THE FLYING INN
GILBERT K. CHESTERTON
"MANALIVE," "THE INNOCENCE OF
FATHER BROWN," ETC.
JOHN LANE COMPANY
Copyright, 1914, by
JOHN LANE COMPANY
First Printing, Jan., 1914
Second Printing, Feb., 1914
* * *
I. A SERMON ON INNS
II. THE END OF OLIVE ISLAND
III. THE SIGN OF "THE OLD SHIP"
IV. THE INN FINDS WINGS
V. THE ASTONISHMENT OF THE AGENT
VI. THE HOLE IN HEAVEN
VII. THE SOCIETY OF SIMPLE SOULS
VIII. VOX POPULI VOX DEI
IX. THE HIGHER CRITICISM AND MR. HIBBS
X. THE CHARACTER OF QUOODLE
XI. VEGETARIANISM IN THE DRAWING-ROOM
XII. VEGETARIANISM IN THE FOREST
XIII. THE BATTLE OF THE TUNNEL
XIV. THE CREATURE THAT MAN FORGETS
XV. THE SONGS OF THE CAR CLUB
XVI. THE SEVEN MOODS OF DORIAN
XVII. THE POET IN PARLIAMENT
XVIII. THE REPUBLIC OF PEACEWAYS
XIX. THE HOSPITALITY OF THE CAPTAIN
XX. THE TURK AND THE FUTURISTS
XXI. THE ROAD TO ROUNDABOUT
XXII. THE CHEMISTRY OF MR. CROOKE
XXIII. THE MARCH ON IVYWOOD
XXIV. THE ENIGMAS OF LADY JOAN
XXV. THE FINDING OF THE SUPERMAN
* * *
THE FLYING INN
* * *
A SERMON ON INNS
THE sea was a pale elfin green and the afternoon had
already felt the fairy touch of evening as a young
woman with dark hair, dressed in a crinkly copper-coloured
sort of dress of the artistic order, was walking
rather listlessly along the parade of Pebblewick-on-Sea,
trailing a parasol and looking out upon the
sea's horizon. She had a reason for looking instinctively
out at the sea-line; a reason that many young
women have had in the history of the world. But
there was no sail in sight.
On the beach below the parade were a succession
of small crowds, surrounding the usual orators of the
seaside; whether niggers or socialists, whether clowns
or clergymen. Here would stand a man doing something
or other with paper boxes; and the holiday
makers would watch him for hours in the hope of
some time knowing what it was that he was doing with
them. Next to him would be a man in a top hat with
a very big Bible and a very small wife, who stood
silently beside him, while he fought with his clenched
fist against the heresy of Milnian Sublapsarianism so
wide-spread in fashionable watering-places. It was
not easy to follow him, he was so very much excited;
but every now and then the words "our Sublapsarian
friends" would recur with a kind of wailing sneer.
Next was a young man talking of nobody knew what
(least of all himself), but apparently relying for public
favour mainly on having a ring of carrots round
his hat. He had more money lying in front of him
than the others. Next were niggers. Next was a
children's service conducted by a man with a long neck
who beat time with a little wooden spade. Farther
along there was an atheist, in a towering rage, who
pointed every now and then at the children's service
and spoke of Nature's fairest things being corrupted
with the secrets of the Spanish Inquisition--by the
man with the little spade, of course. The atheist (who
wore a red rosette) was very withering to his own
audience as well. "Hypocrites!" he would say; and
then they would throw him money. "Dupes and
dastards!" and then they would throw him more money.
But between the atheist and the children's service was
a little owlish man in a red fez, weakly waving a
green gamp umbrella. His face was brown and wrinkled
like a walnut, his nose was of the sort we associate
with Judaea, his beard was the sort of black wedge
we associate rather with Persia. The young woman
had never seen him before; he was a new exhibit in the
now familiar museum of cranks and quacks. The
young woman was one of those people in whom a real
sense of humour is always at issue with a certain
temperamental tendency to boredom or melancholia;
and she lingered a moment, and leaned on the rail to
It was fully four minutes before she could understand
a word the man was saying; he spoke English
with so extraordinary an accent that she supposed at
first that he was talking in his own oriental tongue.
All the noises of that articulation were odd; the most
marked was an extreme prolongation of the short
"u" into "oo"; as in "poo-oot" for "put." Gradually
the girl got used to the dialect, and began to understand
the words; though some time elapsed even then
before she could form any conjecture of their subject
matter. Eventually it appeared to her that he had
some fad about English civilisation having been founded
by the Turks; or, perhaps by the Saracens after their
victory in the Crusades. He also seemed to think that
Englishmen would soon return to this way of thinking;
and seemed to be urging the spread of teetotalism
as an evidence of it. The girl was the only person
listening to him.
"Loo-ook," he said, wagging a curled brown finger,
"loo-ook at your own inns" (which he pronounced as
"ince"). "Your inns of which you write in your
boo-ooks! Those inns were not poo-oot up in the beginning
to sell ze alcoholic Christian drink. They were
put up to sell ze non-alcoholic Islamic drinks. You can
see this in the names of your inns. They are eastern
names, Asiatic names. You have a famous public
house to which your omnibuses go on the pilgrimage.
It is called the Elephant and Castle. That is not an
English name. It is an Asiatic name. You will say
there are castles in England, and I will agree with you.
There is the Windsor Castle. But where," he cried
sternly, shaking his green umbrella at the girl in an
angry oratorical triumph, "where is the Windsor Elephant?
I have searched all Windsor Park. No elephants."
The girl with the dark hair smiled, and began to
think that this man was better than any of the others.
In accordance with the strange system of concurrent
religious endowment which prevails at watering-places,
she dropped a two shilling piece into the round copper
tray beside him. With honourable and disinterested
eagerness, the old gentleman in the red fez took no
notice of this, but went on warmly, if obscurely, with
"Then you have a place of drink in this town which
you call The Bool!"
"We generally call it The Bull," said the interested
young lady, with a very melodious voice.
"You have a place of drink, which you call The
Bool," he reiterated in a sort of abstract fury, "and
surely you see that this is all vary ridiculous!"
"No, no!" said the girl, softly, and in deprecation.
"Why should there be a Bull?" he cried, prolonging
the word in his own way. "Why should there be
a Bull in connection with a festive locality? Who
thinks about a Bull in gardens of delight? What need
is there of a Bull when we watch the tulip-tinted
maidens dance or pour the sparkling sherbert? You
yourselves, my friends?" And he looked around
radiantly, as if addressing an enormous mob. "You
yourselves have a proverb, 'It is not calculated to
promote prosperity to have a Bull in a china shop.'
Equally, my friends, it would not be calculated to
promote prosperity to have a Bull in a wine shop. All
this is clear."
He stuck his umbrella upright in the sand and struck
one finger against another, like a man getting to business
"It iss as clear as the sun at noon," he said solemnly.
"It iss as clear as the sun at noon that this word Bull,
which is devoid of restful and pleasurable associations,
is but the corruption of another word, which possesses
restful and pleasurable associations. The word is not
Bull; it is the Bul-Bul!" His voice rose suddenly like
a trumpet and he spread abroad his hands like the fans
of a tropic palm-tree.
After this great effect he was a little more subdued
and leaned gravely on his umbrella. "You will
find the same trace of Asiatic nomenclature in the
names of all your English inns," he went on. "Nay,
you will find it, I am almost certain, in all your terms
in any way connected with your revelries and your
reposes. Why, my good friends, the very name of that
insidious spirit by which you make strong your drinks
is an Arabic word: alcohol. It is obvious, is it not,
that this is the Arabic article 'Al,' as in Alhambra,
as in Algebra; and we need not pause here to pursue
its many appearances in connection with your festive
institutions, as in your Alsop's beer, your Ally Sloper,
and your partly joyous institution of the Albert
Memorial. Above all, in your greatest feasting day--your
Christmas day--which you so erroneously suppose to
be connected with your religion, what do you say then?
Do you say the names of the Christian Nations? Do
you say, 'I will have a little France. I will have a
little Ireland. I will have a little Scotland. I will have
a little Spain?' No--o." And the noise of the negative
seemed to waggle as does the bleating of a sheep.
"You say, 'I will have a little Turkey,' which is your
name for the Country of the Servant of the Prophet!"
And once more he stretched out his arms sublimely
to the east and west and appealed to earth and heaven.
The young lady, looking at the sea-green horizon with
a smile, clapped her grey gloved hands softly together
as if at a peroration. But the little old man with the
fez was far from exhausted yet.
"In reply to this you will object--" he began.
"O no, no," breathed the young lady in a sort of
dreamy rapture. "I don't object. I don't object the
"In reply to this you will object--" proceeded her
preceptor, "that some inns are actually named after the
symbols of your national superstitions. You will hasten
to point out to me that the Golden Cross is situated
opposite Charing Cross, and you will expatiate at
length on King's Cross, Gerrard's Cross and the many
crosses that are to be found in or near London. But
you must not forget," and here he wagged his green
umbrella roguishly at the girl, as if he was going to
poke her with it, "none of you, my friends, must
forget what a large number of Crescents there are
in London! Denmark Crescent; Mornington Crescent!
St. Mark's Crescent! St. George's Crescent!
Grosvenor Crescent! Regent's Park Crescent! Nay,
Royal Crescent! And why should we forget Pelham
Crescent? Why, indeed? Everywhere, I say, homage
paid to the holy symbol of the religion of the Prophet!
Compare with this network and pattern of crescents,
this city almost consisting of crescents, the meagre
array of crosses, which remain to attest the ephemeral
superstition to which you were, for one weak moment,
The crowds on the beach were rapidly thinning as
tea-time drew nearer. The west grew clearer and
clearer with the evening, till the sunshine seemed to
have got behind the pale green sea and be shining
through, as through a wall of thin green glass. The
very transparency of sky and sea might have to this
girl, for whom the sea was the romance and the tragedy,
the hint of a sort of radiant hopelessness. The
flood made of a million emeralds was ebbing as slowly
as the sun was sinking: but the river of human nonsense
flowed on for ever.
"I will not for one moment maintain," said the old
gentleman, "that there are no difficulties in my case;
or that all the examples are as obviously true as those
that I have just demonstrated. No-o. It is obvious,
let us say, that the 'Saracen's Head' is a corruption of
the historic truth 'The Saracen is Ahead'--I am far
from saying it is equally obvious that the 'Green Dragon'
was originally 'the Agreeing Dragoman'; though
I hope to prove in my book that it is so. I will only
say here that it is su-urely more probable that one
poo-ooting himself forward to attract the wayfarer
in the desert, would compare himself to a friendly
and persuadable guide or courier, rather than to a
voracious monster. Sometimes the true origin is very
hard to trace; as in the inn that commemorates our
great Moslem Warrior, Amir Ali Ben Bhoze, whom
you have so quaintly abbreviated into Admiral Benbow.
Sometimes it is even more difficult for the seeker
after truth. There is a place of drink near to here
called 'The Old Ship'--"
The eyes of the girl remained on the ring of the
horizon as rigid as the ring itself; but her whole face
had coloured and altered. The sands were almost
emptied by now: the atheist was as non-existent as
his God; and those who had hoped to know what was
being done to the paper boxes had gone away to their
tea without knowing it. But the young woman still
leaned on the railing. Her face was suddenly alive;
and it looked as if her body could not move.
"It shood be admitted--" bleated the old man with
the green umbrella, "that there is no literally
self-evident trace of the Asiatic nomenclature in the words
'the old ship.' But even here the see-eeker after Truth
can poot himself in touch with facts. I questioned
the proprietor of 'The Old Ship' who is, according to
such notes as I have kept, a Mr. Pumph."
The girl's lip trembled.
"Poor old Hump!" she said. "Why, I'd forgotten
about him. He must be very nearly as worried as I
am! I hope this man won't be too silly about this!
I'd rather it weren't about this!"
"And Mr. Pumph to-old me the inn was named by
a vary intimate friend of his, an Irishman who had
been a Captain in the Britannic Royal Navy, but had
resigned his po-ost in anger at the treatment of
Ireland. Though quitting the service, he retained joost
enough of the superstition of your western sailors, to
wish his friend's inn to be named after his old ship.
But as the name of the ship was 'The United Kingdom--'"
His female pupil, if she could not exactly be said
to be sitting at his feet, was undoubtedly leaning out
very eagerly above his head. Amid the solitude of
the sands she called out in a loud and clear voice, "Can
you tell me the Captain's name?"
The old gentleman jumped, blinked and stared like
a startled owl. Having been talking for hours as if
he had an audience of thousands, he seemed suddenly
very much embarrassed to find that he had even an
audience of one. By this time they seemed to be almost
the only human creatures along the shore; almost
the only living creatures, except the seagulls. The sun,
in dropping finally, seemed to have broken as a blood
orange might break; and lines of blood-red light were
spilt along the split, low, level skies. This abrupt and
belated brilliance took all the colour out of the man's
red cap and green umbrella; but his dark figure, distinct
against the sea and the sunset, remained the same,
save that it was more agitated than before.
"The name," he said, "the Captain's name. I--I
understood it was Dalroy. But what I wish to indicate,
what I wish to expound, is that here again the
seeker after truth can find the connection of his ideas.
It was explained to me by Mr. Pumph that he was
rearranging the place of festivity, in no inconsiderable
proportion because of the anticipated return of
the Captain in question, who had, as it appeared, taken
service in some not very large Navy, but had left it
and was coming home. Now, mark all of you, my
friends," he said to the seagulls "that even here the
chain of logic holds."
He said it to the seagulls because the young lady,
after staring at him with starry eyes for a moment and
leaning heavily on the railing, had turned her back
and disappeared rapidly into the twilight. After her
hasty steps had fallen silent there was no other noise
than the faint but powerful purring of the now distant
sea, the occasional shriek of a sea-bird, and the
continuous sound of a soliloquy.
"Mark, all of you," continued the man flourishing
his green umbrella so furiously that it almost flew
open like a green flag unfurled, and then striking it
deep in the sand, in the sand in which his fighting
fathers had so often struck their tents, "mark all of
you this marvellous fact! That when, being for a
time, for a time, astonished-embarrassed--brought
up as you would say short--by the absence of any
absolute evidence of Eastern influence in the phrase
'the old ship,' I inquired from what country the Captain
was returning, Mr. Pumph said to me in solemnity,
'From Turkey.' From Turkey! From the nearest
country of the Religion! I know men say it is not
our country; that no man knows where we come from,
of what is our country. What does it matter where
we come from if we carry a message from Paradise?
With a great galloping of horses we carry it, and have
no time to stop in places. But what we bring is the
only creed that has regarded what you will call in
your great words the virginity of a man's reason, that
has put no man higher than a prophet, and has
respected the solitude of God."
And again he spread his arms out, as if addressing
a mass meeting of millions, all alone on the dark
* * *
THE END OF OLIVE ISLAND
THE great sea-dragon of the changing colours that
wriggles round the world like a chameleon, was pale
green as it washed on Pebblewick, but strong blue
where it broke on the Ionian Isles. One of the
innumerable islets, hardly more than a flat white rock
in the azure expanse, was celebrated as the Isle of
Olives; not because it was rich in such vegetation,
but because, by some freak of soil or climate, two or
three little olives grew there to an unparalleled height.
Even in the full heat of the South it is very unusual
for an olive tree to grow any taller than a small pear
tree; but the three olives that stood up as signals on this
sterile place might well be mistaken, except for the
shape, for moderate sized pines or larches of the north.
It was also connected with some ancient Greek legend
about Pallas the patroness of the olive; for all that
sea was alive with the first fairyland of Hellas; and
from the platform of marble under the olive trees
could be seen the grey outline of Ithaca.
On the island and under the trees was a table set
in the open air and covered with papers and inkstands.
At the table were sitting four men, two in uniform
and two in plain black clothes. Aides-de-camps,
equerries and such persons stood in a group in the
background; and behind them a string of two or three
silent battle-ships lay along the sea. For peace was
being given to Europe.
There had just come to an end the long agony of
one of the many unsuccessful efforts to break the
strength of Turkey and save the small Christian tribes.
There had been many other such meetings in the later
phases of the matter as, one after another, the smaller
nations gave up the struggle, or the greater nations
came in to coerce them. But the interested parties
had now dwindled to these four. For the Powers of
Europe being entirely agreed on the necessity for
peace on a Turkish basis, were content to leave the
last negotiations to England and Germany, who could
be trusted to enforce it; there was a representative of
the Sultan, of course; and there was a representative
of the only enemy of the Sultan who had not hitherto
come to terms.
For one tiny power had alone carried on the war
month after month, and with a tenacity and temporary
success that was a new nine-days marvel every
morning. An obscure and scarcely recognized prince
calling himself the King of Ithaca had filled the
Eastern Mediterranean with exploits that were not
unworthy of the audacious parallel that the name of his
island suggested. Poets could not help asking if it
were Odysseus come again; patriotic Greeks, even if
they themselves had been forced to lay down their
arms, could not help feeling curious as to what Greek
race or name was boasted by the new and heroic royal
house. It was, therefore, with some amusement that
the world at last discovered that the descendant of
Ulysses was a cheeky Irish adventurer named Patrick
Dalroy; who had once been in the English Navy, had
got into a quarrel through his Fenian sympathies and
resigned his commission. Since then he had seen
many adventures in many uniforms; and always got
himself or some one else into hot water with an
extraordinary mixture of cynicism and quixotry. In
his fantastic little kingdom, of course, he had been his
own General, his own Admiral, his own Foreign
Secretary and his own Ambassador; but he was always
careful to follow the wishes of his people in the
essentials of peace and war; and it was at their direction
that he had come to lay down his sword at last. Besides
his professional skill, he was chiefly famous for
his enormous bodily strength and stature. It is the
custom in newspapers nowadays to say that mere
barbaric muscular power is valueless in modern military
actions, but this view may be as much exaggerated as
its opposite. In such wars as these of the Near East,
where whole populations are slightly armed and
personal assault is common, a leader who can defend his
head often has a real advantage; and it is not true,
even in a general way, that strength is of no use. This
was admitted by Lord Ivywood, the English Minister,
who was pointing out in detail to King Patrick the
hopeless superiority of the light pattern of Turkish
field gun; and the King of Ithaca, remarking that he
was quite convinced, said he would take it with him,
and ran away with it under his arm. It would be
conceded by the greatest of the Turkish warriors, the
terrifying Oman Pasha, equally famous for his courage
in war and his cruelty in peace; but who carried on
his brow a scar from Patrick's sword, taken after three
hours mortal combat--and taken without spite or
shame, be it said, for the Turk is always at his best
in that game. Nor would the quality be doubted by
Mr. Hart, a financial friend of the German Minister,
whom Patrick Dalroy, after asking him which of his
front windows he would prefer to be thrown into,
threw into his bedroom window on the first floor with
so considerate an exactitude that he alighted on the
bed, where he was in a position to receive any medical
attention. But, when all is said, one muscular Irish
gentleman on an island cannot fight all Europe for
ever, and he came, with a kind of gloomy good
humour, to offer the terms now dictated to him by his
adopted country. He could not even knock all the
diplomatists down (for which he possessed both the
power and the inclination), for he realised, with the
juster part of his mind, that they were only obeying
orders, as he was. So he sat heavily and sleepily at
the little table, in the green and white uniform of the
Navy of Ithaca (invented by himself); a big bull of
a man, monstrously young for his size, with a bull neck
and two blue bull's eyes for eyes, and red hair rising
so steadily off his scalp that it looked as if his head had
caught fire: as some said it had.
The most dominant person present was the great
Oman Pasha himself, with his strong face starved by
the asceticism of war, his hair and mustache seeming
rather blasted with lightning than blanched with
age; a red fez on his head, and between the red fez
and mustache, a scar at which the King of Ithaca did
not look. His eyes had an awful lack of expression.
Lord Ivywood, the English Minister, was probably
the handsomest man in England, save that he was
almost colourless both in hair and complexion.
Against that blue marble sea he might almost have
been one of its old marble statues that are faultless
in line but show nothing but shades of grey or white.
It seemed a mere matter of the luck of lighting whether
his hair looked dull silver or pale brown; and his
splendid mask never changed in colour or expression.
He was one of the last of the old Parliamentary
orators; and yet he was probably a comparatively
young man; he could make anything he had to
mention blossom into verbal beauty; yet his face
remained dead while his lips were alive. He had little
old-fashioned ways, as out of old Parliaments; for
instance, he would always stand up, as in a Senate, to
speak to those three other men, alone on a rock in
In all this he perhaps appeared more personal in
contrast to the man sitting next to him, who never
spoke at all but whose face seemed to speak for him.
He was Dr. Gluck, the German Minister, whose
face had nothing German about it; neither the German
vision nor the German sleep. His face was as vivid
as a highly coloured photograph and altered like a
cinema: but his scarlet lips never moved in speech.
His almond eyes seemed to shine with all the shifting
fires of the opal; his small, curled black mustache
seemed sometimes almost to hoist itself afresh, like a
live, black snake; but there came from him no sound.
He put a paper in front of Lord Ivywood. Lord
Ivywood took a pair of eyeglasses to read it, and looked
ten years older by the act.
It was merely a statement of agenda; of the few
last things to be settled at this last conference. The
first item ran:
"The Ithacan Ambassador asks that the girls taken
to harems after the capture of Pylos be restored to
their families. This cannot be granted." Lord
Ivywood rose. The mere beauty of his voice startled
everyone who had not heard it before.
"Your Excellencies and gentlemen," he said, "a
statement to whose policy I by no means assent, but
to whose historic status I could not conceivably
aspire, has familiarised you with a phrase about peace
with honour. But when we have to celebrate a peace
between such historic soldiers as Oman Pasha and
His Majesty the King of Ithaca, I think we may say
that it is peace with glory."
He paused for half an instant; yet even the silence
of sea and rock seemed full of multitudinous applause,
so perfectly had the words been spoken.
"I think there is but one thought among us, whatever
our many just objections through these long and
harassing months of negotiations--I think there is
but one thought now. That the peace may be as full
as the war--that the peace may be as fearless as the
Once more he paused an instant; and felt a phantom
clapping, as it were, not from the hands but the
heads of the men. He went on.
"If we are to leave off fighting, we may surely leave
off haggling. A statute of limitations or, if you will,
an amnesty, is surely proper when so sublime a peace
seals so sublime a struggle. And if there be anything
in which an old diplomatist may advise you, I would
most strongly say this: that there should be no new
disturbance of whatever amicable or domestic ties have
been formed during this disturbed time. I will admit
I am sufficiently old-fashioned to think any interference
with the interior life of the family a precedent
of no little peril. Nor will I be so illiberal as not to
extend to the ancient customs of Islam what I would
extend to the ancient customs of Christianity. A
suggestion has been brought before us that we should
enter into a renewed war of recrimination as to whether
certain women have left their homes with or without
their own consent. I can conceive no controversy
more perilous to begin or more impossible to conclude.
I will venture to say that I express all your thoughts,
when I say that, whatever wrongs may have been
wrought on either side, the homes, the marriages, the
family arrangements of this great Ottoman Empire,
shall remain as they are today."
No one moved except Patrick Dalroy, who put his
hand on his sword-hilt for a moment and looked at
them all with bursting eyes; then his hand fell and he
laughed out loud and sudden.
Lord Ivywood took no notice, but picked up the
agenda paper again, and again fitted on the glasses
that made him look older. He read the second item--needless to say, not aloud. The German Minister with
the far from German face, had written this note for
"Both Coote and the Bernsteins insist there must
be Chinese for the marble. Greeks cannot be trusted
in the quarries just now."
"But while," continued Lord Ivywood, "we desire
these fundamental institutions, such as the Moslem
family, to remain as they are even at this moment, we
do not assent to social stagnation. Nor do we say
for one moment that the great tradition of Islam is
capable alone of sustaining the necessities of the Near
East. But I would seriously ask your Excellencies,
why should we be so vain as to suppose that the only
cure for the Near East is of necessity the Near West?
If new ideas are needed, if new blood is needed, would
it not be more natural to appeal to those most living,
those most laborious civilisations which form the vast
reserve of the Orient? Asia in Europe, if my friend
Oman Pasha will allow me the criticism, has hitherto
been Asia in arms. May we not yet see Asia in
Europe and yet Asia in peace? These at least are the
reasons which lead me to consent to a scheme of
Patrick Dalroy sprang erect, pulling himself out of
his seat by clutching at an olive-branch above his head.
He steadied himself by putting one hand on the trunk
of the tree, and simply stared at them all. There fell
on him the huge helplessness of mere physical power.
He could throw them into the sea; but what good
would that do? More men on the wrong side would be
accredited to the diplomatic campaign; and the only
man on the right side would be discredited for
anything. He shook the branching olive tree above him
in his fury. But he did not for one moment disturb
Lord Ivywood, who had just read the third item on
his private agenda ("Oman Pasha insists on the
destruction of the vineyards") and was by this time
engaged in a peroration which afterwards became
famous and may be found in many rhetorical text books
and primers. He was well into the middle of it before
Dalroy's rage and wonder allowed him to follow the
". . . do we indeed owe nothing," the diplomatist
was saying "to that gesture of high refusal in
which so many centuries ago the great Arabian mystic
put the wine-cup from his lips? Do we owe nothing
to the long vigil of a valiant race, the long fast by
which they have testified against the venomous beauty
of the Vine? Ours is an age when men come more
and more to see that the creeds hold treasures for each
other, that each religion has a secret for its neighbour,
that faith unto faith uttereth speech, and church unto
church showeth knowledge. If it be true, and I claim
again the indulgence of Oman Pasha when I say I
think it is true, that we of the West have brought some
light to Islam in the matter of the preciousness of
peace and of civil order, may we not say that Islam
in answer shall give us peace in a thousand homes,
and encourage us to cut down that curse that has
done so much to thwart and madden the virtues of
Western Christendom. Already in my own country
the orgies that made horrible the nights of the noblest
families are no more. Already the legislature takes
more and more sweeping action to deliver the populace
from the bondage of the all-destroying drug. Surely
the prophet of Mecca is reaping his harvest; the
cession of the disputed vineyards to the greatest of his
champions is of all acts the most appropriate to this
day; to this happy day that may yet deliver the East
from the curse of war and the West from the curse
of wine. The gallant prince who meets us here at last,
to offer an olive branch even more glorious than his
sword, may well have our sympathy if he himself
views the cession with some sentimental regret; but I
have little doubt that he also will live to rejoice in it
at last. And I would remind you that it is not the
vine alone that has been the sign of the glory of the
South. There is another sacred tree unstained by loose
and violent memories, guiltless of the blood of
Pentheus or of Orpheus and the broken lyre. We shall
pass from this place in a little while as all things pass
"Far called, our navies melt away.
On dune and headland sinks the fire,
And all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre.
"But so long as sun can shine and soil can nourish, happier men and
women after us shall look on this lovely islet and it shall tell its
own story; for they shall see these three holy olive trees lifted in
everlasting benediction, over the humble spot out of which came the
peace of the world."
The other two men were staring at Patrick Dalroy;
his hand had tightened on the tree, and a giant billow
of effort went over his broad breast. A small stone
jerked itself out of the ground at the foot of the tree
as if it were a grasshopper jumping; and then the
coiled roots of the olive tree rose very slowly out of
the earth like the limbs of a dragon lifting itself from
"I offer an olive branch," said the King of Ithaca,
totteringly leaning the loose tree so that its vast
shadow, much larger than itself, fell across the whole
council. "An olive branch," he gasped, "more glorious
than my sword. Also heavier."
Then he made another effort and tossed it into the
The German, who was no German, had put up his
arm in apprehension when the shadow fell across him.
Now he got up and edged away from the table; seeing
that the wild Irishman was tearing up the second tree.
This one came out more easily; and before he flung
it after the first, he stood with it a moment; looking
like a man juggling with a tower.
Lord Ivywood showed more firmness; but he rose
in tremendous remonstrance. Only the Turkish Pasha
still sat with blank eyes, immovable. Dalroy rent out
the last tree and hurled it, leaving the island bare.
"There!" said Dalroy, when the third and last olive
had splashed in the tide. "Now I will go. I have
seen something today that is worse than death: and
the name of it is Peace."
Oman Pasha rose and held out his hand.
"You are right," he said in French, "and I hope we
meet again in the only life that is a good life. Where
are you going now?"
"I am going," said Dalroy, dreamily, "to 'The Old
"Do you mean?" asked the Turk, "that you are
going back to the warships of the English King?"
"No," answered the other, "I am going back to 'The
Old Ship' that is behind the apple trees by Pebblewick;
where the Ule flows among the trees. I fear I
shall never see you there."
After an instant's hesitation he wrung the red hand
of the great tyrant and walked to his boat without a
glance at the diplomatists.
* * *
THE SIGN OF "THE OLD SHIP"
UPON few of the children of men has the surname of
Pump fallen, and of these few have been maddened
into naming a child Humphrey in addition to it. To
such extremity, however, had the parents of the
innkeeper at "The Old Ship" proceeded, that their son
might come at last to be called "Hump" by his dearest
friends, and "Pumph" by an aged Turk with a
green umbrella. All this, or all he knew of it, he
endured with a sour smile; for he was of a stoical temper.
Mr. Humphrey Pump stood outside his inn, which
stood almost on the seashore, screened only by one
line of apple trees, dwarfed, twisted and salted by the
sea air; but in front of it was a highly banked bowling
green, and behind it the land sank abruptly; so that
one very steep sweeping road vanished into the depth
and mystery of taller trees. Mr. Pump was standing
immediately under his trim sign, which stood erect in
the turf; a wooden pole painted white and suspending
a square white board, also painted white but further
decorated with a highly grotesque blue ship, such as
a child might draw, but into which Mr. Pump's patriotism
had insinuated a disproportionately large red St.
Mr. Humphrey Pump was a man of middle size,
with very broad shoulders, wearing a sort of shooting
suit with gaiters. Indeed, he was engaged at the
moment in cleaning and reloading a double-barrelled
gun, a short but powerful weapon which he had
invented, or at least improved, himself; and which,
though eccentric enough as compared with latest scientific
arms, was neither clumsy nor necessarily out of
date. For Pump was one of those handy men who
seem to have a hundred hands like Briareus; he made
nearly everything for himself and everything in his
house was slightly different from the same thing in
anyone else's house. He was also as cunning as Pan
or a poacher in everything affecting every bird or
dish, every leaf or berry in the woods. His mind was
a rich soil of subconscious memories and traditions;
and he had a curious kind of gossip so allusive as to
almost amount to reticence; for he always took it for
granted that everyone knew his county and its tales
as intimately as he did; so he would mention the most
mysterious and amazing things without relaxing a
muscle on his face, which seemed to be made of knotted
wood. His dark brown hair ended in two rudimentary
side whiskers, giving him a slightly horsy
look, but in the old-fashioned sportsman's style. His
smile was rather wry and crabbed; but his brown eyes
were kindly and soft. He was very English.
As a rule his movements, though quick, were cool;
but on this occasion he put down the gun on the table
outside the inn in a rather hurried manner and came
forward dusting his hands in an unusual degree of
animation and even defiance. Beyond the goblin
green apple trees and against the sea had appeared the
tall, slight figure of a girl, in a dress about the colour
of copper and a large shady hat. Under the hat her
face was grave and beautiful though rather swarthy.
She shook hands with Mr. Pump; then he very
ceremoniously put a chair for her and called her "Lady
"I thought I would like a look at the old place," she
said. "We have had some happy times here when we
were boys and girls. I suppose you hardly see any of
your old friends now."
"Very little," answered Pump, rubbing his short
whisker reflectively. "Lord Ivywood's become quite
a Methody parson, you know, since he took the place;
he's pulling down beer-shops right and left. And Mr.
Charles was sent to Australia for lying down flat at
the funeral. Pretty stiff I call it; but the old lady was
"Do you ever hear," asked Lady Joan Brett, carelessly,
"of that Irishman, Captain Dalroy?"
"Yes, more often than from the rest," answered
the innkeeper. "He seems to have done wonders in
this Greek business. Ah! He was a sad loss to the
"They insulted his country," said the girl, looking
at the sea with a heightened colour. "After all,
Ireland was his country; and he had a right to resent it
being spoken of like that."
"And when they found he'd painted him green,"
went on Mr. Pump.
"Painted him what?" asked Lady Joan.
"Painted Captain Dawson green," continued Mr.
Pump in colourless tones. "Captain Dawson said
green was the colour of Irish traitors, so Dalroy painted
him green. It was a great temptation, no doubt,
with this fence being painted at the time and the pail
of stuff there; but, of course, it had a very prejudicial
effect on his professional career."
"What an extraordinary story!" said the staring
Lady Joan, breaking into a rather joyless laugh. "It
must go down among your county legends. I never
heard that version before. Why, it might be the origin
of the 'Green Man' over there by the town."
"Oh, no," said Pump, simply, "that's been there
since before Waterloo times. Poor old Noyle had it
until they put him away. You remember old Noyle,
Lady Joan. Still alive, I hear, and still writing
love-letters to Queen Victoria. Only of course they aren't
"Have you heard from your Irish friend lately?"
asked the girl, keeping a steady eye on the sky-line.
"Yes, I had a letter last week," answered the
innkeeper. "It seems not impossible that he may return
to England. He's been acting for one of these Greek
places, and the negotiations seem to be concluded. It's
a queer thing that his lordship himself was the English
minister in charge of them."
"You mean Lord Ivywood," said Lady Joan, rather
coldly. "Yes, he has a great career before him,
"I wish he hadn't got his knife into us so much,"
chuckled Pump. "I don't believe there'll be an inn
left in England. But the Ivywoods were always
cranky. It's only fair to him to remember his
"I think it's very ungallant on your part," said Lady
Joan, with a mournful smile, "to ask a lady to remember
"You know what I mean, Lady Joan," said her host,
good humouredly. "And I never was hard on the case
myself; we all have our little ways. I shouldn't like
it done to my pig; but I don't see why a man shouldn't
have his own pig in his own pew with him if he likes
it. It wasn't a free seat. It was the family pew."
Lady Joan broke out laughing again. "What horrible
things you do seem to have heard of," she said.
"Well, I must be going, Mr. Hump--I mean Mr.
Pump--I used to call you Hump . . . oh, Hump, do
you think any of us will ever be happy again?"
"I suppose it rests with Providence," he said,
looking at the sea.
"Oh, do say Providence again!" cried the girl.
"It's as good as 'Masterman Ready.'"
With which inconsequent words she betook herself
again to the path by the apple trees and walked back
by the sea front to Pebblewick.
The inn of "The Old Ship" lay a little beyond the
old fishing village of Pebblewick; and that again was
separated by an empty half-mile or so from the new
watering-place of Pebblewick-on-Sea. But the
dark-haired lady walked steadily along the sea-front, on a
sort of parade which had been stretched out to east and
west in the insane optimism of watering-places, and,
as she approached the more crowded part, looked more
and more carefully at the groups on the beach. Most of
them were much the same as she had seen them more
than a month before. The seekers after truth (as
the man in the fez would say) who assembled daily to
find out what the man was doing with the paper-boxes,
had not found out yet; neither had they wearied
of their intellectual pilgrimage. Pennies were still
thrown to the thundering atheist in acknowledgment
of his incessant abuse; and this was all the more
mysterious because the crowd was obviously indifferent,
and the atheist was obviously sincere. The man with
the long neck who led Low Church hymns with a little
wooden spade had indeed disappeared; for children's
services of this kind are generally a moving feast; but
the man whose only claim consisted of carrots round
his hat was still there; and seemed to have even more
money than before. But Lady Joan could see no sign
of the little old man in the fez. She could only
suppose that he had failed entirely; and, being in a bitter
mood, she told herself bitterly that he had sunk out
of sight precisely because there was in his rubbish a
touch of unearthly and insane clearheadedness of
which all these vulgar idiots were incapable. She did
not confess to herself consciously that what had made
both the man in the fez and the man at the inn interesting
was the subject of which they had spoken.
As she walked on rather wearily along the parade
she caught sight of a girl in black with faint fair hair
and a tremulous, intelligent face which she was sure
she had seen before. Pulling together all her
aristocratic training for the remembering of middle class
people, she managed to remember that this was a Miss
Browning who had done typewriting work for her a
year or two before; and immediately went forward to
greet her, partly out of genuine good nature and
partly as a relief from her own rather dreary thoughts.
Her tone was so seriously frank and friendly that the
lady in black summoned the social courage to say:
"I've so often wanted to introduce you to my sister
who's much cleverer than I am, though she does live
at home; which I suppose is very old-fashioned. She
knows all sorts of intellectual people. She is talking
to one of them now; this Prophet of the Moon that
everyone's talking about. Do let me introduce you."
Lady Joan Brett had met many prophets of the
moon and of other things. But she had the spontaneous
courtesy which redeems the vices of her class, and
she followed Miss Browning to a seat on the parade.
She greeted Miss Browning's sister with glowing
politeness; and this may really be counted to her
credit; for she had great difficulty in looking at Miss
Browning's sister at all. For on the seat beside her,
still in a red fez but in a brilliantly new black frock
coat and every appearance of prosperity, sat the old
gentleman who had lectured on the sands about the
inns of England.
"He lectured at our Ethical Society," whispered
Miss Browning, "on the word Alcohol. Just on the
word Alcohol. He was perfectly thrilling. All about
Arabia and Algebra, you know, and how everything
comes from the East. You really would be interested."
"I am interested," said Lady Joan.
"Poot it to yourselfs," the man in the fez was
saying to Miss Browning's sister, "joost what sort of
meaning the names of your ince can have if they do
not commemorate the unlimitable influence of Islam.
There is a vary populous Inn in London, one of the
most distinguished, one of the most of the Centre, and
it is called the Horseshoe? Now, my friendss, why
should anyone commemorate a horse-shoe? It iss but
an appendage to a creature more interesting than itself.
I have already demonstrated to you that the very fact
that you have in your town a place of drink called the
"I should like to ask--" began Lady Joan, suddenly.
"A place of drink called the Bool," went on the man
in the fez, deaf to all distractions, "and I have urged
that the Bool is a disturbing thought, while the Bul-Bul
is a reassuring thought. But even you my friends,
would not name a place after a ring in a Bool's nose
and not after the Bool? Why then name an equivalent
place after the shoo, the mere shoo, upon a horse's
hoof, and not after the noble horse? Surely it is clear,
surely it is evident that the term 'horse-shoe' is a
cryptic term, an esoteric term, a term made during the
days when the ancient Moslem faith of this English
country was oppressed by the passing superstition of
the Galileans. That bent shape, that duplex curving
shape, which you call horse-shoe, is it not clearly the
Crescent?" and he cast his arms wide as he had done
on the sands, "the Crescent of the Prophet of the only
"I should like to ask," began Lady Joan, again,
"how you would explain the name of the inn called
'The Green Man,' just behind that row of houses."
"Exactly! exactly!" cried the Prophet of the Moon,
in almost insane excitement. "The seeker after truth
could not at all probably find a more perfect example
of these principles. My friendss, how could there be a
green man? You are acquainted with green grass,
with green leaves, with green cheese, with green
chartreuse. I ask if any one of you, however wide her
social circle, has ever been acquainted with a green
man. Surely, surely, it is evident, my friendss, that this
is an imperfect version, an abbreviated version, of the
original words. What can be clearer than that the
original expression, was 'the green-turban'd man,' in
allusion to the well-known uniform of the descendants
of the Prophet? 'Turban'd' surely is just the
sort of word, exactly the sort of foreign and
unfamiliar word, that might easily be slurred over and
"There is a legend in these parts," said Lady Joan,
steadily, "that a great hero, hearing the colour that
was sacred to his holy island insulted, really poured it
over his enemy for a reply."
"A legend! a fable!" cried the man in the fez, with
another radiant and rational expansion of the hands.
"Is it not evident that no such thing can have really
"Oh, yes--it really happened," said the young lady,
softly. "There is not much to comfort one in this
world; but there are some things. Oh, it really
And taking a graceful farewell of the group, she
resumed her rather listless walk along the parade.
* * *
THE INN FINDS WINGS
MR. HUMPHREY PUMP stood in front of his inn once
more, the cleaned and loaded gun still lay on the table,
and the white sign of The Ship still swung in the slight
sea breeze over his head; but his leatherish features
were knotted over a new problem. He held two letters
in his hand, letters of a very different sort, but
letters that pointed to the same difficult problem. The
"I'm so bothered that I simply must call you by the old
name again. You understand I've got to keep in with my
people. Lord Ivywood is a sort of cousin of mine, and for
that and some other reasons, my poor old mother would
just die if I offended him. You know her heart is weak;
you know everything there is to know in this county. Well,
I only write to warn you that something is going to be done
against your dear old inn. I don't know what this Country's
coming to. Only a month or two ago I saw a shabby
old pantaloon on the beach with a green gamp, talking the
craziest stuff you ever heard in your life. Three weeks
ago I heard he was lecturing at Ethical Societies--whatever
they are--for a handsome salary. Well, when I was last
at Ivywood--I must go because Mamma likes it--there was
the living lunatic again, in evening dress, and talked about
by people who really _know_. I mean who know better.
"Lord Ivywood is entirely under his influence and thinks
him the greatest prophet the world has ever seen. And
Lord Ivywood is not a fool; one can't help admiring him.
Mamma, I think, wants me to do more than admire him.
I am telling you everything, Hump, because I think perhaps
this is the last honest letter I shall ever write in the world.
And I warn you seriously that Lord Ivywood is _sincere_,
which is perfectly terrible. He will be the biggest English
statesman, and he does really mean to ruin--the old ships.
If ever you see me here again taking part in such work,
I hope you may forgive me.
"Somebody we mentioned, whom I shall never see again,
I leave to your friendship. It is the second best thing I can
give, and I am not sure it may not be better than the first
would have been. Goodbye.
This letter seemed to distress Mr. Pump rather than
puzzle him. It ran as follows:
"The Committee of the Imperial Commission of Liquor
Control is directed to draw your attention to the fact
you have disregarded the Committee's communications under
section 5A of the Act for the Regulation of Places of Public
Entertainment; and that you are now under Section 47C of
the Act amending the Act for the Regulation of Places of
Public Entertainment aforesaid. The charges on which
prosecution will be founded are as follows:
"(1) Violation of sub-section 23_f_ of the Act, which
enacts that no pictorial signs shall be exhibited before
premises of less than the ratable value of £2000 per
"(2) Violation of sub-section 113_d_ of the Act, which
enacts that no liquor containing alcohol shall be sold in
any inn, hotel, tavern or public-house, except when
demanded under a medical certificate from one of the
doctors licensed by the State Medical Council, or in
the specially excepted cases of Claridge's Hotel and the
Criterion Bar, where urgency has already been proved.
"As you have failed to acknowledge previous communications
on this subject, this is to warn you that legal steps will
be taken immediately,
"We are yours truly,
J. LEVESON, _Secretary_."
Mr. Humphrey Pump sat down at the table outside
his inn and whistled in a way which, combined
with his little whiskers made him for the moment seem
literally like an ostler. Then, the very real wit and
learning he had returned slowly into his face and
with his warm, brown eyes he considered the cold, grey
sea. There was not much to be got out of the sea.
Humphrey Pump might drown himself in the sea;
which would be better for Humphrey Pump than being
finally separated from "The Old Ship." England might
be sunk under the sea; which would be better for
England than never again having such places as "The Old
Ship." But these were not serious remedies nor rationally
attainable; and Pump could only feel that the
sea had simply warped him as it had warped his apple
trees. The sea was a dreary business altogether.
There was only one figure walking on the sands. It
was only when the figure drew nearer and nearer and
grew to more than human size, that he sprang to his
feet with a cry. Also the level light of morning lit the
man's hair, and it was red.
The late King of Ithaca came casually and slowly
up the slope of the beach that led to "The Old Ship."
He had landed in a boat from a battleship that could
still be seen near the horizon, and he still wore the
astounding uniform of apple-green and silver which
he had himself invented as that of a navy that had
never existed very much, and which now did not exist
at all. He had a straight naval sword at his side; for
the terms of his capitulation had never required him
to surrender it; and inside the uniform and beside the
sword there was what there always had been, a big
and rather bewildered man with rough red hair, whose
misfortune was that he had good brains, but that his
bodily strength and bodily passions were a little too
strong for his brains.
He had flung his crashing weight on the chair outside
the inn before the innkeeper could find words to
express his astounded pleasure in seeing him. His
first words were "have you got any rum?"
Then, as if feeling that his attitude needed explanation,
he added, "I suppose I shall never be a sailor
again after tonight. So I must have rum."
Humphrey Pump had a talent for friendship, and
understood his old friend. He went into the inn
without a word; and came back idly pushing or rolling
with an alternate foot (as if he were playing football
with two footballs at once) two objects that
rolled very easily. One was a big keg or barrel of
rum and the other a great solid drum of a cheese.
Among his thousand other technical tricks he had a
way of tapping a cask without a tap, or anything that
could impair its revolutionary or revolving qualities.
He was feeling in his pocket for the instrument with
which he solved such questions, when his Irish
friend suddenly sat bolt upright, as one startled out of
sleep, and spoke with his strongest and most unusual
"Oh thank ye, Hump, a thousand times; and I don't
think I really want something to drink at arl. Now I
know I can have it, I don't seem to want it at arl.
But hwhat I do want--" and he suddenly dashed his
big fist on the little table so that one of its legs leapt
and nearly snapped--"hwhat I do want is some sort
of account of what's happening in this England of
yours that shan't be just obviously rubbish."
"Ah," said Pump, fingering the two letters thoughtfully.
"And what do you mean by rubbish?"
"I carl it rubbish" cried Patrick Dalroy, "when ye
put the Koran into the Bible and not the Apocrypha;
and I carl it rubbish when a mad parson's allowed to
propose to put a crescent on St. Paul's Cathedral. I
know the Turks are our allies now, but they often
were before, and I never heard that Palmerston or
Colin Campbell had any truck with such trash."
"Lord Ivywood is very enthusiastic, I know," said
Pump, with a restrained amusement. "He was saying
only the other day at the Flower Show here that the
time had come for a full unity between Christianity
"Something called Chrislam perhaps," said the
Irishman, with a moody eye. He was gazing across
the grey and purple woodlands that stretched below
them at the back of the inn; and into which the steep,
white road swept downwards and disappeared. The
steep road looked like the beginning of an adventure;
and he was an adventurer.
"But you exaggerate, you know," went on Pump,
polishing his gun, "about the crescent on St. Paul's.
It wasn't exactly that. What Dr. Moole suggested, I
think, was some sort of double emblem, you know,
combining cross and crescent."
"And carled the Crescent," muttered Dalroy.
"And you can't call Dr. Moole a parson either,"
went on Mr. Humphrey Pump, polishing industriously.
"Why, they say he's a sort of atheist, or what
they call an agnostic, like Squire Brunton who used
to bite elm trees by Marley. The grand folks have
these fashions, Captain, but they've never lasted long
that I know of."
"I think it's serious this time," said his friend,
shaking his big red head. "This is the last inn on this
coast, and will soon be the last inn in England. Do
you remember the 'Saracen's Head' in Plumsea, along
the shore there?"
"I know," assented the innkeeper. "My aunt was
there when he hanged his mother; but it's a charming
"I passed there just now; and it has been destroyed,"
"Destroyed by fire?" asked Pump, pausing in his
"No," said Dalroy, "destroyed by lemonade.
They've taken away its license or whatever you call it.
I made a song about it, which I'll sing to you now!"
And with an astounding air of suddenly revived spirits,
he roared in a voice like thunder the following
verses, to a simple but spirited tune of his own
"The Saracen's Head looks down the lane,
Where we shall never drink wine again;
For the wicked old Women who feel well-bred
Have turned to a tea-shop the Saracen's Head.
"The Saracen's Head out of Araby came,
King Richard riding in arms like flame,
And where he established his folk to be fed
He set up his spear--and the Saracen's Head.
"But the Saracen's Head outlived the Kings,
It thought and it thought of most horrible things;
Of Health and of Soap and of Standard Bread,
And of Saracen drinks at the Saracen's Head."
"Hullo!" cried Pump, with another low whistle.
"Why here comes his lordship. And I suppose that
young man in the goggles is a Committee or
"Let him come," said Dalroy, and continued in a
yet more earthquake bellow:
"So the Saracen's Head fulfils its name,
They drink no wine--a ridiculous game-- And I shall wonder until I'm dead,
How it ever came into the Saracen's Head."
As the last echo of this lyrical roar rolled away
among the apple-trees, and down the steep, white road
into the woods, Captain Dalroy leaned back in his
chair and nodded good humouredly to Lord Ivywood,
who was standing on the lawn with his usual cold air,
but with slightly compressed lips. Behind him was a
dark young man with double eyeglasses and a number
of printed papers in his hand; presumably J. Leveson,
Secretary. In the road outside stood a group of
three which struck Pump as strangely incongruous,
like a group in a three act farce. The first was a police
inspector in uniform; the second was a workman in
a leather apron, more or less like a carpenter, and the
third was an old man in a scarlet Turkish fez, but
otherwise dressed in very fashionable English clothes
in which he did not seem very comfortable. He was
explaining something about the inn to the policeman
and the carpenter, who appeared to be restraining their
"Fine song that, my lord," said Dalroy, with cheerful
egotism. "I'll sing you another," and he cleared
"Mr. Pump," said Lord Ivywood, in his bell-like and
beautiful voice, "I thought I would come in person, if
only to make it clear that every indulgence has been
shown you. The mere date of this inn brings it within
the statute of 1909; it was erected when my great
grandfather was Lord of the Manor here, though I
believe it then bore a different name, and--"
"Ah, my lord," broke in Pump with a sigh, "I'd
rather deal with your great grandfather, I would,
though he married a hundred negresses instead of one,
than see a gentleman of your family taking away a
poor man's livelihood."
"The act is specially designed in the interests of the
relief of poverty," proceeded Lord Ivywood, in an
unruffled manner, "and its final advantages will accrue
to all citizens alike." He turned for an instant to
the dark secretary, saying, "You have that second
report?" and received a folded paper in answer.
"It is here fully explained," said Lord Ivywood,
putting on his elderly eyeglasses, "that the purpose of
the Act is largely to protect the savings of the more
humble and necessitous classes. I find in paragraph
three, 'we strongly advise that the deleterious element
of alcohol be made illegal save in such few places as
the Government may specially exempt for Parliamentary
or other public reasons, and that the provocative
and demoralising display on inn signs be strictly
forbidden except in the cases thus specially exempted: the
absence of such temptations will, in our opinion, do
much to improve the precarious financial conditions
of the working class.' That disposes, I think, of any
such suggestion as Mr. Pump's, that our inevitable acts
of social reform are in any sense oppressive. To Mr.
Pump's prejudice it may appear for the moment to
bear hardly upon him; but" (and here Lord Ivywood's
voice took one of its moving oratorical turns), "what
better proof could we desire of the insidiousness of
the sleepy poison we denounce, what better evidence
could we offer of the civic corruption that we seek to
cure, than the very fact that good and worthy men of
established repute in the county can, by living in such
places as these, become so stagnant and sodden and
unsocial, whether through the fumes of wine or
through meditations as maudlin about the past, that
they consider the case solely as their own case, and
laugh at the long agony of the poor."
Captain Dalroy had been studying Ivywood with a
very bright blue eye; and he spoke now much more
quietly than he generally did.
"Excuse me one moment, my lord," he said. "But
there was one point in your important explanation
which I am not sure I have got right. Do I understand
you to say that, though sign-boards are to be
generally abolished, yet where, if anywhere, they are
retained, the right to sell fermented liquor will be
retained also? In other words, though an Englishman
may at last find only one inn-sign left in England,
yet if the place has an inn-sign, it will also have your
gracious permission to be really an inn?"
Lord Ivywood had an admirable command of temper,
which had helped him much in his career as a
statesman. He did not waste time in wrangling about
the Captain's _locus standi_ in the matter. He replied
"Yes, Your statement of the facts is correct."
"Whenever I find an inn-sign permitted by the
police, I may go in and ask for a glass of beer--also
permitted by the police."
"If you find any such, yes," answered Ivywood,
quite temperately. "But we hope soon to have
removed them altogether."
Captain Patrick Dalroy rose enormously from his
seat with a sort of stretch and yawn.
"Well, Hump," he said to his friend, "the best thing,
it seems to me, is to take the important things with us."
With two sight-staggering kicks he sent the keg
of rum and the round cheese flying over the fence,
in such a direction that they bounded on the descending
road and rolled more and more rapidly down
toward the dark woods into which the path disappeared.
Then he gripped the pole of the inn-sign,
shook it twice and plucked it out of the turf like a tuft
It had all happened before anyone could move, but
as he strode out into the road the policeman ran
forward. Dalroy smote him flat across face and chest
with the wooden sign-board, so as to send him flying
into the ditch on the other side of the road. Then
turning on the man in the fez he poked him with the
end of the pole so sharply in his new white waistcoat
and watch-chain as to cause him to sit down suddenly
in the road, looking very serious and thoughtful.
The dark secretary made a movement of rescue,
but Humphrey Pump, with a cry, caught up his gun
from the table and pointed it at him, which so alarmed
J. Leveson, Secretary, as to cause him almost to double
up with his emotions. The next moment Pump, with
his gun under his arm, was scampering down the hill
after the Captain, who was scampering after the
barrel and the cheese.
Before the policeman had struggled out of the ditch,
they had all disappeared into the darkness of the
forest. Lord Ivywood who had remained firm through
the scene, without a sign of fear or impatience (or, I
will add, amusement), held up his hand and stopped
the policeman in his pursuit.
"We should only make ourselves and the law ridiculous,"
he said, "by pursuing those ludicrous rowdies
now. They can't escape or do any real harm in the
state of modern communications. What is far more
important, gentlemen, is to destroy their stores and
their base. Under the Act of 1911 we have a right
to confiscate and destroy any property in an inn where
the law has been violated."
And he stood for hours on the lawn, watching the
smashing of bottles and the breaking up of casks and
feeding on fanatical pleasure: the pleasure his strange,
cold, courageous nature could not get from food or
wine or woman.
* * *
THE ASTONISHMENT OF THE AGENT
LORD IVYWOOD shared the mental weakness of most
men who have fed on books; he ignored, not the value
but the very existence of other forms of information.
Thus Humphrey Pump was perfectly aware that Lord
Ivywood considered him an ignorant man who carried
a volume of Pickwick and could not be got to
read any other book. But Lord Ivywood was quite
unaware that Humphrey never looked at him without
thinking that he could be most successfully hidden
in a wood of small beeches, as his grey-brown hair
and sallow, ashen face exactly reproduced the three
predominant tints of such a sylvan twilight. Mr.
Pump, I fear, had sometimes partaken of partridge
or pheasant, in his early youth, under circumstances
in which Lord Ivywood was not only unconscious of
the hospitality he was dispensing, but would have
sworn that it was physically impossible for anyone
to elude the vigilance of his efficient system of
game-keeping. But it is very unwise in one who counts
himself superior to physical things to talk about
Lord Ivywood was in error, therefore, when he
said that the fugitives could not possibly escape in
modern England. You can do a great many things in
modern England if you have noticed; some things, in
fact, which others know by pictures or current speech;
if you know, for instance, that most roadside hedges
are taller and denser than they look, and that even
the largest man lying just behind them, takes up far
less room than you would suppose; if you know that
many natural sounds are much more like each other
than the enlightened ear can believe, as in the case of
wind in leaves and of the sea; if you know that it is
easier to walk in socks than in boots, if you know
how to take hold of the ground; if you know
that the proportion of dogs who will bite a man under
any circumstances is rather less than the proportion
of men who will murder you in a railway carriage; if
you know that you need not be drowned even in a
river, unless the tide is very strong, and unless you
practise putting yourself into the special attitudes of
a suicide; if you know that country stations have
objectless, extra waiting rooms that nobody ever goes
into; and if you know that county folk will forget
you if you speak to them, but talk about you all day
if you don't.
By the exercise of these and other arts and sciences
Humphrey Pump was able to guide his friend across
country, mostly in the character of trespasser and
occasionally in that of something like housebreaker,
and eventually, with sign, keg, cheese and all to step
out of a black pinewood onto a white road in a part
of the county where they would not be sought for the
Opposite them was a cornfield and on their right,
in the shades of the pine trees, a cottage, a very
tumbledown cottage that seemed to have collapsed under
its own thatch. The red-haired Irishman's face wore
a curious smile. He stuck the inn-sign erect in the
road and went and hammered on the door.
It was opened tremulously by an old man with a
face so wrinkled that the wrinkles seemed more
distinctly graven than the features themselves, which
seemed lost in the labyrinth of them. He might have
crawled out of the hole in a gnarled tree and he might
have been a thousand years old.
He did not seem to notice the sign-board, which
stood rather to the left of the door; and what life
remained in his eyes seemed to awake in wonder at
Dalroy's stature and strange uniform and the sword
at his side. "I beg your pardon," said the Captain,
courteously. "I fear my uniform startles you. It
is Lord Ivywood's livery. All his servants are to dress
like this. In fact, I understand the tenants also and
even yourself, perhaps . . . excuse my sword.
Lord Ivywood is very particular that every man should
have a sword. You know his beautiful, eloquent way
of putting his views. 'How can we profess,' he was
saying to me yesterday, while I was brushing his
trousers. 'How can we profess that all men are
brothers while we refuse to them the symbol of
manhood; or with what assurance can we claim it as a
movement of modern emancipation to deny the citizen
that which has in all ages marked the difference
between the free man and the slave. Nor need we
anticipate any such barbaric abuses as my honourable
friend who is cleaning the knives has prophesied, for
this gift is a sublime act of confidence in your universal
passion for the severe splendours of Peace; and
he that has the right to strike is he who has learnt to
Talking all this nonsense with extreme rapidity and
vast oratorical flourishes of the hand, Captain Dalroy
proceeded to trundle both the big cheese and the cask
of rum into the house of the astonished cottager: Mr.
Pump following with a grim placidity and his gun
under his arm.
"Lord Ivywood," said Dalroy, setting the rum cask
with a bump on the plain deal table, "wishes to take
wine with you. Or, more strictly speaking, rum.
Don't you run away, my friend, with any of these
stories about Lord Ivywood being opposed to drink.
Three-bottle Ivywood, we call him in the kitchen.
But it must be rum; nothing but rum for the
Ivywoods. 'Wine may be a mocker,' he was saying the
other day (and I particularly noted the phrasing,
which seemed to be very happy even for his lordship;
he was standing at the top of the steps, and I stopped
cleaning them to make a note of it), 'wine may be a
mocker; strong drink may be raging, but nowhere in
the sacred pages will you find one word of censure
of the sweeter spirit sacred to them that go down
to the sea in ships; no tongue of priest and prophet
was ever lifted to break the sacred silence of Holy
Writ about Rum.' He then explained to me," went
on Dalroy, signing to Pump to tap the cask according
to his own technical secret, "that the great tip for
avoiding any bad results that a bottle or two of rum
might have on young and inexperienced people was
to eat cheese with it, particularly this kind of cheese
that I have here. I've forgotten its name."
"Cheddar," said Pump, quite gravely.
"But mind you!" continued the Captain almost
ferociously, shaking his big finger in warning at the
aged man. "Mind you 'no _bread_ with the cheese.
All the devastating ruin wrought by cheese and the
once happy homes of this country, has been due to
the reckless and insane experiment of eating bread
with it.' You'll get no bread from me, my friend.
Indeed, Lord Ivywood has given directions that the
allusion to this ignorant and depraved habit shall be
eliminated from the Lord's Prayer. Have a drink."
He had already poured out a little of the spirit into
two thick tumblers and a broken teacup, which he had
induced the aged man to produce; and now solemnly
"Thank ye kindly, sir," said the old man, using
his cracked voice for the first time. Then he drank;
and his old face changed as if it were an old horn
lantern in which the flame began to rise.
"Ar," he said. "My son he be a sailor."
"I wish him a happy voyage," said the Captain.
"And I'll sing you a song about the first sailor there
ever was in the world; and who (as Lord Ivywood
acutely observes) lived before the time of rum."
He sat down on a wooden chair and lifted his loud
voice once more, beating on the table with the broken
"Old Noah, he had an ostrich farm, and fowls on the
He ate his egg with a ladle in an egg-cup big as a pail,
And the soup he took was Elephant Soup and the fish he
took was Whale;
But they all were small to the cellar he took when he set
out to sail;
And Noah, he often said to his wife when he sat down to
'I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the
"The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell blinding off the
As if it would wash the stars away as suds go down a sink,
The seven heavens came roaring down for the throats of
hell to drink,
And Noah, he cocked his eye and said, 'It looks like rain,
The water has drowned the Matterhorn as deep as a
But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into
"But Noah he sinned, and we have sinned; on tipsy feet we
Till a great big black teetotaller was sent to us for a rod,
And you can't get wine at a P. S. A. or chapel or
For the Curse of Water has come again because of the
wrath of God,
And water is on the Bishop's board and the Higher Thinker's
But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into
"Lord Ivywood's favourite song," concluded Mr.
Patrick Dalroy, drinking. "Sing us a song yourself."
Rather to the surprise of the two humourists, the old
gentleman actually began in a quavering voice to
"King George that lives in London Town,
I hope they will defend his crown,
And Bonyparte be quite put down
On Christmas Day in the morning.
"Old Squire is gone to the Meet today
All in his--"
It is perhaps fortunate for the rapidity of this
narrative that the old gentleman's favourite song, which
consists of forty-seven verses, was interrupted by a
curious incident. The door of the cottage opened and
a sheepish-looking man in corduroys stood silently in
the room for a few seconds and then said, without
preface or further explanation,
"I beg your pardon?" inquired the polite Captain.
"Four ale," said the man with solidity; then catching
sight of Humphrey seemed to find a few more
words in his vocabulary.
"Morning, Mr. Pump. Didn't know as how you'd
moved 'The Old Ship.'"
Mr. Pump, with a twist of a smile, pointed to the
old man whose song had been interrupted.
"Mr. Marne's seeing after it now, Mr. Gowl," said
Pump with the strict etiquette of the country side.
"But he's got nothing but this rum in stock as yet."
"Better'nowt," said the laconic Mr. Gowl; and put
down some money in front of the aged Marne, who
eyed it wonderingly. As he was turning with a farewell
and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand,
the door once more moved, letting in white sunlight and
a man in a red neckerchief.
"Morning, Mr. Marne; Morning, Mr. Pump; Morning,
Mr. Gowl," said the man in the red neckerchief.
"Morning, Mr. Coote," said the other three, one
"Have some rum, Mr. Coote?" asked Humphrey
Pump, genially. "That's all Mr. Marne's got just
Mr. Coote also had a little rum; and also laid a
little money under the rather vague gaze of the
venerable cottager. Mr. Coote was just proceeding to
explain that these were bad times, but if you saw a
sign you were all right still; a lawyer up at Grunton
Abbot had told him so; when the company was increased
and greatly excited by the arrival of a boisterous
and popular tinker, who ordered glasses all round
and said he had his donkey and cart outside. A prolonged,
rich and confused conversation about the donkey
and cart then ensued, in which the most varied
views were taken of their merits; and it gradually
began to dawn on Dalroy that the tinker was trying to
An idea, suited to the romantic opportunism of his
present absurd career, suddenly swept over his mind,
and he rushed out to look at the cart and donkey.
The next moment he was back again, asking the tinker
what his price was, and almost in the same breath
offering a much bigger price than the tinker would
have dreamed of asking. This was considered, however,
as a lunacy specially allowed to gentlemen; the
tinker had some more rum on the strength of the
payment, and then Dalroy, offering his excuses, sealed up
the cask and took it and the cheese to be stowed in the
bottom of the cart. The money, however, he still left
lying in shining silver and copper before the silver
beard of old Marne.
No one acquainted with the quaint and often wordless
camaraderie of the English poor will require to
be told that they all went out and stared at him as he
loaded the cart and saw to the harness of the donkey
--all except the old cottager, who sat as if hypnotised
by the sight of the money. While they were standing
there they saw coming down the white, hot road, where
it curled over the hill, a figure that gave them no
pleasure, even when it was a mere marching black spot
in the distance. It was a Mr. Bullrose, the agent of
Lord Ivywood's estates.
Mr. Bullrose was a short, square man with a broad,
square head with ridges of close, black curls on it, with
a heavy, froglike face and starting, suspicious eyes;
a man with a good silk hat but a square business
jacket. Mr. Bullrose was not a nice man. The agent on
that sort of estate hardly ever is a nice man. The
landlord often is; and even Lord Ivywood had an
arctic magnanimity of his own, which made most
people want, if possible, to see him personally. But Mr.
Bullrose was petty. Every really practical tyrant
must be petty.
He evidently failed to understand the commotion in
front of Mr. Marne's partly collapsed cottage, but he
felt there must be something wrong about it. He
wanted to get rid of the cottage altogether, and had
not, of course, the faintest intention of giving the
cottager any compensation for it. He hoped the old man
would die; but in any case he could easily clear
him out if it became suddenly necessary, for he could
not possibly pay the rent for this week. The rent was
not very much; but it was immeasurably too much for
the old man who had no conceivable way of borrowing
or earning it. That is where the chivalry of our
aristocratic land system comes in.
"Good-bye, my friends," the enormous man in the
fantastic uniform was saying, "all roads lead to rum,
as Lord Ivywood said in one of his gayer moments,
and we hope to be back soon, establishing a first
class hotel here, of which prospectuses will soon be
The heavy froglike face of Mr. Bullrose, the agent,
grew uglier with astonishment; and the eyes stood out
more like a snail's than a frog's. The indefensible
allusion to Lord Ivywood would in any case have
caused a choleric intervention, if it had not been
swallowed up in the earthquake suggestion of an unlicensed
hotel on the estate. This again would have effected
the explosion, if that and everything else had not been
struck still and rigid by the sight of a solid, wooden
sign-post already erected outside old Marne's
"I've got him now," muttered Mr. Bullrose. "He
can't possibly pay; and out he shall go." And he
walked swiftly towards the door of the cottage, almost
at the same moment that Dalroy went to the donkey's
head, as if to lead it off along the road.
"Look here, my man," burst out Bullrose, the instant
he was inside the cottage. "You've cooked yourself
this time. His lordship has been a great deal too
indulgent with you; but this is going to be the end of
it. The insolence of what you've done outside,
especially when you know his lordship's wishes in such
things, has just put the lid on." He stopped a
moment and sneered. "So unless you happen to have the
exact rent down to a farthing or two about you, out
you go. We're sick of your sort."
In a very awkward and fumbling manner, the old
man pushed a heap of coins across the table. Mr.
Bullrose sat down suddenly on the wooden chair with
his silk hat on, and began counting them furiously.
He counted them once; he counted them twice; and
he counted them again. Then he stared at them more
steadily than the cottager had done.
"Where did you get this money?" he asked in a
thick, gross voice. "Did you steal it?"
"I ain't very spry for stealin'," said the old man in
Bullrose looked at him and then at the money; and
remembered with fury that Ivywood was a just though
cold magistrate on the bench.
"Well, anyhow," he cried, in a hot, heady way,
"we've got enough against you to turn you out of this.
Haven't you broken the law, my man, to say nothing
of the regulations for tenants, in sticking up that fancy
sign of yours outside the cottage? Eh?"
The tenant was silent.
"Eh?" reiterated the agent.
"Ar," replied the tenant.
"Have you or have you not a sign-board outside
this house?" shouted Bullrose, hammering the table.
The tenant looked at him for a long time with a
patient and venerable face, and then said: "Mubbe,
yes. Mubbe, no."
"I'll mubbe you," cried Mr. Bullrose, springing up
and sticking his silk hat on the back of his head. "I
don't know whether you people are too drunk to see
anything, but I saw the thing with my own eyes out in
the road. Come out, and deny it if you dare!"
"Ar," said Mr. Marne, dubiously.
He tottered after the agent, who flung open the
door with a businesslike fury and stood outside on the
threshold. He stood there quite a long time, and he
did not speak. Deep in the hardened mud of his
materialistic mind there had stirred two things that were its
ancient enemies; the old fairy tale in which every
thing can be believed; the new scepticism in which
nothing can be believed--not even one's own eyes.
There was no sign, nor sign of a sign, in the landscape.
On the withered face of the old man Marne there
was a faint renewal of that laughter that has slept
since the Middle Ages.
* * *
THE HOLE IN HEAVEN
THAT delicate ruby light which is one of the rarest
but one of the most exquisite of evening effects warmed
the land, sky and seas as if the whole world were
washed in wine; and dyed almost scarlet the strong
red head of Patrick Dalroy as he stood on the waste
of furze and bracken, where he and his friends had
halted. One of his friends was re-examining a short
gun, rather like a double-barrelled carbine, the other
was eating thistles.
Dalroy himself was idle and ruminant, with his
hands in his pockets and his eye on the horizon.
Land-wards the hills, plains and woods lay bathed in the
rose-red light; but it changed somewhat to purple, to
cloud and something like storm over the distant violet
strip of sea. It was towards the sea that he was
Suddenly he woke up; and seemed almost to rub his
eyes, or at any rate, to rub his red eyebrow.
"Why, we're on the road back of Pebblewick," he
said. "That's the damned little tin chapel by the
"I know," answered his friend and guide. "We've
done the old hare trick; doubled, you know. Nine
times out of ten it's the best. Parson Whitelady used
to do it when they were after him for dog-stealing.
I've pretty much followed his trail; you can't do better
than stick to the best examples. They tell you in
London that Dick Turpin rode to York. Well, I know he
didn't; for my old grandfather up at Cobble's End
knew the Turpins intimately--threw one of them into
the river on a Christmas day; but I think I can guess
what he did do and how the tale got about. If Dick
was wise, he went flying up the old North Road, shouting
'York! York!' or what not, before people recognised
him; then if he did the thing properly, he might
half an hour afterwards walk down the Strand with
a pipe in his mouth. They say old Boney said, 'Go
where you aren't expected,' and I suppose as a soldier
he was right. But for a gentleman dodging the police
like yourself, it isn't exactly the right way of putting
it. I should say, 'Go where you ought to be expected'
--and you'll generally find your fellow creatures don't
do what they ought about expecting any more than
about anything else."
"Well, this bit between here and the sea," said the
Captain, in a brown study, "I know it so well--so
well that--that I rather wish I'd never seen it again.
Do you know," he asked, suddenly pointing to a patch
and pit of sand that showed white in the dusky heath
a hundred yards away, "do you know what makes
that spot so famous in history?"
"Yes," answered Mr. Pump, "that's where old
Mother Grouch shot the Methodist."
"You are in error," said the Captain. "Such an
incident as you describe would in no case call for
special comment or regret. No, that spot is famous
because a very badly brought up girl once lost a ribbon
off a plait of black hair and somebody helped her
to find it."
"Has the other person been well brought up?" asked
Pump, with a faint smile.
"No," said Dalroy, staring at the sea. "He has been
brought down." Then, rousing himself again, he made
a gesture toward a further part of the heath. "Do
you know the remarkable history of that old wall, the
one beyond the last gorge over there?"
"No," replied the other, "unless you mean Dead
Man's Circus, and that happened further along."
"I do not mean Dead Man's Circus," said the
Captain. "The remarkable history of that wall is that
somebody's shadow once fell on it; and that shadow
was more desirable than the substance of all other
living things. It is _this_," he cried, almost violently,
resuming his flippant tone, "it is this circumstance,
Hump, and not the trivial and everyday incident of a
dead man going to a circus to which you have presumed
to compare it, it is _this_ historical event which
Lord Ivywood is about to commemorate by rebuilding
the wall with solid gold and Greek marbles stolen by
the Turks from the grave of Socrates, enclosing a
column of solid gold four hundred feet high and
surmounted by a colossal equestrian statue of a bankrupt
Irishman riding backwards on a donkey."
He lifted one of his long legs over the animal, as
if about to pose for the group; then swung back on
both feet again, and again looked at the purple limit
of the sea.
"Do you know, Hump," he said, "I think modern
people have somehow got their minds all wrong about
human life. They seem to expect what Nature has
never promised; and then try to ruin all that Nature
has really given. At all those atheist chapels of
Ivywood's they're always talking of Peace, Perfect Peace,
and Utter Peace, and Universal Joy and souls that
beat as one. But they don't look any more cheerful
than anyone else; and the next thing they do is to
start smashing a thousand good jokes and good stories
and good songs and good friendships by pulling down
'The Old Ship.'" He gave a glance at the loose
sign-post lying on the heath beside him, almost as if to
reassure himself that it was not stolen. "Now it seems
to me," he went on, "that this is asking for too much
and getting too little. I don't know whether God
means a man to have happiness in that All in All and
Utterly Utter sense of happiness. But God does mean
a man to have a little Fun; and I mean to go on having
it. If I mustn't satisfy my heart, I can gratify my
humour. The cynical fellows who think themselves
so damned clever have a sort of saying, 'Be good and
you will be happy; but you will not have a jolly time.'
The cynical fellows are quite wrong, as they generally
are. They have got hold of the exact opposite of the
truth. God knows I don't set up to be good; but even
a rascal sometimes has to fight the world in the same
way as a saint. I think I have fought the world; _et
militavi non sine_--what's the Latin for having a lark?
I can't pretend to Peace and Joy, and all the rest of it,
particularly in this original briar-patch. I haven't been
happy, Hump, but I have had a jolly time."
The sunset stillness settled down again, save for the
cropping of the donkey in the undergrowth; and
Pump said nothing sympathetically; and it was
Dalroy once more who took up his parable.
"So I think there's too much of this playing on our
emotions, Hump; as this place is certainly playing the
cat and banjo with mine. Damn it all, there are other
things to do with the rest of one's life! I don't like
all this fuss about feeling things--it only makes
people miserable. In my present frame of mind I'm in
favour of doing things. All of which, Hump," he said
with a sudden lift of the voice that always went in him
with a rushing, irrational return of merely animal
spirits--"All of which I have put into a Song Against
Songs, that I will now sing you."
"I shouldn't sing it here," said Humphrey Pump,
picking up his gun and putting it under his arm. "You
look large in this open place; and you sound large.
But I'll take you to the Hole in Heaven you've been
talking about so much, and hide you as I used to hide
you from that tutor--I couldn't catch his name--man
who could only get drunk on Greek wine at Squire
"Hump!" cried the Captain, "I abdicate the throne
of Ithaca. You are far wiser than Ulysses. Here
I have had my heart torn with temptations to ten
thousand things between suicide and abduction, and
all by the mere sight of that hole in the heath, where
we used to have picnics. And all that time I'd forgotten
we used to call it the Hole in Heaven. And, by
God, what a good name--in both senses."
"I thought you'd have remembered it, Captain,"
said the innkeeper, "from the joke young Mr.
"In the heat of some savage hand to hand struggle
in Albania," said Mr. Dalroy, sadly, passing his palm
across his brow, "I must have forgotten for one fatal
instant the joke young Mr. Matthews made."
"It wasn't very good," said Mr. Pump, simply.
"Ah, his aunt was the one for things like that. She
went too far with old Gudgeon, though."
With these words he jumped and seemed to be swallowed
up by the earth. But they had merely strolled
the few yards needed to bring them to the edge of the
sand-pit on the heath of which they had been speaking.
And it is one of the truths concealed by Heaven from
Lord Ivywood, and revealed by Heaven to Mr. Pump,
that a hiding-place can be covered when you are close
to it; and yet be open and visible from some spot of
vantage far off. From the side by which they
approached it, the sudden hollow of sand, a kind of
collapsed chamber in the heath, seemed covered with a
natural curve of fern and furze, and flashed out of
sight like a fairy.
"It's all right," he called out from under a floor
or roof of leaves. "You'll remember it all when you
get here. This is the place to sing your song, Captain.
Lord bless me, Captain, don't I remember your singing
that Irish song you made up at college--bellowing it
like a bull of Bashan--all about hearts and sleeves or
some such things--and her ladyship and the tutor
never heard a breath, because that bank of sand breaks
everything. It's worth knowing all this, you know.
It's a pity it's not part of a young gentleman's
education. Now you shall sing me the song in favour of
having no feelings, or whatever you call it."
Dalroy was staring about him at the cavern of his
old picnics, so forgotten and so startlingly familiar.
He seemed to have lost all thought of singing
anything, and simply to be groping in the dark house
of his own boyhood. There was a slight trickle from
a natural spring in sandstone just under the ferns,
and he remembered they used to try to boil the water
in a kettle. He remembered a quarrel about who had
upset the kettle which, in the morbidity of first love,
had given him for days the tortures of the damned.
When the energetic Pump broke once more through
the rather thorny roof, on an impulse to accumulate
their other eccentric possessions, Patrick remembered
about a thorn in a finger, that made his heart stop
with something that was pain and perfect music.
When Pump returned with the rum-keg and the cheese
and rolled them with a kick down the shelving sandy
side of the hole, he remembered, with almost wrathful
laughter, that in the old days he had rolled down
that slope himself, and thought it a rather fine thing
to do. He felt then as if he were rolling down a
smooth side of the Matterhorn. He observed now that
the height was rather less than that of the second
storey of one of the stunted cottages he had noted on
his return. He suddenly understood he had grown
bigger; bigger in a bodily sense. He had doubts about
"The Hole in Heaven!" he said. "What a good
name! What a good poet I was in those days! The
Hole in Heaven. But does it let one in, or let one
In the last level shafts of the fallen sun the
fantastic shadow of the long-eared quadruped, whom
Pump had now tethered to a new and nearer pasture,
fell across the last sunlit scrap of sand. Dalroy looked
at the long exaggerated shadow of the ass; and laughed
that short explosive laugh he had uttered when the
doors of the harems had been closed after the Turkish
war. He was normally a man much too loquacious;
but he never explained those laughs.
Humphrey Pump plunged down again into the sunken
nest, and began to broach the cask of rum in his
own secret style, saying--
"We can get something else somehow tomorrow.
For tonight we can eat cheese and drink rum,
especially as there's water on tap, so to speak. And now,
Captain, sing us the Song Against Songs."
Patrick Dalroy drank a little rum out of a small
medicine glass which the generally unaccountable Mr.
Pump unaccountably produced from his waistcoat
pocket; but Patrick's colour had risen, his brow was
almost as red as his hair; and he was evidently
"I don't see why I should sing all the songs," he
said. "Why the divil don't you sing a song
yourself? And now I come to think of it," he cried, with
an accumulating brogue, not, perhaps, wholly
unaffected by the rum, which he had not, in fact, drunk
for years, "and now I come to think of it, what about
that song of yours? All me youth's coming back in this
blest and cursed place; and I remember that song of
yours, that never existed nor ever will. Don't ye
remember now, Humphrey Pump, that night when I
sang ye no less than seventeen songs of me own
"I remember it very well," answered the
Englishman, with restraint.
"And don't ye remember," went on the exhilarated
Irishman, with solemnity, "that unless ye could
produce a poetic lyric of your own, written and sung by
yourself, I threatened to . . ."
"To sing again," said the impenetrable Pump. "Yes,
He calmly proceeded to take out of his pockets,
which were, alas, more like those of a poacher than
an innkeeper, a folded and faded piece of paper.
"I wrote it when you asked me," he said simply.
"I have never tried to sing it. But I'll sing it myself,
when you've sung your song, against anybody singing
"All right," cried the somewhat excited Captain, "to
hear a song from you--why, I'll sing anything. This
is the Song Against Songs, Hump."
And again he let his voice out like a bellow against
the evening silence.
"The song of the sorrow of Melisande is a weary song and
a dreary song,
The glory of Mariana's grange had got into great decay,
The song of the Raven Never More has never been called
a cheery song,
And the brightest things in Baudelaire are anything else
But who will write us a riding song,
Or a hunting song or a drinking song,
Fit for them that arose and rode,
When day and the wine were red?
But bring me a quart of claret out,
And I will write you a clinking song,
A song of war and a song of wine,
And a song to wake the dead.
"The song of the fury of Fragolette is a florid song and a
The song of the sorrow of Tara is sung to a harp
The song of the cheerful Shropshire Kid I consider a
perfectly horrid song,
And the song of the happy Futurist is a song that can't
But who will write us a riding song,
Or a fighting song or a drinking song,
Fit for the fathers of you and me,
That knew how to think and thrive?
But the song of Beauty and Art and Love
Is simply an utterly stinking song,
To double you up and drag you down,
And damn your soul alive.
"Take some more rum," concluded the Irish officer,
affably, "and let's hear your song at last."
With the gravity inseparable from the deep
conventionality of country people, Mr. Pump unfolded the
paper on which he had recorded the only antagonistic
emotion that was strong enough in him to screw his
infinite English tolerance to the pitch of song. He
read out the title very carefully and in full.
"Song Against Grocers, by Humphrey Pump, sole
proprietor of 'The Old Ship,' Pebblewick. Good
Accommodation for Man and Beast. Celebrated as
the House at which both Queen Charlotte and
Jonathan Wilde put up on different occasions; and where
the Ice-cream man was mistaken for Bonaparte. This
song is written against Grocers."
"God made the wicked Grocer,
For a mystery and a sign,
That men might shun the awful shops,
And go to inns to dine;
Where the bacon's on the rafter
And the wine is in the wood,
And God that made good laughter
Has seen that they are good.
"The evil-hearted Grocer
Would call his mother 'Ma'am,'
And bow at her and bob at her,
Her aged soul to damn;
And rub his horrid hands and ask,
What article was next;
Though _mortis in articulo_,
Should be her proper text.
"His props are not his children
But pert lads underpaid,
Who call out 'Cash!' and bang about,
To work his wicked trade;
He keeps a lady in a cage,
Most cruelly all day,
And makes her count and calls her 'Miss,'
Until she fades away.
"The righteous minds of inn-keepers
Induce them now and then
To crack a bottle with a friend,
Or treat unmoneyed men;
But who hath seen the Grocer
Treat housemaids to his teas,
Or crack a bottle of fish-sauce,
Or stand a man a cheese?
"He sells us sands of Araby
As sugar for cash down,
He sweeps his shop and sells the dust,
The purest salt in town;
He crams with cans of poisoned meat
Poor subjects of the King,
And when they die by thousands
Why, he laughs like anything.
"The Wicked Grocer groces
In spirits and in wine,
Not frankly and in fellowship,
As men in inns do dine;
But packed with soap and sardines
And carried off by grooms,
For to be snatched by Duchesses,
And drunk in dressing-rooms.
"The hell-instructed Grocer
Has a temple made of tin,
And the ruin of good inn-keepers
Is loudly urged therein;
But now the sands are running out
From sugar of a sort,
The Grocer trembles; for his time
Just like his weight is short."
Captain Dalroy was getting considerably heated
with his nautical liquor, and his appreciation of
Pump's song was not merely noisy but active. He
leapt to his feet and waved his glass. "Ye ought to be
Poet Laureate, Hump--ye're right, ye're right; we'll
stand all this no longer!"
He dashed wildly up the sand slope and pointed
with the sign-post towards the darkening shore, where
the low shed of corrugated iron stood almost isolated.
"There's your tin temple!" he said. "Let's burn
They were some way along the coast from the
large watering-place of Pebblewick and between the
gathering twilight and the rolling country it could not
be clearly seen. Nothing was now in sight but the
corrugated iron hall by the beach and three half-built
red brick villas.
Dalroy appeared to regard the hall and the empty
houses with great malevolence.
"Look at it!" he said. "Babylon!"
He brandished the inn-sign in the air like a banner,
and began to stride towards the place, showering
"In forty days," he cried, "shall Pebblewick be
destroyed. Dogs shall lap the blood of J. Leveson,
Secretary, and Unicorns--"
"Come back Pat," cried Humphrey, "you've had
too much rum."
"Lions shall howl in its high places," vociferated
"Donkeys will howl, anyhow," said Pump. "But
I suppose the other donkey must follow."
And loading and untethering the quadruped, he
began to lead him along.
* * *
THE SOCIETY OF SIMPLE SOULS
UNDER sunset, at once softer and more sombre, under
which the leaden sea took on a Lenten purple, a tint
appropriate to tragedy, Lady Joan Brett was once
more drifting moodily along the sea-front. The evening
had been rainy and lowering; the watering-place
season was nearly over; and she was almost alone
on the shore; but she had fallen into the habit of
restlessly pacing the place, and it seemed to satisfy some
subconscious hunger in her rather mixed psychology.
Through all her brooding her animal senses always
remained abnormally active: she could _smell_ the sea
when it had ebbed almost to the horizon, and in the
same way she heard, through every whisper of waves
or wind, the swish or flutter of another woman's
skirt behind her. There is, she felt, something
unmistakable about the movements of a lady who is
generally very dignified and rather slow, and who happens
to be in a hurry.
She turned to look at the lady who was thus hastening
to overtake her; lifted her eyebrows a little and
held out her hand. The interruption was known to
her as Lady Enid Wimpole, cousin of Lord Ivywood;
a tall and graceful lady who unbalanced her own
elegance by a fashionable costume that was at once
funereal and fantastic; her fair hair was pale but
plentiful; her face was not only handsome and
fastidious in the aquiline style, but when considered
seriously was sensitive, modest, and even pathetic, but
her wan blue eyes seemed slightly prominent, with
that expression of cold eagerness that is seen in the
eyes of ladies who ask questions at public meetings.
Joan Brett was herself, as she had said, a connection
of the Ivywood family; but Lady Enid was Ivywood's
first cousin, and for all practical purposes his sister.
For she kept house for him and his mother, who was
now so incredibly old that she only survived to satisfy
conventional opinion in the character of a speechless
and useless _chaperon_. And Ivywood was not the sort
who would be likely to call out any activity in an old
lady exercising that office. Nor, for that matter, was
Lady Enid Wimpole; there seemed to shine on her
face the same kind of inhuman, absent-minded common
sense that shone on her cousin's.
"Oh, I'm so glad I've caught you up," she said to
Joan. "Lady Ivywood wants you _so_ much to come to
us for the week-end or so, while Philip is still there.
He always admired your sonnet on Cyprus so much,
and he wants to talk to you about this policy of his in
Turkey. Of course he's awfully busy, but I shall be
seeing him tonight after the meeting."
"No living creature," said Lady Joan, with a smile,
"ever saw him except before or after a meeting."
"Are you a Simple Soul?" asked Lady Enid, carelessly.
"Am I a simple soul?" asked Joan, drawing her
black brows together. "Merciful Heavens, no! What
can you mean?"
"Their meeting's on tonight at the small Universal
Hall, and Philip's taking the chair," explained the
other lady. "He's very annoyed that he has to leave
early to get up to the House, but Mr. Leveson can
take the chair for the last bit. They've got Misysra
"Got Mrs. Who?" asked Joan, in honest doubt.
"You make game of everything," said Lady Enid,
in cheerless amiability. "It's the man everyone's talking
about--_you_ know as well as I do. It's really his
influence that has _made_ the Simple Souls."
"Oh!" said Lady Joan Brett.
Then after a long silence, she added: "Who are the
Simple Souls? I should be interested in them, if I
could meet any." And she turned her dark, brooding
face on the darkening purple sea.
"Do you mean to say, my dear," asked Lady Enid
Wimpole, "that you haven't met any of them yet?"
"No," said Joan, looking at the last dark line of sea.
"I never met but one simple soul in my life."
"But you must come to the meeting!" cried Lady
Enid, with frosty and sparkling gaiety. "You must
come at once! Philip is certain to be eloquent on a
subject like this, and of course Misysra Ammon is
_always_ so wonderful."
Without any very distinct idea of where she was
going or why she was going there, Joan allowed herself
to be piloted to a low lead or tin shed, beyond the
last straggling hotels, out of the echoing shell of which
she could prematurely hear a voice that she thought
she recognised. When she came in Lord Ivywood was
on his feet, in exquisite evening dress, but with a light
overcoat thrown over the seat behind him. Beside
him, in less tasteful but more obvious evening dress,
was the little old man she had heard on the beach.
No one else was on the platform, but just under it,
rather to Joan's surprise, sat Miss Browning, her old
typewriting friend in her old black dress, industriously
taking down Lord Ivywood's words in shorthand. A
yard or two off, even more to her surprise, sat Miss
Browning's more domestic sister, also taking down the
same words in shorthand.
"That is Misysra Ammon," whispered Lady Enid,
earnestly, pointing a delicate finger at the little old man
beside the chairman.
"I know him," said Joan. "Where's the umbrella?"
". . . at least evident," Lord Ivywood was saying,
"that one of those ancestral impossibilities is no
longer impossible. The East and the West are one.
The East is no longer East nor the West West; for
a small isthmus has been broken, and the Atlantic and
Pacific are a single sea. No man assuredly has done
more of this mighty work of unity than the brilliant
and distinguished philosopher to whom you will have
the pleasure of listening tonight; and I profoundly
wish that affairs more practical, for I will not call
them more important, did not prevent my remaining
to enjoy his eloquence, as I have so often enjoyed it
before. Mr. Leveson has kindly consented to take
my place, and I can do no more than express my deep
sympathy with the aims and ideals which will be
developed before you tonight. I have long been
increasingly convinced that underneath a certain mask
of stiffness which the Mahommedan religion has worn
through certain centuries, as a somewhat similar mask
has been worn by the religion of the Jews, Islam has
in it the potentialities of being the most progressive of
all religions; so that a century or two to come we may
see the cause of peace, of science and of reform
everywhere supported by Islam as it is everywhere
supported by Israel. Not in vain, I think, is the symbol
of that faith the Crescent, the growing thing. While
other creeds carry emblems implying more or less of
finality, for this great creed of hope its very imperfection
is its pride, and men shall walk fearlessly in new
and wonderful paths, following the increasing curve
which contains and holds up before them the eternal
promises of the orb."
It was characteristic of Lord Ivywood that, though
he was really in a hurry, he sat down slowly and
gravely amid the outburst of applause. The quiet
resumption of the speaker's seat, like the applause itself,
was an artistic part of the peroration. When the last
clap or stamp had subsided, he sprang up alertly, his
light great-coat over his arm, shook hands with the
lecturer, bowed to the audience and slid quickly out of
the hall. Mr. Leveson, the swarthy young man with
the drooping double-eyeglass rather bashfully to the
front, took the empty seat on the platform, and in a
few words presented the eminent Turkish mystic
Misysra Ammon, sometimes called the Prophet of the
Lady Joan found the Prophet's English accent somewhat
improved by good society, but he still elongated
the letter "u" in the same bleating manner, and his
remarks had exactly the same rabidly wrong-headed
ingenuity as his lecture upon English inns. It
appeared that he was speaking on the higher Polygamy;
but he began with a sort of general defence of the
Moslem civilisation, especially against the charge of
sterility and worldly ineffectiveness.
"It iss joost in the practical tings," he was saying, "it iss joost in
the practical tings, if you could come to consider them in a manner
quite equal, that our methods are better than your methods. My
ancestors invented the curved swords, because one cuts better with a
curved sword. Your ancestors possessed the straight swords out of
some romantic fancy of being what you call straight; or, I will take a
more plain example, of which I have myself experience. When I first
had the honour of meeting Lord Ivywood, I was unused to your various
ceremonies and had a little difficulty, joost a little difficulty, in
entering Mr. Claridge's hotel, where his lordship had invited me. A
servant of the hotel was standing joost beside me on the doorstep. I
stoo-ooped down to take off my boo-oots, and he asked me what I was
dooing. I said to him: 'My friend, I am taking off my boo-oots.'"
A smothered sound came from Lady Joan Brett,
but the lecturer did not notice it and went on with a
"I told him that in my country, when showing
respect for any spot, we do not take off our hats; we take
off our boo-oots. And because I would keep on my
hat and take off my boo-oots, he suggested to me that
I had been afflicted by Allah, in the head. Now was not
"Very," said Lady Joan, inside her handkerchief,
for she was choking with laughter. Something like a
faint smile passed over the earnest faces of the two
or three most intelligent of the Simple Souls, but for
the most part the Souls seemed very simple indeed,
helpless looking people with limp hair and gowns like
green curtains, and their dry faces were as dry as
"But I explained to him. I explained to him for a long time, for a
carefully occupied time, that it was more practical, more
business-like, more altogether for utility, to take off the boo-oots
than to remove the hat. 'Let us,' I said to him, 'consider what many
complaints are made against the footwear, what few complaints against
the headwear. You complain if in your drawing-rooms is the marching
about of muddy boo-oots. Are any of your drawing-rooms marked thus
with the marching about of muddy hats? How very many of your husbands
kick you with the boo-oot! Yet how few of your husbands on any
occasion butt you with the hat?'"
He looked round with a radiant seriousness, which
made Lady Joan almost as speechless for sympathy
as she was for amusement. With all that was most
sound in his too complicated soul she realised the
presence of a man really convinced.
"The man on the doorstep, he would not listen to
me," went on Misysra Ammon, pathetically. "He said
there would be a crowd if I stood on the doorstep,
holding in my hand my boo-oots. Well, I do not know
why, in your country you always send the young
males to be the first of your crowds. They certainly
were making a number of noises, the young males."
Lady Joan Brett stood up suddenly and displayed
enormous interest in the rest of the audience in the
back parts of the hall. She felt that if she looked for
one moment more at the serious face with the Jewish
nose and the Persian beard, she would publicly
disgrace herself; or, what was quite as bad (for she was
the generous sort of aristocrat) publicly insult the
lecturer. She had a feeling that the sight of all the
Simple Souls in bulk might have a soothing effect. It
had. It had what might have been mistaken for a
depressing effect. Lady Joan resumed her seat with a
"Now, why," asked the Eastern philosopher, "do I
tell so simple a little story of your London streets--a
thing happening any day? The little mistake had no
preju-udicial effect. Lord Ivywood came out, at the
end. He made no attempt to explain the true view of
so important matters to Mr. Claridge's servant, though
Mr. Claridge's servant remained on the doorstep.
But he commanded Mr. Claridge's servant to
restore to me one of my boo-oots, which had fallen
down the front steps, while I was explaining this
harmlessness of the hat in the home. So all was, for me,
very well. But why do I tell such little tales?"
He spread out his hands again, in his fanlike
eastern style. Then he clapped them together, so suddenly
that Joan jumped, and looked instinctively for the
entrance of five hundred negro slaves, laden with jewels.
But it was only his emphatic gesture of eloquence.
He went on with an excited thickening of the accent.
"Because, my friends, this is the best example I
could give of the wrong and slanderous character of
the charge that we fail in our domesticities. That we
fail especially in our treatment of the womankind. I
appeal to any lady, to any Christian lady. Is not the
boo-oot more devastating, more dreaded in the home
than the hat? The boot jumps, he bound, he run about,
he break things, he leave on the carpet the earths of
the garden. The hat, he remain quiet on his hat-peg.
Look at him on his hat-peg; how quiet and good he
remain! Why not let him remain quiet also on his
Lady Joan applauded warmly, as did several other
ladies, and the sage went on, encouraged.
"Can you not therefore trust, dear ladies, this great
religion to understand you concerning other things,
as it understands you regarding boo-oots? What is
the common objection our worthy enemies make
against our polygamy? That it is disdainful of the
womanhood. But how can this be so, my friends,
when it allows the womanhood to be present in so
large numbers? When in your House of Commons
you put a hundred English members and joost one little
Welsh member, you do not say 'The Welshman is on
top; he is our Sultan; may he live for ever!' If your
jury contained eleven great large ladies and one leetle
man you would not say 'this is unfair to the great
large ladies.' Why should you shrink, then, ladies,
from this great polygamical experiment which Lord
Joan's dark eyes were still fixed on the wrinkled,
patient face of the lecturer, but every word of the rest
of the lecture was lost to her. Under her glowing
Spanish tint she had turned pale with extraordinary
emotions, but she did not stir a hair.
The door of the hall stood open, and occasional
sounds came even from that deserted end of the town.
Two men seemed to be passing along the distant
parade; one of them was singing. It was common enough
for workmen to sing going home at night, and the
voice, though a loud one, would have been too far off
for Joan to hear the words. Only Joan happened to
know the words. She could almost see them before
her, written in a round swaggering hand on the pink
page of an old school-girl album at home. She knew
the words and the voice.
"I come from Castlepatrick and my heart is on my sleeve,
And any sword or pistol boy can hit ut with me leave,
It shines there for an epaulette, as golden as a flame,
As naked as me ancestors, as noble as me name.
For I come from Castlepatrick and my heart is on my
But a lady stole it from me on St. Gallowglass's Eve."
Startlingly and with strong pain there sprang up
before Joan's eyes a patch of broken heath with a very
deep hollow of white sand, blinding in the sun. No
words, no name, only the place.
"The folks that live in Liverpool, their heart is in their boots;
They go to Hell like lambs, they do, because the hooter hoots.
Where men may not be dancin', though the wheels may
dance all day;
And men may not be smokin', but only chimneys may.
But I come from Castlepatrick and my heart is on my
But a lady stole it from me on St. Poleyander's Eve.
"The folks that live in black Belfast, their heart is in their
They see us making murders in the meadows of the South;
They think a plough's a rack they do, and cattle-calls are
And they think we're burnin' witches when we're only
But I come from Castlepatrick, and me heart is on me
But a lady stole it from me on St. Barnabas's Eve."
The voice had stopped suddenly, but the last lines
were so much more distinct that it was certain the
singer had come nearer, and was not marching away.
It was only after all this, and through a sort of
cloud, that Lady Joan heard the indomitable Oriental
bringing his whole eloquent address to a conclusion.
". . . And if you do not refu-use the sun that
returns and rises in the East with every morning, you
will not refu-use either this great social experiment,
this great polygamical method which also arose out
of the East, and always returns. For this is that
Higher Polygamy which always comes, like the sun
itself, out of the orient, but is only at its noontide
splendour when the sun is high in heaven."
She was but vaguely conscious of Mr. Leveson, the
man with the dark face and the eyeglasses, acknowledging
the entrancing lecture in suitable terms, and
calling on any of the Simple Souls who might have
questions to ask, to ask them. It was only when the
Simple Souls had displayed their simplicity with the
usual parade of well-bred reluctance and fussy self-effacement, that anyone addressed the chair. And it
was only after somebody had been addressing the
chair for some time that Joan gradually awoke to the
fact that the address was somewhat unusual.
* * *
VOX POPULI VOX DEI
"I AM sure," Mr. Leveson, the Secretary, had said,
with a somewhat constrained smile, "that after the
eloquent and epoch-making speech to which we have
listened there will be some questions asked, and we
hope to have a debate afterwards. I am sure somebody
will ask a question." Then he looked interrogatively
at one weary looking gentleman in the fourth
row and said, "Mr. Hinch?"
Mr. Hinch shook his head with a pallid passion of
refusal, wonderful to watch, and said, "I couldn't!
I really couldn't!"
"We should be very pleased," said Mr. Leveson, "if
any lady would ask a question."
In the silence that followed it was somehow
psychologically borne in on the whole audience that one
particular great large lady (as the lecturer would say)
sitting at the end of the second row was expected to
ask a question. Her own wax-work immobility was
witness both to the expectation and its disappointment.
"Are there any other questions?" asked Mr. Leveson
--as if there had been any yet. He seemed to speak
with a slight air of relief.
There was a sort of stir at the back of the hall and
half way down one side of it. Choked whispers
could be heard of "Now then, Garge!"--"Go it
Garge! Is there any questions! Gor!"
Mr. Leveson looked up with an alertness somewhat
akin to alarm. He realised for the first time that a few
quite common men in coarse, unclean clothes, had
somehow strolled in through the open door. They
were not true rustics, but the semi-rustic labourers that
linger about the limits of the large watering-places.
There was no "Mr." among them. There was a
general tendency to call everybody George.
Mr. Leveson saw the situation and yielded to it.
He modelled himself on Lord Ivywood and did much
what he would have done in all cases, but with a
timidity Lord Ivywood would not have shown. And the
same social training that made him ashamed to be
with such men, made him ashamed to own his shame.
The same modern spirit that taught him to loathe
such rags, also taught him to lie about his loathing.
"I am sure we should be very glad," he said,
nervously, "if any friends from outside care to join in
our inquiry. Of course, we're all Democrats," and
he looked round at the grand ladies with a ghastly
smile, "and believe in the Voice of the People and so
on. If our friend at the back of the hall will put his
question briefly, we need not insist, I think, on his
putting it in writing?"
There were renewed hoarse encouragements to
George (that rightly christened champion) and he
wavered forward on legs tied in the middle with
string. He did not appear to have had any seat since
his arrival, and made his remarks standing half way
down what we may call the central aisle.
"Well, I want to ask the proprietor," he began.
"Questions," said Mr. Leveson, swiftly seizing a
chance for that construction of debate which is the
main business of a modern chairman, "must be asked
of the chair, if they are points of order. If they
concern the address, they should be asked of the lecturer."
"Well, I ask the lecturer," said the patient Garge,
"whether it ain't right that when you 'ave the thing
outside you should 'ave the thing inside." (Hoarse
applause at the back.)
Mr. Leveson was evidently puzzled and already
suspicious that something was quite wrong. But the
enthusiasm of the Prophet of the Moon sprang up
instantly at any sort of question and swept the
Chairman along with it.
"But it iss the essence of our who-ole message," he
cried, spreading out his arms to embrace the world,
"that the outer manifestation should be one with the
inner manifestation. My friendss, it iss this very
tru-uth our friend has stated, that iss responsible for
our apparent lack of symbolism in Islam! We appear
to neglect the symbol because we insist on the
satisfactory symbol. My friend in the middle will
walk round all our mosques and say loudly, 'Where is
the statue of Allah?' But can my friend in the middle
really execute a complete and generally approved
statue of Allah?"
Misysra Ammon sat down greatly satisfied with
his answer, but it was doubted by many whether, he
had conveyed the satisfaction to his friend in the
middle. That seeker after truth wiped his mouth with
the back of his hand with an unsatisfied air and said:
"No offence, sir. But ain't it the Law, sir, that if
you 'ave that outside we're all right? I came in 'ere
as natural as could be. But Gorlumme, I never see a
place like this afore." (Hoarse laughter behind.)
"No apology is needed, my friend," cried the Eastern
sage, eagerly, "I can conceive you are not perhaps
du-uly conversant with such schools of truth. But
the Law is All. The Law is Allah. The inmost
"Well, ain't it the Law?" repeated the dogged
George, and every time he mentioned the Law the poor
men who are its chief victims applauded loudly. "I'm
not one to make a fuss. I never was one to make a
fuss. I'm a law-abidin' man, I am. (More applause.)
Ain't it the Law that if so be such is your sign and
such is your profession, you ought to serve us?"
"I fear I not quite follow," cried the eager Turk.
"To serve us," shouted a throng of thick voices
from the back of the hall, which was already much
more crowded than before.
"Serve you!" cried Misysra, leaping up like a spring
released, "The Holy Prophet came from Heaven to
serve you! The virtue and valour of a thousand
years, my friends, has had no hunger but to serve you!
We are of all faiths, the most the faith of service.
Our highest prophet is no more than the servant of
God, as I am, as you all are. Even for our symbol
we choose a satellite, and honour the Moon because it
only serves the Earth, and does not pretend to be the
"I'm sure," cried Mr. Leveson, jumping up with a
tactful grin, "that the lecturer has answered this last
point in a most eloquent and effective way, and the
motor cars are waiting for some of the ladies who
have come from some distance, and I really think the
All the artistic ladies were already getting on their
wraps, with faces varying from bewilderment to blank
terror. Only Lady Joan lingered, trembling with
unexplained excitement. The hitherto speechless Hinch
had slid up to the Chairman's seat and whispered to
"You must get all the ladies away. I can't imagine
what's up, but something's up."
"Well?" repeated the patient George. "So be it's
the Law, where is it?"
"Ladies and Gentlemen," said Mr. Leveson, in his
most ingratiating manner, "I think we have had a most
delightful evening, and--"
"No, we ain't," cried a new and nastier voice from
a corner of the room. "Where is it?"
"That's what we got a right to know," said the law-abiding George. "Where is it?"
"Where is what?" cried the nearly demented
secretary in the chair. "What do you want?"
The law-abiding Mr. George made a half turn and
a gesture towards the man in the corner and said:
"What's yours, Jim?"
"I'll 'ave a drop of Scotch," said the man in the
Lady Enid Wimpole, who had lingered a little in
loyalty to Joan, the only other lady still left, caught
both her wrists and cried in a thrilling whisper,
"Oh, we must go to the car, dear! They're using the
most awful language!"
Away on the wettest edge of the sands by the sea the
prints of two wheels and four hoofs were being slowly
washed away by a slowly rising tide; which was,
indeed, the only motive of the man Humphrey Pump,
leading the donkey cart, in leading it almost ankle deep
"I hope you're sober again now," he said with some
seriousness to his companion, a huge man walking
heavily and even humbly with a straight sword swinging
to and fro at his hip--"for honestly it was a mug's
game to go and stick up the old sign before that tin
place. I haven't often spoken to you like this,
Captain, but I don't believe any other man in the county
could get you out of the hole as I can. But to go
down there and frighten the ladies--why there's been
nothing so silly here since Bishop's Folly. You could
hear the ladies screaming before we left."
"I heard worse than that long before we left," said
the large man, without lifting his head. "I heard one
of them laugh. . . . Christ, do you think I shouldn't
hear her laugh?"
There was a silence. "I didn't mean to speak
sharp," said Humphrey Pump with that incorruptible
kindliness which was the root of his Englishry, and
may yet save the soul of the English. "But it's the
truth I was pretty well bothered about how to get out
of this business. You're braver than I am, you see,
and I own I was frightened about both of us. If I
hadn't known my way to the lost tunnel, I should be
fairly frightened still."
"Known your way to what?" asked the Captain,
lifting his red head for the first time.
"Oh, you know all about No More Ivywood's lost
tunnel," said Pump, carelessly. "Why, we all used
to look for it when we were boys. Only I happened
to find it."
"Have mercy on an exile," said Dalroy, humbly.
"I don't know which hurt him most, the things he
forgets or the things he remembers."
Mr. Pump was silent for a little while and then
said, more seriously than usual, "Well, the people
from London say you must put up placards and
statues and subscriptions and epitaphs and the Lord
knows what, to the people who've found some new
trick and made it come off. But only a man that
knows his own land for forty miles round, knows
what a lot of people, and clever people too, there were
who found new tricks, and had to hide them because
they didn't come off. There was Dr. Boone, up by
Gill-in-Hugby, who held out against Dr. Collison and
the vaccination. His treatment saved sixty patients
who had got small-pox; and Dr. Collison's killed
ninety-two patients who hadn't got anything. But
Boone had to keep it dark; naturally, because all his
lady patients grew mustaches. It was a result of the
treatment. But it wasn't a result he wishes to dwell
on. Then there was old Dean Arthur, who discovered
balloons if ever a man did. He discovered them
long before they were discovered. But people were
suspicious about such things just then--there was a
revival of the witch business in spite of all the parsons
--and he had to sign a paper saying where he'd got the
notion. Well, it stands to reason, you wouldn't like to
sign a paper saying you'd got it from the village idiot
when you were both blowing soap-bubbles; and that's
all he could have signed, for he was an honest gentleman,
the poor old Dean. Then there was Jack Arlingham
and the diving bell--but you remember all about
that. Well, it was just the same with the man that
made this tunnel--one of the mad Ivywoods. There's
many a man, Captain, that has a statue in the great
London squares for helping to make the railway
trains. There's many a man has his name in
Westminster Abbey for doing something in discovering
steamboats. Poor old Ivywood discovered both at
once; and had to be put under control. He had a
notion that a railway train might be made to rush
right into the sea and turn into a steamboat; and it
seemed all right, according as he worked it out. But
his family were so ashamed of the thing, that they
didn't like the tunnel even mentioned. I don't think
anybody knows where it is but me and Bunchy Robinson.
We shall be there in a minute or two. They've
thrown the rocks about at this end; and let the thick
plantation grow at the other, but I've got a race horse
through before now, to save it from Colonel Chepstow's
little games, and I think I can manage this
donkey. Honestly, I think it's the only place we'll
be safe in after what we've left behind us at Pebblewick.
But it's the best place in the world, there's no
doubt, for lying low and starting afresh. Here we
are. You think you can't get behind that rock, but
you can. In fact, you have."
Dalroy found himself, with some bewilderment,
round the corner of a rock and in a long bore or
barrel of blackness that ended in a very dim spot of
green. Hearing the hoofs of the ass and the feet of
his friend behind him, he turned his head, but could
see nothing but the pitch darkness of a closed coal
cellar. He turned again to the dim green speck, and
marching forward was glad to see it grow larger and
brighter, like a big emerald, till he came out on a
throng of trees, mostly thin, but growing so thickly
and so close to the cavernous entrance of the tunnel
that it was quite clear the place was meant to be
choked up by forests and forgotten. The light that
came glimmering through the trees was so broken
and tremulous that it was hard to tell whether it was
daybreak or moonrise.
"I know there's water here," said Pump. "They
couldn't keep it out of the stone-work when they
made the tunnel, and old Ivywood hit the hydraulic
engineer with a spirit level. With the bit of covert
here and the sea behind us we ought to be able to get
food of one kind or another, when the cheese has given
out, and donkeys can eat anything. By the way," he
added with some embarrassment, "you don't mind my
saying it, Captain, but I think we'd better keep that
rum for rare occasions. It's the best rum in England,
and may be the last, if these mad games are going on.
It'll do us good to feel it's there, so we can have it
when we want it. The cask's still nearly full."
Dalroy put out his hand and shook the other's.
"Hump," he said, seriously, "you're right. It's a
sacred trust for Humanity; and we'll only drink it
ourselves to celebrate great victories. In token of
which I will take a glass now, to celebrate our
glorious victory over Leveson and his tin tabernacle."
He drained one glass and then sat down on the
cask, as if to put temptation behind him. His blue
ruminant bull's eye seemed to plunge deeper and deeper
into the emerald twilight of the trees in front of him,
and it was long before he spoke again.
At last he observed, "I think you said, Hump, that
a friend of yours--a gentleman named Bunchy Robinson,
I think--was also a _habituÈ_ here."
"Yes, he knew the way," answered Pump, leading
the donkey to the most suitable patch of pasturage.
"May we, do you think, have the pleasure of a visit
from Mr. Robinson?" inquired the Captain.
"Not unless they're jolly careless up in Blackstone
Gaol," replied Pump. And he moved the cheese well
into the arch of the tunnel. Dalroy still sat with his
square chin on his hand, staring at the mystery of the
"You seem absent-minded, Captain," remarked
"The deepest thoughts are all commonplaces," said
Dalroy. "That is why I believe in Democracy, which
is more than you do, you foul blood-stained old British
Tory. And the deepest commonplace of all is that
Vanitas Vanitatem, which is not pessimism but is
really the opposite of pessimism. It is man's futility
that makes us feel he must be a god. And I think
of this tunnel, and how the poor old lunatic walked
about on this grass, watching it being built, the soul
in him on fire with the future. And he saw the whole
world changed and the seas thronged with his new
shipping; and now," and Dalroy's voice changed and
broke, "now there is good pasture for the donkey
and it is very quiet here."
"Yes," said Pump, in some way that conveyed his
knowledge that the Captain was thinking of other
things also. The Captain went on dreamily:
"And I think about another Lord Ivywood recorded
in history who also had a great vision. For it is a
great vision after all, and though the man is a prig,
he is brave. He also wants to drive a tunnel--between
East and West--to make the Indian Empire more
British; to effect what he calls the orientation of
England, and I call the ruin of Christendom. And I am
wondering just now whether the clear intellect and
courageous will of a madman will be strong enough
to burst and drive that tunnel, as everything seems to
show at this moment that it will. Or whether there
be indeed enough life and growth in your England to
leave it at last as this is left, buried in English forests
and wasted by an English sea."
The silence fell between them again, and again there
was only the slight sound the animal made in eating.
As Dalroy had said, it was very quiet there.
But it was not quiet in Pebblewick that night;
when the Riot Act was read, and all the people who had
seen the sign-board outside fought all the people who
hadn't seen the sign-board outside; or when babies and
scientists next morning, seeking for shells and other
common objects of the sea-shore, found that their
study included fragments of the outer clothing of
Leveson and scraps of corrugated iron.
* * *
THE HIGHER CRITICISM AND MR. HIBBS
PEBBLEWICK boasted an enterprising evening paper
of its own, called "The Pebblewick Globe," and it was
the great vaunt of the editor's life that he had got out
an edition announcing the mystery of the vanishing
sign-board, almost simultaneously with its vanishing.
In the rows that followed sandwich men found no little
protection from the blows indiscriminately given
them behind and before, in the large wooden boards
they carried inscribed:
THE VANISHING PUB
PEBBLEWICK'S FAIRY TALE
And the paper contained a categorical and mainly
correct account of what had happened, or what seemed
to have happened, to the eyes of the amazed Garge
and his crowd of sympathisers. "George Burn,
carpenter of this town, with Samuel Gripes, drayman in
the service of Messrs. Jay and Gubbins, brewers,
together with a number of other well-known residents,
passed by the new building erected on the West Beach
for various forms of entertainment and popularly
called the small Universal Hall. Seeing outside it
one of the old inn-signs now so rare, they drew the
quite proper inference that the place retained the
license to sell alcoholic liquors, which so many other
places in this neighbourhood have recently lost. The
persons inside, however, appear to have denied all
knowledge of the fact, and when the party (after some
regrettable scenes in which no life was lost) came out
on the beach again, it was found that the inn-sign
had been destroyed or stolen. All parties were quite
sober, and had indeed obtained no opportunity to be
anything else. The mystery is underlying inquiry."
But this comparatively realistic record was local and
spontaneous, and owed not a little to the accidental
honesty of the editor. Moreover, evening papers are
often more honest than morning papers, because they
are written by ill-paid and hardworked underlings in
a great hurry, and there is no time for more timid
people to correct them. By the time the morning
papers came out next day a faint but perceptible change
had passed over the story of the vanishing sign-board.
In the daily paper which had the largest circulation and
the most influence in that part of the world, the
problem was committed to a gentleman known by what
seemed to the non-journalistic world the singular
name of Hibbs However. It had been affixed to him
in jest in connection with the almost complicated
caution with which all his public criticisms were qualified
at every turn; so that everything came to depend upon
the conjunctions; upon "but" and "yet" and "though"
and similar words. As his salary grew larger (for
editors and proprietors like that sort of thing) and his
old friends fewer (for the most generous of friends
cannot but feel faintly acid at a success which has in
it nothing of the infectious flavour of glory) he grew
more and more to value himself as a diplomatist; a
man who always said the right thing. But he was
not without his intellectual nemesis; for at last he
became so very diplomatic as to be darkly and densely
unintelligible. People who knew him had no difficulty
in believing that what he had said was the right thing,
the tactful thing, the thing that should save the
situation; but they had great difficulty in discovering what
it was. In his early days he had had a great talent
for one of the worst tricks of modern journalism, the
trick of dismissing the important part of a question
as if it could wait, and appearing to get to business on
the unimportant part of it. Thus, he would say,
"Whatever we may think of the rights and wrongs of
the vivisection of pauper children, we shall all agree
that it should only be done, in any event, by fully qualified
practitioners." But in the later and darker days of
his diplomacy, he seemed rather to dismiss the
important part of a subject, and get to grips with some
totally different subject, following some timid and
elusive train of associations of his own. In his late
bad manner, as they say of painters, he was just as
likely to say, "Whatever we may think of the rights
and wrongs of the vivisection of pauper children, no
progressive mind can doubt that the influence of the
Vatican is on the decline." His nickname had stuck
to him in honour of a paragraph he was alleged to have
written when the American President was wounded
by a bullet fired by a lunatic in New Orleans, and
which was said to have run, "The President passed
a good night and his condition is greatly improved.
The assassin is not, however, a German, as was at first
supposed." Men stared at that mysterious conjunction
till they wanted to go mad and to shoot somebody
Hibbs However was a long, lank man, with straight,
yellowish hair and a manner that was externally soft
and mild but secretly supercilious. He had been, when
at Cambridge, a friend of Leveson, and they had both
prided themselves on being moderate politicians. But
if you have had your hat smashed over your nose by
one who has very recently described himself as a "law-abidin' man," and if you have had to run for your
life with one coat-tail, and encouraged to further bodily
activity by having irregular pieces of a corrugated iron
roof thrown after you by men more energetic than
yourself, you will find you emerge with emotions which
are not solely those of a moderate politician. Hibbs
However had already composed a leaderette on the
Pebblewick incident, which rather pointed to the truth
of the story, so far as his articles ever pointed to
anything. His motives for veering vaguely in this
direction were, as usual, complex. He knew the millionaire
who owned the paper had a hobby of Spiritualism, and
something might always come out of not suppressing a
marvellous story. He knew that two at least of the
prosperous artisans or small tradesmen who had
attested the tale were staunch supporters of The Party.
He knew that Lord Ivywood must be mildly but not
effectually checked; for Lord Ivywood was of The
Other Party. And there could be no milder or less
effectual way of checking him than by allowing the paper
to lend at least a temporary credit to a well-supported
story that came from outside, and certainly had not
been (like so many stories) created in the office. Amid
all these considerations had Hibbs However steered
his way to a more or less confirmatory article, when
the sudden apparition of J. Leveson, Secretary, in the
sub-editor's room with a burst collar and broken
eyeglasses, led Mr. Hibbs into a long, private conversation
with him and a comparative reversal of his plans. But
of course he did not write a new article; he was not
of that divine order who make all things new. He
chopped and changed his original article in such a way
that it was something quite beyond the most bewildering
article he had written in the past; and is still
prized by those highly cultured persons who collect
the worst literature of the world.
It began, indeed, with the comparatively familiar
formula, "Whether we take the more lax or the more
advanced view of the old disputed problem of the
morality or immorality of the wooden sign-board as
such, we shall all agree that the scenes enacted at
Pebblewick were very discreditable, to most, though
not all, concerned." After that, tact degenerated into
a riot of irrelevance. It was a wonderful article. The
reader could get from it a faint glimpse of Mr. Hibbs's
opinion on almost every other subject except the
subject of the article. The first half of the next sentence
made it quite clear that Mr. Hibbs (had he been
present) would not have lent his active assistance to
the Massacre of St. Bartholomew or the Massacres of
September. But the second half of the sentence
suggested with equal clearness that, since these two acts
were no longer, as it were, in contemplation, and all
attempts to prevent them would probably arrive a
little late, he felt the warmest friendship for the French
nation. He merely insisted that his friendship should
never be mentioned except in the French language.
It must be called an "entente" in the language taught
to tourists by waiters. It must on no account be called
an "understanding," in a language understanded of
the people. From the first half of the sentence
following it might safely be inferred that Mr. Hibbs had
read Milton, or at least the passage about sons of
Belial; from the second half that he knew nothing
about bad wine, let alone good. The next sentence
began with the corruption of the Roman Empire and
contrived to end with Dr. Clifford. Then there was a
weak plea for Eugenics; and a warm plea against
Conscription, which was not True Eugenics. That
was all; and it was headed "The Riot at Pebblewick."
Yet some injustice would be done to Hibbs However
if we concealed the fact that this chaotic leader
was followed by quite a considerable mass of public
correspondence. The people who write to newspapers
are, it may be supposed, a small, eccentric body, like
most of those that sway a modern state. But at least,
unlike the lawyers, or the financiers, or the members
of Parliament, or the men of science, they are people
of all kinds scattered all over the country, of all classes,
counties, ages, sects, sexes, and stages of insanity. The
letters that followed Hibbs's article are still worth
looking up in the dusty old files of his paper.
A dear old lady in the densest part of the Midlands
wrote to suggest that there might really have been
an old ship wrecked on the shore, during the
proceedings. "Mr. Leveson may have omitted to notice it,
or, at that late hour of the evening, it may have been
mistaken for a sign-board, especially by a person of
defective sight. My own sight has been failing for
some time; but I am still a diligent reader of your
paper." If Mr. Hibbs's diplomacy had left one nerve
in his soul undrugged, he would have laughed, or burst
into tears, or got drunk, or gone into a monastery over
a letter like that. As it was, he measured it with a
pencil, and decided that it was just too long to get into
Then there was a letter from a theorist, and a theorist
of the worst sort. There is no great harm in the
theorist who makes up a new theory to fit a new event.
But the theorist who starts with a false theory and then
sees everything as making it come true is the most
dangerous enemy of human reason. The letter began
like a bullet let loose by the trigger. "Is not the whole
question met by Ex. iv. 3? I enclose pamphlets in
which I have proved the point quite plainly, and which
none of the Bishops or the so-called Free Church
Ministers have attempted to answer. The connection
between the rod or pole and the snake so clearly indicated
in Scripture is no less clear in this case. It is well
known that those who follow after strong drink often
announce themselves as having seen a snake. Is it not
clear that those unhappy revellers beheld it in its
transformed state as a pole; see also Deut. xviii. 2.
If our so-called religious leaders," etc. The letter
went on for thirty-three pages and Hibbs was perhaps
justified in this case in thinking the letter rather too
Then there was the scientific correspondent who
said--Might it not be due to the acoustic qualities of
the hall? He had never believed in the corrugated
iron hall. The very word "hall" itself (he added
playfully) was often so sharpened and shortened by the
abrupt echoes of those repeated metallic curves, that it
had every appearance of being the word "hell," and
had caused many theological entanglements, and some
police prosecutions. In the light of these facts, he
wished to draw the editor's attention to some very
curious details about this supposed presence or absence
of an inn-sign. It would be noted that many of the
witnesses, and especially the most respectable of them,
constantly refer to something that is supposed to be
outside. The word "outside" occurs at least five times
in the depositions of the complaining persons. Surely
by all scientific analogy we may infer that the unusual
phrase "inn-sign" is an acoustic error for "inside."
The word "inside" would so naturally occur in any
discussion either about the building or the individual,
when the debate was of a hygienic character. This
letter was signed "Medical Student," and the less
intelligent parts of it were selected for publication in the
Then there was a really humorous man, who wrote
and said there was nothing at all inexplicable or
unusual about the case. He himself (he said) had often
seen a sign-board outside a pub when he went into it,
and been quite unable to see it when he came out.
This letter (the only one that had any quality of
literature) was sternly set aside by Mr. Hibbs.
Then came a cultured gentleman with a light touch,
who merely made a suggestion. Had anyone read
H. G. Wells's story about the kink in space? He
contrived, indescribably, to suggest that no one had even
heard of it except himself; or, perhaps, of Mr. Wells
either. The story indicated that men's feet might be
in one part of the world and their eyes in another.
He offered the suggestion for what it was worth.
The particular pile of letters on which Hibbs However
threw it, showed only too clearly what it was worth.
Then there was a man, of course, who called it all
a plot of frenzied foreigners against Britain's shore.
But as he did not make it quite clear whether the chief
wickedness of these aliens had lain in sticking the
sign up or in pulling it down, his remarks (the remainder
of which referred exclusively to the conversational
misconduct of an Italian ice-cream man, whose side
of the case seemed insufficiently represented) carried
the less weight.
And then, last but the reverse of least, there plunged
in all the people who think they can solve a problem
they cannot understand by abolishing everything that
has contributed to it. We all know these people. If a
barber has cut his customer's throat because the girl
has changed her partner for a dance or donkey ride on
Hampstead Heath, there are always people to protest
against the mere institutions that led up to it. This
would not have happened if barbers were abolished,
or if cutlery were abolished, or if the objection felt by
girls to imperfectly grown beards were abolished, or if
the girls were abolished, or if heaths and open spaces
were abolished, or if dancing were abolished, or if
donkeys were abolished. But donkeys, I fear, will
never be abolished.
There were plenty of such donkeys in the common
land of this particular controversy. Some made it an
argument against democracy, because poor Garge was
a carpenter. Some made it an argument against Alien
Immigration, because Misysra Ammon was a Turk.
Some proposed that ladies should no longer be admitted
to any lectures anywhere, because they had constituted
a slight and temporary difficulty at this one, without
the faintest fault of their own. Some urged that all
holiday resorts should be abolished; some urged that
all holidays should be abolished. Some vaguely
denounced the sea-side; some, still more vaguely,
proposed to remove the sea. All said that if this or that,
stones or sea-weed or strange visitors or bad weather
or bathing machines were swept away with a strong
hand, this which had happened would not have
happened. They only had one slight weakness, all of
them; that they did not seem to have the faintest
notion of what _had_ happened. And in this they were
not inexcusable. Nobody did know what had
happened; nobody knows it to this day, of course, or it
would be unnecessary to write this story. No one can
suppose this story is written from any motive save that
of telling the plain, humdrum truth.
That queer confused cunning which was the only
definable quality possessed by Hibbs However had
certainly scored a victory so far, for the tone of the
weekly papers followed him, with more intelligence
and less trepidation; but they followed him. It seemed
more and more clear that some kind of light and sceptical
explanation was to be given of the whole business,
and that the whole business was to be dropped.
The story of the sign-board and the ethical chapel
of corrugated iron was discussed and somewhat
disparaged in all the more serious and especially in the
religious weeklies, though the Low Church papers
seemed to reserve their distaste chiefly for the sign-board; and the High Church papers chiefly for the
Chapel. All agreed that the combination was
incongruous, and most treated it as fabulous. The only
intellectual organs which seemed to think it might have
happened were the Spiritualist papers, and their
interpretation had not that solidity which would have
satisfied Mr. George.
It was not until almost a year after that it was
felt in philosophical circles that the last word had
been said on the matter. An estimate of the incident
and of its bearing on natural and supernatural history
occurred in Professor Widge's celebrated "Historicity
of the Petro-Piscatorial Phenomena"; which so
profoundly affected modern thought when it came out in
parts in the _Hibbert Journal_. Everyone remembers
Professor Widge's main contention, that the modern
critic must apply to the thaumaturgics of the Lake of
Tiberias the same principle of criticism which Dr.
Bunk and others have so successfully applied to the
thaumaturgics of the Cana narrative: "Authorities
as final as Pink and Toscher," wrote the Professor,
"have now shown with an emphasis that no emancipated
mind is entitled to question, that the Aqua-Vinic
thaumaturgy at Cana is wholly inconsistent with the
psychology of the 'master of the feast,' as modern
research has analysed it; and indeed with the whole
Judaeo-Aramaic psychology at that stage of its
development, as well as being painfully incongruous with
the elevated ideals of the ethical teacher in question.
But as we rise to higher levels of moral achievement,
it will probably be found necessary to apply the Canaic
principle to other and later events in the narrative.
This principle has, of course, been mainly expounded
by Huscher in the sense that the whole episode is
unhistorical, while the alternative theory, that the wine
was non-alcoholic and was naturally infused into the
water, can claim on its side the impressive name of
Minns. It is clear that if we apply the same alternative
to the so-called Miraculous Draught of Fishes we must
either hold with Gilp, that the fishes were stuffed
representations of fishes artificially placed in the lake
(see the Rev. Y. Wyse's "Christo-Vegetarianism as
a World-System," where this position is forcibly set
forth), or we must, on the Huscherian hypothesis,
deprive the Piscatorial narrative of all claim to
"The difficulty felt by the most daring critics (even
Pooke) in adopting this entirely destructive attitude,
is the alleged improbability of so detailed a narrative
being founded on so slight a phrase as the anti-historical
critics refer it to. It is urged by Pooke, with
characteristic relentless reasoning, that according to
Huscher's theory a metaphorical but at least noticeable
remark, such as, 'I will make you fishers of men,' was
expanded into a realistic chronicle of events which
contains no mention, even in the passages evidently
interpolated, of any men actually found in the nets
when they were hauled up out of the sea; or, more
"It must appear presumptuous or even bad taste
for anyone in the modern world to differ on any
subject from Pooke; but I would venture to suggest that
the very academic splendour and unique standing of
the venerable professor (whose ninety-seventh birthday
was so beautifully celebrated in Chicago last year),
may have forbidden him all but intuitive knowledge of
how errors arise among the vulgar. I crave pardon
for mentioning a modern case known to myself (not
indeed by personal presence, but by careful study of
all the reports) which presents a curious parallel to
such ancient expansions of a text into an incident, in
accordance with Huscher's law.
"It occurred at Pebblewick, in the south of England.
The town had long been in a state of dangerous
religious excitement. The great religious genius who
has since so much altered our whole attitude to the
religions of the world, Misysra Ammon, had been
lecturing on the sands to thousands of enthusiastic
hearers. Their meetings were often interrupted, both
by children's services run on the most ruthless lines
of orthodoxy and by the League of the Red Rosette,
the formidable atheist and anarchist organization. As
if this were not enough to swell the whirlpool of
fanaticism, the old popular controversy between the Milnian
and the Complete Sublapsarians broke out again on
the fated beach. It is natural to conjecture that in
the thickening atmosphere of theology in Pebblewick,
some controversialist quoted the text 'An evil and
adulterous generation _seek for a sign_. But no sign
shall be given it save the sign of the prophet Jonas.'
"A mind like that of Pooke will find it hard to
credit, but it seems certain that the effect of this text
on the ignorant peasantry of southern England was
actually to make them go about looking for a sign,
in the sense of those old tavern signs now so happily
disappearing. The 'sign of the Prophet Jonas,' they
somehow translated in their stunted minds into a sign-board of the ship out of which Jonah was thrown.
They went about literally looking for 'The Sign of
the Ship,' and there are some cases of their suffering
Smail's Hallucination and actually seeing it. The
whole incident is a curious parallel to the Gospel
narrative and a triumphant vindication of Huscher's law."
Lord Ivywood paid a public compliment to Professor
Widge, saying that he had rolled back from his
country what might have been an ocean of superstitions.
But, indeed, poor Hibbs had struck the first
and stunning blow that scattered the brains of all men.
* * *
THE CHARACTER OF QUOODLE
THERE lay about in Lord Ivywood's numerous gardens,
terraces, outhouses, stable yards and similar
places, a dog that came to be called by the name of
Quoodle. Lord Ivywood did not call him Quoodle.
Lord Ivywood was almost physically incapable of
articulating such sounds. Lord Ivywood did not care
for dogs. He cared for the Cause of dogs, of course;
and he cared still more for his own intellectual self-respect and consistency. He would never have permitted
a dog in his house to be physically ill-treated; nor,
for that matter, a rat; nor, for that matter, even a
man. But if Quoodle was not physically ill-treated,
he was at least socially neglected, and Quoodle did
not like it. For dogs care for companionship more
than for kindness itself.
Lord Ivywood would probably have sold the dog,
but he consulted experts (as he did on everything
he didn't understand and many things that he did),
and the impression he gathered from them was that
the dog, technically considered, would fetch very
little; mostly, it seemed, because of the mixture of
qualities that it possessed. It was a sort of mongrel
bull-terrier, but with rather too much of the bull-dog;
and this fact seemed to weaken its price as much as
it strengthened its jaw. His Lordship also gained a
hazy impression that the dog might have been valuable
as a watch-dog if it had not been able to follow game
like a pointer; and that even in the latter walk of life it
would always be discredited by an unfortunate talent
for swimming as well as a retriever. But Lord
Ivywood's impressions may very well have been slightly
confused, as he was probably thinking about the
Black stone of Mecca, or some such subject at the
moment. The victim of this entanglement of virtues,
therefore, still lay about in the sunlight of Ivywood,
exhibiting no general result of that entanglement
except the most appalling ugliness.
Now Lady Joan Brett did appreciate dogs. It was
the whole of her type and a great deal of her tragedy
that all that was natural in her was still alive under all
that was artificial; and she could smell hawthorn or the
sea as far off as a dog can smell his dinner. Like most
aristocrats she would carry cynicism almost to the
suburbs of the city of Satan; she was quite as
irreligious as Lord Ivywood, or rather more. She could
be quite equally frigid or supercilious when she felt
inclined. And in the great social talent of being tired,
she could beat him any day of the week. But the
difference remained in spite of her sophistries and
ambitions; that her elemental communications were
not cut, and his were. For her the sunrise was still
the rising of a sun, and not the turning on of a light
by a convenient cosmic servant. For her the Spring
was really the Season in the country, and not merely
the Season in town. For her cocks and hens were
natural appendages to an English house; and not (as
Lord Ivywood had proved to her from an encyclopaedia)
animals of Indian origin, recently imported by
Alexander the Great. And so for her a dog was a dog,
and not one of the higher animals, nor one of the lower
animals, nor something that had the sacredness of life,
nor something that ought to be muzzled, nor something
that ought not to be vivisected. She knew that in every
practical sense proper provision would be made for the
dog; as, indeed, provision was made for the yellow
dogs in Constantinople by Abdul Hamid, whose life
Lord Ivywood was writing for the _Progressive Potentates_
series. Nor was she in the least sentimental about
the dog or anxious to turn him into a pet. It simply
came natural to her in passing to rub all his hair the
wrong way and call him something which she
The man who was mowing the garden lawn looked
up for a moment, for he had never seen the dog
behave in exactly that way before. Quoodle arose,
shook himself, and trotted on in front of the lady,
leading her up an iron side staircase, of which, as it
happened, she had never made use before. It was
then, most probably, that she first took any special
notice of him; and her pleasure, like that which she
took in the sublime prophet from Turkey, was of a
humorous character. For the complex quadruped
had retained the bow legs of the bull-dog; and, seen
from behind, reminded her ridiculously of a
swaggering little Major waddling down to his Club.
The dog and the iron stairway between them led
her into a series of long rooms, one opening into the
other. They formed part of what she had known
in earlier days as the disused Wing of Ivywood House,
which had been neglected or shut up, probably because
it bore some defacements from the fancies of the mad
ancestor, the memory of whom the present Lord Ivywood
did not think helpful to his own political career.
But it seemed to Joan that there were indications of
a recent attempt to rehabilitate the place. There was
a pail of whitewash in one of the empty rooms, a step-ladder in another, here and there a curtain rod, and
at last, in the fourth room a curtain. It hung all
alone on the old woodwork, but it was a very gorgeous
curtain, being a kind of orange-gold relieved with
wavy bars of crimson, which somehow seemed to suggest
the very spirit and presence of serpents, though
they had neither eyes nor mouths among them.
In the next of the endless series of rooms she came
upon a kind of ottoman, striped with green and silver
standing alone on the bare floor. She sat down on it
from a mixed motive of fatigue and of impudence, for
she dimly remembered a story which she had always
thought one of the funniest in the world, about a lady
only partly initiated in Theosophy who had been in
the habit of resting on a similar object, only to
discover afterward that it was a Mahatma, covered with
his eastern garment and prostrate and rigid in ecstasy.
She had no hopes of sitting on a Mahatma herself,
but the very thought of it made her laugh, because it
would make Lord Ivywood look such a fool. She was
not sure whether she liked or disliked Lord Ivywood,
but she felt quite certain that it would gratify her to
make him look a fool. The moment she had sat down
on the ottoman, the dog, who had been trotting beside
her, sat down also, and on the edge of her skirt.
After a minute or two she rose (and the dog rose),
and she looked yet farther down that long perspective
of large rooms, in which men like Philip Ivywood
forget that they are only men. The next was more
ornate and the next yet more so; it was plain that the
scheme of decoration that was in progress had been
started at the other end. She could now see that the
long lane ended in rooms that from afar off looked
like the end of a kaleidoscope, rooms like nests made
only from humming birds or palaces built of fixed
fireworks. Out of this furnace of fragmentary
colours she saw Ivywood advancing toward her, with
his black suit and his white face accented by the
contrast. His lips were moving, for he was talking to
himself, as many orators do. He did not seem to see
her, and she had to strangle a subconscious and utterly
senseless cry, "He is blind!"
The next moment he was welcoming her intrusion
with the well-bred surprise and rather worldly
simplicity suitable to such a case, and Joan fancied she
understood why his face had seemed a little bleaker
and blinder than usual. It was by contrast. He was
carrying clutched to his forefinger, as his ancestors
might have carried a falcon clutched to the wrist, a
small bright coloured semi-tropical bird, the expression
of whose head, neck and eye was the very opposite
of his own. Joan thought she had never seen a living
creature with a head so lively and insulting. Its
provocative eye and pointed crest seemed to be offering to
fight fifty game-cocks. It was no wonder (she told
herself) that by the side of this gaudy gutter-snipe
with feathers Ivywood's faint-coloured hair and frigid
face looked like the hair and face of a corpse walking.
"You'll never know what this is," said Ivywood,
in his most charming manner. "You've heard of him a
hundred times and never had a notion of what he
was. This is the Bulbul."
"I never knew," replied Joan. "I am afraid I never
cared. I always thought it was something like a
"Ah, yes," answered Ivywood, "but this is the real
Bulbul peculiar to the East, _Pycnonotus Haemorrhous_.
You are thinking of _Daulias Golzii_."
"I suppose I am," replied Lady Joan with a faint
smile. "It is an obsession. When shall I not be
thinking of Daulias Galsworthy? Was it
Galsworthy?" Then feeling quite touched by the soft
austerity of her companion's face, she caressed the
gaudy and pugnacious bird with one finger and said,
"It's a dear little thing."
The quadruped intimately called Quoodle did not
approve of all this at all. Like most dogs, he liked
to be with human beings when they were silent, and he
extended a magnificent toleration to them as long as
they were talking to each other. But conversational
attention paid to any other animal at all remote from
a mongrel bull-terrier wounded Mr. Quoodle in his
most sensitive and gentlemanly feelings. He emitted
a faint growl. Joan, with all the instincts that were in
her, bent down and pulled his hair about once more,
and felt the instant necessity of diverting the general
admiration from _Pycnonotus Haemorrhous_. She
turned it to the decoration at the end of the refurnished
wing; for they had already come to the last of the
long suite of rooms, which ended in some unfinished
but exquisite panelling in white and coloured woods,
inlaid in the oriental manner. At one corner the whole
corridor ended by curving into a round turret chamber
overlooking the landscape; and which Joan, who
had known the house in childhood, was sure was an
innovation. On the other hand a black gap, still left
in the lower left-hand corner of the oriental
woodwork, suddenly reminded her of something she had
"Surely," she said (after much mere aesthetic
ecstasy), "there used to be a staircase there, leading to
the old kitchen garden, or the old chapel or something."
Ivywood nodded gravely. "Yes," he said, "it did
lead to the ruins of a Mediaeval Chapel, as you say.
The truth is it led to several things that I cannot
altogether consider a credit to the family in these days.
All that scandal and joking about the unsuccessful
tunnel (your mother may have told you of it), well,
it did us no good in the County, I'm afraid; so as it's
a mere scrap of land bordering on the sea, I've fenced
it off and let it grow wild. But I'm boarding up the
end of the room here for quite another reason. I
want you to come and see it."
He led her into the round corner turret in which the
new architecture ended, and Joan, with her thirst
for the beautiful, could not stifle a certain thrill of
beatitude at the prospect. Five open windows of a
light and exquisite Saracenic outline looked out over
the bronze and copper and purple of the Autumn parks
and forests to the peacock colours of the sea. There
was neither house nor living thing in sight, and, familiar
as she had been with that coast, she knew she was
looking out from a new angle of vision on a new
landscape of Ivywood.
"You can write sonnets?" said Ivywood with something
more like emotion in his voice than she had
ever heard in it. "What comes first into your mind
with these open windows?"
"I know what you mean," said Joan after a silence.
"The same hath oft . . ."
"Yes," he said. "That is how I felt . . . of
perilous seas in fairy lands forlorn."
There was another silence and the dog sniffed round
and round the circular turret chamber.
"I want it to be like that," said Ivywood in a low
and singularly moved intonation. "I want this to be
the end of the house. I want this to be the end of the
world. Don't you feel that is the real beauty of all
this eastern art; that it is coloured like the edges of
things, like the little clouds of morning and the
islands of the blest? Do you know," and he lowered
his voice yet more, "it has the power over me of
making me feel as if I were myself absent and distant;
some oriental traveller who was lost and for whom
men were looking. When I see that greenish lemon
yellow enamel there let into the white, I feel that
I am standing thousands of leagues from where I
"You are right," said Joan, looking at him with
some wonder, "I have felt like that myself."
"This art," went on Ivywood as in a dream, "does
indeed take the wings of the morning and abide in the
uttermost parts of the sea. They say it contains no
form of life, but surely we can read its alphabet as
easily as the red hieroglyphics of sunrise and sunset
which are on the fringes of the robe of God."
"I never heard you talk like that before," said the
lady, and again stroked the vivid violet feathers of the
small eastern bird.
Mr. Quoodle could stand it no longer. He had
evidently formed a very low opinion of the turret
chamber and of oriental art generally, but seeing Joan's
attention once more transferred to his rival, he trotted
out into the longer room, and finding the gap in the
woodwork which was soon to be boarded up, but
which still opened on an old dark staircase, he went
"galumphing" down the stairs.
Lord Ivywood gently placed the bird on the girl's
own finger, and went to one of the open windows,
leaning out a little.
"Look here," he said, "doesn't this express what we
both feel? Isn't this the sort of fairy-tale house that
ought to hang on the last wall of the world?"
And he motioned her to the window-sill, just outside
which hung the bird's empty cage, beautifully wrought
in brass or some of the yellow metals.
"Why that is the best of all!" cried Lady Joan. "It
makes one feel as if it really were the Arabian Nights.
As if this were a tower of the gigantic Genii with
turrets up to the moon; and this were an enchanted
Prince caged in a golden palace suspended by the
Something stirred in her dim but teeming subconsciousness,
something like a chill or change like that by
which we half know that weather has altered, or distant
and unnoticed music suddenly ceased.
"Where is the dog?" she asked suddenly.
Ivywood turned with a mild, grey eye.
"Was there a dog here?" he asked.
"Yes," said Lady Joan Brett, and gave him back the
bird, which he restored carefully to its cage.
The dog after whom she inquired had in truth trundled
down a dark, winding staircase and turned into the
daylight, into a part of the garden he had never seen
before; nor, indeed, had anybody else for some time
past. It was altogether tangled and overgrown with
weeds, and the only trace of human handiwork, the
wreck of an old Gothic Chapel, stood waist high in
numberless nettles and soiled with crawling fungoids.
Most of these merely discoloured the grey crumbling
stone with shades of bronze or brown; but some of
them, particularly on the side farthest from the house,
were of orange or purple tints almost bright enough for
Lord Ivywood's oriental decoration. Some fanciful
eyes that fell on the place afterward found something
like an allegory in those graven and broken saints or
archangels feeding such fiery and ephemeral parasites
as those toadstools like blood or gold. But Mr. Quoodle
had never set himself up as an allegorist, and he
merely trotted deeper and deeper into the grey-green
English jungle. He grumbled very much at the thistles
and nettles, much as a city man will grumble at the
jostling of a crowd. But he continued to press forward,
with his nose near the ground, as if he had already
smelt something that interested him. And, indeed, he
had smelt something in which a dog, except on special
occasions, is much more interested than he is in dogs.
Breaking through a last barrier of high and hoary
purple thistles he came out on a semicircle of somewhat
clearer ground, dotted with slender trees, and
having, by way of back scene, the brown brick arch of
an old tunnel. The tunnel was boarded up with a very
irregular fence or mask made of motley wooden
lathes, and looked, somehow, rather like a pantomime
cottage. In front of this a sturdy man in very shabby
shooting clothes was standing attending to a battered
old frying-pan which he held over a rather irregular
flame which, small as it was, smelt strongly of burnt
rum. In the frying-pan, and also on the top of a cask
or barrel that served for a table hard by, were a number
of the grey, brown, and even orange fungi which
were plastered over the stone angels and dragons of
the fallen chapel.
"Hullo, old man," said the person in the shooting
jacket with tranquillity and without looking up from
his cooking. "Come to pay us a visit? Come along
then." He flashed one glance at the dog and returned
to the frying pan. "If your tail were two inches
shorter, you'd be worth a hundred pounds. Had any
The dog trotted across to him and began nosing
and sniffing round his dilapidated leather gaiters.
The man did not interrupt his cookery, on which his
eyes were fixed and both his hands were busy; but he
crooked his knee and foot so as to caress the quadruped
in a nerve under the angle of the jaw, the stimulation
of which (as some men of science have held) is for
a dog what a good cigar is for a man. At the same
moment a huge voice like on ogre's came from within
the masked tunnel, calling out, "And who are ye
A very crooked kind of window in the upper part of
the pantomime cottage burst open and an enormous
head, with erect, startling, and almost scarlet hair and
blue eyes as big as a bullfrog's, was thrust out above
"Hump," cried the ogre. "Me moral counsels have
been thrown away. In the last week I've sung you
fourteen and a half songs of me own composition;
instead of which you go about stealing dogs. You're
following in the path of Parson Whats-his-name in
every way, I'm afraid."
"No," said the man with the frying pan, impartially,
"Parson Whitelady struck a very good path for
doubling on Pebblewick, that I was glad to follow.
But I think he was quite silly to steal dogs. He was
young and brought up pious. I know too much about
dogs to steal one."
"Well," asked the large red-haired man, "and how
do you get a dog like that?"
"I let him steal me," said the person stirring the pan.
And indeed the dog was sitting erect and even arrogant
at his feet, as if he was a watch-dog at a high salary,
and had been there before the building of the tunnel.
* * *
VEGETARIANISM IN THE DRAWING-ROOM
THE Company that assembled to listen to the Prophet
of the Moon, on the next occasion of his delivering any
formal address, was much more select than the
comparatively mixed and middle-class society of the
Simple Souls. Miss Browning and her sister, Mrs.
Mackintosh, were indeed present; for Lord Ivywood
had practically engaged them both as private secretaries,
and kept them pretty busy, too. There was also
Mr. Leveson, because Lord Ivywood believed in his
organizing power; and also Mr. Hibbs, because Mr.
Leveson believed in his political judgment, whenever he
could discover what it was. Mr. Leveson had straight,
dark hair, and looked nervous. Mr. Hibbs had straight,
fair hair, and also looked nervous. But the rest of the
company were more of Ivywood's own world, or
the world of high finance with which it mixes both
here and on the continent. Lord Ivywood welcomed,
with something approaching to warmth, a distinguished
foreign diplomatist, who was, indeed, none other than
that silent German representative who had sat beside
him in that last conference on the Island of the Olives.
Dr. Gluck was no longer in his quiet, black suit, but
wore an ornate, diplomatic uniform with a sword and
Prussian, Austrian or Turkish Orders; for he was
going on from Ivywood to a function at Court. But
his curl of red lips, his screw of black mustache, and
his unanswering almond eyes had no more changed
than the face of a wax figure in a barber's shop
The Prophet had also effected an improvement in
his dress. When he had orated on the sands his
costume, except for the fez, was the shabby but respectable
costume of any rather unsuccessful English clerk.
But now that he had come among aristocrats who
petted their souls as they did their senses, there must
be no such incongruity. He must be a proper, fresh-picked
oriental tulip or lotus. So--he wore long, flowing
robes of white, relieved here and there by flame-coloured threads of tracery, and round his head was
a turban of a kind of pale golden green. He had to
look as if he had come flying across Europe on the
magic carpet, or fallen a moment before from his
paradise in the moon.
The ladies of Lord Ivywood's world were much as
we have already found them. Lady Enid Wimpole
still overwhelmed her earnest and timid face with a
tremendous costume, that was more like a procession
than a dress. It looked rather like the funeral
procession of Aubrey Beardsley. Lady Joan Brett still
looked like a very beautiful Spaniard with no illusions
left about her castle in Spain. The large and resolute
lady who had refused to ask any questions at Misysra's
earlier lecture, and who was known as Lady Crump,
the distinguished Feminist, still had the air of being
so full and bursting with questions fatal to Man as to
have passed the speaking and reached the speechless
stage of hostility. Throughout the proceedings she
contributed nothing but bursting silence and a malevolent
eye. And old Lady Ivywood, under the oldest and
finest lace and the oldest and finest manners, had a look
like death on her, which can often be seen in the
parents of pure intellectuals. She had that face of
a lost mother that is more pathetic than the face of a
"And what are you going to delight us with today?"
Lady Enid was asking of the Prophet.
"My lecture," answered Misysra, gravely, "is on the
It was part of a simplicity really respectable in him
that he never saw any incongruity in the arbitrary and
isolated texts or symbols out of which he spun his
thousand insane theories. Lady Enid endured the
impact of this singular subject for debate without losing
that expression of wistful sweetness which she wore
on principle when talking to such people.
"The Pig, he is a large subject," continued the
Prophet, making curves in the air, as if embracing
some particularly prize specimen. "He includes many
subjects. It is to me very strange that the Christians
should so laugh and be surprised because we hold
ourselves to be defiled by pork; we and also another of
the Peoples of the Book. But, surely, you Christians
yourselves consider the pig as a manner of pollution;
since it is your most usual expression of your
despising, of your very great dislike. You say 'swine,'
my dear lady; you do not say animals far more
unpopular, such as the alligator."
"I see," said the lady, "how wonderful!"
"If you are annoyed," went on the encouraged and
excited gentleman, "if you are annoyed with anyone,
with a--what you say?--a lady's maid, you do not
say to her 'Horse.' You do not say to her 'Camel.'"
"Ah, no," said Lady Enid, earnestly.
"'Pig of a lady's maid,' you say in your colloquial
English," continued the Prophet, triumphantly. "And
yet this great and awful Pig, this monster whose very
name, when whispered, you think will wither all your
enemies, you allow, my dear lady, to approach yet
closer to you. You incorporate this great Pig in the
substance of your own person."
Lady Enid Wimpole was looking a little dazed at
last, at this description of her habits, and Joan gave
Lord Ivywood a hint that the lecturer had better be
transferred to his legitimate sphere of lecturing.
Ivywood led the way into a larger room that was full of
ranked chairs, with a sort of lectern at the other end,
and flanked on all four sides with tables laden with
all kinds of refreshments. It was typical of the
strange, half-fictitious enthusiasm and curiosity of that
world, that one long table was set out entirely with
vegetarian foods, especially of an eastern sort (like
a table spread in the desert for a rather fastidious
Indian hermit); but that tables covered with game
patties, lobster and champagne were equally provided,
and very much more frequented. Even Mr. Hibbs,
who would honestly have thought entering a public-house more disgraceful than entering a brothel, could
not connect any conception of disgrace with Lord
For the purpose of the lecture was not wholly
devoted to the great and awful Pig, and the purpose of
the meeting even less. Lord Ivywood, the white
furnace of whose mind was always full of new fancies
hardening into ambitions, wanted to have a debate on
the diet of East and West, and felt that Misysra might
very appropriately open with an account of the
Moslem veto on pork or other coarse forms of flesh food.
He reserved it to himself to speak second.
The Prophet began, indeed, with some of his dizziest
flights. He informed the Company that they,
the English, had always gone in hidden terror and
loathing of the Pig, as a sacred symbol of evil. He
proved it by the common English custom of drawing
a pig with one's eyes shut. Lady Joan smiled, and yet
she asked herself (in a doubt that had been darkening
round her about many modern things lately) whether
it was really much more fanciful than many things
the scientists told her: as, the traces of Marriage by
Capture which they found in that ornamental and even
frivolous being, the Best Man.
He said that the dawn of greater enlightenment is
shown in the use of the word "gammon," which still
expresses disgust at "the porcine image," but no longer
fear of it, but rather a rational disdain and disbelief.
"Rowley," said the Prophet, solemnly, and then after
a long pause, "Powley, _Gammon_ and Spinach."
Lady Joan smiled again, but again asked herself if it
was much more farfetched than a history book she had
read, which proved the unpopularity of Catholicism in
Tudor times from the word "hocus pocus."
He got into a most amazing labyrinth of philology
between the red primeval sins of the first pages of
Genesis and the Common English word "ham." But,
again, Joan wondered whether it was much wilder
than the other things she had heard said about
Primitive Man by people who had never seen him.
He suggested that the Irish were set to keep pigs
because they were a low and defiled caste, and the
serfs of the pig-scorning Saxon; and Joan thought it
was about as sensible as what the dear old Archdeacon
had said about Ireland years ago; which had caused an
Irishman of her acquaintance to play "the Shan Van
Voght" and then smash the piano.
Joan Brett had been thoughtful for the last few
days. It was partly due to the scene in the turret,
where she had struck a sensitive and artistic side of
Philip Ivywood she had never seen before, and partly
to disturbing news of her mother's health, which,
though not menacing, made her feel hypothetically how
isolated she was in the world. On all previous
occasions she had merely enjoyed the mad lecturer now at
the reading-desk. Today she felt a strange desire to
analyse him, and imagine how a man could be so
connected and so convinced and yet so wildly wide of the
mark. As she listened carefully, looking at the hands
in her lap, she began to think she understood.
The lecturer did really try to prove that the "porcine
image" had never been used in English history
or literature, except in contempt. And the lecturer
really did know a very great deal about English
history and literature: much more than she did; much
more than the aristocrats round her did. But she
noted that in every case what he knew was a fragmentary
fact. In every case what he did not know was
the truth behind the fact. What he did not know was
the atmosphere. What he did not know was the
tradition. She found herself ticking off the cases like
counts in an indictment.
Misysra Ammon knew, what next to none of the
English present knew, that Richard III was called a
"boar" by an eighteenth century poet and a "hog" by
a fifteenth century poet. What he did not know was
the habit of sport and of heraldry. He did not know
(what Joan knew instantly, though she had never
thought of it before in her life) that beasts courageous
and hard to kill are noble beasts, by the law of chivalry.
Therefore, the boar was a noble beast, and a common
crest for great captains. Misysra tried to show that
Richard had only been called a pig after he was cold
pork at Bosworth.
Misysra Ammon knew, what next to none of the
English present knew, that there never was such a
person as Lord Bacon. The phrase is a falsification of
what should be Lord Verulam or Lord St. Albans.
What he did not know was exactly what Joan did know
(though it had never crossed her mind till that moment)
that when all is said and done, a title is a sort of
joke, while a surname is a serious thing. Bacon was
a gentleman, and his name was Bacon; whatever titles
he took. But Misysra seriously tried to prove that
"Bacon" was a term of abuse applied to him during
his unpopularity or after his fall.
Misysra Ammon knew, what next to none of the
English present knew, that the poet Shelley had a
friend called Hogg, who treated him on one occasion
with grave treachery. He instantly tried to prove that
the man was only called "Hogg" because he had treated
Shelley with grave treachery. And he actually adduced
the fact that another poet, practically contemporary,
was called "Hogg" as completing the connection
with Shelley. What he did not know was just what
Joan had always known without knowing it: the kind
of people concerned, the traditions of aristocrats like
the Shelleys or of Borderers like the Ettrick Shepherd.
The lecturer concluded with a passage of impenetrable
darkness about pig-iron and pigs of lead, which
Joan did not even venture to understand. She could
only say that if it did not mean that some day our diet
might become so refined that we ate lead and iron, she
could form no fancy of what it did mean.
"Can Philip Ivywood believe this kind of thing?"
she asked herself; and even as she did so, Philip
He had, as Pitt and Gladstone had, an impromptu
classicism of diction, his words wheeling and deploying
into their proper places like a well-disciplined army
in its swiftest advance. And it was not long before
Joan perceived that the last phase of the picture,
obscure and monstrous as it seemed, gave Ivywood exactly
the opening he wanted. Indeed, she felt, no doubt,
that he had arranged for it beforehand.
"It is within my memory," said Lord Ivywood,
"though it need in no case have encumbered yours,
that when it was my duty to precede the admired
lecturer whom I now feel it a privilege even to follow, I
submitted a suggestion which, however simple, would
appear to many paradoxical. I affirmed or implied the
view that the religion of Mahomet was, in a peculiar
sense, a religion of progress. This is so contrary, not
only to historical convention but to common platitude,
that I shall find no ground either of surprise or censure
if it takes a perceptible time before it sinks into the
mind of the English public. But I think, ladies and
gentlemen, that this period is notably abbreviated by
the remarkable exposition which we have heard today.
For this question of the attitude of Islam toward
food affords as excellent an example of its special
mode of progressive purification as the more popular
example of its attitude toward drink. For it illustrates
that principle which I have ventured to call the
principle of the Crescent: the principle of perpetual
growth toward an implied and infinite perfection.
"The great religion of Islam does not of itself
forbid the eating of flesh foods. But, in accordance with
that principle of growth which is its life, it has pointed
the way to a perfection not yet perhaps fully attainable
by our nature; it has taken a plain and strong example
of the dangers of meat-eating; and hung up the
repellent carcass as a warning and a sign. In the
gradual emergence of mankind from a gross and
sanguinary mode of sustenance, the Semite has led the way.
He has laid, as it were, a symbolic embargo upon the
beast typical, the beast of beasts. With the instinct
of the true mystic, he selected for exemption from
such cannibal feasts the creature which appeals to
both sides of the higher vegetarian ethic. The pig
is at once the creature whose helplessness most moves
our pity and whose ugliness most repels our taste.
"It would be foolish to affirm that no difficulty
arises out of the different stages of moral evolution
in which the different races find themselves. Thus it
is constantly said, and such things are not said
without some excuse in document or incident, that
followers of the Prophet have specialised in the arts of
war and have come into a contact, not invariably
friendly, with those Hindoos of India who have
specialised in the arts of Peace. In the same way the
Hindoos, it must be confessed, have been almost as
much in advance of Islam in the question of meat as
Islam is in advance of Christianity in the matter of
drink. It must be remembered again and again, ladies
and gentlemen, that every allegation we have of any
difference between Hindoo and Moslem comes
through a Christian channel, and is therefore tainted
evidence. But in this matter, even, can we not see the
perils of disregarding such plain danger signals as the
veto on pork? Did not an Empire nearly slip out of
our hands because our hands were greased with cow-fat? And did not the well of Cawnpore brim with
blood instead of water because we would not listen to
the instinct of the Oriental about the shedding of
"But if it be proposed, with whatever graduation,
to approach that repudiation of flesh food which
Buddhism mainly and Islam partly recommends, it will
always be asked by those who hate the very vision of
Progress--'Where do you draw the line? May I eat
oysters? May I eat eggs? May I drink milk?' You
may. You may eat or drink anything essential to your
stage of evolution, so long as you are evolving toward
a clearer and cleaner ideal of bodily life. If," he said
gravely, "I may employ a phrase of flippancy, I would
say that you may eat six dozen oysters today, but I
should strongly advise five dozen oysters tomorrow.
For how else has all progress in public or private
manners been achieved? Would not the primitive
cannibals be surprised at the strange distinction we draw
between men and beasts? All historians pay high
honour to the Huguenots, and the great Huguenot Prince,
Henri Quatre. None need deny that his aspiration
that every Frenchman should have a chicken in his
pot was, for his period, a high aspiration. It is no
disrespect to him that we, mounting to higher levels,
and looking down longer perspectives, consider the
chicken. And this august march of discovery passes
figures higher than that of Henry of Navarre. I shall
always give a high place, as Islam has always given a
high place, to that figure, mythical or no, which we
find presiding over the foundations of Christianity.
I cannot doubt that the fable, incredible and revolting
otherwise, which records the rush of swine into the
sea, was an allegory of his early realisation that a
spirit, evil indeed, does reside in all animals in so far
as they tempt us to devour them. I cannot doubt that
the Prodigal leaving his sins among the swine is
another illustration of the great thesis of the Prophet
of the Moon. But here, also, progress and relativity
are relentless in their advance; and not a few of us
may have risen today to the point of regretting that
the joyful sounds around the return of the Prodigal
should be marred by the moaning of a calf.
"For the rest, he who asks us whither we go knows
not the meaning of Progress. If we come at last to
live on light, as men said of the chameleon, if some
cosmic magic closed to us now, as radium was but
recently closed, allows us to transmute the very metals
into flesh without breaking into the bloody house of
life, we shall know these things when we have achieved
them. It is enough for us now if we have reached a
spiritual station, in which at least the living head we
lop has not eyes to reproach us; and the herbs we
gather cannot cry against our cruelty like the
Lord Ivywood resumed his seat, his colourless lips
still moving. By some previous arrangement, probably,
Mr. Leveson rose to move a motion about Vegetarianism.
Mr. Leveson was of opinion that the Jewish
and Moslem veto on pork had been the origin of
Vegetarianism. He thought it was a great step, and
showed how progressive the creed could be. He
thought the persecution of the Hindoos by Moslems
had probably been much exaggerated; he thought our
experience in the Indian Mutiny showed we considered
the feeling of Easterners too little in such matters.
He thought Vegetarianism in some ways an advance
on orthodox Christianity. He thought we must be
ready for yet further advances; and he sat down.
And as he had said precisely, clause by clause, everything
that Lord Ivywood had said, it is needless to say
that that nobleman afterward congratulated him on
the boldness and originality of his brilliant speech.
At a similar sort of preconcerted signal, Hibbs
However rose rather vaguely to his feet to second the
motion. He rather prided himself on being a man of
few words, in the vocal sense; he was no orator, as
Brutus was. It was only with pen in hand, in an
office lined with works of reference, that he could feel
that sense of confused responsibility that was the one
pleasure of his life. But on this occasion he was
brighter than usual; partly because he liked being in
a lord's house; partly because he had never tasted
champagne before, and he felt as if it agreed with
him; partly because he saw in the subject of Progress
an infinite opportunity of splitting hairs.
"Whatever," said Hibbs, with a solemn cough,
"whatever we may think of the old belief that
Moslems have differed from Buddhism in a regrettable
way, there can be no doubt the responsibility lay with
the Christian Churches. Had the Free Churches put
their foot down and met Messrs. Opalstein's demand,
we should have heard nothing of these old differences
between one belief and another." As it was, it
reminded him of Napoleon. He gave his own opinion
for what it was worth, but he was not afraid to say at
any cost, even there and in that company, that this
business of Asiatic vegetation had occupied less of the
time of the Wesleyan Conference than it should have
done. He would be the last to say, of course, that
anyone was in any sense to blame. They all knew
Dr. Coon's qualifications. They all knew as well as
he did, that a more strenuous social worker than
Charles Chadder had never rallied the forces of
progress. But that which was not really an indiscretion
might be represented as an indiscretion, and perhaps
we had had enough of that just lately. It was all very
well to talk about Coffe but it should be remembered,
with no disrespect to those in Canada to whom we
owe so much, that all that happened before 1891. No
one had less desire to offend our Ritualistic friends
than he did, but he had no hesitation in saying that
the question was a question that could be asked, and
though no doubt, from one point of view the goat's--.
Lady Joan moved sharply in her chair, as if gripped
by sudden pain. And, indeed, she had suddenly felt
the chronic and recurrent pain of her life. She was
brave about bodily pain, as are most women, even
luxurious women: but the torment that from time to time
returned and tore her was one to which many
philosophical names have been given, but no name so
philosophical as Boredom.
She felt she could not stand a minute more of Mr.
Hibbs. She felt she would die if she heard about the
goats--from one or any point of view. She slipped
from her chair and somehow slid round the corner, in
pretence of seeking one of the tables of refreshment in
the new wing. She was soon among the new oriental
apartments, now almost completed; but she took no
refreshments, though attenuated tables could still be
found here and there. She threw herself on an
ottoman and stared toward the empty and elfin turret
chambers in which Ivywood had made her understand
that he, also, could thirst for beauty and desire to be
at peace. He certainly had a poetry of his own, after
all; a poetry that never touched earth; the poetry of
Shelley rather than Shakespeare. His phrase about
the fairy turret was true: it did look like the end of
the world. It did seem to teach her that there is
always some serene limit at last.
She started and half rose on her elbow with a small
laugh. A dog of ludicrous but familiar appearance
came shuffling toward her and she lifted herself in the
act of lifting him. She also lifted her head, and saw
something that seemed to her, in a sense more Christian
and catastrophic, very like the end of the world.
* * *
VEGETARIANISM IN THE FOREST
HUMPHREY PUMP'S cooking of a fungus in an old
frying-pan (which he had found on the beach) was
extremely typical of him. He was, indeed, without any
pretence of book-learning, a certain kind of scientific
man that science has really been unfortunate in losing.
He was the old-fashioned English Naturalist like
Gilbert White or even Isaac Walton, who learned things
not academically like an American Professor, but
actually, like an American Indian. And every truth a
man has found out as a man of science is always
subtly different from any truth he has found out as a
man, because a man's family, friends, habits and social
type have always got well under way before he has
thoroughly learned the theory of anything. For
instance, any eminent botanist at a _SoirÈe_ of the Royal
Society could tell you, of course, that other edible
fungi exist, as well as mushrooms and truffles. But
long before he was a botanist, still less an eminent
botanist, he had begun, so to speak, on a basis of
mushrooms and truffles. He felt, in a vague way, that these
were really edible, that mushrooms were a moderate
luxury, proper to the middle classes, while truffles
were a much more expensive luxury, more suitable to
the Smart Set. But the old English Naturalists, of
whom Isaac Walton was perhaps the first, and Humphrey
Pump perhaps the last, had in many cases really
begun at the other end, and found by experience (often
most disastrous experience) that some fungi are
wholesome and some are not; but the wholesome ones
are, on a whole, the majority. So a man like Pump
was no more afraid of a fungus as such than he was
of an animal as such. He no more started with the
supposition that a grey or purple growth on a stone
must be a poisonous growth than he started with the
supposition that the dog who came to him out of the
wood must be a mad dog. Most of them he knew;
those he did not know he treated with rational
caution, but to him, as a whole race, these weird-hued
and one-legged goblins of the forests were creatures
friendly to man.
"You see," he said to his friend the Captain, "eating
vegetables isn't half bad, so long as you know what
vegetables there are and eat all of them that you can.
But there are two ways where it goes wrong among
the gentry. First, they've never had to eat a carrot
or a potato because it was all there was in the house; so
they've never learnt how to be really hungry for
carrots, as that donkey might be. They only know the
vegetables that are meant to help the meat. They
know you take duck and peas; and when they turn
vegetarian they can only think of the peas without
the duck. They know you take lobster in a salad; and
when they turn vegetarian they can only think of the
salad without the lobster. But the other reason is
worse. There's plenty of good people even round
here, and still more in the north, who get meat very
seldom. But then, when they do get it, they gobble
it up like good 'uns. But the trouble with the gentry
is different. The trouble is, the same sort of gentry
that don't want to eat meat don't really want to eat
anything. The man called a Vegetarian who goes
to Ivywood House is generally like a cow trying to
live on a blade of grass a day. You and I, Captain,
have pretty well been vegetarians for some time, so as
not to break into the cheese, and we haven't found it
so difficult, because we eat as much as we can."
"It's not so difficult as being teetotallers," answered
Dalroy, "so as not to break into the cask. But I'll
never deny that I feel the better for that, too, on the
whole. But only because I could leave off being one
whenever I chose. And, now I come to think of it,"
he cried, with one of his odd returns of animal energy,
"if I'm to be a vegetarian why shouldn't I drink?
Why shouldn't I have a purely vegetarian drink?
Why shouldn't I take vegetables in their highest form,
so to speak? The modest vegetarians ought obviously
to stick to wine or beer, plain vegetarian drinks,
instead of filling their goblets with the blood of bulls
and elephants, as all conventional meat-eaters do, I
suppose. What is the matter?"
"Nothing," answered Pump. "I was looking out
for somebody who generally turns up about this time.
But I think I'm fast."
"I should never have thought so from the look of
you," answered the Captain, "but what I'm saying is
that the drinking of decent fermented liquor is just
simply the triumph of vegetarianism. Why, it's an
inspiring idea! I could write a sort of song about it.
As, for instance--
"You will find me drinking rum
Like a sailor in a slum,
You will find me drinking beer like a Bavarian;
You will find me drinking gin
In the lowest kind of inn,
Because I am a rigid Vegetarian."
Why, it's a vista of verbal felicity and spiritual
edification! It has I don't know how many hundred
aspects! Let's see; how could the second verse go?
"So I cleared the inn of wine,
And I tried to climb the Sign;
And I tried to hail the constable as 'Marion';
But he said I couldn't speak,
And he bowled me to the Beak,
Because I was a Happy Vegetarian."
"I really think something instructive to the human race
may come out of all this . . . Hullo! Is that
what you were looking for?"
The quadruped Quoodle came in out of the woods a
whole minute later than the usual time and took his
seat beside Humphrey's left foot with a preoccupied
"Good old boy," said the Captain. "You seem to
have taken quite a fancy to us. I doubt, Hump, if
he's properly looked after up at the house. I
particularly don't want to talk against Ivywood, Hump. I
don't want his soul to be able in all eternity to accuse
my soul of a mean detraction. I want to be fair to
him, because I hate him like hell, and he has taken
from me all for which I lived. But I don't think, with
all this in my mind, I don't think I say anything beyond
what he would own himself (for his brain is clear)
when I say that he could never understand an animal.
And so he could never understand the animal side of
a man. He doesn't know to this day, Hump, that
your sight and hearing are sixty times quicker than
his. He doesn't know that I have a better circulation.
That explains the extraordinary people he picks up and
acts with; he never looks at them as you and I look
at that dog. There was a fellow calling himself
Gluck who was (mainly by Ivywood's influence, I
believe) his colleague on the Turkish Conferences,
being supposed to represent Germany. My dear
Hump, he was a man that a great gentleman like
Ivywood ought not to have touched with a barge-pole. It's
not the race he was--if it was one race--it's the Sort
he was. A coarse, common, Levantine nark and eaves-dropper--but you mustn't lose your temper, Hump. I
implore you, Hump, to control this tendency to lose
your temper when talking at any length about such
people. Have recourse, Hump, to that consoling system
of versification which I have already explained to
"Oh I knew a Doctor Gluck,
And his nose it had a hook,
And his attitudes were anything but Aryan;
So I gave him all the pork
That I had, upon a fork;
Because I am myself a Vegetarian."
"If you are," said Humphrey Pump, "You'd better
come and eat some vegetables. The White Hat can
be eaten cold--or raw, for that matter. But
Bloodspots wants some cooking."
"You are right, Hump," said Dalroy, seating
himself with every appearance of speechless greed. "I
will be silent. As the poet says--
"I am silent in the Club,
I am silent in the pub,
I am silent on a bally peak in Darien;
For I stuff away for life,
Shoving peas in with a knife,
Because I am at heart a Vegetarian."
He fell to his food with great gusto, dispatched a
good deal of it in a very short time, threw a glance of
gloomy envy at the cask, and then sprang to his feet
again. He caught up the inn-sign from where it
leant against the Pantomime Cottage, and planted it
like a pike in the ground beside him. Then he began
to sing again, in an even louder voice than before.
"O, Lord Ivywood may lop,
And his privilege is sylvan and riparian;
And is also free to top,
"Do you know," said Hump, also finishing his lunch,
"that I'm rather tired of that particular tune?"
"Tired, is it?" said the indignant Irishman, "then
I'll sing you a longer song, to an even worse tune,
about more and more vegetarians, and you shall see
me dance as well; and I will dance till you burst into
tears and offer me the half of your kingdom; and I
shall ask for Mr. Leveson's head on the frying-pan.
For this, let me tell you, is a song of oriental origin,
celebrating the caprices of an ancient Babylonian
Sultan and should be performed in palaces of ivory with
palm trees and a bulbul accompaniment."
And he began to bellow another and older lyric of
his own on vegetarianism.
"Nebuchadnezzar, the King of the Jews,
Suffered from new and original views,
He crawled on his hands and knees it's said,
With grass in his mouth and a crown on his head,
With a wowtyiddly, etc.
"Those in traditional paths that trod,
Thought the thing was a curse from God;
But a Pioneer men always abuse,
Like Nebuchadnezzar the King of the Jews."
Dalroy, as he sang this, actually began to dance
about like a ballet girl, an enormous and ridiculous
figure in the sunlight, waving the wooden sign around
his head. Quoodle opened his eyes and pricked up
his ears and seemed much interested in these
extraordinary evolutions. Suddenly, with one of those
startling changes that will transfigure the most sedentary
dogs, Quoodle decided that the dance was a game, and
began to bark and bound round the performer, sometimes
leaping so far into the air as almost to threaten
the man's throat. But, though the sailor naturally
knew less about dogs than the countryman, he knew
enough about them (as about many other things) not
to be afraid, and the voice he sang with might have
drowned the baying of a pack.
"Black Lord Foulon the Frenchmen slew,
Thought it a Futurist thing to do;
He offered them grass instead of bread,
So they stuffed him with grass when they cut off his head.
With a wowtyiddly, etc.
"For the pride of his soul he perished then,
But of course it is always of Pride that men
A Man in Advance of his Age accuse
Like Nebuchadnezzar the King of the Jews.
"Simeon Scudder of Styx, in Maine,
Thought of the thing and was at it again;
He gave good grass and water in pails
To a thousand Irishmen hammering rails,
With a wowtyiddly, etc.
"Appetites differ, and tied to a stake,
He was tarred and feathered for Conscience Sake;
But stoning the prophets is ancient news,
Like Nebuchadnezzar the King of the Jews."
In an abandon, unusual even for him, he had danced
his way down through the thistles into the jungle of
weeds risen round the sunken Chapel. And the dog,
now fully convinced that it was not only a game but
an expedition, perhaps a hunting expedition, ran barking
in front of him, along the path that his own dog's
paws had already burst through the tangle. Before
Patrick Dalroy well knew what he was doing, or even
remembered that he still carried the ridiculous sign-board in his hand, he found himself outside the open
porch of a sort of narrow tower at the angle of a
building which, to the best of his recollection, he had
never seen before. Quoodle instantly ran up four or
five steps in the dark staircase inside, and then, lifting
his ears again, looked back for his companion.
There is, perhaps, such a thing as asking too much
of a man. If there is, it was asking too much of
Patrick Dalroy to ask him not to accept so eccentric an
invitation. Hurriedly plunging his unwieldy wooden
ensign upright in the thick of thistles and grass, he
bent his gigantic neck and shoulders to enter the
porch, and proceeded to climb the stairs. It was quite
dark, and it was only after at least two twists of the
stone spiral that he saw light ahead of him, and then
it was a sort of rent in the wall that seemed to him
as ragged as the mouth of a Cornish cave. It was
also so low that he had some difficulty in squeezing
his bulk through it, but the dog had jumped through
with an air of familiarity, and once more looked back
to see him follow.
If he had found himself inside any ordinary domestic
interior, he would instantly have repented his
escapade and gone back. But he found himself in
surroundings which he had never seen before, or even,
in one sense, believed possible.
His first feeling was that he was walking in the
most sealed and secret suite of apartments in the castle
of a dream. All the chambers had that air of
perpetually opening inwards which is the soul of the
Arabian Nights. And the ornament was of the same
tradition; gorgeous and flamboyant, yet featureless
and stiff. A purple mansion seemed to be built inside
a green mansion and a golden mansion inside that.
And the quaintly cut doorways or fretted lattices all
had wavy lines like a dancing sea, and for some reason
(sea-sickness for all he knew) this gave him a feeling
as if the place were beautiful but faintly evil: as if it
were bored and twisted for the fallen palace of the
But he had also another sensation which he could
not analyze; for it reminded him of being a fly on the
ceiling or the wall. Was it the Hanging Gardens of
Babylon coming back to his imagination; or the Castle
East of the Sun and West of the Moon? Then he
remembered that in some boyish illness he had stared
at a rather Moorish sort of wall paper, which was like
rows and rows of brightly coloured corridors, empty
and going on forever. And he remembered that a fly
was walking along one of the parallel lines; and it
seemed to his childish fancy that the corridors were
all dead in front of the fly, but all came to life as he
"By George!" he cried, "I wonder whether that's
the real truth about East and West! That the
gorgeous East offers everything needed for adventures
except the man to enjoy them. It would explain the
tradition of the Crusades uncommonly well. Perhaps
that's what God meant by Europe and Asia. We
dress the characters and they paint the scenery. Well,
anyhow, three of the least Asiatic things in the world
are lost in this endless Asiatic palace--a good dog, a
straight sword, and an Irishman."
But as he went down this telescope of tropical colours
he really felt something of that hard fatalistic
freedom of the heroes (or should we say villains?)
in the Arabian Nights. He was prepared for any
impossibility. He would hardly have been surprised
if from under the lid of one of the porcelain pots
standing in a corner had come a serpentine string of
blue or yellow smoke, as if some wizard's oil were
within. He would hardly have been surprised if from
under the curtains or closed doors had crawled out a
snaky track of blood, or if a dumb negro dressed in
white had come out with a bow string, having done
his work. He would not have been surprised if he had
walked suddenly into the still chamber of some Sultan
asleep, whom to wake was a death in torments. And
yet he was very much more surprised by what he did
see, and when he saw it, he was certain at last that
he was only wandering in the labyrinth of his own
brain. For what he saw was what was really in the
core of all his dreams.
What he saw, indeed, was more appropriate to that
inmost eastern chamber than anything he had imagined.
On a divan of blood-red and orange cushions
lay a startlingly beautiful woman, with a skin almost
swarthy enough for an Arab's, and who might well
have been the Princess proper to such an Arabian
tale. But in truth it was not her appropriateness to
the scene, but rather her inappropriateness, that made
his heart bound. It was not her strangeness but her
familiarity that made his big feet suddenly stop.
The dog ran on yet more rapidly, and the princess
on the sofa welcomed him warmly, lifting him on
his short hind legs. Then she looked up, and seemed
turned to stone.
"Bismillah," said the oriental traveller, affably, "may
your shadow never grow less--or more, as the ladies
would say. The Commander of the Faithful has deputed
his least competent slave to bring you back a dog.
Owing to temporary delay in collecting the fifteen
largest diamonds in the moon, he has been compelled
to send the animal without any collar. Those responsible
for the delay will instantly be beaten to death,
with the tails of dragons--"
The frightful shock, which had not yet left the
lady's face, brought him back to responsible speech.
"In short," he said, "in the name of the Prophet,
dog. I say, Joan, I wish this wasn't a dream."
"It isn't," said the girl, speaking for the first time,
"and I don't know yet whether I wish it was."
"Well," argued the dreamer, rationally, "what are
you, anytime, if you're not a dream--or a vision?
And what are all these rooms, if they aren't a dream
--or rather a nightmare?"
"This is the new wing of Ivywood House," said
the lady addressed as Joan, speaking with great
difficulty. "Lord Ivywood has fitted them up in the
eastern style; he is inside conducting a most interesting
debate in defence of Eastern Vegetarianism. I only
came out because the room was rather hot."
"Vegetarian!" cried Dalroy, with abrupt and rather
unreasonable exasperation. "That table seems to fall
a bit short of Vegetarianism." And he pointed to one
of the long, narrow tables, laid somewhere in almost
all the central rooms, and loaded with elaborate cold
meats and expensive wines.
"He must be liberal-minded," cried Joan, who
seemed to be on the verge of something, possibly
temper. "He can't expect people suddenly to begin being
Vegetarians when they've never been before."
"It has been done," said Dalroy, tranquilly, walking
across to look at the table. "I say, your ascetical
friends seem to have made a pretty good hole in the
champagne. You may not believe it, Joan, but I
haven't touched what you call alcohol for a month."
With which words he filled with champagne a large
tumbler intended for claret cup and swallowed it at a
Lady Joan Brett stood up straight but trembling.
"Now that's really wrong, Pat," she cried. "Oh,
don't be silly--you know I don't care about the alcohol
or all that. But you're in the man's house, uninvited,
and he doesn't know. That wasn't like you."
"He shall know, all right," said the large man,
quietly. "I know the exact price of a tumbler of that
And he scribbled some words in pencil on the back
of a bill of fare on the table, and then carefully laid
three shillings on top of it.
"And there you do Philip the worst wrong of all,"
cried Lady Joan, flaming white. "You know as well
as I do, anyhow, that he would not take your money."
Patrick Dalroy stood looking at her for some
seconds with an expression on his broad and unusually
open face which she found utterly puzzling.
"Curiously enough," he observed, at last, and with
absolutely even temper, "curiously enough, it is you
who are doing Philip Ivywood a wrong. I think
him quite capable of breaking England or Creation.
But I do honestly think he would never break his word.
And what is more, I think the more arbitrary and
literal his word had been, the more he would keep it.
You will never understand a man like that, till you
understand that he can have devotion to a definition;
even a new definition. He can really feel about an
amendment to an Act of Parliament, inserted at the
last moment, as you feel about England or your
"Oh, don't philosophise," cried Joan suddenly.
"Can't you see this has been a shock?"
"I only want you to see the point," he replied. "Lord
Ivywood clearly told me, with his own careful lips,
that I might go in and pay for fermented liquor in any
place displaying a public sign outside. And he won't
go back on that definition or on any definition. If he
finds me here, he may quite possibly put me in prison
on some other charge, as a thief or a vagabond, or
what not. But he will not grudge the champagne.
And he will accept the three shillings. And I shall
honour him for his glorious consistency."
"I don't understand," said Joan, "one word of what
you are talking about. Which way did you come?
How can I get you away? You don't seem to grasp
that you're in Ivywood House."
"You see there's a new name outside the gate,"
observed Patrick, conversationally, and led the lady to
the end of the corridor by which he had entered and
into its ultimate turret chamber.
Following his indications, Lady Joan peered a little
over the edge of the window where hung the brilliant
purple bird in its brilliant golden cage. Almost
immediately below, outside the entrance to the half-closed
stairway, stood a wooden tavern sign, as solid and still
as if it had been there for centuries.
"All back at the sign of 'The Old Ship,' you see,"
said the Captain. "Can I offer you anything in a lady-like way?"
There was a vast impudence in the slight, hospitable
movement of his hand, that disturbed Lady Joan's
features with an emotion other than any that she desired
"Well!" cried Patrick, with a wild geniality, "I've
made you laugh again, my dear."
He caught her to him as in a whirlwind, and then
vanished from the fairy turret like a blast, leaving her
standing with her hand up to her wild black hair.
* * *
THE BATTLE OF THE TUNNEL
WHAT Joan Brett really felt, as she went back from the
second tÍte-–-tÍte she had experienced in the turret, it
is doubtful if anyone will ever know. But she was full
of the pungent feminine instinct to "drive at practice,"
and what she did clearly realise was the pencil writing
Dalroy had left on the back of Lord Ivywood's _menu_.
Heaven alone knew what it was, and (as it pleased
her profane temper to tell herself) she was not
satisfied with Heaven alone knowing. She went swiftly
back, with swishing skirts, to the table where it had
been left. But her skirts fell more softly and her feet
trailed slower and more in her usual manner as she
came near the table. For standing at it was Lord
Ivywood, reading the card with tranquil lowered eyelids,
that set off perfectly the long and perfect oval
of his face. He put down the card with a quite natural
action; and, seeing Joan, smiled at her in his most
"So you've come out too," he said. "So have I;
it's really too hot for anything. Dr. Gluck is making
an uncommonly good speech, but I couldn't stop even
for that. Don't you think my eastern decorations are
rather a success after all? A sort of Vegetarianism
in design, isn't it?"
He led her up and down the corridors, pointing out
lemon-coloured crescents or crimson pomegranates in
the scheme of ornament, with such utter detachment
that they twice passed the open mouth of the hall of
debate, and Joan could distinctly hear the voice of
the diplomatic Gluck saying:
"Indeed, we owe our knowledge of the pollution of
the pork primarily to the Jewth and not the Mothlemth.
I do not thare that prejudithe against the Jewth, which
ith too common in my family and all the arithtocratic
and military Prutthian familieth. I think we Prutthian
arithtocrats owe everything to the Jewth. The
Jewth have given to our old Teutonic rugged virtueth,
jutht that touch of refinement, jutht that intellectual
And then the voice would die away behind, as Lord
Ivywood lectured luxuriantly, and very well, on the
peacock tail in decoration, or some more extravagant
eastern version of the Greek Key. But the third time
they turned, they heard the noise of subdued applause
and the breaking up the meeting; and people came
With stillness and swiftness, Ivywood pitched on
the people he wanted and held them. He button-holed
Leveson and was evidently asking him to do something
which neither of the two liked doing.
"If your lordship insists," she heard Leveson
whispering, "of course I will go myself; but there is
a great deal to be done here with your lordship's
immediate matters. And if there were anyone else--."
If Philip, Lord Ivywood, had ever looked at a
human being in his life, he would have seen that J.
Leveson, Secretary, was suffering from a very ancient
human malady, excusable in all men and rather more
excusable in one who has had his top-hat smashed over
his eyes and has run for his life. As it was, he saw
nothing, but merely said, "Oh, well, get someone else.
What about your friend Hibbs?"
Leveson ran across to Hibbs, who was drinking
another glass of champagne at one of the innumerable
"Hibbs," said Leveson, rather nervously, "will you
do Lord Ivywood a favour? He says you have so
much tact. It seems possible that a man may be hanging
about the grounds just below that turret there.
He is a man it would certainly be Lord Ivywood's
public duty to put into the hands of the police, if he
is there. But then, again, he is quite capable of not
being there at all--I mean of having sent his message
from somewhere else and in some other way. Naturally,
Lord Ivywood doesn't want to alarm the ladies
and perhaps turn the laugh against himself, by getting
up a sort of police raid about nothing. He wants some
sensible, tactful friend of his to go down and look
round the place--it's a sort of disused garden--and
report if there's anyone about. I'd go myself, but
I'm wanted here."
Hibbs nodded, and filled another glass.
"But there's a further difficulty," went on Leveson.
"He's a clever brute, it seems, a 'remarkable and a
dangerous man,' were his lordship's words; and it
looks as if he'd spotted a very good hiding-place, a
disused tunnel leading to the sands, just beyond the
disused garden and chapel. It's a smart choice, you
see, for he can bolt into the woods if anyone comes
from the shore, or on to the shore if anyone comes
from the woods. But it would take a good time even
to get the police here, and it would take ten times
longer to get 'em round to the sea end of the tunnel,
especially as the sea comes up to the cliffs once or
twice between here and Pebblewick. So we mustn't
frighten him away, or he'll get a start. If you meet
anyone down there talk to him quite naturally, and
come back with the news. We won't send for the
police till you come. Talk as if you were just
wandering like himself. His lordship wishes your presence
to appear quite accidental."
"Wishes my presence to appear quite accidental,"
repeated Hibbs, gravely.
When the feverish Leveson had flashed off satisfied,
Hibbs took a glass or two more of wine; feeling
that he was going on a great diplomatic mission to
please a lord. Then he went through the opening,
picked his way down the stair, and somehow found his
way out into the neglected garden and shrubbery.
It was already evening, and an early moon was
brightening over the sunken chapel with its dragon-coloured scales of fungus. The night breeze was very
fresh and had a marked effect on Mr. Hibbs. He
found himself taking a meaningless pleasure in the
scene; especially in one fungus that was white with
brown spots. He laughed shortly, to think that it
should be white with brown spots. Then he said, with
carefully accurate articulation, "His lordship wishes
my presence to appear quite accidental." Then he
tried to remember something else that Leveson had
He began to wade through the waves of weed and
thorn past the Chapel, but he found the soil much more
uneven and obstructive than he had supposed.
He slipped, and sought to save himself by throwing
one arm round a broken stone angel at a corner of the
heap of Gothic fragments; but it was loose and rocked
in its socket.
Mr. Hibbs presented for a moment the appearance
of waltzing with the Angel in the moonlight, in a
very amorous and irreverent manner. Then the statue
rolled over one way and he rolled over the other, and
lay on his face in the grass, making inaudible remarks.
He might have lain there for some time, or at least
found some difficulty in rising, but for another
circumstance. The dog Quoodle, with characteristic
officiousness, had followed him down the dark stairs and
out of the doorway, and, finding him in this unusual
posture, began to bark as if the house were on fire.
This brought a heavy human footstep from the more
hidden parts of the copse; and in a minute or two the
large man with the red hair was looking down at him
in undisguised wonder. Hibbs said, in a muffled voice
which came obscurely from under his hidden face,
"Wish my presence to appear quite accidental."
"It does," said the Captain, "can I help you up? Are
He gently set the prostrate gentleman on his feet,
and looked genuinely concerned. The fall had somewhat
sobered Lord Ivywood's representative; and he
really had a red graze on the left cheek that looked
more ugly than it was.
"I am so sorry," said Patrick Dalroy, cordially,
"come and sit down in our camp. My friend Pump
will be back presently, and he's a capital doctor."
His friend Pump may or may not have been a
capital doctor, but the Captain himself was certainly
a most inefficient one. So small was his talent for
diagnosing the nature of a disease at sight, that having
given Mr. Hibbs a seat on a fallen tree by the tunnel,
he proceeded to give him (in mere automatic hospitality)
a glass of rum.
Mr. Hibbs's eyes awoke again, when he had sipped
it, but they awoke to a new world.
"Wharever may be our invidual pinions," he said,
and looked into space with an expression of humorous
He then put his hand hazily in his pocket, as if to
find some letter he had to deliver. He found nothing
but his old journalistic note book, which he often
carried when there was a chance of interviewing anybody.
The feel of it under his fingers changed the whole
attitude of his mind. He took it out and said:
"And wha' would you say of Vegetarianism, Colonel
"I think it palls," replied the recipient of this
complex title, staring.
"Sha' we say," asked Hibbs brightly, turning a leaf
in his note book, "sha' we say long been strong
vegetarian by conviction?"
"No; I have only once been convicted," answered
Dalroy, with restraint, "and I hope to lead a better
life when I come out."
"Hopes lead better life," murmured Hibbs, writing
eagerly, with the wrong end of his pencil. "And
wha' would you shay was best vegable food for really
strong vegetarian by conviction?"
"Thistles," said the Captain, wearily. "But I don't
know much about it, you know."
"Lord Ivywoo' strong veg'tarian by conviction,"
said Mr. Hibbs, shaking his head with unction. "Lord
Ivywoo' says tact. Talk to him naturally. And so I
do. That's what I do. Talk to him naturally."
Humphrey Pump came through the clearer part of
the wood, leading the donkey, who had just partaken
of the diet recommended to a vegetarian by conviction;
the dog sprang up and ran to them. Pump was,
perhaps, the most naturally polite man in the world, and
said nothing. But his eyes had accepted, with one
snap of surprise, the other fact, also not unconnected
with diet, which had escaped Dalroy's notice when
he administered rum as a restorative.
"Lord Ivywoo' says," murmured the journalistic
diplomatist. "Lord Ivywoo' says, 'talk as if you were
just wandering.' That's it. That's tact. That's what
I've got to do--talk as if I was just wandering. Long
way round to other end tunnel; sea and cliffs. Don'
sphose they can swim." He seized his note book again
and looked in vain for his pencil. "Good subjec'
correspondence. Can policem'n swim?"
"Policemen?" said Dalroy, in a dead silence. The
dog looked up, and the innkeeper did not.
"Get to Ivywoo' one thing," reasoned the diplomatist.
"Get policemen beach other end other thing. No
good do one thing no' do other thing, 'no goo' do
other thing no' do other thing. Wish my presence
appear quite accidental. Haw!"
"I'll harness the donkey," said Pump.
"Will he go through that door?" asked Dalroy,
with a gesture toward the entrance of the rough boarding
with which they had faced the tunnel, "or shall
I smash it all at once?"
"He'll go through all right," answered Pump. "I
saw to that when I made it. And I think I'll get
him to the safe end of the tunnel before I load him
up. The best thing you can do is to pull up one of
those saplings to bar the door with. That'll delay
them a minute or two; though I think we've got
warning in pretty easy time."
He led his donkey to the cart, and carefully
harnessed the donkey; like all men cunning in the old
healthy sense he knew that the last chance of leisure
ought to be leisurely, in order that it may be lucid.
Then he led the whole equipment through the
temporary wooden door of the tunnel, the inquisitive
Quoodle, of course, following at his heels.
"Excuse me if I take a tree," said Dalroy, politely,
to his guest, like a man reaching across another man
for a match. And with that he rent up a young tree
by its roots, as he had done in the Island of the Olives,
and carried it on his shoulder, like the club of
Up in Ivywood House Lord Ivywood had telephoned
twice to Pebblewick. It was a delay he seldom
suffered; and, though he never expressed impatience in
unnecessary words he expressed it in unnecessary
walking. He would not yet send for the police
without news from his Ambassador, but he thought a
preliminary conversation with some police authorities
he knew well, might advance matters. Seeing Leveson
rather shrunk in a corner, he wheeled round in his walk
and said abruptly:
"You must go and see what has happened to Hibbs.
If you have any other duties here, I authorize you
to neglect them. Otherwise, I can only say--"
At this moment the telephone rang, and the
impatient nobleman rushed for his delayed call with a
rapidity he seldom showed. There was simply nothing
for Leveson to do except to do as he was told, or be
sacked. He walked swiftly toward the staircase, and
only stopped once at the table where Hibbs had stood
and gulped down two goblets of the same wine. But
let no man attribute to Mr. Leveson the loose and
luxurious social motives of Mr. Hibbs. Mr. Leveson did
not drink for pleasure; in fact, he hardly knew what
he was drinking. His motive was something far more
simple and sincere; a sentiment forcibly described in
legal phraseology as going in bodily fear.
He was partly nerved, but by no means reconciled
to his adventure, when he crept carefully down the
stairs and peered about the thicket for any signs of
his diplomatic friend. He could find neither sight nor
sound to guide him, except a sort of distant singing,
which greatly increased in volume of sound as he
pursued it. The first words he heard seemed to run
"No more the milk of cows
Shall pollute my private house,
Than the milk of the wild mares of the Barbarian;
I will stick to port and sherry,
For they are so very, very,
So very, very, very Vegetarian."
Leveson did not know the huge and horrible voice
in which these words were shouted, but he had a most
strange and even sickening suspicion that he did know
the voice, however altered, the quavering and rather
refined voice that joined in the chorus and sang,
"Because they are so vegy,
So vegy, vegy, vegy Vegetarian."
Terror lit up his wits, and he made a wild guess at
what had happened. With a gasp of relief he realised
that he had now good excuse for returning to the
house with the warning. He ran there like a hare,
still hearing the great voice from the woods like the
roaring of a lion in his ear.
He found Lord Ivywood in consultation with Dr.
Gluck, and also with Mr. Bullrose the Agent, whose
froglike eyes hardly seemed to have recovered yet from
the fairy-tale of the flying sign-board in the English
lane; but who, to do him justice, was more plucky and
practical than most of Lord Ivywood's present
"I'm afraid Mr. Hibbs has inadvertently,"
stammered Leveson. "I'm afraid he has--I'm afraid
the man is making his escape, my lord. You had better
send for the police."
Ivywood turned to the agent. "You go and see
what's happening," he said simply. "I will come
myself when I've rung them up. And get some of the
servants up with sticks and things. Fortunately the
ladies have gone to bed. Hullo! Is that the Police
Bullrose went down into the shrubbery and had,
for many reasons, less difficulty in crossing it than the
hilarious Hibbs. The moon had increased to an almost
unnatural brilliancy, so that the whole scene was like
a rather silver daylight; and in this clear medium he
beheld a very tall man with erect, red hair and a colossal
cylinder of cheese carried under one arm, while he
employed the other to wag a big forefinger at a dog
with whom he was conversing.
It was the Agent's duty and desire to hold the man,
whom he recognised from the sign-board mystery, in
play and conversation, and prevent his final escape.
But there are some people who really cannot be courteous,
even when they want to be, and Mr. Bullrose was
one of them.
"Lord Ivywood," he said abruptly, "wants to know
what you want."
"Do not, however, fall into the common error,
Quoodle," Dalroy was saying to the dog, whose
unfathomable eyes were fixed on his face, "of supposing
that the phrase 'good dog' is used in its absolute sense.
A dog is good or bad negatively to a limited scheme
of duties created by human civilization--"
"What are you doing here?" asked Mr. Bullrose.
"A dog, my dear Quoodle," continued the Captain,
"cannot be either so good or bad as a man. Nay, I
should go farther. I would almost say a dog cannot be
so stupid as a man. He cannot be utterly wanting
as a dog--as some men are as men."
"Answer me, you there!" roared the Agent.
"It is all the more pathetic," continued the Captain,
to whose monologue Quoodle seemed to listen with
magnetized attention. "It is all the more pathetic
because this mental insufficiency is sometimes found
in the good; though there are, I should imagine, at
least an equal number of opposite examples. The
person standing a few feet off us, for example, is both
stupid and wicked. But be very careful, Quoodle, to
remember that any disadvantage under which we place
him should be based on the _moral_ and not his _mental_
defects. Should I say to you at any time, 'Go for him,
Quoodle,' or 'Hold him, Quoodle,' be certain in your
own mind, please, that it is solely because he is _wicked_
and not because he is _stupid_, that I am entitled to do
so. The fact that he is _stupid_ would not justify me
in saying 'hold him, Quoodle,' with the realistic
intonation I now employ--"
"Curse you, call him off!" cried Mr. Bullrose,
retreating, for Quoodle was coming toward him with
the bulldog part of his pedigree very prominently
displayed, like a pennon. "Should Mr. Bullrose find
it expedient to climb a tree, or even a sign-post,"
proceeded Dalroy, for indeed the Agent had already
clasped the pole of "The Old Ship," which was stouter
than the slender trees standing just around it, "you
will keep an eye on him, Quoodle, and, I doubt not,
constantly remind him that it is his _wickedness_, and
not, as he might hastily be inclined to suppose, _stupidity_
that has placed him on so conspicuous an elevation--"
"Some of you'll wish yourself dead for this," said
the Agent; who was by this time clinging to the wooden
sign like a monkey on a stick, while Quoodle watched
him from below with an unsated interest. "Some of
you'll see something. Here comes his lordship and
the police, I reckon."
"Good morning, my lord," said Dalroy, as Ivywood,
paler than ever in the strong moonshine, came through
the thicket toward them. It seemed to be his fate
that his faultless and hueless face should always be
contrasted with richer colours; and even now it was
thrown up by the gorgeous diplomatic uniform of
Dr. Gluck, who walked just behind him.
"I am glad to see you, my lord," said Dalroy, in a
stately manner, "it is always so awkward doing
business with an Agent. Especially for the Agent."
"Captain Dalroy," said Lord Ivywood, with a more
serious dignity, "I am sorry we meet again like this,
and such things are not of my seeking. It is only
right to tell you that the police will be here in a
"Quite time, too!" said Dalroy, shaking his head.
"I never saw anything so disgraceful in my life. Of
course, I am sorry it's a friend of yours; and I hope
the police will keep Ivywood House out of the papers.
But I won't be a party to one law for the rich and
another for the poor, and it would be a great shame
if a man in that state got off altogether merely
because he had got the stuff at your house."
"I do not understand you," said Ivywood. "What
are you talking of?"
"Why of him," replied the Captain, with a genial
gesture toward a fallen tree trunk that lay a yard or
two from the tunnel wall, "the poor chap the police
are coming for."
Lord Ivywood looked at the forest log by the tunnel
which he had not glanced at before, and in his pale
eyes, perhaps for the first time, stood a simple
Above the log appeared two duplicate objects, which,
after a prolonged stare, he identified as the soles of a
pair of patent leather shoes, offered to his gaze, as if
demanding his opinion in the matter of resoling. They
were all that was visible of Mr. Hibbs who had fallen
backward off his woodland seat and seemed contented
with his new situation.
His lordship put up the pince-nez that made him
look ten years older, and said with a sharp, steely
accent, "What is all this?"
The only effect of his voice upon the faithful Hibbs
was to cause him to feebly wave his legs in the air
in recognition of a feudal superior. He clearly considered
it hopeless to attempt to get up, so Dalroy, striding
across to him, lugged him up by his shirt collar and
exhibited him, limp and wild-eyed to the company.
"You won't want many policemen to take him to the
station," said the Captain. "I'm sorry, Lord Ivywood,
I'm afraid it's no use your asking me to overlook it
again. We can't afford it," and he shook his head
implacably. "We've always kept a respectable house,
Mr. Pump and I. 'The Old Ship' has a reputation all
over the country--in quite a lot of different parts, in
fact. People in the oddest places have found it a
quiet, family house. Nothing gadabout in 'The Old
Ship.' And if you think you can send all your
"Captain Dalroy," said Ivywood, simply, "you seem
to be under a misapprehension, which I think it would
be hardly honourable to leave undisturbed. Whatever
these extraordinary events may mean and whatever be
fitting in the case of this gentleman, when I spoke of
the police coming, I meant they were coming for you
and your confederate."
"For me!" cried the Captain, with a stupendous air
of surprise. "Why, I have never done anything
naughty in my life."
"You have been selling alcohol contrary to Clause
V. of the Act of--"
"But I've got a sign," cried Dalroy, excitedly, "you
told me yourself it was all right if I'd got a sign. Oh,
do look at our new sign! The 'Sign of the Agile
Mr. Bullrose had remained silent, feeling his
position none of the most dignified, and hoping his
employer would go away. But Lord Ivywood looked
up at him, and thought he had wandered into a planet
As he slowly recovered himself Patrick Dalroy said
briskly, "All quite correct and conventional, you see.
You can't run us in for not having a sign; we've
rather an extra life-like one. And you can't run us
in as rogues and vagabonds either. Visible means of
subsistence," and he slapped the huge cheese under
his arm with his great flat hand, so that it reverberated
like a drum. "Quite visible. Perceptible," he added,
holding it out suddenly almost under Lord Ivywood's
nose. "Perceptible to the naked eye through your
He turned abruptly, burst open the pantomime door
behind him and bowled the big cheese down the tunnel
with a noise like thunder, which ended in a cry of
acceptation in the distant voice of Mr. Humphrey
Pump. It was the last of their belongings left at this
end of the tunnel, and Dalroy turned again, a man
"And now, Ivywood," he said, "what can I be
charged with? Well, I have a suggestion to make.
I will surrender to the police quite quietly when they
come, if you will do me one favour. Let me choose
"I don't understand you," answered the other coolly,
"what crime? What favour?"
Captain Dalroy unsheathed the straight sword that
still hung on his now shabby uniform. The slender
blade sparkled splendidly in the moonlight as he
pointed it straight at Dr. Gluck.
"Take away his sword from the little pawnbroker,"
he said. "It's about the length of mine; or we'll change
if you like. Give me ten minutes on that strip of
turf. And then it may be, Ivywood, that I shall be
removed from your public path in a way a little
worthier of enemies who have once been friends, than
if you tripped me up with Bow Street runners, of
whose help every ancestor you have would have been
ashamed. Or, on the other hand, it may be--that
when the police come there will be something to arrest
There was a long silence, and the elf of irresponsibility
peeped out again for an instant in Dalroy's
"Mr. Bullrose will see fair play for you, from a
throne above the lists," he said. "I have already put
my honour in the hands of Mr. Hibbs."
"I must decline Captain Dalroy's invitation," said
Ivywood at last, in a curious tone. "Not so much
Before he could proceed, Leveson came racing across
the copse, hallooing, "The police are here!"
Dalroy, who loved leaving everything to the last
instant, tore up the sign, with Bullrose literally
hanging to it, shook him off like a ripe fruit, and then
plunged into the tunnel, the clamorous Quoodle at
his heels. Before even Ivywood (the promptest of
his party) could reach the spot, he had clashed to the
wood door and bolted it across with his wooden staple.
He had not had time even to sheath his sword.
"Break down this door," said Lord Ivywood, calmly.
"I noticed they haven't finished loading their cart."
Under his directions, and vastly against their will,
Bullrose and Leveson lifted the tree-trunk vacated by
Hibbs, and swinging it thrice as a battering-ram,
burst in the door. Lord Ivywood instantly sprang
into the entrance.
A voice called out to him quietly from the other end
of the tunnel. There was something touching and yet
terrible about a voice so human coming out of that
inhuman darkness. If Philip Ivywood had been really
a poet, and not rather its opposite, an aesthete, he would
have known that all the past and people of England
were uttering their oracle out of the cavern. As it
was, he only heard a publican wanted by the police.--Yet even he paused, and indeed seemed spellbound.
"My lord, I would like a word. I learned my catechism
and never was with the Radicals. I want you
to look at what you've done to me. You've stolen a
house that was mine as that one's yours. You've
made me a dirty tramp, that was a man respected in
church and market. Now you send me where I might
have cells or the Cat. If I might make so bold, what
do you suppose I think of you? Do you think because
you go up to London and settle it with lords in
Parliament and bring back a lot of papers and long words,
that makes any difference to the man you do it to?
By what I can see, you're just a bad and cruel master,
like those God punished in the old days; like Squire
Varney the weasels killed in Holy Wood. Well,
parson always said one might shoot at robbers, and I
want to tell your lordship," he ended respectfully, "that
I have a gun."
Ivywood instantly stepped into the darkness, and
spoke in a voice shaken with some emotion, the nature
of which was never certainly known.
"The police are here," he said, "but I'll arrest you
A shot shrieked and rattled through the thousand
echoes of the tunnel. Lord Ivywood's legs doubled
and twisted under him, and he collapsed on the earth
with a bullet above his knee.
Almost at the same instant a shout and a bark
announced that the cart had started as a complete
equipage. It was even more than complete, for the instant
before it moved Mr. Quoodle had sprung into it, and,
as it was driven off, sat erect in it, looking solemn.
* * *
THE CREATURE THAT MAN FORGETS
DESPITE the natural hubbub round the wound of Lord
Ivywood and the difficulties of the police in finding
their way to the shore, the fugitives of the Flying Inn
must almost certainly have been captured but for a
curious accident, which also flowed, as it happened,
from the great Ivywood debate on Vegetarianism.
The comparatively late hour at which Lord Ivywood
had made his discovery had been largely due to a very
long speech which Joan had not heard, and which was
delivered immediately before the few concluding
observations she had heard from Dr. Gluck. The speech
was made by an eccentric, of course. Most of those
who attended, and nearly all of those who talked, were
eccentric in one way or another. But he was an
eccentric of great wealth and good family, an M.P., a J.P.,
a relation of Lady Enid, a man well known in art and
letters; in short, a personality who could not be
prevented from being anything he chose, from a
revolutionist to a bore. Dorian Wimpole had first become
famous outside his own class under the fanciful title
of the Poet of the Birds. A volume of verse, expanding
the several notes or cries of separate song-birds into
fantastic soliloquies of these feathered philosophers,
had really contained a great deal of ingenuity and
elegance. Unfortunately, he was one of those who
always tend to take their own fancies seriously, and
in whose otherwise legitimate extravagance there is
too little of the juice of jest. Hence, in his later
works, when he explained "The Fable of the Angel,"
by trying to prove that the fowls of the air were creatures
higher than man or the anthropoids, his manner
was felt to be too austere; and when he moved an
amendment to Lord Ivywood's scheme for the model
village called Peaceways, urging that its houses should
all follow the more hygienic architecture of nests hung
in trees, many regretted that he had lost his light touch.
But, when he went beyond birds and filled his poems
with conjectural psychology about all the Zoological
Gardens, his meaning became obscure; and Lady Susan
had even described it as his bad period. It was all the
more uncomfortable reading because he poured forth
the imaginary hymns, love-songs and war-songs of
the lower animals, without a word of previous
explanation. Thus, if someone seeking for an ordinary
drawing-room song came on lines that were headed
"A Desert Love Song," and which began--
"Her head is high against the stars,
Her hump is heaved in pride,"
the compliment to the lady would at first seem startling,
until the reader realised that all the characters
in the idyll were camels. Or, if he began a poem
simply entitled, "The March of Democracy," and
found in the first lines--
"Comrades, marching evermore,
Fix your teeth in floor and door,"
he might be doubtful about such a policy for the
masses; until he discovered that it was supposed to be
addressed by an eloquent and aspiring rat to the
social solidarity of his race. Lord Ivywood had nearly
quarrelled with his poetic relative over the uproarious
realism of the verses called "A Drinking Song," until
it was carefully explained to him that the drink was
water, and that the festive company consisted of bisons.
His vision of the perfect husband, as it exists in the
feelings of the young female walrus, is thoughtful and
suggestive; but would doubtless receive many emendations
from anyone who had experienced those feelings.
And in his sonnet called "Motherhood" he has made
the young scorpion consistent and convincing, yet
somehow not wholly lovable. In justice to him,
however, it should be remembered that he attacked the
most difficult cases on principle, declaring that there
was no earthly creature that a poet should forget.
He was of the blond type of his cousin, with flowing
fair hair and mustache, and a bright blue, absent-minded eye; he was very well dressed in the carefully
careless manner, with a brown velvet jacket and the
image on his ring of one of those beasts men
worshipped in Egypt.
His speech was graceful and well worded and
enormously long, and it was all about an oyster. He
passionately protested against the suggestion of some
humanitarians who were vegetarians in other respects,
but maintained that organisms so simple might fairly
be counted as exceptions. Man, he said, even at his
miserable best, was always trying to excommunicate
some one citizen of the cosmos, to forget some one
creature that he should remember. Now, it seemed
that creature was the oyster. He gave a long account
of the tragedy of the oyster, a really imaginative and
picturesque account; full of fantastic fishes, and coral
crags crawling and climbing, and bearded creatures
streaking the seashore and the green darkness in the
cellars of the sea.
"What a horrid irony it is," he cried, "that this is
the only one of the lower creatures whom we call a
Native! We speak of him, and of him alone as if he
were a native of the country. Whereas, indeed, he is
an exile in the universe. What can be conceived more
pitiful than the eternal frenzy of the impotent
amphibian? What is more terrible than the tear of an
oyster? Nature herself has sealed it with the hard seal
of eternity. The creature man forgets bears against
him a testimony that cannot be forgotten. For the
tears of widows and of captives are wiped away at
last like the tears of children. They vanish like the
mists of morning or the small pools after a flood. But
the tear of the oyster is a pearl."
The Poet of the Birds was so excited with his own
speech that, after the meeting, he walked out with a
wild eye to the motor car, which had been long awaiting
him, the chauffeur giving some faint signs of
"Toward home, for the present," said the poet, and
stared at the moon with an inspired face.
He was very fond of motoring, finding it fed him
with inspirations; and he had been doing it from an
early hour that morning, having enjoyed a slightly
lessened sleep. He had scarcely spoken to anybody
until he spoke to the cultured crowd at Ivywood. He
did not wish to speak to anyone for many hours yet.
His ideas were racing. He had thrown on a fur
coat over his velvet jacket, but he let it fly open, having
long forgotten the coldness in the splendour of the
moonstruck night. He realised only two things: the
swiftness of his car and the swiftness of his thoughts.
He felt, as it were, a fury of omniscience; he seemed
flying with every bird that sped or spun above the
woods, with every squirrel that had leapt and tumbled
within them, with every tree that had swung under
and sustained the blast.
Yet in a few moments he leaned forward and tapped
the glass frontage of the car, and the chauffeur
suddenly squaring his shoulders, jarringly stopped the
wheels. Dorian Wimpole had just seen something in
the clear moonlight by the roadside, which appealed
both to this and to the other side of his tradition;
something that appealed to Wimpole as well as to
Two shabby looking men, one in tattered gaiters and
the other in what looked like the remains of fancy
dress with the addition of hair, of so wild a red that it
looked like a wig, were halted under the hedge, apparently
loading a donkey cart. At least two rounded,
rudely cylindrical objects, looking more or less like
tubs, stood out in the road beside the wheels, along
with a sort of loose wooden post that lay along the
road beside them. As a matter of fact, the man in
the old gaiters had just been feeding and watering
the donkey, and was now adjusting its harness more
easily. But Dorian Wimpole naturally did not expect
that sort of thing from that sort of man. There
swelled up in him the sense that his omnipotence went
beyond the poetical; that he was a gentleman, a magistrate,
an M.P. and J.P., and so on. This callousness
or ignorance about animals should not go on while
he was a J.P.; especially since Ivywood's last Act. He
simply strode across to the stationary cart and said:
"You are overloading that animal, and it is forfeited.
And you must come with me to the police station."
Humphrey Pump, who was very considerate to
animals, and had always tried to be considerate to
gentlemen, in spite of having put a bullet into one of their
legs, was simply too astounded and distressed to make
any answer at all. He moved a step or two backward
and stared with brown, blinking eyes at the poet, the
donkey, the cask, the cheese, and the sign-board lying
in the road.
But Captain Dalroy, with the quicker recovery of
his national temperament, swept the poet and
magistrate a vast fantastic bow and said with agreeable
impudence, "interested in donkeys, no doubt?"
"I am interested in all things men forget," answered
the poet, with a fine touch of pride, "but mostly in
those like this, that are most easily forgotten."
Somehow from those two first sentences Pump
realised that these two eccentric aristocrats had
unconsciously recognised each other. The fact that it
was unconscious seemed, somehow, to exclude him all
the more. He stirred a little the moonlit dust of the
road with his rather dilapidated boots and eventually
strolled across to speak to the chauffeur.
"Is the next police station far from here?" he asked.
The chauffeur answered with one syllable of which
the nearest literal rendering is "dno." Other spellings
have been attempted, but the sentiment expressed is
that of agnosticism.
But something of special brutality of abbreviation
made the shrewd, and therefore sensitive, Mr. Pump
look at the man's face. And he saw it was not only the
moonlight that made it white.
With that dumb delicacy that was so English in him,
Pump looked at the man again, and saw he was
leaning heavily on the car with one arm, and saw
that the arm was shaking. He understood his countrymen
enough to know that whatever he said he must
say in a careless manner.
"I hope it's nearer to your place. You must be a
bit done up."
"Oh hell!" said the driver and spat on the road.
Pump was sympathetically silent, and Mr. Wimpole's
chauffeur broke out incoherently, as if in another
"Blarsted beauties o' dibrike and no breakfast.
Blarsted lunch Hivywood and no lunch. Blarsted
black everlastin' hours artside while 'e 'as 'is cike an'
champine. And then it's a dornkey."
"You don't mean to say," said Pump in a very
serious voice, "that you've had no food today?"
"Ow no!" replied the cockney, with the irony of the
deathbed. "Ow, of course not."
Pump strolled back into the road again, picked up
the cheese in his left hand, and landed it on the seat
beside the driver. Then his right hand went to one
of his large loose equivocal pockets, and the blade of a
big jack-knife caught and recaught the steady splendours
of the moon.
The driver stared for several instants at the cheese,
with the knife shaking in his hand. Then he began
to hack it, and in that white witchlike light the
happiness of his face was almost horrible.
Pump was wise in all such things, and knew that
just as a little food will sometimes prevent sheer
intoxication, so a little stimulant will sometimes prevent
sudden and dangerous indigestion. It was practically
impossible to make the man stop eating cheese. It was
far better to give him a very little of the rum,
especially as it was very good rum, and better than
anything he could find in any of the public-houses that
were still permitted. He walked across the road again
and picked up the small cask, which he put on the other
side of the cheese and from which he filled, in his own
manner, the little cup he carried in his pocket.
But at the sight of this the cockney's eyes lit at once
with terror and desire.
"But yer cawnt do it," he whispered hoarsely, "its
the pleece. It's gile for that, with no doctor's letter
nor sign-board nor nothink."
Mr. Humphrey Pump made yet another march back
into the road. When he got there he hesitated for
the first time, but it was quite clear from the attitude
of the two insane aristocrats who were arguing and
posturing in the road that they would notice nothing
except each other. He picked the loose post off the
road and brought it to the car, humorously propping
it erect in the aperture between keg and cheese.
The little glass of rum was wavering in the poor
chauffeur's hand exactly as the big knife had done,
but when he looked up and actually saw the wooden
sign above him, he seemed not so much to pluck up
his courage, but rather to drag up some forgotten
courage from the foundations of some unfathomable
sea. It was indeed the forgotten courage of the people.
He looked once at the bleak, black pinewoods around
him and took the mouthful of golden liquid at a gulp,
as if it were a fairy potion. He sat silent; and then,
very slowly, a sort of stony glitter began to come into
his eyes. The brown and vigilant eyes of Humphrey
Pump were studying him with some anxiety or even
fear. He did look rather like a man enchanted or
turned to stone. But he spoke very suddenly.
"The blighter!" he said. "I'll give 'im 'ell. I'll give
'im bleeding 'ell. I'll give 'im somethink wot 'e don't
"What do you mean?" asked the inn-keeper.
"Why," answered the chauffeur, with abrupt
composure, "I'll give 'im a little dornkey."
Mr. Pump looked troubled. "Do you think," he
observed, affecting to speak lightly, "that he's fit to
be trusted even with a little donkey?"
"Ow, yes," said the man. "He's very amiable with
donkeys, and donkeys we is to be amiable with 'im."
Pump still looked at him doubtfully, appearing or
affecting not to follow his meaning. Then he looked
equally anxiously across at the other two men; but
they were still talking. Different as they were in
every other way, they were of the sort who forget
everything, class, quarrel, time, place and physical
facts in front of them, in the lust of lucid explanation
and equal argument.
Thus, when the Captain began by lightly alluding
to the fact that after all it was his donkey, since he
had bought it from a tinker for a just price, the police
station practically vanished from Wimpole's mind--and I fear the donkey-cart also. Nothing remained
but the necessity of dissipating the superstition of
"I own nothing," said the poet, waving his hands
outward, "I own nothing save in the sense that I
own everything. All depends whether wealth or power
be used for or against the higher purposes of the
"Indeed," replied Dalroy, "and how does your motor
car serve the higher purposes of the cosmos?"
"It helps me," said Mr. Wimpole, with honourable
simplicity, "to produce my poems."
"And if it could be used for some higher purpose
(if such a thing could be), if some new purpose had
come into the cosmos's head by accident," inquired the
other, "I suppose it would cease to be your property."
"Certainly," replied the dignified Dorian. "I should
not complain. Nor have you any title to complain
when the donkey ceases to be yours when you depress
it in the cosmic scale."
"What makes you think," asked Dalroy, "that I
wanted to depress it?"
"It is my firm belief," replied Dorian Wimpole,
sternly, "that you wanted to ride on it" (for indeed the
Captain had once repeated his playful gesture of
putting his large leg across). "Is not that so?"
"No," answered the Captain, innocently, "I never
ride on a donkey. I'm afraid of it."
"Afraid of a donkey!" cried Wimpole, incredulously.
"Afraid of an historical comparison," said Dalroy.
There was a short pause, and Wimpole said coolly
enough, "Oh, well, we've outlived those comparisons."
"Easily," answered the Irish Captain. "It is
wonderful how easily one outlives someone else's
"In this case," said the other grimly, "I think it is
the donkey's crucifixion."
"Why, you must have drawn that old Roman
caricature of the crucified donkey," said Patrick Dalroy,
with an air of some wonder. "How well you have
worn; why, you look quite young! Well, of course,
if this donkey is crucified, he must be uncrucified. But
are you quite sure," he added, very gravely, "that you
know how to uncrucify a donkey? I assure you it's
one of the rarest of human arts. All a matter of
knack. It's like the doctors with the rare diseases,
you know; the necessity so seldom arises. Granted
that, by the higher purposes of the cosmos, I am unfit
to look after this donkey, I must still feel a faint
shiver of responsibility in passing him on to you. Will
you understand this donkey? He is a delicate-minded
donkey. He is a complex donkey. How can I be
certain that, on so short an acquaintance, you will
understand every shade of his little likes and dislikes?"
The dog Quoodle, who had been sitting as still as
the sphinx under the shadow of the pine trees, waddled
out for an instant into the middle of the road and then
returned. He ran out when a slight noise as of
rotatory grinding was heard; and ran back when it had
ceased. But Dorian Wimpole was much too keen
on his philosophical discovery to notice either dog or
"I shall not sit on its back, anyhow," he said proudly,
"but if that were all it would be a small matter. It
is enough for you that you have left it in the hands
of the only person who could really understand it;
one who searches the skies and seas so as not to neglect
the smallest creature."
"This is a very curious creature," said the Captain,
anxiously, "he has all sorts of odd antipathies. He
can't stand a motor car, for instance, especially one
that throbs like that while it's standing still. He
doesn't mind a fur coat so much, but if you wear a
brown velvet jacket under it, he bites you. And you
must keep him out of the way of a certain kind of
people. I don't suppose you've met them; but they
always think that anybody with less than two hundred
a year is drunk and very cruel, and that anybody with
more than two thousand a year is conducting the Day
of Judgment. If you will keep our dear donkey from
the society of such persons--Hullo! Hullo! Hullo!"
He turned in genuine disturbance, and dashed after
the dog, who had dashed after the motor car and
jumped inside. The Captain jumped in after the dog,
to pull him out again. But before he could do so, he
found the car was flying along too fast for any such
leap. He looked up and saw the sign of "The Old
Ship" erect in the front like a rigid banner; and Pump,
with his cask and cheese, sitting solidly beside the
The thing was more of an earthquake and transformation
to him even than to any of the others; but
he rose waveringly to his feet and shouted out to
"You've left it in the right hands. I've never been
cruel to a motor."
In the moonlight of the magic pine-wood far behind,
Dorian and the donkey were left looking at each other.
To the mystical mind, when it is a mind at all
(which is by no means always the case), there are no
two things more impressive and symbolical than a
poet and a donkey. And the donkey was a very
genuine donkey, and the poet was a very genuine poet;
however lawfully he might be mistaken for the other
animal at times. The interest of the donkey in the poet
will never be known. The interest of the poet in the
donkey was perfectly genuine; and survived even that
appalling private interview in the owlish secrecy of
But I think even the poet would have been enlightened
if he had seen the white, set, frantic face of the
man on the driver's seat of his vanishing motor. If
he had seen it he might have remembered the name, or,
perhaps, even begun to understand the nature of a
certain animal which is neither the donkey nor the
oyster; but the creature whom man has always found
it easiest to forget, since the hour he forgot God in a
* * *
THE SONGS OF THE CAR CLUB
MORE than once as the car flew through black and
silver fairylands of fir wood and pine wood, Dalroy
put his head out of the side window and remonstrated
with the chauffeur without effect. He was reduced
at last to asking him where he was going.
"I'm goin' 'ome," said the driver in an undecipherable
voice. "I'm a goin' 'ome to my mar."
"And where does she live?" asked Dalroy, with
something more like diffidence than he had ever shown
before in his life.
"Wiles," said the man, "but I ain't seen 'er since
I was born. But she'll do."
"You must realise," said Dalroy, with difficulty,
"that you may be arrested--it's the man's own car;
and he's left behind with nothing to eat, so to speak."
"'E's got 'is dornkey," grunted the man. "Let the
stinker eat 'is dornkey, with thistle sauce. 'E would
if 'e was as 'ollow as I was."
Humphrey Pump opened the glass window that
separated him from the rear part of the car, and turned
to speak to his friend over his square elbow and
"I'm afraid," he said, "he won't stop for anything
just yet. He's as mad as Moody's aunt, as they say."
"Do they say it?" asked the Captain, with a sort of
anxiety. "They never said it in Ithaca."
"Honestly, I think you'd better leave him alone,"
answered Pump, with his sagacious face. "He'd just
run us into a Scotch Express like Dandy Mutton did,
when they said he was driving carelessly. We can
send the car back to Ivywood somehow later on, and
really, I don't think it'll do the gentleman any harm to
spend a night with a donkey. The donkey might teach
him something, I tell you."
"It's true he denied the Principle of Private Property,"
said Dalroy, reflectively, "but I fancy he was
thinking of a plain house fixed on the ground. A
house on wheels, such as this, he might perhaps think
a more permanent possession. But I never understand
it;" and again he passed a weary palm across his open
forehead. "Have you ever noticed, Hump, what is
really odd about those people?"
The car shot on amid the comfortable silence of
Pump, and then the Irishman said again:
"That poet in the pussy-cat clothes wasn't half bad.
Lord Ivywood isn't cruel; but he's inhuman. But that
man wasn't inhuman. He was ignorant, like most
cultured fellows. But what's odd about them is that
they try to be simple and never clear away a single
thing that's complicated. If they have to choose
between beef and pickles, they always abolish the beef.
If they have to choose between a meadow and a motor,
they forbid the meadow. Shall I tell you the secret?
These men only surrender the things that bind them
to other men. Go and dine with a temperance millionaire
and you won't find he's abolished the _hors
d'oeuvres_ or the five courses or even the coffee. What
he's abolished is the port and sherry, because poor
men like that as well as rich. Go a step farther, and
you won't find he's abolished the fine silver forks and
spoons, but he's abolished the meat, because poor men
like meat--when they can get it. Go a step farther,
and you won't find he goes without gardens or gorgeous
rooms, which poor men can't enjoy at all. But
you will find he boasts of early rising, because sleep
is a thing poor men can still enjoy. About the only
thing they can still enjoy. Nobody ever heard of a
modern philanthropist giving up petrol or typewriting
or troops of servants. No, no! What he gives
up must be some simple and universal thing. He will
give up beef or beer or sleep--because these pleasures
remind him that he is only a man."
Humphrey Pump nodded, but still answered nothing;
and the voice of the sprawling Dalroy took one
of its upward turns of a sort of soaring flippancy;
which commonly embodied itself in remembering some
song he had composed.
"Such," he said, "was the case of the late Mr.
Mandragon, so long popular in English aristocratic society
as a bluff and simple democrat from the West, until
he was unfortunately sand-bagged by six men whose
wives he had had shot by private detectives, on his
incautiously landing on American soil.
"Mr. Mandragon the Millionaire, he wouldn't have wine or
He couldn't endure complexity; he lived the simple life;
He ordered his lunch by megaphone in manly, simple tones,
And used all his motors for canvassing voters, and twenty
Besides a dandy little machine,
Cunning and neat as ever was seen,
With a hundred pulleys and cranks between,
Made of iron and kept quite clean,
To hoist him out of his healthful bed on every day of his
And wash him and brush him and shave him and dress him
to live the Simple Life.
"Mr. Mandragon was most refined and quietly, neatly dressed,
Say all the American newspapers that know refinement
Quiet and neat the hair and hat, and the coat quiet and neat,
A trouser worn upon either leg, while boots adorned the feet;
And not, as anyone might expect,
A Tiger Skin, all striped and specked,
And a Peacock Hat with the tail erect,
A scarlet tunic with sunflowers decked-- That might have had a more marked effect,
And pleased the pride of a weaker man that yearned for
wine or wife;
But fame and the flagon for Mr. Mandragon obscured the
"Mr. Mandragon the Millionaire, I am happy to say, is dead.
He enjoyed a quiet funeral in a crematorium shed,
And he lies there fluffy and soft and grey and certainly
When he might have rotted to flowers and fruit with Adam
and all mankind.
Or been eaten by bears that fancy blood,
Or burnt on a big tall tower of wood,
In a towering flame as a heathen should,
Or even sat with us here at food,
Merrily taking twopenny rum and cheese with a pocket
But these were luxuries lost for him that lived for the
Mr. Pump had made many attempts to arrest this
song, but they were as vain as all attempts to arrest
the car. The angry chauffeur seemed, indeed, rather
inspired to further energy by the violent vocal noises
behind; and Pump again found it best to fall back on
"Well, Captain," he said, amicably. "I can't quite
agree with you about those things. Of course, you
can trust foreigners too much as poor Thompson did;
but then you can go too far the other way. Aunt
Sarah lost a thousand pounds that way. I told her
again and again he wasn't a African American, but she wouldn't
believe me. And, of course, that was just the kind of
thing to offend an ambassador if he was an Austrian.
It seems to me, Captain, you aren't quite fair to these
foreign chaps. Take these Americans, now! There
were many Americans went by Pebblewick, you may
suppose. But in all the lot there was never a bad lot;
never a nasty American, nor a stupid American--nor,
well, never an American that I didn't rather like."
"I know," said Dalroy, "you mean there was never
an American who did not appreciate 'The Old Ship.'"
"I suppose I do mean that," answered the inn-keeper,
"and somehow, I feel 'The Old Ship' might appreciate
the American too."
"You English are an extraordinary lot," said the
Irishman, with a sudden and sombre quietude. "I
sometimes feel you may pull through after all."
After another silence he said, "You're always right,
Hump, and one oughtn't to think of Yankees like
that. The rich are the scum of the earth in every
country. And a vast proportion of the real Americans
are among the most courteous, intelligent, self-respecting
people in the world. Some attribute this to the
fact that a vast proportion of the real Americans are
Pump was still silent, and the Captain resumed in a
"All the same," he said, "it's very hard for a man,
especially a man of a small country like me, to
understand how it must feel to be an American; especially
in the matter of nationality. I shouldn't like to have
to write the American National Anthem, but fortunately
there is no great probability of the commission
being given. The shameful secret of my inability to
write an American patriotic song is one that will die
"Well, what about an English one," said Pump,
sturdily. "You might do worse, Captain."
"English, you bloody tyrant," said Patrick, indignantly.
"I could no more fancy a song by an Englishman
than you could one by that dog."
Mr. Humphrey Pump gravely took the paper from
his pocket, on which he had previously inscribed the
sin and desolation of grocers, and felt in another of
his innumerable pockets for a pencil.
"Hullo," cried Dalroy. "Are you going to have a
shy at the Ballad of Quoodle?"
Quoodle lifted his ears at his name. Mr. Pump
smiled a slight and embarrassed smile. He was
secretly proud of Dalroy's admiration for his previous
literary attempts and he had some natural knack for
verse as a game, as he had for all games; and his reading,
though desultory, had not been merely rustic or low.
"On condition," he said, deprecatingly, "that you
write a song for the English."
"Oh, very well," said Patrick, with a huge sigh
that really indicated the very opposite of reluctance.
"We must do something till the thing stops, I suppose,
and this seems a blameless parlour game. 'Songs of
the Car Club.' Sounds quite aristocratic."
And he began to make marks with a pencil on the
fly-leaf of a little book he had in his pocket--Wilson's
_Noctes Ambrosianae_. Every now and then, however,
he looked up and delayed his own composition by
watching Pump and the dog, whose proceedings
amused him very much. For the owner of "The Old
Ship" sat sucking his pencil and looking at Mr. Quoodle
with eyes of fathomless attention. Every now and
then he slightly scratched his brown hair with the
pencil, and wrote down a word. And the dog Quoodle,
with that curious canine power of either understanding
or most brazenly pretending to understand
what is going on, sat erect with his head at an angle,
as if he were sitting for his portrait.
Hence it happened that though Pump's poem was a
little long, as are often the poems of inexperienced
poets, and though Dalroy's poem was very short
(being much hurried toward the end) the long poem
was finished some time before the short one.
Therefore it was that there was first produced for
the world the song more familiarly known as "No
Noses," or more correctly called "The Song of
Quoodle." Part of it ran eventually thus:--
"They haven't got no noses
The fallen sons of Eve,
Even the smell of roses
Is not what they supposes,
But more than mind discloses,
And more than men believe.
"They haven't got no noses,
They cannot even tell
When door and darkness closes
The park a Jew encloses,
Where even the Law of Moses
Will let you steal a smell;
"The brilliant smell of water,
The brave smell of a stone,
The smell of dew and thunder
And old bones buried under,
Are things in which they blunder
And err, if left alone.
"The wind from winter forests,
The scent of scentless flowers,
The breath of bride's adorning,
The smell of snare and warning,
The smell of Sunday morning,
God gave to us for ours."
* * * * * *
"And Quoodle here discloses
All things that Quoodle can;
They haven't got no noses,
They haven't got no noses,
And goodness only knowses
The Noselessness of Man."
This poem also shows traces of haste in its termination,
and the present editor (who has no aim save
truth) is bound to confess that parts of it were supplied
in the criticisms of the Captain, and even enriched
(in later and livelier circumstances) by the Poet
of the Birds himself. At the actual moment the chief
features of this realistic song about dogs was a crashing
chorus of "Bow-wow, wow," begun by Mr. Patrick
Dalroy; but immediately imitated (much more
successfully) by Mr. Quoodle. In the face of all this
Dalroy suffered some real difficulty in fulfilling the
bargain by reading out his much shorter poem about
what he imagined an Englishman might feel. Indeed
there was something very rough and vague in his
very voice as he read it out; as of one who had not
found the key to his problem. The present compiler
(who has no aim save truth) must confess that the
verses ran as follows:--
"St. George he was for England,
And before he killed the dragon
He drank a pint of English ale
Out of an English flagon.
For though he fast right readily
In hair-shirt or in mail,
It isn't safe to give him cakes
Unless you give him ale.
"St. George he was for England,
And right gallantly set free
The lady left for dragon's meat
And tied up to a tree;
But since he stood for England
And knew what England means,
Unless you give him bacon,
You mustn't give him beans.
"St. George he was for England,
And shall wear the shield he wore
When we go out in armour,
With the battle-cross before;
But though he is jolly company
And very pleased to dine,
It isn't safe to give him nuts
Unless you give him wine.
"Very philosophical song that," said Dalroy, shaking
his head solemnly, "full of deep thought. I really
think that is about the truth of the matter, in the case
of the Englishman. Your enemies say you're stupid,
and you boast of being illogical--which is about the
only thing you do that really is stupid. As if anybody
ever made an Empire or anything else by saying that
two and two make five. Or as if anyone was ever the
stronger for _not_ understanding anything--if it were
only tip-cat or chemistry. But this _is_ true about you
Hump. You English are supremely an artistic people,
and therefore you go by associations, as I said in my
song. You won't have one thing without the other
thing that goes with it. And as you can't imagine a
village without a squire and parson, or a college
without port and old oak, you get the reputation of a
Conservative people. But it's because you're sensitive,
Hump, not because you're stupid, that you won't part
with things. It's lies, lies and flattery they tell you,
Hump, when they tell you you're fond of compromise.
I tell ye, Hump, every real revolution is a compromise.
D'ye think Wolfe Tone or Charles Stuart Parnell
never compromised? But it's just because you're
afraid of a compromise that you won't have a revolution.
If you really overhauled 'The Old Ship'--or
Oxford--you'd have to make up your mind what to
take and what to leave, and it would break your heart,
He stared in front of him with a red and ruminant
face, and at length added, somewhat more gloomily,
"This aesthetic way we have, Hump, has only two
little disadvantages which I will now explain to you.
The first is exactly what has sent us flying in this
contraption. When the beautiful, smooth, harmonious
thing you've made is worked by a new type, in a new
spirit, then I tell you it would be better for you a
thousand times to be living under the thousand paper
constitutions of Condorcet and Sieyčs. When the
English oligarchy is run by an Englishman who hasn't
got an English mind--then you have Lord Ivywood
and all this nightmare, of which God could only guess
The car had beaten some roods of dust behind it,
and he ended still more darkly:
"And the other disadvantage, my amiable aesthete,
is this. If ever, in blundering about the planet, you
come on an island in the Atlantic--Atlantis, let us
say--which won't accept _all_ your pretty picture--to
which you can't give everything--_why_ you will
probably decide to give nothing. You will say in your
hearts: 'Perhaps they will starve soon'; and you will
become, for that island, the deafest and the most evil
of all the princes of the earth."
It was already daybreak, and Pump, who knew the
English boundaries almost by intuition, could tell even
through the twilight that the tail of the little town they
were leaving behind was of a new sort, the sort to be
seen in the western border. The chauffeur's phrase
about his mother might merely have been a music-hall
joke; but certainly he had driven darkly in that
White morning lay about the grey stony streets
like spilt milk. A few proletarian early risers,
wearier at morning than most men at night, seemed merely
of opinion that it was no use crying over it. The two
or three last houses, which looked almost too tired to
stand upright, seemed to have moved the Captain into
another sleepy explosion.
"There are two kinds of idealists, as everybody
knows--or must have thought of. There are those
who idealize the real and those who (precious seldom)
realise the ideal. Artistic and poetical people like the
English generally idealize the real. This I have
expressed in a song, which--"
"No, really," protested the innkeeper, "really now,
"This I have expressed in a song," repeated Dalroy,
in an adamantine manner, "which I will now sing with
every circumstance of leisure, loudness, or any
He stopped because the flying universe seemed to
stop. Charging hedgerows came to a halt, as if
challenged by the bugle. The racing forests stood rigid.
The last few tottering houses stood suddenly at
attention. For a noise like a pistol-shot from the car
itself had stopped all that race, as a pistol-shot might
start any other.
The driver clambered out very slowly, and stood
about in various tragic attitudes round the car. He
opened an unsuspected number of doors and windows
in the car, and touched things and twisted things and
"I must back as best I can to that there garrige, sir,"
he said, in a heavy and husky tone they had not heard
from him before.
Then he looked round on the long woods and the
last houses, and seemed to gnaw his lip, like a great
general who has made a great mistake. His brow
seemed as black as ever, yet his voice, when he spoke
again, had fallen many further degrees toward its
dull and daily tone.
"Yer see, this is a bit bad," he said. "It'll be a
beastly job even at the best plices, if I'm gettin' back
"Getting back," repeated Dalroy, opening the blue
eyes of a bull. "Back where?"
"Well, yer see," said the chauffeur, reasonably, "I
was bloody keen to show 'im it was me drove the car
and not 'im. By a bit o' bad luck, I done damage to
'is car. Well--if _you_ can stick in 'is car--"
Captain Patrick Dalroy sprang out of the car so
rapidly that he almost reeled and slipped upon the
road. The dog sprang after him, barking furiously.
"Hump," said Patrick, quietly. "I've found out
everything about you. I know what always bothered
me about the Englishman."
Then, after an instant's silence, he said, "That
Frenchman was right who said (I forget how he put
it) that you march to Trafalgar Square to rid yourself
of your temper; not to rid yourself of your tyrant.
Our friend was quite ready to rebel, rushing away.
To rebel sitting still was too much for him. Do you
read _Punch_? I am sure you do. Pump and _Punch_
must be almost the only survivors of the Victorian
Age. Do you remember an old joke in an excellent
picture, representing two ragged Irishmen with guns,
waiting behind a stone wall to shoot a landlord? One
of the Irishmen says the landlord is late, and adds, 'I
hope no accident's happened to the poor gentleman.'
Well, it's all perfectly true; I knew that Irishman
intimately, but I want to tell you a secret about him.
He was an Englishman."
The chauffeur had backed with breathless care to
the entrance of the garage, which was next door to a
milkman's or merely separated from it by a black and
lean lane, looking no larger than the crack of a door.
It must, however, have been larger than it looked,
because Captain Dalroy disappeared down it.
He seemed to have beckoned the driver after him;
at any rate that functionary instantly followed. The
functionary came out again in an almost guilty haste,
touching his cap and stuffing loose papers into his
pocket. Then the functionary returned yet again from
what he called the "garrige," carrying larger and
looser things over his arm.
All this did Mr. Humphrey Pump observe, not without
interest. The place, remote as it was, was evidently
a _rendez-vous_ for motorists. Otherwise a very tall
motorist, throttled and masked in the most impenetrable
degree, would hardly have strolled up to speak to
him. Still less would the tall motorist have handed
him a similar horrid disguise of wraps and goggles, in
a bundle over his arm. Least of all would any
motorist, however tall, have said to him from behind the
cap and goggles, "Put on these things, Hump, and
then we'll go into the milk shop. I'm waiting for the
car. Which car, my seeker after truth? Why the car
I'm going to buy for you to drive."
The remorseful chauffeur, after many adventures,
did actually find his way back to the little moonlit
wood where he had left his master and the donkey.
But his master and the donkey had vanished.
* * *
THE SEVEN MOODS OF DORIAN
THAT timeless clock of all lunatics, which was so
bright in the sky that night, may really have had some
elfin luck about it, like a silver penny. Not only had
it initiated Mr. Hibbs into the mysteries of Dionysius,
and Mr. Bullrose into the arboreal habits of his
ancestors, but one night of it made a very considerable
and rather valuable change in Mr. Dorian Wimpole,
the Poet of the Birds. He was a man neither foolish
nor evil, any more than Shelley; only a man made
sterile by living in a world of indirectness and
insincerity, with words rather than with things. He had
not had the smallest intention of starving his chauffeur;
he did not realise that there was worse spiritual
murder in merely forgetting him. But as hour after
hour passed over him, alone with the donkey and the
moon, he went through a raging and shifting series
of frames of mind, such as his cultured friends would
have described as moods.
The First Mood, I regret to say, was one of black
and grinding hatred. He had no notion of the chauffeur's
grievance, and could only suppose he had been
bribed or intimidated by the demonic donkey-torturers. But Mr. Wimpole was much more capable at
that moment of torturing a chauffeur than Mr. Pump
had ever been of torturing a donkey; for no sane man
can hate an animal. He kicked the stones in the road,
sending them flying into the forest, and wished that
each one of them was a chauffeur. The bracken by
the roadside he tore up by the roots, as representing
the hair of the chauffeur, to which it bore no resemblance.
He hit with his fist such trees, as, I suppose,
seemed in form and expression most reminiscent of
the chauffeur; but desisted from this, finding that in
this apparently one-sided contest the tree had rather
the best of it. But the whole wood and the whole
world had become a kind of omnipresent and pantheistic
chauffeur, and he hit at him everywhere.
The thoughtful reader will realise that Mr. Wimpole
had already taken a considerable upward stride
in what he would have called the cosmic scale. The
next best thing to really loving a fellow creature is
really hating him: especially when he is a poorer man
separated from you otherwise by mere social stiffness.
The desire to murder him is at least an acknowledgment
that he is alive. Many a man has owed the first
white gleams of the dawn of Democracy in his soul
to a desire to find a stick and beat the butler. And we
have it on the unimpeachable local authority of Mr.
Humphrey Pump that Squire Merriman chased his
librarian through three villages with a horse-pistol; and
was a Radical ever after.
His rage also did him good merely as a relief, and
he soon passed into a second and more positive mood
"The damnable monkeys go on like this," he muttered,
"and then they call a donkey one of the Lower
Animals. Ride on a donkey would he? I'd like to see
the donkey riding on him for a bit. Good old man."
The patient ass turned mild eyes on him when he
patted it, and Dorian Wimpole discovered, with a
sort of subconscious surprise, that he really was fond
of the donkey. Deeper still in his subliminal self he
knew that he had never been fond of an animal before.
His poems about fantastic creatures had been quite
sincere, and quite cold. When he said he loved a
shark, he meant he saw no reason for hating a shark,
which was right enough. There is no reason for
hating a shark, however much reason there may be for
avoiding one. There is no harm in a craken if you
keep it in a tank--or in a sonnet.
But he also realised that his love of creatures had
been turned round and was working from the other
end. The donkey was a companion, and not a
monstrosity. It was dear because it was near, not because
it was distant. The oyster had attracted him because
it was utterly unlike a man; unless it be counted a
touch of masculine vanity to grow a beard. The
fancy is no idler than that he had himself used, in
suggesting a sort of feminine vanity in the permanence
of a pearl. But in that maddening vigil among
the mystic pines, he found himself more and more
drawn toward the donkey, because it was more like
a man than anything else around him; because it had
eyes to see, and ears to hear--and the latter even
"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," he said,
scratching those grey hairy flappers with affection.
"Haven't you lifted your ears toward Heaven? And
will you be the first to hear the Last Trumpet?"
The ass rubbed his nose against him with what
seemed almost like a human caress. And Dorian
caught himself wondering how a caress from an oyster
could be managed. Everything else around him was
beautiful, but inhuman. Only in the first glory of
anger could he really trace in a tall pine-tree the
features of an ex-taxi-cabman from Kennington. Trees
and ferns had no living ears that they could wag nor
mild eyes that they could move. He patted the
But the donkey had reconciled him to the landscape,
and in his third mood he began to realise how beautiful
it was. On a second study, he was not sure it was
so inhuman. Rather he felt that its beauty at least
was half human; that the aureole of the sinking moon
behind the woods was chiefly lovely because it was
like the tender-coloured aureole of an early saint;
and that the young trees were, after all, noble because
they held up their heads like virgins. Cloudily there
crowded into his mind ideas with which it was imperfectly
familiar, especially an idea which he had heard
called "The Image of God." It seemed to him more
and more that all these things, from the donkey to the
very docks and ferns by the roadside, were dignified
and sanctified by their partial resemblance to
something else. It was as if they were baby drawings:
the wild, crude sketches of Nature in her first sketch-books of stone.
He had flung himself on a pile of pine-needles to
enjoy the gathering darkness of the pinewoods as the
moon sank behind them. There is nothing more deep
and wonderful than really impenetrable pinewoods
where the nearer trees show against the more shadowy;
a tracery of silver upon grey and of grey upon black.
It was by this time, in pure pleasure and idleness
that he picked up a pine-needle to philosophise about
"Think of sitting on needles!" he said. "Yet, I
suppose this is the sort of needle that Eve, in the old
legend, used in Eden. Aye, and the old legend was
right, too! Think of sitting on all the needles in
London! Think of sitting on all the needles in Sheffield!
Think of sitting on any needles, except on all the
needles of Paradise! Oh, yes, the old legend was right
enough. The very needles of God are softer than
the carpets of men."
He took a pleasure in watching the weird little
forest animals creeping out from under the green
curtains of the wood. He reminded himself that in the
old legend they had been as tame as the ass, as well
as being as comic. He thought of Adam naming the
animals, and said to a beetle, "I should call _you_
The slugs gave him great entertainment, and so did
the worms. He felt a new and realistic interest in
them which he had not known before; it was, indeed,
the interest that a man feels in a mouse in a dungeon;
the interest of any man tied by the leg and forced to
see the fascination of small things. Creatures of the
wormy kind, especially, crept out at very long intervals;
yet he found himself waiting patiently for hours
for the pleasure of their acquaintance. One of them
rather specially arrested his eye, because it was a little
longer than most worms and seemed to be turning its
head in the direction of the donkey's left foreleg.
Also, it had a head to turn, which most worms have
Dorian Wimpole did not know much about exact
Natural History, except what he had once got up very
thoroughly from an encyclopaedia for the purposes of
a sympathetic _vilanelle_. But as this information was
entirely concerned with the conjectural causes of
laughter in the Hyena, it was not directly helpful in
this case. But though he did not know much Natural
History, he knew some. He knew enough to know
that a worm ought not to have a head, and especially
not a squared and flattened head, shaped like a spade
or a chisel. He knew enough to know that a creeping
thing with a head of that pattern survives in the
English country sides, though it is not common. In short,
he knew enough to step across the road and set a
sharp and savage boot-heel on the neck and spine of
the creature, breaking it into three black bits that
writhed once more before they stiffened.
Then he gave out a great explosive sigh. The donkey,
whose leg had been in such danger, looked at the
dead adder with eyes that had never lost their moony
mildness. Even Dorian, himself, looked at it for a
long time, and with feelings he could neither arrest
nor understand, before he remembered that he had
been comparing the little wood to Eden.
"And even in Eden," he said at last; and then the
words of Fitzgerald failed upon his lips.
And while he was warring with such words and
thoughts, something happened about him and behind
him; something he had written about a hundred times
and read about a thousand; something he had never
seen in his life. It flung faintly across the broad
foliage a wan and pearly light far more mysterious than
the lost moonshine. It seemed to enter through all
the doors and windows of the woodland, pale and
silent but confident, like men that keep a tryst; soon
its white robes had threads of gold and scarlet: and the
name of it was morning.
For some time past, loud and in vain, all the birds
had been singing to the Poet of the Birds. But when
that minstrel actually saw broad daylight breaking
over wood and road, the effect on him was somewhat
curious. He stood staring at it in gaping astonishment,
until it had fulfilled the fulness of its shining
fate; and the pine-cones and the curling ferns and the
live donkey and the dead viper were almost as distinct
as they could be at noon, or in a Preraphaelite
picture. And then the Fourth Mood fell upon him like
a bolt from the blue, and he strode across and took
the donkey's bridle, as if to lead it along.
"Damn it all," he cried, in a voice as cheerful as the
cockcrow that rang recently from the remote village,
"it's not everybody who's killed a snake." Then he
added, reflectively, "I bet Dr. Gluck never did. Come
along, donkey, let's have some adventures."
The finding and fighting of positive evil is the
beginning of all fun--and even of all farce. All the
wild woodland looked jolly now the snake was killed.
It was one of the fallacies of his literary clique to
refer all natural emotions to literary names, but it
might not untruly be said that he had passed out of
the mood of Maeterlinck into the mood of Whitman,
and out of the mood of Whitman into the mood of
Stevenson. He had not been a hypocrite when he
asked for gilded birds of Asia or purple polypi out of
the Southern Seas; he was not a hypocrite now, when
he asked for mere comic adventures along a common
English road. It was his misfortune and not his
fault if his first adventure was his last; and was much
too comic to laugh at.
Already the wan morning had warmed into a pale
blue and was spotted with those little plump pink
clouds which must surely have been the origin of the
story that pigs might fly. The insects of the grass
chattered so cheerfully that every green tongue seemed
to be talking. The skyline on every side was broken
only by objects that encouraged such swashbucklering
comedy. There was a windmill that Chaucer's
Miller might have inhabited or Cervantes's champion
charged. There was an old leaden church spire that
might have been climbed by Robert Clive. Away
toward Pebblewick and the sea, there were the two
broken stumps of wood which Humphrey Pump
declares to this day to have been the stands for an
unsuccessful children's swing; but which tourists
always accept as the remains of the antique gallows.
In the gaiety of such surroundings, it is small
wonder if Dorian and the donkey stepped briskly along
the road. The very donkey reminded him of Sancho
He did not wake out of this boisterous reverie of
the white road and the wind till a motor horn had first
hooted and then howled, till the ground had shaken
with the shock of a stoppage, and till a human hand
fell heavily and tightly on his shoulder. He looked
up and saw the complete costume of a Police Inspector.
He did not worry about the face. And there
fell on him the Fifth, or Unexpected Mood, which is
called by the vulgar Astonishment.
In despair he looked at the motor car itself that had
anchored so abruptly under the opposite hedge. The
man at the steering wheel was so erect and unresponsive
that Dorian felt sure he was feasting his eyes on
yet another policeman. But on the seat behind was a
very different figure, a figure that baffled him all the
more because he felt certain he had seen it somewhere.
The figure was long and slim, with sloping shoulders,
and the costume, which was untidy, yet contrived to
give the impression that it was tidy on other occasions.
The individual had bright yellow hair, one lock
of which stuck straight up and was exalted, like the
little horn in his favourite scriptures. Another tuft of
it, in a bright but blinding manner, fell across and
obscured the left optic, as in literal fulfilment of the
parable of a beam in the eye. The eyes, with or without
beams in them, looked a little bewildered, and the
individual was always nervously resettling his
necktie. For the individual went by the name of Hibbs,
and had only recently recovered from experiences
wholly new to him.
"What on earth do you want?" asked Wimpole of
His innocent and startled face, and perhaps other
things about his appearance, evidently caused the
Inspector to waver.
"Well, it's about this 'ere donkey, sir," he said.
"Do you think I stole it?" cried the indignant
aristocrat. "Well, of all the mad worlds! A pack of
thieves steal my Limousine, I save their damned donkey's
life at the risk of my own--and _I'm_ run in for
The clothes of the indignant aristocrat probably
spoke louder than his tongue; the officer dropped his
hand, and after consulting some papers in his hand,
walked across to consult with the unkempt gentleman
in the car.
"That seems to be a similar cart and donkey," Dorian
heard him saying, "but the clothes don't seem to
fit your description of the men you saw."
Now, Mr. Hibbs had extremely vague and wild
recollections of the men he saw; he could not even
tell what he had done and what he had merely dreamed.
If he had spoken sincerely, he would have described
a sort of green nightmare of forests, in which he
found himself in the power of an ogre about twelve
feet high, with scarlet flames for hair and dressed
rather like Robin Hood. But a long course of what is
known as "keeping the party together" had made it as
unnatural to him to tell anyone (even himself) what
he really thought about anything, as it would have
been to spit--or to sing. He had at present only three
motives and strong resolves: (1) not to admit that he
had been drunk; (2) not to let anyone escape whom
Lord Ivywood might possibly want to question; and
(3) not to lose his reputation for sagacity and tact.
"This party has a brown velvet suit, you see, and a
fur overcoat," the Inspector continued, "and in the
notes I have from you, you say the man wore a
"When we say uniform," said Mr. Hibbs, frowning
intellectually, "when we say _uniform_, of course--we must distinguish some of our friends who don't
quite see eye to eye with us, you know," and he smiled
with tender leniency, "some of our friends wouldn't
like it called a _uniform_ perhaps. But--of course--well, it wasn't a police uniform, for instance. Ha!
"I should hope not," said the official, shortly.
"So--in a way--however," said Hibbs, clutching
his verbal talisman at last, "it might be brown velvet
in the dark."
The Inspector replied to this helpful suggestion with
some wonder. "But it was a moon, like limelight," he
"Yars, yars," cried Hibbs, in a high tone that can
only be described as a hasty drawl. "Yars--discolours
everything of course. The flowers and things--"
"But look here," said the Inspector, "you said the
principal man's hair was red."
"A blond type! A blond type!" said Hibbs, waving
his hand with a solemn lightness. "Reddish,
yellowish, brownish sort of hair, you know." Then he
shook his head and said with the heaviest solemnity
the word was capable of carrying, "Teutonic, purely
The Inspector began to feel some wonder that, even
in the confusion following on Lord Ivywood's fall, he
had been put under the guidance of this particular
guide. The truth was that Leveson, once more masking
his own fears under his usual parade of hurry, had
found Hibbs at a table by an open window, with wild
hair and sleepy eyes, picking himself up with some
sort of medicine. Finding him already fairly clear-headed in a dreary way, he had not scrupled to use
the remains of his bewilderment to despatch him with
the police in the first pursuit. Even the mind of a
semi-recovered drunkard, he thought, could be trusted
to recognise anyone so unmistakable as the Captain.
But, though the diplomatist's debauch was barely
over, his strange, soft fear and cunning were awake.
He felt fairly certain the man in the fur coat had
something to do with the mystery, as men with fur coats
do not commonly wander about with donkeys. He
was afraid of offending Lord Ivywood, and at the
same time, afraid of exposing himself to a policeman.
"You have large discretion," he said, gravely.
"Very right you should have large discretion in the
interests of the public. I think you would be quite
authorised, for the present, in preventing the man's
"And the other man?" inquired the officer, with
knitted brow. "Do you suppose he has escaped?"
"The _other_ man," repeated Hibbs However, regarding
the distant windmill through half-closed lids,
as if this were a new fine shade introduced into an
already delicate question.
"Well, hang it all," said the police officer, "you must
know whether there were two men or one."
Gradually it dawned, in a grey dawn of horror, over
the brain of Hibbs that this was what he specially
couldn't know. He had always heard, and read in
comic papers, that a drunken man "sees double" and
beholds two lamp-posts, one of which is (as the
Higher Critic would have said) purely subjective. For
all he knew (being a mere novice) inebriation might
produce the impression of the two men of his dream-like
adventure, when in truth there had only been one.
"Two men, you know--one man," he said with a
sort of moody carelessness. "Well we can go into
their numbers later; they can't have a very large
following." Here he shook his head very firmly. "Quite
impossible. And as the late Lord Goschen used to
say, 'You can prove anything by statistics.'"
And here came an interruption from the other side
of the road.
"And how long am I to wait here for you and your
Goschens, you silly goat," were the intemperate wood-notes issuing from the Poet of the Birds. "I'm shot
if I'll stand this! Come along, donkey, and let's pray
for a better adventure next time. These are very
inferior specimens of your own race."
And seizing the bridle of the ass again, he strode
past them swiftly, and almost as if urging the animal
to a gallop.
Unfortunately this disdainful dash for liberty was
precisely what was wanting to weigh down the rocking
intelligence of the Inspector on the wrong side.
If Wimpole had stood still a minute or two longer,
the official, who was no fool, might have ended in
disbelieving Hibbs's story altogether. As it was, there
was a scuffle, not without blows on both sides, and
eventually the Honourable Dorian Wimpole, donkey
and all, was marched off to the village, in which there
was a Police Station; in which was a temporary cell;
in which a Sixth Mood was experienced.
His complaints, however, were at once so clamorous
and so convincing, and his coat was so unquestionably
covered with fur, that after some questioning
and cross purposes they agreed to take him in the
afternoon to Ivywood House, where there was a magistrate
incapacitated by a shot only recently extracted
from his leg.
They found Lord Ivywood lying on a purple ottoman,
in the midst of his Chinese puzzle of oriental
apartments. He continued to look away as they
entered, as if expecting, with Roman calm, the entrance
of a recognised enemy. But Lady Enid Wimpole,
who was attending to the wants of the invalid, gave
a sharp cry of astonishment; and the next moment the
three cousins were looking at each other. One could
almost have guessed they were cousins, all being (as
Mr. Hibbs subtly put it) a blond type. But two of
the blond types expressed amazement, and one blond
type merely rage.
"I am sorry, Dorian," said Ivywood, when he had
heard the whole story. "These fanatics are capable
of anything, I fear, and you very rightly resent their
stealing your car--"
"You are wrong, Philip," answered the poet, emphatically.
"I do not even faintly resent their stealing
my car. What I do resent is the continued existence
on God's earth of this Fool" (pointing to the serious
Hibbs) "and of that Fool" (pointing to the Inspector)
"and--yes, by thunder, of _that_ Fool, too" (and he
pointed straight at Lord Ivywood). "And I tell you
frankly, Philip, if there really are, as you say, two
men who are bent on smashing your schemes and making
your life a hell--I am very happy to put my car
at their disposal. And now I'm off."
"You'll stop to dinner?" inquired Ivywood, with
"No, thanks," said the disappearing bard, "I'm
going up to town."
The Seventh Mood of Dorian Wimpole had a grand
finale at the CafÈ Royal, and consisted largely of
* * *
THE POET IN PARLIAMENT
DURING the singular entrance and exit of Dorian
Wimpole, M.P., J.P., etc., Lady Joan was looking
out of the magic casements of that turret room which
was now literally, and not only poetically, the last
limit of Ivywood House. The old broken hole and
black staircase up which the lost dog Quoodle used to
come and go, had long ago been sealed up and cemented
with a wall of exquisite Eastern workmanship.
All through the patterns Lord Ivywood had preserved
and repeated the principle that no animal shape must
appear. But, like all lucid dogmatists, he perceived
all the liberties his dogma allowed him. And he had
irradiated this remote end of Ivywood with sun and
moon and solar and starry systems, with the Milky
Way for a dado and a few comets for comic relief.
The thing was well done of its kind (as were all the
things that Philip Ivywood got done for him); and
if all the windows of the turret were closed with their
peacock curtains, a poet with anything like a Hibbsian
appreciation of the family champagne might almost
fancy he was looking out across the sea on a night
crowded with stars. And (what was yet more
important) even Misysra (that exact thinker) could not
call the moon a live animal without falling into
But Joan, looking out of real windows on a real
sky and sea, thought no more about the astronomical
wall-paper than about any other wall-paper. She was
asking herself in sullen emotionalism, and for the
thousandth time, a question she had never been able to
decide. It was the final choice between an ambition
and a memory. And there was this heavy weight in
the scale: that the ambition would probably materialise,
and the memory probably wouldn't. It has been
the same weight in the same scale a million times
since Satan became the prince of this world. But
the evening stars were strengthening over the old
sea-shore, and they also wanted weighing like
As once before at the same stage of brooding, she
heard behind her the swish of Lady Enid's skirts, that
never came so fast save for serious cause.
"Joan! Please do come! Nobody but you, I do
believe, could move him." Joan looked at Lady Enid
and realised that the lady was close on crying. She
turned a trifle pale and asked quietly for the question.
"Philip says he's going to London now, with that leg
and all," cried Enid, "and he won't let us say a word."
"But how did it all happen?" asked Joan.
Lady Enid Wimpole was quite incapable of explaining
how it all happened, so the task must for the moment
devolve on the author. The simple fact was
that Ivywood in the course of turning over magazines
on his sofa, happened to look at a paper from the
"The Turkish news," said Mr. Leveson, rather
nervously, "is on the other side of the page."
But Lord Ivywood continued to look at the side of
the paper that did not contain the Turkish news, with
the same dignity of lowered eyelids and unconscious
brow with which he had looked at the Captain's
message when Joan found him by the turret.
On the page covered merely with casual, provincial
happenings was a paragraph, "Echo of Pebblewick
Mystery. Reported Reappearance of the Vanishing
Inn." Underneath was printed, in smaller letters:
"An almost incredible report from Wyddington announces
that the mysterious 'Sign of the Old Ship' has once more
been seen in this country; though it has long been relegated
by scientific investigators to the limbo of old rustic
superstitions. According to the local version, Mr. Simmons, a
dairyman of Wyddington, was serving in his shop when two
motorists entered, one of them asking for a glass of milk.
They were in the most impenetrable motoring panoply, with
darkened goggles and waterproof collars turned up, so that
nothing can be recalled of them personally, except that one
was a person of unusual stature. In a few moments, this
latter individual went out of the shop again and returned
with a miserable specimen out of the street, one of the
tattered loafers that linger about our most prosperous towns,
tramping the streets all night and even begging in defiance
of the police. The filth and disease of the creature were so
squalid that Mr. Simmons at first refused to serve him with
the glass of milk which the taller motorist wished to
provide for him. At length, however, Mr. Simmons consented,
and was immediately astonished by an incident against which
he certainly had a more assured right to protest.
"The taller motorist, saying to the loafer, 'but, man, you're
blue in the face,' made a species of signs to the smaller
motorist, who thereupon appears to have pierced a sort
of cylindrical trunk or chest that seemed to be his only
luggage, and drawn from it a few drops of a yellow liquid
which he deliberately dropped into the ragged creature's
milk. It was afterward discovered to be rum, and the
protests of Mr. Simmons may be imagined. The tall motorist,
however, warmly defended his action, having apparently
some wild idea that he was doing an act of kindness. 'Why,
I found the man nearly fainting,' he said. 'If you'd picked
him off a raft, he couldn't be more collapsed with cold and
sickness; and if you'd picked him off a raft you'd have
given him rum--yes, by St. Patrick, if you were a bloody
pirate and made him walk the plank afterward.' Mr. Simmons
replied with dignity, that he did not know how it was
with rafts, and could not permit such language in his shop.
He added that he would lay himself open to a police
prosecution if he permitted the consumption of alcohol in his
shop; since he did not display a sign. The motorist then
made the amazing reply, 'But you _do_ display a sign, you
jolly old man. Did you think I couldn't find my way to the
sign of The Old Ship, you sly boots?' Mr. Simmons was
now fully convinced of the intoxication of his visitors, and
refusing a glass of rum rather boisterously offered him,
went outside his shop to look round for a policeman. To his
surprise he found the officer engaged in dispersing a
considerable crowd, which was staring up at some object behind
him. On looking round (he states in his deposition) he
'saw what was undoubtedly one of the low tavern signs at
one time common in England.' He was wholly unable to
explain its presence outside his premises, and as it undoubtedly
legalised the motorist's action, the police declined to
move in the matter.
"Later. The two motorists have apparently left the town,
unmolested, in a small second-hand two-seater. There is
no clue to their destination, except it be indicated by a single
incident. It appears that when they were waiting for the
second glass of milk, one of them drew attention to a milk
can of a shape seemingly unfamiliar to him, which was, of
course, the Mountain Milk now so much recommended by
doctors. The taller motorist (who seemed in every way
strangely ignorant of modern science and social life) asked
his companion where it came from, receiving, of course, the
reply that it is manufactured in the model village of Peaceways,
under the personal superintendence of its distinguished
and philanthropic inventor, Dr. Meadows. Upon this the
taller person, who appeared highly irresponsible, actually
bought the whole can; observing, as he tucked it under his
arm, that it would help him to remember the address.
"Later. Our readers will be glad to hear that the legend
of 'The Old Ship' sign has once more yielded to the
wholesome scepticism of science. Our representative reached
Wyddington after the practical jokers, or whatever they
were, had left; but he searched the whole frontage of Mr.
Simmons's shop, and we are in a position to assure the public
that there is no trace of the alleged sign."
Lord Ivywood laid down the newspaper and looked
at the rich and serpentine embroideries on the wall
with the expression that a great general might have if
he saw a chance of really ruining his enemy, if he
would also ruin all his previous plan of campaign.
His pallid and classic profile was as immovable as a
cameo; but anyone who had known him at all would
have known that his brain was going like a motor
car that has broken the speed limit long ago.
Then he turned his head and said, "Please tell Hicks
to bring round the long blue car in half an hour; it
can be fitted up for a sofa. And ask the gardener
to cut a pole of about four feet nine inches, and put a
cross-piece for a crutch. I'm going up to London
Mr. Leveson's lower jaw literally fell with
"The Doctor said three weeks," he said. "If I may
ask it, where are you going?"
"St. Stephens, Westminster," answered Ivywood.
"Surely," said Mr. Leveson, "I could take a message."
"You could take a message," assented Ivywood,
"I'm afraid they would not allow you to make a
It was a moment or two afterward that Enid Wimpole
had come into the room, and striven in vain to
shake his decision. Then it was that Joan had been
brought out of the turret and saw Philip standing,
sustained upon a crutch of garden timber; and
admired him as she had never admired him before.
While he was being helped downstairs, while he was
being propped in the car with such limited comfort
as was possible, she did really feel in him something
worthy of his ancient roots, worthy of such hills and
of such a sea. For she felt God's wind from nowhere
which is called the Will; and is man's only excuse
upon this earth. In the small toot of the starting
motor she could hear a hundred trumpets, such as
might have called her ancestors and his to the glories
of the Third Crusade.
Such imaginary military honours were not, at least
in the strategic sense, undeserved. Lord Ivywood
really had seen the whole map of the situation in front
of him, and swiftly formed a plan to meet it, in a
manner not unworthy of Napoleon. The realities of
the situation unrolled themselves before him, and his
mind was marking them one by one as with a pencil.
First, he knew that Dalroy would probably go to the
Model Village. It was just the sort of place he would
go to. He knew Dalroy was almost constitutionally
incapable of not kicking up some kind of row in a
place of that kind.
Second, he knew that if he missed Dalroy at this
address, it was very likely to be his last address; he
and Mr. Pump were quite clever enough to leave no
more hints behind.
Third, he guessed, by careful consideration of map
and clock, that they could not get to so remote a
region in so cheap a car under something like two days,
nor do anything very conclusive in less than three.
Thus, he had just time to turn round in.
Fourth, he realised that ever since that day when
Dalroy swung round the sign-board and smote the
policeman into the ditch, Dalroy had swung round the
Ivywood Act on Lord Ivywood. He (Lord Ivywood)
had thought, and might well have thought rightly, that
by restricting the old sign-posts to a few places so
select that they can afford to be eccentric, and forbidding
such artistic symbols to all other places, he could
sweep fermented liquor for all practical purposes out
of the land. The arrangement was exactly that at
which all such legislation is consciously or
unconsciously aiming. A sign-board could be a favour
granted by the governing class to itself. If a
gentleman wished to claim the liberties of a Bohemian, the
path would be open. If a Bohemian wished to claim
the liberties of a gentleman, the path would be shut.
So, gradually, Lord Ivywood had thought, the old
signs which can alone sell alcohol, will dwindle down
to mere curiosities, like Audit Ale or the Mead that
may still be found in the New Forest. The calculation
was by no means unstatesmanlike. But, like many
other statesmanlike calculations, it did not take into
account the idea of dead wood walking about. So
long as his flying foes might set up their sign
anywhere, it mattered little whether the result was
enjoyment or disappointment for the populace. In either
case it must mean constant scandal or riot. If there
was one thing worse than the appearance of "The Old
Ship" it was its disappearance.
He realised that his own law was letting them loose
every time; for the local authorities hesitated to act
on the spot, in defiance of a symbol now so exclusive
and therefore impressive. He realised that the law
must be altered. Must be altered at once. Must be
altered, if possible, before the fugitives broke away
from the Model Village of Peaceways.
He realised that it was Thursday. This was the
day on which any private member of Parliament could
introduce any private bill of the kind called "non-contentious," and pass it without a division, so long as no
particular member made any particular fuss. He
realised that it was improbable that any particular
member would make any particular fuss about Lord
Ivywood's own improvement on Lord Ivywood's own
Finally, he realised that the whole case could be
met by so slight an improvement as this. Change the
words of the Act (which he knew by heart, as happier
men might know a song): "If such sign be present
liquids containing alcohol can be sold on the premises,"
to these other words: "Liquids containing alcohol can
be sold, if previously preserved for three days on the
premises"; it was mate in a few moves. Parliament
could never reject or even examine so slight an
emendation. And the revolution of "The Old Ship" and
the late King of Ithaca would be crushed for ever.
It does undoubtedly show, as we have said, something
Napoleonic in the man's mind that the whole of
this excellent and even successful plan was complete
long before he saw the great glowing clock on the
towers of Westminster; and knew he was in time.
It was unfortunate, perhaps, that about the same
time, or not long after, another gentleman of the same
rank, and indirectly of the same family, having left
the restaurant in Regent Street and the tangle of
Piccadilly, had drifted serenely down Whitehall, and had
seen the same great golden goblin's eye on the tall
tower of St. Stephen.
The Poet of the Birds, like most aesthetes, had
known as little of the real town as he had of the real
country. But he had remembered a good place for
supper; and as he passed certain great cold clubs,
built of stone and looking like Assyrian Sarcophagi,
he remembered that he belonged to many of them.
And so when he saw afar off, sitting above the river,
what has been very erroneously described as the best
club in London, he suddenly remembered that he
belonged to that too. He could not at the moment recall
what constituency in South England it was that he sat
for; but he knew he could walk into the place if he
wanted to. He might not so have expressed the matter,
but he knew that in an oligarchy things go by respect
for persons and not for claims; by visiting cards and
not by voting cards. He had not been near the place
for years, being permanently paired against a famous
Patriot who had accepted an important government
appointment in a private madhouse. Even in his
silliest days, he had never pretended to feel any respect
for modern politics, and made all haste to put his "leaders"
and the mad patriot's "leaders" on the well selected
list of the creatures whom man forgets. He had
made one really eloquent speech in the House (on the
subject of gorillas), and then found he was speaking
against his party. It was an indescribable sort of
place, anyhow. Even Lord Ivywood did not go to it
except to do some business that could be done nowhere
else; as was the case that night.
Ivywood was what is called a peer by courtesy;
his place was in the Commons, and for the time being
on the Opposition side. But, though he visited the
House but seldom, he knew far too much about it
to go into the Chamber itself. He limped into the
Smoking Room (though he did not smoke), procured
a needless cigarette and a much-needed sheet of note-paper, and composed a curt but careful note to the
one member of the government whom he knew must
be in the House. Having sent it up to him, he waited.
Outside, Mr. Dorian Wimpole also waited, leaning
on the parapet of Westminster Bridge and looking
down the river. He was becoming one with the
oysters in a more solemn and solid sense than he had
hitherto conceived possible, and also with a strictly
Vegetarian beverage which bears the noble and starry
name of Nuits. He felt at peace with all things, even
in a manner with politics. It was one of those magic
hours of evening when the red and golden lights of
men are already lit along the river, and look like the
lights of goblins, but daylight still lingers in a cold
and delicate green. He felt about the river something
of that smiling and glorious sadness which two
Englishmen have expressed under the figure of the white
wood of an old ship fading like a phantom; Turner,
in painting, and Henry Newbolt, in poetry. He had
come back to earth like a man fallen from the moon;
he was at bottom not only a poet but a patriot, and a
patriot is always a little sad. Yet his melancholy was
mixed up with that immutable yet meaningless faith
which few Englishmen, even in modern times, fail to
feel at the unexpected sight either of Westminster
or of that height on which stands the temple of St.
"While flows the sacred river,
While stands the sacred hill,"
he murmured in some schoolboy echo of the ballad
of Lake Regillus,
"While flows the sacred river,
While stands the sacred hill,
The proud old pantaloons and nincompoops,
Who yawn at the very length of their own lies
in that accursed sanhedrim where
people put each other's hats on in a poisonous
room with no more windows than hell
Shall have such honour still."
Relieved by this rendering of Macaulay in the style
known among his cultured friends as _vers libre_, or
poesy set free from the shackles of formal metre, he
strolled toward the members' entrance and went in.
Lacking Lord Ivywood's experience, he strolled into
the Common's Chamber itself and sat down on a
green bench, under the impression that the House was
not sitting. He was, however, gradually able to
distinguish some six or eight drowsy human forms
from the seats on which they sat; and to hear a senile
voice with an Essex accent, saying, all on one note,
and without beginning or end, in a manner which
it is quite impossible to punctuate,
". . . no wish at all that this proposal should be
regarded except in the right way and have tried to put it
in the right way and cannot think the honourable member
was altogether adding to his reputation in putting it in
what those who think with me must of course consider the
wrong way and I for one am free to say that if in his desire
to settle this great question he takes this hasty course and
this revolutionary course about slate pencils he may not
be able to prevent the extremists behind him from applying
it to lead pencils and while I should be the last to increase
the heat and the excitement and the personalities of this
debate if I could possibly help it I must confess that in
my opinion the honourable gentleman has himself encouraged
that heat and personality in a manner that he now
doubtless regrets I have no desire to use abusive terms indeed
you Mr. Speaker would not allow me of course to use
abusive terms but I must tell the honourable member face
to face that the perambulators with which he has twitted
me cannot be germane to this discussion I should be the
last person. . . ."
Dorian Wimpole had softly risen to go, when he
was arrested by the sight of someone sliding into the
House and handing a note to the solitary young man
with heavy eyelids who was at that moment governing
all England from the Treasury Bench. Seeing him
go out, Dorian had a sickening sweetness of hope (as
he might have said in his earlier poems), that something
intelligible might happen after all, and followed
him out almost with alacrity.
The solitary and sleepy governor of Great Britain
went down into the lower crypts of its temple of freedom
and turned into an apartment where Wimpole
was astonished to see his cousin Ivywood sitting at a
little table with a large crutch leaning beside him,
as serene as Long John Silver. The young man with
the heavy eyelids sat down opposite him and they
had a conversation which Wimpole, of course, did
not hear. He withdrew into an adjoining room where
he managed to procure coffee and a liqueur; an excellent
liqueur which he had forgotten and of which he
had more than one glass.
But he had so posted himself that Ivywood could not
come out without passing him, and he waited for what
might happen with exquisite patience. The only thing
that seemed to him queer was that every now and then
a bell rang in several rooms at once. And whenever
the bell rang, Lord Ivywood nodded, as if he were
part of the electrical machinery. And whenever Lord
Ivywood nodded the young man turned and sped upstairs
like a mountaineer, returning in a short time to
resume the conversation. On the third occasion the
poet began to observe that many others from the other
rooms could be heard running upstairs at the sound of
this bell, and returning with the slightly less rapid step
which expresses relief after a duty done. Yet did he
not know that this duty was Representative Government;
and that it is thus that the cry of Cumberland
or Cornwall can come to the ears of an English King.
Suddenly the sleepy young man sprang erect, uninspired
by any bell, and strode out once more. The
poet could not help hearing him say as he left the
table, jotting down something with a pencil: "Alcohol
can be sold if previously preserved for three days on
the premises. I think we can do it, but you can't come
on for half an hour."
Saying this, he darted upstairs again, and when
Dorian saw Ivywood come out laboriously, afterward,
on his large country crutch, he had exactly the same
revulsion in his favour that Joan had had. Jumping
up from his table, which was in one of the private
dining-rooms, he touched the other on the elbow and
"I want to apologise to you, Philip, for my rudeness
this afternoon. Honestly, I am sorry. Pinewoods
and prison-cells try a man's temper, but I had no
rag of excuse for not seeing that for neither of them
were you to blame. I'd no notion you were coming up
to town tonight; with your leg and all. You mustn't
knock yourself up like this. Do sit down a minute."
It seemed to him that the bleak face of Philip
softened a little; how far he really softened will never
be known until such men as he are understood by
their fellows. It is certain that he carefully unhooked
himself from his crutch and sat down opposite his
cousin. Whereupon his cousin struck the table so
that it rang like a dinner-bell and called out, "Waiter!"
as if he were in a crowded restaurant. Then, before
Lord Ivywood could protest, he said:
"It's awfully jolly that we've met. I suppose
you've come up to make a speech. I _should_ like to
hear it. We haven't always agreed; but, by God, if
there's anything good left in literature it's your
speeches reported in a newspaper. That thing of
yours that ended, 'death and the last shutting of the
iron doors of defeat'--Why you must go back to
Strafford's last speech for such English. Do let me
hear your speech! I've got a seat upstairs, you know."
"If you wish it," said Ivywood hurriedly, "but I
shan't make much of a speech to-night." And he
looked at the wall behind Wimpole's head with
thunderous wrinkles thickening on his brow. It was
essential to his brilliant and rapid scheme, of course,
that the Commons should make no comment at all
on his little alteration in the law.
An attendant hovered near in response to the
demand for a waiter, and was much impressed by the
presence and condition of Lord Ivywood. But as that
exalted cripple resolutely refused anything in the way
of liquor, his cousin was so kind as to have a little
more himself, and resumed his remarks.
"It's about this public-house affair of yours, I
suppose. I'd like to hear you speak on that. P'raps I'll
speak myself. I've been thinking about it a good deal
all day, and a good deal of last night, too. Now, here's
what I should say to the House, if I were you. To
begin with, can you abolish the public-house? Are
you _important_ enough now to abolish the public-house?
Whether it's right or wrong, can you in the long run
prevent haymakers having ale any more than you can
prevent me having this glass of Chartreuse?"
The attendant, hearing the word, once more drew
near; but heard no further order; or, rather, the orders
he heard were such as he was less able to cope with.
"Remember the curate!" said Dorian, abstractedly
shaking his head at the functionary, "remember the
sensible little High-Church curate, who when asked
for a Temperance Sermon preached on the text 'Suffer
us not to be overwhelmed in the water-floods.' Indeed,
indeed, Philip, you are in deeper waters than you
know. _You_ will abolish ale! _You_ will make Kent
forget hop-poles, and Devonshire forget cider! The
fate of the Inn is to be settled in that hot little room
upstairs! Take care its fate and yours are not settled
in the Inn. Take care Englishmen don't sit in judgment
on you as they do on many another corpse at an
inquest--at a common public-house! Take care that
the one tavern that is really neglected and shut up and
passed like a house of pestilence is not the tavern in
which I drink to-night, and that merely because it is
the worst tavern on the King's highway. Take care
this place where we sit does not get a name like any
pub where sailors are hocussed or girls debauched.
That is what I shall say to them," said he, rising cheerfully,
"that's what I shall say. See you to it," he cried
with sudden passion and apparently to the waiter,
"see you to it if the sign that is destroyed is not the
sign of 'The Old Ship' but the sign of the Mace and
Bauble, and, in the words of a highly historical brewer,
if we see a dog bark at your going."
Lord Ivywood was observing him with a deathly
quietude; another idea had come into his fertile mind.
He knew his cousin, though excited, was not in the
least intoxicated; he knew he was quite capable of
making a speech and even a good one. He knew that
any speech, good or bad, would wreck his whole plan
and send the wild inn flying again. But the orator
had resumed his seat and drained his glass, passing a
hand across his brow. And he remembered that a
man who keeps a vigil in a wood all night and drinks
wine on the following evening is liable to an accident
that is not drunkenness, but something much healthier.
"I suppose your speech will come on pretty soon,"
said Dorian, looking at the table. "You'll let me know
when it does, of course. Really and truly, I don't
want to miss it. And I've forgotten all the ways here,
and feel pretty tired. You'll let me know?"
"Yes," said Lord Ivywood.
Stillness fell along all the rooms until Lord
Ivywood broke it by saying:
"Debate is a most necessary thing; but there are
times when it rather impedes than assists parliamentary
He received no reply. Dorian still sat as if looking
at the table, but his eyelids had lightly fallen; he was
asleep. Almost at the same moment the Member of
Government, who was nearly asleep, appeared at the
entrance of the long room and made some sort of
Philip Ivywood raised himself on his crutch and
stood for a moment looking at the sleeping man.
Then he and his crutch trailed out of the long room,
leaving the sleeping man behind. Nor was that the
only thing that he left behind. He also left behind an
unlighted cigarette and his honour and all the England
of his father's; everything that could really distinguish
that high house beside the river from any tavern for
the hocussing of sailors. He went upstairs and did
his business in twenty minutes in the only speech he
had ever delivered without any trace of eloquence.
And from that hour forth he was the naked fanatic;
and could feed on nothing but the future.
* * *
THE REPUBLIC OF PEACEWAYS
IN a hamlet round about Windermere, let us say, or
somewhere in Wordsworth's country, there could be
found a cottage, in which could be found a cottager.
So far all is as it should be; and the visitor would first
be conscious of a hearty and even noisy elderly man,
with an apple face and a short white beard. This
person would then loudly proffer to the visitor the
opportunity of seeing his father, a somewhat more
elderly man, with a somewhat longer white beard, but
still "up and about." And these two together would
then initiate the neophyte into the joys of the society
of a grandfather, who was more than a hundred years
old, and still very proud of the fact.
This miracle, it seemed, had been worked entirely
on milk. The subject of this diet the oldest of the
three men continued to discuss in enormous detail.
For the rest, it might be said that his pleasures were
purely arithmetical. Some men count their years with
dismay, and he counted his with a juvenile vanity.
Some men collect stamps or coins, and he collected
days. Newspaper men interviewed him about the
historic times through which he had lived, without
eliciting anything whatever; except that he had apparently
taken to an exclusive milk diet at about the age when
most of us leave it off. Asked if he was alive in
1815, he said that was the very year he found it
wasn't any milk, but must be Mountain Milk, like Dr.
Meadows says. Nor would his calculating creed of
life have allowed him to understand you if you had
said that in a meadowland oversea that lies before the
city of Brussels, boys of his old school in that year
gained the love of the gods and died young.
It was the philanthropic Dr. Meadows, of course,
who discovered this deathless tribe, and erected on it
the whole of his great dietetic philosophy, to say nothing
of the houses and dairies of Peaceways. He
attracted many pupils and backers among the wealthy
and influential; young men who were, so to speak,
training for extreme old age, infant old men, embryo
nonagenarians. It would be an exaggeration to say that
they watched joyfully for the first white hair as
Fascination Fledgeby watched for his first whisker; but
it is quite true to say that they seemed to have scorned
the beauty of woman and the feasting of friends and,
above all, the old idea of death with glory; in comparison
with this vision of the sports of second childhood.
Peaceways was in its essential plan much like what
we call a Garden City; a ring of buildings where the
work people did their work, with a pretty ornamental
town in the centre, where they lived in the open country
outside. This was no doubt much healthier than
the factory system in the great towns and may have
partly accounted for the serene expression of Dr.
Meadows and his friends, if any part of the credit
can be spared from the splendours of Mountain Milk.
The place lay far from the common highways of England,
and its inhabitants were enabled to enjoy their
quiet skies and level woods almost undisturbed, and
fully absorb whatever may be valuable in the Meadows
method and view; until one day a small and very dirty
motor drove into the middle of their town. It stopped
beside one of those triangular islets of grass that
are common at forked roads, and two men in goggles,
one tall and the other short, got out and stood on the
central space of grass, as if they were buffoons about
to do tricks. As, indeed, they were.
Before entering the town they had stopped by a
splendid mountain stream quickening and thickening
rapidly into a river; unhelmed and otherwise eased
themselves, eaten a little bread bought at Wyddington
and drank the water of the widening current which
opened on the valley of Peaceways.
"I'm beginning quite to like water," said the taller of
the two knights. "I used to think it a most dangerous
drink. In theory, of course, it ought only to be given
to people who are fainting. It's really good for them,
much better than brandy. Besides, think of wasting
good brandy on people who are fainting! But I don't
go so far as I did; I shouldn't insist on a doctor's
prescription before I allow people water. That was
the too severe morality of youth; that was my
innocence and goodness. I thought that if I fell once,
water-drinking might become a habit. But I do see
the good side of water now. How good it is when
you're really thirsty, how it glitters and gurgles! How
alive it is! After all, it's the best of drinks, after
the other. As it says in the song:
"Feast on wine or fast on water,
And your honour shall stand sure;
God Almighty's son and daughter,
He the valiant, she the pure.
If an angel out of heaven
Brings you other things to drink,
Thank him for his kind intentions,
Go and pour them down the sink.
"Tea is like the East he grows in,
A great yellow Mandarin,
With urbanity of manner,
And unconsciousness of sin;
All the women, like a harem,
At his pig-tail troop along,
And, like all the East he grows in,
He is Poison when he's strong.
"Tea, although an Oriental,
Is a gentleman at least;
Cocoa is a cad and coward,
Cocoa is a vulgar beast;
Cocoa is a dull, disloyal,
Lying, crawling cad and clown,
And may very well be grateful
To the fool that takes him down.
"As for all the windy waters,
They were rained like trumpets down,
When good drink had been dishonoured
By the tipplers of the town.
When red wine had brought red ruin,
And the death-dance of our times,
Heaven sent us Soda Water
As a torment for our crimes."
"Upon my soul, this water tastes quite nice. I
wonder what vintage now?" and he smacked his lips
with solemnity. "It tastes just like the year 1881
"You can fancy anything in the tasting way,"
returned his shorter companion. "Mr. Jack, who was
always up to his tricks, did serve plain water in those
little glasses they drink liqueurs out of, and everyone
swore it was a delicious liqueur, and wanted to know
where they could get it--all except old Admiral Guffin,
who said it tasted too strong of olives. But water's
much the best for our game, certainly."
Patrick nodded, and then said:
"I doubt if I could do it, if it weren't for the
comfort of looking at that," and he kicked the rum-keg,
"and feeling we shall have a good swig at it some day.
It feels like a fairy-tale, carrying that about--as if
rum were a pirate's treasure, as if it were molten gold.
Besides, we can have such fun with it with other people
--what was that joke I thought of this morning? Oh,
I remember! Where's that milk can of mine?"
For the next twenty minutes he was industriously
occupied with his milk can and the cask; Pump watching
him with an interest amounting to anxiety. Lifting
his head, however, at the end of that time, he
knotted his red brows and said, "What's that?"
"What's what?" asked the other traveller.
"That!" said Captain Patrick Dalroy, and pointed
to a figure approaching on the road parallel to the
river, "I mean, what's it for?"
The figure had a longish beard and very long hair
falling far below its shoulders. It had a serious and
steadfast expression. It was dressed in what the
inexperienced Mr. Pump at first took to be its
nightgown; but afterward learned to be its complete goats'
hair tunic, unmixed even with a thread of the destructive
and deadly wool of the sheep. It had no boots
on its feet. It walked very swiftly to a particular turn
of the stream and then turned very sharply (since
it had accomplished its constitutional), and walked
back toward the perfect town of Peaceways.
"I suppose it's somebody from that milk place,"
said Humphrey Pump, indulgently. "They seem to
be pretty mad."
"I don't mind that so much," said Dalroy, "I'm mad myself sometimes.
But a madman has only one merit and last link with God. A madman is
always logical. Now what is the logical connection between living on
milk and wearing your hair long? Most of us lived on milk when we had
no hair at all. How do they connect it up? Are there any heads even
for a synopsis? Is it, say, 'milk--water--shaving-water--
shaving--hair?' Is it 'milk--kindness--unkindness--convicts--hair?'
What is the logical connection between having too much hair and having
far too few boots? What _can_ it be? Is it 'hair--hair-trunk--
leather-trunk--leather-boots?' Is it 'hair--beard--oysters--
seaside--paddling--no boots?' Man is liable to err--especially when
every mistake he makes is called a movement--but why should all the
lunacies live together?"
"Because all the lunatics should live together," said,
Humphrey, "and if you'd seen what happened up at
Crampton, with the farming-out idea, you'd know. It's
all very well, Captain; but if people can prevent a
guest of great importance being buried up to the neck
in farm manure, they will. They will, really." He
coughed almost apologetically. He was about to
attempt a resumption of the conversation, when he saw
his companion slap the milk can and keg back into the
car, and get into it himself. "You drive," he said,
"drive me where those things live; you know, Hump."
They did not, however, arrive in the civic centre of
such things without yet another delay. They left the
river and followed the man with the long hair and the
goatskin frock; and he stopped as it happened at a
house on the outskirts of the village. The adventurers
stopped also, out of curiosity, and were at first
relieved to see the man almost instantly reappear,
having transacted his business with a quickness that
seemed incredible. A second glance showed them it
was not the man, but another man dressed exactly like
him. A few minutes more of inquisitive delay, showed
them many of the kilty and goatish sect going in and
out of this particular place, each clad in his innocent
"This must be the temple and chapel," muttered
Patrick, "it must be here they sacrifice a glass of milk
to a cow, or whatever it is they do. Well, the joke
is pretty obvious, but we must wait for a lull in the
crowding of the congregation."
When the last long-haired phantom had faded up
the road, Dalroy sprang from the car and drove the
sign-board deep into the earth with savage violence,
and then very quietly knocked at the door.
The apparent owner of the place, of whom the
two last of the long-haired and bare-footed idealists
were taking a rather hurried farewell, was a man curiously
ill-fitted for the part he seemed cast for in the
only possible plot.
Both Pump and Dalroy thought they had never seen
a man look so sullen. His face was of the rubicund
sort that does not suggest jollity, but merely a
stagnant indigestion in the head. His mustache hung
heavy and dark, his brows yet heavier and darker.
Dalroy had seen something of the sort on the faces
of defeated people disgracefully forced into submission,
but he could not make head or tail of it in
connection with the priggish perfections of Peaceways.
It was all the odder because he was manifestly
prosperous; his clothes were smartly cut in something of
the sporting manner, and the inside of his house was
at least four times grander than the outside.
But what mystified them most was this, that he did
not so much exhibit the natural curiosity of a gentleman
whose private house is entered by strangers, but
rather an embarrassed and restless expectation. During
Dalroy's eager apologies and courteous inquiries
about the direction and accommodations of Peaceways,
his eye (which was of the boiled gooseberry order)
perpetually wandered from them to the cupboard
and then again to the window, and at last he got up
and went to look out into the road.
"Oh, yes, sir; very healthy place, Peaceways," he
said, peering through the lattice. "Very . . .
dash it, what do they mean? . . . Very healthy
place. Of course they have their little ways."
"Only drink pure milk, don't they?" asked Dalroy.
The householder looked at him with a rather wild
eye and grunted.
"Yes; so they say," and he went again to the window.
"I've bought some of it," said Patrick, patting his
pet milk can, which he carried under his arm, as if
unable to be separated from Dr. Meadows's discovery.
"Have a glass of milk, sir."
The man's boiled eye began to bulge in anger--or
some other emotion.
"What do you want?" he muttered, "are you 'tecs
"Agents and Distributors of the Meadows's Mountain
Milk," said the Captain, with simple pride, "taste
The dazed householder took a glass of the blameless
liquid and sipped it; and the change on his face
"Well, I'm jiggered," he said, with a broad and
rather coarse grin. "That's a queer dodge. You're
in the joke, I see." Then he went again restlessly to
the window; and added, "but if we're all friends, why
the blazes don't the others come in? I've never known
trade so slow before."
"Who are the others?" asked Mr. Pump.
"Oh, the usual Peaceways people," said the other.
"They generally come here before work. Dr. Meadows
don't work them for very long hours, that
wouldn't be healthy or whatever he calls it; but he's
particular about their being punctual. I've seen 'em
running, with all their pure-minded togs on, when the
hooter gave the last call."
Then he abruptly opened the front door and called
out impatiently, but not loudly:
"Come along in if you're coming. You'll give the
show away if you play the fool out there."
Patrick looked out also and the view of the road
outside was certainly rather singular. He was used to
crowds, large and small, collecting outside houses
which he had honoured with the sign of "The Old
Ship," but they generally stared up at it in unaffected
wonder and amusement. But outside this open door,
some twenty or thirty persons in what Pump had
called their night-gowns were moving to and fro
like somnambulists, apparently blind to the presence of
the sign; looking at the other side of the road, looking
at the horizon, looking at the clouds of morning; and
only occasionally stopping to whisper to each other.
But when the owner of the house called to one of these
ostentatiously abstracted beings and asked him hoarsely
what the devil was the matter, it was natural for
the milk-fed one to turn his feeble eye toward the
sign. The gooseberry eyes followed his, and the face
to which they belonged was a study in apoplectic
"What the hell have you done to my house?" he
demanded. "Of course they can't come in if this
"I'll take it down, if you like," said Dalroy, stepping
out and picking it up like a flower from the front
garden (to the amazement of the men in the road, who
thought they had strayed into a nursery fairy-tale),
"but I wish, in return, you'd give me some idea of
what the blazes all this means."
"Wait till I've served these men," replied his host.
The goat-garbed persons went very sheepishly (or
goatishly) into the now signless building, and were
rapidly served with raw spirits, which Mr. Pump
suspected to be of no very superior quality. When
the last goat was gone, Captain Dalroy said:
"I mean that all this seems to me topsy-turvy. I
understood that as the law stands now, if there's a sign
they are allowed to drink and if there isn't they aren't."
"The Law!" said the man, in a voice thick with
scorn. "Do you think these poor brutes are afraid
of the Law as they are of the Doctor?"
"Why should they be afraid of the Doctor?" asked
Dalroy, innocently. "I always heard that Peaceways
was a self-governing republic."
"Self-governing be damned," was the illiberal
reply. "Don't he own all the houses and could turn 'em
out in a snow storm? Don't 'e pay all the wages and
could starve 'em stiff in a month? The Law!" And
he snorted. A moment after he squared his elbows on
the table and began to explain more fully.
"I was a brewer about here and had the biggest
brewery in these parts. There were only two houses
which didn't belong to me, and the magistrates took
away their licenses after a time. Ten years ago you
could see Hugby's Ales written beside every sign in
the county. Then came these cursed Radicals, and our
leader, Lord Ivywood, must go over to their side
about it, and let this Doctor buy all the land under
some new law that there shan't be any pubs at all. And
so my business is ruined so that he can sell his milk.
Luckily I'd done pretty well before and had some
compensation, of course; and I still do a fair trade on the
Q.T., as you see. But of course that don't amount to
half the old one, for they're afraid of old Meadows
finding out. Snuffling old blighter!"
And the gentleman with the good clothes spat on
"I am a Radical myself," said the Irishman, rather
coldly, "for all information on the Conservative party
I must refer you to my friend, Mr. Pump, who is, of
course, in the inmost secrets of his leaders. But it
seems to me very rum sort of Radicalism to eat and
drink at the orders of a master who is a madman,
merely because he's also a millionaire. 0 Liberty,
what very complicated and even unsatisfactory social
developments are committed in thy name! Why
don't they kick the old ass round the town a bit? No
boots? Is that why they're allowed no boots? Oh, roll
him down hill in a milk can: he can't object to that."
"I don't know," said Pump, in his ruminant way,
"Master Christian's aunt did, but ladies are more
particular, of course."
"Look here!" cried Dalroy, in some excitement,
"if I stick up that sign outside, and stay here to help,
will you defy them? You'd be strictly within the
law, and any private coercion I can promise you they
shall repent. Plant the sign and sell the stuff openly
like a man, and you may stand in English history like
Mr. Hugby, of Hugby's Ales, only looked gloomily
at the table. His was not the sort of drinking nor the
sort of drink-selling on which the revolutionary
"Well," said the Captain, "will you come with me
and say 'Hear, hear!' and 'How true!'--'What matchless
eloquence!' if I make a speech in the market-place?
Come along! There's room in our car."
"Well, I'll come with you, if you like," replied Mr.
Hugby, heavily. "It's true if yours is allowed we
might get our trade back, too." And putting on a
silk hat he followed the Captain and the innkeeper
out to their little car. The model village was not an
appropriate background for Mr. Hugby's silk hat.
Indeed, the hat somehow seemed to bring out by
contrast all that was fantastic in the place.
It was a superb morning, some hours after sunrise.
The edges of the sky touching the ring of dim woods
and distant hills were still jewelled with the tiny
transparent clouds of daybreak, delicate red and green
or yellow. But above the vault of Heaven rose
through turquoise into a torrid and solid blue in which
the other clouds, the colossal cumuli, tumbled about
like a celestial pillow-fight. The bulk of the houses
were as white as the clouds, so that it looked (to use
another simile) as if some of the whitewashed
cottages were flying and falling about the sky. But
most of the white houses were picked out here and
there with bright colours, here an ornament in orange
or there a stripe of lemon yellow, as if by the brush
of a baby giant. The houses had no thatching
(thatching is not hygienic) but were mostly covered
with a sort of peacock green tiles bought cheap at a
Preraphaelite Bazaar; or, less frequently, by some still
more esoteric sort of terra cotta bricks. The houses
were not English, nor homelike, nor suited to the
landscape; for the houses had not been built by free men
for themselves, but at the fancy of a whimsical lord.
But considered as a sort of elfin city in a pantomime
it was a really picturesque background for pantomimic
I fear Mr. Dalroy's proceedings from the first rather
deserved that name. To begin with, he left the sign,
the cask, and the keg all wrapped and concealed in the
car, but removed all the wraps of his own disguise,
and stood on the central patch of grass in that green
uniform that looked all the more insolent for being
as ragged as the grass. Even that was less ragged
than his red hair, which no red jungle of the East
could imitate. Then he took out, almost tenderly,
the large milk can, and deposited it, almost reverently,
on the island of turf. Then he stood beside it, like
Napoleon beside a gun, with an expression of tremendous
seriousness and even severity. Then he drew his
sword, and with that flashing weapon, as with a flail,
lashed and thrashed the echoing metal can till the din
was deafening, and Mr. Hugby hastily got out of the
car and withdrew to a slight distance, stopping his
ears. Mr. Pump sat solidly at the steering wheel, well
knowing it might be necessary to start in some haste.
"Gather, gather, gather, Peaceways," shouted
Patrick, still banging on the can and lamenting the
difficulties of adapting "Macgregor's Gathering" to the
name and occasion, "We're landless, _landless_, landless,
Two or three of the goat-clad, recognising Mr.
Hugby with a guilty look, drew near with great caution,
and the Captain shouted at them as if they were
an army covering Salisbury Plain.
"Citizens," he roared, saying anything that came
into his head, "try the only original unadulterated
Mountain Milk, for which alone Mahomet came to
the mountain. The original milk of the land flowing
with milk and honey; the high quality of which could
alone have popularised so unappetising a combination.
Try our milk! None others are genuine! Who can do
without milk. Even whales can't do without milk.
If any lady or gentleman keeps a favourite whale
at home, now's their chance! The early whale catches
the milk. Just look at our milk! If you say you can't
look at the milk, because it's in the can--well, look at
the can! You must look at the can! You simply must!
When Duty whispers low 'Thou Must!'" he bellowed
at the top of his voice in a highly impromptu
peroration, "When Duty whispers low 'Thou Must,' the
Youth replies, 'I can!'" And with the word "Can"
he hit the can with a shocking and shattering noise,
like a peal of demoniac bells of steel.
This introductory speech is open to criticism from
those who regard it as intended for the study rather
than the stage. The present chronicler (who has no
aim save truth) is bound to record that for its own
unscrupulous purpose it was extremely successful: a
great mass of the citizens of Peaceways having been
attracted by the noise of one man shouting like a
crowd. There are crowds who do not care to revolt;
but there are no crowds who do not like someone else
to do it for them; a fact which the safest oligarchs
may be wise to learn.
But Dalroy's ultimate triumph (I regret to say)
consisted in actually handing to a few of the foremost
of his audience some samples of his blameless
beverage. The fact was certainly striking. Some were
paralysed with surprise. Some were abruptly broken
double with laughter. Many chuckled. Some cheered.
All looked radiantly toward the eccentric orator.
And yet the radiance died quietly and suddenly
from their faces. And only because one little old
man had joined the group; a little old man in white
linen with a white pointed beard and a white powder-puff
of hair like thistledown: a man whom almost every
man present could have killed with the left arm.
* * *
THE HOSPITALITY OF THE CAPTAIN
DR. MOSES MEADOWS, whether that was his name or
an Anglicised version of it, had certainly come in the
first instance from a little town in Germany and his
first two books were written in German. His first
two books were his best, for he began with a genuine
enthusiasm for physical science, and this was
adulterated with nothing worse than a hatred of what he
thought was superstition, and what many of us think
is the soul of the state. The first enthusiasm was
most notable in the first book, which was concerned to
show that "in the female not upsprouting of the
whiskers was from the therewith increasing arrested
mentality derived." In his second book he came more
to grips with delusions, and for some time he was
held to have proved (to everyone who agreed with
him already) that the Time Ghost had been walking
particularly "rapidly, lately; and that the Christus
Mythus was by the alcoholic mind's trouble explained."
Then, unfortunately, he came across the institution
called Death, and began to argue with it. Not seeing
any rational explanation of this custom of dying, so
prevalent among his fellow-citizens, he concluded that
it was merely traditional (which he thought meant
"effete"), and began to think of nothing but ways of
evading or delaying it. This had a rather narrowing
effect on him, and he lost much of that acrid ardour
which had humanised the atheism of his youth, when
he would almost have committed suicide for the pleasure
of taunting God with not being there. His later
idealism grew more and more into materialism and
consisted of his changing hypotheses and discoveries
about the healthiest foods. There is no need to detain
the reader over what has been called his Oil Period; his
Sea-weed Period has been authoritatively expounded
in Professor Nym's valuable little work; and on the
events of his Glue Period it is, perhaps, not very
generous to dwell. It was during his prolonged stay in
England that he chanced on the instance of the longevity
of milk consumers, and built on it a theory which
was, at the beginning at least, sincere. Unfortunately
it was also successful: wealth flowed in to the inventor
and proprietor of Mountain Milk, and he began to feel
a fourth and last enthusiasm, which, also, can come
late in life and have a narrowing effect on the mind.
In the altercation which naturally followed on his
discovery of the antics of Mr. Patrick Dalroy, he was
very dignified, but naturally not very tolerant; for he
was quite unused to anything happening in spite of
him, or anything important even happening without
him, in the land that lay around. At first he hinted
severely that the Captain had stolen the milk can from
the milk-producing premises, and sent several workmen
to count the cans in each shed; but Dalroy soon
put him right about that.
"I bought it in a shop at Wyddington," he said,
"and since then I have used no other. You'll hardly
believe me" he said, with some truth, "but when I
went into that shop I was quite a little man. I had
one glass of your Mountain Milk; and look at me
"You have no right to sell the milk here," said Dr.
Meadows, with the faintest trace of a German
accent. "You are not in my employment; I am not
responsible for your methods. You are not a
representative of the business."
"I'm an Advertisement," said the Captain. "We
advertise you all over England. You see that lean,
skimpy, little man over there," pointing to the
indignant Mr. Pump, "He's Before Taking Meadows's
Mountain Milk. I'm After," added Mr. Dalroy, with
"You shall laugh at the magistrate," said the other,
with a thickening accent.
"I shall," agreed Patrick. "Well, I'll make a clean
breast of it, sir. The truth is it isn't your milk at all.
It has quite a different taste. These gentlemen will
tell you so."
A smothered giggle sent all the blood to the eminent
"Then, either you have stolen my can and are a
thief," he said, stamping, "or you have introduced
inferior substances into my discovery and are an
"Try adulteratist," said Dalroy, kindly. "Prince
Albert always said 'adulteratarian.' Dear old Albert!
It seems like yesterday! But it is, of course, today.
And it's as true as daylight that this stuff tastes
different. I can't tell you what the taste is" (subdued
guffaws from the outskirts of the crowd). "It's
something between the taste of your first sugar-stick and
the fag-end of your father's cigar. It's as innocent
as Heaven and as hot as hell. It tastes like a paradox.
It tastes like a prehistoric inconsistency--I trust I
make myself clear. The men who taste it most are
the simplest men that God has made, and it always
reminds them of the salt, because it is made out of sugar.
And with a gesture of staggering hospitality, he
shot out his long arm with the little glass at the end of
it. The despotic curiosity in the Prussian overcame
even his despotic dignity. He took a sip of the liquid,
and his eyes stood out from his face.
"You've been mixing something with the milk,"
were the first words that came to him.
"Yes," answered Dalroy, "and so have you, unless
you're a swindler. Why is your milk advertised as
different from everyone else's milk, if you haven't
made the difference? Why does a glass of your milk
cost threepence, and a glass of ordinary milk, a penny,
if you haven't put twopennorth of something into it?
Now, look here, Dr. Meadows. The Public Analyst
who would judge this, happens to be an honest man.
I have a list of the twenty-one and a half honest men
still employed in such posts. I make you a fair offer.
He shall decide what it is I add to the milk, if you let
him decide what it is you add to the milk. You must
add something to the milk, or what can all these
wheels and pumps and pulleys be for? Will you tell
me, here and now, what you add to the milk which
makes it so exceedingly Mountain?"
There was a long silence, full of the same sense of
submerged mirth in the mob. But the philanthropist
had fallen into a naked frenzy in the sunlight, and
shaking his fists aloft in a way unknown to all the
English around him, he cried out:
"Ach! but I know what you add! I know what you
add! It is the Alcohol! And you have no sign and
you shall laugh at a magistrate."
Dalroy, with a bow, retired to the car, removed a
number of wrappings and produced the prodigious
wooden sign-post of "The Old Ship," with its blue
three-decker and red St. George's cross conspicuously
displayed. This he planted on his narrow territory of
turf and looked round serenely.
"In this old oak-panelled inn of mine," he said, "I
will laugh at a million magistrates. Not that there's
anything unhygienic about this inn. No low ceilings
or stuffiness here. Windows open everywhere, except
in the floor. And as I hear some are saying there
ought always to be food sold with fermented liquor,
why, my dear Dr. Meadows, I've got a cheese here that
will make another man of you. At least, we'll hope
so. We can but try."
But Dr. Meadows was long past being merely
angry. The exhibition of the sign had put him into a
serious difficulty. Like most sceptics, like even the
most genuine sceptics such as Bradlaugh, he was as
legal as he was sceptical. He had a profound fear,
which also had in it something better than fear, of
being ultimately found in the wrong in a police court
or a public inquiry. And he also suffered the tragedy
of all such men living in modern England; that he
must always be certain to respect the law, while never
being certain of what it was. He could only remember
generally that Lord Ivywood, when introducing
or defending the great Ivywood Act on this matter,
had dwelt very strongly on the unique and significant
nature of the sign. And he could not be certain that
if he disregarded it altogether, he might not eventually
be cast in heavy damages--or even go to prison,
in spite of his success in business. Of course he knew
quite well that he had a thousand answers to such
nonsense: that a patch of grass in the road couldn't
be an inn; that the sign wasn't even produced when
the Captain began to hand round the rum. But he
also knew quite well that in the black peril we call
British law that is not the point. He had heard points
quite as obvious urged to a judge and urged in vain.
At the bottom of his mind he found this fact: rich
as he was, Lord Ivywood had made him--and on
which side would Lord Ivywood be?
"Captain," said Humphrey Pump, speaking for the
first time, "we'd better be getting away. I feel it in
"Inhospitable innkeeper!" cried the Captain,
indignantly. "And after I have gone out of the way to
license your premises! Why, this is the dawn of
peace in the great city of Peaceways. I don't despair
of Dr. Meadows tossing off another bumper before
we've done. For the moment, Brother Hugby will
As he spoke, he served out milk and rum at random;
and still the Doctor had too much terror of our legal
technicalities to make a final interference. But when
Mr. Hugby, of Hugby's Ales, heard his name called,
he first of all jumped so as almost to dislodge the
silk hat, then he stood quite still. Then he accepted
a glass of the new Mountain Milk; and then his very
face became full of speech, before he had spoken a
"There's a motor coming along the road from the
far hills," said Humphrey, quietly. "It'll be across
the last bridge down stream in ten minutes and come
up on this side."
"Well," said the Captain, impatiently, "I suppose
you've seen a motor before."
"Not in this valley all this morning," answered
"Mr. Chairman," said Mr. Hugby, feeling a dim
disposition to say "Mr. Vice," in memory of old
commercial banquets, "I'm sure we're all law-abiding
people here, and wish to remain friends, especially
with our good friend the Doctor; may he never want
a friend or a bottle--that is in short, anything he
wants, as we go up the hill of prosperity, and so
on. But, as our friend here with the sign-board seems
to be within his rights, well, I think the time's come
when we can look at these things more broadly, so to
speak. Now I know it's quite true those dirty little
pubs do a lot of harm to a property, and you get a
lot of ignorant people there who are just like pigs;
and I don't say our friend the Doctor hasn't done
good by clearing 'em away. But a big, well-managed
business with plenty of capital behind it is quite
another thing. Well, friends, you all know that I was
originally in the Trade; though I have, of course, left
off selling under the new regulations." Here the goats
looked rather guiltily at their cloven hoofs. "But
I've got my little bit and I wouldn't mind putting it
into this 'Old Ship' here, if our friend would allow it
to be run on business lines. And especially if he'd
enlarge the premises a bit. Ha! ha! And if our good
friend, the Doctor--"
"You rascal fellow!" spluttered Meadows, "your
goot friend the doctor will make you dance before a
"Now, don't be unbusinesslike," reasoned the brewer.
"It won't hurt your sales. It's quite a different
public, don't you see? Do talk like a business man."
"I am not a business man," said the scientist, with
fiery eyes, "I am a servant of humanity."
"Then," said Dalroy, "why do you never do what
your master tells you?"
"The motor has crossed the river," said Humphrey
"You would undo all my works," cried the Doctor,
with sincere passion. "When I have built this town
myself, when I have made it sober and healthful
myself, when I am awake and about before anyone in
the town myself, watching over its interests--you
would ruin all to sell your barbaric and fundamentally
beastly beer. And then you call me a goot friend. I
am not a goot friend!"
"That I can't say," growled Hugby, "but if it comes
to that--aren't you trying to sell--"
A motor car drove up with a white explosion of
dust, and about six very dusty people got out of it.
Even through the densest disguise of the swift motorist,
Pump perceived in many of them the peculiar
style and bodily carriage of the police. The most
evident exception was a long and more slender figure,
which, on removing its cap and goggles, disclosed the
dark and drooping features of J. Leveson, Secretary.
He walked across to the little, old millionaire, who
instantly recognized him and shook hands. They
confabulated for some little time, turning over some
official documents. Dr. Meadows cleared his throat and
said to the whole crowd.
"I am very glad to be able to announce to you all
that this extraordinary outrage has been too late
attempted. Lord Ivywood, with the promptitude he so
invariably shows, has immediately communicated to
places of importance such as this a most just and right
alteration of the law, which exactly meets the present
"We shall sleep in jail tonight," said Humphrey,
Pump. "I know it in my bones."
"It is enough to say," proceeded the millionaire,
"that by the law as it now stands, any innkeeper, even
if he display a sign, is subject to imprisonment if he
sells alcohol on premises where it has not been
previously kept for three days."
"I thought it would be something like that," muttered
Pump. "Shall we give up, Captain, or shall we
try a bolt for it?"
Even the impudence of Dalroy appeared for the instant
dazed and stilled. He was staring forlornly up
into the abyss of sky above him, as if, like Shelley, he
could get inspiration from the last and purest clouds
and the perfect hues of the ends of Heaven.
At last he said, in a soft and meditative voice, the
Pump looked at him sharply with a remarkable
expression growing on his grim face. But the Doctor
was far too rabidly rejoicing in his triumph to
understand the Captain's meaning.
"Sells alcohol, are the exact words," he insisted,
brandishing the blue oblong of the new Act of
"So far as I am concerned they are inexact words,"
said Captain Dalroy, with polite indifference. "I
have not been selling alcohol, I have been giving it
away. Has anybody here paid me money? Has
anybody here seen anybody else pay me money? I'm a
philanthropist just like Dr. Meadows. I'm his
Mr. Leveson and Dr. Meadows looked across at
each other, and on the face of the first was consternation,
and on the second a full return of all his terrors
of the complicated law.
"I shall remain here for several weeks," continued
the Captain, leaning elegantly on the can, "and shall
give away, gratis, such supplies of this excellent drink
as may be demanded by the citizens. It appears that
there is no such supply at present in this district, and
I feel sure that no person present can object to so
strictly legal and highly charitable an arrangement."
In this he was apparently in error; for several
persons present seemed to object to it. But curiously
enough it was not the withered and fanatical face of
the philanthropist Meadows, nor the dark and equine
face of the official Leveson, which stood out most
vividly as a picture of protest. The face most strangely
unsympathetic with this form of charity was that of
the ex-proprietor of Hugby's Ales. His gooseberry
eyes were almost dropping from his head and his
words sprang from his lips before he could stop them.
"And you blooming well think you can come here
like a big buffoon, you beast, and take away all my
Old Meadows turned on him with the swiftness of
"And what is your trade, Mr. Hugby?" he asked.
The brewer bubbled with a sort of bursting anger.
The goats all looked at the ground as is, according to
a Roman poet, the habit of the lower animals. Man
(in the character of Mr. Patrick Dalroy) taking advantage
of a free but fine translation of the Latin passage,
"looked aloft, and with uplifted eyes beheld his own
"Well, all I can say is," roared Mr. Hugby, "if the
police come all this way and can't lock up a dirty loafer
whose coat's all in rags, there's an end of me paying
these fat infernal taxes and--"
"Yes," said Dalroy, in a voice that fell like an axe,
"there is an end of you, please God. It's brewers like
you that have made the inns stink with poison, till even
good men asked for no inns at all. And you are worse
than the teetotallers, for you prevented what they never
knew. And as for you, eminent man of science, great
philanthropist, idealist and destroyer of inns, let me
give one cold fact for your information. You are not
respected. You are obeyed. Why should I or anyone
respect you particularly? You say you built this town
and get up at daybreak to watch this town. You built
it for money and you watch it for more money. Why
should I respect you because you are fastidious about
food, that your poor old digestion may outlive the
hearts of better men? Why should you be the god of
this valley, whose god is your belly, merely because you
do not even love your god, but only fear him? Go
home to your prayers, old man; for all men shall die.
Read the Bible, if you like, as they do in your German
home; and I suppose you once read it to pick texts as
you now read it to pick holes. I don't read it myself,
I'm afraid, but I remember some words in old Mulligan's
translation; and I leave them with you. 'Unless
God,'" and he made a movement with his arm,
so natural and yet so vast that for an instant the town
really looked like a toy of bright coloured cardboard
at the feet of the giant; "'unless God build the city,
their labour is but lost that build it; unless God keep
the city, the watchman watcheth in vain. It is lost
labour that you rise up early in the morning and eat
the bread of carefulness; while He giveth His
beloved sleep.' Try and understand what that means,
and never mind whether it's Elohistic. And now,
Hump, we'll away and away. I'm tired of the green
tiles over there. Come, fill up my cup," and he banged
down the cask in the car, "come saddle my horses and
call out my men. And tremble, gay goats, in the
midst of your glee; for you've no' seen the last of my
milk can and me."
This song was joyously borne away with Mr. Dalroy
in the disappearing car; and the motorists were
miles beyond pursuit from Peaceways before they
thought of halting again. But they were still beside
the bank of that noble and enlarging river; and in a
place of deep fern and fairy-ribboned birches with the
glowing and gleaming water behind them, Patrick
asked his friend to stop the car.
"By the way," said Humphrey, suddenly, "there
was one thing I didn't understand. Why was he so
afraid of the Public Analyst? What poison and
chemicals does he put in the milk?"
"H20," answered the Captain, "I take it without
And he bent over as if to drink of the stream, as
he had done at daybreak.
* * *
THE TURK AND THE FUTURISTS
MR. ADRIAN CROOKE was a successful chemist whose
shop was in the neighbourhood of Victoria, but his face
expressed more than is generally required in a successful
chemist. It was a curious face, prematurely old
and like parchment, but acute and decisive, with real
headwork in every line of it. Nor was his conversation,
when he did converse, out of keeping with this:
he had lived in many countries, and had a rich store of
anecdote about the more quaint and sometimes the
more sinister side of his work, visions of the vapour of
eastern drugs or guesses at the ingredients of
Renascence poisons. He himself, it need hardly be said,
was a most respectable and reliable apothecary, or he
would not have had the custom of families, especially
among the upper classes; but he enjoyed as a hobby,
the study of the dark days and lands where his science
had lain sometimes on the borders of magic and
sometimes upon the borders of murder. Hence it often
happened that persons, who in their serious senses
were well aware of his harmless and useful habits,
would leave his shop on some murky and foggy night,
with their heads so full of wild tales of the eating
of hemp or the poisoning of roses, they could hardly
help fancying that the shop, with its glowing moon
of crimson or saffron, like bowls of blood and sulphur,
was really a house of the Black Art.
It was doubtless for such conversational pleasures,
in part, that Hibbs However entered the shop; as well
as for a small glass of the same restorative medicine
which he had been taking when Leveson found him by
the open window. But this did not prevent Hibbs
from expressing considerable surprise and some
embarrassment when Leveson entered the same chemist's
and asked for the same chemical. Indeed, Leveson
looked harassed and weary enough to want it.
"You've been out of town, haven't you?" said
Leveson. "No luck. They got away again on some
quibble. The police wouldn't make the arrest; and
even old Meadows thought it might be illegal. I'm
sick of it. Where are you going?"
"I thought," said Mr. Hibbs, "of dropping in at
this Post-Futurist exhibition. I believe Lord Ivywood
will be there; he is showing it to the Prophet.
I don't pretend to know much about art, but I hear it's
There was a long silence and Mr. Leveson said,
"People always prejudiced against new ideas."
Then there was another long silence and Mr. Hibbs
said, "After all, they said the same of Whistler."
Refreshed by this ritual, Mr. Leveson became
conscious of the existence of Crooke, and said to him,
cheerfully, "That's so in your department, too, isn't it?
I suppose the greatest pioneers in chemistry were
unpopular in their own time."
"Look at the Borgias," said Mr. Crooke. "They
got themselves quite disliked."
"You're very flippant, you know," said Leveson, in
a fatigued way. "Well, so long. Are you coming,
And the two gentlemen, who were both attired in
high hats and afternoon callers' coats, betook
themselves down the street. It was a fine, sunny day, the
twin of the day before that had shone so brightly on
the white town of Peaceways; and their walk was a
pleasant one, along a handsome street with high houses
and small trees that overlooked the river all the way.
For the pictures were exhibited in a small but famous
gallery, a rather rococo building of which the entrance
steps almost descended upon the Thames. The building
was girt on both sides and behind with gaudy
flower-beds, and on the top of the steps, in front of the
Byzantine doorway, stood their old friend, Misysra
Ammon, smiling broadly, and in an unusually sumptuous
costume. But even the sight of that fragrant
eastern flower did not seem to revive altogether the
spirits of the drooping Secretary.
"You have coome," said the beaming Prophet, "to
see the decoration? It is approo-ooved. I haf
"We came to see the Post-Futurist pictures," began
Hibbs; but Leveson was silent.
"There are no pictures," said the Turk, simply, "if
there had been I could not haf approo-ooved. For
those of our Religion pictures are not goo-ood; they
are Idols, my friendss. Loo-ook in there," and he
turned and darted a solemn forefinger just under his
nose toward the gates of the gallery; "Loo-ook in
there and you will find no Idols. No Idols at all. I
have most carefully loo-ooked into every one of the
frames. Every one I have approo-ooved. No trace
of ze Man form. No trace of ze Animal form. All
decoration as goo-ood as the goo-oodest of carpets;
it harms not. Lord Ivywood smile of happiness; for
I tell him Islam indeed progresses. Ze old Moslems
allow to draw the picture of the vegetable. Here I
hunt even for the vegetable. And there is no
Hibbs, whose trade was tact, naturally did not
think it wise that the eminent Misysra should go on
lecturing from a tall flight of steps to the whole street
and river, so he had slipped past with a general proposal
to go in and see. The Prophet and the Secretary
followed; and all entered the outer hall where Lord
Ivywood stood with the white face of a statue. He
was the only statue the New Moslems were allowed
On a sofa like a purple island in the middle of the
sea of floor sat Enid Wimpole, talking eagerly to
her cousin, Dorian; doing, in fact, her best to
prevent the family quarrel, which threatened to
follow hard on the incident at Westminster. In the
deeper perspective of the rooms Lady Joan Brett was
floating about. And if her attitude before the Post-Futurist pictures could not be called humble, or even
inquiring, it is but just to that school to say that she
seemed to be quite as bored with the floor that she
walked on, and the parasol she held. Bit by bit other
figures or groups of that world drifted through the
Exhibition of the Post-Futurists. It is a very small
world, but it is just big enough and just small enough
to govern a country--that is, a country with no
religion. And it has all the vanity of a mob; and all
the reticence of a secret society.
Leveson instantly went up to Lord Ivywood, pulled
papers from his pocket and was plainly telling him of
the escape from Peaceways. Ivywood's face hardly
changed; he was, or felt, above some things; and one
of them was blaming a servant before the servant's
social superiors. But no one could say he looked less
like cold marble than before.
"I made all possible inquiries about their subsequent
route," the Secretary was heard saying, "and the most
serious feature is that they seem to have taken the
road for London."
"Quite so," replied the statue, "they will be easier
to capture here."
Lady Enid, by a series of assurances (most of which
were, I regret to say, lies) had succeeded in preventing
the scandal of her cousin, Dorian, actually cutting
her cousin, Philip. But she knew very little of the
masculine temper if she really thought she had
prevented the profound intellectual revolt of the poet
against the politician. Ever since he heard Mr. Hibbs
say, "Yars! Yars!", and order his arrest by a
common policeman, the feelings of Dorian Wimpole had
flowed for some four days and nights in a direction
highly contrary to the ideals of Mr. Hibbs, and the
sudden appearance of that blameless diplomatist
quickened the mental current to a cataract. But as
he could not insult Hibbs, whom socially he did not
even know; and could not insult Ivywood, with whom
he had just had a formal reconciliation, it was
absolutely necessary that he should insult something else
instead. All watchers for the Dawn will be deeply
distressed to know that the Post-Futurist School of
Painting received the full effects of this perverted
wrath. In vain did Mr. Leveson affirm from time to
time, "People always prejudiced against new ideas."
Vainly did Mr. Hibbs say at the proper intervals,
"After all, they said the same of Whistler." Not by
such decent formalities was the frenzy of Dorian to
"That little Turk has more sense than you have,"
he said, "he passes it as a good wall-paper. I should
say it was a bad wall-paper; the sort of wall-paper
that gives a sick man fever when he hasn't got it. But
to call it pictures--you might as well call it seats for
the Lord Mayor's Show. A seat isn't a seat if you
can't see the Lord Mayor's Show. A picture isn't a
picture if you can't see any picture. You can sit down
at home more comfortably than you can at a procession.
And you can walk about at home more comfortably
than you can at a picture gallery. There's only
one thing to be said for a street show or a picture
show--and that is whether there is anything to be
shown. Now, then! Show me something!"
"Well," said Lord Ivywood, good humouredly, motioning
toward the wall in front of him, "let me show
you the 'Portrait of an Old Lady.'"
"Well," said Dorian, stolidly, "which is it?"
Mr. Hibbs made a hasty gesture of identification,
but was so unfortunate as to point to the picture of
"Rain in the Apennines," instead of the "Portrait of
an Old Lady," and his intervention increased the
irritation of Dorian Wimpole. Most probably, as Mr.
Hibbs afterward explained, it was because a vivacious
movement of the elbow of Mr. Wimpole interfered
with the exact pointing of the forefinger of Mr.
Hibbs. In any case, Mr. Hibbs was sharply and
horridly fixed by embarrassment; so that he had to go
away to the refreshment bar and eat three lobster-patties, and even drink a glass of that champagne that
had once been his ruin. But on this occasion he
stopped at one glass, and returned with a full
He returned to find that Dorian Wimpole had forgotten
all the facts of time, place, and personal pride,
in an argument with Lord Ivywood, exactly as he had
forgotten such facts in an argument with Patrick
Dalroy, in a dark wood with a donkey-cart. And Philip
Ivywood was interested also; his cold eyes even shone;
for though his pleasure was almost purely intellectual,
it was utterly sincere.
"And I do trust the untried; I do follow the
inexperienced," he was saying quietly, with his fine
inflections of voice. "You say this is changing the very
nature of Art. I want to change the very nature of
Art. Everything lives by turning into something else.
Exaggeration is growth."
"But exaggeration of what?" demanded Dorian.
"I cannot see a trace of exaggeration in these pictures;
because I cannot find a hint of what it is they want
to exaggerate. You can't exaggerate the feathers of
a cow or the legs of a whale. You can draw a cow
with feathers or a whale with legs for a joke--though
I hardly think such jokes are in your line. But don't
you see, my good Philip, that even then the joke
depends on its looking like a cow and not only like a
thing with feathers. Even then the joke depends on
the whale as well as the legs. You can combine up to
a certain point; you can distort up to a certain point;
after that you lose the identity; and with that you lose
everything. A Centaur is so much of a man with so
much of a horse. The Centaur must not be hastily
identified with the Horsy Man. And the Mermaid
must be maidenly; even if there is something fishy
about her social conduct."
"No," said Lord Ivywood, in the same quiet way, "I
understand what you mean, and I don't agree. I
should like the Centaur to turn into something else,
that is neither man nor horse."
"But not something that has nothing of either?"
asked the poet.
"Yes," answered Ivywood, with the same queer,
quiet gleam in his colourless eyes, "something that has
nothing of either."
"But what's the good?" argued Dorian. "A thing
that has changed entirely has not changed at all. It
has no bridge of crisis. It can remember no change.
If you wake up tomorrow and you simply _are_ Mrs.
Dope, an old woman who lets lodgings at Broadstairs
--well, I don't doubt Mrs. Dope is a saner and
happier person than you are. But in what way have
_you_ progressed? What part of _you_ is better? Don't
you see this prime fact of identity is the limit set on
all living things?"
"No," said Philip, with suppressed but sudden violence,
"I deny that any limit is set upon living things."
"Why, then I understand," said Dorian, "why,
though you make such good speeches, you have never
written any poetry."
Lady Joan, who was looking with tedium at a rich
pattern of purple and green in which Misysra attempted
to interest her (imploring her to disregard the mere
title, which idolatrously stated it as "First Communion
in the Snow"), abruptly turned her full face to
Dorian. It was a face to which few men could feel
indifferent, especially when thus suddenly shown them.
"Why can't he write poetry?" she asked. "Do you
mean he would resent the limits of metre and rhyme
and so on?"
The poet reflected for a moment and then said,
"Well, partly; but I mean more than that too. As one
can be candid in the family, I may say that what everyone
says about him is that he has no humour. But
that's not my complaint at all. I think my complaint
is that he has no pathos. That is, he does not feel
human limitations. That is, he will not write poetry."
Lord Ivywood was looking with his cold, unconscious
profile into a little black and yellow picture
called "Enthusiasm"; but Joan Brett leaned across to
him with swarthy eagerness and cried quite
"Dorian says you've no pathos. Have you any
pathos? He says it's a sense of human limitations."
Ivywood did not remove his gaze from the picture
of "Enthusiasm," but simply said "No; I have no
sense of human limitations." Then he put up his
elderly eyeglass to examine the picture better. Then
he dropped it again and confronted Joan with a face
paler than usual.
"Joan," he said, "I would walk where no man has
walked; and find something beyond tears and laughter.
My road shall be my road indeed; for I will make it,
like the Romans. And my adventures shall not be in
the hedges and the gutters, but in the borders of the
ever advancing brain. I will think what was unthinkable
until I thought it; I will love what never lived
until I loved it--I will be as lonely as the First Man."
"They say," she said, after a silence, "that the first
"You mean the priests?" he answered. "Yes, but
even they admit that he discovered good and evil. So
are these artists trying to discover some distinction
that is still dark to us."
"Oh," said Joan, looking at him with a real and
unusual interest, "then you don't _see_ anything in the
"I see the breaking of the barriers," he answered,
"beyond that I see nothing."
She looked at the floor for a little time and traced
patterns with her parasol, like one who has really
received food for thought. Then she said, suddenly,
"But perhaps the breaking of barriers might be the
breaking of everything."
The clear and colourless eyes looked at her quite
"Perhaps," said Lord Ivywood.
Dorian Wimpole made a sudden movement a few
yards off, where he was looking at a picture, and said,
"Hullo! What's this?" Mr. Hibbs was literally gaping
in the direction of the entrance.
Framed in that fine Byzantine archway stood a
great big, bony man in threadbare but careful clothes,
with a harsh, high-featured, intelligent face, to which
a dark beard under the chin gave something of the
Puritanic cast. Somehow his whole personality
seemed to be pulled together and explained when he
spoke with a North Country accent.
"Weel, lards," he said, genially, "t'hoose be main
great on t'pictures. But I coom for suthin' in a moog.
Leveson and Hibbs looked at each other. Then
Leveson rushed from the room. Lord Ivywood did
not move a finger; but Mr. Wimpole, with a sort of
poetic curiosity, drew nearer to the stranger, and
"It's perfectly awful," cried Enid Wimpole, in a
loud whisper, "the man must be drunk."
"Na, lass," said the man with gallantry, "a've not
been droonk, nobbut at Hurley Fair, these years and
all; a'm a decent lad and workin' ma way back
t'Wharfdale. No harm in a moog of ale, lass."
"Are you quite sure," asked Dorian Wimpole, with
a singular sort of delicate curiosity, "are you quite
_sure_ you're not drunk."
"A'm not droonk," said the man, jovially.
"Even if these were licensed premises," began
Dorian, in the same diplomatic manner.
"There's t'sign on t'hoose," said the stranger.
The black, bewildered look on the face of Joan
Brett suddenly altered. She took four steps toward
the doorway, and then went back and sat on the purple
ottoman. But Dorian seemed fascinated with his
inquiry into the alleged decency of the lad who was
working his way to Wharfdale.
"Even if these were licensed premises," he repeated,
"drink could be refused you if you were drunk. Now,
are you _really_ sure you're not drunk. Would you
know if it was raining, say?"
"Aye," said the man, with conviction.
"Would you know any common object of your
countryside," inquired Dorian, scientifically, "a woman
--let us say an old woman."
"Aye," said the man, with good humour.
"What on earth are you doing with the creature?"
whispered Enid, feverishly.
"I am trying," answered the poet, "to prevent a very
sensible man from smashing a very silly shop. I
beg your pardon, sir. As I was saying, would you
know these things in a picture, now? Do you know
what a landscape is and what a portrait is? Forgive
my asking; you see we are responsible while we keep
the place going."
There soared up into the sky like a cloud of rooks
the eager vanity of the North.
"We collier lads are none so badly educated, lad,"
he said. "In the town a' was born in there was a
gallery of pictures as fine as Lunnon. Aye, and a'
knew 'em, too."
"Thank you," said Wimpole, pointing suddenly at
the wall. "Would you be so kind, for instance, as to
look at those two pictures. One represents an old
woman and the other rain in the hills. It's a mere
formality. You shall have your drink when you've
said which is which."
The northerner bowed his huge body before the two
frames and peered into them patiently. The long stillness
that followed seemed to be something of a strain
on Joan, who rose in a restless manner, first went to
look out of a window and then went out of the front
At length the art-critic lifted a large, puzzled but
still philosophical face.
"Soomehow or other," he said, "a' mun be droonk
"You have testified," cried Dorian with animation.
"You have all but saved civilization. And by God,
you shall have your drink."
And he brought from the refreshment table a huge
bumper of the Hibbsian champagne, and declined
payment by the rapid method of running out of the
gallery on to the steps outside.
Joan was already standing there. Out the little side
window she had seen the incredible thing she
expected to see; which explained the ludicrous scene
inside. She saw the red and blue wooden flag of Mr.
Pump standing up in the flower-beds in the sun, as
serenely as if it were a tall and tropical flower;
and yet, in the brief interval between the window and
the door it had vanished, as if to remind her it was a
flying dream. But two men were in a little motor
outside, which was in the very act of starting. They
were in motoring disguise, but she knew who they
were. All that was deep in her, all that was sceptical,
all that was stoical, all that was noble, made her
stand as still as one of the pillars of the porch; but a
dog, bearing the name of Quoodle, sprang up in the
moving car, and barked with joy at the mere sight of
her, and though she had borne all else, something in
that bestial innocence of an animal suddenly blinded
her with tears.
It could not, however, blind her to the extraordinary
fact that followed. Mr. Dorian Wimpole, attired in
anything but motoring costume, dressed in that
compromise between fashion and art which seems proper
to the visiting of picture-galleries, did not by any
means stand as still as one of the pillars of the porch.
He rushed down the steps, ran after the car and
actually sprang into it, without disarranging his
Whistlerian silk hat.
"Good afternoon," he said to Dalroy, pleasantly.
"You owe me a motor-ride, you know."
* * *
THE ROAD TO ROUNDABOUT
PATRICK DALROY looked at the invader with a heavy
and yet humorous expression, and merely said, "I
didn't steal your car; really, I didn't."
"Oh, no," answered Dorian, "I've heard all about
it since, and as you're rather the persecuted party, so
to speak, it wouldn't be fair not to tell you that I
don't agree much with Ivywood about all this. I
disagree with him; or rather, to speak medically, he
disagrees with me. He has, ever since I woke up after
an oyster supper and found myself in the House of
Commons with policemen calling out, 'Who goes
"Indeed," inquired Dalroy, drawing his red bushy
eyebrows together. "Do the officials in Parliament
say, 'Who goes home?'"
"Yes," answered Wimpole, indifferently, "it's a part
of some old custom in the days when Members of
Parliament might be attacked in the street."
"Well," inquired Patrick, in a rational tone, "why
aren't they attacked in the street?"
There was a silence. "It is a holy mystery," said
the Captain at last. "But, 'Who goes home?'--that
is uncommonly good."
The Captain had received the poet into the car with
all possible expressions of affability and satisfaction,
but the poet, who was keen-sighted enough about
people of his own sort, could not help thinking that
the Captain was a little absent-minded. As they flew
thundering through the mazes of South London (for
Pump had crossed Westminster Bridge and was making
for the Surrey hills), the big blue eyes of the big
red-haired man rolled perpetually up and down the
streets; and, after longer and longer silences, he found
expression for his thoughts.
"Doesn't it strike you that there are a very large
number of chemists in London nowadays?"
"Are there?" asked Wimpole, carelessly. "Well,
there certainly are two very close to each other just
"Yes, and both the same name," replied Dalroy,
"Crooke. And I saw the same Mr. Crooke chemicalizing
round the corner. He seems to be a highly
"A large business, I suppose," observed Dorian
"Too large for its profits, I should say," said
Dalroy. "What can people want with two chemists of
the same sort within a few yards of each other? Do
they put one leg into one shop and one into the other
and have their corns done in both at once? Or, do
they take an acid in one shop and an alkali in the
next, and wait for the fizz? Or, do they take the
poison in the first shop and the emetic in the second
shop? It seems like carrying delicacy too far. It
almost amounts to living a double life."
"But, perhaps," said Dorian, "he is an uproariously
popular chemist, this Mr. Crooke. Perhaps there's a
rush on some specialty of his."
"It seems to me," said the Captain, "that there are
certain limitations to such popularity in the case of
a chemist. If a man sells very good tobacco, people
may smoke more and more of it from sheer self-indulgence. But I never heard of anybody exceeding
in cod-liver oil. Even castor-oil, I should say, is
regarded with respect rather than true affection."
After a few minutes of silence, he said, "Is it safe to
stop here for an instant, Pump?"
"I think so," replied Humphrey, "if you'll promise
me not to have any adventures in the shop."
The motor car stopped before yet a fourth arsenal
of Mr. Crooke and his pharmacy, and Dalroy went in.
Before Pump and his companion could exchange a
word, the Captain came out again, with a curious
expression on his countenance, especially round the
"Mr. Wimpole," said Dalroy, "will you give us the
pleasure of dining with us this evening? Many would
consider it an unceremonious invitation to an
unconventional meal; and it may be necessary to eat it under
a hedge or even up a tree; but you are a man of taste,
and one does not apologise for Hump's rum or Hump's
cheese to persons of taste. We will eat and drink of
our best tonight. It is a banquet. I am not very
certain whether you and I are friends or enemies, but at
least there shall be peace tonight."
"Friends, I hope," said the poet, smiling, "but why
peace especially tonight?"
"Because there will be war tomorrow," answered
Patrick Dalroy, "whichever side of it you may be on.
I have just made a singular discovery."
And he relapsed into his silence as they flew out of
the fringe of London into the woods and hills beyond
Croydon. Dalroy remained in the same mood of
brooding, Dorian was brushed by the butterfly wing
of that fleeting slumber that will come on a man
hurried, through the air, after long lounging in hot
drawing rooms; even the dog Quoodle was asleep at the
bottom of the car. As for Humphrey Pump, he very
seldom talked when he had anything else to do. Thus
it happened that long landscapes and perspectives were
shot past them like suddenly shifted slides, and long
stretches of time elapsed before any of them spoke
again. The sky was changing from the pale golds and
greens of evening to the burning blue of a strong
summer night, a night of strong stars. The walls of
woodland that flew past them like long assegais, were
mostly, at first, of the fenced and park-like sort;
endless oblong blocks of black pinewood shut in by boxes
of thin grey wood. But soon fences began to sink, and
pinewoods to straggle, and roads to split and even to
sprawl. Half an hour later Dalroy had begun to
realise something romantic and even faintly reminiscent
in the roll of the country, and Humphrey Pump
had long known he was on the marches of his native
So far as the difference could be defined by a detail,
it seemed to consist not so much in the road rising
as in the road perpetually winding. It was more like
a path; and even where it was abrupt or aimless, it
seemed the more alive. They appeared to be ascending
a big, dim hill that was built of a crowd of little
hills with rounded tops; it was like a cluster of domes.
Among these domes the road climbed and curled in
multitudinous curves and angles. It was almost
impossible to believe that it could turn itself and round
on itself so often without tying itself in a knot and
"I say," said Dalroy, breaking the silence suddenly,
"this car will get giddy and fall down."
"Perhaps," said Dorian, beaming at him, "my car,
as you may have noticed, was much steadier."
Patrick laughed, but not without a shade of confusion.
"I hope you got back your car all right," he
said. "This is really nothing for speed; but it's an
uncommonly good little climber, and it seems to have
some climbing to do just now. And even more
"The roads certainly seem to be very irregular,"
said Dorian, reflectively.
"Well," cried Patrick, with a queer kind of
impatience, "you're English and I'm not. You ought to
know why the road winds about like this. Why, the
Saints deliver us!" he cried, "it's one of the wrongs
of Ireland that she can't understand England. England
won't understand herself, England won't tell us
why these roads go wriggling about. Englishmen
won't tell us! You won't tell us!"
"Don't be too sure," said Dorian, with a quiet irony.
Dalroy, with an irony far from quiet emitted a
loud yell of victory.
"Right," he shouted. "More songs of the car club!
We're all poets here, I hope. Each shall write
something about why the road jerks about so much. So
much as this, for example," he added, as the whole
vehicle nearly rolled over in a ditch.
For, indeed, Pump appeared to be attacking such
inclines as are more suitable for a goat than a small
motor car. This may have been exaggerated in the
emotions of his companions, who had both, for
different reasons, seen much of mere flat country lately.
The sensation was like a combination of trying to get
into the middle of the maze at Hampton Court, and
climbing the spiral staircase to the Belfry at Bruges.
"This is the right way to Roundabout," said Dalroy,
cheerfully, "charming place; salubrious spot. You
can't miss it. First to the left and right and straight
on round the corner and back again. That'll do for my
poem. Get on, you slackers; why aren't you writing
"I'll try one if you like," said Dorian, treating his
flattered egotism lightly. "But it's too dark to write;
and getting darker."
Indeed they had come under a shadow between them
and the stars, like the brim of a giant's hat; only
through the holes and rents in which the summer stars
could now look down on them. The hill, like a cluster
of domes, though smooth and even bare in its lower
contours was topped with a tangle of spanning trees
that sat above them like a bird brooding over its
nest. The wood was larger and vaguer than the clump
that is the crown of the hill at Chanctonbury, but was
rather like it and held much the same high and
romantic position. The next moment they were in the
wood itself, and winding in and out among the trees
by a ribbon of paths. The emerald twilight between
the stems, combined with the dragon-like contortions
of the great grey roots of the beeches, had a suggestion
of monsters and the deep sea; especially as a long litter
of crimson and copper-coloured fungi, which might
well have been the more gorgeous types of anemone
or jelly-fish, reddened the ground like a sunset dropped
from the sky. And yet, contradictorily enough, they
had also a strong sense of being high up; and even
near to heaven; and the brilliant summer stars that
stared through the chinks of the leafy roof might
almost have been white starry blossoms on the trees
of the wood.
But though they had entered the wood as if it were
a house, their strongest sensation still was the
rotatory; it seemed as if that high green house went round
and round like a revolving lighthouse or the whiz-gig temple in the old pantomimes. The stars seemed,
to circle over their heads; and Dorian felt almost
certain he had seen the same beech-tree twice.
At length they came to a central place where the
hill rose in a sort of cone in the thick of its trees,
lifting its trees with it. Here Pump stopped the car,
and clambering up the slope, came to the crawling
colossal roots of a very large but very low beech-tree.
It spread out to the four quarters of heaven more
in the manner of an octopus than a tree, and within
its low crown of branches there was a kind of hollow,
like a cup, into which Mr. Humphrey Pump, of "The
Old Ship," Pebblewick, suddenly and entirely
When he appeared it was with a kind of rope ladder,
which he politely hung over the side for his
companions to ascend by, but the Captain preferred to
swing himself onto one of the octopine branches with
a whirl of large wild legs worthy of a chimpanzee.
When they were established there, each propped in the
hollow against a branch, almost as comfortably as in
an arm chair, Humphrey himself descended once more
and began to take out their simple stores. The dog
was still asleep in the car.
"An old haunt of yours, Hump, I suppose," said
the Captain. "You seem quite at home."
"I am at home," answered Pump, with gravity, "at
the sign of 'The Old Ship.'" And he stuck the old
blue and red sign-board erect among the toadstools,
as if inviting the passer-by to climb the trees for a
The tree just topped the mound or clump of trees,
and from it they could see the whole champaign of the
country they had passed, with the silver roads roaming
about in it like rivers. They were so exalted they
could almost fancy the stars would burn them.
"Those roads remind me of the songs you've all
promised," said Dalroy at last. "Let's have some
supper, Hump, and then recite."
Humphrey had hung one of the motor lanterns
onto a branch above him, and proceeded by the light
of it to tap the keg of rum and hand round the cheese.
"What an extraordinary thing," exclaimed Dorian
Wimpole, suddenly. "Why, I'm quite comfortable!
Such a thing has never happened before, I should
imagine. And how holy this cheese tastes."
"It has gone on a pilgrimage," answered Dalroy,
"or rather a Crusade. It's a heroic, a fighting cheese.
'Cheese of all Cheeses, Cheeses of all the world,' as
my compatriot, Mr. Yeats, says to the Something-or-other
of Battle. It's almost impossible that this cheese
can have come out of such a coward as a cow. I suppose,"
he added, wistfully, "I suppose it wouldn't do
to explain that in this case Hump had milked the
bull. That would be classed by scientists among Irish
legends--those that have the Celtic glamour and all
that. No, I think this cheese must have come from
that Dun Cow of Dunsmore Heath, who had horns
bigger than elephant's tusks, and who was so ferocious
that one of the greatest of the old heroes of chivalry
was required to do battle with it. The rum's good,
too. I've earned this glass of rum--earned it by
Christian humility. For nearly a month I've lowered
myself to the beasts of the field, and gone about on
all fours like a teetotaller. Hump, circulate the
bottle--I mean the cask--and let us have some of this
poetry you're so keen about. Each poem must have
the same title, you know; it's a rattling good title.
It's called 'An Inquiry into the Causes geological,
historical, agricultural, psychological, psychical, moral,
spiritual and theological of the alleged cases of double,
treble, quadruple and other curvature in the English
Road, conducted by a specially appointed secret commission
in a hole in a tree, by admittedly judicious and
academic authorities specially appointed by themselves
to report to the Dog Quoodle, having power to add
to their number and also to take away the number
they first thought of; God save the King." Having
delivered this formula with blinding rapidity, he added
rather breathlessly, "that's the note to strike, the lyric
For all his rather formless hilarity, Dalroy still
impressed the poet as being more _distrait_ than the
others, as if his mind were labouring with some bigger
thing in the background. He was in a sort of creative
trance; and Humphrey Pump, who knew him like
his own soul, knew well that it was not mere literary
creation. Rather it was a kind of creation which many
modern moralists would call destruction. For Patrick
Dalroy was, not a little to his misfortune, what is
called a man of action; as Captain Dawson realised
when he found his entire person a bright pea-green.
Fond as he was of jokes and rhymes, nothing he could
write or even sing ever satisfied him like something
he could do.
Thus it happened that his contribution to the metrical
inquiry into the crooked roads was avowedly hasty
and flippant. While Dorian who was of the opposite
temper, the temper that receives impressions instead
of pushing out to make them, found his artist's love
of beauty fulfilled as it had never been before in that
noble nest; and was far more serious and human than
usual. Patrick's verses ran:
"Some say that Guy of Warwick,
The man that killed the Cow,
And brake the mighty Boar alive,
Beyond the Bridge at Slough,
Went up against a Loathly Worm
That wasted all the Downs,
And so the roads they twist and squirm
(If I may be allowed the term)
From the writhing of the stricken Worm
That died in seven towns.
I see no scientific proof
That this idea is sound,
And I should say they wound about
To find the town of Roundabout,
The merry town of Roundabout
That makes the world go round.
"Some say that Robin Goodfellow,
Whose lantern lights the meads,
(To steal a phrase Sir Walter Scott
In heaven no longer needs)
Such dance around the trysting-place
The moonstruck lover leads;
Which superstition I should scout;
There is more faith in honest doubt,
(As Tennyson has pointed out)
Than in those nasty creeds.
But peace and righteousness (St. John)
In Roundabout can kiss,
And since that's all that's found about
The pleasant town of Roundabout,
The roads they simply bound about
To find out where it is.
"Some say that when Sir Lancelot
Went forth to find the Grail,
Grey Merlin wrinkled up the roads
For hope that he should fail;
All roads led back to Lyonesse
And Camelot in the Vale;
I cannot yield assent to this
The plain, shrewd Briton will dismiss
Such rumours (Daily Mail).
But in the streets of Roundabout
Are no such factions found,
Or theories to expound about
Or roll upon the ground about,
In the happy town of Roundabout
That makes the world go round."
Patrick Dalroy relieved his feelings by finishing
with a shout, draining a stiff glass of his sailor's wine,
turning restlessly on his elbow and looking across the
landscape toward London.
Dorian Wimpole had been drinking golden rum
and strong starlight and the fragrance of forests; and,
though his verses, too, were burlesque, he read them
more emotionally than was his wont.
"Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire.
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
That night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy
"I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchmen I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin
"His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not
which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him
in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton
"My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green."
"Have you written one, Hump?" asked Dalroy.
Humphrey, who had been scribbling hard under the
lamp, looked up with a dismal face.
"Yes," he said. "But I write under a great disadvantage.
You see, I know why the road curves about."
And he read very rapidly, all on one note:
"The road turned first toward the left
Where Pinker's quarry made the cleft;
The path turned next toward the right
Because the mastiff used to bite;
Then left, because of Slippery Height,
And then again toward the right.
We could not take the left because
It would have been against the laws;
Squire closed it in King William's day
Because it was a Right of Way.
Still right; to dodge the ridge of chalk
Where Parson's Ghost it used to walk,
Till someone Parson used to know
Met him blind drunk in Callao.
Then left, a long way round, to skirt
The good land where old Doggy Burt
Was owner of the Crown and Cup,
And would not give his freehold up;
Right, missing the old river-bed,
They tried to make him take instead
Right, since they say Sir Gregory
Went mad and let the Gypsies be,
And so they have their camp secure.
And, though not honest, they are poor,
And that is something; then along
And first to right--no, I am wrong!
Second to right, of course; the first
Is what the holy sisters cursed,
And none defy their awful oaths
Since the policeman lost his clothes
Because of fairies; right again,
What used to be High Toby Lane,
Left by the double larch and right
Until the milestone is in sight,
Because the road is firm and good
From past the milestone to the wood;
And I was told by Dr. Lowe
Whom Mr. Wimpole's aunt would know,
Who lives at Oxford writing books,
And ain't so silly as he looks;
The Romans did that little bit
And we've done all the rest of it;
By which we hardly seem to score;
Left, and then forward as before
To where they nearly hanged Miss Browne,
Who told them not to cut her down,
But loose the rope or let her swing,
Because it was a waste of string;
Left once again by Hunker's Cleft,
And right beyond the elm, and left,
By Pill's right by Nineteen Nicks
"No! No! No'! Hump! Hump! Hump!" cried
Dalroy in a sort of terror. "Don't be exhaustive!
Don't be a scientist, Hump, and lay waste fairyland!
How long does it go on? Is there a lot more of it?"
"Yes," said Pump, in a stony manner. "There is
a lot more of it."
"And it's all true?" inquired Dorian Wimpole, with
"Yes," replied Pump with a smile, "it's all true."
"My complaint, exactly," said the Captain. "What
you want is legends. What you want is lies, especially
at this time of night, and on rum like this, and on our
first and our last holiday. What do you think about
rum?" he asked Wimpole.
"About this particular rum, in this particular tree,
at this particular moment," answered Wimpole, "I
think it is the nectar of the younger gods. If you
ask me in a general, synthetic sense what I think of
rum--well, I think it's rather rum."
"You find it a trifle sweet, I suppose," said Dalroy,
with some bitterness. "Sybarite! By the way," he
said abruptly, "what a silly word that word 'Hedonist'
is! The really self-indulgent people generally like
sour things and not sweet; bitter things like caviar
and curries or what not. It's the Saints who like the
sweets. At least I've known at least five women who
were practically saints, and they all preferred sweet
champagne. Look here, Wimpole! Shall I tell you
the ancient oral legend about the origin of rum? I
told you what you wanted was legends. Be careful
to preserve this one, and hand it on to your children;
for, unfortunately, my parents carelessly neglected
the duty of handing it on to me. After the words 'A
Farmer had three sons . . .' all that I owe to tradition
ceases. But when the three boys last met in the
village market-place, they were all sucking sugar-sticks. Nevertheless, they were all discontented, and,
on that day parted for ever. One remained on his
father's farm, hungering for his inheritance. One
went up to London to seek his fortune, as fortunes
are found today in that town forgotten of God. The
third ran away to sea. And the first two flung away
their sugar-sticks in shame; and he on the farm was
always drinking smaller and sourer beer for the love
of money; and he that was in town was always drinking
richer and richer wines, that men might see that
he was rich. But he who ran away to sea actually ran
on board with the sugar-stick in his mouth; and St.
Peter or St. Andrew, or whoever is the patron of men
in boats, touched it and turned it into a fountain for
the comfort of men upon the sea. That is the sailor's
theory of the origin of rum. Inquiry addressed to
any busy Captain with a new crew in the act of shipping
an unprecedented cargo, will elicit a sympathetic
"Your rum at least," said Dorian, good-humouredly,
"may well produce a fairy-tale. But, indeed, I think
all this would have been a fairy-tale without it."
Patrick raised himself from his arboreal throne,
and leaned against his branch with a curious and
sincere sense of being rebuked.
"Yours was a good poem," he said, with seeming
irrelevance, "and mine was a bad one. Mine was
bad, partly because I'm not a poet as you are; but
almost as much because I was trying to make up
another song at the same time. And it went to another
tune, you see."
He looked out over the rolling roads and said
almost to himself:
"In the city set upon slime and loam
They cry in their parliament 'Who goes home?'
And there is no answer in arch or dome,
For none in the city of graves goes home.
Yet these shall perish and understand,
For God has pity on this great land.
Men that are men again; who goes home?
Tocsin and trumpeter! Who goes home?
For there's blood on the field and blood on the foam,
And blood on the body when man goes home.
And a voice valedictory--Who is for Victory?
Who is for Liberty? Who goes home?"
Softly and idly as he had said this second rhyme,
there were circumstances about his attitude that must
have troubled or interested anyone who did not know
"May I ask," asked Dorian, laughing, "why it is
necessary to draw your sword at this stage of the
"Because we have left the place called Roundabout,"
answered Patrick, "and we have come to a
place called Rightabout."
And he lifted his sword toward London, and the
grey glint upon it came from a low, grey light in the
* * *
THE CHEMISTRY OF MR. CROOKE
WHEN the celebrated Hibbs next visited the shop of
Crooke, that mystic and criminologist chemist, he
found the premises were impressively and even
amazingly enlarged with decorations in the eastern style.
Indeed, it would not have been too much to say that
Mr. Crooke's shop occupied the whole of one side of
a showy street in the West End; the other side being
a blank faÁade of public buildings. It would be no
exaggeration to say that Mr. Crooke was the only
shopkeeper for some distance round. Mr. Crooke still
served in his shop, however; and politely hastened
to serve his customer with the medicine that was
customary. Unfortunately, for some reason or other,
history was, in connection with this shop, only too
prone to repeat itself. And after a vague but soothing
conversation with the chemist (on the subject of
vitriol and its effects on human happiness), Mr. Hibbs
experienced the acute annoyance of once more beholding
his most intimate friend, Mr. Joseph Leveson,
enter the same fashionable emporium. But, indeed,
Leveson's own annoyance was much too acute for him
to notice any on the part of Hibbs.
"Well," he said, stopping dead in the middle of
the shop, "here is a fine confounded kettle of fish!"
It is one of the tragedies of the diplomatic that they
are not allowed to admit either knowledge or
ignorance; so Hibbs looked gloomily wise; and said,
pursing his lips, "you mean the _general_ situation."
"I mean the situation about this everlasting
business of the inn-signs," said Leveson, impatiently.
"Lord Ivywood went up specially, when his leg was
really bad, to get it settled in the House in a small
non-contentious bill, providing that the sign shouldn't be
enough if the liquor hadn't been on the spot three
"Oh, but," said Hibbs, sinking his voice to a soft
solemnity, as being one of the initiate, "a thing like
_that_ can be managed, don't you know."
"Of course it can," said the other, still with the
same slightly irritable air. "It was. But it doesn't
seem to occur to you, any more than it did to his lordship,
that there is rather a weak point after all in this
business of passing acts quietly because they're
unpopular. Has it ever occurred to you that if a law is
really kept too quiet to be opposed, it may also be
kept too quiet to be obeyed. It's not so easy to hush
it up from a big politician without running the risk
of hushing it up even from a common policeman."
"But surely that can't happen, by the nature of
"Can't it, by God," said J. Leveson, appealing to a
less pantheistic authority.
He unfolded a number of papers from his pocket,
chiefly cheap local newspapers, but some of them
letters and telegrams.
"Listen to this!" he said. "A curious incident
occurred in the village of Poltwell in Surrey yesterday
morning. The baker's shop of Mr. Whiteman was
suddenly besieged by a knot of the looser types of the
locality, who appear to have demanded beer instead
of bread; basing their claim on some ornamental
object erected outside the shop; which object they
asserted to be a sign-board within the meaning of the act.
There, you see, they haven't even heard of the new
act! What do you think of this, from the _Clapton
Conservator_. 'The contempt of Socialists for the law
was well illustrated yesterday, when a crowd, collected
round some wooden ensign of Socialism set up before
Mr. Dugdale's Drapery Stores, refused to disperse,
though told that their action was contrary to the law.
Eventually the malcontents joined the procession
following the wooden emblem.' And what do you say
to this? 'Stop-press news. A chemist in Pimlico has
been invaded by a huge crowd, demanding beer; and
asserting the provision of it to be among his duties.
The chemist is, of course, well acquainted with his
immunities in the matter, especially under the new
act; but the old notion of the importance of the sign
seems still to possess the populace and even, to a
certain extent, to paralyze the police.' What do you say
to that? Isn't it as plain as Monday morning that
this Flying Inn has flown a day in front of us, as all
such lies do?" There was a diplomatic silence.
"Well," asked the still angry Leveson of the still
dubious Hibbs, "what do you make of all that?"
One ill-acquainted with that relativity essential to
all modern minds, might possibly have fancied that
Mr. Hibbs could not make much of it. However that
may be, his explanations or incapacity for explanations,
were soon tested with a fairly positive test. For
Lord Ivywood actually walked into the shop of Mr.
"Good day, gentlemen," he said, looking at them
with an expression which they both thought baffling
and even a little disconcerting. "Good morning, Mr.
Crooke. I have a celebrated visitor for you." And
he introduced the smiling Misysra. The Prophet had
fallen back on a comparatively quiet costume this
morning, a mere matter of purple and orange or what
not; but his aged face was now perennially festive.
"The Cause progresses," he said. "Everywhere the
Cause progresses. You heard his lordship's
"I have heard many," said Hibbs, gracefully, "that
can be so described."
"The Prophet means what I was saying about the
Ballot Paper Amendment Act," said Ivywood, casually.
"It seems to be the alphabet of statesmanship
to recognise now that the great oriental British
Empire has become one corporate whole with the
occidental one. Look at our universities, with their
Mohammedan students; soon they may be a majority.
Now are we," he went on, still more quietly, "are
we to rule this country under the forms of representative
government? I do not pretend to believe in
democracy, as you know, but I think it would be
extremely unsettling and incalculable to destroy
representative government. If we are to give Moslem
Britain representative government, we must not make
the mistake we made about the Hindoos and military
organization--which led to the Mutiny. We must not
ask them to make a cross on their ballot papers; for
though it seems a small thing, it may offend them.
So I brought in a little bill to make it optional between
the old-fashioned cross and an upward curved mark
that might stand for a crescent--and as it's rather
easier to make, I believe it will be generally adopted."
"And so," said the radiant old Turk, "the little,
light, easily made, curly mark is substituted for the
hard, difficult, double-made, cutting both ways mark.
It is the more good for hygi-e-ene. For you must
know, and indeed our good and wise Chemist will tell
you, that the Saracenic and the Arabian and the Turkish
physicians were the first of all physicians; and
taught all medicals to the barbarians of the Frankish
territories. And many of the moost modern, the
moost fashionable remedies, are thus of the oriental
"Yes, that is quite true," said Crooke, in his rather
cryptic and unsympathetic way, "the powder called
Arenine, lately popularised by Mr. Boze, now Lord
Helvellyn, who tried it first on birds, is made of plain
desert sand. And what you see in prescriptions as
_Cannabis Indiensis_ is what our lively neighbours of
Asia describe more energetically as bhang."
"And so-o--in the sa-ame way," said Misysra, making
soothing passes with his brown hand like a mesmerist,
"in the sa-ame way the making of the crescent
is hy-gienic; the making of the cross is non-hy-gienic.
The crescent was a little wave, as a leaf, as
a little curling feather," and he waved his hand with
real artistic enthusiasm toward the capering curves of
the new Turkish decoration which Ivywood had made
fashionable in many of the fashionable shops. "But
when you make the cross you must make the one line
_so-o_," and he swept the horizon with the brown hand,
"and then you must go back and make the other line
so-o," and he made an upward gesture suggestive of
one constrained to lift a pine-tree. "And then you
become very ill."
"As a matter of fact, Mr. Crooke," said Ivywood,
in his polite manner, "I brought the Prophet here to
consult you as the best authority on the very point you
have just mentioned--the use of hashish or the hemp-plant. I have it on my conscience to decide whether
these oriental stimulants or sedatives shall come under
the general veto we are attempting to impose on the
vulgar intoxicants. Of course one has heard of the
horrible and voluptuous visions, and a kind of insanity
attributed to the Assassins and the Old Man of the
Mountain. But, on the one hand, we must clearly
discount much for the illimitable pro-Christian bias
with which the history of these eastern tribes is told
in this country. Would you say the effect of hashish
was extremely bad?" And he turned first to the
"You will see mosques," said that seer with candour,
"many mosques--more mosques--taller and taller
mosques till they reach the moon and you bear a
dreadful voice in the very high mosque calling the
muezzin; and you will think it is Allah. Then you
will see wives--many, many wives--more wives than
you yet have. Then you will be rolled over and over
in a great pink and purple sea--which is still wives.
Then you will go to sleep. I have only done it once,"
he concluded mildly.
"And what do you think about hashish, Mr.
Crooke?" asked Ivywood, thoughtfully.
"I think it's hemp at both ends," said the Chemist.
"I fear," said Lord Ivywood, "I don't quite
"A hempen drink, a murder, and a hempen rope.
That's my experience in India," said Mr. Crooke.
"It is true," said Ivywood, yet more reflectively,
"that the thing is not Moslem in any sense in its
origin. There is that against the Assassins always.
And, of course," he added, with a simplicity that had
something noble about it, "their connection with St.
Louis discredits them rather."
After a space of silence, he said suddenly, looking
at Crooke, "So it isn't the sort of thing you chiefly
"No, my lord, it isn't what I chiefly sell," said
the Chemist. He also looked steadily, and the wrinkles
of his young-old face were like hieroglyphics.
"The Cause progress! Everywhere it progress!"
cried Misysra, spreading his arms and relieving a
momentary tension of which he was totally unaware.
"The hygienic curve of the crescent will soon superimpose
himself for your plus sign. You already use
him for the short syllables in your dactyl; which is
doubtless of oriental origin. You see the new game?"
He said this so suddenly that everyone turned
round, to see him produce from his purple clothing
a brightly coloured and highly polished apparatus
from one of the grand toy-shops; which, on examination,
seemed to consist of a kind of blue slate in a
red and yellow frame; a number of divisions being
already marked on the slate, about seventeen slate
pencils with covers of different colours, and a vast
number of printed instructions, stating that it was
but recently introduced from the remote East, and
was called Naughts and Crescents.
Strangely enough, Lord Ivywood, with all his
enthusiasm, seemed almost annoyed at the emergence
of this Asiatic discovery; more especially as he really
wanted to look at Mr. Crooke, as hard as Mr. Crooke
was looking at him.
Hibbs coughed considerately and said, "Of course
all our things came from the East, and"--and he
paused, being suddenly unable to remember anything
but curry; to which he was very rightly attached. He
then remembered Christianity, and mentioned that
too. "Everything from the East is good, of course,"
he ended, with an air of light omniscience.
Those who in later ages and other fashions failed
to understand how Misysra had ever got a mental hold
on men like Lord Ivywood, left out two elements in
the man, which are very attractive, especially to other
men. One was that there was _no_ subject on which the
little Turk could not instantly produce a theory. The
other was that though the theories were crowded, they
were consistent. He was never known to accept an
"You are in error," he said, solemnly, to Hibbs,
"because you say all things from the East are good.
There is the east wind. I do not like him. He is not
good. And I think very much that all the warmth and
all the wealthiness and the colours and the poems and
the religiousness that the East was meant to give you
have been much poisoned by this accident, this east
wind. When you see the green flag of the Prophet,
you do not think of a green field in Summer, you think
of a green wave in your seas of Winter; for you think
it blown by the east wind. When you read of the
moon-faced houris you think not of our moons like
oranges but of your moons like snowballs--"
Here a new voice contributed to the conversation.
Its contribution, though imperfectly understood,
appeared to be "Nar! Why sh'd I wite for a little Jew
in 'is dressin' gown? Little Jews in their dressin'
gowns 'as their drinks, and we 'as our drinks. Bitter,
The speaker, who appeared to be a powerful
person of the plastering occupation, looked round for
the unmarried female he had ceremonially addressed;
and seemed honestly abashed that she was not present.
Ivywood looked at the man with that expression
of one turned to stone, which his physique made so
effective in him. But J. Leveson, Secretary, could
summon no such powers of self-petrification. Upon
his soul the slaughter red of that unhallowed eve arose
when first the Ship and he were foes; when he
discovered that the poor are human beings, and
therefore are polite and brutal within a comparatively short
space of time. He saw that two other men were
standing behind the plastering person, one of them
apparently urging him to counsels of moderation; which
was an ominous sign. And then he lifted his eyes and
saw something worse than any omen.
All the glass frontage of the shop was a cloud of
crowding faces. They could not be clearly seen, since
night was closing in on the street; and the dazzling
fires of ruby and amethyst which the lighted shop
gave to its great globes of liquid, rather veiled than
revealed them. But the foremost actually flattened
and whitened their noses on the glass, and the most
distant were nearer than Mr. Leveson wanted them.
Also he saw a shape erect outside the shop; the shape
of an upright staff and a square board. He could not
see what was on the board. He did not need to see.
Those who saw Lord Ivywood at such moments
understood why he stood out so strongly in the history
of his time, in spite of his frozen face and his fanciful
dogmas. He had all the negative nobility that is
possible to man. Unlike Nelson and most of the great
heroes, he knew not fear. Thus he was never conquered
by a surprise, but was cold and collected when
other men had lost their heads even if they had not
lost their nerve.
"I will not conceal from you, gentlemen," said Lord
Ivywood, "that I have been expecting this. I will not
even conceal from you that I have been occupying Mr.
Crooke's time until it occurred. So far from excluding
the crowd, I suggest it would be an excellent thing
if Mr. Crooke could accommodate them all in this shop.
I want to tell, as soon as possible, as large a crowd as
possible that the law is altered and this folly about
the Flying Inn has ceased. Come in, all of you!
Come in and listen!"
"Thank yer," said a man connected in some way
with motor buses, who lurched in behind the plasterer.
"Thanky, sir," said a bright little clock-mender
from Croydon, who immediately followed him.
"Thanks," said a rather bewildered clerk from
Camberwell, who came next in the rather bewildered
"Thank you," said Mr. Dorian Wimpole, who
entered, carrying a large round cheese.
"Thank you," said Captain Dalroy, who entered
carrying a large cask of rum.
"Thank you very much," said Mr. Humphrey
Pump, who entered the shop carrying the sign of
"The Old Ship."
I fear it must be recorded that the crowd which
followed them dispensed with all expressions of
gratitude. But though the crowd filled the shop so that
there was no standing room to spare, Leveson still
lifted his gloomy eyes and beheld his gloomy omen.
For, though there were very many more people standing
in the shop, there seemed to be no less people
looking in at the window.
"Gentlemen," said Ivywood, "all jokes come to an
end. This one has gone so far as to be serious; and it
might have become impossible to correct public opinion,
and expound to law-abiding citizens the true state
of the law, had I not been able to meet so representative
an assembly in so central a place. It is not pertinent
to my purpose to indicate what I think of the
jest which Captain Dalroy and his friends have been
playing upon you for the last few weeks. But I
think Captain Dalroy will himself concede that I am
"With all my heart," said Dalroy, in a manner that
was unusually serious and even sad. Then he added
with a sigh, "And as you truly say, my jest has come
to an end."
"That wooden sign," said Ivywood, pointing at the
queer blue ship, "can be cut up for firewood. It shall
lead decent citizens a devil's dance no more. Understand
it once and for all, before you learn it from
policemen or prison warders. You are under a new
law. That sign is the sign of nothing. You can no
more buy and sell alcohol by having that outside your
house, than if it were a lamp-post."
"D'you meanter say, guv'ner," said the plasterer,
with a dawn of intelligence on his large face which
was almost awful to watch, "that I ain't to 'ave a glass
"Try a glass of rum," said Patrick.
"Captain Dalroy," said Lord Ivywood, "if you
give one drop from that cask to that man, you are
breaking the law and you shall sleep in jail."
"Are you quite sure?" asked Dalroy, with a strange
sort of anxiety. "I might escape."
"I am quite sure," said Ivywood. "I have posted
the police with full powers for the purpose, as you
will find. I mean that this business shall end here
"If I find that pleeceman what told me I could 'ave
a drink just now, I'll knock 'is 'elmet into a fancy
necktie, I will," said the plasterer. "Why ain't people
allowed to know the law?"
"They ain't got no right to alter the law in the dark
like that," said the clock-mender. "Damn the new
"What is the new law?" asked the clerk.
"The words inserted by the recent Act," said Lord
Ivywood, with the cold courtesy of the Conqueror,
"are to the effect that alcohol cannot be sold, even
under a lawful sign, unless alcoholic liquors have been
kept for three days on the premises. Captain Dalroy,
that cask of yours has not, I think, been three
days on these premises. I command you to seal it up
and take it away."
"Surely," said Patrick, with an innocent air, "the
best remedy would be to wait till it _has been three days_
on the premises. We might all get to know each other
better." And he looked round at the ever-increasing
multitude with hazy benevolence.
"You shall do nothing of the kind," said his lordship,
with sudden fierceness.
"Well," answered Patrick, wearily, "now I come
to think of it, perhaps I won't. I'll have one drink
here and go home to bed like a good little boy."
"And the constables shall arrest you," thundered
"Why, nothing seems to suit you," said the
surprised Dalroy. "Thank you, however, for explaining
the new law so clearly--'unless alcoholic liquors
have been three days on the premises' I shall remember
it now. You always explain such things so clearly.
You only made one legal slip. The constables
will not arrest me."
"And why not?" demanded the nobleman, white
"Because," cried Patrick Dalroy; and his voice lifted
itself like a lonely trumpet before the charge,
"because I shall not have broken the law. Because
alcoholic liquors _have_ been three days on these premises.
Three months more likely. Because this is a common
grog-shop, Philip Ivywood. Because that man
behind the counter lives by selling spirits to all the
cowards and hypocrites who are rich enough to bribe
a bad doctor."
And he pointed suddenly at the small medicine glass
on the counter by Hibbs and Leveson.
"What is that man drinking?" he demanded.
Hibbs put out his hand hastily for his glass, but
the indignant clock-mender had snatched it first and
drained it at a gulp.
"Scortch," he said, and dashed the glass to atoms
on the floor. "Right you are too," roared the
plasterer, seizing a big medicine bottle in each hand.
"We're goin' to 'ave a little of the fun now, we are.
What's in that big red bowl up there--I reckon it's
port. Fetch it down, Bill."
Ivywood turned to Crooke and said, scarcely moving
his lips of marble, "This is a lie."
"It is the truth," answered Crooke, looking back at
him with equal steadiness. "Do you think you made
the world, that you should make it over again so
"The world was made badly," said Philip, with a
terrible note in his voice, "and _I will make it over
Almost as he spoke the glass front of the shop fell
inward, shattered, and there was wreckage among the
moonlike, coloured bowls; almost as if spheres of
celestial crystal cracked at his blasphemy. Through
the broken windows came the roar of that confused
tongue that is more terrible than the elements; the
cry that the deaf kings have heard at last; the terrible
voice of mankind. All the way down the long, fashionable
street, lined with the Crooke plate-glass, that
glass was crashing amid the cries of a crowd. Rivers
of gold and purple wines sprawled about the pavement.
"Out in the open!" shouted Dalroy, rushing out of
the shop, sign-board in hand, the dog Quoodle barking
furiously at his heels, while Dorian with the cheese
and Humphrey with the keg followed as rapidly as
they could. "Goodnight, my lord.
"Perhaps our meeting next may fall,
At Tomworth in your castle hall.
"Come along, friends, and form up. Don't waste
time destroying property. We're all to start now."
"Where are we all going to?" asked the plasterer.
"We're all going into Parliament," answered the
Captain, as he went to the head of the crowd.
The marching crowd turned two or three corners,
and at the end of the next long street, Dorian
Wimpole, who was toward the tail of the procession, saw
again the grey Cyclops tower of St. Stephens, with
its one great golden eye, as he had seen it against that
pale green sunset that was at once quiet and volcanic
on the night he was betrayed by sleep and by a friend.
Almost as far off, at the head of the procession, he
could see the sign with the ship and the cross going
before them like an ensign, and hear a great voice
"Men that are men again, Who goes home?
Tocsin and trumpeter! Who goes home?
The voice valedictory--who is for Victory?
Who is for Liberty? Who goes home?"
* * *
THE MARCH ON IVYWOOD
THAT storm-spirit, or eagle of liberty, which is the
sudden soul in a crowd, had descended upon London
after a foreign tour of some centuries in which it had
commonly alighted upon other capitals. It is always
impossible to define the instant and the turn of mood
which makes the whole difference between danger
being worse than endurance and endurance being
worse than danger. The actual outbreak generally
has a symbolic or artistic, or, what some would call
whimsical cause. Somebody fires off a pistol or
appears in an unpopular uniform, or refers in a loud
voice to a scandal that is never mentioned in the
newspapers; somebody takes off his hat, or somebody
doesn't take off his hat; and a city is sacked before
midnight. When the ever-swelling army of revolt
smashed a whole street full of the shops of Mr.
Crooke, the chemist, and then went on to Parliament,
the Tower of London and the road to the sea, the
sociologists hiding in their coal-cellars could think
(in that clarifying darkness) of many material and
spiritual explanations of such a storm in human souls;
but of none that explained it quite enough. Doubtless
there was a great deal of sheer drunkenness when
the urns and goblets of Aesculapius were reclaimed as
belonging to Bacchus: and many who went roaring
down that road were merely stored with rich wines
and liqueurs which are more comfortably and quietly
digested at a City banquet or a West End restaurant.
But many of these had been blind drunk twenty times
without a thought of rebellion; you could not stretch
the material explanation to cover a corner of the
case. Much more general was a savage sense of the
meanness of Crooke's wealthy patrons, in keeping
a door open for themselves which they had wantonly
shut on less happy people. But no explanation can
explain it; and no man can say when it will come.
Dorian Wimpole was at the tail of the procession,
which grew more and more crowded every moment.
For one space of the march he even had the misfortune
to lose it altogether; owing to the startling activity
which the rotund cheese when it escaped from his
hands showed, in descending a somewhat steep road
toward the river. But in recent days he had gained
a pleasure in practical events which was like a second
youth. He managed to find a stray taxi-cab; and had
little difficulty in picking up again the trail of the
extraordinary cortčge. Inquiries addressed to a
policeman with a black eye outside the House of Commons
informed him sufficiently of the rebels' line of retreat
or advance, or whatever it was; and in a very short
time he beheld the unmistakable legion once more.
It was unmistakable, because in front of it there
walked a red-headed giant, apparently carrying with
him a wooden portion of some public building; and also
because so big a crowd had never followed any man
in England for a long time past. But except for such
things the unmistakable crowd might well have been
mistaken for another one. Its aspect had been altered
almost as much as if it had grown horns or tusks; for
many of the company walked with outlandish weapons
like iron teeth or horns, bills and pole axes, and spears
with strangely shaped heads. What was stranger
still, whole rows and rows of them had rifles, and
even marched with a certain discipline; and yet again,
others seemed to have snatched up household or work-shop
tools, meat axes, pick axes, hammers and even
carving knives. Such things need be none the less
deadly because they are domestic. They have figured
in millions of private murders before they appeared
in any public war.
Dorian was so fortunate as to meet the flame-haired
Captain almost face to face, and easily fell
into step with him at the head of the march. Humphrey
Pump walked on the other side, with the celebrated
cask suspended round his neck by something
resembling braces, as if it were a drum. Mr. Wimpole
had himself taken the opportunity of his brief
estrangement to carry the cheese somewhat more
easily in a very large, loose, waterproof knapsack on
his shoulders. The effect in both cases was to suggest
dreadful deformities in two persons who happened to
be exceptionally cleanly built. The Captain, who
seemed to be in tearing and towering spirits, gained
great pleasure from this. But Dorian had his sources
of amusement too.
"What have you been doing with yourselves since
you lost my judicious guidance?" he asked, laughing,
"and why are parts of you a dull review and parts
of you a fancy dress ball? What have you been up
"We've been shopping," said Mr. Patrick Dalroy,
with some pride. "We are country cousins. I know
all about shopping; let us see, what are the phrases
about it? Look at those rifles now! We got them
quite at a bargain. We went to all the best
gunsmiths in London, and we didn't pay much. In fact,
we didn't pay anything. That's what is called a bargain,
isn't it? Surely, I've seen in those things they
send to ladies something about 'giving them away.'
Then we went to a remnant sale. At least, it was a
remnant sale when we left. And we bought that
piece of stuff we've tied round the sign. Surely, it
must be what ladies called chiffon?"
Dorian lifted his eyes and perceived that a very
coarse strip of red rag, possibly collected from a dust
bin, had been tied round the wooden sign-post by way
of a red flag of revolution.
"Not what ladies call chiffon?" inquired the Captain
with anxiety. "Well, anyhow, it is what _chiffoniers_
call it. But as I'm going to call on a lady shortly,
I'll try to remember the distinction."
"Is your shopping over, may I ask?" asked Mr.
"All but one thing," answered the other. "I must
find a music shop--you know what I mean. Place
where they sell pianos and things of that sort."
"Look here," said Dorian, "this cheese is pretty
heavy as it is. Have I got to carry a piano, too?"
"You misunderstand me," said the Captain, calmly.
And as he had never thought of music shops until his
eye had caught one an instant before, he darted into
the doorway. Returning almost immediately with a
long parcel under his arm, he resumed the conversation.
"Did you go anywhere else," asked Dorian, "except
"Anywhere else!" cried Patrick, indignantly,
"haven't you got any country cousins? Of course we
went to all the right places. We went to the Houses
of Parliament. But Parliament isn't sitting; so there
are no eggs of the quality suitable for elections. We
went to the Tower of London--you can't tire country
cousins like us. We took away some curiosities of
steel and iron. We even took away the halberds from
the Beef-eaters. We pointed out that for the purpose
of eating beef (their only avowed public object)
knives and forks had always been found more
convenient. To tell the truth, they seemed rather
relieved to be relieved of them."
"And may I ask," said the other with a smile, "where
you are off to now?"
"Another beauty spot!" cried the Captain, boisterously,
"no tiring the country cousin! I am going
to show my young friends from the provinces what is
perhaps the finest old country house in England. We
are going to Ivywood, not far from that big watering
place they call Pebblewick."
"I see," said Dorian; and for the first time looked
back with intelligent trouble on his face, on the marching
ranks behind him.
"Captain Dalroy," said Dorian Wimpole, in a slightly
altered tone, "there is one thing that puzzles me.
Ivywood talked about having set the police to catch
us; and though this is a pretty big crowd, I simply
cannot believe that the police, as I knew them in my
youth, could not catch us. But where are the police?
You seem to have marched through half London with
much (if you'll excuse me) of the appearance of
carrying murderous weapons. Lord Ivywood threatened
that the police would stop us. Well, why didn't they
"Your subject," said Patrick, cheerfully, "divides
itself into three heads."
"I hope not," said Dorian.
"There really are three reasons why the police
should not be prominent in this business; as their worst
enemy cannot say that they were."
He began ticking off the three on his own huge
fingers; and seemed to be quite serious about it.
"First," he said, "you have been a long time away
from town. Probably you do not know a policeman
when you see him. They do not wear helmets, as our
line regiments did after the Prussians had won. They
wear fezzes, because the Turks have won. Shortly, I
have little doubt, they will wear pigtails, because the
Chinese have won. It is a very interesting branch of
moral science. It is called Efficiency.
"Second," explained the Captain, "you have, perhaps,
omitted to notice that a very considerable number
of those wearing such fezzes are walking just behind
us. Oh, yes, it's quite true. Don't you remember
that the whole French Revolution really began
because a sort of City Militia refused to fire on their
own fathers and wives; and even showed some slight
traces of a taste for firing on the other side? You'll
see lots of them behind; and you can tell them by
their revolver belts and their walking in step; but
don't look back on them too much. It makes them
"And the third reason?" asked Dorian.
"For the real reason," answered Patrick, "I am
not fighting a hopeless fight. People who have fought
in real fights don't, as a rule. But I noticed something
singular about the very point you mention. Why are
there no more police? Why are there no more
soldiers? I will tell you. There really are very few
policemen or soldiers left in England today."
"Surely, that," said Wimpole, "is an unusual
"But very clear," said the Captain, gravely, "to
anyone who has ever seen sailors or soldiers. I will tell
you the truth. Our rulers have come to count on the
bare bodily cowardice of a mass of Englishmen, as a
sheep dog counts on the cowardice of a flock of sheep.
Now, look here, Mr. Wimpole, wouldn't a shepherd
be wise to limit the number of his dogs if he could
make his sheep pay by it? At the end you might find
millions of sheep managed by a solitary dog. But that
is because they are sheep. Suppose the sheep were
turned by a miracle into wolves. There are very few
dogs they could not tear in pieces. But, what is my
practical point, there are really very few dogs to
"You don't mean," said Dorian, "that the British
Army is practically disbanded?"
"There are the sentinels outside Whitehall,"
replied Patrick, in a low voice. "But, indeed, your
question puts me in a difficulty. No; the army is not
entirely disbanded, of course. But the _British_ army--.
Did you ever hear, Wimpole, of the great destiny
of the Empire?"
"I seem to have heard the phrase," replied his
"It is in four acts," said Dalroy. "Victory over
barbarians. Employment of barbarians. Alliance
with barbarians. Conquest by barbarians. That is
the great destiny of Empire."
"I think I begin to see what you mean," returned
Dorian Wimpole. "Of course Ivywood and the
authorities do seem very prone to rely on the sepoy
"And other troops as well," said Patrick. "I think
you will be surprised when you see them."
He tramped on for a while in silence and then said,
with some air of abruptness, which yet did not seem
to be entirely a changing of the subject,
"Do you know the man who lives now on the estate
next to Ivywood?"
"No," replied Dorian, "I am told he keeps himself
very much to himself."
"And his estate, too," said Patrick, rather gloomily.
"If you would climb his garden-wall, Wimpole, I
think you would find an answer to a good many of
your questions. Oh, yes, the right honourable gentlemen
are making full provision for public order and
national defence--in a way."
He fell into an almost sullen silence again; and
several villages had been passed before he spoke again.
They tramped through the darkness; and dawn
surprised them somewhere in the wilder and more
wooded parts where the roads began to rise and roam.
Dalroy gave an exclamation of pleasure and pointed
ahead, drawing the attention of Dorian to the
distance. Against the silver and scarlet bars of the
daybreak could be seen afar a dark purple dome, with a
crown of dark green leaves; the place they had called
Dalroy's spirit seemed to revive at the sight, with
the customary accompaniment of the threat of vocalism.
"Been making any poems lately?" he asked of
"Nothing particular," replied the poet.
"Then," said the Captain, portentously, clearing his
throat, "you shall listen to one of mine, whether you
like it or not--nay, the more you dislike it the longer
and longer it will be. I begin to understand why
soldiers want to sing when on the march; and also why
they put up with such rotten songs.
"The Druids waved their golden knives
And danced around the Oak,
When they had sacrificed a man;
But though the learnčd search and scan
No single modern person can
Entirely see the joke;
But though they cut the throats of men
They cut not down the tree,
And from the blood the saplings sprang
Of oak-woods yet to be.
But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood,
He rots the tree as ivy would,
He clings and crawls as ivy would
About the sacred tree.
"King Charles he fled from Worcester fight
And hid him in an Oak;
In convent schools no man of tact
Would trace and praise his every act,
Or argue that he was in fact
A strict and sainted bloke;
But not by him the sacred woods
Have lost their fancies free,
And though he was extremely big,
He did not break the tree.
But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood,
He breaks the tree as ivy would
And eats the woods as ivy would
Between us and the sea.
"Great Collingwood walked down the glade
And flung the acorns free,
That oaks might still be in the grove
As oaken as the beams above
When the great Lover sailors love
Was kissed by Death at sea.
But though for him the oak-trees fell
To build the oaken ships,
The woodman worshipped what he smote
And honoured even the chips.
But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood,
He hates the tree as ivy would,
As the dragon of the ivy would,
That has us in his grips."
They were ascending a sloping road, walled in on
both sides by solemn woods, which somehow seemed
as watchful as owls awake. Though daybreak was
going over them with banners, scrolls of scarlet and
gold, and with a wind like trumpets of triumph, the
dark woods seemed to hold their secret like dark, cool
cellars; nor was the strong sunlight seen in them, save
in one or two brilliant shafts, that looked like
"I should not wonder," said Dorian, "if the ivy
does not find the tree knows a thing or two also."
"The tree does," assented the Captain. "The
trouble was that until a little while ago the tree did
not know that it knew."
There was a silence; and as they went up the incline
grew steeper and steeper, and the tall trees seemed
more and more to be guarding something from sight,
as with the grey shields of giants.
"Do you remember this road, Hump?" asked Dalroy
of the innkeeper.
"Yes," answered Humphrey Pump, and said no
more; but few have ever heard such fulness in an
They marched on in silence and about two hours
afterward, toward eleven o'clock, Dalroy called a
halt in the forest, and said that everybody had better
have a few hours' sleep. The impenetrable quality
in the woods and the comparative softness of the
carpet of beech-mast, made the spot as appropriate as
the time was inappropriate. And if anyone thinks
that common people, casually picked up in a street,
could not follow a random leader on such a journey or
sleep at his command in such a spot, given the state
of the soul, then someone knows no history.
"I'm afraid," said Dalroy, "you'll have to have
your supper for breakfast. I know an excellent place
for having breakfast, but it's too exposed for sleep.
And sleep you must have; so we won't unpack the
stores just now. We'll lie down like Babes in the
Wood, and any bird of an industrious disposition is
free to start covering me with leaves. Really, there
are things coming, before which you will want sleep."
When they resumed the march it was nearly the
middle of the afternoon; and the meal which Dalroy
insisted buoyantly on describing as breakfast was taken
about that mysterious hour when ladies die without
tea. The steep road had consistently grown steeper
and steeper; and steeper; and at last, Dalroy said to
"Don't drop that cheese again just here, or it will
roll right away down into the woods. I know it will.
No scientific calculations of grades and angles are
necessary; because I have seen it do so myself. In
fact, I have run after it."
Wimpole realised they were mounting to the sharp
edge of a ridge, and in a few moments he knew by
the oddness in the shape of the trees what it had been
that the trees were hiding.
They had been walking along a swelling, woodland
path beside the sea. On a particular high plateau,
projecting above the shore, stood some dwarfed and
crippled apple-trees, of whose apples no man alive
would have eaten, so sour and salt they must be. All
the rest of the plateau was bald and featureless, but
Pump looked at every inch of it, as if at an inhabited
"This is where we'll have breakfast," he said, pointing
to the naked grassy waste. "It's the best inn in
Some of his audience began to laugh, but somehow
suddenly ceased doing so, as Dalroy strode forward
and planted the sign of "The Old Ship" on the
"And now," he said, "you have charge of the stores
we brought, Hump, and we will picnic. As it said in
a song I once sang,
"The Saracen's Head out of Araby came,
King Richard riding in arms like flame,
And where he established his folk to be fed
He set up his spear, and the Saracen's Head."
It was nearly dusk before the mob, much swelled by
the many discontented on the Ivywood estates, reached
the gates of Ivywood House. Strategically, and for
the purposes of a night surprise, this might have done
credit to the Captain's military capacity. But the use
to which he put it actually was what some might call
eccentric. When he had disposed his forces, with
strict injunctions of silence for the first few minutes,
he turned to Pump, and said,
"And now, before we do anything else, I'm going
to make a noise."
And he produced from under brown paper what
appeared to be a musical instrument.
"A summons to parley?" inquired Dorian, with interest,
"a trumpet of defiance, or something of that
"No," said Patrick, "a serenade."
* * *
THE ENIGMAS OF LADY JOAN
ON an evening when the sky was clear and only its
fringes embroidered with the purple arabesques of the
sunset, Joan Brett was walking on the upper lawn of
the terraced garden at Ivywood, where the peacocks
trail themselves about. She was not unlike one of
the peacocks herself in beauty, and some might have
said, in inutility; she had the proud head and the
sweeping train; nor was she, in these days, devoid of
the occasional disposition to scream. For, indeed, for
some time past she had felt her existence closing round
her with an incomprehensible quietude; and that is
harder for the patience than an incomprehensible
noise. Whenever she looked at the old yew hedges
of the garden they seemed to be higher than when
she saw them last; as if those living walls could still
grow to shut her in. Whenever from the turret windows
she had a sight of the sea, it seemed to be farther
away. Indeed, the whole closing of the end of the
turret wing with the new wall of eastern woodwork
seemed to symbolise all her shapeless sensations. In
her childhood the wing had ended with a broken-down
door and a disused staircase. They led to an
uncultivated copse and an abandoned railway tunnel, to
which neither she nor anyone else ever wanted to go.
Still, she knew what they led to. Now it seemed that
this scrap of land had been sold and added to the
adjoining estate; and about the adjoining estate
nobody seemed to know anything in particular. The
sense of things closing in increased upon her. All
sorts of silly little details magnified the sensation.
She could discover nothing about this new landlord
next door, so to speak, since he was, it seemed, an
elderly man who preferred to live in the greatest
privacy. Miss Browning, Lord Ivywood's secretary,
could give her no further information than that he
was a gentleman from the Mediterranean coast; which
singular form of words seemed to have been put into
her mouth. As a Mediterranean gentleman might
mean anything from an American gentleman living
in Venice to a black African on the edge of the Atlas,
the description did not illuminate; and probably was
not intended to do so. She occasionally saw his liveried
servants going about; and their liveries were not
like English liveries. She was also, in her somewhat
morbid state, annoyed by the fact that the uniforms of
the old Pebblewick militia had been changed, under
the influence of the Turkish _prestige_ in the recent war.
They wore fezzes like the French Zouaves, which were
certainly much more practical than the heavy helmets
they used to wear. It was a small matter, but it
annoyed Lady Joan, who was, like so many clever
women, at once subtle and conservative. It made her
feel as if the whole world was being altered outside,
and she was not allowed to know about it.
But she had deeper spiritual troubles also, while,
under the pathetic entreaties of old, Lady Ivywood
and her own sick mother, she stayed on week after
week at Ivywood House. If the matter be stated
cynically (as she herself was quite capable of stating
it) she was engaged in the established feminine
occupation of trying to like a man. But the cynicism would
have been false; as cynicism nearly always is; for
during the most crucial days of that period, she had
really liked the man.
She had liked him when he was brought in with
Pump's bullet in his leg; and was still the strongest
and calmest man in the room. She had liked him
when the hurt took a dangerous turn, and when he
bore pain to admiration. She had liked him when
he showed no malice against the angry Dorian; she
had liked him with something like enthusiasm on the
night he rose rigid on his rude crutch, and, crushing
all remonstrance, made his rash and swift rush to
London. But, despite the queer closing-in-sensations
of which we have spoken, she never liked him better
than that evening when he lifted himself laboriously
on his crutch up the terraces of the old garden and
came to speak to her as she stood among the peacocks.
He even tried to pat a peacock in a hazy way, as if it
were a dog. He told her that these beautiful birds
were, of course, imported from the East--by the semi-eastern empire of Macedonia. But, all the same, Joan
had a dim suspicion that he had never noticed before
that there were any peacocks at Ivywood. His greatest
fault was a pride in the faultlessness of his mental
and moral strength; but, if he had only known, something
faintly comic in the unconscious side of him did
him more good with the woman than all the rest.
"They were said to be the birds of Juno," he said,
"but I have little doubt that Juno, like so much else
of the Homeric mythology, has also an Asiatic origin."
"I always thought," said Joan, "that Juno was
rather too stately for the seraglio."
"You ought to know," replied Ivywood, with a
courteous gesture, "for I _never_ saw anyone who looked
so like Juno as you do. But, indeed, there is a great
deal of misunderstanding about the Arabian or Indian
view of women. It is, somehow, too simple and solid
for our paradoxical Christendom to comprehend.
Even the vulgar joke against the Turks, that they
like their brides fat, has in it a sort of distorted
shadow of what I mean. They do not look so much at the
individual, as at Womanhood and the power of
"I sometimes think," said Joan, "that these fascinating
theories are a little strained. Your friend
Misysra told me the other day that women had the
highest freedom in Turkey; as they were allowed to
Ivywood smiled his rare and dry smile. "The
Prophet has something of a simplicity often found
with genius," he answered. "I will not deny that
some of the arguments he has employed have seemed
to me crude and even fanciful. But he is right at the
root. There is a kind of freedom that consists in
never rebelling against Nature; and I think they
understand it in the Orient better than we do in the
West. You see, Joan, it is all very well to talk about
love in our narrow, personal, romantic way; but there
is something higher than the love of a lover or the love
"What is that?" asked Joan, looking down.
"The love of Fate," said Lord Ivywood, with something
like spiritual passion in his eyes. "Doesn't
Nietzsche say somewhere that the delight in destiny
is the mark of the hero? We are mistaken if we
think that the heroes and saints of Islam say 'Kismet'
with bowed heads and in sorrow. They say 'Kismet'
with a shout of joy. That which is fitting--that is
what they really mean. In the Arabian tales, the
most perfect prince is wedded to the most perfect
princess--because it is fitting. The spiritual giants,
the Genii, achieve it--that is, the purposes of Nature.
In the selfish, sentimental European novels, the loveliest
princess on earth might have run away with her
middle-aged drawing-master. These things are not
in the Path. The Turk rides out to wed the fairest
queen of the earth; he conquers empires to do it; and
he is not ashamed of his laurels."
The crumpled violet clouds around the edge of the
silver evening looked to Lady Joan more and more like
vivid violet embroideries hemming some silver curtain
in the closed corridor at Ivywood. The peacocks
looked more lustrous and beautiful than they ever had
before; but for the first time she really felt they came
out of the land of the Arabian Nights.
"Joan," said Philip Ivywood, very softly, in the
twilight, "I am not ashamed of my laurels, I see no
meaning in what these Christians call humility. I
will be the greatest man in the world if I can; and I
think I can. Therefore, something that is higher
than love itself, Fate and what is fitting, make it right
that I should wed the most beautiful woman in the
world. And she stands among the peacocks and is
more beautiful and more proud than they."
Joan's troubled eyes were on the violet horizon and
her troubled lips could utter nothing but something
"Joan," said Philip, again, "I have told you, you
are the woman one of the great heroes could have
desired. Let me now tell you something I could have
told no one to whom I had not thus spoken of love and
betrothal. When I was twenty years old in a town in
Germany, pursuing my education, I did what the West
calls falling in love. She was a fisher-girl from the
coast; for this town was near the sea. My story might
have ended there. I could not have entered diplomacy
with such a wife, but I should not have minded then.
But a little while after, I wandered into the edges of
Flanders, and found myself standing above some of
the last grand reaches of the Rhine. And things
came over me but for which I might be crying stinking
fish to this day. I thought how many holy or
lovely nooks that river had left behind, and gone on.
It might anywhere in Switzerland have spent its weak
youth in a spirit over a high crag, or anywhere in the
Rhinelands lost itself in a marsh covered with flowers.
But it went on to the perfect sea, which is the
fulfilment of a river."
Again, Joan could not speak; and again it was
Philip who went on.
"Here is yet another thing that could not be said,
till the hand of the prince had been offered to the
princess. It may be that in the East they carry too
far this matter of infant marriages. But look round
on the mad young marriages that go to pieces
everywhere! And ask yourself whether you don't wish
they had been infant marriages! People talk in the
newspapers of the heartlessness of royal marriages.
But you and I do not believe the newspapers, I
suppose. We know there is no King in England; nor has
been since his head fell before Whitehall. You know
that you and I and the families are the Kings of
England; and our marriages are royal marriages. Let
the suburbs call them heartless. Let us say they need
the brave heart that is the only badge of aristocracy.
Joan," he said, very gently, "perhaps you have been
near a crag in Switzerland, or a marsh covered with
flowers. Perhaps you have known--a fisher-girl. But
there is something greater and simpler than all that;
something you find in the great epics of the East--the beautiful woman, and the great man, and Fate."
"My lord," said Joan, using the formal phrase by
an unfathomable instinct, "will you allow me a little
more time to think of this? And let there be no
notion of disloyalty, if my decision is one way or the
"Why, of course," said Ivywood, bowing over his
crutch; and he limped off, picking his way among the
For days afterward Joan tried to build the foundations
of her earthly destiny. She was still quite
young, but she felt as if she had lived thousands of
years, worrying over the same question. She told
herself again and again, and truly, that many a better
woman than she had taken a second-best which was
not so first-class a second-best. But there was
something complicated in the very atmosphere. She liked
listening to Philip Ivywood at his best, as anyone likes
listening to a man who can really play the violin; but
the great trouble always is that at certain awful
moments you cannot be certain whether it is the violin or
Moreover, there was a curious tone and spirit in
the Ivywood household, especially after the wound and
convalescence of Ivywood, about which she could say
nothing except that it annoyed her somehow. There
was something in it glorious--but also languorous.
By an impulse by no means uncommon among intelligent,
fashionable people, she felt a desire to talk to a
sensible woman of the middle or lower classes; and
almost threw herself on the bosom of Miss Browning
But Miss Browning, with her curling, reddish hair
and white, very clever face, struck the same indescribable
note. Lord Ivywood was assumed as a first principle;
as if he were Father Time, or the Clerk of the
Weather. He was called "He." The fifth time he
was called "He," Joan could not understand why she
seemed to smell the plants in the hot conservatory.
"You see," said Miss Browning, "we mustn't interfere
with his career; that is the important thing. And,
really, I think the quieter we keep about everything
the better. I am sure he is maturing very big plans.
You heard what the Prophet said the other night?"
"The last thing the Prophet said to me," said the
darker lady, in a dogged manner, "was that when we
English see the English youth, we cry out 'He is
crescent!' But when we see the English aged man, we
cry out 'He is cross!'"
A lady with so clever a face could not but laugh
faintly; but she continued on a determined theme, "The
Prophet said, you know, that all real love had in it
an element of fate. And I am sure that is his
view, too. People cluster round a centre as little stars
do round a star; because a star is a magnet. You are
never wrong when destiny blows behind you like a
great big wind; and I think many things have been
judged unfairly that way. It's all very well to talk
about the infant marriages in India."
"Miss Browning," said Joan, "are you interested
in the infant marriages in India?"
"Well--" said Miss Browning.
"Is your sister interested in them? I'll run and ask
her," cried Joan, plunging across the room to where
Mrs. Mackintosh was sitting at a table scribbling
"Well," said Mrs. Mackintosh, turning up a rich-haired,
resolute head, more handsome than her sister's,
"I believe the Indian way is the best. When people are
left to themselves in early youth, any of them might
marry anything. We might have married a African American
or a fish-wife or--a criminal."
"Now, Mrs. Mackintosh," said Joan, with black-browed
severity, "you well know you would never
have married a fish-wife. Where is Enid?" she ended
"Lady Enid," said Miss Browning, "is looking out
music in the music room, I think."
Joan walked swiftly through several long salons,
and found her fair-haired and pallid relative actually
at the piano.
"Enid," cried Joan, "you know I've always been
fond of you. For God's sake tell me what is the
matter with this house? I admire Philip as everybody
does. But what is the matter with the house? Why
do all these rooms and gardens seem to be shutting
me in and in and in? Why does everything look more
and more the same? Why does everybody say the
same thing? Oh, I don't often talk metaphysics;
but there is a purpose in this. That's the only way of
putting it; there is a purpose. And I don't know what
Lady Enid Wimpole played a preliminary bar or
two on the piano. Then she said,
"Nor do I, Joan. I don't indeed. I know exactly
what you mean. But it's just because there is a
purpose that I have faith in him and trust him." She
began softly to play a ballad tune of the Rhineland;
and perhaps the music suggested her next remark.
"Suppose you were looking at some of the last reaches
of the Rhine, where it flows--"
"Enid!" cried Joan, "if you say 'into the North
Sea,' I shall scream. Scream, do you hear, louder
than all the peacocks together."
"Well," expostulated Lady Enid, looking up rather
wildly, "The Rhine _does_ flow into the North Sea,
"I dare say," said Joan, recklessly, "but the Rhine
might have flowed into the Round Pond, before you
would have known or cared, until--"
"Until what?" asked Enid; and her music suddenly
ceased. "Until something happened that I cannot
understand," said Joan, moving away.
"_You_ are something I cannot understand," said
Enid Wimpole. "But I will play something else, if
this annoys you." And she fingered the music again
with an eye to choice.
Joan walked back through the corridor of the
music room, and restlessly resumed her seat in the
room with the two lady secretaries.
"Well," asked the red-haired and good-humoured
Mrs. Mackintosh, without looking up from her work
of scribbling, "have you discovered anything?"
For some moments Joan appeared to be in a blacker
state of brooding than usual; then she said, in a
candid and friendly tone, which somehow contrasted
with her knit and swarthy brows--
"No, really. At least I think I've only found out
two things; and they are only things about myself.
I've discovered that I do like heroism, but I don't
like hero worship."
"Surely," said Miss Browning, in the Girton
manner, "the one always flows from the other."
"I hope not," said Joan.
"But what else can you do with the hero?" asked
Mrs. Mackintosh, still without looking up from her
writing, "except worship him?"
"You might crucify him," said Joan, with a sudden
return of savage restlessness, as she rose from her
chair. "Things seem to happen then."
"Aren't you tired?" asked the Miss Browning who
had the clever face.
"Yes," said Joan, "and the worst sort of tiredness;
when you don't even know what you're tired of. To
tell the honest truth, I think I'm tired of this
"It's very old, of course, and parts of it are still
dismal," said Miss Browning, "but he has enormously
improved it. The decoration, with the moon and stars,
down in the wing with the turret is really--"
Away in the distant music room, Lady Enid, having
found the music she preferred, was fingering its
prelude on the piano. At the first few notes of it,
Joan Brett stood up, like a tigress.
"Thanks--" she said, with a hoarse softness, "that's
it, of course! and that's just what we all are! She's
found the right tune now."
"What tune is it?" asked the wondering secretary.
"The tune of harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer and
all kinds of music," said Joan, softly and fiercely,
"when we shall bow down and worship the Golden
Image that Nebuchadnezzar the King has set up.
Girls! Women! Do you know what this place is? Do
you know why it is all doors within doors and lattice
behind lattice; and everything is curtained and
cushioned; and why the flowers that are so fragrant here
are not the flowers of our hills?"
From the distant and slowly darkening music room,
Enid Wimpole's song came thin and clear:
"Less than the dust beneath thy chariot wheel,
Less than the rust that never stained thy sword--"
"Do you know what we are?" demanded Joan
Brett, again. "We are a Harem."
"Why, what can you mean?" cried the younger
girl, in great agitation. "Why, Lord Ivywood has
"I know he has never. I am not sure," said Joan,
"even whether he would ever. I shall never understand
that man, nor will anybody else. But I tell
you that is the spirit. That is what we _are_. And
this room stinks of polygamy as certainly as it smells
"Why, Joan," cried Lady Enid, entering the room
like a well-bred ghost, "what on earth is the matter
with you. You all look as white as sheets."
Joan took no heed of her but went on with her
own obstinate argument.
"And, besides," she said, "if there's one thing we
do know about him it is that he believes on principle
in doing things slowly. He calls it evolution and
relativity and the expanding of an idea into larger
ideas. How do we know he isn't doing that slowly;
getting us accustomed to living like this, so that it
may be the less shock when he goes further--steeping
us in the atmosphere before he actually introduces,"
and she shuddered, "the institution. Is it any more
calmly outrageous a scheme than any other of Ivywood's
schemes; than a sepoy commander-in-chief, or
Misysra preaching in Westminster Abbey, or the
destruction of all the inns in England? I will not wait
and expand. I will not be evolved. I will not
develop into something that is not me. My feet shall
be outside these walls if I walk the roads for it
afterward; or I will scream as I would scream trapped in
any den by the Docks."
She swept down the rooms toward the turret, with
a sudden passion for solitude; but as she passed the
astronomical wood-carving that had closed up the
end of the old wing, Enid saw her strike it with her
It was in the turret that she had a strange experience.
She was again, later on, using its isolation to
worry out the best way of having it out with Philip,
when he should return from his visit to London; for
to tell old Lady Ivywood what was on her mind
would be about as kind and useful as describing Chinese
tortures to a baby. The evening was very quiet,
of the pale grey sort, and all that side of Ivywood
lay before her eyes, undisturbed. She was the more
surprised when her dreaming took note of a sort of
stirring in the grey-purple dusk of the bushes; of
whisperings; and of many footsteps. Then the silence
settled down again; and then it was startlingly broken
by a big voice singing in the dark distance. It was
accompanied by faint sounds that might have been
from the fingering of some lute or viol:
"Lady, the light is dying in the skies,
Lady, and let us die when honour dies,
Your dear, dropped glove was like a gauntlet flung,
When you and I were young.
For something more than splendour stood; and ease was
not the only good
About the woods in Ivywood when you and I were young.
"Lady, the stars are falling pale and small,
Lady, we will not live if life be all
Forgetting those good stars in heaven hung
When all the world was young,
For more than gold was in a ring, and love was not a little
Between the trees in Ivywood when all the world was
The singing ceased; and the bustle in the bushes
could hardly be called more than a whisper. But
sounds of the same sort and somewhat louder seemed
wafted round corners from other sides of the house;
and the whole night seemed full of something that was
alive, but was more than a single man.
She heard a cry behind her, and Enid rushed into
the room as white as one of the lilies.
"What awful thing is happening?" she cried. "The
courtyard is full of men shouting, and there are
torches everywhere and--"
Joan heard a tramp of men marching and heard,
afar off, another song, sung on a more derisive note,
"But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood,
He rots the tree as ivy would."
"I think," said Joan, thoughtfully, "it is the End of
"But where are the police?" wailed her cousin.
"They don't seem to be anywhere about since they
wore those fezzes. We shall be murdered or--"
Three thundering and measured blows shook the
decorative wood panelling at the end of the wing; as
if admittance were demanded with the club of a giant.
Enid remembered that she had thought Joan's little
blow energetic, and shuddered. Both the girls stared
at the stars and moons and suns blazoned on that
sacred wall that leapt and shuddered under the strokes
of the doom.
Then the sun fell from Heaven, and the moon and
stars dropped down and were scattered about the
Persian carpet; and by the opening of the end of the
world, Patrick Dalroy came in, carrying a mandolin.
* * *
THE FINDING OF THE SUPERMAN
"I'VE brought you a little dog," said Mr. Dalroy,
introducing the rampant Quoodle. "I had him brought
down here in a large hamper labelled 'Explosives,' a
title which appears to have been well selected."
He had bowed to Lady Enid on entering and taken
Joan's hand with the least suggestion that he wanted
to do something else with it; but he resolutely
resumed his conversation, which was on the subject of
"People who bring back dogs," he said, "are always
under a cloud of suspicion. Sometimes it is hideously
hinted that the citizen who brings the dog back with
him is identical with the citizen who took the dog away
with him. In my case, of course, such conduct is
inconceivable. But the returners of dogs, that prosperous
and increasing class, are also accused," he went
on, looking straight at Joan, with blank blue eyes, "of
coming back for a Reward. There is more truth in
Then, with a change of manner more extraordinary
than any revolution, even the revolution that was
roaring round the house, he took her hand again and
kissed it, saying, with a confounding seriousness,
"I know at least that you will pray for my soul."
"You had better pray for mine, if I have one,"
answered Joan, "but why now?"
"Because," said Patrick, "you will hear from outside,
you may even see from that turret window something
which in brute fact has never been seen in
England since Poor Monmouth's army went down. In
spirit and in truth it has not happened since Saladin
and Coeur de Lion crashed together. I only add one
thing, and that you know already. I have lived loving
you and I shall die loving you. It is the only
dimension of the Universe in which I have not
wandered and gone astray. I leave the dog to guard you;"
and he disappeared down the old broken staircase.
Lady Enid was much mystified that no popular
pursuit assailed this stair or invaded the house. But
Lady Joan knew better. She had gone, on the
suggestion she most cared about, into the turret room and
looked out of its many windows on to the abandoned
copse and tunnel, which were now fenced off with high
walls, the boundary of the mysterious property next
door. Across that high barrier she could not even
see the tunnel, and barely the tops of the tallest trees
which hid its entrance from sight. But in an instant
she knew that Dalroy was not hurling his forces on
Ivywood at all, but on the house and estate beyond it.
And then followed a sight that was not an experience
but rather a revolving vision. She could never
describe it afterward, nor could any of those involved
in so violent and mystical a wheel. She had seen a
huge wall of a breaker wash all over the parade at
Pebblewick; and wondered that so huge a hammer
could be made merely of water. She had never had a
notion of what it is like when it is made of men.
The palisade, put up by the new landlord in front of
the old tangled ground by the tunnel, she had long
regarded as something as settled and ordinary as one
of the walls of the drawing room. It swung and
split and sprang into a thousand pieces under the
mere blow of human bodies bursting with rage; and
the great wave crested the obstacle more clearly than
she had ever seen any great wave crest the parade.
Only, when the fence was broken, she saw behind
it something that robbed her of reason; so that she
seemed to be living in all ages and all lands at once.
She never could describe the vision afterward; but
she always denied it was a dream. She said it was
worse; it was something more real than reality. It
was a line of real soldiers, which is always a magnificent
sight. But they might have been the soldiers of
Hannibal or of Attila, they might have been dug up
from the cemeteries of Sidon and Babylon, for all
Joan had to do with them. There, encamped in English
meadows, with a hawthorn-tree in front of them
and three beeches behind, was something that has
never been in camp nearer than some leagues south of
Paris, since that Carolus called The Hammer broke it
backward at Tours.
There flew the green standard of that great faith
and strong civilization which has so often almost
entered the great cities of the West; which long
encircled Vienna, which was barely barred from Paris;
but which had never before been seen in arms on the
soil of England. At one end of the line stood Philip
Ivywood, in a uniform of his own special creation, a
compromise between the Sepoy and the Turkish
uniform. The compromise worked more and more
wildly in Joan's mind. If any impression remained
it was merely that England had conquered India and
Turkey had conquered England. Then she saw that
Ivywood, for all his uniform, was not the Commander
of these forces, for an old man, with a great scar
on his face, which was not a European face, set himself
in the front of the battle, as if it had been a battle
in the old epics, and crossed swords with Patrick
Dalroy. He had come to return the scar upon his
forehead; and he returned it with many wounds, though
at last it was he who sank under the sword thrust. He
fell on his face; and Dalroy looked at him with
something that is much more great than pity. Blood was
flowing from Patrick's wrist and forehead, but he
made a salute with his sword. As he was doing so,
the corpse, as it appeared, laboriously lifted a face,
with feeble eyelids. And, seeming to understand the
quarters of the sky by instinct, Oman Pasha dragged
himself a foot or so to the left; and fell with his face
After that the turret turned round and round
about Joan and she knew not whether the things she
saw were history or prophecy. Something in that
last fact of being crushed by the weapons of brown
men and yellow, secretly entrenched in English meadows,
had made the English what they had not been
for centuries. The hawthorn-tree was twisted and
broken, as it was at the Battle of Ashdown, when
Alfred led his first charge against the Danes. The
beech-trees were splashed up to their lowest branches
with the mingling of brave heathen and brave
Christian blood. She knew no more than that when a
column of the Christian rebels, led by Humphrey of
the Sign of the Ship, burst through the choked and
forgotten tunnel and took the Turkish regiment in the
rear, it was the end.
That violent and revolving vision became something
beyond the human voice or human ear. She could
not intelligently hear even the shots and shouts round
the last magnificent rally of the Turks. It was natural,
therefore, that she should not hear the words Lord
Ivywood addressed to his next-door neighbour, a Turkish
officer, or rather to himself. But his words were:
"I have gone where God has never dared to go. I
am above the silly supermen as they are above mere
men. Where I walk in the Heavens, no man has
walked before me; and I am alone in a garden. All
this passing about me is like the lonely plucking of
garden flowers. I will have this blossom, I will have
The sentence ended so suddenly that the officer
looked at him, as if expecting him to speak. But he
did not speak.
But Patrick and Joan, wandering together in a world
made warm and fresh again, as it can be for few in
a world that calls courage frenzy and love superstition,
feeling every branching tree as a friend with
arms open for the man, or every sweeping slope as a
great train trailing behind the woman, did one day
climb up to the little white cottage that was now the
home of the Superman.
He sat playing with a pale, reposeful face, with
scraps of flower and weed put before him on a wooden
table. He did not notice them, nor anything else
around him; scarcely even Enid Wimpole, who
attended to all his wants.
"He is perfectly happy," she said quietly.
Joan, with the glow on her dark face, could not
prevent herself from replying, "And we are so happy."
"Yes," said Enid, "but his happiness will last," and
"I understand," said Joan, and kissed her cousin,
not without tears of her own.
* * *