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This battle fares like to the morning's war, 
When dying clouds contend with growing light." 

Third Part of King Henry VI., Act ii. sc. 5. 




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Copyright, 1913. 



Published August, 1913 

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M. M. 



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" Escape. A garden plant growing wild in'thti ntids. A species 
thus continued, in a soil and climate strange to it, may in time 
exhibit remarkable changes in its characteristics." 

Handbook of Botany. 

IT may have looked less like a sowing of seed than 
a casting of some weed into the fire when Frank 
Browne, a sadly wild fellow, drained his last can in the 
London of 1610, fell asleep full of beautiful thoughts 
on a bench close to Ludgate and found, when next 
things came clear, that he was ascending a hill, wet 
with a fog that beaded his hair, in a light that could 
only be dawn, and he with a musket in hand, wonder- 
ing what could have sent him soldiering. Had he been 
nabbed while he slept? Or was he there of his own 
motion, a Maccabee saving his country, urged by some 
vision that had visited his bench? It must have been 
this second way ; he preferred it ; and there were such 
calls; Joan of Arc might have had one, for all that 
they said ; a lowly vessel, no doubt, but the hundred or 
so that marched with him now looked lowly too ; if such 
stones were to head any corners at all it must be 
Heaven's, so clearly had this world's builders rejected 
them all. The nude has its glories, and clothes that 
cohere have theirs: here you saw neither, but a chill 
turpitude: mangy cats looked so; for the very fleas, 
in their shrinking coverts, the future must have a dis- 
quieting air. It was surely a call that had come. 


What a thing, he mused, dozing again as he tramped 
up to Higl-gate, it is for a man to know what is what! 
Here was he, Fortune's confidant, feeling with her in 
her strange and right choice of tools, in her eye for 
effect, her humor; a fool, in his place, might now 
have been cracking a fool's jests — " Did powder not 
want its food dressed? " and that sort of stuff, whereas 
he — this it was to have breathed, though it were but 
unstudiously, Oxford's quick air; it gave your mind 
eyes. A sense of this great blessing glowed in Frank 
like some fire-lit corner, a warm nook to bask in and 
dream. Dream he did, till the hardest kick that his 
young life had sustained awoke him to see a sergeant 
bulging and bluish-red with wrath at a dreamer's mus- 
ket dropped in the mud. 

A kick may work fast on the generous mind : in an 
instant Frank had kicked back. But the mind can 
work faster yet on a kick : in less than that instant 
Frank's mind running out, still in dream, to the doors 
of the body to see who had knocked there so unkindly, 
had caught at that unexplained shock and spun it 
ligaments of meaning and cause, till, like a play's cli- 
max, the crash was led up to; Frank saw it as just 
the last term in the series of wise good turns that his 
race had done him since he was a boy, the Benjamin of 
a big house. He saw how his father had tried to teach 
him to carry his wine, as was kind, and had cut him 
adrift for carrying more, as was fair enough; and had 
put him to no trade — what trade could he sweat at, 
with his blood ? — but gave him, instead, as much money 
as he could half live upon — for the heir of the house 


must live too: Frank quite saw the justice of that — 
and how the orifice of the family door in Soho had 
long been narrowing to a slit proportioned inversely, 
quite justly, to that smell which Frank carried about 
him, on these suppliant calls, as of husks that swine 
do eat, till at last the door opened, for once, strangely 
wide, and a shape that he readily knew now for the 
good genius of his father's house crossed the hall — 
it neared him — Iwrribilc znsit, it ran — was a running 
kick gathering momentum ? He turned in flight ; then 
he awoke, having dreamed not wholly untruly. 

Not that his friends would have kicked him, before 
men. Their hearts would have bled to know that the 
world knew that in that nest of nests a bad egg could 
be laid. Yet Frank smelt to heaven : into the outer 
darkness he had to pack, one way or other, and if in a 
fog, it would become him. They did not feel this, 
however, just now, being indeed all asleep, and that not 
on their feet, like this wicked one, but supine, like the 
just. All the tribe, except Frank, had great heads; 
they would sit half the night drinking less than ap- 
peared with a fuddlesome prince, or enduring the man- 
ners of some boor or goose of a great man with places 
to give, or refraining from throwing the first or any 
subsequent stone at ladies whom kings delighted to 
honor; and, these dues to charity paid, they would 
sleep their ten hours apiece and look like good babies 
till their untroubled gray eyes opened and sought the 
sources of loaves and fishes again, as a child's seek 
the light. 


A dog may have been whipped pretty tame by its 
owner and yet fly at the man who affronts that true 
god. Frank had reciprocated the sergeant's kick, not 
so much in wrath for himself — long tavern practice had 
made him a thought lax as a sentinel of his private 
honor — but lest the pure name of his house should 
take a stain if even its scapegoat, stumping off into the 
desert, accepted a kick gratis from a low man. But 
all sergeants do not draw these distinctions; so it was 
under arrest that Frank marched on from Highgate to 
prosecute his conquests. He grieved at this : he hated 
black looks; he classed them with unfilled cans. His 
way to be at peace with men was a stream's way with 
stones : when his devious flow brought him down on a 
large and hard one, he gave, rounded him, and wound 
on. By the time they had dipped down from Finchley 
to ford the bogged hollow beyond and climb to the 
houses capping Barnet Hill, Frank's spirit had broken 
already, good-humoredly, to get round this boulder- 
some sergeant. 

From Barnet the posse of scarecrows dropped again 
to cross the wide scoop to Ridge Hill, and from Ridge 
Hill the abbey church of St. Albans was seen huge on 
its opposite height, its straight lines lifting out of the 
cumulus clouds of tree-top round it. That was their 
day's work, to reach St. Albans. It was a Sunday ; 
nearly all day there was a ringing of bells, rising and 
falling as each village came to the marchers' feet and 
was passed, the peal behind them scarcely tinkling 
away into silence before they crossed the rim of the 
circle of music shaken out by the belfry that came next. 


In his pleasures Frank was no bigot; he took any; 
failing good wine, and then bad, he would get drunk 
on things heard and seen. He swam luxuriously now 
in a sense of Sabbatical, pastoral peace suave to 
battered town ears. Bells stopped and a cock crowed ; 
he heard it wonderfully far away. It cleared and the 
birds burst out together, singing grace after rain, and 
the bells went at it again, hill talking to hill about God 
— so Frank imaged it; he was a rapturous Christian for 
several hours ; peace on earth was the thing, and good- 
will to sergeants. As they trailed uphill in the dark 
into St. Albans, the two that had kicked at dawn 
were made one by exchange of intimate thoughts 
on the traits without which ale would scarcely be 

Monday would launch them on the ruled, horrible 
straightness of the Roman road north-westward, the 
brown mud whitening on their boots till they dragged 
balled heels out through the high nick in the chalk 
sky-line, past Dunstable, and washed the white off in 
the Hockley puddles. On Tuesday morning, no doubt, 
they would sweat and swear up the long slant to Brick- 
hill, still topped to-day by the tiny court of assize that 
they saw, and let themselves down to the green floor 
wetted or, as books say, drained by the Ouse. And 
then the next day, and the next, and the next; one's 
vision dims as they go; they recede towards Chester 
and Ireland. From live men, of whom one would 
always spit on his hand where his musket slipped, and 
another at every halt would shift the rag on a raw toe, 
they sink into a " force ' : and Frank's self into a 


' type," the common Reuben who, being unstable as 
water, and much averse from it, could not excel. 

Yet this Reuben was to beget in the West a dynasty 
nearer to Levi's in function, and puissant enough in 
body to make meetly leonine sons for the lion's whelp, 
Judah. In the winter of 1887-8 a boat capsized on 
Lough Neagh and one of the two men drowned was 
a Father James Browne. They gave him a great 
funeral, to vex the Protestants. Eight Brownes, rods 
of the house of Frank, walked after the coffin, five of 
them priests and all the eight men of a fine bony struc- 
ture, like hunting horses, six feet one or two apiece, 
and grand leapers and swimmers in youth, like the one 
now drowned, who had swum half a mile towards 
shore in his clothes, towing the boat by the painter, 
keel upwards, with two boatmen praying and wailing 
astride it, until the cold cramped the stout Father's 
muscles up into knots and he sank in the act of absolv- 
ing the men horsed on the keel. 

The eight sat up a long time that night, gabbing 
family history: even priests will, at a birth or funeral. 
One of the clan had been all but made head of May- 
nooth ; that was a great thing. The grayest was made 
to retell how his father had told him in 1830 the way 
that his father was carried home dying in 1798 with 
his entrails exposed where the English had flogged him 
upon the abdomen. The others listened as Christians, 
about the year 100, might hear from an aged witness 
how Christ's eyes had turned this way and that on the 
Cross. And then the family manfully faced the black 
fact of " souper " Browne that went thrice to the 


Protestant church in the old Penal days, to save the 
rich land that he had. 

" x\h, then, if the souper were all," broke out Father 
John, a child of impulse ; but even he checked at the 
look he got from the rest. Grief behind grief, shame 
beyond shame — if you probe far enough, in the 
very best houses you may attain the unmention- 

Patrick, the big grazier from Banaghan, plunged, 
for escape, into talk of a great hope he had that the 
family name might not be Browne at all, nor anything 
English, but Brian itself. If one man would set foot 
in a Protestant church to keep a hold of his land, what 
would prevent another from stripping the very name 
off his own back, or putting an English look on it, to 
keep the life in him, God help him? 

The seven strained hard to believe. No use ; a 
savage honesty, that would have been looked on and let 
whole civilizations founder for want of a lie, compelled 
them. What hope could there be? For more than 
two hundred and sixty years there had been tenant 
Brownes on the books of Lord Dunster, beyond. And 
there was the tough old tradition of that English 
trooper ancestor; even his ring was here, on Father 
Horace's hand ; broad gold with an oval engraved gem, 
Greco-Roman, some Renaissance find, it had worn 
thinner now on eight generations of little fingers, the 
only finger an Irish Browne could put into it — thinner, 
and yet, as evidence, it was still gross. They handed it 
round. Father Horace translated the words inscribed 
inside the gold band : — 


" Francisco Browne, d.d. W.S. Londin. MDCVII." 

Shakespeare himself might have given the thing to 
a young Oxford wit, or enjoyer of wit, wild for the 

They considered the letters. " London " — that was 
deadly. " Ach, they're cut to the depth of a ditch," 
Patrick said gloomily, handing it back to the head of 
the family. Wear it another hundred years and per- 
haps — The head of the family rubbed it round ab- 
sently on his finger. 

They sought comfort from figures. The Frank of 
the ring was said to have married some decent woman ; 
their child would be half-Irish. That child's child, if 
again there were no misalliance, would be Irish three 
parts out of four ; its child, again, would have only one- 
eighth of it English; the next, one-sixteenth. They 
themselves would be Irish at least to the length of a 
hundred and twenty-seven to one. Not a doubt, that 
was why Father John, the first time that ever he spoke 
the Gaelic, had felt that his tongue had not been a fit 
for his mouth till that day. 

Part of their bodies' history stared out of them. All 
that was clay was glorious ; muscles modeled in potent 
thongs that clenched and gave, gave and clenched, 
musingly flicking under clear skins on which the red 
lived and flitted; full eyes, bright and wild like a 
caught animal's; heads not stuck on stumps of thick 
poles, but lifted on swayed stems with the look that 
some flowers have of reaching up at the sun, with a pull 
on their moorings to earth. They walked like the 


creatures of unjaded gait — blood horses, greyhounds, 
red deer and some athletes when young — in whom each 
step seems to be an inquisitive and shy caress offered 
to the ground, as if the feel of the earth, its mass and 
springiness, were a fresh marvel still. 

The clay told of the pit from which it was dug. 
Earth-loving earth, you might figure them crumbling 
clods, from farms of their own, in affectionate hands, 
alone with the tilth and the straining life in themselves 
and the cutting leash of their Irish chastity. Some 
tricks of look might have been caught from fathers 
on whom the lines that old age found waiting for it to 
fix had been drawn and redrawn as they peered with 
half -closed eyes through the fog that ascends from 
steaming and slipping droves, or along the last furrow 
at twilight, or watched from under the drip of their 
eaves the day-long beat, beat of rain that lodged the 
year's oats or rotted the year's potatoes, their hearts 
still somberly filial to the soil that their minds cried out 
on : the niggard, the harridan, what did she do for a 

So these eight felt, like their fathers; and after a 
while, if you heard them talk, you might see what it 
was that kept this bitter and disenchanted affection 
short of despair and disablement. They were all 
priests in a way ; more so than most priests ; they had 
cowls in their dispositions ; they felt, with the positive- 
ness of bodily sense, that to live was only to stand 
awhile in a lobby, with everything, that men could have 
come for, waiting beyond the next door. Gymnasts 
will pass from one swinging trapeze to another, high 


in the air : so these Brownes seemed to have let go the 
common human idea — yours and mine, whatever we 
say — of life as a whole and round thing, to be lived out 
with a will; they had clutched at the thought of it all as 
no more than a blank hour's wait in the cold for a dawn. 
The new grip had swung them away from the old, 
through naked space, and now they felt safe while the 
grip held, but still redoubtably committed ; it gone, they 
could see their way out of their minds. Black, beyond 
soupers, would any one be who loosened another's 
grasp; the mind had to search far for the likeness of 
that last baseness. Rats that the Dutch hunt to death 
lest they bore the hole that may flood a province? 
No. Rats are innocents; they do not know. Say, 
rather, a guard put in charge of a dike, who opens the 
sluices by night to drown out country and friends. 



" But they — their day and night are one. 

What is't to them that rivulets run, 

Or what concern of theirs the sun? 

It seems as though 

Their business with these things were done 

Ages ago." 

William Watson. 

INTO the lustrous peace that had hushed, one still 
afternoon in September, the westward-turned ter- 
race of Roc-a-Voir Inn, high on a sunned alp of the 
Valais, there broke, as a boy's stone fractures the 
pensive and unaware glass of a pond, the news that 
some one was certainly coining uphill — might indeed 
reach the inn in two hours. A waiter's eye, sleepily 
roaming the landscape, had sighted a speck, one that 
moved. Like a black fly it traversed a bleached shoot 
of stones, three thousand feet under the terrace. A 
speck, or two specks? Running in for the glass he 
made sure. One speck, strictly speaking: one mon- 
sieur only ; the other, simply a guide. 

The waiter awoke the bureau; for there, too, in- 
visible poppies were seeding. The faint buzz-uzz-uzz 
of the voice of the landlady, totting up columns of 



francs in her bower, had thinned down to stillness; 
will failed her, the strong bee invaded by autumn, even 
to index the dying year's honey ; she leant back, her 
eyes slowly filming ; dozing, she mused on those other 
dozers, four of them, out on the terrace, her summer's 
lingering roses — the last, she half hoped, if the hope 
were not sin ; were they gone, bees could sleep and not 
dream of missed provender. Roused by the waiter she 
mastered a sigh and heard him out benignly. Her 
equity valued his dutiful soul. At eight thousand feet 
any news is a thrill that should be in the gift of a land- 
lady, no one less. He had done well ; he had not, while 
she slept, usurped the prerogative. Issuing forth she 
imparted the glass to the terrace. " Pardon ! A gen- 
tleman — mounting — now, at the end of the season. It 
is a resolute. He will be English." 

So Madame tactfully said; for our own was the 
speech that had drowsed, for some ten minutes past, on 
the lips of the four semi-recumbents whose four iron 
chairs, stilled for that space, now resumed their life's 
task of scrunching the neatly-raked miniature desert of 
round pebbles in which they stood. For the inn, 
though high, was not rude; had it been so, it would 
have been empty to-day; far from it, the legs of terrace 
chairs waded here in pebbles as round, loose and dry 
as any that crepitate under the planes of the first hotels 
of Lausanne. The resumptive sound of scrunching 
was loudest, as the recess had achieved deepest silence, 
under the person of Gabriel Newman, a pink and 
pleased man of about twenty-three, with thinning blond 
hair plastered tight, in the fashion, and damply gloving 


the skull, and with scarcely more lines or puffs as yet 
on his forehead and cheeks than if he had lived well. 
What with the gentle bend of the chin, the softly aqui- 
line nose, the smoothly-filled cheeks and the bulge of the 
eyes, and the curvilinear lines of the smile with which 
he always talked, his shaven face might strike you 
as just a little too rich a system of convexities, much as 
Michelangelo's luxuriant " Drunken Bacchus " might 
afflict a trainer. But any grazier would say that man 
or beast could not have looked more evenly fed. One 
thing this goodly frame wanted — a left leg; it used one 
of wood, or else the faith fullest image that Nature 
could carve, in her own flesh and bone, of that work of 
man. No one knew which, nor had Newman been 
known to admit, by so much as a wince or an oath — 
though he had the latter within easy call — that he 
walked with some pain on two sticks which were all 
but crutches, still less that he ever had to halt when 
minded to walk in the ways of his heart and in the 
sight of his eyes. 

This sovereign spirit had drooped for some instants : 
a crossing shadow had chilled it. How unripe a 
knowledge, how stumbling a reason, how shallow a 
flow of conjecture did this Yankee paper from Paris, 
that now sprawled despised on his knees, address to the 
Autumn Handicaps, soon to stir England ! Newman 
had mourned for his kind, that it should not do better. 
Then Nature, good to her infants, had filled him that 
bath of rose-tinted warmth from the west, and his eyes 
had closed to be soothed by it, some unspent virtue of 
luncheon assisting. Newman snored and care left 


him. Guy Hathersage, basking more containedly beside 
him, lifted one eyelid, as sleeping cats do at a sound, 
and smiled to himself as the mouth of his friend fell 
a-gape and the newspaper slipped to the ground from 
his friend's slackening fingers. Simple system of or- 
gans, Gabriel ! 

Guy let fall the eyelid and mused on that system. 
To Guy it had charmless piquancy. Many things had, 
and most people. If nothing excited him, plenty of 
things made him slightly curious about them at first. 
An olive-skinned slip of a man, full of grace, a swayed 
osier to look at, Guy was bodily young for his twenty- 
two years. His pretty brown eyes had, when he talked, 
the quick, shy shift of a boy's when they will not be 
still lest you catch the wild soul in them. Guy's mind, 
however, was aged; friendlily, equably aged. Semi- 
amused almost always, hardly ever delighted, from 
people he looked for no thrill — only some neat, new 
patness of proof that no miracles come to vary the 
working, and ceasing to work, of the known springs 
and checks in a shopful of watches of many shapes — 
yet not so very many, and none novel, and most of 
them dusty. 

Thirty yards off — the younger men had been smok- 
ing, and manners survived in the Hathersage family — 
Guy's sister sat by their father, a sixty-year man with 
a trim beard, not carved, but compendious by nature, 
and now hemmed with gray, and so perfectly brushed 
that you seemed to have seen no brushed beard before; 
a man so well bred that each feature showed like a sign 
in some new code specially made for the quick and safe 


conveyance of fragile perceptions and courtesies; 
round, opened eyes like a wren's, bright in an instant 
with delicate ventures and fears; lips modeled as if 
to shape ironies gently or soften a tone in mercy to 
humble absurdity. 

June, the girl of nineteen, had Guy's good looks, 
or more; but not, you would say, his tireless good- 
humor. At present she eyed with settled disfavor, 
through almost closed lids, some three of the ten noblest 
snow peaks in Europe. They stood up, beyond the 
now blackening trench of the valley below, paraded like 
Graces before this youthful she-Paris, and she found 
them wanting, like some other things in the past month 
of travel, her father's and hers. Venice and Paris, 
Florence and Fiesole, Rimini, Vallombrosa, Ancona, 
all were reviewed and rebuked. Paris was dust and 
white faces and leaves early dead, and dresses tried on 
— memory shuddered at thought of all that trying-on; 
and then all that time in the train ; the waking in the 
sleeping-car to see an old Frenchwoman, risen at grisly 
dawn, remake her face of bluish white against the new 
day; and what a day! — of perpetual pattering rain, 
gazed upon numbly through streaming or misted panes 
during long, nauseous dining-car meals that paused 
much in their middles, but little between each one and 
the next. And, all the way south from Lugano, 
churches, galleries; galleries, churches, and always — 
she hated herself for remembering — the voice of her 
father, seemlily modulous, weaving its webs of picked, 
relevant comment between her and so many things 
which — she dimly suspected — had little to do with the 


world he walked in, a world of culture fallen rather 
a-weary, half-understanding everything, placing every- 
thing, summoning up at the instance of every new 
thing, or thing newly seen, its appropriate mood of 
semi-emotion, as settled by balance of expert authority. 
Webs of blown rain between her and the St. Gotthard 
snows; webs of pertinent, passionless words between 
her and Bellini's tranced sense of the wonder of 
motherhood ; curtains of ordered, raptureless reverence 
hung between her and that " Crucifixion " at Rome 
just when it seemed as if — one instant more and she 
might have held and made hers the strange, poignant 
delight of knowing, really knowing, as one knows one's 
headaches, what Christ had borne; everywhere wisps 
of one cobwebby lawn or another drawn between some- 
thing in her that desired to put itself forth and attain 
completeness and something outside her that must, 
surely, answer to this, some new visibleness awaiting a 
quickened sight, like the many stars that must be 
shining only just out of reach of one's eyes. She came 
out of reverie frowning, to take Madame's offered 
field-glass without curiosity. 

" Far down, mademoiselle. Now ! Now ! — they 
pass Bonaveau." 

Two miles downhill a spot of black crossed swiftly 
the whitewashed wall of a tiny wayside chapel. 

" There ! There ! " Madame fretted lest June 
miss the thrill. " Where the path runs out from un- 
der the pines." 

"Yes, yes; one has eyes." And then June, with 
the glass at her eyes, bit her lip, vexed at her petulance. 


Three days before she had prayed in that very chapel, 
a little dourly, that she might be better-tempered. 
Already the fleeting stain was off the white wall. 
" How they run ! " she said to her father. How little 
she cared if they flew. 

"Two Oreads?' murmured the elder. 'Swift 
as a horse up a steep hill.' He had always at call 
some one else's apt word. When brought up against 
a new thing he would act like a yachtsman touching a 
pier, swinging out fenders wherever his paint might be 
scraped against some reality's rude balks of timber. 
Letters and art — to change the figure — this sensitive 
soul had learned to spread like a gelatine film over all 
its naked, soft surface, lest life, the neat strength of the 
acid, bite through and engrave. ' Is it he that should 
come? " he asked June. 

"Father Power? No. He comes to-morrow. 
Didn't I tell you the day? " 

" Doubtless, my dear. You printed on dust — my 
poor memory." 

June could almost have shrieked at that mild, let- 
tered playfulness. Then, at a thought of her own, 
crossness collapsed in contrition. " Oh, father, it's I 
that forget. I was to have ordered his room, and I've 
not told Madame he is coming. Madame ! ' 

' Mademoiselle ? ' : The landlady listened. A friend 
of her guest's, a cure from Ireland — " Catholic, Ma- 
dame, like you too, and us " — was going to Rome, a 
pilgrim ; he would be passing by train to-morrow, 
down there in the valley, and wished to break the 
journey. Could Madame receive him? 


' But yes." Madame's gesture embraced in its 
scope the two walkers now breasting the steep, and this 
later clerical advent. ' It recommences, the season." 

June had handed the glass to her father, whose 
courtesy used it, not his desire. Two thousand eight 
hundred feet lower the sun, as Mr. Hathersage looked, 
caught the sweat on the guide's dripping face and on 
a chest bared to get air. They shone ; they might have 
been vizor and breastplate in Paradise. " Ah ! " said 
the sensitive gentleman. Softly he shuffled across, to 
leave the glass with Newman, and went indoors to read 
Pascal in coolness. 


" And deliver us from our daily bread." 

Mariana's Prayer. 

IT was not in Newman to be surprised visibly. To 
animate narratives, later, he might say that this or 
that imbecility of a friend's had amazed him; but no 
one, he justly boasted, had ever seen him knocked all of 
a heap, like some poor lambs, by any impact of circum- 
stance. So, when he had taken a long stare through 
the glass and, putting it down, said " Gorlummy ! " it 
was as a virtuoso in popular speech that he said it, 
and not as one from whom the orison was really torn 
by the shock of an idea's entry on the spirit. 

Guy breathed a lazy " Amen." 

" Know one Browne at Oxford? " asked Newman. 
"Didyer? One Browne?" 

"Of Auriol?" 

" Yes. Year junior to me." 

" I don't know about ' know.' I've met him, per- 

" You'll meet him again. He's that Derby winner 
that's belting uphill." 

Guy took the glass, without ardor, and looked. 
" The more shining face, or the less? " 

" The unsweatiest. How's he to sweat, with the life 
he led? Now, do you know" — Newman gathered 



impressiveness — " that man would come into Pole's 
rooms at Auriol dead sober — you see, you were always 
supposed to be blind in Pole's rooms — and there he'd 
be, making a fool of himself, sitting up in a chair, 
among all of us." 


' No. Just looking on. No, he isn't a pi man, 
exactly. I do say that for him. A pi man I knew 
took him on — about his soul, that sort of lay; found 
he didn't believe a Jack thing. And yet, do you 
know " — again Newman's manner grew graver — " I've 
seen that man reading away at the Bible as if it were 
some other book — as if he liked it." 

; ' Ah? ' Guy encouraged the vein. It was sport to 
see Newman, in sketching this newcomer, sketch him- 
self too. 

'* Caught him at it in bed," pursued Newman, " one 
night I got lost. I was crossing the quad, time of 
night when a path gets as broad as it's long. I fell 
into his rooms and there he was, at it. I thought he 
must be ill or something. 'What's wrong?' I said. 
' Going to be hanged in the morning? ' I said, just to 
cheer him. He let a yell. ' Wrong! I should think 
not ! The man who wrote " Job " was all right. Lis- 
ten, about all these beasts ! ' And off he went, spout- 
ing whole chunks. It might have been the evening 

" I give you the thanks of the Press." 

" Press ? What ? Oh, I forgot that you own a rag 


Three-sixteenths only — the merest shred of a — 


must we say? — rag. So far has the will of a great- 
aunt involved me. Don't stop. What did you say 
when Browne — " 

" Say? I bolted for my stable. Didn't seem right, 
somehow, having a good time like that with the Bible. 
Very next night I met Chadd — it was under Blunt's 
table, I think ; anyhow, things had run a bit clear in 
my head and I told him. It troubled Chadd fearfully. 
' Why, for a skeptic to do it,' said Chadd, ' it's like 
drawing a check on a bank you've no money at.' 
Chadd cried to think of it. You see, although he could 
take his drink like other people, Chadd was a serious 
man, really — plowed in divinity, that sort of thing, 
and a curate by now. ' Think of the sinfulness ' — 
that's what he said — ' sheer false pretenses, like saying 
' Gorblimey ! ' although you're an infidel." Well, 
there's a good lot in that. Whajja think? ' 

' I was thinking," Guy said, with an air of innocent 
dreaminess, " that I remembered Browne well. He 
used to speak sweetly of you." 

'Eh? What?' Newman pricked up disquieted 

' He said, ' I just like the very notion of Newman ' 
— Browne was staring across through the smoke at 
you; ' I like that honest hatred he has of learning and 
poverty. He's such a spess ! ' Browne doated upon 
you, like a collector. He told me a charming story; 
he'd brought to your rooms some pundit who'd won 
half the 'Varsity prizes, and you had said afterwards, 
' One or two blighters like that were enough to ruin 
a whole college.' " 


" Well, what would you say, with that sort of owl 
coming flapping round, when you had some hopes of 
the freshers? " 

' I should bleed for you. Browne, no doubt, did ; 
or — " Guy dangled the unuttered words like a cast 
of dry flies. 

" Well ? " Newman rose to them. 

" You know his trade? " 

" Lord, no ! " 

" Proud man! I do. I'm half in it." 

"Mean he's a blooming reporter?" 

" Novelist, journalist, dramatist — all the same thing, 
you know; workers in fiction. You've read his 

" Not heard of it." 

' Yet the world does — and of a play that's just com- 
ing. And now do you guess? " 


" That at Pole's you were — possibly — sitting?" 

" D'you mean he'd have the wickedness to — ? ' 

" These artists do use the model, you know." 

Like a child, that without wilful cruelty tickles a 
worm with a leaf, Guy fretted his friend. Newman 
was only a book, the one nearest to hand, the library's 
latest futility, sent to amuse if it could. Guy gave it 
its chance, hoping little ; he languidly turned the pages ; 
he opened the stout, vulgar soul at new chapters, its 
boasts and pluck and lusts and tremors. Any paper- 
knife served; Browne, this orient author, as well as 
another. Guy really remembered Browne now — their 
few meetings at Oxford, and then a slight gap while 


Browne was obscure, and then how Guy had thought 
they really must have Browne to dinner ; they always 
had rising authors to dinner, on the off-chance that 
they might be amusing. Blabbing to Newman what 
Browne had said of him might not have been very nice, 
now that Guy came to think of it. Still, if it made 
any trouble, he would not have meant the trouble ; in- 
deed, he would wish quite sincerely that harm had not 
come, and would stand off a little and eye himself with 
mild wonder and ask, without harshness, what could 
have made him do it. 

All the harshness the family had of that kind was 
lodged in his sister, a true hanging judge of herself 
when the mood was on her. Vexed that she had for- 
gotten that room — she who had specially asked Father 
Power to come — she was going assize at this moment, 
hounding to judgment each poor little lapse from grace, 
or from graciousness, during their month's stern chase 
of civilized pleasure. How she had murmured! "Oh, 
I am vexed! v " I've been so disappointed! ' " I've 
had such a horrible time!" — one of these forms or 
another seemed to have opened all her talks with her 
father. " You feel relief now that it's fresher? " the 
poor man had timidly asked, one moon-lit night, at the 
end of a querulous day in the sunshine near Venice, 
when ripples of water and ripples of music, indistin- 
guishable in their rhythmic coolness, were lapping under 
their gondola. June's answering snap — " I might, if 
this frock didn't hurt me so under the arms " — came 
back now to plague its inventor. Then that day of 
shame at Perugia! Seeing her gaze from the hill, 


out over blue Umbria, he had asked friendlily, nerv- 
ously, what she was thinking, and she had brutally 
dashed his hopes of fit local emotions with " I was just 
wondering when my head means to stop aching." And 
oh, the first morning at Florence ! — the start to walk 
down from Fiesole, where they had stayed; how, as 
they set out, his mind was happily fingering Dante and 
Pater and Ruskin and Browning, and all the kind in- 
terveners between its soft tissues and stark Middle 
Ages or unbated Tuscany, until, scarcely over the 
threshold, June had banished content with the desperate 
saying: "I promise myself no pleasure at all from 
this walk, the wind blows my hat so." That clay was 
the nadir. On entering the windless Uffizi her father 
had ventured tremblingly, " Now I hope you'll feel 
better," and she had snarled, " Yes, so do I, I am 
sure "; and at dinner had said, as she viciously shook 
her napkin out, " This evening meal is one of the worst 
plagues of the day " — a devil's grace. Grace after 
meat too : her father had offered to read Michelangelo's 
sonnets, out on the Fiesole terrace, the Val d'Arno 
spread out below them in deepening purple and crim- 
son, and she had said darkly : " It might help to make 
us to forget what we've eaten." The thought of each 
slip into some base sourness, and of his uncontrollable 
wince, or taxed courtesy, pierced her with rusty skew- 
ers. And yet, was she wrong? Wrong to wound 
him, of course; why should he bear the sins of the 
world ? But to find Europe dusty, dust underfoot and 
a dust-filled air? — what else was it? Paris was dust 
and white faces and — so the old wheels of bafflement, 


rage, self-pity, self -censure, each turning the next with 
its cogs, ground oillessly round in her mind. 

Guy roused her. " I bring you a marvel," he said, 
but his tone said that marvels were all an old fable. 
The man coming up, he told her, was an acquaintance. 

She looked up, incurious. " The marvel would be 
if he weren't. Wasn't the man we ran down on 
Lugano — the swimmer — your first fag at Harrow? 
Or was that the godson of some one papa knew in 
Parliament? Why, the beggar we found at Torcello 
had cleaned boots at Rome, at the Embassy, when 
Uncle Conrad was there." 

" My poor sister, you touch on a fatal truth. One 
friendly soul like papa can run through a whole fam- 
ily's fortune of newness in people it meets. Papa 
leaves us no lands undiscovered. We run our frail 
shallops ashore, you and I, on some stranger — we hope 
so, at least ; we leap from the bows ; all ardent, we run 
up appropriate flags; tiptoe, we peer through the jun- 
gle. And lo ! in the first clearing, embers ! Remains 
of a bamboo erection, signs of a garden, of civiliza- 
tion. Despair! — it is one of papa's disused resi- 
dencies! Yet let me be just. It is not papa, it is 
Newman, nay, it is I, who have met yonder climber." 

" Climber? ' Climber or walker, little she cared. 

She was girding within at Guy's irony. Why should 
it play round their father's dear head? But had not 
her own murmur started it? So the old wheels of 
complaint and compunction jarred on while Guy spoke. 

" So reason tells me. Thus : he that comes has a 
guide. But no one takes guides to come here and no 


further. What follows? They climb in the morn- 
ing one of these evil eminences?" 

He drew her eyes round to the snows of three tall 
peaks to the south-east, behind and above the inn, and 
now flushing to warmth in the first red of sunset. Up 
there, for an eye that had its health, all was dressed 
in illusion, to wear for an hour at most ; frost would 
then model dead whiteness in iron where now the high 
snowfields were soft laps edged with pink, restful to 
lie in, it seemed ; sunny ledges and terraces, hoisted and 
tilted for basking upon ; and all like some place happily 
dreamt of, aglow with a visionary glamour; made, too, 
like things in good dreams, without hardness of struc- 
ture; fold yielded to fold, stair swelled convex or wave- 
like to pass into stair; only, at the southernmost 
peak's north-eastern corner — the Dent Rouge Guy told 
her the peak was — there ran up a steep sky-line, a 
framing ridge with its dark rocks half bare, a slanting 
line of black dots like a route pricked out on a map, 
with the fields of rose-tinted snow below it, and fields 
of sun-searched blue air above. It looked as if it 
must lead to some world's wonder. So, at least, June 
dimly felt, not having the single eye's vision, and yet 
having a blurred sense that it could be had, did one 
know whither to strive. 

Guy prattled on about Browne — " one of those 
dragons of energy, enemies to peace " — how he would 
drag three reluctants from bed on a midsummer Sun- 
day at hours unthought of, mythical, before Oxford's 
earliest bell, to scull and tow upstream right through 
the sun's working day, unwinding strange coils of the 


Isis among distant meads. " He says ' Come ' and one 
cometh. I went myself once, I with my large use for 
sleep, to maintain my amenity. How the man diva- 
gates ! ' Guy was looking down through the glass. 
The two moving spots on the side of the mountain, still 
a long mile from the inn, would part for a while and 
rejoin; the track of the one drew with a plodding pen- 
cil the easiest upward route; the other drew loops on 
each side of that line; it would turn aside, visit boul- 
ders and gullies, or loiter at white broken water, and 
then, coming back straight and fast, move again for a 
while, by the side of the slow, even goer. ' Convince 
yourself " — Guy gave his sister the glass — " that it is 
not a lady exercising a dog." 

' Is there a wind," she asked, looking, ' down 
there? Here the air's fainting." 

Guy looked. From the excursive figure's left hand, 
hanging close to its side, a handkerchief, held by one 
corner, streamed out horizontal behind him, like a 
blown pennon. Guy took other evidence. " Not a 
pine stirring. The breeze is his make. The wind 
of his haste." 

' Winds are to the tempestuous," their father said 
softly, remelting into their company. Sunset was 
come, and sunsets had their dues ; their place in Turner 
was safe; they were in poetry's peerage; like saints 
they were calendared ; no rude, startled act of adora- 
tion was meet, but a liturgy, something apt from sensi- 
bility's rubric, a collect fitted to hour and place, the 
right choice among art's canonical forms of vespers. 
" And now the sun had stretched out all the hills " — 


he crooned it over twice, watching the black spike of 
shade thrown down on the snow by each western peak ; 
swiftly each shadow lengthened, its tip marching 
down the far side of the valley, then lost for a time 
in the valley's black bottom, then sighted again, rush- 
ing up the slope on this side, past where they stood, 
to the west-facing snows overhead. Higher and 
higher up the rosy radiance was driven before these 
invaders ; its rosiness seemed to be penned in and deep- 
ened as space for it failed, as if the same portion of 
dye were suffusing a lessening ground. 

"And over piney tracts of Vaud 
The rose of eve steals up the snow," 

the man of culture was murmuring, half-absently fin- 
gering the words, like beads on a rosary. 

Night involved the two travelers below. Far down 
the mountain a spark struck itself, as it seemed, strug- 
gled and blinked for a moment, then steadied itself 
and burned on, a pin-prick of light in the wide pit 
of blackness. They watched from the terrace for two 
or three minutes, silent, till Guy's eye met June's. 
Each saw that the other was waiting — Guy lazily 
tickled and June in torment — until there should come 
from their father the lines about lated travelers hasting 
— what was it? — to gain timely inns. 

" It's chilly. Do let us go in," she burst out, with 
a shiver that was of the mind mainly. Her father 
returned to Pascal with a lingering, discomforting 
sense of dues not exhaustively paid. Guy agreed, 
without hope of joy, to learn euchre from Newman. 


June went to her room to write letters; doing that, she 
could sometimes attain plumbless depths of absorption. 
She wrote by her window; she wondered at first what 
it meant, and how long she had sat, when she saw 
shafts of lantern-light dashed this way and that on 
the gravel outside and heard casual words in a voice 
that seemed fresh as the plash of a laugh in the dark 
from a boat coming home. 



" Murmur of living, 
Stir of existence, 
Soul of the world ! " 

Matthew Arnold. 

E had all been fairly original works of crea- 
tion," Guy wrote to a friend late that evening, 
" all during the soup and up to halfway through the 
fish (conceive it! They hoist fish up hither: 
despiciunt montem pisccs — guess how my father 
abounded!), and then the man Browne came in, 
and lo! we were faded old replicas, prints from the 
third state, and not good impressions at that, for here 
was the real proof etching, all edge and luster, sham- 
ing us. He goes about, liking things insanely ; pitches 
himself like an infant at what amuses him. I can see 
him yelling ' Bags I ! ' and annexing the Forum or 
pouching the Vatican. Yet is he modest ; he bounds 
not. June and my father, poor Newman and I, all sat 
and blinked while he spilt out, as well as shyness would 
let him, his cornucopious gains of travel — a prize-fight, 
some new and more earth-shaking Rodin at Paris, the 
way they act Ibsen at Munich, the way they make cider 
near Caen — he gets drunk on the difference between it 
and how they make cider in Devonshire. Quite a 
sound type, you know, only a little cyclonic for us quiet 
people. To-morrow, at earliest cock-crow, or sooner, 



he whirls me up some sky-impaling mountain behind 
the premises. In very truth, sir, I had as lief be 
hanged, sir, as go, but June has an impulse to rush out 
and do something violent ; also, the deuce knows why, 
one feels that one would be out of the proper main 
stream if one stayed — the same notion, no doubt, that 
makes the dust follow motors. I had it, that Sunday 
he tore you and me from our beds, our altars, our 
simple, devout student life, to toil up the river all 

That day on the Oxford river had come up at din- 
ner — an obvious topic for people with few common 
memories. Guv had begun it. Did Browne still se- 
duce the devout — " ' little ones which believe,' like 
me" — from prayers on Sundays? Or had he learnt 
better? Had he ordered his millstone? 

June shivered. Guy's jets of chaff could not hurt 
those they were aimed at; his spirit had no drop of 
vitriol in its aspersions; but why not take care what 
he splashed by the way? In churches in Italy June 
had not cared to see children gambol with dogs on the 
steps of altars. It was uncivil. 

Browne's eye caught her overstrained frown at the 
venial ribaldry. He was surprised, and in that sur- 
prise came the first clear impression he had of her, 
body and mind — a Flora sitting in judgment, Hebe 
turned Grand Inquisitor, a Rhadamanthine rose. 

" The sin would have been not to go," Browne re- 
plied, and unintendingly made Mr. Hathersage easy; 
it gave him a cue; he could turn from Browne's and 
Guy's to another going-a-Maying, more classic: 


" ' Nay! not so much as out of bed? 
When all the birds have matins said, 
And sung their thankful prayers: Tis sin, 
Nay, profanation to keep in.' " 

He hummed the words lingeringly; so a bee hums 
and hovers before folding wings on the one flower 
that she was looking for. 

Browne sucked in the sound of the lines ; they were 
new to him. " That was just it, sir," he said. The 
lines seemed to work on him; he set off eagerly, bun- 
glingly, trying to tell how he had waked that day 
early, to streets shining and silent, the first shadows 
reaching to all lengths about them, in unfamiliar direc- 
tions. His talk had no gloss or run, like a Hather- 
sage's; more like the babbling of some one still in a 
marvel's presence, interjecting broken surprise and 

It was crude ; it was like some undressing begun 
in public ; it might go to all lengths. June felt her 
face tingle with shame, as one does, in one's safety, for 
some rash taker of foolish odds. Oh, to have this 
man away and to make Guy tell her it all. For Guy 
had been there ; how Guy must have kindled ! Guy 
had felt that auroral freshness and wonder ; only some 
overflow from secret raptures of Guy's could have 
animated this alien. 

Guy, seeing some one begin to abound in a vein, 
drew him on. They strung reminiscences — Godstow 
at eight in the morning, mists on the move, the mead- 
ows still littered with diamonds; and breakfast there, 
on pink trout, by the door of the inn. 


" We as pink as the trout," put in Guy, " from that 
swim at the weir. My teeth chatter to think of it." 

June looked at Guy still; she was glad of his lithe- 
ness and full eyes, their mild brown enisled in clear 
bluish white; no teeth were so white as his, either; 
she saw his lips set for the dive, and how they would 
rise laughing after it, out of the lasher's race. And 
Guy could dissemble that ecstasy ! ' Then, above 
Godstow? " she asked. " Do go on," she added impa- 

" Oh. you tow miles and miles," Browne went on, 
" with your head among the larks and your naked toes 
feeling cowslips." He fumbled for some word, then 
stumbled along. " The grass is in varnish — you know 
the look ? Deep grass — the trees wade in it deeper 
each Sunday." 

Many bathes, jocund meals, pipes in Elysium — the 
girl grew aware of them, found them all good, of a 
goodness not physical only, but poignant with some 
fleeting and flower-like grace of young delight. 
Lamely Browne told the day out — how the evening 
was happy years long; " the sun found the right place 
in the sky, and stayed there "; then home in the warm 
dark, at rest on the rhythm of the oars. June held 
her breath, fearing for Guy, lest some stupid man in 
the boat — this Mr. Browne, perhaps — should speak 
and drown the note of one drip from a blade on the 
feather ; each note fell round and cool and lay whole 
like a pearl on the cushion of silent night. 

The talk, when June took it in next, was of pictures 
— or books, was it? — talk, on her father's and 


brother's side, modern, equipped, lightly glancing; 
only, not eager. They mooned in the van of all the arts, 
rode at will with the head of each column and pitied 
its hopes and were kind to its middlingness; nothing 
was left remarkable under their visiting eyes; and yet 
they kept on, they marched over the waste, urged by 
some habit of well-bred forbearance blent with some 
unspent instinct of caste captaincy. And they had 
solaces, privacies, tiny reserves of less deep disap- 
pointment with somebody's work, here and there, that 
had not been smirched with a fame too vulgar ; failing 
others, you had Leopardi to read; Shakespeare, al- 
though he wrote much else, had written the better of 
the Sonnets; and there were the pictures of Maris, 
" the Maris that counts," the right one of the three. 

Browne had waved an audacious flag and w r as now 
looking shamefaced, as youth does when wisdom re- 
ceives its flags and clarion blasts with bland lassitude. 
June, with a twinge of compassion for culture so half- 
baked, had heard him throw out the raw notion that 
now was the time to be living in : painting, sculpture, 
the novel, the play — in every garden the roses, the 
perfected roses, the pick, were, perhaps, only just 
bursting; the day of days might be at hand and we, 
the lucky men in the lottery, lucky beyond Pericleans, 
Augustans, Elizabethans, we might have drawn the 
great hour of all — high noon, high tide, high midsum- 
mer. He tumbled it out like that, garishly. So there 
followed a pause soft and deep, a bed of feathers and 
sand held out for the arrow, so witlessly loosed, to 
sink into harmlessly. 


June felt with her kindred ; but also she now saw 
their mood as if from without. It was like a dispirited 
god's, sad-eyed and clement, bearing with mankind 
after a Fall ; the world was like some storied place 
whose story was forfeited ; it was to them a Stratford 
that Shakespeare had never been near; a Westminster 
Abbey detected as modern and, if you looked into it, 
smart in design, nothing more. Essentiality was 
gone. The trees had no hamadryads, poor things. 

In mercy to Browne's raw gawkishness Guy led the 
way round to themes that might — it was to be hoped — 
let a mountaineer shine, if to shine were in him. Mr. 
Hathersage helped ; he cited distinguished eulogists of 
the open air, the life in the sun, of " enduring hard- 
ness," a fashion raging just then among imitant minds. 
Had Browne read Nature's last confidant? Some one 
was named who had railed or pouted readably at roofs 
and the tablecloth. Browne seemed to be at a loss. 

" The man with a style," Guy explained, ' and a 
cough, who was out two whole nights — you remem- 
ber? He drove his pyjamas, piled on an ass, from a 
sleeping-place under a bank of wild roses to one to 
leeward of a clump of honeysuckles. You smile? 
You alarm me. Is it not all moral beauty, as well as 
dog-roses? " 

Browne laughed. " When I was a boy, and slept 
out, up the river, it used to be shirking one's tooth- 

" ' Now I know,' ' Mr. Hathersage crooned, having 
found what he sought, " ' the secret of the making of 
the best people. It is to live in the open air and to eat 


and sleep with the earth." He fancied he thought 
so, but few men would more surely and swiftly come 
in when it rained. 

Browne launched off again, with his usual effort at 
starting. ' It's very nice of the bards and sages, sir; 
only mayn't they change hares next moment and go 
whooping off on some other line — perhaps saying, this 
time, that the true virile game is to stand up to soot 
and germs in East Ends and Black Countries and — ? 
Why — " Not alone that which goeth into the 
mouth intoxicateth a man. Browne looked round the 
table exaltedly, caught at the first eye that he lit on, 
which chanced to be Newman's, and rushed ahead : 
' Why, Newman, haven't there been in our time three 
immense revolutions in collars, and — ? " 

He meant no harm. For all that he noticed, New- 
man might have been wearing no collar at all. But he 
was. And in these matters of fashion Newman not 
only followed the chase, but would sometimes ride 
over the hounds; even now he was wearing a collar 
that might in three months be a stroke of conformity 
more consummately timed than to-day. So his heart 
told him ; and, having insolences of his own to let off 
on occasion, he thought he spied one in this unwitting 

Mr. Hathersage saw how the coltish ears had flicked 
back; he hurried to make a diversion with more book- 
ish stuff about life far from books. Why not "go 
back to Nature "? — that was the gist of it. 

Browne, flushed and with eyes alight, caught the 
thrown ball. "Back, sir? How far, though? To 


tents and no meat from the butcher? Why stop at 
that? Why not beech-mast and acorns?' 

" Go the whole hog, as they say? " Mr. Hathersage 

" Oh, doesn't our elderly friend, or aunt, Common 
Sense — ?" Guy murmured, to lubricate speech in 

Browne turned to Guy, joyously free ; one could not 
quite rally the graybeard. " Common Sense comes 
me cranking in? — yes. And then we bolt back to our 
dear old complexities? Last month a little book 
came out; I got it; a kind of tramp's manual; amateur 
tramp, of course, with a check-book about him, done 
up in oiled silk. All chapter one was a lyric — joy of 
living; over-safety of this effete age; out upon offices, 
dining out, Consols, fixed hours, libraries? — so on, ad 
lib, till page forty. From there to the end it was all 
how to rig up some wonderful tent, and to steam fish 
and brew a quite ineffable punch, and buy the most 
magical frying-pans, sleeping-bags, spirit-stoves — as if 
poor, passionate man, when he'd once got a spirit- 
stove, ever could stop on this side of a big, shiny 
kitchen-range, tying his soul to the earth. Oh, I beg 
pardon — " He turned with a start to the lady. 
He thought she had made a sound. 

She only said, " Please go on." But he was grav- 
eled, aghast; he had let himself go, in the first words 
that came — stupid ones, doubtless. Besides, on what 
toes might he not have come down ! 

June did not like him; he was unrestful to do with; 
he trumpeted; he was incalculable, though naif; to 


have him ahout was like taking a walk in the park with 
some one who might at any time leap upon one of the 
green chairs and preach, at the top of a childlike voice, 
some outlandish doctrine, and make your face hot for 
him. Nor had he a physical right to be like that in 
mind. He was not built for a crank. In body and 
face he was mere standard youth, with that clean blue- 
ness of eye and whiteness of tooth and puissancy of 
neck and wrist, ripe brown with stored sunshine. He 
ought to be merely commonplace-minded, like other 
young British Apollos, running fountains of stock 
banalities, desolators of garden-parties in Surrey ; then 
she could contemn him at ease. As it was, he was an 
irritant. But she had breeding and a quick mercy for 
the abashed. She would set on his feet the floored 
dancer of galliards. 'Why rough it at all, then?' 
she asked, encouraging. 

Browne looked round the table for help. Would no 
one explain? They must all know how, better than 
he. No one spoke. He had the lead and must keep 
it, and fluency, like a summer-dried fountain, had 
failed when the need was sorest. " Do you think," 
he said limply, " one does it to get at the feel of — well, 
of not roughing it? " 

'By contrast?' June's questioning look offered 

' Well, by coming at it from behind, as it were — 
from the time before comfort was yet thought of. I 
found out one night " — the spasmodic flow quickened 
a little — " the rare good invention a pillow is. We'd 
been caught on the Weisshorn, Louis — my guide 


here — and I. The first half of the night I lay 
flat on a rock. Then I had a great notion and rested 
my head on a rucksack with bottles, a loaf and a great 
pair of boots in it. It was divine! " 

" Voluptuary! " Guy breathed. 

" Yes," said Browne, eagerly ; " simply." 

" And I had thought you Antseus," Guy softly chid, 
" coming to your mother for a kiss! " 

" Kiss ? Dear old tigress ! The sport is to feel 
your head's outside her mouth; and you can't if you 
won't pop it in, just an inch or so. Try. Come up 
the Dent Rouge to-morrow with Louis and me." 

" Eh — ? " Guy ruefully scanned the proffered ad- 
venture. June fixed amazed eyes on him. Could he 
decline it? No, he could not; but a debility in him, 
not a fervor, accepted. See a pith ball feebly dance 
at the call of a piece of electrified glass — Guy was like 
that, half animated by any impulse that fired those 
who were nearest him. Gales that blew in their spirits 
would set faint draughts stirring in his, light airs with 
just enough motion to keep the miniature sails of his 
will perceptibly flapping until he drifted rather than 
steered across some new starting-line, not of his own 
choosing. And meanwhile the idle and curious eye of 
his mind was full of cool light; with amusement it 
watched what he did, just as it took in traits in others, 
virtues or failings, not wishing them anything else; 
were they not parts of the scenery? 'I am the 
clay," he said suavely to Browne, " thou art the 

June had longed for his voice to come soon and be 


ardent. When it came, lifelessly bland, she felt she 
had to give up a hope and lose a memory. This, then, 
was how Guy had gone up that magical and sacred 
river, a pressed man suffering Eden; his banter was 
not a mere veil; it was all of him. Dinner was over; 
she rose bewildered with that effacement of an imag- 
ined brother. Yet all was not loss; she, if not he, had 
just lived with a will that old day of his, a day unlike 
any that came now; it shone with a glamoursome 
goodness of light, like some lustrous single days re- 
membered since childhood or seen in stories told her of 
Ireland by her own Irish mother, three years dead. 

At a door leading straight to the terrace they passed 
from the dining-room's heat into a night fresh as a 
bath ; in it their voices splashed coolly. No wind blew, 
but June felt the air all astir as a brimming river is, 
at high tide, when it does not flow nor ebb, and yet 
moves, fingering its banks and arranging its waters: 
space was a vessel filled; it held something that groped 
and strove to be felt ; and some sense in June strained 
to take up the challenge; it craned, it shook itself out, 
a floating film of absorbency, on the charged air. Al- 
most — it seemed — overhead, that north-east ridge of 
the Dent Rouge, the one by which Guy was to go, sped 
up through the snows to the region where stars in the 
high frost winked and flashed; they seemed to have life 
and intention, such pulse had their fierce sparks, and 
now and then one would dart to earth slantwise, or fall 
headlong as Lucifer from the dome's roof. Behind 
the inn a wood fire was burning ; sparks flying up from 
it met those others and crossed them. 


a i 

Angels of God, ascending and descending.' 
Browne's voice, not far from her, made a note of 
their look, for himself, but what he said fitted her feel- 
ing, and carried it on, a feeling as if in this heaving 
darkness some world-transforming whisper were steal- 
ing close up to the line across which new sounds slip 
into hearing. How not to miss it? What if the 
chance should go by, like a passing ship's rope acci- 
dentally trailed, brushing the face of one drowning 
unnoticed? Panic beset her; she saw the ridge spring 
like a new Jacob's ladder into a sky strangely opened. 

" Guy " — she spoke low, drawing close to her 
brother — " let me come." 

"To-morrow? Up that unspeakable gradient?' 1 

" Let me come with you," she said entreatingly. 

"With me? Say instead of me. June, my poor 
lamb, could you take Isaac's place on the altar ?' : 

She stamped to hear his voice rippling along, tri- 
fling. " You know I can't go with these strange men, 
alone. And I must go." 

Guy's shrug came out well in the starlight, as main 
architectural outlines do. 

" ' Some hae meat and winna eat, 
And some hae nane, that want it.' " 

He sighed the words mildly and then spoke of many 
things needed by climbers which she had not got — an 
ice-ax, snow-spectacles, great nails, so on. 

She countered each point quickly. Axes? — a sheaf 
of them stood for sale in the hall; blue spectacles too; 


in the open wood-shed, at that very moment, the 
porter was hanging new nails by candle-light into a 

But the one guide, Guy feared, would not do for 
the three of them. That checked her, an instant, but 
" You must consult Mr. Browne," she doggedly said, 
not yet yielding. 

Joy ! Mr. Browne pooh-poohed the objection. 
Why, he was — well, no, not a guide, but quite a porter; 
he had the experience, though not the diploma. Be- 
sides, the banger of nails in the wood-shed had both ; 
they would take him ; Madame could well spare him, 

" Oh, thank you! " June cried in a tone too elate — 
so it sounded to her ; it gave her a twinge of shamed 
pride ; why bare even the least space of her soul's 
surface to any stranger? 

" What hour to start ? " Guy asked Browne re- 

" No hurry. Three'll do. We can't very well 
climb the ridge itself before daylight, and that's not 
till five, and it's only two hours' walk to the foot. If 
they'll call us at two — " 

Guy went to give orders. Browne and June were 
alone. " How safe one's face feels in the dark! " he 
said, quite simply, after a moment. The words 
seemed to fall on that bare place in her and cover it, as 
the naked are clothed in the innocence of others. He, 
too, she was somehow aware, had winced, perhaps 
flushed, with a sense of the twinge that had crossed 
her, and then had been glad that no one could see him 


wince, and now let it out unwittingly, like a child for 
whom, in some abashed moment, to go into the dark 
is to go into ease, and avow it. June wondered. Ex- 
cept in a child she had never seen the penetrative kind 
of simplicity. 


" Nur wo du bist sei alles, immer kindlich, 
So bist du alles, bist uniiberwindlich." 

Rough English Translation 
" Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye 
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." 

AT five the guide halted to blow out the lantern; 
dawn was an hour off yet, but the sky had 
turned violet, blenching down eastwards into a thin 
and cold blue, astringently sharp like the blue of 
skimmed milk. Due east the longish crest of Mont 
Bouquetin, seen across a wide glacier, bit its black edge 
into this paleness. 

Above the five climbers' heads there rose the ridge 
of their hopes; first a snow slope, steep and a little 
concave ; its profile rushed up in one soar, like the line 
of light swept by a rocket ; above it the ridge seemed 
to be of dark rock, its shape indistinct; yet higher, and 
also lighter in color and so lifting spectrally out of the 
twilight, the ridge rose as a twisted stake fence of wild 
pinnacles; one or two failing stars blinked feebly 
among them, yet still the ridge soared on and lost 
itself up there. It looked endless to June, it felt end- 
less to Guy, as the five, roped in file, kicked steps for 
themselves up the rustling snow slope for an hour, 
and then scrambled on up the tumbled dark rocks 



above, Guy at times on all fours and asking himself, 
without indignation, why he was there. 

They found a good flat place and breakfasted. 
While they ate dawn came, dewless and birdless, with 
no pretty ways; a last star went out and then an un- 
dazzling orb, its rim studded with short darts of light, 
drew clear of the earth with even, purposeful speed. 
Guy eyed it. " A somewhat bald pageant," he said 
in a measured tone, like one eschewing severity. 

Browne chuckled. ' The classical style, I sup- 

" No, no. The romantic," June cried, and then 
stopped, clutched by self-criticism. Rubbish! What 
rubbish! Stock raptures of female effusiveness. 
Then, as suddenly, came an impulse of salvage, to try 
to lift into truth the word let fall by rote. ' Isn't 
'romantic' what's splendid and strange? And just 

Far down, in the glacier that curved round the foot 
of their ridge, the straining ice creaked ; then it re- 
settled. They heard it out, silently. Stillness re- 
froze itself round them; all the air seemed a palace of 
stillness, with only infinitesimal winds stealing about 
its vacuous chambers. June heard, in her resting 
body, some pulse or breath that the climb had fluttered ; 
it rustled — a sound like crushed feathers; it seemed 
as if the others must hear, but they heard their own. 

Browne looked at her friendlily, curiously. " I 
meant the sun," he explained — " the big, bare way 
that he has with him — ' not trick't or flounc'd,' you 
know, like — " 


" Like our poor Surrey daybreaks? ' : 

" Ones that are all wet eyelash and twittering lawn? 
No. Surrey hasn't the trick." 

" Trick ? " she asked, rather august, as she always 
grew when she felt at a loss. 

He was confounded. " Her own trick — oh, yes. 
I only meant — not the classical one." 

"What's that?" she asked, more clemently. 

Still, a prostrating demand. " The classical 
dodge?" He got the question confirmed, to gain 

" Yes." She was waiting. 

He had to plunge. " Isn't it— well, is it this— for 
the sun, or the earth, or whatever it is, to be just its 
bare self and yet take your breath away — like the old 
boys who could say in their poems that somebody died, 
or cried, and lo ! it's tragic?" 

He inwardly groaned at himself; was that all he 
could say, out of all that he meant? But in this air, 
at this hour, ideas could pass and repass; it was a con- 
ductor. Besides — though he could not know this — his 
voice had self-attesting tones, in a word here and 
there, of a zestful veracity, turns and returns of the 
hound, nose to ground, caring about the scent only. 
June thought. So the sun, the mere sun, was all that 
to some people. And, strangely, a breath of that 
gusto invaded her, some stir of the troubled delight of 
sense put forth on things primal and vast, like the be- 
ginning of worlds. 

She came out of reverie shivering. Time to go on : 
that was clear. And now, without slighting the 


recreations of others, Guy made it known that his mind 
was enriched with this sport to the height of its needs, 
and that " brother body " craved ease. At eve, dewy 
eve, he would freely accept any impressions the others 
might bring back of the summit. June looked piteous 
at this, and he made haste to add that, of course, he 
would go down alone; the rest must go on. When 
June's eyes signaled a refusal of this composition 
Guy's brightened with silent, confidential laughter at 
bourgeois prudishness, escorts, chaperons; they were 
vieux feu, his looks said; they were not for the clean 
of to-day. That moved her, and then he said the 
slighter things that could be said ; unless she went on 
he would go on and perish and leave his bones whiten- 
ing, the ridge being no place for their transport. So 
it was settled, except that the porter must go 
back with Guy; the glacier below was not for lone 

While Louis repacked broken victuals, Browne and 
June silently watched the two others diminishing down 
the snow ridge. June turned at a sound ; it was Louis, 
pawing the ground, athirst for the enemy. , 

The guide advanced, first on the rope, the girl 
second. That rope can do wonders ; currents of gay 
comradeship spark along it ; sulks and reserves it con- 
ducts harmlessly into the earth. Browne nodded to- 
wards Louis as June was starting, her ten yards behind 
him. " He'll sing in a moment," Browne whispered, 

She too was merry, at ease, a surprise to herself. 
" The band plays the corps into action ? Dear 


Louis ! ' The three might have climbed together for 
weeks, they were such friends. And, surely enough, 
the lyric impulse was soon uncontainable. 

" Montagnes d'Evolene, 
Vous etes mes amours; 
Cabanes fortunees 
Ou j'ai regu le jour," 

Louis trolled till breath failed. It did soon. For the 
ridge changed. So far it had been a fair causeway, 
narrow enough but, from left edge to right, pretty 
level, a gangway-plank running up steep but true. 
Now it was taking a list to the left; the gangway's 
left edge had somehow dipped down; to go on they 
would first have to crawl up the slant to the higher 
right edge of the plank, so to speak, and then work 
up that as they might. 

Louis diffused himself over the slabby slant, gur- 
gling with joy like a fish-fed cat, made nondescript 
movements, and in a few seconds sat puffing and crow- 
ing astride of the sharp upper edge. June followed. 
Arrived, she looked over the edge. It had no other 
side to be seen; the crest that she clung upon beetled 
out over a void, like an eave; all was cut away under 
it. Holding on with one hand and her knees, June 
searched about, scraped a stone out of a cleft and 
dropped it over. It fell clear through air for two hun- 
dred feet, then struck a wall of hard snow and spun 
along down it, making a faint, distant hiss. 

" Good — isn't it?" Browne, who had scrambled up 
after her, panted out, breathless with haste and rap- 


ture. The gaze of both followed the stone where it 
still spun or slid or leapt on, now out of hearing, two 
thousand good feet down the wall, until at the top of 
its speed it was fielded extinguishingly by a waiting 
crevasse, a shark's slit of a mouth with soft lips of 
snow curved over parted ice teeth. At each hazard of 
its descent Browne had made tiny noises uncon- 
sciously, little grunts of happy absorption, holdings of 
breath as the stone neared a rock or a hole, releases of 
breath when it cleared them, almost a sigh when the 
run ended. June heard these sounds while watching 
the stone ; or rather — absurd, but it seemed so — hear- 
ing them was watching the stone more absorbedly 
than she had known that she could watch any- 

Attention relaxed, they looked up and she saw in 
his face a glee new to her ; yet she knew it ; she felt it 
rise in her too — the glee of a safety no longer unfelt 
or tasteless, like safety down there in the valley; now 
it was made salt to the sense ; it was prized because 
worked for; it glowed, a triumph for all the taut 
muscles; it stood in relief, cut out on a beautiful back- 
ground of risk; it was saved from being a matter of 
course, taken for granted. She felt her world widen- 
ing again; there were some, then, to whom such joys 
were not fortuitous flashes ; they knew where to come 
for them. What might one not know? — how to use 
them, perhaps, as avenues up to yet other heights of 
strange delight that no one had told her of. 

" It is best," Louis said, with Greek moderation, 
" not to slip here." 


Overhead the ridge was a file of shattered towers: 
it mounted wavering; now four or five of these towers, 
one after another, would shoot straight up at the sky; 
then some blast from the south would seem to have 
caught a whole troop of them — all their tips swayed 
to the north; like a row of blown flames they bent out 
over space ; and then the blown look would pass and a 
fifty-foot splinter of straight stone would shoot up 
again. The party had been working into the north 
while the sun had rounded towards south ; now they 
were in their mountain's own shadow, but far above 
them the staggering column of stone stakes emerged 
into sunlight ; the topmost turrets had rest and basked 
pensively. June looked at these. " How they muse ! " 
she said aloud, though to herself. 

( Yes." Browne for a moment considered her. No, 
it was not gush ; she saw things, this girl ; in a town 
she would know how high towers dream in hazes of 
luminous dust, over unrest ful streets. He considered 

Round or else over each of those sentinel spires the 
climbers must go. Soon Louis was scaling the first; 
from twenty feet up an obelisk, thirty feet high, his 
boot nails gleamed over the heads of the others. His 
toes ground off the rock a small hail of granules of 
crushed ice that pattered on hats below and bit the 
warm flesh at a sleeve. Soon it was June's turn. 
How easy it was — just to let fall away, like a cloak 
from the body, an incapacity put on — when could it 
have been that she put it on ? It was no part of her. 
Merely to live with a will in the reach of an arm up to 


grasp a stone knob overhead, holding her breath, with 
a child's gleeful cunning, to keep her chest close to the 
rock while she did it. That was all. 

From the top she watched Browne coming up. He 
moved with bold care; each hold that he used was 
tested with rigor, but, once tried, was utterly trusted, 
and grasp passed into grasp to make one continuous, 
sinuous, act of adhesion, the whole body working to- 
gether in movements that sent rippling folds down the 
back of his coat as the ordered power ran wave-like 
along the muscles below. 

From the obelisk's tip they dropped a few feet, on 
its upper side, to a thin edge of snow that led to the 
base of the pinnacle next on the ridge, some forty feet 
on. Each side of this edge was a thousand-foot ice- 
chute, and south winds had modeled the snow, as it 
fell on the ridge, so that the edge had a jutting cor- 
nice ; it curled over northward so that the pointed 
shaft of an ax, driven straight down at the place that 
looked at first fittest to walk on, made a clean hole that 
showed daylight below and the cold bluish shine of 
the ice-chute, three hundred feet under. 

" A porter's job, Louis," said Browne, and, chang- 
ing places, addressed himself to the traverse, hacking 
the fair and false cornice away with his ax as he 
went, and trimming and trampling the upright snow 
edge to the width of a slim garden wall. 

Soon he was thirty feet out from the start; halfway 
across, but the rope was tightening between him and 
June ; she must start before he was over. Louis un- 
easily made himself fast; he adjured her to sit on the 


edge, to bestride it and hoick herself on with the hands. 
'Every one does it," he said, to square her pride; 
'the best climbers; I myself, often." She did her 
best not to. " It would make monsieur safer," Louis 
urged. She weighed that. But, no. Comrades owed 
not help alone but that help untarnished. She walked 
lance-straight through mid-air — so it felt — to the 
midst of the traverse and, planted there, kept fear at 
bay for ten minutes, second by second, till Browne, 
now across and on good rock, turned and saw her 
neck lifting like some gracious symbol of pride. 

The pinnacle next was easy; the one after, hard; 
the one after that, impossible, frontally: Louis must 
turn its flank cannily. Out of snow-covered ice the 
pinnacle rose as a lower tooth from a gum, the gum 
scarcely less steep than the tooth. But, just where the 
stone tooth rose out of the snow, the snow swelled out, 
gum-like, a little ; not that the ice which it covered was 
less steep there than below; but a little more snow 
could cling to it there, by freezing on to the unsunned 
rock ; and so for a couple of feet from the base of the 
tooth the gum only fell away convex, before dropping 
sheer. By this hanging shelf the guide set out to steal 
round the foot of the pinnacle, gingerly stamping the 
snow at each step until it would form a hard tread, 
frozen fast to the steep ice beneath. He was well out 
of sight round the bulge when his shout came for June 
to come carefully on. She committed herself to his 
vestiges. Aubrey, well planted, paid out the rope to 
her frugally. Warily coasting the swell of the tooth 
she paused where it pushed her out furthest. 


"What's it like?" Aubrey called. Could she be 

She glanced back, a merry thought curling her lip. 
" It's like walking on one stilt. It's made of an icicle, 
with a hard snowball stuck on to its side, and that's 
the stilt's step." So he saw she had gone clean 
through fear, if she had felt it, and come out beyond, 
to the mood in which people say, not " Surely, that's 
not a ghost? " but " What a fine ghost, to be sure! ,: 

Joyful yells proclaimed Louis restored to the ridge. 
June, once round the bulge, almost ran up the neat 
little stairway of steps he had made in the snow to its 
crest, where he sat gaily reviling the circumvented 
enemy. " Dog of a gendarme! " * he mocked, " and 
easy, too ! But yes ! Absolutely ! ' : Louis had 
courage, not chivalry. June laughed, glad to have 
him so. In her old thoughts valor had always tow- 
ered like some regal grace or tall plume. Frigid 
image, uncompanionable ; beside it how good this stout 
clay that blood warmed, all common, sun-baked and 
dust-stained, that laid on in fight like a good one, and 
boasted about it when done, and kicked at the slain 
like a triumphing child ! 

Soon they lost count of separate towers topped or 
turned. Above, there never seemed to be fewer to 
pass; indeed, sometimes more; each time that the 
next stretch of ridge became aquiline, file after file of 
new pinnacles moved into sight as the climbers sur- 
mounted the convexity; points that had looked as if 

* The slang term of mountaineers for a pinnacle of rock 
standing on a ridge. 


the summit were there became taking-off places for 
fresh upward leaps of the old spiky edge. The three, 
from their black-frozen north, where no icicle lost 
hold, looked out of Greenland into the Tropics. What 
a noon must be blazing, up there ! While a wet glove 
cased hard on the hand, they saw the highest turret- 
tops bleach and ache in a shimmer of heat on a sky 
blue as skies in a song. 

' Much more of it, Louis? " asked Aubrey. 

The guide gave the shrug of a guide. " Were the 
ridge in condition — perhaps forty minutes. At pres- 
ent — two hours, perhaps four, who knows ? ' : 

The ridge was not in condition. Each chink in the 
rocks had been stuffed with the flying flakes of some 
snowstorm; the tiniest ledge had held its white pat, 
with wind-beveled edges; and then these had half 
melted and then refrozen. They were now ice, and 
on these ledges capped with their little ice-cushions, 
the party must find or make foothold; in those ice- 
choked clefts they had to rummage for hold for their 

Meal-time had come round. Huddled under a rock, 
lest stones or ice fall from above, where the sun was 
at work, they crouched on their heels ; they ate and 
drank and their souls enjoyed good in their labor. 
What a savor the salt had ; what goodness, to June, the 
villainous red wine ! They drank, two by two, to the 
health of the third; it seemed natural. In the world 
there were only three persons ; all day their three lives 
were being laid, turn by turn, in the keeping of each, 
and held safe there with passionate care, and then 


handed on, with lightsome trustfulness, to the next. 
While they ate they said trivial things with a kind of 
blithe gravity. All meals — the saying is old — are 
sacraments really; only some vulgarization of them, 
or of us, repels us at most times ; we cannot communi- 
cate. This time there came no frustration. 


" Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? " 

Job xxxviii. 22. 

EACH pinnacle now seemed worse than the last. 
Two hours on from the place of their meal came 
the hardest of all. It rose eighty feet from the ridge, 
which was here of pure ice, blue and hard, its crest 
about as wide as a plank. There was no going round 
that pinnacle; right and left its sides fell smooth and 
sheer into ice almost as sheer. Straight in front, too, 
attack would be hopeless. The pinnacle straddled 
across the ice plank, barring it, bulging out far to each 
side of it, much as a chimney-stack does on the ridge 
of a roof. For the first twelve feet of its height, just 
where the plank led up to it, not a wrinkle of rough- 
ness diversified the vertical stone. 

There was only one chance. As far away to the 
right as a tall stride from the ice plank might reach 
out through space, Louis descried on the pinnacle's 
face a ledge an inch wide and some eight inches long ; 
not a flat ledge, alas ! — it sloped outwards a little and 
had a poor edge; but there was no choice. And, five 
feet above the ledge, two nearly upright fissures, ten 
inches apart from each other and each about an inch 
wide, could be seen ; for a couple of feet they ran 
upwards till one of them widened to five or six inches. 
And, yet two feet higher, this fissure held in its clutch 



a small stone, lodged there during some downfall of 
broken rock from above. 

Sitting thirty feet off on the last rock before the 
plank bridge, they considered it all. Could a hand only 
get at that little jammed stone -nine feet up ! Were it 
once grasped you might hang from it, safe while your 
grasp held. And. while it held, sharp nails on the inner 
edge of a right boot, thrust well out once more to the 
right, might bite on another minute excrescence of 
rock, another three feet out over space. If the nails 
bit, the hands might then be invited to quit the jammed 
stone, their one comfort and stay in the passage, and 
grope for projections to grip, or depressions to occupy, 
in certain bas-reliefs out, again, to the right, and 
higher. Fondly remembered by Louis as having lain 
within his reach when his right foot, in some other 
year, had trusted itself to that second excrescence of 
rock, these reliefs were now buried under the lower 
end of a ribbon of loose snow that seemed to run up, 
curving spirally round, towards the ridge at the back 
of the tower, the party's one aim in life. Could they 
once gain that snow, Louis averred, they were made; 
beneath it were all sorts of good things. Trust him — 
were he there he would stick his claws into all that 
would be wanted. 

They stood by for the venture. Louis walked the 
plank of ice first, and then June. At its far end she 
stood at his back, ready to close in and wait, steadied 
against the pinnacle's base, as soon as he quitted the 
ridge. Should he slip, and so fall down the right- 
hand precipice, she was to jump down the one on the 


left, that so they might both come to rest, hung to the 
ridge by the rope, like a donkey's two panniers. 
Browne was not to cross yet, but sit fast ; with a turn 
of the rope twisted round a good firm wart of rock, 
he would now be the caravan's saving point of ad- 
hesion to absolute fixity. Also, while Louis climbed, 
Browne, thus posted afar, would watch and might tell 
him of boons to be reached by a groping finger-tip, out 
of its owner's sight. 

First, leaning out from the ridge, the guide, with his 
extended ax, chipped the ice off the first one-inch 
ledge ; he picked some out, too, but not much, from the 
fissures above. He then slung his ax to his wrist and 
glanced back at Browne. " You're fixed? " he asked, 
almost severely. 

Browne patted the stone wart and nodded. 

' Eh, well — " said Louis and made the big step. 

With pricked ears that read sounds like print, June 
heard the rim of serrated steel round Louis' sole grind 
as it bit on the tiny ledge; then give, with an ominous 
scrape, for some infinitesimal distance upon it; and 
then, finding an answering roughness, bite and hold 
fast, while the guide, in the same swinging movement, 
drew off his left foot from the ridge, reached up with 
both hands, and committed the good of the cause to 
what he might find in the two upright cracks. Then 
the fighting began. Louis climbed with a wrestler's 
quick, felicitous cunning at seeing the way to a new 
grip, its use, and the time when its use would be past. 
At one moment his arms would be crossed, and what 
clamped him on to the vertical rock was only the 


lateral pressure and counter-pressure of two open 
palms pulling in towards each other from opposite 
sides of an upright lamina of stone ; at another he used 
only one of the vertical cracks for both hands, making 
as if to tear it wider open, his fingers straining out- 
wards sideways against its two opposite walls; and 
once, as he went higher, he seemed to have no de- 
scribable handhold or foothold at all, but to plaster 
himself to the crag by the aggregate friction of elbows, 
knees, toes, chin and palms, all nuzzling into shallow 
depressions of its surface and feeling out any square 
inch of more merciful gradient. 

To June, standing steady on guard, there had come 
now the exaltation of sober sense that danger brings 
to the unafraid. In half-seconds she saw whole 
ranges of practical things and could think out long 
trains of cause and effect, compare and speculate; an 
instant gave infinite leisure ; time, the old fetter, was 
knocked off the mind. One trifle she noticed was 
how, on that first ill-sloping inch of stone ledge, Louis' 
boot had come down not square but with a slope too, 
its sole parallel to the ledge's surface. Was that why 
it slipped, just a little, at first? 

" It's the right way; " Browne's voice came across 
as she wondered. Odd — another obstruction gone 
too? Did thought pick up thought without the old 
signaling? "Gives the boot more bite," he said. 
" More nails get a go at it." 

She nodded, rejoicing at Louis, to see how each 
trooper in that battalion of sinews could mind its own 
work, and the captaining wits be left free to make for 


this opening or that, like a chief who has only to run 
on ahead at the enemy, knowing the breath of his 
men will be hot on his neck as he draws near the 
trenches. And all through the fight the guide 
pshawed, groaned and swore to himself, making it up 
to his spirit, for any pangs of daring in action, with 
free leave to wallow in over-expression of fear and 
disgust, as some surgeons will grunt and snarl their 
way through big operations, or soldiers go blenching 
or blubbering into an action that wins them a cross. 

Once begun, the bout had to go quickly. Merely to 
cling to the rock by such holds was hard work; to 
hoist by them, harder; no one could keep it up long. 
Besides, every grasp was on rock glazed with ice; the 
climber raced oncoming numbness; the difficulty must 
be passed before fingers lost feeling. And now 
Browne saw that Louis was going to be checked. He 
had reached the lower end of the ribbon of snow, but 
he was only mounting it slowly and painfully, digging 
his fingers and boot-toes searchingly in, but seeming 
nowhere to find what he sought. He had overrated 
their chance. The holds he had thought to find under 
the snow were masked in ice ; till he was twenty feet 
higher, at least, the most he could do — if he could do 
that — would be not to slip; he could nowhere stand 
squarely enough to resist any pull on the rope from 
below. And already the rope was straightening be- 
tween him and June. Soon it would tighten. Five 
feet more and the guide would be held back, clinging 
to some frozen crevice or knob with fingers themselves 
freezing fast. The girl must then start up the worst 


piece of all with no chance of help from the rope from 
above; worse — with a certainty that if she slipped she 
would drag the guide off. Then the two would fall 
backwards through the air, till the rope held by 
Browne would grow taut — for one instant only ; even 
the best ropes have limits of strength. 

One thing, he saw, could be done. The whole 
length of their rope, being more than double the length 
of the part between Louis and June, would give the 
guide freedom to climb nearly up to the ridge and to 
find on the way, if he could, some square foot of flat 
rock or snow. Planted there, with the rope in both 
hands, if they were still able to feel it, Louis might 
stand a fair strain. It would mean Browne's quitting 
their one firm anchorage. Still — 

" All right there? " he asked June. 

" Splendid." Her voice had a kind of glow. 

" Good. I'm coming." 

He walked the plank swiftly and faced her, he 
poised on the ice ridge, she leaning her back against 
the tower. " Louis needs rope," he said ; " may I untie 

She worked the knot round on her chest into reach 
of his hand. What a knot! — evil in kind and now 
frozen rigid. 

"Oh, Louis, Louis!' Browne apostrophized under 
his breath as he tugged and picked at the tangle of 
petrified hemp. " How he loves that wicked old over- 
hand knot ! " 

" The dear goose ! " June chid too, as over a nice, 
naughty child. Both could speak thus, each knowing 


the other loyal in mind to the comrade fighting above. 

The knot gave at last, but only a little, and Louis 
had climbed on, meanwhile, to the end of his tether; 
the rope came down taut; not even so much of slack 
was left as was needed to loosen the knot completely 
and run the loop large, so as to lift it up over June's 
arms. Twenty seconds would finish the job, but not 
without ten or twelve inches more play in the rope; 
and now Louis was straining up on it as though every 
inch more it could yield was a lift towards deliverance. 
They stared about with one quest in their eyes; was 
there no stone, no lump of snow or ice, nothing to raise 
up her feet those few inches for those twenty seconds ? 

" Bend your knee. I'll stand on it," she suddenly 

He could not reject the risk for her. They were 
like one person now, a staunch one, in whom the 
members do not tremble one for another. She found 
means to hold fast while he closed in and pressed a 
bent knee to the rock, and then to step up and stand 
on his leveled thigh ; she balanced deftly, one hand 
capping the ball of his shoulder and one pressed flat 
against the smooth rock. Twenty seconds? — they 
did it in ten. June had the noose slipped over her 
head and one arm, and half over the other, when 
Louis' voice, sharp with anxiety, came to them. 
" Sir, I can hold here no longer. I must have more 
rope. Untie the young lady." 

" It's done, Louis. Pull away — much as you like," 
Browne shouted ; and June, from her perch on his 
knee, looked up, calling, " Oh, well climbed, Louis ! 


Well climbed!" before Browne, with both hands on 
her waist, set her down like a rose-vase too full of 
water. She was unroped — a torment to him to see. 
"Well played, you! Well played, you!' he kept 
murmuring as he undid the knot tying himself at the 
end of the rope and tied June there instead, to be 
ready to start on a call from above. 

It came soon. The guide, once let out of the leash, 
had gone fast. A falsetto whoop of delight, a wild 
scraping on rock by boot-nails which some solid hand- 
hold had set free from care, and a shower of snow 
kicked away from the long-coveted platform — all 
brought the news of a fortress taken. June set out, 
exulting to move again. Browne could steady her off 
from the ridge; the tip of the shaft of his ax, stretched 
out to rest on the first minute ledge, made the footing 
there sure. Above it the tip of the ax could still, for 
a few feet, be pressed up under a groping boot. But 
she needed help little. In five minutes more she was 
niched beside Louis on two square feet of flatness, un- 
doing her end of the rope with numb hands — Louis' 
were too numb now — to let down to Browne. Its 
frozen kinks came to him dancing and curling in air 
and, sped by the guide's entreaty to come fast, lest 
their hands be frost-bitten, he tied on in haste, went off 
with a rush and, on reaching the little stone jammed 
in the crack, did not wait to grasp at it from its own 
rear and base and so jam it only the more with his 
pull. He grabbed at its top from outside and it came 
right out in his hand : he hung from the rope. 

Oh, Louis, I'm sorry," he groaned. His body 


began to rotate, spit-fashion, horribly. Then the rope 
gave a little, and then he saw the guide's look of dread 
as it slipped yet another inch through his dead fingers. 

Above the point on the rope where Louis held it a 
coil of it lay at June's feet. There was that much to 
slip through his fingers, and then — 

" Can you — ? ' The guide looked half round, but 
June was before him — had twisted the rope, eighteen 
inches above where he held it, round both of her hands 
and was pulling up hard and straight from her heels, 
as an oarsman drives from the stretcher. Browne saw 
her face, busy and set, behind Louis' aghast one, and 
then the rope held ; the four hands could just do it. 
Three seconds more and Browne, swinging round with 
a jerk to get his face to the rock, had thrust both hands, 
open and edgewise, into the two upright cracks and 
then clenched his fists till each hand was a lump large 
enough to stick fast in the narrows. 

" Right. Slacken a little," he called. Bending his 
elbows the little he could, he drew up his body some 
three or four inches, unclenched and took out his left 
hand and again put it into the crack and reclenched it, 
those three or four inches higher, then drew up his 
body again and took out the right hand, and did it all 
again, till at last a foot swung out to the right could 
find hold. Not much of the skin of his knuckles was 
left to complain when he reached his friends and found 
Louis rubbing June's right hand with snow. Browne 
groaned again, to see the groove the rope had indented 
there, and how the flesh did not spring up when re- 


She was quelled by the cold, quelled past trusting 
her voice to sound buoyant. They all were. Oh, to be 
out of that bitter black North — icy rock, rocky ice, and 
that brutal pain in their fingers, an indistinct ache as of 
crushed limbs; it bruised the spirit. 

They re-roped in order and made their way on in 
dead silence, each of their cowed hearts keeping its 
numbness all to itself, lest it discourage the hearts that 
each felt to be still uncowed in the others. June did 
not look up; it seemed to be of no use; it was so long 
since there had ever been sun in the world. Once, as 
they struggled on over more of the old rocky teeth, 
she had a queer fancy that some rock she touched with 
her left hand was warm. Luxurious fancy ! She 
checked it, almost in fear — was she growing light- 
headed? Why, they were in shadow, in midwinter 
rigors; Louis, above her, was audibly cutting steps up 
a slant of hard ice, their old enemy. " Canst thou not 
suffer and be silent? " June tried to say to herself, over 
and over, like a prayer, holding despair off with the 
words. Droning it, with her eyes on her feet, she 
heard, as sounds fail away while a doze becomes sleep, 
the hacking of Louis' ax growing less loud, the 
strokes slower, more wide apart; they stopped; a rust- 
ling noise, short, crisp, delicious, heard long ago in 
some happier time, had succeeded them. Starting, she 
looked up; she saw Louis, transfigured in sunshine, 
stroll up a soft white bank bejeweled like dewed grass, 
and then her own face was in heaven's good warmth, 
bathed in it. 

Louis was turning, his face one repose of beatitude. 


" We are arrived ! " Louis said. Where he stood the 
last incline died off on the crown of a huge cap of 
snow, the roof of the mountain. It swelled, rose and 
fell, like a down, a genial, incredible, softly-rolling 
world to be found at the tip of that ladder thrust up 
into the air. 


"What must be the delight of a mind rightly touched, to gaze 
on the huge mountain masses for one's show, and, as it were, 
lift one's head into the clouds ! The soul is strangely rapt with 
these astonishing heights." Conrad Gesner. 

THEY dropped on the snow; every muscle ran 
slack; the rope lay out loose; from rucksack 
and pockets they spilt food, maps, bottles, corkscrews, 
pell-mell, for the joy of doing things carelessly. 
There they sat or lay, glorious, luxurious, replete 
with mere remission of tensity, taking long, leisurely 
pulls at the great tankard of their achieved safety: 
it bubbled and sparkled. 

" What o'clock? " June asked, out of depths of in- 
difference. " Is it eleven yet? Hardly." 

Louis smiled toward the sun. 

" Three forty," said Browne. They all laughed. 
So time goes when you live. 

Louis half-heartedly put it that even the easy way 
down, which they meant to take, needed daylight. The 
others derided him. 

" Eh, well ! " said Louis, and lit a pipe blissfully. 
No flame from the struck match was seen in the sun- 
light; only a quiver of smoke rising over it — straight, 
the air was so still. 

" Cost what cost, we must stay awhile," June smiled 
to Louis, who wished to learn English. 



The world, now a conquest of theirs, lay out below 
like a great map spread on a floor. Almost under the 
lowered sun Mont Blanc stood obtuse amidst arrowy 
peaks, like a house among poplars. Eastward the 
Matterhorn's bent tip, monstrous, a whim, and a child's 
whim, not an architect's, brazened it out, its queer dis- 
tinction killing lovelier rivals. Along the Rhone val- 
ley's dark trench the eye felt its way down forty 
miles till it hit on a speck of the Lake of Geneva's blue. 
Eighty miles away snows on the Dauphiny Mountains 
were shining, hoisted into mid-air on black plinths. 
And southward the whole Lombard plain stretched and 
lengthened out, endless, dim with deepening purples 
of farness and of evening. 

Browne picked out a point that he knew in the Mari- 
time Alps ; it showed through a gap in the Graians. 
' From there," he told June, " when the air has been 
well washed with rain, you see Corsica — only a blur, of 
course, rising out of the level shine when the sun's on 
the Mediterranean." He turned, searched the north, 
and found the dorsal fin of an Oberland mountain. 
' From up there you see the Black Forest — right into 

She gazed and gazed, thrilled with the feel of a new 
reach in the one sense which up here was at work, 
where all was blank for the rest. The last scent had 
died off behind them eight hours ago, at some grass 
with orchises on it; the last sound not made by them- 
selves — the creak of a chough or some scared mar- 
mot's whistle — had come scarcely higher. Sight's own 
task had been simplified : not busy now with the near, 


tumbled riches of lowlands, it put forth its strength 
on sheer distance, and, stirred by its own strength and 
drunk with it, took on new powers and visions of 

" See that dip? " Browne pointed north-eastward. 
She saw. " The St. Gotthard is there. The Rhine 
and the Rhone and the Po are all there, scrambling for 
water. It's thrown them like coppers; Adriatic and 
North Sea fight for a snow flake." 

June stared as one stares at the fire and tries to 
recall some old view and to think out a path for the eye 
through the banked mists that had bounded it. Now 
the path opened; the bodily eye seemed aware of more 
and yet more, till June could not tell sight from reverie. 
Europe was lying before her unrolled; she stood at its 
center and saw the mills there grind the powder that 
spread Holland out on the sea and let Venice rise from 
it ; reaching across to where the Bernina gleamed high 
in the East, she could lean over pools where the waters 
are gathered that moat Bulgaria and carry the grit 
that redraws the Black Sea. Rivers appeared in all 
their lengths, with their adventures, their dawdlings 
and hastenings; the Rhine, after all its swayed ferry- 
boats, lazy at last among tulips and windmills; the 
Danube constricted to tear past Belgrade and Vienna, 
between speeding walls, like a horse breaking through 
a cordon. " What's that? " she cried. 

The roar of a far-off explosion was reaching them, 
dreamy and bodiless first, and then rounding and hard- 
ening into fullness. A rattle of minor artillery fol- 


lowed it, each crack, again, muffled at first as if some 
muting membrane enwound it. 

' See ! On Mont Bouquetin ! " Louis pointed. 

Browne added, " Low down — near the glacier by- 
no w." 

Through a mile and a half of quivering glare June 
saw a trail of black specks fall pausingly, second by 
second, down a ledged precipice. " The everlasting 
hills!" said Browne. Slowly the commotion ended; 
the spilt scuttle of coal — so it looked — was coming to 
rest at the foot of the crag, spoiling a snowfield. " A 
thousand tons less of the Bouquetin now! " 

Long after all was at rest, to the eye, the last blurred 
report of rock smashing on rock droned across through 
the heat to them. Then stillness twice as still as before 
settled on all the immobile, glittering desert of stone 
and snow, rising and falling, falling and rising. June 
had felt something — not learnt, but felt; all of the 
earth that seems hard and lasting was tumbling away, 
over there, into rubbish ; she saw the hills as they are — 
a last ruin almost, and how the tips of to-day's peaks 
had lain in black bottoms of valleys. Something be- 
fell her ; time went the way space had gone ; it shrank 
into a thing excitingly small; fancy could grasp it and 
play with it here, where the work of a million quarry- 
ing frosts and suns lay out to be seen like a stone- 
breaker's finished heap by a road. 

Ecstasy caught her; the earth's convexity seemed 
a thing real to sense; the foot braced itself to it; the 
eye felt a glee at it ; poised on the ball spun in space, 
June held her breath with delight at its revolution. 


And then with a sudden tenderness she espied some- 
thing. Down the bed of a valley a railway, a road and 
a stream twisted their triple cable, the strands plaiting 
over and under. It moved her oddly; the two tiny 
threads, carefully fitted in with the third, had the 
touching dearness of children's minute and fugitive 
engineering. What was it that had put bars till now 
between her and such good pangs and pleasures? 
Between her, too, and her comrades of all times in this 
place, her peers in drawing the lot for this high adven- 
ture of being alive, ever since Alps were first Alps? 
Where were the passes, she asked gaily, eagerly — 
where were the old famous passes over to Italy ? 

" Which of them first ? " Browne asked. He looked 
at her in wonder. Her mouth, like a bud long kept 
back, had broken into incredible bloom, a rose with the 
many curves of all its soft-lipped petals not fixed and 
assembled, but changing, successive, melting curve into 

" The Mont Cenis, please." She had heard of it 


He picked out two pretty high points in the distant 
south-west. " The road runs just below them, a little 
beyond them." 

They fell to work, taking light from each other's 
excitement; they set trains and pomps of old travelers 
tramping across — Frankish kings on their way to be 
crowned, and Holy Roman Emperors and other great 
ones of the earth — Louis the Pious drawing rein on the 
top of the pass and founding the guest-house, and 
Charles the Bald dead on the way. Neither knew any 


history, to speak of; only, in each of their minds, some 
visible fact had stuck, here and there, at some time or 
other, and then lain forgotten; now these emerged 
from the closet, turned into morsels of livid, tingling 
experience. The two capped reminiscences shyly, 
afraid of swaggering. 

" Didn't Henry the Fourth go that way to Ca- 
nossa? " she asked, like a born Catholic. 

Browne could believe it. And people, four hundred 
years later, tobogganed. " A Duchess of Saxony — 
fancy some dragonsome dowager — tearing across in 
the snow, to help a Duke of Burgundy, was it? She 
slid from the top down to — Lanslebourg, isn't it? ' 

She laughed. He had wanted her to, that the rose 
might curl more petals. He looked at them. ' Then, 
a mere hundred years after, Montaigne," he added, 
when only to look would begin to be rude. 

She grew serious again. " And, all the time, pil- 
grims — long chains of black spots on the snow, both 
ways, in and out — drawn in on Rome and sent out 
from it, as people's blood is — " She stopped, her little 
figure of speech taking fright at itself. So she looked 
a little august again, and remote. She always did 
when alarmed or abashed. 

He did not know that. He only saw what looked 
like a gesture of quick withdrawal into dim inner re- 
cesses of orthodoxy. So that was her line, he reflected 
lightly. He gave her time to come out; then they 
began the game over again, picking out a fresh pass ; 
the Genevre it was, a nick in a ridge a great way off; 
they romped through the sights you might have seen, if 


you had sat there by the road, with time done away 
with — Caesar's bald crown, damply beaded perhaps, 
coming up into sight, on his way to the taking of Gaul; 
and drift on drift of rug-headed Lombards surging 
across; and then the Franks pushing them back; and 
Charlemagne crossing, it might be, to take in old Lom- 
bard)' ; " and the Pope, Innocent the " Browne 

was rollicking on. 

" A Pope up there? " June checked for an instant : 
the petals drew in as anemone petals will do, even for 
a light cloud. 

" A Pope and an Emperor," Aubrey rushed on, to 
blow the cloud away; " Frederick the First and a king 
or two — Charles the Eighth was it?— to fall upon 
Italy; Louis the Thirteenth with Richelieu beside him; 
and then a short pause, and a French army swings up 
the road; it's off to Magenta, Solferino." 

Europe's life marched in serried procession; it had 
the color and clangor of one pageant, gone through 
in an hour, as Europe's whole face had come within 
sight, and the make and whirling of the earth into 
reach of the body's senses. In that world transfigured 
into radiant coherence they sat god-like, fingering their 
treasures, till some peak a mile off in the west threw a 
shadow that stole up the snow to their feet. Not two 
hours till dark! Louis was fidgeting. 

With stiff, happy muscles they stumped away over 
the dome to its southern edge and began to lower them- 
selves, ledge by ledge, down a rude natural staircase, 
ruined and rock-strewn, leading down some thousands 
of feet. Browne went first now, Louis last. They all 


fell silent again as they plodded on, only with some 
jocund word of companionship now and again, blithe 
like a lamp lit in early twilight. Then the light thick- 
ened, and the silence, and in the silence the reinsula- 
tion of minds began. June felt a grasp giving way, 
helplessly; could she not keep any hold on that untur- 
bid and lightsome world? Would it be all gone that 
night when in bed she tried to live back through the 
day ? Was it going from Browne, too, she wondered ? 
She peered at what she could see of him — only some 
short curling hairs that had looked fair just now on 
the back of a neck burnt brown. If the vision were 
failing him, too, she was sorry and wished she could 
help; and then in a spasm of angry shame she struck 
her wish down. To think she could help, or had any 
part in it all ! Vanity, vanity ! Why, it was his eye 
that made things over again; what you saw with his 
help was like what poets had worked on, or legends 
grown to; it rose to the state of things primal or 
storied; his mind took in a thought and appareled it, 
somehow, by that very act with glamour or grandeur 
or magical simpleness. What might it not do, that 
power? Not merely things seen and touched might 
now be fallen from grace and waiting in rust and dust 
till the mind came that could break on them like the 
dawn, that both sees life and gives it. Courage, con- 
trol, charity, faith — no, he had not religion; she knew 
by his courtesy when their talk neared it. But if he 
did ever have it — 

Their way was a zigzag now; in the last of the light 
his face was in profile at one moment, then it came full 


and then turned away again. If one were dead and in 
some pallid heaven it would be good to escape for a 
moment and see a face red and brown like poppies in 
corn, and eyes with lids dropped at the outer end a 
little, as if with looking through wind and rain into 
distance, and wrists where the joint was a modeled 
steel nut among swart, hairy straps, and a neck that 
indexed a fit frame's whole volume of litheness. She 
stumbled and, flushing unseen in the dusk, recovered 
herself quickly and tried to fasten her eyes on the 
path. But she looked on at Browne now and then: 
she had to : she had to verify things about him — to see 
what was well made and what not ; well or ill, they 
were all rather touching, somehow, because they were 
just what they were, as a baby's face is, for better or 
worse. Soon it was only one outline she saw, and 
then none; it was dark; they had relit the lantern and 
Louis and Browne had changed places. 

Nine o'clock and the inn still a good hour off. Ten, 
and the turn of a corner brought its lights into sight, 
some of them fixed, some four or five not; these swung, 
rose and fell, flitting this way and that about the inn 
door; one dived into darkness and then re-emerged 
with two more beside it. All must be carried in hand 
by a gathering company. 

Louis sniffed wrathfully. " Euh ! A search party ! 
Sheep sent to look for lost sheep ! ' He yodeled de- 
rision ; alas ! unheard, for the flitting lights drew into a 
group and then out into a line, a relief-column mobil- 

Louis ran over its probable units bitingly : cook of 


the inn; under-boots — " Cretin de premiere force, je 
vous dis franchement ! " ; head waiter — " boule de 
suif, absolument! "; the brother of Mademoiselle; 
and the good God alone knew what poor creatures be- 
sides, " and to rescue — me, for example ! ' : But how to 
stop the imbeciles ? " Monsieur, assist me ! ' : He 
waved the lantern aloft, and all the might of his in- 
dignation put itself into a bawl, Browne chiming in 
soul fully. 

The lights below ceased to move. Their stricken 
immobility made each, to June, a symbol ; it stood for 
a figure listening with held breath. Louis improved 
his advantage by letting a yell that tore almost a visible 
rent in Night's tympanum. 

That did it: through space an answering shout 
could be felt slowly winging; it came spent and small. 
By now all intentness was gone from the lanterns 
yonder. Some of them waved a response; all of them 
moved, but not as before. The face of a remitted 
purpose was drawn on the darkness with the same pen 
of light that had drawn the braced look of a muster 
and then the strained air of listeners. To June it was 
thrillingly legible. Was it not ? — she was about to ask 
Browne, but stopped. Bars that were melted at noon 
were re-forming now, as icicles were. Browne stood a 
little behind the lantern; silhouetted black, square, 
monumental, he seemed withdrawn into enigma. She 
left it unsaid, and they tramped on. Louis was silent 
too, dourly figuring that under-boots to himself and 
maturing jibes for emission at supper-time. 

Two of the lanterns came up a few hundred yards 


to meet theirs. One was in Guy's hand. ' Unhappy 
young people! " his flute voice purled like one of the 
many streams that had come into hearing again as they 
descended; " a few minutes more and the emotions of 
rescue were ours! The chef was translated; the eyes 
of the under-boots had strange lights. And lo ! you 
are safe all the time and our unheroism repossesses us." 

" My dear rash young lady, the fright that you've 
given us ! ' This came from the other lantern. 

June turned in surprise. " Father Power ! You 
here ! " 

" At your bidding." His voice had a tinge of re- 
monstrant austerity. 

" Oh, do forgive me ! ' : She had the contrition of 
one at last fully waked, for the first incoherences of 
arousal. " Tell me — about all this horribleness at 

" To-night ! And you famished ! ' The priest's 
voice was kind again. 

" Yes — now." ' 

Browne, lingering at good-nights with Louis, heard 
her insist. Two minutes later he trailed his battered 
feet down the inn's long matted corridor, now a deli- 
cious tunnel of warm light, bored into the mountain 
night's solid, cold darkness. Through a door on one 
side he saw June, with her tired eyes hugely, lucently 
dark, leaning over a sitting-room table, her back 
crushed under its load of exhaustion. She seemed to 
be importuning the priest. Under the hanging oil 
lamp her wide mountain hat half shadowed her face 
into mystery. Hearing his step she looked up, rose 


and said good-night and thanked him — " for such a 
good day," with the civil stress formally lavished, as 
if the lamplight dazed comradeship. 

" What's this they're like? " he thought to himself, 
meaning her dilated eyes. Something it was that he 
knew ; it had attracted him once, or often. He went to 
bed fumbling to find the lost likeness, and then thought 
he had it, but was not sure. They had gleams like 
deep water awash under lamp-lighted bridges on sum- 
mer nights, when it seems good to dive into and swim 
in. Was that it, or was she like some one he seemed 
to know better than any one else in the world? 
— yet he could not think whom. He fell asleep with it 


'The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of 
cruelty." Psalm lxxiv. 20. 

THE priest had been fencing. " We'll talk it all 
over to-morrow," or " Wait and we'll have a 
great talk in the morning," the fatherly man of forty- 
five had replied to June's queries. 

But June, like a child excited and tired past sleep, 
grew fluent, elate, tried to find ways round his guard, 
told him how she had been shown where the old 
pilgrims' road ran, over the snows. " It's still now, up 
there ; only the hot air quivering over the old roads to 
Rome; no one on them — only that glass-colored 
shiver, like a flame made out of water. It seemed like 
an old thing burnt out, and all the time you were down 
there in the train, rushing towards Italy." Almost 
light-headed, she tried to be cunning, as tipsy men do. 

He saw through it : any one could. " Ay, and a 
right tired pilgrim. You'll let him rest now ? ,! 

' I'm sorry. I didn't think. Just tell me one thing." 

" About your poor bedesmen in Connaught? ' : 

" Just how they were when you left? " 

' God help them! But wait till the morning." 

" But, Father—" 

" To bed with you ! Off, now ! " 

"I will, only—" 

" Only you'd argue the point with your priest." 



' No, but — did you know ? — there's the man here 
that Cusheen belongs to? " 

' How wouldn't I know, and I just after — ? No, 
not a word till the morning." 

" Guy knows Mr. Newman. They were out here 
while father and I were in Italy. I made a plan. I 
asked Guy to meet us. I hoped he might bring Mr. 
Newman. He did, and then I wrote off to beg you to 

" The diplomacy of you ! " 

" I thought, if some one could tell Mr. Newman — " 

" You've been at him? " 

' I ! ' She glowed, a fierce Daphne. She canvass 
the satyr ! But she made allowances. " You haven't 
met him." 

' That have I, these few hours back." She looked 
at him quickly; there were things, then, that, priest 
as he was, he could not see so surely as she. 

He had a light too. He saw her seeing, and guessed 
what she saw and all that it meant. ' You've a right," 
he said, " to feel as you did, and I with the thumbs of 
me pricking and he a perch off." Official omniscience 
must learn as it goes. " You must leave him to me to 
deal with." By this time he felt, in good faith, that it 
had been he that espied the goat legs, and she that had 
missed them, as maidens, no doubt, ought to. " The 
fact is, I hope that — " 

" Yes? " She settled to listen. 

He laughed, not to be caught. ' You'd wheedle 
me on till I'd have it the weight of the world on my 
mind that I'd talked the life out of you. Come now." 


She fell into place at last, like a child long drilled, 
under his benedictive hand. " Good-night to you 
now," he said with an authentic paternal goodness, 
rather touchingly out of place on comely features that 
had not quite done with their youth. " The blessing 
of God be upon you and stay with you." 

June laid to rest limbs content with sane weariness; 
with them the mind too fell backwards gently. Once, 
for a moment, her whole body shuddered uncontrol- 
lably; she had recalled a look of Newman's that flashed 
into her mind a sudden knowledge of how Moors price 
slave-girls, and Newman's smile when he talked to 
herself — a smile not at anything said at the time, but 
at something implied, as it seemed, to underlie all speech 
between young women and men, some horrible winking 
of whole sex at whole sex, a jauntily-hinted collusion 
between demure female lures and leering male read- 
iness. There in the dark her face burned loathingly. 
Yet — oh, assuaging thought, to wash the bespattered 
mind white — she knczu now that a girl of her age and 
a strange man of Newman's could be in a wild 
together, all through a long day that assayed them both 
in some new way in each of its changeful hours, and 
the girl not once feel that her sex was deranging com- 
radeship. Knowledge of that kept the earth clean; it 
preserved the stars. 

• ••••• • 

Guy, restored to his sphere, the terrace, had brought 
together there the parish priest of Cusheen and its 
owner. " And how're the wicked husbandmen?'' 
Newman had genially asked. 


The priest took a measuring look at him. l That's 
what he's like, then?' the look might have meant. 
' You heard," he said, " of the hunger, a year back? ' 

" Hunger? Don't you believe it." 

" Ah ! You were there? " You could not have told 
it was not serious, eager inquiry. 

"I! I was not. I've a use for my life. But there 
wasn't a shot at Dan Joyce — you know Joyce, my 
agent? — the whole blessed winter, and that's what 
they do, the first thing, as soon as they're peckish." 

Guy was beginning " My dear sir — " to Newman. 
It seemed a waste not to let a light into his mind — so 
as to find out what he would make of a hint of the way 
that pastors regard murder done by their lambs. 

But the priest's humility was much too proud to 
take help against an infidel's boorishness. He made a 
very slight opening movement with one hand, as if to 
let fall through its fingers such specks of stray dirt as 
the Newmans of this world; he went on, persistently 
suave. " Mr. Newman, if you could be with us there, 
but for the length of a day — " 

' Last day I'd be anywhere, eh? No, sir; I let 'em 
the land; I didn't promise to throw in the shootin'." 

Any scorn that may have blazed inside Father 
Power was smokeless. He raised no protest beyond 
going on from that word of his own at which this being 
had failed " — you'd see the potatoes are rotted, and 
they not ripe." 

" A man takes the risks of his business," said New- 
man, his chronic smile stiffening as if it might end set 
fast as a rigid sneer or bare-toothed snarl. 


Still no tang of asperity soured the priest's tongue. 
- I'm told," he said, " the great landlords in England 
take a share in the risks of the farmers." An old hand 
with the froward, he went about Newman, he tried to 
get in, as though into a house shut in his face, patiently 
trying each window. So ; that one was fast ; he went 
to the next. " There isn't the food in the place, nor 
money to buy it — and pay the rent too." 

•' Don't fear for me. We'll shake the rent out of 

" But," Guy was beginning, fearing a too early end 
for this engaging passage of arms, " if the stone really 
is bloodless — " when Newman cut cheerfully in. 

" Joyce and I'll manage, so long as there's no 
' humane ' bleaters about." 

" I've the fear," said the priest, " that you'll have 
half the land on your hands." 

But Newman was off on a trail of his own. : ' Only 
last Christmas some sickener from England came 
nosing round at evictions. Contracts! — oh, he'd not 
heard of them. ' Barbarity ' — that was his game. I 
heard he had the wickedness to snivel about it in some 
rag, up in the Black Country." 

" Eh? " said Guy, playfully anxious. 

" The Northerner — that was the name." 

Guy enacted chagrin. " My heart told me. New- 
man, 'tis mine — three-sixteenths of it." 

" Keep 'em away from the other thirteen, then, or 
you'll have 'em mangy." 

" Your idea of property's rights is one-sided, my 
friend." Guy's eyes roamed the air; his voice was the 


very breath of idly provocative thought. " Think. 
May not a paper, too, be some poor soul's, and that soul 
have its yearning, also, for revenue — revenue not to be 
had, perhaps, if the paper be not endeared to yet other 
poor souls by giving them something to cry about? ' 

' Well, I don't want to be hard. Let 'em cry about 
me when no one plays up with the rents." 

' Did you know," Power asked, " that all the rent 
paid you last Christmas was found by that English 
reporter — the ' sickener ' ? " 

' That's interesting," Newman said, with an air of 
preparedness to face any nonsense that came. Guy 
liked this duel between two contrasted forbearances. 

Power continued : ' The people in England, away 
in the north, when they read what he said of the state 
we were in, made a fund up among them and sent it to 
me, and no sooner had each of the tenants his share of 
the cash than off he'd be to your agent to have the rent 
paid and be done with it." 

" Oh, they're great people. They'd not draw a 
pound from the bank — " 

" Is it savings, and they eating grass! " The priest 
all but broke bounds. 

" When they're sick — I believe you. They'd not 
walk to Tubber post-office to draw out the bit they owe, 
but they'd cadge on poor, soft-hearted lambs over here. 
Well, they're free men, and I ain't a tyrant. As long 
as I'm paid I don't care how they get it." 

" You don't? " the priest asked, with intention. 

" I do not." 

" You'd not be against it? " 


" Fd not take the trouble." 

" Joyce did, last winter. He put a taboo on the 
Northerner man till there wasn't a bed or a car he 
could get in the place." 

" He's a great mind, is Joyce." 

" No, but it's you are magnanimous. Joyce put a 
stop to a job that was doing you more good than any 
one. Three- fourths of the rents the man from the 
Northerner got out of England, and he'd not have 
rested until he'd got all, and arrears, and food for the 
people, if Joyce could have let him alone. I ask, would 
you have him impeded again if he came back 
to-morrow? " 

"Well — ? ''' It was Newman's pride that no 
passion, however sacred, should keep back from birth 
whatever might live to be good business. 

" I don't say he will," the priest said, " after the 
way he was treated. Only, it's autumn now, the time 
English papers can't tell what on earth to be at, and 
they wanting to seem fit to read. God knows but we 
might find one that would quit asking what age to 
marry, or why go to church, and would give people all 
the occasion to cry that anybody could want, with 
telling the way it is at Cusheen." Something of frailty 
did cling to the priest ; for disdains that he mastered 
or hid he had to make up to himself with tiny oozings 
of irony squeezed out now and again. 

Guy noticed; it felt as if he had bitten an olive, the 
epicure. Newman's palate told him of no taste; his 
mind, though, descried still more clearly what might 
turn out to be business, the fine gold of business, calling 


out to be disengaged from such dross as attended it. 
" Well," he said, " it depends — for one thing, on which 
rag it is. Here's our friend owns an eighth of a rag 
and a little bit over. Now if he'd give the office to all 
the wild eighths to behave — " 

Guy disclaimed power over the Northerner. Still 
he might put up a prayer — he had never done it yet — 
to the editor. So much he said, for he liked people's 
plans to go forward ; it drew people out. 

Newman proved that it did. " What I can not 
stand," he said with some fervor, " is having ' human- 
ity,' that sort of slime, daubed all over the place. I 
don't so much mind if a tramp comes round begging. 
You see, it's his game. Even a thief; well, it's all 
right to set the dog on him; that's your game ; still, he's 
sort of a man and a brother; he's playing to win, same 
as yourself. But to have pure philanthropists poking 
round — it's the true holy terror. You're not an arch- 
angel, thank God " — Guy bowed to the eulogy — " only 
I want to know where you come in — your paper, I 
mean — the whole boiling of vulgar fractions. Excuse 
country manners, but what I say is, if a man's straight 
you ought to see where he comes in." 

Guy reassured him gaily. Had Newman not heard 
Father Power? What could profit a journal more than 
to melt readers' hearts and then give them its shoulders 
to weep upon, at its usual price ? 

" You think, swelpyergud, it's an asset ? ' : 

" Sterling," Guy testified gravely. 

" Put it at that, for the moment. Next point — ■ 
who's your man ? Some mad idiot, same as last year, 


running down us poor landlords ? Or some one who'd 
not make a beast of himself, but would take a look 
round with Dan Joyce and go into the facts and put it 
down fair in the paper, how God hadn't come up to 
time with the fruits of the earth, and would man 
kindly see to it ? That's good religion. I'm not a pi 
man, but I'm not against decent religion." 

During this allocution the priest practised virtues, 
and Guy's contentment was flecked by his considerate 
sense of the priest's pangs of suppression ; so it seemed 
to be for the best that the moment's awkward silence 
which followed was broken by the all-seeing waiter. 
"Pardon, messieurs! The caravan, which arrives!' 
He offered the field-glass again and indicated the top 
of the Dent Rouge. 

It was the moment when June, from their hell of 
cold, was to see Louis ascend into heaven. The priest 
found the place with the glass. " I see only flashes of 
light," he said. " One, then another, another, and 
they timed like the ticks of a clock. Is it some kind 
of a signal they're making? ' : 

The waiter, elate to know better, expounded. ' The 
guide's ax. He lifts it; he lets it fall; each time he 
lifts it the sun strikes the steel." 

Two specks of black, Father Power now saw, 
attended the recurrent gleam. Its flashing stopped 
suddenly. Then a third speck, Louis, lost till now in 
the dazzle he made, was black on the snow. The 
priest turned to Guy. " There are three of them in it? ' 

" My sister, a guide, and — " Browne, somehow, 
seemed to need delicate definition. 


'A porter?' The priest's voice did not lessen 
Guv's sense of that need. 

'His wicked pride says so," Guy laughed; "an 
amateur, really." 

" Ah ! a relation of yours? " 

' An Oxford acquaintance of Newman's and mine. 
' Driftwood spars,' you know, ' that meet and pass,' as 
my father would say." 

" I see," said the priest, and tried to. 

Newman was thoughtful too. Through the glass 
he watched those three, who were not lame, come to 
rest like happy gods, uplifted in visionary sunlight, 
throned on the summit of the earth. A pang of ex- 
clusion privily bit the unwhining cripple. They were 
' in it," not he; it made them "a set," with mutual 
bonds of their own, each bond a fresh blackball to him. 
June, by herself, was null to him; Browne was null 
too ; June as a girl whose rank put her beyond casual 
pursuit, Browne as a poor grotesque, a curio of crazy 
motives and valuations. Yet the tw T o, so void singly, 
hurt him together : such pairs needed severance. 

' A writer," Guy was telling the priest. Guy had 
had an idea. Not people only but chance, too, had its 
humors, its moods, its little fumblings at plans. Let 
it, too, be helped to do its germs of amusingness jus- 
tice, such as they were. "A novelist, dramatist, cer- 
tainly; journalist, possibly." Guy trailed the words 

One of the trout rose. "Journalist?" Power 
asked; " on the Northerner, is it? " 

" Not — yet, that I know of." 


" You mean that he might be? " 

Guy gave a shrug that said, " How can one tell, in 
this ramshackle world? But perhaps we might try," 
and looked around at Newman. So did the priest. 
Their eyes agreed, up to a point. As Newman lowered 
the glass Guy began sweetly : " How can you thank 
Father Power enough? He suggests the redoubtable 
Browne — " 

" Browne? ' The priest's voice was sharp. 

" Our friend up aloft," Guy explained. 

" Yes, yes, yes " — the priest hushed up his own 
interjection. "Of course the name's common in 

Guy took up his thread. " He suggests that if 
Browne were asked nicely he might — with Mr. Joyce's 
concurrence — do you that service." 

" Eh? " Newman was grimly suspensive. 

" The friend," Guy softly tripped on, " of your 
youth; the artist — one who — you hoped, did you not? 
— might do greater things if he turned, say, to land- 
scape, or genre, to pathetic genre, than if, mistaking 
his vein, he labored at portraiture." 

Newman stared. It piqued Guy to plant notions 
in him, floating the seeds to their place on flimsy 
attached wings of irony. Newman saw only the thistle- 
down flying, and while he thought "Rubbish!' the 
seeds rooted. 

Guy babbled on, half turning to Power. " For New- 
man's friend, Browne, what a crisis! He stands at 
crossways, with uncertain feet, like the hymned 
maiden. A step to the right and he makes for the fame 


of the novelist, satirist, artist in caricature; he lives 
in London, in Surrey, in the great world, guying its 
types. A step to the left and he may be shunted into 
a siding — was it a parting of roads that he stood at 
just now? Or of waters? Or railways? Newman, in 
your pure prayers be my poor metaphors remembered. 
Yet why talk of them in this your moment of distress 
— your tragic choice for your friend? No, I turn 
back ; I cannot do it ; I withdraw Father Power's sug- 
gestion ; I say to you, ' Pause, Newman, pause ; con- 
sider how, if the Northerner fasten but one claw in 
your friend, his bright genius, from which you have 
hoped so much, might be lost to portrait art — wasted, 
perhaps, in padding for life those stodgy columns in 
the obscure North." 

" You mean, if he slobbers all right on a specimen 

" You are hot on the trail of my fear." 

" They'd take him on as one of their regular 
bleaters ? " 

" Say roarers. They tell of a dearth of young lions. 
Editors scan the horizon of Libya anxiously." 

" Well — " Weighing the matter, Newman looked 
up again through the glass at the three infinitesimal 
images of beatified rest. ' They're taking their time," 
he said almost acidly. " When do you want this thing 

The priest hid his joy. " I'll be back at Cusheen 
this day fortnight. Any time then." With a casual 
air that was very well done he held out a hand for the 
glass and looked through it. " It's desperately tiring 


work for your sister," he said to Guy, putting it 

" Well, we go home to-morrow," said Guy. 

" Is it early to-morrow? " 

" The afternoon." 

" That's the way. Then there'll be time for your 
sister to hear all the news of Cusheen. It was for it 
she brought me." 

The deuce she did, Newman reflected. Could no- 
body let his affairs alone? Still, there were points in 
this precious plan. It stank, in a way; a sniveling, 
puling business, it reeked of ' good works " in the 
sniffiest of inverted commas. But rents were rents, 
come in how they might ; land your fish in a butterfly- 
net, it would still be salmon. And caricature, that new 
and beastly menace, might be kept off. And that little 
gang of two up there might be pretty well broken up if 
Browne could really be shipped off into the North, 
where no one was heard of, and whites, he fancied, 
soon sank almost into natives. So the three below, 
with their variously mixed and qualified cross-wishes 
and half-intentions, struck up between them a cold 
league to mature that arrangement, and meanwhile the 
sun left the tip of the Dent Rouge and the three on it 
took motion and vanished towards the pit of shadow 


"Even so quickly may one catch the plague?" 

Twelfth Night, I. v. 

IT was noon next day before June was alone. From 
the inn she could see Browne flat on a rock, in the 
flannels of ease, bathing in mist-filtered sunshine. She 
had a mission and went to him straight, defying her- 
self to find it hard, or furtively sweet: that way would 
sentiment lie, the fen of treaclesome slime, a vain trap 
to set for clear spirits. She would prove that : one clear 
spirit, with something to ask of another, would ask 
erectly, with fronting eyes. 

She came to it soon. ' You've seen Father Power? ' 

He laughed. " Have I not ? And your brother, and 
New r man. Such pulling of wires! — the whole inn 

He was easier now to talk to ; people are, with whom 
you have faced hardness, even in play. Yet June's 
embassage halted. Before she came out she had known 
what to say ; it was framed in her mind, and the words 
picked. But now mere improvisations pushed in, 
shoving aside those accredited envoys. ' You write? ' 
— an abrupt : You write?" — was one of the inter- 

" I try," he said, a little abashed at the stand-and- 
deliver tone under which she hid tremors : he did not 
see them. 



" To write — what ? " The thought crossed her that 
" Father or Guy would not have said that "; but she 
stuck to her question. Why not? She had not read 
a word of his writing. 

" That's the trouble," he said. 

"To choose?" 

" Yes, between the gorgeous impossibilities." 

" Impossibilities? " 

" Pretty well." 

"What are they?" She was sitting; she or her 
dress made a settling gesture; her clothes seemed to 
say, " Let us go into this." 

He caught her mood cheerfully. "Well; number 
one — you may write to — to bring news." 


" What the great ones bring — the big ideas that no 
one had thought of — new ways of taking things — 

"Why not try that?" She smiled, with a waken- 
ing sense of seeing what he could not see. Did he not 
know that he had the touch — that he was king and 
could cure the evil and raise eyes and ears from the 

" To bring news you must have it. I haven't." 

" I see." She laughed low, with a quick pleasure. 
His self-undiscernment was like a child's, and a child 
can be helped and not help others only. " Well, and 
the other impossible? " 

" That's to bring what isn't news now, though it 
was — to tell people things that they heard long ago, 
but don't know, they were told them so dully." 


" That mountains are high, and that one sees from 
them ? " 

" Yes, and all the copy-book headings shining dis- 
coveries, unexplored islands — " 

" Sighted from mastheads at dawn." Her face 
sparkled: her mind took the road with his; it ran on 
ahead, laughing. 

" And even one's country worth liking ; "' he fol- 
lowed, wondering. Why, she could understand any- 
thing, even the simplest things. Wondering, he looked 
at her. She had her hands round her knees as she 
sat ; one of them held a raised sunshade. Her hat of 
brown straw had a great brim, not closely woven; jets 
of light pierced it; and now the sunshade, inattentively 
held while the talk grew eager, drooped to one side 
and would half recover itself, and droop again, so 
that over her face light and shade flickered and chased 
till her eyes were like water dancing in Venice between 
sunlit walls, and her cheeks like ripe wheat across 
which a wind puffs fleet shadows. 

Time stopped, for him, as he looked ; but to her his 
long look was physical touch, yet not loathsome. It 
shook her to find that; she had to withdraw herself, 
not from the look, but from her own abashed sense 
that nothing within her resented it. " I have two 
countries," she said, just to say something, to make 
a break. 

"England and — ? " There his voice hung for a 
moment, lingering out the lease the unfinished speech 
gave of a right to gaze at those scudding chequers of 
light and half-light. 


Again she broke it off. " Ireland." 
" I have them too. Do they fight in yon? ' 
"No," she said offhand; and then, with less sure- 
ness, " No. But I was never in Ireland." 

" Xor I. And yet, isn't this odd? When yon speak 
it seems as if I had come to some place that I know 
better than England." 

"Yon feel that, too? v They eyed each other 
gravely, like children exchanging the marvels of their 
vast experience, and so the sunshade swayed in a 
slacker hand and the gleam and shadow flitted the 
faster over her face till all that was she in it. all that 
he would have liked to disengage from that fugitive 
interposed fantasy, showed like a bright thing sunk in 
rippled clear water; it baffled and broke and challenged 
and eluded. In their unashamed wonder they looked 
and looked on, with the web already forming over their 
eyes that Nature, to gain her own splendid and pitiless 
immortality, weaves from the red of the rose and the 
honey of heather to mesh into its service the uncon- 
scious senses of her soon-spent butterflies and 

" How much are you Irish ? " he asked, in a voice 
that, since he last spoke, had traveled and had ex- 

" Half. It was my mother. And you — how 
much ? " 

" Oh, ninety-nine hundredths, no doubt." 
She marveled. Only "no doubt"! And that dis- 
missive " Oh " of indifference. " Surely your name 
isn't Irish," she said. 


" The odd one hundredth's name ; some trooper of 
James — or Elizabeth — lost in the bogs." 

" Don't you want to find out? " She chafed at his 
incurious tone; it was part of a naive classlessness in 
him, not like her own men's old Whig pose of out- 
wardly equal membership in an implied republic of 
the elect, but something that seemed, without any 
malign intention, to show up that quaint concessive 
irony as a mere masking and mincing class pride. Guy 
and her father had felt it through all Browne's cru- 
dities ; it had attracted them; in it their passionless 
equity saw a thing they had tried to do, only it was 
done better; and they were not jealous. But June was 
for them. Why, if they walked on hidden cork legs 
of race conceit, should any one else have flesh limbs? 
"Couldn't you hunt up old records?" she too perti- 
naciously asked; "old registers — the births and 
marriages? " 

" Ours were burnt with the churches, my father 
said, in the Penal times." 

June said, "You were Catholics, then?" her face 

" All, till my father. He changed." The words 
put out that light, and so he felt like a boor and he had 
to go on saying something or other; to leave it there 
seemed too blunt. "I don't know about it exactly; 
my father would not talk about it — about religion at 
all. He was generous. He wanted to leave me free." 

" Poor little boy ! " she exclaimed, with a little 
flinch of the lip at this picture of infant liberty. 

" Oh, I was all right," he said sharply, disclaiming 


pathetic interest ; his face was hot at the thought that 
he might have seemed to claim it; that were indeed to 
be the sorriest sneak of emotionalism — and a fraud, 
too; what day of his childhood had not been happy 
adventure ? 

At his coldness the look shrank with which she had 
spoken, a look like that of a friendly stranger bending 
over a child whom some one has left free to earn itself 
food. So he read it ; it seemed oddly easy to read, like 
a page in a book known long ago. Oh, yes, of course 
he remembered ; his mother had looked like that once. 
It was after his father's death, when she was slipping 
back terrified towards the fold that he knew they had 
left together in their young courage. She had, by a 
coincidence, used the same words — had said " Poor 
little boy ! " as she kissed him good-night at a time 
when, as he guessed, some children said prayers. And 
now he must talk again, and that lightly, to soften the 
seeming rebuff — what a bungler he was, and his talk a 
mere train of efforts to mend blunder with blunder! 
So the next moment he felt he had been too personal, 
for he had said, " It's curious; you have a look of my 
mother — a lift of the eyes." 

She laughed mercifully. " As if the lower lid had 
to be climbed by the pupil, for it to see over. Guy 
always laughs at that trick. But you're wrong. It's 
my mother that gave me it." There a pause left her 
graver. " It was a wish of hers made me come out to 
you now." He looked a question. She added, ' No; 
she is dead long ago." 

" So is mine." 


She waited, feeling her way. He fetched no polite 
rubbish to fill up the space. When blanks of silence 
came, in the talk that ensued, they were left to run on 
until words came again of themselves, as nature lets 
the underground reservoirs refill at ease for each jet 
of her intermittent streams. Nor did any abruptness 
of either's trouble the other much. Swimming to- 
gether, the thoughts of each dived where they would 
and came up where they would. 

She cast back to where they had started. ' You've 
seen Father Power? " 

" Yes, and all the intriguers. They have a great 
scheme. They all want different things, and two of 
them — oh, not your brother — are like dog and cat; 
they stiffen with hating each other, at sight. And yet 
they make out that if I came into the game, and also 
some editor up in the North, they'll all win." 

" So shall I." She got it out bravely. " I came to 
ask you to do it." 

They waited, and thought worked. They told 
you," she presently asked, " all about the starvation? ' 

" Only a little. It seemed to — pain Newman." 

She emitted scorn like a physical ray, a shaft of 
fierce light with visible edges. As soon as she could 
she spoke restrainedly. 

" Households of people not sleeping all night with 
the pain of being hungry. Babies crying and crying, 
the way babies cry for a moment or two in nurseries 
while a nurse rushes to warm the food for them — only, 
those babies cry on and on, through whole days. 
Nothing to give them. Their mothers just wait and 


hear the crying grow weaker." Before the angry blaze 
was quite sunk in her eyes her mouth was tremulous at 
sight of her own circumstantial vision of these mis- 
eries. He thought her arms moved a little, in some 
rudimentary gesture of nascent instinct, as if to draw 
in and pillow a small and troubled head on her breast ; 
the unfixed opalesque luster of girlhood deepened 
itself for the moment to one clear glow, constant and 
warm, the radiance of something that, like the sun, 
would mother all children all over the world. 

"How you know the place!" Browne said 

" In a way — yes. I'm never to see it, though. Oh, 
I can't tell you why," she said, to his look of surprise; 
she straightened and hardened a little, as some people 
of spirit do when they call up affronting recollections. 
An instant of this and again she had herself in hand 
and could make for her aim. " But I was to help the 
people there always — my mother wished that — and to 
get other people to help them. Will you? J 

What could he do but one thing? She looked at 
him full, with a noble, frank importunacy, unflinching 
and unwheedling; the effort was proudly forced to 
look effortless, almost ; only the slightest ruffling of the 
beauty of her petitioning lips betrayed it; roses full 
blown and brave, a little vexed by the wind, had that 
look, he thought. What could he do? Merely to say 
" Yes " was nothing. He lied hard to make her be- 
lieve that it was not she that had turned him ; his will 
to unload her of debt to him rushed out to meet half- 
way her resolve to incur it. 


She saw, and had to give, too, what she had, if only 
a confidence. ' Some one," she plunged at it, " did 
these poor people a wrong; some one close to my 
mother; at least, one of them was; there were two." 
She broke off again, with a moment's lapse into small 
petulance, that of her old, unfired days. She said, 
" Oh, you can't understand; you aren't a Catholic." 
Then ruth pricked her again for turning on him the 
roughness of her own wrestle with her own task. 
' Oh. I don't mean that; only, it was a baseness. I 
don't know it all — I don't even know the worst per- 
son's name. I was not to. Nobody spoke of them. It 
was as if they'd been hung for murder." 

He could not guess ; he scarcely tried to ; little the 
whole enigma mattered to him, except for the flame 
and the clouds that it brought to the girl's face, and the 
combats that this and that impulse of frankness and 
shame and pride and impatience lost or won on that 
beautiful battlefield. How she changed! Her color 
was changed; not the tint fixed, at least for an hour, on 
cherries or pinks, but a rising and falling, a beating 
pulse of tone, not beating by rule — or only by this one, 
that through every change the blood was true to the 
emotion; the lights on neck and brow signaled can- 
didly. More; the flush was the very emotion; the look, 
disdainful or kind, was thought itself; body and soul 
and mind in her ran into one, like the thing a song 
means and the way it is said and the tune that it is 
sung to ; like the last note of a cadence the least of the 
curls of sunned hair on her neck could thrill his sense 
with the splendor of all of her. Looking at one, he 


asked, without caring to know, " Had they owned 
the land, those two, and sold the poor wretches to 
Newman ? " 

"If that were all ! No. There have always been 
Newmans out at Cusheen, and rainy years, and blights 
on the potatoes. They're nothing. Oh, what a brute 
I am ! " and her eyes, that had flung his suggestion off, 
lit on him like a touch on the arm from a self-humbling 
friend, " and you going there to help them against all 
these plagues — of course they do matter; why, they're 
the only ones my mother and I ever helped them with, 
either. We owed it them ; they gave up freely a lot of 
things — things they could live on — things that had 
come from those — oh, can't vou see? ' She seemed to 
cry out upon some slowness of wit in him that would 
not abridge these pangs of revelation. 

He made haste to say, : Yes, the Judas — some 
Judas, with silver," not really guessing at all, nor car- 
ing, except to smooth out of her forehead three lines 
that had creased it strainedly, dragging the skin. As 
to this mighty secret, why, the truth about other peo- 
ple's family secrets was surely the dullest of all mice 
born to mountains. But she was auriferous soil, the 
true gold under dust; plaintive or cross about trifles, 
royally genial when tried, her face, that would scowl 
and flinch at the squeak of a chair on the floor, had 
cleared like a sky when she had spied danger. Full 
face she was a right Hebe, with that benign roundness 
of outline, the curve of the chin sweeping round, soft 
and full, from ear to ear. But as soon as she half 
turned to profile, the Hebe was gone, with her mere 


fruit-like plumpness; now, from the point of the chin 
there sprang up to the further ear a curve noble and 
strong as that line of sustinent, continent grace, the 
outward stoop and lift of a vase or a sailing-ship's 
bow or a column's capital. Rounding the chin it drew 
in to a slight concave in passing the tip of the mouth, 
and then, as if collecting its strength, it filled and 
reached puissantly out and did not draw back till it 
held the modeled mass of the brow resting supreme 
on its glorious bracket ; glorious always, awesomely 
queenly at times, as when she had said, " Can't you 
see? " and had seemed to retreat into twilight thickets 
of family chagrin, or of hurt faith, or of daughterly 
loyalty. All twilit woods are enchanted if you peer 
in from without. This one held menaces, even, in 
some of the dim vistas, down which the girl receded 
at times, beyond grasp or sight, a dryad whose oaks 
might be everything to her, and no man anything. But 
now she was clement again. 

They talked plans — how he might have to go to 
Brabburn, to see this editor-body of Guy's; Guy would 
write to that worthy ; they both felt sure — so airy is 
youth — that he must be a worthy, with all that the 
word implies of bleared sight and numbed tentacles. 
Were it so, Browne would still come back to London 
before he went to Ireland — should the good man in the 
North indeed desire him to. Then Browne must 
certainly come to Up-Felday to stay for a night at 
least. Her father and Guy, she said, insisted. June 
was wholly the hostess now; she was affable with a 
will. She acted as if for a wager, or rather by way of 


argument with herself. If she were really shaken by 
something in this man, could she press hospitality on 
him as frankly as on any common ' person worth 
knowing " ? No, clearly. And so she would prove she 
was whole. 


" She is not fair to outward view 
As many cities be." 

BRABBURN is not a pretty city; nor is it Arcady 
around her. When steam was first used to turn 
wheels, a rash of towns broke out on the county's clear 
moorland skin. The rash is almost confluent now ; all 
that is left of " country " for ten miles round Brabburn 
is patches of sooty grass going bald mangily, spots here 
and spots there, some scraggy and worried remains 
of thorn hedges, their failing powers of disjunction 
eked out with barbed wire, and some wide puddles in 
which, no doubt, cows of pastoral idyll, knee-deep 
among water-lilies, mused on the hot days of a cen- 
tury ago; now they are silted up with Swiss milk tins, 
old pans, and barrel-hoops sticking half out. At night 
all the main aggregations of urban light are tied to 
one another by unbroken strings of lamps, and up and 
down these slanting lines of beaded light the electric 
tramcars flit, rather like shooting stars, visiting those 
larger constellations. 

By day some parts of the earth are seen to have 
been disemboweled in mining for coal, and part of the 
entrails left to lie on the body's outside in a mess that 
has caked hard and blackish ; the rain that ran down 
the sides of these heaps, as Browne neared Brabburn, 
made gullies or furrows of paler dirt-color, much as 



sweat does on the face of a sweep. For the last four 
miles the train ran level over low roofs, a mean sea 
of ridged ripples of slate. Peering down into the 
troughs between these he could spy now and then, 
when the wind tore a hole in their lids of damp smoke, 
a girl with a shawl on her head, or some whirled rag 
of a child, jug in hand, holding back hard while the 
storm blew her clothes before her over a shining wet 
pavement. Clothes-lines, now empty and whipping the 
air, crossed most of these streets, proclaiming that in 
unconquerable minds cleanliness held desperately out 
against the whole investing league of sodden air, sun- 
lessness and hanging reek. " Many the wondrous 
things, but the most wondrous is man." Browne, 
compassionate but not depressed, hummed the old 
descant of happy surprise that is fresh as often as 
spring, and young' again whenever any one who has 
read it feels the stir of his own youth. 

At the train's last stop, two miles before Brabburn, 
the door flew instantly open, and through this sluice 
there surged into the carriage, with jubilant howls of 
" Play up, Brabburn! " and " Good old City! " a spate 
of pasty adolescence. They seemed to move not by 
separate personal impulse; rather, to be molecular 
units of tumbled froth in some turbid irruption of a 
liquid seeking lower levels. All wore the same foot- 
ball favor; their caps were cocked alike; they all 
smoked cigarettes, and did it with the same technique ; 
when the first ecstasy of capture was spent, each 
seemed to let fall a slackened, but not weakly-made, 
lower lip till there spilt over its edge, like a child's 


wilfully unmastered saliva, a dribble of gross, but not 
lascivious expletion, decking the tale of how Brabburn 
City ought to have won, and how gracelessly Bowton 
had beaten them, how venal the referee's judgments 
("Talk aboul whistlin'!" "Bloody tram-driver!") 
had proved him, how tragically Brabburn's paladin, 
1 1 itch, had been out of form. 

" Itch," one of them suddenly turned to Aubrey, 
" 'e's one o' them fast lads, an' last week 'e bashed 'is 
girl an' got a week an' only come out at eight this 
mornin'. The seven nights on the boards done 'im no 
good." He spoke as if Browne and he had been long 
acquainted. And then Browne saw a thing he had 
missed — that none of these youths knew the rest five 
minutes ago, any more than he did. He had not heard 
in the South this unhampered talk, with its instant 
assumptions of some universal interests in life, and 
also of every one's fitness to be accosted at sight as at 
least a probationary comrade. 

Censure passed on from Bowton's players to Bow- 
ton's friends in the crowd. " Rough devils, they Bow- 
ton fellies ! " said one critic, looking down as from 
Versailles on an impolite world. 

" 'Ear 'em taak, too ! ' said another. " Gawd 
amighty, it's bleedin' awful." 

A chorus of "Ah's " assented. Somebody went one 
better. " Taak abaht Bowton!' he said. " Owd- 
ham's place fer roughyeds. I see last train out, fer 
Owdham way, Saturday neet. One chap come to 
bookin'-office window. ' Gie's a ticket,' 'e says. 
1 Wheer fer?' says clerk. ' Whoam,' says 'e. 


' Wheer's 'ome?' says clerk. ' What th' 'ell's that to 
thee? ' says t' roughyed. ' Righto! ' says clerk, ' 'ere's 
tha ticket. I can see thee's fra Owdham.' 

All laughed, saluting a truth. Browne was en- 
chanted ; the prospect was widening; new social land- 
scape, plane behind plane of unaffected manners, 
opened out into the far distance. " Owdham's aal 
reet," another went on, " but was th' ever at Blackston? 
They don't mak' folk at aal — not to caal whole folk — 
at Blackston. Nobbut offal an' boilin' pieces." 

The talk passed to whippets, wild-fowling, rlower- 
shows, contests between brass bands. Browne saw 
another thing then; under their uniform of manner 
and outward habit they could be furiously diverse. 
Every one swore, contradicted, was bursting to back 
some preference of his own. And then again they 
would come together, naively, in some sudden unison 
of gusto. A youth took out of the crown of his hat 
a single bloom of some uncommon lily; he handed 
it round. The connoisseurs wagged silent heads. 
" There's a lot of work in them petals," the owner 
claimed, and the others said " Ah! " allowing to Na- 
ture's fret-saw the precious forced praise of experts, 
not courtiers. Then, in the harshest, unsentimental 
way, as if he were cursing a sudden twinge of pain in 
his stomach, another youth interjected : — " Eh, but a' 
wish March throstles 'ud start whistlin' ! " and. once 
more, all said assentively, " Ah ! " 

Browne shivered with pleasure. Northern England 
was opening before him — the mills amid heather; the 
soot on peat-moss and bracken ; the droves of " hands ' : 


herded to work and back with whistle and hooter; 
rocks of the prime sticking out in streets of slums at 
the foot of high fells, where the townspeople seem at 
first like so many house-sparrows twittering samely 
from urban eaves, but break now and then into speech 
that thrills like the unexpected call of a grouse; the 
sane earthen humor and harsh pith of mind : the so- 
ciable rudeness. 

Brabburn; the train stopped; here, too, were deli- 
cious differences. The cabs were of the dark ages. 
Browne's hansom, by two modes of jolting, reported 
by turns two kinds of stone setts, the one small, rough, 
iron-hard, the other large, softer, and worn into holes 
that must be like small fonts; like fonts, too, these 
cavities seemed to have been treasured. Yet this was 
a city of wealth, spirit, great history, sometimes of 
national leadership. Clearly it had its own notions 
of what was worth having. Good place! Browne 
was prepared to be kind to it. After all, why should 
not some good come out of the provinces? Browne, 
alone with his glee in the lightless cab, made an ex- 
ultant grimace. His thoughts ran ahead ; they probed 
for other surprises that might come. He was going 
now to visit the Northerners editor, Mullivant. Mul- 
livant might be uncommon? Not very likely, though. 
An editor — that meant banality. No, it was hopeless. 
Aubrey had never seen the Northerner, but he per- 
ceived that it was hopeless. Still, a provincial editor 
might have a house good to wake up in; a lawn to 
look out on, red with the night's fall of beech leaves, 


perhaps; a long view, possibly, up to dim Pennine 

Revolving these things he was dropped on a grudged 
ledge of footpath under a cliff of bald brick. Was the 
cabman sure? They had not left the station three 
minutes. Yes, that there was Middleton House, the 
driver said, with a temperate note of contempt. White 
faces, niched in dark shawls, flitted in and out at the 
door, each of their owners adding an infinitesimal in- 
crement of polish to the varnished dirt-stain at elbow 
level on the yellow brick. One of them passed to the 
cabman, now paid and swinging up to his box, an 
audible jibe at the new castaway on such rocks as a 
Brabburn tenement block. The cabman's wit reacted 
with ribald fertility; Browne enjoyed it while climbing 
the three pair of stairs, half in and half out of the 
building, to Mullivant's rooms. No, Mr. Mullivant 
wasn't in yet, said a middle-aged slattern, who lived 
in the tenement next his and said that she " did " for 
him ; she had come with the key when Browne knocked. 
She let him in, first making sure that he was licensed 
to come, lighted the lamp, introduced him with a ges- 
ture to the general contents of the interior and left 

Browne looked round, charmed. Life never failed; 
its surprises bettered your hopes of its infinite vivacity. 
The room was big and was all book-lined, except 
where Samuel Palmer's tiny etching of Milton's lark 
rising at dawn looked fair as the one star in a sky. A 
terrier, curled up on the hearth like a whiting cooked, 
glanced up out of sleep, whined out a loud yawn and 


re-imbedded its head in its tail, disgusted that this was 
not Mullivant. There were two tables and three 
chairs. What else the room held looked as if it were 
there because it had not been noticed. In a brown 
Delft jar in one corner a parched sheaf of bulrushes 
rustled dry in the draughts that soughed under the 
door and puffed up the carpet in traveling patches of 
convexity as they traversed the floor. 

Browne snuffed up the scent of a mind that took its 
own way absorbedly. There were books of price — the 
Second Folio, Keats in first editions, the Vicar of 
Wakefield the same, a Baskerville Virgil — and there 
was that one heaven's window of a print, monoga- 
mously loved, and there was the shocking carpet undu- 
lating unimpeded; a wet gust whipped the panes, the 
curtains bellied, the terrier rose as if levered up by the 
blast, revolved twice on his basic area, still in the shape 
of a couchant capital C, and again, on a lull, collapsed 
into unquiet sleep; the bulrushes huddled and shud- 
dered with small, sere crepitations. Mullivant must 
have put them there five or ten years ago. Oh, happy 
absence of mind ! Strung up to his pitch of to-day, 
Browne could see what success in life meant — to be 
taken up, blood, brain and heart, the whole man, into 
some passion as strong as lust, only good, that will use 
you up in a tranced unawareness of anything else as 
being worth while. 

Soon Mullivant came, not as people come into rooms 
now, but as they did in the first tale of adventure that 
your father told you, your thrilled expectancy robing 
them. He was forty-three; he was six feet tall; 


though lean, he weighed thirteen stone; his head thrust 
and peered a little, as if his sight were shortening. 
The body's air of decayed magnificence was confirmed 
by its clothes, which were of fine stuff, finely cut in a 
fashion dead for several years; coat and collar pro- 
claimed the date of their owner's last note of what 
other men wore. His face at first nearly appalled; 
the beetling of his forehead merged on menace; the 
quite black eyes questioned you grimly, keeping you off 
meanwhile as with pitchforks ; and a strong, ugly nose 
— the one ugly feature — and mighty chin contributed 
liberally to the sum of awesomeness. Then, of a 
sudden, all the awesomeness broke down. Some comic 
vision, evoked by a phrase in their greetings, tickled 
this dragon; his head flung back with a roar of laugh- 
ter like an enormous boy's; the whole redoubtable 
enigma of the face was solved into large, genial ele- 
ments — huge good-will ; huge simplicity ; some shy- 
ness, not egoistic, but humble; eager respect, like a 
child's, for the unpacked contents of the next moment 
or of a new friend. 

They supped at a space cleared of books, talking, 
of course, about Oxford at first, as both had been 
there; and, as Browne had been there but the other 
day, he talked about the men of genius in the place, 
his good friends, the sinewy minds of junior dons and 
the broad wings of the last moment's poets. Mulli- 
vant listened and liked it : these ardors — so his look 
said — ought to go on ; and Browne saw, in Mullivant's 
mirroring eye and sneerless laugh, the young Theban 
eagles fall on their feet, perhaps in the Treasury, and 


no harm done, or build their eyries, like temple-haunt- 
ing martlets, amid the Virginia creepers of rectories. 
The meat, cooked by the slattern you heard of, was 
not distinguishably mutton or beef, but just cooked 
meat, something generic, that might have been the un- 
flavored basis of all the kindly individual meats of 
the earth. But both the eaters had harvesters' vitals, 
and there was good wine, dating back like Mullivant's 
coat, and talk flowed with it. 

'You've written before? ' : Mullivant asked when 
they had made friends and slowly fetched round to 
business, with both pipes alight. 

Browne's face must have grown a little expressive 
at this. Had his firstling, his novel, not penetrated 
these wilds? 

" Oh, your yarn? " Mullivant laughed — a kind and 
shy minor laugh that he had; it said and did many 
things for him — met the shyness or fumbling of other 
people halfway and comprehended all sorts of things 
and made all kinds of allowances. " Yes; most jolly. 
I liked your cheek in spinning it out of high spirits, 
like that, without any observation behind 'em. All 
right for once, you know; only — " Again the small 
laugh let the point in unwoundingly. " Do write an- 
other, some day, about real people. But what I was 
meaning was stuff in our line." 

Hurriedly Browne digested the note on his master- 
piece. Yes, that was what he had tried to keep from 
himself when people had praised it for what it was not 
— that it was really no novel at all ; he had just let fly, 
in the joy of his youth, and bluffed them. Praise 


tasted good, and yet it was better to have this fellow- 
workman's undeceived eye seeing how little one came 
to, so far. 

"Articles, essays, you know?" Mullivant asked. 
"You've brought something? Good. Read — do you 
mind? I'll not look at you." 

What Browne now read out he had written in Lon- 
don last night. Mullivant's invitation had asked for 
" specimens " of his handiwork. Browne, surveying 
his own past magnoperations, and musing on what 
these newspapers were, had found in his desk nothing 
so unclean and common that it could be trusted to tell 
with an editor. Stooping to conquer, he took a trite 
theme of the day, and, half ashamed and half gleeful, 
penned on the spot some sagacious remarks not too 
searching, he hoped, for " the general reader's " wits, 
nor too nicely minted for that oaf's sense of form. The 
stuff was certainly not quite, quite — so he felt while he 
blotted the last page; still, some kinds of jeweler's 
work could only be done in alloys : with an inward sigh 
he owned it. 

He now recited this goodly creation, sitting, to do 
it, in the full light of the shaded lamp. Mullivant, 
sunk in an arm-chair, in shadow, his face to the fire, 
was perfectly still for the first few minutes. He then 
shifted uneasily, like the terrier in the draught. Then 
he quiesced again, for a shorter time, but his next 
movement verged on convulsion, the springs of his 
chair squeaking abruptly, as if all the thirteen stone 
had fallen back on them together, after writhing or 
bounding up two or three inches in uncontrollable 


agony. Browne read on, but wished he were out of 
the lamplight. Once, at a paragraph's end, he saw the 
firelit silhouette of Mullivant's face staring at a fixed 
point high on the wall as though he had toothache and 
wanted to mesmerize himself into apathy. Again, at 
some phrase in which Browne hoped he had caught the 
tone of the trade, the audience let out a grunt of dis- 
relish, not loud but deep. Browne shirked nothing 
of what he had brought on himself. It was much. He 
felt that a whole world was gaping at him, posed there 
in limelight to show off his emptiness. 

At last silence fell ; it lasted some moments, with 
Mullivant still collapsed in his chair, the leaping light 
of tiny flames dappling his crag of a face, and Browne 
drawn back from the lamp, for darkness to cover him. 
Speech had to come, soon or late. It came late. As 
Mullivant's face turned at length, a coal fell in and 
threw up a bigger flame, and Browne could see, with 
poignant gratitude, the extraordinary ruthfulness of 
his eyes. He began, " My dear boy," with a kind of 
wrathful affection, as if a visitation endured together 
had ripened friendship swiftly, " don't let me ever see 
you do that again." 

The patient muttered contritely ; he " feared he had 
not got the tone " — he " had read newspapers too 

Mullivant groaned. 'Too little! Within one half- 
hour you've said that something or other advanced by 
leaps and bounds, and something else should be more 
honored in the breach than the observance, that some 
one was out of touch with the age and somebody not in 


contact with vital realities. A's taste was ' execrable,' 
and B's satire ' scathing.' and C's public virtue a ' van- 
ishing point,' and D's judgment ' conspicuous by its 
absence.' And you think you don't read the papers! ' 
He worked himself up to a frenzy of tender brutality, 
pulling and throwing about the misfitting vesture of 
ready-made words in which Browne had dressed him- 
self, thinking, poor wretch, to have the right uniform. 
Mullivant first stripped away the re-dyed old feathers 
of speech, the " mute, inglorious Miltons," the 
" Frankenstein's monsters," the " Pyrrhic victories," 
the " Sisyphean labors," the " Homeric laughter." 
" What d'you want with calico flowers from dust- 
holes? " he cried, as he stamped on them. " ' French 
esprit/ too, good Lord ! and ' German thoroughness,' 
and ' Parthian darts,' and ' Chinese stagnation.' Why, 
it's an international exhibition of used fireworks." 
Then he ripped up the seams, or what should have 
been seams, the pastings and tackings together with 
sham-naive " ands " and " fors," and " as regards " 
and "in relation to"; and, this done, he visited the 
fundamental imbecilities of structure, the way that 
clause knocked down clause and page unsaid page and 
the whole came to nothing. 

Browne felt naked, and yet, strangely, he did not 
mind now. There was a saving kindness, almost a 
praise, in the very way the stripping was done. It 
seemed to imply that he was able to afford it; that 
clothes were not the whole of him; that, these gone, 
there would be something left which could see what 
rubbish was and eschew it. In the half-light that is 


good for confidences each could see that the other was 
sorry and friendly, the battered trash uniting him who 
had made to him who had rent it. 

" Of course, if you want to be liked," said Mulli- 
vant, tranquilly now, " you should write like that, just. 
People love it. It's merely a fad not to give it 'em. 
Sport, though — to make 'em read just what they hate." 

" ' How if 'a will not stand '? " Browne delightedly 

" Make him. Use your wit till people will take it 
from you that they're fools almost as well as they take 
it from lickspittles that they're all Solons. They'll 
want lies and then you must sharpen and sharpen pre- 
cision till it will tickle like irony. Or they'll want 
whooping and brag, and then you must still down your 
quietness till, with the blether that's going on all round, 
it tells like an epigram." Mullivant pulled up, some- 
what abashed; was he giving a lecture? 

" They do stand it ? " Browne asked, wondering. 

Mullivant made a grimace. " Of course, trash must 
pay best, for a while yet — the whole of our time, no 
doubt. And of course we have owners to feed, and 
wolves to repel from several large, green doors in 

" I know." Browne had seen Guy gracefully 
browsing on three-sixteenths of what was left over 
after the current expenses of Mullivant's honor had 
been subtracted from current profits on Mullivant's 


That was all right, for Mullivant. He was well 
enough pleased that his fellow-owners — his own share 


was a single sixteenth — should eat up their twenty 
thousand pounds a year in peace, a good long way off, 
and leave him and a friend to their whim of keeping 
the paper decent. His life in a slum was quite cheap, 
as well as delightful. But finance was not to be talked 
about with this boy. Their talk ran again on the sport 
of palming coherence and continence off on customers 
who had come out to buy rant or slops — " ringing a 
pig's nose, all over again, every morning, to drag him 
along, and making him pay a penny a day for the 
ring," Mullivant called it, but could not disguise his 
love of the pig — " a most dear beast he is, really — 
bound to turn out a god if we don't bedevil him 

Then Mullivant really let himself go; his talk, as he 
warmed, gained a headlong brilliancy; gleaming and 
turbid, it tumbled along in flood, with audacious 
ellipses, leaps from point to point, rapid assumptions 
that this or that need not be labored, that compre- 
hension was waiting, ready, in Browne's mind, needing 
only a hail. And — good miracle of mental comrade- 
ship — waiting it was ; the taxed wits in Browne girt 
themselves up to keep pace, and did it; they rose to 
it, even rose off the known ground and looked around 
over new, exciting expanses with eyes that found they 
could transcend old view-limiting hills. The firelight 
flickered lower and mellower, quickening the adventur- 
ing spirit. Browne's made long voyages. Once, at a 
pause, he noticed the storm was over outside. He 
looked at the clock. Three hours had passed, as 
though in climbing a mountain. He said so. 


" You care about mountains? Come for a walk in 
the Pennine to-morrow," said Mullivant. 

" Rather." 

" Bruntwood is coming," Mullivant said as he lit 
his guest bedward. " You ought to know Brunt- 

" Your business manager, didn't you say? ' : 

" Yes, it's he runs the paper, really." 


"A mind 
That nobleness made simple as a fire." 

W. B. Yeats. 

IN the dead waste and middle of the night some 
madman in wooden shoes came stamping along 
the street and knocked furiously at every door. So it 
seemed to Browne at his own violent awakening. Ten 
minutes' silence ensued. Nobody seemed to resent the 
outrage. Then two more wooden shoes could be 
heard shuffling out of a house and pegging away down 
the street ; others issued at lessening intervals until the 
darkness, now blenching, dinned with the hammering, 
tapping and slithering of wood on stone; the dots of 
sound, running together, became a line and a thick 
one. Then a turn came; the din slackened, the dots 
were separable again. And then, when all seemed to 
be subsiding there burst forth the strangest jangle 
of cacophonies, a monstrous jostle of steam-blown 
whistles, hooters, drones, sirens, buzzers, some a few 
hundreds yards off, others a mile or two, all of them 
shrilling, howling, or desperately holding out one note, 
as if armadas of sinking ships were bellowing for help 
in a fog. 

Browne, sleepy and rueful, still had to laugh. It 
seemed like some vast and primitive jest, a gigantic 
skit on Oxford's bird-like clangor of morning bells. 



Then, still and small through the uproar, a clock 
struck, and one by one the dissonant choristers threw 
up their parts, some with the unashamed bathos of a 
note of deflation, some with a strident last snort flung 
out ferociously on the aching air; one, that had not 
struck in till the prime of discord was past, completed 
its truculent cadence as a solo. Two or three last pairs 
of clogs were heard fleeing down the street, as from 
some pursuant wrath, and, next thing that he knew, 
Browne was once more being awakened, this time by 
Mullivant's rap on his door. 

Day was come, blank and chill. Behind the squat 
houses, and ten times as high, there bulked rectangular 
frameworks looking like travesties of festal palaces, 
all window, with every pane ablaze in each long tier of 
their eight or nine piled stories. Breakfast done the 
two walked to the station; Bruntwood would meet 
them there. As they walked Mullivant solved for 
Aubrey the riddle set him at dawn, explained the 
" knocker-up's " trade and the separate voice with 
which each mill or yard gave its own army the word 
to fall in. 

" Another marvel of ours — here ! ' Over the side 
of a bridge Mullivant showed a little river running 
thirty feet lower, between house walls, and still break- 
ing over the rock of its bed as it had done when a 
trout-stream. But it was opaque and stank, and it was 
light blue. Aubrey stared. 

" Orange to-morrow, perhaps," said Mullivant. 
" Yesterday, mauve. It's too often mauve. Poor 
color, mauve." 


" Does nobody murmur? " Browne asked. 

"At all the mauve?" 

"And the stink?" 

" The old grumbler, the Northerner, does. It's 
illegal, of course. But half the bench pollute rivers 
themselves. So when a friend poisons all the fish in a 
stream, or kills a few children with typhoid, they fine 
him a shilling and sneer at the prosecutor. Bruntwood 
noticed the game and gave me no rest till we set on the 


Mullivant waved a hand towards the azure filth. 
" Si monimentum quaeris " — he laughed. " Still, it 
had some effect. It got Bruntwood blackballed at 
Rose's, a club here." 

That loitering almost lost them the train. It was 
crowded. Brabburn Races had ended last night and 
bookmakers, tipsters, three-card men and more direct 
thieves were homing to London and Birmingham. 
Browne and Mullivant parted, each to jump in where 
he could; they would rejoin at Howden, the moorland 
station for which they were bound; no doubt they 
would meet Bruntwood there. 

Browne found he had plumped into the thick of a 
debate. His entry reduced its heat for one moment, 
like a spoon plunged into boiling water; the last comer 
into a full compartment seems to be, by some law of 
our nature, an alien and suspect, until by lapse of time 
and the silent operations of the soul he becomes in- 
sensibly a brother-in-arms against any yet later en- 
trant. But any warmth lost was restored swiftly. 


Those were the happy first weeks of the Boer War, so 
long desired, so ardently wooed; the spirited part of 
the press was firing our hearts with daily assurances, 
dear to the non-combatant heart, that the fight was 
between heroes and ogres, and that the ogres had ugly, 
flat-footed wives and ill-kept infants. Browne soon 
perceived that four or five pillars of sport from Lon- 
don, and two or three Northern workmen, had just 
been fused into one substance by some effective story 
of Boer barbarity. At first the only insoluble object 
that could be seen was a little weasel-like man with 
feet dangling well clear of the floor, a hard-bitten 
sticker to proof, with the wizened calm and hus- 
banded asperity found in some disputants long inured 
to man's usage of strictly logical persons. 

A clearly unfinished rebuke to this slave of reason 
was now resumed by a London " bookie," a big, red, 
personable varlet, over-dressed, vast-necked and triple- 
chinned, with a belly that he swaggered like a medal, 
and bibulous eyes, from which the aqueous part of 
his liquor seemed to lip uncontainably over the lower 
lids. ' Strikes me" he said, " yer little better'n a 
try tor." 

"Do it?" said the weasel. "Well, it ain't the 

" Oh, yn't it? " sneered the other. 

' Point is," the drastic thinker rejoined, " is it right? 

Jus' you keep to that. Is this war right ? Now then ! " 

: Ark at 'im ! " the bookie appealed to men and 

gods. 'Is it rahyt?' 'e says. Is 'is ahn country 

rahyt?' : Sympathetic horror was legible on several 


faces. Inspired by so much backing the big man 
turned abruptly on the little one and asked him in 
mock-confidential tones, as if parched with genuine 
thirst for information — " 'Ere, mite, 'o\v much a week 
d'yer git fer syin' that? " 

" Eh, but that's it," put in a virtuous-looking work- 
man, with conviction, raising his eyes from a paper 
in which the upper half of the open page seemed to 
be one tall stack of printed outcries. 

"An' 'oo pyes 'im?" the bookmaker's clerk sup- 
ported his principal. 

The little man clearly felt lonely. Still, all he would 
yield to unreason was to fall back on a general aspira- 
tion which fools might mistake, if they chose, for 
something other than a crusher to themselves. ' Well, 
God defend the right," he said; " that's all I say." 

The bookie almost shrieked, " Didn' I sye 'e was a 
trytor? Garn! Prow-Bower!" 

It was clear to public opinion, thus capably led, 
that the little man had established the fact of his 
villainy. " Wants 'is 'ead knocked orf," said a third 
sporting expert, in a heavy fur coat and fantastically 
discolored linen, speaking apparently in soliloquy. 

" Arskin' fer it ! " said a fourth. 

" Ow, choke 'im, fer Chrahyst's sike ! " said a fifth. 

It looked as if there might be a mobbing. The little 
man sat next but one to a window. Between it and 
him sat a man in a Norfolk jacket. He was as tall and 
as broad as the big bookie, but not at all so deep below 
the waist; his face had an expression of slowly-travel- 
ing but surely arriving good-sense which made 

124 tup: mornings war 

Browne, now that he noticed its wearer, think of the 
Suffolk Punch breed of cart-horse and want to stroke 
him gently on his roughly-t weeded shoulder and say, 
" Good horse, Dobbin," feeling sure that to kick or 
bite was not in him. For some time he had been de- 
taching himself by degrees from the study of a large- 
scale map open on his knees and taking in the drift 
of the debate; and now, just when it promised to be- 
come physical, he touched the menaced minority man 
on the arm, heaved a gradual head towards the win- 
dow, and said, in a tone at once phlegmatic and casual, 
" Mind changing places with me? Bit of a draught." 

The small man had complied before he knew 
whether he was doing a good turn or getting one. 
And somehow the change seemed to quench all hope 
of a scuffle. It put the little man strangely far out of 
reach. Beyond those puissant tweed thighs he was 
lodged as if at the inner extremity of a cave. 

The good cause had undergone a setback. While 
the intervener re-immersed himself in his map the 
patriot chief discreetly ascended from the particular 
to the general. " Pineful," he said to the congregation 
at large, " that's wot I call it — the wye forr'n gaowld 
degrides a 'uman bein'. Pineful. Sime level as vermin 
it degrides 'im. Nah, too, when our brive lads are 
ficin' — well, yesterday I'd a said ficin' a few stinkin' 
Bowers, but to-dye I sye ficin' a fow contemp'ible in 
pint of stren'th an' currij', but a fow as refrines from 
naow outrige on yoomanity — killin' the wounded, re- 
fusin' all quarter, abusin' the wahyt flag. Wahy, it's 
within mahy pers'n'l knowledge that the monsters in 


femile shipe they call their women 'abitch'ly turn aht, 
after battle, lahyk, just to mut'lite ahr dead, sime as 
Afghan squaws do." 

The man in the Norfolk put down a finger to keep a 
place on his map, looked leisurely up and said in a 
friendly tone, " Oh, that's not true, you know," as if 
the other had dropped a pipe or a glove and would 
like to be told. 

The orator gaped. His eyes bewilderedly sized up 
the culprit, his weight, height, probable reach, and also 
his clothes; and the cringing instinct of class told the 
bookie that he must make himself much more drunk 
with words before he could effectively affront a social 
better. So he spoke almost calmly : " Ahr f rien', I 
see, is not a reader of ahr pytriotic press. More at 
'ome, mye-be, with all them forr'n gutter rags 'at dily 
charges our gallan' army with crahyms so 'orrible as 
aownly exists in the diseased imaginytion of 'im that 
says it." 

" Killing the wounded, refusing all quarter, abusing 
the white flag?' : Printed, it looks like a tu quoque; 
as uttered by him of the tweeds it was like one 
builder's friendly hint to another that he is forgetting 
a brick. 

But the angel of wrath was now winging on too 
grandly to fold his wings yet. " Ahr frien' does credit 
to 'is teachers. I 'ope they knaow 'ah well 'e's doin'. 
But wot are we to sye, my frien's, of one 'oo mikes the 
en'my's cause 'is aown?" 

' Wring 'is bleedin' neck," squealed a stunted 
phthisical youth in the corner remotest from the pro- 


posed beneficiary by the suggestion, whose eyes now- 
settled on the youth, with an exploratory and con- 
jectural expression wholly benevolent, while the more 
gifted speaker, concerned for his climax, held up a 

" Wite, I sye. Wite. Wot are we to sye of one 
'oo comes 'ere in ahr midst, 'oldin' a brief for the 
murd'rers of 'is countrymen? Wot — ? ' 

The sitter for this portrait, having framed by now 
a conception of the bloody-minded consumptive, 
turned to attend to the main stream of commination. 
In the same helpful voice, as though he were wishing 
his censors were making a better job of it, he asked, 
" What was it I said, now? Try back, my dear sir." 

But the bookie was soaring beyond human aid. 
" Naow, my f rien', naow ! Naow use shufflin'. I sye, 
wot maowtive can any man 'ave — wot maowtive bar 
one — fer shieldin' the murd'rers of ahr brothers an' 
sons — yours and mahyn, fellah-countrymen?' His 
gestures expanded; he spoke to a nation. 

"Ah?' The man in the Norfolk was more ani- 
mated. " You have a son at the war? ' : 

"Ah — if you aownly 'ad!" mocked the Cockney. 
He gave a forensic sigh. 

" I have two," said the other, without any sense of 
value in the words as repartee. " One in Ladysmith. 
Yours, sir — where ? " 

The bookie fled off into figures of speech. " Yn't 
we all sons of ahr country? Yn't we all brothers? 
Yn't — ?' He was graveled for a moment. 

The other went on from his own thought, " It 


makes one wish one were surer that this war is just." 
He looked round, as if to put a private experience into 
the pool were the normal way of human intercourse. 
Browne's eyes met his and offered, perhaps, a kind of 
support, but the offer was not embraced; the other, it 
seemed, would as soon stand alone — or at least not 
make one in a " set," a tacit league of the civilized, 
against poor brutes. 

The rhetorician was fumbling back along the track 
of his own eloquence for a good place to start from 
afresh. "Did I sye 'murd'rers'? 'Ounds, I should 
sye — 'ounds, savidges, 'oose dev'lish caowd degrides 
'em b'laow all civ'lized bein's. An' sneaks, to that. 
Curs, sime as 'ounds are." 

The Norfolked man said in his slow way, " I can't 
feel sure they were two thousand curs who beat those 
five thousand of our men last week." Browne could 
see that the man had no irony, no humor; he merely 
imparted a difficulty ; he only wanted to know. 

But at the words Browne could feel, too, that a 
shudder traversed the company's soul. These non- 
combatants had need that the enemy they were not 
fighting should have every baseness. It was a faith 
and, like many faiths, it flinched away from the fingers 
of sincerity; it bleated or stormed to be spared any 
glimpse of what might have to be faced if its own 
creed were true. Why raise such questions at all ? 
What could this man want, hanging about the safe? 
If he was honest, why did he not go away? One little 
thimble-rigger, wrung to the vitals, gasped out, " 'E's 
pide for it." 


" That's abaht it," groaned somebody else. 

" 'Ow much a week for the two?" squeaked the 
undersized youth, embracing- in one basilisk glance the 
massive heretic and his own brother atomy ensconced 
behind that infidel bulk. 

And yet Browne felt indescribably, inexplicably 
sure that in some uncorrupted layer of a few of their 
minds there was germinating in the dark a dismaying 
admission that this beast was braver than they, though 
a beast, and clean, as salt water is clean, though nause- 
ous. Those who had not the means in themselves to 
find this in his face imagined other dread possibilities 
there. His eyes, unapprehensive, seeking, appraising 
perhaps, roamed slowly over the patriots' persons; 
could he be weighing their relative rights to be thrown 
through the window? "Ah, my frien's," the orator 
again subsided into generalities, " if you noo all the 
things I knaow abaht wot Bower gaowld is doin' — " 

'In England? You think many Englishmen take 
it?' The heathen's voice expressed an unexhausted 
assurance that there must be something in what people 
said, if you could get at it. 

The bookie shrugged. He threw himself upon pub- 
lic opinion. 

'Bribes?' 1 The other had rummaged out slowly 
the unready word. 

" I'm not argyin'. I'm simply tellin' yer." The 
bookie looked anxious. 

The other's eyes widened with interest. " You can 
tell us ? Cases you know of ? " 

" I tell yer I'm not argyin'," the bookie spluttered. 


Who is not flustered to find his chaff inopportunely 
taken for grain? A damp fell round these ardent 
souls so chillily that at the next station the parched 
little devotee of reason got out in peace. 

When they started again the engine labored ; the 
train was ascending a long mountain valley ; the line 
contoured high on one flank, with a chain of dammed 
lakes below in the bed of the dale, in the Northern 
way ; every fit glen, up there, must become a town's 

Public opinion was not silenced yet, only disquieted. 
The bookie fell back from the firing line of debate, 
but the virtuous British workman, good soul, lowered 
his vociferous newspaper, challenged the troubler with 
a look of " Frankly, come now, man to man," and 
said, " After all, I s'pose you'd allow it would be right 
your country's enemies should fight fair, like? ' : 

Browne could see the thoughts muster, in answer, 
like slow, intent children, before the words came. 
" I'd go even further, I think. I'd say every one ought 
to." As it was uttered it was not a snub, nor a cut- 
ting retort, nor an uncutting platitude; rather, it was 
like the rediscovery of a lost region, humbly communi- 
cated by a diffident finder. So Browne thought, but 
the rest were only the more disturbed. They gave it 
up; their inward peace was menaced; where would it 
end if we all were to look at things in that way, with 
that disloyalty to accepted tacit precautions for taking 
the sting out of truth? And yet, deuce take the man, 
somehow he mattered. Browne read that much in 
their silence. 


The quick grunts of the mounting engine stopped, 
almost at a platform. Howden it was. Browne 
jumped out at once and saw Mullivant coming to meet 
him. No; to meet somebody else, seen over Browne's 
shoulder. ' Morning, Bruntwood," Mullivant said, 
with a look of content. 

Browne looked round. ' Morning," the man in the 
Norfolk jacket was answering, with a quiet, long-last- 
ing smile of equally deep contentment. 

' You didn't guess? " Mullivant asked of Browne. 

' No. I knew Pistol at once, and Bardolph and 
one or two others, but — " 

" But not Sir Bors? " laughed Mullivant. 

Bruntwood's look said, " What's this recondite allu- 
sion? " His looks often did. 

Mullivant beamed on the other's perplexity. " Only 
a buffer in Tennyson,* rather like you." 

*Possibly Mullivant thought of the lines in the " Holy Grail," 
a poem still much read at that time : 

" Sir Bors it was 
Who spake so low and sadly at our board ; 
And mighty reverent at our grace was he ; 
A square-set man and honest ; and his eyes, 
An out-door sign of all the warmth within, 
Smiled with his lips." 


" This other Eden, demi-paradise, 
. . . . this little world, 

This blessed plot." 

King Richard II., Act ii. Scene I. 

AT the station they left the main valley and walked 
^/V. for two hours up a tributary defile. It narrowed 
and blackened till both its sides were steep slants of 
dark shale, with the solid rock cropping out from it in 
low vertical tiers of crag, each with its own refuse- 
shoot of broken stone streaming away from its foot. 
The sides converged at last to form a rough gully of 
scree. Up it the three walkers stumbled and puffed, to 
emerge above on the upper story of Northern England. 
Color and form conspired to give Browne a sense of 
soft undulation in this high moor. Purple and tan and 
chocolate, grave green and clear green and greenish 
gray, the unlevel carpet of mixed heather, bracken, 
bilberries, many grasses and emerald weed, rose and 
fell, mile beyond mile, the light and the dark in its 
pattern sometimes stressing and sometimes rendering 
less salient the modeling of the land, as the paint on 
an actor's face deepens a dimple or erases a line. 

Bruntwood and Mullivant seemed to know what 
they were making for. Browne did not ask. There 
is a good taste of their own about places you come to 



without knowing how; they have the disconnection of 
dreams from the cumbrance of all questions of access; 
it only englamours their memory more to feel that you 
could not by any means find your way back to them 
now. An hour's wading through heather and bil- 
berries led them out on to a plateau a little higher still. 
It was springy ground, barer now, and peat-dark. 
The two leaders gazed intently over this bog, seemed 
to agree, and set off again towards a group of slight 
swellings upon its surface. 

They walked thus for another half hour, commu- 
nicative grunts between Bruntwood and Mullivant 
growing more frequent. Then these two stopped, cast 
about for some minutes like hounds that have all but 
got good scent, and finally came to a stand at a boss or 
tussock of peat, perhaps a yard square and rising, like 
thousands of similar tussocks round it, a couple of feet 
above the bed of the eroded trenches that reticulated 
the whole surface of the moss. 

Mullivant stood on the boss. He kicked it, simu- 
lating casualness. " Top of England — this hum- 
mock," he said to Browne, with his little laugh a little 

" Not, of course," Bruntwood said, word by word, 
" the very highest point." 

Mullivant's face delighted in the literal man. 
'No," he said; "no disrespect to Scawfell. But the 
ridge of the roof. See ! " 

Browne's eyes followed the speaker's, and saw. 
From the flooded outer cells at one side of the soaked 
sponge under Mullivant's feet the brown bog-water 


oozed out at his pressure and trickled a few inches 
down its outer wall, a drop at a time, till it neared the 
line of another broken drip from a few inches off. 
The two came together with the pause and sudden em- 
brace of raindrops meeting on a pane, and hurried on. 
Three inches further another drop rushed to join them, 
and then another and another, till in the bed of the 
trench at the foot of the little peat wall there was 
enough water moving to break on a stone in its way 
with an infinitesimal plash, the first cry of an infant 

" The Mersey ! " Mullivant said, with his face 
kindling. The shyness of a child avowing a great find 
was being burnt up by a child's ungovernable jubila- 
tion. " Now come over here." 

Browne stepped across the hummock and over the 
little ditch on its far side, and turned to look. Out of 
this wall of the hummock there welled slow drop after 
drop, each remoistening for a second a track down the 
wall to a tiny moat of wine-dark bilge at its foot, stag- 
nant except at one end ; there, when the air stirred the 
bilge, its ripples lipped over a chance dam formed in 
the peaty trash and fell a few inches into a lower 
reach of the trench. There was more water there ; it 
had other feeders; at the far end it moved away 

" If you might call the other the Mersey, then per- 
haps you might call this the Trent! ' Bruntwood said 
this and then exploded in a big laugh at the violence 
of the verbal gambol that he had executed. 

" Jump on the hummock," said Mullivant. ' All 


jump. Make a flood in the German Ocean and Irish 

Bruntwood roared. If he ever understood a figure 
of speech it was as a tremendous practical joke, a big 
guiltless lie by which you naturally take care that no 
one shall be taken in. " Inundate Liverpool and 
Hull ! " he said, in a tone to which notes of exclama- 
tion can do no justice, and roared again. 

Mullivant visibly doated on Bruntwood when 
Bruntwood gave way like this to his temperament. 
"Now, all together ! " Mullivant ordered, crowding the 
three of them on to the big peaten footstool. All 
three jumped as one man, till from each of its sides 
the dark juice gushed and spurted; the minute cisterns 
that caught it were all astir. 

' Cease jumping! " said Mullivant, blowing. There 
was a moment's pause, half awkward, but only half. 
Browne was being initiated into something. He felt 
and liked it. Each of the two wise babies was taking 
him tacitly into the league that bound them, each 
other's opposites as they were, and sent them up into 
these moorland places to play at such games as tracing 
pairs of rivers and seas to their first rivalry as suitors 
for oozings from the gorged tissues of one cubic foot 
of a bog. With a little glow of pride Browne felt he 
was fit to come in. He had drunk before of the cup 
of their drunkenness, upon the Dent Rouge, when 
Europe unrolled itself like a scroll. How things be- 
longed to each other ! How they closed in, all of them 
good, as if to some one great end or high happiness! 
What brought him here, to find elder brothers ? What 


sent him and that girl who was now a figure in every 
landscape of thought — what sent them up the moun- 
tain together and lit the fire in his blood? Chance? 
Accidents, then, could conspire, counsel and authorize. 
Everything grew to one point; he was waved towards 
it by hand after hand. 

" Do you remember," Bruntwood asked Mullivant, 
" that field near Naseby — the one where the Avon 
starts, close to the church, and the Nen just over the 

" And the Welland too, in the parson's cellar," said 
Mullivant, " three miles away. What a place to be 
buried in ! " 

" Naseby ? " asked Aubrey. 

Bruntwood explained. " Yes, the men, or at least 
some of the men, that were killed in the fight. They 
are in a big pit. The earth has sunk in a little." 

" England's dead center, that place," Mullivant said 
— " the tip top; she falls away from it all around." 

" There are brambles round the pit," Bruntwood 
toiled on at his own internal picture. 

Mullivant rushed on with his. " The Trent, and 
the Thames, and the Ouse, and the Stratford Avon all 
come up to your feet. And Edgehill in sight — a long 
ridge. Remember, Brunt, how it stuck up in the sun- 

Bruntwood had finished his own small Naseby land- 
scape within him at last. He emerged from absorp- 
tion. "Yes, during the 'orgy,'" he said, surround- 
ing the last word with laughter as though with vast 
inverted commas. 


Some other huge joke, thought Browne, and glanc- 
ing at Mullivant, saw its mildness and age in Mulli- 
vant's look of affectionate mirth at the beloved dullness 
of his friend. ' Bruntwood refers," he said, " to a 
bu'st we once had, of topography." 

" Yes? " Browne importuned. 

' We walked all along England's spine. We began 
at the Border and came South, keeping right up on the 
main watershed, so that we never crossed a river. 
That was the game. They all fell away, right and left, 
before us. Down as far as the Peak we could go 
pretty straight. Then we had to fetch a big bend to the 
right — the west, you know — so as not to wet our feet 
in the head of the Trent; then back to the left — the 
east — to Naseby, to dodge round all the tips of the 
Avon; and then west again, for a deuce of a way, to 
keep up from the Thames, and so on. That was the 

' Well, I'm blowed," said Browne, cordially. 

Mullivant warmed. ' So were we. I found I had 
never seen England till then. Bits of her I'd seen, of 
course, but not her — the whole figure. We looked 
down from the top into every Jack one of the water- 
tight hollows she's made of, and saw what it was like, 
and the river in each one like a big leafless tree — trunk 
and branches and twigs ; when you touched a twig all 
the tree came into sight, right down to the sails of 
barges out on the H umber. Just look." He pointed 
where, far out to their left, there ran, broken and dim, 
a bar of high ground, a rib of England's skeleton, trek- 


king crookedly away across lowland Yorkshire's 
broad stretch of green. Browne saw. 

" ' Little England ! ' cried Mullivant. " People 
sneer at it ! Thank all your gods it's so small. Only 
just small enough to be seen; still, it's possible. Beg 
pardon, though; you're an Irishman." 

" Is it lovers of different mistresses that would be 
jealous? " said Browne; not that he had, as yet, a love 
like this for any place. But he knew love when he saw 
it; here was the real thing, in Mullivant's face and 
voice — the ecstasy over visible traits of love's object, 
the craving of sense to take it all in, round and 
whole as a jewel, small and embraceable, apt to lovers' 

Two Cordelias abetting each other to doat on one 
wayward parent could scarcely have talked sentiment 
less than Mullivant and Bruntwood did for the rest of 
that day. Still, they would let out a reference now and 
again to some old walk or ride; one or other would 
look up a name here and there in the joint mental index 
that they kept of their funded visions; and Browne, 
now on the watch, would catch glimpses of Evesham 
orchards as they are when the enamored eye sees 
them dropping apples to float in Shakespeare's slow 
Avon ; of Tudor houses knee-deep in the mists of win- 
ter sunsets; and then, again, of the roaring Strand 
with the air a dust of gold on fine afternoons; or of 
the wind planing the South coast into shape with the 
rub, rub of shingle pressed, always the one way, by the 
Atlantic's hand; or the make of this great triple-lay- 
ered Pennine arch, astride of North England — how 


the crown of the arch was worn off till the edges of 
all its coating layers showed raw — red rock and coal 
and dark rock. Browne could shut his eyes and see 
the layered floor crumple itself into hills. 

Once, as they sat smoking after their sandwiches, 
something political made its way into the talk. Then 
the shocking last truth about Bruntwood came undis- 
guisably out. He was a voluptuary; only, his secret 
revels were all on equities, decencies, uncompelled 
fairnesses. Old, platitudinous tags about conduct, 
' Do as you would be done by," and so on, would go 
to this hedonist's head like new wine. He would fix 
ravenous teeth in some precept long dead, canonized 
and moldering into dust, like " Blessed are the peace- 
makers," and devour, whole, all that was left, no mat- 
ter what it did in his vitals. Sayings of Christ's that 
drop upon most men like the gentle rain from heaven, 
pattering softly on the sound roof of the soul and 
giving point and piquancy to the complacent snugness 
within, would beat right into the unslated spirit of 
this incomplete person, and search and scour the in- 
terior. Browne began, as the day went on, to under- 
stand the singleness of eye that fills the whole body of 
a St. Francis with inadequately-shaded light. But 
self-sacrifice? — not a bit of it. Keeping a newspaper 
clean was his sport and hobby ; he let his mind run on 
it always, just as another man will let his mind run, 
even in working hours, on his high hopes of his golf. 
He was a man of pleasure, unbridled. 

Sometimes he wrote for the paper. It was not his 
line ; his writing had almost every known imperfection. 


But Mullivant made him, whenever he saw that Brunt- 
wood's appetite was fastening on some relevant old 
saw as if it had been brought down that morning from 
Sinai, or up from Bethlehem, shining and salt as the 
last paradox. There had just come such a season. 
Bruntwood had now for some weeks been giving it 
out in his club-footed style that a nation, even one's 
own nation, may not be the better for doing a thing 
that, if done by a man, would get him blackballed at 
clubs. It was the kind of idea that skilled navigators 
of life will chart and buoy out like a shoal, to keep their 
craft well off it. Bruntwood had not that wit. Yet 
the things the crank said seemed to count. Even the 
wise found they could not just look the other way, as 
they would like, when some discomforting truism dug 
up by Bruntwood was awkwardly breaking the bands 
of the grave, or some two and two were being joined 
together that man for his peace had put asunder. 

' If you or I," Mullivant said to Browne, late in 
that day, when Bruntwood was out of hearing, " were 
ever to sit down and write, with our admirable arts 
of persuasion, that cheating at cards is not quite the 
thing between nations, we should be prigs, and the 
stuff dead as mutton. Bruntwood can do it, though; 
does it as if he were telling you what's won the Derby. 
People listen, too — swear, but listen. They have to. 
The word's made flesh and dwells with 'em. They'd 
ignore us. But him! Crusoe couldn't ignore the live 
foot on the sand." 

He spoke as if Bruntwood were not of his species. 
Browne saw better. At least, in being weather-beaten 


together, the dyes of the two had stained pretty deep 
into each other. Bruntvvood's joy, behind all his 
phlegm, in conceiving a duty or bearing a right re- 
straint had at first tickled Mullivant, in his youth, then 
rather touched him, then animated him. Once he had 
thought of such things only as denials, voids, chills, 
provender for the worst Nonconformists, a diet of east 
wind; here was a marvel — a man whom they warmed 
and lit. Bruntwood had gone to school, too, to his 
friend the enjoyer of shapely utterance and imagina- 
tive play. He had been wiled into making an idol, a 
graven image of England, as seen on hundreds of such 
days as this with the lover's transfiguring eye. Pool- 
ing their whims together the two had made a joint fad 
of a novel — or is it antiquated? — patriotism, remote 
from the current modes of that virtue. For scarcely 
any spite went to the making of it, and no fear at all ; 
it had not been come at by trains of reasoning, nor 
taken out of a book, nor was it a hot sense of having 
the title-deeds to a fat estate, nor a caterer's impulse 
to meet any demand his customers might make for 
special emotions. It was mere, sheer affection. A 
schoolboy attuned to the wisdom of the age could 
show in a moment that people like these two were 
nook-shotten, cast away far from the main march of 
mind, and that lust is not lust if one's own nation 
feels it, nor theft theft if there be no jail in which it 
could cause her hair to be cut. To these truths the 
two were impenetrable now. For one thing, they did 
not know the ends of the earth and had never lived 
on black, brown or yellow men. But what misled 


them most was the way they knew England, every look 
of her face and the shape of its bones. English 
downs with dawn breaking over them seemed to put 
up a troubling petition that they might not be befouled. 
When clear-eyed men from Simla and Cairo would 
show that Falstaff had erred and that it is not in men 
but in nations that honor is a scutcheon only, the 
two would feel a sick rage as though some brother, 
who had not lived much at home, came in with a plan 
for making the old mother get drunk or pick pockets. 
No matter if people proved she would not be caught; 
the two would not learn ; all they knew was that they 
did not want the Thames of their youth to be a seam 
in the face of a slut, or Land's End a cad's eye. When 
our prudent rulers abandoned our wards for Abdul 
Hamid to murder, Bruntwood felt as if the white- 
walled dale where he fished in the Peak were plastered 
with some physical filth of dishonor; Mullivant found 
that something living was hanging its head in the 
silent miles of river meadow up by Lechlade in the 
autumn twilights. 

The weather was changing all day ; hardy, raw air 
in the morning, a child's secret delight to go out in ; 
then two or three hours of sun and racing shadows; 
then a whole sky cleared for one rickety tower of 
storm-cloud, piled floor above floor, to stalk across the 
hills, a mile off; while that was still lurching away 
top-heavily into the east a pack of thinner vapors 
rushed after it, overtook it, drew across it a gauzy, 
smoke-colored curtain, shaded in lines that slanted 
down eastwards, through which the towering stack 


behind them showed black ; and then those dropping 
veils had packed away in their turn, whipped in by 
their own fussing rear-guard; many weathers, many 
climates, all of them good, blowing changefully over 
one island that Browne could see whole now, like a 
raised map modeled in stone and laid, not quite flat, 
on the ground — indeed with one corner sunk into it. 
North-westward was nothing but stone — stone walls 
to the stony fields, stone-gray cottages, stone inter- 
leaving coal in the pits, stone sticking out rawly in 
streets and twisting the tips of plows. South-east- 
ward the plaque of stone dipped and dived down as a 
sloping landing-stage slants into a high tide; a sea of 
soft clays and sands closed level over it. It was all 
one; he had seen affection, the only maker of Edens, 
render it so. 

In his room that night he could not go to bed for a 
while, the good things that he had to think of thronged 
in so throbbingly, tightening the hot forehead. He 
had to stand at an open window to cool and breathe, 
looking down on the rain-washed midnight city silent 
under him. Presently from a neighboring window 
there rose the choruses of a late party, some of the 
voices half-tipsy and barbed with the poignancy of 
expiring youth. Fugitive youth, fugitive poignancy, 
mystical treasures flowing past in a stream. The 
chorus trailed off into silence, a door slammed, good- 
nights were heard in the resonant street; then silence 
congealed till from a mile away there lifted into clear- 
ness the ringing owl notes of the buffers of trucks 
shunted at some siding. These, too, had beauty; it 


rent and enchanted and cried out for rescue from its 
own inarticulateness. All things had that riddlesome 
beauty that numbed and evoked, half inspired and half 
left you bewildered, dimly aware of wonderful things 
to be done and noble, unavailable powers in you to do 
them ; the powers wandered about helplessly seeking 
the place to begin, the order to take, the one call for 
them to obey in a universe of summoning clarions. 
Now it came clear. From that racket of call and 
cross-call, impulse and counter-impulse, his new 
friends at Brabburn had found a way out ; they, at 
least, were clear of the forest and marched along sing- 
ing; they had pierced to the secret — he saw it now — 
of all the every-day miracle-doers; like corn they could 
make strength from clay, and could draw good cheer, 
like vines, out of granite and rain. They were what 
he had wished he might be, though it was not till now 
that he knew he had wished it: they were the men; if 
he might he would stand with them. 


" Nearing, her god breathed on her, till she seemed 
More tall and spoke, like gods, compellingly." 

Virgil : iEneid, Book vi. 

WHEN the End House door at Up-Felday was 
opened to Browne at two the next day there 
rose on his ear, like scent from a hottle uncorked, the 
voice of his host from some room within : it was mur- 
murous, suavely petulant, tinting mere space into an at- 
mosphere. ' Figure it ! Now — in October ! A garden- 
party ! ' The voice, with its soft suffusiveness, shed 
itself out through some open door into the hall as the 
smell of dried rose-leaves did. " Colchicum, what 
things are done in thy name ! " 

" Father, it isn't October at large; it's this October." 
June's voice was no tint or shade, but a line, a couched 
spring, a pulse, elasticity. 

She must be at a window, Browne thought, with her 
eyes on the red and gold of the garden. Late autumn 
had burst into radiance ; London had glowed that 
morning when he was crossing it; liquid light, with a 
rosiness in it, had seemed to be washing about between 
the houses, like water carried in a red wheel-barrow. 

' Well, then, my dearest, since 'tis so, 
Since naught remains but that we go — " 

Runs it not thus? Let us catch cold, then, because it 



is fine. Ah ! this is pleasant " — Mr. Hathersage, cross- 
ing the library door-mat, had sighted the entering 

"Will you come with us?" June was saying to 
Browne a few minutes later, "or are you too tired? 
Such a garden, the Anthons' ! — a piece of stage 
scenery, crowded with prettinesses — the last cry in 
quaintness, and all cut out of the side of a hill," she 
pattered on, playing the cordial entertainer. 

Browne could only half listen. He looked at her 
clothes with a disconcertment. They were not the 
ones that he knew. Of course not. Why should they 
be ? Yet the change seemed to hold him off from her. 
What she had worn had been part of her, part of her 
manner at any rate, worn by her as she wore her looks 
and remembered by him in all their gestures, and now 
there was this estranging lodgment, of something that 
might still be she, amidst new femininities. 

Mr. Hathersage stood with a hand on the door. 
" You go to the slaughter with us? " 

Browne collected his wits. Yes, he would enjoy it. 

June looked at her father. " I'll tell them — shall I 
— to balance the cart for four? " 

A faint little fussiness effervesced for a moment in 
Mr. Hathersage, rounding and brightening his mild 
eyes. " Perhaps Mr. Browne would bear with a coun- 
try habit of ours — perhaps if we just drove ourselves 
in the — " 

June understood; so did Browne, when the time 
to start came. The horse that had brought him up 
from the station was standing again at the door, but 


not in the shafts of the same goodly dog-cart. A 
lowly, tarnished conveyance had taken its place, a 
shallow hollow in basket-work, such as old ladies of 
that period would sometimes use in the country. Some 
touch of spickness or spanness seemed to have faded, 
too, from the man who had driven Browne and who 
stood at the horse's head now. 

June drove them the two miles through lanes 
scooped out of sand, under arching hedges of hazel. 
Sunned sand and pine, gorse and heather with bees 
still astir in them, sent up a warm, scented hum. 
It was the heart of the choiceness of Surrey. Even 
the blind had seen that: jimp huts and toy farms told 
where solvent gropers after the beauty of life had 
ceased groping awhile and thought they had found it; 
two or three preposterous, pretty palaces, hooded with 
hillsides of tile, tried to be seen wooing solitude. 
' They bring us new and pleasant neighbors," said 
Mr. Hathersage, eyeing without overt disrelish the 
newest stack of gables and vanes, chimneys and 
weather-boards, white paint and red. No vibration of 
irony could be discerned in his voice; the old patrician 
kept his disdain to himself to feed on: his hospitality 
stopped short of sharing that dainty with Browne, the 
last guest picked up from the highways or byways of 
this coarse world. 

Browne saw it and chafed at a self-assurance hoisted 
and poised so high above the common vulgarities of 
arrogance. Why, it was worse, it was arrogance twice 
distilled, the quintessence, the finest coxcombry of ex- 
clusion. So that was why they were sitting a foot 


from the ground, on faded cushions. Shabbiness, the 
foregoing of show, was a badge that he must have 
made for his caste in this mid-Surrey world of 
splashed money and shining and out-shining appoint- 
ments. It was oppressive to think of that still, with- 
drawn, innermost keep where pride lived by itself, un- 
competing and effortless, so guarded away from the 
strife without that it had the leisure to pamper its 
own lonely and delicate love of itself with mock hu- 
milities of surrender. 

Just once, in that drive, it was as if a boy with some 
warmer blood of merry mischief in him had lightly 
mounted the coping of that frigid citadel, shaking de- 
risive fists at an uncouth besieger. June, with a quick 
laugh and pointing nod, drew their eyes as they passed 
to an arched pole, eighteen inches high, at the foot of 
the garden wall of a resplendent week-end cottage 
with a double coach-house. In the wall there were 
many doors, each with its title painted above it, to 
guard against intrusive pollutions — " Visitors' En- 
trance," " Coachman's Entrance," " Tradesmen's 
Entrance." A cock, aloft on fastidious stilts, was 
picking its way through the hole, and over the arch 
some rustic wag had hastily chalked up " Fowls' En- 

Browne laughed out; Mr. Hathersage laughed too, 
a little, and wintrily. He saw the point of everything; 
it was his life to do that; yet there was something in 
him that half withheld itself from savoring a wit that 
tasted so of the earth, as the delicate wonder and 
doubt at the rude meals of health. June's laugh, 


nipped by that touch of frost, turned to a fret on the 
lips; she gave all her eyes to her driving; the jovial 
human hail from the fortress walls was suppressed; 
all that was left was a glimpse of hope that the garri- 
son might not always be wholly at one with itself. 
Perhaps the hope could be seen in his face when June 
saw it next, for when she spoke it was more in her 
father's vein than her father himself; she did penance 
jealously, making occasions for it; she started a strain 
of Olympian charity towards Sir Valentine Anthon, 
the host they were going to. 

Mr. Hathersage took it up, happy in mind again. 
' Really a quite intelligent man, on some subjects. 
An oculist, now retired, a little ' perplexed wi' 
leisure,' perhaps. Let me advise you to ask him 
about the French Emperor's eyes. An entertaining 

" He is our Lord of the Manor," said June. 

' So that really we owe him," her father said, 
" what courtesy is in our power." 

Thus did these two, though no longer quite one, 
agree for the moment to shut Browne formally out of 
their high Roman thoughts on the inrush of Vandal 
and Hun, on the flushed arriving stockbrokers and law- 
yers, or new-risen baronets shining uneasily in en- 
larged skies. Such was Sir Valentine Anthon, a kind 
little man bewildered with wealth and loss of function, 
and straying about his great house and fine garden 
like some cat bereft of its last kitten, looking for what 
he had hoped, during fifty years' toil, that rest after 
toil would be. Mr. Hathersage gave him, for some 


twenty minutes, illusions of finding it, so benign is the 
force of good manners. 

June practised the great manner too. Lady Anthon 
was lame ; she asked, would Miss Hathersage show Mr. 
Browne their little attempt at gardening. June 
showed off the money-made tit-bits with loyal gravity; 
Browne must not miss the grotto, the Faun, the me- 
chanical rainbow, Pomona's temple, the copper beech 
that really was copper, with fountainous twigs ; turn 
a tap and they played. Browne met her on that level. 
Coldness and stiffness? — well, so let it be. So she 
went on, giving the poor gauds their chance, and he 
would not take it away. They walked and talked for 
a while, with their tongues keeping step in the stiff, 
chivalrous exercise. 

Garden and house were perched like a golf -ball on a 
hanging lie. Wealth, as if with one cut of a spade, 
had sliced out for their site a flat step under the top of 
a woody hill. "Look!' said June, suddenly, in a 
new tone. They were on the terrace, the edge of that 
step. A balustrade, late Italian and florid, held it in, 
seeming to keep the whole place from slipping down- 
hill. From the lawn, where people were playing, a 
tennis-ball had just gone over the coping. They looked 
over, watching it roll half a mile down steep turf, with 
precarious persistence, now almost motionless, then 
again quickening. It came to rest in a ditch. 

Browne let his breath go. " In the crevasse ! " he 

She laughed. For a moment they were on that other 
mountain again. 


" It's good here," he said, looking out, with rising 
gusto; no mere exercise now. He backed away two 
or three yards from the balustrade ; over it, then, the 
first thing that his eye met was a windmill at work, 
two miles away, low on the wide floor between two 
ranges of downs. Beyond it, a mile further off, was 
another windmill ; a third, yet a mile or two further 
away, gleamed intermittently, like a revolving light, 
some bright part of its sails, no doubt, catching the 
westering sun at a certain point in each revolution. 
The three mills measured the receding plain ; mile be- 
hind mile it lay stilled with autumn and distance, only 
the sails moving. He stood enriching it with his en- 

" Is nothing flat to you? " she said, almost pettishly. 

He laughed. " All that plain is ! " 

She did not laugh. To her sense the flatness of flat 
things was beginning to be re-filled with the power 
to thrill that it had when she was a child and when 
wood thrilled her fingers because it was tepid and iron 
because it was cool. She felt she was worked on, and 
some resistent sentinel within her stood to its arms. 
She said, almost roughly, " How moral you are ! ' 

He was puzzled. " I moralize? " 
' You ' find good in everything ' anyhow." 

" Good fun? There is a good lot. Is it priggish to 
like it?" 

" It's a rebuke to us others." 

"Rebuke? No. Defiance. Avaunt, you ascetics. 
It's you have the taint of saints about you." 

"We, the incurious, unthankful — ?" 


" You the people who give up, who lay clown, who 
go without things.*' 

" Things we don't want, we're so blind to them." 

" By your own will, isn't it, so that then you can 
walk through the fair and not gape at the things there, 
and fiddles can play and you not want to dance ? ' 

" I love dancing." 

" Oh, good ! Bad, I mean, and most welcome." 

Slowly and not by regular steps they made their 
way back towards frank friendliness, each trying the 
mind of the other and finding that it had the right 
resilience, that it could give where you touched and 
then spring back into shape. " I suppose," she said, 
without petulance now, " there's a time to dance and 
a time to refrain from dancing." 

" None to refrain from enjoying, one way or other. 
Wouldn't that be as if Adam salted the garden? " 

She was grave again. "Is that fair? I don't 
mean to me, of course. I've never given anything up 
in my life. All I've done is to fail to like splendid 
things — Rome and the Alps and everything. Still, I 
know there's a way of giving up things, at the right 
time, that makes it what's most worth doing of all — 
giving up food and health even, willingly? ' 

" Unsouredly? Do they love giving them up? " 

" I'll ask you that when you've seen them? ' 

"Oh, it's your friends at Cusheen?" 

" They could have been, not rich of course, but less 
poor. They could have had help in their fishing. 
They gave it all up." 
'•Why on earth?" 


She winced as if treated rudely. " Perhaps for no 
reason on earth," she said, " but a good one else- 
where — they may have supposed," and then she winced 
worse at her own lapse towards crossness and rhetoric. 
''' Oh, I can't tell you about it," she flurriedly said, and 
colored, shamefaced or angry. 

He looked away over the champaign, giving her 
time. ' Two windmills — three," he counted slowly 
aloud, lest silence should hang too heavily; " three and 
— is it a fourth, but not working, up higher? ' 

She had collected herself. " That's the Mill on the 
Hill. It's deserted. It has a great view on fine nights : 
you see to the sea and to London — gleams on the 
waves, and the glow over London. It links them." 

"Oh, good!' : He thought of Mullivant's jewel- 
some England, threaded on such strings. 

She thought of the Dent Rouge. " You would like 
it. Guy must arrange. You cross — when ? ' : 

" To Dublin? To-morrow night." 

" Guy must take you to-night. I must see him." 
She looked round. ' He ought to be here ; he was to 
have come here straight from town, with a friend." 


" Yes." 

" I see Newman coming, in custody." 

With a quick flinch, as if snatching clear of some 
foulness, June interposed a tall bush between them 
and Newman, now hobbling nearer, the prey of a vol- 
uble, loud lady. 

' I think it so hard," the lady was saying, " to know 
what to get taught to one's children — about religion, 


you know — in the way of a special belief, you know. 
If only Pip, our boy, were more like his father ! Dear 
George was always so good and steady ; he never 
needed any religious support." 

There was no failing to hear it ; June's eyes and 
Browne's met on the vision of George's established 
soul, Browne's twinkling at sight of that fortress, 
June's unamused, only scornful. The mother made no 
pause. " The girls, of course, must be taught some- 
thing. With all this spiritual trouble that there is, 
even in quite nice novels, now, it may be so painful 
for a young girl at dinner, or at a dance, if she has 
nothing at all to say about that sort of thing." 

" Feel out of it, eh? ' Newman filled up a pause 
of an instant. 

'So painfully! And then the world is so full of 
pain already, I do want to spare my darlings any I 
can ; only it's so hard to know what is right! '' 

' Sure to be some little shilling book about it," said 
Newman, " if only one knew. Or what d'you say 
to — ? " The next words were blurred. 

The lady broke in penetratingly : ' Oh, don't you 
know? Dear Miss Hathersage is such a Catholic! ' 

June drew off at the name, with a hot cheek and 
cold voice, hedged with proud privacies. ' There is 
my brother," she said, " I'll go to him. Don't come." 

For a moment or two her last words immobilized 
Browne. They were imperious, as if she meant, 
" There — it is talk about me. Hear the worst." What 
did it matter to her, in her pride, that he should be 
planted there, eavesdropping? 


The lady was babbling on. " Why, she gets red if 
you say Roman Catholic just. And, if she were I, 
she'd simply go to a priest and ask him what to do, 
and then do it, and then if it went wrong it wouldn't 
be her fault. That's what's so nice for them. Oh, 
it's so cruel to have to think out all these things for 
oneself. I do really feel sometimes the Reformation 
must have been all a mistake, they worry me so — or 
was it the Renaissance when the Catholics split off 
from the Church of England? " 

" I 'spect both helped," said Newman, cautiously. 

" They're sure to have," said the lady. 

Browne had marked the later prattle too little to 
smile. Able to move again now, he went to greet Guy, 
whom June had left. 

Yes, there was almost the fullest of moons to-night, 
Guy said; Browne must certainly see the big view. 
" Quite a thing not to be missed." Guy spoke as if no 
one who had failed to see it could quite know how trite 
the world was. 

Sunset had reddened when June approached Aubrey, 
people were leaving, dew falling. ' You heard? " she 
imperiously asked, as if an hour had not passed. 

"The ribaldry? Yes. And I've met Mr. Roads 
since, the wonderful husband. He offered to buy me. 
I fear I was rude." 

She broke in. She was august with an exaltation 
of wrath. " I want to tell you," she said, " what I — 
wouldn't — couldn't just now. People like that woman, 
rich, idle people — has Mr. Roads told you, they own 
all the basest papers there are? — luxurious people — 


oh, I know I'm one — may talk as she does, but at 
Cusheen the women would see their sons drown before 
they'd be helped by any one who had broken vows of 
religion. And I love them for it, I love them. I'll tell 

She paused, shaken, as if it were too difficult, even 
now. But she looked taller, seemed to have straight- 
ened out and shot up like a flame ; like a flame her 
beauty rose too, flushed up into the cheek and blazed 
in the eye ; it warmed and might burn, was splendor 
and danger, lit from some lamp high out of sight and 
rooting down for its strength to central fires of passion 
under the earth. Browne was awed ; this was her real 
life, then — so he mused ; she had hold of infinite things 
by that old handle, odd-looking to him, of a creedful 
of dogmas. What matter the shape of the handle, 
though, if only it held? He said, "You are chival- 
rous," letting the words go, unintended, like a held 

She looked down from the height of her queenliness, 
shamefaced a little. Had she been ranting? "We 
ought to be," she answered humbly, touching the cord 
of some lay fringe of a Roman Order that went round 
her waist, "we belted knights;" she smiled ruefully. 
Had she been boasting? That was her silencing 
thought while Browne was thinking what an earth's 
wonder she looked, with that noble confusion quench- 
ing the glow still aflame where a noble pride had lit it ! 
She did not go on. 

' The garden is empty ! " she cried in amazement. 
She had come back to herself. A star was blinking 


out bravely, alone in the violet vault over the darken- 
ing weald. Her father was wrapping his throat in the 
hall. They drove back through lanes of somber en- 
chantment, where flat shapes of motionless trees lay 
black on the crimson west whither the homing horse, 
sped by his own single thought, hastened them eagerly. 


" A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honor, 
so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, 
yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof." 

Ecclesiastes vi. 2. 

THE dining-room at the End House might have 
made a kitchen in heaven, it was so cosily chaste 
in its lowliness of attire, so purged of decorative sin. 
White wood; many white tiles; white curtains — not 
of lace; rush-bottomed chairs fastidiously simple; all 
along one wall, a dresser, with plates on it, ranged like 
their toiling kin elsewhere, but these had leisure and 
were of breeding; some had histories; one recorded, 
like a medal, an old sea-fight. Browne was now told 
things about it not printed in books but only borne 
down the stream of a ruling caste's gossip, its heir- 
looms of intramural tattle — how that fight's hero, a 
darling of credulous England's, had flown a white flag 
in another battle, the next year, with an actress of 
small parts, a notable pirate in that age. Mr. Hather- 
sage told it with nice touches of irony, reticent sym- 
pathy, allowance. " ' But on the field ' — how does it 
go? ' ; He ended the tale with a modest sham-failing 
of memory. " Is it — 

" ' But on the field of love alone 
The glory lies in flying ' ? " 


He was talking his best to-night about the great 
world that he knew. Through the glass that he put to 
Browne's eyes it heaved into sight like some old moon, 
waste and huge, a cold globe of spent craters. A 
Queen's page, an attache, a member of Parliament, 
cousin and private secretary to a Premier — he had 
been all these; many good things, as men count, had 
come up to him of themselves, to be tasted, and all had 
proved themselves middling. He had been at the hubs 
of the most dazzlingly whirling of wheels and had 
found at each a core of slowness, not the concentration 
of the speeding glory of the tire, but its retardation, 
down to tedium. He flowed out in anecdotes now. 
" ' If you want to love your kind,' : ' he would quote 
between one and the next, " ' you must not expect too 
much from them.' All his stories were, surely, re- 
ductive of over-high hopes. He had known " every- 
body worth knowing," had heard the most famously 
saintly of laymen bully his wife, had opened the letter 
in which a sage asked for a knighthood, and seen 
earth-shaking statesmen pushed, pulled, or bodily 
borne through their seismic labors by mute, inglorious 

" Moses' arms were held up, after all," he would 
add, in excuse. He had no spite, no bias of creed, class 
or race. A Roman prelate was hero to one of the 
stories: "To hell with you!' this divine had once 
said to his Irish chaplain, from whom the story had 
come with the note — " I never before heard his Grace 
say the like of that, drunk or sober." Or some royal 
duke was so frugal as not to give people enough to eat 


when they dined at his house, nor light to eat it by; 
" You used to be bidden to darkness and gnashing of 
teeth." Wherever some illusion of some one's youth 
might reasonably have perished, the round, rimmed, 
hedge-sparrow eyes would brighten frostily for a mo- 

As dinner went on, the rest fell silent, or only put in, 
now and then, some ministering query. In pauses the 
waiting butler seemed like stillness in motion ; light 
airs had begun to roam round the house at dark; 
they rose on the ear as if thrown into relief by those 
feet's quietude. Guy was silent contentedly; surveys 
of mankind, every man steeped in his humor, and none 
momentous or rare, were the food Guy had been raised 
on. Two brothers, still in the raising, were at table 
too, boys of twelve and fourteen in mere count of 
years and inches, but old already, in many parts of 
the soul, as Ecclesiastes or autumn; grave, rational, 
quenched, too skeptical even to disbelieve with a will, 
they had outgrown both ardor and rudeness. They 
cracked nuts sedately, and listened, and aged. 

June had become silent too, more enigmatically. 
Her eyes were open and blank as glassed seas, her lips 
symbols unused; so, Brow T ne thought, might one paint 
the face of Japheth or Shem when he would not see his 
father's nakedness. Once their looks met, his 
staunchly vacant, as if, for all he knew, she, too, might 
be sere, like her family of yellow leaves, and not 
merely loyal to them; her looks withheld as proudly 
the least gleam of thanks to his eyes for offering her 
no ray of comprehension. Outside, as their emptied 


eyes met, the wind was sniffing at the house; a rose- 
bough knocked on a pane lightly. He fancied her ears 
caught at the sounds: could something in her be 
stifling, in this distilled air, for that rude and strong 
one? No sign. Her father's voice, like a clear, tiny 
bell, tinkled on; Guy's laugh, with its musical, infinites- 
imal chimes, still struck in to help out the case against 
having one's breath ever taken away, and the little boys 
listened and cracked more nuts without greed, and 
ripened towards the grave. 

Dinner over, the boys went to bed from the half- 
lighted drawing-room where Mr. Hathersage shuffled 
softly from point to point, with the flow of his talk 
falling slack, till he faded away almost insensibly, like 
a cadence, into his study; its rose-shaded lamp on a 
letter-strewn table shown through an open door be- 
yond a darkling second drawing-room, as harbor lights 
shine across intervening seas. He left the doors open, 
and so, from their own half-light, the rest saw through 
the medial darkness to where he sat, image-like, in a 
luminous niche. Soon Guy — he was sorry — must go 
off to read Roman Law, with a coach shared by New- 
man and him, at Brunt Farm, where Newman had 
rooms. When Guy had gone, and some topic with 
him, June plunged at another abruptly, with forced 
airiness, like one who keeps things going for a wager. 
"About Brabburn? Is it appalling?" 

" It's glorious." He put it high, by instinct, to bind 
himself over to fight out his line. 

She said " Oh? " rather coldly, as if to ask, not " Is 


that chaff?" but "What special line of chaff may 
that be?" 

He tried to laugh. " A lepers' island, you'd heard ? ' 

" No, but — well, lusterless." 

•• Waterloo was, till they fought there." 

" But — Brabburn ! A by-word ! Tennyson, Ruskin, 
Thackeray, Meredith even — how they all scorned it! ' 
She warmed to the conflict, finding it real. 

So did he. " Dante scorned Genoa; yet Garibaldi 
came from it." He winced at this slip — to a Catholic — 
made in his heat. " Columbus too," he added hastily. 

His visible twinge of compunction made her lower 
her point till it passed. " Father," she said, " had a 
friend, once, from Brabburn, a merchant. They were 
both in Parliament then. He stayed here when I was 
a child. Telegrams came for him all day ; the baker's 
wife, who keeps the post-office, was ill afterwards. He 
was ' nice ' ; a little wooden, but quite ' nice,' only — " 

Browne, too, re-engaged. " Only — from Brabburn. 
See how it clings. If you could say ' I am from Brab- 
burn,' your friends would say in a strained, gentle 
voice, ' Ah! — from Brabburn? ' and try to be kind to 
you, as if you had said ' My grandfather was hanged ' 
and they said ' Oh? ' softly and quitted the subject — 
stole out on tiptoe. Or they'd say ' Well, and how 
do you like your life in Brabburn? ' to show they knew 
you were a missionary and not really one of the can- 

" Would that be a happiness? ' 

"The happiness; wouldn't it? Brabburn is Lon- 
don before they'd built Westminster Abbey; Oxford 


before universities came; it's pre-Shakespeare Strat- 
ford. All the overblown flowers are seeding all round 
it; it isn't out yet; it's coming. The big things are 
all to be done there still — not just the crowding up 
after they're done, the commemorating and gushing." 

June had tinder for that spark; she could light at 
the thought of being in at the painful birth of a great 
glory. Yet she must muster against it what forces 
she might ; she could not tell why ; some half-heard in- 
ternal imperative set her throwing up dams against 
some half-apprehended flood. " The big things? " she 

" The undone ones." 

"What are they?" 

' If one could say, one could do them. They're all 
novel, indefinable, aren't they, like building Rome — 
till they're done? What's the South Pole like? To 
say is to get there." 

" One could sail south ; one could start anyhow. 
But how start, even, at Brabburn? " 

" Why not write every day in a newspaper for forty 
years? " 


"You disdain it?" 

" Not what you're going to do, at Cusheen, just for 
once. But then — " 

'One mustn't wholly 'sink into a journalist'? 
' Mere ephemeral writing,' and so on? Isn't that just 
'Ah — from Brabburn!' over again? A whole craft, 
almost, is unmade as yet, waiting, crying out to be 
brought to life, as the place does." 


" But can it be ever made noble? Think of the — 
She named Roads' last triumph in marketing mean 
ness fresh daily. 

" Can flesh face steel? Think how sheep run from 


She gave a small confident laugh which might have 
meant, " Don't deliver your whole cause into my 
hands by extravagance." " Don't say that the work is 
like a soldier's," she said. 

" No. Drums and bugles don't play while you're 
doing it." 

" It's not facing death." 

" The death-rate in Brabburn is thrice that of Alder- 

" But— in war?" 

" Brabburn babies died faster last summer than our 
troops did at Colenso." 

She chilled, hating the line of thought. " You be- 
little brave men? " 

" I honor them even up to the height of being sure 
they chafe at the thought, when medals and orders 
come — ' They burnt Joan of Arc ; they put Wallace to 
death ; they lionize me.' Wasn't that General Neville 
you spoke with, to-day, at the party, the old, sad 

" My god-father; yes." 

" I saw him in uniform once. You have, of course. 
You remember his coat was too small for all the medals 
and stars and crosses ? What a life to have had ! And 
can't you fancy him now looking back over it, asking 
himself is there any last crown of joy that he has 


missed, and saying, ' Yes, one — to have had all those 
things to do, and no one applaud '? " 

She could not fancy it : sex, with its specialized gen- 
erosity, would not let her; had their talk been of some 
achievement and peril kept for women alone, she could 
have done it : but then he could not have. Now he was 
eager; he would not give in; and the lamp had burnt 
propitiously low; the sinking fire looked old; he pressed 
on: " Seems, somehow, as if a brave act began to go 
bad as soon as praise forms on it — when the flies buzz 
up and swarm on it — all the little timorous people. 
They soil it ; they would have called the man a crank, 
perhaps even a sneak, if they'd seen him go at it, at 
first ; when it's done he's some one whose ship has 
come in ; he has broken the bank ; he has come off, and 
all cowards swear by him. They can be dodged, 
though. I found that out at Brabburn. There's work 
done that nobody daubs with praise, and people are 
used up in doing it well, in the dark, and sneered at 
for being staunch. They get battles to fight where 
public opinion's for running away, and the man who 
runs best is given a title : a man who ran till he 
dropped might get a grave in the Abbey." 

At each rhetorical sentence's end he thought " Have 
I done for myself in her mind?" and then made the 
next more provocative still, doggedly putting his all in 
jeopardy, as a man searches a lonely house for armed 
burglars, forcing himself from room to room. She 
was not with him in sympathy; that he could see. To 
her the martial qualities were of blood royal; they had 
divine rights; she hated any upstart virtue that dared 


to measure itself against them. And yet, he was giv- 
ing himself away; she could see that; it challenged her 
own spirit; besides, he had raised the image of a lost 
battle fought out to the end ; and that thrilled, though 
only an image. So she said, with some haughtiness, 
yet half-relentfully : " Does the world contain such a — 
journalist? " getting the last word out with a gulp at 
its evil taste. 

"Two, Bruntwood and Mullivant. You never 
heard of them? " 

" No." 

" Though your brother employs them ? Good ! See 
how nameless journalists are! ' 

She was forestalled. What he said was just what 
she would have said, but she would have meant " In- 
glorious trade ! " And now she could not say it. She 
could not even think it. It was as though he had 
looked past her, over her shoulders, to some one be- 
hind, more generous, and she had turned to see who it 
was and found that this other person was she herself, 
her more real self, and that what she had taken to be 
herself before was only a screen, an outworn, second- 
rate version of her, put up for show or defense. ' But 
what do they do that's so fine? " she asked hastily, in 
her first chafing at this disablement of her outworks. 

" Just sit at a desk every night, snubbing baseness. 
It canvasses them." 

"To do what?" 

" To tell people they're right when they're not." 
He held in the rhetoric now, a defiant instinct of 
straightness shunning the use of the jockeying word 


where it might not hinder, but help. " Not very thrill- 
ing? ' He prompted her to be unmoved if she would. 
' Well," she said suspensively, out of her inward 
confusions of rearrangement, " no." 

' No rushing out of the ranks, with armies ad- 
miring? " 

" I suppose they're esteemed in their own profes- 
sion," she ventured, attempting the austere tone proper 
to safe assumption. 

" You spoke of the ," he said. " That's the 

head of the trade — Mr. Roads' last paper. How could 
Mr. Roads esteem people who don't care to sell lies? 
If praise soils, the game is clean as the sea. Oh, you 
want Birkenhead decks? You'll get 'em to stand on, 
but you'll be alone, or with one or two more, and the 
rest of your corps sneering at you ' Crank ! ' ' Fad- 
dist ! ' ' It's moral cowardice, really ! ' while they 
swarm into the boats. It'll be keeping straight gratis 
— just the bare bones of decency." 

He spoke as if it were she at the cross roads: she 
answered as if it were he; she tempted him. 

" If you lived as a soldier you might die like one." 

' A ball in the brain, you mean, at the head of a 
charge ? " 

" Would you give that up too ? " 

: You'd have to. I don't believe Enoch miracles 
come off in Brabburn. Cancer, a pain in the heart or 
spine for a few years, a week's suffocation — there's 
no bolting from them. You'd have to face death — 
the true horrors of it, the ' natural ' ones." He still 
forced the note of offense, lest he should shirk it. She 


never hedged and he would not ; better be cleanly 
maimed by the utter loss of her than gain toleration 
by bating a jot of his distasteful ardors. 

Surely enough her air was one of distaste. She 
was chill ily bewildered. Not that, like quite vulgar 
souls, she hugged in mean panic what was current — 
the filed judgments and registered valuations. They 
were worth something: spots of dry ground amid 
waters, at least they gave foothold. But June had 
the fortitude of equity; she could be harsh to her own 
fears and coldly refuse to deny that footholds, even 
one's own, may have to go sometimes, with none in 
sight to take their places; a haughty fairness ruled 
her and scorned the cheap conceit of finality in her own 
old appraisements and took it for granted that what 
any one else said for a view that was not hers must be 
less than the most that he could say for it if he would. 
But she was bewildered and disarranged. Things that 
he said made queer new calls on her ; they assumed she 
was a person, detached, like a nation, with frontiers, 
a being autonomous, equal, free and yet novelly bur- 
dened, bound to make out for herself what was right 
and what wrong and to stand by whatever result she 
came to. June dismayedly felt that she never yet had 
been a person, only a piece of the flesh of a family, and 
a cell in its brain. What thought of hers had she not 
taken on trust? Which of her admirations had not 
been formed by proxy? Was there, of all the things 
she had said to-day, one that had not been spoken by 

When June was dismayed her face and voice would 


grow icy ; she looked most distantly regal when every- 
thing in her was praying for help, or running to and 
fro, seeking a life-belt, or abasing itself in deep dusts 
of contrition. It was beyond Browne to read her 
then. He did not see that the frozen aspect was help- 
lessness steeling itself not to wince. He only saw her 
austere and spiritually tall, looking securely out from 
untold reserves of cold certitude. 

So for a silent minute each of them thought how 
awesomely strong a case it must be that could count 
for so much in the other's mind, till Mr. Hathersage, 
brushing the carpet's nap with soft feline pads, came 
across to bring them a find from his night's reading, 
a sight of the life of the old British India — how envoys 
would set out on missions to courts many hundred 
miles off, and not move in the heat of the day nor in 
the dark of the night; a few miles on a walking ele- 
phant's back before breakfast, and then the long day's 
peace. He read to find such things and show them to 
people, but also to keep up the good accent with which 
he could talk to many kinds of learned men in the 
dialects of their own several studies, as he talked 
French and Italian. He read out cooingly, resting 
himself on the thought of that quaint leisure, unlike 
to-day's rackety haste. 

They listened to the urbane treason to life; they did 
not let their looks meet. She, as the helpless will 
sometimes do, tried to be angry with Browne ; who, 
after all, was this stranger, that he should be let into 
knowledge of what was failing under her? Browne 
caught no glimpse of that; for all he saw, she might 


be heart and soul with her father now, and life, which 
is always to-day, would never be anything to her, 
either, but some bawling cad who must be endured with 
only such compensations as irony has for its right 
users. Then Mr. Hathersage yawned with a candor 
so child-like that it was not rude; rather, a confidence; 
he seemed to have gone, with his guest, behind Madam 
Courtesy's back, and to trust his guest not to tell her. 
" Youth, youth! " he crooned, with a little shiver, on 
hearing about their plan for the mill : to go they were 
only waiting for Guy. " ' Lusum it Maecenas, dor- 
mitum ego,' he murmured, and crept up to bed as 
ten struck. 

June, moving about to replace a used book, stood 
still for a second; she looked up, through a window 
and through the glass roof of a greenhouse outside. 
Browne's eyes, following hers, saw a round moon, 
remote and abstract beyond the filtering screen of 
double glass and interposed room, ride high in bare 

" What a night ! ' he said. Indeed Lorenzo and 
Jessica might have capped ecstasies in it. 

She said " Yes," with a reluctance, as though her 
mind flinched at the scent of some twilight idea not yet 
made out, as horses will sweat and hold back, at night, 
with a dim but positive sense of the approach of some- 
thing of which all they know is the way their ears 
twitch and their breath goes. 


"A dream that a lion had dreamed 
Till the wilderness cried aloud, 
A secret between you two, 

Between the proud and the proud." 

W. B. Yeats. 

THEY set out. It was calm now; in the stillness 
they heard the owls calling and answering, far 
off and near, in firm notes; one huge inquisitive fellow 
came floating over their heads in a chain of linked 
circles that moved with them, lying outspread on the 
air without sound or effort. They passed through a 
hamlet sleeping its deepest already against the coming 
of daylight and work; only in one or two cottages, 
ruled, as June knew, by babies, did lighted panes make 
yellow squares against the milky radiance that filled 
outer space. Past the hamlet they toiled up a path in 
loose sand to the edge of the Hurtwood, a huge com- 
mon, miles square, of pine, gorse and heather capri- 
ciously patterned out, here a few acres of one, and 
then another. 

The first mile of the three to the mill they walked 
almost silently. Guy smoked, by June's leave ; June 
laved her cheeks in the cool air — they had dust and 
heat on them, she felt ; dust of her father's and 
brother's probing and peering about among things that 
turned dusty under their hands at their incantatory 



murmur of " Yes — everywhere cobwebs! " heat of her 
inner fight against giving them up, those two — and 
against not giving them up. Oh, it was all heat and a 
maze, and unbearable things calling out to be done, 
this way and that : impossibles had to be chosen among. 

By the end of the mile she thought she had put 
things in order within. She tested it — tried how well 
she could make talk of trifles — of Italy, Oxford, the 
Temple, where Guy now lived and Aubrey had meant 
to. She thought she was getting on well. As they 
walked, the mill, now in sight, black on the sky-line, 
bulked always larger and higher. June pattered away 
at her skimmy stuff; had Aubrey noticed, the air was 
warm where the pines were, but it chilled at once where 
the gorse began, and was it not sure to be fine all night ? 
— the pheasants were roosting far out on the boughs. 
She scarcely waited for answers. She clung nervously 
to the lead, the social command, the hostess's suze- 
rainty over people's relations. 

The mill rose high out of pines, with tough old 
heather under them, leathery stems and broomy 
sprays ; feet caught in them or slipped on them ; it was 
a breathless stumble up the last slope ; even June's vol- 
uble trepidation was put to silence; before they had 
reached the top Guy, the man of inaction, was puff- 
ing. Arrived at the door he dropped on a long bench 
beside it. Many farmers had polished the seat already 
a century since, sitting there to talk of Boney and how 
the great war went, while the meal that they had come 
for was being ground out to the end. 

" For me," fluted Guy, " enough of ambition. 


J'y suis, j'y reste. In, you others; follow aloft the 
phantom of aesthetic repletion. Here, below, man 
wants but little — a warm coat, tobacco, woolly gloves 
— the means of life and of contemplation. I have 
them. In, my friends; leave me." 

' Oh, Guy!" June broke out to upbraid, and then 
stopped in dismay at her own dismay and trod down 
as a weakness the instinct that had cried out. 

In at the little unfastened door the two stooped, 
with Guy's last benediction on their attire amid the 
dusty hazards of the interior : forty years had the mill 
been disused. They lit match after match; they picked 
a way across the rotten boards of the floor to the first 
of the three ladders leading up from story to story. 

' Ought to be chockful of tramps," he said at one 
pause. They listened. No sound came, of moving or 
snoring. Each heard only the other's breath rise and 
fall in its own rhythm. " Harvest late, perhaps." 

: Yes, they'll be all in the barns," she said quickly, 
wanting to know, by the sound of her voice, that she 
was at ease. Strange things followed. In that domed 
bell of bricks one's voice rang; hers, when so mag- 
nified, seemed to herself like some private gesture spied 
upon with a telescope. Why ? What were the words 
themselves ? Nothing. That was the trouble : the null- 
ness of words was ceasing to avail; screens were fall- 
ing; speech, the old veil, without which the mind might 
be naked and shamed, was lifting like mist. 

They had to walk the floor daintily, not to drop 
through to the cellarage. One board in two had been 
stripped off, to cook some past wanderer's supper or to 


warm supperless hands. The moon gave no help ; all 
it did was to baffle, leaking through chinks of the shut- 
tered windows to play freakish fantasies of spots and 
streaks before their feet; once it tricked June into 
putting a foot through the crumbling paste of lath and 
plaster between two cross beams. She gave the slight- 
est quick cry and then snatched back, before she stood 
safe, the hand that she had held out and he taken. 

" Oh, let us get up," she said oppressedly, " out of 
this hole," and cut off his next words as if they might 
hit her. " Do let us hurry," she pressed. 

They hurried, and clambered at last out into the air 
through a window-like door, and stood on a ledge of 
lead that ran round the base of the roof, leaning their 
backs against the lead dome, with the gawky sails 
above and below them fixed at the angles which chance 
first, and then rust more rigidly, had ordered for their 
last quiescence. As they leant he heard her breath's 
troubled stir ; it was like some small animal struggling 

"You're fagged?" he asked, and, quick in alarm, 

" No, no! " she jerked out, with impatience, not at 
him, but at the wild Daphne in her that could have 
leaped clear from their ledge into space. She chid it 
down — vain, immodest timidity; shame on its presag- 

" Look ! " she said, ruling her voice. " What we 
came for ! ' She pointed. From east and south, a 
mile or two off, there ran out to meet one another two 
long-backed hills, black masses, and then they stopped 


before meeting and dropped sHarply down to the floor 
of the great southern weald, leaving between them a 
space like the bright gap that is cut out of the dark 
when the curtain goes up on a stage. The gap was 
living with light ; beyond it the moon's full lamp hung 
high over the plain, where ground mists, visionary in 
this light, were afloat on illuminated meadows. 

He made some sound, not of words, and she forced 
a light tone. " Docs that mean you feel just a kind of 
balked willingness to be charmed? The feeling one 
has at a Baedeker place with three asterisks? I'm 
sorry. I shouldn't have trumpeted so." She rushed 
on; she had to be talking; what might not be heard 
if a stillness came, what flood topping its banks? 
Low, rolling pine music was round them : she clutched 
at the topic. " Isn't it like the noise of London, far 
off, heard from Kensington Gardens — the middle of 

" Yes." 

" Do you know, it never quite ceases? There's no 
air so still? " 


She kept her voice sounding. " Strange, how easy 
it is to tell that soughing noise from the murmuring 
of beeches! " 

" Yes, or from dry grass when it shrills." 

She had wished him to talk, but now, when he did, 
there sprang up in her, sudden, touching, disarming, a 
sureness that he too was doing what she was; he too 
was far out at sea, as alone and unhelped as she, on his 
own little improvised raft of words, the first comers to 


hand, all that he had to put between self-mastery and 
deep waters. Her peril drew back; she felt, for the 
moment, sorry only for him ; she saw him a child that 
has some need, or pain, but will not cry out. 

" Look! The sea! ' Her voice was self-forgetful 
for the first time. " Quick, while the gleam lasts." 

She pointed out southward, but he did not look the 
right way. " Quick — it's going," she said. Trying 
eagerly to put him right, she touched his arm with a 

He did not look, even then; he said to himself, 
" The kind hand! " as if he were alone and caressing 
a memory that enchanted. Half aroused from that, he 
looked round and down and met eyes that were up- 
turned and shone, bent on him, lost in him ; some film 
was on them, like that on profoundly stilled pools, yet 
they quivered; each little glistening lake vibrated un- 
broken; they swayed as a moored boat sways in a 
stream and yet is moored tautly. Then he too lost all 
hold but that; all of him lived along the line of his gaze 
into those deeps. Not like people who choose what to 
do, or who think " This may be right," or " Thus far 
may one go," they drew to each other. There was that 
thing to do in the world, nothing else; the nobleness 
of life was to do thus. Yet in this rush of their first 
rapture each of their staunch souls was ruled by the 
firm powers built up in itself through all its continent 
youth, she to a gallant trust that would have given him 
even her lips, and he to a passionate guard over pas- 
sion; he kissed only the lids of her eyes as they closed 
on the love that they had let in. 


How long had they clung so? Neither could tell. 
The rolling pine music had rolled on through lives and 
round worlds. It is said that in dreams you may live 
years in the instant in which you are awaked. Guy 
had not called, the moon still hung where she did, when 
each drew loose a little from the other's arms and 
looked at the face which had once been unwon. 
Speech had to come. She broke their descent to that 
earth. " The sea ! " she said, letting them down on the 
wings of a playfulness; " you never answered me." 

" It was so long ago." 

' I must show you again." She pointed to where, 
through a rent torn in drift mist, a sheen was seen 
dancing. " The moon on the Channel," she said, and 
then, simply : " You have not religion. Yet you are 
near it." 

" I ! " he said, wondering. 

" You're like God, the way a child is like a father. 
You can do things in His way. ' The earth is His and 
He made it,' and you can look at things and they're 
new ; they're made at that moment, and the morning 
and the evening are the first day." She spoke almost 
wildly, as if she fluttered wild wings against the walls 
of inexpressiveness that cage love. 

He cherished her, soothing those wings. " Love, it 
is love ; it is like that ; I felt it to-night — you remember, 
at dinner, the way the wind prowled and whined round 
the house. I caught myself laughing with glee at the 
very thought of a house, a room, the first room ever 
made — the cute little cube of still warmth safe and 
snug in the middle of all the rush of coldness." 


He laughed, and her mood drew in to his. ' And 
I sat by my fire last night," she responded, " and sud- 
denly felt a sort of glow of the triumph the man must 
have had who first lit one." 

" The jolly miracle ! " 

" Yes, warming his toes." 

" We're being born, really," he said. " The first 
time was nothing — mere passing out of sleep into a 

" Yes, all the dear hum and thud of the big world 
thrown away, wasted on us." 

" Yes, or only just booming and droning on into a 
place in the ends of old dreams." 

The two drifted down the same eddying current of 
reverie ; each voice trailed the very rhythm of the 
other. " But now — " As they breathed that together, 
too, their eyes joined and were tangled again. She 
nestled close, barring everything out of her heart but 
the moment's indestructible joy. Let everything wait 
but that; she had to be harvesting. Long afterwards, 
over her head as it lay against him, his voice came to 
her, from distances; he had come out of their trance; 
he must have been — yes, she was sure he had been 
turning back to what she had said : " religion " — she 
heard the word and then " it's dim to me, all that 
side," he was saying; "not ugly darkness, or cruel; 
only an end that comes to light, harmlessly, the way it 
does in the evening." 

The words were being pressed out of him, one by 
one, each of them hard sought, for the help it might 
give to a frankness that tried not to hurt. She gave a 


slight moan, not at his words, but at the breaking of 
her ecstasy. He did not know that. 

Aroused, she looked up with eyes wet with tender- 
ness ; tenderness shook and lowered her voice, it had 
possessed her so. He did not know. How could he 
think love for him stronger than that mystic passion 
of which he knew nothing except that half the world 
seemed to be moved by it? He saw only the shock of 
his creedlessness bruising her. 

She saw part of his trouble and broke out in con- 
solations, assurances, hopes — he might find faith at 
Cusheen; there were miracles there — he would see; 
one might happen to him. " When you come back I 
shall look out from the walls for you, shading my eyes 
with my hands. I shall know by the light round your 
head." Her voice had that wildness again; she was 
rapt, and he could not analyze. Her exaltation was 
beautiful to him; he gloried in it; and yet in those 
transports she seemed to be less his; lustrous, as visions 
are, she took on, too, the precariousness of a vision 
as if, when she knew him for what he was, she might 
fade back, with her kind eyes still on him, into estrang- 
ing brake and mist. 

Panic seized him; he wanted her back; to hold her 
he took her name, now his to caress, and played with it 
— what name was like it — June, the sweet o' the year? 

Why, his, she retorted; Aubrey, Aubrey, it had the 
dawn in it — rose-colored mists, and the first lark, and 
diamonded lawns. 

They flitted from this to that, not talking much 
about love, nor like lovers in books, for there were no 


readers there who had to understand them. They 
rambled; they made little rushes hither and thither, 
taking possession of new corners of Eden with little 
happy, irrelevant, incoherent cries of discovery. 

" Twelve o'clock and a starry night, but a wind 
rising." Guy's voice came up to them, placid and cool 
as spring water. He had strolled out from his bench ; 
his cigarette's end could be seen, a pulse of light, rising 
and falling. " Is London in sight, good people? ' 

Oh — London? They looked for it. Clouds had 
mounted the north-east sky on the wind, their under 
side sullenly flushed with a turbid glow, with more of 
darkness in it than light. That was London, flaring 
sootily up to heaven. More clouds rose fast ; the wind 
roughened; the two shivered on their high perch. 
They groped their way down in thickening darkness; 
the moon was put out. But he held her hand now. 
Blow wind, come blackness and winter, he held her 
hand. All the way home the cries of the owls, the bark 
of a fox, the far-away whistle of a night mail were 
calls blown on bugles and clarions, tossing triumphantly 
up and down, here clear on the crest and there lost in 
the trough of the long waves of sound now heaving on 
seas of murmuring pines. 


" When that I was and a little tiny boy." 

Twelfth Night, Act v. Sc. i. 

BROWNE was legging it hard up and down the 
deck before the mail boat cleared Holyhead Har- 
bor and struck out for — well, for what? What was Ire- 
land more than a word to him ? How would it feel to 
be there ? Now that he asked, he found out that he had 
not even a formed expectation. What a young ass he 
must have been not to question his Irish parents more ; 
they must have loved to talk about everything Irish, 
yet scarcely a word of what they had said occurred to 
him now as he went back the way they had come. He 
rummaged his early memories. Vivid and small they 
came back as his walk quickened, the things they used 
to recall of their life before he was born — the in- 
finitesimal flat at Florence, the vintage at Dijon, at 
Bellinzona a grumpy innkeeper, the doctor at Paris 
who talked bad metaphysics ; each recollection began 
to shine out, as his mind warmed, like one small picture 
on a bare wall. But almost everything Irish had 
faded. Oral tradition went back no further than those 
two years of foreign travel before he was born. 

They must have come to England to nest for him. 
That must have been why they pitched upon Strand- 
on-the-Green, with mid-London and all its good 
schools within reach, and bought the ugly small house 



looking out sunnily on to the Thames which no one 
could build over. Houses, of course, had been cheap 
on that decayed waterway of moldering names — 
Chiswick, Brentford, Isleworth, places with foreshores 
lined with leavings of atrophied occupations, with fly- 
blown taverns, ferries that only just paid; barge- 
builders' wharves from which the ring of hammers, 
turned to music by the liquid sounding-board, came 
always slower than last year ; eyots with banks slipping 
down and baring the roots of great trees, nobody 
minding; stretches of ageing green mud between the 
eyots and the mainland, with water-logged boats, and 
bones of old barges, sticking half out of it. Shutting 
his eyes he stood still for a moment; yes, he could 
place each faded green summer-house, speckled with 
burst paint blisters, rotting away at the river end of 
the long-grassed garden of some house to let, the pleas- 
ance, no doubt, in its day, of some Georgian cit. 

He walked on, still more gaily; the vivid image of 
melancholy things delights happy people, as firelight 
gains a last charm from the sound of dripping eaves. 
And merely to image anything was delight ; how one's 
mind leaped about, running to this side and that, as 
one walked, like a dog out with a man! He let it; he 
looked on, amused, almost patronizing; it brought 
half-forgotten old things to his feet for sport, as re- 
trievers do — the first joy of the river, forbidden at 
first, and how he had won the freedom of it by force 
and fraud, the furtive wadings at first ; the perception, 
when a ninth birthday brought manhood, that now 
he must swim; the swift, guilty stripping among the 


osiers in April; the drying with handkerchief and cap, 
and then the return home, the detected damp curls 
and blue nose and the slapping and putting to bed; 
and, next day, more swimming practice, but just after 
breakfast, so that all the rest of the morning might go 
to running about at high speed and rolling down a 
grass slope, to induce perspiration and dirt, for safety; 
and how, with these precautions, the cause had 
marched prospering till he could throw off at dinner, 
as if by the way, the remark that now he could swim 
right across at high tide. No storm had broken ; his 
father had only asked him " What stroke ? " — a lum- 
inous question. The duck never lived that would like 
to hatch hens. 

Recollection gamboled along, taking the order of 
time — how, when once free of the river, he caulked 
with red lead, penuriously saved up for, a marvelous 
old canoe that a former tenant had left in a shed. 
Why, aboard her he must have spent almost every 
holiday hour for five or six years, ravished with the 
perpetual entertainment of seeing the way rivers work 
and the way they look while working — all the various 
symbolic boilings and twirls of surface eddies over 
different submerged objects; the wayward-seeming 
tricks of silting and scouring that drew and re-drew 
the lines of channels; the consternation of water-rats 
when a great tide had flooded their holes and they had 
to kill time by swimming and running about, with 
their nerves all on edge, till the deluge had abated ; 
the way the stream did not flow straight down its bed, 
as you might have thought, but stumbled along like a 


drunken man in a walled lane, first bumping into one 
bank and then rebounding obliquely to cannon against 
the other. 

How splendid his father and mother had been, not 
to set upon him and take away from him firmly the joy 
of prying into his dear river's life, and prove her a 
pest in a book, with a mileage and tributaries. At 
twelve he had not read a word of geography, only the 
JEncid with his father, and plenty of Horace, and 
Telemaque with his mother, and Hugo's Quatre-vingt- 
treize, and by himself, Don Quixote, in Jarvis's Eng- 
lish, and Galland's Arabian Nights, Smollett, The 
Newcomes, The Vicar of Wakefield and Robinson 
Crusoe, read over and over again till he knew the 
rhythms of every part that he liked, as one knew the 
lines of a friend's shoulders. 

This profane learning, unsicklied by any close traffic 
with grammar or history, an Aubrey of twelve had 
carried to Blackfriars, noblest of London's great day- 
schools. London had opened then; London was his — 
streets full of things to get a delighted sense of; fallen 
horses to be watched with agonies of compassion, but 
utter inability to miss the minutest detail of their 
resurrection; drunken men, captive or yet free; fire 
engines to pursue to any extremity; once an attempt 
at suicide — a swollen bundle of clothes floating up on 
the tide, and a boat making after it with the oars 
bending! once a corpse on the Blackfriars foreshore, 
stiff as a short stick and bloated beyond thought, with 
a policeman on guard in his pride of official insensi- 
bility. Oh, ample life ! 


Then the rise of the theater: first, the slow matur- 
ing of plans for a Saturday afternoon when his parents 
would not be at home to miss him, then the hard run 
at noonday from school to the two hours' fight for his 
place at the old Lyceum's gallery door; you fought 
for your place in those days. It was Irving and Terry 
in Much Ado About Nothing. How the world had 
swelled! On the heels of the vast emotions, with 
which he had perspired and shivered all that afternoon, 
had come the first misgiving that some parts of life 
were left out in the house in the river mists, where all 
the talk was of what the Vatican was to do next, and 
the terrible prices of things, and where no word seemed 
to have come of this game of human gaiety sparking 
at contact. People, he now saw, had friends to their 
houses ; they danced ; some one made music. Much 
Ado About Nothing proved that. He must learn to 
dance now, at his ripe age of fourteen, as Claudio and 
Benedick did, and other men of the world. 

After some weeks of coming close up to the plunge 
and then shying away, the explorer of life had pushed 
irrevocably through a greasy baize door labeled 
' Bellaggio : Dancing for Stage and Drawing-room," 
in a small street of blighted appearance, off Drury 
Lane, and near Aubrey's way home, and had asked a 
lady with a bluish face in high impasto what it would 
cost to learn to dance " like other people," or, as he 
alternatively defined it, " enough to go to parties." 
A pact had ensued that imposed on Aubrey six months' 
daily walking or running of four extra miles, to save 
train fares, the bluish lady consuming the fruits of this 


retrenchment, while Aubrey danced gravely for twelve 
separate hours among knowing youths, giggling young 
women, and persons who were there not wholly as de- 
votees of the art. And all to what end? 'Little 
idiot I was! " he could say to himself now, with kindly 
contempt. For he had clean forgotten, like Robinson 
Crusoe, to think how he should launch the craft when 
it was fashioned. Dance he never so featly, where 
should he do it? No other child had ever entered 
the house at Strand-on-the-Green, nor any adult friend 
either. The talent, new from the mint, must lodge 
in him useless — so he had owned to himself with apol- 
ogetic candor a day or two after the twelfth lesson 
was over. 

A sager inspiration had followed. To dance, two 
were needed; music, heavenly music, was cultivable 
by one. But what instrument ? Strings, for choice : 
it was strings in that scene in Much Ado About Noth- 
ing. And, conning advertisements hard, he had per- 
ceived that the only serious stringed instrument really 
in question, for men of his means, was the banjo. The 
means — amassed during another six months — were 
nine shillings; frugality at the mid-day meal-time 
could no more. With these nine a remote Whitechapel 
barber had had to be faced; he had announced an old 
banjo at ten, but it fell to the nine after a desperate 
set-to, in which Aubrey, half -dead with shyness, had 
doggedly hung on, bringing into the field every ruse he 
had seen his mother practise of late at the side door in 
combat with hawkers. 

When swords were dropped and the barber, like the 


exalted spirit he was, had thrown in a sixpenny manual 
of the instrument, Aubrey had limped home with the 
spoils, covenanted and uncovenanted, making faces 
with exultation in shadows where no one could see. 
Only late on that day of triumph, when he would fain 
have struck his lyre, had he run right up against a 
second dead wall — he could not tell which note was 
which; he had no "ear"; he never could even tune 
the thing. For hours he strummed at the strings, 
hoping dimly that recognizable melody might emerge, 
and searching the book for some clue to the exit from 
a perplexity which must surely have vexed the noviti- 
ate of many masters. No use. At bed-time he had 
hidden his banjo away, for good, in a dark corner, 
well at the back of the loft, without internal whining; 
at least he had not that shame to soil or sour the fun of 
remembering all that foolishness now. Walking alone 
he had picked himself up whenever he fell and had 
rubbed his shins and gone on. 

His shattered finances had sent him next to cheaper 
fields than those arts. Once he had walked to Epsom, 
a bare fourteen miles, stared all day, ravished above 
earth, at races, the ring, the booths, the welshers, 
three-card-men and tipsters, and stumped home at 
night with his legs re-entering into his body, but his 
mind brimming jocundly with the day's takings. For 
milder joys there was the National Gallery; standing 
for some time and thinking of nothing in presence of 
the big Turner beside the big Claude would induce a 
turbid, inarticulate solemnity and melancholy that felt 
luxurious; there were the docks, where the sight of 


bales labeled Bagdad and Balsora produced agreeable 
sensations; and there were the parts of Mayfair that 
came into The Neivcomes, preferably Park Lane, 
where he would stand on the opposite curb, consider 
the make of the houses, relish the forms of blinds or 
the dusky gleam of a picture-frame caught by the sun, 
and meditate possession later. Thence he would re- 
turn home slowly, in measureless tranquil beatitude, 
his senses, well fed as they were, still able to take light 
refreshment en route from the sweet sea-like roar of 
the Strand. That music would turn off and on when 
two fingers placed on the ears were pressed down or 
raised up, as though on the holes of a flute, or, with 
both ears open, he hearkened musingly to the gentler 
thud of the hoofs as the 'buses slowed down to form 
queue through the gut, now gone, west of the island 
church of St. Clement's. He trailed dusty feet home- 
wards, with no dust on his spirits ; it would have been 
laid by the blithe way the first lamps decked the first 
twilight, or spirited away in some vesper rhythm of 
thought set going by the whole restward trail of the 
black-coated hosts homing for the night, looking so 
extraordinarily different from their morning faces 
and walks. 

He had had a regard for these beings. Safely as- 
sured that they would not speak to him, he would pur- 
sue their possible doings out of his sight, image with 
regret the precipitate breakfast of one who had run 
for the train, or lay out, for those who seemed rich, 
delectable draft lives of going to races all day and 
plays every night. He had tracked some of them into 


their various churches. He had never been brought 
to church, but it seemed to be one of the things that 
people ran after, like going to races, and so he must 
see to it. He had not known at first whether you paid 
at the door, as in theaters, or when you left at the end, 
as on Hammersmith Bridge, or when. So it was in 
some fear of ejection, he being a very apostle for des- 
titution just then, that he penetrated to one or two 
shrines, apiece, of Anglicanism, Dissent, the Roman 
Catholics, the Jews, and the conscious, pleased Athe- 
ists. He preferred the Roman and Anglican modes, 
putting the Anglican first, for the lovely sound of its 
prayers. " Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, 
we, Thine unworthy servants, do give Thee most hum- 
ble and hearty thanks — " To hear this was like being 
stroked on the hair when tired; it was not praying, 
but having prayers answered. Still, the Roman use 
had its virtues; for one, the remote, sinking hum of 
some parts of the Mass, like the ambrosial softening 
of a bumble bee's buzz as it passes out through the 
window into hot sunshine; that golden droning made 
one's own thoughts run sweetly, whatever they were; 
it elevated inattention to itself into absorption in other 
ideas, unlike the Nonconformist worship, which jolted 
and exacted and kept you in torment lest the man 
praying should not know what to say next, and be 

Queer sort of being, Aubrey began to think, to offer 
itself to June, for her to be with, all her life. A close 
little animal, too. Not a word about those vast adven- 
tures had he ever said to his father or mother. He 


tried to remember now ; no, not one : it had not even 
occurred to him. During meals the parents had nearly 
always talked about household bills and Biblical critics. 
He had listened and, somehow, never asked questions. 
Neither had they. Unhelped and unhampered, his 
mind had poked and peered about, this way and that, 
touching things, stroking them, left alone with his 
own sense of the feel of them. It had seemed natural 
so. But why? It was odd, really; so he felt now. It 
was not as if he had not cared for his parents, or they 
for him. Affection between the three had been not, 
perhaps, a caress, but a clutch, silent and almost grim ; 
the inner flame had burnt up all outward profession, 
it was so fierce. He thought how in his bed one night 
at Strand-on-the-Green he had imagined one of them 
dead, and remembered the pains he had taken before 
breakfast next day to clear from his face the stains of 
the night's shamefaced agonies. He had been ill the 
month before and his father had sat by him, so unable, 
for grief and fear, to play the cheerful, sick-visiting 
elder that Aubrey, peering at the stern face from out 
his blankets, had wondered whether his father was 
thinking of killing him — quite justly, the way the cat 
killed its young ones when they were sick and both- 
ered her. " And I never saw ! Little brute ! ' 

He was sorry and yet he could not wholly regret 
anything. To the man newly happy in love all his old 
life is a chain of miracles miraculously linked. Had 
but one link been not what it was, he might not have 
ever met her. So all the links are treasures; he doats 
on them all; queer things that some of them looked, 


perhaps, at the time, they touch him now with their 
dim and faithful striving, as of kind blind hands, 
towards the divine end that has come. Aubrey was 
not rent now when he saw, for the first time clearly, 
how his own crescent needs had made passionate 
misers of two generous people. The deck he walked 
on was empty, the ship light ; elate on the sea she 
skimmed like a plate thrown flat over the surface of 
water, with preternatural-seeming buoyancy, helping 
thought to be buoyant. The night was beautiful with 
stars, and the sea only moved as the flesh does in sleep, 
with the lovely heave of the measure of life. He was 
not rent, but touched, as if by some old sad thing 
turned to beauty in a book. In that way he saw how 
his mother, at some point in talk over swollen school 
bills, would leap up to lower the gas by which she 
read Renan to his father, or would flinch away at the 
last moment, jibe the conductor never so rudely, from 
the halfpenny bus which she used to take sometimes 
when much tired and parcel-laden with the day's for- 
aging. He had ruled all that shopping ; his growth 
had taught her to feel, like yachtsmen, for each breath 
of favoring air that rippled the least patch of the mar- 
ket, swiftly diverting her custom from her old grocer, 
grown too grand, to the little man just setting up and 
straining his prices to catch business. Aubrey and no 
other, by kicking his toes through his boots, had shown 
her how little the world's rough classification of but- 
termen, one as dear and another as cheap, reflected 
the undulant diversity of truth; one, when you came 
to know, had fair eggs at the price, another charged 


frightfully much for all but bacon, for butter you 
threw your money away if you did not go to a third. 
It was when Aubrey's plunging elbows and knees had 
outgrown her tailoring that she foreswore certain 
orders of shops altogether and bought from hawkers, 
whose fish and greens she would beat down at her 
door, steeling herself to assume a forced tactical calm 
while the indignant adversary withdrew, at the crisis 
of a bargain, almost to the garden gate, her prescient 
heart saying he would come back, broken, to take the 
penny off the plaice. What deceits she had learnt 
from him. Her privy share in the household washing 
had grown like a British Empire. Soon after the talk 
of Aubrey's going to Oxford began she had annexed 
to her sphere his father's white shirts and collars, the 
laundry profession's last inch of ground in the house. 
Not to wound Bridget the general servant's respect 
for her place, the prey would be hidden till Bridget's 
night out; the moment the garden gate clattered be- 
hind her a guilty pair flew to the scullery, one to 
wash, wring, dry and iron in tremulous haste; the 
other — half seen by Aubrey through reek as he de- 
scended with some stumper in /Eschylus for solution 
— abetting the principal in the fraud by reading aloud 
the last big German on Genesis. 

Possibly some potential, semi-presentient father in 
Aubrey helped to soften remorse in Aubrey the son. 
We are all young gods in our turn and accept sacrifice 
coolly from women and men. Perhaps it works round 
to something roughly just in the end, and debts can be 
paid, if not to those whom they were owed to. When 


we, too, turn into worshipers, after our godhead has 
lapsed, then we too would not have the smell of our 
incense spoiled for the real gods, the new, young gods, 
by their knowing how incense has to be scraped for, 
sometimes. Aubrey had ceased walking; he stood in 
the bows, leaning over, watching the ship's stem press 
eagerly through the luminous water. The sound held 
him; it was like that of some audible motion too swift 
to go on, like the swish of a paper-knife quickly cut- 
ting a page. Not agonizingly, nor yet sentimentally, 
he wished that those two could be alive; he would have 
been frank with them now ; he would have given away 
every secret of that absurd, burrowing, surmising imp 
that he had been; he would have liked them to know 
he was theirs more, not less, for this new love ; and they 
would surely have liked the thought of him here, with 
the wind of the boat's speed cool on his face, as it 
carried him through the mild night, back to their Ire- 

Somewhere in the ship's vitals a bell struck ; the 
engines stopped. Under the bows the cleaving sound's 
insistency failed by degrees; the tall new page was 
almost cut now. He watched till the prow scarcely 
rippled the water. Then he looked up, and lo, it was 
Ireland — lights on a pier; a lighted train waiting; be- 
hind that, a sleeping town lightless and enigmatic in 
morning twilight; behind that, again, all the reserve 
of dark hills. 


"I have been here before, 

But when or how I cannot tell : 
I know the grass beyond the door, 
The sweet, keen smell. 
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore." 

D. G. Rossetti. 

IN Aubrey's first letter June read : — " I had a new 
joy when I landed. Every one talked in the way I 
should have done if I had been in the place of him. 
Porters and beggars and newspaper boys — they were 
all I, put to those jobs. It's a strange place — I know 
it better than any I ever was in. It isn't the brogue; 
it's the way their minds catch a thing when it's thrown 
them — the gesture, its naturalness. So it's like coming 
home ; at home no one is odd. 

" This hotel is the one that priests stay at; scarcely 
a tweed coat at breakfast. The priests seem most 
natural, to me, of all. Perhaps it's because they're 
what English parsons are trying to be, only the par- 
sons can't quite get it out, and so the priests are more 
like them than they are themselves, as good portraits 
are. The way the priests argue, the way they quote 
Horace, the way they talk about their bishops, the 
way they're nice to the heathen, and yet he's a heathen 
— it's all part of something I seem to know as I never 
knew England nor anything there, except you. 



" All clay I have been clinging to side-cars, going 
about to see people, show my first credentials, and get 
others, and all that. I called on the great prelate — I 
had a letter to him — and his welcome matched every- 
thing else ; a courtly prince of your Church, and yet I 
was mystically prepared for the thing he'd say next. 
' You're an Irishman too ? ' he asked, towards the end. 
I had felt it coming. ' The County Monaghan, is it? ' 
As if I could tell! My father never seemed to have 
time to talk of things here. But I recollected just then, 
by good luck, how my mother had let it out once that 
a Cardinal Doran had been some remote cousin. I 
couldn't forbear; I played my cardinal, proudly. I 
think it did good. The Archbishop looked quite in- 
trigued, and his chaplain, who'd hovered about all this 
time, pulled up dead for a second as soon as I put my 
trump down. No doubt it was just polite show of 
interest — all the questions they asked after that. 
They all have manners, your clergy. I told all I could, 
by way of acknowledging it. 

" The Chaplain has come round this evening. 
They're wonderful. He had a plan, all made up, to 
save me trouble by passing me on from one parish 
priest to another, all through the whole West. I'm 
starting to-morrow. I shall be like a bucket used at 
Maynooth to put out a fire. There — see how I can 
babble about the things that don't matter, and nothing 
about the only great thing. I've tried, and given up. 

" ' Dumbed by aiming utterance great, 
Up to the miracle of my fate.' 


" I have a great fear, too, of saying some things 
the wrong way — lest the pain come up in your face, 
and I not there to tell you the way I'd meant it." 

The first time that June read the letter she felt she 
must have missed the chief part of it out. After the 
fifth or sixth reading she knew that what she had 
missed was not there ; it was only a letter, and not he. 
She had furtively hoped that, each time he wrote, it 
would be, while she read, as if he were back; she 
would be as she was when beside him she looked 
along the line of his sight and bent up, for her own use 
and delight, his communicable strength. No hope of 
that, she saw, now; he was really gone; parted was 
parted; letters would only animate thoughts of that 
miracle ; they would not do it. 

She scanned the letter first in her room, in a hurry, 
half afraid of it, glancing over the pages of unread 
words as if they were the upturned faces of a crowd 
that might do to her she knew not what. Then it was 
all read through in the garden among the crumbling 
hollyhocks, and again on the caked field-path through 
stubble as June walked to the village, and then, many 
times, in the afternoon, in the secure solitude of the 
Hurtwood pines, her horse standing wondering what 
the delay was and bending round looks of mild chiding 
at her long motionlessness. The gentleness of his re- 
monstrances touched her at last; she put the letter 
away, patted his neck and apologized; now they would 
have a good gallop. She needed it ; she had grownchilly 
before she looked up. She looked round; everywhere 


brownness and fall, an ebb and a closing in. She had 
exulted in it only yesterday; youth always does, when 
its own flame is undamped ; morning and spring in the 
blood delight in their own effortless victory over what- 
ever it is that casts down the ageing year. But, just 
now, a frightening thought blew up like a cloud, she 
could not tell whence, and traversed her sky — that her 
spirit had no valiant heat of its own at all, no high, 
unborrowed will to live greatly; that she was like 
water; it could be heated, but not heat itself; as soon 
as you took it away from the fire, ardor began to die 
out of it; so might hers, too, cool away to nothing in 
that cold, extinguished moon-world of her father's and 
Guy's. She wrote that night to Aubrey, among other 
things : 

" Do go on loving me. You are cheated, I know ; 
if you could see me, even for one glimpse, just as I 
am, you'd leave me. You couldn't not do it. You'd 
have to say, ' Fool that I've been! ' I hate to cheat 
you, and yet I'm in fear, much more dreadful, lest 
you get back your sight and just go. 

"How tiny that Irish world is! My mother was 
some most remote kinswoman of Cardinal Doran's too. 
I'll work it out some day ; I'll write to my Aunt Kate — 
she is a nun at Rathfarnham. She knows all family 
history; she'll help. 

" The days are short now ; the heather under the 
mill was shiny with dew this afternoon although it 
was sunny. Do love me very much — find some way of 


loving me so that you would go on though you found 
me out utterly." 

Aubrey wrote next from Banturk, from a priest's 
house : — 

" I'm right on the edge of the world of trains, shops 
and inns. From here you look out westward, over the 
verge, and across wet hills, to where Cusheen must 
be. Down with these endless wet hills; they're too 
like the sea, with the sun setting beyond it, when 
you're alone. I shiver a little; I want you here to 
draw close to. 

" It isn't a merry journey from Dublin. Things 
appeared which I hadn't thought of ; and yet, when I 
saw them, I knew them and felt half ashamed of hav- 
ing been caught forgetting. I came by a night train 
to Croom and woke in the bad light before dawn, the 
chilled gray, like mist and ashes and fainting faces 
and lead. There were crows standing still on the pal- 
ings of stations we passed ; they watched the train in 
and out; nobody noticed them. Nobody got in or out, 
except two policemen with guns. As the light grew 
I saw there were skeletons of villages lying about in 
the fields, bones of old houses and churches, half out 
of sight under nettles ; ivy was sprawling on them. 

" I changed to a slower train at Croom and a slower 
still at Kanteer. We reached Banturk before eight, 
but the priest was waiting. The way they all befriend 
me makes me ashamed ; when the next thing to do is 
not certain, a good black-coated genie springs up and 


directs. We walked up a slope to his house. At the top 
I looked round and the train was some way off already, 
scuttling back to the East with quick, aghast little 
puffs, like a beast that had taken fright at the place. 

" The priest, Father O'Keel, has his reserve ; per- 
haps I seem English. Banturk was ' disturbed,' he 
says, a few years ago. He took me a walk after break- 
fast; he'd point to a cabin; 'the man of the house,' 
he'd say, ' there, was convicted thrice \ ; or another had 
served ten months; or ' When I was in Croom jail my- 
self I'd see a good third of my people below in the 
yard, at their exercise.' He described it aggressively, 
almost, and unconfidentially. Poor man, he must have 
thought me an Austrian. I told him what a full- 
blooded Venetian I am. He did not quite warm, even 
then — he only became more urbanely guarded. 

" The potatoes are bad even here — ' not fit to offer 
a goose, let alone a clean pig,' a man said. The soil is 
famished; the bald slopes rise and fall, mile beyond 
mile, treeless, featureless ; rain soaking into them week 
after week; the wind blows it into the cabins. ' Will 
that not content you?' Father O'Keel asked me. 
' Two hundred souls in it, and fifty policemen; pig's 
food, and that only, to eat for the winter; and next 
week, or the week after that, the sheriff's men coming 
to drive off any stock that's not starved on -them al- 
ready. Will nothing do for you at all but Cusheen 
itself? ' He had a dour ruth in his voice, as if it were 
I that was going to be hurt. They're all kind here, 
but it's shiversome. Keep close, comrade; let's keep 
all the lights up in our hearts and the fire roaring." 


June read it with a new glow. He had been shaken 
by something; that grieved her. The way he wrote 
made her see how his face would look if it were 
haggard; it hurt her to think of him so. But he had 
called out to her — it was the first time — as if she could 
help in some need, and pain was lost in that joy, as a 
mother's is when she first wakes in the night to a bit- 
ter little cry for her ministration to some small neces- 
sity. Then she scolded herself, as her way was. Had 
she not wanted him strong? Had she not felt only 
two days before that all her own strength was the 
overflow of a few drops from the full vessel of his? 
That was true, but so was the other; she craved his 
strength, but also his weakness. Let the discord re- 
solve itself how it could, she would not shrink from it ; 
she would exult in the two clashing notes. 

She walked about the lanes for hours that day, try- 
ing to stow away into a tranquil place in her treasury 
of gladnesses the uncontrollable ecstasy of that dis- 
covery. It took long. That day was her richest, she 
half knew that no more treasure could come; she had 
climbed to the top-gallant of joy. As she came home 
the moment's perfectness almost weighed on her; the 
world seemed ripe ; it hung finished, lustrous, its great 
time reached. A presentient light came ; she saw that, 
ten years after, if she should walk in these lanes, she 
might feel " how that oak has failed now," or think, 
perhaps, that some young ash was a scraggy, poor 
thing as yet, or wonder for what strolling lovers some 
overblown flower had decked a great day. But not 
now. Nothing was past its true prime now, or before 


it; everything had lived only to be as it was then; 
even the things gone to seed by the way could hardly 
have their hearts in the past, or the very young things 
be pushing towards to-morrow. People, too, of many 
ages and kinds, all stood at the delicious crisis of their 
lives; for this they had lived, old women with seamed 
and drawn faces to be the perfected paintings of pa- 
tience and waiting that they were now, and boys to be 
running wild with their heels flinging up, for figures 
of youth. The world stood up perfect, with no old 
transports of joy to ache back at, nor far-off ends for 
desire to live in; she stood as though at the middle of 
a wheel, with all things and times and people run- 
ning in on it like spokes, bent on it and centering 
at it. 

But the note of ecstasy, like that of agony, will not 
be held. You may climb from peak to peak of joy, 
but the way between them must dip. June was down 
from the heights and out of the glow when the next 
letter came — from Cusheen at last. 

" I have crossed the moor to Cusheen. Such a 
moor ! I don't know how wide — leagues and leagues ; 
the only moor in the world ; ' a heath,' ' a blasted 
heath ' — Shakespeare dreamt it, the time his mind 
was just on the brink. We drove for five hours and 
saw no one; not a goat, even. There was a wind; the 
grass by the road whistled loud enough for a while, 
then it dropped to a whine, and then thinned right 
away into odd wisps of whimpering. Then it stopped 
quite — not the wind ; it must have been the grass that 


stopped; it starved by the road till the wind had none 
left to play on. Then we came to Cusheen. 

" Cusheen is not made of earth, like other places 
that people live in. It's stone — one rumpled sheet of 
it; some drift dirt in the wrinkles, of course, but the 
rest just naked; it streamed and shone with rain, like 
wet slates in moonlight. That's all I've seen yet. The 
few hours I've been here the Father has not let me out 
of his sight. He seems to fear I might be knocked 
down by the sight of his parish unless he were there to 
interpret God's ways. He's always with me — no, al- 
ways a little way off; they all are; I'm coming to feel 
like a child that has found its way into a wood full of 
gnomes of some kind that won't come out and parley, 
but peep and draw back and watch from behind trunks 
of trees and whisper together and pass him on deeper 
into the wood; it always opens a little in front and 
closes in behind me. I avow it, I'm solitary, with this 
cordon all round, wherever I move, and all with the 
one manner — civil and helpful and that, but oh, their 
paralyzing tact! It's as if I were going to be hanged 
and they might have to hold me down yet. I'm not 
of the fold, of course; that must be it. 

" You see, I tell all, without shame; if I shiver you 
hear the teeth chatter. Still, it is all, I think. I'll say, 
after to-morrow. On into the wood to-morrow." 

No letter came next day, or the next. Through 
those two days June thought she was standing it well; 
too well? — she asked herself once or twice, chidingly; 
had she grown hard? At the end of the second day 


panic broke with a rush through the wall on which she 
had mounted guard with the staunchness that she had 
taken for want of heart. The thing came in the dark; 
she had put out her light, she was going resolutely to 
sleep, when suddenly the darkness changed ; it ceased 
to be innocent ; first an infinitesimal buzz was abroad, 
the beat of a droning hot pulse; and then the be- 
leaguering terror ran in on her — it came from all 
round, it was like a multitude, it was everywhere, as 
if the whole air were cellular and every cell of it a fear 
for Aubrey, all of them pressing in at the beset brain 
to possess it. 

She must have slept at moments after that, for some 
of the night's train of torments were dream, mostly 
the fleet portrait-dreams that stab lovers and friends; 
not illusions of action, with time passing, but fugitive 
visions of something itself immobile or arrested, as if 
she saw, through shifting breaks in a mist, one or 
another poignant set look on the most dear face. At 
times she saw him appealingly small, a child rendingly 
alone with some trouble or frustrate plan. When she 
awoke from that, fear itself had to wait while love 
grew into twice itself by musing on all that she had 
lost of him, the years before they met, when he must 
have had a child's sky-darkening griefs and a boy's 
dumbly-swallowed humiliations, and she not there. 
Other dreams, too; one, monochromatic with dust, of 
an end to the world ; every one else in this dream was 
dead ; they had not loved enough ; only Aubrey and 
she were alive, and he ill in a dim cell of a room under- 
ground, out of a tunneled corridor; she tended him, 


keeping his heart up, until, going out about some of 
his needs, she returned to see the earth wall of the 
room crumbling loose, and then the bed-clothes slip- 
ping away into shapelessness too, like loose sand. 
1 Yes, of course, they were spun out of dust, they 
couldn't cohere," she was hurriedly telling herself in 
the dream, and then saw that his hand, where it lay out 
on the sheet, was trickling away into dust too; its dust 
and the dust of the sheet streamed over the edge of 
the bed together and made one heap on the floor; then 
she looked for his face and awoke and lay panting 
with the scream still stuck in her throat. And then 
it all came again in another form, and then another. 

She told him only the last of these, before the light 
of release. Night throbbed through at length; as soon 
as one bird piped it seemed fair to say, " I have fought 
it through now," and to go to her eastern window to 
wait for the sun, to make sure of the sun. There was 
a little table there, with a candle on it and things for 
writing. She wrote while she waited: — "I have 
awaked from a freakish half-dream — that you were at 
sea, or out on a wild heath, I couldn't tell which, and a 
storm was coming. I heard it pass my window on 
its way to you ; all the garden rustled and the poplars 
must have shuddered white, I thought — a light was 
thrown up on the ceiling, but I couldn't warn you, for 
some reason, and then the rushing thing was gone past 
and the dead leaves danced behind it like bits of paper 
after a train; I was too late, it would reach you before I 
could ; I couldn't warn you. How good to wake and look 
out into the garden ! Ancient, immovable stillness out 


there — nothing had stirred except in my crazy night- 
mare. It was all right. The light in the east was just 
beginning to draw the poplars in black, with an edge 
like black lace, flat on a sky like a sheet, pearly blue — " 

She wrote "was" and not "is"; her letter must 
come as word of a little mischance wholly over, not as 
a cry out of distress. Love may fear all things, in 
secret, but hope of all things must ring in its voice. 
So she resolved, but day lingered ; could she be even 
sure that the candle was paling? Remember, the blood 
was low — she had hardly slept, and it had been 
autumn's first frost ; up from her bare feet to the knees 
the cold numbed her, it deadened her fingers past writ- 
ing. That undid her again ; for the writing had 
helped; stoutly to seem to be of good heart is almost 
to be of it. Losing the pen she lost hold of herself; 
the leagued agues of the shuddering flesh and of ter- 
rified tenderness shook her with paroxysms not to be 
mastered at first, only kept from convulsive wailing 
by dropping down on her knees to kill down thought, 
to head it off, instant by instant, with set mechanic 
exercises of prayer. 

" I prayed for you to Mary, Mother of God," she 
wrote on, when she could. That much, perhaps, she 
would not hide. And then day came ; the undiscour- 
aged miracle of morning broke over downs of dia- 
monded gray. Friendly and faithful flame! Surely 
no rocket answering a spent ship's burning cry could 
ever have burst a ball of kinder fire against the domed 
ceiling of night. 


" Some veil did fall— I knew it all of yore." 

D. G. Rossetti. 

IT rained itself out in the night after Aubrey last 
wrote. By dawn the clouds had lifted enough to 
form a flat awning ; the eye saw uncannily far in the 
stratum of clean- washed air between that dark roof 
and the ground. 

" A grand day for a view," said the priest, after 
breakfast; "you'd like to step up to a place that I 
have in my mind — not above a few perches from here. 
You'll see every acre that's in it." He fingered his hat 
nervously, though the words had been cold. A cold 
nervousness had been freezing their talk over breakfast 
into a few brittle, impotent icicle-stumps of polite con- 

Inland the awning of cloud was impaled on a black 
mountain. They walked a mile towards its foot, with 
a civil fuss about who should go first at each stile. 
Then Power turned. " Will you look now? " he said. 

Aubrey did. As he turned, moor, mountain and 
sea composed themselves into a unity, seemed to have 
modeled themselves, like a clay that was its own sculp- 
tor, into the image of — what was it? "Why, it's 
like — " Aubrey stared at the effigy. 

" Yes? " The priest waited. 

" Like a bird's foot wading into the sea." 



" Yes," said the priest, with a smile of wintry pa- 
tience, as if one more child had done an old sum. 
\ubrey thought he could see all the times that Power 
had come to this spot to show English strangers his 
cure of stone and brine and to watch straw fires of pity 
Hare up for the moment in their eyes and voices. 
" You're struck with the way the shank of the leg 
comes down out of the clouds? And the size of the 
bird you'd imagine above? Did you ever see claws the 
equals of those? Or a match for the venomous clench 
they have, into the bottom of the sea? " 

Aubrey was looking. The seaward foot of the 
mountain, Mulvrack, spread into five spined, convex 
promontories, high and knuckle-like. Their aquiline 
ends struck downwards into the silently tumbling 
whiteness of distant waves, and between each of these 
claws and the next was a webbing of lower land, half 
submerged, its seaward end a fiord. To the side of one 
of the rocky talons, a little below where the two watch- 
ers stood, but high above the sea, there adhered a hud- 
dle of pigmy haystacks. 

" I've lost the village," said Aubrey. 

" Didn't you take it for haystacks, now? " — Power 
made some poor joke — " hard to find needles, ay, or 
whole cabins, in haystacks." He must have made it 
before ; his smile was a faded one. 

Aubrey stared across with unreconciled eyes at the 
kraal of mud huts, not even whitewashed; dirt-col- 
ored, pendent, they seemed, from here, to stick like 
swallows' mud nests to a wall. " But there are no 
people ! " he said. 


The priest pointed a great way down to the shore. 
" You see the specks stirring below there? Half out 
of the water?" 

" Men? " Aubrey asked, with his eyes on them. 

"Ay, and women; scraping the sea-weed off from 
the rocks. Look, now." Aubrey's eye followed the 
priest's pointing finger. Up from the little group of 
amphibians a dotted line of other specks, all in motion, 
ascended crookedly to a high place inland, just under 
the awning of cloud, where the naked stone of the 
mountain began to glisten with wet. 

"Women, the climbing dots are," said the priest; 
" they take the weed up on their heads. Then it's 
laid on the slabs you see shining there." 


" Ach, a seed'll strike root in it, all in good time." 

Aubrey was puzzled ; a little hurt too. He thought : 
" The man brought me out here to see how bad things 
were. Now he makes light of them." 

" There's an advantage," Power pursued. ' When 
there's a frost on the peak there, and then sun in the 
morning, you'd see the rock come rattling down from 
above till it's ground into shale, ay, and that into 
sand, almost, to mix with the weed, the way it would 
soon nourish potatoes." He seemed to be arguing 
now; and that not with Aubrey either, but with some 
one standing beside or behind him. Power's look, too, 
went that way — past Aubrey's shoulder, as though he 
stood impeding the priest's view of some more taking 
figure or scene, of the mind's making. 

Aubrey groped for a clue ; dim work for a conscious 


heathen; still, it absorbed and excited; it turned him 
for the moment into a being of faculties happy in exer- 
cise, gleefully nosing at new trails, because they are 
trails, as a healthy dog does. He marveled; so the 
priest could go into trance; the priest was the real 
thing; he had the stare of the true visionary whose 
soul is holding out to the last the high-pitched note of 
some difficult beatitude. Could he be seeing, up there 
where the rocks sent down from above came to rest, 
and the weeds brought up from below were laid, his 
God and his own race mystically leagued to broaden 
the life-bearing earth ? Rare, glorious illusion, good to 
think about. Aubrey admiringly left him possessed 
until any more silence might seem like comment. 
" Could they not fish? " he asked, to set their tongues 

"Is it fish?" The Father looked at him sharply. 
" Fish, on a coast the like of that? ' : A gesture almost 
extravagant called to witness all the visible miles of in- 
dented, harborless stone on which the rollers of the 
Atlantic were breaking. 

" Is that not a breakwater ? " Aubrey had fancied 
he saw a low, ruler-drawn line that ran out from the 
end of one of the claws set down into the sea, till it 
almost met the tip of another, enclosing a tiny space 
with no white fret in it. 

" Not a boat is there in it," said Power, as if he were 
contradicting a slander. " They did make an offer, a 
long time back, at fishing of some description. Many 
were drowned at it, one way and another. You'd hear 
of their bodies found floating away in the North, dear 


knows how far. How in the world would a curagh* 
find the way in at a hole like the door of a house in the 
dark night? " He spoke agitatedly, pressing his case 
without any need that Aubrey could see, and then 
abruptly dropping it. " Step with me this way a min- 
ute," he said, and led the way, first uphill and then to 
the right — the South, as the country priest called it. 
In this way they crossed from the ridge of the upper 
tendon of one of those stone claws to that of the next, 
so that a new hollow came into sight beyond the new 
ridge ; and, looking into the new hollow, Aubrey saw a 
color he had not seen since Banturk. Between the 
white breakers below and the faded velveteen brown of 
the mountain moor above there stretched a huge mea- 
dow of grass. It was luscious ; his eye loved the good 
green ; how it must wave in summer, he thought, when 
gusts blew in from the west and printed on it in fugi- 
tive shadings the scud of their fan-shaped pressure ! 

Power was eyeing him. " Now, isn't that the good 
land?" he asked, when Aubrey could take his eyes 
from it. " Not a century back it was stone, as naked 
as where they're working above. Their grandparents 
made it the fat earth it is. They were put out of it 
when it was done; they had to do it again, higher up, 
and again higher up, and their children's children are 
at it to-day." 

" It's beastly," said Aubrey, flushing, the wrong was 
so vivid. He had not known of such things. 

The priest did not concur and did not dissent. He 

*A curagh is a rude boat made of canvas stretched over a 
framework of wood. 


only went on. " Three pounds an acre they pay Mr. 
Newman for letting them turn his rock into pasture, 
for him to lease to a big grazier at Croom; that and a 
half-crown apiece for leave to take the weed from his 
ocean to do it with. If it should go on a thousand 
years more there'll be cows to the tip of Mulvrack, and 
not a tittle left of Cusheen but a few stones in the net- 
tles. Isn't it natural? How would the honey be got 
and nobody smoking the bees out that made it ? ' 

Aubrey was glad of the irony. It was of this world ; 
it seemed to exhale from good human passions, sane 
anger and scorn, homely and sound-seeming moods 
after that other remote, warped mood of mystic acqui- 
escence in things cruel and foul. And then, in a mo- 
ment, the satisfaction was gone ; the priest's look had 
seemed to dismiss his own sarcasm ; it had been noth- 
ing to him, or only a means to keep Aubrey off, to 
hold him in play outside, to amuse him, after his kind, 
with trifles, while others unwound behind closed doors 
the innermost coils of ecstasy. Aubrey, the black- 
balled, the sentenced waiter in ante-rooms, tried to 
muster a civil, cheerful defiance; he braced himself 
to abide, in this rarefied air, by his vulgar judgments. 
" It's beastly," he said, " beyond words." 

The priest looked him over. Aubrey's eyes were 
away on the fenced Eden of emerald ; still, he felt the 
look through his skin, and what the look meant, as he 
imagined — that he was a decent heathen, and that, in a 
beast which must go on its belly all the days of its life, 
it was something to have even the wish to put some 
things right on the earth. 


" There's a beauty about it, too," Power said, in a 
tone of secure, proud understatement, as he might have 
told a child, who could pick out an A, that there are 
fine things in books. He looked Aubrey over again, as 
if seeking some point on his person at which the right 
arrow, if one could find it, might penetrate. ' Would 
you believe it," he said, " that in this and five parishes 
round there was never heard of a girl that went wrong 
nor a theft but once only? ' Then he gave up, as if he 
had suddenly seen or just remembered that it was of 
no use. " Not but we're beggars," he broke off with a 
little laugh of rather savage humility. " Beggars we 
are and taking your help at this minute." 

Aubrey could almost have fancied there was a faint 
stress on the "your." "Taken for English again!' 
he thought. To lighten the talk he told eagerly how 
he was Irish ; he rummaged his mind for the few odd 
shreds his father had told him about early days — 
about the famine and cholera, most of them — how on 
a country ride his horse would shy at a body here and 
a body there, of those who had died on the road. 

Queer man the priest was! He showed, with per- 
fect civility, no trace of interest. He could not have 
cared less if this sort of thing happened daily and 
every one from England turned Irish on his hands. 
He almost snatched, in fact, at another subject, forcing 
it into connection by hurriedly taking up Aubrey's last 
word. " A road beyond there — you came by it last 
night — was made in the Famine; " and then Power 
checked, with a bitten lip, as if it were not what he 
would have said if he had waited. 


They were walking already across rises and dips m 
the shabby brown gloss of the moor, towards the raw 
end of the road. It stopped a mile from Cusheen as if 
its desire to get there had suddenly failed. From the 
cut end of this artery any traffic that coursed it so far 
had to spurt out on the open moor; thence the road 
only pointed the way to its aim. From where the last 
macadam lay, the two looked up the road inland; it 
rose for a furlong or two, to a clear sky-line, and 
there, drawn large and dark on the sky, was a singular 
sight — a man descending swiftly on Cusheen, not on 
the road, but beside it, in the rough of the moor, mak- 
ing huge strides from tussock to tussock of boggy grass 
and leaping springily across the drain trenches. 

Power named him almost before Aubrey saw that 
he was of middle-age, large-boned and fine-drawn with 
hard work and spare feeding. " Horgan, a harvester, 
back out of England." 

The home-comer had to be greeted. " You're hav- 
ing grand exercise, Horgan." 

" I am that, your reverence. The drains on the 
shoulder above there are the width of the world. And 
the number! Three miles or four have I walked in 
standin' leps, out of twenty that's in it from Croom." 

" And what in the wide world is wrong with the 
road? " Aubrey heard his own voice trail an answering 
rhythm, as if it had picked up a tune it had liked once 
and forgotten afterwards. 

Horgan looked to the priest ; he seemed to implore 
extrication. The priest gave no help; he looked 
troubled himself. 


" Whethen," Horgan spluttered it out, " we med 
up our minds, the whole four of us, three and twenty 
years back, that we'd not put a fut to it — Francy Joyce, 
an' Kilfoyle, an' Michael M'Gurk an' meself. God rest 
the souls of the three of them; an', while I'll last, 
please God, I'll keep off it enough for the set of us." 

" Ah, you're a foolish fellow," the priest chid, with- 
out harshness, as if a child had made itself ill with 
some mad labor of love. 

' Well, I'll be leggin' it home. From this out there's 
no bother about it," said Horgan, eyeing with appro- 
bation the roadless mile of bog that remained. 

'Why was it?" asked Aubrey when Horgan was 

For a moment the priest seemed to be choosing be- 
tween words. The ones he chose were, " That man 
was a cholera baby." 

Odd phrase ! — and yet Aubrey knew it. Nothing 
is lost from memory — only stored out of the way, and 
the key of the drawer mislaid for a while. The key 
turned in the lock. ' I've heard about cholera babies," 
he said, surprised that he could say it. 

"You have?" 

' Some one or other told me. He'd been to a cholera 
hospital — some sort of barn, a fitted-up thing — and 
two nurses were at a back door shaking the bodies of 
dead babies out of their night-shirts on to a heap of 
other small bodies they'd done with. The new bodies 
slipped about on the heaped ones." 

" Horgan was treated so." 

"Thrown out for dead?" 


" He was that. He was born in the Famine. They 
went for the rent and found the father and mother 
dead on the floor, and she with her mouth full of grass 
she'd been chewing, the way she might have milk for 
the child. I've heard the child was past crying; noth- 
ing he'd do but keep his mouth open and move his head 
this way and that, like a young bird starving. They 
took it for cholera. So away he was brought and put 
to bed in the cholera barns till the head of him ceased 
moving, and then I'll engage they were in a hurry, 
with this and with that, and there'd be another child 
to put into the night-shirt." 

" And then? " The priest was too much, with his 
labored coldness of tone. Aubrey was modern enough; 
anti-sentimentalism was good in his eyes, but not this 
stony cataloguing of horrors. It was not honest cal- 
lousness — that he was sure of ; nor yet a fair overture, 
such as some men make when moved, for a compact 
of understatement; it was a blind, a fence, another 
implement of exclusion. And why? Aubrey chafed. 
Need one be thought a petrified brute for not being a 

" Some one was passing that thought there was life 
in the child and took it home, wrapped it up warmly 
and gave it nourishment — not a thing else did it need." 
The priest's voice was slow and frozen; each word, as 
it dripped, was like a drop added on to an icicle. 

Still, Aubrey felt better now. He had a warming 
sense of the deep, plain satisfactoriness of that other 
man, who had eyes and a working pity and knew what 
to do. " That was the kind of man to have passing," 


he grunted, trying to keep a firm lip. He added, in 
thought, " And not a priest, or a Levite." 

" He was the man," Power said with a gulp, " who 
made the road at your feet." 

"Made it?" 

" Made it be made. A Famine relief work. He 
gave them no rest in Dublin till they'd set about it." 

" Yet Horgan won't use it? " 

" You've seen." 

" Although that man made it ? " 

" No, but because he did." 

Aubrey stared blankly. It was not lifelike, all this 
sailing dead against strong head winds of natural mo- 
tive; it all belonged to the theater, or to old novels; 
people in Victor Hugo, people who only existed to cap 
a surprise or bring clown a curtain, might be like that. 

The priest watched him. " Ach, don't I know," he 
said. " that it's foolishness ! ' To the Greeks, foolish- 
ness.' Still — " He stopped. His gesture was one 
of despair of prevailing over a natural darkness like 
night. It was as if he said, " There was I going to 
talk about colors, and quite forgot you were born 
blind." Then his courtesy came back in a compunc- 
tious abundance. " You'd like to get on? " he asked 

They left the amputated end of the road. The 
Northerner's correspondent was plunged for the rest 
of that morning in economic researches. They were 
a joy and relief. If you just did them hard, some- 
thing came. It was like rowing a boat. And if some- 
thing good came it would seem good to Mullivant. 


That was dead sure. There was still a world where 
effect followed cause and the better was always pre- 
ferred to the worse. As Aubrey went on with his 
work he felt a hankering love for plain bread and thick 
wool and stout timber. In the back of his mind he 
made lists of such things, and of people like them, 
plain people of whole-meal good sense and fleecy geni- 
ality and oaken staunchness. Commonplace thoughts 
for a " brilliant " young author; but he was in a queer 
place and was not sure that its queerness was not in- 
vading him; so he felt his way back to take hold of 
things that any one can be sure of. 


" It's that queer, what people will do for religion." 

From the Hedge Schoolmaster's Lucretius. 

AT the mid-day meal the cold was intense in their 
talk. To Aubrey the priest's house had grown 
horrible. Everywhere oil-cloth and oleographs of 
saints and trashy stained glass in acrid blues and fero- 
cious or sugary reds ; it worked like a morgue on Au- 
brey; it gave him cramp in the jaws; the polite words 
had to be ground out singly. 

Still, he could get away soon to his room, to write, 
to transfer to the Northerner's readers the blow 
that Cusheen gave to the eye. He went at it hard and 
it did him good ; it reassured him that there was still 
work on which the will could put itself forth as the fist 
does in punching a fixed ball, secure of an unevasive 
resistance. The poor devils here were cut off as 
though at the top of a burning house; the Brabburn 
people had ladders; the thing was, to let them know. 
As he wrote, the job bared itself down, in his sight, to 
a quest of clear loudness and speed in a call for rescue. 
Such work, while in hand, makes all things simple 
and turns many courses to one. At least it arrests or 
suspends perplexity and misgivings. There was June 
— their way on together ran up into mists, as if it were 
up Mulvrack ; well, wherever it went, they might hold 
together not the less tightly for his having got this 



tiling done. There was the priest, with his frigid sig- 
naling to a fellow across estranging deeps ; it hurt to 
be on such terms with any one; still, the priest was a 
saint, surely enough, and a saint must have got hold 
of Tightness, whatever queer end he gripped of it; 
then, whatever was right must somehow be all of a 
piece ; its bits must fit in together at last, like a puzzle 
map, to make up one whole, though they looked hard 
to assort, certainly. So, if this thing were worth 
doing, at least he could stand no worse with Power 
for putting it through. 

He had heard that the post went at sunset. The 
letter-box was below, Power said, as he gave Aubrey 
tea some three hours later. It stood in the village 
" square." " Will you give me your letters to post? ' ; 
Power asked. " I'd as lief walk one way as the 

No; Aubrey would have no marble pillars of 
churches mobilizing themselves to run with his letters. 
He said he wanted some air and a smell of the sea. 
The priest said he would show him the way. 

Aubrey's spirits were up, with the craftsman's heat 
still aglow in his head. Was his host really free? he 
asked eagerly. Yes. Would it tire the Father if they 
went down to the shore now, instead of to-morrow, to 
see the weed-gathering? 

" Ach, is it tire?' : Aubrey liked the sound-limbed 
priest's disdain of the idea. Power looked at his 
watch. There was an hour till dark. Work would be 
ceasing, but two or three of the creatures would be at 
it yet ; John Devine certainly, while he could see ; John 


was queer in the head, and never any great hand at the 
work, and must stick to it longer before he'd have as 
much done as another. Power talked on about this 
John diffusely, as if perhaps he wanted to think about 
something else and must run up a screen of words be- 
hind which to do it. 

The thin final segment of the sun was dropping be- 
yond the high wall of fore-shortened sea when they 
left the house; before they had gone the three hundred 
yards to the Cusheen cabins the last ray was gone, the 
wall of sea was cold black, fretted with cold white, 
and the wind, which had never stopped, went whim- 
pering about like a starved thing in the clear, colorless 
light. Fugitive, apprehensive and cruel, in that light, 
if in any, you might think that malice herself was 
abroad ; it makes children impish. As Power 
and Aubrey came into the " square " at one end — it 
was no square, only a small space, a triangular gan- 
glion made by the meeting of three rough tracks, with 
hovels about it — two urchins of nine or ten were con- 
fessing the influence of the hour. The hour itself was 
told at the middle point of the " square," on a public 
clock at the top of a small, neat column, an odd sight 
in a west coast village. Suddenly one boy, possessed 
by peremptory inspiration, picked up a handful of mud 
and flung it, with the address of a marksman, full in 
the white face of the clock. For a moment he mused 
on the success of this defilement, before communicat- 
ing it to his friend. 

" Jemmy," he said, " I'm just after throwin' a gran' 
slam of mud at th' ould divil's clock." 


Jemmy reviewed the good work benignly. " Th' 
ould divil!' he said with assenting aversion. Both 
picked up more mud. 

" Be off out of that," the priest called. They fled 
to earth somewhere between the cabins, with rabbit 
promptitude, but their voices were faintly heard con- 
tumaciously chanting far off, " We'll hang ould 

on a sour apple-tree." " Ould " — what ? What was 
the name? Aubrey could not quite catch it where it 
recurred in this litany of derision, and yet he thought 
he had caught it the first time, and yet he could not 
say now what it was that he thought he had caught, 
so elvish, at times, are sense and recollection as well as 

Father Power looked vexed; he walked faster, si- 
lently, down towards the sea. The ground became 
broken; it kept Aubrey's eyes on his feet for some 
minutes. When he looked up the straight line he had 
seen from above, ruled on the sea as though on paper, 
was close below — a little stone pier, rude but sufficient, 
holding a snug, minute haven. Not a craft was there 
in it of any kind. 

Aubrey turned to the Father, wondering. At the 
pier's head a beacon was blinking into brightness, kind 
and jocund in the first twilight, but strangely idle above 
that boatless sea. Along the pier a man was walking 
landward ; he must have lit the lamp. 

" It was not the want of a light, then — ? " Aubrey 
began. The priest could not have lied that morning. 
There must be some honest clue to this riddle. Aubrey 
was sure the priest had not lied. 


Power opened his hands, as one throws up a game. 
" I deceived you," he said; " I tried to." 


" I'm not flint." He gave Aubrey a new look of 
remote and melancholy kindness. It lasted some sec- 
onds, as though it might stay there till more were said. 
Then it wavered and fell off ; a gap seemed to break in 
the straight line of a purpose. Still, he went on as if 
through each stage of that mustering and flagging of 
a resolve Aubrey's thought must have kept step with 
his and would be where it stood when it found speech 
again. " When he saw the rate they were drowned, 
at the fishing, he sold a farm that he had at Kilmurry 
and hired a party of masons and smiths from the town 
and went out with them daily. Great work they had 
at the start with the rock that the light is on, and it 
only bare of the sea for one hour or two in the 

"The breakwater, too — that man made it?' 
Aubrey glanced up to where, high on the moor, the 
contemned road ran white to its abrupt end. 

" Ay did he, of strong stone. It'll last till there's 
nothing but cows to look at it here, coughing out in 
the fields that Cusheen'll be then — they or the one man 
that's paid to be minding the lamp and keeping the 
clock beyond at it for ever." 

" He saw to that, too?" 

" Ay, in his will. There's no end to it." 

Aubrey digested it, looking about him. Behind 
them six struck on the clock that had undergone the 
lustral pollution — a tinkling chime, rather melodious; 


it sounded innocent. Things were all in a tale. ' So 
that put an end to their fishing? " he said, not needing 
to be told. 

" I don't say they're wise," Power said. " I've told 
them they're fools. But they're holy." He spoke as 
a parent might of a daughter who starved to keep 
chaste. " Ah, then, aren't there terms," he broke out, 
as though entreating Aubrey, for pity's sake, to see 
through the dark, " on which you'd be offered good 
things and have every right in the world to accept 
them, and yet — " He made again that gesture of giv- 
ing it up. 

Aubrey thought, " My paganism again? Darkness 
is darkness — that's what he means, I suppose." ' He 
did it on terms, then? " he said. 

" Not at the time. The terms came of what he did 
after. Ah, wouldn't a man — " Power plunged off 
again, giving himself to another quick gust of invited 
passion, as if he must speak so, or not get words at 
all — " wouldn't a man that had had an old coat, or a 
new one itself, for a present from Judas throw it away, 
and he stiff with the cold, the time he heard who had 
sold the Lord God?" 

" Isn't Judas set free for an hour, each Christmas, 
for having given a leper a coat? ' 

" Ay, but how're we to know the leper didn't perish 
of cold in the end liefer than make use of it after? ' : 

Aubrey considered. He then said: "You say God 
was betrayed in Cusheen? " 

Power paused. The gust had sunk that had lifted 
him. He spoke now as if in compunction, saying no 


more than he must. " He was parish priest here for 
eight years. See the place that it is. Wouldn't he be 
entitled to feel he was trusted by God almost out of 
His sight? And to break his vows then! And the 
poor woman ! " 

Aubrey's thoughts ran on the faster. Things rushed 
to connect themselves, headlong. This was what June 
had on her mind, here was the faith that did miracles, 
the lives not to be taken as gifts from an apostate, the 
wrong done to these people by that pair of whom one 
shamed her by being of her blood. He thought it out, 
first to himself for some way, and then, where the 
roads of conjecture forked, out aloud. ' He was akin 
to Miss Hathersage?" 

" He was not," Power answered. 

" He married her kinswoman? " 

" No priest could marry." 

"At law, I mean?" 

" God marries; not law. Would He sanction a per- 

"Still— at law?" 

Power shrugged. " Does it matter? " 

" To them, perhaps, not. But, say they had a 

The priest was distressed ; Aubrey could see it. He 
thought Power looked like a woman affronted by some 
loose speech, and he was sorry. ' I understand," he 
conceded hurriedly, " it would be, anyhow, only a child, 
in your eyes, of illicit love?" 

" Ay, and worse." 

"Of adultery?" 


" Worse than that." 


" Ay. Do you think any woman could go to con- 
fession and she not able to speak to the priest the way 
a motherless girl would speak to her father at home ? ' 

" Is that how all Catholics think? — the Hathersages, 
for instance? " 

"Think? Of the son?" 

Oh, there was a child, then, Aubrey mused, still 
piecing away in his mind. 

The priest went on, picking words as with effort : 
" They're proud, and they're pious? " 

'What! Guy?' : Aubrey's mind, working within 
at its inferences, came out for an instant to smile at 
the door. 

' Guy is a good practical Catholic. So is his father. 
The women are that and more to it. The mother had 
one other sister and " — so it was June's maternal aunt 
that married this priest who broke free; Aubrey 
caught it up swiftly — " the poor girl was taking her 
vows at the time, at Rathfarnham; the shame almost 
killed her. Mrs. Hathersage never could rest till she 
died, for wanting to make it up to the creatures here 
for the loss they were at by their piety. Now it's the 
same with the girl. Not one of them all could have 
lived but for hoping that all these years would fade out 
the mark of dirt they had on them all. God knows 
what they'd do if it ever came back on what's left of 

" How could it? " Aubrey asked idly. His thought 
was more practical. What a non-Catholic he was! 


And, if this were true, that the priest was saying, what 
a Catholic June ! There were hazards before them. 
But hazards are challenges, opportunities; so they are 
good. He felt strong and secure. 

The priest was replying : " The world's not so large. 
God knows how soon any person at all might meet 
with another." 

Really the man was fantastic, poor zealot, thought 
Aubrey. " Well, there are pretty good odds against 
it," Aubrey said cheeringly. 

"Mind now," said Power; "it's slippery work on 
these stones." They were down within reach of the 
flying spray now; they walked over rounded rocks 
slimy with weed. " Where at all is Devine? " said the 
priest. On the way they had met other sheep of his 
flock, gaunt and blue with long wading, and now 
trailing dead feet uphill. " Not a one is left at it 
but he." 

He knows each one, as if they were not sheep 
merely, but cows, Aubrey thought, as they pressed on, 
over the splashed stones. The priest was quickening. 
"Where in the wide world — ?' he muttered, and 
then, again, " What were they all about, to leave him 
in that way ? ' And then, " And he the creature he is, 
as apt to do any one thing as another! ' He was run- 
ning now, this way and that, slipping and using his 
hands to keep up, with his hat pushed back from a 
forehead hot with anxiety as well as haste ; from each 
fresh stone that he topped he peered outward to where 
the waves at its seaward base were thumping and 


" I'll engage it was here he was working," said 
Power, scrambling on to another smooth and high boss 
with a wet nap of green; and, surely, from there they 
saw a singular sight. Eight or ten yards out to sea, 
as if drawn away from the rocks by a backwash, a 
short, shapeless bundle of cloth was floating, most of 
it under water, but part still emergent and dry and 
looking unnatural there, and horrible. The priest gave 
a sob and slid over the edge of the rock into eight feet 
of water and struck out with short, clumsy strokes for 
the bundle. Then Aubrey first saw that it was a man's 
back, with the head and legs hanging down under 
water. Luckily Aubrey had a good high take-off on 
that rock; he could dive pretty well half the way 
through the air, and, swimming hard from the instant 
his own body was under, he opened his eyes to see 
the drowning man bulk dim between them and the day- 
light above, the pendent head and legs like the ends of 
the golden fleece on a coat of arms. Aubrey came up 
outside it and had the man fast by the back of the 
clothes, with the drooping head held clear of the water, 
when, as his eyes sought the shore, he felt a glow of 
delight that almost made him cry. The priest was ar- 
riving — the old brick! — the most absurd, beautiful 
sight in the world, with his little, ineffectual strokes 
and grave, intent look, and the black coat ballooning 
high over his back with all the air from about the rest 
of his person gone into it. 

There was work for ten minutes, to bring the three 
in to the little spit of stones, between bigger rocks, 
where Devine had been scraping weed when a wave 


took his tired feet from under him. Aubrey feared at 
one moment that Power was done for; he had to be 
helped; but on shore he toiled again like a good one 
and knew what to do: how to empty the water out of 
their man, where to rub, and the way the arms should 
be worked to set the lungs going, if it could be done. 
They labored absorbedly ; minutes it might have been 
for, or hours, for all they could tell. No, though ; it 
could not be hours : it was not dark yet when Devine 
began to splutter and fight in their hands and wail in 
the Gaelic, "Not into the sea again!' And when 
Aubrey and Power were free to look at each other 
across him, each had light to see that the other's face 
was green with these last urgent minutes of terror. 
That exchange gave them an instant of vast, flowless 
pleasure; each found out the other, and lo! what he 
found was himself. It was like one of the fugitive 
beatitudes that visit a few moments of awaking, when 
some happy thought comes first and nothing else is 
remembered yet. Then they remembered other things, 
as the awakened sleeper does. 

They could not rest yet. Devine was burnt and 
stabbed with pains as the blood moved again; he had 
worked foodless all day and was for collapsing and 
trying to sleep. He had to be hustled homeward and 
finally shouldered by Aubrey, the priest trotting stoutly 
beside the big younger man, showing the way through 
the dusk and telling Devine, as hearteningly as his own 
chattering teeth would permit, of the great glass of grog 
that would surely be lawful for once, and he perishing. 

It was dark when they left Devine's cabin; darker 


than it would be soon, for clouds were packing away 
and on the horizon a luminousness that spread as it 
mounted showed where the moon — what was left of 
the mighty moon of Mill Hill — was about to rise. 
They had chattered till then, to keep Devine's mind 
running on the right things, as a man makes a noise 
to a horse while grooming it. Now they fell wholly 
silent. It was a short way they still had to walk, but 
rough; the priest knew every yard by its feel; Aubrey 
did not; once he stumbled slightly over a stone. The 
priest's arm was in his in a moment. ' God help you, 
God help you! " he said in a voice of extraordinary 

Aubrey laughed. ' No harm done." But when 
they came into the lamplight within the priest's door, 
there was still on the priest's face the look of hurt and 
sore compassion that it must have had when he spoke, 
for the voice had been that look made audible. 

" Off and away with you now to your room," he 
said ; they had kicked off their boots in the hall, on the 
ugly oil-cloth, under the paraffin lamp and the oleo- 
graphs of martyrs. Power was playing the brisk, im- 
perious host, but it was a manner superimposed; that 
other mood, of a tormented affection or pity, showed 
through it. 

Insensibly Aubrey reacted, resisted. He would not 
be fathered; he was autonomous; he was all right. 
Yes, he would change his clothes, he said, but no bed 
or hot bottles for him ; he had liked the bathe. 
Whisky? Yes, that would be jolly, and then he would 
turn out and walk himself warm before supper. 


"Far back, through creeks and inlets making, 
Comes silent, flooding in, the main." 


THERE was only one way Aubrey could walk : the 
one road was to Banturk. He caught its raw 
end by the white gleam on the blackening moor, and 
strode along, always faster and faster. The blood 
tingled back into fingers and toes ; into the brain too, 
no doubt, for soon thought was astir and bubbling; it 
danced and sang through him. What liquor the 
priest's was ! — brown velvet and honey and amber and 
Rembrandt and old fiddle varnish — trains of similes 
for it tripped across the hot mind. And the priest, 
what a staunch old Trojan ! Soft-hearted too — he had 
gurgled over Devine like a mother cat. And decent to 
Aubrey, the heathen, too. And then there were all his 
ruthful withholdings and temperings of Athanasian 
curses on that other heathen, the breakwater-builder. 
What a man that must have been, too ! He would have 
to tell June what he thought of that man. 

Aubrey tried to figure him clearly, piecing him out 
from the things that Power had said of him. They 
were but small things — he felt that the more, now that 
he made them all come back; they were false starts, 
each had begun and then stopped, and each had been 



said with a wince and a picking of phrases, as if some 
sting had to be taken out in the wording. And yet this 
man of the light and the clock and the road was real 
and vivid, even poignantly real, as those people are 
whom one knows best of all ; his takings of means to 
ends were all touching, like those of a friend alone in a 
house at night and seen from outside a window. 
Aubrey could swear he knew just what that man had 
felt when the infant Horgan re-embraced the grand 
adventure of living. Why, Aubrey could hear what 
the man's very voice had been like. 

They were strange, these priests; they were all of a 
piece, or a piece of them all was. O'Keel had his 
touch of Power's own visible twinge of controlled 
compunction towards Aubrey. All these priests had 
had it, only each more than the last, ever since Aubrey 
had landed. No, that was wrong; it was since the 
time he saw the Archbishop. It had begun from the 
moment of that little boast of his, surely harmless 
enough, of his mother's kinship to one of their own 
august selves, the Cardinal. Yet they were different 
men, all these like-mannered priests. The mind could 
not vision the archepiscopal chaplain going to work 
as Power had done on the plain, humdrum, secular 
job of landing Devine — mere physical sport for Au- 
brey's young strength, as he knew, but a tax on cour- 
age in those non-amphibians. O'Keel, again, would 
not have looked just the way Power did, that time 
when the boys scuttled off in the twilight between 
cabin walls, singing, " We'll hang ould " — ould what 
was it ? What was it ? He found he was importuning 


his memory now as he might have asked a doctor 
whether an illness of June's was mortal. 

The man had been Aubrey's father. He walked 
back to Cusheen knowing it. No one had told him. 
The knowledge rose up in him like a night flood, fur- 
tive and sudden. At one moment it seemed as if no 
conscious suspicion or fear were pressing; the next, 
all the dikes gave together ; the long effort, secret even 
from his own sense, to bank out each trickling advance 
of the oncoming deluge was quite over. " We'll hang 
ould Browne " — why, one lobe, or whatever it was, of 
his mind, had heard it clearly; the other had only just 
managed to hush it up. And every look and tone of 
these priests had been throwing the fact at his eyes and 
ears. More than that, he felt now as if he had all but 
known it since he was a child ; it was the only key that 
there could ever have been to so many of the silences 
of home. 

The end gave him no pain at first. They say a good 
bullet traveling fast will go through your vitals so 
cleanly that you may be left not writhing nor even 
bleeding much, but only musing, " I'm done for," or, 
with detachment, " That other poor buffer that was 
' I ' is done for," and taking in whatever there is to see 
— high grass or cairned stones or things going on in 
the sky — with the eager liking the spirit has for the 
concrete things of which it is to take leave. So Aubrey 
at first felt a kind of dry pity, as if for some man in 
a semi-vivid book who had set out on his way whis- 
tling, like other people, and then some brute of an un- 
killed force had broken loose from the dark ages and 


mauled him. He could not feel more than that yet ; he 
was, indeed, unconsciously resting, as hunted fugitives 
find a great peace at first when they are caught. But 
the place at which he was hit had become already 
curiously memorable. The first Cusheen cabin was 
near; squat under its thatch it thrust a rude angle, 
anyhow, out at the track, now no longer a road ; in a 
window, a squalid, square port-hole in mud, a candle 
just lit was struggling and blinking into steadier flame. 
He had a rather hunger-like thought of the state of 
those who were round that bleared light, to whom 
nothing had happened. 

The priest, crouching over the parlor fire, looked 
up from his Latin A-Kempis when Aubrey came in. 
The priest saw, directly. He made Aubrey sit in a 
chair and stood behind him with both hands on his 
shoulders. " You know ? " Power said. 

" Yes." 

The priest, in misery, pressed and stroked the big 
shoulders. " Ah, you're the kind, bold fellow," he al- 
most wailed. " You've been it this day, and will al- 

The wheedling's beginning, thought Aubrey. He 
made a hard voice. " You want me to skulk away 
into the dark." 

" Is it ' dark ' ? Isn't it two weeks only, or three, 
since ever you set eyes on your cousins ? And is it out 
of the sky the sun would be dropping now if they were 
to go their own way from this out, and you yours? ' : 

" Yes." Aubrey was beaten too weary to hold up 
secrets now. 


The priest's hands ceased for an instant to press 
Aubrey's shoulders. Then they urged down again 
warmly as if instant in some caressing adjuration, be- 
fore he could muster the words he wanted. "They 
say there was once a village in England, maybe the size 
of Cusheen, and those that were in it found the Great 
Plague had come to them, God knows how, all the 
great way from London ; and what did they do but 
shut themselves up from the world, the way it would 
burn itself out in them only? Skulkers off into the 
dark would any one say that they were? Or is it 
heroes and martyrs? " 

Aubrey listened and noted intently, ploddingly, with 
an impassioned diligence. How would June see it 
all? He had to make that out; he must take means to 
that end. The Catholic June, the directress of her 
whom he knew, was unknown to him, only surmised 
and dimly feared as an estranging sea of un fathomed 
depth. He must plumb it, if only conjecturally, by 
taking soundings of Power and, through him, of these 
devotees in the mass. He asked, in his matter-of-fact 
way, " Something immodest, noisome — you'd feel I 
was like that? " 

The priest was in torment. " The acts of the 
fathers, you know — they're ' visited.' " 

" Oh, say ' sins ' if you like; it can't harm my father 
with me." Aubrey returned to the quest. ' A Cath- 
olic woman, we'll say — she'd feel the house stinking, 
round her, with me in it? " 

Again the poor priest shied away. The children 


reap whirlwinds; isn't it nature? Ah, come away to 
your supper." 

Over the food they talked about rents and the 
orient hope of land purchase, and how kelp was burned 
and the product sold to makers of — iodine, was it, or 
some iodide ? Aubrey forgot which, and came back to 
Power, just before bedtime, to get it right for the 
Northerner. Lights were out in the house at eleven, 
Aubrey's the last. In bed, with his journey-work 
done, he let loose his imaging mind. It fell to, like a 
draftsman long starved of paper; it drew him June 
posed as she stood that time when she spoke of women 
who would not take a gift of a son's life from a rec- 
reant. How she glowed now in his vision, and grew 
taller again, a very pillar of exaltation! He did not 
reason now, but evoked sequent images, or they came ; 
cause and effect rose before him in pictures of June — 
June drawing in, like flowers at night, on a light word 
from Guy about prayer; June awesome in towering 
scorn of that ribald woman's chatter with Newman; 
June crying, " I love them for it ; I love them " at 
thought of these self-starvers, self-stunters here at 
Cusheen, fantastic fakirs of a cramping superstition; 
June as the June of those moments might look when 
first she heard what he was, her neck lifting up, more 
columnar, more white, its warm curves straightening 
and chilled ; her eyes thrown on guard and looking out 
at him over lids that had turned into estranging fences. 

Moated and walled, she would gaze out and down. 
She loved him, but what help was that? Probably 
worse than none; love would only challenge her pride 


to crush it ; he saw her fastidious, disdainful, pagan 
really, like some one whim-driven by chivalric honor, 
romantic unreason, inhaled irrevocably; she would 
not wince while she paid any horrible tax on human 
affection and happiness ; she would glory ; the knight's 
soul in her would exult in its chance of peril and pain. 
Why, it was for that he loved her; she would not be 
June without her ardent yieldings to unenforceable 
rule and her flushed, vibrant staunchness; like a flame 
or a lance it burned and pierced up at — nothing, per- 
haps; empty air, or air turbid with old myths, fables 
of dead men that took life again and of unnatural 
childbirth — horrible dregs of mycologist's stuff, like 
Dionysus and Pan ; worse, because people soiled kind- 
ness and courage and all the good things by trying to 
make them " rest on " those vulgar credulities. 

Reason with her? It was hopeless. Had June's 
faith come of reason, reason might pierce to it. Rea- 
son ! Why, she stood fenced with distrust of the brain, 
the tool used in fashioning meanness; if she saw evi- 
dence coming her doors would clang to ; she would not 
even look while proof, the mountebank, contorted it- 
self outside in the mud. If all the world came up to 
show that her creed was a thing bygone and outworn, 
her mettle would only be steeled to stand by it in 
troubled days. That was June too — to be like that; 
had he not loved her for being like that? He had 
thought, what mattered the object of generous pas- 
sion? — the passion itself was the thing; who would 
not know how to choose between a cold world always 
right and a blind one on fire with foolish loyalties? 


Why, he loved her the more even now as he thought, 
oh, she will carry it through. Proof of confusion 
would make her faith only the more imperturbable; it 
would be stronger for its cobweb flimsiness; any bul- 
lets the mind could devise would glance off those 
feathers and spend themselves uselessly on that light 

His body was hot ; he must have walked slowly, or 
stopped dead, for some longer time than he knew, 
when he was hit; he had some little "chill," as they 
call a shiversome glow that burns for relief in more 
and more heat. He drew up his legs, drew the clothes 
over his head; the body's fire began to burn like red 
embers blown white, and the mind caught heat from it ; 
whatever thought came was lit, at each return, with a 
fiercer incandescence of clarity. He entered, he 
thought he was entering, into June's steadfast horror 
of him as he was; he heard it like music; it had the 
mounting, passionate urgency of some great strain 
drawn out on violins, one long, importunate scaling of 
illimitable height ; he saw it a preternatural spire that 
never ceased to reach up further at the retreating sky. 

What to do, then? He did not even try, yet, to 
resolve. All that he saw was many impossibles. He 
could not write to June and not tell her. He could 
bate nothing, to her, of the love and honor that he had 
renewed here for his father. He could not relinquish 
her — play the kind brute and tell her some stage lie — 
that he did not love her really; that would be loath- 
some; it reeked of pink sentiment, stuff for half-made 
women to maunder over in books. And it must fail, 


lies were so feeble; think of them both alive after the 
clap-trap of self-immolation was done; the world 
would not hold them both; from the ends of opposite 
winds their souls would beckon and rush together. 
Why, what was there to keep them apart? They were 
all but touching now, her desire and his reaching out 
to each other like visible breaths that pierce a frosty 
air; between them was nothing impenetrable, even by 
loveless stars. Rival impossibilities everywhere, and a 
choice of dead walls. Only this much he settled, in 
his pedestrian way; he must walk right up to those 
walls and feel them all over with his hands. 

Could he say that he was wretched ? He asked him- 
self that. Self-pity, the sneak, had come whining 
round him, eyeing him for a weak place, trying hard 
to corrupt happy memories into sorry plaintive ones, 
whispering maudlin questions — had he not been, when 
a boy, a pitiful figure with his great projects lamely 
framed in solitude, and their frustrations stolidly 
borne in it? Had it not all come again, plan and 
frustration ? Had he not been inoffensive ? And now 
this foul beast of an unspent force had broken out of 
its limbo and hit him. " Say, ' Oh, my God, why am I 
forsaken?' just to yourself, here in the dark," the 
whimpering tempter prompted. It made his mind 
shudder to see how near to one's feet could be brought 
the top of that greased slope down into pits of slime. 
So he asked what he really felt. Misery? Nothing 
like any misery ever ascribed, in any book that he 
knew, to an ill-starred lover. Had no writer ever 
known what it was ? — or was he unlike natural people ? 


F or — he could not blink it — he had an exultation even 
now; some part of him had wings and rose from this 
new earth of vast pains and unbelievable crushings of 
hope, and gloried, against all reason, in seeing its 
vastness and strangeness outspread. It was anguish, 
but vision too; it opened the burning heart of life. 
And it was adventure, like all shipwrecks; it roused; 
it gave things to do, or attempt ; and he was alive ; the 
miraculous license to move, to watch, to do this and 
not that, was still his; even to-night the next breath 
always came, the ache of the instant before was over, 
and some infinitesimal cell in his brain the stronger 
to bear the next if he had borne the last with a will. 
He had sweated the chill away now and lay at length, 
tired and cool, hearing the endless, desolate splash 
of the waves on the rocks below, where the priest had 
turned human. 


"When we find an element in different contexts, it acquires 
new meanings for itself, and it gives new meanings to the ele- 
ments in these contexts. The element remains in a sense the 
same, but it is also continually changing with every new con- 
nection into which it is brought. The progress of knowledge 
may therefore be represented as the pursuing of identities through 
ever-increasing differences." R- L- Nettleship. 

FOR two more days Aubrey worked on at Cusheen; 
it helped him; at least it put off, illusively; work 
that is hard and worth doing can make the doer feel 
as if surely the rest of the world must be coming to 
rights. On the third day, an hour before Aubrey left, 
the priest received a telegram. They were at lunch : 
Power passed it across. " It's to you," he said, " that 
it ought to have been. I amn't the one that's drawn 
water out of the rock." 

It seemed that people had read in the Northerner 
Aubrey's first screed from Cusheen and were sending 
money in haste, and plenty of it — " More than 
enough," Power said; " it's a grand thing for any man 
to be able to write the way you could make them do 
that, and they English." 

Aubrey looked at him, trying to guess what he 
meant. " I suppose," he thought, " it is * Damn them 
both, father and son. Can't we ever be quit of their 
cursed help?' or ' I won't be rough on him; I'll send 
the money back quietly after he's gone.' 



He told Power he wanted some help : he was going 
to Dublin; he had to go into some things — family 
things, of his own. 

Alarm sprang up in the priest's face. 

' Oh, I'll do it skulkingly," Aubrey assured him. 

" It's only this," Power said humbly, " your aunt 
that's a nun at Rathfarnham is delicate. Any shock 
now — " 

' I'll have a false name, if you wish. But I must 
find out. They were my father and mother. Oh, 
yes, I know, I know — " Aubrey waved away whole 
cloud-armies of deprecatory fears and demurs half- 
discerned in the looks of the priest. " But I must 
see where they lived. I must see people who knew 
them and knew their fathers and mothers — knew 
everything. There must be people like that. They 
both died before they were old. You can help me to 

'' I'll do what I can. For God's sake, be careful. 
It's not like the great world — this little country. It's 
just the one village, and everything's known about 
every one in it. The wonder is it was only the Arch- 
bishop's chaplain that first had a notion of who in the 
world you were." 

1 I'll take any precaution you want. I'll be Mike 
from Australia, a cousin's fifth cousin, burning to 
work out a pedigree. May I take the addresses ? ' : 

When shy men begin to be brazenly dogged, then 
obstacles, if they are versed as priests are in the ways 
of our froward hearts, are apt to take themselves out 
of the way. Power gave Aubrey addresses. Some 


were of his maternal kinsmen, O'Gormans and 
Kennedys, cousins of whom he had not before heard 
so much as the names. 

Power annotated each name as it came: "a big 
stockbroker in Dame Street ;" or " not a thing in the 
world will he do but polo-playing from one year's end 
to the next;" or "the greatest whisky-drinker in 
Leinster, God help him, and he with a talent for bank- 
ing if he could be steady." They seemed a poor lot, 
full of money and indistinction. There were priests, 
too, on Power's list; these were not of the family. 
Aubrey stiffened, perhaps, at the first of their names. 
Power winced. " You'll not hear a word," he said, 
" that'd hurt you." 

"You're telling them nothing?" 

The priest held out to Aubrey the circular letter of 
introduction that he had been writing to these divines. 
Aubrey waived the perusal, but looked at Power sur- 
prisedly. So the elfin cordon was broken a little at 
last; the human child decoyed into the wood had even 
made friends with one of its peering gnomes till it 
would keep a small secret of his from the others. And 
all, he fancied, because he had once had his wits about 
him and knew how to swim. Curse all the caprice of 
these mad assessments of people's conduct; the cards 
that " made " among these devotees were as strange as 
the cards that did not make. Still, this time unreason 
had got him a thing he wanted; let that make its peace; 
thanks to it, he would go on his quest as an unknown 
crank delving at family history harmlessly; people 
would humor him. 


Power was pressing his last hospitality — cham- 
pagne, of all things; a bottle was brought in, open, 
with word that the car stood at the door. Aubrey was 
glad of the wine. There must, anyhow, have been 
discord between their dun thoughts and their acted 
genialities of speeding host and of guest sorry to go. 
But that they should pledge each other, at parting, in 
that jocund heart's blood of unreserve — this lifted the 
scene into barbaric grotesque; so Aubrey felt, and was 
piqued to act the fantasy out in its own wild key; it 
was easier so. 

He took his last look at Cusheen as the outside car 
went over the shoulder of the high moor. A dull 
afternoon was closing in early; the place looked 
effaced; all he could make out, for sure, was the petu- 
lant white hem of foam fretting between the lead of 
the sea and the lead of the land. He looked till it went 
out of sight, and then sat very still on his side seat, 
back to back with the driver, and stared straight be- 
fore him with eyes nearly closed, seeking the half- 
trance that may come of a dazed, bleared intentness of 
sense, not on this thing or that, but on palpableness, 
the whole range of it. Soon it came; there ceased to 
be here a rock, there a cloud, there a wind-vexed 
stump of a tree; there were not separate things any 
longer, only a rush and a passing; not drifting objects, 
but drift, motion set free to be a self of its own, not 
a mere state of selves other than it. And he was se- 
cure and snug; he was no object now, either; not a 
person; only a sense, a perception, released from the 
service of a possessor; it had no past to mind and no 


future; all cables were cut and it floated off, a tissue 
of disinterested sentience; it and that disengaged soul 
of motion were all that was left of all that there ever 
had been; and then they too began to lose their differ- 
entness from each other: which was it that felt and 
which that was felt? Foolish question! — so he mused 
in his trance; why, all those old childish illusions of 
subject and object were gone; act and consequence, 
cause and effect, one's self of to-day and the self it 
builds for to-morrow, yes and to-day and to-morrow 
themselves, and oneself and that which had seemed to 
be outside oneself — all the illusive haunting distinc- 
tions that used to be matters of course were dried up 
like early mists; nothing was left but clear conscious- 
ness poised in a void; unhampered, unmoved, unre- 
lated, a consciousness only of being penetratingly con- 
scious. A god might be like that for ever, it has been 
thought. Aubrey sat like a god of that kind for he 
knew not how long; an hour, perhaps, or a second; 
time does not count in those states. 

Suddenly his divinity ended. Some solid with- 
drew from behind his back: he turned in time to see 
the driver alight, a loose heap, on the road ; he seemed 
to have fainted and rolled off the car. Luckily he 
had not taken the reins with him. Aubrey pulled up 
the scandalized horse, which was for bolting, drove 
back to the spot and found the man conscious now, 
wriggling and groaning and soon well enough to feel 
for the bump he had on his head and to rub it thought- 
fully, sitting squat in the mud. Nothing but hunger 
ailed him; he called the inopportune faint a " quare- 


ness," confessed he had had it before, and sought to 
pass it off as an innocent fad of the body's. Aubrey 
came the priest over him, dourly tickled to find how 
easy it came — bullied and tricked the truth out of 
him, then drove the car into Banturk, with one hand 
on this ragged genius of famine, to keep it in 

They ate the best meal to be had at the public- 
house near the station. The landlord had wine; it 
seemed the thing to make the food stay on a starved 
stomach. When they had eaten they sat half an hour 
together to finish the bottle and smoke and await 
Aubrey's train. The man expanded, was almost a 
wit; he gave his history genially, seeing it with the 
eye of tolerant humor, back to his wild youth in the 
days of th' ould priest before Father Power, "him 
that's in tormint, plase God." 

Aubrey made no return of autobiography. But 
he encouraged the willing witness; he kept up a grin 
and put leading questions and drew replies that could 
make him wince, though he was toughening. It was 
good practice, he thought, for what he would have to 
do now. Rather a dirty trick, though, when one came 
to play it. It was too easy; this driver would rise 
to any fly you could cast; he would say, with a happy 
sense of hitting the mark, the last things that in his 
good nature he would have said had Aubrey been 
frank. Aubrey felt like a sneak, and a bruised one, 
afterwards, as he sat in the train. But he would go 
through with this; he did not have even to will it now; 
it was the one road to be gone; the depth of the mud, or 


the hits he might take on the shins, were things that 
he might wish away, but as to the route, there was 
no other. 

He carried the quest right through. When once 
he had made up his mind to soiled hands, the rest was 
as easy as pumping that driver. His mother's broth- 
ers and sisters and her own mother and father were 
soon almost visible to him, immensely far off and im- 
mensely clear. He saw their life as geologists see the 
old tropical Thames with the hippopotami half sunk 
in hot mud at noon, their beatified backs gently surg- 
ing and sinking. James O'Gorman, his grandfather, 
loomed out like a veritable monster of the prime. An 
old priest at Merrion had known him. " A thoroughly 
good practical Catholic; never missed Mass and would 
walk all round Dublin after it, seeing was there a 
ground rent for sale at a price a person could look at." 
A gray chapel-keeper near Drogheda had kept James's 
books when James set up in youth as a wine merchant. 
"God help us all," he said, "when a pipe of sherry 
was bottled and there was not in it the number of 
bottles he'd hoped for." "Holidays, is it? He 
neither gave them nor took them." " He hadn't a 
prejudice in him. ' So long as a Protestant pays,' 
he'd say, ' let God do the rest to him.' Pieced into 
life in Aubrey's mind by a score of such touches, the 
old O'Gorman got on his feet, exciting, redoubtable, 
grisly, an Irishman of the breed that England has 
raised for herself as the Christian has bred for himself 
the stinged Jew. Aubrey could see him, acquisitive, 
obstinate, all his pride stowed away in his bunkers 


as coal for his engines; could even fancy minutely 
how his flesh crawled, in secret, when some English- 
man, driving a bargain, would lug in his " plain sense 
of duty " every third minute, the horse smelling the 
camel and loathing it, only not to the marring of in- 
stant business. 

Then there was word to be had of how this dragon 
had wived — " a grand thing it was for the two of 
them, he with the money he'd made and she with a 
fortune the fellow of it, that her father had made with 
the great contriving he had with shares when the first 
railways were made, and she with a turn for saving, 
the equal of his. James's whole family couldn't bear 
her stepping in — he'd done everything for them till 
then — and you may engage she returned it in the way 
she got shut of them cliver and clane, in a short time, 
and her own people too, that had nothing to do but 
have her tormented, asking for money, till she put a 
stop to it. The end of it was they were left in a 
great house in Merrion Square that they had, alone 
with the children." 

"They had children?' Aubrey dishonestly asked 
the old clerk. 

" They had. Three girls that are living, may be, 
to this day, and two boys that were one as wild as the 
other, God rest them. Dempsey's place was the death 
of them." 

Dempsey's : Aubrey's mind made a note which led 
him to penetrate, the next night, to a small cube of 
strong light and convivial stuffiness tucked away at the 
far end of a burrow-like entry. Bloods of the present 


age were sitting pleased on the ends of casks and a 
landlord of forty years old was not concealing his own 
belief that they were grand fellows; Dempsey to 
Dempsey succeeds, and blood to blood. 

" It was the one bit of pleasure that came to them," 
so the old clerk had gone on. " Never a card would 
the mother have in the house, and scarcely a book, 
nor give them a horse to ride, and they great at it; 
' What could they do,' she'd say whenever they asked, 
' but break its knees on the road or destroy it out 
hunting?' Indeed, the hunting was what they both 
wished to be at. And never a latch-key between them, 
down to the day the last died. I lived in the house 
at the time, and she'd lie awake every night of the 
week to call out to each of the boys, and he crawlin' 
upstairs on all fours, ' Did you bolt the front door 
when you'd entered ? ' to show she was seeing the kind 
of work they were about. 

" When they were gone there was only the husband 
in it for her to torment, besides women. Dear, but she 
was the hard one; you'd be entitled to think her body 
was all the one piece with her nails. Nothing would 
do her, if James displeased her at all, but to take a 
whole pack of the foreign bonds that he had, th' in- 
stant minute he'd quitted the house, and have them 
hid away on him and he coming home in the evening: 
you'd hear him all through the darkness of night 
walkin' about like th' unquiet dead in his pain and 
callin' out, ' Give me my bonds,' on the stairs and 
landin', in the deep voice he had, the moral, for all the 
world, of blood cryin' out from the ground, until you'd 


be frikened to hear, but herself, that was a great 
sleeper, not mindin' at all. 

" He died, at the end, of a pain in his bowels, the 
sort they'd cut out of you now with a knife in the 
time a horse would be wag-gin' his tail, but he didn't 
over it. Great work she had with him, three nights or 
four, sitting up in her clothes by the bed till she'd have 
him persuaded to make a new will the way he'd leave 
nothin' at all to the three girls for their own, but wait 
till their mother'd see how they got on. Biddy Foy, 
that was housekeeper then, and myself were kept 
perishin' out in the cold at the door, to be witnesses, 
while he'd be moanin' and yowlin' within, and herself 
comin' back to it always, as soon as you'd hear for the 
groans, that Kate, who'd just gone to the convent, 
would not need a penny again in this world, and as for 

" June's mother — so that was her name," Aubrey 
silently noted. 

" — why, in the state she was in since the brothers 
had died on her, she'd be as apt as not to fling it away 
to the poor, every sixpence; and God only knew what 
wild work was the next thing Nora'd be at — " 

Aubrey winced at his mother's name, though he had 
seen it coming. 

" — and she not at Mass for a month past; and 
wasn't it only a poor lookout he'd have, where he was 
goin', if he didn't give his mind to it now and see that 
nothin' desprit was done with his money after? Great 
talkin' she had, an' she not seemin' to be in a hurry at 
all, or anxious itself, and it a close race, with the 


stren'th to write goin' out of his body — I question will 
I or any one else in the world see the finish to equal it. 
She was a wonderful woman; she bate all, and he left 
every penny to her, that was jinglin' with money 
already, before he went shriekin' out of his senses. I 
do assure you, Biddy and I had no sooner written our 
names than we lep' down the stairs, a match for a 
couple of greyhounds, holdin' our hands to our ears." 
" Biddy Foy ? They tell me she's caretaker now at 
Barnbrack, the great house in Wicklow that Mrs. 
O'Gorman bought for herself when James had left her 
the richest woman in Ireland. When she died it went 
to the daughter Minnie that married an Englishman 
from Dublin Castle; he was a Catholic though; the 
mother took good care of that; she'd the earth and the 
fullness thereof at that time and she wasn't the woman 
to miss Heaven too, when the time for it came." 


" Love, no one can beat you. You have at the rich ; you can 
step over a sea ; there you are, at your work, in quiet houses out 
in the country. There isn't the saint can say he's shut of you 
surely, and what of the rest of us all, the May-flies we are. The 
time you come in, understanding quits out of us." 

From the Hedge Schoolmaster's Sophocles. 

NEXT day Aubrey made for Barnbrack, a great, 
frigid, classical house; like an iceberg astray 
in the Gulf Stream, it rose white and cold, that mild 
day, out of Wicklow's wild roses, fuchsias and lush 
honeysuckles. None of these idlers climbed on its 
actual walls; the lady's puissant reason had vetoed 
that, " and they with nothing to do but bring earwigs 
in at the window." Biddy Foy reported this judg- 
ment to Aubrey ; and so the house stood naked as when 
it was born, and was moated about, like the Roc-a- 
Voir Inn, with loose stony gravel " the depth," as 
Mrs. Foy said, " of the world; it'd break the heart of 
a grub to set foot on it." She toddled over it pain- 
fully, showing Aubrey the place. 

She was a palpable relic, this Mrs. Foy, a lingering 
trace like a blasted tree, or a glacier-marked stone in a 
green dale, of the mightiness of old, spent forces. 
When she took heart a little and let herself go, in her 
talk, she made Aubrey think of the faint resurgent 
stirrings of grass after the roller has done with it. 
Now and then she would seem to be sure for some mo- 
ments that Mrs. O'Gorman was wholly dead, and that 



the souls of the living were their own once more. 
Then would peep out " a wish she had in her mind, 
for some reason or other," to live in a house that was 
all " a smother of creepers." And then again, like 
the poor Indian, she would see Mrs. O'Gorman in 
clouds or hear her in the wind, and back would the 
well-beaten subject come to her duty with " After all, 
she was the wonderful woman," or <: There was the 
depth in her sayings," or (steeling herself) " I often 
wish I could have a talk with her now." 

Biddy was vivid, if spiritless. She had been printed 
upon by some gleams of the dreary splendor with 
which the widow O'Gorman had celebrated till death 
her triumphant return to " the land." Biddy, showing 
the stables, partly undid a swathed carriage, a 
monstrous piece, swung from the C springs of an- 
tiquity. " Not a day but the mistress would set out 
at two and be driven the whole country round, and she 
very inclined to be sick in a carriage. She hoped she'd 
conquer it yet. One man only she'd have on the box, 
and two standing behind on a board, and the nakedest 
dog you ever saw in your life, a mass of black spots, 
legging along for dear life beneath. She'd not have 
dog or cat near her, except in that situation only. 
1 They'd not do a thing in the house but eat,' she'd say, 
' and they won't do that properly.' She was a won- 
derful woman at knowing the time to spend and the 
time to let it alone. Not a servant would stay in the 
house. ' They'd like to have more scope,' she said to 
me once, ' in batter puddings, but where would it end 
if I once began spoiling them? ' Yet she'd do things 


in style when the time for it came. People in Dublin 
itself will talk to this day of the way she buried the 
master. She'd speak of it often herself. ' Would any 
one ever believe,' she'd say to Miss Minnie, ' the 
frightful price the man charged for the coffin? ' 

"Miss Nora? The new paint wasn't dry on the 
house before she was off and away to England, or God 
knows where in the wide world, to live in a poor 
shabby way, as if she had no respect for herself. 
Dear, but the mother hated her for it. She'd burn 
every letter, fresh from the post, and it not opened, 
and there was the row, I can tell you, the day Miss 
Minnie let on, coming back from confession, the way 
she had written, ay, and several times, to her sister. 
Terrible fond of each other the two girls were, and I 
don't rightly know that Miss Minnie ever had her 
health after the writing was stopped on her. She'd 
be in there in the drawing-room saying she only wished 
to do this or do that and be minding the poor or 
going off into the convent after Miss Kate, till her 
mother'd be angry and say, ' Why, you fool,' she'd 
say, ' why don't you go and get married?' Married 
she was, in a twelvemonth. What with the two broth- 
ers dead, and one sister with vows of poverty taken, 
and one quit out of the place wholly, the girl w r as the 
best match in Ireland. Not a tittle of love had she in 
her, for all the signs I could see; she'd as lief marry 
this one as that, and none at all better than any. The 
mother did it; she'd never let her alone till she had 
her engaged, and then, when the horrors of bein' mar- 
ried were near, Miss Minnie would say why shouldn't 


she suffer as well as another, and anyway hadn't she 
promised? She had pride too, in a way of her own, 
though she never could keep a stiff lip to the mother. 
Too meek to please me. altogether. 

" Miss Nora? — that was the wild Irish girl, as they 
say. Not a thing came into her head but she'd say it. 
The night Patrick, her last brother, had died, Father 
Browne of Cusheen reached the house half an hour 
too late, and what should she do but say to his face 
that she wouldn't wonder if God weren't hard on the 
boy at all, and he just after dying without the rites of 
the Church? You'd be astonished to see the way the 
priest took it. ' I'm thinking that too,' said he, ' a 
good while back.' She was afraid when she'd spoken, 
but, when he said that, I give you my word she looked 
as if she were more frikened still because he had not 
up and told her that it was no thing to be saying. 
I'll engage she was thinking what work he might have 
with the bishop, and not of herself at all. I was a 
favorite of hers, but she was the worry. You couldn't 
depend on her not to come home with her watch given 
away to a tramper that told her some tale on the road, 
the moral of those wild Fijians there in the paper, 
that can't elevate their position because no one comes 
and asks for a thing but they give it. The mistress 
never forgave the way she got on. ' Step in here at 
once,' she called to me over the stairs the day after 
Miss Nora quit out of it. ' Sign that,' said she, ' and 
mind what you're about with the ink on the furniture.' 
It was a new will, you may depend, and she in a des- 
perate hurry to see to it lest she should die in the night 


and the daughter not be deprived of her fortune. Miss 
Nora had come to me late on the evening before, and 
she not able to sleep with the way her thoughts had 
her tormented, what with her being wild, by that time, 
to be out of the place, and not wanting to go from the 
sister. ' Me heart's broke, Biddy,' she'd say the wan 
moment — she'd talk like the country people to me — 
and the next she'd be singing low to herself, ' My 
heart in the far world is yearning to roam ' — it came 
out of a song she'd heard Father Browne singing that 
day. He was great at the singing. Midsummer eve 
it was, and a strong light still in the sky and it after 
ten at night, the way I could see the gleams come in 
her eyes and go out again." 

' Was it very like water under a bridge at night," 
Aubrey asked, " with a lamp on it? " 

' Maybe it was, and the cheeks of her flushing 
darker, and going light the next minute. She was the 
beautiful woman for color. You'd see a little pink 
cloud, like the light the sun 'ud send through the leaf 
of a rose, and it crossing the width of her face like 
the little shadows of clouds that do be running over 
the side of a hill, or the patches flytin' about on a field 
of corn with the little winds blowing." 

" Yes, yes." 

" You've seen her? " 

" I've seen some one like it." 

" There wasn't her aquil ever, if you could have 
seen her that night, with her voice like a warm creature 
nestled in her and she in a heave with the big wishes 
she had, and that gleam in her eyes in the dark till 


ycu'd think of the loveliest fearful wild thing in a 
forest until you'd be terrified. That was the room, up 
above there." 

The two were fording the loose depths of gravel 
back to the door, from a paintless and moldering 
bench whence they had viewed the garden front of the 
house. Death could not be stiller than this place where 
passionate hearts had hurt with very fullness of life 
in the June night's passionate dusk. It was afternoon 
now, humid and motionless; sleep began to invade 
Mrs. Foy, sleep and the fear that she might have said 
more than enough about her old likings and wonder- 
ments. What could the gentleman care about them? 
So she became elegant and impersonal, took up a news- 
paper lying about in the hall and, vaguely indicating 
a page, began to make talk of wider interest. ' I see 
from the paper that Belgium's a wonderfully indus- 
trious country. The women that's in it are all bent 
double with working. The men are idle — you'd see 
them sittin' out at the doors — I don't know whether 
it's that lager beer that they're at, or what?' 

" Did you hear from Miss Nora again? ' 

" I did not, and she a great warrant to write, or 
talk itself, about anything ever she saw till she'd have 
you excited with wishing you'd seen it, the way I'd 
liefer read one of her letters than ten of Miss Kate's, 
that were all desiring your prayers and wondering 
could nothing at all be done for Rev. Mother Su- 
perior's toothache, and that only." 

He lingered, making up questions. None of them 
mattered much; at least, the direct answers did not — 


only the gleams that would come now and then from 
the glow of his mother's youth, retracted fitfully from 
this old mirroring mind. They were enough to see 
everything by. Imagination can piece out reality fast 
when it works with passion, burning along each line 
of conjecture and reaching mightily out to span breaks 
of connection. Feeling back all the way through his 
own youth to childhood, he read at every turn some 
inscription illegible then, not even a matter of cu- 
riosity; now explicit, voluminous. Why, his father 
and mother had always been talking about and around 
it all, every day till one of them died, in a code of 
luminous silences, flashingly significant now, like let- 
ters cut out of a stencil plate, where blankness is legi- 
ble. Once he had seen a man at a fair stand flat 
against a white board and another man throw two- 
score of black knives that stuck in the board all round 
him, a nail's breadth from hurting him, so that at last, 
when the man stood away from the board, his figure 
was drawn upon it, as unstabbed space. It was like 
that. All his life the knives had been flying and now 
the figures stood out; the void was graphic. 

Where he did not know how this or that passage 
had gone, he knew how it must have. He knew like 
the back of his hand the old ruffian O'Gorman and 
that fell, notable dragoness, with her stomachic crav- 
ing for land and a hulking barouche and a Danish 
dog to shank along after it; what a union of reason, 
and what hell for its children ! He knew all about the 
dismal large house in a sunken capital — all the un- 
humanized, humorless social rising, the hatred of play 


and mirth as unacquisitive things and doors into vice; 
probably there had been frozen dinner-parties, where 
every one kept his facial muscles jammed fast in a 
selected position, implied his own proper share of im- 
portance in everything that he said, and looked out for 
faults in the entertainment, to talk about afterwards 
with his wife. Poor devils of boys, his uncles, grow- 
ing up tortured with hunger for all the unpaid dues 
of their youth. Only the other day he had been young, 
and the year's youth and the day's so working on his 
that it seemed almost vile to be reading indoors; it 
was self-mutilation; the sensuous blood had run bub- 
bling, crying out to be slaked in ecstasies of union with 
the June meadows and the sunned stream. He had 
had these, and they had had Dempsey's and that mo- 
ment of cheap magic, about the third glass, when all 
the voices fuse into one mellow luster of sound, the hum 
of an easier, more friendly world. Entering it so, they 
were done for; they had been given no chance; " through 
the pit infernal, down to the grave of McGinn and 
Burns," he watched them slipping and tumbling. 

When they had been executed by phthisis at last, 
and the windows thrown up in the house for the 
waxen smell to escape, all that were left became only 
clearer; the father and mother putting it harshly to 
God that the fault was not theirs; Kate cowering back 
to the nunnery where she had cowered at school till a 
few months before, perceiving now that outside its 
palings there could be nothing but evil; Minnie numbly 
fumbling away, for an anodyne, at good works; and 
the other, the one that was all light and air, throb and 


glow, flaming out at the tall young priest and gasping 
to find that he had been changing too. Was that the 
beginning of their great love? It might have been. 
For they must have gazed at each other quite simply 
when he had spoken; yes, both had done that — Aubrey 
knew them; and there might have been a silence that 
swore them comrades in consciousness of the great 
ship sinking under them, and of the frailty of rafts, 
and the width of the sea. 

Then, of course, they had had to lose themselves, 
separately, lest the mud that flies round unfrocked 
priests should bespatter poor Kate or Minnie or some 
other innocent — Minnie's possible children, perhaps. 
That must have been why they lived all that time in 
Italy, Switzerland, France, and then by the tidal 
Thames' Babylonish waters. They were extinct there; 
all the past part of them was; they had cut their lives 
in two and become like a man and woman born 
mature, alone and relationless as Adam and Eve, and 
set on remaining so, bent on keeping clear for their 
young one the newly-made world in which their old 
world's marks would be rubbed off the slate and life 
could be what the owner made it. So that was why 
even he had never been told ; he was to start fair. As 
if that were possible! Why, the mere fact that they 
were in hiding at Strand-on-the-Green, and he not to 
know it, had swelled and swelled till it ruled all their 
ways with each other at home; it had planted crepus- 
cular woods of reserve and annealed chilly steels of 
hard self-reliance. He could see now the way that he 
had been made, and why he had been so queerly fur- 


tive in pushing his great schemes when a child, and 
grotesquely stoic in taking defeats that need not have 
come; what roundabout ways he had taken to scraps 
of common knowledge that other children, no doubt, 
got for the asking. He might be the same now ; prob- 
ably was, for made is made and cannot go back; lie 
might be walking as far round now, to run up against 
a near dead wall in the end, as he was when he made 
his idiotic attempts to dance and learn music; perhaps 
he was standing now as far outside the world of scru- 
ples and awes in which a young Catholic woman must 
live, as he had been outside the whole universe of 
social lightsomeness when he was paying dues to Si- 
gnor Bellaggio. He must make surer, must go to places 
where his warped mental sight might be helped — to 
churches where there was Mass, or where veiled 
women were flitting in to confess in chapels out of the 
aisles. He dimly understood that his mind had lost the 
unconscious bloom of its first health; it had to think 
out possible aids and do repairs in itself and guard 
against maladies. First he pored over June's letters 
again, forcing himself to give weight to whatever he, 
being made as he was, might have minded too little. 
" I prayed for you to Mary, Mother of God." He 
fixed on the words; he strove to prevent himself from 
shirking; he strained till all the letter's passion was in 
them, telling himself all the time that he could not 
bend himself that way enough, could not hope ever to 
figure, by any effort, all the depth and dream of June's 
abandonment of her reason and will to the mystic rule 
of her faith. 


" O the sacrifice ! 
How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly 
It was i' the offering ! " 

The Winter's Tale, Act iii., sc. I. 

THE ante-chapel is large and ill-lit in the Chelsea 
Church of the Holy Name; through the gap in 
the screen that walls it off from the rest of the church 
the crowd of last comers and born choosers of lower 
seats look from obscurity into light, and, if they are 
placed near the middle, see the thin veils of incense 
pushing or dispersing up, a great way off, like the 
smoke almost burnt into flame over a furnace. Au- 
brey, sitting more at one side, could not see the altar; 
all that was to be done there would be round a corner, 
for him; he would have to infer its progress from 
what the people did who could see; a wave of genu- 
flection, no doubt, would roll out at the right moments 
through the break in the screen and so unbrokenly on, 
round its corners. He had been in this place when a 
boy; at first, in those days he had wanted to find what 
to think about people's squabblesome creeds and patent 
rights in bliss or damnation; but soon he had let all 
that rest; there were no ghosts, and dead people did 
not get up, but why should not any one say they did, 
if he liked? People often said their blood boiled, or 
their tongues were tied; no doubt it was only meant 



in that way. Christ's life was another matter — not 
to be thought about in such places, but read and wept 
over in secret with shamefaced agonies of love and 
admiration for one who would be so hooted if he lived 
now. That tragic and lovely life could have nothing 
to do with the composed unction of priests as they 
sprinkled the holy water — no more than the Psalm- 
ist's rending cries of writhing self-pity could have 
to do with the congregations who poured out the 
words of them, looking so glad of their good clothes. 
It had all been semi-private theatricals then, and not 
to be treated rudely by any visitors; so he had blinked 
up reverently towards the aspersing Roman brush and 
had inwardly applauded the Anglican vicar of Coway, 
near home, for that telling break and slow recovery 
of his voice, as if with undisguisable effort, when he 
had just said a moving thing in a sermon — that though 
tenderness, was not easy for him at all; the youthful 
Aubrey had once heard him rating the little soiled rag 
of a girl from the workhouse who did the rough work 
at the parsonage. 

Music began, distant and muted like sounds of the 
street heard in illness. Music had never said things 
of its own to Aubrey — merely made his thoughts 
fluent; recollection and anticipation ran where they 
would, like our easily triumphing powers in dreams. 
Now he was picturing June, still a child, as she must 
have been on those old Sundays, nearing already the 
heart of this mystic marvel, soaking its essences in till 
all the tissues of mind and heart were charged and 
stained with them unchangeably, while he had prowled 


and peeped from outside like the boys round a tent 
where there may be a circus. And all the time June 
and he had been drawing nearer and nearer; that old 
fancy of all lovers next filled him; he trembled, as all 
of them do, to think how many miracles of choice and 
of chance had conspired throughout their lives along 
the two convergent lines, wavering, broken, uncertain, 
rushing together at last. Had his parents not settled 
in England, had he not been bitten with that mountain 
mania, or not gone to Oxford, or had Guy and he not 
met there — . Guy had attracted him oddly at Oxford 
— the pretty boy, prettily spoken, prettily mannered, 
amusingly, puzzlingly proof against the young sum- 
mer's intoxicant loveliness. Guy had disturbed him 
then; he remembered now how he had tried to put to 
himself what it was about Guy or his ways that made 
you want to hear what he would say next and to see 
what he would do. They had said good-night in the 
resonant Broad as the clock struck the quarter before 
midnight; Aubrey had leant for a while out of his 
window, cooling himself at the antique hoariness of 
night shed on an Oxford moonlit and stone-cold. 
What had worked in him, heated him, even then? 
Groping impulses, instincts, a blind curiosity stirring 
like seeds that push furtively up through the dark 
clay, dim precognitions drawing him subtly towards 
June the unseen, as two spars adrift far apart at even- 
ing draw to each other strangely through all the night 
and are locked together at dawn? Coincidence — was 
there any such thing? Or was it only that there were 
spaces uncharted as yet, across which soul could hail 


soul, sending a ripple running over some unperceived 
sea that was not a bar, but a bond? 

Thought, shifting and eddysome, played round that 
fancy awhile and then drifted on. The music was 
rising and quickened his reverie. Then an intoning 
yoice droned, with no care for what the words were, 
as if sense were dross, and reason no more than the 
mud on the earth is to one flying over it. Of course; 
they must seem so to June, who was free of this air; 
all the things he could say, the ways he could plead, 
must seem ignobly ugly to her, no better than some 
cretin's stuttering struggle to make clear his poor 
soiled desires. He was excluded; rightly or wrongly, 
what mattered it which? Perhaps they had got hold 
of something, these mystics — the ones that cared 
really. Perhaps it was all a mistake, an ageing world's 
maudlin effort to have back the dreams of its youth. 
What did it matter? He was excluded. 

There came rolling out through the door in the 
screen a chant or sung collect, the words of it poised 
aloft on the tips of clear treble voices: — 

"Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde, 
Ut qui, angelo nuntiante, Christi filii tui incarnationem cog- 

Per passionem ejus et crucem in Resurrectionis gloriam per- 


He could have fallen down and worshiped the beauty 
of cadences falling like those, stooping like humbled 
queens, or floating like mists of high waterfalls down 
through a sunlit air, or alighting on earth with a snow- 


flake's hesitant tenderness. They were delight, and 
yet hunger came from hearing them, thought ached 
and craved at them — flowers in ripening corn were 
like that; they preyed like lost loves; as if from some 
house of barred doors, to which we had lost them, 
they looked out through windows but never quite saw 
us, their eyes were so drowsed with fumes of their 
own beatitude. June was there, in that locked house 
of mystical ardors whose speech was these melodies. 
She had the key; she could hold the note of high rap- 
ture; she could build for herself, out of this spilt 
wealth of superb unreason; arch-like, it must lock its 
splendors together in strength when the keystone she 
had was put in ; palace-like it must rise, arch upon 
arch of ordered, articulate ecstasy. 

Then he saw her. He had just been thinking she 
might be there, when some one moved out of a seat 
far up the chapel, and there, in a space thus made, 
was the profile that no other could ever be like. It 
was upturned and grave; and behind it the light 
blazed whitest, throwing up dark, from the throat to 
the hair, the line from which the puissance and grace of 
all perfect curves of vases and daffodils, cornice and 
arch, must have come. She was watching the priest, he 
felt sure; Aubrey's eyes strove to bore through the air 
to reach hers; they seemed to do it; he fancied he saw 
her looks change as she followed the Mass out through 
its symbolist drama of abnegation transfigured into 
glory. Eager pity, loyalty, triumph — the shadow or 
light of each of these seemed to fall on her, cast by 
the invisible celebrant at the altar. How he played 


on her; what could cope with that power to fire and 
thrill and persuade? While Aubrey gazed, the glow 
appeared to whiten and also recede, with June in it, 
drawing her back from the eye till she was a speck, 
still with its outline poignantly fair, but remote in 
quivering flame. 
He sat back when the service ended. Best wait 
there and let her go first, he thought, and then slip 
out himself and sneak off. Before he could know 
what to say when they met, he would have to digest 
all this, that he had just taken in. But priest and 
assistants and choir had all to troop out through the 
ante-chapel; so those who sat there must stand up and 
watch the warm core of the rite breaking its shell, 
like a tropical thing over-ripe, and shedding itself 
abroad through the screen, still aglow and melodious 
and odorous, spilling its sensuous affluence. June 
passed, and then Aubrey waited on in the emptying 
building; horrible emptiness, not a clean void, but in- 
fested, deflowered, staling, all dust and used breath and 
flat fumes from the cup of the rite's glorious drunken- 
ness. People too — as the last of them left he thought 
he could see illusion die out on their lips and eyes as 
fast as a rose afterglow sinks to dead white on the 
snow when real night comes. June would be different; 
she would not change ; could he see her now she would 
be still the staunch fanatic, shaming those weak ones. 
Or might she — ? Oh, it was useless, all this putting 
off; it was shirking; it only gave time for maudlin 
delusion to sneak its way in; the firing line was wher- 


ever June was; it was only there that the thing to do, 
whatever it was, could be found. He rose and ran 
after her, slipping and pressing through the thinned 
rear of the leaving crowd. 

She was in sight; that was good; she was alone, 
walking fast. ' Miss Hathersage! " Aubrey called, at 
her shoulder, hardening himself to forego the right, 
lost or suspended, to say " June! " 

She turned at the touch of the voice. She darted 
a hand out, or both; both, he thought afterwards. 
' You! " she cried; " Aubrey! " and looked as people 
do at a thing just thrown up in the air, with wide eyes 
and the lips apart, and the head back a little, so that 
the light fell clear on her face; it had a flush so sud- 
den and strong that it seemed to move over her cheeks 
like a beautiful patch of red shadow. 

" I saw you in that place," he said dully. All his 
might had been put into that first effort to speak to her 
coldly, and she had not even seen it; her generosity 
could not perceive it. 

'You'll come down to-morrow?' she eagerly 
pressed him. 'Early? No? In the afternoon, then. 
I go back to-night. You can't stay in the house. 
It's being painted and father and Guy are away for 
two days; I biouvac in my room and the drawing- 
room, the only dry spots. You'll stay at Brunt Farm. 
You don't know it, of course — our annexe, half a 
mile off, a place like a Swiss hotel's — a dependance; 
we put people there, to sleep, when there's no room at 
home. We have not many bedrooms, you know." 

She ran on, the little things that she had to say 


tumbling over each other. Her eyes had no rest, 
either; now they would glance past his neck on one 
side and then on the other and then straight into his 
face, most shiningly, and then drop as if hit, and then 
lift and take light again. It was strange to Aubrey at 
first; he did not recognize it — had never seen any one 
else overjoyed, nor known that the word could ever 
mean all that it claims, and that the first rush of a 
happiness could be distraction and fritter its own ex- 
pression away into incoherence. All the time she would 
talk, breaking off and restarting and flitting from 
this to that as if each theme were the only one in the 
world for one moment, and trivial the next — Cusheen; 
and Aubrey's play that had been performed — oh, tri- 
umphantly — while he was there; and a first brief of 
Guy's — or would that come later? — anyhow, a suc- 
cess of some sort; and the trouble it was to hold up 
their little secret — they really must give up their fur- 
tive trinket of privacy now. She talked as if harm 
might happen if there were a silence. " You'll find 
other guests at the farm — Dr. Schweinfurth, the 
African traveler, anthropologist, father's old friend; 
he's writing a book on our wild English ways; and — " 
her voice checked for the first time. 

" Newman? " said Aubrey. 

" Yes. He is still there. Guy seems to like him, 
and father, too. They think I judge harshly." 

" He comes to your house ? " 

" Every day, when they're here. But now there's 
a rest. And you're coming. You're coming. You're 
coming." She had congealed for a moment; she 


melted again, with a little fling of gladness, saying the 
words over and over again as if at the first time she 
had found something precious and then held it to 
gaze at. ' Why did you not write any more?" she 
suddenly asked in a voice that did not chide, and 
scarcely inquired, but meant, " You might not write 
for a year, you might not give a sign, and I would not 
fear or doubt." 

He stammered some lie about preoccupations. He 
had a dry throat ; it had come on him while she talked. 
He failed; he had come out to tell her the truth, but 
the truth had changed — part of it had; for she was 
not what he had then foreseen; the thing to be 
wounded or crushed when he spoke was as much more 
a thing to be guarded and spared than he could ever 
have thought before, as life is more to be spared than 
a statue. 

She did not wait for his last husky word; she broke 
in with an inarticulate murmur of soft remonstrance 
to soothe away the idea that she could exact excuses 
from him; why, she had not half thanked him for 
" all he had done " — it had made Cusheen rich, paid 
all its rents and upset beside it a cornucopia of new 
clothes and maize and seed potatoes. " Father Power 
has written and told me everything — oh, yes, every- 

Out of breath, her eyes dark with dilation, she 
looked at him with a fond wildness. Everything! 
Aubrey's teeth bit on the irony of it. Doubtless his 
little swimming practice with Power was " every- 
thing." Lithe, noble creature, generous and wild, 


that did not yet know it was caged; it licked the bars 
unsuspectingly. Aubrey turned from her, disabled 

When they said good-by his hand returned her full 
pressure. He groaned for it when she was gone. He 
had done nothing yet, had drifted on, only. 


" O that 'twere possible, 

After long grief and pain. 

To find the arms of my true love 

Round me once again ! " 


JUNE had two callers next day, before Aubrey- 
came. First, Lady Roads, wife of the sovereign 
vendor of baseness in print. Honor had found her 
out since the day when she brought angry blood to 
June's cheeks on the Anthons' lawn. It had not made 
her unpractical. " I had to come, dear," she said; she 
had been a small actress, and called people dears; " to 
beg a thing of you." 

" Tell me." In spite of the " dear " June thawed 
to the distress in the voice. 

"You darling! But if it's the slightest trouble 
you'll send me straight home? — promise. It's this — 
do you think you'll be seeing that dear Mr. Browne 
who was with you — three weeks ago, is it?' 

" He's coming to-day. Not to stay here. At the 
farm. You don't know Brunt Farm ? " June rose ; 
she wanted to turn her face away for a moment. 
She went to the open door-window. " It's down 
there," she said, pointing across bleaching stubble to 
where a low roof basked in a sun-filled hollow. 

" And then he'll be coming here. Might I come in, 



some time when he's here, just to explain how 
wretched my poor George is for having flown 
out the way he did — oh, you don't know, of 
course ? " 

June remembered. Roads had coveted Aubrey for 
a recruit to the gainful business of rotting England's 
brain and heart towards their fall. June hearkened 

" It was at dear Lady Anthon's. I thought you 
must really have heard — George's voice does penetrate 
so; not when he's arguing — George never argues; he 
knows too well what people are; he only told Mr. 
Browne the plain truth, because he thought he could 
speak to him like a father — that he was just a young 
man, with the world to face still." 

"Was he not?" 

"Then? Yes, of course. But George hadn't a 
notion that Mr. Browne was going to come off, the 
way he has done, with those letters that made people 
send all the money, and now this play that everybody 
is talking about? " 

" Are they? ,: It was not straightforward of June. 
She knew. But she could not help angling for even 
the poorest take of the delicious praise. 

" My dear, it's the boomiest boom. Even the stupid 
old critics all say it's good — that's the queer thing — ■ 
and yet it's quite simple; George says that nobody else 
would dare write that way, for fear of not seeming 
to know enough. George and I saw it last night. 
He almost cried in the box." 

"Poor Mr. Browne! At his comedy?' 


' No, but it hurt George so, not to be friends with 
a person like that, when he might have been. ' Why, 
he's a natural force,' George kept on saying, ' same 
as springs that table waters come from. He's like a 
mint running wild,' George said; ' it's Nature, fair 
broke loose and spouting money, like the oil-wells.' 
George does love to be at peace with Nature — just 
as if we were still quite poor, he's so conscientious. 

That moving stillness, the End House butler, mani- 
festing itself near her elbow, startled the pleading 
wife. Her own butler, the " Oh! " seemed to say, was 
less still. Dr. Schweinfurth had called, the still but- 
ler said. He would not come in yet; he had gone to 
the library; there were a note and a parcel left for him 
there by Mr. Hathersage. 

June smiled. The old friend was free of the house. 
: You know him? " she asked Lady Roads. 

The man who knows all about the little, short 
African savages? " 

" Yes. He has torn himself from them now, for a 
year, to discover England." 

Then Aubrey came. June's back was turned to 
the door, but she knew he was there, before she had 
seen him or heard the name, whether it was that he 
pressed through the air in a way that no one else had, 
so that a ripple reached her which only he could have 
shaped, or whether his tread alone was, like a voice, 
wholly personal. 

There was a soft but full light in the room, not like 
the murk of London yesterday, where one could only 


make out the main signals run up in another's face by 
the moment's quickened blood or a thrilled nerve; 
here all the book of expression lay open. And in June 
it had been filled; Aubrey saw she had grown in a 
way that made the petulant girl of the Roc-a-Voir 
dining-room seem a thing crude, like green fruit, to 
remember. Her whole face had attained a more 
serene oval ; every f rettish or querulous line that had 
drawn it before must have let itself go. Yet her 
forehead had pensiveness, not corrugative, but a 
benign glow; not a shadow, and yet it foreshadowed; 
he had not imagined till then how much of the maiden 
mind may be already wedded, from when it is pledged, 
and mothering to-morrow's world. 

She was transparent, plane behind plane, far into 
the deep place, behind her eyes, from which her soul 
ran to embrace him; over that, not wholly hiding it, 
played the hostess' frank kindness, done with a will — 
he might have been some guest so little cared for that 
courtesy, fearing to fail, filled the cup till it spilt. And 
over all that, in its turn, there sparkled, for him only 
to see, her affection's amusement to find itself flaunt- 
ing that mask. 

She said soon, " May I leave you two people a 
moment ? Lady Roads has a mission to you," she 
smiled to Aubrey, " and I a little one to Dr. 
Schweinfurth. My father has left a gift for 

Then she was gone, and the air flat, and the baro- 
net's lady was losing no time. " Do tell me, now, 
just what it's like, to wake up one morning and find 


yourself famous?' And then, without pausing an 
instant, " Sir George was so glad." 

; ' Glad ? ' Aubrey echoed inanely, his eyes on 
the crack of the door, shamelessly, like a turned-out 

' So glad — and I know you would want to be just, 
and I can't bear to see my poor darling suffer, the way 
he was doing last night, when they cheered your play 
so — the whole house was furious, I heard, the first 
night, because you weren't there. It was his dread, 
you know, lest he had wronged a great soul. There's 
something so fine about George — he's so utterly 
frank and good in that way — so ready always to 
say ' I was wrong,' don't you know, like the 
Prayer Book — ' erred and been deceived.' You 
believe it, don't you? — if he could ever have dreamt 
what last night would be like, or how splendid your 
letters would be, in that dreadful paper, he couldn't 
have said one word that could ever wound you. You 
do believe that? " 

He heard idly, as people look, from a blurring dis- 
tance, at something that might be curious if it were 
near. " Oh, yes, I do." 

" Thank you, so much." She rambled on, 
ending, "And you're friends with George? You'll 
come — ? " 

" Ah ! ,: He had jumped up. Dr. Schweinfurth 
came, radiant. Big, blond and mild, he advanced with 
effulgent moist eyes, one hand holding June's with a 
gesture of unexhausted or still incompletely expressed 
affection or thanks, the other holding a longish, slim 


case of fine rosewood, lidded with plate glass and 
brassy with purposeful locks like a jewel casket's. 
Under his beard his lips moved each time he gave the 
box a look of devotion. He simmered with rapture; 
in happy, warm words it lipped over: "Your father's 
liberal knowledge;" "his great intelligence;" "he 
understands " — the Teuton's last, vastest eulogy. 

June introduced them all, playfully puffing Aubrey 
— " our new British dramatist." She was impelled to 
say the last things that she would have said if he were 
yet her known lover. 

" Dramatist ? So ? " The German's eyes, willing 
to be polite, but unable, wavered between Aubrey's 
face and the rosewood. 

June laughed and gave in to the child in the big 
man. She looked at the box, to let him look too. 
" My father was given it," June said, " by Major 
Legard — you know Major Legard? " 

" Know Legard ! Why, we were there — at the 
same time — in Africa." 

" Oh, then you would meet, of course," Lady Roads 
babbled in, meaning no irony. 

" Legard," Schweinfurth tolled momentously, 
" has — Legard had" he amended, giving a jubilant tap 
on the case's glass lid, " three of what nobody else in 
Europe or Asia has. As for America, I cannot say. 
Legard had three of the genuine, perfect war-arrows 
used by the Malantu, with all the poison on. The 
Malantu — you know about them?" His eye ranged 
the company. 


" I am so sorry, I fear I don't," June said, for them 


" The tribe was — the glory is gone, but it was — the 
one fighting race in all the unspoiled part of Africa, 
that had the two sitmma bona of primitive life to- 
gether — good, thin tips of steel for its arrows, and 
good, strong, quick poison to dip them in — poison to 
kill, at the very worst, in an hour, often in only a half, 
and to paralyze sooner, first the limbs, then the body, 
last the brain also. At that stage of civilization, what 
a thing for a people ! How they got the steel — that is 
one of the wonders. And now Legard has given your 
father one of the only three arrows! Love, indeed, 
beyond love of brothers, when men make such gifts. 
And your father has given it me ! " 

He opened the case with musing tenderness, took 
out the minute dart and held up its delicate tip. ' Per- 
fect ! " he almost maundered. " Look at the poisonous 
glaze, aqueous, turbid a little, as on a good Persian 
vase. One tear in the skin, one prick, and — man is but 
a shadow — do not waste your half hour in seeing the 
doctor. Myths there have been, of old demi-gods, that 
could throw off the poison. Myth is good, but, for 
proof, the doctors have tried, first the poison and then 
all the antidotes in the world, upon great dogs, 
baboons, pigs, every beast most correspondent to man. 
One, at last, by an accident, on himself. Useless! 
They nothing could." 

His eyes doted awhile on the tiny winged death. 
Sir Bors might have looked at the Holy Grail so, 


Aubrey thought. Then, detaching his eyes, the great 
man said to June, " I am glad I have come." 

She laughed affectionately. Lady Roads held her 
breath till the case closed again; the released air es- 
caped in a little gasp, unaffected for once. 

' It is rather awful, isn't it? " June said, in extenua- 
tion of those flinching nerves. Her own had not 

But Lady Roads was real no longer than she was 
afraid. " So awful! " she prattled, making her voice 
pretty again, " and yet the poor things had to do what 
they could. Such a noble epitaph that, I do think — 
' He did what he could '; I've always thought it was 
what I should like for dear George. Well, I must 
rush. Good-by, Dr. Schweinfurth; I have been so 
much interested. Good-by, Mr. Browne, my husband 
will be so glad. I'll write to you. Good-by, dear." 
June would have been kissed had her prescient dread 
of it not shed a quick mist of delicate coldness over 
the parting. 

. Schweinfurth had stowed his treasure in some vast 
inner pocket. He probed his coat's outer wall at short 
intervals, lest the case should have missed the right 
orifice. June went out with him into the hall when he 
left. Her voice could be heard, round and full, as they 
traversed it, then suddenly distant and thin, at the 
opened front door. 

Then it closed; her steps were returning, eager, 
quickening as she came on. Aubrey had sat down. 
He jumped up and went to the open door- window and 
stood looking out, his back half turned to the room; 


lie did not know why he did that ; he had not decided 
to do it ; it was not a chosen step towards some other 
step after it ; but he had done it when June, at his 
shoulder, called him by name; he had foregone the 
embrace that was his to take. He turned his head to 
her, woodenly. 


" Hamlet. I did love you once. 
Ophelia. Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. 
Hamlet. You should not have believed me." 

Hamlet, Act iii., sc. I. 

JUNE had in her hand an unopened letter. She 
must have picked it up in the hall on her way. 
When Aubrey held back, her eyes fell to it. " From 
my Aunt Kate," she said ; " from Rathfarnham ; the 
answer to mine." She flicked the closed envelope on 
to a table, to wait. 

Aubrey looked out again, as her eyes rose. " It's 
good here,'' he said. Over the undulant hills and used 
cornlands the brown autumn stillness was shed like a 
mood. He shammed admiration; it made an excuse 
for flinching away from the sight of her face, where 
the lights were a little sunk that her joy had hung out 
for their festival. 

"Is it?' : she asked quaintly, refusing to be de- 
ceived. She put a light, deprecant touch on his arm. 
" Tell me," she said, not quite as a mother prompts a 
child to say out something it has on its mind, nor yet 
as a child asks its father to tell it about the great 
world, but still with a trace of the tenderness of the 
one and the wist fulness of the other. 

He turned to her sharply, in fear of softening. 
"About what?" 



" Everything." 

" May we go out? " 

She stepped into the garden, obedient. There was 
a lawn under the windows. Flanking the lawn, on one 
side, like an aisle, with a hedge between, was a plot of 
flower-beds veined with a maze of pebbled path. 
Looking over it, southward, a seat of red brick, an 
Italianate toy, a piece of " taste," was canopied with 
trailing vines. They had reached it before either 
spoke, June awaiting an answer, Aubrey holding at 
bay what had come and treasuring each unruined 

With a gesture she made him sit there. She sat 
down, too, with a space between them, both looking 
out sunwards over the motionless, waiting flowers. 
Each was a little turned in towards the other. 

' Begin," she said, more like the mother now than 
the boy. 

He made a gulping effort and then shied away at the 
last, and only gave up delayful silence to clutch at 
delayful speech. 

" Oh, I — caught the night mail out from Euston," he 
pattered ; " another night mail west from Dublin — " 
' Two nights with no sleep. You poor one." 

"Oh, no; I slept." 

" You woke early, in that ghastly light — like faint- 
ing faces, you said. I know; it discourages; I awoke 
too. No, I had been awake, thinking; you seemed so 
indescribably little out there, like a child lost in a 

She had not moved on the seat, but her voice and her 


eyes had come nearer; like lights and bells of a haven 
they offered rest. More than that ; she was enriched 
again and ripened ; within her some rose of precarious 
and poignant delight had burst into passionate bloom, 
its petals aglow in her cheek and their curves on her 
lips, a beauty that shed every sheathing, to spill round 
the senses its odor and luster of treasuring tender- 

What could he do, that had the passion himself of 
the full, contained vessel of youth? Values were 
changing, purposes melting, in this rose mist that he 
swam in. One thing he could hold to — she must not 
be cheated; she had to be told. But when she should 
hear? He foresaw her face streaming as if with blood 
from that blow r . Need he hasten her marring? Time, 
in this yellowing garden, had lost motion. Not a leaf 
rustled; the sun hung becalmed in still haze; the 
earth's hastening was over. What was a minute, or 
more, in that timeless world ? 

" About Cusheen? " she asked. 

"That dreadful place?' 1 he said, merely putting 
her off to gaze at her as she still was. 


He roused from his gazing, a little. He had to find 
something to say, merely to keep both of the forking 
roads untaken for one minute more. " Why didn't 
you tell me about it?" he said, in a voice of forced 
hardness. For softness would have been one of the 

" I didn't know," she pleaded. " Tell me." 

She almost whispered these words, with a quick 


outstretch of her face — some infinitesimal part of an 
inch, but it seemed to bring her whole body nearer, as 
though the spirit that Hung itself towards his were 
carrying with it its envelope. Aubrey lost strength 
for a moment or two ; for that time their fate hung un- 
certain ; it fluttered in air like a flake of snow that has 
not alighted yet, over the ridge of the Andes; still 
poised between Atlantic and Pacific, the flap of an 
insect's wing might decide to which of two oceans it 
shall go. Some breath of a gadding wind makes the 
great choice for the flake ; in Aubrey there stirred the 
remembrance of June in the Anthons' garden, the 
devotee wounded. "Tell you what?' he asked, 

" All that you found at Cusheen." 

" Oh, I saw women hunting potatoes in little 
patches of mud. They all coughed." 

" Yes? " She did not harden at his hard voice. It 
only moved her, as mothers awaked in the night are 
moved at feeling sick babies beat and kick at the breast 
with minute, troubled limbs. 

" There were men who scraped weed off the rocks 
and laid it on flat stones, to cheat seeds into thinking 
them earth. Good work, good worm's work — you 
know the big book about earthworms — Darwin's, 
isn't it? That's Cusheen's history." 

" All of it? " There was a silence. Then she said, 
as a comrade says to a sure comrade who holds back a 
little thing for an instant, " Don't keep me out of it 
all. It hurts." 

He had no hope but in rollicking hardness now. 


" Oh, yes, things hurt; they're for that. I found that 
out there." 

Her hand went out and lit on his arm. " Aubrey," 
she said most softly, inviting his eyes. 

He could double no more. Her challenging love 
had brought him to bay under the dead wall to which 
he had known they must come. " No, curse it ! " he 
groaned, " I can't have you touch me," and let his arm 
fall slack from under her hand. 

Even then he had made no choice of a course. What 
he did could hardly be said to be willed. Falling down 
the face of a crag, he was grasping, not at the best 
hold, but at anything. He stood up. " No; sit there," 
he ordered. Almost behind her he stood, to escape 
seeing her eyes. ' Listen. The thing I found out was 
— it's no use — my trying to love you." 

: You don't ? ' It was hardly even a wail, for a 
wail may have life, but this was the very ashes of pain. 
She seemed to sink into herself and grow small, as the 
faces of people expiring do, she was so pressed in 
upon, from without, by mobbing griefs and shames. 

1 Shall I go ? " he asked with some stupid impulse to 
lie no more than he need, or at least to let silence do 
the rest of the lying. 

' Not yet." She got the words out as soon as, in 
some dim war which she must be fighting within, she 
had gained a moment's mastery. Then the war went 

Unendurable silence ; he could not keep it. " Hate 
me, hate me, hate me ! " he prompted her savagely. 


" See what a brute ! You can't clo it yet as you should. 
You must, when you see." 

" No, no, no ! ' She was heard speaking far off, as 
people are who, with matters of moment to heed, blow- 
away almost absently any dust-specks of intrusion that 
settle on them. 

" You'll think of forgiving! " he jibed, straining to 
bind himself over, to cut off retreat. ; You do, you 
people that have religions. Forgive!' 

" Wait ! " For a little longer she held off from her 
the things that he said, while she mustered her own 
battered remnant of will. Then she began : "Au- 

" Still? " he said, at the name. 

" Till you go — may I ? " 

He relaxed guard a little ; she seemed to accept ; per- 
haps it was all done now. He even began already to 
look back as a Cain might do to all the time in which 
he had not hurt Abel, and see his lost riches shining, a 
great way off, like some old delight in a book. The 
brutal lie severed them now, by his act; the flaming 
sword stood at the gate ; he stared at it numbly, think- 
ing, " I made it." 

She was speaking. " You are you still, and I I," 
she began. She looked round and up and he saw in 
her face a flicker yet of the light he had stamped upon. 

He only half hardened again. ' No, we're stone 
dead; I, at least; can't you see? Things that one does 
may be death, and more than it; they put an end to 
more than what stops when your body dies and your 
soul hasn't groveled. Think? " 


She rose, her eyes on him ; in them the flicker, that 
Aubrey had thought to quench, was leaping again into 
flame. 'As if I could think! Do a sum, all about 
you? Count up what's good and bad in you and then, 
if the bad things are more, give you up! I can't. It's 
not like that. It's all just an aching awareness of your 
being you and my wanting you and that I'm nothing 
without you — no more than a fiddle would be, after 
everybody was dead." 

She spoke like an incarnation of love, unashamed, 
unafraid, unexacting, unjudging, more self-surrender- 
ingly his, to take and keep, than she ever had been. 
He might have turned back, even then. But he was 
distracted. He saw her as men in a falling fort, who 
are shooting their wives and daughters to keep them 
from more cruel ends, may look at faces that they have 
only wounded in trying to kill. Murder's mad lust for 
completion was frenzied the more by anguished tender- 
ness. ' Damn it, I swear I don't love you," he 
growled; 'I swear. Won't that do you? I thought 
you were proud." 

He went on ; he forced the brutality wildly, heaping 
affronts on her, desperately trying to stun her before 
the sight of her, with the blows falling upon her, could 
break him. At last she went slack, her body shrinking 
down on the seat. She did not weep, but looked out 
lifelessly over the still flowers, as if sick with dull pain. 

He stood there, sick too. All the garden was tense 
with sick pain ; the still haze on the hills was the look 
of a paralyzed animal put to the torture. " Shall I 
go? " he said, when he could. 


She just moved her head; he went, upon that. In a 
convex mirror placed at the alley's end he saw her last, 
a tiny figure of devastation, her face not yet in her 
hands ; he was shut out from the right to see that. 


"Death will find some way to untie or cut the most Gordian 
knots of life." Sir Thomas Browne. 

AT seven that evening supper was on at Brunt 
Farm, in an antique kitchen, now a kitchen no 
longer, but prized above parlors by amateurs of the 
quaint. It was windowless, almost; the fireplace filled 
a whole wall; the shut nail-studded door of the farm 
was half the wall opposite. Candlelight made the place 
snugly cavernous, deepened the sockets of people's 
eyes and aspired intently up through the quiet air with 
the straight, striving flame that can bring a few sec- 
onds' trance if you gaze at it with a set will like its 
own. Aubrey tried for that anodyne once, at a mo- 
ment of silence. He and Schweinfurth were supping 
alone ; Newman was out " to his tea," as the farmer's 
wife told them, at Mr. Nick-Ross's. 

The name recalled Oxford to Aubrey, his second 
year there, and a Harrow freshman, a boy like a finely- 
bred flower, the infantine grace of his urbane face 
scarcely flecked then, sodden soon afterwards. Au- 
brey remembered : he noticed that he remembered : 
parts of him went on, just as they used to. Like one 
who comes to himself after a fall, his mind moved a 
little, felt at its limbs, bent a joint here and there, 
wondering what would still work. Battered with loss, 



rolled in the mud of his lying, still he did not want to 
be broken: his instinct was loyal to life; like a torn 
tissue in highly vascular flesh, an unquestioning im- 
pulse, practical, plodding, strove already to build up 
again tiny cell upon cell. 

Kings may be blest, but the German was glorious. 
" Like them that dream " did he eat wild duck and the 
milk pudding of Britain. They were well cooked, 
there was good claret too, and he was a traveler. 
" It's good to be here," he said, with a fork upheld 
tridentwise; nothing at Brunt Farm could revolt him 
now, not the hill of manure that sloped to the duck- 
pond and stained it sour brown, nor the stable where 
John, the laborer, slept in his clothes among the feet 
of his horses. All is well where your own Holy Grail 
has appeared : his lay on the far end of the table, be- 
yond the white cloth; his eyes sought it at times, to 
drink rapture, leaving the meat that perisheth. Aubrey 
listened, at first as the very sick look out from their 
beds when a little better, pondering dully on having 
the use of their reopened eyes. Then he talked; the 
tongue worked of itself, it was queer how fluently — 
more than if no blow had fallen. Soon he took or 
found cues like a host ; he chattered along, making a 
little, or nothing, go a shameless long way ; he retailed, 
for twice what they were worth, little things he had 
heard, it might be at third hand — how John, in his 
cups, had once broken a leg and lain between hospital 
sheets for some weeks in great misery, sleepless till he 
could get his discharge and flee back to the fouled 
straw, the crunch of the corn in the mangers, the 


breath and sighing of heavy beasts in the night, the 
stench and the buzzing flies. 

•' Wise child that knows its own schlummerlied," 
Schweinfurth would babble back; " ' Schlaf, Kindlein, 
schlaf,' say the flies, and John knoweth their voice as 
your ship-boy in Shakespeare hears the imperious 
surge saying, ' Hushaby." " Schweinfurth was maud- 
lin with doating on his own treasure; he spilt his con- 
tentment all round him, letting it fall, like the 
warmth of a sun, on the bad and the good. 

Aubrey could see what he himself was to this 
beatified soul — some little figure intent on trifles, its 
fugitive interests, its chatter of Johns and stable flies; 
a small-talker, living for transiencies, he had to be 
humored; small beer must be served out to keep him 
in play, in harmless play, on the outer steps of the 
door of the mansion of the intelligent. Aubrey could 
see it all with a new clearness, frigid, transparent, 
incredible, like an old view seen again through 
strangely washed air on a rare, ninless evening after 
rain. It would have made him drunk once, with de- 
light; now he was cold, and that was strangest of all; 
not anguished, but just cold, with opened eyes. He 
wondered, was it like that to be old — to see so much 
more and mind it so little; to find your old impedi- 
ments gone, and nothing beyond them? He set his 
voice going again. It ran on, undismayed by any thrill 
of wonder, as if all talk were of things he had long 
ago seen out to their ends. " I that used to be shy as a 
sheep ! " he thought; speech, that used to come in short 
spurts, precarious rushes, apt to be checked, he could 


not tell when, by a suddenly collaring sense of the 
staggering moment of what he was speaking about — 
speech was effortless now, and his own voice sounded 
to him like bells tinkling outside; the airy, shrewd stuff 
that he gave off was heard by himself as if it came 
from old colonels or dowagers. And people had tried 
to describe calamities ! Could they have ever felt 
them? Or was he somehow deficient? No tempest 
of grief was raging in him; he could not say that grief 
gnawed him, or that he was stunned. What he was 
bearing was not like what he had ever read of a man 
who had lost what he loved, or his honor ; his was no 
taxing pang or high trial or call for sore effort; only 
an unthrilled, sinister ease ; nothing mattered, nothing 
resisted, no wheel in him all found good rough ground 
to bite on; the thing that was gone was the push of the 
water back on the oar, the exacting, enchanting chal- 
lenge of hardness and hazard in all the things that had 
ever had to be done. 

They were now on Nick-Ross; mention of New- 
man had led to him. Nick-Ross should have been 
here, Aubrey vowed, to meet Schweinfurth. Yes, he 
remembered; Nick-Ross was just off to East Africa. 

"He also? Exploring?" 

" Only big game, I'm afraid. He's a soldier, or 

Schweinfurth pondered. He sought the connection, 
"A soldier, then, not of profession? A voluntary? ' : 

" No, no! In the Grenadier Guards." 

Schweinfurth wondered again till Aubrey brought 
a seeming solution. " He's out of them now." 


"So?" The German's brow cleared. 'In your 
army, too, is no room for idlers? " 

"Cashiered? Dear no. Nick-Ross came into his 
kingdom, his thirty thousand acres. His father had 
died. And so farewell, as your German national poet, 
your Shakespeare, says, to the great wars and the 
tented field." 

"He is how old?" 

" Say, twenty-five." 

"And after?'" 

" He'll marry; be serious; perhaps hunt a pack of 
his own; tell stories of camp and court after dinner — 
he was a Queen's page once." 

"Before being a soldier?" Schweinfurth was at- 

" Yes. When a boy." 

" It is a parallel ! " Schweinfurth's eyes sparkled. 
He rose. " May I read you five words only, out of my 
book? A book not yet out. On the Malantu." He 
made for the door. Then he remembered. : You will 
keep guard? ' He nodded his head towards the arrow 
and hastened out. 

Aubrey sat still for a moment and then went to the 
arrow, took it out of the case and looked at it nar- 
rowly. No thrill there, either; the tiny passport to 
Lethe, easy and sure as Cleopatra's asp, stirred noth- 
ing in him. He put it down listlessly. Schweinfurth 
was back; he came in engrossed in a roll of proofs; he 
was a man of successive absorptions, each of them ab- 
solute. Smoothing a long slip of paper out, he read 
aloud with zest: — 


The Malantu. The men of the ruling class serve 
as pages in youth. From eighteen to twenty-five they 
are classed as Elmorans, or warriors. After that age 
they marry, settle down, and live on their lands, which 
are tilled for them by villains or landless churls. The 
Elmorans spend the rest of their lives in hunting. 
They live chiefly on meat, they do not drink water, 
and it is a point of honor with them not to work.' 
The reader looked up, happy. " A true analogy, sur- 
vival perhaps. I will go and make a note." The new 
interest engaged the whole man; as he went out he did 
not so much as look at the arrow, his cynosure, of ten 
minutes ago, left lying exposed by the listless Aubrey, 
nor hear two nearing sounds, in the outer darkness — 
the brisk tap, tap of Newman's two sticks as he 
stumped up the flagged garden-path, and the lilt of a 
music-hall song of the day, knowing, leering and cruel : 

" They may wriggle, they may struggle, but I've got 'em in my 

The tune gave a stagger, was lost for a few bars, and 
then shambled on — 

" — I shall have 'em by and by." 

The tapping stopped; in the stillness Aubrey could 
hear a hand wandering, exploring, over the outside of 
the door, seeking the latch. Holding his breath, 
Aubrey listened, and sickening thoughts came. Cruel, 
gross hand, some time it might wander like that, in 
the dark, besotted, cunning, deflowering, greedy, over 


the face of a bride, over — oh, hell! Imagination, too, 
had turned fluent; it raced, to no good, like a screw 
out of water; its foul visions were physical, full, cir- 
cumstantial; nothing would stop them — except, per- 
haps, action. He jumped up and opened the 

Newman stood black against a young moonrise, a 
figure precariously planted now that the door, its 
third prop, was withdrawn. Such was the tea of 
Nick-Ross. But Newman carried liquor with skill 
and a will. His tongue was almost itself; when he 
sat, his legs need not count; the one Bacchic influence 
not to be mastered was preoccupation, whole-souled 
and indignant, with a small wrong. 

" 'Straor'n'ry chap, Nick-Ross!' he opened on it 
at once. " Been out to tea with Nick-Ross. Thought 
I'd ask his advice. Thought Nick was a man of the 
world. Would you b'lieve it — hadn't a needle in the 
whole house? Man o' th' world!" 

For a moment or two he scorned and mourned 
silently. Then, "You got a needle, now?" Aubrey 
was suddenly asked, as if to give the world one more 
chance of amending itself. 

" No." 

"Pin, even? Not a tin pin, mind. Gol', silver, 
some presh's metal ? " 

" No." 

Newman stared, at the other's curtness. ' Can't be 
plagued, can't you, t'help fellow-creature? Oh, you're 
all right. Your ship's come in. Y\ nat's human suf- 
ferin' to you now you're famous and got pots of 


money, and boards np with ' House Full ' all over the 
place! No symp'thy, no 'maj 'nation — that's what's 
th' matter 'th you — don't puchself in's place." New- 
man was fumblingly loosening his left cuff. " What'd 
you say " — he rolled back coat and shirt sleeve, ex- 
posing a large " I " tattooed on that forearm — " what'd 
you say to having a blame thing like that on your arm, 
and you going courting? ' : Newman's aggrieved tone 
seemed to put Heaven itself in the dock, with Aubrey. 
'' And just when you're moving the one letter on and 
wanting a ' J,' next thing in your game." 


" Goo' strong un too. Just when you're pressing 
the beauty, hitch up your cuff a bit, show her the one 
loved letter, an' blushin'ly own your folly. ' You — 
that is. Been done two years.' I tell you it fetches 
'em — small things like that. Tact — sort o' chivalry. 
Understan' now? " 

"What?" Newman had said "J." "J!" 
That this ' I ' has bloomin' well got to turn into 
a 'J.'" 

'How?' : It was not a question really; more like 
an outstretched arm, or raised stick, to keep an alight- 
ing vulture off for a moment more from the eyes of 
one lying disabled. 

' How? Grow a tail. Don' tadpoles do it? Drop 
'em too, when they're done with; sensible beasts. 
Something to last a fair fortnight — that's all I want. 
No more everlasting debentures for me, way these 
professionals let you in when they tattoo you — fast 
dyes and every blame hole they prick like the shaft of 


a pit. No, a nice drop of ink, a clean needle an' — 
got s' much's a penknife?" 
' "No." 

Newman drunkenly pondered his way to a chuckling 
guffaw. " Gorlummy, I might 've borrowed a needle 
from Miss June herself." 

"She!" He had known it was coming and yet 
had refused to know, or to figure June pestered by 
bestial solicitations. 

Newman stared. "What's wrong with her?' : 


Newman seemed quite anxious. ' Looks all right, 
doesn't she? Quite decent people — father's side any- 
how? 'Course I know," he added concessively, " she's 
got her head bunged up with religion — philanthropy, 
that sort of muck — but it'll come right when a chap 
puts it straight to her — chap with a right to. Why, 
it's the making of any woman that's all right at bot- 
tom — marriage is." Reassurance came in like a glow 
with the bracing exercise of shedding this wisdom. 
Newman's eyes ranged round him complacently. 
" Lummy, I've got it," he suddenly said, and strug- 
gled on to his feet. The razor-bright point of the 
arrow had caught the agitated gleam of a candle 
blown askew, perhaps by the breath of this elo- 

Aubrey watched silently, not choosing between 
silence and speech, nor feeling that there was a choice. 
He looked on as you look at history when it is writ- 
ten, at some old working of fate, or the linked proc- 
esses of suns, far out of your governance. 


'Kim up." Newman lifted the arrow. "What- 
ever dam surgeon has been in the place? Praise be! 
'Sprov'dence; same old Godsprov'dence. Ram in the 
bushes f'r Abr'am; food for young ravens; catering 
done for sparrows; lancets free f'r any one wants 
'em." He held the steel to the light with a tipsy aping 
of circumspection and once more certified " 'Sprov'- 

Newman had often said to friends, " When I see a 
thing has got to be done, I do it." Laying the arrow 
down on the table, its point punctiliously clear of all 
possible dirt, the man of action took off his coat and 
turned back his left sleeve, right to the elbow. 

The " I " stood out monumental, blue-black on the 
white expanse of the plump cripple's womanish arm. 
To Newman himself, or the maundering liquor in him, 
the letter seemed, as monuments do, to spring half- 
recollections that had to be paused for and made clear 
and whole. "Ivy — that's it. Rum little girl, Ivy; 
long hair down her back. I was at Harrow then. Ivy 
— a rum little beast — she went it blind afterwards, 
somebody told me. They do." 

" With a start," Aubrey let go his held breath 
enough to put in; his eyes had ceased from even the 
common blinking of nature; they had to miss nothing 

Newman had picked up the arrow. He maundered 
on, with it upheld in his right hand, his eyes still on 
the " I," the remembrancer. " Weird bit of luck — it 
did twice. 'Sprov'dence again. Ida — rotten name 
Ida. Had her to mind some roses I grew in a little 


garden at Kidlington — little house in the garden, of 
course — my last year at Oxford — ' Ga-rrr-er ye roses 
while ye may ' — decentish song she'd sing in the even- 
ings — Midsu-rr-er evenings — moths coining blunder- 
ing in at th' window, butting at everything. Silly rot, 
really. Tebb — remember Tebb? — man we called 
Splosh — took on the small holding afterwards — roses 
and Ida — everything. All silly rot, if y'ask me. Gem- 
married and put down the tandem, that's what I say; 
go about 'n a carriage all over cushions an' tell the 
man drive you dam slow, and a little brandy on the 
front seat, case 'v acc'dent." 

Tongue and limbs shared a finite measure of 
soberness; they took turns at its use. As Newman's 
voice trailed away into drivel, his right hand took a 
good grasp of the arrow-. Pen-like, it impended over 
the " I." 

"Ink ready?" said Newman. "Oh. blast the 
cuff! ' It had slipped down again till it half hid the 
letter. "Prop it up, will you?' He held out the 

" No." The reply was instant; it was not willed or 
chosen; Aubrey himself wondered at it and at the 
hoarse voice; the whole inside of his mouth must be 
dry; he must have been gaping a long time at the drift 
that was carrying this beast to extinction. 

" Manners, m'young friend, manners," Newman 
corrected blandly. 

Aubrey had wet his tongue now. " Put it down," 
he commanded roughly. 

Newman mimicked a nurse who must make a rude 


child say its " Please." " PI . . ., pi . . .," he 

' Put it down, blast you." Aubrey rose, furious 
and red. he could not tell why. He wished Newman 
dead; vermin ought to be dead; it was unreason to 
keep them crawling about and stinking and stinging; 
it was not fair to people; it was not loyal to June, 
whom this pest was to plague. But it was like lust; 
the impulse bore down all reason. He jumped up and 
stood over Newman, bullying. 

Newman was not a coward. And he was drunk. 
He shrugged, tucked up the sleeve unhelped, and ad- 
dressed himself to the work. The arrow's point 
hovered over the " I," picking its first place to puncture 
the skin. It had picked, but not touched it, when 
Aubrey reached down, caught hold of the arrow be- 
tween Newman's hand and the tip, and snatched it 
away. But not easily. At the assault Newman's 
fingers had tightened their grip; the smooth shaft had 
slipped through Aubrey's hand till the barb checked 
the slipping. The barb pierced the edge of his 
clenched palm and tore its way through skin and flesh 
as he dragged. 

Aubrey looked at the tear, with his rage suddenly 
gone. He must try to comprehend quickly, quickly; 
that was all he could feel; he must comprehend the 
things to be done in the hour at most, half hour per- 
haps, that could now be heard running down head- 
long in hurrying, creaking ticks of the farmer's cheap 
clock. Had the clock bolted? Oh, no, of course, it 
was his head that he had to keep. 


Newman was spluttering, outraged. He sought an 
oath big enough. " Well, I am — " 

"You are. You'd not be if this — " Aubrey held 
out the arrow in his whole hand. Some menial faculty 
in him came to his mind's kitchen door to keep New- 
man in play. 

'You don't mean — !' Newman gaped at the 
arrow, his pink face turning to tallow. 

4 Poison : good, quick stuff — an hour or so." 

'By God, what a let off! Hullo, though, it's run 
into you. Suck it, man. I'll drive like hell for a 

' No. He'd make the right faces — that's all — and 
use up the time." 

Newman calmed. 'What made you do it?' he 

' The deuce knows." Aubrey had suddenly put 
himself into motion, as if a thought that changed 
much had occurred. He had let the arrow fall on the 
table, had run for his boots and was head down, drag- 
ging one on. 

' If you'd told me — " The self-exculpatory im- 
pulse was growing and groping in Newman. " You 
just swore and grabbed at it." 

'Yes, yes; most hasty," said Aubrey, knotting the 
last lace. The words meant, " Oh, don't bother. 
Take what you want." 'Good-night!' he called 
back from the door, more friendlily. 

"Going out! Where the—?" 


The click of the gate at the garden's end followed 


quick. The fellow was running. Newman flopped 
into a chair, bewildered. " 'Straor'nary chap," he 
mused quite aloud. 

The door was flung open next moment, and Browne 
plunged in, breathless. " Forgot the blamed thing," 
he panted. The arrow still lay on the table; he hur- 
ried it into its case, turned the key and threw the key 
over to Newman. ' Give it the German," said 
Browne; " the beastly thing's his. It may be spoilt — 
tell him I'm sorry — I can't wait." 

He bolted out into the night again. Newman, who 
had half risen, collapsed again into his chair. " Mos' 
'straor'n'ry chap," he repeated, " I ever saw in my 


"Has this been thus before? 

And shall not thus time's eddying flight 
Still with our lives our love restore 

In death's despite, 
And day and night yield one delight once more?" 

D. G. Rossetti. 

FROM the hole where the farm lay the lane ran 
nearly level awhile; then it made the rest of the 
rise in one sharp slope ; from its top to the End House 
all would be easy. Aubrey ran hard ; the false start 
had wasted a minute or more. He planned hard, as he 
ran ; he would rush the slope, lest there should be any 
steepness left when his legs began to give; on the flat 
he might get along, even then, somehow. 

As the lane rose it cut into gravel and sand — lane 
and watercourse too, for three centuries' traffic and 
rain. Over his head he saw on each side bare roots of 
the hazel hedges that arched the way leafily, turning its 
sandy trough into a tunnel, dark now, though the moon 
could be seen caught in a tangle of boughs. He stum- 
bled on, sweating and losing breath; each hundred 
yards was great gain; five minutes more to the top of 
the hill ; then another five ; that would be all. En- 
chanting, the grip of clenched thighs on a slope, the 
clip of the knees as they bow to take hold; always en- 
chanting to him, not merely now, when he might make 



too much of what he was losing, as people do. But 
now, how enchanting! He could feel that, and smell 
the hazels and sand deeply and slowly, and think about 
trivial humors — how he would stagger the butler by 
bursting in, hatless and hot ; and yet the whole time his 
mind was on June, not thinking but just envisioning 
her, sinking all sequent thought in mere ecstatic, mo- 
tionless sense of the aspect, melting and kind, that he 
was again free to call into her face, could he but reach 
her. Death was coming, but then death was over, too, 
in a way; passionate life and the passionate love of 
life, which is life's heart, were astir and warm after 
that Ice Age of numbness too dead to be even pain. 

He was nearly up the hill now; the right and left 
sky-lines of banked sand were dipping down to him, 
hoisting the moon up the sky. Six yards more, and the 
flat stretch would begin. But a strange thing happened. 
He felt as if his body were not upright, but leant back, 
at right angles to the lane's slope. Why, he might 
topple backwards, he carefully thought. He forced his 
head and shoulders well forward, and instantly fell on 
his hands and one knee, scraping away cloth and skin. 
He scrambled up, but nothing would balance now ; he 
had to fall either forward or back. A field gate was 
ahead on his left, six yards on, the coveted six yards. 
He made a falling rush at it, threw his arms over the 
top bar and hung by them rather than stood on his 
failing feet. 

So it was coming, but not sheer disablement yet. 
His mind was unclouded ; more cloudless, perhaps, than 
ever before; all powers were its, in new strength — 


vision and passion and swiftly-building reason — as 
though at the opened door of endless night the quick 
spirit bent itself up to show what it might have done 
yet in the sun. His arms were sound too, and his legs 
to the knees. Walking was done with, but there was 
all fours; he dropped to the ground and set off in- 
stantly, scuttling on hands and knees, half in the sandy 
dust and half on the wayside grass where the raw knee 
flinched less. All the time he was calculating closely; 
twenty more minutes at this pace should do it ; no, say 
twenty-five, for his legs began to drag like a fly's that 
have been in the cream. Still, his arms held out well ; 
that was fine ; he shuffled on, almost elate, till a wrist 
gave way and let him down, rolling first on his right 
side and then on his back in the white dust. He wrig- 
gled to rise, but the other arm gave, and both legs. He 
tried to roll over and over, barrel-like, in the direction 
he wanted to go, but he found that, even for this, live 
limbs were needed, to make the trunk turn, and he was 
a torso now, tied to dead weights. 

He lay still in the dust, working it out. Three hun- 
dred yards still to the house; two hundred and fifty 
perhaps. Some one might pass in the moments left. 
It would be miracle, almost; the hamlets were all 
asleep; still, it was only just nine, and a moon-flooded 
night ; some child might be ill and a father go that way 
for the doctor. Some one might pass. But, were it a 
winged Mercury, could it bring June word in time? 
And would she come ? Oh, yes, she would come ; that 
was safe; she had all the proud generosities. He must 
be ready if any one passed; he must have his message 


framed, and also his means to make a passer believe 
that he was not drunk or an idiot, to lie in the 
dirt and bid ladies come to him. That done, he 
listened and listened, his ears becoming creative and 
modeling dim shapes of the craved sounds of footsteps 
and voices out of the chaos of infinitesimal whispers 
that make up the breath of the earth in its sleep; then 
back, with a rush, came the thought of his hoarded 
minutes pouring themselves out to waste, and he was 
convulsed with another effort to move, like a weaken- 
ing horse that is lashed again after its stronger strug- 
gles to move the cart have all failed. He strained till 
cramp came and sweat matted his hair and made it 
feel heavy; drops of sweat crawled on his face and 
tickled like flies. 

But the miracle happened — as if you were starving 
and wished, without hope, that a gold coin might lie 
in the mud at your feet — and it lay there. The spasm 
was over ; the ears were again at their post, and lo ! 
while they had been away, sharing the body's agony, 
sounds had found shape that did not need conjuring — 
oncoming steps that rustled clear in the dust ; and then 
breathing, shallow and quick; and another rustle, 
rhythmic and, as he thought, quickening — the rub of 
two parts of a dress on a woman walking and then 
walking faster and then running: some country girl, 
no doubt, scared at her night walk and wanting to get 
it done. Would she faint when he spoke? To guard 
against that waste of time he set about crooning, the 
tuneless best way he could, some words of the first 
song he could think of : 


"Oh, you'll tak' the high road and I'll tak' the low road, 
And I'll be in Scotland before you." 

He heard her breath stop, her step check ; no cry, 
though; and then she came on unfalteringly. ' Good 
one ! " he thought, and hummed away : 

" — me and my true love will never meet again 
By the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond." 

She was near; she must see him now; he would 
speak tranquilly, say he was suddenly ill, beg her to run 
very fast to the End House, ask to see Miss Hather- 
sage instantly, tell her — 

Held down on his back he saw little but sky and 
trees ; no road at all. The woman came on in shadow 
at first; she heaved into sight an undelimited white- 
ness, scaling the dome of his visible world as a white 
cloud sails up a night sky. Then the moon fell on this 
cloud, a white shaft on a white face; as she ran to the 
voice and stooped down to him quickly, all of him that 
had longed for her coming, his love and regret and 
pity, cried out her name over and over, embracing it. 
" Oh, June, June, June! " 

On her knees, with one hand under his head and the 
other pushing back his wet hair, she did not speak 
words, and yet was not silent; a murmurous haze or 
audible breath of tenderness shed itself on him. Help- 
lessness made him, for that moment, hers utterly; she 
had a rending joy like a mother whose wild son is 
carried home to her ill and as full of needs again as 
the infant she once nursed. She could not even ask 
anything yet; she only sat in the dust with his head in 


her lap, between her hands, pouring about him that 
mist of caressing low sound. 

" I was lying," he said; " I do love you." 

" Ah ! " she said, strangely, as if she had known. 
' I kept loving you more and more, all that time I 
was lying." 

" Dear, kind one." 

" We had been caught in a trap ; we had walked 
right into it; we couldn't know; but it's all right now; 
it's all right." 

Yes, yes ! " she broke out in triumph. 

' I thought about ways to get us both out of the 
trap, together — to break the thing. There wasn't one 
that I could see anywhere. Then I went mad and tried 
just to cut you out of it, hacking you like a brute, any- 

"No, no!" 

" Yes. I can't tell you it all—" 

" I know it all." 


' My dear love, my cousin." The shunned word 
came, playful and tender. He took it in dazedly, try- 
ing to grasp the changed world that it made. The dead 
wall was down; it had never been there; he had lost 
her for nothing; he had played traitor for nothing; 
in his crazed fume at the farm he had thrown away life 
for a striker's whim of not saying a plain word in time. 
Oh, long list of his blindnesses! 

June was speaking. " It was that letter — my Aunt 
Kate's. I opened it when you were gone. Then I 
guessed — no, I had a faint, sneaking hope — that this 


might be why you were giving me up — that you wanted 
to let me off, oh, my dear blind one ! Wasn't I shame- 
less? — you'd kicked me away, and I let myself cling to 
your boots, in my thoughts. But I couldn't go to you 
and throw myself at you and say, ' I'm your cousin. I 
know, but still will you take me ? ' I wasn't trying to 
see you. I couldn't stay in — that was all. I wanted 
to look at the house where you were, from a little way 
off — there are trees on a knoll — I could not have been 
seen, and then I'd have stolen away. And there were 
you, coming to me, all the time, and it's all right in the 
end." She was exalted; she threw up her head to 
shake back a tress and he caught in her moon-filled eyes 
a light wild and yet steadfast, a fit fire-signal of em- 
barkation on love the adventure, the taxer of staunch- 
ness, the violent rearranger of lives. So must his 
mother have looked, on that other night. 

She found earth again. " What a brute I am. 
You're ill — you're hurt in some dreadful way — oh, 
what is it?— and I doing nothing. I'll run, I'll bring 
people to carry you." She moved, to rise. 

He pressed his head down on her lap detainingly. 
" Darling, I'm dying," he said, sorrowfully, feeling it 
hard to have no arms to hold her in, while the words 


She did not cry out, or flinch. All he felt was a 
tightened clasp of her hands under and over his head, 
as if they had felt it slipping away. She had con- 
tracted a little, the whole of her body, and then be- 
come taut, as does an attacked army whose outposts 
draw in and stand fast. 


He turned his head this way and that between her 
hands, so as to rub against them softly, a kind of em- 
brace. ' A fluke," he said, " a scratch, an accident at 
the farm with that arrow." 

" You didn't— !" 

' No, no. I've loved living — even then ? You 
understand? Newman had it. I snatched it away in 
a temper and so I got scratched." 

"Where? Show me, quickly." 

He could not point to it; the outworks of life were 
all down; only the captaining brain, cut off and in- 
vested, held out still in its citadel. " Don't look for it, 
June; the poison's gone far from it now; it may be 
flowing into my brain or my heart ; let us love out our 
minutes." He mustered the scattered parts of a 
thought. " You didn't think of me the way the priest 

" Oh, no, no." 

" I was afraid. I thought of you at that party — the 
way you looked when Mrs. Roads spoke." 

" I was angry — I wasn't religious. I had been 
shaken and doubting for ever so long. It made me all 
the more furious when people who didn't believe were 
ribald or pert — it's so holy and lovely whenever any 
one does believe anything really, and stands by it. 
Sometimes I wavered back, when I was tired or weak. 
That morning I wrote to you — " 

" Yes, my dear, dear." He did not need to recall 
the words of her letter : " I prayed to Mary, Mother of 
God." They had burnt into him. Without his mis- 
reading of them he might not have blundered into all 


this. "You wouldn't have minded the shame?' he 
asked. " Cousin and wife of the son of a runaway 

"And at Brabburn?' 1 She tenderly mocked. 

Some pang traversed his body, enforcing a moment 
of silence and closed eyes. She bent down, raising his 
head a little. They stayed so, till her lips felt his eye- 
lashes lifting. 

" You kissed me," he murmured, musing in paradise. 

" You fainted? You are in pain? " 

" Pain ! No ! You kissed me. Isn't the mill some- 
where here? ' : The mind, uneasy in its shaken house, 
began to go hither and thither. 

"There! There!" She lifted his head and 

From the dark swell of the Hurtwood the sails rose, 
dark too, against a sky white with strewn stars; the 
ledge where they had first kissed was drawn black and 
sharp on that ground. He was shaken; he found dying 
hard, and she lost hold of her voice and tears and had 
to be silent above his head, hiding a face crumpled like 
a child's with pain, while the defrauded love in each of 
them beat, alone and in secret, on the unhearing bars 
of their cage. 

So they remained, held apart by the resolution of 
each not to break the strength of the other, till Aubrey 
had suffered the whole of conscious death, to the last 
sting it can plant in life-loving tissue. He had sunk 
choking slowly through gray water that sang in the ear 
and pressed in on the mouth and darkened through 
dusk into night over his upturned eyes. Then all that 


had fought and striven in him gave up, and rest came 
on and on; it called, it invited, like a made bed after 
nights of lying awake in day clothes; but no, it had not 
a form, it was a glow, a suffusion, a luminousness that 
brightened and spread; it was widening and paling 
round him, but chiefly above, and he was a bubble of 
air rising through gray water slowly, without effort or 
will of his own, merely watching the light grow and 
grow overhead as he drew to the surface and broke like 
a bubble there; eyelids broke open, and June's face was 
there, bent over the waters ; it filled his emerging eyes. 
She had closed them, for she, too, had suffered his 
death and had thought, as she drew those curtains, 
could there be any mirrors so eager, ever again? And 
now they were open ; they took the light ; they filled 
themselves with her. She knew, without knowing 
how, that he had come back with his life ; the gleam of 
the salvaged treasure was in his face; and he knew too, 
for the news shone in hers even before he felt in his 
limbs the tingling reveille of the drugged troops of life. 
Had he sweated the mortal drop out of his veins? 
Had its lethal virtue gone stale? Or had some freak 
of luck spiced his blood with its antidote? Or — but 
what did it matter? He looked up at June. They had 
come through, unbroken; they had not squared fate; 
they had each kept pride clean, to bring to the other. 
And no poor life was ahead; romance had begun it; 
romance it would be; not the old fanfaronnading ro- 
mance of the cheering lists and the sun on the plumes 
— the trumpeting boy's paradise and the unassayed 
girl's, but romance strung afresh to the pitch of the 


grown strength of women and men, even of woman- 
and-man, the unmanned unit, the two-chambered heart 
of the race, the twin power-house of high desire and 
will ; the romance of new, harder, unpraised feats to 
do, of dark places to traverse without any fairy lamp 
in the hand, of glamourless risks to affront, of all the 
flintier flints that there were for steelier steel to strike 
the old fire from. 

She did not speak, nor did he, under that first rush 
and oppression of instant and of waiting happiness. 
Words must have been made by man for telling about 
quite small delights only, and lighting the dim spaces 
between people who did not know how to be friends ; 
they might, with their poorness, have wronged that 
morning flame of life and joy, or blurred the vision 
that each lover had gained of the other's completing 


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Return to desk from which borrowed. 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

MOV 18 1947 



APR 19 1961 

LD 21-100m-9,'47(A5702sl6)476 

YC V3942