Crome Yellow

Aldous Huxley

Crome Yellow

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

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

CHAPTER I.
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

CHAPTER VIII.

24

Crome Yellow

CHAPTER IX.
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crome Yellow

CHAPTER XIV.
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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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