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hands with him," Evelyn went on more gently, "just to show you're sorry for having been so unkind."

Bellows held out a dirty hand. "I'm agreeable," he said handsomely.

But this was more than Maxwell could put up with. "I'm hanged if I will," he answered sulkily. "Not when I ask you?" said Evelyn. Her gray eyes were very appealing at that moment. But Maxwell was too angry to notice them, too angry to realize the absurdity of taking the situation seriously.

"No," he said curtly.

"Good-bye, then," said Evelyn, and. with a cold little bow she joined her cousin and the two walked on towards Piccadilly.

Maxwell looked after her retreating figure with a new pain at his heart. He had offended her now. Not content with draining him of money Bellows was bent on alienating his friends. He turned to pour out upon that worthy some of the bitterness which he felt, but Bellows had prudently seized the moment to retire and was nowhere to be seen.

One revenge, however, was open to Maxwell. Evelyn Allieson might never quite forgive him (and it is the painful duty of this chronicler to admit that she never did), Parker might form some new discreditable theory of his master's action, Bellows might make a scene on his doorstep and get himself taken up by the police, paragraphs might fill the evening papers narrating Maxwell's impulsive leap into the river and his tardy repentance of that good action, but on one thing he was resolved; no more money should be forthcoming for Bellows from his pocket. He would instruct Parker at once to that effect.

He did so, and, slightly cheered by this tardy act of vengeance, went to luncheon at his club. At last, he felt, he had got rid of Bellows. He had

told Parker that he wished to hear no more of him; and Parker, who was accustomed to take his instructions literally, would not even mention the fact if Bellows again attempted to call at his rooms.

Fate, however, ordained that one more meeting should take place between Maxwell and his persecutor.

This happened one night in May about two months after the disastrous encounter in St. James's Street. Maxwell had spent the evening at the House of Commons, where for once an interesting debate had been in progress. The Strangers' Gallery had been crowded and the air suffocating, and when at last midnight struck and the debate stood adjourned he was glad to escape to the fresher atmosphere outside. The night was warm but a faint breeze from the river tempered it agreeably and, to enjoy this for a moment, Maxwell turned his steps towards Westminster Bridge. The moon had not yet risen and through the haze of the calm summer night the long line of lamps on the Embankment stretched away into the distance, while on the Surrey side illuminated advertisements of somebody's whisky flashed upon the night at intervals of half a minute to remind the gazer, if reminder were needed, that we are a vulgar nation.

Maxwell walked half-way across the bridge and then stood for a moment leaning against the parapet looking down upon the black water below.

He was startled by a voice behind him uttering his name. He turned sharply. "Who are you?" he said, but he knew only too well.

"Look at that now!" said the detested voice of John Bellows. "Here's a gent as'll pull a man out of the river when he's drowning 'isself and in half a year's time 'e forgets what he looks like! I call that noble! But"-here he grasped Maxwell by the sleeve with the energy of intoxication-"if 'e can

forget 'is noble conduct, I can't. Strike me dead, I can't," he added, hiccupping slightly.

Maxwell shook him off angrily. "Look here, my man," he said, "I'm tired of you. I've helped you with money again and again, but you always come back. You're a worthless drunken vagabond and I'll have nothing more to do with you."

"Don't say that," said Bellows insinuatingly. "Don't say that, gentleman. I thought you had a feeling 'art for a poor man down on his luck. Give me a sovereign. I only asks a sovereign." "No," said Maxwell firmly. "Five bob then," said the man. "No!" said Maxwell again. Bellows grew indignant. "Look here, governor," he said, "you pulled me out of the water once and I hope I'm grateful"-Maxwell laughed-"but I can't live on air. If you won't let me drown give me something to eat. That's all I ask."

"No!" said Maxwell for the third time.

"Very well," said Bellows with a drunken attempt at dignity, "then I shall jump into the river, that's all. I give you fair warning."

"My good man," said Maxwell bitterly, "you are at liberty to jump into the river when and where you please as far as I'm concerned. I shan't prevent you. I've had quite enough

The English Review.

life-saving to last me a life-time." "You don't mean that" said Bellows, leering tipsily. "You're making fun of me. You couldn't see a poor fellow drown and not help him. You 'aven't the 'art."

"I wouldn't rely on that if I were you, my man," said Maxwell.

Bellows scrambled up on to the parapet. "Here goes then," he said theatrically, and poised himself unsteadily on its edge.

Whether he really meant to throw himself into the river or whether he was merely simulating that intention in order to soften the heart of Maxwell, it is impossible to say, and Maxwell himself has never thought it necessary to consider the point. There was a slip, a splash, and in a moment, before Maxwell could stretch out a hand even if he had wished to do so, the body had disappeared in the muddy water thirty feet below.

As chance would have it the bridge at that moment was quite deserted. Not even the ubiquitous policeman was in sight, and if Bellows really wished to drown himself fate for once smiled upon him. Maxwell was a man of impulse. Impulse on that night in September made him leap into the river. Impulse on this night in May bade him walk away as quickly as possible. And he did.

St. John Hankin.

A POET OF THE NORTHUMBRIAN PITS.* Many years ago I used to meet a quiet, elderly gentleman and walk with him until our ways parted, chatting the while. Sedate, grave, with a slowness of manner that made him seem older than he really was, with a curious uncouthness of speech, the soul of cour

"Joseph Skipsey: His Life and Work." By the Right Hon. Spence Watson. London: Unwin. 1909. 2s. 6d. net.

tesy, always cheerful in the matter if not the fashion of his discourse, always ready to talk on any subject that came up-he was Joseph Skipsey, until a year or two before I knew him a pitman working for his living in the pits, a local poet known to many great personages of the south. He was always cheerful, but never exuberant: it may


be doubted whether he had ever in his life had a moment of exuberance. was cheerful, I say: not in the least morose. Simply he faced life with immense seriousness, the seriousness of the best type of the northern workman who has paid dear for his experience and knowledge, the working man of the mechanics' institutes and debating clubs. The debating society was strong within Joseph Skipsey. He would argue any point, often taking up untenable positions and, in defiance of all the rules of warfare, defending them to the last, and longer. He was not solemn-only serious. He had seen afar off the promised land of knowledge, not from a mountain top but from the bottoms of the black, foul pits where his childhood and his youth and best manhood were spent; and he had fought his way to it while grimly toiling for his daily bread. Of the world and of men he knew next to nothing; but what he did know he had struggled to acquire and, no wonder, prized and took very seriously.

Joseph Skipsey wrote and published a fair amount of verse; it, and through it he, became known to many of the greatest guns in the land. Whether his verse endures or not, Dr. Spence Watson has taken care that his name shall live, at any rate in the memory of all Northumbrians; for he has written an account of the man and his work with a care and restrained enthusiasm which seem to be admirable. Skipsey was born in 1832 at Percy Main, a little pit-village near the mouth of the Tyne, grimy then as now, sordid, squalid. When he was only a few months old his father was murdered by a policeman. When seven years old Joseph went to work in the pit, and taught himself to read and write there. At the pit he stayed till 1852, when he got employment in London; in 1854 he married and returned to other pits in the north. Five years

and afterwards

later he published some verse which fell into the hands of a genial editor who found him a job as storekeeper at some engineering works. Then he was made sub-librarian of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle-on-Tyne-the "lit-'n'-phil."-and found the books there so engrossing that he forgot to attend to the wants of the members. So he went quietly back to the mines; and though he presently stayed with Jowett at Oxford and became a friend of Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Holman Hunt and Mr. Watts-Dunton in London, and published verse from time to time-verse some of which was highly praised by Rossetti-he remained unspoilt and returned to the mines again and labored there till he was fifty. He rose to some sort of foreman's post; then became caretaker of a Board-school in Newcastle-on-Tyne, porter in the Armstrong College in the same coaly city. Hear Dr. Spence Wat"One morning I was taking Lord Carlisle over the new building, and our Principal joined us (Principal Garnett)"-now with the L.C.C. "As we went along the great corridor, Skipsey, bending under the weight of two coalscuttles of fair dimensions, met us. He at once pulled up, and Lord Carlisle, recognizing him, took him by the hand and said, 'My dear Skipsey, whatever are you doing here? We had a long talk, and explanations were made, but I saw from that time that it was impossible to have a college where the scientific men came to see the Principal and the artistic and literary men came to see the porter." So another position was got for him--that of custodian of Shakespeare's house at Stratford. Here is a list of names to make one stare-Browning, Tennyson, John Morley, Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Theodore Watts (-Dunton), Leighton, F. R. Benson, Andrew Lang, Lord Carlisle, Austin Dobson, Bram


Stoker, Lord Ravensworth, Thomas Burt, William Morris, Wilson Barrett, Edmund Gosse, Dowden. This is an incomplete list of those who backed the porter in getting a humble job. He got it; and in half a year our American visitors drove him out of it. He loved to argue, but not with fools; and the fools doubted every statement he made in showing them over the place until, Dr. Spence Watson says, "He felt he would end by doubting the very existence of Shakespeare .";

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so he left. In 1886, through BurneJones, a grant of fifty pounds was made him from the Royal Bounty, and a tiny pension he had was raised to twenty-five pounds a year; on this, with assistance from his now grown-up children, he lived until his death in September 1903.

This Life of Joseph Skipsey, written with beautiful simplicity, calm and lucid, yet tinged and warmed with generous feeling and an affectionately humorous perception of the man's odd angles and comical obstinacies, is a most fitting memorial of one who was not a great poet but, in his humble path though life, always a noble man. Το my mind, little of his verse is genuine poetry, and that little is not of the highest order. At the outset a disastrous deficiency of ear made him as a color-blind painter. He had no technique. To get the mere rhyme and rhythm he resorted to puerile dodges and warped and twisted plain sentences into unholy monstrosities. Here are some remarks addressed by Rossetti to Skipsey: .. throughout the book the want I feel is of artistic finish only, not of artistic tendency: the right touch sometimes seems to come to you of its own accord, but, when not thus coming, it remains a want. Stanzas similarly rhymed are apt to follow each other, and the metre is often filled out by catching up a word in repetition-I mean, as for in


stance, 'May be, as they have been, may be.' It seems to me that, as regards style, you might take the verbal perfection of your admirable stanzas 'Get up' as an example to yourself, and try never to fall short of this standard, where not a word is lost or wanting. This little piece seems to me equal to anything in the language for beauty and quiet pathetic force." Let me quote the little piece, "The Caller":

"Get up!" the caller calls, "Get up!"
And in the dead of night,
To win the bairns their bite and sup,
I rise a weary wight.

My flannel dudden donn'd, thrice o'er
My birds are kissed, and then

I with a whistle shut the door
I may not ope again.

In the pit, at the pit-mouth, in the pit-row, Skipsey found inspiration, and where, as here, by happy chance "the right touch" comes "of its own accord," something like a true poetic miracle is wrought. But when he leaves the pit and tackles subjects where dainty workmanship and conscious artmastery are requisite, we get experiments like "The Daffodil." Dr. Watson speaks of his power of thought and of making words live. I never observed any original thought in him: great and sincere character, not intellect, distinguished him. As for making words live, it is a fact that he did recite his verses with stupendous earnestness. His elocution simply made me smile; it was a ridiculous exhibition. And as in repeating his poems, so in composing them, the pressure of emotional steam was ludicrously out of proportion to the importance of the subject. It is idle to say that small things are as important as great ones; for they are not. The lingo he wrote in was part pit-Northumbrian, part conventional collocations of the eighteenth century, part reminiscences of contemporaries. A poet of great orig

inal force may borrow from anywhere O, the bugle horn I heard last night; with impunity; he loads his phraseology

with a new meaning which overwhelms the old associations. Skipsey's burden was not fresh and new enough; and his "adorn", "gem", "peer" and, in other verses, "bard", "Fortune's darling", "fancy", and SO on--stand out bald, expressionless, hopelessly prosaic. And to show how he produced all the unfortunate effect of a plagiarism where there was no real plagiarism let me make a last quotation. Skipsey had gone to Grasmere with Dr. Spence Watson; the wild scenery, the spirit of ancient days that reigns omnipotent amongst the hills and woods and waters, the memories of the great poets who lived there and the poetry they wrote there-these wrought upon him; and in the darkness and silence of night a bugle-call woke the echoes, gathered all his feelings into one channel, and flooded his soul with a most poignant sensation of sweetness and joy. So he gave vent to his feelings in "The Bugle Horn":

The Saturday Review.

Its wild tone set the echoes flying,
And night-long in my soul, Delight
Danced, danced, her gift for dancing

No wilder tone had echo known,
Since first upon the height she

She cried to fly, yet fled to cry,

What awed, when heard, and yet en


Alas! where is it now, the glory and the dream? We have a bald account of the incident; the essence of the matter, the magic, is rigorously excluded; and "bugle", "wild", "echoes", "flying", shout aloud the names of Tennyson and his "Princess."

It would be impertinent of me to give a pontifical judgment on Joseph Skipsey's work. I am only trying to show why he failed when he got away from the pit-shaft. His pit-poems are

his best; and, if the appointment of a successor to Tennyson had not forced us to think that to be a laureate nowadays a man must be not a poet at all, Skipsey might be called the laureate of the Northumbrian pits.

John F. Runciman.


Το those who knew Whitechapel some years ago such a thing as the Children's Pageant, now being acted every evening in the Art Gallery there, would have seemed incredible. Just a quarter of a century has passed since the first beginnings were made with a few dreary recitations, a wretched farce or two, and an occasional concert which people who cared about decency could not attend. Now if you want to see a historic display, with gallant songs and dances, all performed with the irresistible spirit of zeal, you can go to Whitechapel and see it. Some four or five hundred boys and girls from East End schools, working in shifts of alternate nights, will show you


PAGEANT. how it is done. Full of the joy of acting, they are so determined not to fail that during all the speeches the mouths of the whole company move in unison with the speaker, whispering the words to themselves. the amateur. They are as keen for stage perfection as Territorials are for bloodshed on a field-day. The audience is delighted, especially those who own a real child in the show. One may hope they are profited by some sort of historic interest. But, as in all art, the best delight and the best profit remain with the performers, and they are just the children for whom such a thing as this pageant would have seemed incredible only a quarter of a century ago.

They have the zest of

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