Part 5 out of 15
"The way of the humorist is very hard," said the young man gravely.
He did not seem inclined to work. He looked at his canvas; he was working
in colour, and had sketched in the day before the model who was posing. He
turned to Philip.
"Have you just come out from England?"
"How did you find your way to Amitrano's?"
"It was the only school I knew of."
"I hope you haven't come with the idea that you will learn anything here
which will be of the smallest use to you."
"It's the best school in Paris," said Miss Price. "It's the only one where
they take art seriously."
"Should art be taken seriously?" the young man asked; and since Miss Price
replied only with a scornful shrug, he added: "But the point is, all
schools are bad. They are academical, obviously. Why this is less
injurious than most is that the teaching is more incompetent than
elsewhere. Because you learn nothing...."
"But why d'you come here then?" interrupted Philip.
"I see the better course, but do not follow it. Miss Price, who is
cultured, will remember the Latin of that."
"I wish you would leave me out of your conversation, Mr. Clutton," said
Miss Price brusquely.
"The only way to learn to paint," he went on, imperturbable, "is to take
a studio, hire a model, and just fight it out for yourself."
"That seems a simple thing to do," said Philip.
"It only needs money," replied Clutton.
He began to paint, and Philip looked at him from the comer of his eye. He
was long and desperately thin; his huge bones seemed to protrude from his
body; his elbows were so sharp that they appeared to jut out through the
arms of his shabby coat. His trousers were frayed at the bottom, and on
each of his boots was a clumsy patch. Miss Price got up and went over to
"If Mr. Clutton will hold his tongue for a moment, I'll just help you a
little," she said.
"Miss Price dislikes me because I have humour," said Clutton, looking
meditatively at his canvas, "but she detests me because I have genius."
He spoke with solemnity, and his colossal, misshapen nose made what he
said very quaint. Philip was obliged to laugh, but Miss Price grew darkly
red with anger.
"You're the only person who has ever accused you of genius."
"Also I am the only person whose opinion is of the least value to me."
Miss Price began to criticise what Philip had done. She talked glibly of
anatomy and construction, planes and lines, and of much else which Philip
did not understand. She had been at the studio a long time and knew the
main points which the masters insisted upon, but though she could show
what was wrong with Philip's work she could not tell him how to put it
"It's awfully kind of you to take so much trouble with me," said Philip.
"Oh, it's nothing," she answered, flushing awkwardly. "People did the same
for me when I first came, I'd do it for anyone."
"Miss Price wants to indicate that she is giving you the advantage of her
knowledge from a sense of duty rather than on account of any charms of
your person," said Clutton.
Miss Price gave him a furious look, and went back to her own drawing. The
clock struck twelve, and the model with a cry of relief stepped down from
Miss Price gathered up her things.
"Some of us go to Gravier's for lunch," she said to Philip, with a look at
Clutton. "I always go home myself."
"I'll take you to Gravier's if you like," said Clutton.
Philip thanked him and made ready to go. On his way out Mrs. Otter asked
him how he had been getting on.
"Did Fanny Price help you?" she asked. "I put you there because I know she
can do it if she likes. She's a disagreeable, ill-natured girl, and she
can't draw herself at all, but she knows the ropes, and she can be useful
to a newcomer if she cares to take the trouble."
On the way down the street Clutton said to him:
"You've made an impression on Fanny Price. You'd better look out."
Philip laughed. He had never seen anyone on whom he wished less to make an
impression. They came to the cheap little restaurant at which several of
the students ate, and Clutton sat down at a table at which three or four
men were already seated. For a franc, they got an egg, a plate of meat,
cheese, and a small bottle of wine. Coffee was extra. They sat on the
pavement, and yellow trams passed up and down the boulevard with a
ceaseless ringing of bells.
"By the way, what's your name?" said Clutton, as they took their seats.
"Allow me to introduce an old and trusted friend, Carey by name," said
Clutton gravely. "Mr. Flanagan, Mr. Lawson."
They laughed and went on with their conversation. They talked of a
thousand things, and they all talked at once. No one paid the smallest
attention to anyone else. They talked of the places they had been to in
the summer, of studios, of the various schools; they mentioned names which
were unfamiliar to Philip, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Pissarro, Degas. Philip
listened with all his ears, and though he felt a little out of it, his
heart leaped with exultation. The time flew. When Clutton got up he said:
"I expect you'll find me here this evening if you care to come. You'll
find this about the best place for getting dyspepsia at the lowest cost in
Philip walked down the Boulevard du Montparnasse. It was not at all like
the Paris he had seen in the spring during his visit to do the accounts of
the Hotel St. Georges--he thought already of that part of his life with a
shudder--but reminded him of what he thought a provincial town must be.
There was an easy-going air about it, and a sunny spaciousness which
invited the mind to day-dreaming. The trimness of the trees, the vivid
whiteness of the houses, the breadth, were very agreeable; and he felt
himself already thoroughly at home. He sauntered along, staring at the
people; there seemed an elegance about the most ordinary, workmen with
their broad red sashes and their wide trousers, little soldiers in dingy,
charming uniforms. He came presently to the Avenue de l'Observatoire, and
he gave a sigh of pleasure at the magnificent, yet so graceful, vista. He
came to the gardens of the Luxembourg: children were playing, nurses with
long ribbons walked slowly two by two, busy men passed through with
satchels under their arms, youths strangely dressed. The scene was formal
and dainty; nature was arranged and ordered, but so exquisitely, that
nature unordered and unarranged seemed barbaric. Philip was enchanted. It
excited him to stand on that spot of which he had read so much; it was
classic ground to him; and he felt the awe and the delight which some old
don might feel when for the first time he looked on the smiling plain of
As he wandered he chanced to see Miss Price sitting by herself on a bench.
He hesitated, for he did not at that moment want to see anyone, and her
uncouth way seemed out of place amid the happiness he felt around him; but
he had divined her sensitiveness to affront, and since she had seen him
thought it would be polite to speak to her.
"What are you doing here?" she said, as he came up.
"Enjoying myself. Aren't you?"
"Oh, I come here every day from four to five. I don't think one does any
good if one works straight through."
"May I sit down for a minute?" he said.
"If you want to."
"That doesn't sound very cordial," he laughed.
"I'm not much of a one for saying pretty things."
Philip, a little disconcerted, was silent as he lit a cigarette.
"Did Clutton say anything about my work?" she asked suddenly.
"No, I don't think he did," said Philip.
"He's no good, you know. He thinks he's a genius, but he isn't. He's too
lazy, for one thing. Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains. The
only thing is to peg away. If one only makes up one's mind badly enough to
do a thing one can't help doing it."
She spoke with a passionate strenuousness which was rather striking. She
wore a sailor hat of black straw, a white blouse which was not quite
clean, and a brown skirt. She had no gloves on, and her hands wanted
washing. She was so unattractive that Philip wished he had not begun to
talk to her. He could not make out whether she wanted him to stay or go.
"I'll do anything I can for you," she said all at once, without reference
to anything that had gone before. "I know how hard it is."
"Thank you very much," said Philip, then in a moment: "Won't you come and
have tea with me somewhere?"
She looked at him quickly and flushed. When she reddened her pasty skin
acquired a curiously mottled look, like strawberries and cream that had
"No, thanks. What d'you think I want tea for? I've only just had lunch."
"I thought it would pass the time," said Philip.
"If you find it long you needn't bother about me, you know. I don't mind
being left alone."
At that moment two men passed, in brown velveteens, enormous trousers, and
basque caps. They were young, but both wore beards.
"I say, are those art-students?" said Philip. "They might have stepped out
of the Vie de Boheme."
"They're Americans," said Miss Price scornfully. "Frenchmen haven't worn
things like that for thirty years, but the Americans from the Far West buy
those clothes and have themselves photographed the day after they arrive
in Paris. That's about as near to art as they ever get. But it doesn't
matter to them, they've all got money."
Philip liked the daring picturesqueness of the Americans' costume; he
thought it showed the romantic spirit. Miss Price asked him the time.
"I must be getting along to the studio," she said. "Are you going to the
Philip did not know anything about them, and she told him that from five
to six every evening a model sat, from whom anyone who liked could go and
draw at the cost of fifty centimes. They had a different model every day,
and it was very good practice.
"I don't suppose you're good enough yet for that. You'd better wait a
"I don't see why I shouldn't try. I haven't got anything else to do."
They got up and walked to the studio. Philip could not tell from her
manner whether Miss Price wished him to walk with her or preferred to walk
alone. He remained from sheer embarrassment, not knowing how to leave her;
but she would not talk; she answered his questions in an ungracious
A man was standing at the studio door with a large dish into which each
person as he went in dropped his half franc. The studio was much fuller
than it had been in the morning, and there was not the preponderance of
English and Americans; nor were women there in so large a proportion.
Philip felt the assemblage was more the sort of thing he had expected. It
was very warm, and the air quickly grew fetid. It was an old man who sat
this time, with a vast gray beard, and Philip tried to put into practice
the little he had learned in the morning; but he made a poor job of it; he
realised that he could not draw nearly as well as he thought. He glanced
enviously at one or two sketches of men who sat near him, and wondered
whether he would ever be able to use the charcoal with that mastery. The
hour passed quickly. Not wishing to press himself upon Miss Price he sat
down at some distance from her, and at the end, as he passed her on his
way out, she asked him brusquely how he had got on.
"Not very well," he smiled.
"If you'd condescended to come and sit near me I could have given you some
hints. I suppose you thought yourself too grand."
"No, it wasn't that. I was afraid you'd think me a nuisance."
"When I do that I'll tell you sharp enough."
Philip saw that in her uncouth way she was offering him help.
"Well, tomorrow I'll just force myself upon you."
"I don't mind," she answered.
Philip went out and wondered what he should do with himself till dinner.
He was eager to do something characteristic. Absinthe! of course it was
indicated, and so, sauntering towards the station, he seated himself
outside a cafe and ordered it. He drank with nausea and satisfaction. He
found the taste disgusting, but the moral effect magnificent; he felt
every inch an art-student; and since he drank on an empty stomach his
spirits presently grew very high. He watched the crowds, and felt all men
were his brothers. He was happy. When he reached Gravier's the table at
which Clutton sat was full, but as soon as he saw Philip limping along he
called out to him. They made room. The dinner was frugal, a plate of soup,
a dish of meat, fruit, cheese, and half a bottle of wine; but Philip paid
no attention to what he ate. He took note of the men at the table.
Flanagan was there again: he was an American, a short, snub-nosed youth
with a jolly face and a laughing mouth. He wore a Norfolk jacket of bold
pattern, a blue stock round his neck, and a tweed cap of fantastic shape.
At that time impressionism reigned in the Latin Quarter, but its victory
over the older schools was still recent; and Carolus-Duran, Bouguereau,
and their like were set up against Manet, Monet, and Degas. To appreciate
these was still a sign of grace. Whistler was an influence strong with the
English and his compatriots, and the discerning collected Japanese prints.
The old masters were tested by new standards. The esteem in which Raphael
had been for centuries held was a matter of derision to wise young men.
They offered to give all his works for Velasquez' head of Philip IV in the
National Gallery. Philip found that a discussion on art was raging.
Lawson, whom he had met at luncheon, sat opposite to him. He was a thin
youth with a freckled face and red hair. He had very bright green eyes. As
Philip sat down he fixed them on him and remarked suddenly:
"Raphael was only tolerable when he painted other people's pictures. When
he painted Peruginos or Pinturichios he was charming; when he painted
Raphaels he was," with a scornful shrug, "Raphael."
Lawson spoke so aggressively that Philip was taken aback, but he was not
obliged to answer because Flanagan broke in impatiently.
"Oh, to hell with art!" he cried. "Let's get ginny."
"You were ginny last night, Flanagan," said Lawson.
"Nothing to what I mean to be tonight," he answered. "Fancy being in
Pa-ris and thinking of nothing but art all the time." He spoke with a
broad Western accent. "My, it is good to be alive." He gathered himself
together and then banged his fist on the table. "To hell with art, I say."
"You not only say it, but you say it with tiresome iteration," said
There was another American at the table. He was dressed like those fine
fellows whom Philip had seen that afternoon in the Luxembourg. He had a
handsome face, thin, ascetic, with dark eyes; he wore his fantastic garb
with the dashing air of a buccaneer. He had a vast quantity of dark hair
which fell constantly over his eyes, and his most frequent gesture was to
throw back his head dramatically to get some long wisp out of the way. He
began to talk of the Olympia by Manet, which then hung in the
"I stood in front of it for an hour today, and I tell you it's not a good
Lawson put down his knife and fork. His green eyes flashed fire, he gasped
with rage; but he could be seen imposing calm upon himself.
"It's very interesting to hear the mind of the untutored savage," he said.
"Will you tell us why it isn't a good picture?"
Before the American could answer someone else broke in vehemently.
"D'you mean to say you can look at the painting of that flesh and say it's
"I don't say that. I think the right breast is very well painted."
"The right breast be damned," shouted Lawson. "The whole thing's a miracle
He began to describe in detail the beauties of the picture, but at this
table at Gravier's they who spoke at length spoke for their own
edification. No one listened to him. The American interrupted angrily.
"You don't mean to say you think the head's good?"
Lawson, white with passion now, began to defend the head; but Clutton, who
had been sitting in silence with a look on his face of good-humoured
scorn, broke in.
"Give him the head. We don't want the head. It doesn't affect the
"All right, I'll give you the head," cried Lawson. "Take the head and be
damned to you."
"What about the black line?" cried the American, triumphantly pushing back
a wisp of hair which nearly fell in his soup. "You don't see a black line
round objects in nature."
"Oh, God, send down fire from heaven to consume the blasphemer," said
Lawson. "What has nature got to do with it? No one knows what's in nature
and what isn't! The world sees nature through the eyes of the artist. Why,
for centuries it saw horses jumping a fence with all their legs extended,
and by Heaven, sir, they were extended. It saw shadows black until Monet
discovered they were coloured, and by Heaven, sir, they were black. If we
choose to surround objects with a black line, the world will see the black
line, and there will be a black line; and if we paint grass red and cows
blue, it'll see them red and blue, and, by Heaven, they will be red and
"To hell with art," murmured Flanagan. "I want to get ginny."
Lawson took no notice of the interruption.
"Now look here, when Olympia was shown at the Salon, Zola--amid the
jeers of the Philistines and the hisses of the pompiers, the academicians,
and the public, Zola said: `I look forward to the day when Manet's picture
will hang in the Louvre opposite the Odalisque of Ingres, and it will
not be the Odalisque which will gain by comparison.' It'll be there.
Every day I see the time grow nearer. In ten years the Olympia will be
in the Louvre."
"Never," shouted the American, using both hands now with a sudden
desperate attempt to get his hair once for all out of the way. "In ten
years that picture will be dead. It's only a fashion of the moment. No
picture can live that hasn't got something which that picture misses by a
"And what is that?"
"Great art can't exist without a moral element."
"Oh God!" cried Lawson furiously. "I knew it was that. He wants morality."
He joined his hands and held them towards heaven in supplication. "Oh,
Christopher Columbus, Christopher Columbus, what did you do when you
But before he could add another word, Clutton rapped with the handle of
his knife imperiously on the table.
"Gentlemen," he said in a stern voice, and his huge nose positively
wrinkled with passion, "a name has been mentioned which I never thought to
hear again in decent society. Freedom of speech is all very well, but we
must observe the limits of common propriety. You may talk of Bouguereau if
you will: there is a cheerful disgustingness in the sound which excites
laughter; but let us not sully our chaste lips with the names of J.
Ruskin, G. F. Watts, or E. B. Jones."
"Who was Ruskin anyway?" asked Flanagan.
"He was one of the Great Victorians. He was a master of English style."
"Ruskin's style--a thing of shreds and purple patches," said Lawson.
"Besides, damn the Great Victorians. Whenever I open a paper and see Death
of a Great Victorian, I thank Heaven there's one more of them gone. Their
only talent was longevity, and no artist should be allowed to live after
he's forty; by then a man has done his best work, all he does after that
is repetition. Don't you think it was the greatest luck in the world for
them that Keats, Shelley, Bonnington, and Byron died early? What a genius
we should think Swinburne if he had perished on the day the first series
of Poems and Ballads was published!"
The suggestion pleased, for no one at the table was more than twenty-four,
and they threw themselves upon it with gusto. They were unanimous for
once. They elaborated. Someone proposed a vast bonfire made out of the
works of the Forty Academicians into which the Great Victorians might be
hurled on their fortieth birthday. The idea was received with acclamation.
Carlyle and Ruskin, Tennyson, Browning, G. F. Watts, E. B. Jones, Dickens,
Thackeray, they were hurried into the flames; Mr. Gladstone, John Bright,
and Cobden; there was a moment's discussion about George Meredith, but
Matthew Arnold and Emerson were given up cheerfully. At last came Walter
"Not Walter Pater," murmured Philip.
Lawson stared at him for a moment with his green eyes and then nodded.
"You're quite right, Walter Pater is the only justification for Mona Lisa.
D'you know Cronshaw? He used to know Pater."
"Who's Cronshaw?" asked Philip.
"Cronshaw's a poet. He lives here. Let's go to the Lilas."
La Closerie des Lilas was a cafe to which they often went in the evening
after dinner, and here Cronshaw was invariably to be found between the
hours of nine at night and two in the morning. But Flanagan had had enough
of intellectual conversation for one evening, and when Lawson made his
suggestion, turned to Philip.
"Oh gee, let's go where there are girls," he said. "Come to the Gaite
Montparnasse, and we'll get ginny."
"I'd rather go and see Cronshaw and keep sober," laughed Philip.
There was a general disturbance. Flanagan and two or three more went on to
the music-hall, while Philip walked slowly with Clutton and Lawson to the
Closerie des Lilas.
"You must go to the Gaite Montparnasse," said Lawson to him. "It's one of
the loveliest things in Paris. I'm going to paint it one of these days."
Philip, influenced by Hayward, looked upon music-halls with scornful eyes,
but he had reached Paris at a time when their artistic possibilities were
just discovered. The peculiarities of lighting, the masses of dingy red
and tarnished gold, the heaviness of the shadows and the decorative lines,
offered a new theme; and half the studios in the Quarter contained
sketches made in one or other of the local theatres. Men of letters,
following in the painters' wake, conspired suddenly to find artistic value
in the turns; and red-nosed comedians were lauded to the skies for their
sense of character; fat female singers, who had bawled obscurely for
twenty years, were discovered to possess inimitable drollery; there were
those who found an aesthetic delight in performing dogs; while others
exhausted their vocabulary to extol the distinction of conjurers and
trick-cyclists. The crowd too, under another influence, was become an
object of sympathetic interest. With Hayward, Philip had disdained
humanity in the mass; he adopted the attitude of one who wraps himself in
solitariness and watches with disgust the antics of the vulgar; but
Clutton and Lawson talked of the multitude with enthusiasm. They described
the seething throng that filled the various fairs of Paris, the sea of
faces, half seen in the glare of acetylene, half hidden in the darkness,
and the blare of trumpets, the hooting of whistles, the hum of voices.
What they said was new and strange to Philip. They told him about
"Have you ever read any of his work?"
"No," said Philip.
"It came out in The Yellow Book."
They looked upon him, as painters often do writers, with contempt because
he was a layman, with tolerance because he practised an art, and with awe
because he used a medium in which themselves felt ill-at-ease.
"He's an extraordinary fellow. You'll find him a bit disappointing at
first, he only comes out at his best when he's drunk."
"And the nuisance is," added Clutton, "that it takes him a devil of a time
to get drunk."
When they arrived at the cafe Lawson told Philip that they would have to
go in. There was hardly a bite in the autumn air, but Cronshaw had a
morbid fear of draughts and even in the warmest weather sat inside.
"He knows everyone worth knowing," Lawson explained. "He knew Pater and
Oscar Wilde, and he knows Mallarme and all those fellows."
The object of their search sat in the most sheltered corner of the cafe,
with his coat on and the collar turned up. He wore his hat pressed well
down on his forehead so that he should avoid cold air. He was a big man,
stout but not obese, with a round face, a small moustache, and little,
rather stupid eyes. His head did not seem quite big enough for his body.
It looked like a pea uneasily poised on an egg. He was playing dominoes
with a Frenchman, and greeted the new-comers with a quiet smile; he did
not speak, but as if to make room for them pushed away the little pile of
saucers on the table which indicated the number of drinks he had already
consumed. He nodded to Philip when he was introduced to him, and went on
with the game. Philip's knowledge of the language was small, but he knew
enough to tell that Cronshaw, although he had lived in Paris for several
years, spoke French execrably.
At last he leaned back with a smile of triumph.
"Je vous ai battu," he said, with an abominable accent. "Garcong!"
He called the waiter and turned to Philip.
"Just out from England? See any cricket?"
Philip was a little confused at the unexpected question.
"Cronshaw knows the averages of every first-class cricketer for the last
twenty years," said Lawson, smiling.
The Frenchman left them for friends at another table, and Cronshaw, with
the lazy enunciation which was one of his peculiarities, began to
discourse on the relative merits of Kent and Lancashire. He told them of
the last test match he had seen and described the course of the game
wicket by wicket.
"That's the only thing I miss in Paris," he said, as he finished the
bock which the waiter had brought. "You don't get any cricket."
Philip was disappointed, and Lawson, pardonably anxious to show off one of
the celebrities of the Quarter, grew impatient. Cronshaw was taking his
time to wake up that evening, though the saucers at his side indicated
that he had at least made an honest attempt to get drunk. Clutton watched
the scene with amusement. He fancied there was something of affectation in
Cronshaw's minute knowledge of cricket; he liked to tantalise people by
talking to them of things that obviously bored them; Clutton threw in a
"Have you seen Mallarme lately?"
Cronshaw looked at him slowly, as if he were turning the inquiry over in
his mind, and before he answered rapped on the marble table with one of
"Bring my bottle of whiskey," he called out. He turned again to Philip. "I
keep my own bottle of whiskey. I can't afford to pay fifty centimes for
The waiter brought the bottle, and Cronshaw held it up to the light.
"They've been drinking it. Waiter, who's been helping himself to my
"Mais personne, Monsieur Cronshaw."
"I made a mark on it last night, and look at it."
"Monsieur made a mark, but he kept on drinking after that. At that rate
Monsieur wastes his time in making marks."
The waiter was a jovial fellow and knew Cronshaw intimately. Cronshaw
gazed at him.
"If you give me your word of honour as a nobleman and a gentleman that
nobody but I has been drinking my whiskey, I'll accept your statement."
This remark, translated literally into the crudest French, sounded very
funny, and the lady at the comptoir could not help laughing.
"Il est impayable," she murmured.
Cronshaw, hearing her, turned a sheepish eye upon her; she was stout,
matronly, and middle-aged; and solemnly kissed his hand to her. She
shrugged her shoulders.
"Fear not, madam," he said heavily. "I have passed the age when I am
tempted by forty-five and gratitude."
He poured himself out some whiskey and water, and slowly drank it. He
wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
"He talked very well."
Lawson and Clutton knew that Cronshaw's remark was an answer to the
question about Mallarme. Cronshaw often went to the gatherings on Tuesday
evenings when the poet received men of letters and painters, and
discoursed with subtle oratory on any subject that was suggested to him.
Cronshaw had evidently been there lately.
"He talked very well, but he talked nonsense. He talked about art as
though it were the most important thing in the world."
"If it isn't, what are we here for?" asked Philip.
"What you're here for I don't know. It is no business of mine. But art is
a luxury. Men attach importance only to self-preservation and the
propagation of their species. It is only when these instincts are
satisfied that they consent to occupy themselves with the entertainment
which is provided for them by writers, painters, and poets."
Cronshaw stopped for a moment to drink. He had pondered for twenty years
the problem whether he loved liquor because it made him talk or whether he
loved conversation because it made him thirsty.
Then he said: "I wrote a poem yesterday."
Without being asked he began to recite it, very slowly, marking the rhythm
with an extended forefinger. It was possibly a very fine poem, but at that
moment a young woman came in. She had scarlet lips, and it was plain that
the vivid colour of her cheeks was not due to the vulgarity of nature; she
had blackened her eyelashes and eyebrows, and painted both eyelids a bold
blue, which was continued to a triangle at the corner of the eyes. It was
fantastic and amusing. Her dark hair was done over her ears in the fashion
made popular by Mlle. Cleo de Merode. Philip's eyes wandered to her, and
Cronshaw, having finished the recitation of his verses, smiled upon him
"You were not listening," he said.
"Oh yes, I was."
"I do not blame you, for you have given an apt illustration of the
statement I just made. What is art beside love? I respect and applaud your
indifference to fine poetry when you can contemplate the meretricious
charms of this young person."
She passed by the table at which they were sitting, and he took her arm.
"Come and sit by my side, dear child, and let us play the divine comedy of
"Fichez-moi la paix," she said, and pushing him on one side continued
"Art," he continued, with a wave of the hand, "is merely the refuge which
the ingenious have invented, when they were supplied with food and women,
to escape the tediousness of life."
Cronshaw filled his glass again, and began to talk at length. He spoke
with rotund delivery. He chose his words carefully. He mingled wisdom and
nonsense in the most astounding manner, gravely making fun of his hearers
at one moment, and at the next playfully giving them sound advice. He
talked of art, and literature, and life. He was by turns devout and
obscene, merry and lachrymose. He grew remarkably drunk, and then he began
to recite poetry, his own and Milton's, his own and Shelley's, his own and
At last Lawson, exhausted, got up to go home.
"I shall go too," said Philip.
Clutton, the most silent of them all, remained behind listening, with a
sardonic smile on his lips, to Cronshaw's maunderings. Lawson accompanied
Philip to his hotel and then bade him good-night. But when Philip got to
bed he could not sleep. All these new ideas that had been flung before him
carelessly seethed in his brain. He was tremendously excited. He felt in
himself great powers. He had never before been so self-confident.
"I know I shall be a great artist," he said to himself. "I feel it in me."
A thrill passed through him as another thought came, but even to himself
he would not put it into words:
"By George, I believe I've got genius."
He was in fact very drunk, but as he had not taken more than one glass of
beer, it could have been due only to a more dangerous intoxicant than
On Tuesdays and Fridays masters spent the morning at Amitrano's,
criticising the work done. In France the painter earns little unless he
paints portraits and is patronised by rich Americans; and men of
reputation are glad to increase their incomes by spending two or three
hours once a week at one of the numerous studios where art is taught.
Tuesday was the day upon which Michel Rollin came to Amitrano's. He was an
elderly man, with a white beard and a florid complexion, who had painted
a number of decorations for the State, but these were an object of
derision to the students he instructed: he was a disciple of Ingres,
impervious to the progress of art and angrily impatient with that tas de
farceurs whose names were Manet, Degas, Monet, and Sisley; but he was an
excellent teacher, helpful, polite, and encouraging. Foinet, on the other
hand, who visited the studio on Fridays, was a difficult man to get on
with. He was a small, shrivelled person, with bad teeth and a bilious air,
an untidy gray beard, and savage eyes; his voice was high and his tone
sarcastic. He had had pictures bought by the Luxembourg, and at
twenty-five looked forward to a great career; but his talent was due to
youth rather than to personality, and for twenty years he had done nothing
but repeat the landscape which had brought him his early success. When he
was reproached with monotony, he answered:
"Corot only painted one thing. Why shouldn't I?"
He was envious of everyone else's success, and had a peculiar, personal
loathing of the impressionists; for he looked upon his own failure as due
to the mad fashion which had attracted the public, sale bete, to their
works. The genial disdain of Michel Rollin, who called them impostors, was
answered by him with vituperation, of which crapule and canaille were
the least violent items; he amused himself with abuse of their private
lives, and with sardonic humour, with blasphemous and obscene detail,
attacked the legitimacy of their births and the purity of their conjugal
relations: he used an Oriental imagery and an Oriental emphasis to
accentuate his ribald scorn. Nor did he conceal his contempt for the
students whose work he examined. By them he was hated and feared; the
women by his brutal sarcasm he reduced often to tears, which again aroused
his ridicule; and he remained at the studio, notwithstanding the protests
of those who suffered too bitterly from his attacks, because there could
be no doubt that he was one of the best masters in Paris. Sometimes the
old model who kept the school ventured to remonstrate with him, but his
expostulations quickly gave way before the violent insolence of the
painter to abject apologies.
It was Foinet with whom Philip first came in contact. He was already in
the studio when Philip arrived. He went round from easel to easel, with
Mrs. Otter, the massiere, by his side to interpret his remarks for the
benefit of those who could not understand French. Fanny Price, sitting
next to Philip, was working feverishly. Her face was sallow with
nervousness, and every now and then she stopped to wipe her hands on her
blouse; for they were hot with anxiety. Suddenly she turned to Philip with
an anxious look, which she tried to hide by a sullen frown.
"D'you think it's good?" she asked, nodding at her drawing.
Philip got up and looked at it. He was astounded; he felt she must have no
eye at all; the thing was hopelessly out of drawing.
"I wish I could draw half as well myself," he answered.
"You can't expect to, you've only just come. It's a bit too much to expect
that you should draw as well as I do. I've been here two years."
Fanny Price puzzled Philip. Her conceit was stupendous. Philip had already
discovered that everyone in the studio cordially disliked her; and it was
no wonder, for she seemed to go out of her way to wound people.
"I complained to Mrs. Otter about Foinet," she said now. "The last two
weeks he hasn't looked at my drawings. He spends about half an hour on
Mrs. Otter because she's the massiere. After all I pay as much as
anybody else, and I suppose my money's as good as theirs. I don't see why
I shouldn't get as much attention as anybody else."
She took up her charcoal again, but in a moment put it down with a groan.
"I can't do any more now. I'm so frightfully nervous."
She looked at Foinet, who was coming towards them with Mrs. Otter. Mrs.
Otter, meek, mediocre, and self-satisfied, wore an air of importance.
Foinet sat down at the easel of an untidy little Englishwoman called Ruth
Chalice. She had the fine black eyes, languid but passionate, the thin
face, ascetic but sensual, the skin like old ivory, which under the
influence of Burne-Jones were cultivated at that time by young ladies in
Chelsea. Foinet seemed in a pleasant mood; he did not say much to her, but
with quick, determined strokes of her charcoal pointed out her errors.
Miss Chalice beamed with pleasure when he rose. He came to Clutton, and by
this time Philip was nervous too but Mrs. Otter had promised to make
things easy for him. Foinet stood for a moment in front of Clutton's work,
biting his thumb silently, then absent-mindedly spat out upon the canvas
the little piece of skin which he had bitten off.
"That's a fine line," he said at last, indicating with his thumb what
pleased him. "You're beginning to learn to draw."
Clutton did not answer, but looked at the master with his usual air of
sardonic indifference to the world's opinion.
"I'm beginning to think you have at least a trace of talent."
Mrs. Otter, who did not like Clutton, pursed her lips. She did not see
anything out of the way in his work. Foinet sat down and went into
technical details. Mrs. Otter grew rather tired of standing. Clutton did
not say anything, but nodded now and then, and Foinet felt with
satisfaction that he grasped what he said and the reasons of it; most of
them listened to him, but it was clear they never understood. Then Foinet
got up and came to Philip.
"He only arrived two days ago," Mrs. Otter hurried to explain. "He's a
beginner. He's never studied before."
"Ca se voit," the master said. "One sees that."
He passed on, and Mrs. Otter murmured to him:
"This is the young lady I told you about."
He looked at her as though she were some repulsive animal, and his voice
grew more rasping.
"It appears that you do not think I pay enough attention to you. You have
been complaining to the massiere. Well, show me this work to which you
wish me to give attention."
Fanny Price coloured. The blood under her unhealthy skin seemed to be of
a strange purple. Without answering she pointed to the drawing on which
she had been at work since the beginning of the week. Foinet sat down.
"Well, what do you wish me to say to you? Do you wish me to tell you it is
good? It isn't. Do you wish me to tell you it is well drawn? It isn't. Do
you wish me to say it has merit? It hasn't. Do you wish me to show you
what is wrong with it? It is all wrong. Do you wish me to tell you what to
do with it? Tear it up. Are you satisfied now?"
Miss Price became very white. She was furious because he had said all this
before Mrs. Otter. Though she had been in France so long and could
understand French well enough, she could hardly speak two words.
"He's got no right to treat me like that. My money's as good as anyone
else's. I pay him to teach me. That's not teaching me."
"What does she say? What does she say?" asked Foinet.
Mrs. Otter hesitated to translate, and Miss Price repeated in execrable
"Je vous paye pour m'apprendre."
His eyes flashed with rage, he raised his voice and shook his fist.
"Mais, nom de Dieu, I can't teach you. I could more easily teach a
camel." He turned to Mrs. Otter. "Ask her, does she do this for amusement,
or does she expect to earn money by it?"
"I'm going to earn my living as an artist," Miss Price answered.
"Then it is my duty to tell you that you are wasting your time. It would
not matter that you have no talent, talent does not run about the streets
in these days, but you have not the beginning of an aptitude. How long
have you been here? A child of five after two lessons would draw better
than you do. I only say one thing to you, give up this hopeless attempt.
You're more likely to earn your living as a bonne a tout faire than as
a painter. Look."
He seized a piece of charcoal, and it broke as he applied it to the paper.
He cursed, and with the stump drew great firm lines. He drew rapidly and
spoke at the same time, spitting out the words with venom.
"Look, those arms are not the same length. That knee, it's grotesque. I
tell you a child of five. You see, she's not standing on her legs. That
With each word the angry pencil made a mark, and in a moment the drawing
upon which Fanny Price had spent so much time and eager trouble was
unrecognisable, a confusion of lines and smudges. At last he flung down
the charcoal and stood up.
"Take my advice, Mademoiselle, try dressmaking." He looked at his watch.
"It's twelve. A la semaine prochaine, messieurs."
Miss Price gathered up her things slowly. Philip waited behind after the
others to say to her something consolatory. He could think of nothing but:
"I say, I'm awfully sorry. What a beast that man is!"
She turned on him savagely.
"Is that what you're waiting about for? When I want your sympathy I'll ask
for it. Please get out of my way."
She walked past him, out of the studio, and Philip, with a shrug of the
shoulders, limped along to Gravier's for luncheon.
"It served her right," said Lawson, when Philip told him what had
happened. "Ill-tempered slut."
Lawson was very sensitive to criticism and, in order to avoid it, never
went to the studio when Foinet was coming.
"I don't want other people's opinion of my work," he said. "I know myself
if it's good or bad."
"You mean you don't want other people's bad opinion of your work,"
answered Clutton dryly.
In the afternoon Philip thought he would go to the Luxembourg to see the
pictures, and walking through the garden he saw Fanny Price sitting in her
accustomed seat. He was sore at the rudeness with which she had met his
well-meant attempt to say something pleasant, and passed as though he had
not caught sight of her. But she got up at once and came towards him.
"Are you trying to cut me?" she said.
"No, of course not. I thought perhaps you didn't want to be spoken to."
"Where are you going?"
"I wanted to have a look at the Manet, I've heard so much about it."
"Would you like me to come with you? I know the Luxembourg rather well. I
could show you one or two good things."
He understood that, unable to bring herself to apologise directly, she
made this offer as amends.
"It's awfully kind of you. I should like it very much."
"You needn't say yes if you'd rather go alone," she said suspiciously.
They walked towards the gallery. Caillebotte's collection had lately been
placed on view, and the student for the first time had the opportunity to
examine at his ease the works of the impressionists. Till then it had been
possible to see them only at Durand-Ruel's shop in the Rue Lafitte (and
the dealer, unlike his fellows in England, who adopt towards the painter
an attitude of superiority, was always pleased to show the shabbiest
student whatever he wanted to see), or at his private house, to which it
was not difficult to get a card of admission on Tuesdays, and where you
might see pictures of world-wide reputation. Miss Price led Philip
straight up to Manet's Olympia. He looked at it in astonished silence.
"Do you like it?" asked Miss Price.
"I don't know," he answered helplessly.
"You can take it from me that it's the best thing in the gallery except
perhaps Whistler's portrait of his mother."
She gave him a certain time to contemplate the masterpiece and then took
him to a picture representing a railway-station.
"Look, here's a Monet," she said. "It's the Gare St. Lazare."
"But the railway lines aren't parallel," said Philip.
"What does that matter?" she asked, with a haughty air.
Philip felt ashamed of himself. Fanny Price had picked up the glib chatter
of the studios and had no difficulty in impressing Philip with the extent
of her knowledge. She proceeded to explain the pictures to him,
superciliously but not without insight, and showed him what the painters
had attempted and what he must look for. She talked with much
gesticulation of the thumb, and Philip, to whom all she said was new,
listened with profound but bewildered interest. Till now he had worshipped
Watts and Burne-Jones. The pretty colour of the first, the affected
drawing of the second, had entirely satisfied his aesthetic sensibilities.
Their vague idealism, the suspicion of a philosophical idea which underlay
the titles they gave their pictures, accorded very well with the functions
of art as from his diligent perusal of Ruskin he understood it; but here
was something quite different: here was no moral appeal; and the
contemplation of these works could help no one to lead a purer and a
higher life. He was puzzled.
At last he said: "You know, I'm simply dead. I don't think I can absorb
anything more profitably. Let's go and sit down on one of the benches."
"It's better not to take too much art at a time," Miss Price answered.
When they got outside he thanked her warmly for the trouble she had taken.
"Oh, that's all right," she said, a little ungraciously. "I do it because
I enjoy it. We'll go to the Louvre tomorrow if you like, and then I'll
take you to Durand-Ruel's."
"You're really awfully good to me."
"You don't think me such a beast as the most of them do."
"I don't," he smiled.
"They think they'll drive me away from the studio; but they won't; I shall
stay there just exactly as long as it suits me. All that this morning, it
was Lucy Otter's doing, I know it was. She always has hated me. She
thought after that I'd take myself off. I daresay she'd like me to go.
She's afraid I know too much about her."
Miss Price told him a long, involved story, which made out that Mrs.
Otter, a humdrum and respectable little person, had scabrous intrigues.
Then she talked of Ruth Chalice, the girl whom Foinet had praised that
"She's been with every one of the fellows at the studio. She's nothing
better than a street-walker. And she's dirty. She hasn't had a bath for a
month. I know it for a fact."
Philip listened uncomfortably. He had heard already that various rumours
were in circulation about Miss Chalice; but it was ridiculous to suppose
that Mrs. Otter, living with her mother, was anything but rigidly
virtuous. The woman walking by his side with her malignant lying
positively horrified him.
"I don't care what they say. I shall go on just the same. I know I've got
it in me. I feel I'm an artist. I'd sooner kill myself than give it up.
Oh, I shan't be the first they've all laughed at in the schools and then
he's turned out the only genius of the lot. Art's the only thing I care
for, I'm willing to give my whole life to it. It's only a question of
sticking to it and pegging away"
She found discreditable motives for everyone who would not take her at her
own estimate of herself. She detested Clutton. She told Philip that his
friend had no talent really; it was just flashy and superficial; he
couldn't compose a figure to save his life. And Lawson:
"Little beast, with his red hair and his freckles. He's so afraid of
Foinet that he won't let him see his work. After all, I don't funk it, do
I? I don't care what Foinet says to me, I know I'm a real artist."
They reached the street in which she lived, and with a sigh of relief
Philip left her.
But notwithstanding when Miss Price on the following Sunday offered to
take him to the Louvre Philip accepted. She showed him Mona Lisa. He
looked at it with a slight feeling of disappointment, but he had read till
he knew by heart the jewelled words with which Walter Pater has added
beauty to the most famous picture in the world; and these now he repeated
to Miss Price.
"That's all literature," she said, a little contemptuously. "You must get
away from that."
She showed him the Rembrandts, and she said many appropriate things about
them. She stood in front of the Disciples at Emmaus.
"When you feel the beauty of that," she said, "you'll know something about
She showed him the Odalisque and La Source of Ingres. Fanny Price was
a peremptory guide, she would not let him look at the things he wished,
and attempted to force his admiration for all she admired. She was
desperately in earnest with her study of art, and when Philip, passing in
the Long Gallery a window that looked out on the Tuileries, gay, sunny,
and urbane, like a picture by Raffaelli, exclaimed:
"I say, how jolly! Do let's stop here a minute."
She said, indifferently: "Yes, it's all right. But we've come here to look
The autumn air, blithe and vivacious, elated Philip; and when towards
mid-day they stood in the great court-yard of the Louvre, he felt inclined
to cry like Flanagan: To hell with art.
"I say, do let's go to one of those restaurants in the Boul' Mich' and
have a snack together, shall we?" he suggested.
Miss Price gave him a suspicious look.
"I've got my lunch waiting for me at home," she answered.
"That doesn't matter. You can eat it tomorrow. Do let me stand you a
"I don't know why you want to."
"It would give me pleasure," he replied, smiling.
They crossed the river, and at the corner of the Boulevard St. Michel
there was a restaurant.
"Let's go in there."
"No, I won't go there, it looks too expensive."
She walked on firmly, and Philip was obliged to follow. A few steps
brought them to a smaller restaurant, where a dozen people were already
lunching on the pavement under an awning; on the window was announced in
large white letters: Dejeuner 1.25, vin compris.
"We couldn't have anything cheaper than this, and it looks quite all
They sat down at a vacant table and waited for the omelette which was the
first article on the bill of fare. Philip gazed with delight upon the
passers-by. His heart went out to them. He was tired but very happy.
"I say, look at that man in the blouse. Isn't he ripping!"
He glanced at Miss Price, and to his astonishment saw that she was looking
down at her plate, regardless of the passing spectacle, and two heavy
tears were rolling down her cheeks.
"What on earth's the matter?" he exclaimed.
"If you say anything to me I shall get up and go at once," she answered.
He was entirely puzzled, but fortunately at that moment the omelette came.
He divided it in two and they began to eat. Philip did his best to talk of
indifferent things, and it seemed as though Miss Price were making an
effort on her side to be agreeable; but the luncheon was not altogether a
success. Philip was squeamish, and the way in which Miss Price ate took
his appetite away. She ate noisily, greedily, a little like a wild beast
in a menagerie, and after she had finished each course rubbed the plate
with pieces of bread till it was white and shining, as if she did not wish
to lose a single drop of gravy. They had Camembert cheese, and it
disgusted Philip to see that she ate rind and all of the portion that was
given her. She could not have eaten more ravenously if she were starving.
Miss Price was unaccountable, and having parted from her on one day with
friendliness he could never tell whether on the next she would not be
sulky and uncivil; but he learned a good deal from her: though she could
not draw well herself, she knew all that could be taught, and her constant
suggestions helped his progress. Mrs. Otter was useful to him too, and
sometimes Miss Chalice criticised his work; he learned from the glib
loquacity of Lawson and from the example of Clutton. But Fanny Price hated
him to take suggestions from anyone but herself, and when he asked her
help after someone else had been talking to him she would refuse with
brutal rudeness. The other fellows, Lawson, Clutton, Flanagan, chaffed him
"You be careful, my lad," they said, "she's in love with you."
"Oh, what nonsense," he laughed.
The thought that Miss Price could be in love with anyone was preposterous.
It made him shudder when he thought of her uncomeliness, the bedraggled
hair and the dirty hands, the brown dress she always wore, stained and
ragged at the hem: he supposed she was hard up, they were all hard up, but
she might at least be clean; and it was surely possible with a needle and
thread to make her skirt tidy.
Philip began to sort his impressions of the people he was thrown in
contact with. He was not so ingenuous as in those days which now seemed so
long ago at Heidelberg, and, beginning to take a more deliberate interest
in humanity, he was inclined to examine and to criticise. He found it
difficult to know Clutton any better after seeing him every day for three
months than on the first day of their acquaintance. The general impression
at the studio was that he was able; it was supposed that he would do great
things, and he shared the general opinion; but what exactly he was going
to do neither he nor anybody else quite knew. He had worked at several
studios before Amitrano's, at Julian's, the Beaux Arts, and MacPherson's,
and was remaining longer at Amitrano's than anywhere because he found
himself more left alone. He was not fond of showing his work, and unlike
most of the young men who were studying art neither sought nor gave
advice. It was said that in the little studio in the Rue Campagne
Premiere, which served him for work-room and bed-room, he had wonderful
pictures which would make his reputation if only he could be induced to
exhibit them. He could not afford a model but painted still life, and
Lawson constantly talked of a plate of apples which he declared was a
masterpiece. He was fastidious, and, aiming at something he did not quite
fully grasp, was constantly dissatisfied with his work as a whole: perhaps
a part would please him, the forearm or the leg and foot of a figure, a
glass or a cup in a still-life; and he would cut this out and keep it,
destroying the rest of the canvas; so that when people invited themselves
to see his work he could truthfully answer that he had not a single
picture to show. In Brittany he had come across a painter whom nobody else
had heard of, a queer fellow who had been a stockbroker and taken up
painting at middle-age, and he was greatly influenced by his work. He was
turning his back on the impressionists and working out for himself
painfully an individual way not only of painting but of seeing. Philip
felt in him something strangely original.
At Gravier's where they ate, and in the evening at the Versailles or at
the Closerie des Lilas Clutton was inclined to taciturnity. He sat
quietly, with a sardonic expression on his gaunt face, and spoke only when
the opportunity occurred to throw in a witticism. He liked a butt and was
most cheerful when someone was there on whom he could exercise his
sarcasm. He seldom talked of anything but painting, and then only with the
one or two persons whom he thought worth while. Philip wondered whether
there was in him really anything: his reticence, the haggard look of him,
the pungent humour, seemed to suggest personality, but might be no more
than an effective mask which covered nothing.
With Lawson on the other hand Philip soon grew intimate. He had a variety
of interests which made him an agreeable companion. He read more than most
of the students and though his income was small, loved to buy books. He
lent them willingly; and Philip became acquainted with Flaubert and
Balzac, with Verlaine, Heredia, and Villiers de l'Isle Adam. They went to
plays together and sometimes to the gallery of the Opera Comique. There
was the Odeon quite near them, and Philip soon shared his friend's passion
for the tragedians of Louis XIV and the sonorous Alexandrine. In the Rue
Taitbout were the Concerts Rouge, where for seventy-five centimes they
could hear excellent music and get into the bargain something which it was
quite possible to drink: the seats were uncomfortable, the place was
crowded, the air thick with caporal horrible to breathe, but in their
young enthusiasm they were indifferent. Sometimes they went to the Bal
Bullier. On these occasions Flanagan accompanied them. His excitability
and his roisterous enthusiasm made them laugh. He was an excellent dancer,
and before they had been ten minutes in the room he was prancing round
with some little shop-girl whose acquaintance he had just made.
The desire of all of them was to have a mistress. It was part of the
paraphernalia of the art-student in Paris. It gave consideration in the
eyes of one's fellows. It was something to boast about. But the difficulty
was that they had scarcely enough money to keep themselves, and though
they argued that French-women were so clever it cost no more to keep two
then one, they found it difficult to meet young women who were willing to
take that view of the circumstances. They had to content themselves for
the most part with envying and abusing the ladies who received protection
from painters of more settled respectability than their own. It was
extraordinary how difficult these things were in Paris. Lawson would
become acquainted with some young thing and make an appointment; for
twenty-four hours he would be all in a flutter and describe the charmer at
length to everyone he met; but she never by any chance turned up at the
time fixed. He would come to Gravier's very late, ill-tempered, and
"Confound it, another rabbit! I don't know why it is they don't like me.
I suppose it's because I don't speak French well, or my red hair. It's too
sickening to have spent over a year in Paris without getting hold of
"You don't go the right way to work," said Flanagan.
He had a long and enviable list of triumphs to narrate, and though they
took leave not to believe all he said, evidence forced them to acknowledge
that he did not altogether lie. But he sought no permanent arrangement. He
only had two years in Paris: he had persuaded his people to let him come
and study art instead of going to college; but at the end of that period
he was to return to Seattle and go into his father's business. He had made
up his mind to get as much fun as possible into the time, and demanded
variety rather than duration in his love affairs.
"I don't know how you get hold of them," said Lawson furiously.
"There's no difficulty about that, sonny," answered Flanagan. "You just go
right in. The difficulty is to get rid of them. That's where you want
Philip was too much occupied with his work, the books he was reading, the
plays he saw, the conversation he listened to, to trouble himself with the
desire for female society. He thought there would be plenty of time for
that when he could speak French more glibly.
It was more than a year now since he had seen Miss Wilkinson, and during
his first weeks in Paris he had been too busy to answer a letter she had
written to him just before he left Blackstable. When another came, knowing
it would be full of reproaches and not being just then in the mood for
them, he put it aside, intending to open it later; but he forgot and did
not run across it till a month afterwards, when he was turning out a
drawer to find some socks that had no holes in them. He looked at the
unopened letter with dismay. He was afraid that Miss Wilkinson had
suffered a good deal, and it made him feel a brute; but she had probably
got over the suffering by now, at all events the worst of it. It suggested
itself to him that women were often very emphatic in their expressions.
These did not mean so much as when men used them. He had quite made up his
mind that nothing would induce him ever to see her again. He had not
written for so long that it seemed hardly worth while to write now. He
made up his mind not to read the letter.
"I daresay she won't write again," he said to himself. "She can't help
seeing the thing's over. After all, she was old enough to be my mother;
she ought to have known better."
For an hour or two he felt a little uncomfortable. His attitude was
obviously the right one, but he could not help a feeling of
dissatisfaction with the whole business. Miss Wilkinson, however, did not
write again; nor did she, as he absurdly feared, suddenly appear in Paris
to make him ridiculous before his friends. In a little while he clean
Meanwhile he definitely forsook his old gods. The amazement with which at
first he had looked upon the works of the impressionists, changed to
admiration; and presently he found himself talking as emphatically as the
rest on the merits of Manet, Monet, and Degas. He bought a photograph of
a drawing by Ingres of the Odalisque and a photograph of the Olympia.
They were pinned side by side over his washing-stand so that he could
contemplate their beauty while he shaved. He knew now quite positively
that there had been no painting of landscape before Monet; and he felt a
real thrill when he stood in front of Rembrandt's Disciples at Emmaus or
Velasquez' Lady with the Flea-bitten Nose. That was not her real name,
but by that she was distinguished at Gravier's to emphasise the picture's
beauty notwithstanding the somewhat revolting peculiarity of the sitter's
appearance. With Ruskin, Burne-Jones, and Watts, he had put aside his
bowler hat and the neat blue tie with white spots which he had worn on
coming to Paris; and now disported himself in a soft, broad-brimmed hat,
a flowing black cravat, and a cape of romantic cut. He walked along the
Boulevard du Montparnasse as though he had known it all his life, and by
virtuous perseverance he had learnt to drink absinthe without distaste. He
was letting his hair grow, and it was only because Nature is unkind and
has no regard for the immortal longings of youth that he did not attempt
Philip soon realised that the spirit which informed his friends was
Cronshaw's. It was from him that Lawson got his paradoxes; and even
Clutton, who strained after individuality, expressed himself in the terms
he had insensibly acquired from the older man. It was his ideas that they
bandied about at table, and on his authority they formed their judgments.
They made up for the respect with which unconsciously they treated him by
laughing at his foibles and lamenting his vices.
"Of course, poor old Cronshaw will never do any good," they said. "He's
They prided themselves on being alone in appreciating his genius; and
though, with the contempt of youth for the follies of middle-age, they
patronised him among themselves, they did not fail to look upon it as a
feather in their caps if he had chosen a time when only one was there to
be particularly wonderful. Cronshaw never came to Gravier's. For the last
four years he had lived in squalid conditions with a woman whom only
Lawson had once seen, in a tiny apartment on the sixth floor of one of the
most dilapidated houses on the Quai des Grands Augustins: Lawson described
with gusto the filth, the untidiness, the litter.
"And the stink nearly blew your head off."
"Not at dinner, Lawson," expostulated one of the others.
But he would not deny himself the pleasure of giving picturesque details
of the odours which met his nostril. With a fierce delight in his own
realism he described the woman who had opened the door for him. She was
dark, small, and fat, quite young, with black hair that seemed always on
the point of coming down. She wore a slatternly blouse and no corsets.
With her red cheeks, large sensual mouth, and shining, lewd eyes, she
reminded you of the Bohemienne in the Louvre by Franz Hals. She had a
flaunting vulgarity which amused and yet horrified. A scrubby, unwashed
baby was playing on the floor. It was known that the slut deceived
Cronshaw with the most worthless ragamuffins of the Quarter, and it was a
mystery to the ingenuous youths who absorbed his wisdom over a cafe table
that Cronshaw with his keen intellect and his passion for beauty could
ally himself to such a creature. But he seemed to revel in the coarseness
of her language and would often report some phrase which reeked of the
gutter. He referred to her ironically as la fille de mon concierge.
Cronshaw was very poor. He earned a bare subsistence by writing on the
exhibitions of pictures for one or two English papers, and he did a
certain amount of translating. He had been on the staff of an English
paper in Paris, but had been dismissed for drunkenness; he still however
did odd jobs for it, describing sales at the Hotel Drouot or the revues at
music-halls. The life of Paris had got into his bones, and he would not
change it, notwithstanding its squalor, drudgery, and hardship, for any
other in the world. He remained there all through the year, even in summer
when everyone he knew was away, and felt himself only at ease within a
mile of the Boulevard St. Michel. But the curious thing was that he had
never learnt to speak French passably, and he kept in his shabby clothes
bought at La Belle Jardiniere an ineradicably English appearance.
He was a man who would have made a success of life a century and a half
ago when conversation was a passport to good company and inebriety no bar.
"I ought to have lived in the eighteen hundreds," he said himself. "What
I want is a patron. I should have published my poems by subscription and
dedicated them to a nobleman. I long to compose rhymed couplets upon the
poodle of a countess. My soul yearns for the love of chamber-maids and the
conversation of bishops."
He quoted the romantic Rolla,
"Je suis venu trop tard dans un monde trop vieux."
He liked new faces, and he took a fancy to Philip, who seemed to achieve
the difficult feat of talking just enough to suggest conversation and not
too much to prevent monologue. Philip was captivated. He did not realise
that little that Cronshaw said was new. His personality in conversation
had a curious power. He had a beautiful and a sonorous voice, and a manner
of putting things which was irresistible to youth. All he said seemed to
excite thought, and often on the way home Lawson and Philip would walk to
and from one another's hotels, discussing some point which a chance word
of Cronshaw had suggested. It was disconcerting to Philip, who had a
youthful eagerness for results, that Cronshaw's poetry hardly came up to
expectation. It had never been published in a volume, but most of it had
appeared in periodicals; and after a good deal of persuasion Cronshaw
brought down a bundle of pages torn out of The Yellow Book, The
Saturday Review, and other journals, on each of which was a poem. Philip
was taken aback to find that most of them reminded him either of Henley or
of Swinburne. It needed the splendour of Cronshaw's delivery to make them
personal. He expressed his disappointment to Lawson, who carelessly
repeated his words; and next time Philip went to the Closerie des Lilas
the poet turned to him with his sleek smile:
"I hear you don't think much of my verses."
Philip was embarrassed.
"I don't know about that," he answered. "I enjoyed reading them very
"Do not attempt to spare my feelings," returned Cronshaw, with a wave of
his fat hand. "I do not attach any exaggerated importance to my poetical
works. Life is there to be lived rather than to be written about. My aim
is to search out the manifold experience that it offers, wringing from
each moment what of emotion it presents. I look upon my writing as a
graceful accomplishment which does not absorb but rather adds pleasure to
existence. And as for posterity--damn posterity."
Philip smiled, for it leaped to one's eyes that the artist in life had
produced no more than a wretched daub. Cronshaw looked at him meditatively
and filled his glass. He sent the waiter for a packet of cigarettes.
"You are amused because I talk in this fashion and you know that I am poor
and live in an attic with a vulgar trollop who deceives me with
hair-dressers and garcons de cafe; I translate wretched books for the
British public, and write articles upon contemptible pictures which
deserve not even to be abused. But pray tell me what is the meaning of
"I say, that's rather a difficult question. Won't you give the answer
"No, because it's worthless unless you yourself discover it. But what do
you suppose you are in the world for?"
Philip had never asked himself, and he thought for a moment before
"Oh, I don't know: I suppose to do one's duty, and make the best possible
use of one's faculties, and avoid hurting other people."
"In short, to do unto others as you would they should do unto you?"
"I suppose so."
"No, it isn't," said Philip indignantly. "It has nothing to do with
Christianity. It's just abstract morality."
"But there's no such thing as abstract morality."
"In that case, supposing under the influence of liquor you left your purse
behind when you leave here and I picked it up, why do you imagine that I
should return it to you? It's not the fear of the police."
"It's the dread of hell if you sin and the hope of Heaven if you are
"But I believe in neither."
"That may be. Neither did Kant when he devised the Categorical Imperative.
You have thrown aside a creed, but you have preserved the ethic which was
based upon it. To all intents you are a Christian still, and if there is
a God in Heaven you will undoubtedly receive your reward. The Almighty can
hardly be such a fool as the churches make out. If you keep His laws I
don't think He can care a packet of pins whether you believe in Him or
"But if I left my purse behind you would certainly return it to me," said
"Not from motives of abstract morality, but only from fear of the police."
"It's a thousand to one that the police would never find out."
"My ancestors have lived in a civilised state so long that the fear of the
police has eaten into my bones. The daughter of my concierge would not
hesitate for a moment. You answer that she belongs to the criminal
classes; not at all, she is merely devoid of vulgar prejudice."
"But then that does away with honour and virtue and goodness and decency
and everything," said Philip.
"Have you ever committed a sin?"
"I don't know, I suppose so," answered Philip.
"You speak with the lips of a dissenting minister. I have never committed
Cronshaw in his shabby great-coat, with the collar turned up, and his hat
well down on his head, with his red fat face and his little gleaming eyes,
looked extraordinarily comic; but Philip was too much in earnest to laugh.
"Have you never done anything you regret?"
"How can I regret when what I did was inevitable?" asked Cronshaw in
"But that's fatalism."
"The illusion which man has that his will is free is so deeply rooted that
I am ready to accept it. I act as though I were a free agent. But when an
action is performed it is clear that all the forces of the universe from
all eternity conspired to cause it, and nothing I could do could have
prevented it. It was inevitable. If it was good I can claim no merit; if
it was bad I can accept no censure."
"My brain reels," said Philip.
"Have some whiskey," returned Cronshaw, passing over the bottle. "There's
nothing like it for clearing the head. You must expect to be thick-witted
if you insist upon drinking beer."
Philip shook his head, and Cronshaw proceeded:
"You're not a bad fellow, but you won't drink. Sobriety disturbs
conversation. But when I speak of good and bad..." Philip saw he was
taking up the thread of his discourse, "I speak conventionally. I attach
no meaning to those words. I refuse to make a hierarchy of human actions
and ascribe worthiness to some and ill-repute to others. The terms vice
and virtue have no signification for me. I do not confer praise or blame:
I accept. I am the measure of all things. I am the centre of the world."
"But there are one or two other people in the world," objected Philip.
"I speak only for myself. I know them only as they limit my activities.
Round each of them too the world turns, and each one for himself is the
centre of the universe. My right over them extends only as far as my
power. What I can do is the only limit of what I may do. Because we are
gregarious we live in society, and society holds together by means of
force, force of arms (that is the policeman) and force of public opinion
(that is Mrs. Grundy). You have society on one hand and the individual on
the other: each is an organism striving for self-preservation. It is might
against might. I stand alone, bound to accept society and not unwilling,
since in return for the taxes I pay it protects me, a weakling, against
the tyranny of another stronger than I am; but I submit to its laws
because I must; I do not acknowledge their justice: I do not know justice,
I only know power. And when I have paid for the policeman who protects me
and, if I live in a country where conscription is in force, served in the
army which guards my house and land from the invader, I am quits with
society: for the rest I counter its might with my wiliness. It makes laws
for its self-preservation, and if I break them it imprisons or kills me:
it has the might to do so and therefore the right. If I break the laws I
will accept the vengeance of the state, but I will not regard it as
punishment nor shall I feel myself convicted of wrong-doing. Society
tempts me to its service by honours and riches and the good opinion of my
fellows; but I am indifferent to their good opinion, I despise honours and
I can do very well without riches."
"But if everyone thought like you things would go to pieces at once."
"I have nothing to do with others, I am only concerned with myself. I take
advantage of the fact that the majority of mankind are led by certain
rewards to do things which directly or indirectly tend to my convenience."
"It seems to me an awfully selfish way of looking at things," said Philip.
"But are you under the impression that men ever do anything except for
"It is impossible that they should. You will find as you grow older that
the first thing needful to make the world a tolerable place to live in is
to recognise the inevitable selfishness of humanity. You demand
unselfishness from others, which is a preposterous claim that they should
sacrifice their desires to yours. Why should they? When you are reconciled
to the fact that each is for himself in the world you will ask less from
your fellows. They will not disappoint you, and you will look upon them
more charitably. Men seek but one thing in life--their pleasure."
"No, no, no!" cried Philip.
"You rear like a frightened colt, because I use a word to which your
Christianity ascribes a deprecatory meaning. You have a hierarchy of
values; pleasure is at the bottom of the ladder, and you speak with a
little thrill of self-satisfaction, of duty, charity, and truthfulness.
You think pleasure is only of the senses; the wretched slaves who
manufactured your morality despised a satisfaction which they had small
means of enjoying. You would not be so frightened if I had spoken of
happiness instead of pleasure: it sounds less shocking, and your mind
wanders from the sty of Epicurus to his garden. But I will speak of
pleasure, for I see that men aim at that, and I do not know that they aim
at happiness. It is pleasure that lurks in the practice of every one of
your virtues. Man performs actions because they are good for him, and when
they are good for other people as well they are thought virtuous: if he
finds pleasure in giving alms he is charitable; if he finds pleasure in
helping others he is benevolent; if he finds pleasure in working for
society he is public-spirited; but it is for your private pleasure that
you give twopence to a beggar as much as it is for my private pleasure
that I drink another whiskey and soda. I, less of a humbug than you,
neither applaud myself for my pleasure nor demand your admiration."
"But have you never known people do things they didn't want to instead of
things they did?"
"No. You put your question foolishly. What you mean is that people accept
an immediate pain rather than an immediate pleasure. The objection is as
foolish as your manner of putting it. It is clear that men accept an
immediate pain rather than an immediate pleasure, but only because they
expect a greater pleasure in the future. Often the pleasure is illusory,
but their error in calculation is no refutation of the rule. You are
puzzled because you cannot get over the idea that pleasures are only of
the senses; but, child, a man who dies for his country dies because he
likes it as surely as a man eats pickled cabbage because he likes it. It
is a law of creation. If it were possible for men to prefer pain to
pleasure the human race would have long since become extinct."
"But if all that is true," cried Philip, "what is the use of anything? If
you take away duty and goodness and beauty why are we brought into the
"Here comes the gorgeous East to suggest an answer," smiled Cronshaw.
He pointed to two persons who at that moment opened the door of the cafe,
and, with a blast of cold air, entered. They were Levantines, itinerant
vendors of cheap rugs, and each bore on his arm a bundle. It was Sunday
evening, and the cafe was very full. They passed among the tables, and in
that atmosphere heavy and discoloured with tobacco smoke, rank with
humanity, they seemed to bring an air of mystery. They were clad in
European, shabby clothes, their thin great-coats were threadbare, but each
wore a tarbouch. Their faces were gray with cold. One was of middle age,
with a black beard, but the other was a youth of eighteen, with a face
deeply scarred by smallpox and with one eye only. They passed by Cronshaw
"Allah is great, and Mahomet is his prophet," said Cronshaw impressively.
The elder advanced with a cringing smile, like a mongrel used to blows.
With a sidelong glance at the door and a quick surreptitious movement he
showed a pornographic picture.
"Are you Masr-ed-Deen, the merchant of Alexandria, or is it from far
Bagdad that you bring your goods, O, my uncle; and yonder one-eyed youth,
do I see in him one of the three kings of whom Scheherazade told stories
to her lord?"
The pedlar's smile grew more ingratiating, though he understood no word of
what Cronshaw said, and like a conjurer he produced a sandalwood box.
"Nay, show us the priceless web of Eastern looms," quoth Cronshaw. "For I
would point a moral and adorn a tale."
The Levantine unfolded a table-cloth, red and yellow, vulgar, hideous, and
"Thirty-five francs," he said.
"O, my uncle, this cloth knew not the weavers of Samarkand, and those
colours were never made in the vats of Bokhara."
"Twenty-five francs," smiled the pedlar obsequiously.
"Ultima Thule was the place of its manufacture, even Birmingham the place
of my birth."
"Fifteen francs," cringed the bearded man.
"Get thee gone, fellow," said Cronshaw. "May wild asses defile the grave
of thy maternal grandmother."
Imperturbably, but smiling no more, the Levantine passed with his wares to
another table. Cronshaw turned to Philip.
"Have you ever been to the Cluny, the museum? There you will see Persian
carpets of the most exquisite hue and of a pattern the beautiful intricacy
of which delights and amazes the eye. In them you will see the mystery and
the sensual beauty of the East, the roses of Hafiz and the wine-cup of
Omar; but presently you will see more. You were asking just now what was
the meaning of life. Go and look at those Persian carpets, and one of
these days the answer will come to you."
"You are cryptic," said Philip.
"I am drunk," answered Cronshaw.
Philip did not find living in Paris as cheap as he had been led to believe
and by February had spent most of the money with which he started. He was
too proud to appeal to his guardian, nor did he wish Aunt Louisa to know
that his circumstances were straitened, since he was certain she would
make an effort to send him something from her own pocket, and he knew how
little she could afford to. In three months he would attain his majority
and come into possession of his small fortune. He tided over the interval
by selling the few trinkets which he had inherited from his father.
At about this time Lawson suggested that they should take a small studio
which was vacant in one of the streets that led out of the Boulevard
Raspail. It was very cheap. It had a room attached, which they could use
as a bed-room; and since Philip was at the school every morning Lawson
could have the undisturbed use of the studio then; Lawson, after wandering
from school to school, had come to the conclusion that he could work best
alone, and proposed to get a model in three or four days a week. At first
Philip hesitated on account of the expense, but they reckoned it out; and
it seemed (they were so anxious to have a studio of their own that they
calculated pragmatically) that the cost would not be much greater than
that of living in a hotel. Though the rent and the cleaning by the
concierge would come to a little more, they would save on the petit
dejeuner, which they could make themselves. A year or two earlier Philip
would have refused to share a room with anyone, since he was so sensitive
about his deformed foot, but his morbid way of looking at it was growing
less marked: in Paris it did not seem to matter so much, and, though he
never by any chance forgot it himself, he ceased to feel that other people
were constantly noticing it.
They moved in, bought a couple of beds, a washing-stand, a few chairs, and
felt for the first time the thrill of possession. They were so excited
that the first night they went to bed in what they could call a home they
lay awake talking till three in the morning; and next day found lighting
the fire and making their own coffee, which they had in pyjamas, such a
jolly business that Philip did not get to Amitrano's till nearly eleven.
He was in excellent spirits. He nodded to Fanny Price.
"How are you getting on?" he asked cheerily.
"What does that matter to you?" she asked in reply.
Philip could not help laughing.
"Don't jump down my throat. I was only trying to make myself polite."
"I don't want your politeness."
"D'you think it's worth while quarrelling with me too?" asked Philip
mildly. "There are so few people you're on speaking terms with, as it is."
"That's my business, isn't it?"
He began to work, vaguely wondering why Fanny Price made herself so
disagreeable. He had come to the conclusion that he thoroughly disliked
her. Everyone did. People were only civil to her at all from fear of the
malice of her tongue; for to their faces and behind their backs she said
abominable things. But Philip was feeling so happy that he did not want
even Miss Price to bear ill-feeling towards him. He used the artifice
which had often before succeeded in banishing her ill-humour.
"I say, I wish you'd come and look at my drawing. I've got in an awful
"Thank you very much, but I've got something better to do with my time."
Philip stared at her in surprise, for the one thing she could be counted
upon to do with alacrity was to give advice. She went on quickly in a low
voice, savage with fury.
"Now that Lawson's gone you think you'll put up with me. Thank you very
much. Go and find somebody else to help you. I don't want anybody else's
Lawson had the pedagogic instinct; whenever he found anything out he was
eager to impart it; and because he taught with delight he talked with
profit. Philip, without thinking anything about it, had got into the habit
of sitting by his side; it never occurred to him that Fanny Price was
consumed with jealousy, and watched his acceptance of someone else's
tuition with ever-increasing anger.
"You were very glad to put up with me when you knew nobody here," she said
bitterly, "and as soon as you made friends with other people you threw me
aside, like an old glove"--she repeated the stale metaphor with
satisfaction--"like an old glove. All right, I don't care, but I'm not
going to be made a fool of another time."
There was a suspicion of truth in what she said, and it made Philip angry
enough to answer what first came into his head.
"Hang it all, I only asked your advice because I saw it pleased you."
She gave a gasp and threw him a sudden look of anguish. Then two tears
rolled down her cheeks. She looked frowsy and grotesque. Philip, not
knowing what on earth this new attitude implied, went back to his work. He
was uneasy and conscience-stricken; but he would not go to her and say he
was sorry if he had caused her pain, because he was afraid she would take
the opportunity to snub him. For two or three weeks she did not speak to
him, and, after Philip had got over the discomfort of being cut by her, he
was somewhat relieved to be free from so difficult a friendship. He had
been a little disconcerted by the air of proprietorship she assumed over
him. She was an extraordinary woman. She came every day to the studio at
eight o'clock, and was ready to start working when the model was in
position; she worked steadily, talking to no one, struggling hour after
hour with difficulties she could not overcome, and remained till the clock
struck twelve. Her work was hopeless. There was not in it the smallest
approach even to the mediocre achievement at which most of the young
persons were able after some months to arrive. She wore every day the same
ugly brown dress, with the mud of the last wet day still caked on the hem
and with the raggedness, which Philip had noticed the first time he saw
her, still unmended.
But one day she came up to him, and with a scarlet face asked whether she
might speak to him afterwards.
"Of course, as much as you like," smiled Philip. "I'll wait behind at
He went to her when the day's work was over.
"Will you walk a little bit with me?" she said, looking away from him with
They walked for two or three minutes in silence.
"D'you remember what you said to me the other day?" she asked then on a
"Oh, I say, don't let's quarrel," said Philip. "It really isn't worth
She gave a quick, painful inspiration.
"I don't want to quarrel with you. You're the only friend I had in Paris.
I thought you rather liked me. I felt there was something between us. I
was drawn towards you--you know what I mean, your club-foot."
Philip reddened and instinctively tried to walk without a limp. He did not
like anyone to mention the deformity. He knew what Fanny Price meant. She
was ugly and uncouth, and because he was deformed there was between them
a certain sympathy. He was very angry with her, but he forced himself not
"You said you only asked my advice to please me. Don't you think my work's
"I've only seen your drawing at Amitrano's. It's awfully hard to judge
"I was wondering if you'd come and look at my other work. I've never asked
anyone else to look at it. I should like to show it to you."
"It's awfully kind of you. I'd like to see it very much."
"I live quite near here," she said apologetically. "It'll only take you
"Oh, that's all right," he said.
They were walking along the boulevard, and she turned down a side street,
then led him into another, poorer still, with cheap shops on the ground
floor, and at last stopped. They climbed flight after flight of stairs.
She unlocked a door, and they went into a tiny attic with a sloping roof
and a small window. This was closed and the room had a musty smell. Though
it was very cold there was no fire and no sign that there had been one.
The bed was unmade. A chair, a chest of drawers which served also as a
wash-stand, and a cheap easel, were all the furniture. The place would
have been squalid enough in any case, but the litter, the untidiness, made
the impression revolting. On the chimney-piece, scattered over with paints
and brushes, were a cup, a dirty plate, and a tea-pot.
"If you'll stand over there I'll put them on the chair so that you can see
She showed him twenty small canvases, about eighteen by twelve. She placed
them on the chair, one after the other, watching his face; he nodded as he
looked at each one.
"You do like them, don't you?" she said anxiously, after a bit.
"I just want to look at them all first," he answered. "I'll talk
He was collecting himself. He was panic-stricken. He did not know what to
say. It was not only that they were ill-drawn, or that the colour was put
on amateurishly by someone who had no eye for it; but there was no attempt
at getting the values, and the perspective was grotesque. It looked like
the work of a child of five, but a child would have had some naivete and
might at least have made an attempt to put down what he saw; but here was
the work of a vulgar mind chock full of recollections of vulgar pictures.
Philip remembered that she had talked enthusiastically about Monet and the
Impressionists, but here were only the worst traditions of the Royal
"There," she said at last, "that's the lot."
Philip was no more truthful than anybody else, but he had a great
difficulty in telling a thundering, deliberate lie, and he blushed
furiously when he answered:
"I think they're most awfully good."
A faint colour came into her unhealthy cheeks, and she smiled a little.
"You needn't say so if you don't think so, you know. I want the truth."
"But I do think so."
"Haven't you got any criticism to offer? There must be some you don't like
as well as others."
Philip looked round helplessly. He saw a landscape, the typical
picturesque `bit' of the amateur, an old bridge, a creeper-clad cottage,
and a leafy bank.
"Of course I don't pretend to know anything about it," he said. "But I
wasn't quite sure about the values of that."
She flushed darkly and taking up the picture quickly turned its back to
"I don't know why you should have chosen that one to sneer at. It's the
best thing I've ever done. I'm sure my values are all right. That's a
thing you can't teach anyone, you either understand values or you don't."
"I think they're all most awfully good," repeated Philip.
She looked at them with an air of self-satisfaction.
"I don't think they're anything to be ashamed of."
Philip looked at his watch.
"I say, it's getting late. Won't you let me give you a little lunch?"
"I've got my lunch waiting for me here."
Philip saw no sign of it, but supposed perhaps the concierge would bring
it up when he was gone. He was in a hurry to get away. The mustiness of
the room made his head ache.
In March there was all the excitement of sending in to the Salon. Clutton,
characteristically, had nothing ready, and he was very scornful of the two
heads that Lawson sent; they were obviously the work of a student,
straight-forward portraits of models, but they had a certain force;
Clutton, aiming at perfection, had no patience with efforts which betrayed
hesitancy, and with a shrug of the shoulders told Lawson it was an
impertinence to exhibit stuff which should never have been allowed out of
his studio; he was not less contemptuous when the two heads were accepted.
Flanagan tried his luck too, but his picture was refused. Mrs. Otter sent
a blameless Portrait de ma Mere, accomplished and second-rate; and was
hung in a very good place.
Hayward, whom Philip had not seen since he left Heidelberg, arrived in
Paris to spend a few days in time to come to the party which Lawson and
Philip were giving in their studio to celebrate the hanging of Lawson's
pictures. Philip had been eager to see Hayward again, but when at last
they met, he experienced some disappointment. Hayward had altered a little
in appearance: his fine hair was thinner, and with the rapid wilting of
the very fair, he was becoming wizened and colourless; his blue eyes were
paler than they had been, and there was a muzziness about his features. On
the other hand, in mind he did not seem to have changed at all, and the
culture which had impressed Philip at eighteen aroused somewhat the
contempt of Philip at twenty-one. He had altered a good deal himself, and
regarding with scorn all his old opinions of art, life, and letters, had
no patience with anyone who still held them. He was scarcely conscious of
the fact that he wanted to show off before Hayward, but when he took him
round the galleries he poured out to him all the revolutionary opinions
which himself had so recently adopted. He took him to Manet's Olympia
and said dramatically:
"I would give all the old masters except Velasquez, Rembrandt, and Vermeer
for that one picture."
"Who was Vermeer?" asked Hayward.
"Oh, my dear fellow, don't you know Vermeer? You're not civilised. You
mustn't live a moment longer without making his acquaintance. He's the one
old master who painted like a modern."
He dragged Hayward out of the Luxembourg and hurried him off to the
"But aren't there any more pictures here?" asked Hayward, with the
tourist's passion for thoroughness.
"Nothing of the least consequence. You can come and look at them by
yourself with your Baedeker."
When they arrived at the Louvre Philip led his friend down the Long
"I should like to see The Gioconda," said Hayward.
"Oh, my dear fellow, it's only literature," answered Philip.
At last, in a small room, Philip stopped before The Lacemaker of Vermeer
"There, that's the best picture in the Louvre. It's exactly like a Manet."
With an expressive, eloquent thumb Philip expatiated on the charming work.
He used the jargon of the studios with overpowering effect.
"I don't know that I see anything so wonderful as all that in it," said
"Of course it's a painter's picture," said Philip. "I can quite believe
the layman would see nothing much in it."
"The what?" said Hayward.
Like most people who cultivate an interest in the arts, Hayward was
extremely anxious to be right. He was dogmatic with those who did not
venture to assert themselves, but with the self-assertive he was very
modest. He was impressed by Philip's assurance, and accepted meekly
Philip's implied suggestion that the painter's arrogant claim to be the