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"My Lords, ladies, and gentlemen-" he began in a choking voice, and then broke down completely. It was a very painful spectacle. A feeling of intense discomfort afflicted the minds of all who looked upon that trembling relic of a man as he stood there weeping and stammering. It was as though a breath of the wind of death had blown suddenly through the room, lifting the vapors of wine and tobacco-smoke, quenching the laughter and the candle-flames. Eyes floated uneasily, not knowing where to look. Lord Badgery, with great presence of mind, offered the old man a glass of wine. Mr. Tillotson began to recover. The guests heard him murmur a few disconnected words.
"This great honor-overwhelmed with kindness-this magnificent banquet-not used to it-in Asia Minoreructavit cor meum."
At this point Lord Badgery plucked sharply at one of his long coat-tails. Mr. Tillotson paused, took another sip of wine, and then went on with a newly won coherence and energy.
"The life of the artist is a hard one. His work is unlike other men's work, which may be done mechanically, by rote and almost, as it were, in sleep. It demands from him a constant expense of spirit. He gives continually of his best life and in return he receives much joy, it is true, much fame, it may be, but of material blessings very few. It is eighty years since first I devoted my life to the service of art eighty years, and almost every one of those years has brought me fresh and painful proof of what I have been saying: the artist's life is a hard one."
This unexpected deviation into sense increased the general feeling of discomfort. It became necessary to take the old man seriously, to regard him as a human being. Up till then he had been no more than an object of curiosity, a mummy in an absurd suit of evening clothes, with a green ribbon across the shirt-front. People could not help wishing that they had subscribed a little more. Fifty-eight pound, ten-it was n't enormous. But happily for the peace of mind of the company, Mr. Tillotson paused again, took another sip of wine, and began to live up to his proper character by talking absurdly.
"When I consider the life of that great man, Benjamin Robert Haydon, one of the greatest men England has ever produced-" The audience heaved a sigh of relief; this was all as it should be. There was a burst of loud bravoing and clapping. Mr. Tillotson turned his dim eyes round the room and smiled gratefully at the misty figures he beheld. "That great man Benjamin Robert Haydon," he continued, "whom I am proud to call my master and who, it rejoices my heart to see, still lives in your memory and esteem, that great man, one of the greatest that England has ever produced, led a life so deplorable that I cannot think of it without a tear."
And with vast repetitions and divagations Mr. Tillotson related the history of B. R. Haydon, his imprisonments for debt, his battles with the Academy, his triumphs, his failures, his despair, his suicide. Half-past ten struck. Mr. Tillotson was declaiming against the stupid and prejudiced judges who had rejected Haydon's designs for the decoration of the new Houses of Parliament in favor of the paltriest German scribblings.
"That great man, one of the greatest England has ever produced, that great Benjamin Robert Haydon, whom I am proud to call my master and who, it rejoices me to see, still lives on in your memory and esteem-at that affront his great heart burst; it was the unkindest cut of all. He who had worked all his life for the recognition of the artist by the state, he who had petitioned every prime minister, including the Duke of Wellington, for thirty years, begging them to employ artists to decorate public buildings, he to whom the scheme for decorating the Houses of Parliament was undeniably due-" Mr. Tillotson lost a grip on his syntax and began a new sentence. "It was the unkindest cut of all, it was the last straw. The artist's life is a hard one."
At eleven Mr. Tillotson was talking about the Preraphaelites. At a quarter past he had begun to tell the story of B. R. Haydon all over again. At twenty-five minutes to twelve he collapsed quite speechless into his chair. Most of the guests had already gone
away; the few who remained made haste to depart. Lord Badgery led the old man to the door and packed him into his second car. The Tillotson banquet was over; it had been a pleasant evening, but a little too long.
Spode walked back to his rooms in Bloomsbury whistling as he went. The arc lamps of Oxford Street reflected in the polished surface of the road canals of dark bronze. He would have to bring that into an article some time. The Cayman woman had been very successfully nobbled. "Voi che sapete,' he whistled somewhat out of tune, but he could not hear that.
When Mr. Tillotson's landlady came in to call him on the following morning, she found the old man lying fully dressed on his bed. For a moment she thought
he was dead, so pale was his face, so immovably still he lay. But Mr. Tillotson was not dead; he opened his eyes a little and faintly groaned. His landlady stood over him.
"I told you so," she said. "You 've got no business to go gallivanting about at night at your age.'
Mr. Tillotson groaned again. Making a painful effort, he drew out of his trousers' pocket a large silk purse, opened it, and extracted a sovereign.
"The artist's life, Mrs. Green, is a hard one," he said, handing her the coin. "Would you mind sending for the doc-"
As she held out her hand to receive the glittering disk, the old man's voice ceased, and he sank back on his pillow. "Eructavit cor meum." Mr. Tillotson was dead.
The Dying Philosopher to His Fiddler
By JOHN DRINKWATER
Come, fiddler, play one tune before I die.
Untouched now by the plagues of all the schools,
Bring, then, your bow, and on the strings let be,
Of waves and leaves and footfalls hazardous,
The patient fields of knowledge did I sow.
Only your notes may quick again the keen
And these are things that know not argument.
By GERALD CUMBERLAND
UBLIN is the most provincial city in the British Isles, for it commits the cardinal error of attempting to be self-sufficient. It has a theater, a university, a castle, a cathedral, St. Stephen's Green, and many public buildings gutted by the fire that was one of the most inconspicuous features of the Rebellion of 1916. Of all these it is proud. It has, in addition, its own publishers, its own magazines and newspapers and book-shops, and its own intellectual life. Concerning these it is stridently conceited. And it has its own "society," of which in these days it never speaks. The spirit of Dublin, looking northward, views Belfast with large contempt; for in that Ulster town money not only talks, but rules, whereas in Dublin the poorest man may be, and generally is, a prince.
We all despise money. At least the best people do, and it is in Dublin that all the best people live. Now, the human mind is capable of many feats of which the metaphysician knows nothing. It can at once despise money and envy those who possess it; it can hate wealth and yet pursue it. And the Dublin mind, once it has determined to hate anything, does so with extreme thoroughIn the capital of Ireland poverty is a virtue, pauperism a state of blessedThe man who is successful in business is considered both knave and fool, and the poet who writes mediocre verse is a reverenced genius. So victorious is mind over matter that even the meanest writer obtains a public. A book, just because it is a book, is sacrosanct; the printed page is always astir with genius; above the head of the man with the unwashed neck beat the wings of fame.
Whenever, in hours of boredom, I think of Dublin, I see a thousand men and women writing down words, erasing them, writing them down again and
then talking. Talking about themselves. With hot, eager brains functioning with enormous rapidity, they hurry from house to house, from flat to flat, and talk about that sestet they wrote the month before last, that new rhyme of Achitophel and asphodel that J. K. Stephensor was it Æ?-discovered; that last, unspeakable book of George Moore's, those "bee-loud-glade" verses of W. B. Yeats that with their sweet poison have ruined half the Irish verse of the last decade, that manuscript over the possession of which Maunsel and the Talbot Press are fighting, that remark that Edward Martyn made the other week to Maud Gonne in his stentorian whisper. Always themselves. H. G. Wells in London is merely H. G. Wells in London: that is to say, he is nobody. But Theodore Dreiser in the States is to them not even Theodore Dreiser in the States: he is not permitted an existence. Ibañez may drive his four horsemen through the capitals of the world, but the dust and stir of their hoofs are unnoted in Dublin, and Marcel Proust, Gabriele D'Annunzio, and Joseph Conrad catch not any true Irish reader in the golden webs they weave. Dublin devours her own books and shrugs disdainful shoulders at the books of the outer world; acts her own plays and sighs over the vanished Synge; plays her own music-no, Dublin has no music: never an orchestral concert in that proud city from one year to another. So Edward Martyn-George Moore's "dear Edward"-rediscovers Palestrina Sunday by Sunday, and the voice of the folk-singer is heard in that land.
Dubliners are faithful to their gods, and of their gods W. B. Yeats is the most picturesque. I was sitting one dark January afternoon in the drawingroom of Miss Maud Gonne-whose beauty I found ravaged by a recent sojourn in an English jail-when Yeats was announced. I was a stranger, palpably English, and less palpably (I hope)
a journalist. He gazed upon me with the timid eyes of a fairy beholding a faun for the first time, and, very wisely, I thought, sat down with his back to the light and faced the sofa on which Miss Gonne and I were resting.
"This," said she, "is Mr. Cumberland. He 's come to Dublin to write about us all."
Mr. Yeats did not share her enthusiasm. Eyelids with beautiful eyelashes hid his sight, and he bent down and did something to the fire with a poker. Then, assuming an exquisite pose, with his wrist on his knee and one of his famous hands depending therefrom slimly and whitely against the black of his trousers-leg, he began to talk of fays, fairies, folk-lore, Fenians, Phoenix Park, and other things beginning with F. I have heard some famous talkers. I have listened while Frank Harris has thundered out his strong, steely wisdom; I have sat, staggered and open-mouthed, while G. K. Chesterton made double paradoxes; and I have been suitably impressed by Sir Hall Caine announcing the fineness of the day in a voice and manner that suggested he was disclosing the ultimate secret of life: but this was different-different in every way. He talked neither to nor at me. It was pure monologue; just talk; the best kind of talk; talk for talking's sake.
It is true the thought had only that moment entered my head, but I believed it would please him. It did.
"Do," said he. "Do. Go there and be yourself. Strange folk live there, Mr. Cumberland. A man might well secure a shadowy immortality by living for a few weeks among those men and women. If you went there, you would in a short space become a tradition; things you did would be talked about" "That," I interrupted, "I can well believe."
"Yes; and, as is their way, the folk would weave fantasies about your sayings. Tales would be told, and I dare say songs would be sung. And all that you would have done would have been just to go about your business as any
man may do. But a certain largeness— or perhaps I should say intensenessof manner is required: something vital, yet elusive; above all, something sinYes, you would go for a walk or, maybe, would stand and look at the sea; and that would begin a tale. And when you went back to London, there would be, in the islands of the west strange things said of you and your doings. For you would be, as it were, still alive in their midst. In half a century you would be a figure embedded in our folklore, and centuries hence people would still be speaking of you, though in your own land your name would be on the lips of none.'
Miss Gonne gave me a look of approval as Mr. Yeats's musical voice died away, but I do not think she had previously suspected that I was at all the kind of personality likely to insinuate itself into Irish folk-lore.
"A strange people," said I, gravely. "You are right," he agreed. "And a kindly people, a good people. Children they always seem to me the most delightful children in all the world." He mused. "But," he remarked dreamily, "these are the rains of winter. You must wait till the fine days come."
"Oh, no," I replied; "I must go at once. What you have said has fascinated me. I love to think that A. D. 2120 some German professor like well, like Kuno Meyer may go to those islands and study there and write a learned, but completely unconvincing, pamphlet on the great hero Cumberland and all the fine things he said and did two hundred years ago."
He gazed at me earnestly through his pince-nez.
"Stranger things even than that have happened. For example "
I shall always regret most bitterly that I did not listen to the story that followed. But the truth is, I was so closely occupied in studying his personality that I heard here and there only a phrase. Besides, I was seduced by the music of his voice. Never had I heard a human voice so perfectly cadenced, so exquisitely modulated. Its tone was round and full, its timbre most sweet; and it suggested the gentlest of gentle melancholies.