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Title: Under the Hill - and Other essays in Prose and Verse
Author: Beardsley, Aubrey
Language: English
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UNDER THE HILL

AND OTHER ESSAYS IN
PROSE AND VERSE BY
AUBREY BEARDSLEY
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

JOHN LANE PUBLISHER THE BODLEY HEAD
LONDON & NEW YORK MDCCCCIV



[ILLUSTRATION: AUBREY BEARDSLEY AT MENTONE, IN THE ROOM
IN WHICH HE DIED.]



PUBLISHER'S NOTE


To those who are acquainted with Aubrey Beardsley's essays into
the domain of literature no apology for this re-publication is
needed--indeed Beardsley's most intimate friends have averred that
if his master genius had been turned seriously towards the world of
letters, his success would have been as undoubted there as it was in
the world of art.

Admirers frequently have expressed a wish to see the literary remains
of Beardsley. This volume, in which are gathered together various
fragments and personalia, will, I trust, meet the case.

A few of my random recollections of Beardsley's association with "The
Yellow Book" perhaps will not be amiss.

Until the publication of the first volume of "The Yellow Book" in
1894, Beardsley was practically unknown, his drawings for "Le Morte
D'Arthur" and his marvellous designs illustrating "Salomé" constituting
his artistic record. It was at this time, then, that one morning he,
with Mr. Henry Harland and myself, during half an hour's chat over our
cigarettes at the Hogarth Club, founded the much discussed "Yellow
Book." Beardsley became Art Editor, whilst Mr. Harland accepted the
post of Literary Editor.

Many will remember the sensation caused by the appearance of the first
volume. Perhaps the _Westminster Gazette_ and the _Times_ were the most
severe in their strictures, at any rate on the Art in general and on
Beardsley in particular.

      The _Westminster Gazette_ said:

      "Mr. Aubrey Beardsley achieves excesses hitherto undreamt
      of. He seems to have conceived the disagreeable idea of
      taking certain arrangements of lines invented by the
      Japanese, and specially suited to blithe and pleasant
      peaks of decoration, and applying them to the most morbid
      of grotesque. His offence is the less to be condoned
      because he has undoubted skill as a line draughtsman and
      has shown himself capable of refined and delicate work.
      But as regards certain of his inventions in this number,
      the thing called 'The Sentimental Education,' and that
      other thing to which the name of Mrs. Patrick Campbell
      has somehow become attached, we do not know that anything
      would meet the case except a short Act of Parliament to
      make this kind of thing illegal."

      The _Times_ said:

      "'The Yellow Book' is, we suppose, destined to be the
      Art is represented by the cover of this wonderful volume,
      it is scarcely calculated to attract by its intrinsic
      beauty or merit; possibly, however, it may be intended
      to attract by its very repulsiveness and insolence, and
      in that case it is not unlikely to be successful. Its
      note appears to be a combination of English rowdyism
      with French lubricity.... Sir Frederick Leighton, who
      contributes two graceful studies, finds himself cheek
      by jowl with such advanced and riotous representatives
      of the New Art as Mr. Aubrey Beardsley and Mr. Walter
      Sickert. On the whole the New Art and the New Literature
      appear to us to compare in this singular volume far from
      favourably with the old."

It may interest the _Times_ critic to know that Sir Frederick Leighton
was a great admirer of Beardsley's work. At one of Sir Frederick's
periodical visits to the Bodley Head to see how the New Art and the New
Literature were developing, he playfully suggested that if he was not
"performing an R.A. duty he was doing a neighbourly one." He asked to
see the originals of Beardsley's "Yellow Book" pictures (Vol. I.), and
then remarked: "Ah! what wonderful line! What a great artist!" and then
_sotto voce,_ "if he could only draw." My retort was, "Sir Frederick,
I am tired of seeing men who can _only_ draw." "Oh! yes," said Sir
Frederick, "I know what you mean, and you are quite right too."

There was indeed a universal howl against the cover and title-page
designs, which it will be remembered were both the work of Beardsley.
However the conductors of "The Yellow Book" were nothing daunted
and proceeded to announce that for each volume in the future Mr.
Beardsley would complete new cover and title-page designs. This was an
entirely fresh idea, and has since been adopted by most of the leading
illustrated magazines both in England and America.

An interesting and original contribution to Volume II. of "The Yellow
Book," one which did not fulfil its object however, was a criticism of
the contents of Volume I. by the late P. G. Hammerton. Mr. Hammerton,
being merely an art critic and not a humorist, did not fulfil the
commission quite in the spirit in which it was given him; the
conductors of the quarterly desired criticism, even though adverse to
themselves. I am sure that nothing would have delighted the two editors
more than a good slating in their own pages, but Mr. Hammerton, always
conscientious, found nothing but praise for its contents, especially
for Beardsley's work.

Beardsley's defect as Art Editor was youth. He would not take himself
seriously: as an editor and draughtsman he was almost a practical
joker, for one had, so to speak, to place his drawings under a
microscope, and look at them upside down. This tendency on the eve of
the production of Vol. V., during my first visit to the United States,
rendered it necessary to omit his work from that volume.

Beardsley was responsible for the art of the first four volumes, and it
must be frankly confessed that, when he severed his connection with the
magazine, the quarterly suffered an irretrievable loss.

Soon after this period, Mr. Arthur Symonds started "The Savoy," as a
rival, to which Beardsley, again as Art Editor, contributed another
fine series of drawings.

I well remember being interviewed in New York regarding the alleged
decadence in Beardsley's work. I said then, and repeat now, that he
merely lashed the follies of his time, that he was the Hogarth of his
day, and that he had no more sympathy with decadence than Hogarth had
for the vices depicted in "The Rake's Progress" and "Marriage à la
Mode." Knowledge must never be confounded with sympathy. I will go
farther, and declare that Beardsley, by his grotesque and powerful
pictures of several hideous phases or life, dealt a death blow to
decadence. Had he lived till now, it is quite possible that the Royal
Academy might have justified its existence by recognising in him the
greatest exponent of the most vital of the graphic arts--namely,
Black and White. In support of this theory it may be well to point
out that Mr. Harland is now the delight or millions by his charming
love romances, and that "Max" in his brilliant weekly articles in the
_Saturday Review_ pleads eloquently for an intelligent drama.

It was not often that Beardsley took up his pen to write to the
newspapers, preferring to allow the hostile and adverse criticism
with which he was continually assailed to confute themselves. On two
occasions, however, he did so, and the letters he wrote will be round
included in this volume. The first, I think, with the accompanying
illustration, explains itself. The second was the outcome of the
following criticism by the _DAILY Chronicle._ March I, 1894, on the
frontispiece of Mr. John Davidson's "Plays".

"AN ERROR OF TASTE"

"Mr. Beardsley has contributed a frontispiece à propos of 'Scaramouch
in Naxos' in which one or two well-known faces of the day are to be
recognised--an error or taste which is to be regretted."

The subjects of Beardsley's two portraits were Mr. Wilde and Sir
Augustus Harris; the latter Beardsley considered his debtor by virtue
of his having taken half a crown at Covent Garden Theatre without
providing him with a seat.

Aubrey Beardsley was born on August 21, 1872, and died on March 16,
1898. During his short life he carried the art of Black and White
further than any man since Albert Dürer. On his death prophetic
assurances were not wanting that the "Beardsley cult" or "craze," as it
was generally called, was doomed to extinction with the death of its
high priest, but so far from this anticipation being realised, his work
now enjoys a greater appreciation and more intelligent sympathy than
was granted to it, save by an esoteric few, during his lifetime.

Although it is impossible, with any degree of accuracy, to state to
what extent Beardsley's popularity has increased during the last few
years, evidence is not wanting to show that his following is both
enthusiastic and loyal. This applies not only to Great Britain, but
equally to America, whilst in Germany, France, Belgium, Russia and
Holland, it is safe to affirm that his reputation is steadily growing,
especially in Germany. Indeed, it is obvious to the most superficial
observer that there is hardly a Black and White artist working to-day
who has not in some subtle way been influenced by the master.

More than three-fourths of Beardsley's work passed through my hands,
and to my knowledge he never used Chinese White. I am the fortunate
possessor of the originals of over eighty of his principal drawings.
I get applications from would-be purchasers of these from different
parts of the world almost daily, but as yet I have withstood all
temptations to part with these treasures, which I regard as the chief
monument of the greatest, most brilliant, the wittiest, and the most
lovable man it has ever been my privilege to know.

JOHN LANE.

THE BODLEY HEAD,

VIGO STREET, W. _July_ 1903.



CONTENTS

    DEDICATION TO "UNDER THE HILL"
    UNDER THE HILL
    THE THREE MUSICIANS
    THE BALLAD OF A BARBER
    TRANSLATION OF CATULLUS: CARMEN CI
    TABLE TALK OF AUBREY BEARDSLEY
    TWO LETTERS OF AUBREY BEARDSLEY



ILLUSTRATIONS

    _AUBREY BEARDSLEY AT MENTONE, IN THE ROOM IN
    WHICH HE DIED Frontispiece_
    _THE ABBÉ_
    _THE TOILET OF HELEN_
    _THE FRUIT BEARERS_
    _THE ASCENSION OF SAINT ROSE OF LIMA_
    _FOR THE THIRD TABLEAU OF "DAS RHEINGOLD_"
    _THE THREE MUSICIANS_
    _THE THREE MUSICIANS_
    _TAILPIECE TO "THE THREE MUSICIANS"_
    _THE COIFFING_
    _CUL-DE-LAMPE TO "THE BARBER_"
    _ATE ATQUE VALE_
    _TITLE-PAGE TO VOL. I. OF "THE YELLOW BOOK"_
    _FRONTISPIECE TO "PLAYS" BY JOHN DAVIDSON _
    _ARBUSCULA_
    _PORTRAIT SKETCHES_
    _L'ABBÉ MOURET_



UNDER THE HILL

A ROMANTIC NOVEL

                                  TO

                 THE MOST EMINENT AND REVEREND PRINCE

                         GIULIO POLDO PEZZOLI

                   CARDINAL OF THE HOLY ROMAN CHURCH
               TITULAR BISHOP OF S. MARIA IN TRASTAVERE
                   ARCHBISHOP OF OSTIA AND VELLETRI
                        NUNCIO TO THE HOLY SEE
                                  IN
                        NICARAGUA AND PATAGONIA
                         A FATHER TO THE POOR
                A REFORMER OF ECCLESIASTICAL DISCIPLINE
                         A PATTERN OF LEARNING
                      WISDOM AND HOLINESS OF LIFE
               THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED WITH DUE REVERENCE
                        BY HIS HUMBLE SERVITOR
               A SCRIVENER AND LIMNER OF WORLDLY THINGS
                          WHO MADE THIS BOOK

                           AUBREY BEARDSLEY


_Most Eminent Prince_,

I know not by what mischance the writing of epistles dedicatory has
fallen into disuse, whether through the vanity of authors or the
humility of patrons. But the practice seems to me so very beautiful
and becoming that I have ventured to make an essay in the modest art,
and lay with formalities my first book at your feet. I have it must
be confessed many fears lest I shall be arraigned of presumption in
choosing so exalted a name as your own to place at the beginning of
this history; but I hope that such a censure will not be too lightly
passed upon me, for if I am guilty it is but of a most natural pride
that the accidents of my life should allow me to sail the little
pinnace of my wit under your protection.

But though I can clear myself of such a charge, I am still minded to
use the tongue of apology, for with what face can I offer you a book
treating of so vain and fantastical a thing as love? I know that in
the judgment of many the amorous passion is accounted a shameful thing
and ridiculous; indeed it must be confessed that more blushes have
risen for love's sake than for any other cause and that lovers are an
eternal laughing-stock. Still, as the book will be found to contain
matter of deeper import than mere venery, inasmuch as it treats of the
great contrition of its chiefest character, and of canonical things in
certain pages, I am not without hopes that your Eminence will pardon my
writing of a loving Abbé, for which extravagance let my youth excuse me.

Then I must crave your forgiveness for addressing you in a language
other than the Roman, but my small freedom in Latinity forbids me to
wander beyond the idiom of my vernacular. I would not for the world
that your delicate Southern ear should be offended by a barbarous
assault of rude and Gothic words; but methinks no language is rude
that can boast polite writers, and not a few such have flourished
in this country in times past, bringing our common speech to very
great perfection. In the present age, alas! our pens are ravished by
unlettered authors and unmannered critics, that make a havoc rather
than a building, a wilderness rather than a garden. But, alack! what
boots it to drop tears upon the preterit?

It is not of our own shortcomings though, but of your own great merits
that I should speak, else I should be forgetful of the duties I have
drawn upon myself in electing to address you in a dedication. It is of
your noble virtues (though all the world know of 'em), your taste and
wit, your care for letters, and very real regard for the arts that I
must be the proclaimer.

Though it be true that all men have sufficient wit to pass a judgment
on this or that, and not a few sufficient impudence to print the same
(these last being commonly accounted critics), I have ever held that
the critical faculty is more rare than the inventive. It is a faculty
your Eminence possesses in so great a degree that your praise or blame
is something oracular, your utterance infallible as great genius or as
a beautiful woman. Your mind, I know, rejoicing in fine distinctions
and subtle procedures of thought, beautifully discursive rather than
hastily conclusive, has found in criticism its happiest exercise. It is
a pity that so perfect a Mecænas should have no Horace to befriend, no
Georgies to accept; for the offices and function of patron or critic
must of necessity be lessened in an age of little men and little work.
In times past it was nothing derogatory for great princes and men of
State to extend their loves and favour to poets, for thereby they
received as much honour as they conferred. Did not Prince Festus with
pride take the masterwork of Julian into his protection, and was not
the Æneis a pretty thing to offer Cæsar?

Learning without appreciation is a thing of naught, but I know not
which is greatest in you--your love of the arts, or your knowledge of
'em. What wonder then that I am studious to please you, and desirous
of your protection. How deeply thankful I am for your past affections
you know well, your great kindness and liberality having far outgone my
slight merits and small accomplishment that seemed scarce to warrant
any favour. Alas I 'tis a slight offering I make you now, but if after
glancing into its pages (say of an evening upon your terrace) you
should deem it worthy of the remotest place in your princely library,
the knowledge that it rested there would be reward sufficient for my
labours, and a crowning happiness to my pleasure in the writing of this
slender book.

The humble and obedient servant of your Eminence,

                                                    AUBREY BEARDSLEY.



UNDER THE HILL

A ROMANTIC NOVEL



CHAPTER I


The Abbé Fanfreluche, having lighted off his horse, stood doubtfully
for a moment beneath the ombre gateway of the mysterious Hill, troubled
with an exquisite fear lest a day's travel should have too cruelly
undone the laboured niceness of his dress. His hand, slim and gracious
as La Marquise du Deffand's in the drawing by Carmontelle, played
nervously about the gold hair that fell upon his shoulders like a
finely-curled peruke, and from point to point of a precise toilet the
fingers wandered, quelling the little mutinies of cravat and ruffle.

It was taper-time; when the tired earth puts on its cloak of mists and
shadows, when the enchanted woods are stirred with light footfalls and
slender voices of the fairies, when all the air is full of delicate
influences, and even the beaux, seated at their dressing-tables, dream
a little.

A delicious moment, thought Fanfreluche, to slip into exile.

The place where he stood waved drowsily with strange flowers, heavy
with perfume, dripping with odours. Gloomy and nameless weeds not to
be found in Mentzelius. Huge moths, so richly winged they must have
banqueted upon tapestries and royal stuffs, slept on the pillars that
flanked either side of the gateway, and the eyes of all the moths
remained open and were burning and bursting with a mesh of veins.
The pillars were fashioned in some pale stone and rose up like hymns
in the praise of pleasure, for from cap to base, each one was carved
with loving sculptures, showing such a cunning invention and such a
curious knowledge, that Fanfreluche lingered not a little in reviewing
them. They surpassed all that Japan has ever pictured from her maisons
vertes, all that was ever painted in the cool bath-rooms of Cardinal
La Motte, and even outdid the astonishing illustrations to Jones's
"Nursery Numbers."

"A pretty portal," murmured the Abbé, correcting his sash.

As he spoke, a faint sound of singing was breathed out from the
mountain, faint music as strange and distant as sea-legends that are
heard in shells.

"The Vespers of Helen, I take it," said Fanfreluche, and struck a few
chords of accompaniment, ever so lightly, upon his little lute. Softly
across the spell-bound threshold the song floated and wreathed itself
about the subtle columns, till the moths were touched with passion
and moved quaintly in their sleep. One of them was awakened by the
intenser notes of the Abbé's lute-strings, and fluttered into the cave.
Fanfreluche felt it was his cue for entry.

[Illustration: "The Abbé"]

"Adieu," he exclaimed with an inclusive gesture, and "good-bye,
Madonna," as the cold circle of the moon began to show, beautiful and
full of enchantments. There was a shadow of sentiment in his voice as
he spoke the words.

"Would to heaven," he sighed, "I might receive the assurance of a
looking-glass before I make my debut! However, as she is a Goddess, I
doubt not her eyes are a little sated with perfection, and may not be
displeased to see it crowned with a tiny fault."

A wild rose had caught upon the trimmings of his ruff, and in the first
flush of displeasure he would have struck it brusquely away, and most
severely punished the offending flower. But the ruffled mood lasted
only a moment, for there was something so deliciously incongruous in
the hardy petal's invasion of so delicate a thing, that Fanfreluche
withheld the finger of resentment and vowed that the wild rose should
stay where it had clung--a passport, as it were, from the upper to the
under world.

"The very excess and violence of the fault," he said, "will be its
excuse;" and, undoing a tangle in the tassel of his stick, stepped into
the shadowy corridor that ran into the bosom of the wan hill--stepped
with the admirable aplomb and unwrinkled suavity of Don John.



CHAPTER II


Before a toilet that shone like the altar of Notre Dame des Victoires,
Helen was seated in a little dressing-gown of black and heliotrope.
The coiffeur Cosmé was caring for her scented chevelure, and with tiny
silver tongs, warm from the caresses of the flame, made delicious
intelligent curls that fell as lightly as a breath about her forehead
and over her eyebrows, and clustered like tendrils round her neck. Her
three favourite girls, Pappelarde, Blanchemains and Loreyne, waited
immediately upon her with perfume and powder in delicate flagons and
frail cassolettes, and held in porcelain jars the ravishing paints
prepared by Châteline for those cheeks and lips that had grown a little
pale with anguish of exile. Her three favourite boys, Claud, Clair
and Sarrasine, stood amorously about with salver, fan and napkin.
Millamant held a slight tray of slippers, Minette some tender gloves,
La Popelinière--mistress of the robes--was ready with a frock of yellow
and white, La Zambinella bore the jewels, Florizel some flowers,
Amadour a box of various pins, and Vadius a box of sweets. Her doves,
ever in attendance, walked about the room that was panelled with the
gallant paintings of Jean Baptiste Dorat, and some dwarfs and doubtful
creatures sat here and there lolling out their tongues, pinching each
other, and behaving oddly enough. Sometimes Helen gave them little
smiles.

[Illustration: The Toilet of Helen]

As the toilet was in progress, Mrs. Marsuple, the fat manicure
and fardeuse, strode in and seated herself by the side of the
dressing-table, greeting Helen with an intimate nod. She wore a gown of
white watered silk with gold lace trimmings, and a velvet necklet of
false vermilion. Her hair hung in bandeaux over her ears, passing into
a huge chignon at the back of her head, and the hat, wide-brimmed and
hung with a vallance of pink muslin, was floral with red roses.

Mrs. Marsuple's voice was full of salacious unction; she had terrible
little gestures with the hands, strange movements with the shoulders,
a short respiration that made surprising wrinkles in her bodice, a
corrupt skin, large horny eyes, a parrot's nose, a small loose mouth,
great flaccid cheeks, and chin after chin. She was a wise person,
and Helen loved her more than any other of her servants, and had a
hundred pet names for her, such as Dear Toad, Pretty Poll, Cock Robin,
Dearest Lip, Touchstone, Little Cough Drop, Bijou, Buttons, Dear Heart,
Dick-dock, Mrs. Manly, Little Nipper, Cochon-de-lait, Naughty-naughty,
Blessed Thing, and Trump. The talk that passed between Mrs. Marsuple
and her mistress was of that excellent kind that passes between old
friends, a perfect understanding giving to scraps of phrases their full
meaning, and to the merest reference a point. Naturally Fanfreluche the
newcomer was discussed a little. Helen had not seen him yet, and asked
a score of questions on his account that were delightfully to the point.

The report and the coiffing were completed at the same moment.

"Cosmé," said Helen, "you have been quite sweet and quite brilliant,
you have surpassed yourself to-night."

"Madam flatters me," replied the antique old thing, with a girlish
giggle under his black satin mask. "Gad, Madam; sometimes I believe I
have no talent in the world, but tonight I must confess to a touch of
the vain mood."

It would pain me horribly to tell you about the painting of her
face; suffice it that the sorrowful work was accomplished; frankly,
magnificently, and without a shadow of deception.

Helen slipped away the dressing-gown, and rose before the mirror in a
flutter of frilled things. She was adorably tall and slender. Her neck
and shoulders were wonderfully drawn, and the little malicious breasts
were full of the irritation of loveliness that can never be entirely
comprehended, or ever enjoyed to the utmost. Her arms and hands were
loosely, but delicately articulated, and her legs were divinely long.
From the hip to the knee, twenty-two inches; from the knee to the heel,
twenty-two inches, as befitted a Goddess. Those who have seen Helen
only in the Vatican, in the Louvre, in the Uffizi, or in the British
Museum, can have no idea how very beautiful and sweet she looked. Not
at all like the lady in "Lemprière."

Mrs. Marsuple grew quite lyric over the dear little person, and pecked
at her arms with kisses.

"Dear Tongue, you must really behave yourself," said Helen, and called
Millamant to bring her the slippers.

The tray was freighted with the most exquisite and shapely pantoufles,
sufficient to make Cluny a place of naught. There were shoes of grey
and black and brown suede, of white silk and rose satin, and velvet and
sarcenet; there were some of sea-green sewn with cherry blossoms, some
of red with willow branches, and some of grey with bright-winged birds.
There were heels of silver, of ivory, and of gilt; there were buckles
of very precious stones set in most strange and esoteric devices;
there were ribbons tied and twisted into cunning forms; there were
buttons so beautiful that the button-holes might have no pleasure till
they closed upon them; there were soles of delicate leathers scented
with maréchale, and linings of soft stuffs scented with the juice of
July flowers. But Helen, finding none of them to her mind, called for
a discarded pair of blood-red maroquin, diapered with pearls. These
looked very distinguished over her white silk stockings.

Meantime, La Popelinière stepped forward with the frock.

"I shan't wear one to-night," said Helen. Then she slipped on her
gloves.

When the toilet was at an end all her doves clustered round her feet
loving to froler her ankles with their plumes, and the dwarfs clapped
their hands, and put their fingers between their lips and whistled.
Never before had Helen been so radiant and compelling. Spiridion, in
the corner, looked up from his game of Spellicans and trembled.

Just then, Pranzmungel announced that supper was ready upon the fifth
terrace. "Ah!" cried Helen, "I'm famished!"



CHAPTER III


She was quite delighted with Fanfreluche, and, of course, he sat next
her at supper.

The terrace, made beautiful with a thousand vain and fantastical
things, and set with a hundred tables and four hundred couches,
presented a truly splendid appearance. In the middle was a huge bronze
fountain with three basins. From the first rose a many-breasted dragon
and four little loves mounted upon swans, and each love was furnished
with a bow and arrow. Two of them that faced the monster seemed to
recoil in fear, two that were behind made bold enough to aim their
shafts at him. From the verge of the second sprang a circle of slim
golden columns that supported silver doves with tails and wings spread
out. The third, held by a group of grotesquely attenuated satyrs, was
centered with a thin pipe hung with masks and roses and capped with
children's heads.

From the mouths of the dragon and the loves, from the swans' eyes, from
the breasts of the doves, from the satyrs' horns and lips, from the
masks at many points, and from the childrens' curls, the water played
profusely, cutting strange arabesques and subtle figures.

The terrace was lit entirely by candles. There were four thousand of
them, not numbering those upon the tables. The candlesticks were of
a countless variety, and smiled with moulded cochonneries. Some were
twenty feet high, and bore single candles that flared like fragrant
torches over the feast, and guttered till the wax stood round the
tops in tall lances. Some, hung with dainty petticoats of shining
lustres, had a whole bevy of tapers upon them devised in circles, in
pyramids, in squares, in cuneiforms, in single lines regimentally and
in crescents.

Then on quaint pedestals and Terminal Gods and gracious pilasters of
every sort, were shell-like vases of excessive fruits and flowers that
hung about and burst over the edges and could never be restrained. The
orange-trees and myrtles, looped with vermilion sashes, stood in frail
porcelain pots, and the rose-trees were wound and twisted with superb
invention over trellis and standard. Upon one side of the terrace a
long gilded stage for the comedians was curtained off with Pagonian
tapestries, and in front of it the music-stands were placed.

The tables arranged between the fountain and the flight of steps to the
sixth terrace were all circular, covered with white damask, and strewn
with irises, roses, kingcups, colombines, daffodils, carnations and
lilies; and the couches, high with soft cushions and spread with more
stuffs than could be named, had fans thrown upon them.

Beyond the escalier stretched the gardens, which were designed so
elaborately and with so much splendour that the architect of the Fêtes
d'Armailhacq could have found in them no matter for cavil, and the
still lakes strewn with profuse barges full of gay flowers and wax
marionettes, the alleys of tall trees, the arcades and cascades, the
pavilions, the grottoes and the garden-gods--all took a strange tinge
of revelry from the glare of the light that fell upon them from the
feast.

The frockless Helen and Fanfreluche, with Mrs. Marsuple and Claude
and Clair, and Farcy, the chief comedian, sat at the same table.
Fanfreluche, who had doffed his travelling suit, wore long black silk
stockings, a pair of pretty garters, a very elegant ruffled shirt,
slippers and a wonderful dressing-gown; and Farcy was in ordinary
evening clothes. As for the rest of the company, it boasted some very
noticeable dresses, and whole tables of quite delightful coiffures.
There were spotted veils that seemed to stain the skin, fans with
eye-slits in them, through which the bearers peeped and peered; fans
painted with figures and covered with the sonnets of Sporion and the
short stories of Scaramouch; and fans of big, living moths stuck upon
mounts of silver sticks. There were masks of green velvet that make
the face look trebly powdered; masks of the heads of birds, of apes,
of serpents, of dolphins, of men and women, of little embryons and of
cats; masks like the faces of gods; masks of coloured glass, and masks
of thin talc and of india-rubber. There were wigs of black and scarlet
wools, of peacocks' feathers, of gold and silver threads, of swansdown,
of the tendrils of the vine, and of human hair; huge collars of stiff
muslin rising high above the head; whole dresses of ostrich feathers
curling inwards; tunics of panthers' skins that looked beautiful over
pink tights; capotes of crimson satin trimmed with the wings of owls;
sleeves cut into the shapes of apocryphal animals; drawers flounced
down to the ankles, and flecked with tiny, red roses; stockings clocked
with fetes galantes, and curious designs; and petticoats cut like
artificial flowers. Some of the women had put on delightful little
moustaches dyed in purples and bright greens, twisted and waxed with
absolute skill; and some wore great white beards, after the manner of
Saint Wilgeforte. Then Dorat had painted extraordinary grotesques and
vignettes over their bodies, here and there. Upon a cheek, an old man
scratching his horned head; upon a forehead, an old woman teased by an
impudent amor; upon a shoulder, an amorous singerie; round a breast,
a circlet of satyrs; about a wrist, a wreath of pale, unconscious
babes; upon an elbow, a bouquet of spring flowers; across a back, some
surprising scenes of adventure; at the corners of a mouth, tiny red
spots; and upon a neck, a flight of birds, a caged parrot, a branch
of fruit, a butterfly, a spider, a drunken dwarf, or, simply, some
initials.

[Illustration: "The Fruit Bearers"]


The supper provided by the ingenious Rambouillet was quite beyond
parallel. Never had he created a more exquisite menu. The _consomme
impromptu_ alone would have been sufficient to establish the immortal
reputation of any chef. What, then, can I say of the _Dorade bouillie
sauce maréchale,_ the _ragoût aux langues de carpes_, the _ramereaux
à la charnière,_ the _ciboulette de gibier à l'espagnole_, the _paté
de cuisses d'oie aux pois de Monsalvie,_ the _queues d'agneau au clair
de lune,_ the _artichauts à la grecque,_ the _charlotte de pommes à
la Lucy Waters,_ the _bombes à la marée_, and the _glaces aux rayons
d'or_? A veritable tour de cuisine that surpassed even the famous
little suppers given by the Marquis de Réchale at Passy, and which the
Abbé Mirliton pronounced "impeccable, and too good to be eaten."

Ah! Pierre Antoine Berquin de Rambouillet; you are worthy of your
divine mistress!

Mere hunger quickly gave place to those finer instincts of the pure
gourmet, and the strange wines, cooled in buckets of snow, unloosed
all the decollete spirits of astonishing conversation and atrocious
laughter.

As the courses advanced, the conversation grew bustling and more
personal. Pulex and Cyril, and Marisca and Cathelin, opened a fire of
raillery, and a thousand amatory follies of the day were discussed.

From harsh and shrill and clamant, the voices grew blurred and
inarticulate. Bad sentences were helped out by worse gestures, and
at one table Scabius expressed himself like the famous old knight in
the first part of the "Soldier's Fortune" of Otway. Bassalissa and
Lysistrata tried to pronounce each other's names, and became very
affectionate in the attempt; and Tala, the tragedian, robed in roomy
purple, and wearing plume and buskin, rose to his feet, and, with
swaying gestures, began to recite one of his favourite parts. He got
no further than the first line, but repeated it again and again, with
fresh accents and intonations each time, and was only silenced by the
approach of the asparagus that was being served by satyrs dressed in
white.



CHAPTER IV


It is always delightful to wake up in a new bedroom. The fresh
wall-paper, the strange pictures, the positions of doors and windows,
imperfectly grasped the night before, are revealed with all the charm
of surprise when we open our eyes the next morning.

It was about eight o'clock when Fanfreluche awoke, stretched himself
deliciously in his great plumed four-post bed, murmured "What a pretty
room!" and freshened the frilled silk pillows behind him. Through
the slim parting of the long flowered window curtains, he caught a
peep of the sun-lit lawns outside, the silver fountains, the bright
flowers, the gardeners at work, and beneath the shady trees some early
breakfasters, dressed for a day's hunting in the distant wooded valleys.

"How sweet it all is," exclaimed the Abbé, yawning with infinite
content. Then he lay back in his bed, stared at the curious patterned
canopy above him and nursed his waking thoughts.

He thought or the "Romaunt de la Rose," beautiful, but all too brief.

Of the Claude in Lady Delaware's collection.[1]

Of a wonderful pair of blonde trousers he would get Madame Belleville
to make for him.

Of a mysterious park full of faint echoes and romantic sounds.

Of a great stagnant lake that must have held the subtlest frogs that
ever were, and was surrounded with dark unreflected trees, and sleeping
fleurs de luce.

Of Saint Rose, the well-known Peruvian virgin; how she vowed herself to
perpetual virginity when she was four years old[2]; how she was beloved
by Mary, who from the pale fresco in the Church of Saint Dominic, would
stretch out her arms to embrace her; how she built a little oratory
at the end of the garden and prayed and sang hymns in it till all the
beetles, spiders, snails and creeping things came round to listen;
how she promised to marry Ferdinand de Flores, and on the bridal
morning perfumed herself and painted her lips, and put on her wedding
frock, and decked her hair with roses, and went up to a little hill not
far without the walls of Lima; how she knelt there some moments calling
tenderly upon Our Lady's name, and how Saint Mary descended and kissed
Rose upon the forehead and carried her up swiftly into heaven.

[Illustration: St. Rose of Lima]


He thought of the splendid opening of Racine's "Britannicus."

Of a strange pamphlet he had found in Helen's library, called "A Plea
for the Domestication of the Unicorn."

Of the "Bacchanals of Sporion."[3]

Of Morales' Madonnas with their high egg-shaped creamy foreheads and
well-crimped silken hair.

Of Rossini's "Stabat Mater" (that delightful _démodé_ piece of
decadence, with a quality in its music like the bloom upon wax fruit).

Of love, and of a hundred other things.

Then his half-closed eyes wandered among the prints that hung upon the
rose-striped walls. Within the delicate curved frames lived the corrupt
and gracious creatures of Dorat and his school, slender children in
masque and domino smiling horribly, exquisite letchers leaning over the
shoulders of smooth doll-like girls and doing nothing in particular,
terrible little Pierrots posing as lady lovers and pointing at
something outside the picture, and unearthly fops and huge bird-like
women mingling in some rococo room, lighted mysteriously by the flicker
of a dying fire that throws great shadows upon wall and ceiling.

Fanfreluche had taken some books to bed with him. One was the witty,
extravagant, "Tuesday and Josephine," another was the score of "The
Rheingold." Making a pulpit of his knees he propped up the opera
before him and turned over the pages with a loving hand, and found
it delicious to attack Wagner's brilliant comedy with the cool head
of the morning.[4] Once more he was ravished with the beauty and
wit of the opening scene; the mystery of its prelude that seems to
come up from the very mud of the Rhine, and to be as ancient, the
abominable primitive wantonness of the music that follows the talk and
movements of the Rhine-maidens, the black, hateful sounds of Alberic's
love-making, and the flowing melody of the river of legends.

But it was the third tableau that he applauded most that morning, the
scene where Loge, like some flamboyant primeval Scapin, practises his
cunning upon Alberic. The feverish insistent ringing of the hammers at
the forge, the dry staccato restlessness of Mime, the ceaseless coming
and going of the troup of Niblungs, drawn hither and thither like a
flock of terror-stricken and infernal sheep, Alberic's savage activity
and metamorphoses, and Loge's rapid, flaming tongue-like movements,
make the tableau the least reposeful, most troubled and confusing thing
in the whole range of opera. How the Abbé rejoiced in the extravagant
monstrous poetry, the heated melodrama, and splendid agitation of it
all!

[Illustration: For the Third Tableau of "Das Rheingold"]


At eleven o'clock Fanfreluche got up and slipped off his dainty
night-dress.

His bathroom was the largest and perhaps the most beautiful apartment
in his splendid suite. The well-known engraving by Lorette that forms
the frontispiece to Millevoye's "Architecture du XVIIIme
siècle" will give you a better idea than any words of mine of the
construction and decoration of the room. Only in Lorette's engraving
the bath sunk into the middle of the floor is a little too small.

Fanfreluche stood for a moment like Narcissus gazing at his reflection
in the still scented water, and then just ruffling its smooth surface
with one foot, stepped elegantly into the cool basin and swam round
it twice very gracefully. However, it is not so much at the very bath
itself as in the drying and delicious frictions that a bather finds his
chiefest joys, and Helen had appointed her most tried attendants to
wait upon Fanfreluche. He was more than satisfied with their attention,
that aroused feelings within him almost amounting to gratitude, and
when the rites were ended any touch of home-sickness he might have
felt was utterly dispelled. After he had rested a little, and sipped
his chocolate, he wandered into the dressing-room, where, under the
direction of the superb Dancourt, his toilet was completed.

As pleased as Lord Foppington with his appearance, the Abbé tripped
off to bid good-morning to Helen. He found her in a sweet white muslin
frock, wandering upon the lawn, and plucking flowers to deck her
breakfast table. He kissed her lightly upon the neck.

"I'm just going to feed Adolphe," she said, pointing to a little
reticule of buns that hung from her arm. Adolphe was her pet unicorn.
"He is such a dear," she continued; "milk white all over, excepting his
nose, mouth, and nostrils. _This_ way." The unicorn had a very pretty
palace of its own made of green foliage and golden bars, a fitting
home for such a delicate and dainty beast. Ah, it was a splendid thing
to watch the white creature roaming in its artful cage, proud and
beautiful, knowing no mate, and coming to no hand except the queen's
itself. As Fanfreluche and Helen approached, Adolphe began prancing and
curvetting, pawing the soft turf with his ivory hoofs and flaunting his
tail like a gonfalon. Helen raised the latch and entered.

"You mustn't come in with me, Adolphe is so jealous," she said, turning
to the Abbé, who was following her, "but you can stand outside and look
on; Adolphe likes an audience." Then in her delicious fingers she broke
the spicy buns and with affectionate niceness breakfasted her snowy
pet. When the last crumbs had been scattered, Helen brushed her hands
together and pretended to leave the cage without taking any further
notice of Adolphe. Adolphe snorted.

                                                    AUBREY BEARDSLEY.


[Footnote 1: _The chef d'oeuvre, it seems to me, of an adorable and
impeccable master, who more than any other landscape-painter puts us
out of conceit with our cities, and makes us forget the country can be
graceless and dull and tiresome. That he should ever have been compared
unfavourably with Turner--the Wiertz of landscape-painting--seems
almost incredible. Corot is Claude's only worthy rival, but he does not
eclipse or supplant the earlier master. A painting of Corot's is like
an exquisite lyric poem, full of love and truth; whilst one of Claude's
recalls some noble eclogue glowing with rich concentrated thought._]

[Footnote 2: "_At an age," writes Dubonnet_, "_when girls are for the
most part well confirmed in all the hateful practices of coquetry, and
attend with gusto, rather than with distaste, the hideous desires and
terrible satisfactions of men."_

_All who would respire the perfumes of Saint Rose's sanctity, and enjoy
the story of the adorable intimacy that subsisted between her and Our
Lady, should read Mother Ursula's "Ineffable and Miraculous Life of
the Flower of Lima," published shortly after the canonization of Rose
by Pope Clement X. in_ 1671. "_Truly," exclaims the famous nun, "to
chronicle the girlhood of this holy virgin makes as delicate a task
as to trace the forms of some slim, sensitive plant, whose lightness,
sweetness, and simplicity defy and trouble the most cunning pencil."
Mother Ursula certainly acquits herself of the task with wonderful
delicacy and taste. A cheap reprint of the biography has lately been
brought out by Chaillot and Son._]

[Footnote 3: _A comedy ballet in one act by Philippe Savarat and
Titures de Schentefleur. The Marquis de Vandésir, who was present at
the first performance, has left us a short impression of it in his_
Mémoires:

"The curtain rose upon a scene of rare beauty, a remote Arcadian
valley, a delicious scrap of Tempe, gracious with cool woods and
watered with a little river as fresh and pastoral as a perfect fifth.
It was early morning and the re-arisen sun, like the prince in the
Sleeping Beauty, woke all the earth with his lips.

"In that golden embrace the night dews were caught up and made
splendid, the trees were awakened from their obscure dreams, the
slumber of the birds was broken, and all the flowers of the valley
rejoiced, forgetting their fear of the darkness.

"Suddenly to the music of pipe and horn a troop of satyrs stepped out
from the recesses of the woods bearing in their hands nuts and green
boughs and flowers and roots, and whatsoever the forest yielded, to
heap upon the altar of the mysterious Pan that stood in the middle of
the stage; and from the hills came down the shepherds and shepherdesses
leading their flocks and carrying garlands upon their crooks. Then
a rustic priest, white robed and venerable, came slowly across the
valley followed by a choir of radiant children. The scene was admirably
stage-managed and nothing could have been more varied yet harmonious
than this Arcadian group. The service was quaint and simple, but with
sufficient ritual to give the _corps de ballet_ an opportunity of
showing its dainty skill. The dancing of the satyrs was received with
huge favour, and when the priest raised his hand in final blessing, the
whole troop of worshippers made such an intricate and elegant exit,
that it was generally agreed that Titurel had never before shown so
fine an invention.

"Scarcely had the stage been empty for a moment, when Sporion entered,
followed by a brilliant rout of dandies and smart women. Sporion was a
tall, slim, depraved young man with a slight stoop, a troubled walk, an
oval impassable face with its olive skin drawn lightly over the bone,
strong, scarlet lips, long Japanese eyes, and a great gilt toupet.
Round his shoulders hung a high-collared satin cape of salmon pink with
long black ribbands untied and floating about his body. His coat of sea
green spotted muslin was caught in at the waist by a scarlet sash with
scalloped edges and frilled out over the hips for about six inches.
His trousers, loose and wrinkled, reached to the end of the calf, and
were brocaded down the sides and ruched magnificently at the ankles.
The stockings were of white kid with stalls for the toes, and had
delicate red sandals strapped over them. But his little hands, peeping
out from their frills, seemed quite the most insinuating things, such
supple fingers tapering to the point with tiny nails stained pink, such
unquenchable palms lined and mounted like Lord Fanny's in 'Love at all
Hazards,' and such blue-veined hairless backs! In his left hand he
carried a small lace handkerchief broidered with a coronet.

"As for his friends and followers, they made the most superb and
insolent crowd imaginable, but to catalogue the clothes they had on
would require a chapter as long as the famous tenth in Pénillière's
'History of Underlinen.' On the whole they looked a very distinguished
chorus.

"Sporion stepped forward and explained with swift and various gesture
that he and his friends were tired of the amusements, wearied with the
poor pleasures offered by the civil world, and had invaded the Arcadian
valley hoping to experience a new _frisson_ in the destruction of some
shepherd's or some satyr's _naïveté_, and the infusion of their venom
among the dwellers of the woods.

"The chorus assented with languid but expressive movements.

"Curious and not a little frightened at the arrival of the worldly
company, the sylvans began to peep nervously at those subtle souls
through the branches of the trees, and one or two fauns and a shepherd
or so crept out warily. Sporion and all the ladies and gentlemen made
enticing sounds and invited the rustic creatures with all the grace in
the world to come and join them. By little batches they came, lured by
the strange looks, by the scents and the drugs, and by the brilliant
clothes, and some ventured quite near, timorously fingering the
delicious textures of the stuffs. Then Sporion and each of his friends
took a satyr or a shepherdess or something by the hand and made the
preliminary steps of a courtly measure, for which the most admirable
combinations had been invented and the most charming music written. The
pastoral folk were entirely bewildered when they saw such restrained
and graceful movements, and made the most grotesque and futile efforts
to imitate them. Dio mio, a pretty sight! A charming effect too, was
obtained by the intermixture of stockinged calf and hairy leg, of rich
brocaded bodice and plain blouse, of tortured head-dress and loose
untutored locks.

"When the dance was ended the servants of Sporion brought on champagne,
and with many pirouettes poured it magnificently into slender glasses,
and tripped about plying those Arcadian mouths that had never before
tasted such a royal drink.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Then the curtain fell with a pudic rapidity."]

[Footnote 4: _It is a thousand pities that concerts should only be
given either in the afternoon, when you are torpid, or in the evening,
when you are nervous. Surely you should assist at fine music as you
assist at the Mass--before noon--when your brain and heart are not too
troubled and tired with the secular influences of the growing day._]

[Illustrations: THE THREE MUSICIANS]



THE THREE MUSICIANS


          Along the path that skirts the wood,
            The three musicians wend their way,
          Pleased with their thoughts, each other's mood,
            Franz Himmel's latest roundelay,
    The morning's work, a new-found theme, their breakfast and
                the summer day.

          One's a soprano, lightly frocked
            In cool, white muslin that just shows
          Her brown silk stockings gaily clocked,
            Plump arms and elbows tipped with rose,
    And frills of petticoats and things, and outlines as the warm
                wind blows.

          Beside her a slim, gracious boy
            Hastens to mend her tresses' fall,
          And dies her favour to enjoy,
            And dies for _réclame_ and recall
    At Paris and St. Petersburg, Vienna and St. James's Hall.

          The third's a Polish Pianist
            With big engagements everywhere,
          A light heart and an iron wrist,
            And shocks and shoals of yellow hair,
    And fingers that can trill on sixths and fill beginners with despair.

          The three musicians stroll along
            And pluck the ears of ripened corn,
          Break into odds and ends of song,
            And mock the woods with Siegfried's horn,
    And fill the air with Gluck, and fill the tweeded tourist's soul
    with scorn.

          The Polish genius lags behind,
            And, with some poppies in his hand,
          Picks out the strings and wood and wind
            Of an imaginary band,
    Enchanted that for once his men obey his beat and understand.

          The charming cantatrice reclines
            And rests a moment where she sees
          Her château's roof that hotly shines
            Amid the dusky summer trees,
    And fans herself, half shuts her eyes, and smoothes the frock
    about her knees.

          The gracious boy is at her feet,
            And weighs his courage with his chance;
          His fears soon melt in noonday heat.
            The tourist gives a furious glance,
    Red as his guide-book grows, moves on, and offers up a prayer
    for France.

                                                      AUBREY BEARDSLEY

[Illustration]


[Illustration: The Three Musicians]


[Illustration: The Three Musicians]



    THE BALLAD OF A BARBER


    Here is the tale of Carrousel,
    The barber of Meridian Street.
    He cut, and coiffed, and shaved so well,
    That all the world was at his feet.

    The King, the Queen, and all the Court,
    To no one else would trust their hair,
    And reigning belles of every sort
    Owed their successes to his care.

    With carriage and with cabriolet
    Daily Meridian Street was blocked,
    Like bees about a bright bouquet
    The beaux about his doorway flocked.

    Such was his art he could with ease
    Curl wit into the dullest face;
    Or to a goddess of old Greece
    Add a new wonder and a grace.

    All powders, paints, and subtle dyes,
    And costliest scents that men distil,
    And rare pomades, forgot their price
    And marvelled at his splendid skill.

    The curling irons in his hand
    Almost grew quick enough to speak,
    The razor was a magic wand
    That understood the softest cheek.

    Yet with no pride his heart was moved;
    He was so modest in his ways!
    His daily task was all he loved,
    And now and then a little praise.

    An equal care he would bestow
    On problems simple or complex;
    And nobody had seen him show
    A preference for either sex.

    How came it then one summer day,
    Coiffing the daughter of the King,
    He lengthened out the least delay
    And loitered in his hairdressing?

    The Princess was a pretty child,
    Thirteen years old, or thereabout.
    She was as joyous and as wild
    As spring flowers when the sun is out.

    [Illustration: "The Coiffing"]

    Her gold hair fell down to her feet
    And hung about her pretty eyes;
    She was as lyrical and sweet
    As one of Schubert's melodies.

    Three times the barber curled a lock,
    And thrice he straightened it again;
    And twice the irons scorched her frock,
    And twice he stumbled in her train.

    His fingers lost their cunning quite,
    His ivory combs obeyed no more;
    Something or other dimmed his sight,
    And moved mysteriously the floor.

    He leant upon the toilet table,
    His fingers fumbled in his breast;
    He felt as foolish as a fable,
    And feeble as a pointless jest.

    He snatched a bottle of Cologne,
    And broke the neck between his hands;
    He felt as if he was alone,
    And mighty as a king's commands.

    The Princess gave a little scream,
    Carrousel's cut was sharp and deep;
    He left her softly as a dream
    That leaves a sleeper to his sleep.

    He left the room on pointed feet;
    Smiling that things had gone so well.
    They hanged him in Meridian Street.
    You pray in vain for Carrousel.

                       AUBREY BEARDSLEY.

[Illustration]



CATULLUS


CARMEN CI


    By ways remote and distant waters sped,
    Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come,
    That I may give the last gifts to the dead,
    And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb:
    Since she who now bestows and now denies
    Hath ta'en thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes.

    But lo! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years,
    Are made sad things to grace thy coffin shell,
    Take them, all drenched with a brother's tears,
    And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell!

                                  AUBREY BEARDSLEY.



[Illustration: "Ave atque Vale"]



TABLE TALK OF AUBREY BEARDSLEY


GEORGE SAND, ETC.

After all the Muses are women, and you must be a man to possess
them--properly.

MENDELSSOHN

Mendelssohn has no gift for construction. He has only a feeling for
continuity.

THE BROMPTON ORATORY

The only place in London where one can forget that it is Sunday.

WEBER

Weber's pianoforte pieces remind me of the beautiful glass chandeliers
at the Brighton Pavilion.

SHAKESPEARE

When an Englishman has professed his belief in the supremacy of
Shakespeare amongst all poets, he feels himself excused from the
general study of literature. He also feels himself excused from the
particular study of Shakespeare.

ROSSINI'S "STABAT MATER"

The dolorous Mother should be sung by a virgin of Morales, one of the
Spanish painter's unhealthy and hardly deiparous creatures, with high,
egg-shaped, creamy forehead and well-crimped silken hair.

ALEXANDER POPE

Pope has more virulence and less vehemence than any of the great
satirists. His character of Sporus is the perfection of satirical
writing. The very sound of words scarify before the sense strikes.

IMPRESSIONISTS

How few of our young English impressionists knew the difference between
a palette and a picture! However, I believe that Walter Sickert
_did_--sly dog!

TURNER

Turner is only a rhetorician in paint.

ENGLISH LITERATURE

What a stay-at-home literature is the English! It would be easy to
name fifty lesser French writers whose names and works are familiar
all over the world. It would be difficult to name four of our greatest
whose writings are read to any extent outside England.


THE WOODS OF AUFFRAY

In the distance, through the trees, gleamed a still argent lake,
a reticent water that must have held the subtlest fish that ever
were. Around its marge the trees and flags and fleurs-de-luce were
unbreakably asleep.

I fell into a strange mood as I looked at the lake, for it seemed to
me that the thing would speak, reveal some curious secret, say some
beautiful word, if I should dare to wrinkle its pale face with a pebble.

Then the lake took fantastic shapes, grew to twenty times its size,
or shrank into a miniature of itself, without ever losing its
unruffled calm and deathly reserve. When the waters increased I was
very frightened, for I thought how huge the frogs must have become,
I thought of their big eyes and monstrous wet feet; but when the
water lessened I laughed to myself, for I thought how tiny the frogs
must have grown, I thought of their legs that must look thinner than
spiders', and of their dwindled croaking that never could be heard.

Perhaps the lake was only painted after all; I had seen things like it
at the theatre. Anyhow it was a wonderful lake, a beautiful lake.



TWO LETTERS OF AUBREY BEARDSLEY


Beardsley unfortunately wrote but few letters. The following is
characteristic of the humorous courtesy with which he received
criticism:

      _To the Editor of the Pall Mall Budget_.

      "SIR,--So much exception has been taken, both by the
      Press and by private persons, to my title-page of 'The
      Yellow Book,'[1] that I must plead for space in your
      valuable paper to enlighten those who profess to find my
      picture unintelligible. It represents a lady playing the
      piano in the middle of a field. Unpardonable affectation!
      cry the critics. But let us listen to Bomvet.

      "Christopher Willibald Ritter von Glück, in order to warm
      his imagination and to transport himself to Aulis or
      Sparta, was accustomed to place himself in the middle of a
      field. In this situation, with his piano before him, and
      a bottle of champagne on each side, he wrote in the open
      air his two "Iphigenias," his "Orpheus," and some other
      works.' I tremble to think what critics would say had I
      introduced those bottles of champagne. And yet we do not
      call Gluck a decadent.

                             "Yours obediently

                                              "AUBREY BEARDSLEY.

      "THE BODLEY HEAD,

          "VIGO STREET, W.

             "_April_ 27."

_The Daily Chronicle_ on the occasion of the publication of "Plays" by
John Davidson, in criticising Beardsley's frontispiece,[2] deplored the
introduction of "two well-known faces of the day." In the following
day's issue Beardsley wittily excused himself in the following letter
to the editor:

      "AN ERROR OF TASTE"

      "SIR,--In your review of Mr. Davidson's plays, I find
      myself convicted of an error of taste, for having
      introduced portraits into my frontispiece to that book. I
      cannot help feeling that your reviewer is unduly severe.
      One of the gentlemen who forms part of my decoration
      is surely beautiful enough to stand the test even of
      portraiture, the other owes me half a crown.

                              "I am, yours truly,

                                               "AUBREY BEARDSLEY.

        "114 CAMBRIDGE STREET, S.W.
              _"March_ 1, 1894."


[Footnote 1: A reproduction of this appears on page 71.]


[Illustration: Design for Title-Page of "The Yellow Book" Volume I]


[Illustration: Frontispiece to "Plays" by John Davidson]


[Illustration: "Arbuscula"

From "A History of Dancing," by Gaston Vuillier. Reproduced by
permission of Mr. William Heinemann.]


[Illustration: Portrait And other Sketches Hitherto Unpublished
Reproduced by permission of Miss Nellie Syrett.]


[Illustration: Design for Frontispiece to Zola's "L'Abbé Mouret"
Hitherto Unpublished]



LIST OF VOLUMES
ILLUSTRATED BY
AUBREY BEARDSLEY


THE EARLY WORK OF
AUBREY BEARDSLEY

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY H. C. MARILLIER

Price 42s. net (originally published at 31s. 6d. net)

_Also an Edition printed upon Japanese Vellum, limited to one hundred
and twenty copies for England and America. Price_ 84_s. net (originally
published at_ 63_s. net_). _Now out of print._

This handsome volume was published soon after Beardsley's death.
It contains most of his work up to the time of his ceasing to be
associated with the art editorship of "The Yellow Book," and includes
the remarkable designs illustrating "Salomé," a volume long since
out of print. These are considered by the critics as among the best
and most individual work he did. There are in all upwards of 180
reproductions, in addition to two characteristic photographs of
Beardsley, taken by Mr. Frederick H. Evans.

THE LATER WORK OF
AUBREY BEARDSLEY

Demy 4to. Price 42s. net

_Also a Limited Edition of one hundred and twenty copies for England and
America, printed on Japanese Vellum._ 1055. _net (originally published
at_ 84_s net_.)

This collection was not published until nearly three years after
Beardsley's death, and contains most of the designs not included
in "The Early Work." The two volumes thus form an almost complete
record of his artistic production. In all there are upwards of 170
reproductions, including three in colour and eleven in photogravure.

In the Japanese Vellum edition several illustrations are reproduced in
photogravure, instead of half-tone as in the ordinary edition, whilst
the frontispiece is hand-coloured.


A SECOND BOOK OF
FIFTY DRAWINGS
BY AUBREY BEARDSLEY

Crown 4to. Price 10s. 6d. net

_This Edition is limited to one thousand copies of the ordinary issue,
and fifty copies printed on Japanese Vellum (exhausted on publication)._

The First Book of Fifty Drawings, which preceded this volume, is now
selling at a greatly enhanced price. The present volume is remarkable
as containing several reproductions from very early sketches, as well
as many executed in the artist's most individual style, among which
is a photogravure of "Mademoiselle de Maupin," one design in colour,
and three photogravures which show how strong, at one time, was the
Burne-Jones influence upon Beardsley.


THE RAPE OF THE LOCK
BY ALEXANDER POPE

With Nine Full-page Illustrations by AUBREY BEARDSLEY
Crown 4to. Price 10s. 6d. net

_Very few copies remain of this volume_, which was originally published
at 7s. 6d. _net. The Japanese Vellum Edition is exhausted._

Perhaps, with the exception of the series of drawings illustrating
"Salomé," no designs are more characteristic, more strikingly
original, than those contained in "The Rape of the Lock." The edition
is now rapidly nearing exhaustion and the publisher has decided not
to re-issue it in the original form. This work with the original
illustrations is included as Vol. IX. of "The Flowers of Parnassus."
Demy 16mo (5 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches). Bound in Cloth, Price 1s. net. Bound
in Leather, Price is. 6d. net.


VOLPONE: OR THE FOX
BY BEN IONSON

A NEW EDITION, WITH A CRITICAL ESSAY
ON THE AUTHOR BY VINCENT O'SULLIVAN
And Illustrations by AUBREY BEARDSLEY
Together with an Eulogy of the Artist by ROBERT ROSS
Demy 4to. Price 10s. 6d. net (originally published at 7s. 6d. net)

Mr. Robert Ross in his eulogy considers 1896 as Beardsley's _annus
mirabilts_, and remarks that it would be impossible to believe he
could have surpassed the work of that year but for the illustrations
to "Volpone." They characterise in a very marked manner the singular
genius both in creative faculty and draughtsmanship of the artist.


THE PIERROT OF
THE MINUTE

A DRAMATIC PHANTASY IN ONE ACT
BY ERNEST DOWSON

With Illustrations and a Cover-Design by AUBREY BEARDSLEY
Crown 4to. Price 10s. 6d. net (originally published at 7s. 6d. net)

_Limited to three hundred copies of the ordinary issue (of which very
few remain)_

A peculiar and pathetic interest attaches itself to this volume on
account of the sad, even tragic end of Ernest Dowson. The obituary
notices following his death were to many the first intimation of
his existence, but to those who knew him there was little room for
doubt that he possessed a genius which was as remarkable as it was
ill-starred.


PLAYS

BY JOHN DAVIDSON

With Frontispiece and Cover-Design by AUBREY BEARDSLEY
Small 4to. Price 7s. 6d. net

_The Edition is limited to five hundred copies_

This volume has a special interest, as Beardsley was induced by the
_Daily Chronicle's_ criticism of his illustration to "Scaramouch in
Naxos" to write the letter mentioned in this volume.


THE YELLOW BOOK

AN ILLUSTRATED QUARTERLY
LITERARY EDITOR--HENRY HARLAND

ART EDITOR (Vols. I. to IV.)--AUBREY BEARDSLEY

It was in his capacity as art-editor of "The Yellow Book" that
Beardsley made his first claim to public notice. The earlier volumes
contain twenty designs from his pencil, in addition to a number of
others from the best known black and white artists of the day. Volume
I. is now out of print, but the publisher has been fortunate in
securing several second-hand copies which he supplies only with sets.


THE SAVOY

AN ILLUSTRATED QUARTERLY
LITERARY EDITOR--ARTHUR SYMONS
ART EDITOR--AUBREY BEARDSLEY

Crown 4to. Price 21s. net a Set

Vol. I. 274 pp. 43 Illus.--Vol. II. 286 pp. 29 Illus.
--Vol. III. 280 pp. 30 Illus.

After ceasing to hold the post of art-editor of "The Yellow Book,"
Beardsley became associated in a similar capacity with "The Savoy,"
at the same time contributing the lion's share of the illustrations. In
the three volumes that appeared he had to his credit forty-nine designs,
in addition to a poem and a story entitled "Under the Hill." In
addition to Beardsley's own work, "The Savoy" contains many
notable contributions both literary and artistic.


POSTERS IN MINIATURE

Over 250 reproductions, including several designs by AUBREY
BEARDSLEY, of French, English, and American Posters, with an
Introduction by EDWARD PENFIELD. Large Crown 8vo. Price 5s. net.





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