Puslapio vaizdai

fixes summer-time for the same lagging in the wake of the outperiod as Great Britain. But put of the Dail, and most rethe Free State draftsman of cent Acts, except for their title, bills is an expert at his task. appear in English alone. The The last ounce shall be ex- invention of a neo-pseudo Gaelic tracted even if we become tongue to fit the wording of ludicrous in the process. The legislation, which is inevitably phrase “Greenwich-time" as drafted on the phraseology of smacking too much not of English statute law, has proved science, but of a defeated foe, a tedious and, when it is commust not appear. Instead, we pleted, a useless operation, alare treated to a reference to though affording employment “West-European” time. Even for a number of harmless stuthe sun in his courses shall dents who might otherwise be fight against England.

employed on less peaceful purAs for the pursuit of the suits. Consequently the longer Irish language, if one may de- statutes are being left aside duce anything from these stat- for more urgent work, and in utes, the chase is already be the main only those are selected coming faint. It is true that which are likely to reach foreign the Army Act may provide hands, and whose bilingualism that officers and men shall would therefore be likely to be taught to give executive advertise the Free State as an words of command in each of alien nation. There is one exthe official languages,” and the ception. The very recent Inbarrack square shall ring with toxicating Liquor Act has been an incoherent medley of Erse produced in two tongues with and Anglo-Saxon. But when such rapidity that it must be it comes to learning more than deduced that the Irish language, a few odd words, the usual even in its antiquated state, extent of a Gaelic education, was rich in phrases which reek zeal waxes cold. Unfortunately of peat-smoke, pot-stills, and the Constitution has saddled shebeens. No difficulty was the country with the necessity therefore presented in an early for translating all its statutes and richly-worded edition of into Irish, and this requirement the Act in the vernacular. is recoiling on its own head. There is little doubt that in it The first few Acts have been is contained the bouquet of that published with English and exotic vintage which Dail legisIrish side by side, but the lation is cultivating with such official translators are now sadly excellent taste.



‘On Fontarabian echoes born."


age fell

THERE is a castle for sale woven into the coloured tapesin Fontarabia. It bears the try that most of us keep at name of the Emperor Charles the back of our minds. ProV., but it is much older than bably Milton put it there. that. One could people it with Milton, or the atlas, or both. the ghosts of all the ages. Milton, one may be sure, alSome say the Visigoths built ways had an atlas in mind it; it was certainly a strong. when he invoked the Celestial hold of the Kings of Navarre Muse, an aid to the invention in the twelfth century. On of harmonies; and he turned the other hand, it is not in to it, as the schoolboy to his a good state of repair, and I Gradus ad Parnassum, to swell have never discovered any the organ note. He could not Spanish functionary who was resist the seduction of a name. willing to name a definite, or

" When Charlemain with all his peereven an indefinite, sum for the purchase of it. Still, there it

By Fontarabia." is, and one can poke one's nose into every nook and cranny, It was not Charlemagne, by unattended, for the modest the way, but Roland. Charlesum of five sous. Probably magne died in his bed. Nor it could be bought by any was it at Fontarabia that moderately successful captain Roland fell, but at Roncesof industry for the turnover valles, fifty miles to the east, of half a year's manufacture in the Pyrenees. And it was of hairpins or boot-laces. not Fontarábia, but Font

Fontarabia is generally the arabía. Still, it would be pedfirst place people see in Spain. antry to quibble at a trifle of But I had come to it from fifty miles, a pin's-head disthe south, and in my divaga- tance on the map. The point tions on the road had stayed is that Fontarabía, or Fontat Jaca, Huesca, Tudela, arábia, scan it how you will, is Burgos, and Santanilla in San- a sounding name, and Milton tander. So it was not the could not resist it. novelty of a little old Spanish Some one, of course, will town that attracted me, nor object that Milton was blind the mere fascination of a name. when he wrote “ Paradise Lost," The name, of course, had some- and that he could not look up thing to do with it. It is places on a map.

This, we

admit, is an afterthought. Still, One can

see Bayona from we retract nothing. Not that the castle at Fontarabia ; or, we believe for a moment that if not Bayona, the lighthouse a daughter was called in to at Biarritz that looks down spell out place-names on the on Bayona's hold, a thin white Spanish frontier. Milton must obelisk piercing the blue, with have carried his atlas in his the rim of the Landes coasthead long before he was blind. line behind it, curving out beHe was as happy with a name yond the mouth of the Adour as with an argument. When like a white sickle to meet the he was not jousting at Aspra- Atlantic. mont or Montalban, or wander- What would one not give ing in Vallambrosa, where “the for Milton's atlas, the one he Etrurian shades high over- had at Horton and must have arched embower," he would taken with him on the Italian be at Ilium or with Charlemain tour ! It would be worth a at Fontarabia. That is a name dozen ivy - grown dismantled Il Penseroso would share with keeps which nobody seems to the Unseen Genius of the Wood. want to buy. The notice of One may be sure the arched sale in the castle at Fontwalks and twilight groves of arabia has been posted up for Horton echoed to it. He would at least fifty years. I have have discovered it, if not before, seen it quoted in a book of in the happy hours when he Spanish travel dated 1880, and was writing the last lines of it is not likely that it was “Lycidas,” an atlas open by new then. What strikes one his side, canvassing the coast as odd at first is that the names for points in the watery inscription is not in Spanish march of him “to our moist or French, but in very indifvows denied.”

ferent English. It is not odd “Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides really, as it only points to the

wit and wideawakeness of the or whether thou to our moist vows provincial councillors of Gui

denied Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, puzcoa, who knew the value Where the great vision of the guarded Nordic sentiment attaches to mount

castles in Spain, and posted Looks toward Namancos and Bay. their naive advertisement over ona's hold."

the door leading into the deNamancos and Bayona were lightful little patio where the happy finds. But why not weapons used in ancient sieges Fontarabia ? It must have rust among the orange-trees been staring him in the face. and wallflowers. Why did not the dolphins The surprising thing to me waft Lycidas to these yellow was that nobody had bought sands? If one had been look- the castle. It is impossible ing at the map over Milton's that any one drawn there by shoulder ..

the advertisement could be disVOL, CCXV.-NO. MCCXCIX.


appointed. Fontarabia is a the North and South, the transname with no deceit in it, like formation into the tawny desert Cherry Hinton, for instance, of the turquoise blue lagoon : or Shepherd's Bush. The little romance is dead, if nobody shell of a town pleases the eye wants to become Lord of the as its name the ear. If there Castillo Carlo Quinto at Fontis any fallacious suggestion it arabia in Spain. is historical, not visual. The Yet I always think of the Arabs and Moors were never castle as upholstered and inthere, and fons rapidus is a habited. It was bought and false derivation. Fontarabia sold, so far as the reminiscent is the corruption of the Basque part of me is concerned, as I name for a river that is choked was climbing the stairs. I with sand.

suppose psychologists would exThe estuary of the Bidassoa plain the illusion as a trick is most beautiful at low tide. played on the waking consciousOne looks down from the castle ness by the subliminal self. on striated shoals like the backs Why at Fontarabia of all places of scallop-shells fresh from the in the world should I subconsea, only much brighter. When sciously in a waking dream find the sun is setting or irradiates myself repeating the unromanthem opaquely through mist, tic name of Bugg ! Bugs, to they glow like the wings of be sure, are common in Spain. cherubim or cumuli in the sky, But I had not been attacked and the dwarfed channels, as by one—not since Tudela. Bethey become thinner and more sides, this Bugg was spelt with separated, weave a quickly. two g's. changing pattern, a web of Now, how on earth did I white light thrown on a sur- know that! Why is it that face of violet, and rose, and when one is very hot and tired amber, and mother - of - pearl. and sleepy words and names, Then the estuary becomes a sometimes the merest nonsense, sandy desert. The black vibrat- run in one's head ; and though ing figures on the other side, one may not know what they like birds magnified in a mirage mean, one knows how they are or scouting Bedouin, are the spelt as clearly as if they were fisherwomen of Hendaye search- written on the wall! ing for bait in the sand. There I was half-way up the first is a constant interplay of sun- flight of the solid wooden stairshine and mist, of sea and mud case leading out of the patio and sand, that makes the when I began to ask myself estuary the most subtle, sensi- what manner of suggestion or tive, and fickle landscape on significance could be attached the coast of France or Spain. to the name of Bugg. Romance is dead, I thought, · Bugg, Bugg, Bugg,” I reas I stood on the castle roof peated, as I painfully climbed and watched this marriage of the second flight.

"Why Bugg ?

There is no rhyme of a legacy, for instance, or in or reason in it. Rhyme, per- the nomination of a chatelaine haps, certainly no reason. for a castle in Spain, Number

On a stone seat in the alcove One might do worse than listen of a window on the third floor to Number Two. In the collothe phenomenon called waking quy on the roof of the Castillo took place, and I began to ask Carlo Quinto at Fontarabia on myself what manner of sugges- this particular June morning, tion or significance could be Number One and Number Two attached to the name of Bugg. were in complete accord. It I remembered now that I had was decided between them that once been tolerably familiar the castle should be bequeathed with it. I dug deeper down to Convolvulus Bugg. into my memory, and retrieved What now follows is Number the prenomen. Now I had it. One's contribution, the prose, Bugg. Why, yes, to be sure. logic, and bald fact of the case, Convolvulus Bugg. What had the data on which Number happened on the stairs was Two drew up his deed of gift. that my subliminal self 'had Convolvulus, when I knew bequeathed the castle with its her at the age of nine, was an banqueting-hall, dungeons, tor- incurably poetical and romantic ture-chambers, ivied patio, and child. She was always reading the panoramic view it com- Byron or Shelley, and mummanded over France and Spain bling poetry on the garden to Convolvulus Bugg.

seat under my window. Mrs But why Convolvulus Bugg? Bugg may have been romantic. For the very good reason-s0 She was a pale elusive phantom there was reason in it, after in the house; I did not know all ! — that no fitter person her well, but I base my infercould be found to inherit, ence on the fancy she indulged though the supraliminal booby of giving all her daughters the was much too dull a dog to name of a flower. Convolvulus have thought of it. As a Bugg had four sisters Lilac, matter of fact, he had forgotten Daffodil, Pansy, and Rose. Old the existence of Convolvulus. Bugg humoured his wife so The dreaming partner, Number far, but whether out of a spirit Two, who sits weaving under of homeliness, or merely to the threshold, has a better simplify nomenclature, he would memory, and often a larger not sanction the name of a share of wit. It is Number plant which he could not see Two who receives the drab growing when he inspected the threads, the prose of life, that world from the porch of his Number One hands down to inn. In this he displayed him under the threshold, and prudence. For none of his weaves a coloured pattern out daughters grew up in the least of them. In any question of In any question of degree exotic.

. I could not poetic justice, in the matter picture a Magnolia, or even a

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