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Title: Impressions and Comments
Author: Ellis, Havelock, 1859-1939
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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By Havelock Ellis


For many years I have been accustomed to make notes on random leaves of
the things in Life and Thought which have chanced to strike my attention.
Such records of personal reaction to the outer and inner world have been
helpful to my work, and so had their uses.

But as one grows older the possibilities of these uses become more
limited. One realises in the Autumn that leaves no longer have a vital
function to perform; there is no longer any need why they should cling to
the tree. So let them be scattered to the winds!

It is inevitable that such Leaves cannot be judged in the same way as
though they constituted a Book. They are much more like loose pages from a
Journal. Thus they tend to be more personal, more idiosyncratic, than in a
book it would be lawful for a writer to be. Often, also, they show blanks
which the intelligence of the reader must fill in. At the best they merely
present the aspect of the moment, the flash of a single facet of life,
only to be held in the brain provided one also holds therein many other
facets, for the fair presentation of the great crystal of life. So it
comes about that much is here demanded of the Reader, so much that I feel
it rather my duty to warn him away than to hold out any fallacious lures.

The fact has especially to be reckoned with that such Impressions and
Comments, stated absolutely and without consideration for divergent
Impressions and Comments, may seem, as a friend who has read some of them
points out, to lack explicit reasonableness. I trust they are not lacking
in implicit reasonableness. They spring, even when they seem to contradict
one another, from a central vision, and from a central faith too deeply
rooted to care to hasten unduly towards the most obvious goal. From that
central core these Impressions and Comments are concerned with many
things, with the miracles of Nature, with the Charms and Absurdities of
the Human Worm, that Golden Wire wherefrom hang all the joys and the
mysteries of Art. I am only troubled because I know how very feebly these
things are imaged here. For I have only the medium of words to work in,
only words, words that are flung about in the street and often in the mud,
only words with which to mould all my images of the Beauty and Gaiety of
the World.

Such as they are, these random leaves are here scattered to the winds. It
may be that as they flutter to the earth one or another may be caught by
the hand of the idle passer-by, and even seem worthy of contemplation. For
no two leaves are alike even when they fall from the same tree.



_July 24, 1912_.--I looked out from my room about ten o'clock at night.
Almost below the open window a young woman was clinging to the flat wall
for support, with occasional floundering movements towards the attainment
of a firmer balance. In the dim light she seemed decently dressed in
black; her handkerchief was in her hand; she had evidently been sick.

Every few moments some one passed by. It was quite clear that she was
helpless and distressed. No one turned a glance towards her--except a
policeman. He gazed at her searchingly as he passed, but without stopping
or speaking; she was drunk, no doubt, but not too obtrusively incapable;
he mercifully decided that she was of no immediate professional concern to
him. She soon made a more violent effort to gain muscular control of
herself, but merely staggered round her own escaping centre of gravity and
sank gently on to the pavement in a sitting posture.

Every few moments people continued to pass within a few inches of
her--men, women, couples. Unlike the priest and the Levite in the parable,
they never turned away, but pursued their straight course with callous
rectitude. Not one seemed so much as to see her. In a minute or two,
stimulated perhaps by some sense of the impropriety of her position, she
rose to her feet again, without much difficulty, and returned to cling to
the wall.

A few minutes later I saw a decently-dressed young woman, evidently of the
working class, walk quietly, but without an instant's hesitation, straight
up to the figure against the wall. (It was what, in Moscow, the first
passer-by would have done.) I could hear her speaking gently and kindly,
though of what she said I could only catch, "Where do you live?" No
answers were audible, and perhaps none were given. But the sweet Samaritan
continued speaking gently. At last I heard her say, "Come round the
corner," and with only the gentle pressure of a hand on the other's arm
she guided her round the corner near which they stood, away from the
careless stream of passengers, to recover at leisure. I saw no more.

Our modern civilisation, it is well known, long since transformed
"chivalry"; it was once an offer of help to distressed women; it is now
exclusively reserved for women who are not distressed and clearly able to
help themselves. We have to realise that it can scarcely even be said that
our growing urban life, however it fosters what has been called
"urbanity," has any equally fostering influence on instinctive mutual
helpfulness as an element of that urbanity. We do not even see the
helpless people who go to the wall or to the pavement. This is true of men
and women alike. But when instinctive helpfulness is manifested it seems
most likely to reveal itself in a woman. That is why I would like to give
to women all possible opportunities--rights and privileges alike--for
social service.

_July 27_.--A gentle rain was falling, and on this my first day in Paris
since the unveiling of the Verlaine monument in the Luxembourg Gardens,
immediately after I left Paris last year, I thought there could be no
better moment to visit the spot so peculiarly fit to be dedicated to the
poet who loved such spots--a "coin exquis" where the rain may fall
peacefully among the trees, on his image as once on his heart, and the
tender mists enfold him from the harsh world.

I scarcely think the sculptor quite happily inspired in his conception of
the face of the charming old man I knew of old in his haunts of the
Boulevard Saint-Michel. It is too strong a face, too disdainful, with too
much character. Verlaine was sympathetic, simple, childlike, humble; when
he put on an air of pride it was with a deliberate yet delightful pose, a
child's pose. There is an air of almost military rigidity about the pride
of this bust; I do not find Verlaine in that trait.

Verlaine's strength was not that of character; it was that of Nature. I
could imagine that the Silenus, whom we see with his satellites near by,
might be regarded in its expression, indeed in the whole conception of the
group--with its helpless languor and yet its divine dominance--as the
monument of that divine and helpless poet whom I still recall so well, as
with lame leg and stick he would drift genially along the Boulevard a few
yards away.

_July 31._--At the hotel in Dijon, the flourishing capital of Burgundy, I
was amused to note how curiously my room differed from what I once
regarded as the type of the French room in the hotels I used to frequent.
There is still a Teutonic touch in the Burgundian; he is meticulously
thorough. I had six electric lights in different positions, a telephone,
hot and cold water laid on into a huge basin, a foot-bath, and, finally, a
wastepaper-basket. For the rest, a severely simple room, no ornaments,
nothing to remind one of the brace of glass pistols and all the other ugly
and useless things which filled my room at the ancient hotel in Rouen
where I stayed two years ago. And the "lavabo," as it is here called, a
spacious room with an ostentatiously noisy rush of water which may be
heard afar and awakens one at night. The sanitary and mechanical age we
are now entering makes up for the mercy it grants to our sense of smell by
the ferocity with which it assails our sense of hearing. As usual, what we
call "Progress" is the exchange of one Nuisance for another Nuisance.

_August 5._--It is an idea of mine that a country with a genius for
architecture is only able to show that genius supremely in one style, not
in all styles. The Catalans have a supreme genius for architecture, but
they have only achieved a single style. The English have attempted all
styles of architecture, but it was only in Perpendicular that we attained
a really free and beautiful native style in our domestic buildings and
what one might call our domestic churches. Strassburg Cathedral is
thoroughly German and acceptable as such, but Cologne Cathedral is an
exotic, and all the energy and the money of Germany through a thousand
years can never make it anything but cold, mechanical, and artificial.
When I was in Burgundy I felt that the Burgundians had a genius for
Romanesque, and that their Gothic is for the most part feeble and insipid.
Now, how about the Normans? One cannot say their Romanesque is not fine,
in the presence of William the Conqueror's Abbaye aux Hommes, here at
Caen. But I should be inclined to ask (without absolutely affirming)
whether the finest Norman Romanesque can be coupled with the finest
Burgundian Romanesque. The Norman genius was, I think, really for Gothic,
and not for what we in England call "Norman" because it happened to come
to us through Normandy. Without going to Rouen it is enough to look at
many a church here. The Normans had a peculiar plastic power over stone
which Gothic alone could give free scope to. Stone became so malleable in
their hands that they seem as if working in wood. Probably it really was
the case that their familiarity with wood-carving influenced their work in
architecture. And they possessed so fine a taste that while they seem to
be freely abandoning themselves to their wildest fantasies, the outcome is
rarely extravagant (Flaubert in his _Tentation_ is a great Norman
architect), and at the best attains a ravishing beauty of flowing and
interwoven lines. At its worst, as in St. Sauveur, which is a monstrosity
like the Siamese twins, a church with two naves and no aisles, the general
result still has its interest, even apart from the exquisite beauty of the
details. It is here in Gothic, and not in Romanesque, that the Normans
attained full scope. We miss the superb repose, the majestic strength, of
the Romanesque of Burgundy and the south-west of France. There is
something daring and strange and adventurous in Norman Romanesque. It was
by no accident, I think, that the ogive, in which lay the secret of
Gothic, appeared first in Norman Romanesque.

_August 8._--I have sometimes thought when in Spain that in ancient
university towns the women tend to be notably beautiful or attractive, and
I have imagined that this might be due to the continuous influence of
student blood through many centuries in refining the population, the
finest specimens of the young students proving irresistible to the women
of the people, and so raising the level of the population by sexual
selection. At Salamanca I was impressed by the unusual charm of the women,
and even at Palencia to some extent noticed it, though Palencia ceased to
be the great university of Spain nearly eight centuries ago. At Fécamp I
have been struck by the occasional occurrence of an unusual type of
feminine beauty, not, it seems to me, peculiarly Norman, with dark,
ardent, spiritual eyes, and a kind of proud hierarchical bearing. I have
wondered how far the abbots and monks of this great and ancient abbey of
Benedictines were occupied--in the intervals of more supra-mundane
avocations--in perfecting, not only the ancient recipe of their liqueur,
but also the physical type of the feminine population among which they
laboured. The type I have in mind sometimes rather recalls the face of
Baudelaire, who, by his mother's family from which he chiefly inherited,
the Dufays, belonged, it is held probable, to Normandy.

_August 9._--Typical women of Normandy often have a certain highly-bred
air. They are slender when young, sometimes inclined to be tall, and the
face--of course beautiful in complexion, for they dwell near the sea--is
not seldom refined and distinguished. See the proud, sensitive nostrils of
that young woman sweeping the pavement with her broom in front of the
house this morning; one can tell she is of the same race as Charlotte
Corday. And I have certainly never found anywhere in France women who seem
to me so naturally charming and so sympathetic as the women who dwell in
all this north-western district from Paris to the sea. They are often, as
one might expect, a little English-like (it might be in Suffolk on the
other side of the Channel, and Beauvais, I recall, has something of the
air of old Ipswich), but with a vivacity of movement, and at the same time
an aristocratic precision and subtlety one fails to find in the English.
When a pretty English girl of the people opens her mouth the charm is
often gone. On the contrary, I have often noticed in Normandy that a
seemingly commonplace unattractive girl only becomes charming when she
does open her mouth, to reveal her softness of speech, the
delicately-inflexed and expressive tones, while her face lights up in
harmony with her speech. Now--to say nothing of the women of the south,
whose hard faces and harsh voices are often so distressing--in Dijon,
whence I came to Normandy this time, the women are often sweet, even
angelic of aspect, looking proper material for nuns and saints, but, to me
at all events, not personally so sympathetic as the Norman women, who are
no doubt quite as good but never express the fact with the same air of
slightly Teutonic insipidity. The men of Normandy I regard as of finer
type than the Burgundian men, and this time it is the men who express
goodness more than the women. The Burgundian men, with their big
moustaches turned up resolutely at the points and their wickedly-sparkling
eyes, have evidently set before themselves the task of incorporating a
protest against the attitude of their women. But the Norman men, who allow
their golden moustaches to droop, are a fine frank type of manhood at the
best, pleasantly honest and unspoilt. I know, indeed, how skilful, how
wily, how noble even, in their aristocratic indifference to detail, these
Normans can be in extracting money from the stranger (have I not lunched
simply at the Hostel Guillaume-le-Conquérant in the village of Dives for
the same sum on which I have lived sumptuously for three days at the Hotel
Victoria in the heart of Seville?), but the manner of their activity in
this matter scarcely seems to me to be happily caught by those Parisians
who delight to caricature, as mere dull, avaricious plebeians, "Ces bons
Normands." Their ancient chronicler said a thousand years ago of the
Normans that their unbounded avarice was balanced by their equally
unbounded extravagance. That, perhaps, is a clue to the magnificent
achievements of the Normans, in the spiritual world even more than in the
material world.

_August_ 10.--On leaving France by the boat from Dieppe I selected a seat
close to which, shortly afterwards, three English people--two young women
and a man--came to occupy deck-chairs already placed for them by a sailor
and surrounded by their bags and wraps. Immediately one of the women began
angrily asking her companions why her bag had not been placed the right
side up; _she_ would not have her things treated like that, etc. Her
companions were gentle and conciliatory,--though I noticed they left her
alone during most of the passage,--and the man had with attentive
forethought made all arrangements for his companions' comfort. But,
somehow, I looked in wonder at her discontented face and heard with
surprise her peevish voice. She was just an ordinary stolid nourishing
young Englishwoman. But I had been in France, and though I had been
travelling for a whole fortnight I had seen nothing like this. She lay
back and began reading a novel, which she speedily exchanged for a basin.
I fear I felt a certain satisfaction at the spectacle. It is good for the
English barbarian to be chastised with scorpions.

How pleasant at Newhaven to find myself near another woman, a young
Frenchwoman, with the firm, disciplined, tender face, the
sweetly-modulated voice, the air of fine training, the dignified
self-respect which also involves respect for others. I realised in a flash
the profound contrast to that fellow-countrywoman of mine who had
fascinated my attention on board the boat.

But one imagines a French philosopher, a new Taine, let us suppose,
setting out from Dieppe for the "land of Suffragettes" to write another
_Notes sur l'Angleterre_. How finely he would build a great generalisation
on narrow premises! How acutely he would point out the dependence of the
English "gentleman's" good qualities or the ill-conditioned qualities of
his women-folk!

_August 15._--I enter an empty suburban railway carriage and take up a
common-looking little periodical lying on the seat beside me. It is a
penny weekly I had never heard of before, written for feminine readers and
evidently enjoying an immense circulation. I turn over the pages. One
might possibly suppose that at the present moment the feminine world is
greatly excited, or at all events mildly interested, by the suffrage
movement. But there is not a word in this paper from beginning to end with
the faintest reference to the suffrage, nor is there anything bearing on
any single great social movement of the day in which, it may seem to us,
women are taking a part. Nor, again, is there anything to be found
touching on ideas, not even on religion. There are, on the other hand,
evidently three great interests dominating the thoughts of the readers of
this paper: Clothes, Cookery, Courtship. How to make an old hat look new,
how to make sweetmeats, how to behave when a man makes advances to
you--these are the problems in which the readers of this journal are
profoundly interested, and one can scarcely gather that they are
interested in anything else. Very instructive is the long series of
questions, problems posed by anxious correspondents for the editor to
answer. One finds such a problem as this: Suppose you like a man, and
suppose you think he likes you, and suppose he never says so--what ought
you to do? The answers, fully accepting the serious nature of the
problems, are kindly and sensible enough, almost maternal, admirably
adapted to the calibre and outlook of the readers in this little world.
But what a little world! So narrow, so palaeolithically ancient, so
pathetically simple, so good, so sweet, so humble, so essentially and
profoundly feminine! It is difficult not to drop a tear on the thin,
common, badly-printed pages.

And then, in the very different journal I have with me, I read the
enthusiastic declaration of an ardent masculine feminist--a man of the
study--that the executive power of the world is to-day being transferred
to women; they alone possess "psychic vision," they alone are interested
in the great questions which men ignore--and I realise what those great
questions are: Clothes, Cookery, Courtship.

_August 23._--I stood on the platform at Paddington station as the
Plymouth Express slowly glided out. Leaning out of a third-class
compartment stood the figure that attracted my attention. His head was
bare and so revealed his harmoniously wavy and carefully-tended grey hair.
The expression of his shaven and disciplined face was sympathetic and
kindly, evidently attuned to expected emotions of sorrowful farewell, yet
composed, clearly not himself overwhelmed by those emotions. His right arm
and open hand were held above his head, in an attitude that had in it a
not too ostentatious hint of benediction. When he judged that the gracious
vision was no longer visible to the sorrowing friends left behind he
discreetly withdrew into the carriage. There was a feminine touch about
this figure; there was also a touch of the professional actor. But on the
whole it was absolutely, without the shadow of a doubt, the complete
Anglican Clergyman.

_September_ 2.--Nearly every day just now I have to enter a certain shop
where I am served by a young woman. She is married, a mother, at the same
time a businesslike young woman who is proud of her businesslike
qualities. But she is also pleasant to look upon in her healthy young
maternity, her frank open face, her direct speech, her simple natural
manner and instinctive friendliness. From her whole body radiates the
healthy happiness of her gracious personality. A businesslike person,
certainly, and I receive nothing beyond my due money's worth. But I always
carry away something that no money can buy, and that is even more
nourishing than the eggs and butter and cream she sells.

How few, it seems to me, yet realise the vast importance in civilisation
of the quality of the people one is necessarily brought into contact with!
Consider the vast number of people in our present communities who are
harsh, ugly, ineradically discourteous, selfish, or insolent--the people
whose lives are spent in diminishing the joy of the community in which not
so much Providence as the absence of providence has placed them, in
impeding that community's natural activity, in diminishing its total
output of vital force. Lazy and impertinent clerks, stuck-up shop
assistants, inconsiderate employers, brutal employees, unendurable
servants, and no less unendurable mistresses--what place will be left for
them as civilisation advances?

We have assumed, in the past, that these things and the likes of these are
modifiable by nurture, and that where they cannot be cured they must be
endured. But with the realisation that breeding can be, and eventually
must be, controlled by social opinion, a new horizon has opened to
civilisation, a new light has come into the world, the glimpse of a new
Heaven is revealed.

Animals living in nature are everywhere beautiful; it is only among men
that ugliness flourishes. Savages, nearly everywhere, are gracious and
harmonious; it is only among the civilised that harshness and discord are
permitted to prevail. Henry Ellis, in the narrative of his experiences in
Hudson's Bay in the eighteenth century, tells how a party of Eskimo--a
people peculiarly tender to their children--came to the English
settlement, told heart-brokenly of hardship and famine so severe that one
of the children had been eaten. The English only laughed and the indignant
Eskimo went on their way. What savages anywhere in the world would have
laughed? I recall seeing, years ago, a man enter a railway carriage, fling
aside the rug a traveller had deposited to retain a corner seat and
obstinately hold that seat. Would such a man be permitted to live among
savages? If the eugenic ideals that are now floating before men's eyes
never lead us to any Heaven at all, but merely discourage among us the
generation of human creatures below the level of decent savagery, they
will serve their turn.

_September_ 7.--The music of César Franck always brings before me a man
who is seeking peace with himself and consolation with God, at a height,
above the crowd, in isolation, as it were in the uppermost turret of a
church tower. It recalls the memory of the unforgettable evening when
Denyn played on the carillon at Malines, and from the canal side I looked
up at the little red casement high in the huge Cathedral tower where the
great player seemed to be breathing out his soul, in solitude, among the
stars. Always when I hear the music of Franck--a Fleming, also, it may
well be by no accident--I seem to be in contact with a sensitive and
solitary spirit, absorbed in self-communion, weaving the web of its own
Heaven and achieving the fulfilment of its own rapture.

In this symphonic poem, "Les Djinns," the attitude more tenderly revealed
in the "Variations Symphoniques," and, above all, the sonata in A Major,
is dramatically represented. The solitary dreamer in his tower is
surrounded and assailed by evil spirits, we hear the beating of their
great wings as they troop past, but the dreamer is strong and undismayed,
and in the end he is left in peace, alone.

_September 10_.--It was an overture by Elgar, and the full solemn sonorous
music had drawn to its properly majestic close. Beside me sat an artist
friend who is a lover of music, and regularly attends these Promenade
Concerts. He removed the cigarette from his lips and chuckled softly to
himself for some moments. Then he replaced the cigarette and joined in the
tempestuous and prolonged applause. I looked at him inquiringly. "It is a
sort of variation of the theme," he said, "that he sometimes calls the
Cosmic Angels Working Together or the Soul of Man Striving with the Divine
Essence." I glanced at the programme again. The title was "Cockaigne."

_September_ 17.--It has often seemed to me that the bearing of musical
conductors is significant for the study of national characteristics, and
especially for the difference between the English and the Continental
neuro-psychic systems. One always feels inhibition and suppression (such
as a Freudian has found characteristic of the English) in the movements of
the English conductor, some psychic element holding the nervous play in
check, and producing a stiff wooden embarrassed rigidity or an
ostentatiously languid and careless indifference. At the extreme remove
from this is Birnbaum, that gigantic and feverishly active spider, whose
bent body seems to crouch over the whole orchestra, his magically
elongated arms to stretch out so far that his wand touches the big drum.
But even the quietest of these foreign conductors, Nikisch, for example,
gives no impression of psychic inhibition, but rather of that refined and
deliberate economy of means which marks the accomplished artist. Among
English conductors one may regard Wood (_lucus a non lucendo!_) as an
exception. Most of the rest--I speak of those of the old school, since
those of the new school can sometimes be volatile and feverish
enough--seem to be saying all the time: "I am in an awkward and
embarrassing position, though I shall muddle through successfully. The
fact is I am rather out of my element here. I am really a Gentleman."

_October_ 2.--Whenever I come down to Cornwall I realise the curious
contradiction which lies in this region as at once a Land of Granite and a
Land of Mist. On the one hand archaic rocks, primitive, mighty,
unchanging, deep-rooted in the bases of the world. On the other hand,
iridescent vapour, for ever changing, one moment covering the land with
radiant colour, another enveloping it in a pall of gloom.

I can also see two contradictory types of people among the inhabitants of
this land. On the one hand, a people of massive and solid build, a
slow-moving people of firm, primitive nature, that for all their calm
stolidity may give out a fiery ring if struck, and will fearlessly follow
the lure of Adventure or of Right. On the other hand, a race of soft and
flexible build, of shifting and elusive mind, alert to speak and slow to
act, of rainbow temperament, fascinating and uncertain. Other types there
may be, but certainly these two, whatever their racial origin, Children of
the Granite and Children of the Mist. _October_ 3.--It has often
interested me to observe how a nation of ancient civilisation differs from
a nation of new civilisation by what may be called the ennoblement of its
lower classes. Among new peoples the lower classes--whatever fine
qualities they may possess--are still barbarians, if not savages. Plebeian
is written all over them, in their vulgar roughly-moulded faces, in their
awkward movements, in their manners, in their servility or in their
insolence. But among the peoples of age-long culture, that culture has had
time to enter the blood of even the lowest social classes, so that the
very beggars may sometimes be fine gentlemen. The features become firmly
or delicately moulded, the movements graceful, the manners as gracious;
there is an instinctive courtesy and ease, as of equal to equal, even when
addressing a social superior. One has only to think of the contrast
between Poland and Russia, between Spain and Germany.

I am frequently reminded of that difference here in Cornwall. Anywhere in
Cornwall you may see a carter, a miner, a fisherman, a bricklayer, who
with the high distinction of his finely cast face, the mingling in his
manner of easy nonchalance and old-world courtesy, seems only to need a
visit to the tailor to add dignity to a Pall Mall club. No doubt England
is not a new country, and the English lower social classes have become in
a definite degree more aristocratic than those of Russia or even Germany.
But the forefathers of the Cornish were civilised when we English were a
horde of savages. One may still find humble families with ancient surnames
living in the same spot as lived, we find, if we consult the Heralds'
Visitations, armigerous families of the same name in the sixteenth
century, already ancient, and perhaps bearing, it is curious to note, the
same Christian names as the family which has forgotten them bears to-day.

So it is that in that innate ennoblement which implies no superiority
either of the intellect or of the heart, but merely a greater refinement
of the nervous tissue, the Cornish have displayed, from the earliest
period we can discern, a slight superiority over us English. Drake, a man
of this district if not a Cornish-man, when sailing on his daring
buccaneering adventures, dined and supped to the music of violins, a
refinement which even his Pole-hunting successors of our own day scarcely
achieved. Raleigh, partly a Cornishman, still retains popular fame as the
man who flung his rich cloak in the mud for the Queen to step on. To-day a
poet of Cornish race when introduced in public to Sarah Bernhardt, the
goddess of his youthful adoration, at once kissed her hand and declared to
her that that was the moment he had all his life been looking for. But we
English are not descended from the men who wrote the _Mabinogian_; our
hearts and souls are expressed in _Beowulf_ and _Havelok_, and more
remotely in the _Chanson de Roland_. We could not imitate the Cornish if
we would; and sometimes, perhaps, we would not if we could.

_October_ 4.--I lay with a book on the rocks, overlooking a familiar
scene, the great expanse of the sands at low tide. In the far distance
near the river was a dim feminine figure in a long coat, accompanied by
three dogs. Half an hour later, when I glanced up from my book, I chanced
to notice that the slender feminine figure was marching down to the sea,
leaving a little pile of garments on the middle of the sands, just now
completely deserted. The slender figure leisurely and joyously disported
itself in the water. Then at length it returned to the little pile,
negligently guarded by the dogs, there was a faint radiance of flesh, a
white towel flashed swiftly to and fro for a few moments. Then with
amazing celerity the figure had resumed its original appearance, and,
decorously proceeding shorewards, disappeared among the sand dunes on the
way to its unknown home.

In an age when savagery has passed and civilisation has not arrived, it is
only by stealth, at rare moments, that the human form may emerge from the
prison house of its garments, it is only from afar that the radiance of
its beauty--if beauty is still left to it--may faintly flash before us.

Among pseudo-Christian barbarians, as Heine described them, the Olympian
deities still wander homelessly, scarce emerging from beneath obscure
disguises, and half ashamed of their own divinity.

_October_ 5.--I made again to-day an observation concerning a curious
habit of birds and small mammals which I first made many years ago and
have frequently confirmed. If when I am walking along near banks and
hedges, absorbed in my own thoughts, and chance suddenly to stand still,
any wild creature in covert near the spot will at once scuttle hastily and
noisily away: the creature which had awaited the approaching tramp in
quiet confidence that the moment of danger would soon be overpast if only
he kept quiet and concealed, is overcome by so sudden a panic of terror at
the arrest of movement in his neighbourhood that he betrays his own
presence in the impulse to escape. The silence which one might imagine to
be reassuring to the nervous animal is precisely the cause of his terror.
It is a useful adaptation to the ways of the great enemy Man, whether it
is an adaptation resulting from individual experience or acquired by
natural selection. From the stand-point of wild animality it is the
Silence of Man that is ominous.

_October_ 11.--When I come, as now, from Cornwall to West Suffolk, I feel
that I have left behind a magic land of sea and sky and exquisite
atmosphere. But I have entered a land of humanity, and a land whose
humanity--it may be in part from ancestral reasons--I find peculiarly
congenial. Humanity is not the chief part of the charm of Cornwall, though
sometimes it may seem the very efflorescence of the land. It often seems
almost a parasite there. It cannot mould the barren and stubborn soil to
any ideal human shapes, or develop upon it any rich harmonious human life,
such as I inhale always, with immense satisfaction, in this reposeful and
beautifully wrought land of Suffolk.

On this evening of my arrival in the charming old town by the quiet river,
how delicious--with remembrance still fresh of the square heavy little
granite boxes in which the Cornish live--to find once more these ancient,
half-timbered houses reminiscent of the Norman houses, but lighter and
more various, wrought with an art at once so admirable and so homely, with
such delicate detail, the lovely little old windows with the soft light
shining through to reveal their pattern.

The musically voiced bells sound the hour from the great church, rich in
beauty and tradition, and we walk across the market-place, this side the
castle hill--the hill which held for six hundred years the precious
jewelled crucifix, with the splinter of the "True Cross" in its secret
recess, a careless English queen once lost from her neck--towards our
quiet inn, a real museum of interesting things fittingly housed, for
supper of Suffolk ham and country ale, and then to bed, before the long
walk of the morrow.

_October_ 14.--The Raphaels and the Peruginos are now ranged side by side
along a great wall of the National Gallery. I am able more clearly than
ever to realise how much more the early master appeals to me than his
greater pupil. I well remember how, as a boy of fifteen, in the old
National Gallery, I would linger long before Raphael's "St. Catherine."
There was no picture in the whole gallery that appealed to my youthful
brain as that picture appealed, with its seductive blend of feminine grace
and heavenly aspiration. But a little later the glory of Rubens suddenly
broke on my vision. I could never look again with the same eyes on
Raphael. By an intellectual effort I can appreciate the gracious plenitude
of his accomplishment, his copious facility, his immense variety, the
beauty of his draughtsmanship, and the felicity of his decorative design.
But all this self-conscious skill, this ingenious affectation, this
ostentatious muscularity, this immense superficiality--I feel always now a
spiritual vacuity behind it which leaves me cold and critical. Every
famous achievement of Raphael's, when I come upon it for the first time,
repels me with a fresh shock of disillusionment. I am unpleasantly
reminded of Andrea del Sarto and even of lesser men; I see the frescoes of
Vasari in the distance. It is all the work of a divinely gifted youth who
swiftly ran to waste, carrying with him all the art of his day and land to
the same fatal abyss.

But the art of Perugino is still solid and beautiful, immutably serene. It
radiates peace and strength. I neither criticise nor admire; my attitude
is much more nearly that of worship, not of Perugino's images, but of a
far-away ineffable mystery, which he in his time humbly sought to make a
little more symbolically visible to men than any that came before him. For
here we are in the presence of a great tradition which a long series of
artists have in succession wrought, each adding a little that expressed
the noblest insight of his own soul at its highest and best moments, and
the newest acquirement of his technical skill. Raphael broke up painting,
as later on Beethoven broke up music. Not that that blow destroyed the
possibility of rare and wonderful developments in special directions. But
painting and music alike lost for ever the radiant beauty of their prime
and its unconscious serenity.

In a certain sense, if one thinks, it is the ripeness of Raphael's
perfection which falls short of Perfection. In all Perfection that
satisfies we demand the possibility of a Beyond which enfolds a further
Perfection. It is not the fully blown rose which entrances us, but rather
that which in its half-blown loveliness suggests a Perfection which no
full-blown rose ever reached. In that the rose is the symbol of all
vitally beautiful things. Raphael is the full-blown rose; the only Beyond
is Dissolution and the straggling of faded petals.

_October_ 17.--"War, that simple-looking word which lightly comes tripping
from the lips of unthinking men, and even women." So writes a famous
war-correspondent, a man in the midst of war and telling of war as it
really is. Now hear a woman war-correspondent, writing about this same
war: "I was so proud to see the first gun fired on Wednesday. ... I liked
to hear the shells swishing. ... To women keen on this war it seems almost
too good to be true." That is not an extract from one of the poignant
satires of Janson. This woman, who writes of war as a girl might write of
her first long frock, is an actual woman, a war-correspondent, with a
special permit to be at the front. We are told, moreover, that she is, at
the same time, actively nursing the wounded in the hospital.

To those psychologists who like large generalisations, how this figure
must appeal as a type of the ancient conventional conception of what women
are supposed to be--Incarnate Devils, Angels of Mercy, blended together.

_October_ 18.--Stanley Hall has lately pointed out how much we have lost
by eliminating the Devil from our theology. He is the inseparable
Companion of God, and when faith in the Devil grows dim God fades away.
Not only has the Devil been the Guardian of innocent pleasure, of the
theatre, of dancing, of sports, Hall observes, but he preserved the
virility of God. "Ought not we to rehabilitate and reinstall the Devil?"

There is much psychological truth in this contention, even for those who
are not concerned, with Stanley Hall, for the maintenance of orthodox
Christian theology. By eliminating one of the Great Persons from our
theology we not only emasculate, we dissolve it. We cannot with impunity
pick and choose what we will dispense with and what we will preserve in
our traditional myths. Let us take another sacred myth, as it may well
have been, "Jack and the Bean Stalk." Suppose that our refined civilised
impulses lead us to reject Jack, the reckless, mischievous, and
irresponsible youth, who, after a brief but discreditable career on earth,
climbed up into the clouds and fraudulently deprived the Great Giant in
the sky of his most precious possessions. But if the revolted moral sense
rejects Jack, is it likely that even the Great Giant himself will much
longer retain our faith?

In any case it must still be said that mere grandeur, creativeness, the
apotheosis of virtue and benevolence, fail to constitute an adequate
theological symbol for the complex human animal. Man needs to deify not
only his moments of moral subjection and rectitude, but his moments of
orgy and revolt. He has attained the height of civilisation, not along the
one line only, but along both lines, and we cannot even be sure that the
virtue line is the most important. Even the Puritan Milton ("a true poet
and of the Devil's party without knowing it," as Blake said) made Satan
the real hero of his theological epic, while the austere Carducci
addressed a famous ode to Satan as the creator of human civilisation. And
if you suspect that European culture may be only an eccentric aberration,
then let us wander to the other side of the world, and we find, for
instance, that the great Hawaiian goddess Kapo had a double life--now an
angel of grace and beauty, now a demon of darkness and lust. Every
profound vision of the world must recognise these two equally essential
aspects of Nature and of Man; every vital religion must embody both
aspects in superb and ennobling symbols. A religion can no more afford to
degrade its Devil than to degrade its God.

That is the error Christianity fell into at last. There can be no doubt
that the Christian Devil had grown quite impossible, and his disappearance
was imperative. Neither Milton nor Carducci could keep him alive. His
palmy days were in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries,
before the Renaissance had grown powerful enough to influence European
life. Even during those palmy days he exercised a power that for the most
part was not virile, but crushing and inhuman. It has been set forth in
Dr. Paul Carus's _History of the Devil_. In the light of such a history as
that I doubt much whether even Professor Stanley Hall himself would lift a
finger to bring the Devil back among us again.

_October_ 22.--Gaby Deslys is just now a great attraction at the Palace
Theatre. One is amused to note how this very Parisian person and her very
Parisian performance are with infinite care adapted to English needs, and
attuned to this comfortably respectable, not to say stolidly luxurious,
house. We are shown a bedroom with a bed in it, and a little dressing-room
by the side. Her task is to undress and go to bed. It is the sort of scene
that may be seen anywhere in any music-hall all over Europe. But in the
capital city of British propriety, and in a music-hall patronised by
Royalty, this delicate task is surrounded and safeguarded by infinite
precautions. One seems to detect that the scene has been rehearsed before
a committee of ambiguously mixed composition. One sees the care with which
they determined the precise moment at which the electric light should be
switched off in the dressing-room; one realises their firm decision that
the lady must, after all, go to bed fully clothed. One is conscious
throughout of a careful anxiety that every avenue to "suggestiveness"
shall be just hinted and at once decently veiled. There is something
unpleasant, painful, degrading in this ingenious mingling of prurience and
prudery. The spectators, if they think of it at all, must realise that
throughout the whole trivial performance their emotions are being basely
played upon, and yet that they are being treated with an insulting
precaution which would be more in place in a lunatic asylum than in a
gathering of presumably responsible men and women. In the end one is made
to feel how far more purifying and ennobling than this is the spectacle of
absolute nakedness, even on the stage, yes, even on the stage.

And my thoughts go back to the day, less than two years ago, when for the
first time this was clearly brought home to me by a performance--like this
and yet so unlike--in a very different place, the simple, bare, almost
sordid Teatro Gayarre. Most of the turns were of the same ordinary sort
that might be seen in many another music-hall of the long Calle Marques
del Duero. But at the end came on a performer who was, I soon found, of
altogether another order. The famous Bianca Stella, as the programme
announced, shortly to start on her South American tour, was appearing for
a limited number of nights. I had never heard of Bianca Stella. She might,
to look at, be Austrian, and one could imagine, from some of her methods,
that she was a pupil of Isadora Duncan. She was certainly a highly trained
and accomplished artist; though peculiarly fitted for her part by Nature,
still an artist, not a child of Nature.

Of fine and high type, tall and rather slim, attractive in face, almost
faultless in proportion and detail, playing her difficult part with
unfailing dignity and grace, Bianca Stella might in general type be a
Bohemian out of Stratz's _Schönheit des weiblichen Körpers_, or even an
aristocratic young Englishwoman. She comes on fully dressed, like Gaby
Deslys, but with no such luxurious environment, and slowly disrobes,
dancing all the while, one delicate garment at a time, until only a gauzy
chemise is left and she flings herself on the bed. Then she rises, fastens
on a black mantle which floats behind concealing nothing, at the same
moment removing her chemise. There is now no concealment left save by a
little close-fitting triangular shield of spangled silver, as large as the
palm of her hand, fastened round her waist by an almost invisible cord,
and she dances again with her beautiful, dignified air. Once more, this
time in the afternoon, I went to see Bianca Stella dance. Now there was a
dark curtain as a background. She came on with a piece of simple white
drapery wound round her body; as she dances she unfolds it, holds it
behind her as she dances, finally flings it away, dancing with her
fleckless and delicately proportioned body before the dark curtain.
Throughout the dances her dignity and grace, untouched by voluptuous
appeal and yet always human, remained unfailing. Other dancers who came on
before her, clothed dancers, had been petulantly wanton to their hearts'
desire. Bianca Stella seemed to belong to another world. As she danced,
when I noted the spectators, I could see here and there a gleam in the
eyes of coarse faces, though there was no slightest movement or gesture or
look of the dancer to evoke it. For these men Bianca Stella had danced in
vain, for--it remains symbolically true--only the pure in heart can see
God. To see Bianca Stella truly was to realise that it is not desire but a
sacred awe which nakedness inspires, an intoxication of the spirit rather
than of the senses, no flame of lust but rather a purifying and exalting
fire. To feel otherwise has merely been the unhappy privilege of men
intoxicated by the stifling and unwholesome air of modern artificiality.
To the natural man, always and everywhere, even to-day, nakedness has in
it a power of divine terror, which ancient men throughout the world
crystallised into beautiful rites, so that when a woman unveiled herself
it seemed to them that thunderstorms were silenced, and that noxious
animals were killed, and that vegetation flourished, and that all the
powers of evil were put to flight. That was their feeling, and, absurd as
it may seem to us, a right and natural instinct lay beneath it. Some day,
perhaps, a new moral reformer, a great apostle of purity, will appear
among us, having his scourge in his hand, and enter our theatres and
music-halls to purge them. Since I have seen Bianca Stella I know
something of what he will do. It is not nakedness that he will cast out.
It will more likely be clothes.

So it is that when I contemplate Gaby Deslys or her sort, it is of Bianca
Stella that I think.

_November_ 1.--"The way to spiritual life," wrote George Meredith in one
of his recently published letters, "lies in the complete unfolding of the
creature, not in the nipping of his passions. ... To the flourishing of
the spirit, then, through the healthy exercise of the senses!"

Yes, all that is very good, I heartily subscribe. And yet, and yet, there
lingers a certain hesitation; one vaguely feels that, as a complete
statement of the matter, it hardly satisfies all the demands of to-day.
George Meredith belonged to the early Victorian period which had encased
its head in a huge bonnet and girdled its loins with a stiff crinoline.
His function was to react vitally to that state of things, and he
performed his function magnificently, evoking, of course, from the _Ordeal
of Richard Feverel_ onwards, a doubtless salutary amount of scandal and
amazement. The time demanded that its preachers should take their text
from the spiritually excessive Blake: "Damn braces, bless relaxes." On
that text, throughout his life, Meredith heroically and eloquently

But nowadays that seems a long time ago. The great preacher of to-day
cannot react against the attraction to braces, for it no longer exists. We
are all quite ready to "damn braces." The moralist, therefore, may now
legitimately hold the balance fair and firm, without giving it a little
pressure in one direction for wholesome ends of admonition.

When we so look at the matter we have to realise that, biologically and
morally alike, healthy restraint is needed for "the flourishing of the
spirit" quite as much as healthy exercise; that bracing as well as
relaxing is part of the soul's hygiene; that the directive force of a fine
asceticism, exerted towards positive and not towards negative ends, is an
essential part of life itself.

You might say that a fountain that leaps largely and exquisitely up
towards the sky only needs freedom and space. But no, it also needs
compression and force, a mighty restrained energy at its roots, of which
it is the gay and capricious flower. That, you may say, is not really a
vital thing. But take a real flower, the same mechanism is still at work.
The flexible convolvulus that must cling to any support from which to
expand its delicate bells needs not only freedom to expand but much more
the marvellous energy that was wound up and confined, like a spring, in
the seed. It will find its own freedom, but it will not find its own

Therefore let us hold the moral balance fair and firm. The utmost freedom,
the utmost restraint, we need them both. They are two aspects of the same
thing. We cannot have freedom in any triumphant degree unless we have
restraint. The main point is, that we should not fossilise either our
freedoms or our restraints. Every individual needs--harmoniously with the
needs of other individuals--the freedoms and restraints his own nature
demands. Every age needs new freedoms and new restraints. In the making of
New Freedoms and New Restraints lies the rhythm of Life.

_November_ 11.--The psychology of the crowd is interesting, even when it
is an educated and well-fed crowd. I take up the newspaper and see the
announcement of a "momentous" declaration by the Premier at a Lord Mayor's
banquet at the Guildhall. I have the curiosity to read, and I find it to
be that the "victors are not to be robbed of the fruits which have cost
them so dear." This declaration was followed by "loud and prolonged
cheers," as evidently the speaker, being a sagacious lawyer, knew it would
be when he chose to put his declaration into this cynical shape, as an
appeal to mob feeling, rather than in the form of a statement concerning
the rights of the case, whatever the rights may be. Yet not one of those
rapturous applauders would for a moment have tolerated that doctrine if it
had been proposed to apply it to his own possessions. As a mob they
applaud what as individuals they would disclaim with such moral energy as
they might be capable of. The spectacle of the big robber is always
impressive, and the most respectable of mobs is carried away by it. "Who
was ever a pirate for millions?" as Raleigh protested to Bacon.

If we imagine the "victors" in this case to have been on a rather smaller
scale the enthusiasm of the Guildhall mob would have been considerably
damped. Let us imagine they were a band of burglars who had broken in the
night before and carried off the materials for the forthcoming banquet,
leaving one of the band behind dead and two wounded. When the guests
seated at the bare board heard the emphatic declaration that the victors
are not to be robbed of "the fruits which have cost them so dear," would
they have raised quite such "loud and prolonged cheers"?

_November_ 12.--The Divine Ironist who surely rules the world seldom
leaves Himself without witness. On Lord Mayor's Day this witness appeared
in the form of an ignorant ruffian. Within a few yards of the Mansion
House, within a few hours of that "momentous declaration" which followed
the turtle soup, in Liverpool Street--a street crowded not with ruffians
but with business people and bankers' clerks, all the people who carry on
the daily routine of civilisation--a man of the people smashed a
jeweller's window and flung the jewelry into the street, shouting "Help
yourselves." And they helped themselves. In a brief terrific scramble
several hundred pounds' worth of jewelry was seized. Two men only of this
respectable crowd brought what they had secured into the shop; the rest
decamped with the booty. They had scarcely had time to read the "momentous
declaration." But they agreed with it. They were not to be "robbed of the
fruits which had cost them so dear."

Clearly, again, the Premier had rightly gauged the moral capacities of the
mob. We sometimes think that the fundamental instincts of the crowd are,
after all, sound; leave them to themselves and they will do the right
thing. But, on the other hand, those who despise and contemn the mob will
always have a sadly large amount of evidence to support their case, even
in the most "respectable" centres of civilisation.

_November_ 20.--The Archbishop of Canterbury, I understand, has publicly
expressed his approval of the application of the lash to those persons who
are engaged in the so-called "White Slave Traffic." There is always a
certain sociological interest in the public utterances of an Archbishop of
Canterbury. He is a great State official who automatically registers the
level of the public opinion of the respectable classes. The futility for
deterrence or reform of the lash or other physical torture as applied to
adults has long been a commonplace of historical criminology, and Collas,
the standard historian of flagellation, pointing out that the lash can at
best only breed the virtues of slavery, declares that "the history of
flagellation is that of a moral bankruptcy." Moreover, criminals who are
engaged in low-grade commercial affairs, with the large lure that makes
them worth while, can usually arrange that the lash should fall on a
subordinate's shoulders. It has been ascertained that the "capitalised
value" of the average prostitute is nearly four times as great as that of
the average respectable working-girl; how many lashes will alter that? But
the sadistic impulse, in all its various degrees, is independent of facts.
Of late it appears to have been rising. Now it has reached that percentage
of the respectable population which automatically puts the archiepiscopal
apparatus in motion. For an Archbishop of Canterbury has a public function
to perform (has not Sydney Smith described a "foolometer"?) altogether
independent of such reasonable and human functions as he may privately

Is this love of torture, by the way, possibly one of the fruits of Empire?
We see it in the Roman Empire, too, and how vigorously it was applied to
Christians and other criminals. _Christianos ad leones!_ But it was a
disastrously unsuccessful policy--or we should not have an Archbishop of
Canterbury with us now.

No disrespect for Archbishops of Canterbury is involved in this
recognition of their public function, and I have no wish to be (as Laud
wrote of one of my ancestors) "a very troublesome man" to archbishops.
They act automatically for the measurement of society, merely in the same
sense as an individual is automatically acting for the measurement of
himself when he states how profoundly he admires Mendelssohn or R. L.
Stevenson. He thereby registers the particular degree of his own spiritual
state. And when an Archbishop of Canterbury, with all that sensitiveness
to the atmosphere which his supreme office involves, publicly Professes an
Opinion, he is necessarily registering a particular degree in the
Spiritual State of Society. It is an important function which was never
vouchsafed to his Master.

One wonders how many centuries it is since an Archbishop of Canterbury was
known to express any public opinion on non-ecclesiastical affairs which
was not that of the great majority of Respectable People. Of course in
ecclesiastical matters, and in political matters which are ecclesiastical,
he is professionally bound, and Beckett and Sudbury and Laud--though one
was a victim to the hostility of a King, another to the hostility of the
lower class, and the third to the middle class--were all faithful to the
death to their profession and their class, as an Archbishop is bound to be
even when his profession and his class are in a minority; I speak of the
things to which he is not so bound. I have no doubt that at some recent
period an Archbishop has archiepiscopally blessed the Temperance Movement.
He is opposed to drunkenness, because we all are, even Licensed
Victuallers, and because drunkenness is fast dying out. But imagine an
Archbishop of Canterbury preaching Temperance in the eighteenth century
when nearly every one was liable to be drunk! He would have been mistaken
for a Methodist. I must confess it would be to me a great satisfaction to
find an Archbishop of Canterbury earnestly pleading in the House of Lords
in favour of gambling, or the unrestricted opening of public-houses on
Sunday, or some relaxation in the prosecution of pornographic literature.
Not by any means that I should agree with his point of view. But the
spectacle offered of a morally courageous and intellectually independent
Archbishop of Canterbury would be so stimulating, the presence of a Live
Person at the head of the Church instead of a glorified Penny-in-the-Slot
Machine would be so far-reaching in its results, that all questions of
agreement and disagreement would sink into insignificance.

_December_ 5.--I think we under-estimate our ancestors' regard for ease.
Whenever I have occasion to go to my "Jacobean" chest of drawers (chests
of this type are said really to belong to the end of the seventeenth
century) the softness and ease with which the drawers run always gives me
a slight thrill of pleasure. They run on grooves along the side of each
drawer, so that they can never catch, and when one examines them one finds
that grease, now black with age, had been applied to the grooves. (In
chests which have passed through the dealers' hands it is not usually easy
to find traces of this grease.) The chests of modified "Jacobean"
type--belonging, one may suppose, to the early eighteenth century--still
show these grooves for the drawers to run on. And then, as the eighteenth
century advances, they are no longer found. But that by no means meant
that the eighteenth-century craftsman had resolved to be content with such
articles of furniture as millions of our patient contemporaries tug and
push and more or less mildly curse at. No, the eighteenth-century
craftsman said to himself: I have gone beyond those "Jacobean" fellows; I
can make drawers so accurately, so exquisitely fitted, that they no longer
need grooves, and move as well as though they had them. And he was
justified. A beautiful eighteenth-century chest of drawers really is
almost as easy to manipulate as my "Jacobean" chest. One realises that the
device of grooves, ingenious and successful as it was, rested on an
imperfection; it was evidently an effort to overcome the crude and heavy
work of earlier imperfect craftsmen.

There is evolution in the vital progress of furniture as in all other
vital progress. The Jacobean chest with its oak substance and its panels
and its great depth is apparently massive; this is an inherited ancestral
trait due to the fact that it developed out of the earlier coffers that
really were massive; in reality it is rather light. The later modified
Jacobean chest shows only an attenuated appearance of massiveness, and the
loss is real, for there are no fresh compensating qualities. But the
developed eighteenth-century walnut chest is the unmistakable expression
of a new feeling in civilisation, a new feeling of delicacy and
refinement, a lovely superficiality such as civilisation demands, alike in
furniture and in social intercourse. There is not even the appearance of
massiveness now; the panels have gone and the depth has been notably
reduced. The final goal of development was reached, and nothing was left
to the nineteenth century but degeneration.

An interesting evolution in details is instructive to note. In the
Jacobean chest, while the drooping loops of the handles are small and
simple, the keyholes are elaborately adorned with beautiful brass
scroll-work, the hereditary vestige of mediaeval days when the chest was a
coffer, and the key, insistently demanded for security, was far more
important than handles, which then indeed had no existence. In the
unsatisfactory transitional stage of the later Jacobean chest the keyhole
is less beautifully adorned, but the handles remain of similar type. Here,
again, the eighteenth-century craftsman shows the fine artist he was. He
instinctively felt that the handles must be developed, for not only were
they more functionally important than the lock had become, but in
dispensing with the grooves for the drawers to run on he had made
necessary a somewhat firmer grip. So he made his handles more solid and
fastened them in with beautifully-cut fingers of brass. Then he realised
that the keyhole with all its fine possibilities must be sacrificed
because it clashed with his handles and produced a distracting confusion.
He contented himself with a simple narrow rim of brass for his keyholes,
and the effect is perfectly right.

Furniture is the natural expression of the civilisation producing it. I
sometimes think that there is even an intimate relation between the
furniture of an epoch and its other art forms, even its literary style.
The people who delighted in Cowley used these Jacobean chests, and in his
style there is precisely the same blending of the seemingly massive and
the really light, a blending perhaps more incongruous in poetry than in
furniture. And the eighteenth-century chests were made for people who had
been penetrated by the spirit of the _Spectator_; their craftsmen put into
furniture precisely that exquisite superficiality, that social amenity,
that fine conventionism which Addison and Steele put into their essays. I
find it hard not to believe that delicate feminine hands once stored away
the _Spectator_ in these drawers, and sometimes think I have seen those
hands on the canvases of Gainsborough and Romney.

_December_ 7.--One is perhaps too easily disquieted by the incompetence
and disaster of our typically modern things. Rotten aeroplanes for fools
to ride to destruction, motorcars for drunkards and imbeciles to use as
the ancient war-chariots were used, telephones and a thousand other
devices which are always out of order--our civilisation after all is not
made up of these. I take up _Le Rire_ and I gaze at its coloured pictures
again and again. One realises that these are the things that people will
turn to when they think of the twentieth century. Our aeroplanes and our
motor-cars and our telephones will no doubt be carefully displayed in a
neglected cellar of their museums. But here are things they will cherish
and admire, and as one gazes at them one grows more at peace with one's
own time.

It is easy to detect the influence of Rowlandson and of Hiroshige and the
other Japanese designers in the methods of these French artists of to-day,
and there could be no better influences. Rowlandson's _Dr. Syntax_ was the
delight of my childhood, and is equally a solace to-day when I am better
able to understand what that great artist accomplished; Hiroshige's daring
and lovely visions of some remote Japanese fairyland are always consoling
to take out and gaze at when one is weary or depressed or disgusted. There
could be no better influences.

But while it is not difficult to detect such influences in _Le Hire's_
best artists at their best moments,--not so very often attained,--they are
yet always themselves and true to their own spirit and vision, or they
would have no message to deliver. These pictures have their supreme value
because, whether or not they are a true picture of French life, they are a
true presentation of the essential French spirit, so recklessly gay and so
daringly poignant, so happily exquisite in its methods, and so
relentlessly direct in its moral. For some people, who take what they are
able to receive, the French spirit seems trivial and superficial, merely
wanton and gay, chiefly characterised by that Lubricity which worried the
pedagogic Matthew Arnold. The French spirit is more specifically
distinguished by its profundity and its seriousness. Without profundity
and seriousness, indeed, gaiety and wantonness have no significance. If
the Seven Sins had not been Deadly, the Christian Church could never have
clothed them in garments of tragic dignity. Unless you cut deep into life,
wantonness and gaiety lose their savour and are not fit for the ends of
art. The French spirit is not only embodied in Rabelais and Montaigne and
Molière--if these are your superficial men!--but also in Pascal. Was there
so great a gulf between Pascal and Daumier? And I find not only the spirit
of Pascal in some of these pictures in _Le Rire_, but sometimes even his
very phrases used as the titles of them.

_December_ 9.--The Australians, it appears, have been much worried over
Chidley. Here was a man who would not fit into their conventional moulds.
He was stern, resolute, inflexible, convinced that he carried a Gospel
which Australia and the world at large needed. It was a Gospel so
eccentrically related to the accepted scheme of things that only he
himself could accept it in its entirety. His method of preaching this
gospel, moreover, was as eccentric as the gospel itself. It seemed to him
that men need to live closer to Nature, that a simpler diet is necessary
to salvation, and less clothing, and greater sexual continence. He
approved his gospel by being a model of physical muscular fitness. As I
have sometimes seen a Rifian from the hills, with bare magnificent limbs,
striding down from the heights carolling a song, to enter the
bastardly-civilised city of Tangier, so, it would seem, Chidley descended
on to the city of Sydney. Having written a book in which to contain the
pith of his message, he proceeded to clothe himself in a sort of scanty
bathing dress, to lecture the public in the most fashionable streets of
the city, and to sell his book to those who might desire it.

Three centuries ago a man of the same type as Chidley, the eminent Quaker,
Solomon Eccles, who had his gospel too, would now and then come to
Westminster Hall, "very civilly tied about the privities to avoid scandal"
(as Pepys, a great stickler for propriety, noted with satisfaction), to
call to repentance the wicked generation of Charles II.'s day. But the
people of that day were not altogether without wisdom. They let the
strenuous Quaker alone. He was doubtless the better, and they were none
the worse.

Nowadays, it seems, we need more than a loincloth to protect our
hyperaesthetic eyes from the Splendour of Nature. The Australians,
afflicted by our modern nervous fussiness, could not leave Chidley alone.
The police moved him on, worried him as well as they could, invented
reasons for locking him up now and then, and finally, by what seemed a
masterstroke, they persuaded the doctors to shut him up in the Asylum.
That, however, proved to be too much for Australian popular opinion. The
voice of the people began to be heard in the press; there were long
debates in Parliament; the Premier sent to the Asylum to inquire on what
grounds Chidley had been placed there, and the doctors, who really had no
evil intent in the matter, though their mental equilibrium had been
momentarily disturbed by this unique Chidley, honourably opened the Asylum
doors, and Chidley has returned to preach the Gospel in George Street
until new reasons can be puzzled out for harassing him, neurotic, without
doubt, but now hall-marked sane.

Like the Athenians of old, the Australians are not averse to hearing some
new thing, and they have bought Chidley's book by the thousand. But the
Athenians, notwithstanding their love of novelty, offered the cup of
hemlock to Socrates. Chidley, if not exactly the Australian Socrates,
clearly resembles his disciples, those great Cynics who in the Greek
market-places were wont to preach and to practise a philosophy of stern
simplicity, often akin to his own. The Athenians killed Socrates, but they
produced a Plato to idealise and even to immortalise him. The Australians
have drawn the line at killing Chidley. So he still awaits his Plato.

_December_ 15.--Like a Gargantuan _casserole_ outside, but modelled on a
kettle inside, the Albert Hall, more or less filled with people, is often
to me a delightful spectacle. It is so at this Sunday afternoon concert,
when the lights are blended, and the bottom of the kettle is thickspread
with humanity, and sprinkled with splashes of dusky crimson or purple on
women's hats, while the sides are more slightly spread with the same
humanity up to the galleries. The spectacle so fascinates me sometimes
that I cannot listen to the music. At such moments the Albert Hall faintly
recalls a miniature Spanish bull-ring. It is a far-off resemblance, even
farther than the resemblance of St. Paul's Cathedral, with its enclosed
dome and its worrying detail, to the simple and superb strength of the
Pantheon, which lives in memory through the years as a great consoling
Presence, but it often comes to me and brings with it an inspiring sense
of dignity and colour and light before which the actual spectacle grows

_January_ 3, 1913.--I chanced to walk along the village street behind two
little girls of the people, evidently sisters, with ribbons round their
uncovered heads, filleting the hair which fell in careless ringlets on
their backs. It was hair of the bright flaxen sort, which the poets have
conventionally called "golden," the hair one sees so often on the angels
of the Italian primitive painters--though not so often on living Italians.
It is the hair which always seems to me more beautiful than any other, and
I felt as if I wanted to follow these plain commonplace children as the
rats followed the Pied Piper.

The vision brought to my mind the fact I have so often had occasion to
realise, that aesthetic attraction has nothing to do with erotic
attraction, however at their origins, it may have been, the two
attractions were identical or sprang from the same source, and though they
have constantly reacted on, and sometimes deflected, each other.
Aesthetically this hair fascinates me; it is an exhilarating delight
whenever I meet it. But I have never felt any personal attraction in
association with this hair, or any great personal interest in the people
it belonged to.

What one aesthetically craves is the outcome of one set of influences, due
to one's special vision, one's traditions, one's training and environment,
influences that are no doubt mainly objective and impersonal, operative on
most of one's fellows. But what one personally craves is the outcome of
another set of influences, due to one's peculiar and instinctive organic
constitution; it is based on one's individual instinctive needs and may
not be precisely the same for any two persons.

The Aestheticians are not here indeed altogether in harmony. But it would
seem that, while the aesthetic and the sexual must frequently and
legitimately overlap, they are definitely separate, that it is possible to
distinguish the aesthetically-from the sexually-attractive in different
persons and even in different features of the same person, that while it
is frequently natural and right to love a "beautiful" woman, to love a
woman because she is beautiful is as unreasonable as to fall in love with
a beautiful statue. The aesthetically-attractive and the
sexually-attractive tend to be held apart. They are two different
"substances," as the mediaeval metaphysician would have said. From the
standpoint of clear thinking, and also of social well-being, the confusion
of them is, in theological language, damnable. In so far as Beauty is a
personal lust it is unfit for wholesome social ends. Only in so far as it
is lifted above personal desire is it fitted to become a social

_January_ 10.--Yesterday I waited for a friend at a London Underground
railway station. She was delayed, and I stood for a quarter of an hour at
the bottom of a flight of steps, watching the continuous stream of
descending passengers, mostly women, and generally young. Some among the
less young were swollen, heavy, and awkward; most were slack, drooping,
limp, bony, or bent; a few were lithe and lissom; one or two had the
emotional vivacity and muscular tone of abounding vitality. Not one
plainly indicated that, stripped of her clothing, she would have
transformed those Underground steps into the Golden Stairway of Heaven.

"The average civilised woman sags." That is the conclusion lately reached
by Dickinson and Truslow after the examination of a very large number of
American women, and it is a conclusion which applies without doubt far
beyond the limits of the United States. Her breasts droop down, these
investigators assert, her buttocks sweep low, her abdomen protrudes. While
these defects are general, the modern woman has cultivated two extreme and
opposite defects of physical carriage which Dickinson and Truslow
picturesquely describe as the Kangaroo Type and the Gorilla Type. In the
kangaroo type of civilised woman the upper part of the trunk is carried
too much in front of the line of gravity, and the lower part too much
behind that line. In the gorilla type of woman, on the contrary, the upper
part of the body is carried too much behind the line of gravity, and the
lower part too much in front. So far Dickinson and Truslow.

If this were a purely aesthetic matter, though it would still have its
importance, it would only intrude to a slight degree into the moral and
social sphere. We should simply have to recognise that these defects of
the modern woman must be a frequent cause of depression to her more
intimate friends, and that that may have its consequences.

There is more in it than that. All such defects of tone and posture (as
indeed Dickinson and Truslow realise) have their inevitable reaction on
the nervous system: they produce a constant wearing stress, a perpetual
liability to pain. The women who have fallen into these habits are
inadequate to life, and their inadequacy is felt in all that they are and
in all that they attempt to do. Each of them is a stone flung into the
social pool to disperse around it an ever-widening circle of disturbance
and irritation.

It may be argued that one has seen women--working women especially--whose
breasts were firm bowls of beauty, whose buttocks were exquisitely curved,
whose bellies would have satisfied the inspired author of _The Song of
Songs_, and yet the women who owned such physical graces have not
conspicuously possessed the finer spiritual graces. But we do not enhance
one half of human perfection by belittling the other half. And we rarely
conceive of any high perfection on one side without some approach to it on
the other. Even Jesus--though the whole of his story demands that his
visage should be more marred than any man's--is always pictured as
beautiful. And do you suppose that the slave girl Blandina would have gone
into the arena at Lyons to present her white body as the immortal symbol
of the love of Jesus if her breasts had drooped down, and her buttocks
swept low, and her abdomen protruded? The human heart is more subtly
constructed. Those romantic Christian hagiologists saw to that. And--to
come nearer to the point--could her fine tension of soul have been built
up on a body as dissolute and weak as a candle in the sun?

We need to-day a great revival of the sense of responsibility, not only in
the soul but in the body. We want a new sort of _esprit de corps_. We need
it especially for women, for women, under modern conditions, even less
than men, have no use for sagging bodies or sagging souls. It is only by
the sanction of nakedness that this can be achieved. "Take this hint from
the dancer," a distinguished American dancer has said, "the fewer clothes
the better; woman is clumsy because she is overweighted with clothes."
With whatever terror we may view any general claim to the right of
nakedness, the mere liability to nakedness, the mere freedom to be naked,
at once introduces a new motive into life. It becomes a moralising force
of the most strenuous urgency. Clothes can no more be put before us as a
substitute for the person. The dressmaker can no longer arrogate the
functions of a Creator. The way is opened for the appearance in
civilisation of a real human race.

_January_ 11.--There seem to be two extreme and opposed styles of writing:
the liquid style that flows, and the bronze or marmoreal style that is
moulded or carved. Thus there is in English the style of Jeremy Taylor and
Newman and Ruskin, and there is the style of Bacon and Landor and Pater,
the lyrically-impetuous men and the artistically-deliberate men.

One may even say that a whole language may fall into one or the other of
these two groups, according to the temper of the people which created it.
There is the Greek tongue, for instance, and there is the Latin tongue.
Greek is the embodiment of the fluent speech that runs or soars, the
speech of a people which could not help giving winged feet to its god of
art. Latin is the embodiment of the weighty and concentrated speech which
is hammered and pressed and polished into the shape of its perfection, as
the ethically-minded Romans believed that the soul also should be wrought.
Virgil said that he licked his poems into shape as a she-bear licks her
cubs, and Horace, the other supreme literary artist of Rome, compared the
writing of poems to working in bronze. No Greek could have said these
things. Whether Plato or Aristophanes or even Thucydides, the Greek's feet
touched the earth, touched it lovingly, though it might only be with the
pressure of a toe, but there were always wings to his feet, he was always
the embodiment of all that he symbolised in Hermes. The speech of the
Greek flies, but the speech of the Roman sinks. The Roman's word in art,
as in life, was still _gravitas_, and he contrived to infuse a shade of
contempt into the word _levis_. With the inspired Greek we rise, with the
inspired Roman we sink. With the Greek poet, it may be any poet of the
Anthology, I am uplifted, I am touched by the breath of rapture. But if it
is a Latin poet--Lucretius or Catullus, the quintessential Latin poets--I
am hit by something pungent and poignant (they are really the same word,
one notes, and that a Latin word) which pierces the flesh and sinks into
the heart.

One resents the narrow and defective intelligence of the spirit embodied
in Latin, its indifference to Nature, its refusal to hallow the freedom
and beauty and gaiety of things, its ever-recurring foretaste of
Christianity. But one must not refuse to recognise the superb and eternal
morality of that spirit, whether in language or in life. It consecrates
struggle, the conquest of brute matter, the perpetual and patient effort
after perfection. So Rome is an everlasting challenge to the soul of Man,
and the very stones of its city the mightiest of inspirations.

_January_ 13.--An American physician, we are told, paid a visit to the
famous dog-kennels on the Vanderbilt estate. He was surprised at the
intelligence and gentleness of the animals. "Have you no vicious animals
at all?" he asked. And the keeper in surprise answered him: "Do you
suppose we would be so foolish as to permit vicious animals to breed?"

Human beings ought surely to be worth more to us than dogs. Yet here in
England-and I do not know in what "civilised" country any different order
prevails--we gather together all our physical and moral defectives, we
bring them into our Workhouses to have babies, under the superintendence
of Boards of Guardians, and every one knows that these babies are born in
the image of their parents, and will perpetuate the same cycle of misery.
Yet, so far as I know, not one of these "Guardians" ever so much as
attempts to make clear to those hapless mothers why and how they should
avoid having other children. And no one proposes to shut up as dangerous
lunatics these precious Guardians of Private Misery and Public Incapacity!

We look down with lofty moral superiority on our ancestors in these
islands who were accustomed to eat their fellow-creatures. We do not eat
them. We only torture them. That is what we call Progress. At all events
we are laying up a bountiful supply of moral superiority for our own
descendants. It is not probable that they will be able to read in their
newspaper (if newspaper they will still possess) as we can in ours: "At an
inquest at Dudley yesterday on a woman who was fatally scalded whilst in a
fit, it was stated that she had been an epileptic for years, and that her
seven children had all been epileptics, and all had died when young."

_January_ 14.--There are few things that make one so doubtful about the
civilising power of England as our indifference to the smoke problem in
London. If we were Neapolitan ragamuffins, who could lie in the sun with
bare limbs, sucking oranges, there would be nothing to say; under such
conditions indolence might be pardonable, almost justified. But we English
are feverishly active, we run over the whole world, and we utilise all
this energy to build up the biggest and busiest city in the world. Yet we
have never created an atmosphere for our great city. Mist is beautiful,
with its power of radiant transformation, and London could never, under
any circumstances, and need never, be absolutely without mist; it is part
of the physical genius of our land, and even perhaps of the spiritual
genius of our people. But the black fogs of London are mist soaked with
preventable coal smoke; their evils have been recognised from the first.
Evelyn protested against this "hellish and dismal cloud of sea-coal," and
Charles II. desired Evelyn to prepare a Bill on this nuisance to put
before Parliament. But there the matter rested. For three centuries we
have been in the position of the Russian gentleman who could not prevent
his dilapidated roof from letting in the rain; for, as he pointed out, in
wet weather it was quite impossible to effect any repairs, and in dry
weather there was really nothing to complain of. In the meanwhile this
"cloud of sea-coal" has continued to produce not only actual death and
injury in particular cases, but a general diminution of human vitality and
the wholesale destruction of plant life. It eats away our most beautiful
public buildings; it covers everything and everybody with soot; it is
responsible, directly and indirectly, for a financial loss so vast and
manifold as to be incalculable.

Yesterday Lord Curzon delivered an address at the Mansion House on the
Beautiful London of the Future. He dwelt eloquently on its noble buildings
and its long embankments, and its wide streets and its finely placed
statues. But of the smoke which nullifies and destroys all these things,
not a word! Yet, as he was speaking, outside the Mansion House the people
of London were almost feeling their way about, scarce knowing where they
were, timidly crawling across motor-infested roads with their hearts in
their mouths, all the time permanently ingraining their lungs with black
filth. An able man, Lord Curzon, skilful to gauge the British Idealist,
ever so absorbed in his own dream of comfort or of cash that he is even
blind to the world he lives in, "pinnacled dim in the intense inane" in
another sense than the poet intended.

If we were mediaeval monks, who spent our time chanting the rhyme of
Bernard of Morlaix, there might seem to be a reason in our madness. To
make a Hell of earth is doubtless a useful method of rendering more joyous
the transition to Heaven, and less overwhelming the transition to
Purgatory. Yet the mediaeval monks burnt no coal and were careful to live
in beautiful sites and fine air. The prospect of Purgatory made them
epicures in the fine things of Earth. Now we, apparently, care not a snap
for any Hereafter. It is therefore a curious psychological problem why we
should have chosen to take up our cross in this peculiarly repulsive
shape. Apparently our traditions are too strong for us, we cannot dispense
with Hell; if robbed of it in the future we must have it Here and Now.

_January_ 15.--When English days are dark and dreary, and the rain falls,
and cold winds blow, then it is that memory brings back the full joy of
ancient beauty and sunshine. (How could Dante have written "Nessun maggior
dolore"! But he had to write of Hell, and Hell were no longer Hell if the
lovely memory of Earth still cheered its inmates.) Especially I love to
think of that two days' brief journey-the most delightful journey there
can be in the world, it sometimes seems--which separates me from Spain. I
think of it as it is in early Spring, in the April month, when Browning
longed to be in England and most people long to be out of it. I think of
the swift passage across the Channel, of the ever-new impression of the
light-toned greenery of France and the subtle difference of the beautiful
trees, of Paris, of the Quai d'Orsay early next morning, of the mediaeval
cities that flash into view on their ancient hills, of the vast stretch of
beautiful and varied French land, of Limoges, the last outpost of the
Northern French, whom it is sad to leave even when one is bound for Spain,
of Rocamadour (and I think of that fantastic old-world shrine, with the
legendary blade of Roland's Durandel still struck into its walls, and of
the long delicious day on the solitary brooding height over the exquisite
ravine), the night at Toulouse at the Hotel Bayard, and the sour bread
that marks the Puritanic Southern French, the keen winds and the dreary
rain that comes from Provence,--delicious to leave behind. Then
Carcassonne and the momentary vision of its turrets, the embodiment of
one's dream of the past; lunch at Narbonne with the unfailing cold
asparagus of the south, Perpignan, where now at last one is haunted by the
fragrance of a city that once was Spanish. Then creeping along by the
broken coast, and the rocky creeks up to the outermost edge of the
Pyrenees, leaving to the north the ancient path which Pompey and Caesar
climbed, and feeling the winds that descend mysteriously from its gorges:

  Le vent qui vient à travers la montagne
  Me rendra fou.

Lo, at once a new Heaven and a new Earth and a new People. A sky that is
ever soft and radiant; a land on which strange and fragrant plants
flourish, and lakes of crimson poppies glimmer afar; men and women into
whose veins seems to have passed something of the lazy sunshine of their
sky, something of the rich colour of their earth. Then at last the great
city of Barcelona, where work and play are mingled as nowhere else so
harmoniously in the whole European world; and, beyond, the sacred height
of Montserrat; and, beyond that, all the magic of Spain at my feet.

_January_ 19.--"For three days I have observed two large pictures in solid
frames hanging on the wall before me, supported by a cord fastened
horizontally behind the frames; these pictures have only one point of
support, so that they are sensitive to the slightest movement. The wall
goes from east to west, or the other way about, it makes no difference.
Now, every morning when I wake, I find these works of art a little askew,
the left corner inclined down and the right up!" I came upon that passage
in _Sylva Sylvarum_, the first book of Strindberg's I ever read, and it
pleased me so much that I believe I read no further.

I am reminded of it now when Strindberg's fame has grown so great in

It really seems to me that that fantastic image is an excellent symbol of
Strindberg himself. For his picture of the world fails to swing
concordantly with the world. He has lagged behind in the cosmic rhythm, he
has fallen out of the dance of the stars. So that the whole universe is to
him an exquisitely keen jar of the nerves, and he hangs awry. That may
well make him an extraordinarily interesting person, and, indeed, perhaps
he is thereby an index of the world's vital movement, registering it by
not moving with it. We have to read Strindberg, but to read him _à

So I experience some amusement when I see to-day the solemn statement in
an American journal which claims--I do not say with no reason--to be
portentously clever and superior, that Strindberg is destined to become in
America the voice of the masculine reaction in favour of "the corrective
influence of a matter-of-fact attitude towards woman." One wonders by what
strange fatality Strindberg-the most fantastic genius that ever lived--can
appeal to an American as "matter-of-fact." And one wonders why Americans,
anyway, should go to this distinguished Swede for such a "corrective,"
when in their own country, to mention but a single name, they have a
writer like Robert Herrick, whose novels are surely so admirably subtle
and profound an analysis of the position of womanhood in America, and
quite reasonably sane. But it is still true, as Jesus sighed two thousand
years ago, that a prophet is no prophet in his own country.

_January_ 29.--For supper, we are told, Milton used often to eat a few
olives. That statement has frequently recurred to my mind. I never grow
weary of the significance of little things. What do the so-called great
things of life count for in the end, the fashion of a man's showing-off
for the benefit of his fellows? It is the little things that give its
savour or its bitterness to life, the little things that direct the
currents of activity, the little things that alone really reveal the
intimate depths of personality. _De minimis non curât lex_. But against
that dictum of human law one may place the Elder Pliny's maxim concerning
natural law: _Nusquam magis quam in minimis tota est Natura_. For in the
sphere of Nature's Laws it is only the minimal things that are worth
caring about, the least things in the world, mere specks on the Walls of
Life, as it seems to you. But one sets one's eyes to them, and, behold,
they are chinks that look out into Infinity.

Milton is one of the "great" things in English life and literature, and
his admirers dwell on his great achievements. These achievements often
leave me a little cold, intellectually acquiescent, nothing more. But when
I hear of these olives which the blind old scholar-poet was wont to eat
for supper I am at once brought nearer to him. I intuitively divine what
they meant to him.

Olives are not the most obvious food for an English Puritan of the
seventeenth century, though olive-oil is said to have been used here even
in the fourteenth century. Milton might more naturally, one supposes, like
his arch-Puritanic foe, Prynne, have "refocillated" his brain with ale and
bread, and indeed he was still too English, and perhaps too wise, to
disdain either.

But Milton had lived in Italy. There the most brilliant and happy days of
his life had been spent. All the rest of his real and inner life was but
an echo of the music he had heard in Italy. For Milton was only on one
side of his nature the austere Latin secretary of Cromwell and the
ferocious opponent of Salmasius. He was also the champion of the tardy
English Renaissance, the grave and beautiful youth whose every fibre
thrilled to the magic of Italy. For two rich months he had lived in
Florence, then the most attractive of Italian cities, with Gaddi, Dati,
Coltellini, and the rest for his friends. He had visited Galileo, then
just grown blind, as he was himself destined to be. His inner sight always
preserved the old visions he had garnered

  At evening from the top of Fesole,
  Or in Valdarno.

Now at last, in the company of sour and ignorant Puritans who counted him
one of themselves, while a new generation grew up which ignored him and
which he disdained, in this sulphurous atmosphere of London which sickened
and drove away his secretary Ellwood, Milton ate a handful of olives. And
all Italy came to him in those olives.

"What! when the sun rises do you not see a round disc of fire, somewhat
like a guinea?" "Oh no, no, no!" said Blake, "I see an innumerable company
of the heavenly host." And these dull green exotic fruits which the blind
Milton ate bedwards were the heralds of dreams diviner than he freighted
with magnificent verse.

_February_ 3.--"Every well-written novel," I find Remy de Gourmont
stating, "seems immoral." A paradox? By no means; Gourmont, the finest of
living critics, is not a paradox-monger. He is referring to the
prosecution of _Madame Bovary_, a book which Taine said might profitably
be used in Sunday Schools; and he points out that Flaubert--and every
other profoundly original writer--by avoiding the commonplace phrase, the
familiar counter, by deliberately choosing each word, by moulding his
language to a personal rhythm, imparts such novelty to his descriptions
that the reader seems to himself to be assisting for the first time at a
scene which is yet exactly the same as those described in all novels.
Hence inevitable scandal.

One may very well add that in this matter Life follows the same law as
Art. It is the common fate of all creative work (and "non merita nome di
Creatore se non Iddio ed il Poeta"). Whoso lives well, as whoso writes
well, cannot fail to convey an alarming impression of novelty, precisely
because he is in accurate personal adjustment to the facts of his own
time. So he is counted immoral and criminal, as Nietzsche delighted to
explain. Has not Nietzsche himself been counted, in his own playful
phrase, an "immoralist"? Yet the path of life that Nietzsche proposed to
follow was just the same ancient, old-fashioned, in the true sense trivial
path which all the world has trodden. Only his sensitive feet felt that
path so keenly, with such a new grip of the toes on the asperities of it,
that the mob cried: Why, this man cannot possibly be on our good old
well-worn comfortable highway; he must have set off on some new path, no
doubt a very bad and wicked path, where trespassers must be prosecuted.
And it was just the same venerable path that all humanity has travelled,
the path that Adam and Eve scuttled over, in hairy nakedness, through the
jungle of the Garden of Eden!

That is one of the reasons--and there are many of them--why the social
ideal of Herbert Spencer, in which the adjustment of life is so perfect
that friction is impossible, can never be attained. Putting aside the
question of the desirability of such an ideal it is impossible to see how
it could be achieved, either along the line of working at Heredity, or
along the line of working at the Environment. Even the most keenly
intellectual people that ever existed, the most amorous of novelty, the
most supple-minded, could not permit Socrates to live, though all the time
Socrates was going their own way, his feet pressing the same path; they
still could not understand his prosaic way of looking intently where his
feet fell. It must always happen so, and it always means conflict. Even a
flower cannot burst into bloom without conflict, the balance of forces can
never be quite equal and opposite, there must be a breaking down
somewhere, there must always be conflict. We may regulate and harmonise
the conditions, we cannot abolish the conflict. For Conflict is implicit
in Life.

_February_ 5.--I note that Charles Dudley Warner (that splendid type of
American man as I recall him in old age, pacing up and down my room,
pondering out some serious problem of life), when half a century ago he
came over to London for the first time on a visit from Paris, was struck
by the contrast between the light luminosity of one city and the
prevailing gloomy dirt of the other. The contrast may not be so pronounced
to-day. Yet that same dirt--which has its beautiful side no doubt--remains
the note of London, brown dirt all over the streets, black dirt all over
the buildings, yellow dirt all over the sky, and those who live in it
become subdued to what they live in, "like the dyer's hand," even

So the sight of the Cornish coast, the prospect of seeing it, the very
thought of its existence, has the exhilaration of a rapturous prayer.
There--sometimes, at all events--the earth is exquisitely clean, the
bright sea bubbles like champagne, and its mere mists are rainbow-hued
dreams; the sky has flung off its dingy robe and is naked, beautiful,
alive. Profoundly alien to me as I always feel this land of Cornwall to
be, it is much to feel there something of that elemental reality of which
men count God the symbol. Here the city-stained soul may become the
sacramental agent of a Divine Transubstantiation of the elements of earth,
of air, of water, of fire.

_February_ 8.--It was a fine and deep saying of Aristotle's that "the
greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor." That is the mark of
genius, for, said he, it implies an intuitive perception of the similarity
in dissimilars.

All the great thinkers have been masters of metaphor, because all vivid
thinking must be in images, and the philosopher whose metaphors are
blurred or diluted is one whose thinking is blurred and diluted. Thus it
comes about that the thinkers who survive are the thinkers who wrote well
and are most nearly poets. Not that they need have attained to that which
we, individually or collectively, may be pleased to consider "Truth." But
they were alive; they had realised what they meant; they embodied their
thoughts in definite images which are a perpetual challenge to thought for
all who come after. One may agree or disagree with Schopenhauer or with
Nietzsche. But they were vitally and intensely alive; they transformed
their thought into wonderful imagery; or they sang it and they danced it;
and they are alive for ever. People talk of "the passing of Kant." It may
be. But who will talk of the passing of Plato or even of the passing of
Hobbes? No thinker has been so buffeted as Hobbes, and there is no school
to accept his central thesis. It is no matter. Hobbes flung aside all the
armour of tradition and met the giant problem that faced him with his own
sling and any stones out of the brook. It was enough to make him immortal.
His achievement has receded into the past. The _Leviathan_ is now an
ancient tapestry which generations of street urchins have thrown mud at;
and yet it remains radiantly beautiful.

All great thinkers are great masters of metaphor because all thinking of
any kind must be by analogy. It may often be a misleading guide, but it
remains the only guide. To say that thinking is by metaphor is merely the
same thing as to say that the world is an infinite series of analogies
enclosed one within another in a succession of Chinese boxes. Even the
crowd recognises this. The story that Newton first saw the gravitation of
the earth in the fall of an apple in the orchard, which Voltaire has
transmitted to us from a fairly good source, has no first-hand authority.
But the crowd has always accepted it as a gospel truth, and by a sound
instinct. The Milky Way itself is pictured by its latest investigators as
a vague spiral scarcely to be distinguished from the ascending smoke of a

_February_ 10.--A French soprano, and it is the first time she has sung on
an English platform. She walks on slowly and stands statuesquely
motionless while the preliminary bars are being played. One notes her
elegant Parisian costume, clinging and very low-cut, every detail of her
appearance carefully thought out, constituting a harmony in itself, though
not perhaps a harmony with this negligent Sunday afternoon environment in
which the singer finds herself. Her voice is finely trained and under
complete control, she enters into the spirit of the operatic scene she
sings, dramatically, yet with restraint, with modulated movements, now of
her arms, now of her whole supple body. In her voice, as in her body,
there is always a reserve of energy, a dignified self-respect; there is
never any self-abandonment. She has sung first in French, now she comes on
in an Italian air, and afterwards is not too coyly reticent in taking an
encore which is in English, to a piano accompaniment, and when that is
over she hastens to bring the accompanist by the hand to her side before
the audience, and bows, sweetly and graciously, with a gesture of the
whole body, yet again with a certain reserve, not, as one may see some
great singers, symbolically clasping her arms round the public and kissing
it with humble gratitude. She is a complete success with her audience.

Yet she is really, one divines, a fairly commonplace person. And she is
not beautiful. And even her voice has no marvellous original quality. She
has on her side a certain quality of nervous texture to mould
artistically, but that is not a personal possession but merely a quality
of her race. She has laboriously wrought this ductile nervous tissue to
her own ends. By force of long training, discipline, art, she has made
herself what she desired to be. She has become all that she had in her to
be. She has given to the world all that the world has any right to ask of

That is all. But this training and this discipline, the ability to be
oneself and to impart graciously to others the utmost that they have any
right to demand--is not that the whole Art of Living and the entire Code
of Morality?

_February_ 15.--"There is no Excellent Beauty that hath not some
Strangeness in the Proportion." That saying of Bacon's--one of the
profoundest of human utterances--is significant not only for all life but
for all art. In the sphere of literature, for instance, it makes
impossible the use of counters.

The counter or the _cliché_--no doubt it is better known for what it is to
good French writers--is the word or the phrase which has lost the original
contour of its mintage and become a mere featureless coin, having still,
as it were, its metallic meaning but no longer its fresh beauty and
expressiveness. The young novelist whose hero "wends his way," and the
journalist for whom a party of fifteen persons may be "literally
decimated," are both adepts in the use of the counter. They use ancient
worn words, such as leap first into the mind, words which are too effaced
to be beautiful, and sometimes too effaced to be accurate. They are just
counters for careless writers to pass on to careless readers, and not
always reliable as counters.

We are all of us using these counters; they are convenient for the
ordinary purposes of life, whenever the search for beauty and rarity and
expressiveness may seem uncalled for. Even the master of style uses them
unquestioned, so long as he uses them consciously, deliberately, of set
purpose, with a sense of their just value for his purpose. When they are
used, as sometimes happens, heedlessly and helplessly, by writers who are
dealing with beautiful and expressive things, they become jarring
vulgarisms which set the teeth on edge. Even a poet of real inspiration,
like Francis Thompson, may seek to carry, "hiddenly," as he would express
it, beneath the cloak of his rapture, all sorts of absurd archaisms,
awkwardly conventional inversions, hideous neologisms like false antiques,
all mere counters. A born writer with a personal instinct for expression,
like Arthur Symons, is not apt to resort to the use of counters, even when
he is seemingly careless; a carefully trained artist in the use of words,
like Stevenson, evidently rejects counters immediately; the man who is not
a writer, born or made, sometimes uses nothing but counters.

A casual acquaintance once presented to me an epic he had written in
rhymed couplets, extending to many cantos. He was a man of bright and
vigorous mind, but no poet. So when he set himself to write verse it is
clear that he instinctively tested every word or phrase, and rejected
those that failed to sound smooth, familiar, "poetic," to his reminiscent
ear. The result is that the whole of his book is made up of counters, and
every epithet is studiously obvious. The hero is "dauntless," and his
"steed" is "noble," and the sky at night is a "spangled vault," and "spicy
perfumes load the balmy air." It is thirty years since that epic was
placed in my hands, and I have often since had occasion to think that it
might profitably be used by any teacher of English literature as a text
for an ever needed lesson on the counter. "There is no Excellent Beauty
that hath not some Strangeness in the Proportion." Or, as Aristotle had
said long before, there must be "a certain admixture of unfamiliarity," a
continual slight novelty.

That is the Law of Beauty in Art because it is the Law of Morality in
Life. Our acts so easily become defaced and conventionalised, mere uniform
counters that have been used a thousand times before and rarely with any
special applicability--often, indeed, a flagrant inapplicability--to the
case in hand. The demand upon us in Life is to fling away counters, to
react vitally to the vital circumstances of the situation. All the
teachers of Excellent Beauty in the Moral Life bear witness to the truth
of Bacon's saying. Look at the Sermon on the Mount: no doubt about the
"Strangeness in the Proportion" there! Socrates and Jesus, unlike as they
were, so far as we are able to discern, were yet both marked by the same
horror of counters. Sooner than employ them they would die. And indeed, if
the Moral Life could be reduced to the simplicity of a slot-machine, it
would still be necessary to put real pennies in.

_February_ 23.--Some time ago a navvy working in Sussex came upon a round
object like a cocoa-nut which he flung carelessly out of the way. It would
soon have disappeared for ever. But by an almost miraculous chance a man
of science passed that way and secured the object, easily discernible as a
portion of a human skull. Now that, with all that appertains to it, the
fragment has been investigated, the Sussex navvy's unconscious find is
revealed as perhaps the most precious and interesting thing that has ever
been discovered in the earth, the earliest Charter in the History of Man.

Whenever I read of the chance discovery of fossils or human remains, of
buried cities in Yucatan or Roman pavements beneath Gloucestershire
meadows, or beautiful statues fished out of the Tiber, or mediaeval
treasures dug from below old castles, it grows an ever greater wonder to
me that no one has yet proposed a systematic exploration of the whole
earth beneath our feet. Here is this earth, a marvellous onion, a series
of encapsuled worlds, each successive foliation preserving the intimate
secrets of its own irrecoverable life. And Man the Baby, neglecting the
wonderful Earth he crawls on, has cried for the barren Moon! All science
has begun with the stars, and Early Man seemed to himself merely the
by-play of a great cosmic process. God was first, and Man who had created
Him--out of less than dust--was nowhere. Even in mediaeval days we knew
much more about Heaven and Hell than about Earth. The Earth comes last
into man's view,--even after Heaven and Hell and Purgatory,--but it will
surely be a puzzle for our successors that after a million years, even in
our present little era, we had still not begun to scratch up
systematically the soil we stand on and could scarcely so much as uncover
Pompeii. For though the under-world is not all a buried Pompeii, it is a
vast treasure-house. One cannot so much as put a spade into the
garden-mould of one's cottage-garden without now and then finding ancient
coins and shards of strange pottery; and for all that you know, the clue
to some mystery that has puzzled mankind for ages may at this moment lie a
few inches below your feet.

It would be the task of an International Exfodiation Commission to dig up
the whole earth systematically, leaving no inch of it untouched except on
definitely determined grounds, the depth explored in each region being
duly determined by experts. One might make a beginning with the banks of
the Nile where the task is comparatively easy, and Nature has packed such
fragile treasures in such antiseptic sand. Italy with its soil laden with
marvellous things could be investigated at the same time, with all the
shores of the Mediterranean. The work would take many centuries to
complete and would cost vast sums of money. But when the nations are no
longer engaged in the task of building warships which are obsolete a few
weeks after they are launched, if not before, how vast a sum of money will
be saved! The money which is wasted on the armies and navies of Europe
alone during a single century would furnish a very respectable credit for
the International Exfodiation Commission to begin work with. At the same
time the men now employed in laboriously learning the trade of war, which
they are seldom or never called upon to exercise, could be given something
useful to do. In the meanwhile Exfodiation must wait until what an old
English writer called "the essential oil of democracy" is poured over the
stormy waves of human society. You doubt whether that oil will calm the
waves? But if your essential oil of democracy fails to possess that
elementary property of oil it is hardly worth while to manufacture it.

Once achieved, whenever or however it is achieved, the task will be
achieved for ever. It would be the greatest task man has ever attempted,
and the most inspiring. He would for the first time become fully conscious
of himself. He would know all that he once was, and all that he has ever
accomplished so far as its record survives. He would read clearly in the
earth for the first time the title-deeds that make him the owner of the
world. All that is involved is Exfodiation.

I call this process Exfodiation, because if our descendants happen to be
at all like us they would much rather Exfodiate than Dig. As for us, we
dare not so much as call our bodily organs and functions by their
beautifully common names, and to Dig we are even more ashamed than to Beg.

_March_ 3.--Some one was telling me yesterday how lately in Wales he stood
in a wood by a little stream that ran swiftly over the stones, babbling
and chattering--the poets have wisely said--as children babble and
chatter. "It is certainly the stream," he said to himself; "no, it must be
children; no, it is the stream." And then a band of careless children,
whose voices had mingled with the brook's voice, emerged from amidst the

Children are more than murmuring streams, and women are more than fragrant
flowers, and men are more than walking trees. But on one side they are all
part of the vision and music of Nature, not merely the creators of
pictures and melodies, but even yet more fundamentally themselves the
music and the vision. We cannot too often remember that not only is the
art of man an art that Nature makes, but that Man himself is Nature.
Accordingly as we cherish that faith, and seek to live by it, we vindicate
our right to the Earth, and preserve our sane and vital relations to the
Earth's life. The poets love to see human emotions in the procession of
cosmic phenomena. But we have also to see the force of the sun and the
dust of the earth in the dance of the blood through the veins of Man.

Civilisation and Morals may seem to hold us apart from Nature. Yet the
world has, even literally, been set in our hearts. We are of the Stuff of
the Universe. In comparison with that fact Morals and Civilisation sink
into Nothingness.

_March_ 7.--So fine a critic of art as Remy de Gourmont finds it
difficult, to his own regret, to admire Shakespeare on the stage, at all
events in France in French translations. This is not, he says, what in
France is counted great dramatic art; there is no beginning and there is
no real end, except such as may be due to the slaughter of the characters;
throughout it is possible to interpolate scenes or to subtract scenes. He
is referring more especially to _Macbeth_.

It cannot be denied that there is truth in this plaint. In France, from a
French standpoint,--or, for the matter of that, from a Greek
standpoint,--Shakespeare must always be a barbarian. It is the same
feeling--though not indeed in so great a degree--that one experiences when
one looks at the picturesque disorder and irregularity of English Gothic
churches from the standpoint of the severely ordered majesty of Chartres,
or even of Amiens, which yet has so much about it that recalls its
neighbourhood to England. From the right standpoint, however, English
Gothic architecture is full of charm, and even of art. In the same way I
cannot at all admit that Shakespeare is unsuited for the stage. One has
only to remember that it is the Romantic not the Classic stage. It is the
function of the Shakespearian drama, and of the whole school of which
Shakespeare is the supreme representative (I put aside Marlowe who died in
the making of a greater classic tradition), to evoke a variegated vision
of the tragi-comedy of life in its height and its depth, its freedom, and
its wide horizon. This drama has for the most part little to do with the
operation of the Fate which works itself out when a man's soul is in the
stern clutch of Necessity. We are far here from Euripides and from Ibsen.
Life is always a pageant here, a tragi-comedy, which may lean sometimes
more to comedy, and sometimes more to tragedy, but has in it always, even
in _Lear_, an atmosphere of enlarging and exhilarating gaiety.

Shakespeare is for the stage. But what stage? We were cut off for ever
from the Shakesperian tradition in the very generation after Shakespeare
died, and have not acquired a sound new tradition even yet. The device of
substituting drapery for scenery and relying exclusively on the gorgeous
flow of words for decorative purposes fails to satisfy us, and we fall
back on the foolish trick of submerging Shakespeare in upholstery and

It seems to me that we may discern the beginning of a more rational
tradition in Granville Barker's staging of _Twelfth Night_ at the Savoy.
There is something here of the romantic suggestion and the easy freedom
which are of the essence of the Shakesperian drama. The creamy walls,
possibly an approximation to the courtyard-like theatre of the
Elizabethans, are a perfect background for the play of brilliant figures;
the light curtains furnish precisely the desired suggestion of scenery;
and when at last all the figures wander up the stairway in the background
as the Fool sings his inconsequent song, "With hey ho the wind and the
rain," the whole gracious dream melts away deliriously, as it seemed to
Prospero, and surely to Shakespeare himself, the dream of life in the end
melts away in the wind or the rain of the grave.

Thus conceived, the Shakesperian drama has surely as good a right to exist
on the stage as the drama of Molière. There cannot be the same perfection
of finish and detail, for this is only an experiment, and there is
inevitably a total difference of method. Yet, as thus presented, _Twelfth
Night_ lingers in my mind with _Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme_ as presented at
the Comedie Française, so presented that, by force of tradition wrought
with faultless art, a play becomes an embodied symphony, a visible
manifestation of gracious music.

_March_ 13.--I passed in the village street the exotic figure of a fat man
in a flat cap and a dark blue costume, with very wide baggy trousers down
to the ground. He was reading a newspaper as he walked with an easy
slouch. His fat shaven face was large and round and wrinkled, yet not
flabby. Altogether there was something irresistibly Chinese about him.
Strange that this curious figure should be the typical English sailor, the
legendary Hero of the British People, and the person on whose existence
that of the English nation is held to depend.

_March_ 16.--Two feminine idealists. I read of an English suffragette
trying to address a meeting and pelted with tomatoes by a crowd grown
weary of suffragette outrages. And shortly after I read of a young German
dancer in a small Paris theatre who in the course of her dance is for a
few moments absolutely naked, whereupon the Chief of Police sends for her
and draws up a charge of "outrage aux moeurs." To a journalist she
expresses her indignation at this insult to her art: "Let there be no
mistake; when I remove my chemise to come on the stage it is in order to
bare my soul." Not quite a wise thing to say to a journalist, but it is in
effect what the suffragette also says, and is rewarded with rotten
tomatoes as her sister with a _procès-verbal._

One sees the whole-hearted enthusiasm of both the suffragette and the
dancer. Unwise, no doubt, unable to discern the perspective of life, or to
measure the inevitable social reactions of their time. Yet idealists, even
martyrs, for Art or for Justice, exposed in the arena of the world, as the
Perpetuas and Blandinas of old were exposed out of love for Jesus, all
moved by the Spirit of Life, though, as the ages pass, the Excuses for
Life differ. Many Masks, but one Face and one Arena.

For the Mob, huddled like sheep around this Arena of Life, and with no
vital instinct to play therein any part of their own, it is not for these
to cast contumely. Let them be well content that for a brief moment it is
theirs to gaze at the Spectacle of Divine Gaiety and then be thrust into
outer Darkness.

_March_ 17.--Yet, when one thinks of it, why should the mob in the
galleries not hiss, when they so please, the spectacle they were not made
to take part in? They are what they are born to be and what circumstances
have made them, the legitimate outcome of your Random Procreation, and
your Compulsory Education, your Regulations and By-laws, spread thick over
every inch of Land and Sea and Air. And if they still throw rotten
tomatoes and draw up charge sheets in police stations, why should they not
enjoy their brief moment of Living Action, and be Damned?

We may even go a step further. It has to be remembered that the Actors of
Life, interesting as they are, exist for the audience, and not the
audience for the Actors. The Actors are the abnormal and exceptional
people, born out of due time, at variance with the environment; that is
why they are Actors. This vast inert mass of people, with no definite
individualities of their own, they are normal and healthy Humanity, born
to consume the Earth's fruits, even when these fruits happen to be dancers
and suffragettes. It is thus that harmony is established between Actors
and Spectators; neither could exist without the other. Both are needed in
any Cosmic Arena.

_March 18_.--I always recall with a certain surprise how many years ago a
fine critic who is also a fine writer told me he had no admiration for
Addison, and even seemed to feel a certain disdain. This attitude caused
me no resentment, for Addison makes no personal appeal to me, and I
experience no great interest in the things he writes about. I am content
to read a page of him in bed, and therewith peacefully fall asleep.

Yet surely Addison, and still more Steele, the authors of the _Spectator_
and the _Tatler_, represent the high-water mark of English Speech. The
mere rubbish left by the tide, if you like, for I am not asserting that
the position of Addison and of Steele is necessarily the sole result of
individual desert. They mark a special moment in the vital growth of
language, if only by revealing the Charm of Triviality, and they stood
among a crowd--Defoe, Temple, Swift, and the rest--who at various points
surpassed them. A magnificent growth had preceded them. The superb and
glowing weight of Bacon had become the tumultuous splendour of Milton,
which subsided into the unconscious purity of Bunyan, the delicate
simplicity of Cowley, and the muscular orderliness of Dryden. Every
necessary quality of prose had been separately conquered. An instrument
had been created that contained all the stops, and might be used not only
for the deepest things of life, but equally for the lightest. And then,
suddenly, the whole English world began to use words beautifully, and not
only so, but to spell, to punctuate, to use their capital letters with
corresponding beauty. So it was at the end of the seventeenth century and
during the first quarter of the eighteenth. Addison and Steele stand for
that epoch.

Then the tide began to ebb. That fine equilibrium of all the elements of
speech could not be maintained indefinitely. Its poise and equability
began to grow trivial, its exalted familiarity to become mere vulgarity.
So violent reactions became necessary. Johnson and Johnsonese swept
heavily over the retreating tide and killed what natural grace and
vivacity might have been left in Goldsmith or in Graves. But even had
there been no Johnson the reaction was inevitable. Every great writer
began to be an isolated grandee who lost the art of familiarity, for he
had no one to be familiar with. Consider Gibbon, in his own domain
supreme, but the magnificent fall of his cadences, however fit for his
subject, was fit for no other; and look at Landor, the last great writer
of English, though even he never quite scoured off the lingering dross of
Johnsonese, and at the best has the air of a giant conversing with

Then we come to the nineteenth century, where we find writing that is bad,
indifferent, good, rarely perfect save now and again for a brief moment,
as in Lamb, who incarnated again the old familiar touch on great things
and little things alike, and into that was only driven, likely enough, by
the scourge of madness. Then there was Pater, who was exquisite, even a
magician, yet scarcely great. And there was Stevenson,--prototype of a
vast band of accomplished writers of to-day,--the hollow image of a great
writer, a man who, having laboriously taught himself to write after the
best copybook models, found that he had nothing to say and duly said it at
length. It was a state of things highly pleasing to the mob. For they said
one to another: Look, here is a man who writes beautifully, evidently a
Great Writer; and there is nothing inside him but sawdust, just like you
and me. For the most part good writing in the nineteenth century was
self-conscious writing, which cannot be beautiful. Is a woman gazing into
her mirror beautiful?

Our writers waver between vulgarity on the one hand, artificiality or
eccentricity on the other. It is an alternation of evils. The best writing
must always possess both Dignity and Familiarity, otherwise it can never
touch at once the high things and the low things of life, or appeal simply
to the complete human person. That is well illustrated by Cervantes, who
thereby becomes, for all his carelessness, one of the supremely great
writers. There, again, is Brantôme, not a supremely great writer, or even
a writer who set out to be great. But he has in him the roots of great
style. He possesses in an incomparable degree this High Familiarity. His
voice is so exquisitely pitched that he can describe with equal simplicity
and charm the secrets of monarchs' hearts or the intimate peculiarities of
maids of honour. He knows that, as a fine critic has said, everything is
serious and at the same time frivolous. He makes us feel that the
ambitions of monarchs may be frivolous, and the intimate secrets of maids
of honour of serious interest.

But where is our great writer to-day, and how can we apply this test to
him? If he deals frivolously with the King off he goes to prison, and if
he deals seriously with so much as a chambermaid's physical secrets off he
goes to prison again, only on a different pretext. And in either case we
all cry: Serve him right!

It ought to be a satisfaction to us to feel that we could not well sink
lower. There is nothing left for us but to rise. The tide turns at low
water as well as at high.

_March_ 19.--"Behold a Republic," once eloquently exclaimed Mr. Bryan, now
Secretary of State of the United States, "solving the problem of
civilisation, hastening the coming of Universal Brotherhood, a Republic
which gives light and inspiration to those who sit in darkness ... a
Republic gradually but surely becoming the supreme moral factor in the
world's progress!"

Behold a Republic, one is hereby at once impelled to continue, where
suspected evildoers are soaked in oil and roasted, where the rulings of
judges override the law, a Republic where the shadow of morality is
preferred to the substance, and a great man is driven out of the land
because he has failed to conform to that order of things, a Republic where
those who sit in darkness are permitted to finance crime. It would not be
difficult to continue Mr. Bryan's rhapsody in the same vein.

Now one has no wish to allude to these things. Moreover, it is easy to set
forth definitely splendid achievements on the other side of the account,
restoring the statement to balance and sanity. It is the glare of
rhapsodical eulogy which instinctively and automatically evokes the
complementary colours and afterimages. For, as Keble rightly thought, it
is a dangerous exploit to

  wind ourselves too high
  For sinful man beneath the sky.

The spectacle of his hinder parts thus presented to the world may be quite
other than the winder intended.

_March_ 20.--The other day a cat climbed the switchboard at the electric
lighting works of Cardiff, became entangled in the wires, and plunged the
city into darkness, giving up his life in this supreme achievement. It is
not known that he was either a Syndicalist or a Suffragette. But his
adventure is significant for the Civilisation we are moving towards.

All Civilisation depends on the Intelligence, Sympathy, and Mutual Trust
of the persons who wrought that Civilisation. It was not so in barbaric
days to anything like the same degree. Then a man's house was his castle.
He could shut himself up with his family and his retainers and be
independent of society, even laugh at its impotent rage. No man's house is
his castle now. He is at the mercy of every imbecile and every fanatic.
His whole life is regulated by delicate mechanisms which can be put out of
gear by a touch. There is nothing so fragile as civilisation, and no high
civilisation has long withstood the manifold risks it is exposed to.
Nowadays any naughty grown-up child can say to Society: Give me the
sugar-stick I want or I'll make your life intolerable. And for a brief
moment he makes it intolerable.

Nature herself in her most exquisite moods has shared the same fate at the
hands of Civilised Man. If there is anything anywhere in the world that is
rare and wild and wonderful, singular in the perfection of its beauty,
Civilised Man sweeps it out of existence. It is the fate everywhere of
lyre-birds, of humming-birds, of birds of Paradise, marvellous things that
Man may destroy and can never create. They make poor parlour ornaments and
but ugly adornments for silly women. The world is the poorer and we none
the richer. The same fate is overtaking all the loveliest spots on the
earth. There are rare places which Primitive Man only approaches on
special occasions, with sacred awe, counting their beauty inviolable and
the animals living in them as gods. Such places have existed in the heart
of Africa unto to-day. Civilised man arrives, disperses the awe, shoots
the animals, if possible turns them into cash. Eventually he turns the
scenery into cash, covering it with dear hotels and cheap advertisements.
In Europe the process has long been systematised. Lake Leman was once a
spot which inspired poets with a new feeling for romantic landscape. What
Rousseau or Byron could find inspiration on that lake to-day? The Pacific
once hid in its wilderness a multitude of little islands upon which, as
the first voyagers and missionaries bore witness, Primitive Man, protected
by Nature from the larger world, had developed a rarely beautiful culture,
wild and fierce and voluptuous, and yet in the highest degree humane.
Civilised man arrived, armed with Alcohol and Syphilis and Trousers and
the Bible, and in a few years only a sordid and ridiculous shadow was left
of that uniquely wonderful life. People talk with horror of "Sabotage."
Naturally enough. Yet they do not see that they themselves are morally
supporting, and financially paying for, and even religiously praying for,
a gigantic system of world-wide "Sabotage" which for centuries has been
recklessly destroying things that are infinitely more lovely and
irreparable than any that Syndicalists may have injured.

Nature has her revenge on Civilised Man, and when he in his turn comes to
produce exquisite things she in her turn crushes them. By chance, or with
a fine irony, she uses as her instruments the very beings whom he, in his
reckless fury of incompetent breeding, has himself procreated. And whether
he will ever circumvent her by learning to breed better is a question
which no one is yet born to answer.

_March 21_.--It is maintained by some that every great poet is a great
critic. I fail to see it. For the most part I suspect the poetry of the
great critic and the criticism of the great poet. There can be no more
instructive series of documents in this matter than the enthusiastic
records of admiration which P. H. Bailey collected from the first poets of
his time concerning his _Festus_. That work was no doubt a fine
achievement; when I was fifteen I read it from end to end with real
sympathy, and interest that was at least tepid. But to imagine that it was
a great poem, or that there was so much as a single line of great poetry
in all the six hundred pages of it! It needed a poet for that.

If we consider poets as critics in the field of art generally, where their
aesthetic judgment might be less biassed, they show no better. Think of
the lovely little poem in which Tennyson eulogised the incongruous façade
of Milan Cathedral. And for any one who with Wordsworth's exquisite sonnet
on King's College Chapel in his mind has the misfortune to enter that long
tunnel, beplastered with false ornament, the disillusion is unforgettable.
Robert Browning presents a highly instructive example of the poet as
critic. He was interested in many artists in many fields of art, yet it
seems impossible for him to be interested in any who were not second-rate
or altogether inferior: Abt Vogler, Galuppi, Guercino, Andréa del Sarto,
and the rest. One might hesitate indeed to call Filippo Lippi inferior,
but the Evil Genius still stands by, and from Browning's hands Lippi
escapes a very poor creature.

Baudelaire stands apart as a great poet who was an equally great critic,
as intuitive, as daring, as decisively and immediately right in aesthetic
judgment as an artistic creation. And even with Baudelaire as one's guide
one sometimes needs to walk by faith. In the baroque church of St. Loup in
Namur he admired so greatly--the church wherein he was in the end stricken
by paralysis--I have wandered and hesitated a little between the great
critic's insight into a strange beauty and the great artist's acceptance
of so frigidly artificial a model.

Why indeed should one expect a great poet to be a great critic? The fine
critic must be sensitive, but he must also be clear-eyed, calm, judicial.
The poet must be swept by emotion, carried out of himself, strung to high
tension. How can he be sure to hold the critical balance even? He must
indeed be a critic, and an exquisite critic, in the embodiment of his own
dream, the technique of his own verse. But do not expect him to be a
critic outside his own work. Do not expect to find the bee an authority on
ant-hills or the ant a critic of honeycomb.

March 22.--Hendrik Andersen sends from Rome the latest news of that
proposed World City he is working towards with so much sanguine ardour,
the City which is to be the internationally social Embodiment of the World
Conscience, though its site--Tervueren, Berne, the Hague, Paris, Fréjus,
San Stefano, Rome, Lakewood--still remains undetermined. So far the City
is a fairy tale, but in that shape it has secured influential support and
been worked out in detail by some forty architects, engineers, sculptors,
and painters, under the direction of Hébrard. It covers some ten square
miles of ground. In its simple dignity, in its magnificent design, in its
unrivalled sanitation, it is unique. The International Centres represented
fall into three groups: Physical Culture, Science, Art. The Art centres
are closely connected with the Physical Culture Centres by gardens devoted
to floriculture, natural history, zoology, and botany. It is all very

So far I only know of one World City. But Rome was the creation of a
special and powerful race, endowed with great qualities, and with the
defects of those qualities, and, moreover, it was the World City of a
small world. Who are to be the creators of this new World City? If it is
not to be left in the hands of a few long-haired men and short-haired
women, it will need a solid basis of ordinary people, including no doubt
English, such as Mr. A., and Mrs. B., and Miss C.

Now I know Mr. A., and Mrs. B., and Miss C., their admirable virtues,
their prim conventions, their little private weaknesses, their ingrained
prejudices, their mutual suspicion of one another. Little people may
fittingly rule a little village. But these little people would dominate
the huge Natatorium, the wonderful Bureau of Anthropological Records, and
the Temple of Religions.

On the whole I would rather work towards the creation of Great People than
of World Centres. Before creating a World Conscience let us have bodies
and souls for its reception. I am not enthusiastic about a World
Conscience which will be enshrined in Mr. A., and Mrs. B., and Miss C.
Excellent people, I know, but--a World Conscience?

_Easter Sunday_.--What a strange fate it is that made England! A little
ledge of beautiful land in the ocean, to draw and to keep all the men in
Europe who had the sea in their hearts and the wind in their brains,
daring children of Nature, greedy enough and romantic enough to trust
their fortunes to waves and to gales. The most eccentric of peoples, all
the world says, and the most acquisitive, made to be pirates and made to
be poets, a people that have fastened their big teeth into every quarter
of the globe and flung their big hearts in song at the feet of Nature, and
even done both things at the same time. The man who wrote the most
magnificent sentence in the English language was a pirate and died on the

_March 26_.--I have lately been hearing Busoni play Chopin, and absorbing
an immense joy from the skill with which that master-player evokes all the
virile and complex power of Chopin, the power and the intellect which
Pachmann, however deliciously he catches the butterflies fluttering up
from the keys, for the most part misses.

All the great artists, in whatever medium, take so rare a delight, now and
again, in interpreting some unutterable emotion, some ineffable vision, in
mere terms of technique. In Chopin, in Rodin, in Besnard, in
Rossetti,--indeed in any supreme artist,--again and again I have noted
this. Great simple souls for the most part, inarticulate except through an
endless power over the medium of their own art, they all love to take some
insignificant little lump of that medium, to work at that little lump,
with all their subtlest skill and power, in the production of what
seemingly may be some absolutely trivial object or detail, and yet, not by
what it obviously represents, but by the technique put into it, has become
a reality, a secret of the soul, and an embodiment of a vision never
before seen on earth.

Many years ago I realised this over Rossetti's poem "Cloud Confines." It
is made out of a little lump of tawdry material which says nothing, is,
indeed, mere twaddle. Yet it is wrought with so marvellous a technique
that we seem to catch in it a far-away echo of voices that were heard when
the morning stars sang together, and it clings tremulously to the memory
for ever.

Technique is the art of so dealing with matter--whether clay or pigment or
sounds or words--that it ceases to affect us in the same way as the stuff
it is wrought out of originally affects us, and becomes a Transparent
Symbol of a Spiritual Reality. Something that was always familiar and
commonplace is suddenly transformed into something that until that moment
eye had never seen or ear heard, and that yet seems the revelation of our
hearts' secret.

It is an important point to remember. For one sometimes hears ignorant
persons speak of technique with a certain supercilious contempt, as though
it were a mere negligible and inferior element in an artist's equipment
and not the art itself, the mere virtuosity of an accomplished fiddler who
seems to say anything with his fiddle, and has never really said anything
in his whole life. To the artist technique is another matter. It is the
little secret by which he reveals his soul, by which he reveals the soul
of the world. Through technique the stuff of the artist's work becomes the
stuff of his own soul moulded into shapes that were never before known. In
that act Dust is transubstantiated into God. The Garment of the Infinite
is lifted, and the aching human heart is pressed for one brief moment
against the breast of the Ineffable Mystery.

_March 29_.--I notice that in his _Year's Journey through France and Spain
in 1795_, Thicknesse favourably contrasts the Frenchman, who only took
wine at meals, with the Englishman, who, "earning disease and misery at
his bottle, sits at it many hours after dinner and always after supper."
The French have largely retained their ancient sober habit (save for the
unhappy introduction of the afternoon "aperitif"), but the English have
shown a tendency to abandon their intemperance of excess in favour of an
opposed intemperance, and instead of drinking till they fall under the
table have sometimes developed a passion for not drinking at all.
Similarly in eating, the English of old were renowned for the enormous
quantities of roast beef they ate; the French, who have been famous
bread-makers for at least seven hundred years, ate much bread and only a
moderate amount of meat; that remains their practice to-day, and though
such skilful cooks of vegetables the French have never shown any tendency
to live on them. When I was last at Versailles the latest guide-book
mentioned a vegetarian restaurant; I sought it out, only to find that it
had already disappeared. But the English have developed a passion for
vegetarianism, here again reacting from one intemperance to the opposed
intemperance. Just in the same way we have a national passion for
bull-baiting and cock-fighting and pheasant-shooting and fox-hunting, and
a no less violent passion for anti-vivisection and the protection of

This characteristic really goes very deep into our English temper. The
Englishman is termed eccentric, and eccentricity, in a precise and literal
sense, is fundamental in the English character. We preserve our balance,
in other words, by passing from one extreme to the opposite extreme, and
keep in touch with our centre of gravity by rolling heavily from one side
of it to the other side.

Geoffrey Malaterra, who outlined the Norman character many centuries ago
with much psychological acuteness, insisted on the excessiveness of that
_gens effrenatissima_, the tendency to unite opposite impulses, the taste
for contradictory extremes. Now of all their conquests the Normans only
made one true and permanent Conquest, the Conquest of England. And as
Freeman has pointed out, surely with true insight, the reason of the
profound conquest of England by the Normans simply lay in the fact that
the spirit of the Norman was already implanted in the English soil,
scattered broadcast by a long series of extravagant Northmen who had
daringly driven their prows into every attractive inlet. So on the
spiritual side the Norman had really in England little conquest to make.
The genius of Canute, one of the greatest of English kings and a Northman,
had paved the road for William the Conqueror. It was open to William
Blake, surely an indubitable Englishman, to establish the English national
motto: "The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom." Certainly it is
a motto that can only be borne triumphantly on the standard of a very
well-tempered nation. On that road it is so easy to miss Wisdom and only
encounter Dissolution. Doubtless, on the whole, the Greeks knew better.

Now see how Illusion enters into the world, and men are moved by what
Jules de Gaultier calls Bovarism, the desire to be other than they are.
Here is this profound, blind, unconscious impulse, lying at the heart of
the race for thousands of years, and not to be torn out. And the children
of the race, when the hidden impulse stirring within drives them to
extremes, invent beautiful reasons for these extremes: patriotic reasons,
biological reasons, aesthetic reasons, moral reasons, humanitarian
reasons, hygienic reasons--there is no end to them.

_April 1._--When the boisterous winds of March are at last touched with a
new softness and become strangely exhilarating, when one sees the dry
hedges everywhere springing into points of delicate green and white
blossoms shining in the bare trees, then, for those who live in England
and know that summer is still far away, the impulse of migration arises
within. It has always seemed remarkable to me that Chaucer, at the outset
of the _Canterbury Tales_, definitely and clearly assumes that the reason
for pilgrimage is not primarily religious but biological, an impulse due
to the first manifestation of spring:

  Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
  And palmers for to seken straunge strondes.

And what a delightful fiction (a manifestation of Vaihinger's omnipotent
"als ob") to transform this inner impulse into a sacred objective duty!

Perhaps if we were duly sensitive to the Inner Voice responding to natural
conditions, we might detect a migratory impulse for every month in the
year. For every month there is surely some fitting land and sky, some
fragrance that satisfies the sense or some vision that satisfies the soul.

In January certainly--if I confined my migrations to Europe--I would be in
the gardens of Malaga, for at that season it is that we of the North most
crave to lunch beneath the orange trees and to feel the delicious echo of
the sun in the air of midnight. In February I would go to Barcelona, where
the cooler air may be delightful, though when is it not delightful in
Barcelona, even if martial law prevails? For March there is doubtless
Sicily. For April there is no spot like Seville, when Spring arrives in a
dazzling intoxicating flash. In May one should be in Paris to meet the
spring again, softly insinuating itself into the heart under the delicious
northern sky. In June and July we may be anywhere, in cities or in
forests. August I prefer to spend in London, for then only is London
leisurely, brilliant, almost exotic; and only then can one really see
London. During September I would be wandering over Suffolk, to inhale its
air and to revel in its villages, or else anywhere in Normandy where the
crowd are not. I have never known where I would be in October, to escape
the first deathly chill of winter; but at all events there is
Aix-les-Bains, beautifully cloistered within its hills and still enlivened
by fantastic visions from the whole European world. In November there is
the Cornish coast, then often most exquisite, with soft nights, magical
skies, and bays star-illuminated with fishers' lights, fire-flies of the
sea. And before November is over I would be in Rome to end the year, not
Rome the new-fangled capital of an upstart kingdom, but that Rome, if we
may still detect it, which is the greatest and most inspiring city in the

_April 4._--An advocate of Anti-vivisection brings an action for libel
against an advocate of Vivisection. It matters little which will win. (The
action was brought on All Fools' Day.) The interesting point is that each
represents a great--or, if you prefer, a little--truth. But if each
recognised the other's truth he would be paralysed in proclaiming his own
truth. There would be general stagnation. The world is carried on by
ensuring that those who carry it on shall be blinded in one or the other
eye. We may call it the method of one-sided blinkers.

It is an excellent device of the Ironist.

_April 8._--As very slowly, by rare sudden glimpses, one obtains an
insight into the lives of people, one is constantly impressed by the large
amount of their moral activity which is hidden from view. No doubt there
are people who are all of a piece and all on the surface, people who are
all that they seem and nothing beyond what they seem. Yet I am sometimes
tempted to think that most people circle round the world as the moon
circles round it, always carefully displaying one side only to the human
spectators' view, and concealing unknown secrets on their hidden

The side that is displayed is, in the moral sphere, generally called
"respectable," and the side that is hidden "vicious." What men show they
call their "virtues." But if one looks at the matter broadly and
naturally, may it not be that the vices themselves are after all nothing
but disreputable virtues? It is not only schoolboys and servant-girls who
spend a considerable part of their time in doing things which are
flagrantly and absurdly contradictory of that artificially modelled
propriety which in public they exhibit. It is just the same, one finds by
chance revelations, among merchant princes and leaders of learned
professions. For it is not merely the degenerate and the unfit who cannot
confine all their activities within the limits prescribed by the
conventional morality which surrounds them, but often the ablest and most
energetic men, the sweetest and gentlest women. Moreover, it would often
seem that on this unseen side of their lives they may be even more heroic,
more inspired, more ideal, more vitally stimulated, than they are on that
side with which they confront the world.

Suppose people were morally inverted, turned upside down, with their vices
above water, and their respectable virtues submerged, suppose that they
were, so to say, turned morally inside out. And suppose that vice became
respectable and the respectabilities vicious, that men and women exercised
their vices openly and indulged their virtues in secret, would the world
be any the worse? Would there be a difference in the real nature of people
if they changed the fashion of wearing the natural hairy fur of their
coats inside instead of outside?

And if there is a difference, what is that difference?

_April 10._--I am a little surprised sometimes to find how commonly people
suppose that when one is unable to accept their opinions one is therefore
necessarily hostile to them. Thus a few years ago, I recall, Professor
Freud wrote how much pleasure it would give him if he could overcome my
hostility to his doctrines. But, as I hastened to reply, I have no
hostility to his doctrines, though they may not at every point be
acceptable to my own mental constitution. If I see a man pursuing a
dangerous mountain track I am not hostile in being unable to follow far on
the same track. On the contrary, I may call attention to that pioneer's
adventure, may admire his courage and skill, even applaud the results of
his efforts, or at all events the great ideal that animated him. In all
this I am not with him, but I am not hostile.

Why indeed should one ever be hostile? What a vain thing is this
hostility! A dagger that pierces the hand of him that holds it. They who
take up the sword shall perish by the sword was the lesson Jesus taught
and himself never learnt it. Ferociously, recklessly, that supreme master
of denunciation took up the sword of his piercing speech against the
"Scribes" and the "Pharisees" of the "generation of vipers," until he made
their very names a by-word and a reproach. And yet the Church of Jesus has
been the greatest generator of Scribes and Pharisees the world has ever
known, and they have even proved the very bulwark of it to this day. Look,
again, at Luther. There was the Catholic Church dying by inches, gently,
even exquisitely. And here came that gigantic peasant, with his too
exuberant energy, battered the dying Church into acute sensibility, kicked
it into emotion, galvanised it into life, prolonged its existence for a
thousand years. The man who sought to exterminate the Church proved to be
the greatest benefactor the Church had ever known.

The end men attain is rarely the end they desired. Some go out like Saul,
the son of Kish, who sought his father's asses and found a kingdom, and
some sally forth to seek kingdoms and find merely asses. In the one case
and in the other they are led by a hand that they knew not to a goal that
was not so much their own as that of their enemies.

So it is that we live for ever on hostility. Our friends may be the
undoing of us; in the end it is our enemies who save us. The views we hate
become ridiculous because they adopt them. Their very thoroughness leads
to an overwhelming reaction on whose waves we ride to victory. Even their
skill calls out our greater skill and our finer achievement. At their
best, at their worst, alike they help us. They are the very life-blood in
our veins.

It is a strange world in which, as Paulhan says (and I chance to alight on
his concordant words even as I write this note), "things are not employed
according to their essence, but, as a rule, for ends which are directly
opposed to that essence." We are more unsuccessful than we know. And if we
could all realise more keenly that we are fighting not so much in our own
cause as in the cause of our enemies, how greatly it would make for the
Visible Harmony of the World.

_April 12._--All literary art lies in the arrangement of life. The
literature most adequate to the needs of life is that most capable of
transforming the facts of life into expressive and beautiful words. French
literary art has always had that power. English literary art had it once
and has lost it now. When I read, for instance, Goncourt's _Journal_--one
of the few permanently interesting memoirs the nineteenth century has left
us--my heart sinks at the comparison of its adequacy to life with the
inadequacy of all contemporary English literature which seeks to grapple
with life. It is all pathetically mirrored in the typical English comic
paper, _Punch_, this inability to go below the surface of life, or even to
touch life at all, save in narrowly prescribed regions. But Goncourt is
always able to say what there is to say, simply and vividly; whatever
aspect of life presents itself, of that he is able to speak. I can
understand, surprising as at first it may be, how Verlaine, who seems at
every point so remote from Goncourt, yet counted him as the first
prose-writer of his time; Verlaine had penetrated to the _simplicité
cachée_ (to use Poincaré's phrase) behind the seemingly tortured
expressions of Goncourt's art. Goncourt makes us feel that whatever is fit
to occur in the world is fit to be spoken of by him who knows how to speak
of it. If we wish to face the manifold interest of the world, in its
poignancy and its beauty, as well as in its triviality, there is no other

English literary art was strong and brave and expressive for several
centuries, even, one may say, on the whole, up to the end of the
eighteenth century, though I suppose that Dr. Johnson had helped to crush
the life out of it. When Queen Victoria came to the throne the finishing
stroke seems to have been dealt at it. One might fancy that the whole
literary world had become conscious of the youthful and innocent monarch's
eye on every book issued from the press, and that every writer feared he
might write a word to bring a blush on her virginal countenance. When
young Queen Elizabeth came to the throne, they seem to have felt, it was
another matter. There was a monarch who feared nothing and nobody, who
once spat at a courtier whose costume misliked her, who as a girl had
experienced no resentment when the Lord High Admiral, who was courting
her, sent a messenger to "ax hir whether hir great buttocks were grown any
less or no," a monarch who was not afraid of any word in the English
language, and loved the most expressive words best. Under such a monarch,
the Victorian writers felt they would no longer have modestly refrained
from becoming Shakespeares.

But the excuses for feebleness are apt to be more ingenious than
convincing. There is no connection between coarseness and art. Goncourt
was a refined aristocrat who associated with the most highly civilised men
and women of his day, and possessed the rarest secrets of aesthetic
beauty. Indeed we may say that it is precisely the consciousness of
coarseness which leads to a cowardly flight from the brave expression of
life. Most of these excuses are impotent. Most impotent of all is the
excuse that their books reach the Nursery and the Young Ladies' School. Do
they suppose by any chance that their books grapple with the real life of
Nurseries and Young Ladies' Schools? If they grappled with that they might
grapple with anything. It is a subterfuge, a sham, and with fatty
degeneration eating away the muscular fibre of their hearts, they snatch
at it.

The road is long, and a high discipline is needed, and a great courage, if
our English literature is to regain its old power and exert once more its
proper influence in the world.

_April_ 16.--I have often noticed--and I find that others also have
noticed--that when an artist in design, whether line or colour or clay,
takes up a pen and writes, he generally writes well, sometimes even
superbly well. Again and again it has happened that a man who has spent
his life with a brush in his hand has beaten the best penmen at their own

Leonardo, who was indeed great in everything, is among the few great
writers of Italian prose. Blake was first and above all an artist in
design, but at the best he had so magnificent a mastery of words that
besides it all but the rare best of his work in design looks thin and
artificial. Rossetti was drawing and painting all his life, and yet, as
has now become clear, it is only in language, verse and prose alike, that
he is a supreme master. Fromentin was a painter for his contemporaries,
yet his paintings are now quite uninteresting, while the few books he
wrote belong to great literature, to linger over with perpetual delight.
Poetry seemed to play but a small part in the life of Michelangelo, yet
his sonnets stand to-day by the side of his drawings and his marbles.
Rodin has all his life been passionately immersed in plastic art; he has
never written and seldom talks; yet whenever his more intimate disciples,
a Judith Cladel or a Paul Gsell, have set down the things he utters, they
are found to be among the most vital, fascinating, and profound sayings in
the world. Even a bad artist with the brush may be on the road to become a
good artist with the pen. Euripides was not only a soldier, he had tried
to be a painter before he became a supreme tragic dramatist, and, to come
down to modern times, Hazlitt and Thackeray, both fine artists with the
pen, had first been poor artists with the brush. It is hard, indeed, to
think of any artist in design who has been a bad writer. The painter may
never write, he may never feel an impulse to write, but when he writes, it
would almost seem without an effort, he writes well. The list of good
artists and bad artists who have been masters of words, from Vasari and
earlier onwards, is long. One sets down at random the names of Reynolds,
Northcote, Delacroix, Woolner, Carrière, Leighton, Gauguin, Beardsley, Du
Maurier, Besnard, to which doubtless it might be easy to add a host of
others. And then, for contrast, think of that other art, which yet seems
to be so much nearer to words; think of musicians!

The clue seems to be, not only in the nature of the arts of design, but
also in the nature of writing. For, unlike all the arts, writing is not
necessarily an art at all. It is just anything. It fails to carry
inevitably within it the discipline of art. And if the writer is not an
artist, if the discipline of art has left no acquired skill in his muscles
and no instinctive habit in his nerves, he may never so much as discover
that he is not an artist. The facility of writing is its fate.

Gourmont has well said that whatever is deeply thought is well written.
And one might add that whatever is deeply observed is well said. The
artist in design is by the very nature of his work compelled to observe
deeply, precisely, beautifully. He is never able to revolve in a vacuum,
or flounder in a morass, or run after a mirage. When there is nothing
there he is still. He is held by his art to Nature. So, when he takes up
his pen, by training, by acquired instinct, he still follows with the new
instrument, deeply, precisely, beautifully, the same mystery of Nature.

It was by a somewhat similar transference of skilled experience that the
great writers of Spain, who in so many cases were first soldiers and men
of the sword, when they took up the pen, wrote, carelessly it may seem,
but so poignantly, so vividly, so fundamentally well.

_April_ 22.--There is a certain type of mind which constitutionally
ignores and overlooks little things, and habitually moves among large
generalisations. Of such minds we may well find a type in Bacon, who so
often gave James I. occasion to remark jocularly in the Council Chamber of
his Lord Chancellor, _De minimis non curât lex_.

There is another type of mind which is constitutionally sensitive to the
infinite significance of minimal things. Of such, very typical in our day
are Freud and the Freudians grouped around him. There is nothing so small
that for Freud it is not packed with endless meaning. Every slightest
twitch of the muscles, every fleeting fancy of the brain, is unconsciously
designed to reveal the deepest impulse of the soul. Every detail of the
wildest dream of the night is merely a hieroglyph which may be
interpreted. Every symptom of disease is a symbol of the heart's desire.
In every seeming meaningless lapse of his tongue or his memory a man is
unconsciously revealing his most guarded and shameful secret. It is the
daring and fantastic attempt, astonishing in the unexpected amount of its
success, to work out this Philosophy of the Unconscious which makes the
work of the Freudians so fascinating.

They have their defects, both these methods, the far-sighted and the
near-sighted. Bacon fell into the ditch, and Freud is obsessed by the
vision of a world only seen through the delicate anastomosis of the nerves
of sex. Yet also they both have their rightness, they both help us to
realise the Divine Mystery of the Soul, towards which no telescope can
carry us too far, and no microscope too near.

_April_ 23.--I see to-day that Justice Darling--perhaps going a little out
of his way--informed the jury in the course of a summing-up that he "could
not read a chapter of Rabelais without being bored to death." The
assumption in this _obiter dictum_ seemed to be that Rabelais is an
obscene writer. And the implication seemed to be that to a healthily
virtuous and superior mind like the Judge's the obscene is merely

I note the remark by no means as a foolish eccentricity, but because it is
really typical. I seem to remember that, as a boy, I met with a very
similar assumption, though scarcely a similar implication, in Macaulay's
_Essays_, which at that time I very carefully read. I thereupon purchased
Rabelais in order to investigate for myself, and thus made the discovery
that Rabelais is a great philosopher, a discovery which Macaulay had
scarcely prepared me for, so that I imagined it to be original, until a
few years later I chanced to light upon the observations of Coleridge
concerning Rabelais' wonderful philosophic genius and his refined and
exalted morality, and I realised for the first time--with an unforgettable
thrill of joy--that I was not alone.

It seems clearly to be true that on the appearance in literature of the
obscene,--I use the word in a colourless and technical sense to indicate
the usually unseen or obverse side of life, the side behind the scenes,
the _postscenia vitae_ of Lucretius, and not implying anything necessarily
objectionable,--it at once for most readers covers the whole field of
vision. The reader may like it or dislike, but his reaction, especially if
he is English, seems to be so intense that it absorbs his whole psychic
activity. (I say "especially if he is English," because, though this
tendency seems universal, it is strongly emphasised in the Anglo-Saxon
mind. Gaby Deslys has remarked that she has sometimes felt embarrassed on
the London stage by finding that an attempt to arouse mere amusement has
been received with intense seriousness: "When I appear _en pantalons_ the
whole audience seems to hold its breath!") Henceforth the book is either
to be cherished secretly and silently, or else to be spoken of loudly with
protest and vituperation. And this reaction is by no means limited to
ignorant and unintelligent readers; it affects ordinary people, it affects
highly intelligent and super-refined people, it may even affect eminent
literary personages. The book may be by a great philosopher and contain
his deepest philosophy, but let an obscene word appear in it, and that
word will draw every reader's attention. Thus Shakespeare used to be
considered an obscene writer, in need of expurgation, and may be so
considered still, though his obscene passages even to our prudish modern
ears are so few that they could surely be collected on a single page. Thus
also it is that even the Bible, the God-inspired book of Christendom, has
been judicially declared to be obscene. It may have been a reasonable
decision, for judicial decision ought, no doubt, to reflect popular
opinion; a judge must be judicial, whether or not he is just.

One wonders how far this is merely due to defective education and
therefore modifiable, and how far it is based on an eradicable tendency of
the human mind. Of course the forms of obscenity vary in every age, they
are varying every day. Much which for the old Roman was obscene is not so
for us; much which for us is obscene would have made a Roman smile at our
simplicity. But even savages sometimes have obscene words not fit to utter
in good aboriginal society, and a very strict code of propriety which to
violate would be obscene. Rabelais in his immortal work wore a fantastic
and extravagant robe, undoubtedly of very obscene texture, and it
concealed from stupid eyes, as he doubtless desired that it should, one of
the greatest and wisest spirits that ever lived. It would be pleasant to
think that in the presence of such men who in their gay and daring and
profound way present life in its wholeness and find it sweet, it may some
day be the instinct of the ordinary person to enjoy the vision reverently,
if not on his knees, thanking his God for the privilege vouchsafed to him.
But one has no sort of confidence that it will be so.

_April_ 27.--Every garden tended by love is a new revelation, and to see
it for the first time gives one a new thrill of joy, above all at this
moment of the year when flowers are still young and virginal, yet already
profuse and beautiful. It is the moment, doubtless, when Linnaeus,
according to the legend, saw a gorse-covered English common for the first
time and fell on his knees to thank God for the sight. (I say "legend,"
for I find on consulting Fries that the story must be a praiseworthy
English invention, since it was in August that Linnaeus visited England.)

Linnaeus, it may be said, was a naturalist. But it is not merely the
naturalist who experiences this emotion; it is common to the larger part
of humanity. Savages deck their bodies with flowers just as craftsmen and
poets weave them into their work; the cottager cultivates his little
garden, and the town artisan cherishes his flower-pots. However alien
one's field of interest may be, flowers still make their appeal. I recall
the revealing thrill of joy with which, on a certain day, a quite ordinary
day nearly forty years ago, my eye caught the flash of the red roses amid
the greenery of my verandah in the Australian bush. And this bowl of
wall-flowers before me now--these old-fashioned, homely, shapeless,
intimately fascinating flowers, with their faint ancient fragrance, their
antique faded beauty, their symbolisation of the delicate and contented
beauty of old age--seem to me fit for the altar of whatever might be my
dearest god.

Why should flowers possess this emotional force? It is a force which is
largely independent of association and quite abstracted from direct vital
use. Flowers are purely impersonal, they subserve neither of the great
primary ends of life. They concern us even less than the sunset. And yet
we are irresistibly impelled to "consider the lilies."

Surely it is as symbols, manifoldly complex symbols, that flowers appeal
to us so deeply. They are, after all, the organs of sex, and for some
creatures they are also the sources of food. So that if we only look at
life largely enough flowers are in the main stream of vital necessity.
They are useless to man, but man cannot cut himself off from the common
trunk of life. He is related to the insects and even in the end to the
trees. So that it may not be so surprising that while flowers are vitally
useless to man they are yet the very loveliest symbols to him of all the
things that are vitally useful. There is nothing so vitally intimate to
himself that man has not seen it, and rightly seen it, symbolically
embodied in flowers. Study the folk-nomenclature of plants in any country,
or glance through Aigremont's _Volkserotik und Pflanzenwelt_. And the
symbolisation is not the less fascinating because it is so obscure, so
elusive, usually so unconscious, developed by sudden happy inspirations of
peasant genius, and because I am altogether ignorant why the morbid and
nameless tones of these curved and wrinkled wall-flowers delight me as
they once delighted my mother, and so, it may be, backwards, through
ancient generations who dwelt in parsonages whence their gaze caught the
flowers which the seventeenth-century herbalist said in his _Paradisus
Terrestris_ are "often found growing on the old walls of Churches."

_May_ 8.--It is curious how there seems to be an instinctive disgust in
Man for his own nearest ancestors and relations. If only Darwin could
conscientiously have traced Man back to the Elephant or the Lion or the
Antelope, how much ridicule and prejudice would have been spared to the
doctrine of Evolution! "Monkey" and "Worm" have been the bywords of
reproach among the more supercilious of human beings, whether schoolboys
or theologians. And it was precisely through the Anthropoid Apes, and more
remotely the Annelids, that Darwin sought to trace the ancestry of Man.
The Annelids have been rejected, but the Arachnids have taken their place.

Really the proud and the haughty have no luck in this world. They can
scarcely perform their most elementary natural necessities with dignity,
and they have had the misfortune to teach their flesh to creep before
spiders and scorpions whom, it may be, they have to recognise as their own
forefathers. Well for them that their high place is reserved in another
world, and that Milton recognised "obdurate pride" as the chief mark of

_May_ 9.--The words of Keats concerning the ocean's "priestlike task of
pure ablution" often come to my mind in this deserted Cornish bay. For it
is on such a margin between sea and land over which the tide rolls from
afar that alone--save in some degree on remote Australian hills---I have
ever found the Earth still virginal and unstained by Man. Everywhere else
we realise that the Earth has felt the embrace of Man, and been beautified
thereby, it may be, or polluted. But here, as the tide recedes, all is
ever new and fresh. Nature is untouched, and we see the gleam of her,
smell the scent of her, hear the voice of her, as she was before ever life
appeared on the Earth, or Venus had risen from the sea. This moment, for
all that I perceive, the first Adam may not have been born or the caravel
of the Columbus who discovered this new world never yet ground into the
fresh-laid sand.

So when I come unto these yellow sands I come to kiss a pure and new-born

_May_ 12.--The name of Philip Thicknesse, at one time Governor of
Landguard Fort, is not unknown to posterity. The echo of his bitter
quarrel with his son by his second wife, Baron Audley, has come down to
us. He wrote also the first biography of Gainsborough, whom he claimed to
have discovered. Moreover (herein stealing a march on Wilhelm von
Humboldt) he was the first to set on record a detailed enthusiastic
description of Montserrat from the modern standpoint. It was this last
achievement which led me to him.

Philip Thicknesse, I find, is well worth study for his own sake. He is the
accomplished representative of a certain type of Englishman, a type,
indeed, once regarded by the world at large outside England as that of the
essential Englishman. The men of this type have, in fact, a passion for
exploring the physical world, they are often found outside England, and
for some strange reason they seem more themselves, more quintessentially
English, when they are out of England. They are gentlemen and they are
patriots. But they have a natural aptitude for disgust and indignation,
and they cannot fail to find ample exercise for that aptitude in the
affairs of their own country. So in a moment of passion they shake the
dust of England off their feet to rush abroad, where, also,
however,--though they are far too intelligent to be inappreciative of what
they find,--they meet even more to arouse their disgust and indignation,
and in the end they usually come back to England.

So it was with Philip Thicknesse. A lawsuit, with final appeal to the
House of Lords, definitely deprived him of all hope of a large sum of
money he considered himself entitled to. He at once resolved to abandon
his own impossible country and settle in Spain. Accompanied by his wife
and his two young daughters, he set out from Calais with his carriage, his
horse, his man-servant, and his monkey. A discursive, disorderly,
delightful book is the record of his journey through France into
Catalonia, of his visit to Montserrat, which takes up the larger part of
it, of the abandonment of his proposed settlement in Spain, and of his
safe return with his whole retinue to Calais.

Thicknesse was an intelligent man and may be considered a good writer,
for, however careless and disorderly, he is often vivid and usually
amusing. He was of course something of a dilettante and antiquarian. He
had a sound sense for natural beauty. He was an enthusiastic friend as
well as a venomous enemy. He was infinitely tender to animals. His
insolence could be unmeasured, and as he had no defect of courage it was
just as likely to be bestowed on his superiors as on his subordinates.
When I read him I am reminded of the advice given in my early (1847) copy
of Murray's _Guide to France_: "Our countrymen have a reputation for
pugnacity in France; let them therefore be especially cautious not to make
use of their fists." Note Thicknesse's adventure with the dish of spinach.
It was on the return journey. He had seen that spinach before it came to
table. He gives several reasons why he objected to it, and they are
excellent reasons. But notwithstanding his injunction the spinach was
served, and thereupon the irate Englishman took up the dish and,
dexterously reversing it, spinach and all, made therewith a hat for the
serving-maid's head. From the ensuing hubbub and the _aubergiste's_ wrath
Thicknesse was delivered by the advent of a French gentleman who
chivalrously declared (we are told) that he himself would have acted
similarly. But one realises the picture of the typical Englishman which
Thicknesse left behind him. It is to his influence and that of our
fellow-countrymen who resembled him that we must attribute the evolution
of the type of Englishman, arrogant, fantastic, original, who stalks
through Continental traditions, down even till to-day, for we find him in
Mr. Thomas Tobyson of Tottenwood in Henri de Régnier's _La Double
Maîtresse_. For the most part the manners and customs of this type of man
are only known to us by hearsay which we may refuse to credit. But about
Thicknesse there is no manner of doubt; he has written himself down; he is
the veridic and positive embodiment of the type. That is his supreme

The type is scarcely that of the essential Englishman, yet it is one type,
and a notably interesting type, really racy of the soil. Borrow--less of a
fine gentleman than Thicknesse, but more of a genius--belonged to the
type. Landor, a man cast in a much grander mould, was yet of the same
sort, and the story which tells how he threw his Italian cook out of the
window, and then exclaimed with sudden compunction, "Good God! I forgot
the violets," is altogether in the spirit of Thicknesse. Trelawney was a
man of this kind, and so was Sir Richard Burton. In later years the men of
this type have tended, not so much to smooth their angularities as to
attenuate and subtilise them, and we have Samuel Butler and Goldwin Smith,
but in a rougher and more downright form there was much of the same temper
in William Stead. They are an uncomfortable race of men, but in many ways
admirable; we should be proud rather than ashamed of them. Their
unreasonableness, their inconsiderateness, their irritability, their
singular gleams of insight, their exuberant energy of righteous
vituperation, the curious irregularities of their minds,--however
personally alien one may happen to find such qualities,--can never fail to
interest and delight.

_May 13_.--When Aristotle declared that it is part of probability that the
improbable should sometimes happen he invented a formula that is apt for
the largest uses. Thus it is a part of justice that injustice should
sometimes be done, or, as Gourmont puts it, Injustice is one of the forms
of Justice. There lies a great truth which most of the civilised nations
of the world have forgotten.

On Candide's arrival in Portsmouth Harbour he found that an English
admiral had just been solemnly shot, in the sight of the whole fleet, for
having failed to kill as many Frenchmen as with better judgment he might
have killed. "Dans ce pays-ci il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un
amiral pour encourager les autres." I suppose that Voltaire was alluding
to the trial by court martial of Admiral Byng, which took place in
Portsmouth Harbour in 1757, while he was writing _Candide_.

To encourage the others! England has been regarded as a model of political
methods, and that is the method of justice by which, throughout the whole
period of her vital development, she has ensured the purity and the
efficiency of her political and social growth. Byng was shot in order
that, some eighteen months later, Nelson might be brought into life. It
was a triumphantly successful method. If our modern progress has carried
us beyond that method it is only because progress means change rather than

Only think how swiftly and efficiently we might purify and ennoble our
social structure if we had developed, instead of abandoning, this method.
Think, for instance, of the infinite loss of energy, of health, of lives,
the endless degradation of physical and spiritual beauty produced in
London alone by the mere failure to prevent a few million chimneys from
belching soot on the great city and choking all the activities of the
vastest focus of activity in the world. Find the official whose
inefficiency is responsible for this neglect, improvise a court to try
him, and with all the deliberate solemnity and pageantry you can devise
put him to death in the presence of all officialdom. And then picture the
marvellous efficiency of his successor! In a few years' time where would
you find one smut of soot in London? Or, again, think of our complicated
factory legislation and the terrible evils which still abound in our
factories. Find a sufficiently high-placed official who is responsible for
them, and practise the Byng method with him. Under his successor's rule,
we may be sure, we should no longer recognise our death-rates, our
disease-rates, and our accident rates, and the beautiful excuses which
fill our factory inspectors' reports would no longer be needed. There is
no body of officials, from the highest to the lowest, among whom the
exercise of this ancient privilege would not conduce to the highest ends
of justice and the furtherance of human welfare. People talk about the
degradation of politics. They fail to see that it is inevitable when
politics becomes a mere game. There was no degradation of politics when
the Advisers of the Crown were liable to be executed. For it is Death,
wisely directed towards noble ends, which gives Dignity to Life.

One may be quite sure that every fat and comfortable citizen (himself
probably an official of some sort) on whom this argument may be pressed
will take it as a joke in bad taste: "Horrible! disgusting!" Yet that same
citizen, stirring the contents of his morning newspaper into his muddy
brain as he stirs his sugar in his coffee, will complacently absorb all
the news of the day, so many hundred thousand men killed, wounded, or
diseased in the course of the Balkan campaigns, so much ugly and hopeless
misery all over the earth, and all avoidable, all caused, in the last
analysis, by the incompetence, obstinacy, blindness, or greed of some
highly placed official whose death at an earlier stage would have made for
the salvation of the world.

And if any one still feels any doubt regarding the efficacy of this
method, it is enough to point to our English kings. Every king of England
has at the back of his mind a vision of a flashing axe on a frosty January
morning nearly four centuries ago. It has proved highly salutary in
preserving them within the narrow path of Duty. Before Charles I. English
monarchs were an almost perpetual source of trouble to their people; they
have scarcely ever given more than a moment's trouble since. And justice
has herein been achieved by an injustice which has even worked out in
Charles's favour. It has conferred upon him a prestige he could never have
conferred upon himself. For of all our English monarchs since the Conquest
he alone has become a martyr and a saint, so far as Protestantism can
canonise anybody, and of all our dead kings he alone evokes to-day a
living loyalty. Such a result is surely well worth a Decollation.

We have abandoned the method of our forefathers. And see the ignoble and
feeble method we have put in its place. We cowardly promote our
inefficient persons to the House of Lords, or similar obscure heights. We
shelve them, or swathe them, or drop them. Sometimes, indeed, we apply a
simulacrum of the ancient method of punishment, especially if the offence
is sexual, but even there we have forgotten the correct method of its
application, for in such cases the delinquent is usually an effective
rather than an ineffective person, and when he has purged his fault we
continue to punish him in petty and underhand ways, mostly degrading to
those on whom they are inflicted and always degrading to those who inflict
them. We have found no substitute for the sharper way of our ancestors,
which was not only more effective socially, but even more pleasant for the
victim. For if it was a cause of temporary triumph to his enemies, it was
a source of everlasting exultation to his friends.

_May_ 14.--I was gazing at some tulips, the supreme image in our clime of
gaiety in Nature, their globes of petals opening into chalices and painted
with spires of scarlet and orange wondrously mingled with a careless
freedom that never goes astray, brilliant cups of delight serenely poised
on the firm shoulders of their stalks, incarnate images of flame under the
species of Eternity.

And by some natural transition my thoughts turned to the incident a
scholarly member of Parliament chanced to mention to me yesterday, of his
old student days in Paris, when early one evening he chanced to meet a
joyous band of students, one of whom triumphantly bore a naked girl on his
shoulders. In those days the public smiled or shrugged its shoulders:
"Youth will be youth." To-day, in the Americanised Latin Quarter, the
incident would merely serve to evoke the activities of the police.

Shall we, therefore, rail against the police, or the vulgar ideals of the
mob whose minions they are? Rather let us look below the surface and
admire the patient and infinite strategy of Nature. She is the same for
ever and for ever, and can afford to be as patient as she is infinite,
while she winds the springs of the mighty engine which always recoils on
those who attempt to censor the staging of her Comedy or dim the radiance
of the Earthly Spectacle.

And such is her subtlety that she even uses Man, her plaything, to
accomplish her ends. Nothing can be more superbly natural than the tulip,
and it was through the Brain of Man that Nature created the tulip.

_May_ 16.--It is an error to suppose that Solitude leads away from
Humanity. On the contrary it is Nature who brings us near to Man, her
spoilt and darling child. The enemies of their fellows are bred, not in
deserts, but in cities, where human creatures fester together in heaps.
The lovers of their fellows come out of solitude, like those hermits of
the Thebaid, who fled far from cities, who crucified the flesh, who seemed
to hang to the world by no more than a thread, and yet were infinite in
their compassion, and thought no sacrifice too great for a Human Being.

Here as I lie on the towans by a cloud of daisies among the waving and
glistening grass, while the sea recedes along the stretching sands, and
the cloudless sky throbs with the song of larks, and no human thing is in
sight, it is, after all, of Humanity that I am most conscious. I realise
that there is no human function so exalted or so rare, none so simple or
so humble, that it has not its symbol in Nature; that if all the Beauty of
Nature is in Man, yet all the Beauty of Man is in Nature. So it is that
the shuttlecock of Beauty is ever kept in living movement.

It is known to many that we need Solitude to find ourselves. Perhaps it is
not so well known that we need Solitude to find our fellows. Even the
Saviour is described as reaching Mankind through the Wilderness.

_May_ 20.--Miss Lind-Af-Hageby has just published an enthusiastic though
discriminating book on her distinguished fellow-countryman, August
Strindberg, the first to appear in English. Miss Lind-Af-Hageby is known
as the most brilliant, charming, and passionate opponent of the
vivisection of animals. Strindberg is known as perhaps the most ferocious
and skilful vivisector of the human soul. The literary idol of the
arch-antivivisector of animals is the arch-vivisector of men. It must not
be supposed, moreover, that Miss Lind-Af-Hageby overlooks this aspect of
Strindberg, which would hardly be possible in any case; she emphasises it,
though, it may be by a warning instinct rather than by deliberate
intention, she carefully avoids calling Strindberg a "vivisector," using
instead the less appropriate term "dissector." "He dissected the human
heart," she says, "laid bare its meanness, its uncleanliness; made men and
women turn on each other with sudden understanding and loathing, and
walked away smiling at the evil he had wrought."

I have often noted with interest that a passionate hatred of pain
inflicted on animals is apt to be accompanied by a comparative
indifference to pain inflicted on human beings, and sometimes a certain
complaisance, even pleasure, in such pain. But it is rare to find the
association so clearly presented. Pain is woven into the structure of
life. It cannot be dispensed with in the vital action and reaction unless
we dispense with life itself. We must all accept it somewhere if we would
live at all; and in order that all may live we must not all accept it at
the same point. Vivisection--as experiments on animals are picturesquely
termed--is based on a passionate effort to combat human pain,
anti-vivisection on a passionate effort to combat animal pain. In each
case one set of psychic fibres has to be drawn tense, and another set
relaxed. Only they do not happen to be the same fibres. We see the dynamic
mechanism of the soul's force.

How exquisitely the world is balanced! It is easy to understand how the
idea has arisen among so many various peoples, that the scheme of things
could only be accounted for by the assumption of a Conscious Creator, who
wrought it as a work of art out of nothing, _spectator ab extra_. It was a
brilliant idea, for only such a Creator, and by no means the totality of
the creation he so artistically wrought, could ever achieve with complete
serenity the Enjoyment of Life.

_May_ 23.--I seem to see some significance in the popularity of _The
Yellow Jacket_, the play at the Duke of York's Theatre "in the Chinese
manner," and even more genuinely in the Chinese manner than its producers
openly profess. This significance lies in the fact that the Chinese manner
of performing plays, like the Chinese manner of making pots, is the
ideally perfect manner.

The people who feel as I feel take no interest in the modern English
theatre and seldom have any wish to go near it. It combines the maximum of
material reality with the maximum of spiritual unreality, an evil mixture
but inevitable, for on the stage the one involves the other. Nothing can
be more stodgy, more wearisome, more unprofitable, more away from all the
finer ends of dramatic art. But I have always believed that the exponents
of this theatrical method must in the end be the instruments of their own
undoing, give them but rope enough. That is what seems to be happening. A
reaction has been gradually prepared by Poel, Gordon Craig, Reinhardt,
Barker; we have had a purified Shakespeare on the stage and a moderately
reasonable Euripides. Now this _Yellow Jacket_, in which realism is openly
flouted and a drama is played on the same principles as children play in
the nursery, attracts crowds. They think they are being amused; they
really come to a sermon. They are being taught the value of their own
imaginations, the useful function of accepted conventions, and the proper
meaning of illusion on the stage.

Material realism on the stage is not only dull, it is deadly; the drama
dies at its touch. The limitations of reality on the stage are absurdly
narrow; the great central facts of life become impossible of presentation.
Nothing is left to the spectator; he is inert, a cypher, a senseless

All great drama owes its vitality to the fact that its spectator is not a
mere passive block, but the living inspiration of the whole play. He is
indeed himself the very stage on which the drama is enacted. He is more,
he is the creator of the play. Here are a group of apparently ordinary
persons, undoubtedly actors, furnished with beautiful garments and little
more, a few routine stage properties, and, above all, certain formal
conventions, without which, as we see in Euripides and all great
dramatists, there can be no high tragedy. Out of these mere nothings and
the suggestions they offer, the Spectator, like God, creates a new world
and finds it very good. It is his vision, his imagination, the latent
possibilities of his soul that are in play all the time.

Every great dramatic stage the world has seen, in Greece, in Spain, in
Elizabethan England, in France, has been ordered on these lines. The great
dramatist is not a juggler trying to impose an artifice on his public as a
reality; he sets himself in the spectator's heart. Shakespeare was well
aware of this principle of the drama; Prospero is the Ideal Spectator of
the Theatre.

_May_ 31.--It often impresses me with wonder that in Nature or in Art
exquisite beauty is apt to appear other than it is. Jules de Gaultier
seeks to apply to human life a principle of Bovarism by which we always
naturally seek to appear other than we are, as Madame Bovary sought, as
sought all Flaubert's personages, and indeed, less consciously on their
creator's part, Gaultier claims, the great figures in all fiction. But
sometimes I ask myself whether there is not in Nature herself a touch of
Madame Bovary.

There is, however, this difference in the Bovarism of Nature's most
exquisite moments. They seem other than they are not by seeming more than
they are but by seeming less. It is by the attenuation of the medium, by
an approach to obscurity, by an approximation to the faintness of a dream,
that Beauty is manifested. I recall the Greek head of a girl once shown at
the Burlington Fine Arts Club,--over which Rodin, who chanced to see it
there, grew rapturous,--and it seemed to be without substance or weight
and almost transparent. "Las Meninas" scarcely seems to me a painting made
out of solid pigments laid on to a material canvas, but rather a magically
evoked vision that at any moment may tremble and pass out of sight. And
when I awoke in the dawn a while ago, and saw a vase of tulips on the
background of the drawn curtain over a window before me, the scene was so
interpenetrated by the soft and diffused light that it seemed altogether
purged of matter and nothing but mere Loveliness remained. There are
flowers the horticulturist delights to develop which no longer look like
living and complex organisms, but only gay fragments of crinkled
tissue-paper cut at random by the swift hand of a happy artist. James
Hinton would be swept by emotion as he listened to some passage in Mozart.
"And yet," he would say, "there is nothing in it." Blake said much the
same of the drawings of Dürer. Even the Universe is perhaps built on the
same plan. "In all probability matter is composed mainly of holes," said
Sir J.J. Thomson a few years ago; and almost at the same moment Poincaré
was declaring that "there is no such thing as matter, there is only holes
in the ether." The World is made out of Nothing, and all Supernal Beauty
would seem to be an approach to the Divine Mystery of Nothingness. "Clay
is fashioned, and thereby the pot is made; but it is its hollowness that
makes it useful," said the first and greatest of the Mystics. "By cutting
out doors and windows the room is formed; it is the space which makes the
room's use. So that when things are useful it is that in them which is
Nothing which makes them useful." Use is the symbol of Beauty, and it is
through the doors and the windows of Beautiful Things that their Beauty
emerges.--Man himself, "the Beauty of the World," emerges on the world
through the door of a Beautiful Thing.

_June_ 5.--"A French gentleman, well acquainted with the constitution of
his country, told me above eight years since that France increased so
rapidly in peace that they must necessarily have a war every twelve or
fourteen years to carry off the refuse of the people." So Thicknesse wrote
in 1776, and he seems to have accepted the statement as unimpeachable.
Indeed, he lived long enough to see the beginning of the deadliest wars in
which France ever engaged. The French were then the most military people
in Europe. Now they are the leaders in the great modern civilising
movement of Anti-Militarism. To what predominant influence are we to
attribute that movement? To Christianity? Most certainly not. To
Humanitarianism? There is not the slightest reason to believe it. The
ultimate and fundamental ground on which the most civilised nations of
to-day are becoming Anti-militant, and why France is at the head of them,
is--there can be no reasonable doubt--the Decline in the Birth-rate. Men
are no longer cheap enough to be used as food for cannon. If their rulers
fail to realise that, it will be the worse for those rulers. The people of
the nations are growing resolved that they will no longer be treated as
"Refuse." The real refuse, they are beginning to believe, already ripe for
destruction, are those Obscurantists who set their backs to Civilisation
and Humanity, and clamour for a return of that ill-fated recklessness in
procreation from which the world suffered so long, the ancient motto,
"Increase and multiply,"--never meant for use in our modern world,--still
clinging so firmly to the dry walls of their ancient skulls that nothing
will ever scrape it off. The best that can be said for them is that they
know not what they talk of.

It is really a very good excuse and may serve to save them from the bloody
fate they are so eager to send others to. They are entitled to contend
that it holds good even of the wisest. For who knows what he talks about
when he talks of even the simplest things in the world, the sky or the
sunshine or the water?

_June_ 15.--Am I indeed so unreasonable to care so much whether the sun
shines? The very world, to our human eyes, seems to care. It only bursts
into life, it only bursts even into the semblance of life, when the sun
shines. All this anti-cyclonic day the sky has been cloudless, and for
three hours on the sea the wavelets have been breaking into sudden flashes
and spires of silver flower-like flames, while on the reflecting waters
afar it has seemed as though a myriad argent swallows were escorting me to
the coasts of France.

In the evening, in Paris, the glory of the day has still left a long
delicious echo in the air and on the sky. I wander along the quays, and by
a sudden inspiration go to seek out the philosophic hermit of the Rue des
Saints Pères, but even he is not at home to-night, so up and down the
silent quays I wander, aimlessly and joyously, to inhale the fragrance of
Paris and the loveliness of the night, before I leave in the morning for

_June_ 19.--As I entered Santa Maria del Mar this morning by the north
door, and glanced along the walls under the particular illumination of the
moment (for in these Spanish churches of subdued light the varying
surprises of illumination are endless), there flashed on me a new swift
realisation of an old familiar fact. How mediaeval it is! Those grey walls
and the ancient sacred objects disposed on them with a strange irregular
harmony, they seem to be as mediaeval hands left them yesterday. And
indeed every aspect of this church--which to me has always been romantic
and beautiful--can scarcely have undergone any substantial change. Even
the worshippers must have changed but little, for this is the church of
the workers, and the Spanish woman's workaday costume bears little mark of
any specific century. If Cervantes were to return to this
district--perhaps to this district alone--of the city he loved it is hard
to see what he would note afresh, save the results of natural decay and
the shifting of the social centre of gravity.

Whenever I enter an old Spanish church, in the south or in the north,
still intact in its material details, in the observance of its traditions,
in its antique grandiosity or loveliness, nearly always there is a latent
fear at my heart. Who knows how long these things will be left on the
earth? Even if they escape the dangers due to the ignorance or
carelessness of their own guardians, no one knows what swift destruction
may not at any moment overtake them.

In the leading article of the Barcelonese _Diluvio_ to-day I read:

  The unity which marked the Middle Ages is broken into an infinite
  variety of opinions and beliefs.

  Everywhere else, however, except in our country, there has been
  formed a gradation, a rhythm, of ideas, passing from the highest to
  the deepest notes  of the scale. There are radicals in politics, in
  religion,  in philosophy; there are also reactionaries in all these
  fields; but it is the intermediate notes, conciliatory,  more or less
  eclectic, which constitute the nucleus on  which every society must
  depend. In Spain this  central nucleus has no existence. Here in all
  orders  of thought there are only the two extremes: _all or

And the article concludes by saying that this state of things is so
threatening to the nation that some pessimists are already standing, watch
in hand, to count the moments of Spain's existence.

This tendency of the Spanish spirit, which there can be little doubt
about, may not threaten the existence of Spain, but it threatens the
existence of the last great fortress of mediaeval splendour and beauty and
romance. France, the chosen land of Saintliness and Catholicism, has been
swept clear of mediaevalism. England, even though it is the chosen land of
Compromise, has in the sphere of religion witnessed destructive
revolutions and counter-revolutions. What can save the Church in Spain
from perishing by that sword of Intolerance which it has itself forged?

_June_ 20.--In a side-chapel there is a large and tall Virgin, with
seemingly closed eyes, a serene and gracious personage. Before this image
of the Virgin Mother kneels a young girl, devoutly no doubt, though with a
certain careless familiarity, with her dark hair down, and on her head the
little transparent piece of lace which the Spanish woman, even the
smallest Spanish girl-child, unlike the free-spirited Frenchwoman, never
fails to adjust as she enters a church.

I have no sympathy with those who look on the Bible as an outworn book and
the Church as an institution whose symbols are empty of meaning. It is a
good thing that, somewhere amid our social order or disorder, the Mother
whose child has no father save God should be regarded as an object of
worship. It would be as well to maintain the symbol of that worship until
we have really incorporated it into our hearts and are prepared in our
daily life to worship the Mother whose child has no known father save God.
It is not the final stage in family evolution, certainly, but a step in
the right direction. So let us be thankful to the Bible for stating it so
divinely and keeping it before our eyes in such splendid imagery.

The official guardians of the Bible have always felt it to be a dangerous
book, to be concealed, as the Jews concealed their sacred things in the
ark. When after many centuries they could no longer maintain the policy of
concealing it in a foreign tongue which few could understand, a brilliant
idea occurred to them. They flung the Bible in the vulgar tongue in
millions of copies at the heads of the masses. And they dared them to
understand it! This audacity has been justified by the results. A sublime
faith in Human Imbecility has seldom led those who cherish it astray.

No wonder they feel so holy a horror of Eugenics!

_June_ 22.--I can see, across the narrow side-street, that a room nearly
opposite the windows of my room at the hotel is occupied by tailors,
possibly a family of them--two men, two women, two girls. They seem to be
always at work, from about eight in the morning until late in the evening;
even Sunday seems to make only a little difference, for to-day is Sunday,
and they have been at work until half-past seven. They sit, always in the
same places, round a table, near the large French windows which are
constantly kept open. At the earliest sign of dusk the electric light
suspended over the table shines out. They rarely glance through the
window, though certainly there is little to see, and I am not sure that
they go away for meals; I sometimes see them munching a roll, and the
Catalan water-pot is always at hand to drink from. If it were not that I
know how the Catalan can live by night as well as by day, I should say
that this little group can know nothing whatever of the vast and
variegated Barcelonese world in whose heart they live, that it is nothing
to them that all last night Barcelona was celebrating St. John's Eve (now
becoming a movable festival in the cities) with bonfires and illuminations
and festivities of every kind, or that at the very same moment in this
same city the soldiery were shooting down the people who never cease to
protest against the war in Morocco. They are mostly good-looking, neatly
dressed, cheerful, animated; they talk and gesticulate; they even play,
the men and the girls battering each other for a few moments with any
harmless weapons that come to hand. They are always at work, yet it is
clear that they have not adopted the heresy that man was made for work.

I am reminded of another workroom I once overlooked in a London suburb
where three men tailors worked from very early till late. But that was a
very different spectacle. They were careworn, sordid, carelessly
half-dressed creatures, and they worked with ferocity, without speaking,
with the monotonous routine of machines at high pressure. They were tragic
in the fury of their absorption in their work. They might have been the
Fates spinning the destinies of the world.

A marvellous thing how pliant the human animal is to work! Certainly it is
no Gospel of Work that the world needs. It has ever been the great concern
of the lawgivers of mankind, not to ordain work, but, as we see so
interestingly in the Mosaic Codes, to enjoin holidays from work.

_June_ 23.--At a little station on the Catalonian-Pyrenean line near Vich
a rather thin, worn-looking young woman alighted from the second-class
carriage next to mine, and was greeted by a stout matronly woman and a
plump young girl with beaming face. These two were clearly mother and
daughter, and I suppose that the careworn new-comer from the city, though
it was less obviously so, was an elder daughter. The two women greeted
each other with scarcely a word, but they stood close together for a few
moments, and slight but visible waves of emotion ran sympathetically down
their bodies. Then the elder woman tenderly placed her arm beneath the
other's, and they walked slowly away, while the radiant girl, on the other
side of the new-comer, lovingly gave a straightening little tug to the
back of her jacket, as though it needed it.

One sets out for a new expedition into the world always with a concealed
unexpressed hope that one will see something new. But in our little
European world one never sees anything new. There is merely a little
difference in the emotions, a little finer or a little coarser, a little
more open or a little more restrained, a little more or a little less
charm in the expression of them. But they are everywhere just the same
human emotions manifested in substantially the same ways.

It is not indeed always quite the same outside Europe. It is not the same
in Morocco. I always remember how I never grew tired of watching the Moors
in even the smallest operation of their daily life. For it always seemed
that their actions, their commonest actions, were set to a rhythm which to
a European was new and strange. Therefore it was infinitely fascinating.

_June_ 24.--St. John's Eve was celebrated here in Ripoll on the correct,
or, as the Catalans call it, the classical, date last night. The little
market-place was full of animation. (The church, I may note, stands in the
middle of the Plaza, and the market is held in the primitive way all round
the church, the market-women's stalls clinging close to its walls.) Here
for hours, and no doubt long after I had gone to bed, the grave, sweet
Catalan girls were dancing with their young men, in couples or in circles,
and later I was awakened by the singing of Catalan songs which reminded me
a little of Cornish carols. The Catalan girls, up in these Pyrenean
heights, are perhaps more often seriously beautiful than in Barcelona,
though here, too, they are well endowed with the substantial, homely,
good-humoured Catalan graces. But here they do their hair straight and low
on the brows on each side and fasten it in knots near the nape of the
neck, so they have an air of distinction which sometimes recalls the
Florentine women of Ghirlandajo's or Botticelli's portraits. The solar
festival of St. John's Eve is perhaps the most ancient in our European
world, but even in this remote corner of it the dances seem to have lost
all recognised connection with the bonfires, which in Barcelona are mostly
left to the children. This dancing is just human, popular dancing to the
accompaniment, sad to tell, of a mechanical piano. Yet even as such it is
attractive, and I lingered around it. For I am English, very English, and
I spend much of my time in London, where dancing in the street is treated
by the police as "disorderly conduct." For only the day before I left a
London magistrate admonished a man and woman placed in the dock before him
for this heinous offence of dancing in the street, which gave so much
pleasure to my Catalan youths and maidens all last night: "This is not a
country in which people can afford to be jovial. You must cultivate a
spirit of melancholy if you want to be safe. Go away and be as sad as you

_June_ 25.--Up here on the solitary mountain side, with Ripoll and its
swirling, roaring river and many bridges below me, I realise better the
admirable position of this ancient monastery city, so admirable that even
to-day Ripoll is a flourishing little town. The river has here formed a
flat, though further on it enters a narrow gorge, and the mountains open
out into an amphitheatre. It is, one sees, on a large and magnificent
scale, precisely the site which always commended itself to the monks of
old, and not least to the Benedictines when they chose the country for
their houses instead of the town, and here, indeed, they were at the
outset far away from any great centre of human habitation. Founded,
according to the Chronicles, in the ninth century by Wilfred the Shaggy,
the first independent Count of Barcelona, one suspects that the selection
of the spot was less, an original inspiration of the Shaggy Count's than
put into his head by astute monks, who have modestly refrained from
mentioning their own part in the transaction. In any case they flourished,
and a century later, when Montserrat had been devastated by the Moors, it
was restored and repeopled by monks from Ripoll. In their own house they
were greatly active. There is the huge monastery of which so much still
remains, not a beautiful erection, scarcely even interesting for the most
part, massive, orderly, excessively bare, but with two features which will
ever make it notable; its Romanesque cloisters with the highly variegated
capitals, and the sculptured western portal. This is regarded as one of
the earliest works of sculpture in Spain, and certainly it has some very
primitive, one may even say Iberian, traits, for the large _toro_-like
animals recall Iberian sculpture. Yet it is a great work, largely and
systematically planned, full of imaginative variety; at innumerable points
it anticipates what the later more accomplished Gothic sculptors were to
achieve, and I suspect, indeed, that much of its apparent lack of
executive skill is due to wearing away of the rather soft stone the
sculptors used. In the capitals of the cloisters--certainly much later--a
peculiarly hard stone has been chosen, and, notwithstanding, the precision
and expressive vigour of these artists is clearly shown. But the great
portal, a stupendous work of art, as we still dimly perceive it to be,
wrought nearly a thousand years ago in this sheltered nook of the
Pyrenees, lingers in the memory. Also, like so many other things in the
far Past, its crumbling outlines scatter much ancient dust over what we
vainly call Modern Progress.

_June_ 26.--Every supposed improvement in methods of travelling seems to
me to sacrifice more than it gains; it gains speed, but it sacrifices
nearly everything else, even comfort. Yet, I fear, there is a certain
unreality in one's lamentations over the decay of the ancient methods; one
is still borne on the stream. I have long wanted to cross the Pyrenees,
and certainly I should prefer to cross them leisurely, as Thicknesse would
have done (had he not preferred to elude them by the easier and beaten
road), in one's own carriage. But, failing that, surely I ought to have
walked, or, at least, to have travelled by the diligence. Yet I cannot
escape the contagious disease of Modernity, and I choose to be whirled
through the most delicious and restful scenery in the world, at the most
perfect moment of the year, in three hours (including the interval for
lunch) in a motor 'bus, while any stray passengers on the road, as by
common accord, plant themselves on the further side of the nearest big
tree until our fearsome engine of modernity has safely passed. It is an
adventure I scarcely feel proud of.

Yet even this hurried whirl has not been too swift to leave memories which
will linger long and exquisitely, among far other scenes, even with a
sense of abiding peace. How often shall I recall the exhilaration of this
clear, soft air of the mountains, touched towards the summits by the icy
breath of the snow, these glimpses of swift streams and sudden cascades,
the scent of the pine forests, the intense flame of full-flowered broom,
and perhaps more than all, the trees, as large as almond trees, of richly
blossomed wild roses now fully out, white roses and pink roses, which
abound along these winding roads among the mountains. Where else can there
be such wild rose trees?

_June_ 27.--It is, I suppose, more than twenty years since I stopped at
Perpignan for the night, on the eve of first entering Spain, and pushed
open in the twilight the little door of the Cathedral, and knew with
sudden deep satisfaction the beauty and originality of Catalonian
architecture. The city of Perpignan has emerged into vigorous modern life
since then, but the Cathedral remains the same and still calls me with the
same voice. It seems but yesterday that I entered it. And there, at the
same spot, in the second northern bay, the same little lamp is still
twinkling, each faint throb seemingly the last, as in memory it has
twinkled for twenty years.

_June_ 28.--Nowhere, it is said, are the offices of the Church more
magnificently presented than in Barcelona. However this may be, I nowhere
feel so much as in Spain that whatever may happen to Christianity it is
essential that the ancient traditions of the Mass should be preserved, and
the churches of Catholicism continue to be the arena of such Sacred Operas
as the Mass, their supreme and classic type.

I do not assert that it need necessarily be maintained as a Religious
Office. There are serious objections to the attempt at divine officiation
by those who have no conviction of their own Divine Office. There are
surely sufficient persons, even in pessimistic and agnostic Spain, to
carry on the Mass in sincerity for a long time to come. When sincerity
failed, I would hold that the Mass as an act of religion had come to an

It would remain as Art. As Art, as the embodied summary of a great ancient
tradition, a supreme moment in the spiritual history of the world, the
Mass would retain its vitality as surely as Dante's _Divine Comedy_
retains its vitality, even though the stage of that Comedy has no more
reality for most modern readers than the stage of Punch and Judy. So it is
here. The Play of the Mass has been wrought through centuries out of the
finest intuitions, the loftiest aspirations, of a long succession of the
most sensitively spiritual men of their time. Its external shell of
superstition may fall away. But when that happens the play will gain
rather than lose. It will become clearly visible as the Divine Drama it
is, the embodied presentation of the Soul's Great Adventure, the symbolic
Initiation of the Individual into the Spiritual Life of the World.

It is not only for the perpetuation of the traditions of the recognised
Sacred Offices that Churches such as the Spanish churches continue to
constitute the ideal stage. Secular drama arises out of sacred drama, and
at its most superb moments (as we see, earlier than Christianity, in the
_Bacchae_, the final achievement of the mature art of Euripides) it still
remains infused with the old sacred spirit and even the old sacred forms,
for which the Church remains the only fitting background. It might
possibly be so for _Parsifal_. Of all operas since _Parsifal_ that I have
seen, the _Ariane et Barbe Bleue_ of Dukas and Maeterlinck seems to me the
most beautiful, the most exalted in conception, the most finely symbolic,
and surely of all modern operas it is that in which the ideas and the
words, the music, the stage pictures, are wrought with finest artistry
into one harmonious whole. It seems to me that the emotions aroused by
such an Opera as _Ariane_ could only be fittingly
expressed--unecclesiastical as Blue Beard's character may appear--in the
frame of one of these old Catalonian churches. The unique possibilities of
the church for dramatic art constitute one of the reasons why I shudder at
the thought that these wonderful and fascinating buildings may some day be
swept of their beauty and even torn down.

_June_ 29.--I have always felt a certain antipathy--unreasonable, no
doubt--to Brittany, and never experienced any impulse to enter it. Now
that I have done so the chances of my route have placed my entry at
Nantes, where the contact of neighbouring provinces may well have modified
the Breton characteristics. Yet they seem to me quite pronounced, and
scarcely affected even by the vigorous and mercantile activity of this
large city. A large and busy city, and yet I feel that I am among a people
who are, ineradically, provincial peasants, men and women of a temper
impervious to civilisation. Here too are those symbols of peasantry, the
white caps of endless shape and fashion which seem to exert such an
attraction on the sentimental English mind. Yet they are not by any means
beautiful. And what terrible faces they enfold--battered, shapeless,
featureless faces that may have been tossed among granite rocks but seem
never to have been moulded by human intercourse. The young girls are often
rather pretty, sometimes coquettish, with occasionally a touch of careless
abandonment which reminds one of England rather than of France. But the
old women--one can scarcely believe that these tragic, narrow-eyed,
narrow-spirited old women are next neighbours to the handsome, jovial old
women of Normandy. And the old men, to an extent that surely is seldom
found, are the exact counterparts of the old women, with just the same
passive, battered, pathetic figures. (I recall the remark of an English
friend who has lived much in Brittany, that these people look as though
they were still living under the Ancient Régime.) I know I shall never
forget the congregation that I saw gathered together in the Cathedral at
High Mass this Sunday morning, largely made up of these poor old decayed
abortions of humanity, all moved by the most intense and absorbed

There is something gay and open about this Cathedral. The whole ritual is
clear to view; there is a lavish display of scarlet in the choir
upholstery; the music is singularly swift and cheerful; the whole tone of
the place is bright and joyous. One cannot but realise how perfectly such
a worship is adapted to such worshippers. Surely an accomplished
ecclesiastical art and insight have been at work here. We seem to see a
people scarcely made for this world, and sunk in ruts of sorrow, below the
level of humanity, where no hope is visible but the sky. And here is their
sky! How can it be but that they should embrace the vision with a fervour
surely unparalleled in Christendom outside Russia.

_July_ 4.--Feeble little scraps of reproduction of the Bayeux Tapestry
have been familiar to me since I was a child. Yet until to-day I entered
the room opposite the Cathedral where it has lately been simply but
fittingly housed, I never imagined, and no one had ever told me, how
splendid a work of art it is. Nothing could be more unpretentious, more
domestic in a sense, with almost the air of our grandmothers' samplers,
than this long strip of embroidered canvas, still so fresh in its colours
that it might have been finished, if indeed it is finished, yesterday. It
is technically crude, childishly conventionalised, wrought with an
enforced economy of means. Yet how superbly direct and bold in the
presentation of the narrative, in the realism of the essential details, in
all this marshalling of ships and horses and men, in this tragic
multiplication of death on the battlefield. One feels behind it the fine
and free energy of a creative spirit. It is one of our great European
masterpieces of art, a glory alike for Normans and for English. It is
among the things that once known must live in one's mind to recur to
memory with a thrill of exhilaration. There is in it the spirit of another
great Norman work of art, the _Chanson de Roland_; there is even in it the
spirit of Homer, or the spirit of Flaubert, "the French Homer," as
Gourmont has called him, who lived and worked so few miles away from this
city of Bayeux.

_July_ 9.--Now that I have again crossed Normandy, this time from the
south-west, I see the old puzzle of the architectural quality of the
Norman from a new aspect. Certainly the Normans seem to have had a native
impulse to make large, strong, bold buildings. But the aesthetic qualities
of these buildings seem sometimes to me a little doubtful. Surely
Coutances must lie in a thoroughly Norman district; it possesses three
great churches, of which St. Nicolas pleases me most; the Cathedral, even
in its strength and originality, makes no strong appeal to me. I find more
that is attractive in Bayeux Cathedral, which is a stage nearer to the
Seine. And I have asked myself this time whether the architectural
phenomena of Normandy may not be explained precisely by this presence of
the Seine, running right through the middle of it, and of its capital
city, Rouen, which is also its great architectural centre. What is
architecturally of the first quality in Normandy and the neighbouring
provinces seems to me now to lie on the Seine, or within some fifty miles
of its banks. That would include Bayeux and Chartres to the south, as well
as Amiens and Beauvais to the north. So I ask myself whether what we see
in this region may not be the result of the great highway passing through
it. Have we not here, perhaps, action and reaction between the massive
constructional spirit of Normandy and the exquisite inventive aesthetic
spirit of the Ile de France?

_July_ 12.--Certainly June, at all events as I have known it this year, is
the ideal month for rambling through Europe. Here along the Norman coast,
indeed, at Avranches and Fécamp, one encounters a damp cloudiness to
remind one that England is almost within sight. Yet during a month in
Spain and in France, in the Pyrenees and in Normandy, it has never been
too hot or too cold, during the whole time I have scarcely so much as seen
rain. Everywhere my journey has been an endless procession of summer
pageantry, of greenery that is always fresh, of flowers that have just
reached their hour of brilliant expansion. "To travel is to die
continually"; and I have had occasion to realise the truth of the saying
during the past few weeks. But I shall not soon forget the joy of this
wild profusion of flowers scattered all along my path, for two thousand
miles--the roses and lilies, the broom and the poppies.

_July_ 18.--When one considers that Irony which seems so prevailing a note
of human affairs, if we choose to regard human affairs from the
theological standpoint, it is interesting to remember that the most
pronounced intellectual characteristic of Jesus, whom the instinct of the
populace recognised as the Incarnation of God, was, in the wider sense, a
ferocious Irony. God is Love, said St. John. The popular mind seems to
have had an obscure conviction that God is Irony. And it is in his own
image, let us remember, that Man creates God.

_July_ 29.--In his essay on "The Comparative Anatomy of Angels," Fechner,
the father of experimental psychology, argued that angels can have no
legs. For if we go far down in the animal scale we find that centipedes
have God knows how many legs; then come butterflies and beetles with six,
and then mammals with four; then come birds, which resemble angels by
their free movement through space, and man, who by his own account is half
an angel, with only two legs; in the final step to the angelic state of
spherical perfection the remaining pair of legs must finally disappear.
(Indeed, Origen is said to have believed that the Resurrection body would
be spherical.)

One is reminded of Fechner's playful satire by the spectacle of those
poets who ape angelic modes of progression. The poet who desires to
achieve the music of the spheres may impart to his movement the planetary
impulse if he can suggest to our ears the illusion of the swift rush of
rustling wings, but he must never forget that in reality he still
possesses legs, and that these legs have to be accounted for, and reckoned
in the constitution of metre. Every poet must still move with feet, feet
that must be exquisitely sensitive to the earth's touch, impeccably
skilful to encounter every obstacle on the way with the joyous flashing of
his feet. The most splendidly angelic inspirations will not suffice to
compensate the poet for feet that draggle in the mud, or stumble
higgledy-piggledy among stony words, which his toes should have kissed
into jewels.

We find this well illustrated in a quite genuine poet whose biography has
just been published. In some poems of Francis Thompson we see that the
poet seeks to fling himself into a planetary course, forgetting, and
hoping to hypnotise his readers into forgetting, that the poet has feet.
He thereby takes his place in the group which Matthew Arnold termed that
of Ineffectual Angels. Arnold, it is true, a pedagogue rather than a
critic, invented this name for Shelley, whom it scarcely fits. For
Shelley, whose feet almost keep pace with his wings, more nearly belongs
to the Effectual Angels.

_August_ 3.--In our modern life an immense stress is placed on the value
of Morality. Very little stress is placed on the value of Immorality. I do
not, of course, use the words "Morality" and "Immorality" in any
question-begging way as synonymous of "goodness" and of "badness," but,
technically, as names for two different sorts of socially-determined
impulses. Morality covers those impulses, of a more communal character,
which conform to the standards of action openly accepted at a given time
and place; Immorality stands for those impulses, of a more individual
character, which fail so to conform. Morality is, more concisely, the
_mores_ of the moment; Immorality is the _mores_ of some other moment, it
may be a better, it may be a worse moment. Every nonconformist action is
immoral, but whether it is thereby good, bad, or indifferent remains
another question. Jesus was immoral; so also was Barabbas.

The more one knows of the real lives of people the more one perceives how
large a part of them is lived in the sphere of Immorality and how vitally
important that part is. It is not the part shown to the world, the
mechanism of its activities remains hidden. Yet those activities are so
intimate and so potent that in a large proportion of cases it is in their
sphere that we must seek the true motive force of the man or woman, who
may be a most excellent person, one who lays, indeed, emphatically and
honestly, the greatest stress on the value of the impulses of Morality.
"The passions are the winds which fill the sails of the vessel," said the
hermit to Zadig, and Spinoza had already said the same thing in other
words. The passions are by their nature Immoralities. To Morality is left
the impulses which guide the rudder, of little value when no winds blow.

Thus to emphasise the value of Immorality is not to diminish the value of
Morality. They are both alike necessary. ("Everything is dangerous here
below, and everything is necessary.") There should be no call on us to
place the stress on one side at the expense of the other side. When
Carducci, with thoughts directed on the intellectual history of humanity,
wrote his hymn to Satan, it was as the symbol of the revolutionary power
of reason that he sang the triumph of Satan over Jehovah. But no such
triumph of Immorality over Morality can be foreseen or desired. When we
place ourselves at the high biological standpoint we see the vital
necessity of each. It is necessary to place the stress on both.

If we ask ourselves why at the present moment the sphere of Morality seems
to have acquired, not in actual life, but in popular esteem, an undue
prominence over the sphere of Immorality, we may see various tendencies at
work, and perhaps not uninfluentially the decay of Christianity. For
Religion has always been the foe of Morality, and has always had a sneer
for "mere Morality." Religion stands for the Individual as Morality stands
for Society. Religion is the champion of Grace; it pours contempt on
"Law," the stronghold of Morality, even annuls it. The Pauline and
pseudo-Pauline Epistles are inexhaustible on this theme. The Catholic
Church with its Absolution and its Indulgences could always override
Morality, and Protestantism, for all its hatred of Absolution and of
Indulgences, by the aid of Faith and of Grace easily maintained exactly
the same conquest over Morality. So the decay of Christianity is the fall
of the Sublime Guardian of Immorality.

One may well ask oneself whether it is not a pressing need of our time to
see to it that these two great and seemingly opposed impulses are
maintained in harmonious balance, by their vital tension to further those
Higher Ends of Life to which Morality and Immorality alike must be held in
due subjection.

_August 18_.--How marvellous is the Humility of Man! I find it illustrated
in nothing so much as in his treatment of his Idols and Gods. With a
charming irony the so-called "Second Isaiah" described how the craftsman
deals with mere ordinary wood or stone which he puts to the basest
purposes; "and the residue thereof he maketh a God." One wonders whether
Isaiah ever realised that he himself was the fellow of that craftsman. He
also had moulded his Jehovah out of the residue of his own ordinary
emotions and ideas. But that application of his own irony probably never
occurred to Isaiah, and if it had he was too wise a prophet to mention it.

Man makes his God and places Him, with nothing to rest on, in a Chaos, and
imposes on Him the task of introducing life and order, everything indeed,
out of His own Divine Brains. To the savage theologian and his more
civilised successors that seems an intelligent theory of the Universe.
They fail to see that they have merely removed an inevitable difficulty a
stage further back. (And we can understand the reply of the irritable
old-world theologian to one who asked what God was doing before the
creation: "He was making rods for the backs of fools.") For the Evolution
of a Creator is no easier a problem than the Evolution of a Cosmos.

The theologians, with their ineradicable anthropomorphic conceptions, have
never been able to see how stupendous an anachronism they committed
(without even taking the trouble to analyse Time) when they placed God
prior to His Created Universe in the void and formless Nebula. Such a God
would not have been worth the mist He was made of.

It is only when we place God at the End, not at the Beginning, that the
Universe falls into order. God is an Unutterable Sigh in the Human Heart,
said the old German mystic. And therewith said the last word.

_August 21_.--Is not a certain aloofness essential to our vision of the
Heaven of Art?

As I write I glance up from time to time at the open door of a
schoolhouse, and am aware of a dim harmony of soft, rich, deep colour and
atmosphere framed by the doorway and momentarily falling into a balanced
composition, purified of details by obscurity, the semblance of a
Velasquez. Doors and windows and gateways vouchsafe to us perpetually the
vision of a beauty apparently remote from the sphere of our sorrow, and
the impression of a room as we gaze into it from without through the
window is more beautiful than when we move within it. Every picture, the
creation of the artist's eye and hand, is a vision seen through a window.

It is the delight of mirrors that they give something of the same
impression as I receive from the schoolhouse doorway. In music-halls, and
restaurants, and other places where large mirrors hang on the walls, we
may constantly be entranced by the lovely and shifting pictures of the
commonplace things which they chance to frame. In the atmosphere of
mirrors there always seems to be a depth and tone which eludes us in the
actual direct vision. Mirrors cut off sections of the commonplace real
world, and hold them aloof from us in a sphere of beauty. From the days of
the Greeks and Etruscans to the days of Henri de Régnier a peculiar
suggestion of aesthetic loveliness has thus always adhered to the mirror.
The most miraculous of pictures created by man, "Las Meninas," resembles
nothing so much as the vision momentarily floated on a mirror. In this
world we see "as in a glass darkly," said St. Paul, and he might have
added that in so seeing we see more and more beautifully than we can ever
hope to see "face to face."

There is sometimes even more deliciously the same kind of lovely
attraction in the reflection of lakes and canals, and languid rivers and
the pools of fountains. Here reality is mirrored so faintly and
tremulously, so brokenly, so as it seems evanescently, that the simplest
things may be purged and refined into suggestions of exquisite beauty.
Again and again some scene of scarcely more than commonplace charm--seen
from some bridge at Thetford, or by some canal at Delft, some pond in
Moscow--imprints itself on the memory for ever, because one chances to see
it under the accident of fit circumstance reflected in the water.

Still more mysterious, still more elusive, still more remote are the
glorious visions of the external world which we may catch in a polished
copper bowl, as in crystals and jewels and the human eye. Well might Böhme
among the polished pots of his kitchen receive intimation of the secret
light of the Universe.

In a certain sense there is more in the tremulously faint and far
reflection of a thing than there is in the thing itself. The dog who
preferred the reflection of his bone in the water to the bone itself,
though from a practical point of view he made a lamentable mistake, was
aesthetically justified. No "orb," as Tennyson said, is a "perfect star"
while we walk therein. Aloofness is essential to the Beatific Vision. If
we entered its portals Heaven would no longer be Heaven.

_August_ 23.--I never grow weary of the endless charm of English parish
churches. The more one sees of them the more one realises what fresh,
delightful surprises they hold. Nothing else in England betrays so well
the curious individuality, the fascinating tendency to incipient
eccentricity, which marks the English genius. Certainly there are few
English churches one can place beside some of the more noble and
exquisitely beautiful French churches, such a church, for instance, as
that of Caudebec on the Seine. But one will nowhere find such a series of
variously delightful churches springing out of concretely diversified

Here at Maldon I enter the parish church in the centre of the town, and
find that the tower, which appears outside, so far as one is able to view
it, of the normal four-sided shape, is really triangular; and when in the
nave one faces west, this peculiarity imparts an adventurous sense of
novelty to the church, a delicious and mysterious surprise one could not
anticipate, nor even realise, until one had seen.

Individuality is as common in the world as ever it was, and as precious.
But its accepted manifestations become ever rarer. What architect to-day
would venture to design a triangular-towered church, and what Committee
would accept it? No doubt they would all find excellent reasons against
such a tower. But those reasons existed five hundred years ago. Yet the
men of Maldon built this tower, and it has set for ever the seal of unique
charm upon their church.

The heel of Modern Man is struck down very firmly on Individuality, and
not in human life only, but also in Nature. Hahn in his summary survey of
the North American fauna and flora comes to the conclusion that their
aspect is becoming ever tamer and more commonplace, because all the
animals and plants that are rare or bizarre or beautiful are being
sedulously destroyed by Man's devastating hand. There is nothing we have
to fight for more strenuously than Individuality. Unless, indeed, since
Man cannot inhabit the earth for ever, the growing dulness of the world
may not be a beneficent adaptation to the final extinction, and the last
man die content, thankful to leave so dreary and monotonous a scene.

_August_ 24.--A month ago I was wandering through the superb spiritual
fortress overlying a primeval pagan sanctuary, which was dreamed twelve
centuries ago in the brain of a Bishop of neighbouring Avranches, and
slowly realised by the monastic aspiration, energy, and skill of many
generations to dominate the Bay of St. Michel even now after all the monks
have passed away. And to-day I have been wandering in a very different
scene around the scanty and charming remains of the Abbey of Beeleigh,
along peaceful walks by lovely streams in this most delightful corner of
Essex, which the Premonstratensian Canons once captured, in witness of the
triumph of religion over the world and the right of the religious to enjoy
the best that the world can give.

The Premonstratensian Canons who followed the mild Augustinian rule
differed from the Benedictines, and it was not in their genius to seize
great rocks and convert them into fortresses. Their attitude was humane,
their rule not excessively ascetic; they allowed men and women to exercise
the religious life side by side in neighbouring houses; they lived in the
country but they were in familiar touch with the world. The White Canons
ruled Maldon, but they lived at Beeleigh. They appear to have been
admirable priests; the official Visitor (for they were free from Episcopal
control) could on one occasion find nothing amiss save that the Canons
wore more luxuriant hair than befitted those who bear the chastening sign
of the tonsure, and their abbots seem to have been exceptionally wise and
prudent. This sweet pastoral scenery, these slow streams with luxuriant
banks and pleasant, sheltered walks, were altogether to their taste. Here
were their fish-ponds and their mills. Here were all the luxuries of
Epicurean austerity. Even in the matter of comfort compare the cramped
dungeons, made for defence, in which the would-be lords of the world
dwelt, with the spacious democratic palaces, or the finely spaced rural
villas, with no need to think of defence, in which men led the religious
life. Compare this abbey even with Castle Hedingham a few miles away, once
the home of the great De Veres, by no means so gloomy as such castles are
wont to be, and I doubt if you would prefer it to live in; as a matter of
fact it has been little used for centuries, while Beeleigh is still a
home. Here in these rich and peaceful gardens, Abbot Epicurus of
Beeleigh--who held in his hands, at convenient arm's length, the
prosperous town of Maldon--could discourse at leisure to his girl
disciples--had there been a house of canonesses here--of the lusts and
passions that dominate the world, repletion, extravagance, disorders,
disease, warfare, and death. In reality Abbot Epicurus had captured all
the best things the world can hold and established them at Beeleigh,
leaving only the dregs. And at the same time, by a supreme master-stroke
of ironic skill, he persuaded those stupid dregs that in spurning them he
had renounced the World!

_August_ 27.--Here in the north-west of Suffolk and on into Norfolk there
is a fascinating blank in the map. Much of it was in ancient days fenland,
with, long before the dawn of history, at least one spot which was a great
civilising centre of England, and even maybe of Europe, from the abundance
and the quality of the flints here skilfully worked into implements. Now
it is simply undulating stretches of heathland, at this season freshly
breaking into flower, with many pine trees, and the most invigorating air
one can desire. Not a house sometimes for miles, not a soul maybe in sight
all day long, not (as we know of old by sad experience and are provided
accordingly) a single wayside inn within reach. Only innumerable rabbits
who help to dig out the worked flints one may easily find--broken,
imperfect, for the most part no doubt discarded--and rare solitary herons,
silent and motionless, with long legs and great bills, and unfamiliar
flowers, and gorgeous butterflies. Here, on a bank of heather and thyme,
we spread our simple and delicious meal.

Do not ask the way to this ancient centre of civilisation, even by its
modern and misleading name, even at the nearest cottage. They cannot tell
you, and have not so much as heard of it. Yet it may be that those
cottagers themselves are of the race of the men who were here once the
pioneers of human civilisation, for until lately the people of this
isolated region were said to be of different physical type and even of
different dress from other people. So it is, as they said of old, that the
glory of the world passes away.

_August_ 29.--Whenever, as to-day, I pass through Bury St. Edmunds or
Stowmarket or Sudbury and the neighbourhood, I experience a curious racial
home-feeling. I never saw any of these towns or took much interest in them
till I had reached middle age. Yet whenever I enter this area I realise
that its inhabitants are nearer to me in blood, and doubtless in nervous
and psychic tissue, than the people of any other area. It is true that one
may feel no special affinity to the members of one's own family group
individually. But collectively the affinity cannot fail to be impressive.
I am convinced that if a man were to associate with a group of one hundred
women (I limit the sex merely because it is in relation to the opposite
sex that a man's instinctive and unreasoned sympathies and antipathies are
most definite), this group consisting of fifty women who belonged to his
own ancestral district, and therefore his own blood, and fifty outside
that district, his sympathies would more frequently be evoked by the
members of the first group than the second, however indistinguishably they
were mingled. That harmonises with the fact that homogamy, as it is
called, predominates over heterogamy, that like is attractive to like.
Therefore, after all, the feeling I have acquired concerning this part of
Suffolk may be in part a matter of instinct.

_September_ 3.--Why is it that notwithstanding my profound admiration for
Beethoven, and the delight he frequently gives me, I yet feel so
disquieted by that master and so restively hostile to his prevailing
temper? I always seem to have a vague feeling that he is a Satan among
musicians, a fallen angel in the darkness who is perpetually seeking to
fight his way back to happiness, and to enter on the impossible task of
taking the Kingdom of Heaven by violence.

Consider the exceedingly popular Fifth Symphony. It seems to me to
represent the strenuous efforts of a man who is struggling virtuously with
adversity. It is morality rather than art (I would not say the same of the
Seventh Symphony, or of the Ninth), and the morality of a proud,
self-assertive, rather ill-bred person. I always think of Beethoven as the
man who, walking with Goethe at Weimar and meeting the Ducal Court party,
turned up his coat collar and elbowed his way through the courtiers, who
were all attention to him, while Goethe, scarcely noticed, stood aside
bowing, doubtless with an ironic smile at his heart. The Fifth Symphony is
a musical rendering of that episode. We feel all through it that
self-assertive, self-righteous little man, vigorously thrusting himself
through difficulties to the goal of success, and finely advertising his
progress over obstacles by that ever-restless drum which is the backbone
of the whole symphony. No wonder the Fifth Symphony appeals so much to our
virtuous and pushful middle-class audiences. They seem to feel in it the
glorification of "a nation of shopkeepers" who are the happy possessors of
a "Nonconformist Conscience."

It is another appeal which is made by Bach and Mozart and Schubert. They
also may be moved by suffering and sorrow. But they are never in vain
rebellion against the Universe. Their sorrow is itself at one with the
Universe, and therefore at one with its joy. Such sorrow gives wings to
the soul, it elevates and enlarges us; we are not jarred and crushed by
violent attacks on a Fortress of Joy which to such attacks must ever be an
unscaleable glacis. The Kingdom of Heaven is not taken by violence, and I
feel that in the world of music many a smaller man is nearer to the
Kingdom of Heaven than this prodigious and lamentable Titan.

_September_ 9.--As I sit basking in the sunshine on this familiar little
rocky peninsula in the centre of the bay, still almost surrounded by the
falling tide, I note a youth and a girl crossing the sands below me, where
the gulls calmly rest, to the edge of dry beach. Then she sits down and he
stands or bends tenderly over her. This continues for some time, but the
operation thus deliberately carried out, it ultimately becomes clear, is
simply that of removing her shoes and stockings. At last it is
accomplished, he raises her, swiftly harmonises his costume to hers, and
forthwith conducts her through some shallow water to an island of sand.
The deeper passage to my peninsula still remains to be forded, and the
feat requires some circumspection. In less than half an hour it will be
easy to walk across dry-shod, and time is evidently no object. But so
prosaic a proceeding is disdained by Paul and Virginia. He wades carefully
forward within reach of the rocks, flings boots, white stockings, and
other cumbersome belongings on to the lowest ledge of rock, returns to the
island, and lifts her up, supporting her body with one arm as she clasps
his neck, while with the other he slowly and anxiously feels his way with
his stout stick among the big seaweed-grown stones in the surf. I see them
clearly now, a serious bespectacled youth of some twenty--one years and a
golden--haired girl, some two or three years younger, in a clinging white
dress. The young St. Christopher at last deposits his sacred burden at the
foot of the peninsula, which they climb, to sit down on the rocks, and in
the same deliberate, happy, self-absorbed spirit complete their toilet and

I know not what relation of tender intimacy unites them, but when they
have gone their faces remain in my memory. I seem to see them thirty years
hence, that honest, faithful, straightforward face of the youth,
transformed into the rigid image of an eminently-worthy and
wholly-undistinguished citizen, and the radiant, meaningless girl a stout
and careful Mrs. Grundy with a band of children around her. Yet the memory
of to-day will still perhaps be enshrined in their hearts.

_September_ 12.--"I study you as I study the Bible," said a wise and
religious old doctor to a patient who had proved a complex and difficult
case. His study was of much benefit to her and probably to himself.

It is precisely in this spirit that the psychoanalysts, taught by the
genius of Freud, study their patients, devoting an hour a day for weeks or
months or more to the gospel before them, seeking to purge themselves of
all prepossessions, to lie open to the Divine mystery they are
approaching, as the mystic lies open to his Divine mystery, to wait
patiently as every page of the physical and spiritual history is turned
over, to penetrate slowly to the most remote and intimate secrets of
personality, even those that the surface shows no indication of, that have
never been uttered or known--until at last the Illumination comes and the
Meaning is clear.

How few among the general run of us, medical or lay, have yet learnt to
deal thus reverently with Human Beings! Here are these things, Men, Women,
and Children, infinitely fascinating and curious in every curve and
function of their bodies and souls, with the world set in the heart of
each of them, indeed whole Immortalities and Cosmoses, of which one may
sometimes catch glimpses, with amazement if not indeed with amusement, and
such a holy awe as Dostoeffsky felt when in moments of revelation he saw
by some sudden gleam into the hearts of the criminals around him in
Siberia--and what do we do with them? Tie up their souls in official red
tape and render their bodies anaemic with clothes, distort them in
factories or slay them on battlefields. The doctor is herein the New
Mystic at whose feet all must patiently learn the Revelation of Humanity.
When there is not quite so much Mankind in the world, and what remains is
of better quality, we may perhaps begin to see that a new task lies before
Religion, and that all the patient study which men devoted to the
Revelation that seemed to them held in the Text of the Bible is but a
feeble symbol of the Revelation held in the Text of Men and Women, of whom
all the Bibles that ever were merely contain the excretions. It is indeed
exactly on that account that we cannot study Bibles too devoutly.

So before each New Person let us ejaculate internally that profound and
memorable saying: "I study you as I study the Bible."

_September_ 18.--The approach to the comprehension of any original
personality, in art or in philosophy, is slow but full of fascination.
One's first impulse, I have usually found, is one of tedious indifference,
followed by rejection, probably accompanied with repugnance. In this
sphere the door which opens at a touch may only lead into a hovel. The
portal to a glorious temple may be through a dark and dreary narthex, to
be traversed painfully, it may be on one's knees, a passage only
illuminated in its last stages by exhilarating bursts of light as the door
ahead momentarily swings open.

When Jules de Gaultier sent me on publication his first book _Le
Bovarysme_, I glanced through it with but a faint interest and threw it
aside. (I had done the same some years before, perhaps as stupidly, who
knows? with the _Matière et Mémoire_ of the rival philosopher who has
since become so magnificently prosperous in the world.) The awkward and
ill-chosen title offended me, as it offends me still, and Gaultier had
then scarcely attained the full personal charm of his grave, subdued, and
reticent style. But another book arrived from the same author, and yet
another, and I began to feel the attraction of this new thinker and to
grasp slowly his daring and elusive conception of the world. Here, one
remarks, is where the stupid people who are slow of understanding have
their compensation in the end. For whereas the brilliant person sees so
much light at his first effort that he is apt to be content with it, the
other is never content, but is always groping after more, perhaps to come
nearer to the Great Light at last.

For Gaultier the world is a spectacle. We always conceive ourselves other
than we are (that is the famous "Bovarism"), we can never know the world
as it is. The divine creative principle is Error. All the great dramatists
and novelists have unconsciously realised this in the sphere of
literature; Flaubert consciously and supremely realised it. In life also
the same principle holds. Life is a perpetual risk and danger, the
perpetual toss of a die which can never be calculated, a perpetual
challenge to high adventure. But it is only in Art that the solution of
Life's problems can be found. Life is always immoral and unjust. It is Art
alone which, rising above the categories of Morality, justifies the pains
and griefs of Life by demonstrating their representative character and
emphasising their spectacular value, thus redeeming the Pain of Life by

It is along this path that Jules de Gaultier would lead by the hand those
tender and courageous souls who care to follow him.

_September_ 19.--Imbecility is the Enemy, and there are two tragic shapes
of Imbecility which one meets so often, and finds so disheartening,
perhaps not indeed hopeless, not beyond the power even of Training, to say
nothing of Breeding, to better.

There is that form of Imbecility which shows itself in the inability to
see any person or any thing save in a halo of the debased effluvium which
the imbecile creature himself exudes, and in the firm conviction--that is
where the Imbecility comes in--that the halo pertains not to himself but
to the object he gazes at. Law, necessary as it is, powerfully aids these
manifestations, and the Policeman is the accepted representative of this
form of Imbecility. It is a sad form, not only because it is so common,
and so powerfully supported, but because it effectually destroys the
finest blossoms of human aspiration on the pathway to any more beautiful
life. It is the guardian against us of the Gate of Paradise. If the
inspired genius who wrote the delightful book of _Genesis_ were among us
to-day, instead of two cherubim with flaming swords, he would probably
have placed at the door of his Eden two policemen with truncheons. Nothing
can be lovelier, more true to the spiritual fact, than the account in the
Gospel of the angel Gabriel's visit to the Virgin Mary; it represents the
experience of innumerable women in all ages, and on that account it has
received sanctification for ever. It was an incident described by a saint
who was also a poet. But imagine that incident described by a policeman,
and one shudders. So long as the policeman's special form of Imbecility
triumphs in the world, there will be no Paradise Regained.

But there is another shape in which Imbecility is revealed, scarcely less
fatal though it is of the reverse kind. It is the Imbecility of those
young things who, themselves radiating innocence and fragrance,
instinctively cast a garment of their own making round every object that
attracts them, however foul, and never see it for what it is, until too
late, and then, with their illusion, their own innocence and fragrance
have also gone. For this kind of Imbecility erects a fortress for the Evil
in the world it could by a glance strike dead.

In the one case, as in the other, it is Intelligence which is at fault,
the enlightened brain, the calm and discerning eye that can see things for
what they are, neither debasing nor exalting them. The clear-sighted eye
in front of the enlightened brain--there can be no Imbecility then. Only
the Diseases of the Soul which Reason can never cure.

From these two shapes of Imbecility one would like to see a delivering
Saviour arise.

_September_ 24.--The act of bathing in the sea, rightly considered, is a
sacred act, and is so recognised in many parts of the world. It should not
be made as commonplace as a mere hygienic tubbing, nor be carried out by a
crowd of clothed persons in muddy water. No profane unfriendly eye should
be near, the sun must be bright, the air soft, the green transparent sea
should ripple smoothly over the rocks, as I see it below me now, welling
rhythmically into rock-basins and plashing out with a charge of bubbling
air and a delicious murmur of satisfied physiological relief. Enter the
sea in such a manner, on such a day, and the well-tempered water greets
the flesh so lovingly that it opens like a flower with no contraction of
hostile resistance. The discomforting sensation of the salt in the
nostrils becomes a delightful and invigorating fragrance as it blends with
the exhilaration of this experience. So to bathe is more than to bathe. It
is a rite of which the physical delight is a symbol of the spiritual
significance of an act of Communion with Nature, to be stored up with
one's best experiences of Fine Living.

_September_ 27.--It is a soft, wet Cornish day, and as I sit in the
garden, sheltered from the rain, there floats back to memory a day, two
months ago at Ripoll, when I wandered in the wonderful and beautiful
cloisters, where every capital is an individual object of fascinating
study, still fresh after so many centuries, and not a footstep ever
disturbed my peace.

Nothing so well evidences the fine utility of monasticism as the invention
of the cloister. In a sense it was the centre of monastic life, so that
monastery and cloister are almost synonymous terms. No peasant-born monk
of the West, in the carol of his cloister, had occasion to envy the King
of Granada his Court of the Lions. Fresh air, the possibility of movement,
sunshine in winter and shade in summer, the vision of flowers, the
haunting beauty of the well in the centre, and the exhilarating spring of
the arches all around, the _armaria_ of books at hand, and silence--such
things as these are for every man who thinks and writes the essentials of
intellectual living. And every cloister offered them. Literature has smelt
unpleasantly of the lamp since cloisters were no longer built, and men
born for the cloister, the Rousseaus and the Wordsworths and the
Nietzsches, wandered homelessly among the hills, while to-day we seek any
feeble substitute for the cloister wherein to work at leisure in the free
air of Nature, and hear the song of the birds and the plash of the rain at
one's feet.

_September_ 30.--When I pass through the little Cornish valley there is
one tree on which my eye always dwells. It is of no greater size than many
other trees in the valley, nor even, it may be to a casual glance, of any
marked peculiarity; one might say, indeed, that in this alien environment,
so far from its home on the other side of the world, it manifests a
certain unfamiliar shyness, or a well-bred condescension to the
conventions of the English floral world. Yet, such as it is, that tree
calls up endless pictures from the recesses of memory, of the beautiful
sun-suffused land where the Eucalyptus in all its wonderful varieties,
vast and insolent and solemn and fantastic, is lord of the floral land,
and the Mimosa, with the bewitching loveliness that aches for ever at
one's heart, is the lady of the land.

So I walk along the Cornish valley in a dream, and once more kangaroos
bound in slow, great curves down the hills, and gay parrakeets squabble on
the ground, and the soft grey apple-gums slumber in the distance, and the
fragrance of the wattles is wafted in the air.

_October_ 2.--If this Cornish day were always and everywhere October, then
October would never be a month to breed melancholy in the heart, and I
could enter into the rapture of De Régnier over this season of the year.
It would, indeed, be pleasant to think of October as a month when, as
to-day, the faint northeasterly wind is mysteriously languorous, and the
sun burns hot even through misty clouds, and the dim sea has all the soft
plash of summer, and from the throats of birds comes now and again a
liquid and idle note which, they themselves seem to feel, has no function
but the delight of mere languid contentment, and the fuchsia tree casts a
pool of crimson blossoms on the ground while yet retaining amid its deep
metallic greenery a rich burden of exotic bells, to last maybe to
Christmas. If this is indeed October as Nature made October, then we might
always approach Winter in the same mood as, if we are wise, we shall
always approach Death.

_October_ 6.--The Russian philosopher Schestoff points out that while we
have to be reticent regarding the weaknesses of ordinary men, we can
approach the great with open eyes and need never fear to give their
qualities the right names. "How simply and quietly the Gospel reports that
in one night the Apostle Peter denied his Master thrice! And yet that has
not hindered mankind from building him a magnificent temple in Rome, where
untold millions have reverently kissed the feet of his statue, and even
to-day his representative is counted infallible."

It is a pregnant observation that we might well bear in mind when we
concern ourselves with the nature and significance of genius. I know
little about St. Peter's claim to genius. But at least he is here an
admirable symbol. That is how genius is made, and, it is interesting to
note, how the popular mind realises that genius is made; for the creators
of the Gospels, who have clearly omitted or softened so much, have yet
emphatically set forth the bald record of the abject moral failure in the
moment of decisive trial of the inappropriately named Rock on which Christ
built His Church. And Peter's reputation and authority remain supreme to
this day.

James Hinton was wont to dwell on the weakness of genius, as of a point of
least resistance in human nature, an opening through which the force of
Nature might enter the human world. "Where there is nothing there is God,"
and it may be that this weakness is no accident but an essential fact in
the very structure of genius. Weakness may be as necessary to the man of
genius as it is unnecessary to the normal man.

Our biographers of genius are usually futile enough on all grounds, even
in the record of the simplest biological data, as in my own work I have
had sad occasion to experience. But at no point are they so futile as in
toning down, glozing over, or altogether ignoring all those immoralities,
weaknesses, defects, and failures which perhaps are the very Hallmark of
Genius. They all want their Peters to look like real rocks. And on such
rocks no churches are built.

_October_ 13.--I wish that people would be a little more cautious in the
use of the word "Perfection." Or else that they would take the trouble to
find out what they mean by it. One grows tired of endless chatter
concerning the march of Progress towards Perfection, and of the assumption
underlying it that Perfection--as usually defined--is a quality which any
one need desire in anything.

If Perfection is that which is most beautiful and desirable to us, then it
is something of which an essential part is Imperfection.

That is clearly so in relation to physical beauty. A person who is without
demonstrable defect of beauty--some exaggeration of proportion, some
visible flaw--leaves us cold and indifferent. The flaw or the defect may
need to be of some special kind or quality to touch us individually, but
still it is needed. The absence of flaw in beauty is itself a flaw. As I
write my eye falls on a plate of tomatoes. The tense and smoothly curved
red fruits with their wayward green stalks lie at random on a blue dish of
ancient pattern. They are beautiful. Yet each fruit has conspicuously on
it a fleck of reflected light. Looked at in itself, each fleck is ugly, a
greyish patch which effaces the colour it rests on. Yet the brilliant
beauty of these fruits is largely dependent on those flecks of light. So
it is with some little mole on the body of a beautiful woman, or a
mutinous irregularity in the curve of her mouth, or some freak in the
distribution of her hair.

There are some people willing to admit that Perfection is a useless
conception in relation to physical beauty, and yet unwilling to believe
that it is equally useless in the moral sphere. Yet in the moral world
also Imperfection is essential to beauty and desire. What we are pleased
to consider Perfection of character is perhaps easier to attain than
Perfection of body. But, not on that account alone, it is equally
unattractive. The woman who seems a combination of unalloyed virtues is as
inadequate as the woman who is a combination of smooth physical
perfections. In the moral world, indeed, the desired Imperfection needs to
be dynamic and shifting rather than static and fixed, because virtues are
contradictory. Modesty and Courage, for instance, do not sort well
together at the same moment. Men have rhapsodied much on the modesty of
woman, but a woman who was always modest would be as insipid as a woman
who was always courageous would be repellent. An incalculable and dynamic
combination of Shyness and Daring is at the core of a woman's fascination.
And the same relationship binds the more masculine combination of Justice
and Generosity.

Why should we pretend any more that the world is on the road to
Perfection? Or that we want it to be? The world is in perpetual
oscillation. Let us be thankful for every inspiring revelation of a New

_October_ 23.--There has been much discussion over Flaubert's views of the
artist's attitude towards his own work--how far the artist stands outside
his own work, and how far he is himself the stuff of his work--and I see
that Mr. Newbolt has been grappling again with that same problem. Yet
surely it is hardly a problem. Flaubert, we are told, contradicted himself
in those volumes of _Correspondance_ which have seemed to some (indeed
what has Flaubert written that has not seemed to some?) the most
fascinating and profoundly interesting part of his work. The artist must
be impersonal, he insisted, and yet St. Anthony is Flaubert, and he
himself said, "Madame Bovary, c'est moi." He contradicted himself. Well,
what then? "Do I contradict myself?" he might have asked with Whitman.
"Very well, then, I contradict myself." The greatest of literary artists,
we may rest assured, had the clearest vision of the haven for which he was
sailing. But he was bound for a port which few mariners have ever come
near, and he knew that the wind was ever in his teeth. It was only by
taking a course that was a constant series of zigzags, it was only by
perpetually tacking, that he could ever hope to come into harbour. He was
not, therefore, the less acutely aware of his precise course. He was
merely adopting the most strictly scientific method of navigation. The
fluctuating judgments which Flaubert seems to pronounce on the aim of the
artist all represent sound approximations to a complete truth which no
formula will hold. No sailor on this sea ever sailed more triumphantly
into port. That seems to settle the matter.

_October_ 24.--At the crowded concert this evening I found a seat at the
back of the orchestra, and when a singer came on to sing the "Agnus Dei"
of Bach's Mass in B Minor I had the full view of her back, her dress, cut
broad and low, fully showing her shoulder-blades. I thus saw that, though
the movements of her arms were slight, yet as she sang the long drawn-out
sighs, rising and falling, of the "Miserere," the subdued loveliness of
the music was accompanied by an unceasing play of the deltoid and
trapezius muscles. It was a perpetual dance of all the visible muscles, in
swelling and sinking curves, opening out and closing in, rising and
falling and swaying, a beautifully expressive rhythm in embodiment of the

One sees how it was that the Greeks, for whom the whole body was an
ever-open book, could so train their vision to its vivid music (has not
Taine indeed said something to this effect in his travel notes in Southern
Italy?) that when they came to carve reliefs for their Parthenon, even to
represent the body in seeming repose, they instinctively knew how to show
it sensitive, alive, as in truth it is, redeemed from grossness by the
exquisite delicacy of its mechanism at every point. People think that the
so-called _danse du ventre_ is an unnatural distortion, and in its
customary exaggerations so it is. But it is merely the high-trained and
undue emphasis of beautiful natural expression. Rightly considered, the
whole body is a dance. It is for ever in instinctive harmonious movement,
at every point exalted to unstained beauty, because at every moment it is
the outcome of vital expression that springs from its core and is related
to the meaning of the whole. In our blind folly we have hidden the body.
We have denied its purity. We have ignored its vital significance. We pay
the bitter penalty. And I detect a new meaning in the wail of that

_October_ 29.--I am interested to hear that the latest theorists of
harmony in music are abandoning the notion that they must guide practice,
or that music is good or bad according as it follows, or fails to follow,
theoretical laws. One recalls how Beethoven in his lifetime was condemned
by the theorists, and how almost apologetically he himself referred at the
end to his own deliberate breaking of the rules. But now, it appears, the
musical theorists are beginning to realise that theory must be based on
practice and not practice on theory. The artist takes precedence of the
theorist, who learns his theories from observation of the artist, and when
in his turn he teaches, the artist is apt to prove dangerous. "In matters
of art," says Lenormand in his recent book on harmony, "it is dangerous to
learn to do as others do."

Now this interests me because it is in this spirit that I have always
contemplated the art of writing. This must be our attitude before the
so-called rules of grammar and syntax. Certainly one cannot be too
familiar with the rules, they cannot even be wisely broken unless they are
known, and we cannot be too familiar with the practice of those who have
gone before us. But the logic of thought takes precedence of the rules of
grammar, and syntax must ever be moulded afresh on the sensibility of the
individual writer. Only in so far as a man writes in this temper--the
resolute temper, as Thoreau said, of a man who is grasping an axe or a
sword--can he achieve the daring and the skill by which writing lives. To
be clear, to be exact, to be expressive, and so to be beautiful--that is
the writer's proper aim. The rules are good so far--but only so far--as
they help him to sail on the voyage towards his desired haven. Let him
sail warily, and if he miscalculates let him suffer shipwreck.

That is the really inviolable law of all the arts. How long will it be
before we understand that it is also the law of morality, the greatest art
of all, the Art of Living?

_November_ 5.--Surely an uncomfortable feeling must overcome many
excellent people when they realise--if that ever happens--the contrast
between their view of the world and that which prevailed in the ages most
apt for great achievement and abounding vitality. In the moral world of
to-day such didactic energy as men possess is concentrated into one long
litany of Thou Shalt Not.

May it be because the Tradesman has inherited the earth and stocked
Morality on his shelves? That he stocks no line of moral goods to which
the yard-measure cannot be applied? The Saints as well as the Sinners must
go empty away in a social state whose lordship has fallen to Hogarth's
Good Apprentice.

But that is not how Life is. In the moral world--so far as it is a world
of great achievement--the tape-measure is out of place. It is only the
Immeasurable that counts. And Life is not only Immeasurable but
magnificently inconsistent, even incomprehensible, to those who have not
the clue to its Divine Maze.

Think of the thirteenth century, the fourteenth, the fifteenth, the
sixteenth, and all that they achieved for humanity, and consider in what
surviving recesses of them you would find a place for the Moralists of the
Counter, who in their eagerness to open up new markets would cut the cloth
of the moral life not merely for themselves--that would matter to
nobody--but for mankind at large. There would have been no room for them
in the monasteries where, on first thought, we might be inclined to hide
them, notwithstanding the exaggerated love of rule which marked the
monastic mind, for that rule was itself based on a magnificent
extravagance, heroic even when it was not natural. There would have been
still less room for them in the churches, where the priests themselves
joined in the revels of the Feast of Fools, and the builders delighted to
honour God by carving on their temples, inside and outside, the images of
wildest licence, as we may still see here and there to-day. And as for the
ages of Humanism and the Renaissance, our moralists would have been
submerged in laughter. Look even at Boccaccio, a very grave scholar, and
see how in his stories of human life he serenely wove all that men thought
belonged to Heaven and all that they thought belonged to Hell into a
single variegated and harmonious picture.

Since then a strange blindness has struck men in the world we were born
into. There has been a Goethe, no doubt, a Wilhelm von Humboldt, a
Whitman. Men have scarcely noted them. Perhaps the responsibility in part
lies at the door of Protestantism. Unamuno remarks that Catholicism knew
little of that anxious preoccupation with sin, so destructive of heroic
greatness, which has gnawed at the vitals of the Protestantism which we
have inherited, if only in the form of a barren Freethought spreading its
influence far beyond Protestant lands.

Is this a clue to our Intellectual Anaemia and Spiritual Starvation?

_November_ 8.--In a letter of St. Bernard--the ardent theologian, the
relentless fanatic, the austere critic of the world and the flesh--to his
friend Rainald, the Abbot of Foigny, I come with surprised delight on a
quotation from "your favourite"--and it almost seems as though the Saint
had narrowly escaped writing "our favourite"--"your favourite Ovid." So
the Abbot of Foigny, amid the vexations and tribulations he felt so
bitterly, was wont to pore in his cell over the pages of Ovid.

The pages of Ovid, as one glances across them, are like a gay southern
meadow in June, variegated and brilliant, sweet and pensive and rather
luxuriant, and here and there even a little rank. Yet they are swept by
the air and the light and the rain of Nature, and so their seduction never
grew stale. During sixteen centuries, while the world was spiritually
revolutionised again and yet again, the influence of Ovid never failed; it
entered even the unlikeliest places. Homer might be an obscure forgotten
bard and Virgil become a fantastic magician, but Ovid, lifted beyond the
measure of his genius, was for ever a gracious and exalted Influence, yet
human enough to be beloved and with the pathos of exile clinging to his
memory, filling the dreams of fainting monks at the feet of the Virgin,
arousing the veneration of the Humanists, even inspiring the superb and
exuberant poets of the English Renaissance, Marlowe and Shakespeare and

It has sometimes seemed to me that if it were given to the ghosts of the
Great Dead to follow with sensitive eyes the life after life of their fame
on earth, there would be none, not even the greatest--to whom indeed the
vision could often bring only bitterness,--to find more reasonable ground
for prolonged bliss than Ovid.

_November_ 13.--I find myself unable to share that Pessimism in the face
of the world which seems not uncommon to-day. I suspect that the Pessimist
is often merely an impecunious bankrupt Optimist. He had imagined, in
other words, that the eminently respectable March of Progress was bearing
him onwards to the social goal of a glorified Sunday School. Horrible
doubts have seized him. Henceforth, to his eyes, the Universe is shrouded
in Black.

His mistake has doubtless been to emphasise unduly the notion of Progress,
to imagine that any cosmic advance, if such there be, could ever be made
actual to our human eyes. There was a failure to realise that the
everlasting process of Evolution which had obsessed men's minds is
counterbalanced by an equally everlasting process of Involution. There is
no Gain in the world: so be it: but neither is there any Loss. There is
never any failure to this infinite freshness of life, and the ancient
novelty is for ever renewed.

We realise the world better if we imagine it, not as a Progress to Prim
Perfection, but as the sustained upleaping of a Fountain, the pillar of a
Glorious Flame. For, after all, we cannot go beyond the ancient image of
Heraclitus, the "Ever-living Flame, kindled in due measure and in the like
measure extinguished." That translucent and mysterious Flame shines
undyingly before our eyes, never for two moments the same, and always
miraculously incalculable, an ever-flowing stream of fire. The world is
moving, men tell us, to this, to that, to the other. Do not believe them!
Men have never known what the world is moving to. Who foresaw--to say
nothing of older and vaster events--the Crucifixion? What Greek or Roman
in his most fantastic moments prefigured our thirteenth century? What
Christian foresaw the Renaissance? Who ever really expected the French
Revolution? We cannot be too bold, for we are ever at the incipient point
of some new manifestation far more overwhelming than all our dreams. No
one can foresee the next aspect of the Fountain of Life. And all the time
the Pillar of that Flame is burning at exactly the same height it has
always been burning at!

The World is everlasting Novelty, everlasting Monotony. It is just which
aspect you prefer. You will always be right.

_November_ 14.--"Life is a great bundle of little things." It is very many
years since I read that saying of Oliver Wendell Holmes, but there is no
saying I oftener have occasion to repeat to myself. There is the whole
universe to dream over, and one's life is spent in the perpetual doing of
an infinite series of little things. It is a hard task, if one loses the
sense of the significance of little things, the little loose variegated
threads which are yet the stuff of which our picture of the universe is

I admire the wisdom of our ancestors who seem to have spent so much of
their time in weaving beautiful tapestries to hang on the walls of their
rooms, even though, it seems, they were not always careful that there
should be no rats behind the arras. So to live was to have always before
one the visible symbol of life, where every little variegated tag has a
meaning that goes to the heart of the universe. For each of these
insignificant little things of life stretches far beyond itself--like a
certain Impromptu of Schubert's, which begins as though it might be a
cradle song in a nursery and ends like the music of the starry sphere
which carries the world on its course.

_November_ 17.--It has long been a little puzzling to me that my feeling
in regard to the apple and the pear, and their respective symbolisms, is
utterly at variance with tradition and folklore. To the primitive mind the
apple was feminine and the symbol of all feminine things, while the pear
was masculine. To me it is rather the apple that is masculine, while the
pear is extravagantly and deliciously feminine. In its exquisitely
golden-toned skin, which yet is of such firm texture, in the melting
sweetness of its flesh, in its vaguely penetrating fragrance, in its
subtle and ravishing and various curves, even, if you will, in the
tantalising uncertainty as to the state of its heart, the pear is surely a
fruit perfectly endowed with the qualities which fit it to be regarded as
conventionally a feminine symbol. In the apple, on the other hand, I can
see all sorts of qualities which should better befit a masculine symbol.
But it was not so to the primitive mind.

I see now how the apparent clash has come about. It appears that Albertus
Magnus in the thirteenth century, accepting the ancient and orthodox view
of his time, remarked that the pear is rightly considered masculine
because of the hardness of its wood, the coarseness of its leaves, and the
close texture of its fruit. Evidently our pear has been developed away
from the mediaeval pear, while the apple has remained comparatively
stable. The careful cultivation of the apple began at an early period in
history; an orchard in mediaeval days meant an apple orchard. (One recalls
that, in the fourth century, the pear-tree the youthful St. Augustine
robbed was not in an orchard, and the fruit was "tempting neither for
colour nor taste," though, certainly, he says he had better at home.) The
apple for the men of those days was the sweetest and loveliest of the
larger fruits they knew; it naturally seemed to them the symbol of woman.
Here to-day are some pears of the primitive sort they sell in the Cornish
village street, small round fruits, dark green touched with brown in
colour, without fragrance, extremely hard, though as ripe as they ever
will be. This clearly is what Albertus Magnus meant by a pear, and one can
quite understand that he saw nothing femininely symbolic about it. As soon
as the modern pear began to be developed the popular mind at once seized
on its feminine analogies ("Cuisse-Madame," for instance, is the name of
one variety), and as a matter of fact all the modern associations of the
fruit are feminine. They seem first to be traceable about the sixteenth
century, and it was only then, I imagine, that the pear began to be
seriously cultivated. So the seeming conflict is harmonised.

The human mind always reasons and analogises correctly from the data
before it. Only because the data have changed, only because the data were
imperfect, can the reasoning seem to be astray. There is really nothing so
primitive, even so animal, as reason. It may plausibly, however unsoundly,
be maintained that it is by his emotions, not by his reason, that man
differs most from the beasts. "My cat," says Unamuno, who takes this view
in his new book _Del sentimiento tragico de la vida_, "never laughs or
cries; he is always reasoning."

_November_ 22.--I note that a fine scholar remarks with a smile that the
direct simplicity of the Greeks hardly suits our modern taste for

Yet there is obscurity and obscurity. There is, that is to say, the
obscurity that is an accidental result of depth and the obscurity that is
a fundamental result of confusion. Swinburne once had occasion to compare
the obscurity of Chapman with the obscurity of Browning. The difference
was, he said, that Chapman's obscurity was that of smoke and Browning's
that of lightning. One may surely add that smoke is often more beautiful
than lightning (Swinburne himself admitted Chapman's "flashes of high and
subtle beauty"), and that lightning is to our eyes by no means more
intelligible than smoke. If indeed one wished to risk such facile
generalisations, one might say that the difference between Chapman's
obscurity and Browning's is that the one is more often beautiful and the
other more often ugly. If one looks into the matter a little more closely,
it would seem that Chapman was a man whose splendid emotions were apt to
flare up so excessively and swiftly that their smoke was not all converted
into flame, while Browning was a man whose radically prim and conventional
ideas, heavily overladen with emotion, acquired the semblance of
profundity because they struggled into expression through the medium of a
congenital stutter--a stutter which was no doubt one of the great assets
of his fame. But neither Chapman's obscurity nor Browning's obscurity
seems to be intrinsically admirable. There was too much pedantry in both
of them and too little artistry. It is the function of genius to express
the Inexpressed, even to express what men have accounted the
Inexpressible. And so far as the function of genius is concerned, that man
merely cumbers the ground who fails to express. For we can all do that.
And whether we do it in modest privacy or in ten thousand published pages
is beside the point.

Yet, on the other hand, a superlative clearness is not necessarily
admirable. To see truly, according to the fine saying of Renan, is to see
dimly. If art is expression, mere clarity is nothing. The extreme clarity
of an artist may be due not to his marvellous power of illuminating the
abysses of his soul, but merely to the fact that there are no abysses to
illuminate. It is at best but that core of Nothingness which needs to be
enclosed in order to make either Beauty or Depth. The maximum of Clarity
must be consistent with the maximum of Beauty. The impression we receive
on first entering the presence of any supreme work of art is obscurity.
But it is an obscurity like that of a Catalonian Cathedral which slowly
grows luminous as one gazes, until the solid structure beneath is
revealed. The veil of its Depth grows first transparent on the form of Art
before our eyes, and then the veil of its Beauty, and at last there is
only its Clarity. So it comes before us like the Eastern dancer who slowly
unwinds the shimmering veil that floats around her as she dances, and for
one flashing supreme moment of the dance bears no veil at all. But without
the veil there would be no dance.

Be clear. Be clear. Be not too clear.

_November_ 23.--I see that Milton's attitude to the astronomy of his time,
a subject on which Dr. Orchard wrote an elaborate study many years ago, is
once more under discussion.

There is perhaps some interest in comparing Milton's attitude in this
matter to that of his daring and brilliant contemporary, Cyrano de
Bergerac. In reading the Preface which Lebret wrote somewhere about 1656
for his friend Cyrano's _Voyage dans la Lune_, written some years earlier,
I note the remark that most astronomers had then adopted the Copernican
system (without offence, as he is careful to add, to the memory of
Ptolemy) and Bergerac had introduced it into literature; it certainly
suited his genius and his purpose. As we know, Milton--who had once met
the blind Galileo and always venerated his memory--viewed Copernican
astronomy with evident sympathy, even in _Paradise Lost_ itself dismissing
the Ptolemaic cosmogony with contempt. Yet it is precisely on the basis of
that discredited cosmogony that the whole structure of _Paradise Lost_ is
built. Hence a source of worry to the modern critic who is disposed to
conclude that Milton chose the worse way in place of the better out of
timidity or deference to the crowd, though Milton's attitude towards
marriage and divorce might alone serve to shield him from any charge of
intellectual cowardice, and the conditions under which _Paradise Lost_ was
written could scarcely invite any appeal to the mob. This seems to me a
perverse attitude which entirely overlooks the essential point of the
case. Milton was an artist.

If Milton, having abandoned his earlier Arthurian scheme, and chosen in
preference these antique Biblical protagonists, had therewith placed them
on the contemporary cosmogonic stage of the Renaissance he would have
perpetrated, as he must have felt, a hideous incongruity of geocentric and
heliocentric conceptions, and set himself a task which could only work out
absurdly. His stage was as necessary to his drama as Dante's complicated
stage was necessary to his drama. We must not here recall the ancient
observation about "pouring new wine into old bottles." That metaphor is
excellent when we are talking of morals, and it was in the sphere of
morals it was meant to apply. But in the sphere of literary art it is the
reverse of the truth, as the poets of Vers Libres have sometimes found to
their cost. It was probably a very old bottle into which Homer poured his
new wine, and it was certainly a skin of the oldest at hand which
Cervantes chose for his _Quixote_.

In his attitude towards science Milton thus represents the artist's true
instinct. Science, mere concordance with the latest doctrine of the
moment, is nothing to the artist except in so far as it serves his ends.
It is just as likely to be a hindrance as a help, and Tennyson, however
true an artist, profited nothing by dragging into his verse a few scraps
of the latest astronomy. Art is in its sphere as supreme over fact as
Science in its sphere is supreme over fiction. The artist may play either
fast or loose with Science, and the finest artist will sometimes play

_November 24_.--The more one ponders over that attitude of comprehensive
acceptance towards life, on its spiritual and physical sides alike, which
marked the men of the Mediaeval and Renaissance Ages, the more one
realises that its temporary suppression was inevitable. The men of those
days were, one sees, themselves creating the instrument (what a marvellous
intellectual instrument Scholasticism forged!) which was to analyse and
destroy the civilisation they themselves lived in. Their fluid
civilisation held all the elements of life in active vital solution. They
left hard, definite, clear-cut crystals for us to deal with, separate,
immiscible, inharmonious substances. It was Progress, no doubt, as
Progress exists in our world. The men of those days were nearer to
Barbarism. They were also nearer to the Secret of Nature. Nowadays it is
only among men of genius--a Whitman, a Wagner, a Rodin, a Verlaine--that
the ancient secret has survived. Not indeed that it was universal even
among Renaissance men, not even when they were men of genius. If it is
true that, under the influence of Savonarola, Botticelli burnt his
drawings, he was false to the spirit of his age, touched by the spirit of
Progress before its time. Verlaine was nearer to the great secret when he
wrote _Sagesse_ and, at the same time, _Parallèlement_.

When Lady Lugard was travelling in the Pacific she met a young Polynesian
of high birth who gravely told her, when asked about his proposed career
in life, that he had not yet decided whether to enter the Church or to
join a Circus. He was still sufficiently near to the large and beautiful
life of his forefathers to feel instinctively that there is no
contradiction between an athletic body and an athletic soul, that we may
enter into communion with Nature along the one road or the other road. He
knew that the union of these two avocations--which to our narrow eyes seem
incompatible--was needed to fulfil his ideal of complete and wholesome
human activity. That young Polynesian chief had in him the secret to
regenerate a world which has only a self-complacent smile for his faith.

It was evidently the great development of the geometrical, mathematical,
and allied sciences in the seventeenth century which completed the
submergence of the Mediaeval and Renaissance attitude towards morals.
There was no room for a biological conception of life in the seventeenth
century, unless it were among the maligned Jesuits. The morbid and
mathematical Pascal claimed to be an authority in morals. The Crystal had
superseded Life.

So it came about that Logic was introduced as the guide of morals; Logic,
which the Greeks regarded as an exercise for schoolboys; Logic, which in
Flaubert's _Tentation_ is the leader of the chorus of the Seven Deadly
Sins! That surprising touch of Flaubert's seems, indeed, a fine example of
the profound and apparently incalculable insight of genius. Who would have
thought to find in the visions of St. Anthony a clue to the disease of our
modern morality? Yet when the fact is before us there is nothing plainer
than the fatal analytic action of logic on the moral life. It is only when
the white light of life is broken up that the wild extravagance of colour
appears. It is only when the harmonious balance of the moral life is
overturned that the Deadly Sins, which in their due co-ordination are
woven into the whole texture of life, become truly damnable. Life says for
ever: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself." And
to such Morality Logic is fatally subversive. There can be no large and
harmonious and natural Morality when Logic is made to stand where it ought

Sooner or later the whirligig of time brings its revenges. We return to
the former age, on another plane, purged of its tyranny and of its
cruelty, it may well be, and with all sorts of new imperfections to
console us for the old imperfections we are forced to abandon.

One more turn of the Earthly Kaleidoscope. Who knows what it may bring?

_November_ 25.--In a novel by a distinguished writer, Madame
Delarue-Mardrus, I notice a casual reference to "the English love of
flowers." I am a little surprised to find this stated as a specifically
English characteristic. It seems more obvious to regard the love of
animals as peculiarly English, as it is regarded by the Freudian
physician, Maeder, who believes that the love of animals is the
lightning-rod along which the dangerously repressed emotions of the
English are conducted to earth through harmless channels. It is in Spain
that flowers seem to me more tenderly regarded by the people than
anywhere, the cherished companions of daily life, carefully cultivated on
every poorest balcony. Certainly in Paris one sees very conspicuously the
absence of the love of flowers; or, rather, one may say that for the
subtle and inventive children of the Ile de France the flower is
artificial, and what we call flowers are merely an insipid and subordinate
variety, "natural flowers," having their market in a remote and deserted
corner of the city, whereas in Barcelona the busiest and central part of
the city is the Rambla de las Flores.

The factors involved may well be two, one climatic, one racial: a climate
favourable or unfavourable to horticulture and a popular feeling attracted
or repelled by Nature. Both these factors may work in the same direction
in the Parisian love of artificial flowers and the Catalan love of natural
flowers, while in the parched land of Andalusia one factor alone seems to
keep alive the adoration of flowers. Lucie Delarue-Mardrus belongs to
Normandy, and perhaps the Norman traditions have been a little modified by
the dominant influence of the neighbouring Ile de France. Along this mild
and luxuriant Atlantic seaboard of France, so favourable to flowers, from
the Pyrenees northwards, there seems to me no intrinsic defect in the love
of flowers, which are everywhere cultivated and familiarly regarded. I
have noted, for instance, how constantly the hydrangea plant appears. In
churches for weddings in profusion, in Bordeaux, for example, and in
rooms, on the tables, again and again I have noted the fine taste which
selected for special reverence the hydrangea--that Chinese flower whose
penetrating loveliness is miraculously made out of forms so simple and
colour so effaced.

_November_ 26.--Kraepelin, one of the wisest and most far-sighted
physicians of to-day where the interpretation of insanity is concerned,
believes that Civilisation is just now favouring Degeneration. He
attributes an especially evil influence on mental health to our modern
tendency to limit freedom: the piling-up of burdens of all sorts, within
and without, on the exercise of the will.

This well accords with what I have noted concerning the necessity in any
age of creating New Freedoms and New Restraints. New Restraints by all
means, they are necessary and vital. But just as necessary, just as vital,
are the compensatory New Freedoms.

We cannot count too precious in any age those who sweep away outworn
traditions, effete routines, the burden of unnecessary duties and
superfluous luxuries and useless moralities, too heavy to be borne. We
rebel against these rebels, even shudder at their sacrilegious daring.
But, after all, they are a part of life, an absolutely necessary part of
it. For life is a breaking-down as well as a building-up. Destruction as
well as construction goes to the Metabolism of Society.

_November_ 27.--It seems to me a weakness of the Peace Propaganda of our
time--though a weakness which represents an inevitable reaction from an
ancient superstition--that it tends to be under the dominance of Namby
Pamby. The people who crowd Peace Congresses to demonstrate against war
seem largely people who have little perception of the eternal function of
Pain in the world and no insight into the right uses of Death.

Apart from the intolerable burden of armaments it imposes, and the
flagrant disregard of Justice it involves, the crushing objection to War,
from the standpoint of Humanity and Society, is not that it distributes
Pain and inflicts Death, but that it distributes and inflicts them on an
absurdly wholesale scale and on the wrong people. So that it is awry to
all the ends of reasonable civilisation. Occasionally, no doubt, it may
kill off the people who ought to be killed, but that is only by accident,
for by its very organisation it is more likely to kill the people who
ought not to be killed. Occasionally and incidentally, also, it may
promote Heroism, but its heroes merely exterminate each other for the
benefit of people who are not heroes. In the recent Balkan wars we see
that the combatant States all diligently and ferociously maimed each
other, very little to their own advantage and very much to the
aggrandisement of the one State within their borders which never fired a
gun and never lost a man. If Peace Societies possessed a little
intelligence they would surely issue a faithful history of this war for
free distribution among all the modern States of the world. That is what
War is.

Explorers in Southern Nigeria, I see, have just reported the discovery of
remote Sacred Places consecrated to native worship. Here were found the
Lake of Life and the Pool of Death. Here, also, from time to time human
sacrifices are offered. This ritual the worthy explorers self-complacently
describe as "blood-thirsty."

But how about us? The men of Southern Nigeria, seriously, deliberately,
with a more or less unconscious insight into the secrets of Nature, offer
up human sacrifices on their altars, and when some ignorant European
intrudes and calls them "blood-thirsty" we all meekly acquiesce. In Europe
we kill and maim people by the hundred thousand, not seriously and
deliberately for any sacred ends that make Life more precious to us or the
Mystery of Nature more intelligible, but out of sheer stupidity. We spend
the half, and sometimes more than the half, of our national incomes in
sharpening to the finest point our implements of bloodshed, not to the
accompaniment of any Bacchic Evoe, but incongruously mumbling the Sermon
on the Mount. We put our population into factories which squeeze the blood
out of their anaemic and diseased bodies, and we permit the most
extravagant variations in the infantile death-rate which the slightest
social readjustment would smooth out. We do all this consciously, in full
statistical knowledge to a decimal fraction.

Therein is our blood-thirstiness, beside which that of the Southern
Nigerian savage is negligible, if not estimable, and this European
blood-thirstiness it is which threatens to lead to an extravagant reaction
to the opposite extreme, as it has already led to an ignoble reaction in
our ideals.

For there can be no ideal conception of Life and no true conception of
Nature if we seek to shut out Death and Pain. It is the feeble shrinking
from Death and the flabby horror of Pain that mark the final stage of
decay in any civilisation. Our ancestors, too, offered up human sacrifices
on their altars, and none can say how much of their virility and how much
of the promise of the future they held in their grasp were bound up with
the fact. Different days bring different duties. And we cannot desire to
restore the centuries that are gone. But neither can we afford to dispense
with the radical verities of Life and Nature which they recognised. If we
do we are felling the tree up which we somehow hope to climb to the

It is essential to the human dignity of a truly civilised society that it
should hold in its hands not only the Key of Birth but the Key of Death.

_November_ 29.--The vast and complex machines to which our civilisation
devotes its best energy are no doubt worthy of all admiration. Yet when
one seeks to look broadly at human activity they only seem to be part of
the scaffolding and material. They are not the Life itself.

To whatever sphere of human activity one turns one's attention to-day, one
is constantly met by the same depressing spectacle of pale, lean, nervous,
dyspeptic human creatures, restlessly engaged in building up marvellously
complex machines and elaborate social organisations, all of which, they
tell us, will make for the improvement of Life. But what do they suppose
"Life" to be?

A giant's task demands a giant. When one watches this puny modern
civilised Man engaged on tasks which do so much credit to his imagination
and invention, one is reminded of the little boy who was employed to fill
a large modern vat. He nearly completed the task. One day he disappeared.
They found him at last with only his feet visible above the rim of the

_December_ 1.--I so frequently notice among Moral Reformers--for the most
part highly well-intentioned people--a frantic and unbridled desire to
eliminate from our social world any form of "Temptation." (One wonders how
far this attitude may have been fostered by that petition of the Lord's
Prayer, "Lead us not into Temptation," which, on the face of it, seems to
support Nietzsche's extravagant reaction against Christianity. Yet surely
the Church has misunderstood that petition. Jesus himself faced the
Tempter, and it is evident that he could not have so lacked insight into
the soul's secrets as to countenance the impossible notion of eliminating
Temptation from the world. It was the power to meet the Tempter and yet
not be led into Temptation--if this petition may be regarded as
authentic--that he desired his followers to possess; and therein he was on
the same side as Nietzsche.) No scheme is too extravagantly impossible to
invoke in this cause. No absurdity but we are asked to contemplate it with
a seriously long face if it is sanctified by the aim of eliminating some
temptation from the earth. Of any recognition of Temptation as the Divine
method of burning Up the moral chaff of the world, not a sign!

The fact is that we cannot have too much Temptation in the world. Without
contact with Temptation Virtue is worthless, and even a meaningless term.
Temptation is an essential form of that Conflict which is of the essence
of Life. Without the fire of perpetual Temptation no human spirit can ever
be tempered and fortified. The zeal of the Moral Reformers who would sweep
away all Temptation and place every young creature from the outset in a
Temptation-free vacuum, even if it could be achieved (and the achievement
would not only annihilate the whole environment but eviscerate the human
heart of its vital passions) would merely result in the creation of a race
of useless weaklings. For Temptation is even more than a stimulus to
conflict. It is itself, in so far as it is related to Passion, the ferment
of Life. To face and reject Temptation may be to fortify life. To face and
accept Temptation may be to enrich life. He who can do neither is not fit
to live.

He can indeed be sent to the Home for Defectives. That way lies perhaps
the solution of our Social Problem. The pessimist may cry out at the size
of the Homes that his fears portend. Yet, even at the worst, who will deny
that it is better, beyond comparison better, that even only a minority of
Mankind should be free--free to develop in the sun and free to climb to
the sky and free to be damned--than that the whole world should be made
one vast Home for Moral Imbeciles?

_December_ 4.--There is nothing amid the restlessness of the world that
one lingers over with such tender delight as Flowers and Gods. What can be
more beautiful than Flowers and Gods?

Flowers are of all things most completely and profusely the obvious
efflorescence of loveliness in the whole physical world. Gods are of all
things the most marvellous efflorescence of the human psychic world. These
two Lovelinesses, the Loveliness of Sex and the Loveliness of Creation,
bring the whole universe to two polar points, which yet are in the closest
degree resemblant and allied. In China, the land of flowers, flowers are
nowhere, it is said, so devoutly cultivated as in the monasteries of
Buddha. For flowers are constant symbols of the Gods and instruments of
worship, and when the Gods take fitting shape it is a shape that recalls
to us a flower. Of all Gods made visible none is so divine as Buddha
(one's thoughts constantly return to the most delectable of museums, the
Musée Guimet), and the Buddha of finest imagery is like nothing so much as
a vast and serene flower, a great lotus that rises erect on the bosom of
Humanity's troubled lake.

And perhaps it is because men and women are in function flowers and in
image gods that they are so fascinating, even enwrapped in the rags,
physical and metaphysical, which sometimes serve but to express more
genuinely the Flower-God beneath.

_December_ 11.--_Quid hoc ad aeternitatem?_ So, we are told, an ancient
holy man of the early Christian world was wont to question everything that
was brought before him. It is a question that we cannot too often ask
to-day. I assume that we understand "Eternity" in its essential Christian
sense (on which F. D. Maurice used to insist) as referring not to the
Future, but to the Everlasting Present, not to Time but to the Things that

There are not only far too many people in the world, there are far too
many things. Prodigality is indeed the note of Nature. And rightly so. But
Economy is the note of Man. Rightly also. For Nature has infinite lives to
play with. Man has only one life.

Public Hygiene is nowadays much concerned with the edification of large
and effective Destructors of Refuse. It is well. They can scarcely be too
large or too effective. Large enough to deal with all the Dreadnoughts of
the world and most of its books. And so much else! Let us imitate the
Rich, if that seems well, in the quality of our possessions. But in their
number let us imitate the Poorest. So in our different human way we may
reach towards the Simplicity of Nature.

And let us never grow weary of repeating afresh the stern challenge of
that old champion of the Higher Sabotage: _Quid hoc ad aeternitatem?_

_December_ 15.--"There has always been the same amount of light in the
world," said Thoreau. One sometimes doubts it. Perhaps one fails to
recognise the "bushels" it is hidden under. One need not fear that it is
becoming less. One must not hope that it will become more.

I wonder whether Mazzini, could he revisit the Italy which reveres his
memory, would really find more light there than of old? There was the
Italy that Stendhal loved, the Italy that produced Mazzini, who went out
into the world as its most inspired prophet and sought so earnestly to
regenerate it. And here is the duly regenerated Italy which has gone after
what it considers glory in Tripoli and systematically starved its own
children, and sent its inspired prophet Marinetti into the world, as it
once sent Mazzini. The un-regenerate Italy which produced Mazzini or the
regenerated Italy which produced Marinetti--which is it, I wonder, that
most tries our faith in Thoreau's creed, "There has always been the same
amount of light in the world"?

_December_ 28.--Lévy-Bruhl, a penetrating and suggestive moralist, has
written a book, _Les Fonctiones mentales dans les sociétés inférieures_,
in which he seeks to distinguish between a primitive pre-logical
rationality, not subject to the law of contradiction, and a later logical
rationality, which refuses to admit contradictions. He points out how much
wider and more fruitful is the earlier attitude.

There seems something in this distinction. But it may well be dangerous to
formulate it too precisely. No hard and clear-cut distinctions can here be
made. The logical method can scarcely supersede the pre-logical method,
for it covers less ground and is more exclusive, it can never be the
universal legatee of the pre-logical method. We are probably concerned
with two tendencies which may exist contemporaneously, and each have its
value. It may even be said that the pre-logical and the logical
temperaments represent two types of people, found everywhere even to-day.
Some observers, like Heymans in his thoughtful book on the psychology of
women, have noted how women seem often to combine contradictory impulses
on an organic basis, but they have not always observed that that gift may
be as inestimable as it is dangerous.

In this connection it is interesting to recall that Harnack, the great
historian of Christian dogma, while asserting that Athanasius in combating
Arianism saved Christianity, yet asserts with equal emphasis that the
doctrine of Athanasius embodied a mass of contradictions which multiply as
we advance. He might have added that that was why it was vital. Life, even
in the plant, is a tension of opposing forces. Whatever is vital is
contradictory, and if of two views we wish to find out which is the
richest and the most fruitful we ought perhaps to ask ourselves which
embodies the most contradictions.

_December_ 31.--"The heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all
their host shall fade away, as a leaf fadeth off the vine, and as a fading
leaf from the fig-tree." So the world seemed made to Isaiah, and that
light airy way of accepting it may linger in one's mind all the more
persistently because of its contrast with the heavy solemnity of the
Hebraic genius. So it is with all these men of creative genius, whatever
nation they belong to. Wherever Man flowers into Genius, wherever, that is
to say, he becomes most quintessentially Man, he can never take the world
seriously. He vaguely realises that it is merely his own handiwork, his
own creation out of chaos, and that he himself transcends it. So for the
physicist of genius the universe is made up of holes, and for the poet of
genius it is a dream, and even for the greatest of these solemn Hebraic
prophets it is merely a leaf, a fading leaf from the fig-tree.

_Qualis artifex pereo!_ It may well be the last exclamation of the last
Son of Man on the uninhabitable Earth.


Albert Hall, the
Albertus Magnus
Andersen, Hendrik
Angels and poets
Animals and Man
Apple, symbolism of the
Architecture, Norman and Burgundian;
Arnold, Matthew
Artists as writers
Augustine, St.

Bailey, P. H.
Barker, Granville
Bayeux tapestry

Beauty, in women; and love;
  the strangeness of proportion in;
  in Nature and Man;
  and Nothingness;
  and imperfection;
  in style
Bergerac, Cyrano de
Bernard, St.
Bianca Stella
Bible, the
Birth-rate, decline in
Body, significance of the
Browning, R.
Bryan, W.J.
Burton, Sir R.
Byng, Admiral

Canterbury, Archbishops of
Carus, P.
Castle Hedingham
Churches, English
City, the World
Clarity in style
Clergyman, the Anglican
_Cliché_, the
Cloister, the
Conductors, English musical,
Crowd, psychology of the,
Curzon, Lord,

Darling, Justice,
Delarue-Mardrus, Lucie,
Denyn, J.,
Deslys, Gaby,
Devil, fate of the,

Eccles, Solomon,
Elizabeth, Queen,
Ellis, Henry,
English, women,
  love of flowers,

Franck, César,
French spirit,

Gaultier, Jules de,
Gourmont, Remy de,
Greek language,

Hall, Stanley,
Herrick, Robert,
Hinton, James,
Hostility, the vanity of,
Humboldt, Wilhelm von,


Jacobean furniture,
Janson, G.,


Lamb, C.,
Lind-Af-Hageby, Miss,
Logic in morals,

Malaterra, Geoffrey
Mass, the
Meredith, George
Midsummer Eve
Mob, the
Monks, as epicures
Mont St. Michel

Newbolt, H.
Nigeria, religious rites of
Norman, genius

Obscene, the
Obscurity in style
Ogive, the

Pantheon, the
Peace Propaganda
Pear, symbolism of the
Peter, St.
Pliny, the Elder
Poets, as critics
  as angels
Poincaré, II.

Raleigh, Sir W.
Régnier, H. de
_Rire, Le_
Romanesque architecture
Roses, wild

  the Higher
Sailor, the English
Sea, the
Smoke problem
Stead, W. T.
Stevenson, R. L.
Strassburg Cathedral
Suffragette, the
Sun, the
Symons, Arthur

Temperance movement
Temptation, value of
Theatre, the
Thicknesse, Philip
Thompson, Francis
Thomson, Sir J. J.

Unamuno, M. de
United States

Vinci, Leonardo da
Virgin Mother, the

Warner, C. D.
Whitman, Walt
Women, and social service;
  in university towns;
  of Normandy;
  of Burgundy;
  of England;
  of France;
  psychology of;
  and beauty;
  as affected by civilisation;
  beauty of;
  and the pear
Wood, Sir Henry
Work, the Gospel of

_Yellow Jacket, The_


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.

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