Part 4 out of 4
artificial surface, and to allow the sweetness and richness of
that soil to give expression on that surface. True culture is thus
achieved; that which is not only on the surface but of the depths.
Thereby might every one discover not only the peasant but the pilgrim
soul within; each man living on the world might realise himself as on
the way to Jerusalem. Such realisation would be the redemption of
the present culture of the West. For workers of every kind--not only
artists, musicians, novelists, but the handicraftsmen, the shapers of
useful things, of churches and houses and laws, even the labourers in
the road and the garden--would be living in the strength of a promise
and the light of a vision.
* * * * *
The pilgrimage was a carrying of the cross, but it was also a happy
wayfaring. It was a hard journey but not comfortless. Many of the
pilgrims walked thousands of miles in Russia before finally embarking
on the pilgrim boat. They walked solitarily, not in great bands, and
they were poor. From village to village, from the Far North, Central
Russia and the East, they tramped their way to Odessa and Batoum, and
they depended all the way on other men's hospitality. As Jeremy said,
"They had no money: instead of which they found other men's charity."
They lived night by night in hundreds of peasant homes, and prayed day
by day in hundreds of little churches. Not only did they find their
daily bread "for the love of God," but in many cases they were
furnished even to Jerusalem itself with passage money for the boat
journey, and bread to keep the body alive.
Such pilgrims often were illiterate, and it was astonishing how they
remembered all the folk they had to pray for at Jerusalem; for
every poor peasant who could not leave his native village, but gave
threepence or four-pence to the wanderer, asked to be remembered in
the land "where God walked". Perhaps there were aids to remembrance.
Many people in the villages, wanting to be sure that their prayers and
wants would be remembered, wrote their names on slips of paper and
thrust them into the pilgrim's hand. Thus in the hostelry at Jerusalem
an old wanderer came to me one morning with a sheaf of dirty papers on
which were written names, and I read them out for him aloud, thus:--
Maria for health.
Katerina for health.
Rheumatic Gregory for health.
Ivan for the peace of soul of his mother.
For the peace of soul of Prascovia.
And so on; and I sorted them into separate bundles--those who wished
prayers for health, and those who wanted peace of soul to the dead.
I, for my part, have walked many a thousand versts from village to
village, and have been glad to live the peasant-pilgrim's life.
Tramping was hard for me also, as also far from comfortless. I saw
sights which amply repaid me, if I wanted repayment, for every verst I
tramped. Often, and shamefully, have I looked back and sighed for the
town that I had left--its friends, its comforts and its pleasures; but
I also found other men's hospitality and the warmth of the stranger's
love. Very sweet it was to sit in the strange man's home, to play with
his children on the floor, to eat and drink with him, to be blessed by
him and by his wife, and sleep at last under the cottage ikons. And
though peasants knew the way was hard, "How fortunate you are!" they
said. I was more fortunate than they knew, for, being the voice of
those who were without voice, I had a life by the way in communion
with every common sight and sound. I lived in communion with sunny and
rainy days, with the form of mountain and valley, with the cornfield
and the forest and the meadow. Not only was man hospitable to the
tramp, but Nature also. The stars spoke of my pilgrimage, the sea
murmured to me; wild fruit was my food. I slept with the bare world as
my house, the sky as my roof, and God as host.
I saw strange happenings in obscure little villages. Wherever I went
I saw little pictures, and not only great pageants; I knelt in little
wooden churches as well as in the great cathedrals. And I brought all
that I met and all that I had experienced to Jerusalem, so that when
the chorus of thanksgiving went up in the monastery on the day when we
arrived, all my world was singing in it.
Sometimes I met pilgrims, especially at monasteries, and sometimes
sojourned with one along the road, but it was not until we reached
the pilgrim-boat that we found ourselves many and together. For the
greater part of the pilgrim life is necessarily in solitude. A great
number of pilgrims starting together and marching along the road is
almost unthinkable. The true desire to start takes one by oneself.
The pilgrim life is born like a river, far away apart, up in the
mountains. It is only when it is reaching its goal that it joins
itself to others. When we reached the port of embarkation we were a
great band of pilgrims, but the paths by which we had come together
were many and diverse, ramifying all over Russia.
We thought, but for the haunting fear of storms, that when we reached
the boat the arduous part of our journey would have been accomplished.
We should cease our plodding over earth, and should rest on the sea
in the sun. We would sing hymns together. Hymns are, of course,
principally designed for pilgrims, for man as a pilgrim, who needs to
console himself with music on the road. We would talk among ourselves
of our life on the way; the days would go past in pleasant converse
and the nights in happy slumber. But that was a mistake. The sea
journey was worse than any of our tramping; it was the very crown of
There were 560 of us packed into the holds of that hulk, the
_Lazarus_, on which we sailed, and there were besides, many Turks,
Arabs, and Syrians; of cattle, two score cows and a show bull with two
mouths; of beasts, a cage of apes; and, as if to complete pandemonium
in storm, there lay bound in his bed on the open deck a raving madman.
We were a fortnight on the sea, wandering irrelevantly from port to
port of the Levant, discharging a cargo of sugar; and all the while
the poor beggar-pilgrims lived on the crusts of which they had
sackfuls collected in Russia, crusts of black bread all gone green
with mould. I looked at the piles of them heaped on the deck to air in
pleasant weather, and was amazed that men could live simply on decay.
We had two storms, in one of which our masts were broken down and we
were told we should go to the bottom. The peasants rolled over one
another in the hold like corpses, and clutched at one another like
madmen. In despair some offered all their money, all that they had, to
a priest as a votive offering to St. Nicholas, that the storm might
abate. The state of the ship I should not dare to depict--the filth,
the stench, the vermin. For nearly a thousand passengers there
were three lavatories without bolts! Fitly was the boat named
_Lazarus_--Lazarus all sores. What the poor simple peasant men and
women suffered none can tell. They had not the thought to take care
of themselves as I had, and indeed they would have scorned to save
themselves. "It is necessary to suffer," they said.
It was a hard and terrible way, and yet on the last day of the voyage,
in the sight of the Holy Land, our hearts all leapt within us with
grateful joy. We felt it was worth it, every whit. When I think of
this journey as of that of Christian in the _Pilgrims Progress_, I
call this ship and the journey on it the Valley of the Shadow of
Death, full of foul pits and hobgoblins; something which must be
passed through if Jerusalem is to be attained; the dread gulf which
lies between earthly and heavenly life. It was necessary to pass
through it, and what was on the other side was infinitely worth the
struggle. There is a story in Dostoievsky of a Russian free-thinker
whose penance beyond this world was to walk a quadrillion versts. When
he finished this walk and saw the Heavenly City at the end of it he
fell down and cried out, "It is worth it, every inch; not only would I
walk a quadrillion of versts, but a quadrillion of quadrillions raised
to the quadrillionth power."
At last we arrived at Jerusalem. The onlookers saw a long,
jaded-looking flock of poor people toiling up the hilly road from
Jaffa, wearing Russian winter garb under the straight-beating sun of
the desert, dusty, road-worn, and beaten. We went along the middle of
the roadway like a procession, observed of all observers; in one
sense scarcely worth looking at, yet in another the most significant
spectacle of the day or of the time. We were--religious Europe just
arrived at the Heavenly City.
Certainly it would have been difficult to know the happiness and
exaltation of our hearts; perhaps to do that it would have been
necessary to step into line and follow us to the Cathedral and the
Sepulchre; perhaps even necessary to anticipate our coming, and join
us long before, on the way in Russia.
But we went forward unconscious of our own significance, indifferent
to the gaze of the curious. There was one thought in our minds: that
we had actually attained unto Jerusalem and were walking the last few
miles to the Holy of Holies.
We passed in through the gate of the Russian settlement, and in a
moment were at the monastery doors. How gladly we threw off our packs
on the green grass sward and hurried into church to the Thanksgiving
Service, buying sheaves of little candles at the door and pressing in
to light them before the sacred ikons. When the priest was given the
great Bible to read, it lay on the bare heads of pilgrims; so close
did the eager ones press together to share in the bearing that the
Holy Book needed no other support. We sang the _Mnogia Lieta_ with
a deep harmonious chorus; we prostrated ourselves and prayed and
crossed. I stood in the midst and sang or knelt with the rest, timid
as a novice, made gentle by the time, and I learned to cross myself in
a new way. One by one the peasants advanced and kissed the gold cross
in the hands of the priest, and among them I went up and was blessed
as they were. And we were all in rapture. Standing at the threshold
afterwards, smiling peasants with wet shining eyes confessed to one
another their unworthiness and their happiness; and a girl all in
laughing tears fell down at our feet, kissing our dusty boots, and
asking our forgiveness that she had been permitted to see Jerusalem.
We were taken to the refectory and seated at many tables to a peasant
dinner: cabbage soup and porridge, bread and _kvass_, just as they are
served in Russia itself. We passed to the hostelry and were given,
at the rate of three farthings a day, beds and benches that we might
occupy as long as we wished to stay in Jerusalem. The first night we
were all to get as rested as possible, the next we were to spend in
the Sepulchre itself. I slept in a room with four hundred peasants,
on a wooden shelf covered with old pallets of straw. The shelves were
hard and dirty; there was no relaxation of our involuntary asceticism,
but we slept well. There was music in our ears. We had attained to
Jerusalem, and our dreams were with the angels. Jerusalem the earthly
had not forced itself upon our minds; we held the symbolism of the
journey lightly, and the mind read a mystery in delicate emotions. The
time was to come when some of us would be discontented with Jerusalem,
as some of the disciples who fell away were discontented with the poor
and humble Jesus; but as yet even to these all the material outward
appearance of Jerusalem was a rumour. We knew not what we should see
when we stepped out on the morrow; perhaps pearly gates, streets of
gold, angels with harps. Jerusalem the earthly was unproved. We had as
yet only toiled up the steep Jaffa way, and the road to heaven itself
might be not unlike that road. To-morrow ... who could say what
to-morrow would unfold? For those of us who could see with the eyes of
the heart there could be no disappointment. But for all, this night of
golden dreams was a respite, and Jerusalem the symbol and Jerusalem
the symbolised were one. Happy, happy pilgrims!
Next day we went to the strange and ugly church erected over the
Sepulchre of Jesus, the "Church of the Life-giving Grave"; and we
kissed the stone of anointing--the stone on which the body of Jesus
lay whilst it was being wrapped in fair linen and anointed with oil.
We knelt before the ark-like inner temple which is built over _the
hollow in the rock_. We were received into that temple, and one by one
crept along the passage-way to the Holy of Holies, the inmost shrine
of Christendom. Only music could tell what the peasant realised in
that chamber as he knelt where the sacred Body lay, and kissed the
hollow in the stone.
Then we spent a whole night in the Sepulchre and entered into the
mystery of death--saw our own death as in a picture before us, our
abiding in the grave until the resurrection. In the great dark church
the solemn service went forward. On the throne of the altar at
Golgotha near by, the candles gleamed. Night grew quiet all around,
and the Syrian stars looked over us, so that centuries and ages passed
We went through the life of Jesus in symbolical procession, journeyed
to Bethlehem and kissed the manger where the baby Jesus was laid, that
first cradle as opposed to the second, the hollow in the rock. We came
as the Kings, saw the shepherds and their flocks, saw the star stop
over the house of Mary, and went in to do homage, bringing thither the
gifts of our hearts--gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
We tramped to the river Jordan, and all in our death shrouds at
Bethabara, waded into the stream and were baptized. In symbolic act
the priest baptizing us was veritably John, but in second symbolism it
was Jesus. As we stepped down into the water it was John, but when
we stepped up again it was Jesus receiving us into light. We made a
picture of the past, but we had also in our hearts a presentment of
the far future. As we stood there on the banks all in our white robes
it seemed like a rehearsal of the final resurrection morning. These
shrouds in which the pilgrims are baptized they preserve to their
death day, in order that they may be buried in them. They believe that
on the Last Day not only will their bodies of this day be raised up,
but the Jordan-washed garments will be restored as well.
We followed the course of the river down to the Dead Sea, the lowest
place on earth, and thence walked across the wilderness to the
Mountain of Temptation, where in innumerable caves had lived thousands
of hermits and saints. In a great caravan we journeyed to the Lake of
Galilee, where the Twelve were called. We camped upon the mountain
where the five thousand had been fed, and scattered bread there. We
dwelt in the little town of Nazareth and saw the well where Mary had
drawn water. We heard of all the dearnesses which the priests and
monks had imagined as likely in the boyhood of Jesus. We stood and
wondered at the place where Mary and Joseph are supposed to have
stopped and missed their twelve-year-old son who had gone to the
Temple to teach. We stood where Jesus had conversed with the woman of
Samaria. We visited the cottage where the water was changed into wine.
At Bethany we prayed at Lazarus' grave.
We lived with the life of Jesus as the story has been told. It was a
second pilgrimage, an underlining of the essentials of the first. We
finished the first pilgrimage at the Church of the Tomb on the day
after our arrival in Jerusalem; we should finish the second on the
last day of Holy Week, at the triumphant Easter morning.
On the Friday before Palm Sunday we went out to Bethany and slept
in the monastery which is built "where Martha served." Next day we
returned to Jerusalem with olive branches, palms and wild flowers,
scattering blossoms as we walked. On Saturday evening and in the
morning of Palm Sunday we filled the churches with our branches. Two
aged pilgrims who had died were buried on Palm Sunday. They lay in
open coffins in church dressed in the shrouds they had worn at Jordan,
covered with olive branches and little blue wild flowers (Jacob's
ladder), which the pilgrims had picked for them at Bethany. On their
faces was perfect peace. The pilgrims thought them happy to die in the
Holy Land and be buried there.
The crown of the pilgrimage was Holy Week. By Palm Sunday all the
pilgrims were back in Jerusalem from their little pilgrimages to
Nazareth, Jericho, and Jordan. The hostelries were crowded. Fully five
hundred men and women slept in the hall in which I was accommodated.
All night long the sound of prayer and hymn never died away. At dawn
each day a beggar pilgrim sanctified our benches with incense which he
burned in an old tin can. By day we visited the shrines of Jerusalem,
the Virgin's tomb, the Mount of Olives, the Praetorium, Pilate's
house, the dungeon where Jesus was put in the stocks. We saw the
washing of the feet on Holy Thursday; we walked down the steep and
narrow way where Christ carried the cross and stumbled, kissed
the place where Saint Veronica held out the cloth which took the
miraculous likeness. We examined our souls before Good Friday; we went
to the special yearly Holy Communion now invested with a strange
and awful solemnity. There was the prostration before the Cross at
Golgotha on Good Friday, the receiving of the Sacred Fire, symbol of
the Resurrection, on Holy Saturday, and then the night of the year and
the Great Morning. It seemed when we all kissed one another on Easter
Morning that we had outlived everything--our own life, our own death;
we were in heaven. In symbolic act we had attained unto bliss. The
procession had marched round the church to the supreme emotional
moment. We had all stood on the highest holy place on earth and looked
out for a moment upon Paradise. We had caught the gleam of the Sun of
What happens in the pilgrim's soul on Easter Night is something which
you and I and all of us know; if not in our own minds and in the
domain of letters and words, at least in the heart where music speaks.
To those who have not themselves attained unto Jerusalem and the
"highest of all earthly" it is a promise, and to those who have been
it is a memory and a possession. The Greek monks say that at the
sepulchre a fire bursts out of its own account each Easter Eve, and
there is at least a truth of symbolism in their miracle. An old bishop
and saint was once asked to give sight to a blind woman. He had
performed no miracles in his life, yet he promised to pray for her.
And whilst he knelt in church praying, the candles which were unlit
burst of themselves into flame. The woman at that moment also received
her sight and went home praising God. It is something like that which
happens when the pilgrim kneels on Easter Night. Candles unlit in the
temple of his soul burst into flame, and by their light new pictures
are seen. The part of him that was blind and craved sight gains open
eyes at that moment, and that which seemed impossible is accomplished.
And I, to use the metaphor of the unvisited island, had in a dream
crossed the ocean, had become, through the fulfilling of a rite, more
bound to the life which is beyond. Henceforth I have a more credible
promise and a more substantial hope.
But what then? The journey is ended, the gleam of the vision fades,
and we all return to the life we came from. We descend from what the
pilgrims call the highest holy place on earth and get back to the
ordinary level of life. How can we go back and live the dull round
again? Shall we not be as Lazarus is depicted in Browning's story of
him, spoiled for earth, having seen heaven? The Russian at home calls
the returned pilgrim _polu-svatoe_, a half-saint: does that perhaps
mean that life is spoilt for him?
Some hundreds of aged pilgrims die every year in Lent; they fall
dead on the long tramps in Galilee on the way to Nazareth. Many pass
peacefully away in Jerusalem itself without even seeing Easter there.
They are accounted happy. To be buried at Jerusalem is considered an
especially sweet thing, and it is indeed very good for these aged ones
that the symbol and that which it symbolised should coincide, and that
for them the journey to Jerusalem the earthly should be so obviously
and materially a big step towards Jerusalem the golden. It would have
been sad in a way for such old folk to return once more across the
ocean to the old, somewhat irrelevant life of Mother Russia. But what
of the young who must of necessity go back?
Once Easter was over it was marvellous how eager we were to get on the
first boat and go home again. What were we going to do when we got
there, seeing that we had been to Jerusalem?
We carry our vision back into daily life, or rather, we carry the
memory of it in our hearts until a day of fulfilment. All true visions
are promises, and that which we had was but a glimpse of a Jerusalem
we shall one day live in altogether.
The peasants took many pictures of the sacred places of Jerusalem,
and Jerusalem ikons, back with them to their little houses in Russia,
there to put them in the East corners of their rooms. They will
henceforth light lamps and candles before these pictures. The candle
before the picture is, as we know, man's life being lived in front of
the vision of Jerusalem; man's ordinary daily life in the presence of
the heavenly city.
We realise life itself as the pilgrimage of pilgrimages. Life contains
many pilgrimages to Jerusalem, just as it contains many flowerings of
spring to summer, just as it contains many feasts of Communion and not
merely one. Some of the pilgrims actually go as many as ten times to
that Jerusalem in Palestine. But there are Jerusalems in other places
if they only knew, and pilgrimages in other modes. It is possible to
go back and live the pilgrimage in another way, and to find another
Jerusalem. Life has its depths: we will go down into them. We may
forget the vision there, but as a true pilgrim once said, "We shall
always live again to see our golden hour of victory." That is the
true pilgrim's faith. He will reach Jerusalem again and again. He may
forget, but he will always remember again; he will always rise again
to the light of memory. Deep in the depths of this dark universe our
little daily sun is shining, but up above there is another Sun. At
times throughout our life we rise to the surface, and for a minute
catch a glimpse of that Sun's light: at each of these times we shall
have attained unto Jerusalem and have completed a pilgrimage
within the pilgrimage. There is light on the faces of those living
heroically: it is the light of the vision of Jerusalem.
THE MESSAGE FROM THE HERMIT
The question remains, "Who is the tramp?" Who is the walking person
seen from the vantage ground of these pages? He is necessarily a
masked figure; he wears the disguise of one who has escaped, and also
of one who is a conspirator. He is not the dilettante literary person
gone tramping, nor the pauper vagabond who writes sonnets, though
either of these roles may be part of his disguise. He is not merely
something negligible or accidental or ornamental, he is something real
and true, the product of his time, at once a phenomenon and a portent.
He is the walking hermit, the world-forsaker, but he is above all
things a rebel and a prophet, and he stands in very distinct relation
to the life of his time.
The great fact of the human world to-day is the tremendous commercial
machine which is grinding out at a marvellous acceleration the smaller
and meaner sort of man, the middle class, the average man, "the
damned, compact, liberal majority," to use the words of Ibsen, and
the world daily becomes "more _Chinese_". The rocks are fraying one
another down to desert sand, and mankind becomes a new Sahara.
But over and against the commercial machine stand the rebels, the
defiers of it, those who wish to limit its power, to redeem some of
the slaves, and to rebuild the temples which it has broken down.
Commercialism is at present the great enemy of the individual man. One
already reads in leading articles such phrases as "our commercial,
national, and imperial welfare"--commercial first, national second,
imperial third, and spiritual nowhere.
Commercialism has already subdued the Church of Christ in Western
Europe, it has disorganised the forces of art, and it tends to deny
the living sources of religion, art, and life.
It remains for the rebel to assert that even though the name and idea
of Christianity be sold--as was its Founder--for silver, though it
be rendered an impotent and useless word, yet there is in mankind a
religion which is independent of all names and all words, a spring of
living water that may be subterraneanised for a while, but can never
be altogether dammed and stopped; that there is an art which shall
blossom through all ages, either in the secret places of the world or
in the open, in the place of honour, as long as man lives upon the
And he does more than assert, than merely wind upon his horn outside
the gates of the enchanted city, he is a builder, collector, saver.
He wishes to find the few who, in this fearful commercial submersion,
ought to be living the spiritual life, and showing forth in blossom
the highest significance of the Adam tree. He himself lives the life
which more must of necessity live, if only as a matter of salt to save
the body politic.
It has been urged, "You are unpracticable; you want a world of
tramps--how are you going to live?" But we no more want a world of
tramps than the promiser of new life wants a world of promisers: we
want a world that will take the life promised.
As I have said, we want first of all the few, the hermits, saints, the
altogether lovely men and women, the blossoming of the race. It is
necessary that these be found or that they find themselves, and that
they take their true orbits and live their true lives; for all the
rest of ordinary humanity is waiting to live its life in relation to
these. The few must live their lives out to the full in order that all
others may live their lives completely; for the temple of humanity has
not only the broad floor, but the Cross glittering above the pinnacle.
The night is dark, but there is plenty of hope for the future; the
very extremity of our calamity is something that bids us hope. Fifty
years ago nobody would listen to a gospel of rebellion, and such a
great man as Carlyle was actually preaching that to labour is to pray.
To-day men are ready to lay down their working tools and listen to any
insurrectionist, so aware has mankind become of an impending spiritual
bankruptcy. Never in any preceding generation has the young
man standing on the threshold of life felt more unsettled. His
unsettlement has frequently turned to frenzy and anarchy in individual
cases. Never has he cast his eyes about more desperately for a way of
redemption or a spiritual leader. For him, as for all of us, the one
requirement is to find out what is the _first_ thing to do; not the
nearest, but the _first_, the most essential; the one after which all
other things naturally take their places.
It is not to wreck the great machine, for that would be to rush to the
other extreme of ruin and disorder. It is not even, as I think, to
build a new machine, for that would be to enter into a wasteful
competition wherein we should spend without profit and with much loss
of brotherly love, all our patience and our new desires.
The one way and the first way is to use and subordinate the present
machine, to limit it to its true domain, and let it be our true and
By finding the few who can live the life of communion, the few who
can show forth the true significance of the race. By saving our most
precious thoughts and ideals, and adding them to the similar thoughts
and ideals of others, by putting the instruments of education in their
proper places, by separating and saving in the world of literature and
art the expressions of beauty which are valuable to the coming race,
as distinguished from those that are merely sold for a price. By the
making solitary, which is making sacred.
For instance, I would have the famous and wonderful pictures now
foiling and dwarfing one another in our vulgar galleries, distributed
over the Western world. I wish their enfranchisement. Each great
picture should be given a room to itself, like the Sistine Madonna,
not only a room but a temple like that of the Iverskaya at Moscow, not
only a temple but a fair populous province. The great pictures should
be objects of pilgrimages, and their temples places of prayer. In the
galleries, as is obvious, the pictures are at their smallest, their
glory pressed back into themselves or overlapped or smudged by the
confusing glory of others. Out in the wide world, enshrined in
temples, these pictures would become living hearts, they would have
arms dealing out blessings, they would outgrow again till their
influence was as wide as the little kingdoms in which they were
enshrined. Pictures would again work miracles. What is more, great
pictures would again be painted.
This illustration is valuable allegorically. Great pictures are very
like great souls, very like great and beautiful ideas. What is true
for pictures is true for men.
The men who feel in themselves the instinct for the new life must take
steps to make space for themselves and to make temples. Where they
find the beautiful, the real, they must take it to themselves and
protect it from enemies, they must at once begin to build walls of
defence. So great is their responsibility and so delicate their charge
that they must challenge no one, and invite no discussion and no
hostility. They must have and hold their own beautiful life as they
would a fair young bride.
Where they have visions they must build temples, as the Russian
mouzhiks build churches and put up crosses. Of course I do not mean
material temples, but temples not made by hands, temples of spirit,
temples of remembrance. Where they read in books sacred pages they
must make these pages sacred, sacred for them. Where they find men
noble they must have reference to the noble part of them and deny the
other. They have to win back the beautiful churches and cathedrals.
Often it is said nowadays, "Such and such a church is wonderful and
its service lifts one to heaven, but the clergyman and his sermon are
impossible." But though a clergyman can condition his congregation it
is much more true that the congregation can condition the clergyman.
It is written, "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name,
there am I in the midst of them." When they in the pews are those in
white robes, then He in the pulpit is the Christ Himself.
In literature we have to differentiate what is purely a commercial
product like the yellowback novel, what is educational like the
classic, and what is of the new. With the commercial we have of course
no traffic; the classic is a place for those still learning what has
already been said, a place for orientisation, for finding out where
one stands. In this category are the Shakespearean performances at the
theatre. In any case the classic is necessarily subordinate to the new
literature, the literature of pioneering and discovery, the literature
of ourselves. It is the school which prepares for the stepping forth
on the untrodden ways.
This fencing off, differentiation and allocation, these defences of
the beautiful and new, and of the temples enshrining them, shall
be like the walls round a new sanctuary. We shall thereby protect
ourselves from the encroaching commercial machine, its dwarfing
ethics, mean postulates, and accurst conventions, and we shall rear
within the walls all the beautiful that the outside world says does
not exist. We shall find a whole new world of those who despise the
honours and prizes of the commercial machine, and who care not for
the shows, diversions, pleasures, and gambles provided for commercial
slaves. But it will not cause those of that world to falter if the
great multitude of their fellow-men scoff at them or think that they
Our work is then to separate off and consecrate the beautiful, to
bring the beautiful together and organise it, not renouncing the
machine, but only taking from it the service necessary for our
physical needs, in no case being ruled or guided by it or its
exigencies. When we have accomplished that, a miracle is promised. The
outside world will take shape against our walls and receive its life
through our gates--it will come into relation to us even to the ends
of the earth. The new heart means the salvation of all.
With that we necessarily return to ourselves, the out-flung units of
modern life, tramps so called, rebels, hermits, the portents of the
new era, the first signs of spring after dark winter; some of us, the
purely lyrical, spring flowers; others the prophetic and dynamic,
spring winds--who blowing, shall blow upon winter, as Nietzsche says,
"with a thawing wind."
We are many: I speak for thousands who are voiceless. But we are
feeble, for we know not one another: we shall know.
A new summer is coming and a new adventure; and summer, as all know,
is the year itself, the other seasons being purely subordinate. We are
as yet but February heralds. Nevertheless we ask, standing without the
gates of the sleeping city of winter, "Who of ye within the city are
stepping forth unto the new adventure?" Strange powers are to them;
the mysterious spells of the earth, the renewal of inspiration at the
life source, the essence of new summer colours, the idea of new summer
shapes. To the young men and women of to-day there is a chance to be
as beautiful as it is possible to be upon this little earth, a chance
to find all the significance of life and beauty that is possible for
man to know, a chance to be of the same substance as the fire of
stars, a chance of perfection. It is the voice of the hermit crying
from the wilderness: "I have come back from God with a message and a
blessing--come out ye young men and maidens, for a new season is at
A TRAMP'S SKETCHES
SOME PRESS OPINIONS.
_DAILY TELEGRAPH_.--"A deeply interesting volume that will stimulate
in many readers a desire for that fuller work on his trampings which
Mr. Graham promises.... He is gifted with rare ability to write of
that which he has experienced. It may safely be said that few readers
would wish, after taking up this volume and reading one of the
sketches at random, to put it aside without having read the rest....
It is always something pertinent, fresh, and interesting that the
writer has to tell us."
_DAILY NEWS_.--"Mr. Graham has given us in this robust book a classic
of educated yet wild vagabondage."
_ACADEMY_.--"To have read _A Tramp's Sketches_ is to have been lifted
into a higher and rarer atmosphere.... A book that, if we mistake not,
is destined to endure."
_ENGLISH REVIEW_.--"A delightful book, redolent of the open air, of
the night, of the great silences of expanse, and yet full of incident,
of _apercus_ into Russian conditions and the minds of peasants,
revealing a real spiritual and material sympathy, both with the 'black
earth' and the monks of monasteries, whose hospitality he enjoyed, and
with his fellow-comrades of the road. It is life that interests the
author. Here we can get it, and it is like splashing about in a clear
pool on a warm summer's day, spontaneous in inspiration, mature in
philosophic contemplation. This sort of book gives a man honest
pleasure. More, it sets his heart beating in unison with the author,
in harmony with the awe and beauty and simplicity of Nature."
_QUEEN_.--"The whole book is full of beautiful things.... Mr. Graham
may feel sure that we look forward eagerly to his next book, in which
he promises to tell the full story of his pilgrimage to Jerusalem."
_LITERARY WORLD_.--"A book to read, to cherish, and to turn to again
and again for the renewal of the moods of exaltation which it distils
like dew upon a hillside."
_T.P.'S WEEKLY_.--"A charming book of travel and philosophy. This
tramp is a stylist, and if you have a friend who can appreciate really
intimate and beautiful writing, buy it, and read it carefully word by
word yourself. The pages are cut, and by this means you have a fund
for reverie and talk that is not chatter. In an age of 'topics' and
'masterpieces' this quiet volume is the more delightful."
_GLOBE_.--"Of the true vagabond spirit Mr. Graham possesses a
very abundant share, and it is this sheer delight in tramping for
tramping's sake--the only real joy of living--that, visible in every
word he writes, makes his book so fascinating to read."
_BY THE SAME AUTHOR_.
WITH THE RUSSIAN PILGRIMS TO JERUSALEM
With 38 Illustrations from Photographs by the Author, and a Map. 8vo.