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Table of Contents
Crome Yellow......................................................................................................................................................1 Aldous Huxley.........................................................................................................................................1 CHAPTER I.............................................................................................................................................1 CHAPTER II...........................................................................................................................................3 . CHAPTER III..........................................................................................................................................6 CHAPTER IV..........................................................................................................................................9 CHAPTER V.........................................................................................................................................13 CHAPTER VI........................................................................................................................................15 CHAPTER VII.......................................................................................................................................20 CHAPTER VIII.....................................................................................................................................23 CHAPTER IX........................................................................................................................................25 CHAPTER X.........................................................................................................................................29 CHAPTER XI........................................................................................................................................31 CHAPTER XII.......................................................................................................................................33 CHAPTER XIII.....................................................................................................................................36 CHAPTER XIV.....................................................................................................................................43 CHAPTER XV......................................................................................................................................44 CHAPTER XVI.....................................................................................................................................46 CHAPTER XVII....................................................................................................................................48 CHAPTER XVIII..................................................................................................................................53 . CHAPTER XIX.....................................................................................................................................55 CHAPTER XX......................................................................................................................................62 CHAPTER XXI.....................................................................................................................................65 CHAPTER XXII....................................................................................................................................67 CHAPTER XXIII..................................................................................................................................71 . CHAPTER XXIV..................................................................................................................................72 CHAPTER XXV...................................................................................................................................75 . CHAPTER XXVI..................................................................................................................................79 CHAPTER XXVII.................................................................................................................................80 CHAPTER XXVIII...............................................................................................................................85 . CHAPTER XXIX..................................................................................................................................87 CHAPTER XXX...................................................................................................................................90 .
• Chapter I • Chapter II • Chapter III • Chapter IV • Chapter V • Chapter VI • Chapter VII • Chapter VIII • Chapter IX • Chapter X • Chapter XI • Chapter XII • Chapter XIII • Chapter XIV • Chapter XV • Chapter XVI • Chapter XVII • Chapter XVIII • Chapter XIX • Chapter XX • Chapter XXI • Chapter XXII • Chapter XXIII • Chapter XXIV • Chapter XXV • Chapter XXVI • Chapter XXVII • Chapter XXVIII • Chapter XXIX • Chapter XXX This page copyright © 2001 Blackmask Online. http://www.blackmask.com
Along this particular stretch of line no express had ever passed. All the trains−−the few that there were−−stopped at all the stations. Denis knew the names of those stations by heart. Bole, Tritton, Spavin Delawarr, Knipswich for Timpany, West Bowlby, and, finally, Camlet−on−the−Water. Camlet was where he always got out, leaving the train to creep indolently onward, goodness only knew whither, into the green heart of England. They were snorting out of West Bowlby now. It was the next station, thank Heaven. Denis took his chattels off the rack and piled them neatly in the corner opposite his own. A futile proceeding. But one must have something to do. When he had finished, he sank back into his seat and closed his eyes. It was extremely hot. Crome Yellow 1
Anything.. none. the packages labelled to Camlet. leaned out of the window and shouted for a porter." "All in good time. Nothing. The train came bumpingly to a halt. Denis jumped up. he ran up the train towards the van. sir. Cumbrous locutions. so much−−written the perfect poem. that was inadequate. one by one. as though to scoop the achieved expression out of the air. but all the same it was nice to feel that the bicycle was there. they seemed the dinted imprints of some huge divine body that had rested on these hills. punctured. What right had he to sit in the sunshine. Galbe. they were informed with the subtlety of art. Here was Camlet at last. He felt himself a man of action. was good. The world. Dinted. Crome Yellow 2 . He made a gesture with his hand.Those little valleys had the lines of a cup moulded round a woman's breast. but continued methodically to hand out. Two hours. stately man with a naval beard. Le galbe evase de ses hanches: had one ever read a French novel in which that phrase didn't occur? Some day he would compile a dictionary for the use of novelists. He left his luggage to be called for later.. they were all good. Misery and a nameless nostalgic distress possessed him. That was a good word. pudeur: vertu. Instead of which−−his gorge rose at the smell of the dusty cushions against which he was leaning. One hundred and twenty minutes. When at last he had safely bundled himself and his baggage on to the platform. to be alive? None. surrounded by a numerous family. name of Stone. Galbe. and almost fell off his bicycle. but it was French. Denis groaned in the spirit. this journey! It was two hours cut clean out of his life. Once at the top of the long hill which led up from Camlet station. He always took his bicycle when he went into the country. The guard paid no attention. Curves. deranged his pile of baggage. and that one fine morning one really might get up at six." Denis's man of action collapsed.. he found. potele. Curves−− no. seized a bag in either hand. or Stratford−on−Avon−−anywhere. Oh. peau. and pushed off on his bicycle.Crome Yellow Oh. It was in that tone that he must have spoken to his children when they were tiresome. spilt the precious minutes as though his reservoir were inexhaustible. volupte. 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. "A green machine. But he really must find that word. Curves curves. these. trying as he did so to find some term in which to give expression to his appreciation. cross−framed. He was a large. One day one would get up at six o'clock and pedal away to Kenilworth. sir. or read the one illuminating book. and what had he done with them? Wasted them. He was twenty−three. to occupy corner seats in third−class carriages. The far−away blue hills. "A bicycle. goulu: parfum. One pictured him at home. pervers. he felt his spirits mounting. but through them he seemed to be getting nearer to what he wanted. a bicycle!" he said breathlessly to the guard. crammed his hat over his eyes. curves: he repeated the word slowly. for example. He was overcome by the beauty of those deeply embayed combes. "All in good time. none." said the guard soothingly. scooped in the flanks of the ridge beneath him. What was the word to describe the curves of those little valleys? They were as fine as the lines of a human body. he had had hundreds of hours. condemned himself utterly with all his works. Anything might be done in that time.. and had to put them down again in order to open the door. the treeless sky−lines that changed as he moved−−yes. drinking tea. "A bicycle!" Denis repeated. the harvests whitening on the slopes of the ridge along which his road led him. S−T−O−N−E. It was part of the theory of exercise. two hours in which he might have done so much. gonfle. and oh! so agonizingly conscious of the fact. Somehow they never did get seen.
its Chinese sculptures. It was what the reviewers call "a slim volume. There was the library. haggard with anxiety. He took nobody by surprise. and he at his table. dateless furniture. Oh. looking with pleasure at the familiar pictures and furniture. Who could have been reading it. how austere! The hill was becoming steeper and steeper.Crome Yellow dimpled. What could one reconstruct from such data? There was much of Henry Wimbush in the long gallery and the library. this view of Crome was pleasant to linger over. He was rather glad that they were all out. He loosed his grip of the levers. on the opposite slope. The house basked in full sunlight. The road plunged down. perhaps. his destination. swaying into the little restaurant where they sometimes dined together in London−−three quarters of an hour late. its mirrors. he liked to think so. rich in portentous folios. its eighteenth−century chairs and sideboard. deserted Pompeii. a little higher up the valley. There was the morning−room. solidly. with its rows of respectable and (though. It was a possibility. Becoming once more aware of the outer world. She had never referred to it.But silence and the topless dark Vault in the lights of Luna Park. where the huge chintz−covered arm−chairs stood. The front door stood hospitably open. portwinily English. cool. Among the accumulations of ten generations the living had left but few traces. he found himself on the crest of a descent. how superbly mellow! And at the same time. into a considerable valley. the slim Hamadryad whose movements were like the swaying of a young tree in the wind. He had given her the book when it came out. What sort of life would the excavator reconstruct from these remains. There. he wondered? Anne. Wimbush's boudoir was in the central tower on the garden front. Five minutes later he was passing through the gate of the great courtyard. How ripe and rich it was. how would he people these empty chambers? There was the long gallery. Lying on the table in the morning−room he saw his own book of poems." He read at hazard: ". perhaps. of course. spacious. He left his bicycle leaning against the wall and walked in. There was the dining−room. wimpled−−his mind wandered down echoing corridors of assonance and alliteration ever further and further from the point. He would take them by surprise. he was gaining speed in spite of his brakes. Perhaps. with its pale lemon walls. she was damnable! It occurred to him that perhaps his hostess might be in her boudoir. in the morning−room. irritation. hunger. it was amusing to wander through the house as though one were exploring a dead. The facade with its three projecting towers rose precipitously from among the dark trees of the garden. and in a moment was rushing headlong down. oases of comfort among the austere flesh−mortifying antiques. with its great mahogany table. What tact! He picked it up and opened it. steep and straight. at all the little untidy signs of life that lay scattered here and there. echoing the aged Swift. there was nobody to take. its painted Venetian chairs and rococo tables. And Blackpool from the nightly gloom Hollows a bright tumultuous tomb. "What genius I had then!" he reflected. He was enamoured with the beauty of words. its modern pictures. All was quiet. Denis wandered from room to empty room. book−lined from floor to ceiling.. "The Woman who was a Tree" was what he had called the poem. something of Anne. He put on his brakes. 3 . That was all. its unobtrusive. stood Crome. she had at last recognised herself in the Hamadryad of the poplar sapling. and sighed. the old brick rosily glowed." He put it down again. he would go and see. one couldn't publicly admit it) rather boring Italian primitives. Mrs. hoping that the poem would tell her what he hadn't dared to say. its eighteenth−century pictures−−family portraits. There was the panelled drawing− room. too. he was glad to think he would never write anything of the same sort again. CHAPTER II. He shut his eyes and saw a vision of her in a red velvet cloak. shook his head. It was nearly six months since the book had been published.. and dark. A little staircase cork−screwed up to it CHAPTER II. meticulous animal paintings.
"Did I tell you how I won four hundred on the Grand National this year?" "Yes. But he was too discreet and. a gambit in the polite game. He contented himself. The costume. still more. She must have told him at least six times. so suggestive of the Royal Family. In the Old Days. It would be a pleasure to give it utterance. CHAPTER II. 4 . so richly dowagerish. A blotting−pad rested on her knees and she was thoughtfully sucking the end of a silver pencil. There had been something of a bust up. Wimbush laughed." he replied." she said. Now"−−she paused an instant−−"well. That's the Stars. Everything about her was manly. the whole surmounted by a lofty and elaborate coiffure of a curiously improbable shade of orange." Mrs." he said. she was there. and he hesitated. Denis always thought of Wilkie Bard as the cantatrice." she said. almost voluptuously. "That's why I'm going to Sing in op'ra. Old Priscilla−−not so old then. dropped it in handfuls and hatfuls on every race−course in the country. without even being aware that she had interrupted him. Henry Wimbush was forced to sell some of his Primitives−−a Taddeo da Poggibonsi. She had a large." Today she was wearing a purple silk dress with a high collar and a row of pearls." Ah. The number of thousands varied in the different legends. Denis decided to reserve his story for more receptive ears. he had rather hoped she wouldn't be. She had gambled too. and with good effect. I used to lose thousands. look at that four hundred on the Grand National. Mrs. it asked for no answer. made her look more than ever like something on the Halls. "Come in... looking up. were deep and masculine. I'm afraid. middle−aged face. "I'm awfully sorry. square. "Hullo. But he was too late. Denis mounted. A little pained. There was a crisis. He had a tremendously amusing account of London and its doings all ripe and ready in his mind. too shy to ask. Her voice. and four or five nameless Sienese−−to the Americans. here I am. her laughter. it seemed. "I'd forgotten you were coming. but all put it high. still frigid and mono−syllabic. and sprightlier−−had lost a great deal of money. "Wonderful. sing in op'ra. before I had the Stars to help me. For the first time in his life Henry asserted himself. with a massive projecting nose and little greenish eyes. "What have you been doing all this time?" she asked. an Amico di Taddeo. with saying "Oh?" rather icily." Denis would have liked to hear more about the Old Days. by way of revenge." "Well. Looking at her. of course. Sing in op−pop−pop−pop−pop−popera. He opened the door." said Denis. that was all he knew. "You find me busy at my horoscopes. Wimbush's question had been what the grammarians call rhetorical." said Denis deprecatingly. isn't it? Everything is in the Stars. tapped at the door.Crome Yellow from the hall. "To begin with. Priscilla Wimbush was lying on the sofa. It was a little conversational flourish. "Well.
he wondered." Denis knew of him vaguely. It's all splendid. Denis. Her passion for racing still possessed her. not personally. Nowadays she spent almost all her time at Crome. "I can't say I feel it so. you'd think. allowed her forty pounds a month betting money. One's never dull for a moment. "Inman's horoscope. I don't find it so. her orange coiffure nodded portentously. Barbecue−Smith. Pleasure−−running about. and had a large notebook in which she registered the horoscopes of all the players in all the teams of the League. you know. cultivating a rather ill−defined malady. of course. for she was somewhat long−sighted. Denis looked at it. For consolation she dallied with New Thought and the Occult. "I've invited him for next week−end. 5 ." she waved her hand. what are quarter million incomes?'" She looked up from the page with a histrionic movement of the head." "Ah. and the Christian Mysteries and Mrs. dinner. Was it the Real Thing and henna. It was fun.Crome Yellow Priscilla's gay and gadding existence had come to an abrupt end. while it lasted. distinct voice. All that happens means something. and one's Aura. "Do you know him. Most of Priscilla's days were spent in casting the horoscopes of horses. that's all it was. nothing you do is ever insignificant. as the stars dictated. He might even be the author of "What a Young Girl Ought to Know".. Lunch. Eddy and saying you're not ill." She turned over the pages of the book.. Wimbush in her deep. supper every day. Barbecue−Smith was a name in the Sunday papers. I can't think how I used to get on before−−in the Old Days. slowly. "(I thought I'd like to have a little fling on the billiards championship this autumn. I have the Stars." he said. I don't regret the Old Days a bit. But there wasn't much left of it afterwards. I always mark the things I like. just running about. but no. that's because you don't know what it's like to have faith. He wrote about the Conduct of Life. and making suitable gestures with her free hand. dramatically. "'What are thousand pound fur coats. Besant. Here am I at Crome. who was a kind−hearted fellow at bottom." Holding the book almost at arm's length. You've no idea how amusing and exciting life becomes when you do believe. tea. fascinated.) I have the Infinite to keep in tune with. She betted on football too. I marked it." said Mrs. "Who?" "Mr. Where is it?" She sat up and reached for a book that was lying on the little table by the head of the sofa. "And then there's the next world and all the spirits. "Here's the passage I was thinking of. she began to read. or was it one of those Complete Transformations one sees in the advertisements? CHAPTER II. There's rather a good thing about that in Barbecue−Smith's new book. It makes life so jolly. The process of balancing the horoscopes of two elevens one against the other was a very delicate and difficult one. and Mrs. such a pity. and Henry. Dull as ditchwater. "Such a pity you don't believe in these things. and she invested her money scientifically. "No. 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." She picked up the sheet of paper that was lying on the blotting− pad. by the way?" she asked. theatre." she explained.
'" Mrs. The things that matter happen in the heart. in the foreground... from sentence to sentence. it's a fine book this. ". "'A Friend of mine has a Lotus Pool in his garden. you know. Seen things are sweet. dandelion seed in the wind. "'What are the gaieties of the Rich. the high unbroken terrace wall. dropped suddenly and boomed reply.. You've no idea of the things that happened. built like the house itself of brick..saw them out of my window. from under her thumb. had the almost menacing aspect of a fortification−−a castle bastion." Priscilla exclaimed. but those unseen are a thousand times more significant. Two little summer−houses of brick stood at either end. On the farther side of the stream the land rose again in a long slope. what are the gaudy pleasures of High Society?'" The voice. Barbecue−Smith was tossed on the floor. and the birds of the air come to drink and bathe themselves in its crystal waters. striding beneath the trailing silk.. "'They are nothing. faintly humming to himself: "That's why I'm going to Sing in op'ra." The laughter broke out again. with its massive elms. He compares the Soul to a Lotus Pool. Wimbush lowered the book. Beyond it stretched the park. Denis preferred not to hazard an opinion. thin vapours of fever. Looking up the valley. from whose parapet one looked out across airy depths to distances level with the eye. hedged in by solid masses of sculptured yew trees. what is the pride of the Great." CHAPTER III.. every now and then she uttered a deep gurgle of laughter. it must be a Transformation−− bobbed up again. Within the pool the Lotuses blossom. lay the stone−brimmed swimming−pool. CHAPTER III. the splendours of the Powerful. "Beautiful." said Priscilla.' Ah. "And here's the passage about the Lotus Pool. The terrace in front of the house was a long narrow strip of turf. and the terrace was a remarkably high one. and that reminds me. speaking in a confidential whisper.. and.Crome Yellow "'What are Thrones and Sceptres?'" The orange Transformation−−yes. Vanity.mixed bathing. its green expanses of grass. She hoisted herself up from the sofa and went swishing off across the room. the gleam of the narrow river. far−off hills." She held up the book again and read." And then the little twiddly bit of accompaniment at the end: "ra−ra.sent for a pair of field− glasses to make sure. at the bottom of the valley. Below the house the ground sloped very steeply away. 6 . chequered with cultivation. We gave the village people leave to come and bathe here in the evenings.. one saw a line of blue. one by one.. among which the nightingale pours forth its amorous descant all the summer long. It's time we went to see if tea's ready. Sing in op−pop−pop−pop−popera." "Ah. bounded along its outer edge by a graceful stone balustrade. It lies in a little dell embowered with wild roses and eglantine. Denis followed her. sing in op'ra. Below. fluff." said Priscilla... but uttered a non− committal "H'm. as she let the pages flick back.. It is the unseen that counts in Life. Denis laughed too." She leaned forward. from the balusters to the sloping lawn beneath was a drop of thirty feet. questioningly. a beautiful book.no doubt of it. isn't it?" she said. Seen from below. 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. which had risen in tone. to the right.
Scogan a very much lowered deck−chair presented its back to the new arrivals as they advanced towards the tea−table. looking down at the world through sharply piercing eyes. She was Henry Wimbush's own niece. Between Gombauld and Mr. pale blue eyes. Denis had known him almost as long as he could remember. who might be anything. his easy confidence of manner. Denis reflected bitterly. On his other side the serious. he envied Gombauld his looks. Scogan was like one of those extinct bird−lizards of the Tertiary. clipped like a page's. whose expression was one of ingenuous and often puzzled earnestness. Denis looked at him enviously. at the moment. Her long. 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. it ran in the family. In the secret tower of her deafness she sat apart. passed Anne's other inheritance−−quick laughter. Mr. Denis started as he heard it. he smiled. His nose was beaked. In appearance Mr. with its long−lashed. rigid and erect in his chair. at the same time. for she was smiling to herself. Even now some interior joke seemed to be amusing her. a black− haired young corsair of thirty. hung in a bell of elastic gold about her cheeks. lazy laughter. and her brown eyes were like very bright round marbles. his hands were the hands of a crocodile. for Gombauld was of Provencal descent. with flashing teeth and luminous large dark eyes. that bowler−like countenance was one of the Wimbush heirlooms. 7 . he laughed. appearing in its female members as a blank doll−face. but Gombauld was altogether and essentially human. Mr. His movements were marked by the lizard's disconcertingly abrupt clockwork speed. and the rest of the party was already assembled about it when Denis and Priscilla made their appearance. Next to Mary a small gaunt man was sitting. rather handsome face had never grown any older. Scogan looked far older and. but separated from him and from the rest of the world by the almost impenetrable barriers of her deafness. Her short hair. like a gay melody dancing over an unchanging fundamental bass. who might be thirty. In her low deck−chair Anne was nearer to lying than to sitting. his speech was thin. slender body reposed in an attitude of listless and indolent grace. he made quick gestures with his hands. it was like the pale grey bowler hat which he always wore. far more youthfully alive than did that gentle aristocrat with the face like a grey bowler. She was nearly twenty−three. Was it surprising that Anne should like him? Like him?−−it might even be something worse. but one wouldn't have guessed it. She had large blue china eyes. serenely without expression. That laughter−−how well he knew it! What emotions it evoked in him! He quickened his pace. Gombauld was leaning over it. moonlike innocence of Mary Bracegirdle's face shone pink and childish. CHAPTER III. The skin of his wrinkled brown face had a dry and scaly look. when the oval face. calm. Next him. Within its setting of light brown hair her face had a pretty regularity that was almost doll−like. Indeed. Henry Wimbush had begun to pour out the tea. fluty. and dry. What did she think of men and women and things? That was something that Denis had never been able to discover. And indeed there were moments when she seemed nothing more than a doll. But across this dollish mask. even. his dark eye had the shining quickness of a robin's. had a tilted nose and a pink− and−white complexion. his face moved vivaciously. sat Jenny Mullion. Gombauld would have been completely Byronic−−more than Byronic. In her enigmatic remoteness Jenny was a little disquieting. unchanging men on the farther side of fifty. In all those years his pale. He was jealous of his talent: if only he wrote verse as well as Gombauld painted pictures! Still more. She was perhaps thirty.Crome Yellow The tea−table had been planted in the shade of one of the little summer−houses. expressed nothing. and wore her brown hair plaited and coiled in two lateral buns over her ears. as he walked at Priscilla's side down the long grass terrace. He was one of those ageless. But there was nothing soft or gracious or feathery about him. with more hair and less collar. Henry Wimbush's school−fellow and exact contemporary. Scogan might look like an extinct saurian. winter and summer−− unageing. his vitality. when it was no more than a lazy mask of wax. From the depths of the chair came up a sound of soft.
the most promising of buds was nipped." Mr. verse and prose.. "Oh. about the usual things. "we dug up fifty yards of oaken drain−pipes. It would be nice to have a little literary conversation." "Has Priscilla told you of our great antiquarian find?" Henry Wimbush leaned forward. "there was the Ballet. Very interesting indeed." "Not a novel?" "Yes. The preliminary greetings spoken.. "Oh. or whether. "I'll describe the plot for you. where he lives among the artists. as though the subject of her health were a secret that could not be publicly divulged. Scogan. He passes through the usual public school and the usual university and comes to London. Denis found an empty chair between Gombauld and Jenny and sat down. Jenny?" he shouted to her.. Whether they were laid down by the monks in the fifteenth century. Wimbush went on softly and implacably." "Last week.Crome Yellow light ironic amusement. "To begin with. he carries CHAPTER III. and on either side of it two tiny wrinkles had formed themselves in her cheeks. "Well. Wimbush had finished. The mouth was compressed. "You've been writing prose?" "Yes. was never good at games." said Denis. He is bowed down with melancholy thought. "How's London been since I went away?" Anne inquired from the depth of her chair. "What have you been writing lately?" she asked. "Extraordinary!" he said. when Mr. the hero. for no very good reason. "What about?" Denis felt rather uncomfortable." "Of course. he was damped." Denis listened gloomily. he called it.. Scogan pounced alarmingly on the word. but he was always clever." said Denis−−"just verse and prose. smiling happily. For some time past Mary's grave blue eyes had been fixed upon him. the tremendously amusing narrative was waiting for utterance. "How are you. The moment had come. you know. in the eyes themselves." "My poor Denis!" exclaimed Mr. just tree trunks with a hole bored through the middle. Little Percy. She was smiling now as Denis looked down at her: her cat's smile. in the puckers about the half−closed eyes.. 8 ." said Denis desperately. "quite extraordinary!" He helped himself to another slice of cake.. He didn't even want to tell his tale about London now. "to begin with. and the changing expressions of many moods." Mr. bright and laughing between the narrowed lids. Scogan groaned." "Prose?" Mr. An infinity of slightly malicious amusement lurked in those little folds. Jenny nodded and smiled in mysterious silence.
But his forehead was good. were long and elegant. "My novel is not in the least like that." Denis blushed scarlet. Satisfied." A flush of pleasure turned Mary's face into a harvest moon. and a book about artists regarded as lovers. even in Germany and Russia. He made an effort to laugh. just as Professor Radium of "Comic Cuts" is its stock man of science. A serious book about artists regarded as artists is unreadable. only two chapters were written. its yellowness had the hint of a greenish tinge in it. he reflected. 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. Especially in Paris. "Not at all. there are more adults than adolescents. Mr. His nose might have been longer." "Ah. my dear Gombauld. As for the artist." said Gombauld. Denis woke up next morning to find the sun shining. Mr." 'I'm sorry to hear I'm as uninteresting as all that. His hair might have been more golden. Mary. and the like is really not worth writing again. you must honestly admit it. he descended the stairs. But his coat was very well cut and. And what shoes? White was the obvious choice. I've no doubt of your being a most fascinating specimen. Luckily. He decided to wear white flannel trousers−−white flannel trousers and a black jacket. "As a lover or a dipsomaniac. Before he went down−−patent leather was his final choice−−he looked at himself critically in the glass. "You are a femme superieure.. He writes a novel of dazzling brilliance. and I've always found their mentality very interesting. made him seem robuster than he actually was. the sky serene. but then you're an exception. CHAPTER IV. Most of the party had already finished their breakfast. Scogan paid no attention to his denial. you're a bore. for example−−I saw a great deal of Tschuplitski in Paris this spring. Tschuplitski. Jean−Christophe is the stock artist of literature.. His legs. with a silk shirt and his new peach− coloured tie. to be much moved by the story of his spiritual troubles. "You're entirely wrong. husbands." Mr. Scogan. He would tear them up that very evening when he unpacked. And after all. His eyes might have been blue and not green. in their white casing. 9 ." he said. into the luminous Future. Scogan had described the plan of his novel with an accuracy that was appalling. but it would pass. but went on: "Why will you young men continue to write about things that are so entirely uninteresting as the mentality of adolescents and artists? Professional anthropologists might find it interesting to turn sometimes from the beliefs of the Blackfellow to the philosophical preoccupations of the undergraduate. but there was something rather pleasing about the notion of black patent leather. She was somehow always out of breath when she talked. He found himself alone with Jenny. As it was. he reflected." It was a heroic lie." "I entirely disagree with you. heroes. Scogan hastened to explain. CHAPTER IV. But as a combiner of forms. he dabbles delicately in Amour and disappears. His forehead made up in height what his chin lacked in prominence. "I've known a great many artists.Crome Yellow the whole weight of the universe upon his shoulders. He lay in bed for several minutes considering the problem." said Mr. And her speech was punctuated by little gasps. like myself. dipsomaniacs. But you can't expect an ordinary adult man. at the end of the book." exclaimed Mary. discreetly padded. you're an exception. even in England.
could not induce her even to listen. "They are very alarming. she found him still reading. Scogan's absurd phrase was for some reason running in his head." "It's true." he said." she said." There was a silence. Jenny was only a little more parallel than most. "Yes. when at last she heard what Denis was saying." said Denis." he said. rather indignantly. "No.Crome Yellow "I hope you slept well. CHAPTER IV. "Certainly not. making a descriptive gesture. Denis could not induce her to say anything more. meet only at infinity. helping himself to porridge." Parallel straight lines." she exclaimed. "But we had such awful thunderstorms last week." he said. "Mr. 10 . When you're lying down you're out of the current." Denis was dreadfully taken aback. a Hamadryad in white muslin. "because lightning goes downwards and not flat ways." "Why?" "Because. He got up to meet her as she approached. "You speak as though I were a child in a new frock. with a show of irritation. He might talk for ever of care−charmer sleep and she of meteorology till the end of time. I always go to bed in a storm. "Shall I tell you what I think of that man? I think he's slightly sinister. 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. these thunderstorms. Did one ever establish contact with anyone? We are all parallel straight lines. Denis went out on to the terrace to smoke his after−breakfast pipe and to read his morning paper. Denis finished his porridge and helped himself to bacon. Scogan told Mary she was one. across the grass. isn't it lovely?" Jenny replied. "Why." said Jenny. By this time he had got to the Court Circular and the Forthcoming Weddings. An hour later. when Anne came down. Has anyone been suggesting that I am?" "No. and because Mr. she entered the ivory tower of her deafness and closed the door. There was no possible retort. Denis." "Did he?" Jenny lowered her voice. For lack of anything better to say." Having made this pronouncement. "you look perfectly sweet in your white trousers." "That's very ingenious. Denis reflected. giving two rapid little nods. She just smiled at him. One is so much safer lying down. smiled and occasionally nodded. "Don't you think so? Or are you above being frightened?" "No.
I'm so much older than you. But echoes to the eye and smell.." he said. and you found yourself." said Anne.Crome Yellow "But that's how I feel about you. For colour there was the flower−garden. Look at those sunflowers! Aren't they magnificent?" "Dark faces and golden crowns−−they're kings of Ethiopia." said Anne. It was as beautiful by moonlight as in the sun. It always comes back to that. "It's the fault of one's education. "It's like passing from a cloister into an Oriental palace. Pomponazzi.. Iamblichus. "'In fragrant volleys they let fly. Education again." "And if you do look perfectly sweet in your white trousers. One reads so many." he said. It was a landscape in black and white.. but walked backwards and forwards in front of the bench. at all hours and seasons. And I like the way the tits cling to the flowers and pick out the seeds. look up in envy from the ground. and she was to answer. "As I never know the context or author. and one sees so few people and so little of the world. the dominant features of the scene. you bring them out triumphantly. I find it humiliating. "I'm ashamed of my lack of it. Within its high brick walls the garden was like a great tank of warmth and perfume and colour. "Four years older. ye firemen! Oh how sweet And round your equal fires do meet. "I'm listening. 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." or something of the kind. Anne had sat down on a bench that stood in the shade of an old apple tree." he said−−"books. That's what comes of the higher education. in which he was to lead off with. The silver of water. 11 . He had planned a very different opening. "You look adorable this morning. The July borders blazed and flared under the sun. Whose shrill report no ear can tell. you opened a wicket in a wall. it lay to one side of the pool. "Books.' How does it go? "'Well shot. separated from it by a huge Babylonian wall of yews. and took a deep breath of the warm." "Then you oughtn't to. CHAPTER IV. the dark shapes of yew and ilex trees remained. Do they look up in envy? That's the literary touch. And then there are lots of lovely names and words−−Monophysite. and feel you've clinched the argument with the mere magical sound of them. He was put out. It was provoking. Things somehow seem more real and vivid when one can apply somebody else's ready−made phrase about them. I'm afraid. startlingly and suddenly. flower−scented air." "I like that. grubbing dirtily for their food." He was silent.'" "You have a bad habit of quoting." Denis apologized. his pride was hurt. He did not sit down." said Denis. why shouldn't I say so? And why did you put them on. gesticulating a little as he talked." "You may regret your education. And now she had got in first with the trousers. in the world of colour. Denis held open the little iron gate for his companion. while the other loutish birds. if you didn't think you were going to look sweet in them?" "Let's go into the garden." "But I can't help it." she said. "Do I?" and then there was to be a pregnant silence. Denis dear. You passed through a tunnel in the hedge.. the conversation had taken such a preposterous and unexpected turn.
horribly unhappy? Denis came to a halt in front of the bench. There's nothing more to be said. a justification for everything that's delightful. Was it surprising that one was miserable. "What I need is you. then let them fall again to his sides. He looked at her despairingly. "But does one suffer about these things? It seems very extraordinary." "What I need is you." The amused malice of her smile planted two little folds on either side of her mouth." That was what he ought to have retorted. you were born a pagan. Denis. "It's so much simpler. There are the twenty tons of ratiocination to be got rid of first. I am trying laboriously to make myself one. "What you need. You've no idea how many there are. 12 . then. Otherwise I can't enjoy it with an easy conscience." "It's still more incredible to me. His desire fought against his shyness. having ready−made ideas about everything. I can take nothing for granted." He would say it. but not a sound issued from his lips. in life all was obscure. Well. sometimes he waved his arms. CHAPTER IV. I have to say that art is the process by which one reconstructs the divine reality out of chaos. In the world of ideas everything was clear. he would−−he would. ideas. 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. Denis pursued.." "Nothing−−for you. One should have lived first and then made one's philosophy to fit life. I suppose I am. and to−day he looked charming−−charming! One entered the world. Couldn't she see what was going on inside him? Couldn't she understand? "What I need is you. one's pushed out into the world." she protested. One enjoys the pleasant things." said Denis. things were horribly complicated. Pleasure is one of the mystical roads to union with the infinite−−the ecstasies of drinking. "It seems so obvious. and a little congenial but regular work. as though she were at a lecture. I must have read twenty or thirty tons of them in the last five years. "Why can't you just take things for granted and as they come?" she asked. I make up a little story about beauty and pretend that it has something to do with truth and goodness. As for women." Mentally he shouted the words." cried Denis bitterly.. love−making." "You're like Scogan. "You regard me as a specimen for an anthropologist. is a nice plump young wife. and through their half−closed lids her eyes shone with laughter. "that anyone should have been a victim to them. art. women−−I have to invent an excuse." "Of course it is. that was what he wanted passionately to say." He went on walking up and down. His voice rose. fell. "But it's a lesson to be learnt gradually." "I've always taken things as they come. deceptively simple. Anne looked and listened quietly. and drew in her skirt with a gesture that indicated that he was to sit down beside her. He could not say it. Twenty tons of ratiocination. a fixed income. I should like to see myself believing that men are the highway to divinity. He was really too pathetic as he stood there in front of her in his white flannel trousers." "No." said Anne. no. and as he asked this last question he stretched out his arms and stood for an instant in an attitude of crucifixion. I can enjoy nothing as it comes along. But. was silent a moment." said Anne. facts. dancing.Crome Yellow Great thick books about the universe and the mind and ethics. Beauty. One had a philosophy and tried to make life fit into it. avoids the nasty ones. I am perpetually assuring myself that they're the broad highway to divinity. He moved his hands. "My poor Denis!" Anne was touched. He sat down. He was a nice boy. Weighted with that. even the most difficult of them.Life. embroiled. pleasure. and then talked on.
He'll have to go too. make them work. Scogan. "This is a good sow. slaughter them. solid man. "What a pleasure it is.Crome Yellow "I think I shall go and bathe. Wimbush had taken them to see the sights of the Home Farm. "But how practical. If only one could always be kind with so little expense or trouble. softly grunting his contentment. An immense sow reposed on her side in the middle of the pen. With the ferrule of his walking−stick Denis began to scratch the boar's long bristly back. Rowley had the air of a great English statesman of the mid−nineteenth century. "There ARE fourteen. presented itself to the assault of an army of small. With a frantic greed they tugged at their mother's flank. sir. I counted. then he stood stock still." said Denis. Gombauld." said Henry Wimbush. Her round. and now they were standing. I believe I enjoy scratching this pig quite as much as he enjoys being scratched. with grey side−whiskers and a steep. he ran backwards and forwards. the weakling of the litter. One small pig. isn't he? But he's getting past his prime. Scogan. He was the most venerable of the labourers on the farm−−a tall." old Rowley answered. I shall fat her up and kill her. splendidly respectable. "Fine old beast. Rowley!" said Henry Wimbush." Mr. Wimbush. I shall give her another chance." "Farming seems to be mostly indecency and cruelty. Denis. Squealing shrilly. weighty in his manner. Wimbush went on." The opportunity had passed." said Mary." said Anne. had been unable to secure a place at the banquet. fringed with a double line of dugs. It's extraordinary. He halted on the outskirts of the group. there was a sound of heavy footsteps. She turned astonished blue eyes towards Mr. then let them fall onto the seething mass of elan vital that fermented in the sty. Mr. dignified profile. black belly." A gate slammed. looking into one of the styes. Make them breed. and when they're past working or breeding or begetting. 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. trying to push in among his stronger brothers or even to climb over their tight little black backs towards the maternal reservoir. Rowley turned at last. how eminently realistic!" said Mr. 13 .. "Fourteen?" Mary echoed incredulously." "How cruel!" Anne exclaimed. There's the boar. Anne. "Morning. If she does no better next time." "The sow next door. "to do somebody a kindness. The old sow stirred sometimes uneasily or uttered a little grunt of pain. "Morning. "In this farm we have a model of sound paternal government. Mr. Grave. She only had five in her litter. CHAPTER V. all six of them−−Henry Wimbush. The mud of years flaked off his sides in a grey powdery scurf. and Mary−−by the low wall of the piggery.. the runt. "You're quite right. still unbent. brownish−black swine. slowly and CHAPTER V." he pointed towards a farther sty." said Anne. "It's so hot. The animal moved a little so as to bring himself within easier range of the instrument that evoked in him such delicious sensations. "She had a litter of fourteen. "has done very badly.
" Gombauld broke in warmly. They hesitated. Anne looked on through half−shut eyes. Everybody ought to have children−−Anne ought to have them. and still more life. and his face wore an expression of melancholy stupidity. then. and addressed himself to Henry Wimbush. He emphasised his point by thumping with his walking−stick on the bull's leather flanks. cackled. sir. I like pullulation. converting their lifted necks into rigid. passionate and vivacious." "Rightly indeed. a sin against life. Five white geese. The spectacle of so much crude life is refreshing." "Fat him up and slaughter him. and beside her stood Mr." "I'm glad to hear you say so. that nothing was happening. chewed thoughtfully at the tangible memories of an earlier meal." he said. it seemed to have nothing to do with his impassive bulk. Gombauld." said Henry Wimbush. swallowed and regurgitated. "Rightly is they called pigs. There was no hope of getting so much as a word in edgeways. "Splendid animal. Standing with his back against the farmyard pump. Scogan pronounced. The ribs of the placid bull resounded. chewed again. massive as a locomotive. even as they were doing. In another enclosure stood the bull. Wimbush agreed. "I am abashed by that man. say. smiling. a little apart. what judgment. calm and polite beneath his grey bowler." Gombauld grew lyrical. "Look at them. as old Rowley plodded off slowly and with dignity. 'Rightly are we called men. as he did everything. "I rather like seeing fourteen pigs grow where only one grew before. with a motion of his hand towards the wallowing swine. "What wisdom. "Pedigree stock. it seemed. Sterility was odious. with as much justice. they rushed off in disorder. with parted lips and eyes that shone with the indignation of a convinced birth−controller. life. then turned back again satisfied. Mary had perforce to resign herself. Denis examined the group. Mary ought to have them−−dozens and dozens. horizontal snakes. Red calves paddled in the dung and mud of a spacious yard. "Personally. Scogan. regarded the drumming stick for several seconds. Wimbush shook his head. And I wish I could. He was a very calm bull. Scogan's fluty voice had pronounced the opening phrases of a discourse. The others stood round. what a sense of values! 'Rightly are they called swine. Life. short and dense. "I'm so sorry for the poor things." said Mr. met them in the way. like the boar. listening−−Henry Wimbush. with a delicate old−maidish precision of utterance. He gazed with reddish−brown eyes at his visitors. hissing horribly as they went. Scogan." Mr. Before she could utter a word Mr.' Yes. The bull turned his head to see what was happening. But she was too slow. "Couldn't you give the animals a little holiday from producing children?" asked Anne. Mary. But he's getting a little old. Gombauld ceased talking. Between his short horns was a triangle of red curls.'" They walked on towards the cowsheds and the stables of the cart− horses.Crome Yellow ponderously and nobly. CHAPTER V. flushed and outraged. was its centre. opened her mouth to refute him. and Denis to little Denises. His tail lashed savagely from side to side." Mr. Scogan ought to pass on his intelligence to little Scogans. "Lots of life: that's what we want. unnatural. Mr. everything ought to increase and multiply as hard as it can." he said. and Mary. 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." Mr. taking the air this fine morning. 14 .
so old−world. is now an entirely free god. argal. more precious even than these−−the means of dissociating love from propagation. He was a short and corpulent man. Priscilla received him with every mark of esteem. In the course of the next few centuries. CHAPTER VI. the goddess of Applied Science has presented the world with another gift. the more closely these two organs approach one another. Priscilla praised his latest book.. experimented−−and. Mr. will flit like a gay butterfly from flower to flower through a sunlit world. ever so slightly." CHAPTER VI. Eros. "Oh. failed−−our descendants will experiment and succeed.. and the automatic pistol. And somehow he always seemed slightly. Some of his books of comfort and spiritual teaching were in their hundred and twentieth thousand. "So quaint." he kept repeating. sapped at its very base." Mary's china blue eyes. 15 . soiled. jolly way. I thought it was. It came to me. Barbecue−Smith was duly introduced. He sported a leonine head with a greyish−black mane of oddly unappetising hair brushed back from a broad but low forehead. for all their scientific ardour. Mr. rows upon rows of gravid bottles will supply the world with the population it requires." "It sounds lovely. Barbecue−Smith was full of admiration. Barbecue− Smith. I look forward to it optimistically." He waved his hand to indicate the astral world. Where the great Erasmus Darwin and Miss Anna Seward. Barbecue−Smith belonged to the old school of journalists. Scogan. "Do you really think so? Bottles. more serious and more astonished than ever. They went out into the garden for tea. a kind of prophet. my dear Gombauld. The family system will disappear. you know. In younger days he had gaily called himself a Bohemian. beautifully and irresponsibly free. "Bottles?" she said. the cinema. but was comforted by reading in Balzac's "Louis Lambert" that all the world's great men have been marked by the same peculiarity. Barbecue−Smith arrived in time for tea on Saturday afternoon. tremendously! And the bit about the Lotus Pool−−I thought that so beautiful. 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.Crome Yellow "Even your eloquence. Mr. "I'm happy to think you found it a comfort. He did so no longer. for those who wish it. from without." he was saying−−"even your eloquence must prove inadequate to reconvert the world to a belief in the delights of mere multiplication. With the gramophone. An impersonal generation will take the place of Nature's hideous system. will have to find new foundations. with a very large head and no neck. were fixed on Mr. Mr. and Eros. He had never been to Crome before. In vast state incubators." "I knew you would like that. He was a teacher now. Swan of Lichfield.. who knows? the world may see a more complete severance.It was convincing." she said in her large. society. the shorter the neck. "Splendid. rather unctuous voice. she showed him round the house. In his earlier middle age he had been distressed by this absence of neck. He had a rich." said Mr." said Anne. "The distant future always does. his deplorable associations with Lucina may be broken at will..
" he said. and he squeezed Denis's arm encouragingly. but still went on smiling to himself. nothing much. he had to do some writing before dinner. "Mr. it was only Denis. "Indeed!" Mr. "Guess how many words I wrote this evening between five and half−past seven. In the drawing−room someone was playing softly and ramblingly on the piano. But sometimes it takes me much longer. "When I'm in good form. looking up at Denis with an expression of Olympian condescension." Denis exercised his memory. Mr." As soon as tea was over Mr. you ought to." said Mr. Barbecue−Smith came down to the drawing−room at ten to eight." It was Anne's voice. he smiled to himself and rubbed his large white hands together. as he descended the stairs. "Excellent." said Mr." Mr. He was in a good humour. Barbecue−Smith stood with his back to the hearth. Barbecue−Smith's question he answered. He could not control his interior satisfaction. 16 . perhaps. He wondered who it could be." "Then I couldn't possibly go on. yes−−a little. At last he turned to Denis. The prophet retired to his chamber. "I only make noises. "I fancy I do a twelve−hundred−word review in about four hours. warming himself at the memory of last winter's fires. "Yes. Stone is a writer too. you know. excellent. to make matters worse. nothing." he asked. turned round on his heels. Barbecue−Smith. Barbecue−Smith excused himself. "Do go on. Mr." said Priscilla. they both used pen and ink. Barbecue−Smith nodded. he felt himself blushing hotly. But no. do go on." "How many words do you find you can write in an hour?" "I don't think I've ever counted. It's most important. three hundred words an hour at your best. "The Bard's is a noble calling. "I am very fond of music. Had Priscilla no sense of proportion? She was putting them in the same category−−Barbecue−Smith and himself." CHAPTER VI." "Oh. He scowled at her. and. "You write. and. as she introduced Denis. One of the young ladies. "And what sort of things do you write?" Denis was furious. you ought to." and looked away. who got up hurriedly and with some embarrassment as he came into the room. and confronted Denis again. "don't you?" "Well. Barbecue−Smith smiled benignly." He walked out into the middle of the room. Barbecue−Smith. They were both writers." Denis replied. Stone is one of our younger poets. To Mr. and. and she smiled back exasperatingly. Priscilla quite understood. "Oh." There was a silence." "I can't imagine.Crome Yellow "Mr.
"You must get a lot done in a day. sat down in it. I'll tell you." Denis opened his eyes." "No." (Denis made a suitably grateful murmur and grimace. Barbecue−Smith's expanded face shone with gaiety.) "I'll help you to find your Inspiration." he said. Barbecue−Smith's writing." Denis hazarded. Up till the time I was thirty−eight I was a writer like you−−a writer without Inspiration." he said. Barbecue−Smith patted his arm several times and went on. "Well. "The secret of writing.. laying his hand on Denis's sleeve. Three thousand eight hundred. There was no sign of any of the other guests. in those days I was never able to do more than six−fifty words an hour. Between five and half−past seven−− that's two and a half hours. "You want to make your living by writing." said Denis. Let me give you a little sound advice. "I give it you freely. and began to talk softly and rapidly. I often didn't sell CHAPTER VI. breathing it into the young man's ear−−"the secret of writing is Inspiration. no. Barbecue−Smith suddenly became extremely confidential. Mr. Barbecue−Smith nodded. I answer: you have Inspiration. and what's more. "Try again." What was the fellow going to do? Denis wondered: give him an introduction to the editor of "John o' London's Weekly". Mr." The clock struck eight." Mr. "No. everyone has Inspiration. so I know what it's like." "I give it up. Barbecue−Smith. I did it myself. "But what if one hasn't got Inspiration?" "That was precisely the question I was waiting for. "That's my secret. you're inexperienced. no. "Oh. or tell him where he could sell a light middle for seven guineas? Mr." he said. but you must guess. All I wrote I squeezed out of myself by sheer hard work. Why. everybody was always late at Crome. "You ask me what one should do if one hasn't got Inspiration. because I don't like to see a nice. you're young." "Twelve hundred words. 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. He pulled up a stool to the side of Denis's arm−chair. Barbecue−Smith repeated. "You mean the native wood−note business?" Mr." Denis looked at him in astonishment. "Listen to me.." he said. He found he couldn't summon up much interest in Mr. Barbecue−Smith went on. then I entirely agree with you." said Denis. It's simply a question of getting it to function.Crome Yellow "No. 17 . "Inspiration." "Fifteen hundred." Mr." said Mr.
"That's my secret. away from one another. Besides. Barbecue−Smith replied." He paused modestly and made a little gesture.Crome Yellow what I wrote. for Mr.. I lost consciousness like that. "I was afraid of it at first. and besides." He snapped his fingers. I was afraid I might have written nonsense." He indicated the position of the lamp with elaborate care." He sighed." Denis wondered if there was any method. by which he could dissociate himself from Mr. and expanding his fingers as though in demonstration." Mr. "I was hypnotised.. a little above and in front of me." said Mr. I sat biting the end of my pen and looking at the electric light. it was too late now. with a trace of annoyance. at fifty. "It came quite suddenly−−like a gentle dew from heaven. It was admirable. Barbecue−Smith was once more pursuing the tenor of his discourse. Just a few spelling mistakes and slips. and I had written four thousand words. which hung above my table. "It was one evening. "We artists." There was none. tired. Denis didn't think he had. moving his fat hands outwards. the other white." He lifted his hand and let it fall back on to his knee to indicate the descent of the dew. I was in the middle of the second chapter. sleek. I didn't feel. Barbecue−Smith's "we. I was writing my first little book about the Conduct of Life−−'Humble Heroisms'. It was a great success. and I could get no further. and fat. "That's what happened to me. I found that it was past midnight. quite fair. one black and thin. it has been a comfort−−at least I hope and think so−−a comfort to many thousands." said Mr. opening his mouth very wide on the "ou" of thousand." he said parenthetically. It didn't seem to me natural. Fatigue. You may have read it. I might almost say." He leaned forward and jabbed at Denis with his finger." said Denis. I wrote the whole of 'Humble Heroisms' like that. by getting into touch with your Subconscious." he said. "Certainly not. if you tried−−without effort. fluently. Barbecue−Smith's works he had not read." "And had you written nonsense?" Denis asked. Still no sign of the others. well. and I was stuck. under the moon. Four thousand. precisely. Barbecue−Smith went on. overworked. such as there generally are in automatic writing. "When I came to." Mr. perhaps the only one. 'Pipe−Lines to the Infinite'?" Denis had to confess that that was. to produce a literary composition unconsciously." "What a very extraordinary thing." "By cultivating your Inspiration. Before Inspiration and after. "At thirty−eight I was a poor." he repeated. Denis thought of that advertisement of Nestle's milk−−the two cats on the wall. Inspiration came to me regularly. Have you ever read my little book. After that. trying not to show how deeply he had been insulted by that final "well. unknown journalist. the thought−−all the essentials were admirable. that it was quite right. of Mr. CHAPTER VI. 18 . struggling. But the style. He was exhibiting himself. "we intellectuals aren't much appreciated here in England. Barbecue−Smith solemnly. with politeness. Barbecue−Smith. overwork−−I had only written a hundred words in the last hour. "Inspiration has made the difference. "Have you ever looked at a bright light intently for a long time?" he asked." "But how?" asked Denis. "and that's how you could write too. somehow. turning to Denis. Now. consistent. "Certainly not. one of the few. Denis was horribly hungry. The gong sounded in a terrific crescendo from the hall. of course. "You can hypnotise yourself that way. and so has everything been that I have written since. "Inspiration had come to me.
" (Denis again hung up his little festoon of quotation marks. and find that inspiration has done its work. even in the things that seem to be evil. turning over the pages." It was curious. "But don't you find that the Universe sometimes sends you very irrelevant messages?" "I don't allow it to. Barbecue−Smith's remarks sounded strangely like quotations−−quotations from his own works. the way the Infinite sometimes repeated itself. Let us say I am writing about the humble heroisms. "Before I go off into my trance. but the air is pure up there. If I believe in God." He leaned forward. and I focus my mind on such great philosophical truths as the purification and uplifting of the soul by suffering. That sets the key. Yes. Inspiration. 19 . and it is from the Summit that one gets the view. Some of Mr. "I canalise it. then addressed himself to the next aphorism. Mr. Barbecue−Smith. Barbecue−Smith put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a notebook." He re−read the apophthegm with a slower and more solemn utterance. never mind. don't you think? Without Inspiration I could never have hit on that. for ten minutes before I go into the trance I think of nothing but orphans supporting their little brothers and sisters." he said. to his discourse." "It all sounds wonderfully simple.) "Then I pop off. Barbecue−Smith looked up from his notebook. as it were. "I prelude my trance by turning over the pages of any Dictionary of Quotations or Shakespeare Calendar that comes to hand. comforting. but Believing is also Seeing." said Mr." said Denis. "I did a few in the train to−day." CHAPTER VI. and with a raised forefinger marked his points as he made them. Get into touch with the Subconscious and you are in touch with the Universe. "Seeing is Believing. Barbecue−Smith continued. that ensures that the Universe shall come flowing in. All the great and splendid and divine things of life are wonderfully simple. Like Niagara. "Straight from the Infinite. not in a continuous rush." "Like Niagara. You see the idea?" Denis nodded. You follow me?" "Perfectly. "That last one. I concentrate on the subject I wish to be inspired about.) "When I have to do my aphorisms. I bring it down through pipes to work the turbines of my conscious mind. I see God." (Quotation marks again. "is particularly subtle and beautiful. "The flame of a candle gives Light. Barbecue−Smith replied." Mr. but it also Burns. lie before me. Here they are." He cleared his throat and read: "The Mountain Road may be steep." "The Things that Really Matter happen in the Heart. I type them out neatly on my machine and they are ready for the printer. "It's just a little book about the connection of the Subconscious with the Infinite. in fact." Mr.Crome Yellow "Never mind. And this is how I do it. Two or three hours later I wake up again. "It is. beating time. "Just dropped off into a trance in the corner of my carriage." he commented reflectively. no doubt. so to speak. "Precisely." said Denis. but in aphorismic drops." Denis suggested. I find the train very conducive to good work. perfectly. and the alchemical transformation of leaden evil into golden good. Thousands of words." Mr. Denis reflected. of dull work well and patiently done." he said. uplifting words.
One could apply it. peered round the opening door. broke restlessly among the intricate roses. It was Mary. The gong sounded again. Beds carved and inlaid. Beds of walnut and oak. Yes. magnificent. There was a discreet tap at the door. Another time. a suit of mauve pyjamas made its entrance. 20 . Clustering roses were carved in high relief on its wooden panels. very few first−rate things in the world. in their rich light her face. "It's very gnomic." A face. The golden roses twined in spirals up the four pillar−like posts. "I thought I'd just look in for a moment to say good−night. round and childish. who built the house." "What are you reading?" She looked at the book. There are intimate. son to Sir Ferdinando. Let your Subconscious work for you. Early seicento Venice had expended all its extravagant art in the making of it. He turned to Denis. She was accustomed in London to associate only with first−rate people who liked first−rate things. On the black ground−work of the panels the carved reliefs were gilded and burnished. The body of the bed was like a great square sarcophagus. of rare exotic woods. "You understand me now when I advise you to cultivate your Inspiration. More childish− looking still. sacred things that one doesn't wish to be generally known. and luscious putti wallowed among the roses. I suppose that's what it is. I rely absolutely on your discretion in this matter. The finest of all was now Anne's bed. At Crome all the beds were ancient hereditary pieces of furniture. and sat down on the edge of the bed. the dimpled bellies. it's gnomic. but all of them grandiose. and said: "No more now. her bare arm and shoulder took on warm hues and a sort of peach−like quality of surface. Beds of every date and fashion from the time of Sir Ferdinando. and that those were mostly French." There was the sound of feet on the stairs. "I don't exactly know what that means. the last of the family. had had it made in Venice against his wife's first lying−in. isn't it?" The tone in which Mary pronounced the word "second−rate" implied an almost infinite denigration. Barbecue−Smith's forehead. supported a wooden canopy fretted with the same carved flowers." "Of course. like four−masted ships. Here and there in the canopy above her carved golden petals shone brightly among profound shadows." CHAPTER VII. "That was very sweet of you." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. But it's gnomic." said Denis. Two candles stood on the little table beside her. absurd little posteriors of the sprawling putti. "I quite understand. seated at the top of each column. Anne was reading in bed. She looked up. to the time of his namesake in the late eighteenth century. and cherubs. And remember. clamorously. "Come in. with furled sails of shining coloured stuff. falling on the sculptured panel of the bed. come in. and the soft light. of course to the Higher Education−− illuminating. turn on the Niagara of the Infinite. Mr. Sir Julius. beds painted and gilded. Huge beds." she said. and she knew that there were very.Crome Yellow Puzzled wrinkles appeared on Mr. Anne closed her book. "Rather second− rate. Barbecue−Smith from meditation. Barbecue−Smith got up. the tight. It roused Mr. but provoking the Lower Classes to discontent and revolution. laid his hand for an instant on Denis's shoulder. within its sleek bell of golden hair." he said. it seemed imploringly: dinner was growing cold. CHAPTER VII. lingered in a broad caress on the blown cheeks.
"We come next to the desirability of possessing experience. not many about repressions. Perfectly. I'm afraid I like it." "No. I see. I understand. that's true. yes. "But I don't see that I can do anything to help you. "I presume." "Are they?" "One may become a nymphomaniac of one's not careful. "I'm afraid of them." "It sounds too awful. Mary fiddled uneasily with the bottom button of her pyjama jacket. and had to gasp for new air almost before the phrase was finished. Leaning back on her mound of heaped−up pillows. Anne waited and wondered what was coming." "So much for our fundamental postulate." said Mary at last. But Anne cut her short. I hope we are agreed that knowledge is desirable and that ignorance is undesirable. I constantly dream that I'm falling down wells." said Anne.." said Mary." Mary coughed and drew a deep breath. The silence that followed was a rather uncomfortable one. of course. You've no idea how serious these repressions are if you don't get rid of them in time." "Exactly." said Anne. I'm only too happy. I'm beginning to detect in myself symptoms like the ones you read of in the books.. There was nothing more to be said." "Or. I confess I still have a few." "Well. It's most disquieting. Repressions! old maids and all the rest. "The natural instincts of sex. Mary darling." said Mary. The symptoms are only too clear." she began didactically." "But not about repressions. rather." "Why." "I thought I'd just like to talk it over with you." CHAPTER VII. "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. "But repressions of what?" Mary had to explain. Solemnity was expressed in every feature of her round young face." she began sententiously. But what about them?" "That's just it. bursting suddenly and surprisingly into speech. not depressions. radiated from her large blue eyes." "Oh. It's always dangerous to repress one's instincts. about getting rid of repressions." said Anne. and sometimes I even dream that I'm climbing up ladders. repressions. "Yes. "I'm so awfully afraid of repressions. She pronounced the words on the tail−end of an expiring breath. "What's there to be depressed about?" "I said repressions.Crome Yellow "Well. 21 .
The question is now. with a gasp. 22 . I hope. "whether they really were unattached.Crome Yellow Obedient as one of those complaisant disciples from whom Socrates could get whatever answer he chose. Anne gave her assent to this proposition.. Scogan. if I were you. "And repressions being what they are." "Good!" said Mary. you must find somebody else.you might." "It was very nice of you to think of me." "Then." Anne exclaimed." "Well. "What is it?" "I was wondering. "I'm not in love with anybody. if it really is TOO dangerous. And it must be somebody with a proper respect for women." said Mary. I should wait till you are.. as you see. All that remains is to impart the information to someone you like−−someone you like really rather a lot. somebody with intellectual interests that I can share.." said Mary." Mary exclaimed. "there are three unattached and intelligent men in the house at the present time." "Exactly." "Well" said Anne." "But where does the question come in? You've reached your only possible conclusion−−logically. There's Mr. and then hesitated. but perhaps he's rather too much of a genuine antique. to begin with.. which is more than I could have done." said Anne." "But who?" A thoughtful frown puckered Mary's brow." "But I can't go on dreaming night after night that I'm falling down a well. "And we are equally agreed. with a certain air of embarrassment. "It must be somebody intelligent. if I may express myself so baldly. Mary darling. smiling the tight cat's smile.. It's too dangerous.." "It is. I thought that perhaps you might. that marriage is what it is. looking relieved.. "before you began." "Yes. It isn't." "But that's just where the question comes in. "I think we had better." she said. someone you're in love with.." "There would therefore seem to be only one conclusion. they are both entirely unattached." said Mary. And there are Gombauld and Denis. "One must do things logically. at all easy to find the right person." "But I knew that. Shall we say that the choice is limited to the last two?" Mary nodded. "But as far as I'm concerned. somebody who's prepared to talk seriously about his work and his ideas and about my work and my ideas. but now it's been proved. then of course you must do something about it." "I'm very glad of that. "We are now confronted with the question: Which of the two?" CHAPTER VII.
"but he is less civilised than Denis. "I think I had better go to bed and think about it. Barbecue−Smith. "comes from Marseilles. Dressed in black silk." she said. with her mouth full. with a ruby cross as well as her customary string of pearls round her neck. honoured it by her presence. Breakfast on Sunday morning was an hour later than on week−days." she said." Jenny. cricket. hissing delicately on the opening sibilant. 23 . Anne often smiled for no apparent reason. Jenny looked at him. "I won't run the risk of advising you wrongly." she said. there was still the trace of a smile at the corners of her mouth and round the half−closed eyes." said Anne. surprised." "Carefully and dispassionately. who was sitting next to him. It's a matter for your taste." repeated Mr." Mary sighed." said Anne." said Anne." Mary began. "Ladders are worse." Mary went on reflectively. "but of their merits. "Civilisation is most important." she added. don't you think?" Anne held up her hand. What do you think?" "I'm not listening. "I hope I shan't dream of falling down wells again to−night. like the first−rate works of art." "Gombauld has more talent. Barbecue−Smith heartily to no one in particular. and wondered as she said the words why Anne was smiling in that curious way. "What?" "So English. "What?" she said. "by four wickets." remarked Mr. when one thinks of the Latin attitude towards women. in the very front of her mouth." CHAPTER VIII." "You must do the weighing yourself. "Well. "so thoroughly English." "It's not a matter of my taste. "I won't advise. "Good−night." said Anne." Mary pronounced." CHAPTER VIII.Crome Yellow "I can give no advice. "Yes." she said. she reflected. it was probably just a habit. The sun is in Leo: that would account for it!" "Splendid game. Rather a dangerous heredity. "I refuse to take any responsibility. It's very difficult. ladders are much graver. It was probably nothing. who usually made no public appearance before luncheon. whether he isn't rather a dilettante. We must weigh them and consider them carefully and dispassionately. woke up suddenly with a start." "Gombauld's family. and they. Mary nodded. "You must make the decision. she presided. An enormous Sunday paper concealed all but the extreme pinnacle of her coiffure from the outer world. So few people were civilised. "English? Of course I am. I sometimes wonder whether Denis is altogether serious−minded. were mostly French. At the door Mary turned round. and Priscilla. She uttered it meticulously." Mary's pronunciation of "civilised" gave the word a special and additional significance. "I see Surrey has won. But then.
Crome Yellow He was beginning to explain, when Mrs. Wimbush vailed her Sunday paper, and appeared, a square, mauve−powdered face in the midst of orange splendours. "I see there's a new series of articles on the next world just beginning," she said to Mr. Barbecue−Smith. "This one's called 'Summer Land and Gehenna.'" "Summer Land," echoed Mr. Barbecue−Smith, closing his eyes. "Summer Land. A beautiful name. Beautiful−−beautiful." Mary had taken the seat next to Denis's. After a night of careful consideration she had decided on Denis. He might have less talent than Gombauld, he might be a little lacking in seriousness, but somehow he was safer. "Are you writing much poetry here in the country?" she asked, with a bright gravity. "None," said Denis curtly. "I haven't brought my typewriter." "But do you mean to say you can't write without a typewriter?" Denis shook his head. He hated talking at breakfast, and, besides, he wanted to hear what Mr. Scogan was saying at the other end of the table. "...My scheme for dealing with the Church," Mr. Scogan was saying, "is beautifully simple. At the present time the Anglican clergy wear their collars the wrong way round. I would compel them to wear, not only their collars, but all their clothes, turned back to frantic−−coat, waistcoat, trousers, boots−−so that every clergyman should present to the world a smooth facade, unbroken by stud, button, or lace. The enforcement of such a livery would act as a wholesome deterrent to those intending to enter the Church. At the same time it would enormously enhance, what Archbishop Laud so rightly insisted on, the 'beauty of holiness' in the few incorrigibles who could not be deterred." "In hell, it seems," said Priscilla, reading in her Sunday paper, "the children amuse themselves by flaying lambs alive." "Ah, but, dear lady, that's only a symbol," exclaimed Mr. Barbecue−Smith, "a material symbol of a h−piritual truth. Lambs signify..." "Then there are military uniforms," Mr. Scogan went on. "When scarlet and pipe−clay were abandoned for khaki, there were some who trembled for the future of war. But then, finding how elegant the new tunic was, how closely it clipped the waist, how voluptuously, with the lateral bustles of the pockets, it exaggerated the hips; when they realized the brilliant potentialities of breeches and top−boots, they were reassured. Abolish these military elegances, standardise a uniform of sack− cloth and mackintosh, you will very soon find that..." "Is anyone coming to church with me this morning?" asked Henry Wimbush. No one responded. He baited his bare invitation. "I read the lessons, you know. And there's Mr. Bodiham. His sermons are sometimes worth hearing." "Thank you, thank you," said Mr. Barbecue−Smith. "I for one prefer to worship in the infinite church of Nature. How does our Shakespeare put it? 'Sermons in books, stones in the running brooks.'" He waved his arm in a fine gesture towards the window, and even as he did so he became vaguely, but none the less insistently, none the less uncomfortably aware that something had gone wrong with the quotation. Something−−what could it be? Sermons? Stones? Books?
Mr. Bodiham was sitting in his study at the Rectory. The nineteenth−century Gothic windows, narrow and pointed, admitted the light grudgingly; in spite of the brilliant July weather, the room was sombre. Brown varnished bookshelves lined the walls, filled with row upon row of those thick, heavy theological works which the second−hand booksellers generally sell by weight. The mantelpiece, the over−mantel, a towering structure of spindly pillars and little shelves, were brown and varnished. The writing−desk was brown and varnished. So were the chairs, so was the door. A dark red−brown carpet with patterns covered the floor. Everything was brown in the room, and there was a curious brownish smell. In the midst of this brown gloom Mr. Bodiham sat at his desk. He was the man in the Iron Mask. A grey metallic face with iron cheek−bones and a narrow iron brow; iron folds, hard and unchanging, ran perpendicularly down his cheeks; his nose was the iron beak of some thin, delicate bird of rapine. He had brown eyes, set in sockets rimmed with iron; round them the skin was dark, as though it had been charred. Dense wiry hair covered his skull; it had been black, it was turning grey. His ears were very small and fine. His jaws, his chin, his upper lip were dark, iron−dark, where he had shaved. His voice, when he spoke and especially when he raised it in preaching, was harsh, like the grating of iron hinges when a seldom−used door is opened. It was nearly half−past twelve. He had just come back from church, hoarse and weary with preaching. He preached with fury, with passion, an iron man beating with a flail upon the souls of his congregation. But the souls of the faithful at Crome were made of india−rubber, solid rubber; the flail rebounded. They were used to Mr. Bodiham at Crome. The flail thumped on india− rubber, and as often as not the rubber slept. That morning he had preached, as he had often preached before, on the nature of God. He had tried to make them understand about God, what a fearful thing it was to fall into His hands. God−− they thought of something soft and merciful. They blinded themselves to facts; still more, they blinded themselves to the Bible. The passengers on the "Titanic" sang "Nearer my God to Thee" as the ship was going down. Did they realise what they were asking to be brought nearer to? A white fire of righteousness, an angry fire... When Savonarola preached, men sobbed and groaned aloud. Nothing broke the polite silence with which Crome listened to Mr. Bodiham−−only an occasional cough and sometimes the sound of heavy breathing. In the front pew sat Henry Wimbush, calm, well− bred, beautifully dressed. There were times when Mr. Bodiham wanted to jump down from the pulpit and shake him into life,−− times when he would have liked to beat and kill his whole congregation. He sat at his desk dejectedly. Outside the Gothic windows the earth was warm and marvellously calm. Everything was as it had always been. And yet, and yet...It was nearly four years now since he had preached that sermon on Matthew xxiv. 7: "For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." It was nearly four years. He had had the sermon printed; it was so terribly, so vitally important that all the world should know what he had to say. A copy of the little pamphlet lay on his desk−−eight small grey pages, printed by a fount of type that had grown blunt, like an old dog's teeth, by the endless champing and champing of the press. He opened it and began to read it yet once again. "'For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.' "Nineteen centuries have elapsed since Our Lord gave utterance to those words, and not a single one of them has been without wars, plagues, famines, and earthquakes. Mighty empires have crashed in ruin to the ground, diseases have unpeopled half the globe, there have been vast natural cataclysms in which thousands CHAPTER IX. 25
Crome Yellow have been overwhelmed by flood and fire and whirlwind. Time and again, in the course of these nineteen centuries, such things have happened, but they have not brought Christ back to earth. They were 'signs of the times' inasmuch as they were signs of God's wrath against the chronic wickedness of mankind, but they were not signs of the times in connection with the Second Coming. "If earnest Christians have regarded the present war as a true sign of the Lord's approaching return, it is not merely because it happens to be a great war involving the lives of millions of people, not merely because famine is tightening its grip on every country in Europe, not merely because disease of every kind, from syphilis to spotted fever, is rife among the warring nations; no, it is not for these reasons that we regard this war as a true Sign of the Times, but because in its origin and its progress it is marked by certain characteristics which seem to connect it almost beyond a doubt with the predictions in Christian Prophecy relating to the Second Coming of the Lord. "Let me enumerate the features of the present war which most clearly suggest that it is a Sign foretelling the near approach of the Second Advent. Our Lord said that 'this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.' Although it would be presumptuous for us to say what degree of evangelisation will be regarded by God as sufficient, we may at least confidently hope that a century of unflagging missionary work has brought the fulfilment of this condition at any rate near. True, the larger number of the world's inhabitants have remained deaf to the preaching of the true religion; but that does not vitiate the fact that the Gospel HAS been preached 'for a witness' to all unbelievers from the Papist to the Zulu. The responsibility for the continued prevalence of unbelief lies, not with the preachers, but with those preached to. "Again, it has been generally recognised that 'the drying up of the waters of the great river Euphrates,' mentioned in the sixteenth chapter of Revelation, refers to the decay and extinction of Turkish power, and is a sign of the near approaching end of the world as we know it. The capture of Jerusalem and the successes in Mesopotamia are great strides forward in the destruction of the Ottoman Empire; though it must be admitted that the Gallipoli episode proved that the Turk still possesses a 'notable horn' of strength. Historically speaking, this drying up of Ottoman power has been going on for the past century; the last two years have witnessed a great acceleration of the process, and there can be no doubt that complete desiccation is within sight. "Closely following on the words concerning the drying up of Euphrates comes the prophecy of Armageddon, that world war with which the Second Coming is to be so closely associated. Once begun, the world war can end only with the return of Christ, and His coming will be sudden and unexpected, like that of a thief in the night. "Let us examine the facts. In history, exactly as in St. John's Gospel, the world war is immediately preceded by the drying up of Euphrates, or the decay of Turkish power. This fact alone would be enough to connect the present conflict with the Armageddon of Revelation and therefore to point to the near approach of the Second Advent. But further evidence of an even more solid and convincing nature can be adduced. "Armageddon is brought about by the activities of three unclean spirits, as it were toads, which come out of the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet. If we can identify these three powers of evil much light will clearly be thrown on the whole question. "The Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet can all be identified in history. Satan, who can only work through human agency, has used these three powers in the long war against Christ which has filled the last nineteen centuries with religious strife. The Dragon, it has been sufficiently established, is pagan Rome, and the spirit issuing from its mouth is the spirit of Infidelity. The Beast, alternatively symbolised as a Woman, is undoubtedly the Papal power, and Popery is the spirit which it spews forth. There is only one power which CHAPTER IX. 26
Two papally controlled states. and that power is the so−called 'Society of Jesus. This war will lead on inevitably to the war of Armageddon. the wolf in sheep's clothing. that ye may eat the flesh of kings. that God is a God of Wrath as well as a God of Forgiveness. so that Germany is to−day a nation of unbelievers. and the flesh of mighty men. I come as a thief. the three evil spirits have gone forth just as the decay of the Ottoman power was nearing completion. CHAPTER IX. the Lord will come and deliver the world from its present troubles. As was predicted in Revelation.' That is the Supper of the Great God. are at war with six anti−papal states−−England. "The spirit of False Morality has played as great a part in this war as the two other evil spirits. Popery. will assuredly smite them too. while in Germany it has steadily increased. be long. "We may assume. the agent of the devil working in the guise of the Lamb. Have these three influences been the real cause of the present conflict? The answer is clear. St. any means are justifiable. but be feasted on. "We come next to the spirit of Popery. and real inspiration. and attempts to account for the Bible as a natural development. and will only be brought to an end by the Lord's personal return. and he cried in a loud voice. Italy. 'and all the fowls will be filled with their flesh. "The identification is now complete. during the last eighty years.' All the enemies of Christ will be slain with the sword of him that sits upon the horse.' The spirit that issues from the mouth of the False Prophet is the spirit of False Morality. for it would be absolutely impossible for any Christian nation to wage war as Germany is waging it. saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven. 27 . The end is German world−power. what will happen? Those who are in Christ. The Higher Criticism. will be called to the Supper of the Lamb. that the three evil spirits are Infidelity. and the flesh of captains. Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the Great God. both small and great. but to the Supper of the Great God. The God who sent bears to devour the mockers of Elisha. but too late. and the flesh of horses. then. as men reckon time. Slowly but surely. of course. while Germany possesses a powerful Roman Catholic minority. To−day France is an anti−papal state.' is therefore meant for the present period−−for you and me and all the world. And woe unto them who are called. the spirit of Infidelity has been robbing the Germans of their Bible and their faith. 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. 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. 'I saw an angel standing in the sun. though not. not to the Supper of the Lamb. inevitably. prediction. and Portugal. Belgium is. whose influence in causing the war was quite as great as that of Infidelity. and the flesh of all men. "The spirit of Infidelity is the very spirit of German criticism. 'For. That the spirit of Popery is behind the war is thus seen clearly enough in the grouping of the opposed powers. France. They will realise then. The warning. and in the attainment of this end. 'Behold. while the rebellion in the Roman Catholic parts of Ireland has merely confirmed a conclusion already obvious to any unbiased mind. denies the possibility of miracles. a thoroughly papal state. unless they make haste to repent. Higher Criticism has thus made the war possible. and False Morality. but sooner or later. both free and bond. as it is mockingly called. and have joined together to make the world war. It is the true principle of Jesuitry applied to international politics. 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. Germany and Austria. "And when He returns. and of them that sit on them. Russia. John says.Crome Yellow answers to the description of the False Prophet. so immediately obvious. Serbia. perhaps. the God who smote the Egyptians for their stubborn wickedness. "It may be soon or it may. John tells us. Since the Franco−Prussian War the Papal power has steadily declined in France.
in frock−coats. and her strawy hair was almost colourless. in spite of all his comfortable reasoning. Four years. perhaps. was hopeful. Mr. if that were possible. If only he could understand. some Rugbeian and muscular. he bit his lip. in black Norfolk suitings. after all? It must inevitably take a long time for Armageddon to ripen to yeast itself up. gripping for control. gliding noiselessly across the room. tailored by our own experienced ecclesiastical cutters. In a few seconds he was able to relax the tension. and the rivalries of that country and America in the Pacific. "A large assortment of chasubles. Christ may be upon us unawares. Four years ago he had been so confident. he remained unhappy.. Sudden and silent as a phantom Mrs. the discontent in Egypt and India was preparing the way. Seated there in his brown varnished chair under the Ruskinian window. Mr. 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. "This came for you by the post. what were four years. he did well to be angry. May it be for all of you an object of hope. The envelope was unsealed. "Soutane in best black merino. Above her black dress her face was pale with an opaque whiteness. Mechanically Mr. Be ready. in Anatolia. Bodiham turned the pages. The prospect. It was still going on. in all sizes. if the heavens would but make a sign! But his questionings remained unanswered. Ready to wear. in surplices. From nine guineas. in Ireland. the real. the sun shone. like a thief in the night. was illusory. The knuckles of his hands whitened. enclosed each page of type. four years.. smouldering away in Silesia. The catalogue was tastefully and ecclesiastically printed in antique characters with illuminated Gothic initials. God's intention seemed then so plain. that. he began to rebuke himself for his rebellious impatience. he reflected.But. The episode of 1914 had been a preliminary skirmish." Mr. Bodiham closed the little pamphlet and leaned back in his chair. like a thief? In a little while. and yet−− it was four years since he had preached that sermon. might be breeding a great new war in the East. 28 . And now he suffered too. crossed at the corners after the manner of an Oxford picture frame. little red crosses took the place of full stops. Clerical frock coats. the coming of the Lord is at hand. indeed. And as for the war having come to an end−−why. some dapper. Red marginal lines. He gripped the arms of his chair−− gripping. Birmingham. The argument was sound. Bodiham tried to assure himself. he could have screamed aloud. her eyes were pale as water in a glass. and England was at peace. Bodiham tore it open. Rope girdles. of course. It contained a pamphlet. larger than his own and more elegant in appearance." Half−tone illustrations represented young curates. A dressy garment." He turned over the pages. and then. the genuine Armageddon might soon begin. Clerical Outfitters. some with ascetic faces and large ecstatic eyes. She held a large envelope in her hand. dissatisfied. Who knows but that to−morrow. in clerical evening dress. Bodiham appeared.Crome Yellow But perhaps it is already too late. not a moment to look forward to with terror and trembling. for a great extension of the slaughter among the heathen peoples." she said softly. absolutely compelling. in a moment even. And now? Now. The Chinese boycott of Japan. "The House of Sheeny. CHAPTER IX. the people of Crome were as wicked and indifferent as ever−−more so. then. dressed in jackets.
Bodiham looked at him. brazen rams that thumped against the walls of cities till they fell.. then things began to dance inside him. In the village of Crome. At the pianola. nodding the baleful splendours of her coiffure. solemnly buffoonish.When worn under a surplice presents an appearance indistinguishable from that of a complete cassock. Mrs. 29 . it seemed. Sodom and Gomorrah had come to a second birth. trod out the shattering dance music with serene patience. Bodiham. her pale. it is a focusing of the self upon a point in the Lower Plane. baa. baa. CHAPTER X. Anne and Gombauld. Henry Wimbush. "Pessimism. Bodiham threw the catalogue into the waste−paper basket. There they were. Little black nigger corpuscles jigged and drummed in his arteries." "They're making a wild man of me. it is a h−piritual slavery to mere facts. scribbling. in a big red notebook." With a gesture of horror and disgust Mr. smoking a long cigar through a tunnelled pillar of amber. Priscilla and Mr. It was very uncomfortable. it is a h−piritual self−unification with the Infinite. they were. He was born with a different face−−a woolly face. writhing with desire. so it seemed. Denis did not dance. pretending to read. "The village. Jenny sat in the shadow behind the piano." she said in her quiet voice. being disturbed by the noise on the Lower Plane." said Mr." The refrain sang itself over in Denis's mind. Wild Women"−−"optimism is the opening out of the soul towards the light. moving together as though they were a single supple creature. apparently. on the other hand. damn them! A wild man. two− headed and four−legged. is the contraction of the soul towards darkness." She pulled up a brown varnished chair and sat down. but not wild enough. feeling suddenly very weary. Why was he born with a different face? Why WAS he? Gombauld had a face of brass−−one of those old." "What has happened now?" asked Mr. In arm−chairs by the fireplace. raging. a walking palais de danse. Yes. "I'll tell you. but when ragtime came squirting out of the pianola in gushes of treacle and hot perfume. "the village grows worse and worse every day. glumly pretending to read. Why? It was the baa−baa business again..Crome Yellow Sheeny's Special Skirt Cassocks. Mr.. Tied by a string about the waist. CHAPTER X. Scogan. shuffled round the room with Mary. like the preliminary symptoms of a disease. Wild inside.. to gross physical phenomena. it is an expansion towards and into God. Barbecue−Smith with a tone of finality. But outwardly he was hopelessly tame. outwardly−−baa.Recommended for summer wear and hot climates. And he sat in a corner. without. "Optimism. "writhing" was the word. Gombauld and Anne moved with a harmoniousness that made them seem a single creature. He became a cage of movement. Locked together. glaucous eyes reflected his action without comment. in jets of Bengal light. The beast with two backs. pretending he rather despised dancing. that was the trouble. He sat in one of the window−seats. writhing−−yes. pretending he didn't want to dance. Barbecue−Smith discussed higher things. speaking through strains of the "Wild." "How true!" sighed Priscilla.
Anne swayed across the room to the pianola. more graceful. It's so boring. Rum−ti−ti. Scogan.. I long and know not what I will: And not a sound of life or laughter stanches Time's black and silent flow. "Rum. "A waltz this time. Vague but agonising miseries possessed his mind. But the fact that he knew his disease did not help him to cure it. Mildew." "I think you are so sensible to sit and read quietly." Denis made no reply. When the wind's many−voiced quire Sleeps among the muffled branches. more harmonious in its movements than ever. I do not know what I desire. Wimbush's shoulder. "Tell me. It seems to upset the whole starry universe." said Denis truthfully. startled." The melody wallowed oozily along." he replied. "This Einstein theory. She had broken from the uncomfortable embrace of Mr. After kicking all the clothes off the bed. fixing him with her china eyes." said Mary. Barbecue−Smith's chair. From the arm−chair by the fireplace he heard Priscilla's deep voice. Tum. Mr Barbecue−Smith−−you know all about science." Mary renewed her attack. a little breathless. 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. life in general.. Denis was filled with fury. "is horribly boring. uncomplaining and beautifully well bred. Why couldn't this pest of a girl leave him alone? He wanted to listen to the horrible music. laid her hand on Mr. Tum−ti−ti. Oh. "I do not know what I desire When summer nights are dark and still." she said. It makes me so worried about my horoscopes." CHAPTER X.. she exacerbated him.. to watch them dancing−−oh. The four− legged creature. "This adolescence business. "What are you reading?" "I don't know." he repeated to himself every now and then. "I don't know why one dances. "A waltz. with the laconism of one who is absolutely certain of his own mind. nine more or less complete lines emerged from among the blots and scratchings. He wanted to imprison his nameless misery in words. You see. Flushed. the future. slid across the floor.Crome Yellow The music stopped. He looked at the title page. It was Mary. why was he born with a different face? "What are you reading?" He looked up. the universe. Uncle Henry. he was wretched about himself. He trod off the old roll and trod on the new. and Smut. and turned to the cabinet where the rolls were kept. I know−−" A deprecating noise came from Mr. I do not know. 30 . the book was called "The Stock Breeder's Vade Mecum. a slave at the mill. At the end of an hour. as though they had been made for one another!−−to savour his misery in peace. "Which of the contemporary poets do you like best?" she asked. with what grace. please. who had now seized on Jenny for his victim." he repeated. It was not only Anne who made him miserable. The single harmonious creature broke in two. he got up and sought relief in composition. like a ship moving forward over a sleek and oily swell. It was several hours before Denis managed to go to sleep that night.
Mr. "The man who built this house knew his business.Crome Yellow He read it through aloud. It makes no compromise with nature. "Well?" It was left for Henry Wimbush to make a pronouncement. The motor had whirled him away to the station. he built for himself a grand new house of brick−−the house you see now. to whom it had been granted at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. with the whole height of the built−up terrace added to its own seventy feet of brick facade." said Denis. without paying much attention where they were going. But the house of an intelligent. there isn't any nonsense of that sort about Crome. The builder of this house was Sir Ferdinando Lapith. towards the terrace and the garden. It should rather be an expression of his grand unnatural remoteness from the cloddish life.' No. nobody had yet ventured to comment on the departed guest. "Well?" said Anne at last. In a very few minutes he was asleep." "Was he?" said Henry Wimbush reflectively. His tone was obituary. enhancing the impression of height until it became overwhelming. for Crome was originally a cloister of monks and this swimming−pool their fish−pond. civilised. It has no likeness to Shelley's tower. and sophisticated man should never seem to have sprouted from the clods. but affronts it and rebels against it. he only repeated the question. round the side of the house. "The great thing about Crome. under the flank of the terrace. "Well?" It was time for someone to begin. Barbecue−Smith was gone. to the pool. "Well?" he said. in the 'Epipsychidion. and suitable. He inherited the estate from his father. Denis declined the invitation. "I doubt it. But as it were titanic. imposing." He waved his hand in the direction of the house and was silent." said Mr. That the hovels of the peasantry should look as though they had grown out of the earth. the steep yew−walk that went down. CHAPTER XI. "A very agreeable adjunct to the week−end. a faint smell of burning oil commemorated his recent departure. They walked in silence. if I remember rightly−− "'Seems not now a work of human art. is right. Crome loomed down on them. They paused at the edge of the pool to look back. almost menacing. uninterrupted. but using them as a stone quarry for his barns and byres and outhouses. in the heart Of earth having assumed its form and grown Out of the mountain. Mr. and now they were walking back. The perpendicular lines of the three towers soared up. who flourished during the reign of Elizabeth. to which their inmates are attached. no doubt. Lifting itself in caverns light and high. then threw the scribbled sheet into the waste−paper basket and got into bed again. "He was an architect. Scogan." he said. seizing the opportunity to speak. Sir Ferdinando was not content merely to adapt the old monastic buildings to his own purposes. from the living stone. A considerable detachment had come into the courtyard to speed him on his way. "is the fact that it's so unmistakably and aggressively a work of art. he passed it on to Mr Scogan. 31 . The house towered above them. immensely tall. severe. no. They had descended. turning with raised inquiring eyebrows to Denis. Since the days of William Morris that's a fact which we in England have been unable to comprehend. Scogan did not respond.' which. Civilised and CHAPTER XI.
We should even suppose that Sir Ferdinando built his house after this strange and splendid model for merely aesthetic reasons. Sir Ferdinando was. swept away these monuments of sanitary ingenuity. Crome still stood. which possesses undoubtedly. To have a theory about privies and to build an immense and splendid house in order to put it into practise−−it's magnificent. pickled in glass bottles. Poverty. But whether Sir Ferdinando shared your views about architecture or if. Could imbecility go further?" Henry Wimbush took up the thread of his interrupted discourse. arts and crafts. and all the rest of it. Hence quaintness. We now employ our wealth. preoccupied by only one thought−−the proper placing of his privies. very true. he has a collection. and it became once more the replica of the grave. studiedly quaint imitations and adaptations of the village hovel. with its passion for modernisation. "is certainly very just. cottage architecture. in suitable surroundings. Under the grey bowler his face worked and glowed as he spoke. Boethius's 'Consolations of Philosophy'.L. for the placing of his privies in an exalted position he had also certain excellent spiritual reasons. "It does one's heart good. The thought of these vanished privies moved him profoundly. Permanence. There was a long silence. "All that you say. on this subject. For. through the cellars. Sanitation was the one great interest of his life." The contemplation of the glories of the past always evoked in Henry Wimbush a certain enthusiasm. and all other works. he won't get it till she's dead. beautiful! I like to think of them all: the eccentric milords rolling across Europe in ponderous carriages. and that the walls of the chamber should be lined with bookshelves containing all the ripest products of human wisdom. such as the Proverbs of Solomon. Were it not for tradition and the explicit account of them left by Sir Ferdinando. we should be unaware that these noble privies had ever existed. indeed. I very much doubt. And the instruments of renowned virtuosi−− he goes in for them too.. the apophthegms of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. 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.Crome Yellow sophisticated men have solemnly played at being peasants. The total depth of the shafts from the top of the towers to their subterranean conduits was a hundred and two feet. To counteract these degrading effects he advised that the privy should be in every house the room nearest to heaven. In 1573 he even published. that is to say. transience−−Sir Ferdinando and his privies were gone. reduplicated in endless rows. its own 'as it were titanic' charm. a little book−−now extremely scarce−−called. the ways of man were stranger still. more than seventy feet. The eighteenth century. he's prepared to wait. "to hear of these fantastic English aristocrats. my dear Scogan. At the top of each of the three projecting towers he placed a privy. which testify to the nobility of the human soul. In Crome he was able to put his theories into practice. How brightly the sun shone and how inevitable was death! The ways of God were strange. ancient or modern. One is going to Venice to buy La Bianchi's larynx. he had any views about architecture at all. our technical knowledge. In building this house. It must not be thought that Sir Ferdinando was moved only by material and merely sanitary considerations. and into a series of conduits provided with flowing water tunnelled in the ground on a level with the base of the raised terrace. and a limited range of materials produced the hovel. 'Certaine Priuy Counsels' by 'One of Her Maiestie's Most Honourable Priuy Counsels. 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." he began." exclaimed Mr. polite hat which shaded it. He ceased to speak. of course. These conduits emptied themselves into the stream several hundred yards below the fish− pond. Hence it followed inevitably that the privies were to be placed at the top of the house. in which the whole matter is treated with great learning and elegance. bound on extraordinary errands. as a matter of fact. Scogan at last. ignorance. our rich variety of materials for the purpose of building millions of imitation hovels in totally unsuitable surroundings. the light gradually died out of his face. the same gently melancholy thoughts seemed to possess the mind of each of them. he CHAPTER XI. but no matter.. that it should be well provided with windows commanding an extensive and noble prospect. being connected by vertical shafts with pits or channels in the ground. he argues in the third chapter of his 'Priuy Counsels'. 32 . Knight'. In the suburbs of our cities you may see. From these a shaft went down the whole height of the house. of the throats of famous opera singers. the 'Enchiridion' of Erasmus. F.
It justifies leisured classes and inherited wealth and privilege and endowments and all the other injustices of that sort.. and when kindred spirits are born outside the pale it offers them some sort of refuge from the hatred which the Poor Whites. 33 . Mildew. Mildew. "Eccentricity. then murmured the word "Eccentricity. his meridional heredity was a little disquieting." Mary was puzzled and distressed. Blunden. True." said Anne. A man who would not talk seriously to a woman just because she was a woman−−oh." CHAPTER XII. safe from public opinion. looked up once more at the towering house. Drinkwater. a little grossly.. and Smut. It was a square brick building with a peaked roof and little windows set high up in CHAPTER XII. but he has small hope of success. "that I shall not. en bons bourgeois. it must be admitted. You must have a class of which the members can think and. Scogan paused. not compelled to waste their time in the imbecile routines that go by the name of Honest Work. What then? Will they suffer you to go on writing villanelles. After the social revolution there will be no Reservations. in his white top hat. interrupting him. an amateur. and amuses himself−−oh. I shall have some Honest Work to do.It's the justification of all aristocracies. At home they cultivate themselves at leisure and with greater elaboration. Perhaps her ears had played her false. it also tolerates and even encourages eccentricity in others. and Smut. but perhaps he might sacrifice one of his guitars. the millionaire. my good Denis? Will you. unhappy Henry. solely for his private delectation−−by anticipating the electrical discoveries of half a century. Gombauld had annexed for his painting−room a little disused granary that stood by itself in a green close beyond the farm− yard. Others have no business at all. Others are bound on crusades−−one to die miserably among the savage Greeks. they are just giving their oddity a continental airing. Portland digs holes in the ground." said Mr Scogan. Cavendish. Perhaps what he had really said was." two or three times. But then her ears never did play her false." "And you. reluctantly. lives in a stable. that Denis had indeed pronounced those improbable words." Mr. 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. loathing.Crome Yellow will try to bribe Paganini to part with his little Guarnerio. That's the important thing about an aristocracy.. Binyon. and disgust which the burgesses instinctively feel towards them. The eccentricities of the artist and the new−fangled thinker don't inspire it with that fear. That was horrible. the Redskins will be drowned in the great sea of Poor Whites." she was forced to the conclusion.." or even "Abercrombie.. Some day. and it was with his work that she would associate herself." The impression was distinct and ineffaceable. Blight. It is a sort of Red Indian Reservation planted in the midst of a vast horde of Poor Whites−−colonials at that. do what they please. lavish on anything that is wild or out of the ordinary. a little too flamboyantly. "Blight. Glorious eccentrics! Every age is enlivened by their presence. "will you be allowed to go on talking?" "You may rest assured. you must have a class of people who are secure. and Rabindranath Tagore." Mr. my dear Denis.. within the obvious limits. Within its boundaries wild men disport themselves−−often. to continue your quiet delving in the mines of futile knowledge? Will Anne. be allowed to live in this house of the splendid privies.. eats nothing but mutton. turning a beady bright regard in his direction−−"some day you must become their biographer−−'The Lives of Queer Men. Not only is it eccentric itself−−often grandiosely so. Perhaps Gombauld would be more satisfactory. and Earp. another. If you're to do anything reasonable in this world. leisured.. Scogan replied. safe from poverty. Beckford builds towers. "Blight. He had deliberately repelled her attempts to open a serious discussion. Mildew.' What a subject! I should like to undertake it myself. what WAS Denis? A dilettante. And Denis? After all." or "Childe. impossible! Egeria or nothing. to lead Italians against their oppressors.. but at least he was a serious worker. Paganini won't sell his fiddle. and Shanks.." Perhaps. "Squire.
relentless light poured down from a point in the right foreground. retreat would be easier and more dignified than if she climbed to the top. He was humiliated to find how few and crude and uninteresting were the forms he could invent. something terrific. round them. till in the end he was painting nothing but his own thoughts. The door. the immense bony body was what arrested the eye. below. He had made a portfolio full of studies. it would be something terrific. during six or seven hours of each day. A ladder of four rungs led up to the door. he felt himself cramped and confined within intolerably narrow limitations. He was out on the other side. little by little. the fallen man. he had the secret! And now Gombauld was after it. The huge animal. externalised in the abstract geometrical forms of the mind's devising. in hot pursuit. but his aim was always to work them into a whole that should have the thrilling simplicity and formality of an idea. He had done with cubism.. he had risen from nature into the world of pure form. the legs. Now he had come out on the other side. if only he could catch it. yeastily. He was pleased." He had the secret. from the waist upwards. the form of Mary. built themselves up into compositions as luminously simple and single as a mathematical idea. Tilting back his chair till it touched the wall. "Come in!" he called. the eye looked through into an intense darkness. a universe in themselves. between the legs of the towering beast. to combine prodigious realism with prodigious simplification. the inventions of nature were without number. for the granary was perched above the ground. He had begun by painting a formalised nature. was the night. filled the upper half of the picture with its great body. was in shadow. and at the same time he was desolated. nearly half of which had been spent in the process of winning the war. he had worked his way industriously through cubism. lowered towards the ground. And beneath lay the man. he had drawn a cartoon. They were alone in the darkness. the head in the extreme foreground. He found the process arduous and exhilarating. On the ground. his foreshortened face at the focal point in the centre. then. The beast. limited it on either side. If he didn't want her. A man fallen from a horse. subtle. that astonishing ruffian.Crome Yellow each of its walls. in his mind. which came down on either side of the picture like the pillars of an arch. swung open. tat! Surprised. his arms outstretched towards the sides of the picture. tat. Forms of a breathing. revealing. beyond and behind them. and out of reach of the rats. Yes." of "Magdalen. Within. But the cubist discipline preserved him from falling into excesses of nature worship. lay the foreshortened figure of a man. which was ajar. And then. the thing was good." of "Peter Crucified. the arms flung wide to right and left. Gombauld turned his eyes towards the door. inconceivably subtle and elaborate. 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. "May I come in?" she asked. the body and the legs. 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. A white. Under the arch of the horse's belly. Nobody ever disturbed him while he was at work. frozen to stillness in the midst of their trampling. In itself. The horse's body filled the upper part of the picture. He thought of the "Call of Matthew. with a kind of concentrated ferocity." of the "Lute players. The picture was more than half finished. he looked thoughtfully at his canvas. He took from nature its rich. and now he was taking a rest−−the time to smoke a cigarette. A central gulf of darkness surrounded by luminous forms. on four massive toadstools of grey stone.. and now the idea was taking shape on canvas. quite suddenly. He was pursuing something new. Its head. he knew it. Here Gombauld worked. elaborate forms. between his legs. For a long time an idea had been stirring and spreading. Gombauld had been at work all the morning on the figure of the man. During the last eight years. But that something he was after. She had only dared to mount half−way up the ladder. CHAPTER XII. a gaunt white cart−horse. it was one of the unwritten laws. he grew dissatisfied. if only he could catch it. there lingered a faint smell of dust and cobwebs. were sharply illuminated. the great hoofs. the space was closed in by the figure of the prostrate man. 34 . Memories of Caravaggio's portentous achievements haunted him. living reality emerged from darkness.
she was at a loss. "Luckily.? At eighteen she might have done so. CHAPTER XII. Obviously. he put his arm round her shoulders and turned her round. and painted in pure primary colours.trompe−l'oeil for my taste. Painting's finished." he said. Gombauld dropped his cigarette end and trod on it. with a final gasp. One could admire representationalism in the Old Masters.. and here was a picture of a man and a horse. Mary was pleased.. her hair swung back." Her eyes. and she moved with him. He would give her the five minutes that separated him from the bitter end. "I've finished my cigarette. Mary looked up at him. When he's reached pure abstraction he's going to take up architecture. But now−−she didn't know what to think. The moment might have come. Thanks very much all the same. "There is. Soon. She put her head on one side and screwed up her eyes." There was a silence. "Do you agree with him?" she repeated. "But of course it's a little too." She skipped up the remaining two rungs and was over the threshold in an instant. It was a peripatetic embracement. His arm was round her. what was she to say? Her orientations were gone.Crome Yellow "Certainly. There had never been a flimsier pretext. "A letter came for you by the second post. He'd given up the third dimension when I was there and was just thinking of giving up the second. 35 . he says. What was she to think. Of course. but she would not cease to be intellectual. it's frightfully abstract now−−frightfully abstract and frightfully intellectual. Trompe−l'oeil−−there was no other word to describe the delineation of that foreshortened figure under the trampling feet of the horse. there'll be just the blank canvas. So the moment had come. But his design is wonderful. her childish face were luminously candid as she handed him the letter. He just throws a few oblongs on to his canvas−−quite flat. He says it's more intellectual than painting. "I think it's awfully fine. Mary went on gaspingly. What could Gombauld be up to? She had felt so safe in admiring his work before. almost imperceptibly." Gombauld agreed. it was a serious discussion. away from the picture.too. after five years of schooling among the best judges." he said." And. "When I was in Paris this spring I saw a lot of Tschuplitski. He moved slowly. Mary felt a little uncomfortable. But I'm going on painting. Mary looked at the picture for some time without saying anything. she didn't know what to say. He's getting more and more abstract every day. It was very difficult.." she said... Gombauld had only half smoked his cigarette. you know. "This is the best place to see it from. "I thought it might be important. she smiled. but even aggressively in drawing. who made no response. isn't there?" she ventured at last. Complete abstraction. very difficult." he said. Do you agree?" she asked. so I brought it out to you. "May I have a look at what you've been painting?" she had the courage to say at last. she was taken aback. but continued to smoke. in any case he wouldn't begin work again till he had finished.. Her eyes were serene. She had expected a cubist masterpiece. Gombauld looked at the envelope and put it in his pocket unopened. her instinctive reaction to a contemporary piece of representation was contempt−−an outburst of laughing disparagement. serious. not only recognisable as such. That's the logical conclusion. he accepted her criticism. a soundless bell of gold. Indeed. advancing towards her. he's finishing it. But in a modern. and inwardly congratulated herself on having found a critical formula so gentle and at the same time so penetrating. gazing meditatively all the time at his picture. "There's rather a lot of chiaroscuro." she said. "Tschuplitski's finished painting. But now. I admire his work so tremendously." She looked at Gombauld. "it isn't at all important.
36 . Wimbush. one violent death. "Our muniment room is particularly rich in ancient records. Henry Wimbush brought down with him to dinner a budget of printed sheets loosely bound together in a cardboard portfolio. "To−day." said Priscilla. it would be one long continuous blot from beginning to end." he said. it's a placid and uneventful record. The writing and the printing of this Magnum Opus had been going on as long as she could remember. I helped to set up the type of the last page this evening. The door closed behind her and she was alone in the little green close. a little piqued by his wife's disparaging comment on the masters of Crome. All her childhood long Uncle Henry's History had been a vague and fabulous thing. she moved forward. "If I were to write mine." "The Wimbushes and the Lapiths were always an unadventurous. She walked slowly back through the farmyard. natural children. "It has taken me nearly thirty years. startled. and I have some genuinely new light to throw on the introduction of the three− pronged fork. on the whole. "Twenty−five years of writing and nearly four of printing. "Be careful going down the ladder. seductions. with a note of scorn in her voice. and helped herself to another glass of wine." "And the people?" asked Gombauld. in their CHAPTER XIII. She remained standing there for a moment in bewilderment. Wimbush nodded. 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. And now it's finished−−the whole chronicle. They were in front of the open door. I shall have to think about it. "Certainly." he added modestly." he said. "Sir Ferdinando and the rest of them−−were they amusing? Were there any crimes or tragedies in the family?" "Let me see.Crome Yellow "I don't know. She was careful. Replying automatically to its stimulus. and printed at Crome by my own press. respectable crew. and half a dozen little blots on the scutcheon in the way of misalliances. The hand that had rested on her shoulder made itself felt lower down her back. Mary looked round. After the second generation we Scogans are lost in the mists of antiquity. No." "After dinner. "And I hope you will not find it uninteresting." said Gombauld once more. "to− day I have finished the printing of my 'History of Crome'. and the like. she was pensive. four or perhaps five broken hearts. "it wouldn't exist. often heard of and never seen." he added solicitously." said Henry Wimbush." said Mr. Scogan remarked." Mr." Henry Wimbush rubbed his chin thoughtfully." She laughed jovially. written at Crome. CHAPTER XIII. it administered three or four kindly little smacks." "Shall we be allowed to read it now it's finished?" asked Denis. "Be careful going down the ladder. exhibiting it with a certain solemnity. his hand dropped from her shoulder. "I'll read you an episode from my History that will make you admit that even the Lapiths." "The famous History?" cried Anne." Gombauld loosened his embrace. "If I were to write my family history now! Why. Mr. "I can only think of two suicides.
Hercules remained the only surviving child. Sir Hercules Occam of Bishop's Occam. "Do. yawning. Meanwhile. which was very handsome and nobly shaped. a boy and a girl. and took to solitary drinking. looking up. and master of a considerable fortune. He avoided all company (being. he would have taken his place among the CHAPTER XIII. At three years he weighed but twenty−four pounds. did not long survive. "The infant who was destined to become the fourth baronet of the name of Lapith was born in the year 1740. as he said. He was a very small baby. cuckooed at last "I see. smiled. His temper. She received an explanation. the party had adjourned to the drawing−room. planning for him in his imagination a military career equal to that of Marlborough. like many other mothers." and popped back. His parents. ashamed to show himself. In honour of his maternal grandfather. His head. and. consulted all the most eminent physicians of the time. After that his growth stopped completely. His mother. to an attack of typhoid fever. In the course of the next three years Hercules gained perhaps two inches. kept a notebook. who had built the most extravagant hopes upon his son. had their tragedies and strange adventures. including the estate and mansion of Crome. healthy human beings). after eating two dozen of oysters." said Henry Wimbush. among normal. and before his second year was out he had learnt to speak a number of words. clapping shut the door behind her. but little more than a year after her husband's death succumbed. the father of a lusus naturae. nodded. In the midst of an attentive silence Mr. another exercise. He found his place at last. "Now. his mother had borne two other children. but from the first he was sturdy and healthy. Their various prescriptions were followed to the letter. Dinner was eaten. whose love for him had increased with the growth of his father's unkindness. "Hercules thus found himself at the age of twenty−one alone in the world. while the other was carried off by smallpox before it reached the age of five. emerging suddenly from her private interior world like a cuckoo from a clock. but in vain. of great strength and agility. but for his dwarfish stature. he was christened Hercules. The beauty and intelligence of his childhood had survived into his manly age. in which his progress from month to month was recorded. one of whom died of croup during infancy. which carried him very rapidly to his grave. pulling up a chair to the lamp. modelled on those employed by the Holy Inquisition. with excruciating torments." said Priscilla. One ordered a very plentiful meat diet. found himself a disappointed man. and at six. was too big for his body. 37 . He walked at ten months. in the hope of making him grow. for the year before Hercules came of age his father was taken off by an apoplexy. though he could read and write perfectly and showed a remarkable aptitude for music." said Priscilla. 'I have brought an abortion into the world. for his size. he was no larger and heavier than a well−grown child of two." "I'm glad to hear it. for half an hour every morning and evening. on which young Hercules was stretched. and began cautiously to turn over the pages of his loose and still fragmentary book. He put on his round pince−nez. His father. and he remained for the rest of his life a pigmy of three feet and four inches. which had been serene. and. was turned by disappointment to moroseness and savagery. Wimbush gave a little preliminary cough and started to read.Crome Yellow own respectable way. a third constructed a little rack. "Shall I begin?" he asked. but otherwise he was exquisitely proportioned. rimmed with tortoise−shell. and he took so violent a dislike to his son that the boy dared scarcely come into his presence. "On his twelfth birthday Hercules was still only three feet and two inches in height. His mother.' he would say. weighing not more than three pounds at birth. "Glad to hear what?" asked Jenny.
Shall sport with grace along the velvet lawns. think themselves divinely born. 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. a Mind as dead and cold. while yet the world was young. affirming that this rustic music had more power to clear and raise the spirits than the most artificial productions of the masters. And Jabal dwelt in tents and Jubal struck the lyre. no member of which was above four feet high and the smallest among them scarcely two feet and six inches. I descry Remoter dawns along the gloomy sky). mastiffs. but the smallness of his hands made it impossible for him ever to perform upon these instruments. And in our vaunted race of Men behold A form as gross. A time will come. Huge. 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. ah. sad indeed. His CHAPTER XIII. But pointing Heav'nwards live themselves in Hell. The smaller carcase of these later days Is soon inform'd. Man last appears. Sad is the Fate of those. Ere Abram fed his flocks or Homer sung. and was no indifferent performer on the violin. 38 . topp'd with an empty Skull. 'is reflected in my verses. replacing them by pugs and King Charles spaniels and whatever other breeds of dog were the smallest. tramps the Earth's fair face. His name emblazon'd on Fame's temple wall. Sir Hercules set about remodelling his household. At all that's small they point their stupid scorn And. Huge towers of Brawn.' "As soon as he came into the estate. For Art grew great as Humankind grew small. He was well read in the Greek and Latin authors. Mankind proceeds towards the Promised Land. he would never publish any specimen of his writing. which he used to play like a bass viol. as he was able to find suitable successors. by others of dwarfish stature. His father's dogs. The Giant dies. books of Sir Hercules's poems survive. as well as in all the moderns of any merit who had written in English. When the light body. at Crome a private world of his own. Long ages pass'd and Man grown more refin'd. of all they still retain Of giant ugliness absurdly vain. impatient of their sinful brood. seated on a chair with the instrument between his legs. in warriors of old. repeopled Tellus bore The lubber Hero and the Man of War. and a pack of beagles. he sold or gave away as too large and too boisterous for his house. Witlessly bold. He had a small ivory flute made for him. Flesh grown corrupt brought forth a monstrous birth And obscene giants trod the shrinking earth. Men were huge mounds of matter scarce inform'd. agile as a fawn's. monsters. yet perversely proud. When happy mortals of a Golden Age Will backward turn the dark historic page. He had a good ear for music. Till God. From an early age he practised the composition of poetry. A time will come (prophetic. heroically dull. in which all should be proportionable to himself. too.Crome Yellow handsomest and most accomplished young men of his time. Teeming again. Gross and repulsive. the hero takes his place. though conscious of his great powers in this art. on which. But ah. but. as it were.' he would say. he determined to retire absolutely from it and to create. greyhounds. The glowing canvas and the written page Immortaliz'd his name from age to age. Accordingly. the dull heroic Block: At one we shudder and at one we mock. Of old when Heroes fought and Giants swarmed. French. As we in Giants see. whenever he was melancholy. wherein the soul shall be From all superfluous matter wholly free. or Italian. The rare precursors of the nobler breed! Who come man's golden glory to foretell. but because I am a dwarf. "'In ancient days. Slighter in muscle but of vaster Mind. though diminish'd. not yet! For still the Giants' race. Thus man's long progress step by step we trace. Mankind perfected shall possess the earth. To the music of the harpsichord and clavichord he was extremely partial. The spirit slept and all the mind was crass. the Soul unwearied plays And like a Pharos darts abroad her mental rays. that he must abandon all ambitions in the great world. Wearied by leavening so vast a mass. he used to play a simple country air or jig. And learn'd to wield the Pencil and the Quill. In the course of a few years he had assembled about himself a numerous household. bow and bill. Men of their imperfections boast aloud. Realising. if the public were to read them it would not be because I am a poet. In him the Soul's pure flame Burns brightlier in a not inord'nate frame. Smiled at his grandsire's broadsword. When blacksmith Tubal tamed creative fire. A single specimen will suffice to illustrate his qualities as a poet.' Several MS. Vain of their bulk. if we may judge from the poem quoted above. Nature's most delicate and final birth. Gave rein to wrath and drown'd them in the Flood. such as setters. The Giant vile. 'My stature. For though by no means ashamed of his deformity−−indeed. he discharged all the old servants of the house and replaced them gradually.
The dwarfish daughter of Lord Bemboro he refused on the ground that besides being a pigmy she was hunchbacked. a kind of dog which. possessed a daughter of exquisite beauty and great accomplishments. when he was almost despairing of success. Indeed. because they were entirely new to her. amorous temper−−he must choose her as he had chosen his servants−−from among the race of dwarfs. occupations in which. having once dared to declare himself to a young lady of his choice. though he often fell in love. and had more than once. and could touch A in alt without effort. he went immediately on his arrival to pay his respects to the count. with four very choice piebald animals of New Forest breed. 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. who felt herself now for the first time to be a free woman living among her equals in a friendly world. The story soon got about−−indeed. as one plays a bass viol. for the sale of his diminutive daughter Filomena. as we have noted before. while their master and mistress. Setting out at once for Venice. Accompanied by her husband on his fine Cremona fiddle. can course a rabbit as well as any of the smaller breeds. for he would marry none who was not distinguished by beauty and gentle birth. who perceived in an English son−in−law a rich and unfailing source of revenue. Sir Hercules had a susceptible heart. But to find a suitable wife was. especially that of music. Finally. an orphan belonging to a very good family in Hampshire. For his own use. Filomena especially delighted. On his persisting. hunted the pack. was rejected by him because her face. that at the end of three days' courtship he made her a formal offer of marriage. 39 . if he was to have a wife−−which he very much desired. She had a beautiful voice. Filomena and her husband used often to go hunting in the park. whom he found living with his wife and five children in a very mean apartment in one of the poorer quarters of the town. From the poems written at this period we gather that he meditated taking his own life. they spent their time in healthful outdoor exercises. he had six black Shetland ponies. which he played. she would sing all the liveliest and tenderest airs from the operas and cantatas of her native country. he had been received with laughter. however. 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. In course of time. "Having thus settled his household entirely to his own satisfaction. as it proved. They hunted not foxes nor hares. who had had the misfortune to lose their performing dwarf. She had many tastes in common with her husband. indeed. But here his deformity had been a source of the most bitter humiliation. who was by three feet in height. Seated together at the harpsichord. telling him to run away and plague her no more. while another young lady. but more often riding or driving. between the ages of sixteen and twenty. which they often did. in green CHAPTER XIII. to a life of uneventful happiness. Sir Hercules arrived in time to save her from this untoward fate. "When they were not making music or reading together. a Venetian nobleman. "Crome and its household of dwarfs delighted Filomena. a circumstance which gave Sir Hercules unfailing pleasure. it only remained for him to find some suitable companion with whom to share his paradise. both in English and Italian. sometimes rowing in a little boat on the lake.Crome Yellow father's stable was also sold. whether riding or driving. felt what it was to love. After an unostentatious marriage. After coming to the estate and finding that he was in a position to create his own world as he desired it. at that time very much more extensive than it is now. of a power surprising in one so small. did he dare to make any advances to those in whom he was interested. for he was so much charmed by Filomena's grace and beauty. but rabbits. Four dwarf grooms. which was accepted by her no less joyfully than by her father. they found that they could with their four hands play all the music written for two hands of ordinary size. When she had become a perfectly proficient rider. he found. was wizened and repulsive. like that of so many dwarfs. and that very passionately. he lived down this humiliation. dressed in scarlet liveries and mounted on white Exmoor ponies. where they settled down. he saw that. when not overfed. using a pack of about thirty black and fawn−coloured pugs. but never again. at which the English ambassador acted as one of the witnesses. Sir Hercules and his bride returned by sea to England. he heard from a reliable source that Count Titimalo. for. being of an affectionate and. she had picked him up and shaken him like an importunate child. a matter of some difficulty.
'To−day for the first time' wrote Sir Hercules. His mother at this moment coming into the room. 40 . 'The only thing that will teach him manners is corporal chastisement. but in the secrecy of their respective diaries they brooded over it in terror and dismay.' wrote Filomena in her diary. His father. unamenable to persuasion. Stubbs likewise painted a portrait of Sir Hercules and his lady driving in their green enamelled calash drawn by four black Shetlands. It was a savage. on pain of his utmost displeasure.' he wrote in his day−book. 'we discussed the situation. "With the passage of the months a certain sense of disquiet began to invade the minds of Sir Hercules and his lady. 'Ferdinando goes crescendo. as being unfit to remain in the same place with the mother whom he had nearly murdered. At the end of that time Filomena found herself great with child. "In this way four years passed happily by. The hideous truth can be concealed no longer: Ferdinando is not one of us.' wrote his father. hardly had it entered the house when it attacked one of Sir Hercules's favourite pugs. 'If God is good. to come and stay at the mansion for the purpose of executing this picture. and masters−−was painted by William Stubbs. his sword drawn and still bloody. The child was christened Ferdinando in memory of the builder of the house. Ferdinando returned for the summer holidays larger and stronger than ever. Sir Hercules wears a plum−coloured velvet coat and white breeches. Sir Hercules ordered that the beast should be chained up in the stable−yard. Extremely put out by this occurrence. knocked her down. Could it be that Ferdinando was destined to become a man of the normal. he ordered him to leave the room immediately. "One summer holidays about three years later Ferdinando returned to Crome accompanied by a very large mastiff dog. the dog flew at her. unreliable animal. and beauty of our child. whose work Sir Hercules admired so much that he invited him. though a man of ordinary stature. 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. He was packed off to Eton at the beginning of the next half. Sir Hercules was overjoyed. "On his third birthday Ferdinando was taller than his mother and not more than a couple of inches short of his father's height. On this. Ferdinando sullenly answered that the dog was his. He had bought it from an old man at Windsor who had found the beast too expensive to feed. to send him to school. received no corporal chastisement. A picture of the whole hunt−−dogs. 'He is rough. and in a twinkling had very severely mauled her arm and shoulder. Ferdinando refused to move. his gestures.Crome Yellow habits. So awe−inspiring was the spectacle of Sir Hercules standing with one foot on the carcase of the gigantic dog. had not Sir Hercules drawn his sword and stabbed the animal to the heart.' At eighteen months the baby was almost as tall as their smallest jockey. though reluctantly. seizing the creature in its jaws and shaking it till it was nearly dead. One day he knocked down the butler and broke his arm. The two figures in their gay carriage stand out sharply against a dark background of trees.' On his wife's being brought to bed of a son he wrote a poem to the same effect. followed either on the black Shetlands or on the piebald New Forest ponies. growing angry. the strength. horses. For the child was growing with an extraordinary rapidity. Filomena is dressed in flowered muslin and a very large hat with pink feathers.' Ferdinando. in another instant it must infallibly have had her by the throat. '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. Turning on his son. God give us strength to bear this cross. and he would keep it where he pleased. but to the left of the picture the trees fall away and disappear. bade him take the animal out of the house at once. and the CHAPTER XIII. who at this age was already seventeen inches taller than his father. gigantic dimensions? It was a thought to which neither of his parents dared yet give open utterance. 'It seems not natural. his third birthday. inconsiderate. who was a man of thirty−six.' "At the age of eight Ferdinando was so large and so exuberantly healthy that his parents decided. At a year he weighed as much as Hercules had weighed when he was three. so commanding were his voice. grooms. we wept together over the ruin of our happiness. a day when we should have been rejoicing at the health. A profound peace settled upon the house.
the aged butler. They covered their laughter by violent and repeated fits of coughing or choking. Simon. it is true. The young men were not particularly attentive to his discourses. Filomena. A giant in a brown travelling−suit entered the room. "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). There was no light on the staircase. she had been lying on her bed listening to the sound of enormous laughter and the tread of strangely heavy feet on the stairs and along the corridors. lowering himself from stair to stair and standing for a moment on each tread before adventuring on a new step. "When supper was over. they were occupied in watching the efforts of the butler to change the plates and replenish the glasses. The top of his father's head reached to the level of his hip. Sir Hercules replied that it was. "The day fixed for Ferdinando's return came round.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. giving as his excuse that he must see how his lady did. as he had heard. Sir Hercules rose to his feet and. At most. but his wife felt herself too old and. too nervous for such sports. since the episode of the mastiff. But even now the thought of the future haunted them. Sir Hercules received his son alone. making the Grand Tour. and proceeded to describe the chase in some detail. but the laws of hospitality had to be obeyed. Sir Hercules climbed down from his chair and. The young men roared with laughter. with orders that they should be well cared for. "Ferdinando had not come alone. holding his wife's hand and sometimes gently squeezing it. to please her husband. the singing of the orphans in the churches of the same city. the shouting articulated itself into CHAPTER XIII. "'I hope I see you well. nor were they able to solace themselves with all the diversions of their younger days. The sound of laughter followed him up the stairs. the beauties of art and nature to be met with abroad. The noise was louder here. prepared to go and see what was happening. but changed the subject of the conversation to sport. a stamping of feet.' said Sir Hercules in a voice that trembled a little. He received the young gentlemen with grave politeness and sent the servants to the kitchen. Two friends of his own age accompanied him. in spite of his wife's entreaties. Filomena was not asleep. Sir Hercules drew a chair to her bedside and sat there for a long time in silence. then straightened himself up again. Sir Hercules was appalled and indignant. with an outburst of shouts and laughter. There was a breaking of glass. Upon this one of the young men asked whether it was true.' Ferdinando bent down to shake hands. sir. who could only just look over the edge of the big table. Not for thirty years had Crome been desecrated by the presence of so many members of the common race of men. "Sir Hercules presided. At about ten o'clock they were startled by a violent noise. sick with vague dreads and presentiments. and on other topics of a similar nature. and with his usual grace supported a conversation on the pleasures of foreign travel. The Lady Filomena had lost her voice and Sir Hercules was grown too rheumatical to play the violin. The uproar continuing for several minutes. 41 . was helped at supper by the three servants brought by Ferdinando and his guests. were a period of happy repose for his parents. "The two years which Ferdinando spent on the Continent. but the effect on her mind of this adventure was ineradicable. my son. from that time forth she lived always among imaginary terrors. He. His mother soon recovered from the bites of the mastiff. she would follow the hunt at a distance in a little gig drawn by the safest and oldest of the Shetlands. the opera at Venice. Sir Hercules affected not to notice. retired to her chamber and her bed. and each of the young men had brought a servant. bade them good−night. 'Welcome home. and Sir Hercules groped his way down cautiously. that he used to hunt the rabbit with a pack of pug dogs. still rode after his pugs.
was dancing a jig.' he read. had exhibited in the amphitheatre a young man called Lucius. The three servants leaning against the wall laughed too. then lay back and composed his mind to meditation. floating through the water in dissolving wreaths and spirals.' They were silent for a time. he was sinking from vague dream to dream. 'They are making mock of old Simon. 'To−morrow. amore." CHAPTER XIII. 'we'll have a concerted ballet of the whole household. to her questioning glance he answered. but of love and gallantry. sat down in the bath. "Sir Hercules would look and listen no further.' "Filomena took the glass and lay for a little time. Just as he approached the door there was another terrific crash of breaking glass and jangled metal. while the life was ebbing away through his opened veins. In the middle of the ravaged table old Simon. and having recorded his wife's last words to him.' "'It is better not. Claudius.' said Sir Hercules.' And there was Petronius. putting the toes of one foot into the water and finding that it was not too hot. the butler. 'Seneca his preceptor. 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. and his shoes were wet with spilt wine. Sir Hercules tiptoed across the hall towards it. Addio.' 'And you playing on the violin. thumping the table with their hands or with the empty wine bottles. it seems such a short time ago. he threw off his dressing−gown and. taking a razor in his hand. Caligula. and all three roared with laughter. and preparing a dose of opium twenty times as strong as that which she was accustomed to take when she could not sleep. Dipping his pen once more in the ink he wrote on the last page of his diary: 'He died a Roman death. The colour deepened. 'Here is your sleeping−draught. so primed with drink that he could scarcely keep his balance. and yet so long. Ferdinando suddenly threw a handful of walnuts at the dancer's head. gave him some brandy to drink. long. His feet crunched and tinkled among the broken glass.' 'With father Hercules wearing his club and lion−skin. A line of light was visible under the dining−room door. bidding them talk to him. he took down from the shelf his copy of Suetonius. To−morrow it will be our turn.Crome Yellow recognisable words and phrases. Tiberius. "At last Filomena said. lying back on the pillow. but did not drink immediately. he poured into his bath the water that had been brought up in accordance with his orders. The blood oozed out. Nero: it was a tale of growing horror. 'Do you remember the songs we used to sing. 'But dwarfs. he brought it to her. he forced to kill himself. saying. This was the end. he remembered. which so dazed and surprised the little man that he staggered and fell down on his back. there was no place for him now in the world. non dormir piu. of good family. lifting his knees painfully high at each degree. There was not much blood in his small body. He wished to read how Seneca had died. Soon he was sound asleep. long. The tears came into her eyes. What could they be doing? Standing on tiptoe he managed to look through the keyhole. In a little while the whole bath was tinged with pink. who was not quite two feet in height and weighed seventeen pounds. closed her eyes. 42 . Going into his closet he wrote in his day−book a full and particular account of all the events of the evening. The water being too hot for him to get into the bath at once. 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. They raised him up. This same Augustus. When he had finished writing he went into his wife's room. as though he were afraid of waking her.' Then. The three young men sat round. a rivederti.' He winced as though he had been struck. "His wife was still awake. thumped him on the back. no place for him and Ferdinando together. He opened the book at random. shouting and laughing encouragement. He turned over the pages. not of the consolations of philosophy. Sir Hercules felt himself mastered by an invincible drowsiness. The old man smiled and hiccoughed. who had called his friends about him at the last. With one deep cut he severed the artery in his left wrist.' She drank off the draught and.' added one of his companions. but had a stentorian voice. upsetting a decanter and several glasses. He crossed the hall once more and began to climb the stairs.' said Ferdinando. 'I do not want to see to−morrow. 'he held in abhorrence as being lusus naturae and of evil omen. Sir Hercules kissed her hand and tiptoed away. He returned to his closet.
For their after−luncheon coffee the party generally adjourned to the library. Its windows looked east, and at this hour of the day it was the coolest place in the whole house. It was a large room, fitted, during the eighteenth century, with white painted shelves of an elegant design. In the middle of one wall a door, ingeniously upholstered with rows of dummy books, gave access to a deep cupboard, where, among a pile of letter−files and old newspapers, the mummy−case of an Egyptian lady, brought back by the second Sir Ferdinando on his return from the Grand Tour, mouldered in the darkness. From ten yards away and at a first glance, one might almost have mistaken this secret door for a section of shelving filled with genuine books. Coffee−cup in hand, Mr. Scogan was standing in front of the dummy book−shelf. Between the sips he discoursed. "The bottom shelf," he was saying, "is taken up by an Encyclopaedia in fourteen volumes. Useful, but a little dull, as is also Caprimulge's 'Dictionary of the Finnish Language'. The 'Biographical Dictionary' looks more promising. 'Biography of Men who were Born Great', 'Biography of Men who Achieved Greatness', 'Biography of Men who had Greatness Thrust upon Them', and 'Biography of Men who were Never Great at All'. Then there are ten volumes of 'Thom's Works and Wanderings', while the 'Wild Goose Chase, a Novel', by an anonymous author, fills no less than six. But what's this, what's this?" Mr. Scogan stood on tiptoe and peered up. "Seven volumes of the 'Tales of Knockespotch'. The 'Tales of Knockespotch'," he repeated. "Ah, my dear Henry," he said, turning round, "these are your best books. I would willingly give all the rest of your library for them." The happy possessor of a multitude of first editions, Mr. Wimbush could afford to smile indulgently. "Is it possible," Mr. Scogan went on, "that they possess nothing more than a back and a title?" He opened the cupboard door and peeped inside, as though he hoped to find the rest of the books behind it. "Phooh!" he said, and shut the door again. "It smells of dust and mildew. How symbolical! One comes to the great masterpieces of the past, expecting some miraculous illumination, and one finds, on opening them, only darkness and dust and a faint smell of decay. After all, what is reading but a vice, like drink or venery or any other form of excessive self− indulgence? One reads to tickle and amuse one's mind; one reads, above all, to prevent oneself thinking. Still−−the 'Tales of Knockespotch'..." He paused, and thoughtfully drummed with his fingers on the backs of the non−existent, unattainable books. "But I disagree with you about reading," said Mary. "About serious reading, I mean." "Quite right, Mary, quite right," Mr. Scogan answered. "I had forgotten there were any serious people in the room." "I like the idea of the Biographies," said Denis. "There's room for us all within the scheme; it's comprehensive." "Yes, the Biographies are good, the Biographies are excellent," Mr Scogan agreed. "I imagine them written in a very elegant Regency style−−Brighton Pavilion in words−−perhaps by the great Dr. Lempriere himself. You know his classical dictionary? Ah!" Mr. Scogan raised his hand and let it limply fall again in a gesture which implied that words failed him. "Read his biography of Helen; read how Jupiter, disguised as a swan, was 'enabled to avail himself of his situation' vis−a−vis to Leda. And to think that he may have, must have written these biographies of the Great! What a work, Henry! And, owing to the idiotic arrangement of your library, it can't be read." "I prefer the 'Wild Goose Chase'," said Anne. "A novel in six volumes−−it must be restful." CHAPTER XIV. 43
Crome Yellow "Restful," Mr. Scogan repeated. "You've hit on the right word. A 'Wild Goose Chase' is sound, but a bit old−fashioned−−pictures of clerical life in the fifties, you know; specimens of the landed gentry; peasants for pathos and comedy; and in the background, always the picturesque beauties of nature soberly described. All very good and solid, but, like certain puddings, just a little dull. Personally, I like much better the notion of 'Thom's Works and Wanderings'. The eccentric Mr. Thom of Thom's Hill. Old Tom Thom, as his intimates used to call him. He spent ten years in Thibet organising the clarified butter industry on modern European lines, and was able to retire at thirty−six with a handsome fortune. The rest of his life he devoted to travel and ratiocination; here is the result." Mr. Scogan tapped the dummy books. "And now we come to the 'Tales of Knockespotch'. What a masterpiece and what a great man! Knockespotch knew how to write fiction. Ah, Denis, if you could only read Knockespotch you wouldn't be writing a novel about the wearisome development of a young man's character, you wouldn't be describing in endless, fastidious detail, cultured life in Chelsea and Bloomsbury and Hampstead. You would be trying to write a readable book. But then, alas! owing to the peculiar arrangement of our host's library, you never will read Knockespotch." "Nobody could regret the fact more than I do," said Denis. "It was Knockespotch," Mr. Scogan continued, "the great Knockespotch, who delivered us from the dreary tyranny of the realistic novel. My life, Knockespotch said, is not so long that I can afford to spend precious hours writing or reading descriptions of middle−class interiors. He said again, 'I am tired of seeing the human mind bogged in a social plenum; I prefer to paint it in a vacuum, freely and sportively bombinating.'" "I say," said Gombauld, "Knockespotch was a little obscure sometimes, wasn't he?" "He was," Mr. Scogan replied, "and with intention. It made him seem even profounder than he actually was. But it was only in his aphorisms that he was so dark and oracular. In his Tales he was always luminous. Oh, those Tales−−those Tales! How shall I describe them? Fabulous characters shoot across his pages like gaily dressed performers on the trapeze. There are extraordinary adventures and still more extraordinary speculations. Intelligences and emotions, relieved of all the imbecile preoccupations of civilised life, move in intricate and subtle dances, crossing and recrossing, advancing, retreating, impinging. An immense erudition and an immense fancy go hand in hand. All the ideas of the present and of the past, on every possible subject, bob up among the Tales, smile gravely or grimace a caricature of themselves, then disappear to make place for something new. The verbal surface of his writing is rich and fantastically diversified. The wit is incessant. The..." "But couldn't you give us a specimen," Denis broke in−−"a concrete example?" "Alas!" Mr. Scogan replied, "Knockespotch's great book is like the sword Excalibur. It remains struck fast in this door, awaiting the coming of a writer with genius enough to draw it forth. I am not even a writer, I am not so much as qualified to attempt the task. The extraction of Knockespotch from his wooden prison I leave, my dear Denis, to you." "Thank you," said Denis.
"In the time of the amiable Brantome," Mr. Scogan was saying, "every debutante at the French Court was invited to dine at the King's table, where she was served with wine in a handsome silver cup of Italian workmanship. It was no ordinary cup, this goblet of the debutantes; for, inside, it had been most curiously and ingeniously engraved with a series of very lively amorous scenes. With each draught that the young lady swallowed these engravings became increasingly visible, and the Court looked on with interest, every time she put her nose in the cup, to see whether she blushed at what the ebbing wine revealed. If the debutante CHAPTER XV. 44
Crome Yellow blushed, they laughed at her for her innocence; if she did not, she was laughed at for being too knowing." "Do you propose," asked Anne, "that the custom should be revived at Buckingham Palace?" "I do not," said Mr. Scogan. "I merely quoted the anecdote as an illustration of the customs, so genially frank, of the sixteenth century. I might have quoted other anecdotes to show that the customs of the seventeenth and eighteenth, of the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries, and indeed of every other century, from the time of Hammurabi onward, were equally genial and equally frank. The only century in which customs were not characterised by the same cheerful openness was the nineteenth, of blessed memory. It was the astonishing exception. And yet, with what one must suppose was a deliberate disregard of history, it looked upon its horribly pregnant silences as normal and natural and right; the frankness of the previous fifteen or twenty thousand years was considered abnormal and perverse. It was a curious phenomenon." "I entirely agree." Mary panted with excitement in her effort to bring out what she had to say. "Havelock Ellis says..." Mr. Scogan, like a policeman arresting the flow of traffic, held up his hand. "He does; I know. And that brings me to my next point: the nature of the reaction." "Havelock Ellis..." "The reaction, when it came−−and we may say roughly that it set in a little before the beginning of this century−−the reaction was to openness, but not to the same openness as had reigned in the earlier ages. It was to a scientific openness, not to the jovial frankness of the past, that we returned. The whole question of Amour became a terribly serious one. Earnest young men wrote in the public prints that from this time forth it would be impossible ever again to make a joke of any sexual matter. Professors wrote thick books in which sex was sterilised and dissected. It has become customary for serious young women, like Mary, to discuss, with philosophic calm, matters of which the merest hint would have sufficed to throw the youth of the sixties into a delirium of amorous excitement. It is all very estimable, no doubt. But still"−−Mr. Scogan sighed.−−"I for one should like to see, mingled with this scientific ardour, a little more of the jovial spirit of Rabelais and Chaucer." "I entirely disagree with you," said Mary. "Sex isn't a laughing matter; it's serious." "Perhaps," answered Mr. Scogan, "perhaps I'm an obscene old man. For I must confess that I cannot always regard it as wholly serious." "But I tell you..." began Mary furiously. Her face had flushed with excitement. Her cheeks were the cheeks of a great ripe peach. "Indeed," Mr. Scogan continued, "it seems to me one of few permanently and everlastingly amusing subjects that exist. Amour is the one human activity of any importance in which laughter and pleasure preponderate, if ever so slightly, over misery and pain." "I entirely disagree," said Mary. There was a silence. Anne looked at her watch. "Nearly a quarter to eight," she said. "I wonder when Ivor will turn up." She got up from her deck− chair and, leaning her elbows on the balustrade of the terrace, looked out over the valley and towards the farther hills. Under the level evening light the architecture of the land revealed itself. The deep shadows, the bright contrasting lights gave the hills a new solidity. Irregularities of the surface, unsuspected before, were picked out with light and shade. The grass, the corn, the foliage of trees were stippled with CHAPTER XV. 45
With one arm he embraced a large stone flower−pot. passed on the decanter. and sat there. "I'm not late for dinner. "I mean as an occupation." "You're in time to answer a question. Gombauld noticed his smile. and. A minute later Ivor came leaping round the corner of the house. "Perfectly. it was its expression. "Most certainly. One can go on with it without ever getting bored. On the opposite side of the valley. But now. darling. But their sentiments are always the same. His frail and slender body seemed to be fed by a spring of inexhaustible energy. at the crest of the ridge. One can tell by the speed. The ladies had left the room and the port was circulating. "It's Ivor. at twenty−six. His head was narrow. you're not late. I've come with incredulous speed. and his smile was an irradiation." Ivor's vocabulary was rich. restlessly and rapidly. his nose aquiline. Scogan. Mr. he was smiling at some private joke. What do you think? Is it serious?" "Serious?" echoed Ivor. and pointed. and his eyes were of a very brilliant. "Look!" said Anne suddenly." Ivor continued. A horn with the voice of a sea−lion made itself heard." "I'm delighted to hear it." The dust cloud descended into the valley and was lost. "But in what sense serious?" Mr. "always and everywhere." "I told you so. "Anne. He had brown. leaning his head sideways against its hard and lichenous flanks in an attitude of trustful affection. The conversation rippled idly round him. At least. leaning back in his chair.Crome Yellow intricate shadows. improbable blue. Scogan. He was forever moving." "I see. Scogan. Scogan filled his glass. CHAPTER XVI. "No. embraced Mary. "What's amusing you?" he asked." "One can occupy oneself with it. Women are always wonderfully the same. he laughed as he saw them. His hair waved in the wind of his own speed. very nearly embraced Mr. it was not the structure of his face that impressed one. looked about him for a moment in silence." he cried. approaching. kicking his heels. "We were arguing whether Amour were a serious matter or no. Scogan asked. but a little erratic. his face thin and rather long. pale. wavy hair. and embraced her. but he disregarded it." said Mr. That was charming and vivacious. The surface of things had taken on a marvellous enrichment. a cloud of dust flushed by the sunlight to rosy gold was moving rapidly along the sky−line. I've always found it so. but with an engaging gracefulness. lowering his hand. 46 . Shapes vary a little. "Well. In England"−−he put the tip of his forefinger against the tip of his thumb and. here I am." cried Mary triumphantly." said Mr. In old age−− though it was difficult to imagine Ivor old−−he might grow to have an Iron Ducal grimness. Scogan. drew out this circle into an imaginary cylinder−−"In England they're tubular. In Spain"−−with his free hand he described a series of ample curves−−"one can't pass them on the stairs. CHAPTER XVI." said Mr. am I?" He hoisted himself up on to the balustrade. that's all.
Perhaps." "And what were they?" "The idlest. But.Crome Yellow "I was just looking at you all. 47 . who was much too stupid to be a development of anything in my character. their dead bodies rot and their eyes decay with the rest. With us there is no such certainty." Mr. We differ from the bees in so far that. Tiberius. no doubt. "I was merely amused by my own speculations." said Mr. reading of the exploits of the Bourbons in South Italy. and magnify them a thousand times. Scogan. of Augustus's prudence. which of the Caesars would this person resemble−− Julius. or intelligent. unhappy blackamoors on the Congo and the Amazon were being treated as English serfs were treated in the time of Stephen. The Caesars are one of my touchstones. slashed." Mr. Claudius. if you were given the opportunity of behaving like a Caesar. Caligula. mangled. a standard. After travelling for three seconds they are perfectly inaudible. too. of the libidinousness and cruelty of Tiberius. and that Ivor remains only potentially a Caligula. the bold Fascisti slaughter their poorer countrymen: we take it all for granted. but do we enjoy life any the less because of them? Most certainly we do not. Nero? I take each trait of character. so to speak. or great. the most academic of speculations. Since the war we wonder at nothing. I might have been something fabulous. of Caligula's folly. out of every ten men placed in the Caesarean environment one will be temperamentally good. Scogan drank off what was left of his port and refilled the glass. The seeds of Julius's courage and compelling energy. after all. I was born and brought up in a country rectory. Screams of pain and fear go pulsing through the air at the rate of eleven hundred feet per second. no doubt. sitting round this table. Scogan replied. The rest will blossom into Caesars. "the most frightful horrors are taking place in every corner of the world. I was looking at you one by one and trying to imagine which of the first six Caesars you would each resemble. cried out in amazement: To think that such things should be happening in the nineteenth century! And a few years since we too were astonished to find that in our still more astonishing twentieth century. he will not. To−day we are no longer surprised at these things. The resulting image gives me his Caesarean formula. The result is that now. I ask myself this question: Given the Caesarean environment. as the special food and the queenly cell make the queen bee. Augustus. are all within me. I passed my youth doing a great deal of utterly senseless hard work for a very little money. we represent to ourselves imaginatively the sufferings of nations and individuals and we deplore them. in middle age. "I am potentially all of them. Yes." "And which of the Caesars do you resemble?" asked Gombauld." Mr. what are CHAPTER XVI. They are human beings developed to their logical conclusions. We have created a Caesarean environment and a host of little Caesars has sprung up. "They are characters functioning. When I meet someone for the first time. "all−−with the possible exception of Claudius. The Black and Tans harry Ireland. These are distressing facts. each mental and emotional bias. Given the opportunities. We feel sympathy. It would have been pleasant and interesting to watch their tics and foibles and little vices swelling and burgeoning and blossoming into enormous and fantastic flowers of cruelty and pride and lewdness and avarice. Seventy and eighty years ago simple−minded people. untrammelled." he went on. But it would have been more amusing. But circumstances were against me. But perhaps it is as well. it's better so. in the void. they can be sure of making a queen every time. I am the poor thing that I am. the full horror of their potentialities. People are being crushed. disembowelled. Scogan answered politely. if they had had the chance to develop. it's as well that Denis hasn't been permitted to flower into a little Nero. Scogan explained. "Are we as comic as all that?" "Not at all. What could be more natural?" Mr. Hence their unequalled value as a touchstone. of Nero's artistic genius and enormous vanity. as a spectacle. each little oddity. given the proper food. the Poles maltreat the Silesians. At this very moment. The Caesarean environment makes the Caesar.
He turned to Mr. jumping up with alacrity. I'm afraid. "Let's go out into the garden. Henry Wimbush pushed back his chair. He was a good amateur medium and telepathist. And. "So do I. he could cook with genius. 48 . Scogan. His accomplishments were extraordinary for their number and variety. Small details matter little so long as the general effect is good. But luckily. "I think perhaps we ought to go and join the ladies. without saying anything. Training would only have destroyed his natural aptitudes. when occasion offered." CHAPTER XVII. and even then they don't go very far. her large china eyes fixed on the performer. but the general effect of splendid noise emerged clearly enough. we aren't a sympathetic race." "Thank you. He resembled Shakespeare in knowing little Latin and less Greek. possessed an irresistible charm of manner. He could write rhymed verses with an extraordinary rapidity. cried out aloud. and was the hero of more amorous successes than he could well remember. honestly." Murmurs of applause and gratitude were heard. and had a considerable first−hand knowledge of the next world. "but I for one prefer these still more wonderful arm−chairs. unless the person for whom we feel sympathy happens to be closely involved in our affections." he said. Ivor brought his hands down with a bang on to the final chord of his rhapsody." There was a pause. We are not always condemned to be happy alone. He was good looking. but it makes pleasure possible for the rest of the world. returned to the grimy little sixteenth−century account books which were now his favourite reading. with a startling brilliance. and if the drawing was sometimes a little weak. through imagination and sympathy." said Mr. Scogan. the colour was always pyrotechnical. I didn't. he could improvise. "Fortunately. He looked for a moment over his pince−nez in Ivor's direction and then. "It's a wonderful night. A really sympathetic race would not so much as know the meaning of happiness. One is always alone in suffering. for if one had an imagination vivid enough and a sympathy sufficiently sensitive really to comprehend and to feel the sufferings of other people. He turned round in his seat and tossed the hair back out of his eyes." Ivor suggested. with those who physically suffered. rapidly and loudly." he said. He knew more about Sir Ferdinando's household expenses than about his own. And a good thing too. on the piano. Nature and fortune had vied with one another in heaping on Ivor Lombard all their choicest gifts. He excelled in amateur theatricals and." His pipe had begun to bubble oozily every time he pulled at it.Crome Yellow sympathy and imagination? Precious little." said Ivor. "we can share our pleasures." he said. He was perfectly happy. as I've already said. At the beginning of the war I used to think I really suffered. "There. the fact is depressing when one happens to be the sufferer. He had a beautiful untrained tenor voice. And yet I think I have a more vivid imagination than most. For a mind like his. besides. 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. "That's the best I can do for you. "Wonderful!" and gasped for new breath as though she were suffocating. He had wealth and he was perfectly independent. that hint of the seventh was decidedly modern. education seemed supererogatory. Henry Wimbush was also happy. and Mary. For painting symbolical pictures he had a dashing style. CHAPTER XVII. But after a month or two I had to admit that. one would never have a moment's peace of mind.
rather a theoretical feeling. like all his emotions." "Here are the steps. whatever it had been. Jenny.. a gap in the yew hedge. "I am going back to the house. It was lighter here. the most natural. who headed the party. After that. dry concussion that might have been the sound of a slap. thump! there was the sound of a heavy fall in front of him." cried Denis. and even as she pronounced the words she was melting away into the darkness. Denis shambled in the rear. and in a moment they had the turf of the yew−tree walk under their feet. The atmosphere began to palpitate. Outside it was warm and dark." Went on Ivor." Her tone was decided. of horrible spiked obstructions. Somewhere there were steps down to the right. stretti"−−close. He trotted down the slope towards the unseen sufferer. the warm darkness seemed to pulse like blood about them. or at least it was just perceptibly less dark. It was tremendously exciting." The others followed. singing as he walked. Ivor put his arm round Anne's waist. "Car il obtint de la bergere. there was no moon. softly: "Phillis plus avare que tendre Ne gagnant rien a refuser. groped his way cautiously. for the yew walk was wider than the path that had led them under the lea of the house. Un jour exigea a Silvandre Trente moutons pour un baiser. and Ivor sang a Neapolitan song: "Stretti. He himself felt a certain kittenishness sporting within him. she felt she would never stop. rather unexpectedly.Crome Yellow The outdoor party. 49 .. in this darkness. "Be careful. close−−with something about the little Spanish girl to follow. singing unevenly as he went: "Trente baisers pour un mouton." The melody drooped and climbed again with a kind of easy languor. "Oh!" and then a sharp. enrolled under Ivor's banner. Mary came down the hill like a runaway steam−engine." and he was off. "Le lendemain. he had told them so. Denis. vainly exhorting everyone to caution: the slope was steep. "I'm going to run down." said Ivor. startled.. He guided his companions over the danger. her speed insensibly CHAPTER XVII. It seemed the easiest. and in that position walked on. He hated Ivor. but it was. They walked up and down the terrace. and then interrupted himself to shout. From somewhere behind Ivor began to sing again. and they wouldn't listen. "Oo−ooh!" Denis was almost pleased.. the idiots. Jenny's voice was heard pronouncing. The incident. was closed. Denis resumed his forward groping." he shouted once more. and. consisted of Anne. Looking up. Denis. But the ground grew level beneath her feet. Between the blank precipitous wall of the house and the tall yew trees the path was a chasm of impenetrable gloom. "Let's go down to the pool. Suddenly from behind him he heard a shrill. they could see between the high black hedges a strip of sky and a few stars. Denis wondered why he had never done it. 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. followed by the long "F−f−f−f−f" of a breath indrawn with pain and afterwards by a very sincere. thing in the world. Mary. What was wrong with these people. full speed. it did not overmasteringly seek to express itself in a practical demonstration of kittenishness. down the invisible slope. and hardly were the words out of his mouth when. one had an irrational fear of yawning precipices. nouvelle affaire: Pour le berger le troc fut bon. dropped his head sideways onto her shoulder. this blind rush through the dark. one might break one's neck. he wondered? They had become like young kittens after a dose of cat−nip. He disengaged his embrace and turned round to shepherd his little flock.
soft but wonderfully clear through the still darkness. almost a child. to lay his head on her shoulder.Crome Yellow slackened. leaned against him. after all. of course. it was not worth while to light another." she said. sleek mass of her hair." He sat down beside on the grass. bare arms." "Ass!" she retorted in a tone of tearful irritation. when he had finished cleaning and bandaging her hand. involuntary tears of pain. "Well. "you're caught now. "Not so bad. "Light a match. He rubbed his cheek. and my hand. Denis? I've hurt my ankle so−−and my knee. but the general effect was the same. She drew closer. He was going on with his half−finished song: "Le lendemain Phillis plus tendre. a world of colours and forms−−Anne's face. Anne allowed herself to be attended to. He did not remove his encircling arm. and suddenly she was caught by an extended arm and brought to an abrupt halt. and the left exhibited two or three red abrasions. they heard the sound of Ivor's singing. I'm all in pieces. from below. the night trembled amorously to the sound of his voice. It didn't seem to make much difference which it was. interlaced. Fut trop heureuse de lui rendre Trente moutons pour un baiser. Denis made his way down the hill. a patch of green turf−−and round about a darkness that had become solid and utterly blind. Anne held out her hands. and there was something so jolly about his laughter that Mary could not help laughing too." he couldn't help adding. he saw that the trace of tears. There were differences in detail. The feeling was so strong that instinctively he put his arm about her." she said. "it was silly to start running downhill in the dark. In a little while he began to sing again." She made an effort to release herself. The light spurted and then grew steady." said Ivor as he tightened his embrace." He felt in his pockets for the match−box. against the thick. and found himself breathing the faint." Ivor burst into a peal of amused laughter. and his emotion was intensified when. It's Mary. the shimmering orange of her dress. with any comfort. a little universe had been created." he said. Magically. looking up at her face. Mary was too short for him to be able. "It's not Anne. "I seem to be making nothing but floaters this evening. delicious atmosphere of perfume that she carried always with her. When he had finished he kissed her. "of course it was. meekly and gratefully. Ne voulant deplaire au berger. the general effect was the important thing. Anne or Mary: Mary or Anne. They walked along by the side of the pool. that she was younger than he. 50 . The match went out. "I want to look at my wounds. I've already made one with Jenny. and. lingered on her eyelashes. "Is that you. suddenly." "My poor Anne. "Any damage done?" he called out. and so they sat in silence. He felt tremendously large and protective. caressed and caressing." she commanded. "So it is!" he exclaimed. and there was something in her tone that made him feel that she had lost her superiority over him. Then. "Thank you. But Denis was terribly distressed." CHAPTER XVII. Anne. "But then." He laughed again. had become. and somehow it was all so amusing and natural that Mary made no further attempt to escape from it. her white. He pulled out his handkerchief and began to wipe away the dirt from the wounded hand. both were green and earthy with her fall.
He turned his head. CHAPTER XVII. on the mouth. A wave of courage swelled through him." The sheep.. "Trente moutons pour un baiser.she couldn't find the adjective. baa. "no. baa.? Or the shepherd? Yes." "But if I say it is?" "It makes no difference.. that's a horrible and inappropriate expression. the woolly mutton−− baa." she protested. he felt himself to be the shepherd now. "Why isn't it our stunt?" asked Denis. by the way.Crome Yellow There was a rather prolonged pause. She tried to explain. He was so absurdly young. with more precision." The last note died away into an uninterrupted silence." "Why not?" "It spoils our friendship. I say it isn't. and helped his companion to her feet. But you must do it another time." "I shall make you say it is. she had never so much as conceived the possibilities of an amorous relationship with him. Anne averted her head. Then the voice sang on: "Le lendemain Phillis peu sage Aurait donne moutons et chien Pour un baiser que le volage A Lisette donnait pour rien. the protector. and that was so jolly. She took a cautious step. warm as wine. Denis..so." said Anne. decidedly. the smooth nape that this movement presented him. It was as though time were being allowed for the giving and receiving of a few of those thirty kisses.it isn't our stunt at all. He was the master. then." Reasons of health could not be gainsaid. "You couldn't." "Because it isn't." "Bosh!" said Denis. but on the cinema it always looked an easy piece of heroism. 51 . It's beginning to swell. Denis. "I'll carry you. "Ooh!" She halted and leaned heavily on his arm. "No. "Are you comfortable like this?" She nodded a Yes to both questions.. Somehow she had never thought of Denis in the light of a man who might make love. "it isn't. he kissed the ear. at first rather randomly. He had never tried to carry a woman. and began to kiss her face. Denis got up reluctantly..." she said." It was true.. I must go in and get my ankle into hot water." "All right. so. "Can't you see. "And." Denis offered.. but she knew what she meant. "Are you better?" Denis whispered.
was reading. he should have been holding her in his embrace. as he looked at them. he had just made the discovery that Sir Ferdinando was in the habit of eating oysters the whole summer through. One by one she held them out at arm's length and." "It's perfectly sweet of you to offer. without conviction. Jenny was mysteriously scribbling in her red notebook." said Ivor.." Mary explained. Priscilla was looking through a pile of drawings. then almost lost his equilibrium. Gombauld. "It was gibbous." "Astral Beings at Play.. and came down again to the drawing−room. he reflected. 3rd December '19. in horn−rimmed spectacles. Diamonds were embedded in her high−piled coiffure. Denis repeated to himself. She had to be content with the reported experiences of others. All silent and all damned. my poor Denis. Try as she could−−and she tried hard−−Priscilla had never seen a vision or succeeded in establishing any communication with the Spirit World. very technical and scientific. He explained. kissing her. On the back of each sheet descriptive titles were written: "Portrait of an Angel. Incredible. Henry Wimbush was still deep in his account books. you know. 52 ." "A Party of Souls on their Way to a Higher Sphere. looked long and attentively through half−closed eyelids." He felt larger and more protective than ever." "I can. regardless of the absence of the justifying R." said Denis. she was once more the far−off being. He had expected that. on the slope of her mauve−powdered decolletage diamonds twinkled. She did so and. An immensely long cigarette− holder projected at an angle from her face. It was a batch of Ivor's drawings−−sketches of Spirit Life. somehow. there was no movement save the stir of Priscilla among her papers. "What have you done with the rest of your party?" she asked. He helped Anne upstairs.Crome Yellow "Of course I can. only two minutes ago. It seemed incredible that. he was silent. It was nearly an hour later when Ivor and Mary made their appearance. thus supported. thanks. Mr. with something of a bump. and had to deposit his burden suddenly." Before examining the drawing on the obverse of each sheet. All silent and all damned. began to limp slowly up the hill. looking up as Denis entered the room. and tried. The lamplight was utterly serene. He selected a book and a comfortable chair. he picked her up under the knees and lifted her from the ground. She wore a pale sea−green dress." he ordered. 15th March '20. to compose himself for an evening's reading. 21st May '21. stooping. as far as the disturbed state of his mind would permit him. "I said You couldn't. left her in the hands of a maid. "We waited to see the moon rise. what a weight! He took five staggering steps up the slope. Ivor and Mary were still in the garden. but I'd rather walk." She laid her hand on his shoulder and. Now she had regained all her superiority. desired and unassailable. "Put your arms round my neck. Humiliated. "I'll try again. Good heavens. He was surprised to find them all sitting just where he had left them. a child. throwing back her mountainous orange head. Anne had gone to bed. CHAPTER XVII. everything would be quite different−−it seemed such a prodigious time since he went away. She was helpless then. and laughed again. she turned it over to read the title. "My poor Denis!" she repeated. Scogan's pipe still wheezed. they glittered every time she moved. seated in her favourite arm−chair at the corner of the hearth. all silent and all damned. And. Why had he been such a fool as to suggest that carrying stunt? He reached the house in a state of the profoundest depression. made in the course of tranced tours through the other world. Anne was shaking with laughter. that was the only sound.
the stars. Ivor. she thought. Ivor. Denis helped me home. "There were a great many meteorites." Ivor waved his arms. the meteorites through whose summer shower the earth was now passing. she was occupying the spare seat in the sedan. Mary looked on and listened with parted lips. of course.." But Ivor had already begun to strike the keys. the rising moon and its gibbosity. thought it would be an interesting experience. she hardly knew. ready to start. too." Mary was full of sympathy. The sea−lion horn roared. she was relieved to find Anne's non−appearance so simply accounted for. The three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the seven dozen oysters." He sat down at the piano and opened the lid. faintlier. religion. and. 18: "And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops"−−a sermon of immediately local interest. The two young ladies parted affectionately. the scent of the flowers. Mary had never been to a Roman Catholic service. when the car moved off through the great gates of the courtyard. And then they had had such interesting conversation. spiritualism. but there had seemed to be something a little louche in the way she had suddenly found herself alone with Ivor. Nature." she said. exactly three hundred and fifty years ago. down there in the garden−−suspicious of what. an elegant eighteenth− century hump. "The earth must just be coming into the summer shower of them. or CHAPTER XVIII. Inwardly. 53 . by a quarter to ten. faintlier. On this very July day. dust. who was punctilious in his devotions. What about? About almost everything. from the midst of the body of the car. CHAPTER XVIII. came down early to breakfast and had his car at the door. the stars. Bodiham preached on 1 Kings vi. "I fell down and twisted my ankle. For the past two years the problem of the War Memorial had exercised the minds of all those in Crome who had enough leisure. and she commiserated with Anne on all she had missed−−the garden. music. the relations of the sexes. but she was not yet asleep. the scent of flowers. In the parish church of Crome Mr. science. The light was out in Anne's room. "Why didn't you come down to the garden with us?" Mary asked. Not that she minded. without appearing to be seriously disturbed.. "And when the moon came up. The nearest Roman Catholic church was upwards of twenty miles away. had an interesting mind.. the stars. enamelled a pure lemon yellow and upholstered in emerald green leather.He wished he had known before dinner. He even put in a nightingale that was not there." said Mary to anyone who would listen. It made me burst into tears. poetry. On her way to bed Mary paid a call. It was a smart. She had been vaguely suspicious. expensive−looking machine. and weather by a glazed sedan that rose. He had a natural piety which made him delight in the celebration of memorial feasts. and they were gone. "I do hope you'll be better to−morrow. The others pursued their occupations. There were two seats−−three if you squeezed tightly enough−−and their occupants were protected from wind.Crome Yellow "It was so beautiful down in the garden! The trees. But she didn't like the idea that perhaps she was the victim of a put−up job.. He played the garden. the rising moon. the stars. it was really too much.. or mental energy.. art. The discovery of this fact gave Henry Wimbush a peculiar pleasure. far from it. the scent of flowers. Sir Ferdinando had eaten seven dozen oysters. In July and August. he would have ordered champagne.
if possible. Why? Because he was dedicating the work to God. His last had been delivered in March. partly because the memorial committee had never been able to agree. useless and unpractical. monographs on the local antiquities. making up parties of a Sunday afternoon to look for fossils and flint arrow−heads. Henry Wimbush walked home thinking of the books he would present to the War Memorial Library. CHAPTER XVIII. in its very nature. especially the latter. he reflected. One lich−gate. But the busiest and most articulate party followed Mr. Bodiham preached a sermon on the subject. these young men would have had their Sunday diversions even at Crome. What were the characteristics of these buildings dedicated to God? Obviously. A library.Crome Yellow party spirit to think of such things. dancing−−social amusements in which they would have partaken as members of a conscious community. or. his bowler and face were one in their unruffled gravity." Mr. nothing except Mr. 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. inspired by such reading. a monument of marble. Other suggestions had been made. At any moment. From thence he passed to temples and churches in general. They were unpractical buildings "carved with knops. A War Memorial was. The War Memorial must be built at once. But nothing would be easier than to make a second entrance into the churchyard. Bodiham's forbidding Boys' Club and the rare dances and concerts organised by himself. They made way for Henry Wimbush. Sir Julius. he built a house all carved with knops. they had been stamped out by the Puritans. were assembled. He liked to think of the villagers. The villagers themselves favoured the idea of a memorial reservoir and water supply. Funds were inadequate. from a human point of view. It was high time that the War Memorial was erected. Now they had nothing. Henry Wimbush was all for a library−−a library of local literature. It might soon be too late. "And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops. if ever it came into existence. the fact of their. 54 . Further delay was disastrous. Boredom or the urban pleasures of the county metropolis were the alternatives that presented themselves to these poor youths. it was high time that his congregation had a fresh reminder. 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. 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. old maps of the district. a stained−glass window. Both these were admirable. in the time of his son. This was an object which answered perfectly to the definition of a War Memorial: a useless work dedicated to God and carved with knops. Country pleasures were no more. Bodiham scornfully and indignantly condemned the idea. partly for the more cogent reason that too little money had been subscribed to carry out any of the proposed schemes. So far. Bodiham touched lightly on Solomon's temple. All should subscribe according to their means. not to God. a monument of marble." Solomon might have built a library−−indeed. skittles. He returned their salute. nothing had been done. There had been much talk in Crome about the proposed War Memorial. dialect dictionaries. stocked with county histories. it was true. God might come. At the first stile a group of village boys. like a thief in the night. a work dedicated to God. drearily guffawing as they smoked their cigarettes. Bodiham in demanding something religious in character−−a second lich−gate. handbooks of the local geology and natural history. Meanwhile a difficulty stood in the way. a reservoir? Mr. Stained−glass windows. and a second entrance would need a second gate. He appealed to the patriotism and the Christian sentiments of all his hearers. These were works dedicated to man. touching their caps as he passed. A lich−gate had been suggested. Every three or four months Mr. for example. it was pleasanter than the road. He took the path through the fields. already existed. complete uselessness. remote and rustic Crome. As a War Memorial they were totally unsuitable. all three. There would have been archery. however. In Sir Ferdinando's time. It was a token of thankfulness that the first stage in the culminating world−war had been crowned by the triumph of righteousness. loutish young fellows all dressed in the hideous ill−fitting black which makes a funeral of every English Sunday and holiday.
"We are listening. set in the stocks. Unchanged for fifteen hundred year. above all. they had come upon a company of men and women. CHAPTER XIX. Scogan. A prosperous and dignified old age. Then." said Mr." insisted Mr. though perhaps indirectly. and would infallibly have soon got rid of the rest in the same manner." "But you must read something. rarely drinking more than a bottle and a half of port at a sitting. of course.. It was he who suffered from the delusion that his perspiration engendered flies. "Or Sir Henry. gaoled. 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. without life of its own. An extraordinary reformation made itself apparent in Sir Ferdinando's character. He grew regular and economical in his habits. cause already of such infinite mischief. "Sir Ferdinando's voyages are not without interest. he applied himself forthwith to the task of spending it. "And as on Tullia's tomb one lamp burned clear. cheered by the spectacle of his children's growth and happiness−− for Lady Lapith had already borne him three daughters." he said thoughtfully. At the death of the virtuous and unfortunate Sir Hercules. the moonlight dance is never danced again. taking his pipe out of his mouth.. Sir Julius. would have to bicycle six miles to the town. 55 . And now it was no more." said Henry Wimbush. The pious magistrates had snuffed out for ever a little happy flame that had burned from the beginning of time. "I can't decide what episode to read you to−night. if they wanted to dance.No. Panic rite came to extinction here? he wondered. The waning fortune of the Lapiths began once more to wax. The country was desolate. The magistrates and their men had ridden their horses into the crowd.. and was desolated to think of all the murdered past. he even became temperate. Or there's Sir Cyprian. dancing. was due.Crome Yellow In Manningham's Diary for 1600 there was a queer passage. had had wind of a scandal. One moonlit summer night they had ridden out with their posse and there." "Good. he remembered. The "History of Crome" lay on his knee. how helpless without their clothes against armed and booted horsemen! The dancers were arrested. which he did in an ample and jovial fashion. and in less than a year had become the absolute mistress of Crome and her husband. Ferdinando found himself in possession of the family fortune. the last of the Lapiths. By the time he was forty he had eaten and." "Before I begin reading. The young lady accepted him. looking up from the book and taking off the pince−nez which he had just fitted to his nose−−"before their begin. without indigenous pleasures. "and the events that led up to his marriage with the eldest daughter of the last Sir Ferdinando. How self−conscious the poor people must suddenly have felt. I'm inclined to think I won't read about any of these. among the hills. a very queer passage. Scogan. among the sheepcotes. seemed now to be Sir Ferdinando's enviable destiny. He liked to think so. What old. Henry Wimbush's long cigar burned aromatically. These weary young men. Or Sir George. it drove him finally to suicide. To Napoleon. slowly he turned over the pages." He turned the pages more rapidly. and there seemed no good reason why she should not bear many more of them. and that in despite of the hard times (for Sir Ferdinando married in 1809 in the height of the Napoleonic Wars). drunk and loved away about half his capital. and sons as well−−a patriarchal decline into the family vault." said Henry Wimbush. Who knows?−− perhaps their ancestors had danced like this in the moonlight ages before Adam and Eve were so much as thought of. But Providence willed otherwise. Puritan magistrates. whipped. the untimely and CHAPTER XIX. I must say a few preliminary words about Sir Ferdinando. there's his son.." He repeated the lines to himself. earthy. "I think I shall read about my grandfather. not a little increased by his father's temperance and thrift. Certain magistrates in Berkshire. stark naked.
but unconscious." he said. Scogan. a victim to his own patriotism. They picked him up. "So much by way of introduction. to drive through the country proclaiming the good news to all he met on the road and dispensing it. Thus. Sleeping Reading was awakened by the great news. "It was in the spring of 1833 that my grandfather. first made the acquaintance of the 'three lovely Lapiths. had destined him for a political career. breaking most of his ribs and both arms. head foremost. his pleasures were temperate and innocent. The coach was brought to a standstill." he said." Henry Wimbush paused. were setting out with the news of Nelson's victory and death. Maidenhead. however.' as they were always called. The victories in the Peninsula. He found Sir Ferdinando still alive. Slough. an East Indian merchant." "One moment. "till I've refilled my pipe. and Emmeline and Caroline. into the road. who was above all things a patriot. Wimbush waited. wreathed with laurel for triumph. The Bath coach was on the point of starting. that in the summer of 1815 Sir Ferdinando was staying for a few weeks in the capital. Scogan had lighted his pipe again. It was too much for Sir Ferdinando. he had driven as far as Edinburgh. and the abdication of the tyrant all went uncelebrated. Lady Lapith did not marry again. They were approaching Swindon. 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. "Fire away. This genial custom was one of the many habits which he abandoned on his marriage. and. Ivor was showing Mary his sketches of Spirit Life. Seated apart in a corner of the room." Mr. At Didcot one of the ostlers was so much overcome by patriotic emotions and the 1760 brandy that he found it impossible to do up the buckles of the harness. So perished Sir Ferdinando. doubtful days. Sir Ferdinando suddenly toppled sideways off his seat and fell. There had been a succession of anxious. with cypress for mourning. He had been educated at Harrow and Christ Church. Mr. and later. "Sir Ferdinando. taking a place on whichever of the outgoing coaches he happened to light on first. It so happened. He hurried to his wine merchant and bought a dozen bottles of 1760 brandy. seated in glory beside the driver. An unpleasant jolt awakened the slumbering passengers. They clattered through Uxbridge. 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. but determined to devote the rest of her life to the well−being of her three children−−Georgiana. though his circumstances were comfortable to the verge of affluence. his own peculiar method of celebrating our victories. When the happy news reached London. but he was dead before they reached the next stage. he bribed his way on to the box and. The night began to grow chilly. then came the glorious news of Waterloo. from the earliest days of the conflict with the French. His skull was fractured in two places. without having manifested the slightest premonitory symptom of unsteadiness.Crome Yellow violent death which put a period to this reformed existence. George Wimbush. his joyous youth awoke again within him. now five years old. when the coaches." said Mr. The back wheels of the coach had passed over his body. He was then a young man of twenty−two. blood was oozing from his mouth. They spoke together in whispers. Leipzig. and once more put on his pince−nez. the guard ran back with a light. it was his custom to purchase immediately a large store of liquor and. 56 . proclaimed aloud the downfall of the Corsican bandit and passed about the warm liquid joy. and had gone to considerable expense in acquiring a CHAPTER XIX. The coach was travelling at a dizzy speed−−six miles in the last half−hour−−when. had adopted. Henry Wimbush fired away. the retreat from Moscow. after the Nile. "Now I can begin to read about my grandfather. along with the liquor. at every stopping−place to all who cared to listen or drink. he enjoyed hunting and all other field sports. with curly yellow hair and a smooth pink face that was the mirror of his youthful and ingenuous mind. twins of two. His father.
as you say. asked him what he thought of the latest French poetry and whether he liked the "Indiana" of George Sand.' Georgiana smiled bewitchingly. The twins. One can't think of one's soul while one is eating. being a prudent woman. 'I am glad. with a promptitude which did him credit. Lady Lapith made a few discreet inquiries. drooping like a sensitive plant. in fact. "The lovely Lapiths did not fail to impress him. "'Pray. He smiled with pleasure at the thought of it. was orientally dazzling. 'so am I. exist. and so. and family were all passably good. 57 . was about to go on speaking. neigh. but held that London during the season also had its charms. Death is very beautiful. the Reform Bill of 1832 swept the borough out of existence.Crome Yellow pleasant little Cornish borough as a twenty−first birthday gift for his son. he was a thoroughgoing transcendentalist. and having found that George's financial position. and the twins.' "George agreed. He had enough appreciation of music to know that he hated anything classical. no meat. in George's estimation. had almost compensated for the tediousness of the rest of the concert. were objects revolting to the sight and smell. a small but elegant house in the neighbourhood of Berkeley Square. cluck like a hen. George would never have had the courage to follow up the acquaintance. Yes. with her black ringlets. but for the invincible attraction exercised by their beauty. don't talk to me of eating. 'But since. "'Alas!' Emmeline sighed.. Emmeline protested that to her high mountains were a feeling and the hum of human cities torture. At the time he got to know the lovely Lapiths he was waiting. her flashing eyes. He was justly indignant when. Georgiana. 'I am a transcendentalist. but. shutting their eyes and averting their faces from the proffered dish. he was no classicist in music. 'One must. He noticed with surprise and a certain solicitous distress that Miss Emmeline's appetite was poor. The inauguration of George's political career had to be postponed. squeal. no bird. were an identical pair of ravishingly English charmers. You went to hear Paganini last week. so unspiritual. the eldest. on the very eve of George's majority. she knew it was advisable to prepare for all contingencies. he was not at all impatient.' said George. one must live. 'I don't. 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. however. would make an excellent second string for one of the twins.' He hesitated. and chestnut hair. and three grapes−−that was her whole dinner. she thought. "George followed up this first introduction by paying a call on the young ladies and their mother. George agreed that the country was very agreeable. Georgiana and Caroline seemed to be quite as abstemious. leaning forward and fixing him with her large dark eyes.' she asked. her swan−like neck. He looked from time to time at her two sisters. who occupied.' said Emmeline. George Wimbush. 'are you a classicist or a transcendentalist?' George did not lose his presence of mind. George's partner was Emmeline. her noble aquiline profile. and sloping shoulders. looking up their noses at him with an air of languid superiority.' she said. during the season. don't you think?' She broke a corner off a piece of toast and began to nibble at it languidly. with their delicately turned− up noses. ventured to comment on the sisters' lack of appetite. my sisters and I. and growl. 'In music. character. quack. the duck.. to be so forbidding that. George. "Their conversation at this first meeting proved. But what was almost worse was the question with which Georgiana opened her conversation with him. She hoped and expected that her daughters would all marry into the peerage. he replied. bellow. 'Do you know anything more transcendental than that?' 'No. decidedly. as though the lemon sole.' he said. "The prayer of Moses"−−ah!' She closed her eyes. who thought the dinner capital. Two spoonfuls of soup. They waved away whatever was offered them with an expression of delicate disgust. 'We find it so coarse. The man had made his fiddle bray like an ass. one couldn't. that last item. their blue eyes. grunt. of course. she asked him to dine. They talked of Nature. that it didn't. bark. "At this first dinner.' She made a little gesture of CHAPTER XIX. the trifle. the loin of veal. 'But one must live. a morsel of fish.
During the meal she spoke of love. "George regarded her with some surprise. and dropped her eyes. seeking gloom and solitude. To George the thought was a continual agony. Georgiana ate only an olive.. True. "'True love. 58 . two or three salted almonds. from Lady Lapith downwards. "She contrived. talked most of death. in the list of visitors figured the names of two marriageable young men of title.. he thought them wonderful. people told you you needed a dose of rhubarb. and was the palest−−with a pallor that was so startling as to appear positively artificial. repose. The boisterous company of the young men became intolerable to him. George was invited to spend the month of August at Crome.. that one couldn't help liking him. At any moment. if all the world acted on your principles?' "'Mamma!. can only be consummated in eternity. Nowadays. especially Georgiana. "The house−party was distinguished. They all liked him.' she said. She was pale. Lady Lapith was stopped. so did her sisters. but he was such a pleasant. For they needed protection. He was mistaken.. she might loose her precarious hold on this material world and become all spirit. he shrank from them. they often complained of fever. and that in spite of the numerous balls. protective affection. was not spiritual. stout and practical. if you didn't eat.' said Lady Lapith. 'What would become of the next generation.. the first evening. too spiritual for this world.Crome Yellow resignation. "'In my young days−−' Lady Lapith was launched into her subject. He. they were always pale.' Emmeline and Caroline implored in unison. it seemed.' "'Come. It was a desperate expedient. having broken away CHAPTER XIX. clearly. kind−hearted young man. to live through the season. They never ate. "After this he saw them frequently. He enveloped them all in a warm. he was not very romantic or poetical. routs. and half a peach. and it was clear that he was not unfavourably received. 'being infinite and eternal. George looked on. 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.' Georgiana protested. Perhaps if you were really spiritual you needed less food. In the middle of July the whole household moved down to the country. and his soul was a hell of jealousy and despair. they frequently swooned. in company with the rest of the lovely trio. and other parties of pleasure which. and natural surroundings might have restored to the three sisters their appetites and the roses of their cheeks. he thought. could stop her now. One morning. Georgiana had swooned sideways on to Lord Timpany's shoulder... Georgiana was the most ethereal of all.' "'Mamma!. 'I should have been laughed out of countenance if I'd said a thing like that. For dinner. George had hoped that country air. they talked much and lovingly of death. Love is incompatible with life. they were altogether too frail. She was as pale as ever. "'In my young days. my dear.' She put down her corner of toast half eaten. but she looked extraordinarily healthy. 'In my young days.. If she were to die. but it was successful. she never failed to attend. swooned most often. wonderful. unpretentious. however. The wish of two people who truly love one another is not to live together but to die together. "The days passed in an uneventful round of pleasures. come. Of all the gay party George alone was unhappy. of the three she ate least. For his part. Indiana and Sir Rodolphe celebrated the mystic wedding of their souls by jumping into Niagara.' Lady Lapith went on. pray. nothing. it seemed. Lord Timpany was paying his court to Georgiana. 'Luckily a very little suffices to keep one alive. It was just unpleasant.' "There was a cry.
ah. it was evident. The door closed behind her with a click. The carcase of a cold chicken. It was just an ordinary door let in flush with the panelling. would be a piece of unforgivable rudeness and indiscretion. The lovely sisters and their mamma still kept their chambers. hurried back across the hall and disappeared in the direction of the kitchen. It was in vain. "At any moment she might die.Crome Yellow from them on some vague pretext. There he halted. George rose. On the last stroke. a little maid. Emboldened. and silver. The staircase. What he was doing. of which the degrees were made not of stone but of blocks of ancient oak. He halted before it. and a door confronted him. opened the hidden door. petrified by what he saw. then he would die too. now he had seen it. George tried to recompose his thoughts. If she became Lady Timpany. wound up and out of sight. it was so obvious. deeply gashed to its heart of tenderest white and pink.−−all the shining apparatus of an elegant meal−−were mirrored in its polished depths. without her tray.. his heart beat uncomfortably. to George's extreme astonishment. He paused for a moment to look out. then! The solution of the problem would not be so simple. mutely gaping. revealing the foot of a winding staircase. The young men were bathing in the pool below. A slit−like window admitted the daylight. A minute later it opened again and the maid. a slender Hock bottle. popped out of the door that led from the kitchen regions into the hall. a little door swung open. She reached out her hand and. they did not customarily make their appearance till luncheon. he told himself. Wimbush remarked parenthetically−−stood a small circular table of mahogany. Where did the staircase lead? What was the errand of the little maid? It was no business of his. "In the middle of a pleasantly sunny little room−−'it is now Priscilla's boudoir. corkscrewed round. was extremely ungentlemanly. and began to ascend the stairs. If she died. suppose she couldn't live without him? He was fumbling his way along this clueless labyrinth of suppositions when the clock struck twelve. He passed the first window. A glance sufficed to show him the position of the secret door−−secret. that to explore the secrets of that surprising door. horribly underbred. terrible. but his attention wandered. he returned to the house alone. he was at the foot of the central tower.. then half a turn. and came to another. Turning sideways in order to get her tray through the narrow opening. but an invincible curiosity drew his mind towards the hidden door. porcelain. the little maid darted in with a rapid crab−like motion. George sat down in the hall and abandoned himself to thought. the staircase. he turned the handle and stepped across the threshold. making the quiet house seem lonelier and more silent. their cries and laughter floated up to him. at any moment she might become Lady Timpany. this partial satisfaction had but whetted its appetite. as though he were affronting some unknown danger. the brown cannon ball of a cold plum− pudding. Suddenly determined. a great ham. 59 . But then suppose she were in love with Timpany−−though it seemed incredible that anyone could be in love with Timpany−− suppose her life depended on Timpany. George was astonished that he had not noticed it before.' Mr. If she became Lady Timpany: it was a horrible thought. like an automaton released by the turning clockwork. but an unobtrusive catch sunk in the wood invited the thumb. A quarter−past twelve sounded on the harmonious clock. he saw nothing but a stretch of white sunlit wall. She pattered across the room and came to a halt in front of what seemed a blank expense of panelling. they were still shouting and splashing in the pool below. so that the male guests had the morning to themselves. a bowl of fruit. "George closed the door and went back to his seat. From his deep arm−chair George watched her (himself. that mysterious staircase within. But his curiosity was not satisfied. Crystal. He pulled back the catch and peeped inside. It was terrible. but at the end of that time he found himself standing in front of the innocent sheet of panelling through which the little maid had disappeared. he kept repeating−−no business of his. he would go to seek her beyond the grave. the little maid. It was in vain he told himself that the matter was none of his business. crossed the room. Indeed. holding a large covered tray. He tried to read. for five minutes he struggled heroically with his curiosity. He tiptoed onward and upward. he could hear no sound. and the little window looked out over the terrace. he perceived. Putting his eye to the keyhole. almost as obvious as the cupboard door in the library with its lines of imitation shelves and its dummy books. listened. unobserved) with an idle curiosity. only to those who looked with a careless eye. and a decanter of claret jostled one another for a place on this festive CHAPTER XIX. One turn more. No latch nor handle betrayed its position.
'It would make us look so ridiculous. petrified by the same astonishment which kept George fixed and staring. 'a little more material. but the drumstick had never reached its destination. wasn't so bad. Emmeline sprang to her feet. he turned and. Looking up. Georgiana dropped her chicken bone. Between the thumb and forefinger of her right hand she was holding a drumstick of the dismembered chicken. "I'm going to bed." she announced.. after all. Georgiana toyed with some French beans and a spoonful of calves'−foot jelly. gazed at him with dark. Georgiana. He came to a standstill in the hall. 'I feel a little stronger to− day. CHAPTER XIX. in mid−air. and there. "My poor grandfather!" Mr. The movement propagated itself. suspended. She looked up. of course.' she added. "What?" she said in the startled tones of one newly returned to consciousness.Crome Yellow board. the three lovely Lapiths−−eating! "At George's sudden entrance they had all looked towards the door. highly centralised. unless. And round the table sat the three sisters." she said.' she said to Lord Timpany. stood apart from the rest of her hand. "Whenever I read in the papers about oppressed nationalities. "what?" Jenny caught the words. her little finger. rushed out of the room and down the winding stairs. Her mouth was open.' "Lady Lapith was disappointed. "It was a maternal government. said George. it remained.' said George brutally. "You won't tell anyone. Caroline still grasped her knife and fork. George? Promise you won't tell anyone. I think of him. uttering a cry. she had hoped for better things−−for Timpany and a coronet. with a nervous laugh.' "'I will. she caught George's eye. elegantly crooked. In the silence that ensued Ivor's whispered commentary on the spirit sketches once more became audible.. a blush suffused her cheeks and she looked hastily away. and there were no representative institutions. enormous eyes. who had been dozing. who sat immediately facing the door. "What's about a ham?" "What Henry has been reading. Priscilla. 60 . Wimbush added. 'I'll give you twenty−four hours to decide. and got up. They were married at the New Year. They were a group of statues. frozen. The wave of panic reached George. "At luncheon it was noticed that the sisters ate a little more than usual.' she implored. Then suddenly there was movement. For what seemed a very long time. But George. eating IS unspiritual." He relighted his cigar. Emmeline's fingers were round the stem of her claret glass. 'I'll tell everyone." Henry Wimbush ceased speaking. all by himself in the quiet house. when he congratulated her on this increase of appetite. "It's about a ham. isn't it? Say you won't tell anyone. grew more decisive. The other two sisters had turned round to look at the intruder. as he closed his book and put away his pince−nez. and now they sat. "In the garden that afternoon they found themselves for a moment alone. nodded reassuringly. George and the three sisters stared at one another in silence." She closed the red notebook lying on her knees and slipped a rubber band round it. smiled.' "'It's blackmail. he began to laugh. And besides. mumbling something unintelligible as he went. Caroline's knife and fork clattered on her plate. suddenly woke up.' "'I don't care.
and an hour later the two insomniasts." said Henry Wimbush. The mattresses were hauled up. Then there were noises: the owls screeched tirelessly. Even through the mattress one could not fail to be aware that the leads were extremely hard. 'I will sleep. each on his separate tower." "I shan't sleep. I am asleep!' And pop! off I go. Ivor on the eastern. Ivor and Mary started broad awake. but sank back on her pillows." said Anne. One gets bored by oneself on a tower. were crying their good− nights across the dividing gulf. Round the open windows the curtains hung unmoving. assuredly they would sleep. Ivor. "perhaps. from behind the chimney−stack at the farther end of the roof a white form noiselessly emerged−−a form that. She sat up and looked over the parapet. all the geese of the farmyard burst into a sudden frenzy of cackling. With the mournful scream of a soul in pain. followed by a scrabbling noise and a whispered "Damn!" And suddenly Ivor's head and shoulders appeared above the parapet. and you could get a mattress through the trap doors that opened on to them. and once." "Nor can I. The sky was pale and watery. Under the stars. Then there was a patter of feet on the tiles. "I simply cannot sleep on a stuffy night. he began to walk forward along the roof−tree of the house. looked out into the darkness and drew a breath. On Mary the sleep−compelling charm of the open air did not work with its expected magic. But she lacked the energy to rise from her arm−chair. She listened intently. The stars and the gibbous moon demanded to be looked at. sheets and blankets were spread. and cautiously added. "so I came along to see if you couldn't." he explained. narrow clouds barred the east. Long. Mary pretended to wake up with a start. I know. She dared look no more. "You must make an effort. He swayed terrifyingly as he advanced. flying heavily up from below. Don't you find it so?" It was light before five. Spreading his arms to right and left." he declared. then the other. roused by some unknown terror. the monumental coiffure nodded exorbitantly at her slightest movement. Time passed. the moon climbed higher and higher in the sky. yawning. for the next. in the moonlight. The night was hot and oppressive. "It will get cooler after midnight. Mary looked on speechlessly. fanning himself with the portrait of an Astral Being. There was a flat expanse of leads on each of the towers. "except out of doors. I concentrate my will: I say. and when one meteorite had streaked across the sky. He was on the leads. like a tight−rope dancer. alighted on the parapet of the tower. was recognisably Ivor's. "What are you doing here?" "I couldn't sleep." "But does it work on stuffy nights?" Ivor inquired. 61 . CHAPTER XIX. Mary felt less sleepy than she had when she first came out. "When I can't sleep.Crome Yellow "So am I. under the gibbous moon. "Oh!" she said. open−eyed and alert. a monstrous peacock. perhaps he was walking in his sleep! Suppose he were to wake up suddenly." "Out of doors! What a wonderful idea!" In the end they decided to sleep on the towers−−Mary on the western tower. now! If she spoke or moved it might mean his death." said Mary. "The air's like wool. Had Ivor been able to sleep? she wondered. you could not help waiting." Priscilla turned her head in his direction. One leg followed. That's the power of thought. their edges bright with orange fire. For what seemed an immensely long time there was no sound." she said. And as though in answer to her mental question.
he devoted himself to his engagements. The first sunlight had begun to warm and colour the pale light of the dawn." The frightened peacock ran up and down the parapet in an absurd distress. Her purple pyjamas clothed her with an ampleness that hid the lines of her body." There was a prolonged and silent farewell. from the beginning of July till the end of September." said Ivor at last. "And now. you select me. if you choose to think so. a sort of Teddy−bear−−but a Teddy bear with an angel's head. to−morrow in Warwickshire. a long−lashed eye of purple and green. "Extraordinary!" Ivor echoed." He vanished through the trap door into the darkness that still lurked within the shuttered house. Ivor was gone. A minute later he had reappeared on the farther tower." she said at last. "We'll have a feather. The varletry will soon be up and about." he said.." said Ivor.. "I repeat my tight−rope stunt. comfortable.Crome Yellow "Catch him!" cried Ivor.. behind the parapet. she looked like some large. on Saturday in the West riding. and hair like a bell of gold. "It's extraordinary to think of sexual selection." Mary threw her arms round his neck. his long tail swung ponderously back and forth as he turned and turned again. Social and amorous engagements of the most urgent character called him from hall to baronial hall. of blue and gold. He had gone back just in time. The whole summer through. jumping up." "Ivor. What luck!" He put his arm round her shoulders and they stood looking eastward. from Elizabethan manor− house to Georgian mansion. gravely and intently. he was a martyr to them. the feather of an angel's wing. came the thin wasp−like buzzing of an alarum−clock. It was all extremely symbolic. looking up from her contemplation of the miraculous feather. But he had left a trophy.. by Tuesday morning in Argyll−−Ivor never rested. "I select you. and then sank down. To−day in Somerset. "Already?" "I'm afraid so." He had to yield at last to her entreaties. they were a young and charming couple. From below. nothing in this world is not symbolical. over the whole expanse of the kingdom. out of sight. Profound and beautiful truth! "I must be getting back to my tower. he waved his hand. "You mustn't. He handed it to his companion. in the house. curtseying and bobbing and clucking. Ivor. "An angel's feather. Lounging behind the wind−screen in his yellow sedan he was whirling across rural England. from castle to castle. Mary looked at it for a moment. In the autumn he went back to CHAPTER XX. It's dangerous.Somehow the whole atmosphere of this sunrise was rather angelic. unjointed toy. CHAPTER XX. An angel's face." he said. 62 . with a recovered dignity. "All right. Mauve pyjamas and white pyjamas. but then. Ivor had his feather. pink cheeks. Please. Then with a flap and swish he launched himself upon the air and sailed magnificently earthward. "I'll go down through the house and up at the other end. The rising sun touched their faces.
according to his invariable custom in these cases. But much more magic. They used to give me cinnamon when I had a cold−−quite useless. Sleeps in the soul of all created things. Crome calls me like the voice of vesperal bells. In the visitor's book at Crome Ivor had left. Fate tears me hence. like carnival and carnation. Scogan. of Aleatico. just because the word 'carminative' didn't mean what it ought to have meant. perhaps you can explain. "And what does it mean?" "It's a word I've treasured from my earliest infancy. when I discovered alcohol. Later. "I am only troubled by the butterfly's auricular wings. in delicate delight. Who webbed enchantment on the bowls of night. Scogan read it aloud: "The magic of those immemorial kings. 63 . and among other things it was described as being in the highest degree carminative. One poured it drop by drop out of narrow bottles. of champagne. a little impatiently. In all that singing flies and flying sings.Crome Yellow London for a holiday. much more cogent spells Weave here their wizardries about my soul. but not disagreeable. fierce and fiery. that glow. 'carminative' described for me that similar. palms upwards. Recently. By tea−time he would be at Gobley." "What could be simpler. 'Isn't it carminative?' I used to say to myself when I'd taken my dose. isn't it?" "Admirable." Mr. of Marsala. meanwhile Zenobia." said Denis. Haunts like a ghostly−peopled necropole. I had a whole poem ruined. It seemed so wonderfully to describe that sensation of internal warmth. Marsala is rosily. "It's a beautiful word. CHAPTER XX. remembering its Home. He would think of Thursday morning when Thursday morning arrived." said Denis. And on Thursday morning−−but that was a long. Denis and Mr. a poem. in pain. Hard fate! since far from Crome My soul must weep. what DOES it mean?" asked Mr. I classified them. on the writing−table in the hall they found the visitor's book. Denis. Mr." "You make it luminously clear. Scogan agreed. a golden liquor. and its derivations. of claret. it belonged already to the past. long way ahead. open. Meanwhile there was Gobley. Scogan strolled back together from the gates of the courtyard." said Denis. of Lacryma Christi. when he had finished." said Mr. still more vaguely with caro−carnis. of gin. downily carminative. And now"−−Denis spread out his hands. Crome had been a little incident." "Very nice and tasteful and tactful. "treasured and loved. of stout. In the blue sea. I had a whole table of carmination values." Denis went on. In the eyed butterfly's auricular wings And orgied visions of the anchorite. and Ivor wanted to say that the wings were golden. that−−what shall I call it?−−physical self−satisfaction which followed the drinking of cinnamon. "carminative. The carminative virtues of burgundy. for example. Scogan. of rum. gin pricks and refreshes while it warms. Carminative−−it's admirable. rose−coloured and warm. lingering lovingly over the syllables. I imagined vaguely that it had something to do with carmen−carminis. an evanescent bubble on the stream of his life." "Well. and there would be Zenobia's welcoming smile. despairingly−−"now I know what carminative really means. but nobler. more spiritual glow which wine evokes not only in the body but in the soul as well." "One suffers so much. On the label was a list of its virtues. th' Acroceraunian height. of old brandy. Carminative−−there was the idea of singing and the idea of flesh. "from the fact that beautiful words don't always mean what they ought to mean. I adored the word. You have a first−hand knowledge of the workings of a poet's mind. "Carminative. of the raw new wine of this year's Tuscan vintage−−I compared them. He had improvised it magisterially in the ten minutes preceding his departure. In rain. and Ivor's composition scarcely dry. whence they had bidden their last farewells.
. "Words. "words−−I wonder if you can realise how much I love them.' was what I wrote. For me it marked the end of a chapter. when I shall know that carminative means windtreibend. "I wrote a poem about the effects of love. There it was: 'Carminative: windtreibend. ca. It had always been taken for granted. Mr. "Carminative. 'And passion carminative as wine. and they were silent for a time." protested Mr." said Mr. Not only was the line elegantly sonorous. And then suddenly it occurred to me that I had never actually looked up the word in a dictionary. Love. hue! Poste et j'ajouterai.Crome Yellow with a suggestion of the jollities of mi−Careme and the masked holidays of Venice." said Mr. "There is no need to be ashamed. I turned up C." said Denis at last. "Do come to the point. Scogan." said Denis." Denis repeated.' Windtreibend!" he repeated. before me lies the rest of my life−−a day. elaborate work of art. carm. and all at once I felt I would like lexicographical authority for it." "Others have done the same before you. for example.' I was not ill−pleased.. Carminative−−the warmth. the death of something young and precious. half a century. "for me it was no laughing matter. 'And passion carminative as wine. exact foreground. 'And passion carminative as wine. "Ah. very aptly compendiously expressive... Mallarme's envelopes with their versified addresses leave you cold. Carminative: for me the word was as rich in content as some tremendous. Everything was in the word carminative−−a detailed." "Carminative. The spectacle of Mr. carminative.' CHAPTER XX. Gladstone finding thirty−four rhymes to the name 'Margot' seems to you rather pathetic than anything else. Carminative had grown up with me from the days of the cinnamon bottle. it was also. Your mind is not a literary mind. unless they leave you pitiful. There were the years−−years of childhood and innocence−−when I had believed that carminative meant−−well. Denis shook his head. Scogan laughed. "that the effects of love were often similar to the effects of wine." Denis went on. I flattered myself. Scogan.. Instead of which." he said.' It is a realisation that makes one rather melancholy. an immense. perhaps. is essentially carminative. ten years. I wrote a poem the other day...' It was the first time I had ever committed the word to writing. chez cet Heredia. that Eros could intoxicate as well as Bacchus. A small English−German dictionary was all I had at hand. And now. you can't see that 'Apte a ne point te cabrer. Scogan thoughtfully. the interior ripeness were all in the word. 64 . It gives one the sense of warmth. 'Plus ne suis ce que j'ai ete Et ne le saurai jamais etre. indefinite hinterland of suggestion." "Well. the glow. dia! Si tu ne fuis onze−bis Rue Balzac. the glow. my dear Denis. car." "Do come to the point." "I was putting forward the notion. it was a complete landscape with figures.. You are too much preoccupied with mere things and ideas and people to understand the full beauty of words.
before the power of the finished spell. 65 ." said Mr. Some stood. the whole granary trembled. luxuriant grasses. Poor dears! no wonder. The technical. 'Black ladders lack bladders." "You're right. I proffer the constatation. She was smiling. Rabbits out of empty hats? No.' A self−evident truth. some reposed with their long bellies pressed to the ground. as though the cool grass were water. unforgettable. I may add. and. and she looked at Gombauld through half−closed eyes. trembling with delight and awe. had I chosen to formulate it in such words as 'Black fire−escapes have no bladders. and did not stay their flight till they were safely in the farmyard. Beneath it there was a perpetual shade and a damp growth of long." CHAPTER XXI. Formulated by their art the most insipid statements become enormously significant. "I can't." "That's the test for the literary mind. Suddenly their jovial repose was shattered. Little social noises burst fitfully forth. in the shadow. A prodigious thump shook the wooden flooring above their heads. With a loud. it was inaudible." said Mr. harmonious words the magicians summoned rabbits out of empty hats and spirits from the elements. the literary men. Words are man's first and most grandiose invention. Her long. 'Black ladders lack bladders. For example. "Poor ducks!" Anne repeated. He glared at her round the half−finished portrait on the easel." She was sitting sideways in a low. still go on with the process. "Damn you!" Gombauld repeated. little fragments of dirt and crumbled wood rained down among them. wooden chair.' it becomes. the sense that words have power. Their descendants.' And you can't appreciate words.' or. "the feeling of magic. I'm sorry for you. a family of white ducks had sought shelter from the afternoon sun. slender body drooped into curves of a lazy grace. The sound of their quacking was faint in the distance. "Can't you see you make me lose my time?" he asked. moving." said Denis. Scogan reflectively. and stamped his foot again. verbal part of literature is simply a development of magic. "Don't lose your temper. for they evoke emotions out of empty minds. in the green dampness. Scogan.Crome Yellow is a little miracle. continuous quacking the ducks rushed out from beneath this nameless menace. Her right elbow rested on the back of the chair and she supported her cheek on her hand. With language he created a whole new universe. and from time to time some pointed tail would execute a brilliant Lisztian tremolo. "Listen! You've frightened the ducks. for all its self−evidence." Anne was saying. significant. "That's what you need. 'Les echelles noires manquent de vessie." "You don't feel it to be magical?" "No. Here. what wonder if he loved words and attributed power to them! With fitted.' translated into magic significance as. 'Black ladders lack bladders. The creation by word−power of something out of nothing−− what is that but magic? And." "A mental carminative. Perched on its four stone mushrooms. "I can't work with you dangling about distractingly like this. one on which it would not have been worth while to insist." CHAPTER XXI.' But since I put it as I do. their spells are more subtly powerful. morticing their verbal formulas together. preening themselves. the little granary stood two or three feet above the grass of the green close. what is that but literature? Half the world's greatest poetry is simply 'Les echelles noires manquent de vessie.
" said Gombauld. "You've become very protective towards poor Denis all of a sudden. 66 . After all. of deliberately provoking and inviting the desire. It's so unintelligent. "You're awful. "I never dreamt of playing what you beautifully call the same game with him. invites. "I'm at a loss to know whether you're more silly or more rude. "I suppose you'll be saying next that you didn't start the game." Gombauld replied. she added in her ordinary cooing voice and with her exacerbating smile. Why can't you leave that wretched young man in peace?" Anne flushed with a sudden and uncontrollable anger. innocent man−−falls a victim.. "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. and man−−noble man. You feel one of your loose desires for some woman. You might just as well say that a plate of strawberries and cream deliberately lures you on to feel greedy. "I don't like to see a young man. it's so barbarously naive. when I do. with a gravity that was somehow a little too solemn. and because you desire her strongly you immediately accuse her of luring you on. In ninety−nine cases out of a hundred women are as passive and innocent as the strawberries and cream." "Thanks. to have the amusement of running away." CHAPTER XXI. what am I dangling about for. and that you were the innocent victim who sat still and never did anything that could invite or allure me on." Anne went on." he said. without looking up." he said.Crome Yellow "You'd lose less time if you stopped talking and stamping your feet and did a little painting for a change. "Why do you ask me to come and stay here? Why do you tell me you'd like me to paint your portrait?" "For the simple reasons that I like you−−at least. renewing the conversation as though it had only just been broken off." After painting for a little time in silence Gombauld began to speak again. "And then there's Denis. and I always thought you were a man of sense. The woman lures." she said indignantly." said Gombauld." "Well." "I have. You have the mentality of savages. "Can't you see that you're simply externalising your own emotions? That's what you men are always doing. fascinates. when you're in a good temper−−and that I think you're a good painter. all I can say is that this must be the hundredth case. Anne shrugged her shoulders and gave vent to a sigh.." Anne threw back her head and laughed." "So like a man again!" said Anne. "It's perfectly untrue about Denis. "Be a little objective. that it was I who made the first advances." "For the simple reason"−−Gombauld mimicked her voice−−"that you want me to make love to you and. "It's always the same old story about the woman tempting the man." Recovering her calm. except to be painted?" Gombauld made a noise like a growl. My poor Gombauld! Surely you're not going to sing that old song again. with conviction. "You're playing the same game with him.
It happened to be so completely untrue. CHAPTER XXII. The portrait was terribly like. "The stealth of moonbeams." She was curiously irritated at what Gombauld had said about Denis. stretching out a small saurian hand with pointed nails−−"not so fast. but in vain. she was going to sit for him again. weighed heavily on body and mind." said Anne. They descended by the yew−tree walk. He looked down from his window.being whirled along the road to ruin. here that he had kissed her. I admire your sentiments and. had distracted his mind. It was the lazy. towards the front. utterly unillumined by the inward lights of thought and emotion. That was the way to the green close and the granary. her head and shoulders turned at an angle from the rest of her body. We'll go together.Crome Yellow "." He was in the mood to write something rather exquisite and gentle and quietist in tone. the man seemed to be lying in wait. Scogan's eye glittered like the eye of the Ancient Mariner. she had never flirted with Denis. Scogan.. His pleasantly depressing melancholy was dissipated by a puff of violent emotion. and lunch. It was here. One elegant quatrain had flowed from beneath his pen: "A brooding love which is at most The stealth of moonbeams when they slide. theoretical kind of love. On the shaven turf of the terrace Henry Wimbush and Mary were playing a solemn game of bowls. like Ernest Dowson." indeed! In the hall he saw Mr. Seated sideways. Scogan put on his hat and they went out arm in arm. continuing his sentence for him. They crossed the courtyard in front. he was possessed by that bored and hopeless post−prandial melancholy which the coenobites of old knew and feared under the name of "accidie. Gombauld decided. the lines sagged as they crossed the canvas. doll−like in its regularity and listlessness. so recently eaten. angrily he threw his quatrain into the waste−paper basket and ran downstairs. he told himself. he wondered what she would think of it.. the portrait would be diabolic. Denis tried to escape. Yes.. It was Anne's face−−but her face as it would be. the hopeless kind−−the quiet. In this sad mood of repletion he could well believe it. it had begun to emerge on the canvas. Gombauld might have some slight ground for his reproaches. He was at work on the face now. here−−and he CHAPTER XXII. The meridian demon was upon him. Mr. Evoking colour's bloodless ghost. For the sake of peace and quiet Denis had retired earlier on this same afternoon to his bedroom. I was just going down to the flower garden to take the sun." Denis abandoned himself. When it was finished. She became somewhat pensive. before. Anne and Gombauld. believe me. it would be diabolic when it was finished. But Denis−−no. her elbow on the back of the chair. He wanted to work. here that Anne had fallen. thought Denis." He felt. and passed out of sight through the gate in the right−hand wall." when his attention was attracted by a sound from outside. there they were. "Not so fast. but the hour was a drowsy one." he said. and at the same time it was the most malicious of lies. He had emphasised the lazy curves of her body. 67 . talking. The restlessness of an unsatisfied desire. the grace of the painted figure seemed to be melting into a kind of soft decay. laughing together. He began to write. Perhaps that was the ideal kind of love. I share them. of love hopeless and unattainable. He thought of Anne. The hand that lay along the knee was as limp as a glove. making work impossible. He was painting her in the pose she had naturally adopted at the first sitting. Gombauld painted on with fury. which. expressionless mask which was sometimes her face. seemed now to have converted itself into a kind of feverish energy.. "a little weary. O'er some scarce−breathing breast or side. something a little droopy and at the same time−−how should he put it?−−a little infinite. she had fallen into an attitude of indolent abandonment. Mr. Poor boy! He was very sweet.
And then Luther appears. just as they would listen to a fiddler or a mountebank. However"−−Mr. People listened to him at first−−a new virtuoso performing on that elegant and resourceful instrument. "There was Erasmus. "Sanity−−that's what's wrong with me and that's what will be wrong with you. being a sage. more entertaining. In a sane world I should be a great man. Wherever the choice has had to be made between the man of reason and the madman. dry." he said to himself−−"after all. Scogan. 68 . Scogan shrugged his shoulders and. Sanity. It was here. more confident. Sanity appeals and argues." Denis made no response. The only hope is a maniacal crusade. I am nothing at all. my dear Denis. but the tireless insistence of Mr. for example. Life was awful! "Sanity!" said Mr. then. we're merely reasonable. "After all. Luther was serious. passionate. violent. you must set about persuading them in a maniacal manner." Mr. he was reviled for his reasonableness. suddenly breaking a long silence. he was thinking of other things. he's already somebody and I'm still only potential. Scogan's eyes shone with a more than ordinary brightness. "Consider.Crome Yellow blushed with retrospective shame at the memory−−here that he had tried to carry her and failed. a man of reason if ever there was one. besides.. "Men such as I am." He took out his pipe and began to fill it as he talked. the philosophers to what is superficial and supererogatory−−reason. The fact remains that sanity unassisted is useless. to move men to action. But as to acting on the advice of the men of reason −−never. is a sane and reasonable exploitation of the forces of insanity. But did he move them to behave as he wanted them to behave−−reasonably. when it comes. decently. People are quite ready to listen to the philosophers for a little amusement. the intellect. the compelling enthusiastic mania. Luther was reality−− like the Great War." "Everything that ever gets done in this world is done by madmen. embayed in the midst of a fragrant continent of lavender bushes. What we want. For the madman appeals to what is fundamental. Denis tried not to listen. 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. in this curious establishment. and men rushed to follow him. Europe followed Luther and embarked on a century and a half of war and bloody persecution. they even admired and venerated him. We're too sane. Scogan lighted a match. He thrived on untempered sunlight.. In the intense light the flame was all but invisible. while we acquiesce and obey. as things are. Scogan elected to sit. "If you want to get men to act reasonably. and somehow rather fiendish laugh. and. to all intents and purposes I don't exist. Scogan went on. the world has unhesitatingly followed the madman. have never achieved anything. We sane men will have the power yet. Scogan's discourse gradually compelled his attention. The smell of burning tobacco began to mingle with the sweetly acrid smell of the lavender. he gave vent to his loud. informs us that the only way in which we can preserve civilisation is by behaving decently and intelligently. for example. I am just Vox et praeterea nihil. at the head of one of the alleys stood a green wooden bench. he lacked the power. to beat a tambourine with the loudest. made a gesture of resignation−−"It's futile to complain that things are as they are. He shouted. the case of Luther and Erasmus." They entered the garden. but at the same time I shall feel a little ashamed of myself. such as you may possibly become. to passion and the instincts." Mr. Gombauld is better looking than I. We lack the human touch." Mr. or at least a little less porkishly than usual? He did not. our rulers persevere in their customary porkishness. dry perfume instead of air−−it was here that Mr. though the place was shadeless and one breathed hot. Erasmus was only reason and decency. taking his pipe out of his mouth. and. I am ready. Erasmus was no longer listened to. when you're old enough to be sane or insane. It is humiliating to find how impotent unadulterated sanity is. CHAPTER XXII. It's a melancholy story. a madman insanely convinced about matters in which there can be no conviction. pipe in hand.
to go on casually appearing and turning everything upside down. Scogan saying. Scogan went on. cleared his throat. and seize power from the imbeciles and maniacs who now direct us. Examining psychologists. In the past it didn't so much matter." Mr. the child will be given the education suitable to members of its species. Among the Intelligences will be found all those capable of thought. Duly labelled and docketed.. trained to what would now seem an almost superhuman clairvoyance." Mr. I will do more than indicate the three main species into which the subjects of the Rational State will be divided. They must found the Rational State. but our modern machine is too delicate. He talked with an ever−increasing energy. "The three main species. twisting them. Hard. nor is it his business. Some people want power to persecute other human beings. "the classification will be subtle and elaborate. will test each child that is born and assign it to its proper species. In future. But it is not in the power of a prophet to go into details." he heard Mr. like a mountain torrent driving a dynamo. quick. "You ought to complete the simile. those who know how to attain a certain degree of freedom−−and.. like Napoleon. and are ready to die CHAPTER XXII. and will be set. not according to the colour of their eyes or the shape of their skulls. A few more knocks like the Great War." he said. Scogan answered. his hands moved in sharp. evoking in Denis's mind the vision of a table with a glass and water− bottle." "Do you?" asked Denis faintly. precise gestures. "will be these: the Directing Intelligences. who believe in things unreasonably. and. in adult life. with passion. laughed again. and continuous. The sort of power you hanker for is literary power." The heat that was slowly paralysing all Denis's mental and bodily faculties. bolt upright at the other end. no doubt. and the whole concern will go to pieces. how limited. torturing them to obey you. But I divagate. the Men of Faith. mad about himself. alas. his voice went on sounding and sounding in Denis's ears with the insistence of a mechanical noise. unheeding." Mr. his eyes shone. and coughed once or twice. lying across one corner. "There's only one thing to be done." "How many species will there be?" asked Denis. We can't allow dangerous maniacs like Luther. Scogan waved away the interruption. "the time will come. as I have been calling them. the men of reason must see that the madness of the world's maniacs is canalised into proper channels." he said. but according to the qualities of their mind and temperament. even among the most intelligent. Mr. "Yes." said Denis. We men of intelligence will learn to harness the insanities to the service of reason. "In the Rational State. must conspire. Scogan additional vitality. dry. is made to do useful work. to perform those functions which human beings of his variety are capable of performing. will be the governors of the Rational State. We can't leave the world any longer to the direction of chance." He paused.Crome Yellow "But I don't want power. 69 ." "Making electricity to light a Swiss hotel. mad about dogma. another Luther or two. "Power in some form or other. that freedom is!−−from the mental bondage of their time. He was sitting in limp discomfort at one end of the bench. you expend your lust for power in persecuting words. and the Herd. Scogan continued. moulding them. shading his eyes from the intolerable light. Scogan. seemed to bring to Mr. the Madmen." said Denis. drawn from among those who have turned their attention to the problems of practical life. A select body of Intelligences. They will employ as their instruments of power the second great species of humanity−−the men of Faith. "human beings will be separated out into distinct species. "The men of intelligence must combine. "Everybody wants power. a long white pointer for the lantern pictures." Mr. "A great many.
Mr. the Men of Faith will be quietly and earnestly busy with the great work of education. in sad and sober privacy behind the scenes. only the lethal chamber. no more Comstocks. I envy the lot of the commonality in the Rational State! Working their eight hours a day. "From their earliest years. that third great species consisting of those countless millions who lack intelligence and are without valuable enthusiasm. it was as though he were taking a revenge. Scogan looked at him for a moment in silence. 70 . These wild men. Denis thought. filling and ever filling again with the warm liquor that the Intelligences. or when the ideas that were useful a decade ago have ceased to be useful. who might drive men to tears and repentance. In the upbringing of the Herd. Scogan followed his example. Oh. "I'm getting sunstroke here. ripe seedheads were brown and dry−−like Polynesian trophies. still bubbling with a seemingly spontaneous enthusiasm. Mr. brushing the blue lavender flowers in their passage. when the high spiritual temperature of a Crusade would be unhealthy. the Men of Faith will have had their special education under the eye of the Intelligences. Scogan. and that everything they do is noble and significant. that they are tremendously important beings." he said. on enthusiasts. then some dark leaves of rosemary that smelt like incense in a cavernous church." Mr. all unawares. that haphazard creature of brute circumstance. Denis pulled a sprig of lavender and sniffed at it. dispetaled now. his desire. humanity's almost boundless suggestibility will be scientifically exploited. primed with some simple and satisfying creed. in the name of reason. when it is thought necessary. When any particular effort is required of the Herd. or who might equally well set them on to cutting one another's throats. they will be made to believe that they are happy. and they walked slowly away down the narrow path. the round. they will be marvellously happy. For the lower species the earth will be restored to the centre of the universe and man to pre− eminence on the earth. Systematically. Denis emitted the imitation of a loud Homeric laugh. the Men of Faith. no more Luthers and Mohammeds. as soon. severed heads stuck on poles." "And what will be my place in the Rational State?" Denis drowsily inquired from under his shading hand." he said at last. as the examining psychologists have assigned them their place in the classified scheme. They passed a bed of opium poppies. The old−fashioned Man of Faith and Desire. "No. from which they will never awake. how very different from the madman of the past! For the new Man of Faith will be expending his passion. I can see no place for you. When these projects are accomplished. will no longer be allowed to react casually to a casual environment. The Men of Faith will play the cup−bearers at this lifelong bacchanal. that is. happier than any race of men has ever been.Crome Yellow for their beliefs and their desires. that humanity shall be kindled and united by some single enthusiastic desire or idea. but." Deeply hurt. and his enthusiasm in the propagation of some reasonable idea. will brew for the intoxication of their subjects. CHAPTER XXII. the Intelligences will inspire a new generation of madmen with a new eternal truth. convinced of their own grandeur and significance and immortality. He will be. obeying their betters. Scogan chuckled maliciously. As for the Directing Intelligences. you're too independent and unsuggestible to belong to the larger Herd. ah. for the sake of solidarity. "You couldn't do manual work. The principal function of the Men of Faith will be to move and direct the Multitude. with their fearful potentialities for good or for mischief." He paused and shook his head. will be replaced by a new sort of madman. you have none of the characteristics required in a Man of Faith. At ordinary times. preaching and practising with a generous mania the coldly reasonable projects of the Directors from above. they will have to be marvellously clear and merciless and penetrating. they will go out into the world. the tool of some superior intelligence. He liked the fancy enough to impart it to Mr. no more Joanna Southcotts. "It's difficult to see where you would fit in. and got up. still externally the same. There will be no more Caesar Borgias. will be sent out on a mission of evangelisation. They will go through life in a rosy state of intoxication. from earliest infancy. its members will be assured that there is no happiness to be found except in work and obedience. Moulded by a long process of suggestion.
I like to see pictures from which nature has been completely banished. however. Denis climbed the little ladder and stepped over the threshold. Let us be duly thankful for that." he said." Gombauld laughed.." He pointed to the face. Scogan. It would be amusing to see what he's doing now. returning to its emotional elements." he repeated. if I choose to set my mind to it. and knocked the ashes out of his pipe. the fancy seemed less charming and significant than it did when it first occurred to him. "Shall we go and pay a call on Gombauld?" he suggested carelessly. "I'm sorry. 71 . Scogan. my dear Denis−−duly thankful. meanwhile. Scogan.Crome Yellow "Like Polynesian trophies. Followed by Mr. Indeed. Gombauld was by no means so furious at their apparition as Denis had hoped and expected he would be. Nature. disturbs me. "Come in. Fortunately. leisure and culture have to be paid for. if that is possible. Mr. was looking at the portrait. appeared in the frame of the open door. the other round and pale. Almost too true to character. positively too true. A moment more and he would have been losing his temper again−−and Anne would be keeping hers. have always taken particular pleasure in Cubismus. "that a multitude of people are toiling in the harvest fields in order that we may talk of Polynesia. or were they cunningly simulating gladness? He wondered." He laughed inwardly to think how furious Gombauld would be when he saw them arriving. and with his extended finger followed the slack curves of the painted figure. it is not the leisured and the cultured who have to pay. Yes. "It is satisfactory to think. one brown and pointed. never by bus if I CHAPTER XXIII.. without ever having had the slightest appreciation of painting." Uttered aloud. too complicated. pictures which are exclusively the product of the human mind. He looked suspiciously from Gombauld to his sitter. I can understand anything that any man has made or thought." he said approvingly. The energy born of his restless irritation was dying within him. "This is a little infidelity. That is why I always travel by Tube." said Mr. But I'm surprised to find you putting in all this psychology business. Like every other good thing in this world. Denis was not listening. and in a growing wave of sound the whir of the reaping machines swelled up from the fields beyond the garden and then receded into a remoter hum. or anything that reminds me of nature. he was positively glad to see them. he was rather pleased than annoyed when the two faces. She was with Gombauld−−alone with him in his studio. Scogan. "I thought you were one of the fellows who went in exclusively for balanced masses and impinging planes. above all too utterly pointless and incomprehensible. He had suddenly remembered Anne." said Mr." he called out hospitably. as they strolled slowly onward. It was an intolerable thought. and could learn nothing from the expression of their faces except that they both seemed pleased to see the visitors. There was a silence. I am at home with the works of man. come in. "excellent. it is too large. They give me the same pleasure as I derive from a good piece of reasoning or a mathematical problem or an achievement of engineering. "Excellent. CHAPTER XXIII. yes. Were they really glad. "I for one. infuriatingly.
Denis nodded. found the drawing−room deserted. Scogan was talking away. And preserve me from nature. descending from his chamber. while Denis. where Anne was sitting. endless and unexplored. contriving to forget that all round and below and above them stretches the blind mass of earth. with a laugh. From behind the easel at the other side of the room Mr. She had left it lying on the window−seat." she managed to say. Anne looked up at him.Crome Yellow can possibly help it. above all. His hands on the back of the chair. I haven't the time to start wandering in that labyrinth." was written in capital letters on the cover. lazy pose. there was a small landscape. give me the Tube and Cubismus every time. strangled voice. But travel by Tube and you see nothing but the works of man−−iron riveted into geometrical forms. But on this occasion−−perhaps because they had come so unexpectedly . travelling by bus. "My poor Denis. For a long time they looked at the pictures. a laughing key. It was the sort of thing one wrote in one's Latin Grammar while one was still at one's preparatory school. for example. Two or three canvases stood in the corner behind Anne's chair. where all is recognisably human." It was a remark which Anne had heard a good many times before and mostly heard with equanimity. as though it had cost him a great effort to utter the words. He picked up the book and slipped off the elastic band that kept it discreetly closed. Scogan was discoursing. on the low chair. at the moment. There was the big canvas of the man fallen from the horse. "Private. "I love you. their faces turned to the wall. one can't avoid seeing. perhaps for some other reason−−the words provoked in her a certain surprised commotion. He pulled them out and began to look at the paintings. "Well?" he demanded. All is human and the product of friendly and comprehensible minds. straight lines of concrete. patterned expanses of tiles. Denis leaned over her. give me ideas. preserve me from all that's inhumanly large and complicated and obscure. For. still in her graceful. I haven't the courage. Denis had nothing more. an occasional tree. CHAPTER XXIV. Denis had crossed over to the farther side of the little square chamber. "May I see too?" Anne requested." While Mr. It was noon. looking at her almost fiercely. rather. and. "I like the man and the horse. there was a painting of flowers. or. He raised his eyebrows. He stood them in a row against the wall. All philosophies and all religions−−what are they but spiritual Tubes bored through the universe! Through these narrow tunnels. CHAPTER XXIV. to say. for the most part. saying nothing. he said. a few stray works of God −−the sky. one travels comfortable and secure. Denis. where he had been making an unsuccessful effort to write something about nothing in particular. even in London. 72 . What was he asking of her? He hardly knew himself. Yes. Anne had to turn round in her chair to look at them. don't you?" she said at last. The temptation was great. looked at Anne. so snug and neat and simple and well made. the flowers in the window−boxes. Anne looked at the pictures. and for answer echoed his "Well?" in another. but she was blushing as she spoke. He was about to go out into the garden when his eye fell on a familiar but mysterious object−−the large red notebook in which he had so often seen Jenny quietly and busily scribbling. Not to be opened. looking up with an inquiring smile. and then in a queer.
mildly malicious tone in which he was accustomed to talk of them. their flat eyes and piercing beaks. he thought. the distressing thing wasn't Jenny herself. Seven full pages were devoted to him. but to see them was a privilege reserved to him alone. There were caricatures of other people: of Priscilla and Mr. No. impossible that other people should be in their way as elaborate and complete as he in his. recognisable as Gombauld and Anne. his absurdities−−no one knew them better than he did. The discovery was a painful one. What he saw made him wince as though he had been struck. A fearful desire to know the worst about himself possessed him. It put beyond a doubt the fact that the outer world really existed. somehow. A peacock and his hen trailed their shabby finery across the turf of the lower lawn. and was irreparably shattered. It seemed. the attitude of the body and limbs. an assumed aloofness and superiority tempered by a feeble envy. Impossible. He scarcely glanced at them. Thoughtfully he closed the book. Animals resemble men with all CHAPTER XXIV. in a vague way he imagined that nobody beside himself was aware of them at all." He had disobeyed the injunction. Denis pored over the drawing. periodically he would make some painful discovery about the external world and the horrible reality of its consciousness and its intelligence. Barbecue−Smith. thick and greedily fleshy at the roots. and yet. he went out on to the terrace. In his own eyes he had defects. of Henry Wimbush. A mute. he had only got what he deserved. Denis was his own severest critic. On opening the red notebook that crystal image of himself crashed to the ground. uncritical creature! It was he. who was the fool. what they stood for and concretely symbolised. Beneath. Indeed. He could stand at Piccadilly Circus. and still imagine himself the one fully conscious. was the likeness. this was how Jenny employed the leisure hours in her ivory tower apart. lingering at nothing that was not his own image. They represented all the vast conscious world of men outside himself. "Private. they symbolised something that in his studious solitariness he was apt not to believe in. A caricature of himself. of Mary and Ivor. And so this. The red notebook was one of these discoveries. it seemed. of Anne and Gombauld. reading (the book was upside−down). It was almost axiomatic. that was. The fabulists were right. Sadder and wiser. His weaknesses. intelligent. more terrible still. whom Jenny had represented in a light that was more than slightly sinister. he reflected. to be quite honest. somehow. when they took beasts to illustrate their tractates of human morality. 73 . diabolic. inconceivable that he should appear to other people as they appeared to him. But blacker the theif who steals this book!" It was curiously childish. it was what she and the phenomenon of her red book represented. The expression of the face. he reflected. he strolled pensively down towards the swimming−pool. Not to be opened. was the magisterial certainty with which his physical peculiarities were all recorded and subtly exaggerated. and slid the rubber band once more into its place. The fruit of Jenny's unobtrusive scribbling lay before him. he was Brown Dog to himself. at least. could watch the crowds shuffle past. tapered up to the cruel inanity of their brainless heads. It seemed. In the background a dancing couple. It was masterful. Sitting on the balustrade of the terrace. given away by the fidgety pose of the turned−in feet−−these things were terrible.Crome Yellow "Black is the raven. individual being among all those thousands. inglorious Rouveyre appeared in every one of those cruelly clear lines." Fascinated and horrified. indeed. inconceivable that they ever spoke of him among themselves in that same freely critical and. of Mr. a footprint in the sand. He turned over the leaves. an attitude of studious and scholarly dignity. black is the rook. He opened the book. Odious birds! Their necks. He liked to think of himself as a merciless vivisector probing into the palpitating entrails of his own soul. he had always believed. He was not his own severest critic after all. And. Scogan. so. he ruminated this unpleasant truth for some time. Denis looked deeper into the book. For the rest of the world he was surely an image of flawless crystal. And he had thought her a simple−minded. and he smiled to himself. Still chewing on it. the legend: "Fable of the Wallflower and the Sour Grapes. He felt no resentment towards Jenny.
he saw Mary pensively sitting. these rags and tags of other people's making! Would he ever be able to call his brain his own? Was there. With arms like rubber bands. and the countryside will know the old landmarks no more. so far from bringing the expected peace of mind. In this alcove hewed out of the dark trees. leaning her back against the pedestal of a pleasantly comic version of the Medici Venus. They will have vanished as the monasteries vanished before them. At breakfast that morning Mary had found on her plate a picture postcard of Gobley Great Park. with all its peers.. Mary's mind was not moved by these considerations. large hand. or was it simply an education? He walked slowly round the water's edge. parterres in the foreground. huge. for he was passing so close to her that he had to say something. her moving knees and feet. reflecting in its bronze mirror the blue and various green of the summer day. had brought nothing but disquiet. Fifty years. indeed. memories of the night. with a facade sixteen windows wide. "Under the spreading ilex tree." Just like his. Ten years more of the hard times and Gobley." 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. He walked on. And bouncing Barbary. the red notebook!) He threw a piece of stick at the slowly pacing birds. Mary considered life and love. a new and CHAPTER XXIV. executed by some nameless mason of the seicento. Looking at it. Seated under the Venus's immemorial gesture. however. On the back of the postcard. will be deserted and decaying. He emerged once more into the sunshine. The profound shade of a giant ilex tree engulfed him. in Ivor's bold..−− Ivor. (Oh. smooth lawns receding out of the picture to right and left. anything in it that was truly his own. a brawny man is he.. farewell! Like bright plumes moulted in an angel's flight. "Hail. a single quatrain. The abolition of her repressions.. maid of moonlight! Bride of the sun. it spread its long arms abroad. He sat down beside her under the shadow of the pudic goddess. There was a prolonged silence. 74 . There sleep within my heart's most mystic cell Memories of morning. the atmosphere seemed to Denis agreeably elegiac. he thought of Anne's bare arms and seal−sleek bathing−dress. "Hullo!" she answered in a melancholy." He tried to remember who the poem was by. Thanks. Mary looked up. uninterested tone. but couldn't. "And little Luce with the white legs." Oh. was written. thinking it was something to eat. next to the address. In an embayed recess among the surrounding yew trees. They rushed towards it. At the moment. The pool lay before him. Like a great wooden octopus. A stately Georgian pile. "The smith. he would have to try and do his Muller exercises more regularly. "Hullo!" he said.Crome Yellow the truthfulness of a caricature.
" "When I think of my own case. "True. and that you will all be expected to help in the Fair. Mechanically Mary rose to her feet. "One has to have had first−hand experience. They made their way up to the house without speaking. when he is forced to take cognisance of the existence of other universes besides himself. it's a dilemma. Denis went on." said Denis. she added. Mary knew Zenobia. from the poem on the back of the picture postcard." Mary was not listening. as the case may be−−must almost inevitably receive or inflict suffering. If one individual seeks intimate contact with another individual in the natural way. He was at Gobley now. tempered by distance to a pleasant booming. Uncle Henry?" CHAPTER XXV. Ivor. "When one individual comes into intimate contact with another." He had contrived this highly abstract generalisation as a preliminary to a personal confidence. for example. she−−or he. Our minds are sealed books only occasionally opened to the outside world. a little hurt that she should exhibit such a desperate anxiety for her food and so slight an interest in his spiritual experiences." said Mary thoughtfully.. "The difficulty. "makes itself acutely felt in matters of sex. and Denis. "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.. "I am amazed how ignorant I am of other people's mentality in general. It was lunch−time. she risks the equally grave sufferings that follow on unnatural repressions. she had never been so unhappy in all her life before." "Heavens!" cried Anne. "I hope you all realise. and above all and in particular. "This very morning.She couldn't do without him now." he began.Crome Yellow hitherto unexperienced misery. What a nightmare! Couldn't you put a stop to it. of course... 75 . "It's an awful problem. "that next Monday is Bank Holiday." "Exactly. "Le lendemain. Ivor. There are times when he comes into contact with other individuals. on the other hand." He leaned towards her and slightly lowered his voice. As you see. "One has to have had personal experience to realise quite how awful it is. It was the first gambit in a conversation that was to lead up to Jenny's caricatures. She thought of the last verse of the song he had sung that night in the garden." He made a gesture that was faintly suggestive of the drawing off of a rubber band. followed her." she said. The deep voice of the gong. she is certain to receive or inflict suffering. Phillis peu sage Aurait donne moutons et chien Pour un baiser que le volage A Lisette donnait pour rien." said Mary. so was Zenobia. "is not a self− supporting universe. but his confidences were cut short. generalising for herself. CHAPTER XXV. and. making a more decided move in the desired direction." said Henry Wimbush during dinner." "One is apt. "The individual." he began in a soft and sadly philosophical tone. of their opinions about myself." Mary shed tears at the memory." Denis nodded. It was evident. It was Denis who first broke the silence. If on the other hand. "The Fair−−I had forgotten all about it. she avoids contacts. floated down from the house. that Ivor could very well do without her.
" Anne murmured rebelliously. Mary?" "I won't do anything where I have to stand by and watch other people eat. as usual. Scogan?" Mr. I should have liked to put an end to it years ago. The swings and the merry−go−round arrive on Sunday. Let me see." said Anne. "it's justice.'" CHAPTER XXV. and the people of all the neighbouring villages." said Mrs.. "I'll look after the children's sports. and miscellaneous side shows−−a real genuine fair on the grand scale. It was the local St. The local hospital profited handsomely. "You'll all have to do something. from putting a stop to the nuisance which yearly desecrated his park and garden. "May I be allowed to tell fortunes?" he asked at last. "I think I should be good at telling fortunes. and turning to Gombauld. Bartholomew. 76 .. Aunt Priscilla.." "All right." Mr.. "I have more important things to think about than the Fair. "the Fair has become an institution. "'Your portrait for a shilling in five minutes." "That's splendid. What will you do. "I fear I cannot. "You'll have to be dressed up." he made a sweeping movement with his hand and was silent. "Aunt Priscilla will encourage the villagers." Henry Wimbush went on." Mary agreed. Wimbush's public spirit that he still continued to tolerate the Fair. It spoke highly for Mr." she said." "Then you'll look after the children's sports. Wimbush went on. Wimbush. Wimbush. Now. turning to the rest of the party." "And Mr. Do you still persist?" "I'm ready to suffer all indignities. Crome's yearly Charity Fair had grown into a noisy thing of merry−go−rounds. cocoanut shies." "It's not charity we want. Wimbush sighed and shook his head. flocked into the park for their Bank Holiday amusement." "Besides. Beginning as a sort of glorified church bazaar. to whom the Fair was a cause of recurrent and never− diminishing agony. But you need have no doubt that I shall do my best when Monday comes to encourage the villagers. As a special favour you're allowed to choose your slavery. It was a modest affair then. with even a contingent from the county town. interrupting her. but the claims of Charity are strong. "You must be our lightning artist." "But you can't tell fortunes in that costume!" "Can't I?" Mr." said Anne." he said. Scogan surveyed himself. My job is the tea tent. and it was this fact alone which prevented Mr." "So there's no escape." "My dear. it must be twenty−two years since we started it." "Good!" said Anne. "Alas. "Some of the larger marquees will be put up to−morrow. "I've made all the arrangements already. Scogan reflected.Crome Yellow Mr.
"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." he answered.' We'll print it on Uncle Henry's press and sell it at twopence a copy. in proof of her assertion. you must lisp." Jenny echoed." she added." Anne shook her head. We'll put you down definitely for the drums." "But what? All the good jobs are taken. It ought to be gay." Mary flushed." he said. CHAPTER XXV. "by speaking with levity of serious subjects. "But you may rest assured that it won't be. like a pair of drumsticks. "But of course. "what will you do?" Denis thought of suggesting that she might draw caricatures at sixpence an execution. "Nobody will pay more than twopence. "Nothing is to be gained. over her plate. and I can do nothing but lisp in numbers." he said. raising his voice. "I could throw in a picture of their Auras for an extra sixpence. And." "Come. then.Crome Yellow "It's a pity I'm not Ivor." protested Gombauld. Could it really be true that he looked like that? "What will I do. "My holiday at Crome isn't being a disappointment. then her face brightened and she smiled. "And a very good lot too. "there's any amount of opportunity." said Anne." "And what about Denis?" Denis made a deprecating gesture.. "I learnt to play the drums. "Jenny." said Anne." "No. with a laugh." said Gombauld. come. no. "When I was young. "If there's any opportunity of playing the drums. "I have no accomplishments." said Gombauld." Denis protested.. but decided it would be wiser to go on feigning ignorance of her talent. 77 . "That won't do." "The drums?" Jenny nodded." she repeated firmly. "No." she said severely. "It'll be worth sixpence. "I look forward to my Bank Holiday. "You must write a poem for the occasion−−an 'Ode on Bank Holiday." "And now there's Jenny. after all. "Twopence. agitated her knife and fork. and. whatever your personal views may be." "It ought indeed. His mind reverted to the red notebook." concluded Anne. That's the lot." she said. "what will I do?" She frowned thoughtfully for a moment." "Well." "Sixpence." "Isn't it?" Anne turned an ingenuous mask towards him." said Mr Wimbush." Mr Scogan assented." she began. You must do something more than that. it isn't. No holiday is ever anything but a disappointment. psychical research is a perfectly serious subject.
Life would be richer. to get away from myself. "always without success. Scogan replied. Having been brought up in society. warmer. not only should I be afraid of taking a holiday from them. Yes." "You're depressing. said I to myself. Out of the ten octaves that make up the human instrument. his sharp nose moved in a series of rapid jerks through all the points of the compass. the character of the painter. 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. "So much for the religious emotion. and. The written work is simply an attempt to express emotion." Mr. expanding the fingers of his right hand. brighter. but about all the periods that were fashionable before 1900 I am. A melancholy fact! But I divagate. Thus. I read the works of the mystics. I don't pretend. I venture to believe. The full range of human potentialities is in any case distressingly limited. how can we hope to have anything like an absolute change? We are tied down by the frightful limitation of our human faculties. Yes. I try to feel them. But isn't a complete and absolute change precisely the thing we can never have−−never. when the subject was hackneyed and religious. a complete holiday is out of the question. I felt nothing but a certain interest in the subject of the picture. I can compass perhaps two. or was." "It's in the very nature of things. for example. I felt nothing but a great weariness of spirit. I repeat it. if I could feel them. my own boring nature. and so appears merely grotesque. or more often." Mr. if I may be allowed to express myself metaphorically. omniscient. while I am naturally addicted to venery. 78 . as members of a society. I have forgotten most of the knowledge I then so laboriously acquired. he went on: "Look at me. For it is the emotion that matters. "But always without success. but without vanity I can assert that it was prodigious. Nevertheless. The mystic objectifies a rich feeling in the pit of the stomach into a cosmology. In my youth I was always striving−−how hard!−−to feel religiously and aesthetically. Confronted by a picture." said Anne. I knew more about Taddeo da Poggibonsi. I have little ambition and am not at all avaricious. which is in itself inexpressible. in terms of intellect and logic. I have a conscience as well as a fear of gaol. There was no sign of dissent. while I may have a certain amount of intelligence. I must have gone on looking at pictures for ten years before I would honestly admit to myself that they merely bored me. What sort of a holiday can I take? In endowing me with passions and faculties Nature has been horribly niggardly. omniscient. are two tremendously important and exciting emotions. I am impregnated with its laws. You agree with me in my definition?" Mr. Scogan once more looked rapidly about him. Here. Reflect for a moment.Crome Yellow "I'm delighted to hear it. "our holidays can't help being disappointments. To−day. of course. I go on cultivating my old stale daily self in the CHAPTER XXV. Scogan went on. my range is a limitation within a limitation. But did that fact make me any more appreciative of art in general? It did not. the Platonic Holiday of Holidays is surely a complete and absolute change. very well." he added. Scogan checked himself. As for the aesthetic−−I was at even greater pains to cultivate that. I should also feel it painful to try to do so. the influences that had gone to make it what it was−−I felt none of that strange excitement and exaltation which is. How often have I tried to take holidays. I have looked at all the right works of art in every part of Europe. Some of us struggle manfully to take one. Scogan glanced from face to face round the table. by our own personalities. to know anything about nigger sculpture or the later seventeenth century in Italy. "Of course it is. Scogan sighed. Since then I have given up all attempts to take a holiday. I am happy to say. he continued: "A complete and absolute change. As ourselves. For other mystics that cosmology is a symbol of the rich feeling. For the unreligious it is a symbol of nothing. of which I could tell you all the known and presumed history−−the date when it was painted. we never succeed in getting farther than Southend. I have no aesthetic sense. as I am informed by those who do feel it. Education has further limited my scope. For us. altogether more amusing. There was a time when. my insufferable mental surroundings!" Mr. but we never succeed. in the very nature of things?" Mr. In a word. while I possess the mathematical faculty. the true aesthetic emotion." Mr. I am wholly without the religious emotions. by the notions which society imposes on us through our fatal suggestibility. more about the cryptic Amico di Taddeo. What is a holiday? The ideal. "I mean to be. as specimens of Homo Sapiens. even than Henry does. I know it by experience.
Crome Yellow resigned spirit with which a bank clerk performs from ten till six his daily task." "Yes. scarcely wavering column of black smoke." or better−− "My soul is a pale. short and thick−set. and with such persistence. But personally I found the war quite as thorough a holiday from all the ordinary decencies and sanities. Beside him. a short covert coat. CHAPTER XXVI. Scogan thoughtfully agreed. quivering in the blast of noisy life. There was old Lord Moleyn. A holiday." Gombauld shrugged his shoulders." CHAPTER XXVI.. It was time for him to descend from the serene empyrean of words into the actual vortex." That was pleasing: a thin. It was a step beyond Southend. "Perhaps. it was almost Ilfracombe. with a face like a Roman bust. such resonance. the balloons strained upwards. monotonous see− saw. and short white hair. keep him suspended. absurdly. "my standards aren't as elevated as yours." he said. he surveyed the scene." Bad. his elbows resting on the parapet. The clashing of automatic cymbals beat out with inexorable precision the rhythm of piercingly sounded melodies. all the common emotions and preoccupations. "My soul is a thin white sheet of parchment stretched Over a bubbling cauldron. tenuous membrane. The steam−organ sent up prodigious music. and from the funnel of the engine which worked the roundabout rose a thin. and lower down. the noise would surely buoy him up.. just beyond the boundaries of the garden.. In the midst of the canvas town. like a huge. Tight blown. and above his head.. A crowd thronged its streets.. the war was certainly something of a holiday." On the terrace stood a knot of distinguished visitors. Young girls didn't much like going for motor drives alone with Mr.. "My soul is a thin tent of gut. inverted bunch of many−coloured grapes. bobbing. If he threw himself over the parapet. this time in metrical form. bad." Mr. It had the right anatomical quality. Here and there tricolour bunting hung inert. With a scythe−like motion the boat−swings reaped the air. funeral best−−the women in pale muslins. Denis had climbed to the top of one of Sir Ferdinando's towers. as I ever want to have. indeed! I'm sorry for you. the men dressed mostly in black−−holiday best. stood Mr. standing on the sun−baked leads. "My soul is a thin. tenuous membrane. "Yes. 79 . the merry−go−round glittered in the sun. Callamay. But he liked the idea of something thin and distended being blown up from underneath. the venerable conservative statesman. Gombauld. long legs cased in pearl−grey trousers−−legs that bent unsteadily at the knee and gave a kind of sideways wobble as he walked. and there. tenuous membrane. and below that long. as a fountain balances a ball on its breaking crest. that its alternate tonic and dominant detached themselves from the rest of the music and made a tune of their own. like a caricature of an English milord in a French comic paper: a long man. scarlet and gold and crystal. Another fancy came to him. The harmonies were like a musical shattering of glass and brass. drooping moustaches and long teeth of old ivory. The balloon−man walked among the crowd. in the green expanse of the park. Far down in the bass the Last Trump was hugely blowing. a loud. He went down slowly. with a long nose and long. Denis leaned over the gulf of swirling noise. A little canvas village of tents and booths had sprung up. it was Weston−super−Mare. if you still look forward to having a holiday.
. Mr. it mounted. 'tis folly to be wise. 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. in a hoarse whisper. the Sorceress of Ecbatana. He then examined the palm that was presented him. frowning and clicking with his tongue as he looked at the lines. He had a terrifying way of shaking his head. It would have been polite to go and say. "Terrible. Moreover. Budge from the big house on the other side of the valley. She stood low on the ground. His soul was a tenuous. "I was afraid so. unprejudiced. pale membrane. and wrinkled−−like the Bohemian Hag of Frith's Derby Day. then stepped in and was engulfed. A placard pinned to the curtain of the doorway announced the presence within the tent of "Sesostris. through the crowd. and the spikes of her black−and−white sunshade menaced the eyes of Priscilla Wimbush. with an uncomfortably beating heart. after all. "How d'you do?" But at the moment Denis did not want to talk. Scogan would nod several times. some horrifying question. indicating with a movement of the finger that they were to sit down opposite him and to extend their hands for his inspection. They seemed. was it possible. And yet they really existed. 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. The clients who came in laughing grew suddenly grave. They were talking to Anne." Sometimes... he looked−−sharp−nosed. which it could hardly fail to be. Scogan received his clients in mysterious silence. terrible!" or "God preserve us!" sketching out the sign of the cross as he uttered the words.And they waited. they functioned by themselves. Dressed in a black skirt and a red bodice. separate. He paused for a moment on the brink. If he could but send his soul to follow it!. CHAPTER XXVII. From the home of the Rat he emerged just in time to see a hydrogen−filled balloon break loose for home. mounted. Denis peeped at them discreetly from the window of the morning− room. and started to push his way. with a yellow−and−red bandana handkerchief tied round his black wig. using a magnifying glass and a pair of horn spectacles." Seated at a table. they had minds.Crome Yellow Callamay.. His soul fluttered as he approached the noise and movement of the fair. stuck his steward's rosette in his buttonhole. 80 . he would just whisper. "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. He paid twopence and saw the Tatooed Woman. a perfect sphere of flushed opal. they began to take the witch seriously. alive: the thought was disquieting. saying. Mr. He would keep its sensibility intact and virgin as long as he could. for the oracle to speak. People stood in a queue outside CHAPTER XXVII. aimlessly but officially. but calmly. that there was something in this sort of thing after all? After all. after a long examination. After a long and silent inspection. She was a formidable− looking woman. each with his own private face and all of them real. they thought. could it be. His eyes were suddenly become innocent. childlike. He sighed. Could one believe it? But the evidence of the red notebook was conclusive. A child howled up after it. laughing. Cautiously he crept out by a side door and made his way down towards the park. Mr. Denis followed it with his eyes until it became lost in the blinding sunlight. Sometimes he would whisper. they were conscious. though it can't be very far off now. twopence more. Scogan would suddenly look up and ask. still to come. the Largest Rat in the World. tremulous. inconceivably fantastic. A black silk balloon towing a black−and−white striped parachute proved to be old Mrs. he was like them. could not have talked. these people. Scogan had been accommodated in a little canvas hut. for one reason or another." and refuse to divulge any details of a future too appalling to be envisaged without despair. Mr. as the hag shook her head over their hands. "Where ignorance is bliss. the one profoundly. Everything is still to come. such as. as though to himself. Hundreds of people. Sesostris had a success of horror. the other hootingly. find it impossible to live in England. brown.
" Mr. so that Denis could not see her face. looked with curiosity at this crowd of suppliants before the shrine of the oracle. Scogan. Scogan's bandana−covered head was just below him. "Afterwards." Mr." Mr." he repeated−−"a small man with a sharp nose. 81 . it's not at all clear." he said. 'Yes. "What's clear?" asked the girl. Listen. but fascinating. Setting down the bench at the back of the booth. It's as clear as day. has announced the fact upon your hand. She was wearing a broad hat. "He will ask you. "This is what the fates have written. claw− nailed forefinger. then whispered." "What is it? What is it? Oh. as though to himself−−"very interesting. his terrifying whispers came clearly up. "I don't think I ought to tell you. Mr. "Very soon. "Is there going to be another war?" asked the old lady to whom he had predicted this end. The old lady was succeeded by a girl dressed in white muslin. "Please. death by apoplexy. I'll show you. "Very well. Mr." He was silent. do tell me!" The white muslin figure leant eagerly forward. Between its walls and its sagging roof were long gaping chinks and crannies. Listen. CHAPTER XXVII. in the course of his round. "if you must know. Scogan looked at her hand again as though to refresh his memory of the details of the scene. Denis looked and listened while the witch prophesied financial losses. Scogan looked at her hand. you must know." she implored." said Mr. the pendulous brass ear−rings which he had screwed on to his ears tinkled." He lifted up a sharp. he climbed up. Scogan shook his head. "A man. lor'!" "But you will not remain so for long. Scogan played his part. With these he hurried back to the booth of Sesostris. Through the crannies in the canvas he could see almost the whole of the interior of the tent. "Very interesting. "Destiny. At that moment a man will appear walking along the footpath. 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.Crome Yellow the witch's booth waiting for the privilege of hearing sentence pronounced upon them." There was a silence." The young lady giggled and exclaimed. which interests itself in small things no less than in great. 'Can you tell me the way to Paradise?' and you will answer. 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. ill−made structure. Scogan took up the magnifying−glass and began once more to examine the white palm. They are only specific about this one rather crucial incident. The canvas booth was a rickety. destruction by air−raids in the next war." added Mr. please!. Denis went to the tea−tent and borrowed a wooden bench and a small Union Jack. Mr. I cannot read what will happen after that." he said. "Oh. The young lady giggled again. Scogan sighed. The witch seemed to ignore her remark. garnished with pink ribbons.' and walk with him down towards the little hazel copse." He lingered hissingly over the word. Scogan sepulchrally. not exactly good looking nor precisely young. and with a great air of busy efficiency began to tie the Union Jack to the top of one of the tent−poles. He had a great desire to see how Mr. But if anything untoward happens you must blame your own curiosity. Denis. "You are still virtuous. but from her figure and the roundness of her bare arms he judged her young and pleasing. with an air of quiet confidence.
Sing Holiday! Beneath the Tree Of Innocence and Liberty. The Russian snow flowered with bright blood whose roses spread Petals of fading. "I merely tell you what I read in your hand. "Have you sold many?" he asked in a casual tone. decidedly! But how unpleasant the crowd smelt! He lit a cigarette. seal−like figures in black bathing−dresses surrounded him. Faintlier laughs and whispers. tossed rings. 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. A neat pile of printed sheets lay before her on the table. Miss Doris Gabell. "Second Heat in the Young Ladies' Championship. as he carried the bench back to the tea−tent. fading red That died into the snow again.. smooth. Switchbacks. Within the hollows of the hill.. diminishingly: 'Free. tied insecurely and crookedly to the tentpole.' and laughter faints away. Aunt Sallies. "Miss Dolly Miles. Denis took one of them and looked at it affectionately. Old right and wrong there bled to death." CHAPTER XXVII. 'Free'−−and faintly laughs. Oh." It was the polite voice of Henry Wimbush. he read out names from a list. Holding his tortoise−shell−rimmed pince−nez an inch or two in front of his eyes. was an island of aristocratic calm. "Only three so far. His grey bowler hat.. Sing Holiday! You do not know How to be free." Denis made no reply. the Union Jack hung limp on the windless air. 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.. That will be sixpence. And round about them where they lay The snow bloomed roses. decidedly.' Fadingly. I'm afraid. and still. "If only I could do things like that!" he thought.Crome Yellow "Is it really true?" asked white muslin. The witch gave a shrug of the shoulders. Yes. Paper Nose and Red Cockade Dance within the magic shade That makes them drunken. and very nice the quarto broadsheets looked. The smell of cows was preferable. Into the virgin snow. So in any case it's having a circulation. Anne put her head on one side deprecatingly. Good afternoon. and old creed. Struck weights. and strong To laugh and sing their ferial song: 'Free. Miss Rebecca Balister. Sing Holiday! Sing Holiday!" He folded the sheet carefully and put it in his pocket. round.!' But Echo answers Faintly to the laughing dancers. They had printed five hundred copies. A little smoke that died away. 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. A holiday? But Galba showed Elephants on an airy road. free. The frozen air received their breath. merry. and masks might laugh At things the naked face for shame Would blush at−−laugh and think no blame. Blood was there A red gay flower and only fair. 82 . and motionless in the midst of a moving sea. The thing had its merits. A crowd of sleek. Where all must drudge and all obey. Good afternoon. The swimming−pool was a centre of noise and activity. shied cocoa−nuts. old custom. It was his poem." Denis stepped down from the bench. 'Free. Old law. But I'm giving a free copy to everyone who spends more than a shilling on his tea.. He passed through the gate in the park wall into the garden. but walked slowly away. Anne was sitting behind a long table filling thick white cups from an urn.. and men From all ancient bonds were freed. Jumbo trod the tightrope then. Thank you. I have change.
Callamay readjusted his spectacles. and laid up the phrase in his memory as a happy one. Budge. Stone. capital. "Yes. He smiled again. Old Mr. Isn't it delightful to see the way they enjoy themselves?" Denis looked. His voice seemed to come from just behind his teeth. Somebody plucked him by the sleeve. "When I say 'Go. From their seats of honour at the other end of the pool. she only managed to eat 2900 peaches during that crucial period of the national destinies. for between January 1st and the date of the Armistice she ate 3300 peaches.Crome Yellow Five young persons ranged themselves on the brink. and sent the stones to the Government." Denis nodded agreement. He wasn't sure whether it was so very delightful after all. leaning forward over his walking− stick. There was an almost simultaneous splash. Callamay had put on his spectacles to congratulate the victor. and panted two or three times. "Do you know. "Capital performance. and what with this and the fact that it was a bad year for wall fruit. as well as four hot−houses in which trees could be forced. after all. Budge who." said Lord Moleyn. slender. Budge went on. but it had suffered for a good cause.' go. for that matter. Denis pushed his way through the spectators." said Mrs. had suffered. isn't she?" said Mrs. he looked down. 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. 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. Sixteen. it seemed an act of supererogatory graciousness. It was as though a dog should suddenly begin to speak." Mrs. like a short− winded lap−dog. so that she was able to eat peaches practically the whole year round. She had thirty−six peach trees in her walled garden. she had only won a heat. Mr. Go!" Splash! The third heat had started. Look at old Lord Moleyn and dear Mr.' go. "When I say 'Go. It was Mrs." she said in her rich. a toothy voice. It was old Mrs. she complained. for. In 1917 the military authorities called up three of her gardeners. Since the Armistice she had relaxed her efforts. "Pretty little thing. he said to himself. a torso of black polished marble. "Very good indeed. In 1916 she ate 4200 peaches. "And the old people too. She panted a little as she spoke. rubbing one foot nervously on the other. The victor wriggled with embarrassment. Callamay looked on with eager interest. Her constitution. Her wet bathing−dress shone." Mr. Denis answered her greeting by a vague and polite noise. but nubile. hungrily smiling. I never could learn to swim. Budge huskily. CHAPTER XXVII. There was an expectant silence. now she did not eat more than two or three peaches a day. "So nice to see the young people enjoying themselves. She stood with her hands behind her back. Mr. Callamay. old Lord Moleyn and Mr. husky voice. "Delighted to see you again. Go!" he said. Henry Wimbush raised his hand. and Lord Moleyn. In 1918 she did rather better. Callamay was saying in his deep voice. showed his long ivory teeth. Budge. 83 .
the membrane of his soul flapped tumultuously in the noise and laughter. making a shrill. that wasn't good at all. Denis saw two heads overtopping the hedge immediately above him. through the thronged streets of the canvas village. A blown black bladder. A new winner was being congratulated. "Disgusting!" Mrs. Denis looked on in admiration. with an immense output of energy she started a three−legged race.. It was time. red. colourless face of his wife. "Do you know. that wasn't good." She turned towards him a face. the golden bell of her hair swung silently as she moved her head and quivered to rest.. this one was a bad Rubens. 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. "I've never seen such energy.. others clustered about the skirts and trousers of their parents.Crome Yellow "Really?" "But I used to be able to float. and honest as the setting sun. up and down on a great green swell. I've been telling her about the Malthusian League." But a sudden violent renewal of the metallic yelling announced the fact that somebody had won the race. ". when he was startled by hearing a thin. Bodiham and the pale. hissing softly." he said. Budge. at the swimmers in the pond. Behind the hedge the ground sloped steeply up towards the foot of the terrace and the house. Denis continued his promenade. Bodiham popped out of sight behind the hedge. "How long?" he said. He recognised the iron mask of Mr. They were looking over his head. for one standing on the higher ground it was easy to look over the dark barrier. Another batch of young ladies dived in. One really ought. and they fell on Denis's upturned curious face. sibilant voice. no. There was an abrupt movement. "It's appalling. but this. and Mrs. coming up behind her and touching her on the arm. 84 . had been an Eve by Cranach. Denis." Denis imagined her floating−−up and down. making rapid mental calculations. pronounce the single word "Disgusting!" He looked up sharply. Mary was directing the children's sports. Little creatures seethed round about her. tinny clamour. Denis conveniently remembered that his duties as a steward called him elsewhere.. speaking apparently from just above his head.go−−go−−go!" Henry Wimbush's polite level voice once more pronounced the formula. She was atrociously stubby and fat. In a roped−off space beyond. The rector turned up his iron mask towards the solid cobalt of the sky. serious voice." she said. and Mr. Denis thought. in a low. He pushed out through the lines of spectators and made his way along the path left clear behind them. Bodiham repeated. The last one. to move on. Mary's face was shining in the heat. as though to himself. He was thinking again that his soul was a pale. round. continuously curved from knee to breast. Looking up. "how long?" He lowered his eyes again. Grown a little weary of sustaining a conversation with Mrs. tenuous membrane. Mary became once more the centre of a dangerous vortex. he might CHAPTER XXVII. The path along which he was walking passed under the lee of a wall of clipped yew." said Denis. over the heads of the spectators. long and harmoniously. He wandered past the merry−go− round. "You're wonderful.
Crome Yellow be asked to do something if he stayed too long. a bottle of crystal gin and a quart of soda water." he said. talking. The slow vortex brought the couples round and round again before him. At one side of the village of tents a space had been roped off. Jenny was performing wonders of virtuosity upon the drums. interlaced. who had stayed on to the disorganised. and every now and then a lonely figure or a couple of lovers. would cross the bright shaft. without being observed. Bars of light reached out into it. That tenuous membrane of his had been too rudely buffeted by the afternoon's emotions. A minute later he was walking briskly up the shady yew−tree walk. then! In the cool recess within he would find bottles and a siphon. she smiled to herself. went unobtrusively. A beautiful thought suddenly came to him. he one−stepped shamblingly. Anne and Gombauld. the night seemed preternaturally dark. There was nothing. still wearing her queenly toque. with an unusual expression of grimness on her flushed face. tea. as it were. In one corner sat the band. the glass on the corner of the table beside him. cast a piercing white light.There they were. Her eyes shone. Denis stood by the entrance of the enclosure. He turned back towards the canvas village. and a hundred couples more−−all stepping harmoniously together to the old tune of Male and Female created He them. wearing away the grass with their booted feet.. if he went back to the house. he went into the library. A whole subterranean life seemed to be expressing itself in those loud rat−tats. Male and female created He them. perhaps. Anne. Looking at her. was encouraging the villagers. he found. Mr. There. she was looking up at him. 85 . Clearly. Would you like to come and see them?" CHAPTER XXVIII. The thought of tea was making itself insistent in his mind. Portentous. those long rolls and flourishes of drumming. Scogan trotted round with another. Priscilla. and. he wondered what sort of a figure he was cutting now. as Denis could see. Mary was in the embrace of a young farmer of heroic proportions. "I never showed you our oaken drainpipes. alive with motion and noise. They were all coupled but he. shuffling crowd. if he tiptoed into the dining−room and noiselessly opened the little doors of the sideboard−−ah. he settled into a chair with a volume of Sainte−Beuve. Seated in the corner among the band. hung round it on posts. he told himself. jovial laughter and her manly voice. it required a rest. flashing for a moment into visible existence.. Round this patch of all but daylight. he alone lacked his complementary opposite. Carrying his well−filled tumbler with care. this was no place for one who wanted tea. Tea. CHAPTER XXVIII. two or three hundred dancers trampled across the dry ground. Towards sunset the fair itself became quiescent. Acetylene lamps. It was the hour for the dancing to begin. the brown liquid spurted incessantly into the proffered cups. on the sustaining wings of movement and music−−dissipated these preoccupations. But Denis sat apart. watching the swaying. to disappear again as quickly and surprisingly as they had come. It was Henry Wimbush. He stood irresolute at the entrance to the tent. was furiously working the handle of the urn. Somebody touched him on the shoulder and he looked up. still encouraging the villagers−−this time by dancing with one of the tenant farmers. obedient to its scraping and blowing.. as though he were passing them in review.. and then for the cups that inebriate as well as cheer. tea.. What about? he wondered. with a terrified village beauty.. passoverish meal that took the place of dinner on this festal day. all but he. in her royal toque. But the sight of Anne and Gombauld swimming past−−Anne with her eyes almost shut and sleeping. Denis ruefully remembered the red notebook. There was Lord Moleyn. The Malthusian League. But the tea−tent was horribly thronged. his bent knees more precariously wobbly than ever. very seriously. in the farther corner of the tent. Within the house it was deliciously quiet and cool. In a momentary lull Denis could hear her deep. There was Priscilla. like a Causerie du Lundi for settling and soothing the troubled spirits. "Some of the ones we dug up are lying quite close to here.
give me the past. What they think of me or of anything else in the world. The music was nothing but a muffled rhythmic pulse. it will be possible for those who. Wimbush continued. and entirely secure from any human intrusion. "when this function comes at last to an end. rising from behind a belt of trees. "the little I know about your past is certainly reassuring. and I have been spared the tedious and revolting process of getting to know them by personal contact." he said." said Henry Wimbush. which were lying forlornly in a little depression in the ground. tuneless and meaningless in their ears. above all." Mr. what they will do in five minutes' time. in living people. they don't very much interest me. in the future." "I can believe it. It doesn't change. desire it. privately−−by reading. indicated the position of the dancing− floor. in a collection of postage stamps. "The trouble with the people and events of the present is that you never know anything about them. By reading I know a great deal of Caesar Borgia. They don't interest me. For all I know. It's appalling. for example. involving a terrible expense of time. They are my line." Denis agreed." "I do not know how it is. How gay and delightful life would be if one could get rid of all the human contacts! Perhaps. taking an electric torch out of his pocket. and." said Denis. how can I find out anything about them except by devoting years to the most exhausting first−hand study. a few weeks have made me thoroughly acquainted with these interesting characters. you may suddenly jump up and try to murder me in a moment's time. I'm afraid. Francis. Johnson. "Here we are. I don't know anything about them. surrounded by the delicate attentions of silent and graceful machines. You follow me? I could never take much interest. One can only hope to find out anything about them by a long series of the most disagreeable and boring human contacts. They're aren't in my line. Jenny's drumming and the steady sawing of the bass throbbed on. The music grew fainter behind them. They sat down on the grass. It's rather the same with people. But stamps. they're not my line. "But what about the desirable human contacts. I'm more at home with these pipes. of Dr." "Beautiful. like Godwin and Shelley. and they walked off together into the darkness. are things I can't guess at." "Come. 86 . he cast a dim beam over two or three blackened sections of tree trunk. perhaps. to live in a dignified seclusion. come. one is dealing with unknown and unknowable quantities. Some of the higher notes faded out altogether. It is a beautiful thought. "I shall be glad. the perfectibility of machinery−−then. What do I know of the people I see round about me? Nothing. Wimbush continued. and you can get to know about it comfortably and decorously and. "but the spectacle of numbers of my fellow−creatures in a state of agitation moves in me a certain weariness. which I should have to do if they were living now. "Very interesting. scooped out into the semblance of pipes. involving once more an endless number of the most unpleasant contacts? No. Henry Wimbush halted. "True. they give me no emotion." He jerked his head sideways towards the hollowed logs. with a rather tepid enthusiasm. It's the same with current events. The fact is. like love and friendship?" CHAPTER XXVIII. of St. A faint white glare. and neither you nor I know anything of your future. it's all there in black and white. no. Primitives or seventeenth−century books−−yes.Crome Yellow Denis got up." Mr. a believer in perfectibility. rather than any gaiety or excitement. like myself." said Denis. when machines have attained to a state of perfection−−for I confess that I am. What do I know of contemporary politics? Nothing. But I know nothing of your present.
involved in a series of the most phantasmagorical amorous intrigues. 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. A novelist could have made his fortune out of them." CHAPTER XXIX." said Mr. "Ah. with a sigh. no. if only we were!" Henry Wimbush added. The world. "It seems to me doubtful whether they are equal to the pleasures of private reading and contemplation. the details of these adventures. as−−how shall I put it?−−as quotidian as catching the 8. "In my youth. As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread. when one finds oneself involved in it. you must remember. The dancers had already dispersed and the last lights were being put out. The proper study of mankind is books. Crome Fair was over. is only just becoming literate. Adventures and romance only take on their adventurous and romantic qualities at second−hand." said the polite level voice. 87 ." They had come to the entrance of the enclosure and stood there. as much to be taken for granted. Live them. and they are just a slice of life like the rest. "Why not?" he said. while I was actually performing this rather dangerous feat. "No. Nothing would be pleasanter than to read in a well−written book of an open−air ball that took place a century ago. Gombauld relaxed his embrace a little. "If all these people were dead." He waved his hand in the direction of the acetylene flares. In literature they become as charming as this dismal ball would be if we were celebrating its tercentenary. a shabby brown patch in the wide green of the park. Wimbush." "I sometimes think that it may be. No. "The pleasures even of these contacts are much exaggerated. would be all that remained. in future their natural tendency will be to seek solitude and quiet. turning her head from side to side in an effort to escape Gombauld's kisses." They got up and began to walk slowly towards the white glare. "You've tried to take the most unfair advantage of me. quite fortuitously. An expanse of worn grass. At present people in search of pleasure naturally tend to congregate in large herds and to make a noise." said Denis. an action as obvious." he went on after a pause. how pretty and how amusing! But when the ball takes place to−day.52 from Surbiton to go to business on a Monday morning. then one sees the thing in its true light. he was wondering if Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together. 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." she retorted. "I will. CHAPTER XXIX. How charming! one would say. To−morrow the tents would be struck. no. you would be amazed at the romantic tale. To climb by night up a rope−ladder to a second−floor window in an old house in Toledo seemed to me." Her raised voice had become imperative. Anne and Gombauld were still dancing together.Crome Yellow The black silhouette against the darkness shook its head. "No." With a sudden effort Anne freed herself. "You won't. "I must go and see if all is well on the dancing−floor. It turns out to be merely this. It was after ten o'clock." Henry Wimbush went on. the dismantled merry−go−round would be packed into waggons and carted away. please. while they were happening−−these romantic adventures−−they seemed to me no more and no less exciting than any other incident of actual life. By the edge of the pool two figures lingered. and even if I were to tell you. "I found myself. "Instead of which. But I assure you. leaning backwards. blinking in the dazzling light." Anne was saying in a breathless whisper. in my bald style. "this festivity would be extremely agreeable.
Mr. Scogan. and at the sight he had fled. clad in those flowered silk pyjamas of which he was so justly proud. two steps at a time. "Oh. "Hullo!" said Mr. he would have burst into irrepressible tears.. Shall we take a few turns round the pool?" she added.Crome Yellow "Unfair advantage?" echoed Gombauld in genuine surprise. he felt. "What?" Then breaking away he dashed up the stairs." Denis shook his head without replying. he couldn't stand it." he said. "you look disturbed. They paced off slowly. 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." "Luckily. when I've lost my head. You attack me after I've been dancing for two hours. the two pale figures in a patch of moonlight. "Under any circumstances. Denis had mechanically undressed and. 88 . "What?" he said. "It makes no difference. leaning in an attitude of despair against the parapet of the terrace. It was too much. catching him by the arm. who was walking up and down the hall smoking a final pipe. Dashing blindly into the house. "Call me a White Slaver and have done with it. eh?" Mr. Scogan. distressed. "I am now completely sobered." he repeated to himself. Mr. Life is gay all the same. yes. "What's the matter?" Mr. It was ungrammatical to begin with.. But then why allow oneself to be distressed? After all. When his pipe had burned itself to its stinking conclusion he took a drink of gin and went to bed. we all know that there's no ultimate point. side by side. Scogan patted him on the arm. "It's a most distressing symptom. always. I know exactly how you feel. was lying face downwards on his bed. blinking and frowning at his interlocutor. In another moment." Gombauld laughed angrily. "The night is delicious. dazed and hardly conscious of what he was doing or where he was. From where he stood. "What I like about the painting of Degas. But what difference does that make?" At this point the somnambulist suddenly woke up. depressed. When at last he looked up. Denis stood there for a moment like a somnambulist. "Yes. He had seen the beginning of what promised to be an endless passionate embracement. none whatever. Denis had seen them. unfair advantage. his mind to−night was proof against all the consolations of philosophy. damn Degas!" Gombauld was almost shouting. far down by the pool's edge. 'What's the point of it all? All is vanity. under whatever circumstances−−under whatever circumstances." Anne began in her most detached and conversational tone. was it true? And is life really its own reward? He wondered." he added. and if you try and kiss me again I shall box your ears. Scogan went on. In ten minutes he was deeply. What's the good of continuing to function if one's doomed to be snuffed out at last along with everything else?' Yes. raising his voice to a shout. Scogan ran to the foot of the stairs and called up after him. "I know the feeling. Scogan replaced his pipe between his teeth and resumed his meditative pacing. innocently asleep. Time passed. he almost ran into Mr. while I'm still reeling drunk with the movement. the candle which he had left CHAPTER XXIX. and even if he had not been. "Worried about the cosmos." said Anne. It's most distressing if one allows oneself to be distressed. But Denis was already far out of hearing." For answer Gombauld made an irritated noise.
He paused at the corner of the tower. He advanced cautiously into the blackness. jumping too rapidly to conclusions. He had told her everything. he was lifted up on the wings of a kind of exaltation. tiptoed noiselessly along the passage. cool air of the night. He got up. and began to mount the stairs towards the higher floors. Denis?" questioned a voice from somewhere very close behind him. "What IS the matter. It was a mood in which he might have done almost anything. Death−−the tears came into his eyes when he thought of it. looking perpendicularly down at the terrace seventy feet below. "Are you ill?" In the profound shadow that slept under the eastern parapet of the tower. looking now down into the shadowy gulf below. He looked at his watch." she went on. It was from this den that the ladder went up to the leads of the western tower. he turned round in the direction from which the voice had come. What on earth were you doing?" Denis laughed melodramatically. He found the ladder. he would be lying in pieces at the bottom of the tower. however foolish. his dry. and for all reply went on laughing in the same frightful and improbable tone. Why had he climbed up to this high. If she hadn't woken up as she did. His misery assumed a certain solemnity. and smelling of dust and old leather. then turning to the right he opened a little door at the end of the corridor. "What ARE you doing. 89 . He made a gesture with his hand. was running her fingers through his tangled hair. noiselessly. recovering himself. stuffy. now up towards the rare stars and the waning moon. it was nearly half−past one. "It gave me a fright. "You hadn't got designs on me." said Denis. groping with his hands. he could not afterwards remember what. but the fact that he had said it aloud gave the utterance a peculiarly terrible significance. he hesitated. he breathed the fresh. His heart was beating terribly. "I didn't know you were here. he was certain of that. Denis?" He sat down on the edge of the mattress. hot. It was a mattress. it was a sort of manifestation of fidelity. and someone was lying on it. the drop was sheer there and uninterrupted. and set his feet on the rungs. and she. and very nearly went over the parapet in good earnest. now. Then he looked down once more into the depths.Crome Yellow alight at his bedside had burned down almost to the socket. I hope?" Mary inquired. His head ached. "What. he lifted the trap−door above his head. indeed!" he said. A good leap. with an affectionate solicitude that was wholly maternal. and perhaps one might clear the narrow terrace and so crash down yet another thirty feet to the sun−baked ground below. Within was a pitch− dark cupboard−like boxroom. In a moment he was standing on the leads. Since that first memorable night on the tower. Mary had slept out every evening. and he was pale when. gazing out over the dim. opened the door. muttered something. He advanced towards the farther parapet. desolate place? Was it to look at the moon? Was it to commit suicide? As yet he hardly knew. colourless landscape. An hour later he was reposing with his head on Mary's knees. he saw something he had not previously noticed−−an oblong shape. laughing more bitterly and artificially than before. Denis uttered a cry of frightened surprise. the moonlit sky was over him. Arrived at the servants' quarters under the roof. sleepless eyes felt as though they had been bruised from behind. CHAPTER XXIX. and the blood was beating within his ears a loud arterial drum. "to wake up and see you waving your arms and gibbering there.
90 . without opening his eyes. Mary invented a plan of action. And it was not only in receiving sympathy that Denis found serenity and even a kind of happiness. There was a silence.." he echoed." "I know I am. "one must put a good face on it.. about her own. "It's the safest thing. it was also in giving it. I can't go on like this. but she wouldn't allow herself to be weak. "I'd no idea it was so late. the candle had long ago guttered to extinction. "Poor Mary!" He was very sorry for her. who was recovering all her firm self− possession. get up!" CHAPTER XXX. "You must go to bed at once." "I'm sure of it. reacting to these confidences. "Get up." advised Mary. she might have guessed that Ivor wasn't precisely a monument of constancy. CHAPTER XXX." she said. There was another long pause. the church clock struck three." asked Denis hesitatingly−−"do you really think that she. Still. "Well. or very nearly everything. "Come in. In this condition he might have remained for another hour if he had not been disturbed by a violent rapping at the door. He got into bed and fell asleep almost at once. For if he had told Mary everything about his miseries.. had told him in return everything. in the darkness. His room was dark. his suicide−−as it were providentially averted by her interposition.that Gombauld." "I suppose you're right." she concluded." Mary answered decisively." he said at last. Immensely practical. can you?" "No." She wanted to cry. his jealousy. dozy state when sleep becomes a sensual pleasure almost consciously savoured. but in spite of the parted curtains he had dropped off again into that drowsy." he mumbled. "You'd better go away." said Mary. cautiously descended the creaking stairs. "Do you think. And now his soul was floating in a sad serenity." Denis clambered down the ladder. "You can't go on like this. a hand seized him by the shoulder and he was rudely shaken. "I don't know what to do about it. The latch clicked. It was embalmed in the sympathy that Mary so generously poured. and the most sensible. Denis had been called. his despair. Mary." "You must concoct an excuse.. Startlingly. utterly dejected." "But I've arranged to stay here three weeks more. He had solemnly promised never to think of self− destruction again.Crome Yellow everything: his hopeless love.
who showed an unappeased desire to go on talking about the Universe. and going over to the sideboard he helped himself to an agreeable mixture of bacon and fish. Scogan. and he saw Mary standing over him. he was blowed if he'd let himself be hurried down to the Necropolis like this." he agreed weakly.. strong enough to be aloof. I should be a happy man." said Mary. "Get up!" she repeated. which would in a few hours evoke an answer ordering him back to town at once−−on urgent business. Everything seemed marvellously beautiful. "I don't know at all. Scogan. and their shaken foliage twinkled and glittered like metal in the sun. Denis started guiltily. He looked out of the window. "I was only wondering. sitting there. from the drawing−room window made him precipitately hoist the "Times" once more. a mere friendly acquaintance. Great florid baroque clouds floated high in the blue heaven. thinking of the telegram." he repeated aloud. he felt pleased with himself. "You must go and send the telegram. wouldn't it?" "Awfully nice. The sight of Mr. Don't you remember?" "O Lord!" He threw off the bed−clothes.. disinterested.27." said Mr.Crome Yellow His eyelids blinked painfully apart. and. He had sent a long telegram. bright−faced and earnest. He was blowed. "that I had nothing worse to prey on my mind. Train leaves Waterloo 3. a decisive step taken −−and he so rarely took decisive steps. And even if it did. It was with a whetted appetite that he came in to breakfast. A wind stirred among the trees. Scogan looking out. At the thought that he would soon be leaving all this beauty he felt a momentary pang. thrusting in upon him over the top of the paper. but he comforted himself by recollecting how decisively he was acting. No flowers. he meditated. It was an act performed. Denis dressed as quickly as he could and ran up the road to the village post office. "What time do you think the telegram will arrive?" asked Mary suddenly." "One is only happy in action. And even if he weren't strong enough.. For a long while he CHAPTER XXX. In the light of this brilliant morning the emotions of last night seemed somehow rather remote. why shouldn't he stay? He felt strong enough to stay.27. He felt as though he were making arrangements for his own funeral. "Action. "I hope you're better. No. Breakfast over.. Denis repaired to the terrace. Satisfaction glowed within him as he returned." Denis enunciated. raised the enormous bulwark of the "Times" against the possible assaults of Mr." said Mr. 91 . And what if he had seen them embracing in the moonlight? Perhaps it didn't mean much after all." Denis tried to laugh away the impeachment. "because there's a very good train at 3." he said. Scogan. "Was I?" he lightly asked. with a hungry expression.Mary was gone. his tormentor retired. and it would be nice if you could catch it. "Good−morning." "Better?" "You were rather worried about the cosmos last night. Secure behind the crackling pages. "I wish.
"Return at once.." cried Anne.. he found himself..But would you mind. "To go on with our interesting conversation about the cosmos. utterly miserable. "Oh. "I like you so much in white trousers. 92 ." she said airily." Denis replied rather curtly. malicious smile. "But you've only been here such a short time." She sat down on the bench beside him. when he had done gaping at her." he said. please. "I'm afraid. 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.Thank you. He was a nice boy." "They're at the wash. It was the first time he had ever had the courage to utter a personal remark of the kind." Denis exclaimed. when Mr. Discrete." It was too ridiculous. "And if you would shift a few inches to the left. "I become more and more convinced that the various parts of the concern are fundamentally discrete." said Anne.Crome Yellow kept it hoisted. Denis was speechless. about half an hour. Mary's large blue china eyes were fixed upon him. "How long have you been standing there?" he asked. amused. She was standing before him. penetratingly." "You look lovely this morning." he began. CHAPTER XXX.−−the swaying grace of her movement arrested in a pose that seemed itself a movement. and Gombauld's violent insistences were really becoming rather tiresome. Urgent family business.. with what astonishment! confronted by Anne's faint. They were taking their after luncheon coffee in the library when the telegram arrived. He blushed more deeply than ever." "You were. "Why don't you wear white trousers?" she asked. crossed the terrace with clockwork rapidity. Scogan suddenly darted out of the house. "You were so very deep in your paper−−head over ears−−I didn't like to disturb you. Oh." He frowned at the telegram ferociously. Anne held up her hand as though to ward off a blow." he repeated desperately." Anne protested. she thought. "I know. seriously. Denis. Lowering it at last to take another cautious peep at his surroundings. "But that's absurd. She had been standing by the window talking to Gombauld. "I'm afraid this means I shall have to go back to town at once. but at Denis's words she came swaying across the room towards him. moving a shade to your right?" He wedged himself between them on the bench." he mumbled. He lost his head. impossible. and came to a halt in front of the bench on which they were seated. This white− trouser business was all in the wrong spirit. "It's urgent. if only she could understand! Women were supposed to have intuition. my dear Anne. He was just preparing a scheme to manoeuvre the conversation back to the proper path. Denis blushed guiltily as he took the orange envelope from the salver and tore it open. quite charming. I think. hesitated in a horrible uncertainty. "Don't bludgeon me. I suppose.−−the woman who was a tree. was what I was saying. "What's your telegram about?" Mary asked significantly.
The car was at the door−−the hearse. fatalistically to his destiny. Knipswich for Timpany. Never again. Nobody had noticed.. A sudden smile lighted up his lugubrious face. Mechanically he tapped the barometer that hung in the porch. Camlet. "Yes. He climbed into the hearse." put in Mary firmly. If only he'd just let things drift! If only. never again would he do anything decisive." She looked at the clock on the mantelpiece. Obediently Denis left the room." said Anne. 93 ." said Mary. Wimbush out of the conversation. The whole party had assembled to see him go. no doubt. "I think perhaps you ought to go and pack. Good−bye." he explained." "I'll order the motor at once. "I shall miss your conversation." said Mr. finally. it's urgent family business. Scogan." Henry Wimbush rang the bell. and then all the other stations. He looked quickly round from face to face. Spavin Delawarr. London. CHAPTER XXX. This was what came of action.. Denis turned towards her. good−bye." she said. I must.27." He looked at the telegram again for inspiration. The thought of the journey appalled him." "A mere coincidence. she really did look wretched. He abandoned himself hopelessly. "I had a distinct presentiment of this last night. brushing Mrs. awful. he must. "There's a very good train at 3. the needle stirred perceptibly to the left. And what on earth was he going to do in London when he got there? He climbed wearily up the stairs. of doing something decisive.Crome Yellow "If he must go. "A distinct presentiment. It was time for him to lay himself in his coffin. "You see. and then.'" he said. It was awful. Priscilla got up from her chair in some excitement. The funeral was well under way." she said. Mary looked at the clock again. "You'll have nice time to pack. "'It sinks and I am ready to depart. West Bowlby. "I am wretched you should be going. quoting Landor with an exquisite aptness. he said to himself.
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