vorhänge wohnzimmer bonprix
chapter lxxxv about a fortnight after this philip, goinghome one evening after his day's work at the hospital, knocked at the door ofcronshaw's room. he got no answer and walked in. cronshaw was lying huddled up on one side,and philip went up to the bed. he did not know whether cronshaw was asleepor merely lay there in one of his uncontrollable fits of irritability. he was surprised to see that his mouth wasopen. he touched his shoulder.philip gave a cry of dismay.
he slipped his hand under cronshaw's shirtand felt his heart; he did not know what to do; helplessly, because he had heard ofthis being done, he held a looking-glass in front of his mouth. it startled him to be alone with cronshaw.he had his hat and coat still on, and he ran down the stairs into the street; hehailed a cab and drove to harley street. dr. tyrell was in. "i say, would you mind coming at once?i think cronshaw's dead." "if he is it's not much good my coming, isit?" "i should be awfully grateful if you would.
i've got a cab at the door.it'll only take half an hour." tyrell put on his hat.in the cab he asked him one or two questions. "he seemed no worse than usual when i leftthis morning," said philip. "it gave me an awful shock when i went injust now. and the thought of his dying all alone.... d'you think he knew he was going to die?"philip remembered what cronshaw had said. he wondered whether at that last moment hehad been seized with the terror of death. philip imagined himself in such a plight,knowing it was inevitable and with no one,
not a soul, to give an encouraging wordwhen the fear seized him. "you're rather upset," said dr. tyrell. he looked at him with his bright blue eyes.they were not unsympathetic. when he saw cronshaw, he said:"he must have been dead for some hours. i should think he died in his sleep. they do sometimes."the body looked shrunk and ignoble. it was not like anything human.dr. tyrell looked at it dispassionately. with a mechanical gesture he took out hiswatch. "well, i must be getting along.i'll send the certificate round.
i suppose you'll communicate with therelatives." "i don't think there are any," said philip."how about the funeral?" "oh, i'll see to that." dr. tyrell gave philip a glance.he wondered whether he ought to offer a couple of sovereigns towards it. he knew nothing of philip's circumstances;perhaps he could well afford the expense; philip might think it impertinent if hemade any suggestion. "well, let me know if there's anything ican do," he said. philip and he went out together, parting onthe doorstep, and philip went to a
telegraph office in order to send a messageto leonard upjohn. then he went to an undertaker whose shop hepassed every day on his way to the hospital. his attention had been drawn to it often bythe three words in silver lettering on a black cloth, which, with two model coffins,adorned the window: economy, celerity, propriety. they had always diverted him.the undertaker was a little fat jew with curly black hair, long and greasy, inblack, with a large diamond ring on a podgy finger.
he received philip with a peculiar mannerformed by the mingling of his natural blatancy with the subdued air proper to hiscalling. he quickly saw that philip was veryhelpless and promised to send round a woman at once to perform the needful offices. his suggestions for the funeral were verymagnificent; and philip felt ashamed of himself when the undertaker seemed to thinkhis objections mean. it was horrible to haggle on such a matter,and finally philip consented to an expensiveness which he could ill afford. "i quite understand, sir," said theundertaker, "you don't want any show and
that--i'm not a believer in ostentationmyself, mind you--but you want it done gentlemanly-like. you leave it to me, i'll do it as cheap asit can be done, 'aving regard to what's right and proper.i can't say more than that, can i?" philip went home to eat his supper, andwhile he ate the woman came along to lay out the corpse.presently a telegram arrived from leonard upjohn. shocked and grieved beyond measure.regret cannot come tonight. dining out.with you early tomorrow.
deepest sympathy. upjohn.in a little while the woman knocked at the door of the sitting-room."i've done now, sir. will you come and look at 'im and see it'sall right?" philip followed her. cronshaw was lying on his back, with hiseyes closed and his hands folded piously across his chest."you ought by rights to 'ave a few flowers, sir." "i'll get some tomorrow."she gave the body a glance of satisfaction.
she had performed her job, and now sherolled down her sleeves, took off her apron, and put on her bonnet. philip asked her how much he owed her."well, sir, some give me two and sixpence and some give me five shillings."philip was ashamed to give her less than the larger sum. she thanked him with just so mucheffusiveness as was seemly in presence of the grief he might be supposed to feel, andleft him. philip went back into his sitting-room,cleared away the remains of his supper, and sat down to read walsham's surgery.he found it difficult.
he felt singularly nervous. when there was a sound on the stairs hejumped, and his heart beat violently. that thing in the adjoining room, which hadbeen a man and now was nothing, frightened him. the silence seemed alive, as if somemysterious movement were taking place within it; the presence of death weighedupon these rooms, unearthly and terrifying: philip felt a sudden horror for what hadonce been his friend. he tried to force himself to read, butpresently pushed away his book in despair. what troubled him was the absolute futilityof the life which had just ended.
it did not matter if cronshaw was alive ordead. it would have been just as well if he hadnever lived. philip thought of cronshaw young; and itneeded an effort of imagination to picture him slender, with a springing step, andwith hair on his head, buoyant and hopeful. philip's rule of life, to follow one'sinstincts with due regard to the policeman round the corner, had not acted very wellthere: it was because cronshaw had done this that he had made such a lamentablefailure of existence. it seemed that the instincts could not betrusted. philip was puzzled, and he asked himselfwhat rule of life was there, if that one
was useless, and why people acted in oneway rather than in another. they acted according to their emotions, buttheir emotions might be good or bad; it seemed just a chance whether they led totriumph or disaster. life seemed an inextricable confusion. men hurried hither and thither, urged byforces they knew not; and the purpose of it all escaped them; they seemed to hurry justfor hurrying's sake. next morning leonard upjohn appeared with asmall wreath of laurel. he was pleased with his idea of crowningthe dead poet with this; and attempted, notwithstanding philip's disapprovingsilence, to fix it on the bald head; but
the wreath fitted grotesquely. it looked like the brim of a hat worn by alow comedian in a music-hall. "i'll put it over his heart instead," saidupjohn. "you've put it on his stomach," remarkedphilip. upjohn gave a thin smile."only a poet knows where lies a poet's heart," he answered. they went back into the sitting-room, andphilip told him what arrangements he had made for the funeral."i hoped you've spared no expense. i should like the hearse to be followed bya long string of empty coaches, and i
should like the horses to wear tall noddingplumes, and there should be a vast number of mutes with long streamers on their hats. i like the thought of all those emptycoaches." "as the cost of the funeral will apparentlyfall on me and i'm not over flush just now, i've tried to make it as moderate aspossible." "but, my dear fellow, in that case, whydidn't you get him a pauper's funeral? there would have been something poetic inthat. you have an unerring instinct formediocrity." philip flushed a little, but did notanswer; and next day he and upjohn followed
the hearse in the one carriage which philiphad ordered. lawson, unable to come, had sent a wreath;and philip, so that the coffin should not seem too neglected, had bought a couple.on the way back the coachman whipped up his horses. philip was dog-tired and presently went tosleep. he was awakened by upjohn's voice."it's rather lucky the poems haven't come out yet. i think we'd better hold them back a bitand i'll write a preface. i began thinking of it during the drive tothe cemetery.
i believe i can do something rather good. anyhow i'll start with an article in thesaturday." philip did not reply, and there was silencebetween them. at last upjohn said: "i daresay i'd be wiser not to whittle awaymy copy. i think i'll do an article for one of thereviews, and then i can just print it afterwards as a preface." philip kept his eye on the monthlies, and afew weeks later it appeared. the article made something of a stir, andextracts from it were printed in many of
the papers. it was a very good article, vaguelybiographical, for no one knew much of cronshaw's early life, but delicate,tender, and picturesque. leonard upjohn in his intricate style drewgraceful little pictures of cronshaw in the latin quarter, talking, writing poetry:cronshaw became a picturesque figure, an english verlaine; and leonard upjohn's coloured phrases took on a tremulousdignity, a more pathetic grandiloquence, as he described the sordid end, the shabbylittle room in soho; and, with a reticence which was wholly charming and suggested a
much greater generosity than modestyallowed him to state, the efforts he made to transport the poet to some cottageembowered with honeysuckle amid a flowering orchard. and the lack of sympathy, well-meaning butso tactless, which had taken the poet instead to the vulgar respectability ofkennington! leonard upjohn described kennington withthat restrained humour which a strict adherence to the vocabulary of sir thomasbrowne necessitated. with delicate sarcasm he narrated the lastweeks, the patience with which cronshaw bore the well-meaning clumsiness of theyoung student who had appointed himself his
nurse, and the pitifulness of that divine vagabond in those hopelessly middle-classsurroundings. beauty from ashes, he quoted from isaiah. it was a triumph of irony for that outcastpoet to die amid the trappings of vulgar respectability; it reminded leonard upjohnof christ among the pharisees, and the analogy gave him opportunity for anexquisite passage. and then he told how a friend--his goodtaste did not suffer him more than to hint subtly who the friend was with suchgracious fancies--had laid a laurel wreath on the dead poet's heart; and the beautiful
dead hands had seemed to rest with avoluptuous passion upon apollo's leaves, fragrant with the fragrance of art, andmore green than jade brought by swart mariners from the manifold, inexplicablechina. and, an admirable contrast, the articleended with a description of the middle- class, ordinary, prosaic funeral of him whoshould have been buried like a prince or like a pauper. it was the crowning buffet, the finalvictory of philistia over art, beauty, and immaterial things.leonard upjohn had never written anything better.
it was a miracle of charm, grace, and pity. he printed all cronshaw's best poems in thecourse of the article, so that when the volume appeared much of its point was gone;but he advanced his own position a good deal. he was thenceforth a critic to be reckonedwith. he had seemed before a little aloof; butthere was a warm humanity about this article which was infinitely attractive. chapter lxxxvi in the spring philip, having finished hisdressing in the out-patients' department,
became an in-patients' clerk.this appointment lasted six months. the clerk spent every morning in the wards,first in the men's, then in the women's, with the house-physician; he wrote upcases, made tests, and passed the time of day with the nurses. on two afternoons a week the physician incharge went round with a little knot of students, examined the cases, and dispensedinformation. the work had not the excitement, theconstant change, the intimate contact with reality, of the work in the out-patients'department; but philip picked up a good deal of knowledge.
he got on very well with the patients, andhe was a little flattered at the pleasure they showed in his attendance on them. he was not conscious of any deep sympathyin their sufferings, but he liked them; and because he put on no airs he was morepopular with them than others of the clerks. he was pleasant, encouraging, and friendly.like everyone connected with hospitals he found that male patients were more easy toget on with than female. the women were often querulous and ill-tempered. they complained bitterly of the hard-workednurses, who did not show them the attention
they thought their right; and they weretroublesome, ungrateful, and rude. presently philip was fortunate enough tomake a friend. one morning the house-physician gave him anew case, a man; and, seating himself at the bedside, philip proceeded to write downparticulars on the 'letter.' he noticed on looking at this that thepatient was described as a journalist: his name was thorpe athelny, an unusual one fora hospital patient, and his age was forty- eight. he was suffering from a sharp attack ofjaundice, and had been taken into the ward on account of obscure symptoms which itseemed necessary to watch.
he answered the various questions which itwas philip's duty to ask him in a pleasant, educated voice. since he was lying in bed it was difficultto tell if he was short or tall, but his small head and small hands suggested thathe was a man of less than average height. philip had the habit of looking at people'shands, and athelny's astonished him: they were very small, with long, taperingfingers and beautiful, rosy finger-nails; they were very smooth and except for the jaundice would have been of a surprisingwhiteness. the patient kept them outside the bed-clothes, one of them slightly spread out,
the second and third fingers together, and,while he spoke to philip, seemed to contemplate them with satisfaction. with a twinkle in his eyes philip glancedat the man's face. notwithstanding the yellowness it wasdistinguished; he had blue eyes, a nose of an imposing boldness, hooked, aggressivebut not clumsy, and a small beard, pointed and gray: he was rather bald, but his hair had evidently been quite fine, curlingprettily, and he still wore it long. "i see you're a journalist," said philip."what papers d'you write for?" "i write for all the papers.
you cannot open a paper without seeing someof my writing." there was one by the side of the bed andreaching for it he pointed out an advertisement. in large letters was the name of a firmwell-known to philip, lynn and sedley, regent street, london; and below, in typesmaller but still of some magnitude, was the dogmatic statement: procrastination isthe thief of time. then a question, startling because of itsreasonableness: why not order today? there was a repetition, in large letters,like the hammering of conscience on a murderer's heart: why not?
then, boldly: thousands of pairs of glovesfrom the leading markets of the world at astounding prices. thousands of pairs of stockings from themost reliable manufacturers of the universe at sensational reductions. finally the question recurred, but flungnow like a challenging gauntlet in the lists: why not order today?"i'm the press representative of lynn and sedley." he gave a little wave of his beautifulhand. "to what base uses..."
philip went on asking the regulationquestions, some a mere matter of routine, others artfully devised to lead the patientto discover things which he might be expected to desire to conceal. "have you ever lived abroad?" asked philip."i was in spain for eleven years." "what were you doing there?""i was secretary of the english water company at toledo." philip remembered that clutton had spentsome months in toledo, and the journalist's answer made him look at him with moreinterest; but he felt it would be improper to show this: it was necessary to preserve
the distance between the hospital patientand the staff. when he had finished his examination hewent on to other beds. thorpe athelny's illness was not grave,and, though remaining very yellow, he soon felt much better: he stayed in bed onlybecause the physician thought he should be kept under observation till certainreactions became normal. one day, on entering the ward, philipnoticed that athelny, pencil in hand, was reading a book. he put it down when philip came to his bed."may i see what you're reading?" asked philip, who could never pass a book withoutlooking at it.
philip took it up and saw that it was avolume of spanish verse, the poems of san juan de la cruz, and as he opened it asheet of paper fell out. philip picked it up and noticed that versewas written upon it. "you're not going to tell me you've beenoccupying your leisure in writing poetry? that's a most improper proceeding in ahospital patient." "i was trying to do some translations.d'you know spanish?" "no." "well, you know all about san juan de lacruz, don't you?" "i don't indeed.""he was one of the spanish mystics.
he's one of the best poets they've everhad. i thought it would be worth whiletranslating him into english." "may i look at your translation?" "it's very rough," said athelny, but hegave it to philip with an alacrity which suggested that he was eager for him to readit. it was written in pencil, in a fine butvery peculiar handwriting, which was hard to read: it was just like black letter."doesn't it take you an awful time to write like that? it's wonderful.""i don't know why handwriting shouldn't be
beautiful."philip read the first verse: in an obscure nightwith anxious love inflamed o happy lot!forth unobserved i went, my house being now at rest... philip looked curiously at thorpe athelny.he did not know whether he felt a little shy with him or was attracted by him. he was conscious that his manner had beenslightly patronising, and he flushed as it struck him that athelny might have thoughthim ridiculous. "what an unusual name you've got," heremarked, for something to say.
"it's a very old yorkshire name. once it took the head of my family a day'shard riding to make the circuit of his estates, but the mighty are fallen.fast women and slow horses." he was short-sighted and when he spokelooked at you with a peculiar intensity. he took up his volume of poetry."you should read spanish," he said. "it is a noble tongue. it has not the mellifluousness of italian,italian is the language of tenors and organ-grinders, but it has grandeur: itdoes not ripple like a brook in a garden, but it surges tumultuous like a mightyriver in flood."
his grandiloquence amused philip, but hewas sensitive to rhetoric; and he listened with pleasure while athelny, withpicturesque expressions and the fire of a real enthusiasm, described to him the rich delight of reading don quixote in theoriginal and the music, romantic, limpid, passionate, of the enchanting calderon."i must get on with my work," said philip presently. "oh, forgive me, i forgot.i will tell my wife to bring me a photograph of toledo, and i will show ityou. come and talk to me when you have thechance.
you don't know what a pleasure it givesme." during the next few days, in momentssnatched whenever there was opportunity, philip's acquaintance with the journalistincreased. thorpe athelny was a good talker. he did not say brilliant things, but hetalked inspiringly, with an eager vividness which fired the imagination; philip, livingso much in a world of make-believe, found his fancy teeming with new pictures. athelny had very good manners. he knew much more than philip, both of theworld and of books; he was a much older
man; and the readiness of his conversationgave him a certain superiority; but he was in the hospital a recipient of charity, subject to strict rules; and he heldhimself between the two positions with ease and humour.once philip asked him why he had come to the hospital. "oh, my principle is to profit by all thebenefits that society provides. i take advantage of the age i live in. when i'm ill i get myself patched up in ahospital and i have no false shame, and i send my children to be educated at theboard-school."
"do you really?" said philip. "and a capital education they get too, muchbetter than i got at winchester. how else do you think i could educate themat all? i've got nine. you must come and see them all when i gethome again. will you?""i'd like to very much," said philip. chapter lxxxvii ten days later thorpe athelny was wellenough to leave the hospital. he gave philip his address, and philippromised to dine with him at one o'clock on
the following sunday. athelny had told him that he lived in ahouse built by inigo jones; he had raved, as he raved over everything, over thebalustrade of old oak; and when he came down to open the door for philip he made him at once admire the elegant carving ofthe lintel. it was a shabby house, badly needing a coatof paint, but with the dignity of its period, in a little street between chancerylane and holborn, which had once been fashionable but was now little better than a slum: there was a plan to pull it down inorder to put up handsome offices; meanwhile
the rents were small, and athelny was ableto get the two upper floors at a price which suited his income. philip had not seen him up before and wassurprised at his small size; he was not more than five feet and five inches high. he was dressed fantastically in blue linentrousers of the sort worn by working men in france, and a very old brown velvet coat;he wore a bright red sash round his waist, a low collar, and for tie a flowing bow of the kind used by the comic frenchman in thepages of punch. he greeted philip with enthusiasm.
he began talking at once of the house andpassed his hand lovingly over the balusters."look at it, feel it, it's like silk. what a miracle of grace! and in five years the house-breaker willsell it for firewood." he insisted on taking philip into a room onthe first floor, where a man in shirt sleeves, a blousy woman, and three childrenwere having their sunday dinner. "i've just brought this gentleman in toshow him your ceiling. did you ever see anything so wonderful?how are you, mrs. hodgson? this is mr. carey, who looked after me wheni was in the hospital."
"come in, sir," said the man."any friend of mr. athelny's is welcome. mr. athelny shows the ceiling to all hisfriends. and it don't matter what we're doing, ifwe're in bed or if i'm 'aving a wash, in 'e comes." philip could see that they looked uponathelny as a little queer; but they liked him none the less and they listened open-mouthed while he discoursed with his impetuous fluency on the beauty of theseventeenth-century ceiling. "what a crime to pull this down, eh,hodgson? you're an influential citizen, why don'tyou write to the papers and protest?"
the man in shirt sleeves gave a laugh andsaid to philip: "mr. athelny will 'ave his little joke. they do say these 'ouses are thatinsanitory, it's not safe to live in them." "sanitation be damned, give me art," criedathelny. "i've got nine children and they thrive onbad drains. no, no, i'm not going to take any risk.none of your new-fangled notions for me! when i move from here i'm going to makesure the drains are bad before i take anything."there was a knock at the door, and a little fair-haired girl opened it.
"daddy, mummy says, do stop talking andcome and eat your dinner." "this is my third daughter," said athelny,pointing to her with a dramatic forefinger. "she is called maria del pilar, but sheanswers more willingly to the name of jane. jane, your nose wants blowing.""i haven't got a hanky, daddy." "tut, tut, child," he answered, as heproduced a vast, brilliant bandanna, "what do you suppose the almighty gave youfingers for?" they went upstairs, and philip was takeninto a room with walls panelled in dark oak. in the middle was a narrow table of teak ontrestle legs, with two supporting bars of
iron, of the kind called in spain mesa dehieraje. they were to dine there, for two placeswere laid, and there were two large arm- chairs, with broad flat arms of oak andleathern backs, and leathern seats. they were severe, elegant, anduncomfortable. the only other piece of furniture was abargueno, elaborately ornamented with gilt iron-work, on a stand of ecclesiasticaldesign roughly but very finely carved. there stood on this two or three lustreplates, much broken but rich in colour; and on the walls were old masters of thespanish school in beautiful though dilapidated frames: though gruesome in
subject, ruined by age and bad treatment,and second-rate in their conception, they had a glow of passion.there was nothing in the room of any value, but the effect was lovely. it was magnificent and yet austere.philip felt that it offered the very spirit of old spain. athelny was in the middle of showing himthe inside of the bargueno, with its beautiful ornamentation and secret drawers,when a tall girl, with two plaits of bright brown hair hanging down her back, came in. "mother says dinner's ready and waiting andi'm to bring it in as soon as you sit
down.""come and shake hands with mr. carey, sally." he turned to philip."isn't she enormous? she's my eldest.how old are you, sally?" "fifteen, father, come next june." "i christened her maria del sol, becauseshe was my first child and i dedicated her to the glorious sun of castile; but hermother calls her sally and her brother pudding-face." the girl smiled shyly, she had even, whiteteeth, and blushed.
she was well set-up, tall for her age, withpleasant gray eyes and a broad forehead. she had red cheeks. "go and tell your mother to come in andshake hands with mr. carey before he sits down.""mother says she'll come in after dinner. she hasn't washed herself yet." "then we'll go in and see her ourselves.he mustn't eat the yorkshire pudding till he's shaken the hand that made it."philip followed his host into the kitchen. it was small and much overcrowded. there had been a lot of noise, but itstopped as soon as the stranger entered.
there was a large table in the middle andround it, eager for dinner, were seated athelny's children. a woman was standing at the oven, takingout baked potatoes one by one. "here's mr. carey, betty," said athelny."fancy bringing him in here. what will he think?" she wore a dirty apron, and the sleeves ofher cotton dress were turned up above her elbows; she had curling pins in her hair. mrs. athelny was a large woman, a goodthree inches taller than her husband, fair, with blue eyes and a kindly expression; shehad been a handsome creature, but advancing
years and the bearing of many children had made her fat and blousy; her blue eyes hadbecome pale, her skin was coarse and red, the colour had gone out of her hair.she straightened herself, wiped her hand on her apron, and held it out. "you're welcome, sir," she said, in a slowvoice, with an accent that seemed oddly familiar to philip."athelny said you was very kind to him in the 'orspital." "now you must be introduced to the livestock," said athelny. "that is thorpe," he pointed to a chubbyboy with curly hair, "he is my eldest son,
heir to the title, estates, andresponsibilities of the family. there is athelstan, harold, edward." he pointed with his forefinger to threesmaller boys, all rosy, healthy, and smiling, though when they felt philip'ssmiling eyes upon them they looked shyly down at their plates. "now the girls in order: maria del sol...""pudding-face," said one of the small boys. "your sense of humour is rudimentary, myson. maria de los mercedes, maria del pilar,maria de la concepcion, maria del rosario." "i call them sally, molly, connie, rosie,and jane," said mrs. athelny.
"now, athelny, you go into your own roomand i'll send you your dinner. i'll let the children come in afterwardsfor a bit when i've washed them." "my dear, if i'd had the naming of you ishould have called you maria of the soapsuds.you're always torturing these wretched brats with soap." "you go first, mr. carey, or i shall neverget him to sit down and eat his dinner." athelny and philip installed themselves inthe great monkish chairs, and sally brought them in two plates of beef, yorkshirepudding, baked potatoes, and cabbage. athelny took sixpence out of his pocket andsent her for a jug of beer.
"i hope you didn't have the table laid hereon my account," said philip. "i should have been quite happy to eat withthe children." "oh no, i always have my meals by myself.i like these antique customs. i don't think that women ought to sit downat table with men. it ruins conversation and i'm sure it'svery bad for them. it puts ideas in their heads, and women arenever at ease with themselves when they have ideas."both host and guest ate with a hearty appetite. "did you ever taste such yorkshire pudding?no one can make it like my wife.
that's the advantage of not marrying alady. you noticed she wasn't a lady, didn't you?" it was an awkward question, and philip didnot know how to answer it. "i never thought about it," he said lamely.athelny laughed. he had a peculiarly joyous laugh. "no, she's not a lady, nor anything likeit. her father was a farmer, and she's neverbothered about aitches in her life. we've had twelve children and nine of themare alive. i tell her it's about time she stopped, butshe's an obstinate woman, she's got into
the habit of it now, and i don't believeshe'll be satisfied till she's had twenty." at that moment sally came in with the beer,and, having poured out a glass for philip, went to the other side of the table to poursome out for her father. he put his hand round her waist. "did you ever see such a handsome,strapping girl? only fifteen and she might be twenty.look at her cheeks. she's never had a day's illness in herlife. it'll be a lucky man who marries her, won'tit, sally?" sally listened to all this with a slight,slow smile, not much embarrassed, for she
was accustomed to her father's outbursts,but with an easy modesty which was very attractive. "don't let your dinner get cold, father,"she said, drawing herself away from his arm."you'll call when you're ready for your pudding, won't you?" they were left alone, and athelny liftedthe pewter tankard to his lips. he drank long and deep."my word, is there anything better than english beer?" he said. "let us thank god for simple pleasures,roast beef and rice pudding, a good
appetite and beer.i was married to a lady once. my god! don't marry a lady, my boy." philip laughed. he was exhilarated by the scene, the funnylittle man in his odd clothes, the panelled room and the spanish furniture, the englishfare: the whole thing had an exquisite incongruity. "you laugh, my boy, you can't imaginemarrying beneath you. you want a wife who's an intellectualequal. your head is crammed full of ideas ofcomradeship.
stuff and nonsense, my boy! a man doesn't want to talk politics to hiswife, and what do you think i care for betty's views upon the differentialcalculus? a man wants a wife who can cook his dinnerand look after his children. i've tried both and i know.let's have the pudding in." he clapped his hands and presently sallycame. when she took away the plates, philipwanted to get up and help her, but athelny stopped him. "let her alone, my boy.she doesn't want you to fuss about, do you,
sally?and she won't think it rude of you to sit still while she waits upon you. she don't care a damn for chivalry, do you,sally?" "no, father," answered sally demurely."do you know what i'm talking about, sally?" "no, father.but you know mother doesn't like you to swear."athelny laughed boisterously. sally brought them plates of rice pudding,rich, creamy, and luscious. athelny attacked his with gusto."one of the rules of this house is that
sunday dinner should never alter. it is a ritual.roast beef and rice pudding for fifty sundays in the year.on easter sunday lamb and green peas, and at michaelmas roast goose and apple sauce. thus we preserve the traditions of ourpeople. when sally marries she will forget many ofthe wise things i have taught her, but she will never forget that if you want to begood and happy you must eat on sundays roast beef and rice pudding." "you'll call when you're ready for cheese,"said sally impassively.
"d'you know the legend of the halcyon?"said athelny: philip was growing used to his rapid leaping from one subject toanother. "when the kingfisher, flying over the sea,is exhausted, his mate places herself beneath him and bears him along upon herstronger wings. that is what a man wants in a wife, thehalcyon. i lived with my first wife for three years. she was a lady, she had fifteen hundred ayear, and we used to give nice little dinner parties in our little red brickhouse in kensington. she was a charming woman; they all said so,the barristers and their wives who dined
with us, and the literary stockbrokers, andthe budding politicians; oh, she was a charming woman. she made me go to church in a silk hat anda frock coat, she took me to classical concerts, and she was very fond of lectureson sunday afternoon; and she sat down to breakfast every morning at eight-thirty, and if i was late breakfast was cold; andshe read the right books, admired the right pictures, and adored the right music.my god, how that woman bored me! she is charming still, and she lives in thelittle red brick house in kensington, with morris papers and whistler's etchings onthe walls, and gives the same nice little
dinner parties, with veal creams and ices from gunter's, as she did twenty yearsago." philip did not ask by what means the ill-matched couple had separated, but athelny told him. "betty's not my wife, you know; my wifewouldn't divorce me. the children are bastards, every jack oneof them, and are they any the worse for that? betty was one of the maids in the littlered brick house in kensington. four or five years ago i was on my uppers,and i had seven children, and i went to my
wife and asked her to help me. she said she'd make me an allowance if i'dgive betty up and go abroad. can you see me giving betty up?we starved for a while instead. my wife said i loved the gutter. i've degenerated; i've come down in theworld; i earn three pounds a week as press agent to a linendraper, and every day ithank god that i'm not in the little red brick house in kensington." sally brought in cheddar cheese, andathelny went on with his fluent conversation.
"it's the greatest mistake in the world tothink that one needs money to bring up a family. you need money to make them gentlemen andladies, but i don't want my children to be ladies and gentlemen.sally's going to earn her living in another year. she's to be apprenticed to a dressmaker,aren't you, sally? and the boys are going to serve theircountry. i want them all to go into the navy; it's ajolly life and a healthy life, good food, good pay, and a pension to end their dayson."
philip lit his pipe. athelny smoked cigarettes of havanatobacco, which he rolled himself. sally cleared away.philip was reserved, and it embarrassed him to be the recipient of so many confidences. athelny, with his powerful voice in thediminutive body, with his bombast, with his foreign look, with his emphasis, was anastonishing creature. he reminded philip a good deal of cronshaw. he appeared to have the same independenceof thought, the same bohemianism, but he had an infinitely more vivacioustemperament; his mind was coarser, and he
had not that interest in the abstract which made cronshaw's conversation socaptivating. athelny was very proud of the county familyto which he belonged; he showed philip photographs of an elizabethan mansion, andtold him: "the athelnys have lived there for sevencenturies, my boy. ah, if you saw the chimney-pieces and theceilings!" there was a cupboard in the wainscoting andfrom this he took a family tree. he showed it to philip with child-likesatisfaction. it was indeed imposing.
"you see how the family names recur,thorpe, athelstan, harold, edward; i've used the family names for my sons.and the girls, you see, i've given spanish names to." an uneasy feeling came to philip thatpossibly the whole story was an elaborate imposture, not told with any base motive,but merely from a wish to impress, startle, and amaze. athelny had told him that he was atwinchester; but philip, sensitive to differences of manner, did not feel thathis host had the characteristics of a man educated at a great public school.
while he pointed out the great allianceswhich his ancestors had formed, philip amused himself by wondering whether athelnywas not the son of some tradesman in winchester, auctioneer or coal-merchant, and whether a similarity of surname was nothis only connection with the ancient family whose tree he was displaying. > chapter lxxxviii there was a knock at the door and a troopof children came in. they were clean and tidy, now.
their faces shone with soap, and their hairwas plastered down; they were going to sunday school under sally's charge. athelny joked with them in his dramatic,exuberant fashion, and you could see that he was devoted to them all.his pride in their good health and their good looks was touching. philip felt that they were a little shy inhis presence, and when their father sent them off they fled from the room in evidentrelief. in a few minutes mrs. athelny appeared. she had taken her hair out of the curlingpins and now wore an elaborate fringe.
she had on a plain black dress, a hat withcheap flowers, and was forcing her hands, red and coarse from much work, into blackkid gloves. "i'm going to church, athelny," she said. "there's nothing you'll be wanting, isthere?" "only your prayers, my betty.""they won't do you much good, you're too far gone for that," she smiled. then, turning to philip, she drawled: "ican't get him to go to church. he's no better than an atheist.""doesn't she look like rubens' second wife?" cried athelny.
"wouldn't she look splendid in aseventeenth-century costume? that's the sort of wife to marry, my boy.look at her." "i believe you'd talk the hind leg off adonkey, athelny," she answered calmly. she succeeded in buttoning her gloves, butbefore she went she turned to philip with a kindly, slightly embarrassed smile. "you'll stay to tea, won't you?athelny likes someone to talk to, and it's not often he gets anybody who's cleverenough." "of course he'll stay to tea," saidathelny. then when his wife had gone: "i make apoint of the children going to sunday
school, and i like betty to go to church. i think women ought to be religious.i don't believe myself, but i like women and children to."philip, strait-laced in matters of truth, was a little shocked by this airy attitude. "but how can you look on while yourchildren are being taught things which you don't think are true?""if they're beautiful i don't much mind if they're not true. it's asking a great deal that things shouldappeal to your reason as well as to your sense of the aesthetic.
i wanted betty to become a roman catholic,i should have liked to see her converted in a crown of paper flowers, but she'shopelessly protestant. besides, religion is a matter oftemperament; you will believe anything if you have the religious turn of mind, and ifyou haven't it doesn't matter what beliefs were instilled into you, you will grow outof them. perhaps religion is the best school ofmorality. it is like one of those drugs you gentlemenuse in medicine which carries another in solution: it is of no efficacy in itself,but enables the other to be absorbed. you take your morality because it iscombined with religion; you lose the
religion and the morality stays behind. a man is more likely to be a good man if hehas learned goodness through the love of god than through a perusal of herbertspencer." this was contrary to all philip's ideas. he still looked upon christianity as adegrading bondage that must be cast away at any cost; it was connected subconsciouslyin his mind with the dreary services in the cathedral at tercanbury, and the long hours of boredom in the cold church atblackstable; and the morality of which athelny spoke was to him no more than apart of the religion which a halting
intelligence preserved, when it had laid aside the beliefs which alone made itreasonable. but while he was meditating a replyathelny, more interested in hearing himself speak than in discussion, broke into atirade upon roman catholicism. for him it was an essential part of spain;and spain meant much to him, because he had escaped to it from the conventionalitywhich during his married life he had found so irksome. with large gestures and in the emphatictone which made what he said so striking, athelny described to philip the spanishcathedrals with their vast dark spaces, the
massive gold of the altar-pieces, and the sumptuous iron-work, gilt and faded, theair laden with incense, the silence: philip almost saw the canons in their shortsurplices of lawn, the acolytes in red, passing from the sacristy to the choir; he almost heard the monotonous chanting ofvespers. the names which athelny mentioned, avila,tarragona, saragossa, segovia, cordova, were like trumpets in his heart. he seemed to see the great gray piles ofgranite set in old spanish towns amid a landscape tawny, wild, and windswept.
"i've always thought i should love to go toseville," he said casually, when athelny, with one hand dramatically uplifted, pausedfor a moment. "seville!" cried athelny. "no, no, don't go there.seville: it brings to the mind girls dancing with castanets, singing in gardensby the guadalquivir, bull-fights, orange- blossom, mantillas, mantones de manila. it is the spain of comic opera andmontmartre. its facile charm can offer permanententertainment only to an intelligence which is superficial.
theophile gautier got out of seville allthat it has to offer. we who come after him can only repeat hissensations. he put large fat hands on the obvious andthere is nothing but the obvious there; and it is all finger-marked and frayed.murillo is its painter." athelny got up from his chair, walked overto the spanish cabinet, let down the front with its great gilt hinges and gorgeouslock, and displayed a series of little drawers. he took out a bundle of photographs."do you know el greco?" he asked. "oh, i remember one of the men in paris wasawfully impressed by him."
"el greco was the painter of toledo. betty couldn't find the photograph i wantedto show you. it's a picture that el greco painted of thecity he loved, and it's truer than any photograph. come and sit at the table."philip dragged his chair forward, and athelny set the photograph before him.he looked at it curiously, for a long time, in silence. he stretched out his hand for otherphotographs, and athelny passed them to he had never before seen the work of thatenigmatic master; and at the first glance
he was bothered by the arbitrary drawing:the figures were extraordinarily elongated; the heads were very small; the attitudeswere extravagant. this was not realism, and yet, and yet evenin the photographs you had the impression of a troubling reality. athelny was describing eagerly, with vividphrases, but philip only heard vaguely what he said.he was puzzled. he was curiously moved. these pictures seemed to offer some meaningto him, but he did not know what the meaning was.
there were portraits of men with large,melancholy eyes which seemed to say you knew not what; there were long monks in thefranciscan habit or in the dominican, with distraught faces, making gestures whose sense escaped you; there was an assumptionof the virgin; there was a crucifixion in which the painter by some magic of feelinghad been able to suggest that the flesh of christ's dead body was not human flesh only but divine; and there was an ascension inwhich the saviour seemed to surge up towards the empyrean and yet to stand uponthe air as steadily as though it were solid ground: the uplifted arms of the apostles,
the sweep of their draperies, theirecstatic gestures, gave an impression of exultation and of holy joy. the background of nearly all was the sky bynight, the dark night of the soul, with wild clouds swept by strange winds of helland lit luridly by an uneasy moon. "i've seen that sky in toledo over and overagain," said athelny. "i have an idea that when first el grecocame to the city it was by such a night, and it made so vehement an impression uponhim that he could never get away from it." philip remembered how clutton had beenaffected by this strange master, whose work he now saw for the first time.
he thought that clutton was the mostinteresting of all the people he had known in paris. his sardonic manner, his hostile aloofness,had made it difficult to know him; but it seemed to philip, looking back, that therehad been in him a tragic force, which sought vainly to express itself inpainting. he was a man of unusual character, mysticalafter the fashion of a time that had no leaning to mysticism, who was impatientwith life because he found himself unable to say the things which the obscureimpulses of his heart suggested. his intellect was not fashioned to the usesof the spirit.
it was not surprising that he felt a deepsympathy with the greek who had devised a new technique to express the yearnings ofhis soul. philip looked again at the series ofportraits of spanish gentlemen, with ruffles and pointed beards, their facespale against the sober black of their clothes and the darkness of the background. el greco was the painter of the soul; andthese gentlemen, wan and wasted, not by exhaustion but by restraint, with theirtortured minds, seem to walk unaware of the beauty of the world; for their eyes look only in their hearts, and they are dazzledby the glory of the unseen.
no painter has shown more pitilessly thatthe world is but a place of passage. the souls of the men he painted speak theirstrange longings through their eyes: their senses are miraculously acute, not forsounds and odours and colour, but for the very subtle sensations of the soul. the noble walks with the monkish heartwithin him, and his eyes see things which saints in their cells see too, and he isunastounded. his lips are not lips that smile. philip, silent still, returned to thephotograph of toledo, which seemed to him the most arresting picture of them all.he could not take his eyes off it.
he felt strangely that he was on thethreshold of some new discovery in life. he was tremulous with a sense of adventure. he thought for an instant of the love thathad consumed him: love seemed very trivial beside the excitement which now leaped inhis heart. the picture he looked at was a long one,with houses crowded upon a hill; in one corner a boy was holding a large map of thetown; in another was a classical figure representing the river tagus; and in thesky was the virgin surrounded by angels. it was a landscape alien to all philip'snotion, for he had lived in circles that worshipped exact realism; and yet hereagain, strangely to himself, he felt a
reality greater than any achieved by the masters in whose steps humbly he had soughtto walk. he heard athelny say that therepresentation was so precise that when the citizens of toledo came to look at thepicture they recognised their houses. the painter had painted exactly what he sawbut he had seen with the eyes of the spirit.there was something unearthly in that city of pale gray. it was a city of the soul seen by a wanlight that was neither that of night nor day.
it stood on a green hill, but of a greennot of this world, and it was surrounded by massive walls and bastions to be stormed byno machines or engines of man's invention, but by prayer and fasting, by contritesighs and by mortifications of the flesh. it was a stronghold of god. those gray houses were made of no stoneknown to masons, there was something terrifying in their aspect, and you did notknow what men might live in them. you might walk through the streets and beunamazed to find them all deserted, and yet not empty; for you felt a presenceinvisible and yet manifest to every inner sense.
it was a mystical city in which theimagination faltered like one who steps out of the light into darkness; the soul walkednaked to and fro, knowing the unknowable, and conscious strangely of experience, intimate but inexpressible, of theabsolute. and without surprise, in that blue sky,real with a reality that not the eye but the soul confesses, with its rack of lightclouds driven by strange breezes, like the cries and the sighs of lost souls, you saw the blessed virgin with a gown of red and acloak of blue, surrounded by winged angels. philip felt that the inhabitants of thatcity would have seen the apparition without
astonishment, reverent and thankful, andhave gone their ways. athelny spoke of the mystical writers ofspain, of teresa de avila, san juan de la cruz, fray luis de leon; in all of them wasthat passion for the unseen which philip felt in the pictures of el greco: they seemed to have the power to touch theincorporeal and see the invisible. they were spaniards of their age, in whomwere tremulous all the mighty exploits of a great nation: their fancies were rich withthe glories of america and the green islands of the caribbean sea; in their veins was the power that had come from age-long battling with the moor; they were
proud, for they were masters of the world;and they felt in themselves the wide distances, the tawny wastes, the snow- capped mountains of castile, the sunshineand the blue sky, and the flowering plains of andalusia. life was passionate and manifold, andbecause it offered so much they felt a restless yearning for something more;because they were human they were unsatisfied; and they threw this eager vitality of theirs into a vehement strivingafter the ineffable. athelny was not displeased to find someoneto whom he could read the translations with
which for some time he had amused hisleisure; and in his fine, vibrating voice he recited the canticle of the soul and christ her lover, the lovely poem whichbegins with the words en una noche oscura, and the noche serena of fray luis de leon. he had translated them quite simply, notwithout skill, and he had found words which at all events suggested the rough-hewngrandeur of the original. the pictures of el greco explained them,and they explained the pictures. philip had cultivated a certain disdain foridealism. he had always had a passion for life, andthe idealism he had come across seemed to
him for the most part a cowardly shrinkingfrom it. the idealist withdrew himself, because hecould not suffer the jostling of the human crowd; he had not the strength to fight andso called the battle vulgar; he was vain, and since his fellows would not take him at his own estimate, consoled himself withdespising his fellows. for philip his type was hayward, fair,languid, too fat now and rather bald, still cherishing the remains of his good looksand still delicately proposing to do exquisite things in the uncertain future; and at the back of this were whiskey andvulgar amours of the street.
it was in reaction from what haywardrepresented that philip clamoured for life as it stood; sordidness, vice, deformity,did not offend him; he declared that he wanted man in his nakedness; and he rubbed his hands when an instance came before himof meanness, cruelty, selfishness, or lust: that was the real thing. in paris he had learned that there wasneither ugliness nor beauty, but only truth: the search after beauty wassentimental. had he not painted an advertisement ofchocolat menier in a landscape in order to escape from the tyranny of prettiness?but here he seemed to divine something new.
he had been coming to it, all hesitating,for some time, but only now was conscious of the fact; he felt himself on the brinkof a discovery. he felt vaguely that here was somethingbetter than the realism which he had adored; but certainly it was not thebloodless idealism which stepped aside from life in weakness; it was too strong; it was virile; it accepted life in all itsvivacity, ugliness and beauty, squalor and heroism; it was realism still; but it wasrealism carried to some higher pitch, in which facts were transformed by the morevivid light in which they were seen. he seemed to see things more profoundlythrough the grave eyes of those dead
noblemen of castile; and the gestures ofthe saints, which at first had seemed wild and distorted, appeared to have somemysterious significance. but he could not tell what thatsignificance was. it was like a message which it was veryimportant for him to receive, but it was given him in an unknown tongue, and hecould not understand. he was always seeking for a meaning inlife, and here it seemed to him that a meaning was offered; but it was obscure andvague. he was profoundly troubled. he saw what looked like the truth as byflashes of lightning on a dark, stormy
night you might see a mountain range. he seemed to see that a man need not leavehis life to chance, but that his will was powerful; he seemed to see that self-control might be as passionate and as active as the surrender to passion; he seemed to see that the inward life might beas manifold, as varied, as rich with experience, as the life of one whoconquered realms and explored unknown lands. chapter lxxxix the conversation between philip and athelnywas broken into by a clatter up the stairs.
athelny opened the door for the childrencoming back from sunday school, and with laughter and shouting they came in. gaily he asked them what they had learned. sally appeared for a moment, withinstructions from her mother that father was to amuse the children while she got teaready; and athelny began to tell them one of hans andersen's stories. they were not shy children, and theyquickly came to the conclusion that philip was not formidable.jane came and stood by him and presently settled herself on his knees.
it was the first time that philip in hislonely life had been present in a family circle: his eyes smiled as they rested onthe fair children engrossed in the fairy tale. the life of his new friend, eccentric as itappeared at first glance, seemed now to have the beauty of perfect naturalness.sally came in once more. "now then, children, tea's ready," shesaid. jane slipped off philip's knees, and theyall went back to the kitchen. sally began to lay the cloth on the longspanish table. "mother says, shall she come and have teawith you?" she asked.
"i can give the children their tea." "tell your mother that we shall be proudand honoured if she will favour us with her company," said athelny.it seemed to philip that he could never say anything without an oratorical flourish. "then i'll lay for her," said sally.she came back again in a moment with a tray on which were a cottage loaf, a slab ofbutter, and a jar of strawberry jam. while she placed the things on the tableher father chaffed her. he said it was quite time she was walkingout; he told philip that she was very proud, and would have nothing to do withaspirants to that honour who lined up at
the door, two by two, outside the sunday school and craved the honour of escortingher home. "you do talk, father," said sally, with herslow, good-natured smile. "you wouldn't think to look at her that atailor's assistant has enlisted in the army because she would not say how d'you do tohim and an electrical engineer, an electrical engineer, mind you, has taken to drink because she refused to share herhymn-book with him in church. i shudder to think what will happen whenshe puts her hair up." "mother'll bring the tea along herself,"said sally.
"sally never pays any attention to me,"laughed athelny, looking at her with fond, proud eyes. "she goes about her business indifferent towars, revolutions, and cataclysms. what a wife she'll make to an honest man!"mrs. athelny brought in the tea. she sat down and proceeded to cut bread andbutter. it amused philip to see that she treatedher husband as though he were a child. she spread jam for him and cut up the breadand butter into convenient slices for him to eat. she had taken off her hat; and in hersunday dress, which seemed a little tight
for her, she looked like one of thefarmers' wives whom philip used to call on sometimes with his uncle when he was asmall boy. then he knew why the sound of her voice wasfamiliar to him. she spoke just like the people roundblackstable. "what part of the country d'you come from?"he asked her. "i'm a kentish woman. i come from ferne.""i thought as much. my uncle's vicar of blackstable.""that's a funny thing now," she said. "i was wondering in church just now whetheryou was any connection of mr. carey.
many's the time i've seen 'im. a cousin of mine married mr. barker ofroxley farm, over by blackstable church, and i used to go and stay there often wheni was a girl. isn't that a funny thing now?" she looked at him with a new interest, anda brightness came into her faded eyes. she asked him whether he knew ferne. it was a pretty village about ten milesacross country from blackstable, and the vicar had come over sometimes toblackstable for the harvest thanksgiving. she mentioned names of various farmers inthe neighbourhood.
she was delighted to talk again of thecountry in which her youth was spent, and it was a pleasure to her to recall scenesand people that had remained in her memory with the tenacity peculiar to her class. it gave philip a queer sensation too.a breath of the country-side seemed to be wafted into that panelled room in themiddle of london. he seemed to see the fat kentish fieldswith their stately elms; and his nostrils dilated with the scent of the air; it isladen with the salt of the north sea, and that makes it keen and sharp. philip did not leave the athelnys' till teno'clock.
the children came in to say good-night ateight and quite naturally put up their faces for philip to kiss. his heart went out to them.sally only held out her hand. "sally never kisses gentlemen till she'sseen them twice," said her father. "you must ask me again then," said philip. "you mustn't take any notice of what fathersays," remarked sally, with a smile. "she's a most self-possessed young woman,"added her parent. they had supper of bread and cheese andbeer, while mrs. athelny was putting the children to bed; and when philip went intothe kitchen to bid her good-night (she had
been sitting there, resting herself and reading the weekly despatch) she invitedhim cordially to come again. "there's always a good dinner on sundays solong as athelny's in work," she said, "and it's a charity to come and talk to him." on the following saturday philip received apostcard from athelny saying that they were expecting him to dinner next day; butfearing their means were not such that mr. athelny would desire him to accept, philipwrote back that he would only come to tea. he bought a large plum cake so that hisentertainment should cost nothing. he found the whole family glad to see him,and the cake completed his conquest of the
children. he insisted that they should all have teatogether in the kitchen, and the meal was noisy and hilarious.soon philip got into the habit of going to athelny's every sunday. he became a great favourite with thechildren, because he was simple and unaffected and because it was so plain thathe was fond of them. as soon as they heard his ring at the doorone of them popped a head out of window to make sure it was he, and then they allrushed downstairs tumultuously to let him in.
they flung themselves into his arms.at tea they fought for the privilege of sitting next to him.soon they began to call him uncle philip. athelny was very communicative, and littleby little philip learned the various stages of his life. he had followed many occupations, and itoccurred to philip that he managed to make a mess of everything he attempted. he had been on a tea plantation in ceylonand a traveller in america for italian wines; his secretaryship of the watercompany in toledo had lasted longer than any of his employments; he had been a
journalist and for some time had worked aspolice-court reporter for an evening paper; he had been sub-editor of a paper in themidlands and editor of another on the riviera. from all his occupations he had gatheredamusing anecdotes, which he told with a keen pleasure in his own powers ofentertainment. he had read a great deal, chieflydelighting in books which were unusual; and he poured forth his stores of abstruseknowledge with child-like enjoyment of the amazement of his hearers. three or four years before abject povertyhad driven him to take the job of press-
representative to a large firm of drapers;and though he felt the work unworthy his abilities, which he rated highly, the firmness of his wife and the needs of hisfamily had made him stick to it. chapter xc when he left the athelnys' philip walkeddown chancery lane and along the strand to get a 'bus at the top of parliament street. one sunday, when he had known them aboutsix weeks, he did this as usual, but he found the kennington 'bus full.it was june, but it had rained during the day and the night was raw and cold.
he walked up to piccadilly circus in orderto get a seat; the 'bus waited at the fountain, and when it arrived there seldomhad more than two or three people in it. this service ran every quarter of an hour,and he had some time to wait. he looked idly at the crowd.the public-houses were closing, and there were many people about. his mind was busy with the ideas athelnyhad the charming gift of suggesting. suddenly his heart stood still.he saw mildred. he had not thought of her for weeks. she was crossing over from the corner ofshaftesbury avenue and stopped at the
shelter till a string of cabs passed by.she was watching her opportunity and had no eyes for anything else. she wore a large black straw hat with amass of feathers on it and a black silk dress; at that time it was fashionable forwomen to wear trains; the road was clear, and mildred crossed, her skirt trailing onthe ground, and walked down piccadilly. philip, his heart beating excitedly,followed her. he did not wish to speak to her, but hewondered where she was going at that hour; he wanted to get a look at her face. she walked slowly along and turned down airstreet and so got through into regent
street.she walked up again towards the circus. philip was puzzled. he could not make out what she was doing.perhaps she was waiting for somebody, and he felt a great curiosity to know who itwas. she overtook a short man in a bowler hat,who was strolling very slowly in the same direction as herself; she gave him asidelong glance as she passed. she walked a few steps more till she cameto swan and edgar's, then stopped and waited, facing the road.when the man came up she smiled. the man stared at her for a moment, turnedaway his head, and sauntered on.
then philip understood.he was overwhelmed with horror. for a moment he felt such a weakness in hislegs that he could hardly stand; then he walked after her quickly; he touched her onthe arm. "mildred." she turned round with a violent start.he thought that she reddened, but in the obscurity he could not see very well.for a while they stood and looked at one another without speaking. at last she said:"fancy seeing you!" he did not know what to answer; he washorribly shaken; and the phrases that
chased one another through his brain seemedincredibly melodramatic. "it's awful," he gasped, almost to himself. she did not say anything more, she turnedaway from him, and looked down at the pavement.he felt that his face was distorted with misery. "isn't there anywhere we can go and talk?""i don't want to talk," she said sullenly. "leave me alone, can't you?" the thought struck him that perhaps she wasin urgent need of money and could not afford to go away at that hour."i've got a couple of sovereigns on me if
you're hard up," he blurted out. "i don't know what you mean.i was just walking along here on my way back to my lodgings.i expected to meet one of the girls from where i work." "for god's sake don't lie now," he said.then he saw that she was crying, and he repeated his question."can't we go and talk somewhere? can't i come back to your rooms?" "no, you can't do that," she sobbed."i'm not allowed to take gentlemen in there.if you like i'll met you tomorrow."
he felt certain that she would not keep anappointment. he was not going to let her go."no. you must take me somewhere now." "well, there is a room i know, but they'llcharge six shillings for it." "i don't mind that.where is it?" she gave him the address, and he called acab. they drove to a shabby street beyond thebritish museum in the neighbourhood of the gray's inn road, and she stopped the cab atthe corner. "they don't like you to drive up to thedoor," she said.
they were the first words either of themhad spoken since getting into the cab. they walked a few yards and mildred knockedthree times, sharply, at a door. philip noticed in the fanlight a cardboardon which was an announcement that apartments were to let. the door was opened quietly, and anelderly, tall woman let them in. she gave philip a stare and then spoke tomildred in an undertone. mildred led philip along a passage to aroom at the back. it was quite dark; she asked him for amatch, and lit the gas; there was no globe, and the gas flared shrilly.
philip saw that he was in a dingy littlebed-room with a suite of furniture, painted to look like pine much too large for it;the lace curtains were very dirty; the grate was hidden by a large paper fan. mildred sank on the chair which stood bythe side of the chimney-piece. philip sat on the edge of the bed.he felt ashamed. he saw now that mildred's cheeks were thickwith rouge, her eyebrows were blackened; but she looked thin and ill, and the red onher cheeks exaggerated the greenish pallor of her skin. she stared at the paper fan in a listlessfashion.
philip could not think what to say, and hehad a choking in his throat as if he were going to cry. he covered his eyes with his hands."my god, it is awful," he groaned. "i don't know what you've got to fussabout. i should have thought you'd have beenrather pleased." philip did not answer, and in a moment shebroke into a sob. "you don't think i do it because i like it,do you?" "oh, my dear," he cried."i'm so sorry, i'm so awfully sorry." "that'll do me a fat lot of good."
again philip found nothing to say.he was desperately afraid of saying anything which she might take for areproach or a sneer. "where's the baby?" he asked at last. "i've got her with me in london.i hadn't got the money to keep her on at brighton, so i had to take her.i've got a room up highbury way. i told them i was on the stage. it's a long way to have to come down to thewest end every day, but it's a rare job to find anyone who'll let to ladies at all.""wouldn't they take you back at the shop?" "i couldn't get any work to do anywhere.
i walked my legs off looking for work.i did get a job once, but i was off for a week because i was queer, and when i wentback they said they didn't want me any more. you can't blame them either, can you?them places, they can't afford to have girls that aren't strong.""you don't look very well now," said philip. "i wasn't fit to come out tonight, but icouldn't help myself, i wanted the money. i wrote to emil and told him i was broke,but he never even answered the letter." "you might have written to me."
"i didn't like to, not after what happened,and i didn't want you to know i was in difficulties.i shouldn't have been surprised if you'd just told me i'd only got what i deserved." "you don't know me very well, do you, evennow?" for a moment he remembered all the anguishhe had suffered on her account, and he was sick with the recollection of his pain. but it was no more than recollection.when he looked at her he knew that he no longer loved her.he was very sorry for her, but he was glad to be free.
watching her gravely, he asked himself whyhe had been so besotted with passion for her."you're a gentleman in every sense of the word," she said. "you're the only one i've ever met."she paused for a minute and then flushed. "i hate asking you, philip, but can youspare me anything?" "it's lucky i've got some money on me. i'm afraid i've only got two pounds."he gave her the sovereigns. "i'll pay you back, philip.""oh, that's all right," he smiled. "you needn't worry."
he had said nothing that he wanted to say. they had talked as if the whole thing werenatural; and it looked as though she would go now, back to the horror of her life, andhe would be able to do nothing to prevent it. she had got up to take the money, and theywere both standing. "am i keeping you?" she asked."i suppose you want to be getting home." "no, i'm in no hurry," he answered. "i'm glad to have a chance of sittingdown." those words, with all they implied, torehis heart, and it was dreadfully painful to
see the weary way in which she sank backinto the chair. the silence lasted so long that philip inhis embarrassment lit a cigarette. "it's very good of you not to have saidanything disagreeable to me, philip. i thought you might say i didn't know whatall." he saw that she was crying again. he remembered how she had come to him whenemil miller had deserted her and how she had wept. the recollection of her suffering and ofhis own humiliation seemed to render more overwhelming the compassion he felt now."if i could only get out of it!" she
moaned. "i hate it so.i'm unfit for the life, i'm not the sort of girl for that.i'd do anything to get away from it, i'd be a servant if i could. oh, i wish i was dead."and in pity for herself she broke down now completely.she sobbed hysterically, and her thin body was shaken. "oh, you don't know what it is.nobody knows till they've done it." philip could not bear to see her cry.he was tortured by the horror of her
position. "poor child," he whispered."poor child." he was deeply moved.suddenly he had an inspiration. it filled him with a perfect ecstasy ofhappiness. "look here, if you want to get away fromit, i've got an idea. i'm frightfully hard up just now, i've gotto be as economical as i can; but i've got a sort of little flat now in kennington andi've got a spare room. if you like you and the baby can come andlive there. i pay a woman three and sixpence a week tokeep the place clean and to do a little
cooking for me. you could do that and your food wouldn'tcome to much more than the money i should save on her. it doesn't cost any more to feed two thanone, and i don't suppose the baby eats much."she stopped crying and looked at him. "d'you mean to say that you could take meback after all that's happened?" philip flushed a little in embarrassment atwhat he had to say. "i don't want you to mistake me. i'm just giving you a room which doesn'tcost me anything and your food.
i don't expect anything more from you thanthat you should do exactly the same as the woman i have in does. except for that i don't want anything fromyou at all. i daresay you can cook well enough forthat." she sprang to her feet and was about tocome towards him. "you are good to me, philip." "no, please stop where you are," he saidhurriedly, putting out his hand as though to push her away. he did not know why it was, but he couldnot bear the thought that she should touch
him."i don't want to be anything more than a friend to you." "you are good to me," she repeated."you are good to me." "does that mean you'll come?""oh, yes, i'd do anything to get away from this. you'll never regret what you've done,philip, never. when can i come, philip?""you'd better come tomorrow." suddenly she burst into tears again. "what on earth are you crying for now?" hesmiled.
"i'm so grateful to you.i don't know how i can ever make it up to you?" "oh, that's all right.you'd better go home now." he wrote out the address and told her thatif she came at half past five he would be ready for her. it was so late that he had to walk home,but it did not seem a long way, for he was intoxicated with delight; he seemed to walkon air. chapter xci next day he got up early to make the roomready for mildred.
he told the woman who had looked after himthat he would not want her any more. mildred came about six, and philip, who waswatching from the window, went down to let her in and help her to bring up theluggage: it consisted now of no more than three large parcels wrapped in brown paper, for she had been obliged to sell everythingthat was not absolutely needful. she wore the same black silk dress she hadworn the night before, and, though she had now no rouge on her cheeks, there was stillabout her eyes the black which remained after a perfunctory wash in the morning: itmade her look very ill. she was a pathetic figure as she steppedout of the cab with the baby in her arms.
she seemed a little shy, and they foundnothing but commonplace things to say to one another."so you've got here all right." "i've never lived in this part of londonbefore." philip showed her the room.it was that in which cronshaw had died. philip, though he thought it absurd, hadnever liked the idea of going back to it; and since cronshaw's death he had remainedin the little room, sleeping on a fold-up bed, into which he had first moved in orderto make his friend comfortable. the baby was sleeping placidly."you don't recognise her, i expect," said mildred.
"i've not seen her since we took her downto brighton." "where shall i put her?she's so heavy i can't carry her very long." "i'm afraid i haven't got a cradle," saidphilip, with a nervous laugh. "oh, she'll sleep with me.she always does." mildred put the baby in an arm-chair andlooked round the room. she recognised most of the things which shehad known in his old diggings. only one thing was new, a head andshoulders of philip which lawson had painted at the end of the preceding summer;it hung over the chimney-piece; mildred
looked at it critically. "in some ways i like it and in some ways idon't. i think you're better looking than that.""things are looking up," laughed philip. "you've never told me i was good-lookingbefore." "i'm not one to worry myself about a man'slooks. i don't like good-looking men. they're too conceited for me."her eyes travelled round the room in an instinctive search for a looking-glass, butthere was none; she put up her hand and patted her large fringe.
"what'll the other people in the house sayto my being here?" she asked suddenly. "oh, there's only a man and his wife livinghere. he's out all day, and i never see herexcept on saturday to pay my rent. they keep entirely to themselves.i've not spoken two words to either of them since i came." mildred went into the bedroom to undo herthings and put them away. philip tried to read, but his spirits weretoo high: he leaned back in his chair, smoking a cigarette, and with smiling eyeslooked at the sleeping child. he felt very happy.
he was quite sure that he was not at all inlove with mildred. he was surprised that the old feeling hadleft him so completely; he discerned in himself a faint physical repulsion fromher; and he thought that if he touched her it would give him goose-flesh. he could not understand himself.presently, knocking at the door, she came in again."i say, you needn't knock," he said. "have you made the tour of the mansion?" "it's the smallest kitchen i've ever seen.""you'll find it large enough to cook our sumptuous repasts," he retorted lightly."i see there's nothing in.
i'd better go out and get something." "yes, but i venture to remind you that wemust be devilish economical." "what shall i get for supper?""you'd better get what you think you can cook," laughed philip. he gave her some money and she went out.she came in half an hour later and put her purchases on the table.she was out of breath from climbing the stairs. "i say, you are anaemic," said philip."i'll have to dose you with blaud's pills." "it took me some time to find the shops.i bought some liver.
that's tasty, isn't it? and you can't eat much of it, so it's moreeconomical than butcher's meat." there was a gas stove in the kitchen, andwhen she had put the liver on, mildred came into the sitting-room to lay the cloth. "why are you only laying one place?" askedphilip. "aren't you going to eat anything?"mildred flushed. "i thought you mightn't like me to have mymeals with you." "why on earth not?""well, i'm only a servant, aren't i?" "don't be an ass.
how can you be so silly?"he smiled, but her humility gave him a curious twist in his heart.poor thing! he remembered what she had been when firsthe knew her. he hesitated for an instant."don't think i'm conferring any benefit on you," he said. "it's simply a business arrangement, i'mgiving you board and lodging in return for your work.you don't owe me anything. and there's nothing humiliating to you init." she did not answer, but tears rolledheavily down her cheeks.
philip knew from his experience at thehospital that women of her class looked upon service as degrading: he could nothelp feeling a little impatient with her; but he blamed himself, for it was clearthat she was tired and ill. he got up and helped her to lay anotherplace at the table. the baby was awake now, and mildred hadprepared some mellin's food for it. the liver and bacon were ready and they satdown. for economy's sake philip had given updrinking anything but water, but he had in the house a half a bottle of whiskey, andhe thought a little would do mildred good. he did his best to make the supper passcheerfully, but mildred was subdued and
exhausted.when they had finished she got up to put the baby to bed. "i think you'll do well to turn in earlyyourself," said philip. "you look absolute done up.""i think i will after i've washed up." philip lit his pipe and began to read. it was pleasant to hear somebody movingabout in the next room. sometimes his loneliness had oppressed him. mildred came in to clear the table, and heheard the clatter of plates as she washed up.
philip smiled as he thought howcharacteristic it was of her that she should do all that in a black silk dress.but he had work to do, and he brought his book up to the table. he was reading osler's medicine, which hadrecently taken the place in the students' favour of taylor's work, for many years thetext-book most in use. presently mildred came in, rolling down hersleeves. philip gave her a casual glance, but didnot move; the occasion was curious, and he felt a little nervous. he feared that mildred might imagine he wasgoing to make a nuisance of himself, and he
did not quite know how without brutality toreassure her. "by the way, i've got a lecture at nine, soi should want breakfast at a quarter past eight.can you manage that?" "oh, yes. why, when i was in parliament street i usedto catch the eight-twelve from herne hill every morning.""i hope you'll find your room comfortable. you'll be a different woman tomorrow aftera long night in bed." "i suppose you work till late?""i generally work till about eleven or half-past."
"i'll say good-night then.""good-night." the table was between them.he did not offer to shake hands with her. she shut the door quietly. he heard her moving about in the bed-room,and in a little while he heard the creaking of the bed as she got in. chapter xcii the following day was tuesday.philip as usual hurried through his breakfast and dashed off to get to hislecture at nine. he had only time to exchange a few wordswith mildred.
when he came back in the evening he foundher seated at the window, darning his socks. "i say, you are industrious," he smiled."what have you been doing with yourself all day?""oh, i gave the place a good cleaning and then i took baby out for a little." she was wearing an old black dress, thesame as she had worn as uniform when she served in the tea-shop; it was shabby, butshe looked better in it than in the silk of the day before. the baby was sitting on the floor.she looked up at philip with large,
mysterious eyes and broke into a laugh whenhe sat down beside her and began playing with her bare toes. the afternoon sun came into the room andshed a mellow light. "it's rather jolly to come back and findsomeone about the place. a woman and a baby make very gooddecoration in a room." he had gone to the hospital dispensary andgot a bottle of blaud's pills, he gave them to mildred and told her she must take themafter each meal. it was a remedy she was used to, for shehad taken it off and on ever since she was sixteen."i'm sure lawson would love that green skin
of yours," said philip. "he'd say it was so paintable, but i'mterribly matter of fact nowadays, and i shan't be happy till you're as pink andwhite as a milkmaid." "i feel better already." after a frugal supper philip filled hispouch with tobacco and put on his hat. it was on tuesdays that he generally wentto the tavern in beak street, and he was glad that this day came so soon aftermildred's arrival, for he wanted to make his relations with her perfectly clear. "are you going out?" she said."yes, on tuesdays i give myself a night
off.i shall see you tomorrow. good-night." philip always went to the tavern with asense of pleasure. macalister, the philosophic stockbroker,was generally there and glad to argue upon any subject under the sun; hayward cameregularly when he was in london; and though he and macalister disliked one another they continued out of habit to meet on that oneevening in the week. macalister thought hayward a poor creature,and sneered at his delicacies of sentiment: he asked satirically about hayward'sliterary work and received with scornful
smiles his vague suggestions of future masterpieces; their arguments were oftenheated; but the punch was good, and they were both fond of it; towards the end ofthe evening they generally composed their differences and thought each other capitalfellows. this evening philip found them both there,and lawson also; lawson came more seldom now that he was beginning to know people inlondon and went out to dinner a good deal. they were all on excellent terms withthemselves, for macalister had given them a good thing on the stock exchange, andhayward and lawson had made fifty pounds apiece.
it was a great thing for lawson, who wasextravagant and earned little money: he had arrived at that stage of the portrait-painter's career when he was noticed a good deal by the critics and found a number of aristocratic ladies who were willing toallow him to paint them for nothing (it advertised them both, and gave the greatladies quite an air of patronesses of the arts); but he very seldom got hold of the solid philistine who was ready to pay goodmoney for a portrait of his wife. lawson was brimming over with satisfaction."it's the most ripping way of making money that i've ever struck," he cried.
"i didn't have to put my hand in my pocketfor sixpence." "you lost something by not being here lasttuesday, young man," said macalister to "my god, why didn't you write to me?" saidphilip. "if you only knew how useful a hundredpounds would be to me." "oh, there wasn't time for that. one has to be on the spot. i heard of a good thing last tuesday, and iasked these fellows if they'd like to have a flutter, i bought them a thousand shareson wednesday morning, and there was a rise in the afternoon so i sold them at once.
i made fifty pounds for each of them and acouple of hundred for myself." philip was sick with envy. he had recently sold the last mortgage inwhich his small fortune had been invested and now had only six hundred pounds left.he was panic-stricken sometimes when he thought of the future. he had still to keep himself for two yearsbefore he could be qualified, and then he meant to try for hospital appointments, sothat he could not expect to earn anything for three years at least. with the most rigid economy he would nothave more than a hundred pounds left then.
it was very little to have as a stand-by incase he was ill and could not earn money or found himself at any time without work. a lucky gamble would make all thedifference to him. "oh, well, it doesn't matter," saidmacalister. "something is sure to turn up soon. there'll be a boom in south africans againone of these days, and then i'll see what i can do for you." macalister was in the kaffir market andoften told them stories of the sudden fortunes that had been made in the greatboom of a year or two back.
"well, don't forget next time." they sat on talking till nearly midnight,and philip, who lived furthest off, was the first to go.if he did not catch the last tram he had to walk, and that made him very late. as it was he did not reach home till nearlyhalf past twelve. when he got upstairs he was surprised tofind mildred still sitting in his arm- chair. "why on earth aren't you in bed?" he cried."i wasn't sleepy." "you ought to go to bed all the same.it would rest you."
she did not move. he noticed that since supper she hadchanged into her black silk dress. "i thought i'd rather wait up for you incase you wanted anything." she looked at him, and the shadow of asmile played upon her thin pale lips. philip was not sure whether he understoodor not. he was slightly embarrassed, but assumed acheerful, matter-of-fact air. "it's very nice of you, but it's verynaughty also. run off to bed as fast as you can, or youwon't be able to get up tomorrow morning." "i don't feel like going to bed.""nonsense," he said coldly.
she got up, a little sulkily, and went intoher room. he smiled when he heard her lock the doorloudly. the next few days passed without incident. mildred settled down in her newsurroundings. when philip hurried off after breakfast shehad the whole morning to do the housework. they ate very simply, but she liked to takea long time to buy the few things they needed; she could not be bothered to cookanything for her dinner, but made herself some cocoa and ate bread and butter; then she took the baby out in the gocart, andwhen she came in spent the rest of the
afternoon in idleness.she was tired out, and it suited her to do so little. she made friends with philip's forbiddinglandlady over the rent, which he left with mildred to pay, and within a week was ableto tell him more about his neighbours than he had learned in a year. "she's a very nice woman," said mildred."quite the lady. i told her we was married.""d'you think that was necessary?" "well, i had to tell her something. it looks so funny me being here and notmarried to you.
i didn't know what she'd think of me.""i don't suppose she believed you for a moment." "that she did, i lay. i told her we'd been married two years--ihad to say that, you know, because of baby- -only your people wouldn't hear of it,because you was only a student"--she pronounced it stoodent--"and so we had to keep it a secret, but they'd given way nowand we were all going down to stay with them in the summer.""you're a past mistress of the cock-and- bull story," said philip.
he was vaguely irritated that mildred stillhad this passion for telling fibs. in the last two years she had learntnothing. but he shrugged his shoulders. "when all's said and done," he reflected,"she hasn't had much chance." it was a beautiful evening, warm andcloudless, and the people of south london seemed to have poured out into the streets. there was that restlessness in the airwhich seizes the cockney sometimes when a turn in the weather calls him into theopen. after mildred had cleared away the suppershe went and stood at the window.
the street noises came up to them, noisesof people calling to one another, of the passing traffic, of a barrel-organ in thedistance. "i suppose you must work tonight, philip?"she asked him, with a wistful expression. "i ought, but i don't know that i must.why, d'you want me to do anything else?" "i'd like to go out for a bit. couldn't we take a ride on the top of atram?" "if you like.""i'll just go and put on my hat," she said joyfully. the night made it almost impossible to stayindoors.
the baby was asleep and could be safelyleft; mildred said she had always left it alone at night when she went out; it neverwoke. she was in high spirits when she came backwith her hat on. she had taken the opportunity to put on alittle rouge. philip thought it was excitement which hadbrought a faint colour to her pale cheeks; he was touched by her child-like delight,and reproached himself for the austerity with which he had treated her. she laughed when she got out into the air.the first tram they saw was going towards westminster bridge and they got on it.philip smoked his pipe, and they looked at
the crowded street. the shops were open, gaily lit, and peoplewere doing their shopping for the next day. they passed a music-hall called thecanterbury and mildred cried out: "oh, philip, do let's go there. i haven't been to a music-hall for months.""we can't afford stalls, you know." "oh, i don't mind, i shall be quite happyin the gallery." they got down and walked back a hundredyards till they came to the doors. they got capital seats for sixpence each,high up but not in the gallery, and the night was so fine that there was plenty ofroom.
mildred's eyes glistened. she enjoyed herself thoroughly.there was a simple-mindedness in her which touched philip.she was a puzzle to him. certain things in her still pleased him,and he thought that there was a lot in her which was very good: she had been badlybrought up, and her life was hard; he had blamed her for much that she could not help; and it was his own fault if he hadasked virtues from her which it was not in her power to give.under different circumstances she might have been a charming girl.
she was extraordinarily unfit for thebattle of life. as he watched her now in profile, her mouthslightly open and that delicate flush on her cheeks, he thought she looked strangelyvirginal. he felt an overwhelming compassion for her,and with all his heart he forgave her for the misery she had caused him. the smoky atmosphere made philip's eyesache, but when he suggested going she turned to him with beseeching face andasked him to stay till the end. he smiled and consented. she took his hand and held it for the restof the performance.
when they streamed out with the audienceinto the crowded street she did not want to go home; they wandered up the westminsterbridge road, looking at the people. "i've not had such a good time as this formonths," she said. philip's heart was full, and he wasthankful to the fates because he had carried out his sudden impulse to takemildred and her baby into his flat. it was very pleasant to see her happygratitude. at last she grew tired and they jumped on atram to go home; it was late now, and when they got down and turned into their ownstreet there was no one about. mildred slipped her arm through his.
"it's just like old times, phil," she said.she had never called him phil before, that was what griffiths called him; and even nowit gave him a curious pang. he remembered how much he had wanted to diethen; his pain had been so great that he had thought quite seriously of committingsuicide. it all seemed very long ago. he smiled at his past self.now he felt nothing for mildred but infinite pity.they reached the house, and when they got into the sitting-room philip lit the gas. "is the baby all right?" he asked."i'll just go in and see."
when she came back it was to say that ithad not stirred since she left it. it was a wonderful child. philip held out his hand."well, good-night." "d'you want to go to bed already?""it's nearly one. i'm not used to late hours these days,"said philip. she took his hand and holding it lookedinto his eyes with a little smile. "phil, the other night in that room, whenyou asked me to come and stay here, i didn't mean what you thought i meant, whenyou said you didn't want me to be anything to you except just to cook and that sort ofthing."
"didn't you?" answered philip, withdrawinghis hand. "i did." "don't be such an old silly," she laughed.he shook his head. "i meant it quite seriously.i shouldn't have asked you to stay here on any other condition." "why not?""i feel i couldn't. i can't explain it, but it would spoil itall." she shrugged her shoulders. "oh, very well, it's just as you choose.i'm not one to go down on my hands and
knees for that, and chance it."she went out, slamming the door behind her. chapter xciii next morning mildred was sulky andtaciturn. she remained in her room till it was timeto get the dinner ready. she was a bad cook and could do little morethan chops and steaks; and she did not know how to use up odds and ends, so that philipwas obliged to spend more money than he had expected. when she served up she sat down oppositephilip, but would eat nothing; he remarked on it; she said she had a bad headache andwas not hungry.
he was glad that he had somewhere to spendthe rest of the day; the athelnys were cheerful and friendly. it was a delightful and an unexpected thingto realise that everyone in that household looked forward with pleasure to his visit.mildred had gone to bed when he came back, but next day she was still silent. at supper she sat with a haughty expressionon her face and a little frown between her eyes. it made philip impatient, but he toldhimself that he must be considerate to her; he was bound to make allowance."you're very silent," he said, with a
pleasant smile. "i'm paid to cook and clean, i didn't knowi was expected to talk as well." he thought it an ungracious answer, but ifthey were going to live together he must do all he could to make things go easily. "i'm afraid you're cross with me about theother night," he said. it was an awkward thing to speak about, butapparently it was necessary to discuss it. "i don't know what you mean," she answered. "please don't be angry with me.i should never have asked you to come and live here if i'd not meant our relations tobe merely friendly.
i suggested it because i thought you wanteda home and you would have a chance of looking about for something to do.""oh, don't think i care." "i don't for a moment," he hastened to say. "you mustn't think i'm ungrateful.i realise that you only proposed it for my sake. it's just a feeling i have, and i can'thelp it, it would make the whole thing ugly and horrid.""you are funny," she said, looking at him curiously. "i can't make you out."
she was not angry with him now, butpuzzled; she had no idea what he meant: she accepted the situation, she had indeed avague feeling that he was behaving in a very noble fashion and that she ought to admire it; but also she felt inclined tolaugh at him and perhaps even to despise him a little."he's a rum customer," she thought. life went smoothly enough with them. philip spent all day at the hospital andworked at home in the evening except when he went to the athelnys' or to the tavernin beak street. once the physician for whom he clerkedasked him to a solemn dinner, and two or
three times he went to parties given byfellow-students. mildred accepted the monotony of her life. if she minded that philip left hersometimes by herself in the evening she never mentioned it.occasionally he took her to a music hall. he carried out his intention that the onlytie between them should be the domestic service she did in return for board andlodging. she had made up her mind that it was no usetrying to get work that summer, and with philip's approval determined to stay whereshe was till the autumn. she thought it would be easy to getsomething to do then.
"as far as i'm concerned you can stay onhere when you've got a job if it's convenient. the room's there, and the woman who did forme before can come in to look after the baby."he grew very much attached to mildred's child. he had a naturally affectionatedisposition, which had had little opportunity to display itself.mildred was not unkind to the little girl. she looked after her very well and oncewhen she had a bad cold proved herself a devoted nurse; but the child bored her, andshe spoke to her sharply when she bothered;
she was fond of her, but had not the maternal passion which might have inducedher to forget herself. mildred had no demonstrativeness, and shefound the manifestations of affection ridiculous. when philip sat with the baby on his knees,playing with it and kissing it, she laughed at him."you couldn't make more fuss of her if you was her father," she said. "you're perfectly silly with the child."philip flushed, for he hated to be laughed at.
it was absurd to be so devoted to anotherman's baby, and he was a little ashamed of the overflowing of his heart. but the child, feeling philip's attachment,would put her face against his or nestle in his arms."it's all very fine for you," said mildred. "you don't have any of the disagreeablepart of it. how would you like being kept awake for anhour in the middle of the night because her ladyship wouldn't go to sleep?" philip remembered all sorts of things ofhis childhood which he thought he had long forgotten.he took hold of the baby's toes.
"this little pig went to market, thislittle pig stayed at home." when he came home in the evening andentered the sitting-room his first glance was for the baby sprawling on the floor,and it gave him a little thrill of delight to hear the child's crow of pleasure atseeing him. mildred taught her to call him daddy, andwhen the child did this for the first time of her own accord, laughed immoderately. "i wonder if you're that stuck on babybecause she's mine," asked mildred, "or if you'd be the same with anybody's baby.""i've never known anybody else's baby, so i can't say," said philip.
towards the end of his second term as in-patients' clerk a piece of good fortune befell philip.it was the middle of july. he went one tuesday evening to the tavernin beak street and found nobody there but macalister. they sat together, chatting about theirabsent friends, and after a while macalister said to him: "oh, by the way, i heard of a rather goodthing today, new kleinfonteins; it's a gold mine in rhodesia.if you'd like to have a flutter you might make a bit."
philip had been waiting anxiously for suchan opportunity, but now that it came he hesitated.he was desperately afraid of losing money. he had little of the gambler's spirit. "i'd love to, but i don't know if i darerisk it. how much could i lose if things wentwrong?" "i shouldn't have spoken of it, only youseemed so keen about it," macalister answered coldly.philip felt that macalister looked upon him as rather a donkey. "i'm awfully keen on making a bit," helaughed.
"you can't make money unless you'reprepared to risk money." macalister began to talk of other thingsand philip, while he was answering him, kept thinking that if the venture turnedout well the stockbroker would be very facetious at his expense next time theymet. macalister had a sarcastic tongue."i think i will have a flutter if you don't mind," said philip anxiously. "all right.i'll buy you two hundred and fifty shares and if i see a half-crown rise i'll sellthem at once." philip quickly reckoned out how much thatwould amount to, and his mouth watered;
thirty pounds would be a godsend just then,and he thought the fates owed him something. he told mildred what he had done when hesaw her at breakfast next morning. she thought him very silly."i never knew anyone who made money on the stock exchange," she said. "that's what emil always said, you can'texpect to make money on the stock exchange, he said." philip bought an evening paper on his wayhome and turned at once to the money columns.
he knew nothing about these things and haddifficulty in finding the stock which macalister had spoken of.he saw they had advanced a quarter. his heart leaped, and then he felt sickwith apprehension in case macalister had forgotten or for some reason had notbought. macalister had promised to telegraph. philip could not wait to take a tram home.he jumped into a cab. it was an unwonted extravagance."is there a telegram for me?" he said, as he burst in. "no," said mildred.his face fell, and in bitter disappointment
he sank heavily into a chair."then he didn't buy them for me after all. curse him," he added violently. "what cruel luck!and i've been thinking all day of what i'd do with the money.""why, what were you going to do?" she asked. "what's the good of thinking about thatnow? oh, i wanted the money so badly."she gave a laugh and handed him a telegram. "i was only having a joke with you. i opened it."he tore it out of her hands.
macalister had bought him two hundred andfifty shares and sold them at the half- crown profit he had suggested. the commission note was to follow next day.for one moment philip was furious with mildred for her cruel jest, but then hecould only think of his joy. "it makes such a difference to me," hecried. "i'll stand you a new dress if you like.""i want it badly enough," she answered. "i'll tell you what i'm going to do. i'm going to be operated upon at the end ofjuly." "why, have you got something the matterwith you?" she interrupted.
it struck her that an illness she did notknow might explain what had so much puzzled her.he flushed, for he hated to refer to his deformity. "no, but they think they can do somethingto my foot. i couldn't spare the time before, but nowit doesn't matter so much. i shall start my dressing in octoberinstead of next month. i shall only be in hospital a few weeks andthen we can go away to the seaside for the rest of the summer. it'll do us all good, you and the baby andme."
"oh, let's go to brighton, philip, i likebrighton, you get such a nice class of people there." philip had vaguely thought of some littlefishing village in cornwall, but as she spoke it occurred to him that mildred wouldbe bored to death there. "i don't mind where we go as long as i getthe sea." he did not know why, but he had suddenly anirresistible longing for the sea. he wanted to bathe, and he thought withdelight of splashing about in the salt water.he was a good swimmer, and nothing exhilarated him like a rough sea.
"i say, it will be jolly," he cried."it'll be like a honeymoon, won't it?" she said."how much can i have for my new dress, phil?" chapter xciv philip asked mr. jacobs, the assistant-surgeon for whom he had dressed, to do the operation. jacobs accepted with pleasure, since he wasinterested just then in neglected talipes and was getting together materials for apaper. he warned philip that he could not make hisfoot like the other, but he thought he
could do a good deal; and though he wouldalways limp he would be able to wear a boot less unsightly than that which he had beenaccustomed to. philip remembered how he had prayed to agod who was able to remove mountains for him who had faith, and he smiled bitterly. "i don't expect a miracle," he answered."i think you're wise to let me try what i can do.you'll find a club-foot rather a handicap in practice. the layman is full of fads, and he doesn'tlike his doctor to have anything the matter with him."
philip went into a 'small ward', which wasa room on the landing, outside each ward, reserved for special cases. he remained there a month, for the surgeonwould not let him go till he could walk; and, bearing the operation very well, hehad a pleasant enough time. lawson and athelny came to see him, and oneday mrs. athelny brought two of her children; students whom he knew looked innow and again to have a chat; mildred came twice a week. everyone was very kind to him, and philip,always surprised when anyone took trouble with him, was touched and grateful.
he enjoyed the relief from care; he neednot worry there about the future, neither whether his money would last out norwhether he would pass his final examinations; and he could read to hisheart's content. he had not been able to read much of late,since mildred disturbed him: she would make an aimless remark when he was trying toconcentrate his attention, and would not be satisfied unless he answered; whenever he was comfortably settled down with a bookshe would want something done and would come to him with a cork she could not drawor a hammer to drive in a nail. they settled to go to brighton in august.
philip wanted to take lodgings, but mildredsaid that she would have to do housekeeping, and it would only be aholiday for her if they went to a boarding- house. "i have to see about the food every day athome, i get that sick of it i want a thorough change." philip agreed, and it happened that mildredknew of a boarding-house at kemp town where they would not be charged more than twenty-five shillings a week each. she arranged with philip to write aboutrooms, but when he got back to kennington he found that she had done nothing.he was irritated.
"i shouldn't have thought you had so muchto do as all that," he said. "well, i can't think of everything.it's not my fault if i forget, is it?" philip was so anxious to get to the seathat he would not wait to communicate with the mistress of the boarding-house. "we'll leave the luggage at the station andgo to the house and see if they've got rooms, and if they have we can just send anoutside porter for our traps." "you can please yourself," said mildredstiffly. she did not like being reproached, and,retiring huffily into a haughty silence, she sat by listlessly while philip made thepreparations for their departure.
the little flat was hot and stuffy underthe august sun, and from the road beat up a malodorous sultriness. as he lay in his bed in the small ward withits red, distempered walls he had longed for fresh air and the splashing of the seaagainst his breast. he felt he would go mad if he had to spendanother night in london. mildred recovered her good temper when shesaw the streets of brighton crowded with people making holiday, and they were bothin high spirits as they drove out to kemp town. philip stroked the baby's cheek."we shall get a very different colour into
them when we've been down here a few days,"he said, smiling. they arrived at the boarding-house anddismissed the cab. an untidy maid opened the door and, whenphilip asked if they had rooms, said she would inquire. she fetched her mistress.a middle-aged woman, stout and business- like, came downstairs, gave them thescrutinising glance of her profession, and asked what accommodation they required. "two single rooms, and if you've got such athing we'd rather like a cot in one of them.""i'm afraid i haven't got that.
i've got one nice large double room, and icould let you have a cot." "i don't think that would do," said philip."i could give you another room next week. brighton's very full just now, and peoplehave to take what they can get." "if it were only for a few days, philip, ithink we might be able to manage," said "i think two rooms would be moreconvenient. can you recommend any other place wherethey take boarders?" "i can, but i don't suppose they'd haveroom any more than i have." "perhaps you wouldn't mind giving me theaddress." the house the stout woman suggested was inthe next street, and they walked towards
it.philip could walk quite well, though he had to lean on a stick, and he was rather weak. mildred carried the baby.they went for a little in silence, and then he saw she was crying.it annoyed him, and he took no notice, but she forced his attention. "lend me a hanky, will you?i can't get at mine with baby," she said in a voice strangled with sobs, turning herhead away from him. he gave her his handkerchief, but saidnothing. she dried her eyes, and as he did notspeak, went on.
"i might be poisonous." "please don't make a scene in the street,"he said. "it'll look so funny insisting on separaterooms like that. what'll they think of us?" "if they knew the circumstances i imaginethey'd think us surprisingly moral," said philip.she gave him a sidelong glance. "you're not going to give it away thatwe're not married?" she asked quickly. "no.""why won't you live with me as if we were married then?"
"my dear, i can't explain.i don't want to humiliate you, but i simply can't.i daresay it's very silly and unreasonable, but it's stronger than i am. i loved you so much that now..." he brokeoff. "after all, there's no accounting for thatsort of thing." "a fat lot you must have loved me!" sheexclaimed. the boarding-house to which they had beendirected was kept by a bustling maiden lady, with shrewd eyes and voluble speech. they could have one double room for twenty-five shillings a week each, and five
shillings extra for the baby, or they couldhave two single rooms for a pound a week "i have to charge that much more," thewoman explained apologetically, "because if i'm pushed to it i can put two beds even inthe single rooms." "i daresay that won't ruin us. what do you think, mildred?""oh, i don't mind. anything's good enough for me," sheanswered. philip passed off her sulky reply with alaugh, and, the landlady having arranged to send for their luggage, they sat down torest themselves. philip's foot was hurting him a little, andhe was glad to put it up on a chair.
"i suppose you don't mind my sitting in thesame room with you," said mildred aggressively. "don't let's quarrel, mildred," he saidgently. "i didn't know you was so well off youcould afford to throw away a pound a week." "don't be angry with me. i assure you it's the only way we can livetogether at all." "i suppose you despise me, that's it.""of course i don't. why should i?" "it's so unnatural.""is it?
you're not in love with me, are you?""me? who d'you take me for?" "it's not as if you were a very passionatewoman, you're not that." "it's so humiliating," she said sulkily."oh, i wouldn't fuss about that if i were you." there were about a dozen people in theboarding-house. they ate in a narrow, dark room at a longtable, at the head of which the landlady sat and carved. the food was bad. the landlady called it french cooking, bywhich she meant that the poor quality of
the materials was disguised by ill-madesauces: plaice masqueraded as sole and new zealand mutton as lamb. the kitchen was small and inconvenient, sothat everything was served up lukewarm. the people were dull and pretentious; oldladies with elderly maiden daughters; funny old bachelors with mincing ways; pale-faced, middle-aged clerks with wives, who talked of their married daughters and their sons who were in a very good position inthe colonies. at table they discussed miss corelli'slatest novel; some of them liked lord leighton better than mr. alma-tadema, andsome of them liked mr. alma-tadema better
than lord leighton. mildred soon told the ladies of herromantic marriage with philip; and he found himself an object of interest because hisfamily, county people in a very good position, had cut him off with a shilling because he married while he was only astoodent; and mildred's father, who had a large place down devonshire way, wouldn'tdo anything for them because she had married philip. that was why they had come to a boarding-house and had not a nurse for the baby; but they had to have two rooms because theywere both used to a good deal of
accommodation and they didn't care to becramped. the other visitors also had explanations oftheir presence: one of the single gentlemen generally went to the metropole for hisholiday, but he liked cheerful company and you couldn't get that at one of those expensive hotels; and the old lady with themiddle-aged daughter was having her beautiful house in london done up and shesaid to her daughter: "gwennie, my dear, we must have a cheap holiday this year," and so they had come there, though of course itwasn't at all the kind of thing they were used to.
mildred found them all very superior, andshe hated a lot of common, rough people. she liked gentlemen to be gentlemen inevery sense of the word. "when people are gentlemen and ladies," shesaid, "i like them to be gentlemen and ladies." the remark seemed cryptic to philip, butwhen he heard her say it two or three times to different persons, and found that itaroused hearty agreement, he came to the conclusion that it was only obscure to hisown intelligence. it was the first time that philip andmildred had been thrown entirely together. in london he did not see her all day, andwhen he came home the household affairs,
the baby, the neighbours, gave themsomething to talk about till he settled down to work. now he spent the whole day with her. after breakfast they went down to thebeach; the morning went easily enough with a bathe and a stroll along the front; theevening, which they spent on the pier, having put the baby to bed, was tolerable, for there was music to listen to and aconstant stream of people to look at; (philip amused himself by imagining whothey were and weaving little stories about them; he had got into the habit of
answering mildred's remarks with his mouthonly so that his thoughts remained undisturbed;) but the afternoons were longand dreary. they sat on the beach. mildred said they must get all the benefitthey could out of doctor brighton, and he could not read because mildred madeobservations frequently about things in general. if he paid no attention she complained."oh, leave that silly old book alone. it can't be good for you always reading.you'll addle your brain, that's what you'll do, philip."
"oh, rot!" he answered."besides, it's so unsociable." he discovered that it was difficult to talkto her. she had not even the power of attending towhat she was herself saying, so that a dog running in front of her or the passing of aman in a loud blazer would call forth a remark and then she would forget what shehad been speaking of. she had a bad memory for names, and itirritated her not to be able to think of them, so that she would pause in the middleof some story to rack her brains. sometimes she had to give it up, but itoften occurred to her afterwards, and when philip was talking of something she wouldinterrupt him.
"collins, that was it. i knew it would come back to me some time.collins, that's the name i couldn't remember." it exasperated him because it showed thatshe was not listening to anything he said, and yet, if he was silent, she reproachedhim for sulkiness. her mind was of an order that could notdeal for five minutes with the abstract, and when philip gave way to his taste forgeneralising she very quickly showed that she was bored. mildred dreamt a great deal, and she had anaccurate memory for her dreams, which she
would relate every day with prolixity.one morning he received a long letter from thorpe athelny. he was taking his holiday in the theatricalway, in which there was much sound sense, which characterised him.he had done the same thing for ten years. he took his whole family to a hop-field inkent, not far from mrs. athelny's home, and they spent three weeks hopping. it kept them in the open air, earned themmoney, much to mrs. athelny's satisfaction, and renewed their contact with motherearth. it was upon this that athelny laid stress.
the sojourn in the fields gave them a newstrength; it was like a magic ceremony, by which they renewed their youth and thepower of their limbs and the sweetness of the spirit: philip had heard him say many fantastic, rhetorical, and picturesquethings on the subject. now athelny invited him to come over for aday, he had certain meditations on shakespeare and the musical glasses whichhe desired to impart, and the children were clamouring for a sight of uncle philip. philip read the letter again in theafternoon when he was sitting with mildred on the beach.
he thought of mrs. athelny, cheerful motherof many children, with her kindly hospitality and her good humour; of sally,grave for her years, with funny little maternal ways and an air of authority, with her long plait of fair hair and her broadforehead; and then in a bunch of all the others, merry, boisterous, healthy, andhandsome. his heart went out to them. there was one quality which they had thathe did not remember to have noticed in people before, and that was goodness. it had not occurred to him till now, but itwas evidently the beauty of their goodness
which attracted him. in theory he did not believe in it: ifmorality were no more than a matter of convenience good and evil had no meaning. he did not like to be illogical, but herewas simple goodness, natural and without effort, and he thought it beautiful. meditating, he slowly tore the letter intolittle pieces; he did not see how he could go without mildred, and he did not want togo with her. it was very hot, the sky was cloudless, andthey had been driven to a shady corner. the baby was gravely playing with stones onthe beach, and now and then she crawled up
to philip and gave him one to hold, thentook it away again and placed it carefully down. she was playing a mysterious andcomplicated game known only to herself. mildred was asleep. she lay with her head thrown back and hermouth slightly open; her legs were stretched out, and her boots protruded fromher petticoats in a grotesque fashion. his eyes had been resting on her vaguely,but now he looked at her with peculiar attention. he remembered how passionately he had lovedher, and he wondered why now he was
entirely indifferent to her.the change in him filled him with dull pain. it seemed to him that all he had sufferedhad been sheer waste. the touch of her hand had filled him withecstasy; he had desired to enter into her soul so that he could share every thoughtwith her and every feeling; he had suffered acutely because, when silence had fallen between them, a remark of hers showed howfar their thoughts had travelled apart, and he had rebelled against the unsurmountablewall which seemed to divide every personality from every other.
he found it strangely tragic that he hadloved her so madly and now loved her not at all.sometimes he hated her. she was incapable of learning, and theexperience of life had taught her nothing. she was as unmannerly as she had alwaysbeen. it revolted philip to hear the insolencewith which she treated the hard-worked servant at the boarding-house.presently he considered his own plans. at the end of his fourth year he would beable to take his examination in midwifery, and a year more would see him qualified.then he might manage a journey to spain. he wanted to see the pictures which he knewonly from photographs; he felt deeply that
el greco held a secret of peculiar momentto him; and he fancied that in toledo he would surely find it out. he did not wish to do things grandly, andon a hundred pounds he might live for six months in spain: if macalister put him onto another good thing he could make that easily. his heart warmed at the thought of thoseold beautiful cities, and the tawny plains of castile. he was convinced that more might be got outof life than offered itself at present, and he thought that in spain he could live withgreater intensity: it might be possible to
practise in one of those old cities, there were a good many foreigners, passing orresident, and he should be able to pick up a living. but that would be much later; first he mustget one or two hospital appointments; they gave experience and made it easy to getjobs afterwards. he wished to get a berth as ship's doctoron one of the large tramps that took things leisurely enough for a man to see somethingof the places at which they stopped. he wanted to go to the east; and his fancywas rich with pictures of bangkok and shanghai, and the ports of japan: hepictured to himself palm-trees and skies
blue and hot, dark-skinned people, pagodas; the scents of the orient intoxicated hisnostrils. his heart but with passionate desire forthe beauty and the strangeness of the world. mildred awoke."i do believe i've been asleep," she said. "now then, you naughty girl, what have youbeen doing to yourself? her dress was clean yesterday and just lookat it now, philip."