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he Yellow BookAn Illustrated Quarterly

Volume III October 1894-

K ^l London: John Lane

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I. Women Wives or


II. "Tell Me not Now"

III. The Headswoman .

IV. Credo .

V. White Magic .

VI. Fleurs de Feu

VII. Flowers of Fire, a Translation

VIII. When I am King .

IX. To a Bunch of Lilac

X. Apple-Blossom in BrittanyXI. To Salome at St. James s

XII. Second ThoughtsXIII. TwilightXIV. Tobacco Clouds .

XV. Reiselust

XVI. To Every Man a Damsel)or Two]

XVII. A Song and a Tale .

XVIII. De Profundis .

XIX. A Study in Sentimentality

XX. George Meredith .

XXI. Jeanne-MarieXXII. Parson Herrick s Muse .

XXIII. A Note on George the Fourth

XXIV. The Ballad of a Nun

By A Woman

William Watson

Kenneth Grahame .

Arthur SymonsElla D Arcy .

Jose Maria de Heredia,

the French AcademyEllen M. Clerke .

Henry Harland

Theo Marzials

Ernest DowsonTheodore Wratislaw

Arthur Moore

Olive Custance

Lionel JohnsonAnnie Macdonel!

Tage 1 1



. 48






931 10



C. S. -.

Nora Hopper .

S. Cornish Watkins

Hubert CrackanthorpeMorton Fullerton .

Leila Macdonald .

C. W. DalmonMax Beerbohm

John Davidson

The Yellow Book Vol. III. October, 1894






2I 5




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I. Mantegna

II. From a Lithograph .

III. Portrait of Himself.

IV. Lady Gold s Escort

V. The Wagnerites

VI. La Dame aux Camelias

VII. From a Pastel

"VIII. Collins Music Hall,


IX. The Lion ComiqueX. Charley s Aunt

XL The Mirror .

XII. Skirt-Dancing

XIII. A Sunset

XIV. George the Fourth .

XV. Study of a Head .

By Philip Broughton . Page 7

George Thomson . .21

Aubrey Beardsley . . 50

Albert Foschter . . 89

Walter Sickert . . 136

P. Wilson Steer . .169

William Hyde . .211

Max Beerbohm . . 243

An Unknown Artist . 270

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The Yellow Book

Volume III October, 1894

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The Editor of THE YELLOW BOOK can in no case

hold himself responsible for rejected manuscripts ;

when, however, they are accompanied by stamped

addressed envelopes, every effort will be made to

secure their prompt return.

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The Yellow BookAn Illustrated Quarterly

Volume III October, 1894

London : John Lane, The Bodley Head, Vigo Street

Boston : Copeland &? Day

Agents for the Colonies : Robt. A. Thompson s? Co.

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By Philip Broughton

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Women- -Wives or Mothers

By a Woman

WE believe it to be well within the truth to say that most

men cherish, hidden away in an inner pocket of conscious

ness, their own particular ideal of the perfect woman. Sole

sovereign she of that unseen kingdom, and crowned and sceptred

she remains long after her faithful subject has put aside the other

playthings of his youth. The fetish is from time to time regarded

rapturously, though sorrowfully, by its possessor, but it is never

brought forth for public exhibition. If to worship and adore

were the beginning and end of the pastime, no cavilling word

need be said, for the power to worship is a great and good gift,

and, save in the fabulous region of politics, is nowadays so rare an

one, that when discovered in the actual world its steady encour

agement becomes a duty. But to this apparently innocent diver

sion there is another side. Somewhat grave consequences are apt

to follow, and it is to this point of view that we wish to call


When the woman uncreate becomes the measuring rod by which

her unconscious living rivals are judged, and are mostly found

wanting, then we are minded to lift up our voice and put in a

plea for fair-play. To the shrined deity are given by the acolo-

thyst, not only all the perfections of person demanded by a severely


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12 Women Wives or Mothers

aesthetic sense, but all the moral qualities as well. Every grace of

every fair woman he has ever met the best attributes of his

mother, his sister, and his aunt are freely hers. None of the

slight blemishes which occasionally tarnish the high lustre of

virtue, none of the caprices to which sirens are constitutionally

liable, are permitted. Faultless wife and faultless mother must she

be, faithful lover and long-suffering friend, or he will have none

of her in his temple. Now, this is surely a wholly unreasonable,

an utterly extravagant demand on the part of man, and if analysed

carefully, will, we believe, be found to yield egoism and gluttony

in about equal parts. How, we venture to inquire, would he meet

a like claim, were it in turn presented to him ? A witty and light-

hearted lady a remnant yet remains, in spite of the advent of the

leaping, bounding, new womanhood once startled a selected

audience by the general statement, "All men are widowers."

But even if this generous utterance can be accepted as absolutely

accurate, it can hardly be taken as a proof of man s fitness for

both the important roles involved.

For our own part, we are convinced that, broadly speaking,

the exception only proving the rule whatever that supporting

phrase may mean woman, fresh from Nature s moulding, is, so far

as first intention is concerned, a predestined wife or mother. She

is not both, though doubtless by constant endeavour, art and duty

taking it turn and turn about, the dual end may, with hardness, be

attained unto. For Nature is not economic. Far from her is

the fatal utilitarian spirit which too often prompts the improverman (or dare we confess it ? still more frequently woman) to

attempt to make one object do the work of two. From all such

sorry makeshifts Nature, the great modeller in clay, turns contemp

tuously away. Not long ago we read in a lady s journal of a

combination gown which by some cunning arrangement, the


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By a Woman 1 3

secret whereof was only known to its lucky possessor, would do

alternate day and night duty with equal credit and despatch. Wehave no desire to disparage the varied merits of this ingenious con

trivance, but at the best it must remain an unlovely hybrid thing.

Probably it knew this well, for gowns, too, have their feelings, and

before now have been seen to go limp in a twinkling, overcome

by a sudden access of despondency. Such a moment must certainlyhave come to the omnibus garment referred to above, when it

found itself breakfasting with a severe and one-idea d "


or, more cruel experience still, dining skirt by skirt with a


mysterious miracle"

the latest label in gossamer and satin.

We dare to go even further, and to declare that every womanknows in her heart though never, never will she admit it to youwithin which fold she was intended to pass. Is it an exaggerationto say that many a girl marries out of the superabundance of the

maternal instinct, though she may the while be absolutely ignorantof the motive power at work ? Believing herself to be wildly

enamoured of the man of her (or her parents ) choice, she is in

reality only in love with the nursery of an after-day. Of worship

between husband and wife, as a factor in the transaction, she

knows nothing, or likely enough she imagines it present when it

is the sweet passion of pity, or the more subtle patronage of

bestowal, one or both, which are urging her forward into marriage.

Gratitude, none the less real because unrealised, towards the man

who thus enables her to fulfil her true destiny the saving of souls

alive has also its share in the complex energy. Well for the

husband of this wife if he allows himself gradually to occupy the

position of eldest and most important of her children, to whomindeed a somewhat larger liberty is accorded, but from whom also

more is required. In return for this submission boundless will be

the care and devotion bestowed upon his upbringing day by day.


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14 Women Wives or Mothers

He will be foolish if he utters aloud, or even says in the silence of

his heart, that motherhood is good, but that wifehood was what he

wanted. It would be but a bootless kicking against the pricks.

For he has chosen the mother-woman, and it is beyond his

power, or that of any other specialist, to effect the fundamental

change for which his soul may long. It only remains for him to

make the best of a very good bargain, and one to which it is very

probable his strict personal merits may hardly have entitled him.

If such a marriage is childless, it may still be a very useful one.

Nature s accommodations often verge on the miraculous. The

unemployed maternal instincts of the wife easily work themselves

out in an unlimited and universal auntdom. It must be confessed

that bad blunders are apt to ensue, but where the intentions are

good, the pavement should not be too closely scanned. In fiction

these are the Dinahs, the Romolas, the Dorotheas, the MaryGarths. Dear to the soul of the female writer is the maternal

type. With loving, if tiresome frequency, she is presented to us

again and yet again. In truth we sometimes grow a little wearyof her saintly monotony. But as it is given to few of us to have

the courage of our tastes, we bear with her, as we bear with other

not altogether pleasing appliances, presented to us by earnest

friends, with the assurance that they are for our good, or for our

education, or some other equally superfluous purpose.With the male artist this female model is not nearly so popular.

It may be that he feels himself wholly unequal to cope with her

countless perfections. Certain it is that he makes but a sad

muddle of it when he tries. Witness Thackeray s faded, bloodless

Lady Esmond, as set against his glowing wayward Trix she,

by the way, a beautifully-marked specimen of the wife-woman

though whether it would be pure wisdom to take her to wife

must be left an open question. Still, we have in our time loved


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By a Woman 15

her well, and some of us have found it hard to forgive the black

treachery done in bringing her back in her old age, a painted and

scolding harridan. For these, well-loved of the gods, should, in

fiction at least, die young.Truth compels us to own regretfully that man in his self-indul

gence shrinks from both the giving and receiving of dull moments,whilst woman, believing devoutly in their saving grace, is altruistic

enough to devote herself with enthusiasm to the task of their ad

ministration. Now, dull moments are apt to lie hidden about the

creases of the severely classic robe, which, in the story-books at

any rate, these heroines always wear. We must all agree that

during the last twenty years this type, with its portentous accumu

lation of self-conscious responsibility has increased alarmingly.

To what is the increase to be attributed ? The too rapid growthof the female population stands out plainly as prime cause. Legislators are athirst for things practical. Is it beyond their power to

devise some method of dealing with this problem ? The Chinese

plan is painfully obvious, but only as a last and despairful resource,

when the wise men of Westminster sitting on committees and

commissions have failed, can it be mentioned for adoption in

Europe. We are, alas ! Science-ridden, and are likely to remain

thus bridled and saddled for weary years to come. Every bush

and every bug grows its own specialist, and yet we, the patient,

the long-suffering public, are left to endure both the fogs that

make of London one murky pit, and the redundant female birth

rate which threatens more revolutions than all the forces of the

Anarchists in active combination. Meanwhile these devotees of

the abstract play about with all sorts of trifles, masquerading as

grave thinkers, hoping thus to escape their certain judgment-day.The identification of criminals by the variation of thumb-prints

is a pretty conceit ;so too is the record of the influence of the


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16 Women Wives or Mothers

moon on the tides, which, we are informed, employs all to itself a

whole and highly paid professor with a yearly average of three

pupils at Cambridge. But what are these save mere fads, on a par

with leapfrog and skittles, in the presence of the momentous

problems about and around us ? Let these gentlemen jockeys look

to it. The hour is not far distant when public opinion shall

discover their uselessness and send them about their business.

In humbler ways, too, much might be done to stem the morbid

activity of the collective female conscience. Big sins lie at the

doors of the hosts of good men and women who turn out year by

year tons of "books for theyoung"

to serve as nutriment for the

hungry nestlings of culpable, thoughtless parents. It is hard to

overstate the pernicious effect of this class of motif literature.

Feerie in old or new dress is the only nourishing food for the

happy child who is to remain happy. The little girl, aged seven,

who lately wrote in her diary before going to bed, "Of what real

use am I in the world ?"

had, it is certain, been denied her

Andersen, her Grimm, her Carroll, even her Blue fairy book.

Turned in to browse on "

Ministering Children,""

Agatha s First

Prayer,"and the fatal

" Eric"

into how many editions has this

last well-meaning but poisonous romance not passed the little

victim of parental stupidity is thus left with an organ damaged for

life by over-much stimulation at the start. This new massacre of

the innocents is of purely nineteenth-century growth. It dates

from the era of the awakened conscience, and is coincident with

the formation of all the societies for the regeneration of the

human race.

Per contra^ the wife-woman, though but seldom to be metwith in the multitudinous pages written by women, is the well-

beloved, the chosen of the male artist. Week-days and Sundayshe paints her portrait. Shakespeare returns to her again and again,


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By a Woman 17

as though it were hard to part from her. Wicked Trix stands out

as bold leader of one bad band. Tess belongs to the family, thoughshe is of another branch

;so does Cathy of Wuthering Heights,

and Lyndall of the African Farm;whilst latest and slightest scamp

of the lot comes dancing Dodo of Lambeth. Save in a strictly

specialised sense, none of this class can be said to contrive the

greatest good of the greatest number. These are the women to

whom the nursery is at best but an interlude, and at worst a real

interruption of their life s strongest interests. They are not

skilled in dealing with early teething troubles, nor in the rival

merits of Welsh and Saxony flannel stuffs. Their crass ignoranceof all this deep lore may, it is true, go far to kill off superfluous

offspring, but, unjust as it would appear, these are the mothers

who each succeeding year become more and more adored of their

sons. Fribblers though they be, they sweeten the world s corners

with the perfume of their charm. And the bit of world s work in

which they excel is the keeping alive the tradition of woman s

witchery. Who, then, caji deny them their plain uses ? WhenFate is kind and bestows the fitting partner, the fires of their love

never die down. They remain lovers to the end. Their husbands

need fear no rival, not even in the person of their own superior

son. When Fate is unkind and things go crookedly, these are the

women whose wreckage strews life s high road, and from whomtheir wiser sisters turn reprovingly away. For the good womanwho has to " work for her

living,"and who pretends to enjoy the

healthful after-pains in her moral system, is rarely tolerant of the

existence of the leichtsinriige sister for whom, as to Elijah at the

brook, dainty morsels without labour are cheerfully provided bythat inconsequent raven, man. This lady goes gaily, wearingwhat she has not spun, reaping where she has not sown. Sad

reflections these for the high-souled woman whose enlightened


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1 8 Women Wives or Mothers

demand for justice turns in its present day impotency to wrath and


Wisdom and foresight are never the "attributes of the wife-

woman. Charm, beguilement, fascination of sorts, form her poorequipment for life s selective struggle. These gifts cannot be said

to promise, save when the stars are in happiest conjunction, longlife and useful days for her intimates. Variations of the two typesof Primitive Woman may abound, but the broad distinction

between them isclearly cut and readily to be made out by the

dullest groper after truth. We can imagine a modern Daniel

addressing (quite uselessly) a modem disciple thus :

" Look to it now, O young man ! that your feet go straight, and

slip not in search for the pearl that may be hid away for you.For she who loveth you best may work you all evil, and she wholoveth her own soul s travail best will hardly fail you in the daysam! the

years. But Love remaineth, and the way of returni> not."

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" Tell me not Now

By William Watson

TELLme not now, if love for love

Thou canst return,

Now while around us and above

Day s flambeaux burn.

Not in clear noon, with speech as clear,

Thy heart avow,

For every gossip wind to hear ;

Tell me not now !

Tell me not now the tidings sweet,

The news divine ;

A little longer at thy feet

Leave me to pine.

I would not have the gadding bird

Hear from his bough ;

Nay, though I famish for a word,

Tell me not now !

The Yellow Book Vol. III. B But

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20 " Tell me not Now ):

But when deep trances of delight

All Nature seal;

When round the world the arms of Night

Caressing steal ;

When rose to dreaming rose says,"

Dear,Dearest ;


and when

Heaven sighs her secret in Earth s ear,

Ah, tell me then !

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From a Lithograph

By George Thomson

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The Headswoman

By Kenneth Grahame



was a bland sunny morning of a mediaeval May an old-stvlc

May of the most typical quality ;and the Council of the little

town of St. Radegonde were assembled, as was their wont at that

hour, in the picturesque upper chamber of the Hotel de Ville, for

the dispatch of the usual municipal business. Though the date was

early sixteenth century, the members of this particular town-

council possessed some resemblance to those of similar assemblies

in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and even the nineteenth centuries,

in a general absence of any characteristic at all unless a pervading

hopeless insignificance can be considered as such. All the character,

indeed, in the room seemed to be concentrated in the girl whostood before the table, erect, yet at her ease, facing the members in

general and Mr. Mayor in particular ;a delicate-handed, handsome

girl of some eighteen summers, whose tall, supple figure was well set

off by the quiet, though tasteful mourning in which she was clad.

"Well, gentlemen," the Mayor was saying ;


this little business

appears to be er quite in order, and it only remains for me to

er review the facts. You are aware that the town has lately had

the misfortune to lose its executioner a gentleman who, I may


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26 The Headswoman

say, performed the duties of his office with neatness and dispatch,

and gave the fullest satisfaction to all with whom he er came in

contact. But the Council has already, in a vote of condolence,

expressed its sense of the- er- striking qualities of the deceased.

You are doubtless also aware that the office is hereditary, being

secured to a particular family in this town, so long as any one of its

members is ready and willing to take it up. The deed lies before

me, and appears to be er quite in order. It is true that on this

occasion the Council might have been called upon to consider and

examine the title of the claimant, the late lamented official having

only left a daughter she who now stands before you ;but I am

happy to say that Jeanne the young lady in question with what

I am bound to call great good-feeling on her part, has saved us all

trouble in that respect, by formally applying for the family post,

with all its er duties, privileges, and emoluments;

and her

application appears to be er quite in order. There is therefore,

under the circ*mstances, nothing left for us to do but to declare

the said applicant duly elected. I would wish, however, before I

er sit down, to make it quite clear to the er fair petitioner,

that if a laudable desire to save the Council trouble in the matter

has led her to a er hasty conclusion, it is quite open to her to

reconsider her position. Should she determine not to press her

claim, the succession to the post would then apparently devolve

upon her cousin Enguerrand, well known to you all as a practising

advocate in the courts of this town. Though the youth has not,

I admit, up to now proved a conspicuous success in the profession

he has chosen, still there is no reason why a bad lawyer should

not make an excellent executioner; and in view of the close friend

ship may I even say attachment ? existing between the cousins,

it is possible that this young lady may, in due course, practically

enjoy the solid emoluments of the position without the necessity


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By Kenneth Grahame 27

of discharging its (to some girls) uncongenial duties. And so,

though not the rose herself, she would still be er near the

rose ! And the Mayor resumed his seat, chuckling over his little

pleasantry, which the keener wits of the Council proceeded to

explain at length to the more obtuse." Permit me, Mr.

Mayor,"said the girl, quietly,


first to thank

you for what was evidently the outcome of a kindly though mis

directed feeling on your part ;and then to set you right as to the

grounds of my application for the post to which you admit myhereditary claim. As to my cousin, your conjecture as to the

feeling between us is greatly exaggerated ; and I may further say

at once, from my knowledge of his character, that he is little quali

fied either to adorn or to dignify an important position such as this.

A man who has achieved such indifferent success in a minor and

less exacting walk of life, is hardly likely to shine in an occupation

demanding punctuality, concentration, judgment all the qualities,

in fine, that go to make a good business man. But this is beside

the question. My motives, gentlemen, in demanding what is mydue, are simple and (I trust) honest, and I desire that you should

know them. It is my wish to be dependent on no one. I am

both willing and able to work, and I only ask for what is the

common right of humanity admission to the labour market.

How many poor toiling women would simply jump at a chance

like this which fortune lays open to me ! And shall I, from anyfalse deference to that conventional voice which proclaims this

thing as"nice,"

and that thing as "notnice," reject a handicraft

which promises me both artistic satisfaction and a competence ?

No, gentlemen ; my claim is a small one only a fair day s wagefor a fair day s work. But I can accept nothing less, nor consent

to forgo my rights, even or any contingent remainder of possible

cousinly favour !



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28 The Headswoman

There was a touch of scorn in her fine contralto voice as she

finished speaking ;the Mayor himself beamed approval. He was

not wealthy, and had a large family of daughters ;so Jeanne s

sentiments seemed to him entirely right and laudable.


Well, gentlemen,"he began, briskly,

" then all we ve got to

do, is to


Beg pardon, your worship," put in Master Robinet, the

tanner, who had been sitting with a petrified, Bill-the-Lizard sort

of expression during the speechifying ;

" but are we to understand

as how this here young lady is going to be the public

executioner ?"


Really, neighbour Robinet,"said the Mayor somewhat


you ve got ears like the rest of us, I suppose ;and

you know the contents of the deed;and you ve had my assurance

that it s er quite in order ; and as it s getting towards lunch-


"But it s unheard-of," protested honest Robinet. "There

hasn t ever been no such thing leastways not as I ve heard


"Well, well, well,"said the Mayor, "everything must have a

beginning, I suppose. Times are different now, you know.

There s the march of intellect, and er all that sort of thing.

We must advance with the times don t you see, Robinet ?

advance with the times !


" Well I m "

began the tanner.

But no one heard, on this occasion, the tanner s opinion as to

his condition, physical or spiritual ;for the clear contralto cut

short his obtestations.

" If there s really nothing more to be said, Mr.Mayor," she


I need not trespass longer on your valuable time. I

propose to take up the duties of my office to-morrow morning, at


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By Kenneth Grahame 29

the usual hour. The salary will, I assume, be reckoned from the

same date; and I shall make the customary quarterly application

for such additional emoluments as may have accrued to me duringthat period. You see I am familiar with the routine. Good

morning, gentlemen !

" And as she passed from the Council

chamber, her small head held erect, even the tanner felt that she

took with her a large portion of the May sunshine which was

condescending that morning to gild their deliberations.


One evening, a few weeks later, Jeanne was taking a stroll on

the ramparts of the town, a favourite and customary walk of hers

when business cares were over. The pleasant expanse of countrythat lay spread beneath her the rich sunset, the gleaming sinuous

river, and the noble old chateau that dominated both town and

pasture from its adjacent height all served to stir and bring out

in her those poetic impulses which had lain dormant during the

working day ;while the cool evening breeze smoothed out and

obliterated any little jars or worries which might have ensued

during the practice of a profession in which she was still somethingof a novice. This evening she felt fairly happy and content.

True, business was rather brisk, and her days had been fully

occupied ;but this mattered little so long as her modest efforts

were appreciated, and she was now really beginning to feel that,

with practice, her work was creditably and artistically done. In

a satisfied, somewhat dreamy mood, she was drinking in the

various sweet influences of the evening, when she perceived her

cousin approaching." Good

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30 The Headswoman" Good evening, Enguerrand," cried Jeanne pleasantly ; she

was thinking that since she had begun to work for her living, she

had hardly seen him and they used to be such good friends.

Could anything have occurred to offend him ?

Enguerrand drew near somewhat moodily, but could not help

relaxing his expression at sight of her fair young face, set in its

framework of rich brown hair, wherein the sunset seemed to have

tangled itself and to cling, reluctant to leave it.

"Sit down, Enguerrand," continued Jeanne, "and tell me what

you ve been doing this long time. Been very busy, and winningforensic fame and gold ?



Well, notexactly,"

said Enguerrand, moody once more." The fact is, there s so much interest required nowadays at

the courts, that unassisted talent never gets a chance. And you,

Jeanne ?"


Oh, I don t complain," answered Jeanne, lightly." Of course

it s fair-time just now, you know, and we re always busy then.

But work will be lighter soon, and then I ll get a day off, and

we ll have a delightful ramble and picnic in the woods, as weused to do when we were children. What fun we had in

those old days, Enguerrand ! Do you remember when wewere quite little tots, and used to play at executions in the back-

garden, and you were a bandit and a buccaneer, and all sorts of

dreadful things, and I used to chop off your head with a paper-knife ? How pleased dear father used to be !


"Jeanne,"said Enguerrand, with some hesitation, "you


touched upon the very subject that I came to speak to you about.

Do you know, dear, I can t help feeling it may be unreasonable,but still the feeling is there that the profession you have adoptedis not quite is just a little


Now, Enguerrand !


said Jeanne, an angry flash sparkling in


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By Kenneth Grahame 31

her eyes. She was a little touchy on this subject, the word she

most affected to despise being also the one she most dreaded the


unladylike."" Don t misunderstand me, Jeanne,"

went on Enguerrand,

imploringly :

" You may naturally think that, because I should

have succeeded to the post, with its income and perquisites, had

you relinquished your claim, there is therefore some personal

feeling in my remonstrances. Believe me, it is not so. My owninterests do not weigh with me for a moment. It is on your own

account, Jeanne, and yours alone, that I ask you to consider

whether the higher Aesthetic qualities, which I know you possess,

may not become cramped and thwarted by the trivial round, the

common task, which you have lightly undertaken. However

laudable a professional life may be, one always feels that with a

delicate organism such as woman, some of the bloom may possibly

get rubbed off thepeach."


Well, Enguerrand," said Jeanne, composing herself with an

effort, though her lips were set hard, "I will do you the justice

to belive that personal advantage does not influence you, and I will

try to reason calmly with you, and convince you that you are

simply hide-bound by old-world prejudice. Now, take yourself,

for instance, who come here to instruct me : what does your pro

fession amount to, when all s said and done ? A mass of lies,

quibbles, dodges, and tricks, that would make any self-respecting

executioner blush ! And even with the dirty weapons at your

command, you make but a poor show of it. There was that

wretched fellow you defended only two days ago. (I was in

court during the trial professional interest, you know.) Well,

he had his regular alibi all ready, as clear as clear could be; only

you must needs go and mess and bungle the thing up, so that, as I

expected all along, he was passed on to me for treatment in due


Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (42)

3 2 The Headswoman

course. You may like to have his opinion that of a shrewd,

though unlettered person. It s a real pleasure, miss, he said,

to be handled by you. You knows your work, and you does your

work though p raps I ses it as shouldn t. If that blooming fool

of a mouthpiece of mine he was referring to you, dear, in your

capacity of advocate had known his business half as well as you

do yours, I shouldn t a bin here now ! And you know,

Enguerrand, he was perfectly right."


Well, perhaps hewas,"

admitted Enguerrand." You see, I

had been working at a sonnet the night before, and I couldn t get

the rhymes right, and they would keep coming into my head in

court and mixing themselves up with the alibi. But look here,

Jeanne, when you saw I was going off the track, you might have

given me a friendly hint, you know for old times sake, if not

for the prisoner s !



I daresay," replied Jeanne, calmly :


perhaps you ll tell me

why I should sacrifice my interests because you re unable to look

after yours. You forget that I receive a bonus, over and above

my salary, upon each exercise of my functions !


True," said Enguerrand, gloomily :


I did forget that. I

wish I had your business aptitudes, Jeanne."


I daresay you do,"remarked Jeanne.

" But you see, dear,

how all your arguments fall to the ground. You mistake a

prepossession for a logical base. Now if I had gone, like that

Clairette you used to dangle after, and been waiting-woman to

some grand lady in a chateau a thin-blooded compound of drudgeand sycophant then, I suppose, you d have been perfectly satisfied.

So feminine ! So genteel !


" She s not a bad sort of girl, little Claire," said Enguerrand,

reflectively (thereby angering Jeanne afresh) : "but putting her

aside, of course you could always beat me at argument, Jeanne ;

you d

Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (43)

By Kenneth Grahame 33

you d have made a much better lawyer than I. But you know,

dear, how much I care about you ;and I did hope that on that

account even a prejudice, however unreasonable, might have some

little weight. And I m not alone, let me tell you, in my views.

There was a fellow in court only to-day, who was saying that

yours was only a succes cPestime^ and that woman, as a naturally

talkative and hopelessly unpunctual animal, could never be more

than a clever amateur in the profession you have chosen."

"That will do, Enguerrand,"said Jeanne, proudly ;

"it seems

that when argument fails, you can stoop so low as to insult me

through my sex. You men are all alike steeped in brutish

masculine prejudice. Now go away, and don t mention the

subject to me again till you re quite reasonable and nice."


Jeanne passed a somewhat restless night after her small scene

with her cousin, waking depressed and unrefreshed. Though she

had carried matters with so high a hand, and had scored so

distinctly all around, she had been more agitated than she had

cared to show. She liked Enguerrand ; and more especially did

she like his admiration for her ; and that chance allusion to

Clairette contained possibilities that were alarming. In embracinga professional career, she had never thought for a moment that it

could militate against that due share of admiration to which, as a

girl, she was justly entitled ;and Enguerrand s views seemed this

morning all the more narrow and inexcusable. She rose languidly,

and as soon as she was dressed sent off a little note to the Mayor,

saying that she had a nervous headache and felt out of sorts, and


Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (44)

34 The Headswoman

begging to be excused from attendance on that day ;and the

missive reached the Mayor just as he was taking his usual place at

the head of the Board."

Dear, dear,"said the kind-hearted old man, as soon as he had

read the letter to his fellow-councilmen :


I m very sorry. Poor

girl ! Here, one of you fellows, just run round and tell the gaoler

there won t be any business to-day. Jeanne s seedy. It s put off

till to-morrow. And now, gentlemen, the agenda

"Really, your worship," exploded Robinet, "this is simplyridiculous !


"Upon my word, Robinet," said the Mayor, "I don t knowwhat s the matter with you. Here s a poor girl unwell and a

more hardworking girl isn t in the town and instead of sympathising with her, and saying you re sorry, you call it ridiculous !

Suppose you had a headache yourself! You wouldn t like

"Butit/j ridiculous," maintained the tanner stoutly. "Who

ever heard of an executioner having a nervous headache ? There s

no precedent for it. And out of sorts, too! Suppose the

criminals said they were out of sorts, and didn t feel up to beingexecuted ?



Well, suppose they did," replied the Mayor," we d try and

meet them halfway, I daresay. They d have to be executed

some time or other, you know. Why on earth are you so

captious about trifles ? The prisoners won t mind, and / don t

mind : nobody s inconvenienced, and everybody s happy !


"You re right there, Mr.Mayor," put in another councilman.

" This executing business used to give the town a lot of trouble

and bother;now it s all as easy as kiss-your-hand. Instead of

objecting, as they used to do, and wanting to argue the point and

kick up a row, the fellows as is told off for execution come

skipping along in the morning, like a lot of lambs in Maytime.And

Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (45)

By Kenneth Grahame 35

And then the fun there is on the scaffold ! The jokes, the back-

answers, the repartees ! And never a word to shock a baby !

Why, my little girl, as goes through the market-place every morn

ing on her way to school, you know she says to me only

yesterday, she says, Why, father, she says, it s as good as the

play-actors, shesays."

" Thereagain," persisted Robinet,

" I object to that too.

They ought to show a properer feeling. Playing at mummers is

one thing, and being executed is another, and people ought to

keep em separate. In my father s time, that sort of thing wasn t

thought good taste, and I don t hold with new-fangled notions."


Well, really, neighbour," said the Mayor,"

I think you re out

of sorts yourself to-day. You must have got out of bed the

wrong side this morning. As for a little joke, more or less, weall know a maiden loves a merry jest when she s certain of havingthe last word ! But I ll tell you what I ll do, if it ll please you ;

I ll go round and see Jeanne myself on my way home, and tell

her quite nicely, you know that once in a way doesn t matter,

but that if she feels her health won t let her keep regular

business hours, she mustn t think of going on with anything that s

bad for her. Like that, don t you see ? And now, gentlemen,

let s read the minutes !


Thus it came about that Jeanne took her usual walk that

evening with a ruffled brow and a swelling heart ; and her little

hand opened and shut angrily as she paced the ramparts. She

couldn t stand being found fault with. How could she help

having a headache ? Those clods of citizens didn t know what a

highly-strung sensitive organisation was. Absorbed in her re

flections, she had taken several turns up and down the grassy foot

way, before she became aware that she was not alone. A youth,

of richer dress and more elegant bearing than the general run of


Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (46)

36 The Headswoman

the Radegundians, was leaning in an embrasure, watching the

graceful figure with evident interest.


Something has vexed you, fair maiden ?"

he observed, comingforward deferentially as soon as he perceived he was noticed


"and care sits but awkwardly on that smooth young brow."


Nay, it is nothing, kindsir," replied Jeanne ;

" we girls whowork for our living must not be too sensitive. My employershave been somewhat exigent, that is all. I did wrong to take it

to heart."

" Tis the way of the bloatedcapitalist," rejoined the young

man lightly, as he turned to walk by her side."

They grind us,

they grind us; perhaps some day they will come under your hands

in turn, and then you can pay them out. And so you toil and

spin, fairlily ! And yet methinks those delicate hands show little

trace of labour ?"

"You wrong me, indeed, sir," replied Jeanne merrily. "These

hands of mine, that you are so good as to admire, do great execu

tion !



I can well believe that your victims are numerous," he

replied ;


may I be permitted to rank myself among the latest of

them ?"


I wish you a better fortune, kindsir,"

answered Jeanne

demurely."I can imagine no more delightful one,"

he replied; "and

where do you ply your daily task, fair mistress ? Not entirely out

of sight and access, I trust ?"


Nay, sir," laughed Jeanne,"

I work in the market-place most

mornings, and there is no charge for admission j and access is far

from difficult. Indeed, some complain but that is no business

of mine. And now I must be wishing you a good evening.


for he would have detained her "

it is not seemly for an


Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (47)

By Kenneth Grahame 37

unprotected maiden to tarry in converse with a stranger at this

hour. Au revoir, sir ! If you should happen to be in the market

place any morning" - And she tripped lightly away. The youth,

gazing after her retreating figure, confessed himself strangely

fascinated by this fair unknown, whose particular employment, bythe way, he had forgotten to ask ; while Jeanne, as she sped

homewards, could not help reflecting that for style and distinction,

this new acquaintance threw into the shade all the Enguerrandsand others she had met hitherto even in the course of business.


The next morning was bright and breezy, and Jeanne was early

at her post, feeling quite a different girl. The busy little market

place was full of colour and movement, and the gay patches of

flowers and fruit, the strings of fluttering kerchiefs, and the piles

of red and yellow pottery, formed an artistic setting to the quiet

impressive scaffold which they framed. Jeanne was in short

sleeves, according to the etiquette of her office, and her round

graceful arms showed snowily against her dark blue skirt and

scarlet tight-fitting bodice. Her assistant looked at her with


"Hope you re better, miss,"he said respectfully. "It was just

as well you didn t put yourself out to come yesterday ;there was

nothing particular to do. Only one fellow, and he said be didn t

care ; anything to oblige a lady !



Well, I wish he d hurry up now, to oblige alady,"


Jeanne, swinging her axe carelessly to and fro :

" ten minutes past

the hour ;I shall have to talk to the Mayor about this."

The Yellow Book Vol. III. c "

It s

Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (48)

38 The Headswoman"

It s a pity there ain t a better show thismorning," pursued

the assistant, as he leant over the rail of the scaffold and spat

meditatively into the busy throng below. "

They do say as how

the young Seigneur arrived at the Chateau yesterday him as has

been finishing his education in Paris, you know. He s as likely as

not to be in the market-place to-day ; and if he s disappointed, he

may go off to Paris again, which would be a pity, seeing the

Chateau s been empty so long. But he may go to Paris, or

anywheres else he s a mind to, he won t see better workmanshipthan in this here little town !


"Well, my good Raoul," said Jeanne, colouring slightly at the

obvious compliment, "quality,not quantity, is what we aim at

here, you know. If a Paris education has been properly assimi

lated by the Seigneur, he will not fail to make all the necessary

allowances. But see, the prison-doors are opening at last !


They both looked across the little square to the prison, which

fronted the scaffold;and sure enough, a small body of men, the

Sheriff at their head, was issuing from the building, conveying, or

endeavouring to convey, the tardy prisoner to the scaffold. That

gentleman, however, seemed to be in a different and less obligingframe of mind from that of the previous day ; and at every paceone or other of the guards was shot violently into the middle of

the square, propelled by a vigorous kick or blow from the struggling

captive. The crowd, unaccustomed of late to such demonstrations

of feeling, and resenting the prisoner s want of taste, hooted

loudly ; but it was not until that ingenious mediaeval arrangementknown as la marche aux crapauds had been brought to bear

on him, that the reluctant convict could be prevailed uponto present himself before the young lady he had already so

unwarrantably detained.

Jeanne s profession had both accustomed her to surprises


Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (49)

By Kenneth Grahame 39

and taught her the futility of considering her clients as drawn

from any one particular class : yet she could hardly help

feeling some astonishment on recognising her new acquaintance

of the previous evening. That, with all his evident amiability of

character, he should come to this end, was not in itself a special

subject for wonder;but that he should have been conversing with

her on the ramparts at the hour when after courteously excusingher attendance on the scaffold he was cooling his heels in prison

for another day, seemed hardly to be accounted for, at first sight.

Jeanne, however, reflected that the reconciling of apparent contra

dictions was not included in her official duties.

The Sheriff, wiping his heated brow, now read the formal

proces delivering over the prisoner to the executioner s hands;

" and a nice job we ve had to get himhere,"

he added on

his own account. And the young man, who had remained

perfectly tractable since his arrival, stepped forward and bowed

politely." Now that we have been properly introduced," said he

courteously, "allow me to apologise for any inconvenience youhave been put to by my delay. The fault was entirely mine, and

these gentlemen are in no way to blame. Had I known whom I

was to have the pleasure of meeting, wings could not have con

veyed me swiftly enough."

" Do not mention, I pray, the word inconvenience," replied

Jeanne with that timid grace which so well became her : "I only

trust that any slight discomfort it may be my duty to cause youbefore we part, will be as easily pardoned. And now for the

morning, alas ! advances any little advice or assistance that I

can offer is quite at your service ; for the situation is possibly new,and you may have had but little experience."


Faith, none worth mentioning," said the prisoner, gaily." Treat

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40 The Headswoman

" Treat me as a raw beginner. Though our acquaintance has been

but brief, I have the utmost confidence inyou."

"Then, sir,"said Jeanne, blushing, "suppose I were to assist

you in removing this gay doublet, so as to give both of us more

freedom and less responsibility ?"

"A perquisite of the office ?"

queried the prisoner with a smile,

as he slipped one arm out of the sleeve.

A flush came over Jeanne s fair brow. "That was un

generous,"she said.


Nay, pardon me, sweetone,"

said he, laughing :

" twas but a

poor jest of mine in bad taste, I willingly admit."


I was sure you did not mean to hurtme,"

she replied kindly,

while her fingers were busy in turning back the collar of his shirt.

It was composed, she noticed, of the finest point lace ; and she

could not help a feeling of regret that some slight error as must,

from what she knew, exist somewhere should compel her to take

a course so at variance with her real feelings. Her only comfort

was that the youth himself seemed entirely satisfied with his

situation. He hummed the last air from Paris during her minis

trations, and when she had quite finished, kissed the pretty fingers

with a metropolitan grace." And now, sir,"

said Jeanne,"

if you will kindly come this

way : and please to mind the step so. Now, if you will have

the goodness to kneel here nay, the sawdust is perfectly clean;

you are my first client this morning. On the other side of the

block you will find a nick, more or less adapted to the human chin,

though a perfect fit cannot of course be guaranteed in every case.

So ! Are you pretty comfortable ?"

"A bed ofroses," replied the prisoner. "And what a really

admirable view one gets of the valley and the river, from just this

particular point !




Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (51)

By Kenneth Grahame 41


Charming, is it not ?"

replied Jeanne."

I m so glad you do

justice to it. Some of your predecessors have really quite vexed

me by their inability to appreciate that view. It s worth cominghere to see it. And now, to return to business for one moment,

would you prefer to give the word yourself ? Some people do ;

it s a mere matter of taste. Or will you leave yourself entirely

in my hands ?


"Oh,in your fair

hands," replied her client, "which I beg youto consider respectfully kissed once more by your faithful servant

to command."

Jeanne, blushing rosily, stepped back a pace, moistening her

palms as she grasped her axe, when a puffing and blowing behind

caused her to turn her head, and she perceived the Mayor hastily

ascending the scaffold.

" Hold on a minute, Jeanne, my girl,"he gasped.

" Don t be

in a hurry. There s been some little mistake."

Jeanne drew herself up with dignity."

I m afraid I don t

quite understand you, Mr. Mayor,"she replied in freezing

accents. "There s been no little mistake on my part that I maware of."


No, no, no,"said the Mayor, apologetically ;

" but on some

body else s there has. You see it happened in this way : this

here young fellow was going round the town last night ;and he d

been dining, I should say, and he was carrying on rather free. I

will only say so much in your presence, that he was carrying on

decidedly free. So the town-guard happened to come across him,

and he was very high and very haughty, he was, and wouldn t

give his name nor yet his address as a gentleman should, you

know, when he s been dining and carrying on free. So our

fellows just ran him in and it took the pick of them all their

time to doit,

too. Well, then, the other chap who was in prison


Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (52)

42 The Headswoman

the gentleman who obliged you yesterday, you know what does

he do but slip out and run away in the middle of all the row

and confusion ;and very inconsiderate and ungentlemanly it was

of him to take advantage of us in that mean way, just when we

wanted a little sympathy and forbearance. Well, the Sheriff

comes this morning to fetch out his man for execution, and he

knows there s only one man to execute, and he sees there s only

one man in prison, and it all seems as simple as A B C he never

was much of a mathematician, you know so he fetches our friend

here along, quite gaily. And and that s how it came about, yousee ;

bine ilia: lacbrymte^ as the Roman poet has it. So now I

shall just give this young fellow a good talking to, and discharge

him with a caution ;and we shan t require you any more to-day,

Jeanne, my girl."


Now, look here, Mr.Mayor,"

said Jeanne severely,"


utterly fail to grasp the situation in its true light. All these little

details may be interesting in themselves, and doubtless the press

will take note of them; but they are entirely beside the point.

With the muddleheadedness of your officials (which I have

frequently remarked upon) I have nothing whatever to do. All I

know is, that this young gentleman has been formally handed over

to me for execution, with all the necessary legal requirements ;and

executed he has got to be. When my duty has been performed,

you are at liberty to re-open the case if you like;and any little

mistake that may have occurred through your stupidity you can

then rectify at your leisure. Meantime, you ve no locus standi

here at all;

in fact, you ve no business whatever lumbering up myscaffold. So shut up and clear out."


Now, Jeanne, do bereasonable," implored the Mayor. "You

women are so precise. You never will make any allowance for

the necessary margin of error inthings."


Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (53)

By Kenneth Grahame 43" If I were to allow the necessary margin for all your errors,

Mayor," replied Jeanne, coolly," the edition would have to be a

large-paper one, and even then the text would stand a poor chance.

And now, if you don t allow me the necessary margin to swing

my axe, there may be another little mistake -

But at this point a hubbub arose at the foot of the scaffold, and

Jeanne, leaning over, perceived sundry tall fellows, clad in the

livery of the Seigneur, engaged in dispersing the municipal guard

by the agency of well-directed kicks, applied with heartiness and

anatomical knowledge. A moment later, there strode on to the

scaffold, clad in black velvet, and adorned with his gold chain of

office, the stately old seneschal of the Chateau, evidently in a

towering passion."

Now, mark my words, you miserable little bladder-o-lard,"


roared at the Mayor (whose bald head certainly shone provokingly

in the morning sun), "see if I don t take this out of your skin

presently !

" And he passed on to where the youth was still

kneeling, apparently quite absorbed in the view.

"My lord,"he said, firmly though respectfully, "your


brained folly really passes all bounds. Have you entirely lost yourhead ?



Faith, nearly,"said the young man, rising and stretching him

self." Is that you, old Thibault ? Ow, what a crick I ve got

in my neck ! But that view of the valley was really de

lightful !


" Did you come here simply to admire the view, my lord ?"

inquired Thibault severely."

I came because my horse wouldcome," replied the young

Seigneur lightly :

" that is,these gentlemen here were so pressing ;

they would not hear of any refusal ;and besides, they forgot to

mention what my attendance was required in such a hurry for.


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44 The Headswoman

And when I got here, Thibault, old fellow, and saw that divine

creature nay, a goddess, dea certe so graceful, so modest, so

anxious to acquit herself with credit Well, you know myweakness ;

I never could bear to disappoint a woman. She had

evidently set her heart on taking my head;and as she had my

heart already"

I think, my lord,"said Thibault with some severity,



had better let me escort you back to the Chateau. This appears

to be hardly a safe place for light-headed and susceptible persons !

Jeanne, as was natural, had the last word. " Understand me,

Mr. Mayor,"said she,

" these proceedings are entirely irregular.

I decline to recognise them, and when the quarter expires I shall

claim the usual bonus !



When, an hour or two later, an invitation arrived courteously

worded, but significantly backed by an escort of half-a-dozen tall

archers for both Jeanne and the Mayor to attend at the Chateau

without delay, Jeanne for her part received it with neither sur

prise nor reluctance. She had felt it especially hard that the only

two interviews fate had granted her with the one man who had

made some impression on her heart, should be hampered, the one

by considerations of propriety, the other by the conflicting claims

of her profession and its duties. On this occasion, now, she

would have an excellent chaperon in the Mayor ;and business

being over for the day, they could meet and unbend on a commonsocial footing. The Mayor was not at all surprised either, consider

ing what had gone before ; but he was exceedingly terrified, and

sought some consolation from Jeanne as they proceeded together


Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (55)

By Kenneth Grahame 45

to the Chateau. That young lady s remarks, however, could

hardly be called exactly comforting."

I always thought you d put your foot in it some day, Mayor,"

she said." You are so hopelessly wanting in system and method.

Really, under the present happy-go-lucky police arrangements, I

never know whom I may not be called upon to execute. Between

you and my cousin Enguerrand, life is hardly safe in this town.

And the worst of itis, that we other officials on the staff have to

share in the discredit."

"What do you think they ll do to me, Jeanne ?" whimperedthe Mayor, perspiring freely.

"Can t say, I msuie," pursued the candid Jeanne. "Of course,

if it s anything in the rack line of business, I shall have to super

intend the arrangements, and then you can feel sure you re in

capable hands. But probably they ll only fine you pretty smartly,

give you a month or two in the dungeons, and dismiss you from

your post ;and you will hardly grudge any slight personal incon

venience resulting from an arrangement so much to the advantage

of the town."

This was hardly reassuring, but the Mayor s official reprimand

of the previous day still rankled in this unforgiving young person s


On their reaching the Chateau, the Mayor was conducted aside,

to be dealt with by Thibault;and from the sounds of agonised

protestation and lament which shortly reached Jeanne s ears, it

was evident that he was having a mauvais quart cCheure. The

young lady was shown respectfully into a chamber apart, where

she had hardly had time to admire sufficiently the good taste of

the furniture and the magnificence of the tapestry with which the

walls were hung, when the Seigneur entered and welcomed her

with a cordial grace that put her entirely at her ease.

" Your

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46 The Headswoman

"Your punctuality puts me to shame, fair mistress," he said,

"considering how unwarrantably I kept you waiting this morning,and how I tested your patience by my ignorance and awkward


He had changed his dress, and the lace round his neck was even

richer than before. Jeanne had always considered one of the

chief marks of a well-bred man to be a fine disregard for the

amount of his washing-bill ;and then with what good taste he

referred to recent events putting himself in the wrong, as a

gentleman should !


Indeed, my lord,"she replied modestly,


I was only too

anxious to hear from your own lips that you bore me no ill-will

for the part forced on me by circ*mstances in our recent interview.

Your lordship has sufficient critical good sense, I feel sure, to

distinguish between the woman and the official."

"True, Jeanne," he replied, drawing nearer; "and while I

shrink from expressing, in their fulness, all the feelings that the

woman inspires in me, I have no hesitation for I know it will

give you pleasure in acquainting you with the entire artistic

satisfaction with which I watched you at your task !


"But, indeed" said Jeanne, "youdid not see me at my best.

In fact, I can t help wishing it s ridiculous, I know, because the

thing is hardly practicable but if I could only have carried myperformance quite through, and put the last finishing touches to

it, you would not have been judging me now by the mere

blocking-in of what promised to be a masterpiece !


Yes, I wish it could have been arranged somehow," said the

Seigneur reflectively;" but perhaps it s better as it is. I am con

tent to let the artist remain for the present on trust, if I may onlytake over, fully paid up, the woman I adore !


Jeanne felt strangely weak. The official seemed oozing out at


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By Kenneth Grahame 47

her fingers and toes, while the woman s heart beat even more dis


I have one little question toask,"

he murmured (his arm

was about her now). "Do I understand that you still claim yourbonus ?


Jeanne felt like water in his strong embrace ; but she nerved

herself to answer faintly but firmly :" Yes !


"Then so doI,"

he replied, as his lips met hers.*****Executions continued to occur in St. Radegonde ; the Rade-

gundians being conservative and very human. But much of the

innocent enjoyment that formerly attended them departed after

the fair Chatelaine had ceased to officiate. Enguerrand, on suc

ceeding to the post, wedded Clairette, she being (he was heard to

say) a more suitable match in mind and temper than others of

whom he would name no names. Rumour hadit, that he found

his match and something over;while as for temper and mind

(which she gave him in bits) But the domestic trials of high-

placed officials have a right to be held sacred. The profession, in

spite of his best endeavours, languished nevertheless. Some said

that the scaffold lacked its old attraction for criminals of spirit ;

others, more unkindly, that the headsman was the innocent cause,

and that Enguerrand was less fatal in his new sphere than

formerly, when practising in the criminal court as advocate for

the defence.

Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (58)


By Arthur Symons

EACH,in himself, his hour to be and cease

Endures alone, yet few there be who dare

Sole with himself his single burden bear,

All the long day until the night s release.

Yet, ere the night fall,and the shadows close,

This labour of himself is each man s lot;

All a man hath, yet living, is forgot,

Himself he leaves behind him when he goes.

If he have any valiancy within,

If he have made his life his very own,If he have loved and laboured, and have known

A strenuous virtue, and the joy of sin;

Then, being dead, he has not lived in vain,

For he has saved what most desire to lose,

And he has chosen what the few must choose,

Since life, once lived, returns no more again.


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By Arthur Symons 49

For of our time we lose so large a part

In serious trifles, and so oft let slip

The wine of every moment at the lip

Its moment, and the moment of the heart.

We are awake so little on the earth,

And we shall sleep so long, and rise so late,

If there is any knocking at that gate

Which is the gate of death, the gate of birth.

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Four Drawings

By Aubrey Beardsley

I. Portrait of Himself

II. Lady Gold s Escort

III. The Wagnerites

IV. La Dame aux Camelias

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White Magic

By Ella D Arcy


SPENT one evening last summer with mv fnVnd Alauger,

pharmacien in the little town of Jac^ucs-le-Poi t. He pio-

nounces his name Major, by-the-bye, it being a t]uaint custom of"

the Islands to write proper names one way and speak them another,

thus serving to bolster up that old, old story of the Germansavant s account of the difficulties of the English lan^ua^e

" where

you spell a man s nameVerulam," says he reproachfulK , "and

pronounce it Bacon."

Mauger and I sat in the pleasant wood-panelled parlour behind

the shop, from whence all sorts of aromatic odours found their

way in through the closed door to mingle with the fragrance ot

figs, Ceylon tea, and hot goches-a-beurre^ constituting the excellent

meal spread before us. The large old-fashioned windows were

wide open, and I looked straight out upon the harbour, filled with

holiday yachts,and the wonderful azure sea.

Over against the other islands, opposite, a gleam of white

streaked the water, white clouds hung motionless in the blue sky?

and a tiny boat with white sails passed out round Falla Point. Awhite butterfly entered the room to flicker in gay uncertain curves

above the cloth, and a warm reflected light played over the slender

rat-tailed forks and spoons, and raised by a tone or two the colour


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60 White Magic

of Mauger s tanned face and yellow beard. For, in spite of a

sedentary profession, his preferences lie with an out-of-door life,

and he takes an afternoon off whenever practicable, as he had done

that day, to follow his favourite pursuit over the golf-links at Les


While he had been deep in the mysteries of teeing and putting,

with no subtler problem to be solved than the judicious selection of

mashie and cleek, I had explored some of the curious cromlechs or

pouquelayes scattered over this part of the island, and my thoughts

and speech harked back irresistibly to the strange old religions and

usages of the past.

"Science is all very well in itsway,"

said I;

"and of course

it s an inestimable advantage to inhabit this so-called nineteenth

century ;but the mediaeval want of science was far more pic

turesque. The once universal belief in charms and portents, in

wandering saints, and fighting fairies, must have lent an interest

to life which these prosaic days sadly lack. Madelon then would

steal from her bed on moonlight nights;n May, and slip across the

dewy grass with naked feet, to seek the reflection of her future

husband s face in the first running stream she passed ; now, Miss

Mary Jones puts on her bonnet and steps round the corner, on

no more romantic errand than the investment of her month s

wages in the savings bank at two and a half per cent."

Mauger laughed."

I wish she did anything half so prudent !

That has not been my experience of the Mary Joneses."

"Well, anyhow," I insisted, "the Board school has rationalised

them. It has pulled up the innate poetry of their nature to replaceit by decimal fractions."

To which Mauger answered " Rot !


and offered me his

cigarette-case. After the first few silent whiffs, he went on as

follows :

" The innate poetry of Woman ! Confess now, there is


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By Ella D Arcy 61

no more unpoetic creature under the sun. Offer her the sublimest

poetry ever written and the Daily Telegraph s latest article on

fashions, or a good sound murder or reliable divorce, and there s no

betting on her choice, for it s a dead certainty. Many men have

a love of poetry, but I m inclined to think that a hundred womenout of ninety-nine positively dislike it."

Which struck me as true. "We ll drop the poetry, then,"I


" but my point remains, that if the girl of to-day has no

superstitions, the girl of to-morrow will have no beliefs. Teach

her to sit down thirteen to table, to spill the salt, and walk under

a ladder with equanimity, and you open the door for Spencer and

Huxley, and and all the rest ofit,"

said I, coming to an impotentconclusion.

"Oh,if superstition were the salvation of woman but you are

thinking of young ladies in London, I suppose ? Here, in the

Islands, I can show you as much superstition as you please. I mnot sure that the country-people in their heart of hearts don t still

worship the old gods of the pouquelayes. You would not, of

course, find any one to own up to it,or to betray the least glimmer

of an idea as to your meaning, were you to question him, for ours is

a shrewd folk, wearing their orthodoxy bravely ;but possibly the

old beliefs are cherished with the more ardour for not being openlyavowed. Now you like bits of actuality. I ll give you one, and

a proof, too, that the modern maiden is still separated by many a

fathom of salt sea-water from these fortunate isles.

" Some time ago, on a market morning, a girl came into the

shop, and asked for some blood from a dragon. Some what ?

said I, not catching her words. Well, just a little blood from a

dragon, she answered very tremulously, and blushing. She meant

of course, dragon s blood, a resinous powder, formerly much used

in medicine, though out of fashion now.

The Yellow Book Vol. III. D " She

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62 White Magic

"She was a pretty young creature, with pink cheeks and dark

eyes, and a forlorn expression of countenance which didn t seem at

all to fit in with her blooming health. Not from the town, or I

should have known her face ; evidently come from one of the

country parishes to sell her butter and eggs. I was interested to

discover what she wanted the dragon s blood for, and after a

certain amount of hesitation she told me. They do say it s good,

sir, if anything should have happened betwixt you an your youngman. Then you have a young man ? said I. Yes, sir.

And you ve fallen out with him ? Yes, sir. And tears rose

to her eyes at the admission, while her mouth rounded with awe

at my amazing perspicacity. And you mean to send him some

dragon s blood as a love potion ? No, sir; you ve got to mix

it with water you ve fetched from the Three Sisters Well, and

drink it yourself in nine sips on nine nights running, and get into

bed without once looking in the glass, and then if you ve done

everything properly, and haven t made any mistake, he ll come

back to you, an love you twice as much as before. And la

mere Todevinn (Tostevin) gave you that precious recipe, and

made you cross her hand with silver into the bargain, said I

severely ;on which the tears began to flow outright.

" You know the oldlady,"

said Mauger, breaking off his narra

tion," who lives in the curious stone house at the corner of the

market-place ? A reputed witch who learned both black and

white magic from her mother, who was a daughter of Helier

Mouton, the famous sorcerer of Cakeuro. I could tell you some

funny stories relating to la Mere Todevinn, who numbers more

clients among the officers and fine ladies here than in any other

class;and very curious, too, is the history of that stone house, with

the Brancourt arms still sculptured on the side. You can see them,if you turn down by the Water-gate. This old sinister-looking


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By Ella D Arcy 63

building, or rather portion of a building, for more modern houses

have been built over the greater portion of the site, and now press

upon it from either hand, once belonged to one of the finest man

sions in the islands, but through a curse and a crime has been

brought down to its present condition; while the Brancourt

family have long since been utterly extinct. But all this isn t the

story of Elsie Mahy, which turned out to be the name of my little


"The Mahys are of the Vauvert parish, and Pierre Jean, the

father of this girl, began life as a day-labourer, took to tomato-

growing on borrowed capital, and now owns a dozen glass-houses

of his own. Mrs. Mahy does some dairy-farming on a minute

scale, the profits of which she and Miss Elsie share as pin-money.The young man who is courting Elsie is a son of Toumes the

builder. He probably had something to do with the putting up of

Mahy s greenhouses, but anyhow, he has been constantly over at

Vauvert during the last six months, superintending the alterations

at de Caterelle s place."

Toumes, it would seem, is a devoted but imperious lover, and

the Persian and Median laws are as butter compared with the

inflexibility of his decisions. The little rift within the lute, which

has lately turned all the music to discord, occurred last Mondayweek bank-holiday, as you may remember. The Sunday school

to which Elsie belongs and it s a strange anomaly, isn tit,


a girl going to Sunday school should still have a rooted belief in

white magic ? the school was to go for an outing to Prawn Bay,and Toumes had arranged to join his sweetheart at the starting-

point. But he had made her promise that if by any chance he

should be delayed, she would not go with the others, but would

wait until he came to fetch her.

" Of course, it so happened that he was detained, and, equally of


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64 White Magic

course, Elsie, like a true woman, went off without him. She did

all she knew to make me believe she went quite against her own

wishes, that her companions forced her to go. The beautifully

yielding nature of a woman never comes out so conspicuously as

when she is being coerced into following her own secret desires.

Anyhow, Toumes, arriving some time later, found her gone. Hefollowed on, and under ordinary circ*mstances, I suppose, a sharp

reprimand would have been considered sufficient. Unfortunately,the young man arrived on the scene to find his truant love deepin the frolics of kiss-in-the-ring. After tea in the Caterelle

Arms, the whole party had adjourned to a neighbouring meadow,and were thus whiling away the time to the exhilarating strains of

a French horn and a concertina. Elsie was led into the centre of

the ring by various country bumpkins, and kissed beneath the eyesof heaven, of her neighbours, and of her embittered swain.

" You may have been amongst us long enough to know that

the Toumes family are of a higher social grade than the Mahys,and I suppose the Misses Toumes never in their lives stooped to

anything so ungenteel as public kiss-in-the-ring. It was not sur

prising, therefore, to hear that after this incident me an myyoung man had words, as Elsie put it.

"Note,"said Mauger, "the descriptive truth of this expression

having words. Among the unlettered, lovers only do have

words when vexed. At other times they will sit holding hands

throughout a long summer s afternoon, and not exchange tworemarks an hour. Love seals their tongue ; anger alone unlooses

it, and, naturally, when unloosened, it runs on, from sheer want of

practice, a great deal faster and farther than they desire."

So, life being thorny and youth being vain, they parted late

that same evening, with the understanding that they would meetno more

; and to be wroth with one we love worked its usual


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By Ella D Arcy 65

harrowing effects. Toumes took to billiards and brandy, Elsie to

tears and invocations of Beelzebub;then came Mere Todevinn s

recipe, my own more powerful potion, and now once more all is

silence and balmy peace."

" Do you mean to tell me you sold the child a charm, and

didn t enlighten her as to its futility ?"


I sold her some bicarbonate of soda worth a couple of

doubles^ and charged her five shillings for it into thebargain,"

said Mauger unblushingly." A wrinkle I learned from once over

hearing an old lady I had treated for nothing expatiating to a

crony, Eh, but, my good, my good ! dat Mr. Major, I don t

t ink much of him. He give away his add-vice an his meddecines

for nuddin. Dey not wort nuddin neider, for sure. So I

made Elsie hand me over five British shillings, and gave her the

powder, and told her to drink it with her meals. But I threw

in another prescription, which, if less important, must nevertheless

be punctiliously carried out, if the charm was to have any effect.

The very next time, I told her, that you meet your youngman in the street, walk straight up to him without looking to the

right or to the left, and hold out your hand, saying these words :


Please, I so want to be friends again !

" Then if you ve been a

good girl, have taken the powder regularly, and not forgottenone of my directions, you ll find that all will come right.


Now, little as you may creditit,"

said Mauger, smiling, "the

charm worked, for all that we live in the so-called nineteenth

century. Elsie came into the shop only yesterday to tell me the

results, and to thank me very prettily. I shall always come to

you now, sir, she was good enough to say, I mean, if anythingwas to go wrong again. You know a great deal more than Mere

Todevinn, I m sure. Yes, I m a famous sorcerer, said I, but

you had better not speak about the powder. You are wise enoughto

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66 White Magic

to see that it was just your own conduct in meeting your youngman rather more than halfway, that did the trick eh ? She

looked at me with eyes brimming over with wisdom. You

needn t be afraid, sir, I ll not speak of it. Mere Todevinn

always made me promise to keep silence too. But of course I

know it was the powder that worked the charm." And to that belief the dear creature will stick to the last day

of her life. Women are wonderful enigmas. Explain to them

that tight-lacing displaces all the internal organs, and show them

diagrams to illustrate your point, they smile sweetly, say, Oh,how funny ! and go out to buy their new stays half an inch

smaller than their old ones. But tell them they must never pass

a pin in the street for luck s sake, if it lies with its point towards

them, and they will sedulously look for and pick up every such

confounded pin they see. Talk to a woman of the marvels of

science, and she turns a deaf ear, or refuses point-blank to believe

you ; yet she is absolutely all ear for any old wife s tale, drinks

it greedily in, and never loses hold of it for the rest of her


" But does she ?" said I; "that s the point in dispute, and

though your story shows there s still a commendable amount of

superstition in the Islands, I m afraid if you were to come to

London, you would not find sufficient to cover a threepenny-


"Woman is woman all the worldover,"

said Mauger senten-

tiously," no matter what mental garb happens to be in fashion at

the time. Grattez la femme et vous trouvez la folk. For see here :

if I had said to Mademoiselle Elsie, Well, you were in the wrong ;

it s your place to take the first step towards reconciliation, she

would have laughed in my face, or flung out of the shop in a rage.

But because I sold her a little humbugging powder under the


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By Ella D Arcy 67

guise of a charm, she submitted herself with the docility of a pet

lambkin. No;one need never hope to prevail through wisdom

with a woman, and if I could have realised that ten years ago, it

would have been better for me."

He fell silent, thinking of his past, which to me, who knew it,

seemed almost an excuse for his cynicism. I sought a change of

idea. The splendour of the pageant outside supplied me with


The sun had set;and all the eastern world of sky and water,

stretching before us, was steeped in the glories of the after-glow.

The ripples seemed painted in dabs of metallic gold upon a

surface of polished blue-grey steel. Over the islands opposite hunga far-reaching golden cloud, with faint-drawn, up-curled edges, as

though thinned out upon the sky by some monster brush;and

while I watched it, this cloud changed from gold to rose-colour,

and instantly the steel mirror of the sea glowed rosy too, and was

streaked and shaded with a wonderful rosy-brown. As the colour

grew momentarily more intense in the sky above, so did the sea

appear to pulse to a more vivid copperish-rose, until at last it was

like nothing so much as a sea of flowing fire. And the cloud

flamed fiery too, yet all the while its up-curled edges rested

in exquisite contrast upon a background of most cool cerulean


The little sailing-boat, which I had noticed an hour previously,

reappeared from behind the Point. The sail was lowered as it

entered the harbour, and the boatman took to his oars. I watched

it creep over the glittering water until it vanished beneath the

window-sill. I got up and went over to the window to hold it

still in sight. It was sculled by a young man in rosy shirt-sleeves,

and opposite to him, in the stern, sat a girl in a rosy gown.So long as I had observed them, not one word had either spoken.


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68 White Magic

In silence they had crossed the harbour, in silence the sculler had

brought his craft alongside the landing-stage, and secured her to a

ring in the stones. Still silent, he helped his companion to step

out upon the quay."

Here,"said I, to Mauger,


is a couple confirming your

silent theory with a vengeance. We must suppose that much

love has rendered them absolutely dumb."

He came, and leaned from the window too.

"It s not a couple, but thecouple,"

said he;

"and after all,in

spite of cheap jesting, there are some things more eloquent than

speech."For at this instant, finding themselves alone upon the

jetty, the young man had taken the girl into his arms, and she had

lifted a frank responsive mouth to return his kiss.

Five minutes later the sea had faded into dull greys and sober

browns, starved white clouds moved dispiritedly over a vacant sky,

and by cricking the back of my neck I was able to follow

Toumes black coat and the white frock of Miss Elsie until theyreached Poidevin s wine-vaults, and, turning up the Water-gate,were lost to view.

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Fleurs de Feu

By Jose Maria de Heredia

of the French Academy

BIENdes siecles depuis les siecles du Chaos,

La flamme par torrentsjaillit

de ce cratere

Et le panache igne du volcan solitaire

Flamba encore plus haut que les Chimborazos.

Nul bruit n eveille plus la cime sans echos.

Ou la cendre pleuvait 1 oiseau se desaltere ;

Le sol est immobile, et !e sang de la Terre

La lave, en se figeant, lui laissa le repos.

Pourtant, supreme efFort de 1 antique incendie,

A 1 orle de la gueule a jamais refroidie,

Eclatant a travers les rocs pulverises.

Comme un coup de tonnerre au milieu du silence,

Dans le poudroiement d or du pollen qu elle lance,

S epanouit la fleur des cactus embrase s.

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Flowers of Fire

A Translation, byEllen M. Clerke

FORages since the age of Chaos passed,

Flame shot in torrents from this crater pyre,

And the red plume of the volcano s ire

Higher than Chimborazo s crown was cast.

No sound awakes the summit, voiceless, vast,

The bird now sips where rained the ashes dire,

The soil is moveless, and Earth s blood on fire,

The lava hardening gives it peace at last.

But, crowning effort of the fires of old,

Close by the gaping jaws, for ever cold,

Gleaming mid rocks that crumble in the gloom,

As with a thunderclap in hush profound,

Mid golden dust of pollen hurled around,

The burning cactus blazes into bloom.

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When I am King

By Henry Harland

" ^uy faire, man Dieu, quy faire ?"

IHADwandered into a tangle of slummy streets, and began to

think it time to inquire my way back to the hotel ; then,

turning a corner, I came out upon the quays. At one hand there

was the open night, with the dim forms of many ships, and stars

hanging in a web of masts and cordage ; at the other, the garish

illumination of a row of public-houses : Au Eonheur du Matclot,

Cafe de la Marine^ Brasserie des ^uatre fonts, and so forth ;

rowdy-looking shops enough, designed for the entertainment of

the forecastle. But they seemed to promise something in the

nature of local colour ;and I entered the Brasserie des )uatre


It proved to be a brassene-a-femmes ; you were waited upon by

ladies, lavishly rouged and in regardless toilets, who would sit

with you and chat, and partake of refreshments at your expense.

The front part of the room was filled up with tables, where half a

hundred customers, talking at the top of their voices, raised a

horrid din sailors, soldiers, a few who might be clerks or trades

men, and an occasional workman in his blouse. Beyond, there

was a cleared space, reserved for dancing, occupied by a dozen


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72 When I am King

couples, clumsily toeing it ;and on a platform, at the far end, a

man pounded a piano. All this in an atmosphere hot as a furnace-

blast, and poisonous with the fumes of gas, the smells of bad

tobacco, of musk, alcohol, and humanity.The musician faced away from the company, so that only his

shoulders and the back of his grey head were visible, bent over his

keyboard. It was sad to see a grey head in that situation ;and

one wondered what had brought it there, what story of vice or

weakness or evil fortune. Though his instrument was harsh, and

he had to bang it violently to be heard above the roar of conversa

tion, the man played with a kind of cleverness, and with certain

fugitive suggestions of good style. He had once studied an art,

and had hopes and aspirations, who now, in his age, was come to

serve the revels of a set of drunken sailors, in a disreputable tavern,

where they danced with prostitutes. I don t know why, but from

the first he drew my attention ; and I left my handmaid to count

her charms neglected, while I sat and watched him, speculating

about him in a melancholy way, with a sort of vicarious shame.

But presently something happened to make me forget him

something of his own doing. A dance had ended, and after a

breathing spell he began to play an interlude. It was an instance

of how tunes, like perfumes, have the power to wake sleeping

memories. The tune he was playing now, simple and dreamylike a lullaby, and strangely at variance with the surroundings,

whisked me off in a twinkling, far from the actual ten, fifteen

years backwards to my student life in Paris, and set me to

thinking, as I had not thought for many a long day, of my hero,

friend, and comrade, Edmund Pair ; for it was a tune of Pair s

composition, a melody he had written to a nursery rhyme, and

used to sing a good deal, half in fun, half in earnest, to his lady

love, Godelinette :

" Lavender s

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By Henry Harland 73

"Lavender s blue, diddle-diddle,

Lavender s green ;

When I am king, diddle-diddle,

You shall bequeen."

It is certain he meant very seriously that if he ever came into his

kingdom Godelinette should be queen. The song had been

printed, but, so far as I knew, had never had much vogue ;and it

seemed an odd chance that this evening, in a French seaport town

where I was passing a single night, I should stray by hazard into

a sailors pothouse and hear it again.

Edmund Pair lived in the Latin Quarter when I did, but he

was no longer a mere student. He had published a good many

songs ; articles had been written about them in the newspapers ;

and at his rooms you would meet the men who had " arrived"

actors, painters, musicians, authors, and now and then a politician

who thus recognised him as more or less one of themselves.

Everybody liked him ; everybody said," He is splendidly gifted ;

he will go far." A few of us already addressed him, half-playfully

perhaps, as cher maitre.

He was three or four years older than I eight or nine and

twenty to my twenty-five and I was still in the schools ; but for

all that we were great chums. Quite apart from his special talent,

he was a remarkable man amusing in talk, good-looking, generous,

affectionate. He had read;he had travelled ; he had hob-and-

nobbed with all sorts and conditions of people. He had wit,

imagination, humour, and a voice that made whatever he said a

cordial to the ear. For myself I admired him, enjoyed him, loved

him, with equal fervour ;he had all of my hero-worship and the

lion s share of my friendship ; perhaps I was vain as well as glad

to be distinguished by his intimacy. We used to spend two or


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74 When I am King

three evenings a week together, at his place or at mine, or over

the table of a cafe, talking till the small hours Elysian sessions,

at which we smoked more cigarettes and emptied more bocks than

I should care to count. On Sundays and holidays we would take

long walks arm-in-arm in the Bois, or, accompanied by Gode-

linette, go to Viroflay or Fontainebleau, lunch in the open, bedeck

our hats with wildflowers, and romp like children. He was tall

and slender, with dark waving hair, a delicate aquiline profile, a

clear brown skin, and grey eyes, alert, intelligent, kindly. I fancy

the Boulevard St. Michel, flooded with sunshine, broken here and

there by long crisp shadows ; trams and omnibuses toiling up the

hill, tooting their horns;students and etudiantes sauntering gaily

backwards and forwards on the trottoir ; an odour of asphalte, of

caporal tobacco ; myself one of the multitude on the terrace of a

cafe;and Edmund and Godelinette coming to join me he with

his swinging stride, a gesture of salutation, a laughing face ; she

in the freshest of bright-:coloured spring toilets : I fancy this, and

it seems an adventure of the golden age. Then we would drink

our aperitifs, our Turin bitter, perhaps our absinthe, and go off to

dine together in the garden at Lavenue s.

Godelinette was a child of the people, but Pair had done

wonders by way of civilising her. She had learned English, and

prattled it with an accent so quaint and sprightly as to give pointto her otherwise perhaps somewhat commonplace observations.

She was fond of reading ; she could play a little ; she was an

excellent housewife, and generally a very good-natured and quite

presentable little person. She was Parisian and adaptable. Tomeet her, you would never have suspected her origin ; you would

have found it hard to believe that she had been the wife of a

drunken tailor, who used to beat her. One January nio-ht, four

or five years before, Pair had surprised this gentleman publicly


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By Henry Harland 75

pummelling her in the Rue Gay-Lussac. He hastened to remon

strate;and the husband went off, hiccoughing of his outraged

rights, and calling the universe to witness that he would have the

law of the meddling stranger. Pair picked the girl up (she was

scarcely eighteen then, and had only been married a sixmonth), he

picked her up from where she had fallen, half fainting, on the

pavement, carried her to his lodgings, which were at hand, and

sent ror a doctor. In his manuscript-littered study for rather

more than nine weeks she lay on a bed of fever, the consequenceof blows, exhaustion, and exposure. When she got well there

was no talk of her leaving. Pair couldn t let her go back to her

tailor ;he couldn t turn her into the streets. Besides, during the

months that he had nursed her, he had somehow conceived a great

tenderness for her;

it made his heart burn with grief and angerto think of what she had suffered in the past, and he yearned to

sustain and protect and comfort her for the future. This perhaps

was no more than natural; but, what rather upset the calculations

of his friends, she, towards whom he had established himself in the

relation of a benefactor, bore him, instead of a grudge therefor, a

passionate gratitude and affection. So, Pair said, they were only

waiting till her tailor should drink himself to death, to get married;

and meanwhile, he exacted for her all the respect that would have

been due to his wife ; and everybody called her by his name. She

was a pretty little thing, very daintily formed, with tiny hands and

feet, and big gipsyish brown eyes ;and very delicate, very fragile

she looked as if anything might carry her off. Her name, Gode-

leine, seeming much too grand and mediaeval for so small and actual

a person, Pair had turned it into Godelinette.

We all said," He is splendidly gifted ;

he will do great things."

He had studied at Cambridge and at Leipsic before coming to

Paris. He was learned, enlightened, and extremely modern ;he


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was a hard worker. We said he would do great things ;but I

thought in those days, and indeed I still think and, what is more

to the purpose, men who were themselves musicians and composers,

men whose names are known, were before me in thinking that

he had already done great things, that the songs he had already

published were achievements. They seemed to us original in

conception, accomplished and felicitous in treatment ; they were

full of melody and movement, full of harmonic surprises ; they had

style and they had"go."

One would have imagined they must

please at once the cultivated and the general public. I could never

understand why they weren t popular. They would be printed ;

they would be praised at length, and under distinguished signatures,

in the reviews; they would enjoy an unusual success of appro

bation;but they wouldn t

sell^ and they wouldn t get themseh cs

sung at concerts. If they had been too good, if they had been

over the heads of people but they weren t. Plenty of work quite

as good, quite as modern, yet no whit more tuneful or interesting,

was making its authors rich. We couldn t understand it, we had

to conclude it was a fluke, a question of chance, of accident. Pair

was still a very young man ; he must go on knocking, and some

day to-morrow, next week, next year, but some day certainly

the door of public favour would be opened to him. Meanwhile

his position was by no means an unenviable one, goodness knows.

To have your orbit in the art world of Paris, and to be recognisedthere as a star ; to be written about in the Revue des Deux-

Mondes ; to possess the friendship of the masters, to know that

they believe in you, to hear them prophesy," He will do great

things"all that is something, even if your wares don t "take


in the market-place."

It s a good job, though, that I haven t got to live by them,"

Pair said ; and there indeed he touched a salient point. His


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By Henry Harland 77

people were dead; his father had been a younger son ;

he had

no money of his own. But his father s elder brother, a squire

in Hampshire, made him rather a liberal allowance, something like

six hundred a year, I believe, which was opulence in the Latin

Quarter. Now, the squire had been aware of Pair s relation with

Godelinette from its inception, and had not disapproved. On his

visits to Paris he had dined with them, given them dinners, and

treated her with the utmost complaisance. But when, one fine

morning, her tailor died, and my quixotic friend announced his

intention of marrying her, dans les delals legaux, the squire

protested. I think I read the whole correspondence, and I

remember that in the beginning the elder man took the tone of

paradox and banter. " Behave dishonourably, my dear fellow. I

have winked at your mistress heretofore, because boys will be

boys ;but it is the man who marries. And, anyhow, a woman is

so much more interesting in a falseposition."

But he soon

became serious, presently furious, and, when the marriage was an

accomplished fact, cut off the funds." Never mind, my dear,"

said Pair." We will go to London

and seek our fortune. We will write the songs of the people,

and let who will make the laws. We will grow rich and famous,


When I am king, diddle-diddle,

You shall be queen !


So they went to London to seek their fortune, and that was the

last I ever saw of them, nearly the last I heard. I had two letters

from Pair, written within a month of their hegira gossipy,

light-hearted letters, describing the people they were meeting,

reporting Godelinette s quaint observations upon England and

English things, explaining his hopes, his intentions, all veryThe Yellow Book Vol. III. E confidently

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78 When I am King

confidently and then I had no more. I wrote again, and still

again, till, getting no answer, of course I ceased to write. I

was hurt and puzzled ;but in the spring we should meet in

London, and could have it out. When the spring came, however,

my plans were altered : I had to go to America. I went by wayof Havre, expecting to stay six weeks, and was gone six years.

On my return to England I said to people,u You have a

brilliant young composer named Pair. Can you put me in the

way of procuring his address ?" The fortune he had come to

seek he would surely have found;he would be a known man.

But people looked blank, and declared they had never heard of him.

I applied to music-publishers with the same result. I wrote to

his uncle in Hampshire ; the squire did not reply. When I

reached Paris I inquired of our friends there ; they were as

ignorant as I. "He must bedead,"

I concluded. "If he had

lived, it is impossible we should not have heard of him." And I

wondered what had become of Godelinette.

Then another eight or ten years passed, and now, in a water

side public at Bordeaux, an obscure old pianist was playing Pair s

setting of " Lavender sblue,"

and stirring a hundred bitter-sweet

far-away memories of my friend. It was as if fifteen years were

erased from my life. The face of Godelinette was palpable before

me pale, with its sad little smile, its bright appealing eyes.

Edmund might have been smoking across the table I could hear

his voice, I could have put out my hand and touched him. Andall round me were the streets, the lights, the smells, the busy

youthful va-et-uient of the Latin Quarter ;and in my heart the

yearning, half joy and all despair and anguish, with which we

think of the old days when we were young, of how real and dear

they were, of how irrecoverable they are.

And then the music stopped, the Brasserie des Quatre Vents


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became a glaring reality, and the painted female sipping eau-de-vie

at my elbow remarked plaintively," Tu n es pas rigolo, toi.

Vieux-tu faire une valse ?"


I must speak to your musician," I said." Excuse me."

He had played a bit of Pair s music. It was one chance in a

thousand, but I wanted to ask him whether he could tell me

anything about the composer. So I penetrated to the bottom

of the shop, and approached his platform. He was bendingover some sheets of music making his next selection, doubt



I beg your pardon"

I began.He turned towards me. You will not be surprised I was

looking into Pair s own face.

You will not be surprised, but you will imagine what it was

for me. Oh, yes, I recognised him instantly ;there could be no

mistake. And he recognised me, for he flushed, and winced, and

started back.

I suppose for a little while we were both of us speechless,

speechless and motionless, while our hearts stopped beating. By-

and-by I think I said something had to be said to break the

situation I think I said, "It s you, Edmund?" I remember he

fumbled with a sheet of music, and kept his eyes bent onit,


muttered something inarticulate. Then there was another speech

less, helpless suspension. He continued to fumble his music,

without looking up. At last I remember saying, through a sort

of sickness and giddiness," Let us get out of here where we

can talk."


I can t leave yet. I ve got another dance,"he answered.

"Well,I ll

wait,"said I.

I sat down near him and waited, trying to create some kind of


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80 When I am King

order out of the chaos in my mind, and half automatically watching

and considering him as he played his dance Edmund Pair playing

a dance for prostitutes and drunken sailors. He was not greatly

changed. There were the same grey eyes, deep-set and wide

apart, under the same broad forehead;the same fine nose and

chin, the same sensitive mouth. The whole face was pretty much

the same, only thinner perhaps, and with a look of apathy, of

inanimation, that was foreign to my recollection of it. His hair

had turned quite white, but otherwise he appeared no older than

his years. His figure, tall, slender, well-knit, retained its vigour

and its distinction. Though he wore a shabby brown Norfolk

jacket, and his beard was two days old, you could in no circum

stances have taken him for anything but a gentleman. I waited

anxiously for the time when we should be alone anxiously,

yet with a sort of terror. I was burning to understand, and yet

I shrunk from doing so. If to conjecture even vaguely what

experiences could have brought him to this, what dark thingssuffered or done, had been melancholy when he was a nameless

old musician, now it was appalling, and I dreaded the explana

tion that I longed to hear.

At last he struck his final chord, and rose from the piano. Thenhe turned to me and said, composedly enough,


Well, I mready."

He, apparently, had in some measure pulled himself together. In

the street he took my arm. " Let s walk in thisdirection," he

said, leading off," towards the Christian quarter of the town."

And in a moment he went on :

" This has been an odd meeting.What brings you to Bordeaux ?


I explained that I was on my way to Biarritz, stopping for the

night between two trains.

"Then it s all the more surprising that you should have

stumbled into the Brasserie des Quatre Vents. You ve altered


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By Henry Harland 81

very slightly. The world wags well with you ? You look


I cried out some incoherent protest. Afterwards I said," You

know what I want to hear. What does this mean ?"

He laughed nervously."

Oh, the meaning s clear enough. It

speaks for itself."

"I don t understand," said I.

"I m pianist to the Brasserie des Quatre Vents. You saw me

in the discharge of my duties."


I don t understand," I repeated helplessly.

"And yet the inference is plain. What could have brought a

man to such a pass save drink or evil courses ?"

"Oh,don t

trifle,"I implored him.

"I m not trifling. That s the worst of it. For I don t drink,

and I m not conscious of having pursued any especially evil courses."

" Well ?"

I questioned." Well ?


"The fact of the matter simply is that I m what they call a

failure. I never came off."


I don t understand," I repeated for a third time.

"No more do I, if you come to that. It s the will of Heaven,I suppose. Anyhow, it can t puzzle you more than it puzzles

me. It seems contrary to the whole logic of circ*mstances, but

it s the fact."

Thus far he had spoken listlessly, with a sort of bitter levity,

an affectation of indifference ;but after a little silence his mood

appeared to change. His hand upon my arm tightened its grasp,

and he began to speak rapidly, feelingly." Do you realise that it is nearly fifteen years since we have

seen each other ? The history of those fifteen years, so far as I

am concerned, has been the history of a single uninterrupted

develne one continuous run of ill-luck, against every probability


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82 When I am King

of the game, against every effort I could make to play my cards

effectively. When I started out, one might have thought, I had

the best of chances. I had studied hard;

I worked hard. I

surely had as much general intelligence, as much special know

ledge, as much apparent talent, as my competitors. And the

stuff I produced seemed good to you, to my friends, and not

wholly bad to me. It was musicianly, it was melodious, it was

sincere ; the critics all praised it;but it never took on ! The

public wouldn t have it. What did it lack ? I don t know. At

last I couldn t even get it published invisible ink ! And I had a

wife to support."

He paused for a minute ;then :

" Yousee,"

he said," we made

the mistake, when we were young, of believing, against wise

authority, that it was in mortals to command success, that he

could command it who deserved it. We believed that the race

would be to the swift, the battle to the strong ;that a man was

responsible for his own destiny, that he d get what he merited.

We believed that honest labour couldn t go unrewarded. Animmense mistake. Success is an affair of temperament, like faith,

like love, like the colour of your hair. Oh, the old story about

industry, resolution, and no vices ! I was industrious, I was

resolute, and I had no more than the common share of vices.

But I had the unsuccessful temperament ; and here I am. If mymotives had been ignoble but I can t see that they were. I

wanted to earn a decent living ;I wanted to justify my existence

by doing something worthy of the world s acceptance. But the

stars in their courses fought against me. I have tried hard to con

vince myself that the music I wrote was rubbish. It had its

faults, no doubt. It wasn t great, it wasn t epoch-making. But,

as music goes nowadays, it was jolly good. It was a jolly sight

better than theaverage."


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By Henry Harland 83"

Oh, that is certain, that iscertain,"

I exclaimed, as he paused


Well, anyhow, it didn t sell, and at last I couldn t even get it

published. So then I tried to find other work. I tried every

thing. I tried to teach harmony and the theory of composition.

I couldn t get pupils. So few people want to study that sort of

thing, and there were good masters already in the place. If I had

known how to play, indeed ! But I was never better than a fifth-

rate executant ; I had never gone in for that ; my lay was com

position. I couldn t give piano lessons, I couldn t play in public

unless in a gargotte like the hole we have just left. Oh, I tried

everything. I tried to get musical criticism to do for the news

papers. Surely I was competent to do musical criticism. But

no they wouldn t employ me. I had ill luck, ill luck, ill luck-

nothing but ill luck, defeat, disappointment. Was it the will of

Heaven ? I wondered what unforgiveable sin I had committed to

be punished so. Do you know what it is like to work and pray

and wait, day after day, and watch day after day come and go and

bring you nothing ? Oh, I tasted the whole heart-sickness of

hope deferred ; Giant Despair was my constant bed-fellow."

"But with your connections"

I began."

Oh, my connections !


he cried. " There was the rub,

London is the cruellest town in Europe. For sheer cold blood

and heartlessness give Londoners the palm. I had connections

enough for the first month or so, and then people found out

things that didn t concern them. They found out some things

that were true, and they imagined other things that were false.

They wouldn t have my wife ; they told the most infamous lies

about her;and I wouldn t have them. Could I be civil to people

who insulted and slandered her ? I had no connections in London,

except with the underworld. I got down to copying parts for


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84 When I am King

theatrical orchestras ; and working twelve hours a day,earned

about thirty shillings a week."

" You might have come back to Paris."

" And fared worse. I couldn t have earned thirty pence in

Paris. Mind you, the only trade I had learned was that of a

musical composer ;and I couldn t compose music that people

would buy. I should have starved as a copyist in Paris, where

copyists are more numerous and worse paid. Teach there ? But

to one competent master of harmony in London there are ten in

Paris. No;

it was a hopeless case."


It is incomprehensible incomprehensible," said I.

"But wait wait till you ve heard the end. One would think

I had had enough not so ? One would think my cup of bitterness

was full. No fear ! There was a stronger cup still a-brewing

for me. When Fortune takes a grudge against a man, she never lets

up. She exacts the uttermost farthing. I was pretty badly off,

but I had one treasure left I had Godelinette. I used to think

that she was my compensation. I would say to myself, A fellow

can t have all blessings. How can you expect others, when you ve

got her ? And I would accuse myself of ingratitude for com

plaining of my unsuccess. Then she fell ill. My God, how I

watched over, prayed over her ! It seemed impossible I could

not believe that she would be taken from me. Yet, Harry, do

you know what that poor child was thinking ? Do you know

what her dying thoughts were her wishes ? Throughout her

long painful illness she was thinking that she was an obstacle in

my way, a weight upon me ; that if it weren t for her, I should

get on, have friends, a position ;that it would be a good thing for

me if she should die ; and she was hoping in her poor little heart

that she wouldn t get well ! Oh, I know it, I knew it and yousee me here alive. She let herself die for my sake as if I could


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By Henry Harland 85

care for anything without her ! That s what brought us here, to

France, to Bordeaux her illness. The doctors said she must pass

the spring out of England, away from the March winds, in the

South; and I begged and borrowed money enough to take her.

And we were on our way to Arcachon;but when we reached

Bordeaux she was too ill to continue the journey, and she died


We walked on for some distance in silence, then he added :

" That was four years ago. You wonder why I live to tell youof it, why I haven t cut my throat. I don t know whether it s

cowardice or conscientious scruples. It seems rather inconsequent

to say that I believe in a God, doesn t it ? that I believe one s life

is not one s own to make an end of? Anyhow, here I am, keeping

body and soul together as musician to a brasserie-a-femmes.I

can t go back to England, I can t leave Bordeaux she s buried

here. I ve hunted high and low for work, and found it nowhere

save in the brasserie-a-femmes. With that, and a little copyingnow and then, I manage to pay my way."

" But your uncle ?"

I asked." Do you think I would touch a penny of his money ?



retorted, almost fiercely."

It was he who began it. My wife

let herself die. It was virtual suicide. It was he who created the

situation that drove her to it."

" You are his heir, though, aren t you ?"


No, the estates are not entailed."

We had arrived at the door of my hotel."

Well, good-nightand ban

voyage"he said.

" You needn t wish me banvoyage"

I answered. "Of course

I m not leaving Bordeaux for thepresent."


Oh, yes, you are. You re going on to Biarritz to-morrow

morning, as you intended."


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86 When I am King

And herewith began a long and most painful struggle. I could

persuade him to accept no help of any sort from me. "What I

can t do formyself,"

he declared,"

I ll do without. My dear fellow,

all that you propose is contrary to the laws of Nature. One mancan t keep another it s an impossible relation. And I won t be

kept ;I won t be a burden. Besides, to tell you the truth, I ve

got past caring. The situation you find me in seems terrible to

you ; to me it s no worse than another. You see, I m hardened ;

I ve got past caring."

" At any rate,"I insisted, "I shan t go on to Biarritz. I ll

spend my holiday here, and we can see each other every day.

What time shall we meet to-morrow ?


No, no, I can t meet you again. Don t ask me to; you

mean it kindly, I know, but you re mistaken. It s done me goodto talk it all out to you, but I can t meet you again. I ve gotno heart for friendship, and you remind me too keenly of manythings."

" But if I come to the brasserie to-morrow night ?"


Oh, if you do that, you ll oblige me to throw up my employment there, and hide from you. You must promise not to come

again you must respect my wishes."

" You re cruel, you know."


Perhaps, perhaps. But I think I m only reasonable. Anyhow, good-bye."

He shook my hand hurriedly, and moved off. What could I

do ? I stood looking after him till he had vanished in the night,with a miserable baffled recognition of my helplessness to helphim.

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To a Bunch of Lilac

By Theo Marzials

" Dis-moi /ajleur,je te dirai lafemme"


it the April springing,

Or the bird in the breeze above ?

My throat is full of singing,

My heart is full of love.

O heart, are you not yet broken ?

O dream, so done with and dead,

Is life s one word not spoken,

And the rede of it all not read ?

No hope in the whole world over !

No hope in the infinite blue !

Yet I sing and laugh out like a lover

Oh, who isit, April who ?

And the glad young year is springing ;

And the birds, and the breeze above,

And the shrill tree-tops, are singing

And I am singing of love.

* * * *

O beautiful

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To a Bunch of Lilac

O beautiful lilac flowers,

Oh, say, is it you, is it youThe sun-struck, love-sick hours

Go faint for murmuring through ?

full of ineffable yearning,

So balmy, mystical, deep,

And faint beyond any discerning,

Like far-off voices in sleep

1 love you, O lilac, I love you !

Till life goes swooning by,

I breathe and enwreathe and enfold you,And long but to love, and die.

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From a Pastel

By Albert Foschter

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Apple Blossom in Brittany

By Ernest Dowson



was the feast of the Assumption in Ploumariel, at the hottest

part of the afternoon. Benedict Campion, who had just

assisted at vespers, in the little dove-cotted church like every

thing else in Ploumariel, even vespers were said earlier than is the

usage in towns took up his station in the market-place to watch

the procession pass by. The head of it was just then emerginginto the Square : a long file of men from the neighbouring

villages, bare-headed and chaunting, followed the crucifer. Theywere all clad in the picturesque garb of the Morbihan peasantry,

and were many of them imposing, quite noble figures with their

clear-cut Breton features, and their austere type of face. After

them a troop of young girls, with white veils over their heads,

carrying banners children from the convent school of the

Ursulines ; and then, two and two in motley assemblage (peasant

women with their white coifs walking with the wives and

dau "-liters of prosperous bourgeois in costumes more civilised but

far less pictorial) half the inhabitants of Ploumarielall, indeed,

who had not, with Campion, preferred to be spectators, taking

refuge from a broiling sun under the grateful shadow of the chest


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94 Apple Blossom in Brittany

nuts in the market-place. Last of all a muster of clergy, four or

five strong, a small choir of bullet-headed boys, and the Cure or

the parish himself, Monsieur Letetre chaunting from his book,who brought up the rear.

Campion, leaning against his chestnut tree, watched them

defile. Once a smile of recognition flashed across his face, which

was answered by a girl in the procession. She just glanced from

her book, and the smile with which she let her eyes rest upon him

for a moment, before she dropped them, did not seem to detract

from her devotional air. She was very young and slight she

might have been sixteen and she had a singularly pretty face;

her white dress was very simple, and her little straw hat, but both

of these she wore with an air which at once set her apart from her

companions, with their provincial finery and their rather common

place charms. Campion s eyes followed the little figure until it

was lost in the distance, disappearing with the procession down a

by-street on its return journey to the church. And after theyhad all passed, the singing, the last verse of the " Ave Maris

Stella,"was borne across to him, through the still air, the voices of

children pleasantly predominating. He put on his hat at last, and

moved away ; every now and then he exchanged a greeting with

somebody the communal doctor, the mayor ; while here and there

a woman explained him to her gossip in whispers as he passed,"


is the Englishman of Mademoiselle Marie-Ursule it is M. le

Cure sguest."

It was to the dwelling of M. le Cure, indeed,

that Campion now made his way. Five minutes walk broughthim to it ; an unpretentious white house, lying back in its large

garden, away from the dusty road. It was an untidy garden,

rather useful than ornamental;

a very little shade was offered byone incongruous plane-tree, under which a wooden table was placed

and some chairs. After dejeuner, on those hot August days,


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By Ernest Dowson 95

Campion and the Cure took their coffee here ;and in the evening

it was here that they sat and talked while Mademoiselle Hortense,

the Cure s sister, knitted, or appeared to knit, an interminable


the young girl, Marie-Ursule, placidly completing the

quartet with her silent, felicitous smile of a convent-bred child,

which seemed sometimes, at least to Campion, to be after all a

finer mode of conversation. He threw himself down now on the

bench, wondering when his hosts would have finished their de

votions, and drew a book from his pocket as if he would read.

But he did not open it, but sat for a long time holding it idly in

his hand, and gazing out at the village, at the expanse of dark pine-

covered hills, and at the one trenchant object in the foreground,

the white facade of the convent of the Ursuline nuns. Once and

again he smiled, as though his thoughts, which had wandered a

long way, had fallen upon extraordinarily pleasant things. He was

a man of barely forty, though he looked slightly older than his

age : his little, peaked beard was grizzled, and a life spent in

literature, and very studiously, had given him the scholar s

premature stoop. He was not handsome, but, when he smiled,

his smile was so pleasant that people credited him with good looks.

It brought, moreover, such a light of youth into his eyes, as to

suggest that if his avocations had unjustly aged his body, that had

not been without its compensations his soul had remained re

markably young. Altogether, he looked shrewd, kindly and

successful, and he was all these things, while if there was also a

certain sadness in his eyes lines of lassitude about his mouththis was an idiosyncracy of his temperament, and hardly justified

by his history, which had always been honourable and smooth.

He was sitting in the same calm and presumably agreeable reverie,

when the garden gate opened, and a girl the young s;irl of the

procession, fluttered towards him.

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96 Apple Blossom in Brittany

"Are you quite alone?" she asked brightly, seating herself at

his side. "Has not Aunt Hortense come back ?"

Campion shook his head, and she continued speaking in English,

very correctly, but with a slight accent, which gave to her pretty

young voice the last charm.

"I suppose she has gone to see la mere Guemene. She will not

live another night they say. Ah ! what apity,"

she cried, clasping

her hands;


to die on the Assumption that is hard."

Campion smiled softly." Dear child, when one s time comes,

when one is old as that, the day does not matter much." Thenhe went on :

" But how is it you are back ; were you not going to

your nuns ?"

She hesitated a moment. "

It is your last day, and I wanted to

make tea for you. You have had no tea this year. Do you think

1 have forgotten how to make it, while you have been away, as I

forget my English words ?"

"It s I who am forgetting such an English habit,"he pro

tested." But run away and make

it,if you like. I am sure it

will be very good."

She stood for a moment looking down at him, her fingers

smoothing a little bunch of palest blue ribbons on her white dress.

In spite of her youth, her brightness, the expression of her face in

repose was serious and thoughtful, full of unconscious wistfulness.

This, together with her placid manner, the manner of a child whohas lived chiefly with old people and quiet nuns, made her beautyto Campion a peculiarly touching thing. Just then her eyes fell

upon Campion s wide-awake, lying on the seat at his side, and

travelled to his uncovered head. She uttered a protesting cry :

"Are you not afraid of a coup de soleil? See you are not

fit to be a guardian if you can be so foolish as that. It is I

who have to look afteryou."

She took up the great grey hat and


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set it daintily on his head ; then with a little laugh she disappearedinto the house.

When Campion raised his head again, his eyes were smiling,

and in the light of a sudden flush which just died out of it, his

face looked almost young.


This girl, so foreign in her education and traditions, so foreign

in the grace of her movements, in everything except the shade of

her dark blue eyes, was the child of an English father ; and she

was Benedict Campion s ward. This relation, which manypersons found incongruous, had befallen naturally enough. Her

father had been Campion s oldest and most familiar friend ;and

when Richard Heath s romantic marriage had isolated him from so

many others, from his family and from his native land, Campion s

attachment to him had, if possible, only been increased. Fromhis heart he had approved, had prophesied nothing but good of an

alliance, which certainly, while it lasted, had been an wholly ideal

relation. There had seemed no cloud on the horizon and yet

less than two years had seen the end of it. The birth of the

child, Marie-Ursule, had been her mother s death ; and six months

later, Richard Heath, dying less from any defined malady than

because he lacked any longer the necessary motive to live,

was laid by the side of his wife. The helpless child remained, in

the guardianship of Hortense, her mother s sister, and elder bysome ten years, who had already composed herself contentedly, as

some women do, to the prospect of perpetual spinsterhood, and the

care of her brother s house an ecclesiastic just appointed cure of

Ploumariel. And here, ever since, in this quiet corner of Brittany,


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9 8 Apple Blossom in Brittany

in the tranquil custody of the priest and his sister, Marie-Ursule

had grown up.

Campion s share in her guardianship had not been onerous,

although it was necessarily maintained ; for the child had inherited,

and what small property would come to her was in England, and

in English funds. To Hortense Letetre and her brother such

responsibilities in an alien land were not for a moment to be

entertained. And gradually, this connection, at first formal and

impersonal, between Campion and the Breton presbytery, had

developed into an intimacy, into a friendship singularly satisfying

on both sides. Separate as their interests seemed, those of the

French country-priest, and of the Englishman of letters, famous

already in his own department, they had, nevertheless, much

community of feeling apart from their common affection for a

child. Now, for many years, he had been established in their

good graces, so that it had become an habit with him to spend his

holiday it was often a very extended one at Ploumariel ;

while to the Letetres, as well as to Marie-Ursule herself, this

annual sojourn of Campion s had become the occasion of the year,

the one event which pleasantly relieved the monotony of life in

this remote village ; though that, too, was a not unpleasant routine.

Insensibly Campion had come to find his chief pleasure in con

sideration of this child of an old friend, whose gradual growthbeneath influences which seemed to him singularly exquisite and

fine, he had watched so long ; whose future, now that her child

hood, her schooldays at the convent had come to an end, threatened

to occupy him with an anxiety more intimate than any which

hitherto he had known. Marie-Ursule s future ! They had

talked much of it that summer, the priest and the Englishman,who accompanied him in his long morning walks, through green

lanes, and over white, dusty roads, and past fields perfumed with


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the pungently pleasant smell of the blood-red sarrasin, when he

paid visits to the sick who lived on the outskirts of his- scattered

parish. Campion became aware then of an increasing difficulty

in discussing this matter impersonally, in the impartial manner

becoming a guardian. Odd thrills of jealousy stirred within him

when he was asked to contemplate Marie-Ursule s possible suitors.

Andyet, it was with a very genuine surprise, at least for the

moment, that he met the Cure s sudden pressing home of a more

personal contingency he took this freedom of an old friend with

a shrewd twinkle in his eye, which suggested that all along this

had been chiefly in his mind. " Man ban ami, why should younot marry her yourself ? That would please all of us so much."

And he insisted, with kindly insistence, on the propriety of the

thing : dwelling on Campion s established position, their long

habit of friendship, his own and his sister s confidence and esteem,

taking for granted, with that sure insight which is the gift of manywomen and of most priests, that on the ground of affection alone the

justification was too obvious to be pressed. And he finished with

a smile, stopping to take a pinch of snuff with a sigh of relief

the relief of a man who has at least seasonably unburdened him



Surely, man ami, some such possibility must have been in yourmind ?


Campion hesitated for a moment ;then he proffered his hand,

which the other warmly grasped." You read me

aright,"he said

slowly, "onlyI hardly realised it before. Even now no, how

can I believe it possible that she should care for me. Non sum

dignus, non sum dignus. Consider her youth, her inexperience ;

the best part of my life is behind me."

But the Cure smiled reassuringly. "The best part is before

you, Campion ; you have the heart of a boy. Do we not know

you ?

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ioo Apple Blossom in Brittany

you ? And for the child rest tranquil there ! I have the word of

my sister, who is a wise woman, that she is sincerely attached to

you ;not to speak of the evidence of my own eyes. She will be

seventeen shortly, then she can speak for herself. And to whomelse can we trust her ?


The shadow of these confidences hung over Campion when he

next saw Marie-Ursule, and troubled him vaguely during the

remainder of his visit, which this year, indeed, he considerably

curtailed. Inevitably he was thrown much with the young girl,

and if daily the charm which he found in her presence was

sensibly increased, as he studied her from a fresh point of view, he

was none the less disquieted at the part which he might be called

upon to play. Diffident and scrupulous, a shy man, knowinglittle of women ; and at least by temperament, a sad man, he

trembled before felicity, as many at the palpable breath of mis

fortune. And his difficulty was increased by the conviction,

forced upon him irresistibly, little as he could accuse himself of

vanity, that the decision rested with himself. Her liking for him

was genuine and deep, her confidence implicit. He had but to

ask her and she would place her hand in his and go forth with

him, as trustfully as a child. And when they came to celebrate

\\&r fete^ Marie-Ursule s seventeenth birthday it occurred a little

before the Assumption it was almost disinterestedly that he had

determined upon his course. At least it was security which he

could promise her, as a younger man might not;

a constant and

single-minded kindness;

a devotion not the less valuable, because

it was mature and reticent, lacking, perhaps, the jealous ardours of

youth. Nevertheless, he was going back to England without

having revealed himself; there should be no unseasonable haste in

the matter ;he would give her another year. The Cure smiled

deprecatingly at the procrastination ; but on this point Campionwas

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was firm. And on this, his last evening, he spoke only of trivial

things to Marie-Ursule, as they sat presently over the tea a mild

and flavourless beverage which the young girl had prepared.

Yet he noticed later, after their early supper, when she strolled upwith him to the hill overlooking the village, a certain new shynessin her manner, a shadow, half timid, half expectant in her clear

eyes which permitted him to believe that she was partly prepared.

When they reached the summit, stood clear of the pine trees byan ancient stone Calvary, Ploumariel lay below them, very fair

in the light of the setting sun; and they stopped to rest themselves,

to admire." Ploumariel is very beautiful," said Campion after a while.

"Ah ! Marie-Ursule, you are fortunate to be here."

"Yes." She accepted his statement simply, then suddenly:"You should not go away."

He smiled, his eyes turning from

the village in the valley to rest upon her face : after all, she was

the daintiest picture, and Ploumariel with its tall slate roofs, its

sleeping houses, her appropriate frame."

I shall come back, I shall comeback,"

he murmured. She

had gathered a bunch of ruddy heather as they walked, and her

fingers played with it now nervously. Campion stretched out his

hand for it. She gave it him without a word."

I will take it with me to London," he said;


I will have

Morbihan in my rooms."

" It will remind you make you think of us sometimes ?"

For answer he could only touch her hand lightly with his lips." Do you think that was necessary ?

" And they resumed their

homeward way silently, although to both of them the air seemed

heavy with unspoken words.


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When he was in London and it was in London that for nine

months out of the twelve Benedict Campion was to be found he

lived in the Temple, at the top of Hare Court, in the very same

rooms in which he had installed himself, years ago, when he gave

up his Oxford fellowship, electing to follow the profession of

letters. Returning there from Ploumariel, he resumed at once,

easily, his old avocations. He had always been a secluded man,

living chiefly in books and in the past ;but this year he seemed

less than ever inclined to knock at the hospitable doors which were

open to him. For in spite of his reserve, his diffidence, Campion s

success might have been social, had he cared for it,and not purely

academic. His had come to be a name in letters, in the higher

paths of criticism ; and he had made no enemies. To his success

indeed, gradual and quiet as this was, he had never grown quite

accustomed, contrasting the little he had actually achieved with all

that he had desired to do. His original work was of the slightest,

and a book that was in his head he had never found time to write.

His name was known in other ways, as a man of ripe knowledge,of impeccable taste ; as a born editor of choice reprints, of

inaccessible classics : above all, as an authority the greatest, uponthe literature and the life (its flavour at once courtly, and

mystical, had to him an unique charm) of the seventeenth century.His heart was in that age, and from much lingering over

it, he

had come to view modern life with a curious detachment, a sense

of remote hostility : Democracy, the Salvation Army, the novels of

M. Zola he disliked them all impartially. A Catholic by long

inheritance, he held his religion for something more than an

heirloom ;

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By Ernest Dowson 103

heirloom ; he exhaled it, like an intimate quality ;his mind being

essentially of that kind to which a mystical view of things comes


This year passed with him much as any other of the last ten years

had passed ;at least the routine of his daily existence admitted little

outward change. And yet inwardly, he was conscious of alteration,

of a certain quiet illumination which was a new thing to him.

Although at Ploumariel when the prospect of such a marriagehad dawned on him, his first impression had been one of strange

ness, he could reflect now that it was some such possibility as this

which he had always kept vaguely in view. He had prided himself

upon few things more than his patience ;and now it appeared that

this was to be rewarded ;he was glad that he had known how

to wait. Thisgirl, Marie-Ursule, had an immense personal charm

for him, but, beyond that, she was representative her traditions

were exactly those which the ideal girl of Campion s imagination

would possess. She was not only personally adorable; she was also

generically of the type which he admired. It was possibly because

this type was, after all, so rare, that looking back, Campion in his

middle age, could drag out of the recesses of his memory no

spectre to compete with her. She was his first love precisely

because the conditions, so choice and admirable, which rendered it

inevitable for him to love her, had never occurred before. Andhe could watch the time of his probation gliding away with a

pleased expectancy which contained no alloy of impatience. Anillumination a quite tranquil illumination : yes, it was under

some such figure, without heart-burning, or adolescent fever,

that love as it came to Campion was best expressed. Yet if

this love was lucent rather than turbulent, that it was also deep

he could remind himself, when a letter from the priest, while

the spring was yet young, had sent him to Brittany, a month


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104 Apple Blossom in Brittany

or two before his accustomed time, with an anxiety that was

not solely due to bewilderment." Our child is we//, mon bon" so he wrote. " Do not alarm

yourself. But it will be goodfor you to come, if it be only because of

an idea she has, that you may remove. An idea / Call it rather a

fancy at least your coming will dispel it. Petites entetees : I have

no patience with these mystical littlegirls"

His musings on the phrase, with its interpretation varying to

his mood, lengthened his long sea-passage, and the interminable

leagues of railway which separated him from Pontivy, whence he

had still some twenty miles to travel by the Courner, before he

reached his destination. But at Pontivy, the round, ruddy face

of M. Letetre greeting him on the platform dispelled any serious

misgiving. Outside the post-office the familiar conveyanceawaited them : its yellow inscription



touched Campion electrically, as did the cheery greeting of the

driver, which was that of an old friend. They shared the interior

of the rusty trap a fossil among vehicles they chanced to be

the only travellers, and to the accompaniment of jingling harness,

and the clattering hoofs of the brisk little Carhaix horses,

M. Letetre explained himself.

" A vocation, mon Dieu ! if all the little girls who fancied them

selves with one, were to have their way, to whom would our poorFrance look for children ? They are good women, nos Ursulines,

ah, yes ;but our Marie-Ursule is a good child, and blessed

matrimony also is a sacrament. You shall talk to her, my Campion.It is a little fancy, you see, such as will come to young girls; a

convent ague, but when she sees you "... He took snuff with

emphasis, and flipped his broad fingers suggestively."

Craque !

it is a betrothal, and a trousseau, and not the habit of religion, that

Mademoiselle is full of. You will talk to her ?"


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By Ernest Dowson 105

Campion assented silently, absently, his eyes had wandered

away, and looked through the little square of window at the sad-

coloured Breton country, at the rows of tall poplars, which

guarded the miles of dusty road like sombre sentinels. And the

priest with a reassured air pulled out his breviary, and began to

say his office in an imperceptible undertone. After a while he

crossed himself, shut the book, and pillowing his head against the

hot, shiny leather of the carriage, sought repose ; very soon his

regular, stertorous breathing, assured his companion that he was

asleep. Campion closed his eyes also, not indeed in search of

slumber, though he was travel weary ; rather the better to isolate

himself with the perplexity of his own thoughts. An indefinable

sadness invaded him, and he could envy the priest s simple logic,

which gave such short shrift to obstacles that Campion, with his

subtle melancholy, which made life to him almost morbidly an

affair of fine shades and nice distinctions, might easily exaggerate.

Of the two, perhaps the priest had really the more secular mind,

as it certainly excelled Campion s in that practical wisdom, or

common sense, which may be of more avail than subtlety in the

mere economy of life. And what to the Cure was a simple matter

enough, the removal of the idle fancy of agirl, might be to

Campion, in his scrupulous temper, and his overweening tender

ness towards just those pieties and renunciations which such a

fancy implied, a task to be undertaken hardly with relish, perhaps

without any real conviction, deeply as his personal wishes mightbe implicated in success. And the heart had gone out of his

journey long before a turn of the road brought them in sight of



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io6 Apple Blossom in Brittany


Up by the great, stone Calvary, where they had climbed nearly

a year before, Campion stood, his face deliberately averted, while

the young girl uttered her hesitating confidences ; hesitating, yet

candid, with a candour which seemed to separate him from the

child by more than a measurable space of years, to set him with

an appealing trustfulness in the seat of judgment for him, for her.

They had wandered there insensibly, through apple-orchards white

with the promise of a bountiful harvest, and up the pine-clad hill,

talking of little things trifles to beguile their way perhaps, in a

sort of vain procrastination. Once, Marie-Ursule had plucked a

branch of the snowy blossom, and he had playfully chided her

that the cider would be less by a litre that year in Brittany.

"But the blossom is so muchprettier," she protested ;

"and there

will be apples and apples always enough apples. But I like the

blossom best and it is so soon over."

And then, emerging clear of the trees, with Ploumariel lying in

its quietude in the serene sunshine below them, a sudden strenuous-

ness had supervened, and the girl had unburdened herself, speaking

tremulously, quickly, in an undertone almost passionate ; and

Campion, perforce, had listened. ... A fancy ? a whim ? Yes,he reflected ; to the normal, entirely healthy mind, any choice of

exceptional conditions, any special self-consecration or withdrawal

from the common lot of men and women must draw down uponit some such reproach, seeming the mere pedantry of inexperience.

Yet, against his reason, and what he would fain call his better

judgment, something in his heart of hearts stirredsympathetically

with this notion of thegirl. And it was no fixed resolution, no


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By Ernest Dowson 107

deliberate justification which she pleaded. She was soft, ana

pliable, and even her plea for renunciation contained pretty,

feminine inconsequences ; and it touched Campion strangely.

Argument he could have met with argument ;an ardent con

viction he might have assailed with pleading ;but that note of

appeal in her pathetic young voice, for advice, for sympathy,disarmed him.

"Yet the world,"he protested at last, but half-heartedly, with

a sense of self-imposture ;" the world, Marie-Ursule, it has its

disappointments ;but there are compensations."


I am afraid, afraid,"she murmured.

Their eyes alike sought instinctively the Convent of the

Ursulines, white and sequestered in the valley a visible symbolof security, of peace, perhaps of happiness.

" Even there they have their bad days : do not doubt it."

"But nothing happens,"she said simply; "one day is like

another. They can never be very sad, you know."

They were silent for a time: the girl, shading her eyes with one

small white hand, continued to regard the convent;and Campion

considered her fondly." What can I say ?


he exclaimed at last." What would you

put on me ? Your uncle he is a priest surely the most natural

adviser you know his wishes."

She shook her head. "With him it is different I am one of

his family he is not a priest for me. And he considers me a

little girl and yet I am old enough to marry. Many young

girls have had a vocation before my age. Ah, help me, decide

for me !


she pleaded ;


you are my tuteur."

" And a very old friend, Marie-Ursule." He smiled rather

sadly. Last year seemed so long ago, and the word, which he had

almost spoken then, was no longer seasonable. A note in his


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io8 Apple Blossom in Brittany

voice, inexplicable, might have touched her. She took his hand

impulsively, but he withdrew it quickly, as though her touch had

scalded him.

"You look very tired ; you are not used to our Breton rambles

in this sun. See, I will run down to the cottage by the chapel

and fetch you some milk. Then you shall tell me."

When he was alone the smile faded from his face and was

succeeded by a look of lassitude, as he sat himself beneath the

shadow of the Calvary to wrestle with his responsibility. Perhaps

it was a vocation : the phrase, sounding strangely on modern ears,

to him, at least, was no anachronism. Women of his race, from

generation to generation, had heard some such voice and had

obeyed it. That it went unheeded now was, perhaps, less a

proof that it was silent, than that people had grown hard and deaf,

in a world that had deteriorated. Certainly the convent had to

him no vulgar, Protestant significance, to be combated for its

intrinsic barbarism ; it suggested nothing cold nor narrow nor

mean, was veritably a gracious choice, a generous effort after

perfection. Then it was for his own sake, on an egoistic impulse,

that he should dissuade her ? And it rested with him;he had no

doubt that he could mould her, even yet, to his purpose. Thechild ! how he loved her. ... But would it ever be quite the

same with them after that morning ? Or must there be hence

forth a shadow between them;

the knowledge of something

missed, of the lower end pursued, the higher slighted ? Yet, if

she loved him ? He let his head drop on his hands, murmured

aloud at the hard chance which made him at once judge and

advocate in his own cause. He was not conscious of praying, but

his mind fell into that condition of aching blankness whichis,

perhaps, an extreme prayer. Presently he looked down again at

Ploumariel, with its coronal of faint smoke ascending in the


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By Ernest Dowson 109

perfectly still air, at the white convent of the Dames Ursulines,which seemed to dominate and protect it. How peaceful it was !

And his thought wandered to London : to its bustle and noise, its

squalid streets, to his life there, to its literary coteries, its politics,

its society ; vulgar and trivial and sordid they all seemed from

this point of vantage. That was the world he had pleaded for, and

it was into that he would bring the child. . . . And suddenly,

with a strange reaction, he was seized with a sense of the wisdom

of her choice, its pictorial fitness, its benefit for both of them.

He felt at once and finally, that he acquiesced in it;

that any

other ending to his love had been an impossible grossness, and that

to lose her in just that fashion was the only way in which he

could keep her always. And his acquiescence was without bitter

ness, and attended only by that indefinable sadness which to a

man of his temper was but the last refinement of pleasure. He

had renounced, but he had triumphed ;for it seemed to him that

his renunciation would be an aegis to him always against the

sordid facts of life, a protest against the vulgarity of instinct, the

tyranny of institutions. And he thought of the girl s life, as it

should be, with a tender appreciation as of something precious

laid away in lavender. He looked up to find her waiting before

him with a basin half full of milk, warm still, fresh from the cow ;

and she watched him in silence while he drank. Then their eyes

met, and she gave a little cry." You will help me ? Ah, I see that you will ! And you

think I am right ?



I think you are right, Marie-Ursule."

" And you will persuade my uncle ?"


I will persuade him."

She took his hand in silence, and they stood so for a minute,

gravely regarding each other. Then they prepared to descend.

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To Salome at St. James s

By Theodore Wratislaw

FLOWERof the ballet s nightly mirth,

Pleased with a trinket or a gown,Eternal as eternal earth

You dance the centuries down.

For you, my plaything, slight and light,

Capricious, petulant and proud,

With whom I sit and sup to-night

Among the tawdry crowd,

Are she whose swift and sandalled feet

And postured girlish beauty wonA pagan prize, for you unmeet,The head of Baptist John.

And after ages, when you sit

A princess less in birth than power,Freed from the theatre s fume and heat

To kill an idle hour,


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By Theodore Wratislaw 1 1 1

Here in the babbling room agleamWith scarlet lips and naked arms

And such rich jewels as beseem

The painted damzel s charms,

Even now your tired and subtle face

Bears record to the wondrous time

When from your limbs lascivious grace

Sprang forth your splendid crime.

And though none deem it true, of those

Who watch you in our banal ageLike some stray fairy glide and pose

Upon a London stage,

Yet I to whom your frail caprice

Turns for the moment ardent eyes

Have seen the strength of love release

Your sleeping memories.

I too am servant to your glance,

I too am bent beneath your sway,

My wonder ! My desire ! who dance

Men s heads and hearts away.

Sweet arbitress of love and death,

Unchanging on time s changing sands,

You hold more lightly than a breath

The world between your hands !

The Yellow Book Vol. III.

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Second ThoughtsBv Arthur Moore


A the clock struck eight Sir Geoffrey Vincent cast aside the

dull society journal with which he had been beguiling the

solitude of his after-dinner coffee and cigar, and abandoned, with

an alacrity eloquent of long boredom, his possession of one of the

capacious chairs which invited repose in the dingy smoking-roomof an old-fashioned club. It had been reserved for him, after

twenty monotonous years of almost unbroken exile, spent, for the

most part, amid the jungles and swamps of Lower Burma, to

realise that a friendless man, alone in the most populous city of the

world, may encounter among thousands of his peers a desolation

more supreme than the solitude of the most ultimate wilderness ;

and he found himself wondering, a little savagely, why, after all,

he had expected his home-coming to be so different from the

reality that now confronted him. When he landed at Brindisi, a

short ten days ago, misgivings had already assailed him vaguely ;

the fact that he was practically homeless, that, although not

altogether bereft of kith and kin, he had no family circle to

welcome him as an addition to its circumference, had made it

inevitable that his rapid passage across the Continent should be


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By Arthur Moore 1 1 3

haunted by forebodings to which he had not cared to assign a

shape too definite; phantoms which he exorcised hopefully, with

a tacit reliance on a trick of falling on his feet which had seldom

failed his need. He consoled himself with the thought that

London was home, England was home;

he would meet old

comrades in the streets perhaps, assuredly at his club, and such

encounters would be so much the more delightful if they were

fortuitous, unexpected. The plans which he had laid so carefully

pacing the long deck of the P. and O. boat in the starlight, or,

more remotely, lying awake through the hot night hours under a

whining punkah in his lonely bungalow, had all implied, however

vaguely and impersonally, a certain companionship. He was dimly

conscious that he had cousins somewhere in the background ;he

had long since lost touch with them, but he would look them up.

He had two nieces, still in their teens, the children of his only

sister who had died ten years ago ;he had never seen them, but

their photographs were charming they should be overwhelmed

with such benefactions as a bachelor uncle with a well-lined purse

may pleasantly bestow. His friends the dim legion that was to

rise about his path should take him to see Sarah Bernhardt (a

mere name to him as yet) at the Gaiety, to the new Gilbert and

Sullivan opera at the Savoy ; they should enlighten him as to the

latent merits of the pictures at Burlington House; they should

dine with him, shoot with him, be introduced to his Indian

falcons ;in a word, he would keep open house, in town and

country too, for all good fellows and their pretty wives. It had

even occurred to him, as a possibility neither remote nor unattrac

tive, that he might himself one day possess a pretty wife to

welcome them.

His sanguine expectations encountered their first rebuff when

he found the Piccadilly Club, which had figured so often in the


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114 Second Thoughts

dreams of its exiled member, abandoned to a horde of workmen,a mere wilderness of paint and whitewash ; and it was with a

touch of resentment that he accepted the direction of an indifferent

hall-porter to an unfamiliar edifice in Pall Mall as its temporary

substitute. Entering the smoking-room, a little diffidently, on

the evening of his arrival in London, he found himself eyed, at

first with faint curiosity, by two or three of the men upon whomhis gaze rested expectantly, but in no case was this curiosity-

prompted doubtless by that touch of the exotic which sometimes

clings to dwellers in the East the precursor of the kindly

recognition, the surprised, incredulous greeting which he had

hoped for. After a few days he was simply ignored ;his face,

rather stern, with its distinctive Indian tan through which the

grey eyes looked almost blue, his erect figure, and dark hair

sparsely flecked with a frosty white, had become familiar ;he had

visited his tailor, and his garments no longer betrayed him to the

curious by their fashion of Rangoon.The Blue-book, which he had been quick to interrogate,

informed him that his old friend Hibbert lived in Portman Square,

and that the old lady who was the guardian of his nieces had a

house at Hampstead : further inquiry at the addresses thus

obtained left him baffled by the intelligence that Colonel

Hibbert was in Norway, his nieces at school in Switzerland.

Mackinnon, late of the Woods and Forests, whom he met at

Burlington House, raised his hopes for an instant by a greetingwhich sounded precisely the note of cordiality that he yearned for,

only to dash them by expressing a hope that he should see more

of his old friend in the autumn; he was off to Southampton to

join a friend s yacht on the morrow, and after his cruise he had

designs on Scotland and the grouse.

Sir Geoffrey, chained to the neighbourhood of London by legal


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business, already too long deferred, connected with the succession

which had made him a rich man and brought him home, could

only rebel mutely against the ill-fortune which left him solitary

at a time when he most longed for fellowship, acknowledging the

while, with a touch of self-reproach, that the position which he

resented was very largely due to his own shortcomings ; he had

always figured as a lamentably bad correspondent, and his invete

rate aversion to letter-writing had allowed the links of many old

friendships to fall asunder, had operated to leave such friends as

were still in touch with him in ignorance of his home-coming.

Now, as he paused in the hall of his club to light a cigarette

before passing out into the pleasant July twilight, he told himself

that for the present he had done with London;he would shake

the dust of the inhospitable city from off his feet, and go down to

the place in Wiltshire which was learning to call him master, to

await better days in company with his beloved falcons. He even

found himself taking comfort from this prospect while a hansom

bore him swiftly to the Savoy Theatre, and when he was safely

ensconced in his stall he beguiled the interval before the rising of

the curtain a period which his impatience to escape from the club

rather than any undue passion for punctuality had made somewhat

lengthy by considering, speculatively, the chances of society

which the Willescombe neighbourhood seemed to afford. He

enjoyed the first act of the extravaganza with the zest of a man to

whom the work of the famous collaborators was an entire novelty,

his pleasure unalloyed by the fact, of which he wasblissfully uncon

scious, that one of the principal parts was played by an understudy.

His ennui returning with the fall of the curtain, he prepared to

spend the entr acte in contemplation of the people who composedthe house, rather than to incur the resentment of the placid

dowagers who were his neighbours, by passing and repassing, like


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the majority of his fellow-men, in search of the distant haven where

cigarettes and drinks, obtained with difficulty, could be hastily

appreciated. More than once his wandering eyes returned to a

box next the stage on a dress-circle tier, and finally they rested

rather wistfully on its occupants, or, to be more accurate, on the

younger of the two ladies who were seated in front. It was not

simply because the girl was pretty, though her beauty, the flower-

like charm of a young Englishwoman fresh from the schoolroom,

a fine example of a type not particularly rare, would have furnished

a sufficient pretext : he was struck by a resemblance, a haunting

reminiscence, which at first exercised his curiosity, and ended by

baffling and tantalising him. There was something vaguelv

familiar, he thought, in the manner of her smile, the inclination of

her head as she turned now and then to address a remark to her

companion, the lady in grey, whose face was hidden from him bythe drapery at the side of the box. When she laughed, furling a

feathery fan, and throwing a bright glance back at the gentlemanwhose white shirt-front was dimly visible in the background, Sir

Geoffrey felt himself on the verge of solving his riddle, but at this

point, while a name seemed to tremble on his lips, the lights of the

auditorium were lowered, and the rising of the curtain on the

fairyland of the second scene diverted his attention to the stage.

Later, when he had passed into the crowded lobby, and was makinghis way slowly through a jungle of pretty dresses towards the

door, he recognised in front of him the amber-coloured hair and

dainty, pale-blue opera cloak of the damsel who had puzzled him.

The two ladies (her companion of the grey dress was close at

hand) halted near the door while their cavalier passed out in search

of their carriage ;the elder lady turned, adjusting a cloud of soft

lace about her shoulders, and Sir Geoffrey was struck on the instant

by a swift thrill. Here, at last, was an old friend that face could


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belong to no one else than Margaret Addison. It was natural that

her maiden name should first occur to him, but he remembered, as

he edged his way laboriously towards her, that she had married just

after he sailed for Burma; yes, she had married that amiable scape

grace Dick Vandeleur, who had met his death in the hunting-field

nearly fifteen years ago.

As he drew near, Mrs. Vandeleur s gaze fell upon him for a

brief instant;he thought that she had not recognised him, but

before his spirits had time to suffer any consequent depression, her

eyes returned to him, and as he smiled in answer to the surprise

which he read in them, he saw her face flush, and then grow a little

pale, before a responsive light of recognition dawned upon it. She

took his hand silently when he offered it, eyeing him with the

same faint smile, an expression in which welcome seemed to be

gleaming through a cloud of apprehension."

I m not aghost,"

he said, laughing ;


I m Geoffrey Vincent.

Don t be ashamed of owning that you had quite forgotten me !



I knew you atonce,"

she said simply." So you are home at

last : you must come and see me as soon as you can. This is mydaughter Dorothy, and here is my brother of course you re

member Philip ? coming to tell us that the carriage is waiting.

You will come, to-morrow to prove that you are not a ghost ?

We shall expect you."


A fortnight later Sir Geoffrey was sitting in a punt, beguiling

the afternoon of a rainy day by luring unwary roach to their de

struction with a hair-line and pellets of paste, delicately kneaded

by the taper fingers of Miss Dorothy Vandeleur. He was the


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guest of Mrs. Vandeleur s brother, his school friend, Philip Addison

the Q.C., and Mrs. Vandeleur and her daughter were also staying

at the delighful old Elizabethan house which nestled, with such an

air of immemorial occupation, halfway down the wooded side of

one of the Streatley hills, its spotless lawn sloping steeply to the

margin of the fairest river in the world. Miss Vandeleur had

enshrined herself among a pile of rugs and cushions at the stern of

the punt, where the roof of her uncle s boat-house afforded shelter

from the persistent rain. She was arrayed in the blue serge dear

to the modern water-nymph ;and at intervals she relieved her feel

ings by shaking a small fist at the leaden vault of sky. For the

rest, her attention was divided impartially between her novel, with

which she did not seem to make much progress, her fox-terrier

Sancho, and the slowly decreasing lump of paste, artfully compoundedwith cotton-wool for consistency, with which, as occasion arose, she

ministered to her companion s predatory needs. The capture of^afish was followed inevitably by a disarrangement of her nest of

cushions, and a pathetic petition for its instant release and restora

tion to the element from which it had been untimely inveigled.

Occasionally, the rain varied the monotony of the dolorous drizzle

by a vehement and spirited downpour, lasting for some minutes,

prompting one of the occupants of the punt to remark, with mis

placed confidence, that it must clear up soon, after that. ThenSir Geoffrey would abandon his rod, and beat a retreat to the stern

of the punt ; and during these interludes, much desultory conver

sation ensued. Once, Miss Vandeleur startled her companion by

asking, suddenly, how it was that he seemed so absurdly young ?


I hope I am not rude ?"

she added, "but really you do strike

me as almost the youngest person I know. You are much youngerthan Jack Mr. Wilgress for instance, and it s only about three

years since he left Eton."


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Sir Geoffrey smiled, wondering a little whether the girl was

laughing at him; for though a man of forty-seven, who has for

twenty years successfully resisted a trying climate, may consider

himself as very far from the burden of old age, it was conceivable

that the views of a maiden .in her teens might be very different.


It s because I am having such a good time,"he hazarded.

" You and your mother are responsible, you know;before I met

you at the Savoy, on that memorable evening, I was feeling as

blue as as the sky ought to be if it had any decency, and at least

as old as the river. I suppose it s true that youth and good spirits


Dorothy gazed at him for a moment reflectively." How lucky

it was that Uncle Philip took us to the theatre on that evening !

It was just a chance. And we might never have metyou."

"It was lucky for me!" declared the other simply. "But

would you have cared ?"

"Of course!" said the girl promptly, but lowering her blue

eyes." You see, I have never known a real live hero before.

Do tell me about your fight in the hill-fort, or how you caught

the Dacoits ! Uncle Philip says that you ought to have had the


Sir Geoffrey replied by a little disparaging murmur. "

Oh, it

was quite a commonplace affair all in the day s work. Any one

else would have done the same."

Dorothy settled herself back among her cushions resentfully,

clasping her hands, rather sunburned, across her knees.


I should like to see them !


she declared contemptuously.

"That s just what that Jack Wilgress said at least he implied

it. It is true, he apologised afterwards. How I despise Oxford

boys !



I thought he was a very good fellow," said Sir Geoffrey,


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diplomatically turning the subject from his own achievements,

suppose it might improve him to have something to do ;but he

strikes me as a very good specimen of the ornamental youngman."

" Ornamental !


echoed Dorothy sarcastically."

It would do

him good to have to work for hisliving."

" Poor beggar, he couldn t help being born with a silver spoon

in his mouth it isn t his fault."

"Spoon!"exclaimed Miss Vandeleur. "A whole dinner

service I should think. A soup-ladle at the very least. It s quite

big enough : perhaps that accounts for it !


The girl laughed, swaying back, with the grace of her years,

against her cushions ; then, observing that her companion s grave

grey eyes were fixed upon her, she grew suddenlv demure, sighing

with a little air of penitence."

I am very wickedto-day,"

she confessed. " It s the rain, I

suppose, and want of exercise. Do you ever feel like that, Sir

Geoffrey ? Do you ever get into an omnibus and simply loathe

and detest every single person in it ? Do you long to swear-

real swears, like our army in Flanders at everybody you meet,

just because it s rainy or foggy, and because they are all so ugly

and horrid ? I do, frequently."


I know, Iknow,"

said the other sympathetically, while he

reeled in his line and deftly untied the tiny hook. "

Only, the

omnibus has not figured very often in my case;

it has generally

been a hot court-house, or a dusty dak-bungalow full of com

mercial travellers. But I don t feel like that now, at all. I hopeI am not responsible for your frame of mind ?


"Oh," protested Dorothy, "don t make me feel such an

abandoned wretch ! I should have been much worse if you had

not been here. I should have quarrelled with Uncle Phil, or


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been rude to my mother, or something dreadful. I m perfectly

horrid to her sometimes. And as itis, I have let her go up to

town all alone to see my dressmaker."

Sir Geoffrey stood up and began to take his rod to pieces." And are you quite sure that you haven t been loathing and

detesting me all the afternoon ?"

Dorothy picked up her novel and smoothed its leaves reflectively.

But no. I won t make you too conceited. Look, the

sun is actually coming out ! Don t you think we might take the

Canadian up to the weir ? You really ought to be introduced to

the big chub under thebridge."

The rain had almost ceased, and when they had transferred

themselves into the dainty canoe, a few strokes of the paddle

which Miss Vandeleur wielded with such effective grace sweptthem out into a full flood of delicate evening sunlight. The skysmiled blue through rapidly increasing breaks in the clouds


sunbeams, slanting from the west, touched with pale gold the

quivering trees, which seemed to lift their wet branches and

spread their leaves to court the warm caress. A new radiance of

colour crept into the landscape, as if it had been a picture from

which a smoky glass was withdrawn ;the water grew very still

this too was in the manner of a picture with the peace of a

summer evening, brimming with an unbroken surface luminously

from bank to bank. Strange guttural cries of water-birds

sounded from the reed-beds;

from the next reach came the

rhythmic pulse of oars, faint splashes, and the brisk rattle of row

locks ;voices and laughter floated down from the lock, travelling

far beyond belief in the hushed stillness of the evening. Thewake of the light canoe trailed unbroken to the shadows of the

boathouse, and the wet paddle gleamed as it slid through the

water. Presently Dorothy stayed her hand." What

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122 Second Thoughts" What an enchanting world it is !


she murmured, with wide eyes

full of the glamour of the setting sun. "

Beautiful, beautiful-

How soon one forgets the fogs, and rain, and cold ! I feel as if I

had lived in this fairyland always."

Her lips trembled a little as she spoke, and Sir Geoffrey found

something in the pathos of her youth which held him silent.

When they broke the spell of silence, their words were trivial,

perhaps, but the language was that of old friends, simple and

direct. Sir Geoffrey at least, for whom the charm of the occasion

was a gift so rare that he scarcely dared to desecrate it by mental

criticism, was far from welcoming the interruption which presently

occurred, in the shape of a youth, arrayed in immaculate flannels and

the colours of a popular rowing club, who hailed them cheerfully

from a light skiff, resting on his sculls and drifting alongside while

he rolled a cigarette.


Dorothy sank down, rather wearily, in the low basket-chair

which stood near the open window of her mother s bedroom

a tall French window, with a wide balcony overrun by climbing

roses, and a view of the river, and waited for Mrs. Vandeleur to

dismiss her maid. As she lay there, adjusting absently the loose

tresses of her hair, she could feel the breath of the faint breeze as

it wandered, gathering a light burden of fragrance, through the

dusky roses ;she could see the river, dimly, where the moonbeams

touched its ripples, and once or twice the sound of voices reached

her from the distant smoking-room. The closing of the door as

the maid went out disturbed her reverie, and turning a little in her

chair she found her mother regarding her thoughtfully."


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No,"said Dorothy, swiftly interpreting her mother s glance.

" You mustn t send me away, my pretty little mother. I ll promise

not to catch cold. I haven t been able to talk to you allday."

Mrs. Vandeleur half closed the window, and then seated herself

with an expression of resignation on the arm of her daughter s

chair. In the dim light shed by the two candles on the dressing-

table, one would have thought them two sisters, plotting innocently

the discomfiture of man. The occasion did not prove so stimu

lating to conversation as might have been expected. For a few

minutes both were silent ; Dorothy began to hum an air from the

Savoy opera, rather recklessly ; she kicked off one of her slippers,

and it fell on the polished oak floor with a little clatter.

" Little donkey !

" murmured her mother sweetly." So much

for your talking. I m going to bed at once." Then she added,

carelessly," Did you see Jack to-day ?


The humming paused abruptly ;then it went on for a second,

and paused again." Oh yes, the inevitable Mr. Wilgress was on the river, as

usual. He nearly ran us down in that idiotic skiff of his.

Mrs. Vandeleur raised her eyebrows, gazing at her unconscious

daughter reflectively." You didn t see him alone, then ?


she inquired presently." Who ? Mr. Wilgress ? Ye-es, I think so. When we got

back to the boathouse he insisted on taking me out again in the

canoe, to show me the correct Indian stroke. Much he knows

about it ! That s why I was so late for dinner. Oh, please

don t talk about Mr. Wilgress."

"Mr. Wilgress again?"murmured Mrs. Vandeleur. "I

thought it always used to be Jack/"

Only, only bv accident, said the girl weakly." And when

he wasn t there."

" Well,

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Well, he isn t here now. At least I hope not. You you

haven t quarrelled, have you Dolly ?"

" No yes. I don t know. He he asked me oh, he was

ridiculous. How I hate boys andjealousy."

Mrs. Vandeleur shivered, then rose abruptly and closed the

window against which she leaned, gazing down at the formless

mass of the shrubs which cowered over their shadows on the lawn.

Her mind, vaguely troubled for some days past, and now keenly on

the alert, travelled swiftly back, bridging a space of nearly twenty

years, to a scene strangely like this, in which she and her mother

had held the stage. She too, a girlthen of Dorothy s eighteen

years, had brought the halting story of her doubts and scruples to

her natural counsellor : she could remember still how the instinct

of reticence had struggled with the yearning for sympathy, for the

comfort of the confessional. She could recall now and appreciate

her mother s tact and patient questioning, her own perversity, the

dumbness which seemed independent of her own volition. Acommonplace page of life. Two men at her feet, and the girl

unskilled to read her heart : one had spoken that was Dick

Vandeleur, careless, brilliant, the heir to half a county ;the other

her old friend;she could not bear to think of him now.

Knowledge had come too late, and the light which made her

wonder scornfully at her blindness. And her mother she of

course had played the worldly part ;but her counsel had been

honest, without bias : it were cruel to blame her now. Loyal

though she was, Margaret Vandeleur had asked herself an hundred

times, yielding to that love of threading a labyrinth which rules

most women, what would have been the story of her life if she had

steeled herself to stand or fall by her own judgment, if she had

refused to allow her mother to drop into the wavering scale the

words which had turned it, ever so slightly, in favour of the


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richer man, the man whom she had married, whose name she


It seemed plain enough, to a woman s keen vision what sense

so subtle, yet so easily beguiled that Dorothy s choice was

embarrassed, just as her own had been. The girl and her two

admirers how the old story repeated itself ! one, Jack Wilgress,the good-natured, good-looking idler, whose devotion to the river

threatened to make him amphibious, and whose passion for

scribbling verse bade fair to launch him adrift among the co*ckle

shell fleet of Minor Poets ; the other Geoffrey Vincent ! Tocall upon Margaret Vandeleur to guide her daughter s choice

between two men of whom Geoffrey Vincent was one surely

here was the end and crown of Fate s relentless irony. She felt

herself blushing as she pressed her forehead against the cool

window-pane, put to shame by the thoughts which the comparison

suggested, which would not be stifled. Right or wrong, at least

her mother had been impartial : there was a sting in this, a

failure of her precedent. She sighed, concluding mutely that silence

was her only course;even if she would, she could not follow in her

mother s footsteps the girl must abide by her own judgment.When she turned, smiling faintly, the light of the flickering

candles fell upon her face, betraying a pallor which startled

Dorothy from her reverie. She sprang from her chair, reproachingher selfishness.

"You poor, tired, little mother," she murmured penitently, with

a-hasty kiss." How could I be so cruel as to keep you up after

your journey ! I m a wretch, but I m really going now. Good



Good-night," said her mother, caressing the vagrant coils of the

girl s amber-coloured hair. "Don t worry yourself; everythingwill come right if if you listen to your own heart."

Dorothy s

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Dorothy s answer was precluded by another kiss." It s so full

of you that it can t be bothered to think of any oneelse,"


declared plaintively, as she turned towards the door. Then she

paused, fingering nervously a little heap of books which lay upon a

table." He he isn t so very old, you know,"

she murmured

softly before she made her escape.

When she was alone Mrs. Vandeleur sank into the chair which

her daughter had just quitted, nestling among the cushions and

knitting her brows in thought. The clock on the mantelpiece

had struck twelve before she rose, and then she paused for an

instant in front of the looking-glass, gazing into it half timidly

before she extinguished the candles. The face which she saw

there was manifestly pretty, in spite of the trouble which lurked in

the tired eyes, and when she turned away, a hovering smile was

struggling with the depression at the corners of the delicate,

mobile lips.


When Sir Geoffrey returned to Riverside, three days later,

after a brief sojourn in London, spent for the most part at the

office of his solicitor in Lincoln s Inn, he found Mrs. Vandeleur

presiding over a solitary tea-table in a shady corner of the garden.

A few chairs sociably disposed under the gnarled walnut-tree, and

a corresponding number of empty tea-cups, suggested that her

solitude had not been of long duration, and this impression was

confirmed when Mrs. Vandeleur told her guest that if he had

presented himself a short quarter of an hour earlier he would have

been welcomed in a manner more worthy of his deserts.

Sir Geoffrey drew one of the low basket chairs up to the table,


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protesting, as he accepted a cup of tea, that he could not have

wished for better fortune.

" This is very delightful,"he declared. "

I don t regret the

tardiness of my train in the least. The other charming people are

on the river, I suppose ?"

Mrs. Vandeleur nodded. "

Yes, the Patersons have just taken

up their quarters in that house-boat, which you must have noticed,

near the lock, and my brother and Dorothy have gone with Jack

Wilgress and his sisters to call upon them. You ought to have

seen Daisy Wilgress ; she is very pretty."

Sir Geoffrey smiled gravely, sipping his tea.

"If she is prettier than your daughter, Miss Wilgress must be

very dangerous. But I must see her with my own eyes before I

believe that."

"Oh,she is !" declared Mrs. Vandeleur, laughing lightly, but

throwing a quick glance at him. "Ask Philip; he is more

wrapped up in her than he has been in anything since his first


" Poor Philip !


said the other quietly, stooping to pick a fallen

leaf from the grass at his feet."

I I have a fellow-feeling for


" You know you may smoke if you wantto," interposed Mrs.

Vandeleur, rather hurriedly." And perhaps if you really won t

have any more tea you might like to go in pursuit of the other

people ;I don t think they have taken all the boats. But I

daresay you are tired ? London is so fatiguing and business."

Sir Geoffrey smiled, his white teeth showing pleasantly against

the tan of his lean, good-humoured face.


I am rather tired, I believe," he owned. "

I have been

spending a great deal of time in my solicitor s waiting-room,

pretending to read The Times. And I have been thinking that is

The Yellow Book Vol. III. H always

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128 Second Thoughts

always fatiguing. If I am not in your way, I should like to stay


Mrs. Vandeleur professed her satisfaction by a polite little

murmur, leaning forward in her chair to marshal the scattered

tea-cups on the tray, while Sir Geoffrey watched her askance,

rather timidly, with a keen appreciation of the subtle charm of her

personality ;her face, like a perfect cameo, or some rare pale flower,

seeming to have gained rather in beauty by the deliberate passage

from youth ; winning, just as some pictures do, an added grace of

refinement, a delicacy, which the slight modification of contours

served only to intensify."

I told you just now that I had beenthinking,"

he said

presently, when she had resumed her task of embroidering initials

in the corner of a handkerchief :

" would it surprise you if I said

that I had been thinking of you ?


Mrs. Vandeleur raised her eyebrows slightly, her gaze still intent

upon her patient needle.


Perhaps it was natural that you should think ofus,"



"But I meantyou,"

he continued ; "you,the Margaret of the

old days, before I went away. For I used to call you Margaretthen. We were great friends, you know."


I have always thought of you as afriend,"

she said simply."

Yes, we were great friends before before you wentaway."

"It doesn t seem so long ago tome,"

he declared, almost plain

tively, struck by something in the tone of her voice. Mrs.

Vandeleur smiled tolerantly, scrutinising her embroidery, with

her head poised on one side, a little after the manner of a


" And now that I have found you again,"he added with inten

tion, dropping his eyes till they rested on the river, rippling past


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the wooden landing-stage below in the sunshine, "I I don t

want to lose you, Margaret !


Mrs. Vandeleur met this declaration with a smile, which was

courteous rather than cordial, merely acknowledging, as of right,

the propriety of the aspiration, treating it as quite conventional.

The simplicity of the gesture testified eloquently of the discipline

of twenty years ; only a woman would have detected the shadow

of apprehension in her eyes, the trembling of the hands which

seemed so placidly occupied. Her mind was already anxiously on the

alert, racing rapidly over the now familiar ground which she had

quartered of late so heedfully. For her, his words were ominous ;

it was of Dorothy surely that he wished to speak, and yet-In the stress of expectation her thoughts took strange flights,

following vague clues fantastically. The inveterate habit of retro

spection carried her back, in spite of her scruples; her honest desire

to think singly of Dorothy, regarding the fortune of her own

life as irrevocably settled, impelled her irresistibly to call to the

stage of her imagination a scene which she had often set upon it,

a duologue, entirely fictive, which might, but for her perversity,

have been enacted twenty years ago.

Sir Geoffrey rose, and stood leaning with one hand on the back

of his chair. This interruption -or perhaps it was the sound of

oars and voices which floated in growing volume from the river

served to recall his companion to the present. The silence, of

brief duration actually, seemed intolerable. She must break it,

and when she spoke it was to name her daughter, aimlessly."

Dorothy ?"

repeated Sir Geoffrey, as she paused." She is

extraordinarily like you were before I went away. Not that youare changed it is delightful to come back and find you the same.

It s only when she is with you that I can realise that there is a

difference, a

"I was

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I was never so good as Dorothy," put in Mrs. Vandeleur

quickly ;

" she will never have the same reason to blame her

self I don t think you could imagine what she has been

to me."


I think Ican,"

said Sir Geoffrey simply. Then he added,

rather shyly :


Really, we seem to be very good friends already :

it s very nice of her it would be so natural for her to to resent

the intrusion of an old fellow like me."

" You need not be afraid of that;she looks upon you as as a


" Thank you !" murmured the other. "And you think she

might grow to to like me, in time ?"

Mrs. Vandeleur nodded mutely. Sir Geoffrey followed for a

moment the deliberate entry and re-entry of her needle, reflect

ively ; then, as his eyes wandered, he realised vaguely that a boat

had reached the landing-stage, and that people were there : he

recognised young Wilgress and Miss Vandeleur." You said just now that you always thought of me as a friend^

he began. "I wonder Oh ! it s nogood,"

he added quickly,

with a nervous movement of his hands, "I can t make pretty

speeches ! After all, it s simple ; why should I play the coward ?

I can take no for answer, if the worst comes to the worst,

and Margaret, I know it s asking a great deal, but I

want you to marry me."

She cast a swift, startled glance at him, turning in her chair,

and then dropped her eyes, asking herself bewilderedly whether this

was still some fantasy. The words which he murmured now,

pleading incoherently with her silence, confirmed the hopes which,

in spite of her scrupulous devotion, refused to be gainsaid, thrusting

themselves shamelessly into the foreground of her troubled thoughts.

An inward voice, condemned by her wavering resolution as a


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By Arthur Moore 131

whisper from the lips of treachery, suggested plausibly that after

all Dorothy might have made a mistake ;she repelled it fiercely,

taking a savage pleasure in her pain, accusing herself, with vehe

ment blame, as one who would fain stand in the way of her

daughter s happiness. Even if she had deserved these fruits of late

harvest which seemed to dangle within her grasp, even if her

right to garner them had not been forfeited long ago by her

folly of the past, how could she endure to figure as a rival,

triumphing in her own daughter s discomfiture ? Womanlypride and a thousand scruples barred the way.


I loveyou,"

she heard him say again ;


I believe I have

always loved you since But you know how it was in the


" Don t remind me of that !


she pleaded, almost fiercely ;



was I can t bear to think of what I did ! You ought not to

forgive me ;I don t deserve it."


Forgive ?"

he echoed, blankly.

"Oh, you are generous but it is impossible, impossible ;it is

all a mistake ;let us forget it."


I don t understand ! Is it that that you don t care for me ?!>

Margaret gave a despairing little sigh, dropping her hands on

the sides of her chair.

"You don t know," she murmured. "It isn t right. No

oh, it must be No !


Sir Geoffrey echoed her sigh. As he watched her silently, the

instinct of long reticence making his forbearance natural, he saw

a new expression dawn into her troubled face. Her eyes were

fixed intently on the river ; that they should be fixed was not

strange, but there was a light of interest in them which induced

Sir Geoffrey, half involuntarily, to bend his gaze in the same

direction. He saw that Dorothy had now disembarked, and was


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132 Second Thoughts

standing, a solitary figure, close to the edge of the landing-stage.

Something in her pose seemed to imply that she was talking, and

just at this moment she moved to one side, revealing the head and

shoulders of Jack Wilgress, which overtopped the river-bank in

such a manner as to suggest that he was standing in the punt, of

which the bamboo pole rose like a slender mast above his head.

The group was certainly pictorial : the silhouette of Dorothy s

pretty figure telling well against the silvery river, and the youngman s pose, too, lending itself to an effective bit of composition ;

but Sir Geoffrey felt puzzled, and even a little hurt, by the interest

that Margaret displayed at a moment which he at least had found

sufficiently strenuous. He turned, stooping to pick up his hat ;

then he paused, and was about to speak, when Mrs. Vandeleur

interrupted him, mutely, with a glance, followed swiftly by the

return of her eyes to the river. Acquiescing patiently, Sir

Geoffrey perceived that a change had occurred in the grouping of

the two young people. Wilgress had drawn nearer to the girl ;

his figure stood higher against the watery background, apparently

he had one foot on the step of the landing-stage. Dorothyextended a hand, which he clasped and held longer than one would

have reckoned for in the ordinary farewell. The girl shook her

head ; another movement, and the punt began to glide reluctantly

from the shore ; then it turned slowly, swinging round and

heading down-stream. Dorothy raised one hand to the bosom of

her dress, and before she dropped it to her side threw something

maladroitly towards her departing companion. Wilgress caughtthe flower it was evidently a flower making a dash which

involved the loss of his punt-pole ;a ripple of laughter, and

Dorothy, unconscious of the four eyes which watched her from

the shadows of the walnut tree, turned slowly, and began to climb

the grassy slope.

Mrs. Vandeleur s

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Mrs. Vandeleur s eyelids drooped, and her lips, which had been

parted for an instant in a pensive smile, trembled a little;she

sighed, tapping the ground lightly with her foot, then sank back in

her chair and seemed lost in contemplation of the needlework that

lay upon her lap. Sir Geoffrey began to move away, but turned

suddenly, and stooping, took one of her hands reverently in his

own, clasping it as it lay upon the arm of her chair.


Margaret," he said,"

forgive me; but must it be good-bye,after all these years, or is there a chance for me ?


Mrs. Vandeleur s reply was inaudible ;but her hand, though it

fluttered for a moment, was not withdrawn.

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By Olive distance

Mother of the dews, dark eyelashed Twilight !

Low-lidded Twilight o er the valley s brim.



of Twilight, through your folded wingsI catch a glimpse of your averted face,

And rapturous on a sudden, my soul sings"

Is not this common earth a holy place ?


Spirit of Twilight, you are like a song

That sleeps, and waits a singer, like a hymnThat God finds lovely and keeps near Him long,

Till it is choired by aureoled cherubim.

Spirit of Twilight, in the golden gloomOf dreamland dim I sought you, and I found

A woman sitting in a silent room

Full of white flowers that moved and made no sound.


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By Olive distance 135

These white flowers were the thoughts you bring

to all,

And the room s name is Mystery where you sit,

Woman whom we call Twilight, when night s pall

You lift across our Earth to cover it.

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Three Pictures

By Walter Sickert

I. Collins s Music Hall, Islington

II. The Lion Comique

III. Charley s Aunt

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Tobacco Clouds

By Lionel Johnson

CLOUDupon cloud : and, if I were to think that an image of

life can lie in wreathing, blue tobacco smoke, pleasant

were the life so fancied. Its fair changes in air, its gentle

motions, its quiet dying out and away at last, should symbolise

something more than perfect idleness. Cloud upon cloud : and I

will think, as I have said : it is amusing to think so.

It is that death, out and away upon the air, which charms me :

charms more than the manner of the blown red rose, full of dew

at morning, upon the grass at sunset. The clouds end, their

death in air, fills me with a very beauty of desire ; it has no

violence in it,and it is almost invisible. Think of it ! While

the cloud lived, it was seemly and various ;and with a graceful

change it passed away : the image of a reasonable life is there,

hanging among tobacco clouds. An image and a test : an image,

because elaborated by fancy : a true and appealing image, and so,

to my present way of life, a test.

That way is, to walk about the old city, with "a spirit in myfeet,"

as Shelley and Catullus have it, of joyous aims and energies ;

and to speed home to my solitary room over the steep HighStreet

;in an arm-chair, to read Milton and Lucretius, with

others. There is nothing unworthy in all this : there is open air,


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144 Tobacco Clouds

an ancient city, a lonely chamber, perfect poets. Those should

make up a passing life well : for death ! I can watch tobacco

clouds, exploring the secret of their beautiful conclusion. And,

indeed, I think that already this life has something of their

manner, those wheeling clouds ! It has their light touch upon

the world, and certainly their harmlessness. Early morning,

when the dew sparkles red; honey, and coffee, and eggs for a

breakfast ; the quick, eager walk between the limes, through the

Close of fine grass, to the river fields;then the blithe return to

my poets ;all that, together, comes to resemble the pleasant

spheres of tobacco cloud ;I mean, the circling hours, in their

passage, and in their change, have something of a dreamy order

and progression. Such little incidents ! Now, grey air and

whistling leaves : now, a marketing crowd of country folk

round the Cross : and presently, clear candles;with Milton, in

rich Baskervile type, or Lucretius, in the exquisite print of early


Such little incidents, in a world of battles and of plagues : of

violent death by sea and land ! Yet this quiet life, too, has diffi

culties and needs : its changes must be gone through with a

ready pleasure and a mind unhesitating. For, trivial though theybe in aspect and amount, yet the consecration of them, to be an

holy discipline of experience, is so much the greater an attempt :

it is an art. Each thing, be it man, or book, or place, should

have its rights, when it encounters me : each has its proper

quality, its peculiar spirit, not to be misinterpreted by me in

carelessness, nor overlooked with impatience. That is clear : but

neither must I vaunt my just view of common life. Meditation,at twilight, by the window looking toward the bare downs, is

very different from that anxious examination of motives, dear to

sedulous souls. My meditation is only still life : the clouds of


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By Lionel Johnson 145

smoke go up, grey and blue; the earlier stars come out, above

the sunset and the melancholy downs ; and deep, mournful bells

ring slowly among the valley trees. Then, if my day have been

successful, what peace follows, and how profound a charm ! Thelittle things of the day, sudden glances of light upon grey stone,

pleasant snatches of organ music from the church, quaint rustic

sights in some near village : they come back upon me, gentle

touches of happiness, airs of repose. And when the mysteries

come about me, the fearfulness of life, and the shadow of night ;

then, have I not still the blue, grey clouds, occnlth d<; rebus quo

referam? So I escape the tribulations of doubt, those gloomytribulations : and I live in the strength of dreams, which never


Is it all a delusion ? But that is a foolish wonder : nothing is

a delusion, except the extremes of pleasure and of pain. Take

what you will of the world; its crowds, or its calms : there is

nothing altogether wrong to every one. Lucretius, upon his

watch-tower, deny it as he may, found some exultation and

delight in the lamentable prospect below : it filled him with a

magnificent darkness of soul, a princely compassion at heart.

And Milton, in his evil days, felt himself to be tragic and austere :

he knew it, not as a proud boast, but as a proud fact. No ! life

is never wrong, altogether, to every one : you and I, he and she,

priest and penitent, master and slave : one with another, we

compose a very glory of existence before the unseen Powers.

Therefore, I believe in my measured way of life ; its careful

felicities, fashioned out of little things : to you, the change of

Ministries, and the accomplishment of conquests, bring their

wealth of rich emotion : to me, who am apart from the louder

concerns of life, the flowering of the limes, and the warm autumn

rains, bring their pensive beauty and a store of memories.


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146 Tobacco Clouds

Is it I, am indolent ? Is it you, are clamorous ? Why should

it be either ? Let us say, I am the lover of quiet things, and

you are enamoured of mighty events. Each, without undue

absorption in his taste, relishes the savour of a different ex


But I think, I am no egoist : no melancholy spectator of

things, cultivating his intellect with old poetry, nourishing his

senses upon rural nature. There are times, when the swarms of

men press hard upon a solitary ;he hears the noise of the streets,

the heavy vans of merchandise, the cry of the railway whistle :

and in a moment, his thoughts travel away, to London, to Liver

pool ;to great docks and to great ships ;

and away, till he is

watching the dissimilar bustle of Eastern harbours, and hearing the

discordant sounds of Chinese workmen. The blue smoke curls

and glides away, with blue pagodas, and snowy almond bloom, and

cherry flowers, circling and gleaming init,

like a narcotic vision.

O magic of tobacco ! Dreams are there, and superb images, and

a somnolent paradise. Sometimes, the swarms of humanity press

wearily and hardly ; with a cruel insistence, crushing out my right

to happiness. I think, rather I brood, upon the fingers that

deftly rolled the cigarette, upon the people in tobacco plantations,

upon all the various commerce involved in its history : how do

they all fare, those many workers ? Strolling up and down,

devouring my books through their lettered backs; remembering

the workers with leather, paper, ink, who toiled at them, they

frighten me from the peace. What a full world it is ! Whatendless activities there are ! And, oh, Nicomachean Ethics !

how much conscious pleasure is in them all ! Things, mere

tangible things, have a terrible power of education : of calling out

from the mind innumerable thoughts and sympathies. Like

childish catechisms and categories Whence have we sago? plain


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By Lionel Johnson 147

substances introduce me to swarms of men, before unrealised.

And they all lived and died, and cared for their children, or not,

and led reasonable lives, or not : and, without any alternative, had

casual thoughts and constant passions. Did each one of them

ever stop in his work, and think that the world revolved about

him alone ; and all was his, and for him ? Most men may have

thought so, and shivered a little afterwards ; and worked on

steadily. Or did each one of them ever think that he was alwaysbeset with companions, hordes of men and women, necessary and

inevitable ? Then, he must have struggled a little in his mind, as

a man fights for air, and worked on steadily. It does not do :

this interrogation of mysteries, which are also facts. Nor am I

called upon, from without or from within, to write an Essay upon

the Problem of Economic Distribution. Prtesentia temnis !

Nature says to me : it is the stir of the world, and the great play

of forces, that I am wailing, to no end. Let the great life

continue, and the sun shine upon bright palaces ;and geraniums,

red geraniums, glow at the windows of dingy courts;death and

sorrow come upon both, and upon me. And on all sides there is

infinite tenderness ;the invincible good-will, which says kind and

cheerful things to every one sometimes, by a friend s mouth;the

humane pieties of the world, which make glad the Civitas Dei,

and make endurable the Regnum Hominis. I need not make

myself miserable.

t ull ni;ht at last ;the dead of night, as dull folk have it ;

ignorant persons, who know nothing of nocturnal beauty, of night s

lively magic. It was a good thought, to come out of my lonely

room, to look at the cloisters by moonlight, and to wander round

the Close, under the black shadows of the buttresses, while the

moon is white upon their strange pinnacles. There is no noise,

but only a silence, which seems very old; old, as the grey monu


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148 Tobacco Clouds

ments and the weathered arches. The wreathing, blue tobacco

clouds look thin and pale, like breath upon a dark frosty night ;

they drift about these old precincts, with a kind of uncertainty and

discomfort ;one would think, they wanted a rich Mediterranean

night, heavy odours of roses, and very fiery stars. Instead, they break

upon mouldering traceries, and doleful cherubs of the last century;

upon sunken headstones, and black oak doors with ironwork over

them. Perhaps the cigarette is southern and Latin, southern and

Oriental, after all; and I am a dreamer, out of place in this northern

grey antiquity. If it be so, I can taste the subtle pleasures of contrast:

and, dwelling upon the singular features of this old town, I can

make myself a place init,

as its conscious critic and adopted

alien. There is a curious apprehension of enjoyment, a genuinetouch of luxury, in this nocturnal visit to these old northern

things ! I consider, with satisfaction, how the Stuart king, who

spurned tobacco contumeliously, put a devoted faith in witches,

those northern daughters of the devil; northern, and very different

from the dames of Thessaly ; from the crones of Propertius, and

of Horace, and of Apuleius the Golden. Who knows, but I mayhear strange voices in the near aisle before co*ckcrow ? Bynight, night in the north, happen cold and dismal things ;


then, what a night is this ! Chilly stars, and wild, grey clouds,

flying over a misty moon.

At last, here comes a great and solemn sound;the commanding

bells of the cathedral tower, in their iron, midnight toll. Throughthe sombre strokes, and striking into their long echoes, pierce

the thin cries of bats, that wheel in air, like lost creatures whohate themselves

; the uncanny flitter-mice ! They trace superb,

invisibles circles on the night ; crying out faintly and plaintively,

with no sort of delight in their voices : things of keen teeth, furry

bodies, and skeleton wings covered scantily in leather. The big


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By Lionel Johnson 149

moths, too : they blunder against my face, and dash red trails of

fire off my cigarette ; so busily they spin about the darkness.

Sadducismus triumphatus ! Yes, truly : here are little, white

spirits awake and at some faery work; white, as heather upon the

Cornish cliffs is white, and all innocent, rare things in heaven and* O

earth. There is nothing dreadful, it seems, about this night, and

this place ;no glorious fury of evil spirits, doing foul and ugly

things ; only the quiet town asleep under a wild sky, and gentlecreatures of the night moving about ancient places. And the

wind rises, with a sound of the sea, murmuring over the earth

and sighing away to the sea : the trembling sea, beyond the downs,which steals into the land by great creeks and glimmeringchannels ; with swaying, taper masts along them, and lantern

lights upon black barges. Certainly, this is no Lucretian night :

not that tremendous

Nox, et noctis signa severa

Noctivageequefaces cteli, flammteque volantes.

Rather, it reminds me of the Miltonic night, which is peopled

alluringly with"

faery elves,

Whose midnight revels by a forest side

Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,

Or dreams he sees, while overhead the moon

Sits arbitress :


a Miltonic night, and a Shakespearean dawn ; for the white

morning has just peered along the horizon, white morning, with

dusky flames behind it ;and the spirits, the visions, vanish away,


following darkness, like a dream."

The streets are very still, with that silence of sleeping cities,

which seems ready to start into confused cries;

as though the

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150 Tobacco Clouds

Smiter of the Firstborn were travelling through the households.

There is the Catholic chapel, in its Georgian, quaint humility ;

recalling an age of beautiful, despised simplicity ;the age of

French emigrant old priests and vicars-apostolic, who stood for

the Supreme Pontiff, in grey wigs. The sweet limes are swaying

against its singular, umbered windows, with their holy saints and

prophets in last-century design ; ruffled, querulous persons looking

very bluff and blown. I wonder, how it would be inside ;I

suppose, night has a little weakened that lingering smell of daily

incense, which seems so immemorial and so sad. Wonderful

grace of the mighty Roman Church ! This low square place,

where the sanctuary is poor and open, without any mystical touch

of retirement and of loftiness, has yet the unfailing charm, the

venerable mystery, which attend the footsteps of the Church ; the

same air of command, the same look of pleading, fill this homely,comfortable shrine, which simple country gentlemen set up for the

ministrations of harassed priests, in an age of no enthusiasm. I like

to think that this quiet chapel, in the obedience of Rome, in

communion with that supreme apostolate, is always open to me

upon this winding little by-street ; it fills me with perfect

memories, and it seems to bless me.

But here is a benediction of light ! the quick sun, reddeninghalf the heavens, and rising gloriously. In the valley, clusters of

elm rock and swing with the breeze, quivering for joy : far away,the bare uplands roll against the sunrise, calm and pastoral; otia dla

of the morning. Surely the hours have gone well, and according

to my preference ;one dying into another, as the tobacco clouds

die. My meditations, too, have been peaceful enough ; and,

though solitary, I have had fine companions. What would the

moral philosophers, those puzzled sages, think of me ? An harm

less hedonist ? An amateur in morals, who means well, though


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By Lionel Johnson 151

meaning very little ? Nay ! let the moralist by profession give, to

whom he will, sa musique, sa flamme : to any practical person, whois a wise shareholder and zealous vestryman. For myself, mylimited and dreamy self, I eschew these upright businesses ; uprightmemories and meditations please me more, and to live with as

little action as may be. Action : why do they talk of action ?

Match me, for pure activity, one evening of my dreams, when life

and death fill my mind with their messengers, and the days of old

come back to me. And now, homewards, for a little sleep ;that

profound and rich slumber at early dawn which is my choice

delight. A sleep, bathed in musical impressions, and filled with

fresh dreams, all impossible and happy ; four hours, and five, and

six perhaps : then the cathedral matin bell will chime in with myfancies, and I shall wake harmoniously. I shall feel infinitely

cheerful, after the spirit of the Compleat Angler ; I shall remember

that I was once at Ware, and at Amwell, those placid haunts of

Walton. A conviction of beauty, and contentment in life will lay

hold on me, more than commonly ;it is probable that I shall read

The Spectator^ and Addison, rather than Steele, at breakfast. And

I know which paper it will be : it will be about Jt d̂l Trimble

coming up to the house, with two or three hazel twigs in his hand,

fresh cut in Sir Roger s woods. Or, if I prove faithful to my great

Lucretius : the man, not the book, for I read him in the Giuntine :

I will read that marvellous It ver et Venus ; that dancing masqueof beauty. For U Allegro, I do not read that

;it is read aloud to

me by the morning, with exquisite, bright cadences. After myhoney from the flowers of a very rustic farm, and my coffee, from

some wonderful Eastern place ;and my eggs, marked by the careful

housewife as she took them from her henhouse, covered with

stonecrop over its old tiles;after all these delicates, now comes the

first cigarette, pungent and exhilarating. As the grey blue


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152 Tobacco Clouds

clouds go up, the ruddy sunlight glows through them, straight as

an arrow through the gold. Away they wander, out of the window,

flung back upon the air, against the roses, and disappear in the

buoyant morning.

My thoughts go with them, into the morning, into all the

mornings over the world. They travel through the lands, and

across the seas, and are everywhere at home, enjoying the presence

of life. And past things, old histories, are turned to pleasant

recollections : a pot-pourri, justly seasoned, and subtly scented ;

the evil humours and the monstrous tyrannies pass away, and leave

only the happiness and the peace.

Call me, my dear friend, what reproachful name you please ;

but, by your leave, the world is better for my cheerfulness. True,should the terrible issues come upon me, demanding high courage,

and finding but good temper, then give me your prayers, for I

have my misdoubts. Till then, let me cultivate my place in life,

nurturing its comelier flowers; taking the little things of time

with a grateful relish and a mind at rest. So hours and years pass

into hours and years, gently, and surely, and orderly ;as these

clouds, grey and blue clouds, of tobacco smoke, pass up to the

air, and away upon the wind ; incense of a goodly savour, cheeringthe thoughts of my heart, before passing away, to disappear at


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By Annie Macdonell

N AY, Love, but stay thy blame ;

For if men have their claim,

The day s but theirs

Poor gift, the day of heat and cares !

Thou hast the night, the calm cool night,

When the soul s garden blooms in sight,

With roses tinted by the moon s soft smile,

On that far fringed horizon isle.

The night, the long sweet night is thine,

Then I awake, and find thee, soul of mine.

Ah, rushing hours beneath the sun !

Ah, fevered crying haste, have done !

Yet let your coursing swifter run !

Now let the still night fall.

I hear the water lapping gainst the wall,

I open wide my door unto the sea

Whence Death, thy keeper, brings thee back to me.

So mild he waits without, yet laughs at Life,

That cannot give her hirelings such a wife.


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Day, have I not paid the toll ?

My body given the whole

That will let pass my soul ?

The roses of the morn lie thick on my Love s bier,

And she is risen ;she is no longer here.

A star upon the stern she beckons me.

Sweet Death, one dawn, let me go back with thee,

Sweet Death, take me from out the noisy light

Into thy night, thy comforting still night.

Yea, soon, for my Love s sake,

Sweet Death my hand will take,

And I shall not awake

Till past the blooming isle.

Then shall my eyelids quiver neath her smile,

And I shall gaze, and from my Love s clear eyes

Shall learn her slow wide learning, and be wise,

Shall learn the speech they speak across the sea :

Tis a large language my Love speaks to me.

Then far beyond to sail,

And further further coasts to hail,

And ventures shall not fail.

And missionary dreams my Love and I

We ll hover mid the world s troubled sky,

And sleeping men to discontent shall tease,

To venture further skies and wider seas.

Have I not guessed the meaning of the dark ?

Thy hand, O Death ! To-night let me embark.

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" To Every Man a Damsel or Two

By C. S.

HEwandered up the carpeted steps, rather afraid all the while ot

the two tall men in uniform who opened the great doors wide

to let him into the soft warm light and babble of voices within. At

the top he paused, and slowly unbuttoned his overcoat, not know

ing which way to turn ; but the crowd swept him up, and carried

him round, until he found himself leaning against a padded wall

of plush, looking over a sea of heads at the stage far beneath.

He turned round, and stood watching the happy crowd, which

laughed, and talked, and nodded ceaselessly to itself. Near him,on a sofa, with a table before her, was a woman spreading herself

out like some great beautiful butterfly on a bed of velvet pansies.

He stood admiring her half unconsciously for some time, and at

last, remembering that he was tired and sleepy, and seeing that

there was still plenty of room, he threaded his way across and sat


The butterfly began tossing a wonderful little brown satin shoe,

and tapping it against the leg of the table. Then the parasol

slipped across him, and fell to the ground. He hastened to pick

it up, lifting his hat as he did so. She seemed surprised, and

glancing at a man leaning against the wall, caught his eye, and

they both laughed. He blushed a good deal, and wondered what


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156 "To Every Man a Damsel or Two"

he had done wrong. She spread herself out still further in his

direction, and cast side glances at him from under her Gains

borough."What were you laughing at just now ?


he said impulsively." My dear boy, when ?


" With that man."

" Which man ?"

" It doesn t matter," he said, blushing again.

She looked up, and winked at the man leaning against the


" Have I offended you by speaking to you ?"

he said, looking

with much concern into her eyes.

She put a little scented net of a handkerchief up to her mouth,

and went into uncontrollable fits of laughter.

"What a funny boy you are !


she gasped." Do do it


He looked at her in amazement, and moved a little further


I m going to tell the waiter to bring me a port after that

last bit of business."


I don t understand allthis,"

he said desperately :


I wish I

had never spoken to you ; I wish I had never come in here

at all."

" You re very rude all of a sudden. Now don t be troublesome

and say you re too broke to pay fordrinks,"

she added as the

waiter put the port down with great deliberation opposite her, and

held out the empty tray respectfully to him. He stared.

" Why don t you pay, you cuckoo ?"

Mechanically he put down a florin, and the waiter counted out

the change.

There was a pause. She fingered the stem of her wine-glass,

taking little sips, and watching him all the while.


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By C. S. 157" How often have you been here before ?


she said, suddenly

catching at his sleeve." You must tell me. I fancy I know your

face : surely I ve met you before somewhere ?"

" This is the first time I have ever been to a music-hall,"he

said doggedly.

She drank off her port directly.

"Come come away at once. Yes, all right I m coming with

you ;so go along."

" But I ve only just paid to comein,"

he said hesitatingly." Never mind the

paying,"and she stamped her little satin foot,

" but do as I tell you, andgo."

And taking his arm, she led him

through the doors down to the steps, where the wind blew cold,

and the gas jets roared fitfully above.

"Go,"she said, pushing him out, "and never come here again ;

stick to the theatres, you will like them best." And she ran up

the steps and was gone.

He rushed after her. The two tall men in uniform stepped

before the doors." No re-admission, sir,"

said one, bowing respectfully and

touching his cap.

"But thatlady,"

he said, bewildered, and looking from one to

the other.

The men laughed, and one of them, shrugging his shoulders,

pointed to the box-office.

He turned, and walked down the steps. Was it all a dream ?

He glanced at his coat. The flower in his buttonhole had gone.

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A Song and a Tale

By Nora Hopper

I Lament of the Last Leprechaun

FORthe red shoon of the Shee,

For the falling o the leaf,

For the wind among the reeds,

My grief !

For the sorrow of the sea,

For the song s unquickened seeds,

For the sleeping of the Shee,

My grief !

For dishonoured whitethorn-tree,

For the runes that no man reads,

Where the grey stones face the sea,

My grief !

Lissakeole, that used to be

Filled with music night and noon,For their ancient revelry,

My grief!


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By Nora Hopper 159

For the empty fairy shoon,

Hollow rath and yellow leaf;

Hands unkissed to sun or moon :

My grief my grief !

II Aonan-na-Righ

AINAN-NA-RIGHthey called him in Tir Ailella* "Darling

of theKing" but it was in idle sport, for Cathal the Red

hated the son of his old age as men now have forgotten to hate;

and once Aonan had sprung from his sleep with a sharp skene

thrust through his arm, that had meant to drink his life-blood ;

and once again he had found himself alone in the heart of the

battle, and he had scarcely won out of the press with his life and

with the standard of the Danish enemy. Thus it was seen that

neither did the Danish spears love the"King

s Darling"; and

the sennachies made a song of this, and it was chanted before the

King for the first time when he sat robed and crowned for the

Beltane feast, and Aonan stood at his left hand, pouring out

honey-wine into his father s cup. And before he drank, Cathal

the King stared hard at the cup-bearer, and the red light that

burned in his eyes was darkened because of the likeness in

Aonan s face to his mother Acaill (dead and buried long since),

whom Cathal had loved better than his first wife Eiver, who was

a king s daughter, and better than the Danish slave Astrild, whobore him five sons, elder and better-loved than Aonan, for all the

base blood in their veins. And of these, two were dead in the

battle that had spared Aonan, and there were left to Cathal the

* Now Tircrrill, Co. Sligo.


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160 A Song and a Tale

King only the Druid Coloman, and Toran the boaster, and

Guthbinn of the sweet voice, who as yet was too young to fight.

"Drink, Aonan-na-Righ," shrilled Astrild from her seat at the

King s left hand. " Drink : lest there be death in thecup."

Aonan took up the golden cup, and gave her back smile for



he said, "to my mother, Acaill ofOrgiall."

But the King snatched the cup from his fingers, and dashed it

down on the board, so that the yellow mead spilled and stained

Astrild s cloak ; but she did not dare complain, for there was the

red light in Cathal s eyes that was wont to make the boldest



Bring me anothercup,"

he said to one that stood near.

" And now, will none of ye do honour to the toast of Aonan-na-

Righ ? Bring ye also a cup for the prince ; and, Guthbinn, put

your harp aside."

So in silence they drank to the memory of Acaill of Orgiall,

and afterwards they sought to spin together the threads of their

broken mirth, but not easily, for Astrild, who was wont to be

gayest, sat pale, with her hand on the knife hidden in her breast ;

and the King sat dumb and frowning, thinking, as Astrild knew,of dead Acaill : how he had loved and hated her, and, having slain

her father and brothers, and brought her to DunnaScaith a Golden

Hostage wearing a golden chain, he had wedded her for her

beauty s sake;and how until her child was born she had never so

much as smiled or frowned for him ; and how, when her babe lay

in her arms, she sent for her husband, and said :"

I thank thee,

Cathal, who hast set me free by means of this babe. I bless thee

for this last gift of thine, who for all thine other gifts have cursed

thee." And Cathal remembered how he had held babe and

mother to his heart, and said :

" Good to hear soft words from thymouth at last, O Acaill ! Speak again to me, and

softly. But


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By Nora Hopper 161

she had not answered, for her first soft words to him were her

last. And Astrild, watching him, saw his face grow black and

angry, and she smiled softly to herself, and aloud she said :


Oh, Guthbinn, sing again, and sing of thy brothers who fell

to-day sing of Oscar, the swift in battle, and Uaithne, of the

dark eyes. And will my lord give leave that I, their mother, goto weep for them in my own poor house where they were born ?



No,"said Cathal. "

I bought you and your tears, girl,with

gold rings, from Ocaill of Connaught. Sing to me now, and keep

thy tears for to-morrow." So Astrild drove back her sorrow, and

began to sing, while her son Guthbinn plucked slow music from his



Earrach, Samhradh, Foghmhar, and Geimhridh,

Are over all and done :

And now the web forgets the weaver,

And earth forgets the sun.

I sowed no seed, and pulled no blossom,

Ate not of the green corn :

With empty hands and empty bosom,

Behold, I stand forlorn.

Windflower I sang, and Flower o Sorrow,

Half-Summer, World s Delight :

I took no thought o the coming morrow,No care for the coming night."

Guthbinn s hand faltered on the harpstrings, and the singer stopped

swiftly : but King Cathal stayed the tears in her heart with an

angry word. " Have I had not always had my will ? And it is

not my will now for you toweep." So Astrild sat still, and she

looked at her sons : but Toran was busy boasting of the white

neck and blue eyes of the new slave-girl he had won, and Coloman


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1 62 A Song and a Tale

was dreaming, as he sat with his eyes on the stars that showed

through the open door : and only Guthbinn met her eyes and

answered them, though he seemed to be busy with his harp. And

presently Cathal rose up, bidding all keep their seats and finish

out the feast, but Astrild and Aonan he bade follow him. And

so they went into the farthest chamber of the House of Shields,

which looked upon a deep ditch. Now the end of the chamber

was a wall of wattles, and here there was cut a door that led out

on a high bank which overlooked the ditch. And the King went

out upon the bank, where there was a chair placed ready for him,

and Astrild sat at his knee, and Aonan-na-Righ stood a little

way off. And Cathal sat still for a time, holding Astrild s hand

in his, and presently he said :

" Who put the death in the cup

to-night, Astrild, thou or Guthbinn ?" And Astrild tried to

draw her hand away and to rise, but he held her in her place, and

asked again,"

Guthbinn, or thou ?"

until she answered him

sullenly as she knelt,"

King, it was I."

"Belike, Guthbinn s hand did thy bidding,"he said, in laughing

fashion. " Was the death for me or for Aonan yonder, thou Red-

Hair ?"

And Astrild laughed as she answered," For Aonan-na-Righ,

my lord." And then she shrieked and sought to rise, for she saw

death in the king s face as it bent over her.

"If thou hadst sought to slay thy master, Red-Hair, I mighthave forgiven thee,"

Cathal said;

" but what had my son to do

with thee, my light-o -love ?"

" Give me aday,"

Astrild said desperately, "and I will kill father

and son, and set the light-o -love s children on your throne, Cathal."

"I doubt it not, my wild-cat, but I will not give ye the day :


Cathal laughed." Good courage, girl and call thy Danish gods

to aid, for there is none other to help thee, now."

" What

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By Nora Hopper 163

"What will my lord do?" Aonan said quickly, as the Daneturned a white face and flaming eyes to him. " Wouldst kill

her ?"

"Ay,"said Cathal the King. "But first she shall leave her

beauty behind her, lest she meet thy mother in the Land of Youth,and Acaill be


" Leave her beauty and breath, lord,"Aonan said, drawing

nearer. "If my mother Acaill lived she would not have her slain.

My king, she pleased thee once; put her from thee if she vexes

thee now ; but leave herlife, since something thou owest


" She would have slain thee to-day, Aonan, and if I have dealt

ill by thee, I let no other deal thus. Yet if thou prayest me for

thy life, girl, for love of Acaill I will give it thee."

And Cathal laughed, for he knew the Dane would not plead in

that name. Astrild laughed too."

Spare thy breath, son of

Acaill,"she said scornfully.

" To-morrow the cord may be round

thy neck, and thou be in need of breath ; now lord, the cord for


Cathal smiled grimly."

Blackheart," he said," thou hast no lack of courage. Now

up,"and he loosened her hands,

" andfly

if thou wilt swim the

ditch, and get thee to Drumcoll-choille and Guthbinn shall die

in thy stead. What ! Thou wouldst liefer die ? Back then to

yonder chamber, where my men will deal with thee as I have

ordered, and be as patient as in thee lies. A kiss first, Red-Hair ;

and hearken from yonder chamber if thou wilt, while Aonan sings

a dirge for thee."

She went ;and presently there rang from within the chamber

the shrill scream of a woman s agony, and Cathal laughed to see

Aonan s face turn white." She is not as patient as



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164 A Song and a Tale

said," but she will learn. Keep thou my word to her, Aonan ;

sing a dirge for her beauty a-dying."

" I cannotsing," Aonan-na-Righ said, shivering as there rose

another shriek. " Let them slay her, my lord, and have done."

"Mywill runs otherwise," said Cathal, smiling. "Sing,


thou lovest thy life."

" My lord knows that I donot,"

Aonan answered ; and Cathal

smiled again." Belike not

; but sing and lessen the Dane s punishment.

When the song is finished she shall be released, and even tended


So Aonan sang the song of the Dane-land over the water, and

the Danes that died in the Valley of Keening which is now called

Waterford; of the white skin and red hair of Astrild ;

of her

grace and daring ;of the sons that lay dead on the battle-place ;

of Coloman the dreamer that read the stars;and of the beautiful

boy whose breast was a nest of nightingales. And then he sangmore softly of the Isle of the Noble where Acaill dwelt, and howshe would have shadowed Astrild with her pity if she had lived


and then he stopped singing and knelt before the King, dumb for

a moment with the passion of his pity, for from the open door

they could hear a woman moaning still.

"Lord,"he said, "make an end. My life for hers if a life

the King must have ; or my pain for hers if the King must needs

feed his ears with cries."


Graciously spoken, and like Acaill sson," King Cathal said.

" And Astrild shall be set free. You within the chamber take

the Dane to her son the lord Coloman s keeping ;and thou, my

son Aonan, tarry here till I return. I may have a fancy to send

thee with a message to thy mother before dawn. Nay, but comewith me, and we will go see Coloman, and ask how his mother


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By Nora Hopper 165

does. Give me thine arm to lean on ;I am tired, Aonan, I am old,

and an end has come to my pleasure in slaying .... Coloman !

They were in Coloman s chamber now, and the Druid turned

from star-gazing to greet the King, with a new dark look in his

gentle face."

Coloman, how does thy mother do now ? She had

grown too bold in her pride, but we did not slay her because of

Aonan here. How works our medicine that we designed to

temper her beauty ?"


Well, lord. No man will kiss my mother s beauty more."

" Good : now she will turn her feet into ways of gentleness,

perhaps. Thou boldest me a grudge for this medicine o mine,

my son Coloman ?"


Lord, she is my mother," the Druid said, looking down." The scars will

heal,"Cathal said ;

" but Aonan here has only

seen her beautiful. Coloman, wouldst thou have him see her

scarred and foul to see ?"


No, lord,"the Druid said fiercely. Cathal laughed.

"Have a gift of me, then, O Coloman," he said. "Sparehim

from sight of a marred beauty, in what way thou canst. I give

thee his eyes for thy mother s scars."

The two young men looked at each other steadily : then

Aonan spoke." Take the payment that the King offers thee,

Coloman, without fear : a debt is a debt."

" And the debt isheavy."

Coloman said hoarsely :"

Lord, wilt thou go and leave Aonan-

na-Righ to me ? And wilt thou send to me thy cunning men,Flathartach and Fadhar ? I must have



Aonan-na-Righ will not hinder thee, Coloman," said the

King, mockingly." He desires greatly to meet with his mother :

and do thou commend me also to the Lady Eivir, whom I wedded

first, and who loved me well."

The Yellow Book Vol. III. K " Call

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1 66 A Song and a Tale

" Call me also to thy mother s memory," Toran the boaster

cried presently, when all was made ready, and Coloman bade draw

the irons from the brazier "

if thou goest so far, Darling of the


" I will remember," Aonan said : and then fire and flesh met.*****At the next Beltane feast Cathal the Red slept beside Acaill in

the burial-place of the kings at Brugh, and Guthbinn sat in the

high seat, Toran the boaster at his right hand. But Coloman the

Druid stood on the tower-top, reading the faces of the stars ; and

along the road that wound its dusty way to the country of the

Golden Hostages there toiled two dark figures : a woman and a

man. Now the woman was hooded and masked, but under the

grey hood the moonlight found a gleam of ruddy hair;and the

man she led by the hand and watched over as a mother watches

her son. Yet the woman was Danish Astrild, and the blind man

was Aonan-na-Righ.

Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (197)

" De Profundis

By S. Cornish Watkins

THEhot white road winds on and on before,

The hot white road fades into haze behind,

With clinging dust each hedge is powdered o er,

The sun is high, no shelter can we find.

A dusty bird upon a dusty spray

Sings o er and o er a little dreary song,

There is no rest, no rest, the livelong day,

And we are weary, and the way is long.

We know not whence we come, or whither wend,What goal may be to which our journey draws,

Fate binds this burden on us, and the end

We know not, care not, and we must not pause.

A motley train we move. The young, the old,

Women and men, with feeble steps or strong,

Driven, like herded sheep, from fold to fold

Oh, we are weary, and the way is long.

Vain whispers have we known, and hopes as vain ;

And one, he bore a banner with a cross,

And spake wild words of comfort after pain,

And future gain to balance present loss.


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1 68 "De Profundis"

But where he is we wot not. We have lost

All hopes we had, all faiths or right or wrong,

We have been shaken, shattered, tempest-tost,

And we are weary, and the way is long.

Yet still, within each bosom smoulders there

Some little spark that might have been divine,

Something that will not let us quite despair,

Something we cannot, if we would, resign.

Some day the spark may quicken and may guide,And fire the soul within us, dead so long,

So may there be, when falls the eventide,

A joyous ending to a grievous song.

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Two Pictures

By P. Wilson Steer

I. The Mirror

II. Skirt Dancing

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A Study in Sentimentality

By Hubert Crackanthorpe

APHANTOM regiment of giant mist-pillars swept silently

across the valley ;beaded drops loaded each tuft of coarse,

dull-tinted grass ; the peat-hags gaped like black, dripping flesh-

wounds in the earth s side; the distance suggested rectangular fields

and wooded slopes vague, grey, phantasmagoric ;and down over

everything floated the damp of fine rain.

Alec s heavy tread crunched the turfed bridle-path rhythmically,

and from the stifF rim of his clerical hat the water dribbled on to

his shoulders.

It was a rugged, irregular, almost uncouth face, and now the

features were vacantly huddled in a set expression, obviously

habitual. The cheeks were hunched up, almost concealing the

small eyes ; a wet wisp of hair straggled over the puckered

forehead, and the ragged, fair moustache was spangled by the


At his approach the sheep scampered up the fell-side; then,

stood staring through the mist in anxious stupidity. And Alec,

shaking the water from his hat, strode forward with an almost

imperceptible gleam on his face. It was so that he liked the valley

all colourless and blurred, with the sky close overhead, like a low,

leaden ceiling.


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176 A Study in Sentimentality

By-and-by, a cluster of cottages loomed ahead a choppy pool

of black slate roofs, wanly a-glimmer in the wet. As he entered

the village, a group of hard-featured men threw him a curt

chorus of greetings, to which he raised his stick in response,


He mounted the hill. Three furnace-chimneys craned their

thin necks to grime the sky with a dribbling, smoky breath ;

high on a bank of coal-dust, blurred silhouettes of trucks stood

waiting in forlorn strings ; women, limp, with unkempt hair,

and loose, bedraggled skirts, stood round the doorways in gossiping

groups." Which is Mrs. Matheson s ?


he stopped to ask.

"There oop there, Mr. Burkett by yon ash where them

childer s standin," they answered, all speaking together, eagerly.

" Look ye ! that be Mrs. Matheson herself."

Alec went up to the woman. His face clouded a little, and the

puffs from his pipe came briskly in rapid succession.

" Mrs. Matheson, I ve only just heard Tell me, how did

it happen ?"

he asked gently.

She was a stout, red-faced woman, and her eyes were all bloodshot

with much crying. She wiped them hastily with the corner of

her apron before answering."

It was there, Mr. Burkett, by them rails. He was jest playin

aboot in t road wi Arnison s childer. At half-past one, t grand-

moother stepped across to fetch me a jug o fresh water an

she see d him settin in door there. Then mabbee twenty minutes

later t rain coome on an I thought to go to fetch him in.

But I could na see na sign of him anywhere. We looked oopand doon, and thought, mabbee, he d toddled roond to t back.

An then, all at once, Dan Arnison called to us that he was leein

in t water, doon in beck-pool. An Dan ran straight doon, an


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By Hubert Crackanthorpe 177

carried him oop to me; but t was na use. He was quite cold

and drownded. An I went -" But the sobs, rising thickly,

swallowed the rest.

Alec put his hand on her shoulder soothingly.

"Ay,I know d ye d be grieved, Mr. Burkett. He was the

bonniest boy in all tparish."

She lifted the apron to her eyes again, while he crossed to the

railings. The wood of the posts was splintered and worm-eaten,and the lower rail was broken away. Below, the rock shelved

down some fifteen feet to the beck-pool, black and oily-looking.

"It s a very dangerous place,"he said, half to himself.

"Ay,Mr. Burkett, you re

right," interrupted a bent and

wizened old woman, tottering forward.

"This be grandmoother, Mr. Burkett," Mrs. Matheson ex

plained." Twas grandmoother that see d him last

"Ay,Mr. Burkett," the old woman began in a high, tremulous

treble. "When I went fer to fill t jug fer Maggie he was

a-settin on t steps there playin with t kitten, an he called after

me, Nanny ! quite happy-like ;but I took na notice, but jest

went on fer t water. I shawed Mr. Allison the broken rail

last month, when he was gittin t rents, and I told him he

ought to put it into repair, with all them wee childer playin all

daytime on t road. Didn t I, Maggie?" Mrs. Matheson

assented incoherently." An he was very civil-like, was Mr.

Allison, and he said he d hev it seen to. It s alus that way,Mr. Burkett," the old woman concluded, shaking her head wisely." Folks wait till some accident occurs, and then they think to

bestir themselves."

Alec turned to the mother, and touched her thick, nerveless


There, there, Mrs. Matheson, don t take onso,"

he said.


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178 A Study in Sentimentality

At his touch her sobbing suddenly ceased, and she let her apron


"Will ye na coome inside, Mr. Burkett ?


she asked.

And they all three went in together.

The little room had been scrubbed and tidied, and a number of

chairs, ranged round the table, blocked the floor.

" We ve bin busy all marnin, gitting things a bit smartened

oop for t inquest. T coroner s cooming at twelve,"the grand

mother explained.

"Will ye coome oopstairs, Mr. Burkett jest jest to tak a

look at him ?"

Mrs. Matheson asked in a subdued voice.

Alec followed her, squeezing his burly frame up the narrow,

creaking staircase.

The child lay on the clean, white bed. A look of still serenity

slept on his pallid face. His tawny curls were smoothed back,

and some snowdrops were scattered over the coverlet. All was

quite simple.

Mrs. Matheson stood in the doorway, struggling noisily with

her sobs.


It is God swill,"

Alec said quietly." He was turned four last

week,"she blurted out. " Ye ll

excuse me, Mr. Burkett, but I m that overdone that I jest canna

help myself,"and she sank into a chair.

He knelt by the dead child s side and prayed, while the slow

rise and fall of the mother s sobs rilled the room. When he rose

his eyes were all moist." God will help you, if you ask Him. His ways are secret. We

cannot understand His purpose. But have faith in Him. He has

done it for thebest,"

he said.

"Ay,I know, I know, Mr. Burkett. But ye see he was the

youngest, and that bonny"


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By Hubert Crackanthorpe 179" Let me try to comfort

you,"he said.*****

When they came downstairs again, her face was calmer and her

voice steadier. The coroner, a dapper man with a bright-red tie,

was taking off his gloves and macintosh;the room was fast filling

with silent figures, and the old grandmother was hobbling to and

fro with noisy, excited importance." Will ye na stay for t inquest ?


Alec shook his head. "

No, I can t stop now. I have a School-

board meeting to go to. But I will come up this afternoon."

" Thank ee, Mr. Burkett, God blessthee,"

said Mrs. Matheson.

He shook hands with the coroner, who was grumbling con

cerning the weather;then strode out back down the valley.

Though long since he had grown familiar with the aspects of

suffering, that scene in the cottage, by reason of its very simplicity,

had affected him strangely. His heart was full of slow sorrow for

the woman s trouble, and the image of the child, lying beautiful

in its death-sleep, passed and repassed in his mind.

By-and-bye, the moaning of the wind, the whirling of lost

leaves, the inky shingle-beds that stained the fell-sides, inclined his

thoughts to a listless brooding.Life seemed dull, inevitable, draped in sombre, drifting shadows,

like the valley-head. Yet in all good he saw the hand of God, a

mysterious, invisible force, ever imperiously at work beneath the

ravages of suffering and of sin.

It was close upon six o clock when he reached home. He was

drenched to the skin, and as he sat before the fire, dense clouds of

steam rose from his mud-stained boots and trousers.

"Now, Mr. Burkett, jest ye gang and tak off them things,

while I make yer tea. Ye ll catch yer death one of these days

I know ye will. I sometimes think ye haven t more sense than

a boy,

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180 A Study in Sentimentality

a boy, traipsin about all t day in t wet, and niver takin yer meals


A faint smile flickered across his face. He was used to his

landlady s scoldings.

"A child was drowned yesterday in the beck up at Beda

Cottages. I had to go back there this afternoon to arrange about


he mumbled, half-apologetically.

Mrs. Parkin snorted defiantly, bustling round the table as she

spread the cloth. Presently she broke out again :

" An noo, ye set there lookin as white as a bogle. Whydon t ye go an git them wet clothes off. Ye re fair wringin ."

He obeyed ; though the effort to rise was great. He felt

curiously cold : his teeth were clacking, and the warmth from the

flames seemed delicious.

In his bedroom a dizziness caught him, and it was a momentbefore he could recognise the familiar objects. And he realised

that he wasill,

and looked at himself in the glass with a dull, scared

expression. He struggled through his dressing however, and went

back to his tea. But, though he had eaten nothing since the

morning, he had no appetite ; so, from sheer force of habit, he lit

a pipe, wheeling his chair close to the fire.

And, as the heat penetrated him, his thoughts spun aimlessly

round the day s events, till these gradually drifted into the back

ground of his mind, as it were, and he and they seemed to have

become altogether detached. His forehead was burning, and a

drowsy, delicious sense of physical weakness was stealing over his

limbs. He was going to beill,

he remembered ; and it was with

vague relief that he looked forward to the prospect of long days of

monotonous inactivity, long days of repose from the daily routine

of fatigue. The details of each day s work, the accomplishmentof which, before, had appeared so indispensable, now, he felt in his


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By Hubert Crackanthorpe 181

lassitude, had faded to insignificance. Mrs. Parkin was right :

he had been overdoing himself; and with a clear conscience he

would take a forced holiday in bed. Things in the parish would

get along without him till the end of the week. There was

only the drowned child s funeral, and, if he could not go, Milner,the neighbouring vicar, would take it for him. His pipe slipped

from his hand to the hearthrug noiselessly, and his head sank

forward. . . .

He was dreaming of the old churchyard. The trees were

rocking their slim, bare arms ; drip, drip, drip, the drops pattered

on to the tombstones, tight-huddled in the white, wet light of the

moon;the breath of the old churchyard tasted warm and moist,

like the reek of horses after a long journey.The child s funeral was finished. Mrs. Matheson had cried

noisily into her apron ; the mourners were all gone now ; and

alone, he sat down on the fresh-dug grave. By the moonlight he

tried to decipher the names carved on the slabs ; but most of the

letters had faded away, and moss-cushions had hidden the rest.

Then he found it"

George Matheson, aged four years and five

days,"and underneath were carved Mrs. Matheson s words :

" He was the bonniest boy in all theparish."

He sat on, with

the dread of death upon him, the thought of that black senseless

ness ahead, possessing him, so sudden, so near, so intimate, that it

seemed entirely strange to have lived on, forgetful of it. By-

and-bye, he saw her coming towards him Ethel, like a figure

from a picture, wearing a white dress that trailed behind her,

a red rose pinned at the waist, and the old smile on her lips. Andshe came beside, him, and told him how her husband had gone

away for ever, and he understood at once that he and she were

betrothed again, as it had been five years ago. He tried to answer

her, but somehow the words would not come ; and, as he was


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striving to frame them, there came a great crash. A bough

clattered down on the tombstones ;and with a start he awoke.

A half-burned coal was smoking in the fender. He felt as if he

had been sleeping for many hours.

He fell to stupidly watching the red-heat, as it pulsed through

the caves of coal, to imagining himself climbing their ashen

mountain-ridges, across dark defiles, up the face of treacherous

precipices. . . .

Hundreds of times, here, in this room, in this chair, before this

fire, he had sat smoking, picturing the old scenes to himself,

musing of Ethel Fulton (Ethel Winn she had been then; but,

after her marriage, he had forced himself to think of her as bearing

her husband s name that was a mortification from which he had

derived a sort of bitter satisfaction). But now, with the long

accumulation of his solitude five years he had been vicar of

Scarsdale he had grown so unconscious of self, so indifferent to

the course of his own existence, that every process of his mind

had, from sheer lack of external stimulation, stagnated, till, little

by little, the growth of mechanical habit had come to mould its

shape and determine its limitations. And hence, not for a

moment had he ever realised the grip that this habit of senti

mental reminiscence had taken on him, nor the grotesque extent

of its futile repetition. Such was the fervour of his attitude

towards his single chapter of romance.

Five years ago, she and he had promised their lives to one

another. And the future had beckoned them onward, gaily,

belittling every obstacle in its suffusion of glad, alluring colour.

He was poor : he had but his curate s stipend, and she was used to

a regular routine of ease. But he would have tended her wants,

waiting on her, watching over her, indefatigably ; chastening all

the best that was in him, that he might lay it at her feet. And


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together, hand in hand, they would have laboured in God s service.

At least so it seemed to him now.

Then had come an enforced separation ;and later, after a

prolonged, unaccountable delay, a letter from her explaining, in

trite, discursive phrases, how it could never be it was a mistake

she had not known her own mind now she could see things

clearer she hoped he would forgive and forget her.

A wild determination to go at once to her, to plead with her,

gripped him; but for three days he was helpless, bound fast by

parish duties. And when at last he found himself free, he had

already begun to perceive the hopelessness of such an errand, and,

with crushed and dogged despair, to accept his fate as irrevocable.

In his boyhood at the local grammar-school, where his ugli

ness had made him the butt of his class, and later, at an insignificant

Oxford college, where, to spare his father, whose glebe was at the

time untenanted, he had set himself grimly to live on an impossibly

slender allowance at every turn of his life, he had found himself

at a disadvantage with his fellows. Thus he had suffered much,

dumbly meekly many would have said without a sign of resent

ment, or desire for retaliation. But all the while, in his tenacious,

long-suffering way, he was stubbornly inuring himself to an

acceptance of his own disqualifications. And so, once rudely

awakened from his dream of love, he wondered with heavy

curiosity at his faith in its glamorous reality, and, rememberingthe tenour of his life, suffered bitterly like a man befooled by his

own conceit.

Some months after the shattering of his romance, the rumour

reached him that James Fulton, a prosperous solicitor in the town,

was courting her. The thing was impossible, a piece of idle

gossip,he reasoned with himself. Before long, however, he heard

it again, in a manner that left no outlet for doubt.


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It seemed utterly strange, unaccountable, that she, whose eager

echoing of all his own spiritual fervour and enthusiasm for the

work of the Church still rang in his ears, should have chosen a

man, whose sole talk had seemed to be of dogs and of horses, of

guns and of game ;a man thick-minded, unthinking, self-com

placent ;a man whom he himself had carelessly despised as devoid

of any spark of spirituality.

And, at this moment, when the first smartings of bitter bewil

derment were upon him, the little living of Scarsdale fell vacant,

and his rector, perhaps not unmindful of his trouble, suggested

that he should apply for it.

The valley was desolate and full of sombre beauty ; the parish,

sparsely-peopled but extensive;the life there would be monotonous,

almost grim, with long hours of lonely brooding. The living was

offered to him. He accepted it excitedly.

And there, busied with his new responsibilities, throwing him

self into the work with a suppressed, ascetic ardour, news of the

outside world reached him vaguely, as if from afar.

He read of her wedding in the local newspaper : later, a few

trite details of her surroundings ;and then, nothing more.

But her figure remained still resplendent in his memory, and, as

time slipped by, grew into a sort of gleaming shrine, incarnatingfor him all the beauty of womanhood. And gradually, this incar

nation grew detached, as it were, from her real personality, so that,

when twice a year he went back to spend Sunday with his old

rector, to preach a sermon in the parish church, he felt no shrink

ing dread lest he should meet her. He had long ceased to bear anyresentment against her, or to doubt that she had done what was

right. The part that had been his in the little drama seemed

altogether of lesser importance.*****All

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All night he lay feverishly tossing, turning his pillow aglowwith heat, from side to side

; anxiously reiterating whole inco

herent conversations and jumbled incidents.

At intervals, he was dimly conscious of the hiss of wind-sweptleaves outside, and of rain-gusts rattling the window-panes ;


later, of the sickly light of early morning streaking the ceiling

with curious patterns. By-and-bye, he dropped into a fitful sleep,

and forgot the stifling heat of his bed.

Then the room had grown half full of daylight, and Mrs.

Parkin was there, fidgetting with the curtains. She said some

thing which he did not hear, and he mumbled that he had slept

badly, and that his head was aching.

Some time later how long he did not know she appeared again,

and a man, whom he presently understood to be a doctor, and who

put a thermometer, the touch of which was deliciously cool, under

his armpit, and sat down at the table to write. Mrs. Parkin

and he talked in whispers at the foot of the bed : they went away ;

Mrs. Parkin brought him a cup of beef-tea and some toast;and

then he remembered only the blurred memories of queer, un

finished dreams.

Consciousness seemed to return to him all of a sudden; and,

when it was come, he understood dimly that, somehow, the fatigue of

long pain was over, and he tasted the peaceful calm of utter lassitude.

He lay quite still, his gaze following Mrs. Parkin, as she moved

to and fro across the room, till it fell on a basket-full of grapes

that stood by the bedside. They were unfamiliar, inexplicable ;

they puzzled him ;and for awhile he feebly turned the matter

over in his mind. Presently she glanced at him, and he lifted his

hand towards the basket.

"Would ye fancy a morsel o fruit noo ? Twas Mrs. Fulton

that sentem,"

she said.

The Yellow Book Vol. III. L She

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She held the basket towards him, and he lifted a bunch from it.

They were purple grapes, large and luscious-looking. Ethel had

sent them. How strange that was ! For an instant he doubted

if he were awake, and clutched the pillow to make sure that it was


" Mrs. Fulton sent them ?"

he repeated."

Ay, her coachman came yesterday in t forenoon to inquire

how ye were farin,and left that fruit for ye. Ay, Mr. Burkett,

but ye ve had a mighty quantity o callers. Most all t parish has

been askin for news o ye. An that poor woman from t factory

cottages has been doon forenoon andnight."

" How long have I been in bed ?"

he asked after a pause." Five days and five nights. Ye ve bin nigh at death s door,

ravin and moanin like a madman. But, noo, I must na keep yechatterin . Ye should jest keep yeself quiet till t doctor coomes.

He ll be mighty surprised to find ye so much improved, and in

possession of yer faculties."

And she left him alone.

He lay staring at the grapes, while excitement quickened every

pulse. Ethel had sent them they were from Ethel Ethel had

sent them through his brain, to and fro, boisterously, the thoughtdanced. And then, he started to review the past, dispassionately,

critically, as if it were another man s;and soon, every detail, as he

lingered on it, seemed to disentangle itself, till it all achieved a curious

simplification. The five years at Scarsdale became all blurred : theyresembled an eventless waste-level, through which he had been

mechanically trudging. But the other day, it seemed, he was with

her he and she betrothed to one another. A dozen scenes passed

before his eyes : with a flush of hot, intolerable shame, he saw

himself, clumsy, uncouth, devoid of personal charm, viewing her

bluntly, selfishly through the cumbrous medium of his own


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personality. And her attitude was clear too : the glamour, woven

of habitual, sentimental reminiscence, faded, as it were, from her

figure, and she appeared to him simply and beautifully human ;

living, vibrating, frail. Now he knew the meaning of that last

letter of hers the promptings of each phrase ;the outpourings of

his ideals, enthusiasms, aspirations callow, blatant, crude, he

named them bitterly had scared her : she had felt herself unequal

to the strain of the life he had offered her : in her loveable,


she had grown to dread it;and he realised all

that she had suffered before she had brought herself to end it the

long struggles with doubt and suspense. The veil that had

clogged his view was lifted : he knew her now : he could read

the writing on her soul : he was securely equipped for loving her ;

and now, she had passed out of his life, beyond recall. In his

blindness he had not recognised her, and had driven her away.How came it that to-day, for the first time, all these things were

made clear ?

The clock struck ; and while he was listening to its fading

note, the door-handle clicked briskly, and the doctor walked in.

He talked cheerily of the crops damaged by the storm, and the

sound of his voice seemed to vibrate harshly through the


"There s a heavy shower coming up,"he remarked. "

By the

way, you re quite alone here, Mr. Burkett, I believe. Have youno relatives whom you would like to send for ?


" No noone,"

Alec answered. " Mrs. Parkin will look after


" Yes but you see,"and he came and sat down by the bedside,

"I don t say there s any immediate danger ;but you ve had a very

near touch of it. Now isn t there any old friend ? you oughtnot to be alone like this." He spoke the last words with emphasis.


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Alec shook his head. His gaze had fallen on the basket of

grapes again : he was incoherently musing of Ethel.

"Mind, I don t say there s any immediatedanger,"

he heard the

man repeating; "but I must tell you that you re not altogether

out of the woodyet."

He paused." You ought to be prepared for the worst, Mr. Burkett."

The last phrase lingered in Alec s mind ;and slowly its

meaning dawned upon him." You mean I might die at any moment ?


he asked.


No, no I don t say that,"the other answered evasively.

" But you see the fever has left you very weak ;and of course in

such cases one can never be quite sure

The rest did not reach Alec s ears ;he was only vaguely aware

of the murmur of the man s voice.

Presently he perceived that he had risen.

"I will come back in the afternoon," he was saying. "I ll tell

Mrs. Mrs. Parker to bring you in some breakfast."

After the doctor had gone he dozed a little . . .

Then remembered the man s words " No immediate danger,

but you must be prepared for the worst." The sense of it all

flashed upon him : he understood what the man had meant : that

was the way doctors always told such things he guessed. So the

end was near . . . He wondered, a little curiously, if it would

come before to-night, or to-morrow ... It was near, quite near,

he repeated to himself; and gradually, a peacefulness permeatedhis whole being, and he was vaguely glad to be alone. . . .

A little while, and he would be near God He felt himself

detached from the world, and at peace with all men.

His life, as he regarded it trailing behind him, across the stretch

of past years, seemed inadequate, useless, pitiable almost; of his


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own personality, as he now realised it,he was ashamed petty

mortifications, groping efforts, a grotesque capacity for futile,

melancholy brooding he rejoiced that he was to have done with

it. The end was near, quite near, he repeated once again.

Then, afterwards, would come rest the infinite rest of the

Saviour s tenderness, and the strange, wonderful expectation of

the mysterious life to come . . . A glimpse of his own serenity, of

his own fearlessness, came to him;and he was moved by a quick

flush of gratitude towards God. He thought of the terror of the

atheist s death the world, a clod of dead matter blindly careering

through space ; humanity, a casual, senseless growth, like the

pullulating insects on a rottening tree. . . .

A little while, only a little while, and he would be near God.

And, softly, under his breath, he implored pardon for the countless

shortcomings of his service. . . .

The German clock on the mantel-piece ticked with methodical

fussiness : the flames in the grate flickered lower and lower;and one

by one dropped, leaving dull-red cinders. Through the window,under the half-drawn blind, was the sky, cold with the hard, white

glare of the winter sun, flashing above the bare, bony mountain-

backs;and he called to mind spots in the little, desolate parish,

which, with a grim, clinging love, he had come to regard as his

own for always. Who would come after him, live in this house

of his, officiate in the square, grey-walled church, move and work

in God s service among the people ? . . .

And, while he lay drowsily musing on the unfinished dream,

a muffled murmur of women s voices reached his ears. By an

intuition, akin perhaps to animal instinct, he knew all at once

that it was she, talking with Mrs. Parkin down in the room below.

Prompted by a rush of imperious impulse he raised himself on his

elbow to listen.


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There was a rustling of skirts in the passage and the sound of

the voices grew clearer.

" Good day, ma am, and thank ye very kindly, I msure,"


Parkin was saying.

No reply came, though he was straining every nerve to

catch it ... At last, subdued, but altogether distinct, her

voice :

" You re sure there s nothing else I can send ?


The door of his room was ajar. He dug his nails into the

panel-edge, and tried to swing it open. But he could scarcely

move it, and in a moment she would be gone.

Suddenly he heard his own voice loud and queer it sounded:" Ethel Ethel."

Hurried steps mounted the stairs, and Mrs. Parkin s white cap

and spectacled face appeared.

"What be t matter, Mr. Burkett ?"

she asked breathlessly."

Stop her tell her."


Dearie, dearie me, he s off wanderinagin."


No, no ; I m all right tell ask Mrs. Fulton if she would

come up to see me ?"

"There, there, Mr. Burkett, don t ye excite yeself. Ye re not

fit to see any one, ye know that. Lie ye doon agin, or ye ll be

catchin yer death o cauld."

" Ask her to come, please just for a minute."

" For Heaven s sake lie doon. Ye ll be workin yeself into a

fever next. There, there, I ll ask her for ye, though I ve na

notion what t doctor udsay."

She drew down the blind and retired, closing the door quietlybehind her.

The next thing he saw was Ethel standing by his bedside.

He lay watching her without speaking. She wore a red dress


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trimmed with fur ; a gold bracelet was round her gloved wrist, and

a veil half-hid her features.

Presently he perceived that she was very white, that her mouth

was twitching, and that her eyes were full of tears.

"Alec I m so sorry you re so ill ... Are you in pain ?"

He shook his head absently. Her veil and the fur on her cloak

looked odd, he thought, in the half-light of the room." You will be better soon : the worst is over."


No,"he answered, with a dreary smile. "

I am going to


She burst into sobs.


No, no, Alec . . . You must not think that."

He stretched his arm over the coverlet towards her, and felt the

soft pressure of her gloved hand.

"Forgive me, Ethel, I m sorry. I didn t mean to pain you.

But it is so ; the doctor told me thismorning."

She sat down by the bedside, still crying, pressing her handker

chief to her eyes."

Ethel, how strange it seems. Do you know I haven t seen

you since I left co*ckermouth ?" The words came deliberately

for his mind had grown quite calm. " How the time has

flown !


Her grasp on his hand tightened, but she made no answer.

"It was very kind of you to come all this way, Ethel, to

see me. Will you stay a little and let me talk to you ? It s

more than five years since we ve talked together, you know," and

he smiled faintly." Don t cry so, Ethel, dear. I did not mean

to make you cry. There s no cause to cry, dear; you ve made

me sohappy."

"My poor, poor Alec,"she sobbed.

" You d almost forgotten the old days, perhaps," he continued


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192 A Study in Sentimentality

dreamily, talking half to himself; "for it s a long while ago now.

But to me it seems as if it had all just happened. You see I ve

been vegetating rather, here in this lonely, little place . . . Don t

go on crying, Ethel dear ... let me tell you about things a little.

There s no harm in it now, because you know I m" Oh ! don t don t say that. You ll get better. I know you


"No, Ethel, I sha n t. Something within me tells me that mycourse is done. Besides, I don t want to get better. I m so

happy . . . Stay a little with me, Ethel ... I wanted to

explain ... I was stupid, selfish, in the old days" It was I I who "

she protested through her tears.


No, you were quite right to write me that letter. I ve

thought that almost from the first . . . I m sure ofit,"

he added,

as if convincing himself definitely."

It could never be . . . it was

my fault ... I was stupid and boorish and wrapped up in myself.

I did not try to understand your nature ... I didn t understand

anything about women ... I never had a sister ... I took

for granted that you were always thinking and feeling just as I

was. I never tried to understand you, Ethel ... I was not fit

to be entrusted withyou."


Alec, Alec, it is not true. You were too good, too noble-

hearted. I felt you were far above me. Beside you I felt I


and frivolous. Your standards about everything seemed

so high-But he interrupted, unheeding her :

" You don t know, Ethel, how happy you ve made me. ... I

have thought of you every day. In the evenings, I used to sit

alone, remembering you and all the happy days we had together,

and the remembrance of them has been a great joy to me. I used

to go over themall, again and again. The day that we all went


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to Morecambe, and that walk along the seashore, when the tide

caught us, and I carried you across the water . . . the time that

we went to those ruins, and you wore the primroses I picked for

you. And I used to read over all your letters, and remember all

the things you used to say. Downstairs, under the writing-table,

there is a black, tin cash-box the key is on my bunch Mrs.

Parkin will give it you. It s where I ve kept everything that has

reminded me of you, all this time. Will you take it back with

you ? . . . You don t know how you ve helped me all these years

I wanted to tell you that . . . When I was in difficulties, I used to

wonder how you would have liked me to act . . . When I was

lonely and low-spirited, I used to tell myself that you werehappy."

He paused for breath, and his voice died slowly in the stillness of

the room. " You were quite right,"he murmured almost inaudibly,


I see it all quite clearly now."

She was bending over him, and was framing his face in her two


Say I waswrong,"

she pleaded passionately."

Say I was

wicked, wrong. I loved you, Alec ... I was promised to you. I

should have been so happy with you, dear . . . Alec, my Alec,

do not die . . . God will not let you die . . . He cannot be so

cruel . . . Come back, Alec ... I love you . . . Do you hear,

my Alec ? I love you . . . Ethel loves you . . . Before God I

love you ... I was promised to you ... I broke my word . . .

I loved you all the time, but I did not know it ... Forgive me,

my Alec . . . forgive me ... I shall love you always."

He passed his fingers over her forehead tentatively, as if he were

in darkness.


Ethel, every day, every hour, all these years, you have been

with me. And now I am going away. Kiss me just once

just once. There can be no wrong in it now."


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194 A Study in Sentimentality

She tore her veil from her face : their lips met, and her head

rested a moment, sobbing on his shoulder.

" Hush ! don t cry, Ethel dear, don t cry. You have made me

so glad. . . . And you will remember to take the box . . . And

you will think of me sometimes . . . And I shall pray God to

make you happy, and I shall wait for you, Ethel, and be with youin thought, and if you have trouble, you will know that I shall be

sorrowing with you. Isn t it so, dear ? . . . Now, good-bye,dear one good-bye. May God watch over


She had moved away. She came back again, however, and

kissed his forehead reverently. But he was not aware of her

return, for his mind had begun to wander.

She brushed past Mrs. Parkin in the passage, bidding her an

incoherent good-bye : she was instinctively impatient to escape to

the protection of familiar surroundings. Inside the house, she felt

helpless, dizzy : the melodrama of the whole scene had stunned

her senses, and pity for him was rushing through her in waves of

pulsing emotion.

As she passed the various landmarks, which she had noted on

her outward journey a group of Scotch firs, a roofless cattle-shed,

a pile of felled trees each seemed to wear an altered aspect.

With what a strange suddenness it had all happened ! Yesterdaythe groom had brought back word that he was in delirium, and

had told her of the loneliness of the house. It had seemed so sad,

his lying ill,all alone : the thought had preyed on her conscience,

till she had started to drive out there to inquire if there were any

thing she could do to help him. Now, every corner round which

the cart swung, lengthened the stretch of road that separated her

from that tragic scene in his room . . . Perhaps it was not right for

her to drive home and leave him? But she couldn t bear to stay :

it was all so dreadful. Besides, she assured herself, she could do


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no good. There was the doctor, and that old woman who nursed

him they would see to everything . . . Poor, poor Alec alone in

that grey-walled cottage, pitched at the far end of this long, bleak

valley the half-darkened room his wasted, feverish face and his

knowing that he could not live it all came back to her vividly, and

she shivered as if with cold. Death seemed hideous, awful, almost

wicked in the cruelty of its ruthlessness. And the homeward

drive loomed ahead, interminably for two hours she would have

to wait with the dreadful, flaring remembrance of it all two

hours for the horse was tired, and it was thirteen miles, a man bythe roadside had told her. . . .

He was noble-hearted, saint-like . . . Her pity for him welled uponce more, and she convinced herself that she could have loved

him, worshipped him, been worthy of him as a husband and nowhe lay dying. He had revealed his whole nature to her, it seemed.

No one had ever understood, as she did now, what a fine character

he was inreality. Her cheeks grew hot with indignation and

shame, as she remembered how she had heard people laugh at him

behind his back, refer to him mockingly as the love-sick curate.

And all this while for five whole years he had gone on caring

for her thinking of her each day, reading her letters, recalling

the things she used to say yes, those were his very words.

Before, she had never suspected that it was in his nature to

take it so horribly tragically ; yet, somehow, directly he had

fixed his eyes on her in that excited way, she had half-guessed

it. ...The horse s trot slackened to a walk, and the wheels crunched

over a bed of newly-strewn stones . . . She was considering how

much of what had happened she could relate to Jim. Oh ! the

awfulness of his knowing beforehand like that ! She had kissed

him : she had told him that she cared for him : she hadn t


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196 A Study in Sentimentality

been able to help doing that. There was no harm in it ;

she had made him happier he had said so himself . . . But

Jim wouldn t understand : he would be angry with her for

having gone, perhaps. He wouldn t see that she couldn t have

done anything else. No, she couldn t bear to tell him : besides,

it seemed somehow like treachery to Alec . . . Oh ! it must be

awful to know beforehand like that ! . . . The doctor should never

have told him. It was horrible, cruel ... In the past how she

had been to blame she saw that now : thoughtless, selfish, alto

gether beneath him.

It was like a chapter in a novel. His loving her silently all

these years, and telling her about it on his deathbed. At the

thought of it she thrilled with subtle pride : it illuminated the

whole ordinariness of her life. The next moment the train of

her own thoughts shamed her. Poor, poor Alec. . . . And to

reinforce her pity, she recalled the tragic setting of the scene.

That woman his landlady could she have heard anything, she

wondered with a twinge of dread ? No, the door was shut, and

his voice had been very low.

The horse turned on to the main road, and pricking his ears,

quickened his pace.

She would remember him always. Every day, she would think

of him, as he had asked her to do she would never forget to do

that. And, if she were in trouble, ordifficulty, she would turn

her thoughts towards him, just as he had told her he used to do.

She would try to become better more religious for his sake.

She would read her Bible each morning, as she knew had been his

habit. These little things were all she could do now. Herattitude in the future she would make worthy of his in the

past ... He would become the secret guiding-star of her life : it

would be her hidden chapter of romance. . . .


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The box that box which he had asked her to take. She had

promised, and she had forgotten it. How could she get it ? It

was too late to turn back now. Jim would be waiting for her.

She would only just be in time for dinner as it was . . . Howcould she get it ? If she wrote to his landlady, and asked her to

send it it was under the writing-table in the sitting-room he

had said . . . She must get it, somehow. . . .

It was dark before she reached home. Jim was angry with her

for being late, and for having driven all the way without a servant.

She paid no heed to his upbraiding ; but told him shortly that

Alec was still in great danger. He muttered some perfunctory

expression of regret, and went off to the stables to order a bran-

mash for the horse. His insensibility to the importance of the

tragedy she had been witnessing, exasperated her : she felt bitterly

mortified that he could not divine all that she had been suffering.*****The last of the winter months went, and life in the valley swept

its sluggish course onwards. The bleak, spring winds rollicked,

hooting from hill to hill. The cattle waited for evening, huddled

under the walls of untrimmed stone;and before the fireside, in

every farmhouse, new-born lambs lay helplessly bleating. On

Sundays the men would loaf in churlish groups about the church

door, jerk curt greetings at one another, and ask for news of

Parson Burkett. It was a curate from co*ckermouth who took

the services in his stead one of the new-fangled sort ; a young

gentleman from London way, who mouthed his words like agirl,

carried company manners, and had a sight of strange clerical


Alec was slowly recovering. The fever had altogether left

him : a straw-coloured beard now covered his chin, and his cheeks

were grown hollow and peaky-looking. But by the hay-harvest,


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the doctor reckoned, he would be as strong as ever again so it was

commonly reported.

Mrs. Parkin declared that the illness had done him a world o

good. "It s rested his mind like, and kept him from frettin .

He was alus ower given to studyin on his own thoughts, till he got

dazed like and took na notice o things. Annoo,"

she would

conclude, "yeshould jest see him, smilin as free as a child."

So, day after day, floated vaguely by, and to Alec the calm of

their unbroken regularity was delicious. He was content to lie

still for hours, thinking of nothing, remembering nothing, tasting

the torpor of dreamy contemplation ; watching through the

window the slow drifting of the shadows ; listening to the cackling

of geese, and the plaintive bleating of sheep. . . .

By-and-bye, with returning strength, his senses quickened, and

grew sensitive to every passing impression. To eat with elaborate

deliberation his invalid meals ; to watch the myriad specks of gold

dancing across a bar of sunlight these were sources of keen,

exciting delight. But in the foreground of his mind, transfiguring

with its glamour every trivial thought, flashed the memory of Ethel s

visit. He lived through the whole scene again and again, picturing

her veiled figure as it had stood by the bedside, wrapped in the red,

fur cloak ; and her protesting words, her passionate tears, seemed

to form a mystic, indissoluble bond between them, that brightenedall the future with rainbow colours.

God had given him back to her. Whether circ*mstances

brought them together frequently, or whether they were forced to

live their lives almost wholly apart, would, he told himself, matter

but little. Their spiritual communion would remain unbroken.

Indeed, the prospect of such separations, proving, as it did to him,the sureness of the bond between them, almost elated him. There

would be unquestioning trust between them, and, though the


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world had separated them, the best that was in him belonged to

her. When at length they met, there would be no need for

insistance on common points of feeling, for repeated handling of

past threads, as was customary with ordinary friendships. Since

each could read the other s heart, that sure intuition born of

chastened, spiritual love would be theirs. If trouble came to her,

he would be there to sacrifice all at a moment s bidding, after the

fashion of the knights of old. Because she knew him, she would

have faith in him. To do her service would be his greatest


At first the immobile, isolated hours of his convalescence made

all these things appear simple and inevitable, like the events of a

great dream. As time went on, however, he grew to chafe

against his long confinement, to weary of his weakness, and of the

familiar sight of every object in the room ; and- in the mornings,when Mrs. Parkin brought him his breakfast, he found himself

longing for a letter from her some brief word of joy that he was

recovering. He yearned for some material object, the touch of

which would recall her to him, as if a particle of her personality

had impregnated the atoms.

Sometimes, he would force himself into believing that she would

appear again, drive out to learn the progress of his recovery . . .

After luncheon she would leave home . . . about half-past one,

probably . . . soon after three, he would see her . . . Now,she was nearing the cross-roads . . . now climbing the hill past

Longrigg s farm . . . she would have to walk the horse there . . .

now, crossing the old bridge. He would lie watching the clock;

and when the suspense grew intolerable, to cheat it, he would bury

his head in the pillow to count up to a thousand, before glancing at

the hands again. So would slip by the hour of her arrival; still,

he would struggle to delude himself with all manner of excuses


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200 A Study in Sentimentality

for her she had been delayed she had missed the turning, and

had been compelled to retrace her steps. And, when at length

the twilight had come, he would start to assure himself that

it was to be to-morrow, and sink into a fitful dozing, recounting

waking dreams of her, subtly intoxicating. . . .*****In April came a foretaste of summer, and, for an hour or two

every day, he was able to hobble downstairs. He perceived the

box at once, lying in its accustomed place, and concluded that on

learning that he was out of danger, she had sent it back to him.

The sight of it cheered him with indefinable hope : it seemed to

signify a fresh token of her faith in him: it had travelled with her

back to co*ckermouth on that wonderful day which had broughtthem together ;

and now, in his eyes, it was invested with a new

preciousness. He unlocked it, and, somehow, to discover that its

contents had not been disturbed, was a keen disappointment. He

longed for proof that she had been curious to look into it, that she

had thus been able to realise how he had prized every tiny object

that had been consecrated for him by her. Then it flashed across

him that she herself might have brought the box back, and

fearing to disturb him, had gone home again without asking to

see him. All that evening he brooded over this supposition ; yet

shrank from putting any question to Mrs. Parkin. But the

following morning, a sudden impulse overcame his repugnance ;

and the next moment he had learned the truth. Untouched,

unmoved, the box had remained all the while she had never

taken it she had forgotten it. And depression swept throughhim

;for it seemed that his ideal had tottered.

His prolonged isolation and his physical lassitude had quickenedhis emotions to an abnormal sensibility, and had led him to a

constant fingering, as it were, of his successive sentimental phases.


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And these, since they constituted his sole diversion, he had un

consciously come to regard as of supreme importance. The cum

bersome, complex details of life in the outside world had assumed

the simplification of an indistinct background : in his vision of

her figure he had perceived no perspective.

But now the grain of doubt was sown : it germinated in

sidiously ;and soon, the whole complexion of his attitude

towards her was transformed. All at once he saw a whole net

work of unforeseen obstacles, besetting each detail of the prospect

he had been planning. Swarming uncertainty fastened on him at

every turn;

till at last, goaded to desperation, he stripped the gilding

from the accumulated fabric of his idealised future.

And then his passion for her flamed up ardent, unreasoning,

human. After all, he loved as other men loved that was the

truth : the rest was mere calfish meandering. Stubbornly he

vindicated to himself his right to love her . . . He was a man

a creature of flesh and blood, and every fibre within him was

crying out for her for the sight of her face ;the sound of her

voice ;the clasp of her hand. Body and soul he loved her ; body

and soul he yearned for her . . . She had come back to him

she was his again with passionate tears she had told him that she

loved him. To fight for her, he was ready to abandon all else.

At the world s laws he jibed bitterly ; before God they were man

and wife.

The knowledge that it lay in his power to make her his for life,

to bind her to him irrevocably, brought him intoxicating relief.

Henceforward he would live on, but for that end. Existence

without her would be dreary, unbearable. He would resign his

living and leave the church. Together they would go away,

abroad : he would find some work to do in the great cities of

Australia . . . She was another man s wife but the sin would

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2O2 A Study in Sentimentality

be his his, not hers God would so judge it ;and for her sake he

would suffer the punishment. Besides, he told himself exultantly,

the sin was it not already committed ?" Whosoever looketh on a

woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already

in his heart."

He would go to her, say to her simply that he was come for

her. It should be done openly, honestly in the full light of day.

New strength and deep-rooted confidence glowed within him.

The wretched vacillation of his former self was put away like an

old garment. Once more he sent her words of love soundingin his ears the words that had made them man and wife before

God. And on, the train of his thoughts whirled : visions

of a hundred scenes flitted before his eyes he and she together as

man and wife, in a new home across the seas, where the past

was all forgotten, and the present was redolent of the sure joy of

perfect love. . . .*****He was growing steadily stronger. Pacing the floor of his

room, or the gravel-path before the house, when the sun was

shining, each day he would methodically measure the progress of

his strength. He hinted of a long sea voyage to the doctor : the

man declared that it would be madness to start before ten days had

elapsed. Ten days the stretch of time seemed absurd, intolerable.

But a quantity of small matters relating to the parish remained to

be set in order : he had determined to leave no confusion behind

him. So he mapped out a daily task for himself: thus he could

already begin to work for her : thus each day s accomplishment

would bring him doubly nearer to her. The curate, who had

been taking his duty, came once or twice at his request to help him ;

for he was jealously nursing his small stock of strength. He broke

the news of his approaching departure to Mrs. Parkin, and asked her


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By Hubert Crackanthorpe 203

to accept the greater portion of his furniture, as an inadequate token

of his gratitude towards her for all she had done for him. The

good creature wept copiously, pestered him with questions

concerning his destination, and begged him to give her news of

him in the future. Next he sent for a dealer from co*ckermouth

to buy the remainder, and disputed with him the price of each

object tenaciously.

One afternoon his former rector appeared, and with tremulous

cordiality wished him God-speed, assuming that the sea voyagewas the result of doctor s advice. And it was when the old man

was gone, and he was alone again, that, for the first time, with a

spasm of pain, he caught a glimpse of the deception he was prac

tising. But some irresistible force within him urged him forward-

he was powerless to look back was impossible now there was

more yet to be done he must go on there was no time to stop

to think. So to deaden the rising conscience-pangs, he fiercely

reminded himself that now, but five days more separated her from

him. He sat down to write to his bishop and resign his living,

struggling with ambiguous, formal phrases, impetuously attributing

to his physical weakness his inability to frame them.

The letter at length finished, instinctively dreading fresh

gnawings of uneasiness, he forced himself feverishly into thinking

of plans for the future, busying his mind with, time-tables, searching

for particulars of steamers, turning over the leaves of his bank

book. All the money which his father had left to him had

remained untouched : for three years they could live comfortably on

the capital ; meanwhile he would have found some work.

At last, when, with the growing twilight, the hills outside were

hurriedly darkening, he sank back wearily in his chair. And all

at once he perceived with dismay that nothing remained for him

to do, nothing with which he could occupy his mind. For the


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204 A Study in Sentimentality

moment he was alone with himself, and looking backwards,

realisation of the eager facility with which he had successively

severed each link, and the rapidity with which he had set himself

drifting towards a future, impenetrable,with mysterious uncertainty,

stole over him. He had done it all, he told himself, deliberately,

unaided; bewildered, he tried to bring himself face to face with

his former self, to survey himself as he had been before the fever-

that afternoon when he had gone up to Beda Cottages plodding

indifferently through life in the joyless, walled-in valley, which, he

now understood, had in a measure reflected the spirit of his ownlistless broodings. Scared remorse seized him. The prospect of

departure, now that it was close at hand, frightened him; left him

aching as with the burden of dead weight, so that, for a while, he

remained inert, dully acquiescing in his accumulating disquietude.

Then, in desperation, he invoked her figure, imagining a dozen

incoherent versions of the coming scene the tense words of

greeting, his passionate pleading, her impulsive yielding, and the

acknowledgment of her trust in him. . . .

By-and-bye, Mrs. Parkin brought him his dinner. He chatted

to her with apparent unconcern, jested regarding his appetite ;for

a curious calm, the lucidity evoked by suppressed elation, pervaded


But through the night he tossed restlessly, waking in the dark

ness to find himself throbbing with triumphant exhilaration;each

time striking matches to examine the face of his watch, and

beginning afresh to calculate the hours that separated him from the

moment that was to bind them together the irrevocable starting

towards the future years.*****She stood in the bow-window of her drawing-room, arranging

some cut flowers in slender pink and blue vases, striped with enamel


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By Hubert Crackanthorpe 205

of imitation gold. Behind her, the room, uncomfortably orna

mental, repeated the three notes of colour gilt paper shavings

filling the grate ; gilt-legged chairs and tables; stiff, shiny, pink

chintzes encasing the furniture ;on the wall a blue-patterned

paper, all speckled with stars of gold.

Outside, the little lawn, bathed in the fresh morning sunlight,

glowed a luscious green, and the trim flower-beds swelled with

heightened colours. A white fox-terrier came waddling along the

garden path : she lifted the animal inside the window, stroking his

sleek sides with an effusive demonstration of affection. Would

Jim remember to be home in good time, she was idly wondering ;

she had forgotten to remind him before he went to his office, that

to-night she was to sing at a local concert.

Suddenly, she caught sight of a man s figure crossing the lawn.

For an instant she thought it was an old clerk, whom Jim some

times employed to carry messages. Then she saw that it was

Alec coming straight towards her. Her first impulse was to

escape from him ;but noticing that his gaze was fixed on the

ground, she retreated behind an angle of the window, and stood

watching him . . . Poor Alec ! He was going away on a sea-

voyage for his health, so Jim had heard it said in the town;and

she formed a hasty resolve to be very kind to the poor fellow.

Yet her vanity felt a prick of pique, as she noticed that his gait

was grown more gaunt, more ungainly than ever;and she resented

that his haggard face, his stubbly beard, which, when he lay ill,

had signified tense tragedy, should now seem simply uncouth.

Still, she awaited his appearance excitedly ; anticipating a renewed

proof of his touching, dog-like devotion to her, and with a fresh

thrill of unconscious gratitude to him for having supplied that

scene to which she could look back with secret, sentimental pride.

The maid let him into the room. As he advanced towards


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206 A Study in Sentimentality

her, she saw him brush his forehead with his hand impatiently,

as if to rid his brain of an importunate thought. He took her

outstretched hand : the forced cheeriness of her phrase of

greeting died away, as she felt his gaze searching her face.

" Let us sit down,"he said abruptly.

"I m all right again, now,"he began with a brisk, level laugh ;

and it occurred to her that perhaps the illness had affected his mind.

" I m so glad ofthat,"

she stammered in reply ;

" so very glad.

. . . And you re going away, aren t you, for a long sea voyage ?

That will do you ever so much goodBut before she had finished speaking, he was kneeling on the

carpet before her, pouring out incoherent phrases. Bewildered,

she gazed at him, only noticing the clumsy breadth of his shoulders.

"Listen to me, Ethel, listen,"he was saying. "Everything

is ready I ve given it all up my living the Church. I

can t bear it any longer life without you, I mean . . . You are

everything to me I only want you I care for nothing else

now. I am going away to Australia. You will come with me,Ethel you said you loved me . . . We love one another come

with me let us start life afresh. I can t go on living without

you ... I thought it would be easy for you to come ; I see nowtha: perhaps it s difficult. You have your home : I see that . . .

But have trust in me I will make it up to you. Together we

will start afresh make a new home a new life. I will give you

every moment ;I will be your slave . . . Listen to me, Ethel ; let

us go away. Everything is ready I ve got money I ve arranged

everything. We can go up to London to-morrow. The steamer

starts on Thursday."

The sound of his voice ceased. She was staring at the door,

filled with dread lest it should open, and the maid should see him

kneeling on the carpet." Don


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By Hubert Crackanthorpe 207" Don

t,"she exclaimed, grasping his coat.

" Get up, quick."

He rose, awkwardly she thought, and stood before her.

" We were so happy together once, dear do you remember-

in the first days, when you promised yourself to me ? And now I

know that in your heart you still care for me. You said so. Say

you will come say you will trust me you will start to-morrow.

If you can t come so soon I will wait, wait till you cancome,"

he added, and she felt the trembling touch of his hands on hers,

and his breath beating on her face.

" Dont, please,"

and she pushed back his hands. "Some one

might see."

" What does it matter, my darling ? We are going to belong

to one another for always. I am going to wait for you, darling

to be your slave to give up every moment of my life to you . . .

It s the thought of you that s made me live, dear . . . You

brought me back to life, that day you came . . . I ve thought of

nothing but you since. I ve been arranging it all

" It s impossible," she interrupted."

No, dear, it s not impossible," he pleaded.

"You ve resigned your living left the Church?" she asked


Yes, everything,"he answered proudly.

" And all because you cared so for me ?"


I can t begin to live again without you. I would suffer

eternal punishment gladly to win you . . . You will trust yourself

to me darling ; say you will trust me."

"Of course, Alec, I trust you. But you ve no right to

" Oh ! because you re married, and it s a sin, and I m a

clergyman. But I m a man first. And for you I ve given it

all up everything. You don t understand my love foryou."


Yes, yes, Ido,"

she answered quickly, alarmed by the earnest


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George Meredith

By Morton Fullerton

DEEPESTand keenest of our time who pace

The variant by-paths of the uncertain heart,

In undiscerned mysterious ways apart,

Thou huntest on the Assyrian monster s trace :

That sweeping-pinioned Thing with human face,

Poor Man, with wings hoof-weighted lest they start

To try the breeze above this human mart,

In heights pre-occupied of a god-like race.

Among the stammering sophists of the age

Thy words are absolute, thy vision true;

No hand but thine is found to fit the gageThe Titan, Shakespeare, to a whole world threw.

Till thou hadst boldly to his challenge sprung,

No rival had he in our English tongue.

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A Sunset

By William Hyde

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By Leila Macdonald



lived alone in the white cottage at the far end of

the village street.

It was a long narrow street of tall houses, stretching each side

of the white shining road, for two hundred yards or more. Astreet that was cool and shadeful even in the shadeless summer

days, when the sun burned most hotly, when the broad roads

dazzled between their avenues of plane-tree and poplar, and the

mountains disappeared from the horizon in the blue haze of


From her little garden Jeanne-Marie liked to look at the

mountains each morning, and, when for two or three days follow

ing they were not to be seen, she would shake her head reproach

fully, as at the failing of old friends.

" My boys, Jeanne-Marie is only thirty-seven,"Bourdet the

innkeeper said to his companions, as they sat, one May afternoon,

smoking under the chestnut-trees in front of the cafe. They all

looked up as he spoke, and watched Jeanne-Marie, as she walked

slowly past them to her cottage." Bourdet has been paying court,"

said Leguillon, the fat, red-


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2i 6 Jeanne-Marie

faced butcher, with a chuckle, as he puffed at his long pipe." You see, he is anxious we should think her of an age suitable,

before he tells us the betrothals arearranged."

" For my part I should give many congratulations,"said the

village postman and tobacconist, gruffly. "Jeanne-Marie is worth

any of our girls of the village, with their bright dresses andsilly


Bourdet laughed." You shall come to the wedding, my

friends,"he said, with a wink and a nod of the head to the

retreating figure ;

" and since our friend Minaud there finds the

girls so distasteful, he shall wait till our babies are old enough, and

be betrothed to one of them."

The postmaster laughed with the rest. "Butseriously,"


said," Bourdet will pardon me if I tell him our Jeanne-Marie is a

good deal past the thirties."

Laurent, the good-looking young farmer, who stood leaning

against the tree round which their chairs were gathered, answered

him gravely. "Wait, beau-pere^ till you see her on Sunday

coming from Mass on M. Bourdet s arm ; the cap that hides the

grey knot of hair at the back of the head is neat and bright oh !

so bright pink or blue for choice, and if M. Bourdet chances

to compliment the colour of the stockings he is gay, you know,

always the yellow face turns rosy and all the wrinklesgo."

And laughing maliciously at Bourdet, the young fellow turned

away homewards.

Bourdet looked grave." Tis your son-in-law that speaks like

that, Minaud," he said, "otherwise I would say that in my daythe young fellows found it better to amuse themselves with the

young girls than to mock at the old ones."

" You are right, my friend,"said Minaud. " Tis the regiment

that taught Laurent this, and many other things. But it is a


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By Leila Macdonald 2 1 7

good boy, though with a sharp tongue. To these young ones it

seems all foolishness to be an oldgirl."

And the others nodded agreement.So they sat, chatting, and drawing at their long pipes, while the

afternoon sun gleamed on the little gardens and on the closed

green shutters of the houses;and the slow, large oxen lumbered

through the village street, their yoked heads pressed well down,and their tails flicking unceasingly at the swarm of flies.

Jeanne-Marie stood in her garden, blinking thoughtfully at the

flowers, while she shaded her eyes with her hand. On her bare

head the sparse brown hair was parted severely and neatly to each

side, and the deep southern eyes looked steadily out of the tanned

and wrinkled face. Her light cotton bodice fell away from the

thin lines of her neck and shoulders, and her sabots clicked harshly

as she moved about the garden.

"At least the good God has given me a fine crab-apple bloom

thisyear," Jeanne-Marie said, as she looked at the masses of rich

blossom. On the wall the monthly roses were flowering thickly,

and the Guelder roses bent their heads under the weight cf their

heavy bunches. " In six days I shall have the peonies, and the

white rose-bush in the corner is coming soon,"said Jeanne-Marie



It was four and a half years ago that Jeanne-Marie had come to

the white cottage next to the mill, with the communal school

opposite. Till that autumn day, when a pair of stout oxen had

brought her goods to the door, she had lived with her brother, who

was metayer to M. Francois, the owner of the big villa a quarter


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2i 8 Jeanne-Marie

of a mile beyond the village. Her father had been metayer ; and

when he died, his son Firman a fine-looking young man, not

long home from his service had taken his place. So the changeat the metalrie had very little affected Jeanne-Marie.

But she missed her father sorely every day at mid-day, when she

remembered that there was one less to cook for;

that the tall,

straight old figure would not come in at the door, and that the

black pudding might remain uncooked for all Firman s noticing ;

and Jeanne-Marie would put the bouillon by the fire, and sit down

and cry softly to herself.

They were very kind to her at the villa, and at night, when

Firman was at the cafe, she would take the stockings and the

linen and darn them in the kitchen, while she listened to the

servants talk, and suppressed her patois as much as possible, for

they were from the North, and would not understand.

Two years after her father s death, Jeanne-Marie began to

notice that Firman went no more to the cafe in the evening,and had always his shirt clean, and his best black smocked

cape for the market in the town on Mondays, and for Mass on


It astonishesme,"

she had said, when she was helping

M. Francois cook that day the chateau-folk had come to

dejeuner^ unexpectedly for Jeanne-Marie s cooking was very

good indeed "

because, you understand, that is not his way at

all. Now, if it were Paul Puyoo or the young Andre, it would

be quite ordinary ;but with Firman, I doubt with him it is a


And Anna had nodded her black head sagely over the omelette

aux fines herbes as she answered : "Jeanne-Marie, Firman wishes

to marry ; Jeanne-Marie, for my own part, I say it s that little

fat blue-eyed Suzanne from the metairie on the hill."


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By Leila Macdonald 219


Suzanne looked very pretty the day she came home to Mr.

Francois metairie^ leaning on her husband s arm ;but Jeanne-Marie

was not there to see;she was sitting in the large chair in the

kitchen of the white cottage, and she was sobbing with her head

in her hands. "And indeed the blessed Virgin herself must have

thought me crazy, to see me sitting sobbing there, with the house

in confusion, and not a thing to cook with in the kitchen," she

said, shamefacedly, to Marthe Legrand from the mill, when she

came in, later, to help her." You should have remained," Marthe

answered, nodding at her pityingly." You should have remained,

Jeanne-Marie ; the old house is the old house, and the good Godnever meant the wedding of the young ones to drive away the old

ones from the door."

Jeanne-Marie drew in her breath at the words "old ones."

"But the book says I am only thirty-four!" she told herself;

and that night she looked in the old Mass-book, to be sure if it

could be true ;and there was the date set down very clearly, in

the handwriting of Dubois, her father s oldest friend ;for Jeanne-

Marie s father himself could neither read nor write he was, as he

said with pride, of the old school,"

that kissed our sweethearts,

and found that better than writing them long scribbles on white

paper, as the young ones do now; and thought a chat with a

friend on Sundays and holidays worth more than sitting cramped

up, reading the murders and the adulteries in the newspapers."

So it was Dubois who wrote down the children s births in the old

Mass book. Yes, there they were. Catherine first of all; poor

Catherine, who was so bright and pretty, and died that rainyThe Yellow Boole Vol. III. N winter

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220 Jeanne-Marie

winter when she was just twelve years old. Then "Jeanne-Mane,,

nee le 28 Novembre 1854, a minuit," and added, in the same hand

writing, "On nous raconte qu a cette heure-la nous etions en

train de gagner une grande bataille en Russie ! Que 9a lui porte

bonheur !


Eight years later; "Jacques Firman, ne le 12

Fevrier a midi." It all came back to Jeanne-Marie as she read ;

that scene of his birth, when she was just eight years old. She

was sitting alone in the kitchen, crying, for they had told her her

mother was very ill,and had been ill all the night, and just as the

big clock was striking twelve she heard the voice of the neighbourwho had spent the night there, calling to her ; "Jeanne-Marie,

viens vite, ta mere veut te voir";and she had gone, timid and

hesitating, into the darkened room. The first thing she noticed

was the large fire blazing on the open hearth she had never

known her father and mother have a fire before and she wondered1

much whether it was being too cold that had made her motherill,,

as it had little Catherine. She looked towards the bed and saw

her mother lying there, her eyes closed, and very pale so pale

that Jeanne-Marie was frightened and ran towards her father ; but

he was smiling where he stood by the bed, and the child was

reassured. She saw him stoop and kiss his wife on the forehead,

and call her his "bonne petite femme," and taking Jeanne-Marie

by the hand he showed her the sage-femme the sage-femme who

had come the night before to make her mother well sitting near

the fire with a white bundle in her arms, and thanked the goodGod aloud that he had sent him a fine boy at last. Old Dubois

had come in gently, his beret in his hand, as Jeanne-Marie s father

was speaking, and turning to the bed had reiterated emphatically," Tu as bien fait, chere dame, tu as bien fait."

Jeanne-Marie sat silently going over it all in her mind. " Te,"

she murmured, "how quickly they all go ; the father, the mother,old

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By Leila Macdonald 221

old Dubois, even Jeanne the vohine^ is gone. I alone am left,

and the good God knows if there will be any to cry for me when

my turn comes togo."

She shut the old Mass-book, and put it

carefully back on the shelf, and she went to the old looking-glass

and the tanned wrinkled face met its reflection very calmly and


I think it was the hard work in the fields when I


she said; "certainlyMarthe was right. It is the

face of an old woman, a face more worn than hers, though she is

beyond forty and has borne so many children."


Firman had urged his sister to stay on at the metairie after his

marriage." You should not go, it is not natural,"

he said one

evening a few weeks before his wedding, while they were piling

the small wood in the shed. " The old house will not be the old

house without you. Suzanne wishes it also. Parbleu ! Is it the

custom for the fathers to turn their sons out, when they marry ?

Then, why should I let the old sister go, now my time for

marrying has come ? Suzanne is a good girl and pretty ;and has

never even looked at any young fellow in the village for I, as you

know, am particular, and I like not the manners in some villages,

where a girls modesty is counted nothing but blood is worth the

most, ma foi^as the old father used to say ;

and badly must he

think of me to see the old sister making room even for the little


But Jeanne-Marie shook her head. "

I cannot well explain it,

Firman," she said."

It s not that your Suzanne comes unwelcome

to me no, the good God knows it s not that but it would be


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222 Jeanne-Marie

so strange. I should see the old mother s shadow, at the table

where you sat, and in the bed where you lay. I might get foolish,

and angry, Firman. So let me go, and, when the little ones come,

I shall be their grandmother, and Suzanne will forgive me."

That was four and a half years ago, and it was a very lonely

four and a half years at the white cottage. Even the cooking,when it was for herself alone, became uninteresting, and the zest

went out of it. Jeanne-Marie, in her loneliness, hungered for the

animal life that had unconsciously formed a great part of her

existence at the niftmnc. Every springtime she would sit, some

times for hours, in her garden, watching the flocks of callow geese,

as they wandered along the road in front of the mill, pecking at

the ground as they went, and uttering all the time their little

plaintive cries, that soothed her with its echo of the old home.

When the boys in their berets, with their long poles and their loud

cries of "

gua, gua,"drove the cows and the oxen home from the

fields at sunset, Jeanne-Marie would come out of her cottage, and

watch the patient, sleek beasts, as they dawdled along. And she

would think longingly of the evenings at the mctalrie, when she

never missed going out to see the oxen, as they lay contentedly on

their prickly bedding, moving their heavy jaws slowly up and

down, too lazy even to look up as she entered.

Firman loved his oxen, for they were well trained and strong,

and did good work ;but Jeanne-Marie would have laughed in

those days, had she been told she loved the animals of the farm." I remember," she said to Marthe of the mill one day,

" how I

said to the old father years ago : When the children of M.Francois came to the metairie, it is


Oh, Jeanne-Marie, you will

not kill that pretty little grey hen with the featheredlegs,"

and "Oh !

Jeanne-Marie, you must not drown so many kittens this time"


but I say to them always :

" My children, the rich have their toys


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By Leila Macdonald 223

and have the time and money to make toys of their animals ;but

to us poor folk they are the useful creatures God has given us for

food and work, and they are notplaythings."


So I said then ;but

now, ah, now Marthe, it is different. Do you remember howold Dubois for ever quarrelled with young Baptiste, but when theywrote from the regiment to tell him the boy was dead of fever,

during the great manoeuvres, do you remember how the old father

mourned, and lay on his bed for a whole day, fasting ? So it

always is, Marthe. The cow butts the calf with her horns, but

when the calf is gone, the mother moans for it all theday."

Firman was too busy with his farm and his new family ties to

come much to see his sister, or to notice how rarely she came

up to the metairle now. For Suzanne had never forgiven, and

that was why Jeanne-Marie walked up so seldom to M. Francois s


Did not all the village say that it was Suzanne s doing that

Firman s sister left the farm on his marriage ? That Suzanne s

jealousy had driven Jeanne-Marie away ? And when this came

to the ears of Firman s wife, and the old folks shook their heads in

her presence over the strange doings of young couples now-a-

days, the relief that the dreaded division of supremacy with her

husband s sister was spared her, was lost in anger against Jeanne-

Marie, as the cause of this village scandal. The jealousy that she

had always felt for the " cheresoeur,"

whom Firman loved and

respected, leapt up within her. "

People say he loves his sister,

and that it is I who part them ; they shall see yes, they shall


And bit by bit, with all a woman s subtle diplomacy, she drew

her husband away from his sister s affection, until in a year or two

their close intimacy had weakened to a gradually slackening



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224 Jeanne-Marie

At night-time, when Firman s passionate southern nature lay

under the thrall of his wife s beauty, she would whisper to him in

her soft patois^" Love me well, my husband, for I have only you

to love ; others are jealous of my happiness, and even Jeanne-

Marie is envious of your wife, and of the babe that is to come."

And the hot Spanish blood, that his mother had given him,

would leap to Firman s face as he took her in his arms, and swore

that all he loved, loved her; and those who angered her, he cared

not for.

In the first year of their marriage, when Jeanne-Marie came

almost every day, Suzanne would show her with pride all the

changes and alterations in the old house. " See here, my sister,"

she said to her one day, only six months after the wedding, when

she was taking her over the house,"

this room that was yours, we

have dismantled for the time;

did it not seem a pity to keep an

unused room all furnished, for the sun to tarnish, and the damp to

spoil ?" And Jeanne-Marie, as she looked round on the bare

walls and the empty corners of the little room, where she and

Catherine had slept together in the old days, answered quietly,

"Quite true, Suzanne, quite true ;it would be a great pity."

That night when she and Marthe sat together in the kitchen

she told her of the incident.

"But, Jeanne-Marie," Marthe interrupted eagerly," how was

it you had left your furniture there, since it was yours ?"

"How was it? But because little Catherine had slept in the

old bed, and sat in the old chairs, and how could I take them

away from the room ?"

" Better that than let Suzanne break them up forfirewood,"

Marthe replied shortly.

When little Henri was born, a year after the marriage, Suzanne

would not let Jeanne-Marie be at the metairie^ and she sent


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By Leila Macdonald 225

Firman down beforehand to tell her that she feared the excitement

of her presence. Jeanne-Marie knew she was disliked and dis

trusted; but this blow fell very heavily : though she raised her

head proudly and looked her brother full in the face when he

stammered out his wife s wishes." For the sake of our name, and what they will say in the

village, I am sorry forthis,"

she said;and Firman went without a


But when he was gone Jeanne-Marie s pride broke down, and

in the darkness of the evening she gathered her shawl round her,

and crept up to the metairle door.

Hour after hour she sat there, not heeding the cold or the damp,her head buried in her hands, her body rocked backwards and

forwards. "

I pray for Firman schild,"

she muttered without

ceasing. "O dear Virgin! O blessed Virgin! I pray for mybrother s child." And when at length an infant s feeble cry pierced

through the darkness, Jeanne-Marie rose and tottered home, saying

to herself contentedly, "The good God himself tells me that all is


Perhaps the pangs of maternity quickened the capabilities for

compassion in Suzanne s peasant mind. She sent for Jeanne-Marie two days later, and watched her with silent wonder, but

without a sneer, as she knelt weeping and trembling before the

small new bundle of humanity.From that day little Henri was the idol of Jeanne-Marie s

heart. All the sane instincts of wifehood and motherhood, shut

up irrevocably within the prison of her maiden life, found vent in

her devotion to her brother s child. The natural impulses, so

long denied freedom, of whose existence and force she was not

even aware, avenged their long suppression in this worship of

Firman s boy.


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226 Jeanne-Marie

To watch the growth of the childish being, the unveiling of

his physical comeliness, and the gradual awakening of his percep

tions, became the interest and fascination of her life. Every

morning at eleven o clock, when the cottage showed within the

open door all white and shining after her energetic scrubbings, she

would put on a clean bodice, and a fresh pink handkerchief for

the little coil of hair at the back of her head, and sit ready and

impatient, knitting away the time, till one o clock struck, and she

could start for the farm.

She would always arrive at the same hour, when the metairie

dinner was finished, and Suzanne s fretful complaints: "Jeanne-

Marie, you are so proud, you will not come for the dinner or stay

for thesupper,"

met only a smile and a deprecating shake of the


On her arrival, if Suzanne were in a good temper, she would

surrender Henri to her, and Jeanne-Marie s hour of heaven

reached her. If it were cold, she would sit in the kitchen,

crooning snatches of old tunes, or chattering soft nothings in

patois to the sleeping child. If fine, she would wander round the

garden with him in her arms, sometimes as far as the road, where

a chance passer s exclamation of "

Oh, le beau bebe !

" would

flush her face with pleasure.

If Suzanne s temper chanced to be ruffled, if Firman had dis

pleased her, or if the fitful jealousy that sprang up at times againsther belle-soeur, happened to be roused, she would insist that little

Henri was tired, and must not be moved ; and Jeanne-Marie would

sit for hours sadly watching the cot, in which the child lay, not

daring to touch him or comfort him, even when he moaned and

moved his armsrestlessly in his sleep.

So her life went on till Henri was about a year old, whenSuzanne s gradually increasing exasperation reached an ungovern


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By Leila Macdonald 227

able pitch. To her jealous imagination it had seemed for some

time that the boy clung more to her sister than to her, and one

day things reached a climax.

Jeanne-Marie had arrived with a toy bought for three sous from

a travelling pedlar, and the child had screamed, and cried, because

his mother, alleging that he was tired, refused to allow Jeanne-Marie to take him or show him the toy. The boy screamed

louder and louder, and Jeanne-Marie sat, silent and troubled, in her

corner. Even Firman, who was yoking his oxen in the yard,

came in hurriedly, hearing the noise, and finding nothing wrong,

pleaded with his wife. "Mais, voyons, Suzanne," he began,


if le petit wants to see his toy, la tante may show

it him, n est ce pas ?" And Suzanne, unable to bear it any

longer, almost threw her child into Jeanne-Marie s lap, bursting

out," Take him, then, and draw my baby s love from me, as you

please. I want no child who hates his mother." And sobbing

loudly, she rushed out. Firman followed her, his handsome face

puckered with perplexity, and Jeanne-Marie and the baby were

left alone. She bent low down over the deep Spanish eyes that

were so like her own, and, while her tears dropped on his face,

she held him to her feverishly."

Adieu," she whispered,

"adieu, petit Henri. La tante must not come to see him any

more, and Henri must be a good boy and love his mother."

And with one long look at the child s eyes fixed on her so

wonderingly, Jeanne-Marie rose softly and left the farm.

From that day started the great conflict between her love and

her pride. Though, to her simple nature, the jealousy of a womanwho seemed to her to have in abundance everything that made life

worth living, was utterly incomprehensible, she said to herself

over and over as she went home, that such a scene as that should

never happen again. And as she lay in her narrow bed that night,


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228 Jeanne-Marie

and made her resolution for the future, she seemed to feel the very

fibres of her heart break within her.

Firman came down next day to beg his sister to behave as if

nothing had happened." You are pale and your face is all drawn,

cbere sceur" he told her reproachfully ;

" but you must not take

the things like that. If poor Suzanne were herself and well, she

would never have spoken as she did." But Jeanne-Marie smiled

at him." If I am pale, Firman, it is not for worrying over Suzanne.

Tell her from me, I have been selfish all this time. I will not be

so again. When she can spare the little Henri, she shall send him

to play here with me, by Anna." Anna was Suzanne s sixteen-

year-old sister, who lived almost entirely at the metalrie since her

sister s marriage." And every Sunday afternoon I will come up,

and will sit with him in the garden as I used to do. Tell this to

Suzanne, with my love."

And Firman told her;

and mingled with the relief that

Suzanne felt, that the face and figure which had become like a

nightmare to her strained nerves, would appear only once a week

at the farm, was gratitude that her sister had taken things so well.

* Anna shall take him every otherday,"

she observed to Firman,

"she shall see I am not jealous; it was the pain that took me

suddenly yesterday, while you were speaking. For that matter,

in the afternoon there is always much for me to do, and little

Henri can very well go with Anna to thecottage."

And no doubt she meant to keep her promise, but she was

occupied mind and body with other things. The second babywould be born in a month, and in the afternoons, when she sat,

languid and tired, she liked to have her sister Anna by her, and

Henri playing by her side.

And after little Catherine was born, there was much for Anna


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By Leila Macdonald 229

to do. "

I could not well spare her if Iwould,"

Suzanne would

say to herself; "what with two babies and me so long in gettingon my feet this time."

And Jeanne-Marie put on the clean white bodice every daybefore her dinner, and sat in the little garden with her eyes fixed

on the turning in the white road that led to M. Francois s metairie,

but it was not more than one day a week that Anna would come

in sight, with little Henri in her arms. The other days Jeanne-Marie would

sit, shading her eyes and watching, till long after the

hour when she could expect them to appear.

At first, after the quarrel, she had believed in Suzanne s reiterated

assurances that " Anna would come every other day orso,"


many were the wasted afternoons of disappointment that she courted

in her little garden. Sometimes she would rise to her feet, and a

sudden impulse to go up to the farm, not a mile away, if only to

kiss le petit and come home again, laid hold of her;but the memory

of Suzanne s cold looks of surprise, and the "Is anything wrong,

Jeanne-Marie ?"

that would meet her, was sufficient to force her

into her chair again with a little hopeless sigh." When the calf

is gone, the mother mourns for it all theday,"

Marthe said grimly,

when she surprised her one day watching the white turning.

But Jeanne-Marie answered her miserably: "Ah,but I never

butt at my calf, and they have taken it from me all the


There was great rejoicing in the cottage the day that Anna s

white blouse and large green umbrella came in sight, and the three

sat in the kitchen together : Anna eating smilingly the cakes and

biscuits that grateful Jeanne-Marie made specially for her, and

Henri crawling happily on the floor. "He said Maman to


Anna would announce, as Jeanne-Mariehurried to meet her at the gate ; or,

" Firman says he heard


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230 Jeanne-Marie

him say Menou, when the white cat ran across the yard this

morning."And many were the attempts to induce Henri to

make these utterances again. "Jet aime, je t aime," Jeanne-

Marie would murmur to him, as she kissed him again and again,

and the little boy would look up at her with his dark eyes, and

smile encouragingly.All too quickly the time would go, and all too soon would come

Anna s glance at the clock, and the dreaded words :" Suzanne

will make herself angry ;we must


And as Jeanne-Marie watched them disappear along the white

road, the clouds of her loneliness would gather round her again.

The Sunday afternoons at the farm were looked forward to

through all the week. There was little Catherine to admire,

and in the summer days there was the orchard, where

Henri loved to play, and where he and his aunt would sit

together all the afternoon. If Suzanne were in a good temper,she would bring Catherine out in her arms, and the children would

tumble about together in the long grass.

And so the time wore on, and as Henri grew in mind and

body, and was able to prattle and run about the fields, Jeanne-Marie hungered for him with a love more absorbing than


Two years had passed since Catherine s birth, and for the last

year Anna would often bring her, when she came down to Jeanne-Marie s cottage. The one day a week had dropped gradually to

every ten days ;it was sometimes only every fortnight that one

or both children would appear, and the days that little Henri camewere marked white days on the simple calendar of Jeanne-Marie s



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By Leila Macdonald 231


Now, as Jeanne-Marie stood in her garden this hot May after

noon, and shaded her eyes, as she gazed at the broad white road, her

face was troubled, and there was a drawn line of apprehension round

the corners of her mouth. For lately Suzanne s jealous temperhad flamed up again, and this alert jealousy boded evil days for

Jeanne-Marie.Several times within the last two months, little Henri now

going on for four years old had come toddling down to the

cottage by himself, to his aunt s unbounded amazement and delight.* Maman is at market," he explained with dignity the first time,

in answer to the wondering queries."

Papa yoked the oxen to

the big cart after dinner, and they went ;Anna is talking all the

afternoon to Pierre Puyoo in the road;and Henri was alone. So

Henri came ;Henri loves his aunt, and .would like some biscuits."

Great was the content of that hour in the cottage, when Jeanne-

Marie sat in the big arm-chair, and the boy prattled and ate his

biscuits on her knee. Anna s hard young smile, that scorned

emotion, was always a gene to this harmony of old and young ;

also, there was no need to glance anxiously at the clock;

for the oxen take two hours to get home from the market, and

who leaves the town till late in the afternoon ?" Anna will miss

lepetit" Jeanne-Marie suggested the first time

;but he answered

proudly :

" She will think le petit takes care of the geese in

the meadow ;do I not have charge of all the geese many

afternoons ? And when I am six years old, papa has pro

mised I may guard the cows, and bring them home to milk

at sundown, as Andre Puyoo and Georges Vidal do, each


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232 Jeanne-Marie

day. Also, why cannot Henri come to see la tante when he

likes ?"

But nevertheless, the second and third occasions of these happy

visits, always on market-days, Jeanne-Marie became uneasy. Did

Suzanne know of the boy s absences ? Were those fitful jealousies

she now displayed almost every Sunday, the result of her know

ledge ? And if she did not know, would there not be a burst of

rage when she heard ? Should Jeanne-Marie risk this joy by

telling her of its existence, and asking her permission for its con

tinuance ? How well the hard tones of Suzanne s voice, framingeach plausible objection, came to her mind, as she thought. No,she could not do it. Let the child come, and go on coming every

market-day, for as long as he could. She would say no word to

encourage his keeping it secret from his mother ;he would tell her

one day, if he had not told her already, and then, if anger there

was, surely the simple words,"

May not your child visit his aunt

alone ?" must bring peace again.

So Jeanne-Marie reasoned away her fears. But now, as she

stood in her garden, her lips were trembling with anxiety.

Last Sunday she had been too ill to go up to the farm. Asudden agonising breathlessness, together with great dizziness,

had forced her to bed, and Marthe s boy had gone up with the

message. But neither that day nor the next, which was market-

day, nor any following day, had Suzanne, or Anna, or little Henri

come to see her. And to-day was Saturday. And she realised

wearily that to-morrow she could not get to the farm;she felt too

ill and feeble. " My heartaches,"

she said to Marthe each day,"

my heart aches."

The afternoon waned slowly, and the little group at the cafe

increased in numbers, as the men sauntered through the village at

sundown. The women stood at their doors, laughing and chatting


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By Leila Macdonald 233

with one another. M. le Cure passed down the street, smiling at

the children. From the meadows came the cows and oxen, driven

slowly along, their bells beating low harmonies as they went.

The festive air of evening after a hot day touched all the tiny

town. And Jeanne-Marie stood in her garden, waiting.

Suddenly, while she watched, her heart bounded within her,,

and a spasm of sudden pain drove the colour from her face, for she

recognised the figure that was passing from the white turning

into the broad road. Suzanne Suzanne, who had not been near

her cottage for a year Suzanne, alone. She pressed her two hands

under her left breast, and moved forward to the gate. She felt

now she had known it for long. All the suspense of many days

had given way to a dull certainty : little Henri was ill,was

dying perhaps, and Suzanne had come with the news.

Jeanne-Marie had her hand on the latch to let her through ;

but she stood outside the gate, and said hoarsely,"

I will not come

in." Her face was flushed, there was no cap over her coil of

brown hair, and she had on the dark dress she never wore except

at the farm. All this Jeanne-Marie noticed mechanically, while

that suffocating hurry at her heart seemed to eat away her energyand her power of speech.

But Suzanne was going to speak. The colour flamed into her

face, and her teeth ground together, as if to force down the violence

of her feeling, and then she spoke : "Jeanne-Marie, you have

done your work well. We knew you loved our boy. You were

careful always to show us how far greater was your love for him

than ours. And as you could not well turn him against me

before my eyes, you waited ma foi, how well you did it ! you

waited till I was well away, and then, you taught him to sneak

down to see you, and sneak home again before my return. Mori

Dieu ! it was a worthy son to us you wished to make of him..


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234 Jeanne-Marie

But it could not be, Jeanne-Marie. Your good God, you love so

well, would not have it and so;


there came a sob in her voice

that she choked down, and Jeanne-Marie s face went a shade greyer

as she listened "it happened that I was long at the market last

week, and you, knowing this would be so, because it was a big

market, brought him home late, when the fever was springing

from the marshes it was Marguerite Vallee saw him and came

and told me and now these four days he has lain with fever, and

the officier de sante tells us there grows something in his throat

that may kill him in fourdays."

The hard tones left her voice in the last phrase. A shadow

of the love she persuaded herself she felt for Henri sprang up, and

choked her anger. She forgot Jeanne-Marie for the moment, and

saw only the little figure tossing with fever and delirium, and

pity for her own sorrow filled her eyes with tears. She was

surprised at the calm cruelty of her own words. Looking up

curiously to see how her sister would take it, she started, for

Jeanne-Marie s face seemed suddenly to have grown old and grey.

She was struggling breathlessly to speak, and when her voice

came, it sounded far off, and weak like the voice of a sick child :

" You know well that in your anger you have lied to me.

Henri may be ill and dying ;it is not I who have made him so.

You shall listen to me now, though I will not keep you here

long ;for the hand that struck my mother suddenly through

the heart, struck me while you were speaking. You have kept

me all these days in suspense, and now you have given the

blow. Be satisfied, Suzanne."

She paused, and the sound of her heavy breathing struck

Suzanne s frightened senses like the knell of a doom." Listen to me. Henri came to me of his own will, and

never did I persuade him or suggest to him to come. Never


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By Leila Macdonald 235

did he go home later than four o clock; there was nothing done in

secret;neither I, nor any in the village, thought it a crime he

came to visit me. Often I have seen him keeping the geese in

the long grass of the meadows at six, at seven o clock. Seek

the fever there not on the village road before the sunset. As

the good God hears me, never have I stood between that boyand his mother. Gradually you took from me every privilege

my affection knew;but I said nothing. Ah, I loved him

dearly ;I was content to wait. But all that is over. If God

grants me life but He is good, and I think He knows mysuffering all these years I swear before Him your house shall be

to me a house of strangers, Henri the child of strangers, and mybrother s face unknown to me. Never shall my father s daughterhear again what I have heard from you to-day. All these years

you have played upon my heart. You have watched the suffering;

you have known how each word seemed so innocent, but stabbed

so deep. You have seen your child wind himself round myheart, and every day, every hour, you have struggled to pluckhim from me. Now, I tell you I tear your children from myheart

; you have killed not only my body, but my love. Go,and leave me for ever, or by my father, I will curse you where

you stand."

She tottered forward, and with one horrified look at the agonv of

her menacing face, Suzanne turned and ran.

And Jeanne-Marie fell all her length on the garden soil.

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236 Jeanne-Marie


The miller s boy saw her there, when he came past a few

minutes later, and not daring to touch her, ran to the mill

for help. Marthe and her husband came immediately and carried

her into the cottage. At first, they thought she was dead, her

face was so grey and sunken; but she came to herself, as they

laid her on the bed, and shook her head faintly when Marthe

suggested fetching the officier de same.

As soon as she could speak she whispered :


No, Marthe, it

is the illness of the heart that killed my mother. The doctor

told her she might have lived to be old, with much care, and if

no great trouble or excitement had come to her; but, you see, I

was much troubled just now, and so it has come earlier. Donot send for any doctor ;

he could but call it by the long name

they called it when my mother died, and trouble one with vain

touches andquestions."

So Marthe helped her to undress, and to get to bed quickly.The breathlessness and the pain had gone for a time, though she

was very feeble, and could scarcely stand on her feet. But it was

the grey look of her face that frightened Marthe, and her strained

quietness. No questions could get out of her the story of the


"Suzanne came to tell me little Henri wasill,"

was all she

would say ;but Marthe only shook her head, and made her own


Jeanne-Marie would not hear of her staying with her for the

night, and leaving her young children alone, and so it was settled

the miller s boy should sleep below in the kitchen, and if Jeanne-


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By Leila Macdonald 237

Marie felt ill in the night, she would call to him, and he would

fetch Marthe immediately.

Also, Marthe promised to call at the house of M. le Cure on

her way home. He would be out late, since he had started only an

hour ago to take the Host to old Goupe, who lay dying four

kilometres away ; but she would leave a message, and certainly,

when he returned, however late, he would come round. It was

nine o clock before Marthe would leave, and even then she

stopped reluctantly at the door, with a last look at the thin figure

propped up on her pillows." Let me stay, Jeanne-Marie," she

said; "you

are so pale, and yet your eyes burn. I do not like to

think of the long night and you sitting here."


It is easier than when I lie down, which brings the breathless-

ness. Do not worry yourself, Marthe, I shall sleep perhaps, and

if I need anything, I have but to call to Jean below. Good-night,and thank you, Marthe."

The little house was very quiet. Jean had been asleep on his

chair this hour past, and not a sound came from the slumbering

village. There was no blind to the window of the bedroom, and

Jeanne-Marie watched the moon, as it escaped slowly from the

unwilling clouds, and threw its light on to the foot of the narrow


For a long while she lay there, without moving, while throughall her troubled, confused thoughts ran like an under-current the

dull pain that wrenched at her heart. It seemed to take the

coherency from her thinking, and to be the one unquiet factor in

the calm that had come over her. She was surprised, herself, at

this strange fatigue that had swept away even her suffering.

She thought of little Henri and his illness without a pang. He

seemed like some far-off person she had read about, or heard of,

long ago.


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238 Jeanne-Marie

She thought to herself, vaguely, that she must be dying, since

she seemed to have lost all feeling.

Bit by bit, various little scenes between her and Henri came to

her mind, with an extraordinary vividness. He was sitting on her

knee in the cottage, and his clear child s voice rang like a bell in

the silent room so clearly, that Jeanne-Marie started, and

wondered if she were light-headed or had been dreaming. Thenthe voice faded away, and she saw the cool, high grass of the

orchard, and there was Henri laughing at her, and rolling amongthe flowers. How cool and fresh it looked

; and Henri was

asking her to come and play :

" Tante Jeanne-Marie, viens joueravec ton petit. Tante Jeanne-Marie, tante Jeanne-Marie !



must throw herself on the grass with him on the cool, waving

grass. And she bent forward with outstretched arms; but the

movement brought her to herself, and as she lay back on her

pillows, suddenly the reality of suffering rushed back upon her,

with the agonising sense of separation and of loss. Little Henri

was dying ; was dead perhaps ; never to hear his voice, or feel his

warm little arms round her neck. She could do nothing for him;

he must die without her. " Tante Jeanne-Marie ! Tante Jeanne-Marie !

" Was he calling her, from his feverish little bed ? If he

called, she must go to him, she could not lie here, this suffering

was choking her. She must have air, and space to breathe in; this

room was suffocating her. She must go to Henri. With a

desperate effort she struggled to her feet, and stood supporting

herself by the bed-post. The moon, that had hidden itself in the

clouds, struggled out, the long, old-fashioned glass hanging on the

wall opposite the bed became one streak of light, and Jeanne-

Marie, gazing at herself, met the reflection of her own face, and

knew that no power on earth could make her reach the farm where

little Henri lay.


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By Leila Macdonald 239

She stood, as if spell-bound, marking the sunken look of the

eyes, the grey-blue colour of the cheeks, the face that was the face

of an old woman.

A sudden, fierce revolt against her starved life swept throughher at the sight, and conquered even the physical pain raging at

her heart. Still struggling for breath, she threw up her arms and

tore the cotton nightgown from her shoulders, and stood there

beating her breast with her hands."

Oh, good God ! good God ! see here what I am. How old

and shrunken before my time ! Cursed be these breasts, that no

child has ever suckled ;cursed be this withered body, that no man

has ever embraced. I could have loved, and lived long, and. been

made beautiful by happiness. Ah, why am I accursed ? I die,

unloved and neglected by my own people. No children s tears}

no husband to close my eyes ; old, worn out, before my time. Awoman only in name not wife, not mother. Despised and

hideous before God and men God and men."

Her voice died away in a moan, her head fell forward on her

breast, and she stumbled against the bed. For a long time she

lay crouched there, insensible from mere exhaustion, until, just

as the clocks were striking midnight, the door opened gently,

and Marthe and M. le Cure came in. Jean, awakened by the

sounds overhead, had run quickly for Marthe, and coming back

together, they had met M. le Cure on his way.

They raised her gently, and laid her on the bed, and findingshe still breathed, Marthe ran to fetch brandy, and the Cure knelt

by the bed in prayer.

Presently, the eyes opened quietly, and M. le Cure saw her

lips move. He bent over her, and whispered :

" You are troubled,

Jeanne-Marie ; you wish for the absolution ?"

But her voice came back to her, and she said clearly :


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240 Jeanne-Marie" To die unloved, unmourned

;a woman, but no wife ; no-


She closed her eyes again. There were noises singing in her

head, louder and louder ; but the pain at her heart had ceased,.

She was conscious only of a great loneliness, as if a curtain had

risen, and shut her off from the room ; and again the words came,

whispered from her lips : "A woman, accursed and wasted; no-

mother and no wife."

But some one was speaking, speaking so loudly that the sounds

in her head seemed to die away. She opened her eyes, and saw

M. le Cure, where he knelt, with his eyes shining on her face, and

heard his voice saying :" And God said, Blessed be the virgins

above all women ; give unto them the holy places ; let them be

exalted and praised by My church, before all men, and before Me.

Worthy are they to sit at My feet worthy are they above all

women. "

A smile of infinite happiness and of supreme relief lit up Jeanne-Marie s face.

"Above all women," she whispered : "above all women."

And Jeanne-Mnrie bowed her head, and died.

Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (275)

Parson Herrick s Muse

By C. W. Dalmon

THEparson dubs us, in our cups,

" A tipsy, good-for-nothing crew !


It matters not it may be false ;

It matters not it may be true.

But here s to parson Herrick s Muse !

Drink to it, dear old comrades, please !

And, prithee, for my tombstone choose

A verse from his"


The parson s rich, but we are poor ;

And we are wrong, but he is right

Who knows how much his cellar holds,

Or how he goes to bed at night ?

But here s to parson Herrick s Muse !

Drink to it, dear old comrades, please !

And, prithee, for my tombstone choose

A verse from his"



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242 Parson Herrick s Muse

The landlord shall our parson be;

The tavern-door our churchyard gate ;

And we will fill the landlord s till

Before we fill the parson s plate !

But here s to parson Herrick s Muse !

Drink to it,dear old comrades, please !

And, prithee, for my tombstone choose

A verse from his "


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George the Fourth

By Max Beerbohm

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A Note on George the Fourth

By Max Beerbohm

THEYsay that when King George was dying, a special form

of prayer for his recovery, composed by one of the Arch

bishops, was read aloud to him, and that his Majesty, after saying

Amen"thrice, with great fervour," begged that his thanks

might be conveyed to its author. To the student of royalty in

modern times there is something rather suggestive in this

incident. I like to think of the drug-scented room at Windsor,,

and of the King, livid and immobile among his pillows, waiting,

in superstitious awe, for the near moment when he must stand, a

spirit, in the presence of a perpetual King. I like to think of him

following the futile prayer with eyes and lips, and then, custom

resurgent in him and a touch of pride that, so long as the

blood moved ever so little in his veins, he was still a king,

expressing a desire that the dutiful feeling and admirable taste of

the Prelate should receive a suitable acknowledgment. It would

have been impossible for a real monarch like George, even after

the gout had turned his thoughts heavenward, really to abase him

self before his Maker. But he could, so to say, treat with him,

as he might have treated with a fellow-sovereign, long after

diplomacy was quite useless. How strange it must be to be a king !

How delicate and difficult a task it is to judge him ! So far


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248 A Note on George the Fourth

as I know, no fair attempt has been made to form an estimate

of George the Fourth. The hundred and one eulogies and

lampoons, published irresponsibly during and immediately after

his reign, are not worth a wooden hoop in Hades. Mr. Percy

Fitzgerald has published a history of George s reign, in which

he has so artistically subordinated his own personality to his

subject, that I can scarcely find from beginning to end of the

two bulky volumes a single opinion expressed, a single idea, a

single deduction from the admirably arranged facts. All that

most of us know of George is from Thackeray s brilliant denun

ciation. Now, I yield to few in my admiration of Thackeray s

powers. He had a charming style. We never find him searching

for the mot juste as for a needle in a bottle of hay. Could he

have looked through a certain window by the river at Croisset,

or in the quadrangle at Brasenose, how he would have laughed !

He blew on his pipe, and words came tripping round him, like

children, like pretty little children who are perfectly drilled for

the dance, or came, did he willit, treading in their precedence,

like kings, gloomily. And I think it is to the credit of the

reading mob that, by reason of his beautiful style, all that he

said was taken for the truth, without questioning. But truth

after all is eternal, and style transient, and now that Thackeray s

style is becoming, if I may say so, a trifle 1860, it may not

be amiss that we should inquire whether his estimate of Georgeis in substance and fact worth anything at all. It seems to me

that, as in his novels, so in his history of the four Georges,

Thackeray made no attempt at psychology. He dealt simplywith types. One George he insisted upon regarding as a buffoon,

another as a yokel. The Fourth George he chose to hold upfor reprobation as a drunken, vapid cad. Every action, every

phase of his life that went to disprove this view, he either


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By Max Beerbohm 249

suppressed or distorted utterly."

History,"he would seem to

have chuckled," has nothing to do with the First Gentleman.

But I will give him a niche in Natural History. He shall be

king of the Beasts." He made no allowance for the extraordinary

conditions under which any monarch finds himself, none for the

unfortunate circ*mstances by which George was from the first

hampered. He judged him as he judged Barnes Newcome and

all the scoundrels he created. Moreover, he judged him by the

moral standard of the Victorian Age. In fact he applied to

his subject the wrong method in the wrong manner, and at the

wrong time. And yet every one has taken him at his word. I

feel that my essay may be scouted as a paradox ;but I hope

that many may recognise that I am not, out of mere boredom,

endeavouring to stop my ears against popular platitude, but rather,

in a spirit of real earnestness, to point out to the mob how it has

been cruel to George. I do not despair of success. I think I

shall make converts. For the mob is notoriously fickle, and so

occasionally cheers the truth.

None, at all events, will deny that England to-day stands other

wise than she stood a hundred and thirty-two years ago, when

Georo-e was born. We to-day are living a decadent life. All

the while that we are prating of progress, we are really so deterio

rate ! There is nothing but feebleness in us. Our youths who

spend their days in trying to build up their constitutions by sport or

athletics, and their evenings in undermining them with poisonous

and dyed drinks, our daughters who are ever searching for some

new quack remedy for new imaginary megrim, what strength is

there in them ? We have our societies for the prevention of this

and the promotion of that and the propagation of the other, because

there are no individuals among us. Our sexes are already nearly

assimilate. Real women are becoming nearly as rare as real ladies,


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250 A Note on George the Fourth

and it is only at the music halls that we are privileged to see

strong men. We are born into a poor, weak age. We are not

strong enough to be wicked, and the Nonconformist Conscience

makes cowards of us all.

But this was not so in the days when George was walking byhis tutor s side in the gardens of Kew or of Windsor. London

must have been a splendid place in those days--full of life and

colour and wrong and revelry. There was no absurd press nor

vestry to see that everything should be neatly ordered, nor to

protect the poor at the expense of the rich. Every man had to

shift for himself and, in consequence, men were, as Mr. Clement

Scott would say, manly, and women, as Mr. Clement Scott would

say, womanly. A young man of wealth and family in that period

found open to him a vista of such license as had been unknown to

any since the barbatuli of the Roman Empire. To spend the

early morning with his valet, gradually assuming the rich apparel

that was not then tabooed by a false sumptuary standard; to

saunter round to White s for ale and tittle-tattle and the makingof wagers ;

to attend a" drunken dejeuner


in honour of "


tres belle Rosaline"

or the Strappini ; to drive a friend out into

the country in his pretty curricle," followed by two well-dressed

and well-mounted grooms, of singular elegance certainly,"and stop

at every tavern on the road to curse the host for not keeping better

ale and a wench of more charm ; to reach St. James in time for

a random toilet and so off to dinner. Which of our dandies could

survive a day of pleasures such as this ? Which would be ready,

dinner done, to scamper off again to Ranelagh and dance and skip

and sup in the rotunda there ? Yet the youth of this period would

not dream of going to bed before he had looked in at White s or

Crockford s for a few hours faro.

This was the kind of life that young George found opened to


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By Max Beerbohm 251

him, when, in^his nineteenth year, he at length was given an estab

lishment of his own in Buckingham House. How his young eyesmust have sparkled, and with what glad gasps must he have taken

the air of freedom into his lungs. Rumour had long been busywith the confounded surveillance under which his childhood had


- A paper of the time says significantly that "the

Prince of Wales, with a spirit which does him honour, has three

times requested a change in thatsystem."

For a long time KingGeorge had postponed permission for his son to appear at any balls,

and the year before had only given it, lest he should offend the

Spanish Minister, who begged it as a personal favour. I know few

pictures more pathetic than that of George, then an overgrown

boy of fourteen, tearing the childish frill from around his neck

and crying to one of the royal servants," See how they treat

me !

" Childhood ;has always seemed to me the tragic period of

life to be subject to the most odious espionage at the one age when

you never dream of doing wrong, to be deceived by your parents,

thwarted of your smallest wish, oppressed by the terrors of manhood

and of the world to come, and to believe, as you are told, that child

hood is the only happiness known : all this is quite terrible. And all

Royal children, of whom I have read, particularly George, seem to

have passed through greater trials in childhood than do the children

of any other class. Mr. Fitzgerald, hazarding for once an opinion,

thinks that " the stupid, odious, German, sergeant-system of disci

pline that had been so rigorously applied, was, in fact, responsible for

the blemishes of the young Prince s character." Even Thackeray,in his essay upon George III., asks what wonder that the son,

finding himself free at.last, should have plunged, without looking,

into the vortex of dissipation. In Torrens s" Life of Lord Mel

bourne" we learn that Lord Essex, riding one day with the King,

met the young prince wearing a wig, and that the culprit, being


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252 A Note on George the Fourth

sternly reprimanded by his father, replied that he had " been

ordered by his doctor to wear a wig, for he was subject to cold."

Whereupon the King, whether to vent the aversion he already felt

for his son or in complacence at the satisfactory result of his

discipline, turned to Lord Essex and remarked," A lie is ever

ready when it is wanted." George never lost this early-engrained

habit of lies. It is to George s childish fear of his guardians

that we must trace that extraordinary power of bamboozling his

courtiers, his ministry and his mistresses that distinguished him

through his long life. It is characteristic of the man that he

should himself have bitterly deplored his own untruthfulness.

When, in after years, he was consulting Lady Spencer upon the

choice of a governess for his child he made this remarkable speech,

"Above all, she must be taught the truth. You know that I

don t speak the truth and my brothers dont,and I find it a great

defect, from which I would have my daughter free. We have

been brought up badly^ the )ueen having taught us to equivocate"

You may laugh at the picture of the little chubby, curly-heededfellows learning to equivocate at their mother s knee, but youmust remember that the wisest master of ethics himself, in his

theory of t stic aTro&iKrtKcu, similarly raised virtues, such as telling

the truth, to the level of regular accomplishments, and before you

judge poor George harshly, in [his entanglements of lying, re

member the cruelly unwise education he had undergone.However much we may deplore this exaggerated tvrannv, bv

reason of its evil effect upon his moral nature, we cannot but feel

glad that it existed, to afford a piquant contrast to the life awaiting

him. Had he passed through the callow dissipations of Eton and

Oxford, like other young men of -his age, he wouldassuredly have

lacked much of that splendid pent vigour with which he rushed

headlong into London life. He was so young and so handsome,and

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By Max Beerbohm 253

and so strong, that can we wonder if all the women fell at his feet ?

"The graces of hisperson," says one whom he honoured by an

intrigue," the irresistible sweetness of his smile, the tenderness of

his melodious, yet manly voice, will be remembered by me till everyvision of this changing scene are forgotten. The polished and

fascinating ingenuousness of his manners contributed not a little

to enliven our promenade. He sang with exquisite taste, and the

tones of his voice, breaking on the silence of the night, have often

appeared to my entranced senses like more than mortal melody."

But besides his graces of person, he had a most delightful wit, he

was a scholar who could bandy quotations with Fox or Sheridan ;

and, like the young men of to-day, he knew all about Art. He

spoke French, Italian, and German perfectly, and Crossdill had

taught him the violoncello. At first, as was right for one of

his age, he cared more for the pleasures of the table and of the

ring, for cards and love. He was wont to go down to Ranelaghsurrounded by a retinue of bruisers rapscallions, such as used to

follow Clodius through the streets of Rome, and he loved to join

in the scuffles like any commoner. He learnt to box from Angelo,and was considered by some to be a fine performer. On one

occasion, too, at an exposition d escrime^ he handled the foils against

the maitre, and " was highly complimented upon his graceful

postures."In fact, in spite of his accomplishments, he seems to

have been a thoroughly manly young fellow. He was just the

kind of figure-head Society had long been in need of. A certain

lack of tone had crept into the amusem*nts of the baitt monde,

and this was doubtless due to the lack of an acknowledgedleader. The King was not yet mad, but he was always bucolic,

and socially out of the question. So at the coming of his son

Society broke into a gallop. Balls and masquerades were given in

his honour night after night. Good Samaritans must have

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254 A Note on George the Fourth

approved when they found that at these entertainments great

ladies and courtesans brushed beautiful shoulders in utmost

familiarity, but those who delighted in the high charm of society

doubtless shook their heads. We need not, however, find it a

flaw in George s social bearing that he did not check this kind of

freedom. At the first, as a young man full of life, of course he

took everything as it came, joyfully. No one knew better than

he did, in later life, that there is a time for laughing with great

ladies and a time for laughing with courtesans. But as yet it

was not possible for him to exert influence. How great that

influence became I will indicate later on.

I like to think of him as he was at this period, charging about,

in pursuit of pleasure, like a young bull. The splendid taste for

building had not yet come to him. His father would not hear of

him patronising the turf. But already he was implected with a

passion for dress, and seems to have erred somewhat on the side

of dressing up, as is the way of young men. It is fearful to think

of him, as Cyrus Redding saw him, "arrayedin deep-brown

velvet, silver embroidered, with cut-steel buttons, and a gold net

thrown over all." Before that"gold

net thrown overall,"

all the

mistakes of his after-life seem to me to grow almost insignificant.

Tiine, however, toned his too florid sense of costume, and we

should at any rate be thankful that his imagination never deserted

him. All the delightful munditis? that we find in the contem


fashion-plates for gentlemen"

can be traced to Georgehimself. His were the much-approved "quadruple stock of great

dimension," the "co*cked grey-beaver,"the pantaloons of mauve

silk "negligentlycrinkled


and any number of other little pompsand foibles of the kind. As he grew older and was obliged to

abandon many of his more vigorous pastimes, he grew more and

more enamoured of the pleasures of the wardrobe. He would


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By Max Beerbohm 255

spend hours, it is said, in designing coats for his friends and

liveries for his servants, and even uniforms. Nor did he ever

make the mistake of giving away outmoded clothes to his valets,

but kept them to form what must have been the finest collection

of clothes that has been seen in modern times. With a sentiment

ality that is characteristic of him he would often, as he sat,

crippled by gout, in his room at Windsor, direct his servant to

bring him this or that coat, which he had worn ten or twenty or

thirty years before, and, when it was brought to him, spend muchtime in laughing or sobbing over the memories that lay in its

folds. It is pleasant to know that George, during his long and

various life, never forgot a coat, however long ago worn, however


But in the early days of which I speak he had not yet touched

that self-conscious note which, in manner and mode of life, as well

as in costume, he was to touch later. He was too violently

enamoured of all around him to think very deeply of himself.

But he had already realised the tragedy of the voluptuary, which

is, after a little time, not that he must go on living, but that he

cannot live in two places at once. We have, at this end of the

century, tempered this tragedy by the perfection of railways,

and it is possible for that splendid exemplar of the delectable life,

our good Prince, whom Heaven bless, to waken to the sound of the

Braemar bagpipes, while the music of Mdlle. Guilbert s latest song,

cooed over the footlights of the Concerts Parisiens, still rings in his

ears. But in the time of our Prince s illustrious great-uncle there

were not railways ; and we find George perpetually driving, for

wagers, to Brighton and back (he had already acquired that taste

for Brighton which was one of his most loveable qualities) in

incredibly short periods of time. The rustics who lived along the

road were well accustomed to the sight of a high, tremulous


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256 A Note on George the Fourth

phaeton, flashing past them, and the crimson face of the young

prince bending over the horses. There is something absurd in

representing George as, even before he came of age, a hardened

and cynical profligate, an Elagabalus in trousers. His blood

flowed fast enough through his veins. All his escapades were those

of a healthful young man of the time. Need we blame him if

he sought, every day, to live faster and more fully ?

In a brief essay like this, I cannot attempt to write, as I hope

one day to do, in any detail a history of George s career, during

the time when he was successively Prince of Wales and Regentand King. Merely is it my wish at present to examine some of

the principal accusations that have been brought against him, and

to point out in what ways he has been harshly and hastily judged.

Perhaps the greatest indignation against him was, and is to this

day, felt by reason of his treatment of his two wives, Mrs.

Fitzherbert and Oueen Caroline. There are some scandals that

never grow old, and I think the story of George s married life is

one of them. I can feel it. It has vitality. Often have I

wondered whether the blood with which the young Prince s shirt

was covered when Mrs. Fitzherbert first was induced to visit

him at Carlton House, was merely red paint, orif,

in a frenzy

of love, he had truly gashed himself with a razor. Certain

it is that his passion for the virtuous and obdurate lady was

a very real one. Lord Holland describes how the Prince used

to visit Mrs. Fox, and there indulge in " the most extravagant

expressions and actions rolling on the floor, striking his fore

head, tearing his hair, falling into hysterics, and swearing that

he would abandon the country, forego the crown, &c." Hewas indeed still a child, for royalties, not being ever broughtinco contact with the realities of life, remain young longer than

most people. He had a truly royal lack ofself-control, and


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By Max Beerbohm 257

was unable to bear the idea of being thwarted in any wish. Every

day he sent off couriers to Holland, whither Mrs. Fitzherbert

had retreated, imploring her to return to him, offering her formal

marriage. At length, as we know, she yielded to his importunityand returned. It is difficult indeed to realise exactly what was

Mrs. Fitzherbert s feeling in the matter. The marriage must be,

as she knew, illegal, and would lead, as Charles James Fox pointedout in his powerful letter to the Prince, to endless and intricate

difficulties. For the present she could only live with him as his

mistress. If, when he reached the legal age of twenty-five, he

were to apply to Parliament for permission to marry her, howcould permission be given, when she had been living with him

irregularly ? Doubtless, she was flattered by the attentions of the

Heir to the Throne, but, had she really returned his passion, she

would surely have preferred"

any other species of connection

with His Royal Highness to one leading to so much misery and

mischief." Really to understand her marriage, one must look at

the portraits of her that are extant. That beautiful and silly face

explains much. One can well fancy such a lady being pleased to

live after the performance of a mock-ceremony with a prince for

whom she felt no passion. Her view of the matter can only

have been social, for, in the eyes of the Church, she could

only live with the Prince as his mistress. Society, however, once

satisfied that a ceremony of some kind had been enacted, never

regarded her as anything but his wife. The day after Fox,

inspired by the Prince, had formally denied that any ceremonyhad taken place,

" the knocker of herdoor,"

to quote her own

complacent phrase," was never still." The duch*esses of

Portland, Devonshire, and Cumberland were among her visitors.

Now, much pop-limbo has been talked about the Prince s

denial of the marriage. I grant that it was highly improper


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260 A Note on George the Fourth

For my own part, I fancy Caroline was innocent of any in

fidelity to her unhappy husband. But that is neither here nor

there. Her behaviour was certainly not above suspicion. It

fully justified him in trying to establish a case for her divorce.

When, at length, she went abroad, her vagaries were such that

the whole of her English suite left her, and we hear of her

travelling about the Holy Land attended by another family,

named Bergami. When her husband succeeded to the throne,

and her name was struck out of the liturgy, she despatched

expostulations in absurd English to Lord Liverpool. Receivingno answer, she decided to return and claim her right to be

crowned Queen of England. Whatever the unhappy lady did,

she always was ridiculous. One cannot but smile as one reads of

her posting along the French roads in a yellow travelling-chariot

drawn by cart-horses, with a retinue that included an alderman, a

reclaimed lady-in-waiting, an Italian Count, the eldest son of the

alderman, and "a fine little female child, about three years old,

whom her Majesty, in conformity with her benevolent practices

on former occasions, hadadopted." The breakdown of her

impeachment, and her acceptance of an income, formed a fitting

anti-climax to the terrible absurdities of her position. She died

from the effects of a chill caught when she was trying vainly

to force a way to her husband s coronation. Unhappy woman !

Our sympathy for her is not misplaced. Fate wrote her a most

tremendous tragedy, and she played it in tights. Let us pity

her, but not forget to pity her husband, the King, also. It is

another common accusation against George that he was an

undutiful and unfeeling son. If this was so, it is certain that not

all the blame is to be laid upon him alone. There is more than

one anecdote which shows that King George disliked his eldest

son, and took no trouble to conceal his dislike, long before the


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By Max Beerbohm 261

boy had been freed from his tutors. It was the coldness of his

father and the petty restrictions he loved to enforce that first

drove George to seek the companionship of such men as the

Duke of Cumberland and the Due d Orleans, each of whom were

quick to inflame his impressionable mind to angry resentment.

Yet when Margaret Nicholson attempted the life of the King, the

Prince immediately posted ofF from Brighton that he might wait

upon his father at \Vindsor a graceful act of pietv that was

rewarded by his father s refusal to see him. Hated by the Queen,who at this time did all she could to keep her husband and his son

apart, surrounded by intriguers, who did all they could to set him

against his father, George seems to have behaved with great

discretion. In the years that follow, I can conceive no position

more difficult than that in which he found himself every time his

father relapsed into lunacy. That he should have by every means

opposed those who through jealousy stood between him and the

regency was only natural. It cannot be said that at any time did

he show anxiety to rule, so long as there was any immediate

chance of the King s recovery. On the contrary, all impartial

seers of that chaotic Court agreed that the Prince bore himself

throughout the intrigues, wherein he himself was bound to be, in

a notably filial way.There are many things that I regret in the career of George IV.,

and what I most of all regret is the part that he played in

the politics of the period. Englishmen to-day have at length

decided that royalty shall not set foot in the political arena. I do

not despair that some day we shall place politics upon a sound

commercial basis, as they have already done in America and

France, or leave them entirely in the hands of the police, as they

do in Russia. It is horrible to think that under our existing

regime all the men of noblest blood and highest intellect should


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262 A Note on George the Fourth

waste their time in the sordid atmosphere of the House of

Commons, listening for hours to nonentities talking nonsense, or

searching enormous volumes to prove that somebody said some

thing some years ago that does not quite tally with something he

said the other day, or standing tremulous before the whips in the

lobbies and the scorpions in the constituencies. In the political

machine are crushed and lost all our best men. That Mr. Glad

stone did not choose to be a cardinal is a blow under which the

Roman Catholic Church still staggers. In Mr. Chamberlain

Scotland Yard missed its smartest detective. What a fine volup

tuary might Lord Rosebery have been ! It is a platitude that

the country is ruled best by the permanent officials, and I look

forward to the time when Mr. Keir Hardie shall hang his cap

in the hall of No. 10 Downing Street, and a Conservative

working man shall lead her Majesty s Opposition. In the lire-

time of George, politics were not a whit finer than they are

to-day. I feel a genuine indignation that he should have

wasted so much of tissue in mean intrigues about ministries and

bills. That he should have been fascinated by that splendid

fellow, Fox, is quite right. That he should have thrown himself

with all his heart into the storm of the Westminster election is

most natural. But it is inverideed sad to find him, long after

he had reached man s estate, indulging in back-stair intrigues with

Whigs and Tories. Itis,

of course, absurd to charge him with

deserting his first friends, the Whigs. His love and fidelity were

given, not to the Whigs, but to the men who led them. Even

after the death of Fox, he did, in misplaced piety, do all he could

for Fox s party. What wonder that, when he found he was

ignored by the Ministry that owed its existence to him, he turned

his back upon that sombre couple, the " Lords G. andG.,"

whomhe had always hated, and went over to the Tories ? Among the


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By Max Beerbohm 263

Tories he hoped to find men who would faithfully perform their

duties and leave him leisure to live his own beautiful life. I

regret immensely that his part in politics did not cease here.

The state of the country and of his own finances, and also, I

fear, a certain love that he had imbibed for political manipula

tion, prevented him from standing aside. How useless was all the

finesse he displayed in the long-drawn question of Catholic

Emancipation ! How lamentable his terror of Lord Wellesley s

rude dragooning ! And is there not something pitiable in the

thought of the Regent at a time of ministerial complications

lying prone on his bed with a sprained ankle, and taking, as was

whispered, in one day as many as seven hundred drops of lauda

num ? Some said he took these doses to deaden the pain. But

others, and among them his brother Cumberland, declared that

the sprain was all a sham. I hope it was. The thought of a

voluptuary in pain is very terrible. In any case, I cannot but

feel angry, for George s own sake and that of his kingdom,that he found it impossible to keep further aloof from the

wearisome troubles of political life. His wretched indecision

of character made him an easy prey to unscrupulous ministers,

while his extraordinary diplomatic powers and almost extrava

gant tact made them, in their turn, an easy prey to him. In

these two processes much of his genius was uselessly spent. I

must confess that he did not quite realise where his duties ended.

He wished always to do too much. If you read his repeated

appeals to his father that he might be permitted to serve actively

in the British army against the French, you will acknowledgethat it was through no fault of his own that he did not fight. It

touches me to think that in his declining years he actually thought

that he had led one of the charges at Waterloo. He would often

describe the whole scene as it appeared to him at that supreme


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264 A Note on George the Fourth

moment, and refer to the Duke of Wellington, saying, "Was it

not so, Duke ?


I have often heard you say so, your Majesty,"

the old soldier would reply, grimly. I am not sure that the old

soldier was at Waterloo himself. In a room full of people he

once referred to the battle as having been won upon the playing-

fields of Eton. This was certainly a most unfortunate slip,

seeing that all historians are agreed that it was fought on a

certain field situate a few miles from Brussels.

In one of his letters to the King, craving for a military appoint

ment, George urges that, whilst his next brother, the Duke of

York, commanded the army, and the younger branches of the

family were either generals or lieutenant-generals, he, who was

Prince of Wales, remained colonel of dragoons. And herein,

could he have known it, lay the right limiting of his life. As

royalty was and is constituted, it is for the younger sons to take

an active part in the services, whilst the eldest son is left as the

ruler of Society. Thousands and thousands of guineas were given

by the nation that the Prince of Wales, the Regent, the King,

might be, in the best sense of the word, ornamental. It is not for

us, at this moment, to consider whether Royalty, as a wholly Pagan

institution, is not out of place in a community of Christians. It

is enough that we should inquire whether the god whom our

grandfathers set up and worshipped and crowned with offerings,

gave grace to his worshippers.

That George was a moral man, in our modern sense, I do not for

one moment pretend. When he died there were found in one of

his cabinets more than a hundred locks of women s hair. Some of

these were still plastered with powder and pomatum, others were

mere little golden curls, such as grow low down upon a girl s neck,others were streaked with grey. The whole of this collection

subsequently passed into the hands of Adam, the famous Scotch


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By Max Beerbohm 265henchman of the Regent, and in his family, now resident in

Glasgow, it is treasured as an heirloom. I myself have been

privileged to look at all these locks of hair, and I have seen a

clairvoyante take them one by one, and, pinching them betweenher lithe ringers, tell of the love that each symbolised. I haveheard her tell of long rides by night, of a boudoir hung with

grass-green satin, and of a tryst at Windsor ; of one, the wife of a

hussar at York, whose little lap-dog used to bark angrily wheneverthe Regent came near his mistress

; of a milk-maid who, in her

great simpleness, thought that her child would one day be king of

England ;of an arch-duch*ess with blue eyes, and a

silly little

flautist from Portugal ; of women that were wantons and foughtfor his favour, great ladies that he loved dearly, girls that gavethemselves to him humbly. If we lay all pleasures at the feet of

our prince, we can scarcely hope he will remain virtuous. Indeed,we do not wish our prince to be an exemplar of godliness, but a

perfect type of happiness. It may be foolish of us to insist upon

apolaustic happiness, but that is the kind of happiness that we can

ourselves, most of us, best understand, and so we offer it to our

ideal. In Royalty we find our Bacchus, our Venus.

Certainly George was, in the practical sense of the word, a fine

king. His wonderful physique, his wealth, his brilliant talents, he

gave them all without stint to Society. His development from the

time when, at Madame Cornely s,he gallivanted with rips and

demireps, to the time when he sat, a stout and solitary old king,

fishing in the artificial pond at Windsor, was beautifully ordered.

During his life he indulged himself to the full in all the delights

that life could offer him. That he should have, in his old age,

suddenly abandoned his career of vigorous enjoyment is,I confess,

rather surprising. The royal voluptuary generally remains youngto the last. No one ever tires of pleasure. It is the pursuit of


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266 A Note on George the Fourth

pleasure, the trouble to grasp it, that makes us old. Only the

soldiers who enter Capua with wounded feet leave it demoralised.

And yet George, who never had to wait or fight for a pleasure,

most certainly broke up long before his death. I can but attribute

this to the constant persecution to which he was subjected byduns and ministers, parents and wives.

Not that I regret the manner in which he spent his last years.

On the contrary, I think it was exceedingly cosy. I like to think

of the King, at Windsor, lying a-bed all the morning in his dark

ened room, with all the newspapers scattered over his quilt, and a

little decanter of the favourite cherry-brandy within easy reach.

I like to think of him sitting by his fire in the afternoon and

hearing his ministers asking for him at the door and piling

another log upon the fire, as he hears them sent away by his ser

vant. After all,he had lived his life ; he had lived more fully than

any other man.

And it is right that we should remember him first as a

voluptuary. Only let us note that his nature never became, as do

the natures of most voluptuaries, corroded by a cruel indifference

to the happiness of others. When all the town was agog for the

fete to be given by the Regent in honour of the French King,Sheridan sent a forged card of invitation to Romeo Coates, the

half-witted dandy, who used at this time to walk about in absurd

ribbons and buckles, and was the butt of all the streetsters. Whenthe poor fellow arrived at the entrance of Carlton House, proud as

a peaco*ck, he was greeted with a tremendous cheer from the by-

standing mob, but when he came to the lacqueys he was told that

his card was a hoax, and was sent about his business. The tears

were rolling down his cheeks as he shambled back into the street.

The Regent heard later in the evening of this sorry joke, and next

day despatched a kindly-worded message, in which he prayed that

Mr. Coates

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By Max Beerbohm 267

Mr. Coates would not refuse to come and " view the decorations,

nevertheless." Though he does not appear to have treated his

inferiors with that extreme servility that is now in vogue, Georgewas beloved by the whole of his household, and many are the little

tales that are told to illustrate the kindliness and consideration he

showed to his valets and his jockeys and his stable-boys. Thatfrom time to time he dropped certain of his favourites is no cause

for blaming him. Remember that a Great Personage, like a great

genius, is dangerous to his fellow-creatures. The favourites of

Royalty live in an intoxicant atmosphere. They become

unaccountable for their behaviour. Either they get beyond them

selves, and, like Brummel, forget that the King, their friend,

is also their master;or they outrun the constable, and go bankrupt,

or cheat at cards in order to keep up their position, or do some

other foolish thing that makes it impossible for the King to

favour them more. Remember, too, that old friends are general!}

the refuge of unsociable persons, and how great must be the

temptation besetting the head of Society to form fresh friendships,

when all the cleverest and most charming persons in the land are

standing ready, like supers at the wings, to come on and please

him. At Carlton House there was a constant succession of wits.

Minds were preserved for the Prince of Wales, as coverts are

preserved for him to-day. For him Sheridan would say his best

bon-mot, and Theodore Hook contrive his most practical jokes,

his swiftest chansonette. And Fox would talk, as only he could,

of Liberty and of Patriotism, and Byron would look more than

ever like Isidore de Lara as he recited his own bad verses, and Sir

Walter Scott would "

pour out with an endless generosity his

store of old-world learning, kindness, and humour." Of such men

George was a splendid patron. He did not merely sit in his chair,

gaping princely at their wit and their wisdom, but quoted with the


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268 A Note on George the Fourth

scholars, and argued with the statesmen, and jested with the wits.

Doctor Burney, an impartial observer, says that he was amazed bythe knowledge of music that the Regent displayed in a half-

hour s discussion over the wine. Croker says that " the Prince

and Scott were the two most brilliant story-tellers, in their

several ways, he had ever happened to meet. Both exerted them

selves, and it was hard to say which shone the most." ThePrince seems indeed to have been a fine conversationalist, with a

wide range of knowledge and great humour. We, who have

come at length to look upon stupidity as one of the most sacred

prerogatives of Royalty, can scarcely realise that, if George s

birth had been never so humble, he would have been known to us

as a fine scholar and wit or as a connoisseur of the arts. It is

pleasing to think of his love for the Flemish school of painting,

for Wilkie and Sir Thomas Lawrence. The splendid portraits of

foreign potentates that hang in the Banqueting Room at Windsor

bear witness to his sense of the canvas. In his later years he

exerted himself strenuously in raising the tone of the drama.

His love of the classics never left him. We know he was fond of

quoting those incomparable poets, Homer, at great length, and

that he was prominent in the "

papyrus-craze." Indeed, he

inspired Society with a love of something more than mere

pleasure, a love of the "humanerdelights."

He was a giver of

tone. The blufF, disgusting ways of the Tom and Jerry period

gave way to those florid graces that are still called Georgian.A pity that George s predecessor was not a man, like the Prince

Consort, of strong chastening influence ! Then might the bright

flamboyance which George gave to Society have made his reignmore beautiful than any other a real renaissance. But he found

London a wild city of taverns and co*ck-pits, and the grace which

in the course of years he gave to his subjects never really entered


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By Max Beerbohm 269

into them. The co*ck-pits were gilded and the taverns painted

with colour, but the heart of the city was vulgar, even as before.

The simulation of higher things did indeed give the note of a

very interesting period, but how shallow that simulation was, and

how merely it was due to George s own influence, we may see in

the light of what happened after his death. The good that he

had done died with him. The refinement he had laid upon vul

garity fell away, like enamel from withered cheeks. It was only

George himself who had made the sham endure. The Victorian

Era came soon, and the angels rushed in and drove the nymphs

away and hung the land with reps.

I have often wondered whether it was with a feeling that his

influence would be no more than life-long, that George allowed

Carlton House, that dear structure, the very work of his life and

symbol of his being, to be rased. I wish that Carlton House were

still standing. I wish we could still walk through those corridors,

whose walls were "crusted with ormolu," and parquet-floors were" so glossy that, were Narcissus to come down from heaven, he

would, I maintain, need no other mirror for his beaute? I wish

that we could see the pier-glasses and the girandoles and the

twisted sofas, the fauns foisted upon the ceiling and the rident

goddesses along the wall. These things would make George s

memory dearer to us, help us to a fuller knowledge of him. I am

glad that the Pavilion still stands here in Brighton. Its trite

lawns and cheeky minarets have taught me much. As I write

this essay, I can see them from my window. Last night I sat

there in a crowd of vulgar people, whilst a band played us tunes.

Once I fancied I saw the shade of a swaying figure and of a wine-

red face.

The Yellow Book Vol. III.

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Study of a Head

By an Unknown Artist

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Y.$ f^



* *>.$ ;.


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A Ballad of a Nun

By John Davidson

FROMEastertide to Eastertide

For ten long years her patient kness

Engraved the stones the fittest bride

Of Christ in all the diocese.

She conquered every earthly lust ;

The abbess loved her more and more ;

And, as a mark of perfect trust,

Made her the keeper of the door.

High on a hill the convent hungAcross a duchy looking down,

Where everlasting mountains flung

Their shadows over tower and town.

The jewels of their lofty snows

In constellations flashed at night ;

Above their crests the moon arose ;

The deep earth shuddered with delight.

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274 A Ballad of a Nun

Long ere she left her cloudy bed,

Still dreaming in the orient land,

On many a mountain s happy head

Dawn lightly laid her rosy hand.

The adventurous sun took Heaven by storm ;

Clouds scattered largesses of rain ;

The sounding cities rich and warm,Smouldered and glittered in the plain.

Sometimes it was a wandering wind,

Sometimes the fragrance of the pine,

Sometimes the thought how others sinned,

That turned her sweet blood into wine.

Sometimes she heard a serenade

Complaining sweetly far away :

She said," A young man woos a maid



And dreamt of love till break of day.

Then would she ply her knotted scourge

Until she swooned ;but evermore

She had the same red sin to purge,

Poor, passionate keeper of the door !

For still night s starry scroll unfurled,

And still the day came like a flood :

It was the greatness of the world

That made her long to use her blood.


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By John Davidson 275

In winter-time when Lent drew nigh,And hill and plain were wrapped in snow,

She watched beneath the frosty skyThe nearest city nightly glow.

Like peals of airy bells outworn

Faint laughter died above her head

In gusts of broken music borne :


They keep theCarnival," she said.

Her hungry heart devoured the town :

" Heaven save me by a miracle !

Unless God sends an an;el down,O f

Thither I go though it were Hell."

She dug her nails deep in her breast,

Sobbed, shrieked, and straight withdrew the bar :

A fledgling flying from the nest,

A pale moth rushing to a star.

Fillet and veil in strips she tore;

Her golden tresses floated wide ;

The ring and bracelet that she wore

As Christ s betrothed, she cast aside.

" Life s dearest meaning I shall probe ;

Lo ! I shall taste of love at last !

Away !


She doffed her outer robe,

And sent it sailing down the blast.


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276 A Ballad of a Nun

Her body seemed to warm the wind ;

With bleeding feet o er ice she ran :


I leave the righteous God behind ;

I go to worship sinful man."

She reached the sounding city s gate ;

No question did the warder ask :

He passed her in :


Welcome, wild mate !

He thought her some fantastic mask.

Half-naked through the town she went;

Each footstep left a bloody mark;

Crowds followed her with looks intent;

Her bright eyes made the torches dark.

Alone and watching in the street

There stood a grave youth nobly dressed ;

To him she knelt and kissed his feet;

Her face her great desire confessed.

Straight to his house the nun he led :

"Strange lady, what would you with me ?"

" Your love, your love, sweetlord,"

she said ;

"I bring you my virginity."

He healed her bosom with a kiss ;

She gave him all her passion s hoard;

And sobbed and murmured ever," This

Is life s great meaning, dear, my lord.


I care

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By John Davidson 277"

I care not for my broken vow,

Though God should come in thunder soon ;

I am sister to the mountains now,And sister to the sun and moon."

Through all the towns of Belmarie,She made a progress like a queen.

""Sheis," they said, "whate er she be,

The strangest woman ever seen.

* l From fairyland she must have come,Or else she is a mermaiden."

Some said she was a ghoul, and some

A heathen goddess born again.

But soon her fire to ashes burned;

Her beauty changed to haggardness ;

Her golden hair to silver turned;

The hour came of her last caress.

At midnight from her lonely bed

She rose, and said :


I have had my will."

The old ragged robe she donned, and fled

Back to the convent on the hill.

Half-naked as she went before,

She hurried to the city wall,

Unnoticed in the rush and roar

And splendour of the Carnival.


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278 A Ballad of a Nun

No question did the warder ask :

Her ragged robe, her shrunken limb,

Her dreadful eyes !


It is no mask ;

It is a she-wolf, gaunt and grim !


She ran across the icy plain ;

Her worn blood curdled in the blast ;

Each footstep left a crimson stain ;

The white-faced moon looked on aghast.

She said between her chattering jaws,"

Deep peace is mine, I cease to strive ;

Oh, comfortable convent laws,

That bury foolish nuns alive !

" A trowel for my passing-bell,

A little bed within the wall,

A coverlet of stones;how well

I there shall keep the Carnival !


Like tired bells chiming in their sleep,

The wind faint peals of laughter bore ;

She stopped her ears and climbed the steep,

And thundered at the convent door.

It opened straight : she entered in,

And at the wardress feet fell prone :

" I come to purge away my sin,

Bury me, close me up in stone."


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By John Davidson 279

The wardress raised her tenderly ;

She touched her wet and fast-shut eyes ;


Look, sister ; sister, look at me;

Look;can you see through my disguise ?


She looked and saw her own sad face,

And trembled, wondering," Who art thou ?


" God sent me down to fill your place :

I am the Virgin Mary now."

And with the word, God s mother shone ;

The wanderer whispered,"

Mary, hail !


The vision helped her to put on

Bracelet and fillet, ring and veil.

" You are sister to the mountains now,And sister to the day and night ;

Sister to God ;


and on the brow

She kissed her thrice, and left her sight.

While dreaming in her cloudy bed,

Far in the crimson orient land,

On many a mountain s happy head

Dawn lightly laid her rosy hand.

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The Yellow Book

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HIS LITTLE MOTHER. By theAuthor of John Halifax, Gentleman."



NINETTE. Ey the Author of "


Blue Roses," ,tc.








A RAINBOW AT NIGHT. By theAuihor of

" Mistress Beatrice Cope."



FROM HARVEST TO HAYTIME.Uy the Auihor of" Two English Girls."

THE WINNING OF MAY. By iheAuthor of

" Dr. Edith Romney."


A SELECTION OF HURST & BLACKETTSStandard Library of Cheap Editions of Popular Modern Works.

Each work complete in one volume, price 5s. each.

By the Author of "John Halifax."





By the Author of " Sam Slick."



By Dr. George Macdonald.ALEC FORBES.SIR GIBBIE.






Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (320)

The Yellow Book Advertisem*nts

Ready with the NOVEMBER Magazines.

Price 2s. 6d. Cloth gilt, gilt edges, 5s.

The Art Annual for 1894.(BeiDg the CHRISTMAS NUMBER of THE ART JOURNAL).

The Life and Work of



With Numerous Illustrations of bis Principal Works, Views of his Studio

and Working-Room, and Garden Views of his Residence, including the









Civu-n i,to, bound in Kuckram, gilt iff, ^s. kd. ENLARGED WITH ADDITIONAL CHAPTER.

THE PILGRIM S WAYFrom Winchester to Canterbury. CA IRO "


With 46 Illustrations by A. QUINTON, and2 Maps of the Route.

Sketches of its History, Monuments & Social Life.


" The Art of the Saracens in Egypt,"

"A delightful monograph The excellent"Studies in a Mosque," &c.

drawings of Mr. Quinton do full justice to the text,^ ith numerous Illustrations on Wood,

embracing every kind of subject from gloomy"

Will prove most useful to the innumerable tra

church crypts and silent pools to breezy landscapes vellers who no.v every winter visit the Nile Valley."

and sunny village greens." Times. Saturday Review.

LONDON: J. S. VIRTUE & CO., LTD., 26 Ivy Lane, Paternoster Row, E.G.

Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (321)

The Yellow Book Advertisem*nts


ALBERT MOORE,His Life and Works. By A. LYS BALDRY.

Illustrated with 10 Photogravures and about 70 other Illustrations. Super-royal 4to, 3 3s. Also 50 Copies on Large Paper, with the Plates in duplicate,

printed on India paper and on Japanese vellum, 5

RAPHAEL S MADONNASAnd other Great Pictures. Reproduced from the Original Paintings. With aLife of Raphael, and an account of his chief works. By KARL KAROLY,Author of " A Guide to the Paintings of Florence."

In One Volume, with 53 Illustrations, including 9 Photogravures. SmaltColombier 8vo, in special binding designed by GLEESON WHITE, 21s. net. Affw copies on Large Paper, tt ith the Plates on India Paper, 2 2s. net. (all sold. )

JOHN RUSSELL, R.A.,"The Prince of Crayon Portrait Painters." By GEORGE C. WILLIAMSON,D.Litt. With an Introduction by Lord RONALD GOWER, F.S.A.

With 101 Illustrations, including Tu o Photogravures. Small Colombiei X <


handsomely bound. 250 copies only, 25s. net. Large Paper Edition, 100 copies

only, 2 2s. net.


Third Edition, in special binding designed by GLEESON WHITE. SmallColombier 8vo, 21s. net.

THE BRITISH FLEET:The Growth, Achievements, and Duties of the Navy of the Empire. ByCommander CHARLES N. ROBINSON, R.N.

With about 150 reproductions of paintings, prints, and drawings illustrative

of battles, ships, persons, customs, and social life in the Navy. DEDICATED BY-


Ordinary Edition. Crown 8vo, 7s. 6d. 150 copies in fcap. 4to, with extra

Engravings, 21s. net.

EROS AND PSYCHE.A Poem in Twelve Measures. By ROBERT BRIDGES. Second Edition,,

thoroughly revised.

Printed on Hand-made Paper at the Chiswick Press, with binding designed brGLEESON WHITE.



With numerous Illustrations. Also a limited Large Paper Edition.


Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (322)

The Yellow Book Advertisem*nts

Dean Son s List.Under the Immediate Patronages of H-R.H. the

duch*ess of Fife, H.I.M. the Empress of

Germany, Right Hon. the Countessof Aberdeen.


BABY S SOUVENIR. Mosthandsomely bound, gilt edges, &c ,

IDS. 6d.

A most charming book to preserve the Record ofa Child s Life from its P.irth to its Majority, con

taining Twenty-three Coloured and other Illustra

tions, printed in Facsimile of the Original Aquarelles of F. M. BRUNDAGE. The following; are afew of the subjects, with spaces left for filling in

details :




BY CORDON STABLES, C.M., M.D., R.N.Demy 8vo, handsomely bound, cloth gilt,

with Medallion Picture, 6s. 6d.

OUR FRIEND THE DOG.Sixth Edition. Enlarged and thoroughly Revised throughout. Richly Illustrated with

full-page Portraits of all the latest ChampionDogs, and numerous smaller Illustrations.

A Complete and Practical Guide to all that is

known about every Breed of Dog in the World,their Show Points, Properties, Uses and Peculiari

ties, Successful Management in Health and Sickness, Rules and full Particulars of all DogClubs, &c.

FOURTH EDITIOX.Crown 8vo, handsomely bound, cloth gilt,

gilt edges, 5S.

THE DOYLE FAIRY BOOK.Consisting of Twenty nne Fairy Tales.Translated from various Languages by ANTHONY R. MONTALBA. With Thirty-fourIllustrations by RICHARD DOYLE, a Memoirof Doyle, and an Introd jction.

Just ready, crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 2s. 6d.


" Humorous Plays," &c.

HUMOROUS PIECES.. A Col-lection of Original Recitations in Prose andVerse, including :


And Twenty-three other Pieces.

Cloth gilt, crown Svo, 25. 6d.



This Collection of Short Plays, Duologues, andProverbs in Action is intended as an addition to

the scanty assortment of pieces suitable for privaterepresentation.

Having been originally written for this purpo-e,they involve only a very limited number of charac

ters, and no exceptional amount of dramatic ex

perience. Kncli is comprised within a single acr,ant! the requirements as to scenery, costumes, and

stage appl nnces are of a simple kind. The scenesare all indoors.

All are ava lable for performance, whether in

public or private, without payment.

The Plays hi t/iis volumeately, infancy ewers, c

also be had separ8z


at >d each.

SECOND EDITION.Handsomely bo-jnd, cloth gilt, large post Svo,

3s. 6d.


the Afghan and Egyptian Campaigns. Bythe Rev. ARTHUR MALE, Army Chaplain it

Lucknow, and in the Afghan and EgyptianCampaigns. With Portrait of the Author, andEight large Illustrations by SYDNEY PACFT,War Artkt to the Illustrated London Neius in

these Campaigns.

Just ready, demy Svo, cloth, 162 pages, 25. 6J.


** Modern Chess," &c.

This interesting book of Reminiscences of half- a-

century contains a Portrait of the Author, Noteson Ancient and Modern Chess, Anecdotes as t<>

the Eccentricities of Noted Players, a Sketch of

Simpson s, c.

Blue cloth gilt, gilt edges, large crown Svo, 55.

DEAN S FAIRY BOOK.A Companion to the "Doyle Fairy Book."

This volume, which makes a splendid presentationbook for a child, contains most of the favourite

fairy tales of childhood, drawn from Penault, old

chap books, and the "Arabian Xights. Suchfavourites as "Sleeping Beauty," "Aladdin,"* Valentine and Orson."

**Hop o* My Thumb,"

and "Jackthe Giant Killer," are included in its

pages, and the book is enriched with numerousexcellent illust ations by ablt; artists.


Publishers ofDean s Playsfor Young Actors.

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Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (326)


k omen Wives or Mother*. By /


Tell Me not Now" By W>lham


he Headswoman. By Kenneth


redo Bv Arthur Sytnons

/hue Mag.c By F.IU D Arcy

leurs de Feu. By Jose Mana dc HeV-

dia, or the French Academy

lowers 01 Fre, a Translation By F.Hen

M q ;-,

Phen I a;iL -tig By Henry Harlaad

"n a Buncti of Lilac By Theo Mar


tpplc Blossom in Brittany. By Ernest


"o Salome at Si. JaraesY By Theodore


econd Thoughts By Arthur Moore

V light. By Olive Custance

obacco Clouds. By Lione Johnson

Leiaclust. By Annie Macdonell

o Every Man a Damsel 01 Two By

c. s

i Song and a Tale By Nora Hopper)e Protaadis. By S. Cornish Wztkins

XIX. A Study in Sentimentality By Hubert

CrackanthorpeXX. George Meredith. By Morton Fullcrton

XXI. Jeanne Mane By Leila Macdonald

XXII. Panon Hemck Muse. 87 C. WDalroon

XX LFI A Note on George the Fourth. By Mai


KVIV The Ballad of a Nun. By John David



I. Mantegna. By Philip Broughton

U. From a Lithograpn. Bj George Thomsog

[II. Portraiv o H^nlsc^f

IV Lady Gold s Escort By Aubrey

V The Wagnentes Beardsiey

VI La Dame aux Cam<"ias,

VII. From a Pasrel By Albert Foschter

VIII Collins Music Hall, \

Islington. I By Walter

IX The Lion Comicjue. Sickert

X. Charley s Aunt j

XI The Mirror . By P. Wiiioa

XII. Skirt-Dancing Steer

XIII. A Sunset By William HydeXIV. George the Fourth By Mi 1 B- ;rbohm

XV Study of a Head. By An Untnowo


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Yellow Book Volume III - [PDF Document] (2024)


What were the yellow nineties? ›

According to Stanley Weintraub, "The color of The Yellow Book was an appropriate reflection of the 'Yellow Nineties', a decade in which Victorianism was giving way among the fashionable to Regency attitudes and French influences; For yellow was not only the decor of the notorious and dandified pre-Victorian Regency, ...

Who illustrated The Yellow Book? ›

Original drawing by Aubrey Beardsley for an 1893–94 edition of Le Morte Darthur by Sir Thomas Malory. In 1893 Beardsley was commissioned to illustrate a new edition of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur, and in 1894 he was appointed art editor and illustrator of a new quarterly, The Yellow Book.

Who wrote The Yellow Book? ›

The Yellow Book was created by the brilliant young artist Aubrey Beardsley and energetic American writer Henry Harland. It considered the Victorian artistic ideal of morality as the highest quality in art to be prudish and lacking in a future.

Why was the yellow book controversial? ›

The Yellow Book was a literary and artistic periodical, which was published between 1894 - 1897. It supposedly took its name from the illicit French novels of the fin de siècle, which often dealt openly with sexual content. These novels were wrapped in yellow paper to alert readers to their lascivious content.

What does yellow book mean? ›

Yellow Book: Government Auditing Standards Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), also known as the Yellow Book, provides the preeminent standards for government auditing.

Why is it called Yellow Book? ›

Prior to its initial printing in 1972, the team within the GAO who put together the book wanted it to have a gold cover to correspond with the working title, "The Golden Rules of Accounting." However, Elmer Staats, the Comptroller General at the time, thought that was presumptuous, so they called it the Yellow Book ...

How did Dorian treat the Yellow Book? ›

Under the influence of the “yellow book,” Dorian's character begins to change. He orders nearly a dozen copies of the first edition and has them bound in different colors to suit his shifting moods.

Who is Jane in the yellow? ›

The identity of Jane in "The Yellow Wallpaper" remains a mystery. A theory is that Jane might be the narrator, and her name might not be mentioned until the end of the story because the narrator's identity matters so little to the story's other characters that a name is never used.

Which group do we associate the yellow book with? ›

The reference to a “yellow book” alludes to illicit French novels, which were often bound in yellow; it is turn may have been the inspiration for The Yellow Book, a periodical published between 1894 and 1897 and closely associated with the Aesthetes and Decadents, literary movements with which Wilde and others of his ...

What is the yellow book in computer? ›

The Yellow Book, created in 1983, defines the specifications for CD-ROMs, standardized in 1988 as the ISO/IEC 10149 standard and in 1989 as the ECMA-130 standard.

What happens in chapter 11 of Dorian Gray? ›

Summary: Chapter Eleven

Under the influence of the “yellow book,” Dorian's character begins to change. He orders nearly a dozen copies of the first edition and has them bound in different colors to suit his shifting moods. Years pass.

What is the importance of yellow book? ›

The Yellow Book or GAGAS outlines the standards and guidelines for government auditors to perform audits and produce reports.

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