A NEW volume of “The Savoy” commences with
the July number, and it has been decided, in conse-
quence of the interest which has been taken in the
two numbers already issued, to make the Magazine
a Monthly instead of a Quarterly.
The policy of ” The Savoy ” will remain precisely what it
has hitherto been, but the opportunities of monthly publication will
permit of the issue of a serial, and arrangements are being made with
Mr. George Moore for the serial publication of his new novel,
It is not unreasonably assumed that those who have welcomed
“The Savoy” as a Quarterly will welcome it with at least equal
interest as a Monthly, and it is confidently hoped that the large
public, to which a Quarterly comes with too occasional an appeal, will
appreciate the monthly publication of a Periodical whose only aim
is to offer its readers letterpress which is literature, and illustrations
which are art.
. . .
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP. A Story by HUBERT CRACKAN-
THORPE . . . . . . . . . . . 15
BRETON AFTERNOON. A Poem by ERNEST DOWSON . . . . 40
WILLIAM BLAKE AND HIS ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE DIVINE
I. His Opinions upon Art. (The First of Three Articles by
W. B. YEATS . . . . . . . . . 41
IN CARNIVAL. A Poem by ARTHUR SYMONS . . . . . 58
THE CLOWN. A Story by ROMAN MATHIEU-WIERZBINSKI . . . 59
O’SULLIVAN RUA TO MARY LAVELL. A Poem by W.B. YEATS . . 67
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE—II. (The Second of Three Articles by
HAVELOCK ELLIS . . . . . . . . . . 68
FROM THE “IGNEZ DE CASTRO” OF ANTONIO FERREIRA.
Translated into English Verse by EDGAR PRESTAGE . . . . 82
BERTHA AT THE FAIR. A Sketch . . . . . . . 86
THE BALLAD OF A BARBER. A Poem by AUBREY BEARDSLEY . . 91
THE SIMPLIFICATION OF LIFE. An Essay by EDWARD CARPENTER . 94
THE FUTURE PHENOMENON. A Prose Poem translated from the
French of STÉPHANE MALLARMÉ by GEORGE MOORE . . . 139
A LITERARY CAUSERIE:—On Some Novels, chiefly French. By ARTHUR
SYMONS . . . . . . . . . . . 100
NOTE . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
. . Designed by AUBREY BEARDSLEY
TITLE PAGE . . Designed by AUBREY BEARDSLEY . . 5
THE STONE BATH. A Lithograph by CHARLES H. SHANNON . . 13
THE PASSING OF DANTE AND VIRGIL THROUGH THE
PORTICO OF HELL. After an unpublished Water-Colour Drawing by
WILLIAM BLAKE . . . . . . . . . 43
FRANCESCA AND PAOLO. After the rare Engraving by WILLIAM BLAKE 47
ANGRY SPIRITS FIGHTING IN THE WATERS OF THE STYX.
After an unpublished Water-Colour Drawing by WILLIAM BLAKE . 51
ANTAEUS SETTING VIRGIL AND DANTE UPON THE VERGE OF
COCYTUS After an unpublished Water-Colour Drawing by WILLIAM
BLAKE . . . . . . . . . . . 55
CARICATURE OF ARTHUR ROBERTS. A Wood-Engraving after the
Drawing by MAX BEERBOHM . . . . . . . . 65
THE COIFFING. After a Pen-and-Ink Drawing by AUBREY BEARDSLEY 90
A CUL-DE-LAMPE After a Pen-and-Ink Drawing by AUBREY BEARDSLEY 93
The Whole of the Reproductions in this Volume, in line and half-tone blocks, and the
Wood Engraving, are by MR. PAUL NAUMANN.
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP
A STAMPEDE of huddled sheep, wildly scampering over the
slaty shingle, emerged from the leaden mist that muffled the
fell-top, and a shrill shepherd’s whistle broke the damp
stillness of the air. And presently a man’s figure appeared,
following the sheep down the hillside. He halted a moment
to whistle curtly to his two dogs, who, laying back their ears,
chased the sheep at top-speed beyond the brow ; then, his hands deep in his
pockets, he strode vigorously forward. A streak of white smoke from a toiling
train was creeping silently across the distance : the great, grey, desolate
undulations of treeless country showed no other sign of life.
The sheep hurried in single file along a tiny track worn threadbare amid
the brown, lumpy grass ; and, as the man came round the mountain’s shoulder,
a narrow valley opened out beneath him—a scanty patchwork of green fields,
and, here and there, a whitewashed farm, flanked by a dark cluster of
The man walked with a loose, swinging gait. His figure was spare and
angular : he wore a battered, black felt hat and clumsy, iron-bound boots : his
clothes were dingy from long exposure to the weather. He had close-set,
insignificant eyes, much wrinkled, and stubbly eyebrows streaked with grey.
His mouth was close-shaven, and drawn by his abstraction into hard and
taciturn lines ; beneath his chin bristled an unkempt fringe of sandy-coloured
When he reached the foot of the fell, the twilight was already blurring the
distance. The sheep scurried, with a noisy rustling, across a flat, swampy
stretch, over-grown with rushes, while the dogs headed them towards a gap in
a low, ragged wall built of loosely-heaped boulders. The man swung the gate
to after them, and waited, whistling peremptorily, recalling the dogs. A
moment later, the animals re-appeared, cringing as they crawled through the
bars of the gate. He kicked out at them contemptuously, and mounting a
stone stile a few yards further up the road, dropped into a narrow lane.
16 THE SAVOY
Presently, as he passed a row of lighted windows, he heard a voice call to
him. He stopped, and perceived a crooked, white-bearded figure, wearing
clerical clothes, standing in the garden gateway.
“Good evening, Anthony. A raw evening this.”
“Ay, Mr. Blencarn, it’s a bit frittish,” he answered. “I’ve jest bin gittin’
a few lambs off t’ fell. I hope ye’re keepin’ fairly, an’ Miss Rosa too.” He
spoke briefly, with a loud, spontaneous cordiality.
“Thank ye, Anthony, thank ye. Rosa’s down at the church, playing
over the hymns for to-morrow. How ‘s Mrs. Garstin?”
“Nicely, thank ye, Mr. Blencarn. She’s wonderful active, is mother.”
“Well, good-night to ye, Anthony,” said the old man, clicking the gate.
“Good-night, Mr. Blencarn,” he called back.
A few minutes later the twinkling lights of the village came in sight, and
from within the sombre form of the square-towered church, looming by the
roadside, the slow, solemn strains of the organ floated out on the evening air.
Anthony lightened his tread : then paused, listening ; but, presently, becoming
aware that a man stood, listening also, on the bridge some few yards distant,
he moved forward again. Slackening his pace, as he approached, he eyed the
figure keenly ; but the man paid no heed to him, remaining, with his back
turned, gazing over the parapet into the dark, gurgling stream.
Anthony trudged along the empty village street, past the gleaming squares
of ruddy gold, starting on either side out of the darkness. Now and then he
looked furtively backwards. The straight open road lay behind him, glimmer-
ing wanly : the organ seemed to have ceased : the figure on the bridge had
left the parapet, and appeared to be moving away towards the church.
Anthony halted, watching it till it had disappeared into the blackness beneath
the churchyard trees. Then, after a moment’s hesitation, he left the road, and
mounted an upland meadow towards his mother’s farm.
It was a bare, oblong house. In front, a whitewashed porch, and a narrow
garden-plot, enclosed by a low iron railing, were dimly discernible : behind,
the steep fell-side loomed like a monstrous, mysterious curtain hung across
the night. He passed round the back into the twilight of a wide yard,
cobbled and partially grass-grown, vaguely flanked by the shadowy outlines of
long, low farm-buildings. All was wrapped in darkness : somewhere overhead
a bat fluttered, darting its puny scream.
Inside, a blazing peat-fire scattered capering shadows across the smooth,
stone floor, flickered among the dim rows of hams suspended from the ceiling
and on the panelled cupboards of dark, glistening oak. A servant-girl, spread-
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 17
ing the cloth for supper, clattered her clogs in and out of the kitchen : old
Mrs. Garstin was stooping before the hearth, tremulously turning some girdle-
cakes that lay roasting in the embers.
At the sound of Anthony’s heavy tread in the passage, she rose, glancing
sharply at the clock above the chimney-piece. She was a heavy-built woman,
upright, stalwart almost, despite her years. Her face was gaunt and sallow ;
deep wrinkles accentuated the hardness of her features. She wore a black
widow’s cap above her iron-gray hair, gold-rimmed spectacles, and a soiled,
“Ye’re varra late, Tony,” she remarked querulously.
He unloosed his woollen neckerchief, and when he had hung it methodically
with his hat behind the door, answered :
“‘Twas terrible thick on t’ fell-top, an’ them two bitches be that senseless.”
She caught his sleeve, and, through her spectacles, suspiciously scrutinized
“Ye did na meet wi’ Rosa Blencarn ?”
“Nay, she was in church, hymn-playin’, wi’ Luke Stock hangin’ roond
door,” he retorted bitterly, rebuffing her with rough impatience.
She moved away, nodding sententiously to herself. They began supper :
neither spoke : Anthony sat slowly stirring his tea, and staring moodily into
the flames : the bacon on his plate lay untouched. From time to time his
mother, laying down her knife and fork, looked across at him in unconcealed
asperity, pursing her wide, ungainly mouth. At last, abruptly setting down
her cup, she broke out :
” I wonder ye havn’a mare pride, Tony. For hoo lang are ye goin’ t’
continue settin’ mopin’ and broodin’ like a seck sheep. Ye’ll jest mak yesself
ill, an’ then I reckon what ye’ll prove satisfied. Ay, but I wonder ye hav’na
But he made no answer, remaining unmoved, as if he had not heard.
Presently, half to himself, without raising his eyes, he murmured :
“Luke be goin’ South, Monday.”
“Well, ye canna tak’ oop wi’ his leavin’s anyways. It hasna coom t’ that,
has it ? Ye doan’t intend settin’ all t’ parish a laughin’ at ye a second occasion ?”
He flushed dully, and bending over his plate, mechanically began his
“Wa dang it,” he broke out a minute later, “d’ye think I heed t’ cacklin’
o’ fifty parishes? Na, not I,” and, with a short, grim laugh, he brought his fist
down heavily on the oak table.
18 THE SAVOY
“Ye’re daft, Tony,” the old woman blurted.
“Daft or na daft, I tell ye this, mother, that I be forty-six year o’ age this
back-end, and there be soom things I will na listen to. Rosa Blencarn ‘s
bonny enough for me.”
“Ay, bonny enough—I’ve na patience wi’ ye. Bonny enough—tricked
oot in her furbelows, gallivantin’ wi’ every royster fra Pe’rith. Bonny enough
—that be all ye think on. She’s bin a proper parson’s niece—the giddy,
feckless creature, an’ she’d mak’ ye a proper sort o’ wife, Tony Garstin, ye
great, fond booby.”
She pushed back her chair, and, hurriedly clattering the crockery, began
to clear away the supper.
“T’hoose be mine, t’ Lord be praised,” she continued in a loud, hard voice,
“an’ as long as He spare me, Tony, I’ll na’ see Rosa Blencarn set foot inside it.”
Anthony scowled, without replying, and drew his chair to the hearth.
His mother bustled about the room behind him. After a while she asked :
“Did ye pen t’ lambs in t’ back field ?”
” Na, they’re in Hullam bottom,” he answered curtly.
The door closed behind her, and by-and-by he could hear her moving
overhead. Meditatively blinking, he filled his pipe clumsily, and pulling a
crumpled newspaper from his pocket, sat on over the smouldering fire, reading
and stolidly puffing.
The music rolled through the dark, empty church. The last, leaden flicker
of daylight glimmered in through the pointed windows, and beyond the level
rows of dusky pews, tenanted only by a litter of prayer-books, two guttering
candles revealed the organ-pipes, and the young girl’s swaying figure.
She played vigorously. Once or twice the tune stumbled ; and she
recovered it impatiently, bending over the key-board, showily flourishing her
wrists as she touched the stops. She was bare-headed (her hat and cloak lay
beside her on a stool). She had fair, fluffy hair, cut short behind her neck ;
large, round eyes, heightened by a fringe of dark lashes ; rough, ruddy cheeks,
and a rosy, full-lipped, unstable mouth. She was dressed quite simply, in a
black, close-fitting bodice, a little frayed at the sleeves. Her hands and neck
were coarsely fashioned : her comeliness was brawny, literal, unfinished, as
When at last the ponderous chords of the Amen faded slowly into the
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 19
twilight, flushed, breathing a little quickly, she paused, listening to the stillness
of the church. Presently a small boy emerged from behind the organ.
“Good evenin’, Miss Rosa,” he called, trotting briskly away down the aisle.
“Good night, Robert,” she answered, absently.
After a while, with an impatient gesture, as if to shake some importunate
thought from her mind, she rose abruptly, pinned on her hat, threw her cloak
round her shoulders, blew out the candles, and groped her way through the
church, towards the half-open door. As she hurried along the narrow path-
way, that led across the churchyard, of a sudden, a figure started out of the
“Who’s that ?” she cried, in a loud, frightened voice.
A man’s uneasy laugh answered her.
“It’s only me, Rosa. I didna think t’ scare ye. I’ve bin waitin’ for ye
this hoor past.”
She made no reply, but quickened her pace. He strode on beside her.
“I’m off, Monday, ye know,” he continued. And, as she said nothing,
“Will ye na stop jest a minnit. I’d like t’ speak a few words wi’ ye before
I go, an to-morrow I hev t’ git over t’ Scarsdale betimes,” he persisted.
“I don’t want t’ speak wi’ ye : I don’t want ever to see ye agin. I jest
hate the sight o’ ye.” She spoke with a vehement, concentrated hoarseness.
“Nay, but ye must listen to me. I will na be put off wi’ fratchin speeches.”
And, gripping her arm, he forced her to stop.
“Loose me, ye great beast,” she broke out.
” I’ll na hould ye, if ye’ll jest stand quiet-like. I mean t’ speak fair t’ ye,
They stood at a bend in the road, face to face, quite close together.
Behind his burly form stretched the dimness of a grey, ghostly field.
“What is’t ye hev to say to me ? Hev done wi’ it quick,” she said
“It be jest this, Rosa,” he began with dogged gravity. “I want t’ tell ye
that ef any trouble comes t’ ye after I’m gone—ye know t’ what I refer—
I want t’ tell ye that I’m prepared t’ act square by ye. I’ve written out
on an envelope my address in London. Luke Stock, care o’ Purcell & Co.,
Smithfield Market, London.”
“Ye’re a bad, sinful man. I jest hate t’ sight o’ ye. I wish ye were dead.”
“Ay, but I reckon what ye’d ha best thought o’ that before. Ye’ve changed
yer whistle considerable since Tuesday. Nay, hould on,” he added, as she
struggled to push past him. “Here’s t’ envelope.”
20 THE SAVOY
She snatched the paper, and tore it passionately, scattering the fragments
on to the road. When she had finished, he burst out angrily :
“Ye cussed, unreasonable fool.”
“Let me pass, ef ye’ve nought mare t’ say,” she cried.
“Nay, I’ll na part wi’ ye this fashion. Ye can speak soft enough when ye
choose.” And seizing her shoulders, he forced her backwards, against the wall.
“Ye do look fine, an’ na mistake, when ye’re jest ablaze wi’ ragin’,” he
laughed bluntly, lowering his face to hers.
“Loose me, loose me, ye great coward,” she gasped, striving to free her
Holding her fast, he expostulated :
“Coom, Rosa, can we na part friends ?”
“Part friends, indeed,” she retorted bitterly. “Friends wi’ the likes o’ you.
What d’ye tak me for? Let me git home, I tell ye. An’ please God I’ll never
set eyes on ye again. I hate t’ sight o’ ye.”
“Be off wi’ ye, then,” he answered, pushing her roughly back into the
road. “Be off wi’ ye, ye silly. Ye canna say I hav na spak fair t’ ye, an’ by
goom, ye’ll na see me shally-wallyin this fashion agin. Be off wi’ ye : ye can
jest shift for yerself, since ye canna keep a civil tongue in yer head.”
The girl, catching at her breath, stood as if dazed, watching his retreating
figure ; then, starting forward at a run, disappeared up the hill, into the
Old Mr. Blencarn concluded his husky sermon. The scanty congregation,
who had been sitting, stolidly immobile in their stiff, Sunday clothes, shuffled
to their feet, and the pewful of school-children, in clamorous chorus, intoned
the final hymn. Anthony stood near the organ, absently contemplating, while
the rude melody resounded through the church, Rosa’s deft manipulation of
the key-board. The rugged lines of his face were relaxed to a vacant, thoughtful
limpness, that aged his expression not a little : now and then, as if for reference,
he glanced questioningly at the girl’s profile.
A few minutes later, the service was over, and the congregation sauntered
out down the aisle. A gawky group of men remained loitering by the church
door : one of them called to Anthony ; but, nodding curtly, he passed on, and
strode away down the road, across the grey, upland meadows, towards home.
As soon as he had breasted the hill, however, and was no longer visible from
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 21
below, he turned abruptly to the left, along a small, swampy hollow, till he had
reached the lane that led down from the fellside.
He clambered over a rugged, moss-grown wall, and stood, gazing expec-
tantly down the dark, disused roadway : then, after a moment’s hesitation,
perceiving nobody, seated himself beneath the wall, on a projecting slab of stone.
Overhead hung a sombre, drifting sky. A gusty wind rollicked down
from the fell—huge masses of chilly gray, stripped of the last night’s mist. A
few dead leaves fluttered over the stones, and from off the fellside there floated
the plaintive, quavering rumour of many bleating sheep.
Before long, he caught sight of two figures coming towards him, slowly
climbing the hill. He sat awaiting their approach, fidgetting with his sandy
beard, and abstractedly grinding the ground beneath his heel. At the brow
they halted : plunging his hands deep into his pockets, he strolled sheepishly
“Ah ! good day t’ ye, Anthony,” called the old man, in a shrill, breathless
voice. “‘Tis a long hill, an’ my legs are not what they were. Time was when
I’d think nought o’ a whole day’s tramp on t’ fells. Ay, I’m gittin’ feeble
Anthony, that’s what ’tis. And if Rosa here wasn’t the great, strong lass she
is, I don’t know how her old uncle’d manage ;” and he turned to the girl
with a proud, tremulous smile.
“Will ye tak my arm a bit, Mr. Blencarn ? Miss Rosa’ll be tired, likely,”
“Nay, Mr. Garstin, but I can manage nicely,” the girl interrupted sharply.
Anthony looked up at her as she spoke. She wore a straw hat, trimmed
with crimson velvet, and a black, fur-edged cape, that seemed to set off mightily
the fine whiteness of her neck. Her large, dark eyes were fixed upon him.
He shifted his feet uneasily, and dropped his glance.
She linked her uncle’s arm in hers, and the three moved slowly forward.
Old Mr. Blencarn walked with difficulty, pausing at intervals for breath.
Anthony, his eyes bent on the ground, sauntered beside him, clumsily kicking
at the cobbles that lay in his path.
When they reached the vicarage gate, the old man asked him to come
“Not jest now, thank ye, Mr. Blencarn. I’ve that lot o’ lambs t’ see to
before dinner. It’s a grand marnin’, this,” he added, inconsequently.
“Uncle’s bought a nice lot o’ Leghorns, Tuesday,” Rosa remarked.
Anthony met her gaze ; there was a grave, subdued expression on her face
this morning, that made her look more of a woman, less of a girl.
22 THE SAVOY
“Ay, do ye show him the birds, Rosa. I’d be glad to have his opinion
The old man turned to hobble into the house, and Rosa, as she supported
his arm, called back over her shoulder :
“I’ll not be a minute, Mr. Garstin.”
Anthony strolled round to the yard behind the house, and waited, watch-
ing a flock of glossy-white poultry that strutted, perkily pecking, over the
“Ay, Miss Rosa, they’re a bonny lot,” he remarked, as the girl joined him.
“Are they not ?” she rejoined, scattering a handful of corn before her.
The birds scuttled across the yard with greedy, outstretched necks. The
two stood, side by side, gazing at them.
“What did he give for ’em ? ” Anthony asked.
” Ay,” he assented, nodding absently.
“Was Dr. Sanderson na seein’ o’ yer father yesterday ?” he asked, after a
“He came in t’ forenoon. He said he was jest na worse.”
“Ye knaw, Miss Rosa, as I’m still thinkin’ on ye,” he began abruptly,
without looking up.
“I reckon it ain’t much use,” she answered shortly, scattering another
handful of corn towards the birds. “I reckon I’ll never marry. I’m jest
weary o’ bein’ courted——”
” I would na weary ye wi’ courtin’,” he interrupted.
She laughed noisily.
“Ye are a queer customer, an na mistake.”
“I’m a match for Luke Stock anyway,” he continued fiercely. “Ye think
nought o’ takin’ oop wi’ him—about as ranty, wild a young feller as ever stepped.
The girl reddened, and bit her lip.
“I don’t know what you mean, Mr. Garstin. It seems to me ye’re
mighty hasty in jumpin’ t’ conclusions.”
“Mabbee I kin see thing or two,” he retorted, doggedly.
“Luke Stock ‘s gone to London, anyway.”
“Ay, an’ a powerful good job too, in t’ opinion o’ some folks.”
“Ye’re jest jealous,” she exclaimed, with a forced titter. “Ye’re jest
jealous o’ Luke Stock.”
“Nay, but ye need na fill yer head wi’ that nonsense. I’m too deep set
on ye t’ feel jealousy,” he answered, gravely.
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 23
The smile faded from her face, as she murmured :
“I canna mak ye out, Mr. Garstin.”
“Nay, that ye canna. An’ I suppose it’s natural, considerin’ ye’re little
more than a child, an’ I’m a’most old enough to be yer father,” he retorted,
with blunt bitterness.
“But ye know yer mother’s took that dislike t’ me. She’d never abide
the sight o’ me at Houtsey.”
He remained silent a moment, moodily reflecting.
“She’d jest ha’ t’ git ower it. I see nought in that objection,” he declared.
“Nay, Mr. Garstin, it canna be. Indeed it canna be at all. Ye’d best
jest put it right from yer mind, once and for all.”
“I’d jest best put it off my mind, had I ? Ye talk like a child !” he burst
out, scornfully. “I intend ye t’ coom t’ love me, an’ I will na tak ye till ye do.
I’ll jest go on waitin’ for ye, an’, mark my words, my day ‘ull coom at last.”
He spoke loudly, in a slow, stubborn voice, and stepped suddenly towards
her. With a faint, frightened cry she shrank back into the doorway of the
“Ye talk like a prophet. Ye sort o’ skeer me.”
He laughed grimly, and paused, reflectively scanning her face. He
seemed about to continue in the same strain ; but, instead, turned abruptly on
his heel, and strode away through the garden gate.
For three hundred years there had been a Garstin at Houtsey : generation
after generation had tramped the gray stretch of upland, in the spring-time
scattering their flocks over the fell-sides, and, at the ” back-end,” on dark,
winter afternoons, driving them home again, down the broad bridle-path, that
led over the “raise.” They had been a race of few words, “keeping themselves
to themselves,” as the phrase goes ; beholden to no man, filled with a dogged,
churlish pride—an upright, old-fashioned race, stubborn, long-lived, rude in
speech, slow of resolve.
Anthony had never seen his father, who had died one night, upon the
fell-top, he and his shepherd, engulfed in the great snowstorm of 1849. Folks
had said that he was the only Garstin, who had failed to make old man’s bones.
After his death, Jake Atkinson, from Ribblehead in Yorkshire, had come
to live at Houtsey. Jake was a fine farmer, a canny bargainer, and very
handy among the sheep, till he took to drink, and roystering every week with
24 THE SAVOY
the town wenches up at Carlisle. He was a corpulent, deep-voiced, free-
handed fellow : when his time came, though he died very hardly, he remained
festive and convivial to the last. And for years afterwards, in the valley, his
memory lingered : men spoke of him regretfully, recalling his quips, his feats of
strength, and his choice breed of Herdwicke rams. But he left behind him a
host of debts up at Carlisle, in Penrith, and in almost even’ market town—
debts that he had long ago pretended to have paid with money that belonged to
his sister. The widow Garstin sold the twelve Herdwicke rams, and nine acres
of land : within six weeks she had cleared off every penny, and for thirteen
months, on Sundays, wore her mourning with a mute, forbidding grimness :
the bitter thought that, unbeknown to her, Jake had acted dishonestly in
money matters, and that he had ended his days in riotous sin, soured her
pride, imbued her with a rancorous hostility against all the world. For she
was a very proud woman, independent, holding her head high, so folks said,
like a Garstin bred and born ; and Anthony, although some reckoned him
quiet and of little account, came to take after her as he grew into manhood.
She took into her own hands the management of the Houtsey farm, and
set the boy to work for her along with the two farm servants. It was
twenty-five years now since his uncle Jake’s death : there were gray hairs in
his sandy beard ; but he still worked for his mother, as he had done when a
And now that times were grown to be bad (of late years the price of stock
had been steadily falling ; and the hay-harvests had drifted from bad to worse)
the widow Garstin no longer kept any labouring men ; but lived, she and her
son, year in and year out, in a close, parsimonious way.
That had been Anthony Garstin’s life—a dull, eventless sort of business,
the sluggish incrustation of monotonous years. And until Rosa Blencarn had
come to keep house for her uncle, he had never thought twice on a woman’s
The Garstins had always been good church-goers, and Anthony, for
years, had acted as churchwarden. It was one summer evening, up at the
vicarage, whilst he was checking the offertory account, that he first set eyes
upon her. She was fresh back from school at Leeds : she was dressed in a
white dress : she looked, he thought, like a London lady.
She stood by the window, tall and straight and queenly, dreamily gazing
out into the summer twilight, whilst he and her uncle sat over their business.
When he rose to go, she glanced at him with quick curiosity ; he hurried away,
muttering a sheepish good-night
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 25
The next time that he saw her was in church on Sunday. He watched
her shyly, with a hesitating, reverential discretion ; her beauty seemed to him
wonderful, distant, enigmatic. In the afternoon, young Mrs. Forsyth, from
Longscale, dropped in for a cup of tea with his mother, and the two set off
gossiping of Rosa Blencarn, speaking of her freely, in tones of acrimonious
contempt. For a long while he sat silent, puffing at his pipe ; but, at last,
when his mother concluded with, “She looks t’me fair stuck-oop, full o’ toonish
airs an’ graces,” despite himself, he burst out : “Ye’re jest wastin’ yer breath
wi’ that cackle. I reckon Miss Blencarn ‘s o’ a different clay from us folks.”
Young Mrs. Forsyth tittered immoderately, and the next week it was rumoured
about the valley that “Tony Garstin was gone luny over t’ parson’s niece.”
But of all this he knew nothing—keeping to himself, as was his wont, and
being, besides, very busy with the hay harvest—until one day, at dinner-time,
Henry Sisson asked if he’d started his courting ; Jacob Sowerby cried that
Tony’d been too slow in getting to work, for that the girl had been seen
spooning in Crosby Shaws with Curbison the auctioneer, and the others
(there were half a dozen of them lounging round the hay-waggon) burst into
a boisterous guffaw. Anthony flushed dully, looking hesitatingly from the one
to the other ; then slowly put down his beer-can, and, of a sudden, seizing
Jacob by the neck, swung him heavily on the grass. He fell against the
waggon-wheel, and when he rose the blood was streaming from an ugly cut in
his forehead. And henceforward Tony Garstin’s courtship was the common
jest of all the parish.
As yet, however, he had scarcely spoken to her, though twice he had
passed her in the lane that led up to the vicarage. She had given him a frank,
friendly smile ; but he had not found the resolution to do more than lift his
hat. He and Henry Sisson stacked the hay in the yard behind the house,
there was no further mention made of Rosa Blencarn ; but all day long
Anthony, as he knelt thatching the rick, brooded over the strange sweetness
of her face, and on the fell-top, while he tramped after the ewes over the dry,
crackling heather, and as he jogged along the narrow, rickety road, driving his
cartload of lambs into the auction mart.
Thus, as the weeks slipped by, he was content with blunt, wistful rumina-
tions upon her indistinct image. Jacob Sowerby’s accusation, and several
kindred innuendoes let fall by his mother, left him coolly incredulous ; the girl
still seemed to him altogether distant ; but from the first sight of her face he
had evolved a stolid, unfaltering conception of her difference from the ruck of
26 THE SAVOY
But one evening, as he passed the vicarage, on his way down from the
fells, she called to him, and with a childish, confiding familiarity, asked for
advice concerning the feeding of the poultry. In his eagerness to answer her
as best he could, he forgot his customary embarrassment, and grew, for the
moment, almost voluble, and quite at his ease in her presence. Directly her
flow of questions ceased, however, the returning perception of her rosy, hesitating
smile, and of her large, deep eyes looking straight into his face, perturbed him
strangely, and, reddening, he remembered the quarrel in the hay-field, and the
tale of Crosby Shaws.
After this, the poultry became a link between them—a link which he
regarded in all seriousness, blindly unconscious that there was aught else to
bring them together, only feeling himself in awe of her, because of her school-
ing, her townish manners, her ladylike mode of dress. And soon, he came to
take a sturdy, secret pride in her friendly familiarity towards him. Several
times a week he would meet her in the lane, and they would loiter a moment
together ; she would admire his dogs, though he assured her earnestly that
they were but sorry curs ; and once, laughing at his staidness, she nicknamed
him “Mr. Churchwarden.”
That the girl was not liked in the valley he suspected, curtly attributing
her unpopularity to the women’s senseless jealousy. Of gossip concerning her
he heard no further hint ; but instinctively, and partly from that rugged, natural
reserve of his, shrank from mentioning her name, even incidentally, to his
Now, on Sunday evenings, he often strolled up to the vicarage, each time
quitting his mother with the same awkward affectation of casualness ; and,
on his return, becoming vaguely conscious of how she refrained from any
comment on his absence, and appeared oddly oblivious of the existence of
parson Blencarn’s niece.
She had always been a sour-tongued woman ; but, as the days shortened,
with the approach of the long winter months, she seemed to him to grow more
fretful than ever ; at times it was almost as if she bore him some smouldering,
sullen resentment. He was of stubborn fibre, however, toughened by long
habit of a bleak, unruly climate ; he revolved the matter in his mind delibe-
rately, and when, at last, after much plodding thought, it dawned upon him
that she resented his acquaintance with Rosa Blencarn, he accepted the solu-
tion with an unflinching phlegm, and merely shifted his attitude towards the
girl, calculating each day the likelihood of his meeting her, and making, in her
presence, persistent efforts to break down, once for all, the barrier of his own
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 27
timidity. He was a man not to be clumsily driven, still less, so he prided
himself, a man to be craftily led.
It was close upon Christmas time before the crisis came. His mother was
just home from Penrith market. The spring-cart stood in the yard, the old
gray horse was steaming heavily in the still, frosty air.
“I reckon ye’ve come fast. T’ ould horse is over hot,” he remarked
bluntly, as he went to the animal’s head.
She clambered down hastily, and, coming to his side, began breathlessly :
“Ye ought t’ hev coom t’ market, Tony. There ‘s bin pretty goin’s on in
Pe’rith to-day. I was helpin’ Anna Forsyth t’ choose six yards o’ sheetin’ in
Dockroy, when we sees Rosa Blencarn coom oot o’ t’ “Bell and Bullock” in
company wi’ Curbison and young Joe Smethwick. Smethwick was fair reelin’
drunk, and Curbison and t’ girl were a-houldin’ on t’ him, to keep him fra
fallin’, and then, after a bit, he puts his arm round t’ girl t’ stiddy hisself, and
that fashion they goes off, right oop t’ public street——”
He continued to unload the packages, and to carry them, mechanically,
one by one, into the house. Each time, when he reappeared, she was standing
by the steaming horse, busy with her tale.
“An’ on t’ road hame we passed t’ three on’ em in Curbison’s trap, with
Smethwick leein’ in t’ bottom, singin’ maudlin’ songs. They were passin’
Dunscale village, an’ t’ folks coom runnin’ oot o’ houses t’ see ’em go past—— ”
He led the cart away towards the stable, leaving her to cry the remainder
after him across the yard.
Half an hour later he came in for his dinner. During the meal not a word
passed between them, and directly he had finished he strode out of the house.
About nine o’clock he returned, lit his pipe, and sat down to smoke it over the
“Where’ ve ye bin, Tony ?” she asked.
“Oop t’ vicarage, courtin’,” he retorted defiantly, with his pipe in his
This was ten months ago : ever since he had been doggedly waiting. That
evening he had set his mind on the girl, he intended to have her ; and while
his mother gibed, as she did now upon every opportunity, his patience remained
grimly unflagging. She would remind him that the farm belonged to her, that
he would have to wait till her death before he could bring the hussy to
Houtsey : he would retort that as soon as the girl would have him, he intended
taking a small holding over at Scarsdale. Then she would give way, and for
a while piteously upbraid him with her old age, and with the memory of all the
28 THE SAVOY
years she and he had spent together, and he would comfort her with a display
of brusque, evasive remorse.
But, none the less, on the morrow, his thoughts would return to dwell on
the haunting vision of the girl’s face, while his own rude, credulous chivalry,
kindled by the recollection of her beauty, stifled his misgivings concerning her
Meanwhile she dallied with him, and amused herself with the younger
men. Her old uncle fell ill in the spring, and could scarcely leave the house.
She declared that she found life in the valley intolerably dull, that she hated
the quiet of the place, that she longed for Leeds, and the exciting bustle of the
streets ; and in the evenings she wrote long letters to the girl-friends she had
left behind there, describing with petulant vivacity her tribe of rustic admirers.
At the harvest-time she went back on a fortnight’s visit to friends ; the
evening before her departure she promised Anthony to give him her answer
on her return. But, instead, she avoided him, pretended to have promised
in jest, and took up with Luke Stock, a cattle-dealer from Wigton.
It was three weeks since he had fetched his flock down from the fell.
After dinner he and his mother sat together in the parlour : they had
done so every Sunday afternoon, year in and year out, as far back as he could
A row of mahogany chairs, with shiny, horse-hair seats, were ranged
round the room. A great collection of agricultural prize-tickets were pinned
over the wall ; and, on a heavy, highly-polished sideboard, stood several silver
cups. A heap of gilt-edged shavings filled the unused grate : there were
gaudily-tinted roses along the mantelpiece, and, on a small table by the
window, beneath a glass-case, a gilt basket filled with imitation flowers.
Every object was disposed with a scrupulous precision : the carpet and the
red-patterned cloth on the centre-table were much faded. The room was
spotlessly clean, and were, in the chilly winter sunlight, a rigid, comfort-
Neither spoke, or appeared conscious of the other’s presence. Old Mrs.
Garstin, wrapped in a woollen shawl, sat knitting : Anthony dozed fitfully on
a stiff-backed chair.
Of a sudden, in the distance, a bell started tolling. Anthony rubbed his
eyes drowsily, and, taking from the table his Sunday hat, strolled out across the
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 29
dusky fields. Presently, reaching a rude wooden seat, built beside the bridle-
path, he sat down and relit his pipe. The air was very still : below him a white,
filmy mist hung across the valley: the fell sides, vaguely grouped, resembled
hulking masses of sombre shadow ; and, as he looked back, three squares
of glimmering gold revealed the lighted windows of the square-towered
He sat smoking ; pondering, with placid and reverential contemplation, on
the Mighty Maker of the world—a world majestically and inevitably ordered ;
a world where, he argued, each object—each fissure in the fells, the winding
course of each tumbling stream— possesses its mysterious purport, its inevitable
signification. . . .
At the end of the field two rams were fighting ; retreating, then running
together, and, leaping from the ground, butting head to head and horn to horn.
Anthony watched them absently, pursuing his rude meditations.
. . . And the succession of bad seasons, the slow ruination of the farmers
throughout the country, were but punishment meted out for the accumulated
wickedness of the world. In the olden time God rained plagues upon the
land : nowadays, in His wrath, He spoiled the produce of the earth, which,
with His own hands, He had fashioned and bestowed upon men.
He rose and continued his walk along the bridle-path. A multitude
of rabbits scuttled up the hill at his approach ; and a great cloud of plovers,
rising from the rushes, circled overhead, filling the air with a profusion of their
querulous cries. All at once he heard a rattling of stones, and perceived
a number of small pieces of shingle bounding in front of him down the grassy
A woman’s figure was moving among the rocks above him. The next
moment, by the trimming of crimson velvet on her hat, he had recognized her.
He mounted the slope with springing strides, wondering the while how it was
she came to be there, that she was not in church playing the organ at afternoon
Before she was aware of his approach, he was beside her.
“I thought ye’d be in church ——” he began.
She started : then, gradually regaining her composure, answered, weakly
“Mr. Jenkinson, the new schoolmaster, wanted to try the organ.”
He came towards her impulsively : she saw the odd flickers in his eyes as
she stepped back in dismay.
“Nay, but I will na harm ye,” he said. “Only I reckon what ’tis a special
30 THE SAVOY
turn o’ Providence, meetin’ wi’ ye oop here. I reckon what ye’ll hev t’ give me
a square answer noo. Ye canna dilly-dally everlastingly.”
He spoke almost brutally ; and she stood, white and gasping, staring
at him with large, frightened eyes. The sheep-walk was but a tiny threadlike
track : the slope of the shingle on either side was very steep : below them lay
the valley ; distant, lifeless, all blurred by the evening dusk. She looked about
her helplessly for a means of escape.
“Miss Rosa,” he continued, in a husky voice, “can ye na coom t’ think on
me. Think ye, I’ve bin waitin’ nigh upon two year for ye. I’ve watched ye
tak oop, first wi’ this young fellar, and then wi’ that, till soomtimes my heart ‘s
fit t’ burst. Many a day, oop on t’ fell-top, t’ thought o’ ye ‘s nigh driven me
daft, and I’ve left my shepherdin’ jest t’ set on a cairn in t’ mist, picturin’ an’
broodin’ on yer face. Many an evenin’ I’ve started oop t’ vicarage, wi’ t’
resolution t’ speak right oot t’ ye ; but when it coomed t’ point, a sort o’
timidity seemed t’hould me back, I was that feared t’ displease ye. I knaw I’m
na scholar, an’ mabbe ye think I’m rough-mannered. I knaw I’ve spoken
sharply to ye once or twice lately. But it’s jest because I’m that mad wi’ love
for ye : I jest canna help myself soomtimes—”
He waited, peering into her face. She could see the beads of sweat above
his bristling eyebrows : the damp had settled on his sandy beard : his horny
fingers were twitching at the buttons of his black Sunday coat.
She struggled to summon a smile ; but her underlip quivered, and her
large dark eyes filled slowly with tears.
And he went on :
“Ye’ve coom t’ mean jest everything to me. Ef ye will na hev me, I care
for nought else. I canna speak t’ ye in phrases : I’m jest a plain, unscholarly
man : I canna wheedle ye, wi’ cunnin’ after t’ fashion o’ toon folks. But I can
love ye wi’ all my might, an’ watch over ye, and work for ye better than any
one o’ em—— ”
She was crying to herself, silently, while he spoke. He noticed nothing,
however : the twilight hid her face from him.
“There’s nought against me,” he persisted “I’m as good a man as
one on ’em. Ay, as good a man as any one on ’em,” he repeated defiantly,
raising his voice.
“It’s impossible, Mr. Garstin, it ‘s impossible. Ye’ve been very kind to
me——” she added, in a choking voice.
“Wa dang it, I didna mean t’ mak ye cry, lass,” he exclaimed, with
a softening of his tone. “There ‘s nought for ye t’ cry ower.”
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 31
She sank on to the stones, passionately sobbing in hysterical and defence-
less despair. Anthony stood a moment, gazing at her in clumsy perplexity :
then, coming close to her, put his hand on her shoulder, and said gently :
“Coom, lass, what ‘s trouble ? Ye can trust me.”
She shook her head faintly.
“Ay, but ye can though,” he asserted, firmly. “Come, what is ‘t ?”
Heedless of him, she continued to rock herself to and fro, crooning in her
“Oh ! I wish I were dead ! . . . I wish I could die !”
—”Wish ye could die ?” he repeated. “Why, whatever can ‘t be that ‘s
troublin’ ye like this? There, there, lassie, give ower : it ‘ull all coom right,
whatever it be——”
“No, no,” she wailed. “I wish I could die ! . . .I wish I could die !”
Lights were twinkling in the village below ; and across the valley darkness
was draping the hills. The girl lifted her face from her hands, and looked up
at him with a scared, bewildered expression.
“I must go home : I must be getting home,” she muttered.
“Nay, but there ‘s sommut mighty amiss wi’ ye.”
“No, it’s nothing . . .I don’t know—I’m not well. . . I mean it’s
nothing . . . it’ll pass over . . .you mustn’t think anything of it.”
“Nay, but I canna stand by an see ye in sich trouble.”
“It ‘s nothing, Mr. Garstin, indeed it ‘s nothing,” she repeated.
“Ay, but I canna credit that,” he objected, stubbornly.
She sent him a shifting, hunted glance.
“Let me get home . . . you must let me get home.”
She made a tremulous, pitiful attempt at firmness. Eyeing her keenly,
he barred her path : she flushed scarlet, and looked hastily away across the
“If ye’ll tell me yer distress, mabbe I can help ye.”
“No, no, it’s nothing . . . it’s nothing.”
“If ye’ll tell me yer distress, mabbe I can help ye,” he repeated, with
a solemn, deliberate sternness. She shivered, and looked away again, vaguely,
across the valley.
“You can do nothing: there ‘s nought to be done,” she murmured, drearily.
“There ‘s a man in this business,” he declared.
“Let me go ! Let me go !” she pleaded, desperately.
“Who is’t that’s bin puttin’ ye into this distress?” His voice sounded
loud and harsh.
32 THE SAVOY
“No one, no one. I canna tell ye, Mr. Garstin . . . It’s no one,” she
protested weakly. The white, twisted look on his face frightened her.
“My God !” he burst out, gripping her wrist, “an’ a proper soft fool ye’ve
made o’ me. Who is’t, I tell ye ? Who’s t’ man ?”
“Ye’re hurtin’ me. Let me go. I canna tell ye.”
“And ye’re fond o’ him ?”
“No, no. He’s a wicked, sinful man. I pray God I may never set eyes
on him again. I told him so.”
“But ef he ‘s got ye into trouble, he’ll hev t’ marry ye,” he persisted with
a brutal bitterness.
“I will not. I hate him !” she cried fiercely.
“But is he willin’ t’ marry ye ?”
“I don’t know . . . I don’t care . . . he said so before he went away
. . . But I’d kill myself sooner than live with him.”
He let her hands fall and stepped back from her. She could only see his
figure, like a sombre cloud, standing before her. The whole fellside seemed
still and dark and lonely. Presently she heard his voice again :
“I reckon what there ‘s one road oot o’ yer distress.”
She shook her head drearily.
“There’s none. I’m a lost woman.”
“An’ ef ye took me instead ?” he said eagerly.
“I—I don’t understand—— ”
“Ef ye married me instead of Luke Stock ?”
“But that ‘s impossible—the—the—— “
“Ay, t’ child. I know. But I’ll tak t’ child as mine.”
She remained silent After a moment he heard her voice answer in a
queer, distant tone :
“You mean that—that ye’re ready to marry me, and adopt the child ?”
“I do,” he answered doggedly.
” But people—your mother—— ?”
“Folks ‘ull jest know nought about it. It ‘s none o’ their business.
T’ child ‘ull pass as mine. Ye’ll accept that ?”
“Yes,” she answered, in a low, rapid voice.
“Ye’ll consent t’ hev me, ef I git ye oot o’ yer trouble.”
“Yes,” she repeated, in the same tone.
She heard him draw a long breath.
“I said ‘t was a turn o’ Providence, meetin’ wi ye oop here,” he exclaimed,
with half-suppressed exultation.
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 33
Her teeth began to chatter a little: she felt that he was peering at her,
curiously, through the darkness.
“An’ noo,” he continued briskly, “ye’d best be gettin’ home. Give me
ye’re hand, an’ I’ll stiddy ye ower t’ stones.”
He helped her down the bank of shingle, exclaiming : “By goom, ye’re
stony cauld.” Once or twice she slipped : he supported her, roughly gripping
her knuckles. The stones rolled down the steps, noisily, disappearing into
Presently they struck the turfed bridle-path, and, as they descended,
silently, towards the lights of the village, he said gravely :
“I always reckoned what my day ‘ud coom.”
She made no reply ; and he added grimly :
“There’ll be terrible work wi’ mother over this.”
He accompanied her down the narrow lane that led past her uncle’s
house. When the lighted windows came in sight he halted.
“Good-night, lassie,” he said kindly. “Do ye give ower distressin’
“Good-night, Mr. Garstin,” she answered, in the same low, rapid voice, in
which she had given him her answer up on the fell.
“We’re man an’ wife plighted now, are we not?” he blurted timidly.
She held her face to his, and he kissed her on the cheek, clumsily.
The next morning the frost had set in. The sky was still clear and
glittering : the whitened fields sparkled in the chilly sunlight : here and there,
on high, distant peaks, gleamed dainty caps of snow. All the week Anthony
was to be busy at the fell-foot, wall-building against the coming of the winter
storms : the work was heavy, for he was single-handed, and the stone had to
be fetched from off the fell-side. Two or three times a day he led his rickety,
lumbering cart along the lane that passed the vicarage gate, pausing on each
journey to glance furtively up at the windows. But he saw no sign of Rosa
Blencarn ; and, indeed, he felt no longing to see her : he was grimly exultant
over the remembrance of his wooing of her, and over the knowledge that she
was his. There glowed within him a stolid pride in himself: he thought of
the others who had courted her, and the means by which he had won her
seemed to him a fine stroke of cleverness.
And so he refrained from any mention of the matter ; relishing, as he
34 THE SAVOY
worked, all alone, the days through, the consciousness of his secret triumph,
and anticipating, with inward chucklings, the discomforted cackle of his
mother’s female friends. He foresaw, without misgiving, her bitter opposition :
he felt himself strong ; and his heart warmed towards the girl. And when, at
intervals, the brusque realization that, after all, he was to possess her, swept
over him, he gripped the stones, and swung them, almost fiercely, into their
All around him the white, empty fields seemed slumbering, breathlessly.
The stillness stiffened the leafless trees. The frosty air flicked his blood :
singing vigorously to himself he worked with a stubborn, unflagging resolution,
methodically postponing, till the length of wall should be completed, the
announcement of his betrothal.
After his reticent, solitary fashion, he was very happy, reviewing his future
prospects with a plain and steady assurance, and, as the week-end approached,
coming to ignore the irregularity of the whole business ; almost to assume, in
the exaltation of his pride, that he had won her honestly ; and to discard,
stolidly, all thought of Luke Stock, of his relations with her, of the coming
child that was to pass for his own.
And there were moments too, when, as he sauntered homewards through
the dusk at the end of his day’s work, his heart grew full to overflowing of a
rugged, superstitious gratitude towards God in Heaven who had granted his
About three o’clock on the Saturday afternoon he finished the length of
wall. He went home, washed, shaved, put on his Sunday coat ; and, avoiding
the kitchen, where his mother sat knitting by the fireside, strode up to the
It was Rosa who opened the door to him. On recognizing him she
started, and he followed her into the dining-room. He seated himself, and
began, brusquely :
“I’ve coom, Miss Rosa, t’ speak t’ Mr. Blencarn.”
Then added, eyeing her closely :
“Ye’re lookin’ sick, lass.”
Her faint smile accentuated the worn, white look on her face.
“I reckon ye’ve been frettin’ yeself,” he continued, gently, “leein’ awake
o’ nights, hev’n’t yee, noo ?”
She smiled vaguely.
“Well, but ye see I’ve coom t’ settle t’ whole business for ye. Ye thought
mabbe that I was na a man o’ my word.”
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 35
“No, no, not that,” she protested, “but—but—”
“But what then ?”
“Ye must not do it,” Mr. Garstin . . . . I must just bear my own trouble
the best I can—— ” she broke out.
“D’ye fancy I’m takin’ ye oot of charity? Ye little reckon the sort o’
stuff my love for ye ‘s made of. Nay, Miss Rosa, but ye canna draw back noo.”
“But ye cannot do it, Mr. Garstin. Ye know your mother will na have
me at Houtsey. . . .I could na live there with your mother . . . . I’d sooner
bear my trouble alone, as best I can . . . . She ‘s that stern is Mrs. Garstin.
I couldn’t look her in the face . . . . I can go away somewhere . . . . I could
keep it all from uncle.”
Her colour came and went : she stood before him, looking away from
him, dully, out of the window.
“I intend ye t’ coom t’ Hootsey. I’m na lad : I reckon I can choose my
own wife. Mother’ll hev ye at t’ farm, right enough : ye need na distress
yeself on that point—— ”
“Nay, Mr. Garstin, but indeed she will not, never . . . . I know she will
not . . . . She always set herself against me, right from the first.”
“Ay, but that was different. T’ case is all changed, noo,” he objected,
“She’ll support the sight of me all the less,” the girl faltered.
“Mother ‘ll hev ye at Hootsey—receive ye willin’ of her own free wish—
of her own free wish, d’ye hear. I’ll answer for that.”
He struck the table with his fist, heavily. His tone of determination
awed her : she glanced at him hurriedly, struggling with her irresolution.
“I knaw hoo t’ manage mother. An’ now,” he concluded, changing his
tone, “is yer uncle aboot t’ place.”
“He’s up the paddock, I think,” she answered.
“Well, I’ll jest step oop and hev a word wi’ him.”
“Ye’re …. ye will na tell him.”
“Tut, tut, na harrowin’ tales, ye need na fear, lass. I reckon ef I can
tackle mother, I can accommodate myself t’ parson Blencarn.”
He rose, and coming close to her, scanned her face.
“Ye must git t’ roses back t’ yer cheeks,” he exclaimed, with a short
laugh, “I canna be takin’ a ghost t’ church.”
She smiled tremulously, and he continued, laying one hand affectionately
on her shoulder :
“Nay, but I was but jestin’. Roses or na roses, ye’ll be t’ bonniest bride
36 THE SAVOY
in all Coomberland. I’ll meet ye in Hullam lane, after church time, to-morrow,”
he added, moving towards the door.
After he had gone, she hurried to the backdoor furtively. His retreating
figure was already mounting the gray upland field. Presently, beyond him,
she perceived her uncle, emerging through the paddock gate. She ran
across the poultry yard, and mounting a tub, stood watching the two figures
as they moved towards one another along the brow, Anthony vigorously
trudging, with his hands thrust deep in his pocket ; her uncle, his wideawake
tilted over his nose, hobbling, and leaning stiffly on his pair of sticks. They
met ; she saw Anthony take her uncle’s arm : the two, turning together,
strolled away towards the fell.
She went back into the house. Anthony’s dog came towards her, slinking
along the passage. She caught the animal’s head in her hands, and bent over
it caressingly, in an impulsive outburst of almost hysterical affection.
The two men returned towards the vicarage. At the paddock gate they
halted, and the old man concluded :
“I could not hev wished a better man for her, Anthony. Mabbe the
Lord ‘ll not be minded to spare me much longer. After I’m gone Rosa ‘ll hev
all I possess. She was my poor brother Isaac’s only child. After her mother
was taken, he, poor fellow, went altogether to the bad, and until she came here
she mostly lived among strangers. It’s been a wretched sort of childhood for
her—a wretched sort of childhood. Ye’ll take care of her, Anthony, will ye
not ? . . . Nay, but I could not hev wished for a better man for her, and
there’s my hand on ‘t.”
“Thank ee, Mr. Blencarn, thank ee,” Anthony answered huskily, gripping
the old man’s hand.
And he started off down the lane, homewards.
His heart was full of a strange, rugged exaltation. He felt with a
swelling pride that God had intrusted to him this great charge—to tend her ;
to make up to her, tenfold, for all that loving care, which, in her childhood,
she had never known. And together with a stubborn confidence in himself,
there welled up within him a great pity for her—a tender pity, that, chastening
with his passion, made her seem to him, as he brooded over that lonely
childhood of hers, the more distinctly beautiful, the more profoundly precious.
He pictured to himself, tremulously, almost incredulously, their married life—
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 37
in the winter, his return home at nightfall to find her awaiting him with a
glad, trustful smile ; their evenings, passed together, sitting in silent happiness
over the smouldering logs ; or, in summer-time, the mid-day rest in the hay
fields when, wearing perhaps a large-brimmed hat fastened with a red ribbon
beneath her chin, he would catch sight of her, carrying his dinner, coming
across the upland.
She had not been brought up to be a farmer’s wife : she was but a child
still, as the old parson had said. She should not have to work as other men’s
wives worked : she should dress like a lady, and on Sundays, in church, wear
fine bonnets, and remain, as she had always been, the belle of all the parish.
And, meanwhile, he would farm as he had never farmed before, watching
his opportunities, driving cunning bargains, spending nothing on himself,
hoarding every penny that she might have what she wanted. . . . And, as he
strode through the village, he seemed to foresee a general brightening of
prospects, a sobering of the fever of speculation in sheep, a cessation of the
insensate glutting, year after year, of the great winter marts throughout the
North, a slackening of the foreign competition followed by a steady revival of
the price of fatted stocks—a period of prosperity in store for the farmer at
last. . . . And the future years appeared to open out before him, spread like a
distant, glittering plain, across which, he and she, hand in hand, were called
to travel together. . . .
And then, suddenly, as his iron-bound boots clattered over the cobbled
yard, he remembered, with brutal determination, his mother, and the stormy
struggle that awaited him.
He waited till supper was over, till his mother had moved from the table
to her place by the chimney corner. For several minutes he remained
debating with himself the best method of breaking the news to her. Of a
sudden he glanced up at her : her knitting had slipped on to her lap : she was
sitting, bunched of a heap in her chair, nodding with sleep. By the flickering
light of the wood fire, she looked worn and broken : he felt a twinge of clumsy
compunction. And then he remembered the piteous, hunted look in the girl’s
eyes, and the old man’s words when they had parted at the paddock gate, and
he blurted out :
“I doot but what I’ll hev t’ marry Rosa Blencarn after all.”
She started, and blinking her eyes, said :
“I was jest takin’ a wink o’ sleep. What was ‘t ye were saying, Tony ?”
He hesitated a moment, puckering his forehead into coarse rugged lines,
and fidgeting noisily with his tea cup. Presently he repeated :
38 THE SAVOY
“I doot but what I’ll hev t’ marry Rosa Blencarn after all.”
She rose stiffly, and stepping down from the hearth, came towards him.
“Mabbe I did na hear ye aright, Tony.” She spoke hurriedly, and
though she was quite close to him, steadying herself with one hand clutching
the back of his chair, her voice sounded weak, distant almost.
“Look oop at me. Look oop into my face,” she commanded fiercely.
He obeyed sullenly.
“Noo oot wi ‘t. What’s yer meanin’, Tony ?”
“I mean what I say,” he retorted doggedly, averting his gaze.
“What d’ye mean by savin’ that ye’ve got t’ marry her?”
“I tell yer I mean what I say,” he repeated dully.
“Ye mean ye’ve bin an’ put t’ girl in trouble ?”
He said nothing ; but sat staring stupidly at the floor.
“Look oop at me, and answer,” she commanded, gripping his shoulder
and shaking him.
He raised his face slowly, and met her glance.
“Ay, that’s aboot it,” he answered.
“This ‘ll na be truth. It ’11 be jest a piece o’ wanton trickery ?”
“Nay, but ‘t is truth,” he answered deliberately.
“Ye will na swear t’ it ?” she persisted.
“I see na necessity for swearin’.”
“Then ye canna swear t’ it.” she burst out triumphantly.
He paused an instant ; then said quietly :
“Ay, but I’ll swear t’ it easy enough. Fetch t’ Book.”
She lifted the heavy, tattered Bible from the chimney-piece, and placed it
before him on the table. He laid his lumpish fist on it.
“Say,” she continued with a tense tremulousness, “say, I swear t’ ye
mother, that ‘t is t’ truth, t’ whole truth, and noat but t’ truth, s’help me God.”
“I swear t’ ye. mother, it’s truth, t’ whole truth, and nothin’ but t’ truth,
s’help me God,” he repeated after her.
“Kiss t’ Book,” she ordered.
He lifted the Bible to his lips. As he replaced it on the table, he burst
out into a short laugh :
“Be ye satisfied noo ?”
She went back to the chimney corner without a word.
The logs on the hearth hissed and crackled. Outside, amid the blackness
the wind was rising, hooting through the firs, and past the windows.
ANTHONY GARSTIN’S COURTSHIP 39
After a long while he roused himself, and drawing his pipe from his pocket
almost steadily, proceeded leisurely to pare in the palm of his hand a lump of
“We’ll be asked in church Sunday,” he remarked bluntly.
She made no answer.
He looked across at her.
Her mouth was drawn tight at the corners : her face wore a queer, rigid
aspect. She looked, he thought, like a figure of stone.
“Ye’re not feeling poorly, are ye, mother ?” he asked.
She shook her head grimly : then, hobbling out into the room, began to
speak in a shrill, tuneless voice.
“Ye talked at one time o’ takin’ a farm over Scarsdale way. But ye’d
best stop here. I’ll no hinder ye. Ye can have t’ large bedroom in t’ front,
and I’ll move ower to what used to be my brother Jake’s room. Ye knaw I’ve
never had no opinion of t’ girl, but I’ll do what ‘s right by her, ef I break my
sperrit in t’ doin’ on’t. I’ll mak’ t’ girl welcome here : I’ll stand by her proper-
like : mebbe I’ll finish by findin’ soom good in her. But from this day forward,
Tony, ye’re na son o’ mine. Ye’ve dishonoured yeself : ye’ve laid a trap for me
—ay, laid a trap, that ‘s t’ word. Ye’ve brought shame and bitterness on yer
ould mother in her old age. Ye’ve made me despise t’ varra seet o’ ye. Ye
can stop on here, but ye shall niver touch a penny of my money ; every
shillin’ of’t shall go t’ yer child, or to your child’s children. Ay,” she went
on, raising her voice, “ay, ye’ve got yer way at last, and mebbe ye reckon
ye’ve chosen a mighty smart way. But time ‘ull coom when ye’ll regret this
day, when ye eat oot yer repentance in doost an’ ashes. Ay, Lord ‘ull punish
ye, Tony, chastise ye properly. Ye’ll learn that marriage begun in sin, can
end in nought but sin. Ay,” she concluded, as she reached the door, raising
her skinny hand prophetically, “ay, after I’m deed an’ gone, ye mind ye o’ t’
words o’ t’ apostle—’For them that hev sinned without t’ law, shall also perish
without t’ law.'”
And she slammed the door behind her.
HERE, where the breath of the scented gorse floats through the
On a steep hill-side, on a grassy ledge, I have lain hours
long, and heard
Only the faint breeze pass in a whisper like a prayer,
And the river ripple by, and the distant call of a bird.
On the lone hill-side, in the gold sunshine, I will hush me and repose :
And the world fades into a dream, and a spell is cast on me ;
And what was all the strife about for the myrtle or the rose ?
And why have I wept for a white girl’s paleness, passing ivory ?
Out of the tumult of angry tongues, in a world alone, apart,
In a perfumed dream-land set betwixt the bounds of life and death :
Here will I lie, while the clouds fly by, and delve a hole, where mine heart
May sleep dark down with the gorse above and red, red earth beneath :
Sleep and be quiet for an afternoon, till the rose-white Angelus
Softly steals my way from the village under the hill :
“Mother of God ! O, Misericord ! look down in pity on us,
The weak and blind, who stand in our light, and wreak ourselves such ill!”
WILLIAM BLAKE AND HIS ILLUSTRATIONS
TO THE DIVINE COMEDY
I. HIS OPINIONS UPON ART
THE recoil from scientific naturalism has created in our
day the movement the French call symboliste, which, be-
ginning with the memorable “Axel,” by Villiers de l’lsle
Adam, has added to drama a new kind of romance, at
once ecstatic and picturesque, in the works of M. Maeter-
linck ; and beginning with certain pictures of the pre-
Raphaelites, and of Mr. Watts and Mr. Burne-Jones, has brought into art
a new and subtle inspiration. This movement, and in art more especially,
has proved so consonant with a change in the times, in the desires of
our hearts grown weary with material circumstance, that it has begun to
touch even the great public ; the ladies of fashion and men of the world
who move so slowly ; and has shown such copious signs of being a movement,
perhaps the movement of the opening century, that one of the best known of
French picture dealers will store none but the inventions of a passionate sym-
bolism. It has no sufficient philosophy and criticism, unless indeed it has them
hidden in the writings of M. Mallarmé, which I have not French enough to
understand, but if it cared it might find enough of both philosophy and
criticism in the writings of William Blake to protect it from its opponents,
and what is perhaps of greater importance, from its own mistakes, for he was
certainly the first great symboliste of modern times, and the first of any time to
preach the indissoluble marriage of all great art with symbol. There had
been allegorists and teachers of allegory in plenty, but the symbolic imagina-
tion, or as Blake preferred to call it, “Vision,” is not allegory, being “a
representation of what actually exists really and unchangeably” : a symbol is
indeed the only possible expression of some invisible essence, a transparent lamp
about a spiritual flame, while allegory is one of many possible representations
of an embodied thing, or familiar principle, and belongs to fancy and not to
imagination ; the one is a revelation, the other an amusement. It is happily
42 THE SAVOY
no part of my purpose to expound in detail the relations he believed to
exist between symbol and mind ; for in doing so I should come upon not a
few doctrines which, though they have not been difficult to many simple-
persons, ascetics wrapped in skins, women who had cast away all common
knowledge, peasants dreaming by their sheep-folds upon the hills, are full of
obscurity to the man of modern culture ; but it is necessary to just touch
upon these relations, because in them was the fountain of much of the practice
and of all the precept of his artistic life.
If a man would enter into “Noah’s rainbow,” he has written, and
friend” of one of “the images of wonder” which dwell there, and which always
entreat him “to leave mortal things,” “then would he arise from the grave
and meet the Lord in the air ;” and by this rainbow ; this sign of a covenant
granted to him who is with Shem and Japhet, “painting, poetry and music,” “the
three powers in man of conversing with Paradise which the flood ‘of time and
space’ did not sweep away” ; Blake represented the shapes of beauty haunting
our moments of inspiration : shapes held by most for the frailest of ephemera,
but by him for a people older than the world, citizens of eternity, appearing
and reappearing in the minds of artists and of poets, creating all we touch
and see by casting distorted images of themselves upon “the vegetable glass
of nature” ; and because beings, none the less symbols ; blossoms, as it were,
growing from invisible immortal roots ; hands, as it were, pointing the way into
some divine labyrinth. If “the world of imagination” was “the world of
eternity” as this doctrine implied, it was of less importance to know men and
nature than to distinguish the beings and substances of imagination from those
of a more perishable kind, created by the fantasy, in uninspired moments, out
of memory and whim ; and this could best be done by purifying one’s mind, as
with a flame, in study of the works of the great masters, who were great because
they had been granted by divine favour a vision of the unfallen world, from
which others are kept apart by the flaming sword that turns every way ; and
by flying from the painters who studied “the vegetable glass” for its own sake,
and not to discover there the shadows of imperishable beings and substances,
and who entered into their own minds, not to make the unfallen world a test
of all they saw and heard and felt with the senses, but to cover the naked
spirit with “the rotten rags of memory” of older sensations. To distinguish
between these two schools, and to cleave always to the Florentine, and so
to escape the fascination of those who seemed to him to offer a spirit, weary
with the labours of inspiration, the sleep of nature, had been the struggle of the
first half of his life ; and it was only after his return to London from Felpham
BLAKE’S ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE DIVINE COMEDY 45
in 1804 that he finally escaped from “temptations and perturbations” which
sought “to destroy the imaginative power” at “the hands of Venetian and
Flemish Demons.” “The spirit of Titian,” and one must always remember
that he had only seen poor engravings, and what his disciple, Palmer, has
called “picture dealers’ Titians,” “was particularly active in raising doubts
concerning the possibility of executing without a model ; and when once he
had raised the doubt it became easy for him to snatch away the vision time
after time,” and Blake’s imagination “weakened” and “darkened” until a
“memory of nature and of the pictures of various schools possessed his mind,
instead of appropriate execution” flowing from the vision itself. But now
he wrote, “O glory ! and O delight ! I have entirely reduced that spectrous
fiend to his station”—he had overcome the merely reasoning and sensual
portion of the mind—”whose annoyance has been the ruin of my labours for
the last twenty years of my life …. I speak with perfect confidence and
certainty of the fact which has passed upon me. Nebuchadnezzar had seven
times passed over him, I have had twenty ; thank God I was not altogether a
beast as he was …. suddenly, on the day after visiting the Truchsessian
Gallery of pictures,” —this was a gallery containing pictures by Albert Dürer and
by the great Florentines, —”I was again enlightened with the light I enjoyed in
my youth, and which has for exactly twenty years been closed from me
as by a door and window shutters. . . . Excuse my enthusiasm, or rather
madness, for I am really drunk with intellectual vision whenever I take a
pencil or graver in my hand, as I used to be in my youth.”
This letter may have been the expression of a moment’s
was more probably rooted in one of those intuitions of coming technical
power which every creator feels, and learns to rely upon ; for all his greatest
work was done, and the principles of his art were formulated after this date.
Except a word here and there, his writings hitherto had not dealt with the
principles of art except remotely and by implication ; but now he wrote
much upon them, and not in obscure symbolic verse, but in emphatic prose,
and explicit if not very poetical rhyme. In his “Descriptive Catalogue,”
in “The Address to the Public,” in the notes on Sir Joshua Reynolds, in “The
Book of Moonlight,” of which some not very dignified rhymes alone remain ;
in beautiful detached passages in “the MS. Book,” he explained spiritual
art, and praised the painters of Florence and their influence, and cursed all
that has come of Venice and Holland. The limitation of his view was from
the very intensity of his vision ; he was a too literal realist of imagination, as
others are of nature, and because he believed that the figures seen by the mind’s
46 THE SAVOY
eye, when exalted by inspiration, were “eternal existences,” symbols of divine
essences, he hated every grace of style that might obscure their lineaments.
To wrap them about in reflected lights was to do this, and to dwell over
fondly upon any softness of hair or flesh was to dwell upon that which was
least permanent and least characteristic, for “The great and golden rule of
art, as of life, is this : that the more distinct, sharp, and wiry the boundary
line, the more perfect the work of art ; and the less keen and sharp, the
greater is the evidence of weak imitation, plagiarism, and bungling.” Inspira-
tion was to see the permanent and characteristic in all forms, and if you had
it not, you must needs imitate with a languid mind the things you saw or
remembered, and so sink into the sleep of nature where all is soft and melting.
“Great inventors in all ages knew this. Protogenes and Apelles knew each
other by their line. Raphael and Michael Angelo and Albert Dürer are
known by this and this alone. How do we distinguish the owl from the
beast, the horse from the ox, but by the bounding outline? How do we
distinguish one face or countenance from another, but by the bounding line
and its infinite inflections and movements ? What is it that builds a house
and plants a garden but the definite and determinate? What is it that
distinguishes honesty from knavery but the hard and wiry line of rectitude
and certainty in the actions and intentions ? Leave out this line and you
leave out life itself ; and all is chaos again, and the line of the Almighty must
be drawn out upon it before man or beast can exist.” He even insisted that
“colouring does not depend on where the colours are put, but upon where the
lights and darks are put, and all depends upon the form or outline ;” meaning,
I suppose, that a colour gets its brilliance or its depth from being in light or
in shadow. He does not mean by outline the bounding line dividing a form
from its background, as one of his commentators has thought, but the line
that divides it from surrounding space, and unless you have an overmastering
sense of this you cannot draw true beauty at all, but only “the beauty that is
appended to folly,” a beauty of mere voluptuous softness, “a lamentable
accident of the mortal and perishing life,” for “the beauty proper for sublime
art is lineaments, or forms and features capable of being the receptacles of
intellect,” and “the face or limbs that alter least from youth to old age are
the face and limbs of the greatest beauty and perfection.” His praise of a
severe art had been beyond price had his age rested a moment to listen, in
the midst of its enthusiasm for Correggio and the later Renaissance, for
Bartolozzi and for Stothard ; and yet in his visionary realism, and in his
enthusiasm for what, after all, is perhaps the greatest art, and a necessary
BLAKE’S ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE DIVINE COMEDY 49
part of every picture that is art at all, he forgot how he who wraps the vision
in lights and shadows, in irridescent or glowing colour ; having in the midst
of his labour many little visions of these secondary essences ; until form be
half lost in pattern, may compel the canvas or paper to become itself a
symbol of some not indefinite because unsearchable essence : for is not the
Bacchus and Ariadne of Titian a talisman as powerfully charged with intel-
lectual virtue as though it were a jewel-studded door of the city seen on
To cover the imperishable lineaments of beauty with shadows and
lights was to fall into the power of his “Vala,” the indolent fascination of nature,
the woman divinity who is so often described in “the prophetic” books as
“sweet pestilence,” and whose children weave webs to take the souls of men ;
but there was yet a more lamentable chance, for nature has also a “masculine
portion,” or “spectre,” which kills instead of merely hiding and is continually at
war with inspiration. To “generalize” forms and shadows, to “smooth out”
spaces and lines in obedience to “laws of composition,” and of painting ;
founded, not upon imagination, which always thirsts for variety and delights in
freedom, but upon reasoning from sensation, which is always seeking to reduce
everything to a lifeless and slavish uniformity ; as the popular art of Blake’s
day had done, and as he understood Sir Joshua Reynolds to advise, was to fall
into “Entuthon Benithon,” or “the Lake of Udan Adan,” or some other of
those regions where the imagination and the flesh are alike dead, and which he
names by so many resonant fantastical names. “General knowledge is remote
knowledge,” he wrote; “it is in particulars that wisdom consists, and happiness
too. Both in art and life general masses are as much art as a paste-board man
is human. Everyman has eyes, nose, and mouth; this every idiot knows. But
he who enters into and discriminates most minutely the manners and intentions,
the characters in all their branches, is the alone wise or sensible man, and on
this discrimination all art is founded. . . . As poetry admits not a letter that
is insignificant, so painting admits not a grain of sand or a blade of grass
insignificant, much less an insignificant blot or blur.”
Against another desire of his time, derivative also from what he
called “corporeal reason,” the desire for a tepid “moderation,” for a lifeless
“sanity” in both art and life, he had protested years before with a paradoxical
violence : “The roadway of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,” and we
must only “bring out weight and measure in a time of dearth.” This protest ;
carried, in the notes on Sir Joshua Reynolds, to the point of dwelling almost
with pleasure on the thought that “The Lives of the Painters say that
50 THE SAVOY
Raphael died of dissipation,” because dissipation is better than emotional
penury ; seemed as important to his old age as to his youth. He taught it
to his disciples, and one finds it in its purely artistic shape in a diary written
by Samuel Palmer, in 1824: “excess is the essential vivifying spirit, vital
spark, embalming spice of the finest art. There are many mediums in the
means—none, oh, not a jot, not a shadow of a jot, in the end of great art. In
a picture whose merit is to be excessively brilliant, it can’t be too brilliant :
but individual tints may be too brilliant … we must not begin with medium
but think always on excess and only use medium to make excess more
These three primary commands, to seek a determinate outline, to
a generalized treatment, and to desire always abundance and exuberance,
were insisted upon with vehement anger, and their opponents called again
and again “demons,” and “villains,” “hired” by the wealthy and the idle ; but
in private, Palmer has told us, he could find “sources of delight throughout
the whole range of art,” and was ever ready to praise excellence in any school,
finding, doubtless, among friends no need for the emphasis of exaggeration.
There is a beautiful passage in “Jerusalem,” in which the merely mortal part
of the mind, “the spectre,” creates “pyramids of pride,” and “pillars in the
deepest hell to reach the heavenly arches,” and seeks to discover wisdom in
“the spaces between the stars,” not “in the stars,” where it is, but the immortal
part makes all his labours vain, and turns his pyramids to “grains of sand,”
his “pillars” to “dust on the fly’s wing,” and makes of “his starry heavens a
moth of gold and silver mocking his anxious grasp.” So when man’s desire to
rest from spiritual labour, and his thirst to fill his art with mere sensation, and
memory, seem upon the point of triumph, some miracle transforms them to a
new inspiration ; and here and there among the pictures born of sensation
and memory is the murmuring of a new ritual, the glimmering of new talis-
mans and symbols.
It was during and after the writing of these opinions that Blake
various series of pictures which have brought him the bulk of his fame. He
had already completed the illustrations to Young’s “Night Thoughts,” in
which the great sprawling figures, a little wearisome even with the luminous
colours of the original water-colour, become nearly intolerable in plain black
and white ; and almost all the illustrations to “the prophetic books,” which
have an energy like that of the elements, but are rather rapid sketches
taken while some phantasmic procession swept over him, than elaborate
compositions, and in whose shadowy adventures one finds not merely, as did
BLAKE’S ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE DIVINE COMEDY 53
Dr. Garth Wilkinson, “the hells of the ancient people, the Anakim, the
Nephalim, and the Rephaim ; . . . gigantic petrifactions from which the fires
of lust and intense selfish passion have long dissipated what was animal and
vital” ; not merely the shadows cast by the powers who had closed the light
from him as “with a door and window shutters,” but the shadows of those who
gave them battle. He did now, however, the many designs to Milton, of which
I have only seen those to “Paradise Regained” ; the reproductions of those
to “Comus” ; published, I think, by Mr. Quaritch ; and the three or four to
“Paradise Lost” ; engraved by Bell Scott ; a series of designs which one good
judge considers his greatest work ; the illustrations to Blair’s “Grave,” whose
gravity and passion struggle with the mechanical softness and trivial smooth-
ness of Schiavonetti’s engraving ; the illustrations to Thornton’s “Virgil,”
whose influence is, I think, perceptible in the work of the little group of land-
scape painters who gathered about him in his old age and delighted to call him
master. The member of the group, whom I have already so often quoted, has
alone praised worthily these illustrations to the first Eclogue : “There is in
all such a misty and dreamy glimmer as penetrates and kindles the inmost
soul and gives complete and unreserved delight, unlike the gaudy daylight
of this world. They are like all this wonderful artist’s work, the drawing
aside of the fleshly curtain, and the glimpse which all the most holy, studious
saints and sages have enjoyed, of the rest which remains to the people of
God.” Now, too, he did the two great series, the crowning work of his life, “the
illustrations to the book of Job” and the designs to “The Divine Comedy.”
They were commissioned from him by his patron and disciple John Linnell,
who paid him a good price, the best he had yet received ; but the material
circumstance of their origin has been often described, and is of less importance
than the influence upon his method of engraving of certain engravings of
Marc Antonio, which were shown him by Mr. Linnell. Hitherto he had pro-
tested against the mechanical “dots and lozenges” and “blots and blurs” of
Woollett and Strange, but had himself used both “dot and lozenge,” “blot
and blur,” though always in subordination “to a firm and determinate outline” ;
but in Marc Antonio he found a style full of delicate lines, a style where all
was living and energetic, strong and subtle. And almost his last words, a
letter written upon his death-bed, attack the “dots and lozenges” with even
more than usually quaint symbolism, and praise expressive lines. “I know
that the majority of Englishmen are bound by the indefinite . . . . a line is a
line in its minutest particulars, straight or crooked. It is itself, not inter-
measurable by anything else . . . . but since the French Revolution” ; since
54 THE SAVOY
the reign of reason began, that is ; “Englishmen are all intermeasurable with
one another, certainly a happy state of agreement in which I do not agree.”
The Dante series occupied the last years of his life ; even when too weak to
get out of bed he worked on, propped up with the great drawing book before
him. He sketched a hundred designs, but left all incomplete, some very
greatly so, and partly engraved seven plates, of which the Francesca and
Paolo is the most finished. It is given here instead of a photographic repro-
duction of the water-colour, although accessible in the engraved set, to show
the form the entire series would have taken had he lived. It is not, I think,
inferior to any but the finest in the Job, if indeed to them, and shows in its
perfection Blake’s mastery over elemental things, the swirl in which the lost
spirits are hurried, “a watery flame” he would have called it, the haunted
waters and the huddling shapes. The luminous globe, a symbol used again
in the Purgatory, is Francesca’s and Paolo’s dream of happiness, their “Heaven
in Hell’s despite.” The other three drawings have never been published before,
and appear here, as will those which will follow them, through the courtesy of
the Linnell family. The passing of Dante and Virgil through the portico of
Hell is the most unfinished and loses most in reproduction, for the flames,
rising from the half-seen circles, are in the original full of intense and various
colour ; while the angry spirits fighting on the waters of the Styx above the
sluggish bodies of the melancholy, loses the least, its daemonic energy being
in the contour of the bodies and faces. Both this and the Antaeus setting
down Virgil and Dante upon the verge of Cocytus, a wonderful piece of
colour in the original, resemble the illustrations to his “prophetic books” in
exuberant strength and lavish motion, and are in contrast with the illustrations
to the Purgatory, which are placid, marmoreal, tender, starry, rapturous.
All in this great series are in some measure powerful and moving,
not, as it is customary to say of the work of Blake, because a flaming
imagination pierces through a cloudy and indecisive technique, but because
they have the only excellence possible in any art, a mastery over artistic
expression. The technique of Blake was imperfect, incomplete, as is the
technique of wellnigh all artists who have striven to bring fires from remote
summits ; but where his imagination is perfect and complete, his technique
has a like perfection, a like completeness. He strove to embody more subtle
raptures, more elaborate intuitions than any before him ; his imagination and
technique are more broken and strained under a great burden than the
imagination and technique of any other master. “I am,” wrote Blake, “like
others, just equal in invention and execution.” And again, “No man can
BLAKE’S ILLUSTRATIONS TO THE DIVINE COMEDY 57
improve an original invention ; nor can an original invention exist without
execution, organized, delineated, and articulated either by God or man. . . .
I have heard people say, ‘Give me the ideas ; it is no matter what words you
put them into ;’ and others say, ‘Give me the design ; it is no matter for the
execution.’ . . . Ideas cannot be given but in their minutely appropriate
words, nor can a design be made without its minutely appropriate execution.”
Living in a time when technique and imagination are continually perfect
and complete, because they no longer strive to bring fire from heaven, we
forget how imperfect and incomplete they were in even the greatest masters,
in Botticelli, in Orcagna, and in Giotto. The errors in the handiwork of
exalted spirits are as the more fantastical errors in their lives ; as Coleridge’s
opium cloud ; as Villiers de l’Isle Adam’s candidature for the throne of Greece ;
as Blake’s anger against causes and purposes he but half understood ; as the
flickering madness an Eastern scripture would allow in august dreamers ; for
he who half lives in eternity endures a rending of the structures of the mind,
a crucifixion of the intellectual body.
W. B. YEATS.
OUT of the multitudinous hours
Of life sealed fast for us by fate,
Are any hours that yet await
Our coming, worthy to be ours ?
Life, in her motley, sheds in showers
The rose of hours still delicate,
But you and I have come too late
Into the Carnival of Flowers.
For us the roses are scarce sweet,
And scarcely swift the flying feet
Where masque to masque the moments call ;
All has been ours that we desired,
And now we are a little tired
Of the eternal carnival.
A CRAYON SKETCH
HA-LALA-I-TI, cried the clown, as he turned to leave the
arena with his wee pony. He wore a large false nose of
violet hue, a white sack-like costume with black spots dotted
about it, and a tiny cylinder-shaped hat poised over one ear
upon an elaborate periwig. His arms waved like the sails of
a windmill, he turned suddenly to grasp the pony’s tail, then
lifted it bodily in the air for a second, with another loud “Ha-lala-i-ti” made
his final bow and retired ; the pony stepping daintily backwards and bowing,
too, in obedience to its master’s signal, the vast audience applauding voci-
After a moment’s pause, a bell rang, and a ponderous white horse, gay with
scarlet trappings and platform on back, was led in, and, tripping close behind,
in elaborate ballet dress, came its rider, among a troupe of boisterous
Pierrots carrying large paper hoops ; a crowd of servants closed the pro-
cession—it was one of the most attractive turns, and the stables were prac-
It was very quiet there in the dim light of a few oil lamps, only an occasional
rustle of straw, or the clank of a bridle as some restive steed pawed the ground,
or moved across its stall. Here in a long row stood horses of every description,
the uncertain light flickering on the silken coats of bay and chestnut thorough-
breds, on the shapely limbs of milk-white arabs, and the rippling mane and
tail of heavy cart-horses. Beyond these again, in smaller stalls, ponies, donkeys,
goats, and performing dogs had their quarters.
More than one head was turned when the clown’s voice broke the stillness
with a cheery “Well done, Fifi.” The pony walked demurely into his own
stall, waiting until his master, having discarded his false nose and diminutive
hat, pulled down a bundle of hay from the rack overhead and shook it out
before him, when Fifi rubbed himself up against his master’s leg much as a cat
might have done, in a kind of grateful caress. It was a dainty little toy thing,
60 THE SAVOY
perfect in build, although the jet black crest reached little higher than the
man’s knee, and he had to stoop low to stroke the shining silken coat as he
murmured, “Like it ? Ah, you rascal, you have nothing to grumble at !”
Leaving the pony to munch his hay at leisure the clown sat himself down
on an overturned bucket, unbuttoned his white costume, loosened its collar,
and slowly wiped his thickly powdered face. From some mysterious pocket
he next extracted a flask and took a long pull at its contents, then, leaning
forward, he let his head sink upon his hands—a well-shaped head set on broad
shoulders, the neck muscles all exposed by the open collar.
Sitting so quietly here he seemed a very different being from the merry-
maker of the arena. There, with his false nose and the queer black arabesques
painted about his eyes, his face wore a look of saucy fooling, of self-satisfaction
and impudent self-assertion ; now, the black paint, carelessly smudged off, has
stuck in his eyebrows, accentuating the brilliancy of dark eyes deep set in the
deadly whiteness of his face, a pallor for which powder alone is not responsible,
for deep lines of care are plainly visible in both cheek and brow. His expres-
sion has grown hard and stern as though he held himself severely in hand to
check some passionate outburst ; lost in thought, and thoughts evidently of no
pleasant description. Yet what should make him sad ? A handsome salary,
plenty to eat, an ungrudging supply of drinks, should surely make an earthly
paradise for this rough son of the stable, to say nothing of the applause that
greets his every action, the consciousness of his supremacy in the arena, and of
his position as the spoilt child of the company.
Thought, to such as he, is surely a mere physical function ! Why, then, this
change ? Is it possible that, apart from the animal side of his existence, there
lies within this massive frame some intuition of hidden forces, of longings,
hopes, fears, and sudden gleams of passion ? Who, seeing him now, could
doubt it ? a whole elegy of pain and reproach is in those dark eyes and in that
despondent figure. Is this the real man ? Was all that fooling, despite its
spontaneity, mere fooling ? Was he trying to convince himself, as well as his
audience, that his buffoonery was really amusing ? Was he laughing, not only
for the entertainment of the crowd who laughs—and pays, but also to stifle
for the moment the tears that fill his heart ?
By-and-by footsteps and the clinking of spurs resounded on the paved
floor, and a tall woman in a riding habit came through the stable, side by side
with an officer in the uniform of the Belgian Guards. As they passed the
pony’s stall, laughing and talking gaily, the woman glanced sharply at the
clown, sitting there on his bucket, immovable as a statue, then, as quickly, she
THE CLOWN 61
averted her head, a sullen expression on her handsome face. She linked her
arm into that of her companion and lent elaborate attention to his next
remark. “Dieu ! que c’est drôle !” she repeated twice with a shrill laugh and
The clown’s eyes followed her every movement ; hungry eyes that still
gazed blankly at the quivering door as it banged to behind her.
There was a convulsive twitch in the clasped hands, a momentary move-
ment as of some wild beast ready to spring, then with a deep sigh, the old
expression of dumb resignation came over his face, and once more he seemed
lost in thought.
After a while “La Belle Clotilde” returned—alone this time, but the clown
made no sign, only he dropped his head a little lower upon his hands, so that
his red periwig alone was visible above them. She came straight up to him.
“Jack !” she said, imperatively, striking her riding whip sharply against her
green riding skirt, “Jack ! I’ve told you, once for all, I will not stand your
prying. What made you come here to sit and stare ? Fool ! Don’t do it
again, Jack, or my patience will come to an end.”
The clown never stirred.
“Do you hear? I forbid you to pass my window, to sit spying upon me.
It is all of a piece—nonsense. Listen Jack,” she continued, and she pushed up
the red periwig with the tip of her whip, dropping her voice to a slightly more
ingratiating tone ; “I was only chaffing, Jack. Let me have three louis d’or !
I am in a hurry ! I’m not one to be kept waiting, you know that ; Jack ! do
you hear?” she added, in a rapidly rising crescendo, but Jack kept silence.
“Are you drunk, man, or not drunk enough ? Give me the money ! At
once ! Have you lost your tongue, you fool ?”
Her face flushed darkly, and as no answer came, she struck him a sharp
blow across the back :
“Jack! you silly fool !” she cried in positive fury. “Don’t you hear me
talking to you ? How dare you ?”
Still he did not move.
“La Belle Clotilde” stood there before him, her trailing skirt grasped hard in
one clenched hand, her cheeks aflame, her foot tapping angrily, then, with a
sudden effort, she so far mastered her temper as to find words again. She
returned to the charge :
“Jack,” she said, “Jack ;” she lingered on the last word until it became
almost a caress : “It is so silly of you to give yourself these airs—and I want
some money so badly.”
62 THE SAVOY
Without raising his eyes, the clown stooped forward to pick up a straw
from the floor ; he thrust it between his lips, closed his teeth upon it, and
muttered : “For him ?”
“That is nothing to you. Well—if you must know—yes. He has been
unlucky—he must back his luck once more—and to-night. He shall stand
you a supper.”
The clown shook his head.
“Well then, imagine the money is for me, I ask you for it. I will pay it
all back together.”
Jack shook his head once more.
“You don’t want it back ? So much the better, but, Jack, don’t be all
night about it, hurry up.”
Her temper was rising again, but she kept it under.
“Jack, you will stand me a supper to-night ?” she said. Again the
bowed head made an emphatic negation.
“Don’t you care to ?” She dropped the trailing skirt, let herself slip
down on to the straw at his feet, and laid a hand on his knees :
” Don’t be stupid, Jack—give over this nonsense, you know I—like you.
Lend me the money now, quickly, and——” She tried to pull down his hands.
Suddenly he tossed up his head and thrust her away, not roughly, but
with the firm touch of one determined to be obeyed, then, drawing from his
pocket a clumsy purse, he poured its contents into her lap.
“There, you’ve got the money,” he muttered, hoarsely, “now—go !”
“Jack, after the performance——” She would have touched his hand
again, but he drew it hastily back.
“Go—go, I said,” he whispered, almost voiceless with emotion.
“La Belle Clotilde” rose slowly, gathering up her money ; slowly she
walked the length of the stable, turning at the end : “Jack ! Jack !”
She waited in vain for a word, a look, then flounced out with a shrug of
her shapely shoulders.
The clown never moved, but the pony thrust his neck over the rail of his
stall and grabbed at his arm. “Fifi ! Come along then.” There was a sharp
whinny of delight, and the tiny stallion pushed up against the swing bar, all
impatience. His master stretched out his hand, unfastened it, and, once free,
Fifi trotted straight up to him, pushed himself between the clown’s knees and
laid a black muzzle upon his shoulder. He seemed to know something was
There came over the stern face an expression of intense, almost pathetic
THE CLOWN 63
joy, the tears welled up in his eyes as in those of a mother when her child of
its own accord first stretches out tiny hands to hers. “Fifi, my pet, my only
pet !” His voice failed him and he pressed his lips against the silky mane, and
so the stablemen found them later on, Fifi cocking his ears and sweeping his
long tail to and fro in delighted satisfaction.
In the arena “La Belle Clotilde” was delighting her audience by a brilliant
display “à la haute école,” sharing pretty equally with her handsome bay
stallion the admiration of a group of cavalry officers who stood just within the
archway. Foremost among these was the well-known figure of Captain René,
glass in eye, his dandified features wreathed in smiles of approbation. Here
in the circus he was persona grata. A really good judge of horseflesh, he
took, or professed to take, as keen an interest in every fresh performer, every
novel trick, as did any member of the company. Although known to be
practically penniless, he always contrived to be in the smartest, most
extravagant set in the regiment, and even here was the most lavish of all.
None of his companions gave such champagne suppers, none was so quick to
detect the weak points of a horse, nor so ready with compliments and
bouquets for a fair équestrienne. It was easy enough to be generous from
a full purse, but René alone could stand unlimited drinks from empty
pockets. His popularity was unbounded with almost the whole staff. “La
Belle Clotilde” rode out amidst thunders of applause. The programme
announced “A marvellous somersault trick over eight horses,” and Jack the
Clown, with the stereotyped grin of his profession once more upon his face,
made his bow for the second time.
He busied himself for a few moments dressing three horses into line,
playing endless tricks at the expense of the grooms, and indulging in the most
extravagant acrobatic feats ; then with a single bound he was upon the spring-
board, his lithe figure curled itself into a ball as he turned his somersault once
—twice—and landed beyond the horses with a ringing “Ha-lala-i-ti !”
One by one, more horses were led up, until a prolonged series of somer-
saults carried him, thanks to his indefatigable muscles, across the backs of
eight big horses, and still he was not satisfied.
He cried out for two more, to the loudly expressed delight of the
There was a momentary deliberation among the stablemen, for none of
the other horses were trained for this particular trick, but Jack was not to be
denied, he held up two fingers imperatively and evoked a roar of laughter
with the words, “Two ! two more horses, not donkeys like yourselves ! two
64 THE SAVOY
horses !” The ring master gave a sign of assent, and to fill up the pause Jack
pretended to fall off the board, stood on his head, and proceeded to wriggle
himself through the tan to the side of the horse farthest from him. Hand
over hand he mounted by its tail, and then stood in well-feigned alarm upon
its back. Taking off his hat, he spun it upon his chin, his nose, twirled it
round and round, flung it in the air, catching it now on one foot, now on the
other, now again on his head, flung it up again, missed it, grabbed at it with
one hand, and as he jumped once more into the ring tossed it right away. It
made a wide curve and landed—was it merely by accident ?—full in the face
of Captain René. The clown laughed. “The clown’s muzzle !” he cried, and
just then the two fresh horses were trotted in. They were not used to being
forced into such close line, and fretted at the contact with the others ; first
one, then another got restive, until the whole ten were fidgeting and
There was a fresh burst of music from the orchestra, a cry of “Steady,
steady, now !” from the grooms, and once more a white figure shot from the
spring-board. There was a wild scream, a panic-stricken rush of horses and
stablemen, and in the ring there lay a shapeless, inert mass ; a flutter of white
frilling, a quiver of painted eyelids—a dead clown.
O’SULLIVAN RUA TO MARY LAVELL
WHEN my arms wrap you round, I press
My heart upon the loveliness
That has long faded in the world ;
The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
In shadowy pools, when armies fled ;
The love-tales wrought with silken thread
By dreaming ladies upon cloth
That has made fat the murderous moth ;
The roses that of old time were
Woven by ladies in their hair,
Before they drowned their lovers’ eyes
In twilight shaken with low sighs ;
The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
Through many a sacred corridor
Where a so sleepy incense rose
That only God’s eyes did not close :
For that dim brow and lingering hand
Come from a more dream-heavy land,
A more dream-heavy hour than this ;
And, when you sigh from kiss to kiss,
I hear pale Beauty sighing too,
For hours when all must fade like dew
Till there be naught but throne on throne
Of seraphs, brooding, each alone,
A sword upon his iron knees,
On her most lonely mysteries.
W. B. YEATS.
NIETZSCHE was by temperament a philosopher after the
manner of the Greeks. In other words, philosophy was not
to him, as to the average modern philosopher, a matter of
books and the study, but a life to be lived. It seemed to
him to have much less concern with “truth” than with the
essentials of fine living. He loved travel and movement, he
loved scenery, he loved cities and the spectacle of men, above all, he loved
solitude. The solitude of cities drew him strongly ; he envied Heraclitus his
desert study amid the porticoes and peristyles of the immense temple of
Diana. He had, however, his own favourite place of work, to which he often
alludes, the Piazza di San Marco at Venice, amid the doves, in front of the
strange and beautiful structure which he “loved, feared, and envied” ; and
here in the spring, between ten o’clock and mid-day, he found his best
It was in Italy that Nietzsche seems to have found himself most at home,
although there are no signs that he felt any special sympathy with the
Italians, that is to say in later than Renaissance days. For the most part he
possessed very decided sympathies and antipathies. His antipathy to his
own Germans lay in the nature of things. Every prophet’s message is primarily
directed to his own people. And Nietzsche was unsparing in his keen
criticism of the Germans. He tells somewhere with a certain humour how
people abroad would ask him if Germany had produced no great thinker or
artist, no really good book of late, and how with the courage of despair he
would at last reply, “Yes, Bismarck !” Nietzsche was willing enough to
recognize the kind of virtue personified in Bismarck. But with that recogni-
tion nearly all was said in favour of Germany that Nietzsche had to say.
There is little in the German spirit that answered to his demands. He
admired clearness, analytic precision, and highly organized intelligence, light,
and alert. He saw no sufficient reason why profundity should lack a fine
superficies, nor why strength should be ungainly. His instinctive comparison
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 69
for a good thinker was always a good dancer. As a child he had been struck
by seeing a rope-dancer, and throughout life dancing seemed to him the
image of the finest culture, supple to bend, strong to retain its own
equilibrium, an exercise demanding the highest training and energy of all the
muscles of a well-knit organism. But the indubitable intellectual virtues of
the bulky and plodding German are scarcely those which can well be
symbolized by an Otero or a Caicedo. “There is too much beer in the
German intellect,” Nietzsche said. For the last ten centuries Germany has
wilfully stultified herself; “nowhere else has there been so vicious a misuse of
the two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity,” to which he was
inclined to add music. (“The theatre and music,” he remarked in “Die
Frohliche Wissenschaft,” “are the haschisch and betel of Europeans, and the
history of the so-called higher culture is largely the history of narcotics.”)
“Germans regard bad writing,” he said, “as a national privilege ; they do not
write prose as one works at a statue, they only improvise.” Even “German
virtue”—and this was the unkindest cut of all—had its origin in eighteenth
century France, as its early preachers, such as Kant and Schiller, fully
recognized. Thus it happens that the German has no perceptions—coupling
his Goethe with a Schiller, and his Schopenhauer with a Hartmann—and no
tact, “no finger for nuances,” his fingers are all claws. Nietzsche regarded it as
merely an accident that he was himself born in Germany, just as it was merely
an accident that Heine the Jew, and Schopenhauer the Dutchman, were born
there. Yet, as I have already hinted, we may take these utterances too
seriously. There are passages in his works—though we meet them rarely—
which show that Nietzsche realized and admired the elemental energy, the
depth and the contradictions in the German character ; he attributed them
largely to mixture of races.
Nietzsche was not much attracted to the English. It is true that he
names Landor as one of the four masters of prose this century has produced,
while another of these is Emerson, with whom he had genuine affinity,
although his own genius was keener and more passionate, with less sunny
serenity. For Shakespeare, also, his admiration was deep. And when he
had outgrown his early enthusiasm for Schopenhauer, the fine qualities
which he still recognized in that thinker—this concreteness, lucidity, reason-
ableness—seemed to him English. He was less flattering towards English
thought. Darwinism, for instance, he thought, savoured too much of the
population question, and was invented by English men of science who were
oppressed by the problems of poverty. The struggle for existence, he said,
70 THE SAVOY
is only an exception in nature ; it is exuberance, an even reckless superfluity,
which rules. For English philosophic thought generally he had little but
contempt. J. S. Mill was one of his “impossibilities ;” the English and
French sociologists of to-day, he said, have only known degenerating types
of society, devoid of organizing force, and they take their own debased
instincts as the standard of social codes in general. Modern democracy,
modern utilitarianism, are largely of English manufacture, and he came at
last to hate them both. During the past century, he asserted, they have
reduced the whole spiritual currency of Europe to a dull plebeian level, and
they are the chief causes of European vulgarity. It is the English, he also
asserted—George Eliot, for instance—who, while abolishing Christian belief,
have sought to bolster up the moral system which was created by Christianity,
and which must necessarily fall with it. It is, moreover, the English, who
with this democratic and utilitarian plebeianism have seduced and perverted
the fine genius of France.
Just as we owe to England the vulgarity which threatens to overspread
Europe, so to France we owe the conception of a habit of nobility, in every
best sense of the word. On that point Nietzsche’s opinion never wavered.
The present subjection of the French spirit to this damnable Anglo-mania, he
declared, must never lead us to forget the ardent and passionate energy, the
intellectual distinction, which belonged to the France of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. The French, as Nietzsche always held, are the one
modern European nation which may be compared with the Greeks. In
“Menschliches, Allzumenschliches” he names six French writers—Montaigne,
La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyere, Fontenelle (in the “Dialogues des Morts”),
Vauvenargues, Chamfort—who bring us nearer to Greek antiquity than any
other group of modern authors, and contain more real thought than all the
books of the German philosophers put together. The only French writer
of the present century for whom he cared much (putting aside Mérimée,
whom he valued as a master of style, and perhaps as the author of “Carmen”)
was Stendhal, who possesses some of the characters of the earlier group.
The French, he points out, are the most Christian of all nations, and have
produced the greatest saints. He enumerates Pascal (“the first among
Christians, who was able to unite fervour, intellect, and candour ;—think of
what that means !”), Fénelon, Mme. de Guyon, Bruno, the founder of the
Trappists, who have flourished nowhere but in France, the Huguenots, Port-
Royal—truly, he exclaims, the great French freethinkers encountered foemen
worthy of their steel ! The land which produced the most perfect types of
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 71
Anti-Christianity produced also the most perfect types of Christianity. He
defends, also, that seeming superficiality which in a great Frenchman, he
says, is but the natural epidermis of a rich and deep nature, while a great
German’s profundity is too often strangely bottled up from the light in a
dark and contorted phial.
I have briefly stated Nietzsche’s feeling as regards each of the three
chief European peoples, because we are thus led up to the central points of
his philosophy—his attitude towards modern religion and his attitude towards
modern morals. We are often apt to regard these matters as of little practical
importance ; we think it the reasonable duty of practical social politics to
attend to the immediate questions in hand, and leave these wider questions
to settle themselves. Rightly or wrongly, that was not how Nietzsche looked
at the matter. He was too much of a philosopher, he had too wide a sense
of the vital relation of things, to be content with the policy of tinkering
society, wherever it seems to need mending most badly, avoiding any reference
to the whole. That is our English method, and no doubt it is a very sane
and safe method, but, as we have seen, Nietzsche was not in sympathy with
English methods. His whole significance lies in the thorough and passionate
analysis with which he sought to dissect and to dissolve, first, “German
culture,” then Christianity, and lastly, modern morals, with all that these involve.
It is scarcely necessary to point out, that though Nietzsche rejoiced in the
title of freethinker, he can by no means be confounded with the ordinary
secularist. He is not bent on destroying religion from any anaesthesia of the
religious sense, or even in order to set up some religion of science which is
practically no religion at all. He is thus on different ground from the great
freethinkers of France, and to some extent of England. Nietzsche was him-
self of the stuff of which great religious teachers are made, of the race of
apostles. So when he writes of the founder of Christianity and the great
Christian types, it is often with a poignant sympathy which the secularist can
never know ; and if his knife seems keen and cruel, it is not the easy
indifferent cruelty of the pachydermatous scoffer. When he analyzes the
souls of these men and the impulses which have moved them, he knows with
what he is dealing : he is analyzing his own soul.
A mystic Nietzsche certainly was not ; he had no moods of joyous resigna-
tion. It is chiefly the religious ecstasy of active moral energy that he was at
one with. The sword of the spirit is his weapon rather than the merely
defensive breastplate of faith. St. Paul is the consummate type of such
religious forces, and whatever Nietzsche wrote of that apostle—the inventor
72 THE SAVOY
of Christianity, as he calls him—is peculiarly interesting. He hates him
indeed, but even his hatred thrills with a tone of intimate sympathy. It is
thus in a remarkable passage in “Morgenröthe,” where he tells briefly the
history and struggles of that importunate soul, so superstitious and yet
so shrewd, without whom there would have been no Christianity. He
describes the self-torture of the neurotic, sensual, refined “Jewish Pascal,”
who flagellated himself with the law that he came to hate with the hatred of
one who had a genius for hatred ; who in one dazzling flash of illumination
realized that Jesus by accomplishing the law had annihilated it, and so
furnished him with the instrument he desired to wreak his passionate hatred
on the law, and to revel in the freedom of his joy. Nietzsche possesses a
natural insight in probing the wounds of self-torturing souls. He excels also
in describing the effects of extreme pain in chasing away the mists from life,
in showing to a man his own naked personality, in bringing us face to face
with the cold and terrible fact. It is thus that, coupling the greatest figure in
history with the greatest figure in fiction, he compares the pathetic utterance
of Jesus on the cross—”My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?”—
with the disillusionment of the dying Don Quixote. Of Jesus himself he
speaks no harsh word, but he regarded the atmosphere of Roman decay and
languor—though very favourable for the production of fine personalities—as
ill-adapted to the development of a great religion. The Gospels lead us into
the atmosphere of a Russian novel, he remarks in one of his last writings, “Der
Antichrist,” an atmosphere in which the figure of Jesus had to be coarsened to
be understood, and became moulded in men’s minds by memories of more
familiar types—prophet, Messiah, wonder-worker, judge ; the real man they
could not even see. “It must ever be a matter for regret that no Dostoievsky
lived in the neighbourhood of this most interesting décadent, I mean some one
who could understand the enthralling charm of just this mixture of the sublime,
the morbid, and the child-like.” Jesus, he continues, never denied the world,
the state, culture, work ; he simply never knew or realized their existence ;
his own inner experience—”life,” “light,” “truth “—was all in all to him.
The only realities to him were inner realities, so living that they make one
feel “in Heaven” and “eternal ;” this it was to be “saved.” And Nietzsche
notes, as so many have noted before him, that the fact that men should bow
the knee in Christ’s name to the very opposite of all these things, and con-
secrate in the “Church” all that he threw behind him, is an insoluble
example of historical irony. “Strictly speaking, there has only been one
Christian, and he died on the cross. The Gospel died on the cross.”
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 73
There may seem a savour of contempt in the allusion to Jesus as an
“interesting décadent” and undoubtedly there is in “Der Antichrist” a
passionate bitterness which is not found in Nietzsche’s earlier books. But he
habitually used the word décadent in a somewhat extended and peculiar sense.
The décadent, as Nietzsche understood him, was the product of an age in which
virility was dead and weakness was sanctified ; it was so with the Buddhist as
well as with the Christian, they both owe their origin and their progress to
“some monstrous disease of will.” They sprang up among creatures who
craved for some “Thou shalt,” and who were apt only for that one form of
energy which the weak possess, fanaticism. By an instinct which may be
regarded as sound by those who do not accept his disparagement of either,
Nietzsche always coupled the Christian and the anarchist ; to him they were
both products of decadence. Both wish to revenge their own discomfort on
this present world, he asserted, the anarchist immediately, the Christian at the
last day. Instead of feeling, “I am worth nothing,” the décadent says, “Life
is worth nothing,”—a terribly contagious state of mind which has covered the
world with the vitality of a tropical jungle. It cannot be too often repeated,
Nietzsche continues, that Christianity was born of the decay of antiquity, and
on the degenerate people of that time it worked like a soothing balm ; their
eyes and ears were sealed by age and they could no longer understand
Epicurus and Epictetus. At such a time purity and beneficence, large
promises of future life, worked sweetly and wholesomely. But for fresh young
barbarians Christianity is poison. It produces a fundamental enfeeblement of
such heroic, childlike and animal natures as the ancient Germans, and to that
enfeeblement, indeed, we owe the revival of classic culture ; so that the
conclusion of the whole matter is here, as ever, Nietzsche remarks, that “it is
impossible to say whether, in the language of Christianity, God owes more
thanks to the Devil, or the Devil to God, for the way in which things have
come about.” But in the interaction of the classic spirit and the Christian
spirit, Nietzsche’s own instincts were not on the side of Christianity, and as
the years went on he expresses himself in ever more unmeasured language.
He could not take up the “Imitation of Christ”—the very word “imitation ”
being, as indeed Michelet had said before, the whole of Christianity—without
physical repugnance. And in the “Götzendämmerung” he compares the
Bible with the Laws of Manu (though at the same time asserting that it is a
sin to name the two books in the same breath) : “The sun lies on the whole
book. All those things on which Christianity vents its bottomless vulgarity—
procreation, for example, woman, marriage—are here handled earnestly and
74 THE SAVOY
reverently, with love and trust I know no book in which so many tender and
gracious things are said about women as in the Laws of Manu ; these gray-
beards and saints have a way of being civil towards women which is perhaps
not overdone.” Again in “Der Antichrist “—which represents, I repeat, the
unbalanced judgments of his last period—he tells how he turns from Paul
with delight to Petronius, a book of which it can be said è tutto festo,
‘immortally sound, immortally serene.” In the whole New Testament, he
adds, there is only one figure we can genuinely honour—that of Pilate.
On the whole, Nietzsche’s attitude towards Christianity was one of
repulsion and antagonism. At first he appears indifferent, then he becomes
calmly judicial, finally he is bitterly hostile. He admits that Christianity
possesses the virtues of a cunningly concocted narcotic to soothe the leaden
griefs and depressions of men whose souls are physiologically weak. But
from first to last there is no sign of any genuine personal sympathy with the
religion of the poor in spirit. Epicureanism, the pagan doctrine of salvation,
had in it an element of Greek energy, but the Christian doctrine of salvation,
he declares, raises its sublime development of hedonism on a thoroughly
morbid foundation. Christianity hates the body ; the first act of Christian
triumph over the Moors, he recalls, was to close the public baths which they
had everywhere erected. “With its contempt for the body Christianity was
the greatest misfortune that ever befell humanity.” And at the end of “Der
Antichrist” he sums up his concentrated hatred : “I condemn Christianity ; I
raise against the Christian Church the most terrible accusation that any
accuser has ever uttered. It is to me the most profound of all thinkable
It is scarcely necessary to add that Nietzsche’s condemnation of
Christianity extended to the Christian God. He even went so far as to assert
that it was the development of Christian morality itself—”the father-confessor
sensitiveness of the Christian conscience translated and sublimed into a
scientific conscience”—which had finally conquered the Christian God. He
held, however, that polytheism had played an important part in the evolution
of culture. Gods, heroes, supernatural beings generally, were inestimable
schoolmasters to bring us to the sovereignty of the individual. Polytheism
opened up divine horizons of freedom to humanity. “Ye shall be as Gods.”
But it has not been so with monotheism. The doctrine of a single God, in
whose presence all others were false gods, favours stagnation and unity of
type ; monotheism has thus perhaps constituted “the greatest danger which
humanity has had to meet in past ages.” Nor are we yet freed from its
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 75
influence. “For centuries after Buddha died men showed his shadow in a
cave—a vast terrible shadow. God is dead : but thousands of years hence
there will probably be caves in which his shadow may yet be seen. And we
—we must go on fighting that shadow !” How deeply rooted Nietzsche
believed faith in a god to be is shown by the fantastic conclusion to
“Zarathustra.” A strange collection of Uebermenschen—the men of the
future—are gathered together in Zarathustra’s cave : two kings, the last of
the popes—thrown out of work by the death of God—and many miscellaneous
creatures, including a donkey. As Zarathustra returns to his cave he hears
the sound of prayer and smells the odour of incense ; on entering he finds the
Uebermcnschen all on their knees intoning an extraordinary litany to the
donkey, who has “created us all in his own image.”
In his opposition to the Christian faith and the Christian God, Nietzsche
by no means stands alone, however independent he may have been in the
method and standpoint of his attack. But in his opposition to Christian
morality he was more radically original. There is a very general tendency
among those who reject Christian theology to shore up the superstructure of
Christian morality which rests on that theology. George Eliot, in her
writings at all events, has been an eloquent and distinguished advocate of this
process ; Mr. Myers, in an oft-quoted passage, has described with considerable
melodramatic vigour the “sibyl in the gloom” of the Trinity Fellows’ Garden
at Cambridge, who withdrew God and Immortality from his grasp, but, to
his consternation, told him to go on obeying Duty. Nietzsche would have
sympathized with Mr. Myers. What George Eliot proposed was one of those
compromises so dear to our British minds. Nietzsche would none of it.
Hence his contemptuous treatment of George Eliot, of J. S. Mill, of Herbert
Spencer, and so many more of our favourite intellectual heroes who have
striven to preserve Christian morality while denying Christian theology.
Nietzsche regarded our current moral ideals, whether formulated by bishops
or by anarchists, as alike founded on a Christian basis, and when that founda-
tion is sapped they cannot stand.
The motive of modern morality is pity, its principle is altruistic, its motto
is “Love your neighbours as yourself,” its ideal self-abnegation, its end the
greatest good of the greatest number. All these things were abhorrent to
Nietzsche, or, so far as he accepted them, it was in forms which gave them new
values. Modern morality, he said, is founded on an extravagant dread of
pain, in ourselves primarily, secondarily in others. Sympathy is fellow-
suffering ; to love one’s neighbour as oneself is to dread his pain as we dread
76 THE SAVOY
our own pain. The religion of love is built upon the fear of pain. “On n’est
bon que par la pitié ;” the acceptance of that doctrine Nietzsche considers
the chief outcome of Christianity, although, he thinks, not essential to
Christianity, which rested on the egoistic basis of personal salvation : “One
thing is needful.” But it remains the most important by-product of Christi-
anity, and has ever been gaining strength. Kant stood firmly outside the
stream, but the French freethinkers, from Voltaire onwards, were not to be
outdone in this direction by Christians, while Comte with his “Vivre pour
autrui” even out-Christianized Christianity, and Schopenhauer in Germany,
J. S. Mill in England, carried on the same doctrine.
Both the sympathetic man and the unsympathetic man, Nietzsche argues,
are egoists. But the unsympathetic man he held to be a more admirable kind
of egoist. It is best to win the strength that comes of experience and suffering,
and to allow others also to play their own cards and win the same strength,
shedding our tears in private, and abhorring soft-heartedness as the foe of all
manhood and courage. To call the unsympathetic man “wicked,” and the
sympathetic man “good,” seemed to Nietzsche a fashion in morals, a fashion
which will have its day. He believed he was the first to point out the danger
of the prevailing fashion as a sort of moral impressionism, the outcome of the
hyperæsthesia peculiar to periods of decadence. Not indeed that Christianity
is, or could be, carried out among us to its fullest extent : “That would be a
serious matter. If we were ever to become the object to others of the same
stupidities and importunities which they expend on themselves, we should
flee wildly as soon as we saw our ‘neighbour’ approach, and curse sympathy
as heartily as we now curse egoism.” Our deepest and most personal griefs,
Nietzsche remarks elsewhere, remain unrevealed and incomprehensible to
nearly all other persons, even to the “neighbour” who eats out of the same
dish with us. And even though my grief should become visible, the dear
sympathetic neighbour can know nothing of its complexity and results, of the
organic economy of my soul. That my grief may be bound up with my
happiness troubles him little. The devotee of the “religion of pity” will heal
my sorrows without a moment’s delay ; he knows not that the path to my
Heaven must lie through my own Hell, that happiness and unhappiness are
twin sisters who grow up together, or remain stunted together.
“Morality is the mob-instinct working in the individual.” It rests,
Nietzsche asserts, on two thoughts : “the community is worth more than the
individual,” and “a permanent advantage is better than a temporary
advantage ;” whence it follows that all the advantages of the community are
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 77
preferable to those of the individual. Morality thus becomes a string of
negative injunctions, a series of “Thou shalt nots,” with scarcely a positive
command amongst them ; witness the well-known table of Jewish command-
ments. Now Nietzsche could not endure mere negative virtues. He resented
the subtle change which has taken place in the very meaning of the word
“virtue,” and which has perverted it from an expression of positive masculine
qualities into one of merely negative feminine qualities. In his earliest essay
he referred to “active sin” as the Promethean virtue which distinguishes the
Aryans. The only moral codes that commended themselves to him were
those that contained positive commands alone : “Do this ! Do it with all
your heart, and all your strength, and all your dreams !—and all other things
shall be taken away from you !” For if we are truly devoted to the things
that are good to do we need trouble ourselves little about the things that are
good to leave undone.
Nietzsche compared himself to a mole boring down into the ground and
undermining what philosophers have for a couple of thousand years considered
the very surest ground to build on—the trust in morals. One of his favourite
methods of attack is by the analysis of the “conscience.” He points out that
whatever we were regularly required to do in youth by those we honoured
and feared created our “good conscience.” The dictates of conscience, how-
ever urgent, thus have no true validity as regards the person who experiences
them. “But,” some one protests, “must we not trust our feelings ?” “Yes,”
replies Nietzsche, “trust your feelings, but still remember that the inspiration
which springs from feelings is the grandchild of an opinion, often a false one,
and in any case not your own. To trust one’s feelings—that means to yield
more obedience to one’s grandfather and grandmother and their grandparents
than to the gods within our own breasts : our own reason and our own ex-
perience.” Faith in authority is thus the source of conscience ; it is not the
voice of God in the human heart but the voice of man in man. The sphere of
the moral is the sphere of tradition, and a man is moral because he is
dependent on a tradition and not on himself. Originally everything was
within the sphere of morals, and it was only possible to escape from that
sphere by becoming a law-giver, medicine-man, demigod—that is to say by
making morals. To be customary is to be moral,—I still closely follow
Nietzsche’s thought and expression,—to be individual is to be wicked. Every
kind of originality involves a bad conscience. Nietzsche insists with fine
eloquence, again and again, that every good gift that has been given to man
put a bad conscience into the heart of the giver. Every good thing was once
78 THE SAVOY
new, unaccustomed, immoral, and gnawed at the vitals of the finder like a
worm. Every new doctrine is wicked. Science has always come into the
world with a bad conscience, with the emotions of a criminal, at least of a
smuggler. No man can be disobedient to custom and not be immoral, and
feel that he is immoral. The artist, the actor, the merchant, the freethinker,
the discoverer, were once all criminals, and were persecuted, crushed, rendered
morbid, as all persons must be when their virtues are not the virtues idealized
by the community. Primitive men lived in hordes, and must obey the horde-
voice within them. The whole phenomena of morals are animal-like, and
have their origin in the search for prey and the avoidance of pursuit.
Progress is thus a gradual emancipation from morals. We have to
recognize the services of the men who fight in this struggle against morals,
and who are crushed into the ranks of criminals. Not that we need pity
them. “It is a new justice that is called for, a new mot d’ordre. We need
new philosophers. The moral world also is round. The moral world also has
its antipodes, and the antipodes also have their right to exist. A new world
remains to be discovered—and more than one ! Hoist sail, O philosophers !”
“Men must become both better and wickeder!” So spake Zarathustra ;
or, as he elsewhere has it, “It is with man as with a tree, the higher he would
climb into the brightness above, the more vigorously his roots must strive
earthwards, downwards, into the darkness and the depths—into the wicked.”
Wickedness is just as indispensable as goodness. It is the ploughshare of
wickedness which turns up and fertilizes the exhausted fields of goodness.
We must no longer be afraid to be wicked ; we must no longer be afraid to be
hard. “Only the noblest things are very hard. This new command, O my
brothers, I lay upon you—become hard.”
In renewing our moral ideals we need also to renew our whole conception
of the function and value of morals. Nietzsche advises moralists to change
their tactics : “Deny moral values, deprive them of the applause of the crowd,
create obstacles to their free circulation ; let them be the shame-faced secrets
of a few solitary souls ; forbid morality ! In so doing you may perhaps
accredit these things among the only men whom one need have on one’s side,
I mean heroic men. Let it be said of morality to-day as Meister Eckard
said : ‘I pray God that he may rid me of God !'” We have altogether over-
estimated the importance of morality. Christianity knew better when it placed
“grace” above morals, and so also did Buddhism. And if we turn to literature,
Nietzsche maintains, it is a vast mistake to suppose that, for instance, great
tragedies have, or were intended to have, any moral effect. Look at “Macbeth,”
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 79
at “Tristan und Isolde,” at “Œdipus.” In all these cases it would have been easy
to make guilt the pivot of the drama. But the great poet is in love with
passion. “He calls to us : ‘It is the charm of charms, this exciting, changing,
dangerous, gloomy, yet often sun-filled existence ! It is an adventure to live—
take this side or that, it will always be the same !’ So he speaks to us out of
a restless and vigorous time, half drunken and dazed with excess of blood and
energy, out of a wickeder time than ours is ; and we are obliged to set to
rights the aim of a Shakespeare and make it righteous, that is to say, to
We have to recognize a diversity of moral ideals. Nothing is more pro-
foundly dangerous than, with Kant, to create impersonal categorical impera-
tives after the Chinese fashion, to generalize “virtue,” “duty,” and “goodness,”
and sacrifice them to the Moloch of abstraction. “Every man must find his
own virtue, his own categorical imperative ; “it must be founded on inner
necessity, on deep personal choice. Only the simpleton says : “Men ought to
be like this or like that.” The real world presents to us a dazzling wealth of
types, a prodigious play of forms and metamorphoses. Yet up comes a poor
devil of a moralist, and says to us : “No ! men ought to be something quite
different !” and straightway he paints a picture of himself on the wall, and
exclaims : “Ecce homo !” But one thing is needful, that a man should
attain the fullest self-satisfaction. Every man must be his own moralist.
These views might be regarded as “lax,” as predisposing to easy self-
indulgence. Nietzsche would have smiled at such a notion. Not yielding,
but mastering, was the key to his personal morality. “Every day is badly
spent,” he said, “in which a man has not once denied himself; this gymnastic
is inevitable if a man will retain the joy of being his own master.” The four
cardinal virtues, as Nietzsche understood morals, are sincerity, courage,
generosity, and courtesy. “Do what you will,” said Zarathustra, “but first
be one of those who are able to will. Love your neighbour as yourself—but
first be one of those who are able to love themselves.” And again Zarathustra
spoke, “He who belongs to me must be strong of bone and light of foot,
eager for fight and for feast, no sulker, no John o’ Dreams, as ready for the
hardest task as for a feast, sound and hale. The best things belong to me
and mine, and if men give us nothing, then we take them : the best food, the
purest sky, the strongest thoughts, the fairest women !” There was no desire
here to suppress effort and pain. That Nietzsche regarded as a mark of
modern Christian morals. It is pain, more pain and deeper, that we need.
The discipline of suffering alone creates man’s pre-eminence. “Man unites
80 THE SAVOY
in himself the creature and the creator : there is in him the stuff of things, the
fragmentary and the superfluous, clay, mud, madness, chaos ; but there is also
in him the creator, the sculptor, the hardness of the hammer, the divine
blessedness of the spectator on the seventh day.” Do you pity, he asks,
what must be fashioned, broken, forged, refined as by fire ? But our pity
is spent on one thing alone, the most effeminate of all weaknesses—pity.
This was the source of Nietzsche’s admiration for war, and indifference to its
horror ; he regarded it as the symbol of that spiritual warfare and bloodshed
in which to him all human progress consisted. He might, had he pleased,
have said with the Jew and the Christian, that without shedding of blood
there shall be no remission of sins. But with a difference, for as he looked
at the matter, every man must be his own saviour, and it is his own blood
that must be shed ; there is no salvation by proxy. That was expressed in
his favourite motto : Virescit volnere virtus.
Nietzsche’s ideal man is the man of Epictetus, as he describes him in “Mor-
genröthe,” the laconic, brave, self-contained man, not lusting after expression
like the modern idealist. The man whom Epictetus loved hated fanaticism,
he hated notoriety, he knew how to smile. And the best was, added
Nietzsche, that he had no fear of God before his eyes ; he believed firmly in
reason, and relied, not on divine grace, but on himself. Of all Shakespeare’s
plays, “Julius Cæsar” seemed to Nietzsche the greatest, because it glorifies
Brutus ; the finest thing that can be said in Shakespeare’s honour, Nietzsche
thought, was that—aided perhaps by some secret and intimate experience—
he believed in Brutus and the virtues that Brutus personified. In course of
time, however, while not losing his sympathy with stoicism, it was Epi-
cureanism, the heroic aspects of Epicureanism, which chiefly appealed to
Nietzsche. He regarded Epicurus as one of the world’s greatest men, the
discoverer of the heroically idyllic method of living a philosophy ; for one to
whom happiness could never be more than an unending self-discipline, and
whose ideal of life had ever been that of a spiritual nomad, the methods of
Epicurus seemed to yield the finest secrets of good living. Socrates, with his
joy in life and in himself, was also an object of Nietzsche’s admiration.
Among later thinkers, Helvetius appealed to him strongly. Goethe and
Napoleon were naturally among his favourite heroes, as were Alcibiades and
Cæsar. The latest great age of heroes was to him the Italian Renaissance.
Then came Luther, opposing the rights of the peasants, yet himself initiating
a peasants’ revolt of the intellect, and preparing the way for that shallow
plebeianism of the spirit which has marked the last two centuries.
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE 81
Latterly, in tracing the genealogy of modern morals, Nietzsche’s opinions
hardened into a formula. He recognized three stages of moral evolution :
first, the pre-moral period of primitive times, when the beast of prey was the
model of conduct, and the worth of an action was judged by its results.
Then came the moral period, when the worth of an action was judged not
by its results, but by its origin ; this period has been the triumph of what
Nietzsche calls slave-morality, the morality of the mob ; the goodness and
badness of actions is determined by atavism, at best by survivals ; every man
is occupied in laying down laws for his neighbour instead of for himself, and
all are tamed and chastised into weakness in order that they may be able to
obey these prescriptions. Nietzsche ingeniously connected his slave-morality
with the undoubted fact that for many centuries the large, fair-haired aristo-
cratic race has been dying out in Europe, and the older down-trodden race—
short, dark, and broad-headed—has been slowly gaining predominance. But
now we stand at the threshold of the extra-moral period. Slave-morality,
Nietzsche asserted, is about to give way to master-morality; the lion will
take the place of the camel. The instincts of life, refusing to allow that any-
thing is forbidden, will again assert themselves, sweeping away the feeble
negative democratic morality of our time. The day has now come for the
man who is able to rule himself, and who will be tolerant to others not out
of his weakness, but out of his strength ; to him nothing is forbidden, for he
has passed beyond goodness and beyond wickedness.
FROM THE “IGNEZ DE CASTRO”
OF ANTONIO FERREIRA
WHEN youthful Love was born
Into the world came life,
The stars received their light, the sun his rays
The Heavens glowed red that morn,
And, vanquished in the strife,
Darkness revealed all beauties to the gaze.
She that, high-throned, in fee
Possesses the third sphere,
Born of the angry sea,
Gave Love unto the world, her offspring dear.
‘Tis Love adorns the earth
With grass and babbling burns,
Paints every flower, each tree with foliage weights,
Fierce war to peace and mirth,
Harshness to softness turns,
Melting in thousand loves a thousand hates.
The lives by death, the dure,
O’ercome, he doth renew ;
The world’s gay portraiture,
So fresh and lovely, unto him is due.
¹ This was the first notable tragedy produced in modern Europe under the immediate
influence ot Greek art and methods. Its subject — the death of D. Ignez de Castro — is one
that has been treated by authors of all nations since the death of Ferreira, but never so
happily, if the episode in Canto III. of the Lusiads be excepted. The Chorus here trans-
lated comes from the First Act, and is a marked contrast to that in the Second. The former
is a light and lovely lyric ; the latter a grave and grandiose chorus in Sapphics. The one
was written to be sung, while nothing but recitation could do justice to the other.
FROM “IGNEZ DE CASTRO” OF ANTONIO FERREIRA 83
His flames let no man fear,
Though furious they rise,
For they are loving ; gentle Love and sweet
Will dry each amorous tear
That wells up through the eyes,
And gladly grant when love-sick folk entreat.
Gold arrows, gleaming bright,
In his full quiver ring,
Full deadly to the sight,
Yet they are shot by Love and love they bring.
From every lyre on high
Let loving ditties sound,
And Love’s soft name the ambient air serene.
Let tears and sorrow fly,
Let peace and joy abound,
And make the rivers clear, the vales amene.
Let the sweet lyre of Love
Fill Heaven with accents rare,
And the great God above,
That love inspires, thence crown thee, Castro fair.
Rather a Tyrant blind,
Born of the poet’s brain,
Fierce lust, deceit unkind,
God of the foolish, son of sloth ; the bane
And common wreck designed
Of glory and fair fame ;
He hurls, with reckless aim,
On every side his darts,
And Mars is burning, while Apollo smarts.
Winging his hurried flight
He sets the earth on fire ;
His shafts of deadly might
The more they miss, work mischief yet more dire.
84 THE SAVOY
He glories to unite
Tempers the most opposed,
And those for love disposed
And like, to separate ;
His thirst nor tears nor blood can ever sate.
Into the tender breast
Of some pure modest maid,
As time and means suggest,
He enters softly, or with force arrayed.
Fires long time set at rest
He raises to a glow,
Cool blood and age’s snow
He kindles, and his dart,
Shot by some beauteous eye, pierces the heart.
Thence spreads the poisonous blight
Coursing through every vein ;
In dreams of fond delight
The soul indulges, weaving webs inane.
Chaste modesty takes flight
And virile constancy ;
Death, following misery,
Enters in softest guise,
The heart is hardened and the reason dies.
Who took the iron mace,
Once great Alcides’ pride,
Seating, in bondmaid’s place,
The lion-tamer at a maiden’s side ?
The spoils of that dread chase
Who changed to soft and fine
Attire of feminine
Estate, and made him learn,
With horny hand, the distaff douce to turn ?
A thousand pictures show,
To shapes a myriad turned,
Great Jupiter fallen low,
Far from the Heavens, which, leaving, he has spurned.
FROM “IGNEZ DE CASTRO” OF ANTONIO FERREIRA 85
How strong the charm that so
The heart of man converts !
How potent that subverts
By craft the loftiest sprite,
And plunges in vile sin, a woeful plight !
The Trojan’s mighty fame
What other fire consumed ?
Or what Spain’s holy name
To hand down mournful memories hath doomed ?
Blind love the twain o’ercame ;
A cruel Boy that day
Triumphed and both did slay,
With blood and lives untold,
To sate a foolish appetite ill-sold.
How blest is he that knew
With stout heart to oppose
The arrow as it flew,
Or quench the flames when first they angry rose !
Beloved of God a few
Have gained from Heaven such grace,
The most, with tearful face,
Repent, whene’er they mind,
Their vain submission to the Infant blind.
BERTHA AT THE FAIR
No, dear Madame, it has never greatly interested me to be
taken for a poet. And that is one reason why I have for the
most part shunned poetical persons : you are the exception,
of course, but then you are beautiful, and I forgive you for
writing poetry : and have lived as much of my life as I could
among the ladies who read penny novelettes. And yet I
too have been taken for a poet. Shall I tell you about it, before I tell you
about Bertha, who did not know what a poet was ?
It was one midnight, in London, at the corner of a somewhat sordid
street. I was standing at the edge of the pavement, looking across at the upper
windows of a house opposite. That does not strike you, dear Muse of ima-
ginary cypresses, as a poetical attitude ? Perhaps not ; and indeed I was
thinking little enough of poetry at the time. I was thinking only of someone
who had quitted me in anger, five minutes before, and whose shadow I seemed
to see on the blind, in that lighted upper room of the house opposite. I stood
quite motionless on the pavement, and I gazed so intently at the blind, that,
as if in response to the urgency of my will, the blind was drawn aside, and she
looked out. She saw me, drew back, and seemed to speak to someone inside ;
then returned to the window, and pulling down the blind behind her, leant
motionless against the glass, watching me intently. In this manner we gazed
at one another for some minutes, neither, at the time, realizing that each could
be seen so distinctly by the other. As I stood there, unable to move, yet
in mortal shame of the futile folly of such an attitude, I realized that my
appearance was being discussed by some loungers not many yards distant.
And the last, decisive, uncontroverted conjecture was this : “He’s a poet !”
That point settled, one of them left the group, and came up to me. He was a
prize-fighter, quite an amiable person ; I welcomed him, for he talked to me, and
so gave me an excuse for lingering ; he was kind enough to borrow a shilling
of me, before we parted ; and the action of slipping the coin into his hand gave
me the further excuse of turning rapidly away, without a last look at the
motionless figure watching me from the lighted window. Ah, that was a long
BERTHA AT THE FAIR 87
time ago, Madame ; but you see I remember it quite distinctly, not, perhaps,
because it was the occasion when I was taken for a poet. Do you mind if I
talk now about Bertha ? I met Bertha much more recently, but I am not sure
that I remember her quite so well.
This was at Brussels. It was in the time of the Kermesse, when, as you
know, the good Flemish people are somewhat more boisterously jolly than
usual ; when the band plays in the middle of the market-place, and the people
walk round and round the band-stand, looking up at the Archangel Michael
on the spire of the Hôtel de Ville, to see him turn first pink and then green, as
the Bengal lights smoke about his feet ; when there are processions in the
streets, music and torches, and everyone sets out for the Fair. You have seen
the Gingerbread Fair at Paris ? Well, imagine a tiny Gingerbread Fair, but
with something quite Flemish in the solid gaiety of its shows and crowds, as
solid as the “bons chevaux de bois,” Verlaine’s “bons chevaux de bois,” that
go prancing up and down in their rattling circles. Quite Flemish, too, were
the little mysterious booths, which you have certainly not found in Paris,
Madame, and which I should certainly not have taken you to see in Brussels.
You paid a penny at the door, and, once inside, were scarcely limited in regard
to the sum you might easily spend on very little. What did one see ? Indeed,
very little. There was a lady, perched, for the most part, in an odd little alcove,
raised a bed’s height above the ground. As a rule, she was not charming, not
even young ; and her conversation was almost limited to a phrase in which
“Mon petit bénéfice” recurred, somewhat tiresomely. No, there was not much
to see, after all.
But Bertha was different. I don’t know exactly what was the odd fascina-
tion of Bertha, but she fascinated us all : the mild Flemish painter, with his
golden beard ; our cynical publisher, with his diabolical monocle ; my
fantastical friend, the poet ; and, Madame, be sure, myself. She was tall and
lissom : she apologized for taking the place of the fat lady usually on exhibi-
tion ; she had strange, perverse, shifting eyes, the colour of burnt topazes, and
thin painful lips, that smiled frankly, when the eyes began their queer dance
under the straight eyebrows. She was scarred on the cheek : a wicked Baron,
she told us, had done that, with vitriol ; one of her breasts was singularly
mutilated ; she had been shot in the back by an Englishman, when she was
keeping a shooting-gallery at Antwerp. And she had the air of a dangerous
martyr, who might bewitch one, with some of those sorceries that had turned,
somehow, to her own hurt.
We stayed a long time in the booth. I forget most of our conversation.
88 THE SAVOY
But I remember that our publisher, holding the monocle preposterously
between his lips, announced solemnly: “Je suis un poète” Then he generously
shifted the credit upon the two of us who were most anxious to disclaim the
name. Bertha was curious, but bewildered. She had no conception of what
a poet was. We tried French, Flemish, and English, poem, verse, rhyme, song,
everything, in short, and in vain. At last an idea struck her : she understood :
we were café-chantant singers. That was the nearest she ever came.
Do but think of it, Madame, for one instant : a woman who does not so
much as know what a poet is ! But you can have no idea how grateful I was
to Bertha, nor how often, since then, I have longed to see her again. Never
did any woman so charm me by so celestial an ignorance. The moments I
spent with Bertha at the Fair repaid me for I know not how many weary hours
in drawing-rooms. Can you understand the sensation, Madame, the infinite
relief? . . . . And then she was a snake-like creature, with long cool hands.
THE BALLAD OF A BARBER
HERE is the tale of Carrousel,
The barber of Meridian Street.
He cut, and coiffed, and shaved so well,
That all the world was at his feet.
The King, the Queen, and all the Court,
To no one else would trust their hair,
And reigning belles of every sort
Owed their successes to his care.
With carriage and with cabriolet
Daily Meridian Street was blocked,
Like bees about a bright bouquet
The beaux about his doorway flocked.
Such was his art he could with ease
Curl wit into the dullest face ;
Or to a goddess of old Greece
Add a new wonder and a grace.
All powders, paints, and subtle dyes,
And costliest scents that men distil,
And rare pomades, forgot their price
And marvelled at his splendid skill.
The curling irons in his hand
Almost grew quick enough to speak,
The razor was a magic wand
That understood the softest cheek.
92 THE SAVOY
Yet with no pride his heart was moved ;
He was so modest in his ways !
His daily task was all he loved,
And now and then a little praise.
An equal care he would bestow
On problems simple or complex ;
And nobody had seen him show
A preference for either sex.
How came it then one summer day,
Coiffing the daughter of the King,
He lengthened out the least delay
And loitered in his hairdressing ?
The Princess was a pretty child,
Thirteen years old, or thereabout.
She was as joyous and as wild
As spring flowers when the sun is out.
Her gold hair fell down to her feet
And hung about her pretty eyes ;
She was as lyrical and sweet
As one of Schubert’s melodies.
Three times the barber curled a lock,
And thrice he straightened it again ;
And twice the irons scorched her frock,
And twice he stumbled in her train.
His fingers lost their cunning quite,
His ivory combs obeyed no more ;
Something or other dimmed his sight,
And moved mysteriously the floor.
He leant upon the toilet table,
His fingers fumbled in his breast ;
He felt as foolish as a fable,
And feeble as a pointless jest.
THE BALLAD OF A BARBER 93
He snatched a bottle of Cologne,
And broke the neck between his hands ;
He felt as if he was alone,
And mighty as a king’s commands.
The Princess gave a little scream,
Carrousel’s cut was sharp and deep ;
He left her softly as a dream
That leaves a sleeper to his sleep.
He left the room on pointed feet ;
Smiling that things had gone so well.
They hanged him in Meridian Street.
You pray in vain for Carrousel.
THE SIMPLIFICATION OF LIFE
THE editor asks me to say “a few words” about “Simplifica-
tion”—a subject which seems somehow to have got itself
connected with my name, though I should think it only
a comparatively-speaking small part of my programme.
I remember, in that highly moral tale “Sandford and
Merton,” that there is an affecting account of a certain
Miss Simpkins who, after some frivolous charmer has executed the usual
fireworks on the piano, sits down and plays “a few simple chords” which
“bring tears to all eyes.” I suppose our editor expects me to produce a
similarly touching effect on the readers of the “Savoy.”
But I really have no sentimentalities to give utterance to on this subject,
nor any moral tale to unfold. People (of the kind that carry reticules)
sometimes coming into my study and finding it a moderately bright room
with a few objects in it worth looking at, take it upon themselves to say,
“but I thought it was against your principles to have ornaments ;” and then
I have to explain, for the hundredth time, that I have never said anything of
the kind, that I have never set up duty as against beauty, and that, anyhow, I
have not the smallest intention of boxing my life, or that of others, within
the four corners of any mere cut-and-dried principle.
It is just a question of facts, and of the science of life. And the facts
are these. People as a rule, being extremely muddle-headed about life, are
under a fixed impression that the more they can acquire and accumulate in
any department, the “better off” they will be, and the better times they will
have. Consequently when they walk down the street and see nice things in
the shop windows, instead of leaving them there, if they have any money in
their pockets, they buy them and put them on their backs or into their
mouths, or in their rooms and round their walls ; and then, after a time,
finding the result not very satisfactory, they think they have not bought the
right things, and so go out again and buy some more. And they go on doing
this in a blind habitual way till at last their bodies and lives are as muddled
up as their brains are, and they can hardly move about or enjoy themselves
THE SIMPLIFICATION OF LIFE 95
for the very multitude of their possessions, and impediments, and duties, and
responsibilities, and diseases connected with them.
The origin of this absurd conduct is of course easy to see. It is what the
scientific men call an “atavism.” In the case of most of us, our ancestors, a
few generations back, were no doubt actually in want (and if one goes far
enough this is true of everybody)— in want of sufficient food or sufficient
clothing. Consequently it became a fixed “principle” in those days, when
you saw a chance, to accumulate as much as you could ; which principle at
last became a blind habit. Savages when they come across a good square
meal—in the shape of a dead elephant—just stuff as much as ever they can,
knowing it doubtful when they will get another chance. In decent society
nowadays the fixed idea of stuffing has been got over to some extent, but
the other fixed ideas mostly remain ; and, without knowing exactly why,
people cram their houses, their rooms, their shelves, with ” goods,” their backs
with clothes, their fingers with rings, and so forth, to the last point that can be
Of course if the good folk really enjoy doing so, it’s all right. But, from
the wails and groans one constantly hears, this seems to be an open question.
The gratification of fixed ideas, unlike the gratification of a living need,
seems to be a kind of mechanical thing, supposed to be necessary, but
certainly burdensome, and bringing little enjoyment with it. And progress
seems frequently to consist in just getting rid of such ideas as best one can, by
surgical operation or otherwise.
There are different ways of dealing with this question of Accumulation,
which so harasses modern life. The first may be called the method of
Thoreau. Thoreau had an ornament on his shelf, but finding it wanted
dusting every day, and having to do the dusting himself, he ultimately came
to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth the trouble, and threw the ornament out
of the window. That was perfectly sensible. There was no question exactly
of sentiment or of principle, but just a question of fact—was the pleasure
worth the trouble ?
Personally I like to have a few things of beauty about me ; and as it
happens that I dust and clean out my room myself, I know exactly how much
trouble each thing in it is, and whether the trouble is compensated by the
pleasure. It is merely a personal question. Some people might like their
rooms crowded up with objects, and still be willing to spend a good part of
their lives in keeping them in order ; but no one surely could quarrel with
them on that account.
96 THE SAVOY
That is all easy enough to see. But now there is another class of folk
who, experiencing the pleasure of having certain possessions, are not willing
to undergo the labour of keeping them in order. They want the pleasure
without the trouble or pains attaching to it. That is, they want to make
water run up-hill. They therefore buy servants and attendants to keep the
things in order for them. And they do this because they think the method
will be a “simplification ” in their sense, i.e., that it will save them trouble.
But in general they think this only because they are muddle-headed and do
not think clearly.
The problem is not escaped ; for most people, being partly human,
cannot have other folk living under the same roof without feeling bound to
and even concerned about them, to consider them and their needs, their
interests, their troubles, sicknesses, and so forth. Thus, after a time, they
find that instead of reducing complications they have only added a fresh
responsibility to their lives. Having got a housemaid to look after your
rooms for you, you find that she has to be instructed constantly in her work,
that even so she does things wrong, breaks the china, and quarrels with the
other servants ; that she has an invalid mother at home, and a young man in
a neighbouring public house, and no end of griefs and grievances, fads and
fancies, of her own ; so that now, instead of dusting and cleaning your own
rooms, the only difference is that you have to dust and clean the housemaid
every day, which turns out to be a much more complicated and serious job.
If on the other hand, as is the case with some people, you are really a little
less than human, and are in the habit of treating your servants and attendants
as a kind of cattle, and can consent to live in a house with them on such terms
—you are still no better off by this method. For naturally they revenge them-
selves on you at every point. In one of those suburban villas whose endless
rows run out like rays of sweetness and light from the centre of the civilized
world, I heard the other day a charming duet between husband and wife. It
was founded on the old subject. “Brutes !” at last exclaimed the husband.
“They do all they can to annoy you. Now there’s that cook, she’s always
singing—always singing at her work. And I’m certain she does it because she
knows I don’t like it !” Well, of course you are lucky if you come in for
nothing worse than singing—though that, no doubt, is trying enough when out
of tune. But it is exhausting work anyhow, trying to make water run up-hill,
and at the best it is work that’s never finished.
All this however does not prove that servants are necessarily a mistake.
Because you get rid of one idee fixe it does not follow that you must enslave
THE SIMPLIFICATION OF LIFE 97
yourself to its opposite. If you were sufficiently attached to your attendants it
might turn out that the pleasure their presence gave you compensated for the
trouble they caused. And it might happen that you were really doing more
useful and congenial work in dusting your housemaid’s mind than in dusting
your room. In this case there would be a sensible and natural exchange
of services, with a gain to both parties ; and the relation would actually be a
“simplification.” These things are so very obvious that I feel quite ashamed
to put them down ; but it is not my fault that I am called upon to do so.
Life is an art, and a very fine art. One of its first necessities is that you
should not have more material in it—more chairs and tables, servants, houses,
lands, bank-shares, friends, acquaintances, and so forth, than you can really
handle. It is no good pretending that you are obliged to have them. You
must cut that nonsense short. It is so evidently better to give your carriage
and horses away to someone who can really make use of them than to turn
yourself into a dummy for the purpose of ” exercising” them every day. It is
so much better to be rude to needless acquaintances than to feign you
like them, and so muddle up both their lives and yours with a fraud.
In a well-painted picture there isn’t a grain of paint which is mere
material. All is expression. And yet life is a greater art than painting
pictures. Modern civilized folk are like people sitting helplessly in the
midst of heaps of paint-cans and brushes—and ever accumulating more ;
but when they are going to produce anything lovely or worth looking at
in their own lives, Heaven only knows !
In this sense Simplification is the first letter of the alphabet of the Art of
Life. But it is only that ; it is no more than the first letter. And as there are
so many other letters to learn, I trust that we may now pass on ; and that we
may be spared further queries on the subject from our friends, with reticules or
THE FUTURE PHENOMENON
(From the French of Stéphane Mallarmé)
THE pale sky that lies above a world ending in decrepitude
will perhaps pass away with the clouds : the tattered purple
of the sunset is fading in a river sleeping on the horizon
submerged in sunlight and in water. The trees are tired ;
and, beneath their whitened leaves (whitened by the dust
of time rather than by that of the roads,) rises the canvas
house of the Interpreter of Past Things : many a lamp awaits the twilight and
lightens the faces of an unhappy crowd, conquered by the immortal malady
and the sin of the centuries, of men standing by their wretched accomplices
quick with the miserable fruit with which the world shall perish. In the
unquiet silence of every eye supplicating yonder sun, which, beneath the water,
sinks with the despair of a cry, listen to the simple patter of the showman :
” Xo sign regales you of the spectacle within, for there is not now a painter
capable of presenting any sad shadow of it. I bring alive (and preserved
through the years by sovereign science) a woman of old time. Some folly,
original and simple, an ecstasy of gold, I know not what ! which she names
her hair, falls with the grace of rich stuffs about her face, which contrasts
with the bloodlike nudity of her lips. In place of the vain gown, she has a
body ; and the eyes, though like rare stones, are not worth the look that leaps
from the happy flesh : the breasts, raised as if filled with an eternal milk, are
pointed to the sky, and the smooth limbs still keep the salt of the primal
sea.” Remembering their poor wives, bald, morbid, and full of horror, the
husbands press fonvard : and the wives, too, impelled by melancholy curiosity,
wish to see.
When all have looked upon the noble creature, vestige of an epoch already
accursed, some, indifferent, not having the power to comprehend, but others,
THE FUTURE PHENOMENON 99
whelmed in grief and their eyelids wet with tears of resignation, gaze at each
other ; whilst the poets of these times, feeling their dead eyes brighten, drag
themselves to their lamps, their brains drunk for a moment with a vague
glory, haunted with Rhythm, and forgetful that they live in an age that has
A LITERARY CAUSERIE:
ON SOME NOVELS, CHIEFLY FRENCH
A NOVEL used once to be a story. When the story required
padding, the novelist would introduce descriptions of
scenery, philosophical reflections, and other irrelevant
matters. To-day, especially in France, the country of
good fiction, a novel is rather an essay, in which the padding
consists of irrelevant fragments of story, introduced when
the descriptions and reflections run short. Take, for instance, Zola’s last
book, the immense, fatiguing ” Rome,” as fatiguing as a Cook’s personally
conducted tour through the actual city. It has been said that Zola has
written a bad story, that his talent is in collapse. Not in the least. He has
not tried to write a story at all, he has (unfortunately for his readers) written
an encyclopaedical essay on Rome, on the Rome of the Caesars, of the Popes
of the Renaissance, of the modern Kings ; on Catholicism as a system, on its
social and political influence, on its ancient history and its prospects for the
future ; on the Rome which survives in architecture, and the Rome which
survives in its cardinals ; but a story, no. The essay is not merely of immense
length, it is of great ability ; it is full of ideas, admirable in its arrangement
and interpretation of facts. But its effect is that of a canvas all background,
a canvas in which the figures have not been fitted in. Do but contrast it for
a moment with that exquisite novel of Goncourt, ” Madame Gervaisais,” in
which the very soul of Rome seems to animate the pages. Never was a
background more elaborately, more delicately painted, with a more precise
and unwearying care of detail ; yet the book, with all its marvellous descrip-
tions, is first of all a study of the soul of a woman, in its communion with that
invading and conquering soul of the eternal city. The soul is a ” particle ‘
with which Zola has never greatly troubled himself. His priest, who visits
Rome in order to see the Pope and prevent the interdiction of his book, is not
so much as a coherent bundle of sensations. He acts, at most, as the
“personal conductor” of Cook’s tour. In the tiny mesh of intrigue which he
A LITERARY CAUSERIE 101
finds himself caught in, there is just one quality to be commended, yet with
reserve. As I was reading the book, nothing struck me more than the
mastery of what might be called the atmosphere of character, as well as of
surroundings. These Boccaneras and the rest, they are undoubtedly Italians,
not Frenchmen dressed up in Italian garb ; they have the voice and gesture
of their race. Yet after all is not this one piece the more of that talent for
exteriority which is certainly the great, conspicuous talent of Zola ? It is
something to paint the tint of the Italian. But that is only the beginning of
creation. Othello, though you play him with a blackened face, is universal
jealousy, not merely a jealous Moor. And you may play him without his
properties, and only the costumier will be the loser.
Another, and a far greater novel, in which the revolt against the story is
carried with finer violence to a further point of conquest, is Huysmans’ “En
Route,” of which a translation, written and published by Mr. Kegan Paul, has
just appeared ; a translation as conspicuously and conscientiously admirable as
Mr. Vizetelly’s translation of “Rome” is conspicuously and carelessly in-
competent. Here is a novel which is but the record of wanderings through
all the churches of Paris and a brief rest in a Trappist retreat ; and it is a
great book. For it is the study of a conscience, a new Pilgrim’s Progress
through all the devious and perilous pathways of the soul. Mr. Kegan Paul
tells us he has translated it partly for purposes of edification, at which
M. Huysmans, if I know him rightly, will perhaps be a little amused. But it
is a book, certainly, which, as a document of the soul, is more valuable than
any book lately written. A story ? Not in the least ; less of a story than
“Rome ;” but, in the modern acceptance of the word, it would appear,
I sometimes wonder whether there is any reason for keeping the tradition
of a name when we have abandoned the tradition of the thing which that
name once signified. Look at Balzac (and English readers are for the first
time able to look at something which is approximately Balzac, in the complete
translation which we owe to the enterprise of Messrs. Dent), and you will see
that, in spite of the interminable pages of essay-writing, of the prodigal casting
adrift of ideas and reflections, all through this vast analysis of the Human
Comedy, it is always for Balzac, as it was always for his less complex pre-
decessors, the story which counts. And yet Balzac certainly led the way (with
Stendhal, to whom, no less, the story is everything) to that final development
in which story evaporates in analysis (as in Bourget), in atmosphere (as in
Pierre Loti), or, as I have already said, in essay-writing and the confessions of
102 THE SAVOY
the soul. Even in England, where ideas penetrate slowly, it is coming to be
felt that, at all events, the point of view of a novel is of considerable importance,
not only as we see that question of the point of view, crudely and with intention
to instruct, in a writer such as Mrs. Humphrey Ward, but as we see it also,
artistically and with a studious, unbiassed intelligence, in Mr. Thomas Hardy’s
“Jude, the Obscure.” In all this it must be for individual preference to decide
how much we lose, how much we gain. Scarcely in some fantastical country
of romance is it now possible for a narrative, which is only a narrative, to be
written by any writer of brains. Dumas, if he returned to France, would have
to publish his stories in the feuilleton of the “Petit Journal.” Is this because
we are getting too serious to be amused, too conceited with our seriousness to
even desire amusement? Possibly, and no doubt it is all for the good of the
race, the benefit of the wiser among us. It gives, certainly, new opportunities
of approach to the vivid thinker on life, who had once to content himself with
the meagre platform and the scanty audience of the essay. But, much as I
may personally prefer “En Route” to “Monte Cristo,” it is a little difficult
for me to speak of them both under the same name, or to feel that the former
has any right to the title of the latter. It is merely a question of terms, but I
think terms are better for conveying a precise sense. And if, not merely
“Monte Cristo,” but “Le Pere Goriot,” or “Le Rouge et le Noir,” or “L’Edu-
cation Sentimentale,” even, is to be described as a novel, then “En Route,” if
we call it a novel, must be called a bad novel. And yet it is undoubtedly a
In consequence of Mr. Beardsley’s severe and continued illness, we
have been compelled to discontinue the publication of “Under the
Hill,” which will be issued by the present publisher in book form,
with numerous illustrations by the author, as soon as Mr. Beardsley
is well enought to work to its conclusion.
The Savoy, vol. 3 July 1896. Savoy Digital Edition, edited by Christopher Keep and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2018-2020. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019. https://1890s.ca/savoyv3_all/