way as elaborate and complete as he in his. 73 . He scarcely glanced at them. the attitude of the body and limbs. A caricature of himself. somehow. Impossible. of Henry Wimbush. Denis looked deeper into the book. It was masterful. and was irreparably shattered. reading (the book was upside−down). at least. and yet. Denis was his own severest critic. given away by the fidgety pose of the turned−in feet−−these things were terrible. A fearful desire to know the worst about himself possessed him. of Mr. And he had thought her a simple−minded. In the background a dancing couple. Beneath. inconceivable that he should appear to other people as they appeared to him. Thoughtfully he closed the book. the distressing thing wasn't Jenny herself. it was what she and the phenomenon of her red book represented. of Mary and Ivor. diabolic. he had only got what he deserved. and still imagine himself the one fully conscious. was the likeness. and slid the rubber band once more into its place. But blacker the theif who steals this book!" It was curiously childish. of Anne and Gombauld. It put beyond a doubt the fact that the outer world really existed. a footprint in the sand. their flat eyes and piercing beaks. and he smiled to himself. who was the fool. inglorious Rouveyre appeared in every one of those cruelly clear lines. thick and greedily fleshy at the roots. No. could watch the crowds shuffle past. he thought. For the rest of the world he was surely an image of flawless crystal. Sitting on the balustrade of the terrace. somehow. He could stand at Piccadilly Circus. an assumed aloofness and superiority tempered by a feeble envy. he was Brown Dog to himself.
He walked on." Oh. With arms like rubber bands. huge. Looking at it. reflecting in its bronze mirror the blue and various green of the summer day. The profound shade of a giant ilex tree engulfed him. And bouncing Barbary. he would have to try and do his Muller exercises more regularly.. They will have vanished as the monasteries vanished before them. for he was passing so close to her that he had to say something. smooth lawns receding out of the picture to right and left." He tried to remember who the poem was by. her moving knees and feet. In an embayed recess among the surrounding yew trees. He emerged once more into the sunshine. (Oh. There sleep within my heart's most mystic cell Memories of morning. At the moment.Crome Yellow the truthfulness of a caricature. He sat down beside her under the shadow of the pudic goddess." Just like his. so far from bringing the expected peace of mind. with a facade sixteen windows wide. A stately Georgian pile. Thanks. leaning her back against the pedestal of a pleasantly comic version of the Medici Venus.. They rushed towards it. Mary's mind was not moved by these considerations. Like a great wooden octopus. next to the address.−− Ivor. a brawny man is he. On the back of the postcard. thinking it was something to eat. he thought of Anne's bare arms and seal−sleek bathing−dress. 74 . There was a prolonged silence. the red notebook!) He threw a piece of stick at the slowly pacing birds. the atmosphere seemed to Denis agreeably elegiac. a new and CHAPTER XXIV. however. a single quatrain. memories of the night. Ten years more of the hard times and Gobley. "Under the spreading ilex tree. "Hullo!" she answered in a melancholy. he saw Mary pensively sitting. maid of moonlight! Bride of the sun. will be deserted and decaying. The pool lay before him. with all its peers. anything in it that was truly his own. In this alcove hewed out of the dark trees. "The smith. these rags and tags of other people's making! Would he ever be able to call his brain his own? Was there." 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.. it spread its long arms abroad. had brought nothing but disquiet. "And little Luce with the white legs. Seated under the Venus's immemorial gesture. and the countryside will know the old landmarks no more. was written. At breakfast that morning Mary had found on her plate a picture postcard of Gobley Great Park. uninterested tone. Mary considered life and love. executed by some nameless mason of the seicento. indeed. large hand. Fifty years. farewell! Like bright plumes moulted in an angel's flight.. in Ivor's bold. "Hullo!" he said. parterres in the foreground. Mary looked up. "Hail. or was it simply an education? He walked slowly round the water's edge. but couldn't. The abolition of her repressions.
floated down from the house. "is not a self− supporting universe. "Le lendemain. It was lunch−time. "One has to have had personal experience to realise quite how awful it is. "This very morning." "One is apt. She thought of the last verse of the song he had sung that night in the garden." He made a gesture that was faintly suggestive of the drawing off of a rubber band. "It's an awful problem. "I hope you all realise." Denis nodded. she is certain to receive or inflict suffering.She couldn't do without him now." he began in a soft and sadly philosophical tone. on the other hand." he began. from the poem on the back of the picture postcard. It was Denis who first broke the silence. but his confidences were cut short." said Henry Wimbush during dinner. Uncle Henry?" CHAPTER XXV. CHAPTER XXV. Ivor." Mary shed tears at the memory. "One has to have had first−hand experience. of their opinions about myself. "True. and above all and in particular.. 75 . Denis went on. As you see. Mary knew Zenobia. generalising for herself. If one individual seeks intimate contact with another individual in the natural way. when he is forced to take cognisance of the existence of other universes besides himself. "The difficulty. and that you will all be expected to help in the Fair. Our minds are sealed books only occasionally opened to the outside world. and Denis. Ivor. "The Fair−−I had forgotten all about it. "I am amazed how ignorant I am of other people's mentality in general." said Mary." "Exactly. for example. "When one individual comes into intimate contact with another. she risks the equally grave sufferings that follow on unnatural repressions. followed her. He was at Gobley now." said Denis. Mechanically Mary rose to her feet. as the case may be−−must almost inevitably receive or inflict suffering. It was evident. The deep voice of the gong... a little hurt that she should exhibit such a desperate anxiety for her food and so slight an interest in his spiritual experiences. making a more decided move in the desired direction." He had contrived this highly abstract generalisation as a preliminary to a personal confidence. "that next Monday is Bank Holiday. so was Zenobia." "Heavens!" cried Anne." she said. she had never been so unhappy in all her life before.Crome Yellow hitherto unexperienced misery. If on the other hand." said Mary thoughtfully. "makes itself acutely felt in matters of sex. tempered by distance to a pleasant booming. she added. she avoids contacts. What a nightmare! Couldn't you put a stop to it. that Ivor could very well do without her.. "The individual. it's a dilemma. It was the first gambit in a conversation that was to lead up to Jenny's caricatures. They made their way up to the house without speaking. and." "When I think of my own case. she−−or he. "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. There are times when he comes into contact with other individuals. of course." He leaned towards her and slightly lowered his voice." Mary was not listening. Phillis peu sage Aurait donne moutons et chien Pour un baiser que le volage A Lisette donnait pour rien.
Do you still persist?" "I'm ready to suffer all indignities. flocked into the park for their Bank Holiday amusement. It was a modest affair then. "I'll look after the children's sports. "I have more important things to think about than the Fair. "I've made all the arrangements already. from putting a stop to the nuisance which yearly desecrated his park and garden." Anne murmured rebelliously." she said. Crome's yearly Charity Fair had grown into a noisy thing of merry−go−rounds. It spoke highly for Mr. "May I be allowed to tell fortunes?" he asked at last. Now." "All right. Scogan reflected. cocoanut shies. Bartholomew." "Then you'll look after the children's sports. "You'll have to be dressed up." he said." "That's splendid. "You must be our lightning artist.Crome Yellow Mr." "My dear. and it was this fact alone which prevented Mr. It was the local St. interrupting her. Wimbush sighed and shook his head." "Good!" said Anne." "But you can't tell fortunes in that costume!" "Can't I?" Mr. The swings and the merry−go−round arrive on Sunday. Wimbush went on." Henry Wimbush went on." he made a sweeping movement with his hand and was silent. I should have liked to put an end to it years ago. But you need have no doubt that I shall do my best when Monday comes to encourage the villagers. Wimbush.. Wimbush. Aunt Priscilla. Mary?" "I won't do anything where I have to stand by and watch other people eat." Mr. Scogan surveyed himself. but the claims of Charity are strong.. Beginning as a sort of glorified church bazaar. "'Your portrait for a shilling in five minutes. Wimbush's public spirit that he still continued to tolerate the Fair. "Alas. to whom the Fair was a cause of recurrent and never− diminishing agony. "I fear I cannot. "it's justice. My job is the tea tent. Scogan?" Mr." said Mrs. and the people of all the neighbouring villages. As a special favour you're allowed to choose your slavery." "Besides. and miscellaneous side shows−−a real genuine fair on the grand scale. "I think I should be good at telling fortunes. What will you do.. 76 . with even a contingent from the county town. it must be twenty−two years since we started it. turning to the rest of the party." said Anne. as usual." "And Mr.. "Aunt Priscilla will encourage the villagers. "the Fair has become an institution." Mary agreed. Let me see. The local hospital profited handsomely." "So there's no escape." said Anne.'" CHAPTER XXV." "It's not charity we want. "Some of the larger marquees will be put up to−morrow. "You'll all have to do something. and turning to Gombauld.
" "No. and I can do nothing but lisp in numbers. "My holiday at Crome isn't being a disappointment. CHAPTER XXV. That's the lot." she began." Anne shook her head. "I learnt to play the drums. whatever your personal views may be. No holiday is ever anything but a disappointment. after all. then." she added." he said. "Nothing is to be gained.. "by speaking with levity of serious subjects." concluded Anne. "Twopence. His mind reverted to the red notebook." said Anne." "It ought indeed. "When I was young." protested Gombauld." Jenny echoed. "But of course. "No." she repeated firmly. "I could throw in a picture of their Auras for an extra sixpence." "The drums?" Jenny nodded. raising his voice. "But you may rest assured that it won't be. You must do something more than that." said Anne. in proof of her assertion." said Gombauld." he said. psychical research is a perfectly serious subject. "It'll be worth sixpence." "Well. "I look forward to my Bank Holiday. you must lisp. It ought to be gay." he answered. "That won't do. over her plate." Denis protested." "And now there's Jenny." Mr Scogan assented. but decided it would be wiser to go on feigning ignorance of her talent." "Isn't it?" Anne turned an ingenuous mask towards him. And. no. like a pair of drumsticks.' We'll print it on Uncle Henry's press and sell it at twopence a copy." said Gombauld. and. "Jenny. 77 . "Nobody will pay more than twopence." "And what about Denis?" Denis made a deprecating gesture. "If there's any opportunity of playing the drums. agitated her knife and fork." "Sixpence." she said severely. "what will you do?" Denis thought of suggesting that she might draw caricatures at sixpence an execution. "And a very good lot too. with a laugh. then her face brightened and she smiled. "what will I do?" She frowned thoughtfully for a moment. come. "I have no accomplishments. "there's any amount of opportunity.Crome Yellow "It's a pity I'm not Ivor." Mary flushed." "But what? All the good jobs are taken." "Come. Could it really be true that he looked like that? "What will I do.. "You must write a poem for the occasion−−an 'Ode on Bank Holiday." she said. it isn't. "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." said Mr Wimbush. We'll put you down definitely for the drums.
As ourselves. my insufferable mental surroundings!" Mr. Some of us struggle manfully to take one. as I am informed by those who do feel it. the influences that had gone to make it what it was−−I felt none of that strange excitement and exaltation which is. he continued: "A complete and absolute change. if I may be allowed to express myself metaphorically. are two tremendously important and exciting emotions. I try to feel them. omniscient. I am wholly without the religious emotions. I have forgotten most of the knowledge I then so laboriously acquired. his sharp nose moved in a series of rapid jerks through all the points of the compass. warmer. how can we hope to have anything like an absolute change? We are tied down by the frightful limitation of our human faculties. Yes. said I to myself. and. For other mystics that cosmology is a symbol of the rich feeling. The written work is simply an attempt to express emotion. The full range of human potentialities is in any case distressingly limited. A melancholy fact! But I divagate. in the very nature of things?" Mr." said Anne. Life would be richer. altogether more amusing. the character of the painter. I knew more about Taddeo da Poggibonsi." Mr. Thus. I don't pretend. but about all the periods that were fashionable before 1900 I am. I have looked at all the right works of art in every part of Europe." "It's in the very nature of things. Confronted by a picture. as specimens of Homo Sapiens. very well. I have no aesthetic sense. the true aesthetic emotion. while I am naturally addicted to venery. omniscient. There was a time when." Mr. of course. I have a conscience as well as a fear of gaol. expanding the fingers of his right hand. For it is the emotion that matters. Reflect for a moment. not only should I be afraid of taking a holiday from them. "Of course it is. The mystic objectifies a rich feeling in the pit of the stomach into a cosmology. I am impregnated with its laws. "But always without success. I repeat it. In my youth I was always striving−−how hard!−−to feel religiously and aesthetically. to get away from myself. or more often. in terms of intellect and logic. I have little ambition and am not at all avaricious. of which I could tell you all the known and presumed history−−the date when it was painted. I go on cultivating my old stale daily self in the CHAPTER XXV. I can compass perhaps two. brighter. To−day. I know it by experience. for example. my own boring nature. But did that fact make me any more appreciative of art in general? It did not. or was. to know anything about nigger sculpture or the later seventeenth century in Italy. even than Henry does. I must have gone on looking at pictures for ten years before I would honestly admit to myself that they merely bored me. but we never succeed. "I mean to be. "So much for the religious emotion. Education has further limited my scope. Scogan glanced from face to face round the table. a complete holiday is out of the question. Scogan sighed. 78 . when the subject was hackneyed and religious. by our own personalities. They seemed to me nothing but the most deplorable claptrap−−as indeed they always must to anyone who does not feel the same emotion as the authors felt when they were writing. Scogan replied. As for the aesthetic−−I was at even greater pains to cultivate that. Scogan went on. but without vanity I can assert that it was prodigious. But isn't a complete and absolute change precisely the thing we can never have−−never. "our holidays can't help being disappointments.Crome Yellow "I'm delighted to hear it. In a word. as members of a society. Since then I have given up all attempts to take a holiday. For the unreligious it is a symbol of nothing. There was no sign of dissent. Scogan once more looked rapidly about him. How often have I tried to take holidays. my range is a limitation within a limitation. Having been brought up in society. I am happy to say. You agree with me in my definition?" Mr. What sort of a holiday can I take? In endowing me with passions and faculties Nature has been horribly niggardly. he went on: "Look at me. Here. while I may have a certain amount of intelligence." "You're depressing. I venture to believe. I felt nothing but a certain interest in the subject of the picture. the Platonic Holiday of Holidays is surely a complete and absolute change. I should also feel it painful to try to do so. Yes. For us. Nevertheless. more about the cryptic Amico di Taddeo. What is a holiday? The ideal. I read the works of the mystics." he added. "always without success. Scogan checked himself. and so appears merely grotesque. Out of the ten octaves that make up the human instrument. while I possess the mathematical faculty. which is in itself inexpressible. we never succeed in getting farther than Southend. if I could feel them." Mr. by the notions which society imposes on us through our fatal suggestibility. I felt nothing but a great weariness of spirit.
. The clashing of automatic cymbals beat out with inexorable precision the rhythm of piercingly sounded melodies. and lower down. in the green expanse of the park. it was almost Ilfracombe. all the common emotions and preoccupations. such resonance. A crowd thronged its streets. "My soul is a thin. Another fancy came to him. bobbing. absurdly. inverted bunch of many−coloured grapes. 79 . that its alternate tonic and dominant detached themselves from the rest of the music and made a tune of their own. Young girls didn't much like going for motor drives alone with Mr." CHAPTER XXVI. stood Mr." That was pleasing: a thin. and with such persistence." Bad. and there. as I ever want to have. as a fountain balances a ball on its breaking crest.. tenuous membrane. Denis had climbed to the top of one of Sir Ferdinando's towers. Scogan thoughtfully agreed. It was time for him to descend from the serene empyrean of words into the actual vortex. Here and there tricolour bunting hung inert. "My soul is a thin white sheet of parchment stretched Over a bubbling cauldron." "Yes. The harmonies were like a musical shattering of glass and brass. like a huge. Callamay. With a scythe−like motion the boat−swings reaped the air. CHAPTER XXVI. this time in metrical form. He went down slowly." Gombauld shrugged his shoulders. Far down in the bass the Last Trump was hugely blowing. The steam−organ sent up prodigious music. bad. the noise would surely buoy him up. The balloon−man walked among the crowd. the merry−go−round glittered in the sun. "My soul is a thin tent of gut. scarcely wavering column of black smoke. the war was certainly something of a holiday." Mr.. a short covert coat. long legs cased in pearl−grey trousers−−legs that bent unsteadily at the knee and gave a kind of sideways wobble as he walked. funeral best−−the women in pale muslins. with a long nose and long. In the midst of the canvas town. and above his head. Denis leaned over the gulf of swirling noise. the balloons strained upwards. a loud.. it was Weston−super−Mare. "Yes. if you still look forward to having a holiday. It had the right anatomical quality. monotonous see− saw. If he threw himself over the parapet. he surveyed the scene. tenuous membrane. indeed! I'm sorry for you. Tight blown. just beyond the boundaries of the garden." On the terrace stood a knot of distinguished visitors. his elbows resting on the parapet. There was old Lord Moleyn. and short white hair. scarlet and gold and crystal. A little canvas village of tents and booths had sprung up. quivering in the blast of noisy life. standing on the sun−baked leads. It was a step beyond Southend. But he liked the idea of something thin and distended being blown up from underneath. tenuous membrane. Beside him. and from the funnel of the engine which worked the roundabout rose a thin. But personally I found the war quite as thorough a holiday from all the ordinary decencies and sanities." or better−− "My soul is a pale. Gombauld. like a caricature of an English milord in a French comic paper: a long man. "Perhaps. and below that long. drooping moustaches and long teeth of old ivory.. "my standards aren't as elevated as yours. the venerable conservative statesman. with a face like a Roman bust.Crome Yellow resigned spirit with which a bank clerk performs from ten till six his daily task.. keep him suspended. the men dressed mostly in black−−holiday best." he said. short and thick−set. A holiday.
alive: the thought was disquieting. was it possible. Denis followed it with his eyes until it became lost in the blinding sunlight. Mr. They were talking to Anne. the Sorceress of Ecbatana. mounted. as though to himself. tremulous. the other hootingly. could it be. "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. some horrifying question. find it impossible to live in England." Sometimes. they functioned by themselves. Moreover. but calmly. Budge from the big house on the other side of the valley. He paid twopence and saw the Tatooed Woman.. indicating with a movement of the finger that they were to sit down opposite him and to extend their hands for his inspection. He sighed. and wrinkled−−like the Bohemian Hag of Frith's Derby Day. Denis peeped at them discreetly from the window of the morning− room. After a long and silent inspection. could not have talked. that there was something in this sort of thing after all? After all. 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.Crome Yellow Callamay. Scogan would suddenly look up and ask. Cautiously he crept out by a side door and made his way down towards the park. he was like them. twopence more. Could one believe it? But the evidence of the red notebook was conclusive.. using a magnifying glass and a pair of horn spectacles. He paused for a moment on the brink. Scogan had been accommodated in a little canvas hut. then stepped in and was engulfed. Mr. She stood low on the ground. he looked−−sharp−nosed. separate. and started to push his way. Dressed in a black skirt and a red bodice. which it could hardly fail to be. saying. the one profoundly. "Terrible. Mr. Hundreds of people. CHAPTER XXVII. Everything is still to come. pale membrane. Scogan would nod several times. He would keep its sensibility intact and virgin as long as he could. for one reason or another. each with his own private face and all of them real. 80 . after all. frowning and clicking with his tongue as he looked at the lines. A placard pinned to the curtain of the doorway announced the presence within the tent of "Sesostris. His soul was a tenuous. Sesostris had a success of horror. a perfect sphere of flushed opal. "Where ignorance is bliss. they had minds. It would have been polite to go and say.And they waited. after a long examination. 'tis folly to be wise. inconceivably fantastic. 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. A black silk balloon towing a black−and−white striped parachute proved to be old Mrs. it mounted. brown. such as." Seated at a table. still to come. And yet they really existed. these people. A child howled up after it. The clients who came in laughing grew suddenly grave. "How d'you do?" But at the moment Denis did not want to talk. who towered over her−−a massive figure dressed in purple and topped with a queenly toque on which the nodding black plumes recalled the splendours of a first−class Parisian funeral. Mr. He had a terrifying way of shaking his head. If he could but send his soul to follow it!. She was a formidable− looking woman. though it can't be very far off now. childlike. People stood in a queue outside CHAPTER XXVII. the Largest Rat in the World. aimlessly but officially. Sometimes he would whisper. with an uncomfortably beating heart. "I was afraid so. through the crowd. His eyes were suddenly become innocent." and refuse to divulge any details of a future too appalling to be envisaged without despair. He then examined the palm that was presented him. they were conscious. they began to take the witch seriously. they thought... stuck his steward's rosette in his buttonhole. unprejudiced. They seemed. Scogan received his clients in mysterious silence. terrible!" or "God preserve us!" sketching out the sign of the cross as he uttered the words. with a yellow−and−red bandana handkerchief tied round his black wig. laughing. he would just whisper. His soul fluttered as he approached the noise and movement of the fair. and the spikes of her black−and−white sunshade menaced the eyes of Priscilla Wimbush. in a hoarse whisper. as the hag shook her head over their hands.
Denis looked and listened while the witch prophesied financial losses. At that moment a man will appear walking along the footpath. death by apoplexy. looked with curiosity at this crowd of suppliants before the shrine of the oracle. you must know. but from her figure and the roundness of her bare arms he judged her young and pleasing. Scogan's bandana−covered head was just below him." she implored. 81 . so that Denis could not see her face. "Please. She was wearing a broad hat." he said. his terrifying whispers came clearly up. Between its walls and its sagging roof were long gaping chinks and crannies. "Very interesting. and with a great air of busy efficiency began to tie the Union Jack to the top of one of the tent−poles. Mr. "Is there going to be another war?" asked the old lady to whom he had predicted this end. not exactly good looking nor precisely young. "I don't think I ought to tell you. Scogan. "Afterwards. It's as clear as day. Listen. "A man.Crome Yellow the witch's booth waiting for the privilege of hearing sentence pronounced upon them. The old lady was succeeded by a girl dressed in white muslin. Scogan sepulchrally. They are only specific about this one rather crucial incident." He lifted up a sharp. then whispered. The canvas booth was a rickety. Scogan played his part. do tell me!" The white muslin figure leant eagerly forward. Setting down the bench at the back of the booth." "What is it? What is it? Oh. "if you must know. The witch seemed to ignore her remark. CHAPTER XXVII. "This is what the fates have written. please!. Next Sunday afternoon at six o'clock you will be sitting on the second stile on the footpath that leads from the church to the lower road. He had a great desire to see how Mr. 'Can you tell me the way to Paradise?' and you will answer. he climbed up. Scogan looked at her hand again as though to refresh his memory of the details of the scene. 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. as though to himself−−"very interesting. the pendulous brass ear−rings which he had screwed on to his ears tinkled." he repeated−−"a small man with a sharp nose. Scogan looked at her hand. lor'!" "But you will not remain so for long. "Destiny." Mr. The young lady giggled again. I'll show you." He was silent. With these he hurried back to the booth of Sesostris. with an air of quiet confidence. But if anything untoward happens you must blame your own curiosity. claw− nailed forefinger. it's not at all clear. "Very soon." said Mr." he said. Denis went to the tea−tent and borrowed a wooden bench and a small Union Jack. "Oh. I cannot read what will happen after that.' and walk with him down towards the little hazel copse. "Very well. Scogan sighed. Denis. "He will ask you." Mr. Scogan shook his head." The young lady giggled and exclaimed." added Mr. garnished with pink ribbons. "You are still virtuous. Through the crannies in the canvas he could see almost the whole of the interior of the tent. Listen. has announced the fact upon your hand. Mr. Scogan took up the magnifying−glass and began once more to examine the white palm. "What's clear?" asked the girl. which interests itself in small things no less than in great. in the course of his round. 'Yes. but fascinating. destruction by air−raids in the next war." He lingered hissingly over the word." Mr." There was a silence. ill−made structure. Mr.
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 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. "If only I could do things like that!" he thought.Crome Yellow "Is it really true?" asked white muslin. Anne was sitting behind a long table filling thick white cups from an urn. as he carried the bench back to the tea−tent. fading red That died into the snow again. So in any case it's having a circulation. Paper Nose and Red Cockade Dance within the magic shade That makes them drunken. Old law. 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. was an island of aristocratic calm. Jumbo trod the tightrope then.' and laughter faints away. A holiday? But Galba showed Elephants on an airy road.. 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. tossed rings. A crowd of sleek. and strong To laugh and sing their ferial song: 'Free. Switchbacks. "Second Heat in the Young Ladies' Championship." It was the polite voice of Henry Wimbush. and old creed. free. Holding his tortoise−shell−rimmed pince−nez an inch or two in front of his eyes. Good afternoon. And round about them where they lay The snow bloomed roses. His grey bowler hat. The smell of cows was preferable. decidedly! But how unpleasant the crowd smelt! He lit a cigarette. seal−like figures in black bathing−dresses surrounded him. Thank you.. he read out names from a list. round. Old right and wrong there bled to death. I have change. Good afternoon.. and motionless in the midst of a moving sea. I'm afraid. Sing Holiday! You do not know How to be free. smooth." Denis made no reply. Aunt Sallies. the Union Jack hung limp on the windless air. "Miss Dolly Miles. Into the virgin snow. and still. Miss Rebecca Balister. The thing had its merits.. and men From all ancient bonds were freed. The Russian snow flowered with bright blood whose roses spread Petals of fading. A little smoke that died away. tied insecurely and crookedly to the tentpole. Sing Holiday! Beneath the Tree Of Innocence and Liberty. They had printed five hundred copies. Miss Doris Gabell. 82 . The witch gave a shrug of the shoulders. Faintlier laughs and whispers." CHAPTER XXVII. Where all must drudge and all obey. old custom. Yes. Blood was there A red gay flower and only fair. The swimming−pool was a centre of noise and activity. It was his poem. Within the hollows of the hill. That will be sixpence. "I merely tell you what I read in your hand. Oh. A neat pile of printed sheets lay before her on the table. Denis took one of them and looked at it affectionately. "Have you sold many?" he asked in a casual tone." Denis stepped down from the bench. Anne put her head on one side deprecatingly. diminishingly: 'Free. and very nice the quarto broadsheets looked. decidedly. merry.. He passed through the gate in the park wall into the garden. 'Free.. But I'm giving a free copy to everyone who spends more than a shilling on his tea. but walked slowly away.' Fadingly. shied cocoa−nuts. The frozen air received their breath. 'Free'−−and faintly laughs. "Only three so far.!' But Echo answers Faintly to the laughing dancers. Struck weights.
he looked down. "So nice to see the young people enjoying themselves. "When I say 'Go. Isn't it delightful to see the way they enjoy themselves?" Denis looked. Denis answered her greeting by a vague and polite noise. "Pretty little thing. for that matter. CHAPTER XXVII. "Delighted to see you again." Mrs. husky voice. she only managed to eat 2900 peaches during that crucial period of the national destinies. so that she was able to eat peaches practically the whole year round. In 1918 she did rather better. Sixteen. She had thirty−six peach trees in her walled garden. as well as four hot−houses in which trees could be forced. I never could learn to swim. It was old Mrs. and laid up the phrase in his memory as a happy one. Callamay. It was as though a dog should suddenly begin to speak." Mr. He smiled again. "And the old people too. and what with this and the fact that it was a bad year for wall fruit. he said to himself. it seemed an act of supererogatory graciousness. hungrily smiling. for. and Lord Moleyn. slender. had suffered. Mr. Stone. Go!" he said. capital. He wasn't sure whether it was so very delightful after all. she complained. Callamay was saying in his deep voice. 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. In 1916 she ate 4200 peaches. Budge. Budge huskily. Her constitution. Callamay looked on with eager interest. Budge. but it had suffered for a good cause. 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. Old Mr. like a short− winded lap−dog.' go. She panted a little as she spoke." said Mrs. Callamay had put on his spectacles to congratulate the victor. a toothy voice. There was an expectant silence. she had only won a heat. for between January 1st and the date of the Armistice she ate 3300 peaches. Denis pushed his way through the spectators. The victor wriggled with embarrassment. a torso of black polished marble. It was Mrs. Since the Armistice she had relaxed her efforts.' go. showed his long ivory teeth. rubbing one foot nervously on the other. but nubile. now she did not eat more than two or three peaches a day. Budge who. Go!" Splash! The third heat had started." she said in her rich. "When I say 'Go. Henry Wimbush raised his hand. "Capital performance. Look at old Lord Moleyn and dear Mr. after all. and panted two or three times. She stood with her hands behind her back. In 1917 the military authorities called up three of her gardeners. Somebody plucked him by the sleeve. and sent the stones to the Government. old Lord Moleyn and Mr. isn't she?" said Mrs. His voice seemed to come from just behind his teeth. leaning forward over his walking− stick. Her wet bathing−dress shone.Crome Yellow Five young persons ranged themselves on the brink. Budge went on. 83 . "Very good indeed. Mr. "Do you know. Callamay readjusted his spectacles." Denis nodded agreement. From their seats of honour at the other end of the pool." said Lord Moleyn. There was an almost simultaneous splash. "Yes.
There was an abrupt movement. It was time. In a roped−off space beyond. The rector turned up his iron mask towards the solid cobalt of the sky. They were looking over his head.. Bodiham repeated. the membrane of his soul flapped tumultuously in the noise and laughter. Denis thought.Crome Yellow "Really?" "But I used to be able to float. through the thronged streets of the canvas village. colourless face of his wife. in a low. the golden bell of her hair swung silently as she moved her head and quivered to rest. "Disgusting!" Mrs. pronounce the single word "Disgusting!" He looked up sharply." She turned towards him a face. coming up behind her and touching her on the arm. Denis saw two heads overtopping the hedge immediately above him. he might CHAPTER XXVII. for one standing on the higher ground it was easy to look over the dark barrier. with an immense output of energy she started a three−legged race. tenuous membrane. had been an Eve by Cranach.. Bodiham popped out of sight behind the hedge. when he was startled by hearing a thin. red. that wasn't good. The last one.. tinny clamour. He recognised the iron mask of Mr. round. making rapid mental calculations. at the swimmers in the pond. Looking up. Mary became once more the centre of a dangerous vortex. Budge." said Denis. She was atrociously stubby and fat. sibilant voice. Little creatures seethed round about her. that wasn't good at all. One really ought." Denis imagined her floating−−up and down. Grown a little weary of sustaining a conversation with Mrs." But a sudden violent renewal of the metallic yelling announced the fact that somebody had won the race. The path along which he was walking passed under the lee of a wall of clipped yew. and Mrs. making a shrill. as though to himself. Denis conveniently remembered that his duties as a steward called him elsewhere. hissing softly. and they fell on Denis's upturned curious face. He pushed out through the lines of spectators and made his way along the path left clear behind them. A blown black bladder. over the heads of the spectators. Mary's face was shining in the heat. "How long?" he said. "It's appalling.go−−go−−go!" Henry Wimbush's polite level voice once more pronounced the formula. Denis looked on in admiration. I've been telling her about the Malthusian League. long and harmoniously. "Do you know. Denis. He wandered past the merry−go− round. "You're wonderful. A new winner was being congratulated. and honest as the setting sun. He was thinking again that his soul was a pale. Behind the hedge the ground sloped steeply up towards the foot of the terrace and the house. and Mr. speaking apparently from just above his head.. no. to move on." she said. "I've never seen such energy. Mary was directing the children's sports. Denis continued his promenade. "how long?" He lowered his eyes again. continuously curved from knee to breast. 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. but this. Bodiham and the pale. others clustered about the skirts and trousers of their parents." he said. this one was a bad Rubens. ". up and down on a great green swell. serious voice. Another batch of young ladies dived in. 84 .
talking. those long rolls and flourishes of drumming. Clearly. he told himself. and every now and then a lonely figure or a couple of lovers. and a hundred couples more−−all stepping harmoniously together to the old tune of Male and Female created He them.. The Malthusian League.Crome Yellow be asked to do something if he stayed too long. At one side of the village of tents a space had been roped off. then! In the cool recess within he would find bottles and a siphon. as though he were passing them in review. hung round it on posts. Mr. on the sustaining wings of movement and music−−dissipated these preoccupations. alive with motion and noise. Seated in the corner among the band. very seriously. A whole subterranean life seemed to be expressing itself in those loud rat−tats. he alone lacked his complementary opposite. would cross the bright shaft. There was Priscilla. Towards sunset the fair itself became quiescent." he said.. he found. without being observed. Scogan trotted round with another. as Denis could see. Looking at her. CHAPTER XXVIII. his bent knees more precariously wobbly than ever. They were all coupled but he. flashing for a moment into visible existence. passoverish meal that took the place of dinner on this festal day. with a terrified village beauty. "I never showed you our oaken drainpipes. Somebody touched him on the shoulder and he looked up. He stood irresolute at the entrance to the tent. he one−stepped shamblingly. But the tea−tent was horribly thronged. There was nothing. tea. Male and female created He them. the glass on the corner of the table beside him. That tenuous membrane of his had been too rudely buffeted by the afternoon's emotions. he went into the library. who had stayed on to the disorganised. Anne and Gombauld. still wearing her queenly toque. the night seemed preternaturally dark. cast a piercing white light. But Denis sat apart. still encouraging the villagers−−this time by dancing with one of the tenant farmers. There was Lord Moleyn. A minute later he was walking briskly up the shady yew−tree walk. with an unusual expression of grimness on her flushed face. Within the house it was deliciously quiet and cool. What about? he wondered. Jenny was performing wonders of virtuosity upon the drums. if he tiptoed into the dining−room and noiselessly opened the little doors of the sideboard−−ah. Anne. Carrying his well−filled tumbler with care. wearing away the grass with their booted feet. A beautiful thought suddenly came to him. jovial laughter and her manly voice. Round this patch of all but daylight.. Tea.. to disappear again as quickly and surprisingly as they had come. went unobtrusively. Would you like to come and see them?" CHAPTER XXVIII. The thought of tea was making itself insistent in his mind. it required a rest. 85 .There they were.. Portentous. perhaps. and then for the cups that inebriate as well as cheer. as it were. Denis ruefully remembered the red notebook. There.. she smiled to herself. Bars of light reached out into it. Her eyes shone. and. the brown liquid spurted incessantly into the proffered cups. Acetylene lamps. He turned back towards the canvas village. The slow vortex brought the couples round and round again before him. watching the swaying. obedient to its scraping and blowing. this was no place for one who wanted tea. It was Henry Wimbush. a bottle of crystal gin and a quart of soda water. Mary was in the embrace of a young farmer of heroic proportions. In one corner sat the band. two or three hundred dancers trampled across the dry ground. But the sight of Anne and Gombauld swimming past−−Anne with her eyes almost shut and sleeping. she was looking up at him. "Some of the ones we dug up are lying quite close to here. like a Causerie du Lundi for settling and soothing the troubled spirits. interlaced. tea. was encouraging the villagers. all but he. he settled into a chair with a volume of Sainte−Beuve. shuffling crowd. Denis stood by the entrance of the enclosure. he wondered what sort of a figure he was cutting now. It was the hour for the dancing to begin. In a momentary lull Denis could hear her deep. in her royal toque. in the farther corner of the tent. if he went back to the house. was furiously working the handle of the urn. Priscilla.
Primitives or seventeenth−century books−−yes. rising from behind a belt of trees. Wimbush continued." "I can believe it. It's the same with current events. and I have been spared the tedious and revolting process of getting to know them by personal contact. "True. "I shall be glad. and entirely secure from any human intrusion. one is dealing with unknown and unknowable quantities. "but the spectacle of numbers of my fellow−creatures in a state of agitation moves in me a certain weariness. For all I know. the perfectibility of machinery−−then. they're not my line. a few weeks have made me thoroughly acquainted with these interesting characters. he cast a dim beam over two or three blackened sections of tree trunk. to live in a dignified seclusion. It is a beautiful thought. involving a terrible expense of time. rather than any gaiety or excitement. What do I know of the people I see round about me? Nothing. Francis. tuneless and meaningless in their ears. surrounded by the delicate attentions of silent and graceful machines. What do I know of contemporary politics? Nothing. 86 ." "Come. it will be possible for those who. A faint white glare. Johnson. "Very interesting. Henry Wimbush halted. involving once more an endless number of the most unpleasant contacts? No. It doesn't change. "when this function comes at last to an end." said Denis. and you can get to know about it comfortably and decorously and." Mr. which I should have to do if they were living now. You follow me? I could never take much interest. By reading I know a great deal of Caesar Borgia." said Denis. like myself. they give me no emotion. give me the past." he said. desire it." He jerked his head sideways towards the hollowed logs. The fact is. "But what about the desirable human contacts. a believer in perfectibility.Crome Yellow Denis got up. indicated the position of the dancing− floor." Denis agreed." Mr. they don't very much interest me. "Here we are. perhaps. It's appalling. They are my line. But stamps. which were lying forlornly in a little depression in the ground. scooped out into the semblance of pipes. when machines have attained to a state of perfection−−for I confess that I am. Some of the higher notes faded out altogether. above all. and. how can I find out anything about them except by devoting years to the most exhausting first−hand study." said Henry Wimbush. Wimbush continued. and they walked off together into the darkness. They don't interest me. One can only hope to find out anything about them by a long series of the most disagreeable and boring human contacts. privately−−by reading." "I do not know how it is. "the little I know about your past is certainly reassuring. Jenny's drumming and the steady sawing of the bass throbbed on. and neither you nor I know anything of your future. How gay and delightful life would be if one could get rid of all the human contacts! Perhaps. in a collection of postage stamps. it's all there in black and white. I'm more at home with these pipes. with a rather tepid enthusiasm. come. But I know nothing of your present. in living people. They're aren't in my line. in the future. They sat down on the grass. no. taking an electric torch out of his pocket. "The trouble with the people and events of the present is that you never know anything about them. of St. I don't know anything about them. of Dr. like Godwin and Shelley. like love and friendship?" CHAPTER XXVIII. you may suddenly jump up and try to murder me in a moment's time. The music was nothing but a muffled rhythmic pulse. for example. What they think of me or of anything else in the world." "Beautiful. I'm afraid. what they will do in five minutes' time. It's rather the same with people. The music grew fainter behind them. are things I can't guess at.
" Henry Wimbush went on. no. "You won't. and even if I were to tell you. 87 . Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together. By the edge of the pool two figures lingered. It was after ten o'clock. Nothing would be pleasanter than to read in a well−written book of an open−air ball that took place a century ago. Wimbush. the dismantled merry−go−round would be packed into waggons and carted away. The dancers had already dispersed and the last lights were being put out. quite fortuitously. in future their natural tendency will be to seek solitude and quiet." Anne was saying in a breathless whisper. you would be amazed at the romantic tale. when one finds oneself involved in it. an action as obvious. would be all that remained." said Mr.Crome Yellow The black silhouette against the darkness shook its head. How charming! one would say." They got up and began to walk slowly towards the white glare. Live them. "Why not?" he said. As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread. "I will. An expanse of worn grass." CHAPTER XXIX. "You've tried to take the most unfair advantage of me." "I sometimes think that it may be. with a sigh. the details of these adventures. The world. CHAPTER XXIX. "Ah. "No." said the polite level voice. and they are just a slice of life like the rest. Adventures and romance only take on their adventurous and romantic qualities at second−hand. he was wondering if Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together. "If all these people were dead." Her raised voice had become imperative. "In my youth. To climb by night up a rope−ladder to a second−floor window in an old house in Toledo seemed to me. To−morrow the tents would be struck. in my bald style. "I must go and see if all is well on the dancing−floor. please. blinking in the dazzling light." He waved his hand in the direction of the acetylene flares. while I was actually performing this rather dangerous feat. you must remember. then one sees the thing in its true light. as much to be taken for granted. A novelist could have made his fortune out of them." he went on after a pause. No. as−−how shall I put it?−−as quotidian as catching the 8. The proper study of mankind is books. At present people in search of pleasure naturally tend to congregate in large herds and to make a noise. is only just becoming literate. "I found myself. 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. how pretty and how amusing! But when the ball takes place to−day. "this festivity would be extremely agreeable. "The pleasures even of these contacts are much exaggerated. involved in a series of the most phantasmagorical amorous intrigues. "It seems to me doubtful whether they are equal to the pleasures of private reading and contemplation. turning her head from side to side in an effort to escape Gombauld's kisses. while they were happening−−these romantic adventures−−they seemed to me no more and no less exciting than any other incident of actual life. Crome Fair was over. leaning backwards. if only we were!" Henry Wimbush added." With a sudden effort Anne freed herself." she retorted. "No. But I assure you. 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. no. a shabby brown patch in the wide green of the park." They had come to the entrance of the enclosure and stood there. It turns out to be merely this." said Denis. Gombauld relaxed his embrace a little. In literature they become as charming as this dismal ball would be if we were celebrating its tercentenary.52 from Surbiton to go to business on a Monday morning. "Instead of which.
" he added. was it true? And is life really its own reward? He wondered. raising his voice to a shout. leaning in an attitude of despair against the parapet of the terrace. innocently asleep. Scogan went on. Mr. It was ungrammatical to begin with. always. unfair advantage. "Call me a White Slaver and have done with it. under whatever circumstances−−under whatever circumstances. In ten minutes he was deeply. It's most distressing if one allows oneself to be distressed. and even if he had not been. blinking and frowning at his interlocutor. and if you try and kiss me again I shall box your ears.Crome Yellow "Unfair advantage?" echoed Gombauld in genuine surprise. 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. Denis stood there for a moment like a somnambulist. "Oh. "It's a most distressing symptom. and at the sight he had fled. 'What's the point of it all? All is vanity. the two pale figures in a patch of moonlight. he couldn't stand it. Denis had seen them." Gombauld laughed angrily. 88 . "Under any circumstances. Denis had mechanically undressed and. he almost ran into Mr. Scogan ran to the foot of the stairs and called up after him. When at last he looked up. side by side. But what difference does that make?" At this point the somnambulist suddenly woke up. "Worried about the cosmos. Dashing blindly into the house. I know exactly how you feel. dazed and hardly conscious of what he was doing or where he was. while I'm still reeling drunk with the movement. In another moment. none whatever. when I've lost my head.. Time passed. who was walking up and down the hall smoking a final pipe. Scogan replaced his pipe between his teeth and resumed his meditative pacing. It was too much. damn Degas!" Gombauld was almost shouting. From where he stood. "The night is delicious. was lying face downwards on his bed." For answer Gombauld made an irritated noise. we all know that there's no ultimate point. his mind to−night was proof against all the consolations of philosophy. Scogan patted him on the arm. two steps at a time. distressed. When his pipe had burned itself to its stinking conclusion he took a drink of gin and went to bed. "What I like about the painting of Degas. the candle which he had left CHAPTER XXIX. clad in those flowered silk pyjamas of which he was so justly proud. depressed. Shall we take a few turns round the pool?" she added. "you look disturbed. Scogan. Scogan. "Yes. You attack me after I've been dancing for two hours." said Anne." Anne began in her most detached and conversational tone. eh?" Mr. They paced off slowly. "I am now completely sobered. But Denis was already far out of hearing. "What?" he said. he felt." he repeated to himself. Mr. "What?" Then breaking away he dashed up the stairs. catching him by the arm. he would have burst into irrepressible tears. "It makes no difference. What's the good of continuing to function if one's doomed to be snuffed out at last along with everything else?' Yes.. He had seen the beginning of what promised to be an endless passionate embracement. Life is gay all the same. "What's the matter?" Mr. far down by the pool's edge. yes." "Luckily. But then why allow oneself to be distressed? After all. "Hullo!" said Mr." Denis shook his head without replying." he said. "I know the feeling.
colourless landscape. It was from this den that the ladder went up to the leads of the western tower. "to wake up and see you waving your arms and gibbering there. and set his feet on the rungs. he lifted the trap−door above his head. Denis uttered a cry of frightened surprise. Mary had slept out every evening. Then he looked down once more into the depths. CHAPTER XXIX. In a moment he was standing on the leads. I hope?" Mary inquired. He got up. he breathed the fresh. tiptoed noiselessly along the passage. "Are you ill?" In the profound shadow that slept under the eastern parapet of the tower. Arrived at the servants' quarters under the roof. Denis?" questioned a voice from somewhere very close behind him. He made a gesture with his hand. He advanced cautiously into the blackness. he could not afterwards remember what. he hesitated. was running her fingers through his tangled hair. he saw something he had not previously noticed−−an oblong shape. he turned round in the direction from which the voice had come. Within was a pitch− dark cupboard−like boxroom. and he was pale when. cool air of the night. Since that first memorable night on the tower. Why had he climbed up to this high." she went on. An hour later he was reposing with his head on Mary's knees. looking now down into the shadowy gulf below. He advanced towards the farther parapet. and she. It was a mattress. groping with his hands. stuffy. laughing more bitterly and artificially than before. He looked at his watch. and someone was lying on it. and smelling of dust and old leather. desolate place? Was it to look at the moon? Was it to commit suicide? As yet he hardly knew. What on earth were you doing?" Denis laughed melodramatically. His misery assumed a certain solemnity. it was a sort of manifestation of fidelity. it was nearly half−past one. "What IS the matter. Death−−the tears came into his eyes when he thought of it." said Denis. and perhaps one might clear the narrow terrace and so crash down yet another thirty feet to the sun−baked ground below. jumping too rapidly to conclusions. A good leap. and for all reply went on laughing in the same frightful and improbable tone. recovering himself. his dry. now. he was lifted up on the wings of a kind of exaltation. he would be lying in pieces at the bottom of the tower. the drop was sheer there and uninterrupted. "What ARE you doing. If she hadn't woken up as she did. hot. now up towards the rare stars and the waning moon. "You hadn't got designs on me. It was a mood in which he might have done almost anything. "I didn't know you were here. the moonlit sky was over him. looking perpendicularly down at the terrace seventy feet below. noiselessly. gazing out over the dim. His heart was beating terribly. however foolish. He had told her everything. "It gave me a fright.Crome Yellow alight at his bedside had burned down almost to the socket. "What. Denis?" He sat down on the edge of the mattress. His head ached. then turning to the right he opened a little door at the end of the corridor. and began to mount the stairs towards the higher floors. indeed!" he said. 89 . opened the door. but the fact that he had said it aloud gave the utterance a peculiarly terrible significance. muttered something. sleepless eyes felt as though they had been bruised from behind. and very nearly went over the parapet in good earnest. He paused at the corner of the tower. he was certain of that. and the blood was beating within his ears a loud arterial drum. with an affectionate solicitude that was wholly maternal. He found the ladder.
"You can't go on like this." he said at last. his suicide−−as it were providentially averted by her interposition. without opening his eyes. CHAPTER XXX.Crome Yellow everything: his hopeless love. the candle had long ago guttered to extinction. Mary. Still." advised Mary. can you?" "No. His room was dark. who was recovering all her firm self− possession. a hand seized him by the shoulder and he was rudely shaken." said Mary..that Gombauld. had told him in return everything. "Well." "I suppose you're right. He got into bed and fell asleep almost at once. And now his soul was floating in a sad serenity. Startlingly.. get up!" CHAPTER XXX. "Poor Mary!" He was very sorry for her. "Get up." "But I've arranged to stay here three weeks more. "You'd better go away." "I'm sure of it. utterly dejected. There was a silence. she might have guessed that Ivor wasn't precisely a monument of constancy." he echoed. "Do you think. the church clock struck three. but she wouldn't allow herself to be weak. reacting to these confidences. It was embalmed in the sympathy that Mary so generously poured." asked Denis hesitatingly−−"do you really think that she. and the most sensible. There was another long pause. And it was not only in receiving sympathy that Denis found serenity and even a kind of happiness. his jealousy. In this condition he might have remained for another hour if he had not been disturbed by a violent rapping at the door. "I'd no idea it was so late." he mumbled. "one must put a good face on it." Mary answered decisively. "Come in. Mary invented a plan of action. Immensely practical. it was also in giving it. about her own. For if he had told Mary everything about his miseries. "You must go to bed at once." "You must concoct an excuse. The latch clicked. but in spite of the parted curtains he had dropped off again into that drowsy. "It's the safest thing." Denis clambered down the ladder. "I don't know what to do about it. 90 ." She wanted to cry.. I can't go on like this. dozy state when sleep becomes a sensual pleasure almost consciously savoured." "I know I am." she said.. He had solemnly promised never to think of self− destruction again. his despair. or very nearly everything. Denis had been called. cautiously descended the creaking stairs." she concluded. in the darkness.
"Was I?" he lightly asked. who showed an unappeased desire to go on talking about the Universe. "What time do you think the telegram will arrive?" asked Mary suddenly. And even if he weren't strong enough. No. and. Scogan. raised the enormous bulwark of the "Times" against the possible assaults of Mr. Scogan looking out." he said." he agreed weakly. "Action. thrusting in upon him over the top of the paper. he meditated. a decisive step taken −−and he so rarely took decisive steps. He had sent a long telegram. And what if he had seen them embracing in the moonlight? Perhaps it didn't mean much after all. a mere friendly acquaintance.. No flowers.. Train leaves Waterloo 3. from the drawing−room window made him precipitately hoist the "Times" once more." Denis enunciated. Everything seemed marvellously beautiful. disinterested." "Better?" "You were rather worried about the cosmos last night. "I was only wondering.." said Mary." "One is only happy in action. A wind stirred among the trees." said Mr. which would in a few hours evoke an answer ordering him back to town at once−−on urgent business. It was with a whetted appetite that he came in to breakfast. At the thought that he would soon be leaving all this beauty he felt a momentary pang. "because there's a very good train at 3. and going over to the sideboard he helped himself to an agreeable mixture of bacon and fish. he was blowed if he'd let himself be hurried down to the Necropolis like this. with a hungry expression." he repeated aloud. Scogan. "Good−morning. why shouldn't he stay? He felt strong enough to stay. Secure behind the crackling pages." said Mr. I should be a happy man. Don't you remember?" "O Lord!" He threw off the bed−clothes. and their shaken foliage twinkled and glittered like metal in the sun.. and it would be nice if you could catch it. "You must go and send the telegram. wouldn't it?" "Awfully nice. "that I had nothing worse to prey on my mind. He was blowed. "Get up!" she repeated.Mary was gone. Satisfaction glowed within him as he returned. Denis repaired to the terrace. and he saw Mary standing over him. "I wish. "I hope you're better.27. but he comforted himself by recollecting how decisively he was acting. And even if it did. For a long while he CHAPTER XXX. Scogan. He looked out of the window. he felt pleased with himself.27.Crome Yellow His eyelids blinked painfully apart. "I don't know at all. The sight of Mr. his tormentor retired. sitting there. bright−faced and earnest. Denis dressed as quickly as he could and ran up the road to the village post office. Breakfast over." Denis tried to laugh away the impeachment. strong enough to be aloof. In the light of this brilliant morning the emotions of last night seemed somehow rather remote. It was an act performed. 91 . He felt as though he were making arrangements for his own funeral. Great florid baroque clouds floated high in the blue heaven. Denis started guiltily. thinking of the telegram.
" he repeated desperately. she thought. and came to a halt in front of the bench on which they were seated. "Return at once. if only she could understand! Women were supposed to have intuition. Denis.. "How long have you been standing there?" he asked. He blushed more deeply than ever. Scogan suddenly darted out of the house. "It's urgent. utterly miserable. malicious smile. when he had done gaping at her. He was a nice boy. "Oh. "What's your telegram about?" Mary asked significantly.Crome Yellow kept it hoisted. with what astonishment! confronted by Anne's faint. They were taking their after luncheon coffee in the library when the telegram arrived. This white− trouser business was all in the wrong spirit.." "You were." Denis exclaimed. was what I was saying. Oh. She had been standing by the window talking to Gombauld." He frowned at the telegram ferociously. Denis blushed guiltily as he took the orange envelope from the salver and tore it open. "To go on with our interesting conversation about the cosmos. please. 92 . 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. He was just preparing a scheme to manoeuvre the conversation back to the proper path. Lowering it at last to take another cautious peep at his surroundings. "But that's absurd." Anne protested. he found himself.. Mary's large blue china eyes were fixed upon him." he said. Discrete. when Mr." said Anne." Denis replied rather curtly. amused.But would you mind. I think. Denis was speechless. "Why don't you wear white trousers?" she asked.−−the swaying grace of her movement arrested in a pose that seemed itself a movement." he mumbled. penetratingly. "I become more and more convinced that the various parts of the concern are fundamentally discrete. She was standing before him. "I'm afraid this means I shall have to go back to town at once. quite charming.. "But you've only been here such a short time.−−the woman who was a tree. It was the first time he had ever had the courage to utter a personal remark of the kind. He lost his head." "You look lovely this morning. impossible. "And if you would shift a few inches to the left. "I like you so much in white trousers. about half an hour. Anne held up her hand as though to ward off a blow.Thank you." She sat down on the bench beside him." she said airily." cried Anne. "Don't bludgeon me. CHAPTER XXX. "I know. I suppose. moving a shade to your right?" He wedged himself between them on the bench. my dear Anne." It was too ridiculous. crossed the terrace with clockwork rapidity. "I'm afraid. but at Denis's words she came swaying across the room towards him." he began. "You were so very deep in your paper−−head over ears−−I didn't like to disturb you. hesitated in a horrible uncertainty." "They're at the wash. seriously. and Gombauld's violent insistences were really becoming rather tiresome. Urgent family business.
93 . "You'll have nice time to pack. The whole party had assembled to see him go. I must. Never again. CHAPTER XXX. the needle stirred perceptibly to the left." She looked at the clock on the mantelpiece." "I'll order the motor at once..'" he said. and then. finally. Denis turned towards her. West Bowlby. This was what came of action. A sudden smile lighted up his lugubrious face. He abandoned himself hopelessly. Wimbush out of the conversation. "Yes. brushing Mrs. Camlet. "I think perhaps you ought to go and pack. And what on earth was he going to do in London when he got there? He climbed wearily up the stairs. of doing something decisive. "A distinct presentiment. It was awful. If only he'd just let things drift! If only. "I am wretched you should be going.Crome Yellow "If he must go." put in Mary firmly. awful. Priscilla got up from her chair in some excitement. quoting Landor with an exquisite aptness. Nobody had noticed." said Mary. The thought of the journey appalled him. Good−bye." Henry Wimbush rang the bell. he must. Mary looked at the clock again." said Mr." he explained. He climbed into the hearse. Spavin Delawarr.27.. London. she really did look wretched." said Anne. He looked quickly round from face to face. "I had a distinct presentiment of this last night. he said to himself. "There's a very good train at 3. The car was at the door−−the hearse." "A mere coincidence." she said. fatalistically to his destiny. "'It sinks and I am ready to depart. It was time for him to lay himself in his coffin. Scogan. The funeral was well under way. good−bye." He looked at the telegram again for inspiration. Mechanically he tapped the barometer that hung in the porch. Knipswich for Timpany. never again would he do anything decisive. "You see." she said. and then all the other stations. no doubt. "I shall miss your conversation. Obediently Denis left the room. it's urgent family business.
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