Citation
London fairy tales

Material Information

Title:
London fairy tales
Creator:
Lewis, Arthur W. ( Author, Primary )
Naumann, Paul ( Printer )
Leonard Smithers ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Leonard Smithers and Co.
Manufacturer:
Paul Naumann
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
viii, 206 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Conduct of life -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Storytelling -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Love ( lcsh )
Possibility -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Short stories ( lcsh )
Fiction -- London (England) ( lcsh )
Allegories -- 1899 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre:
Allegories ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
by Arthur W. Lewis ; with decorations by the author.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026845913 ( ALEPH )
ALH3390 ( NOTIS )
13417827 ( OCLC )

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Entrance:to Land-of- Romance. *








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London Fairy Tales 7
By Arthur W. Lewis

With Decorations
By the Author



LONDON

LEONARD SMITHERS AND CO
5 OLD BOND STREET W

1899





THE ENTRANCE TO FAIRYLAND: A PREFATORY STORY
THE JOURNEY

VARIATIONS

THE GAME

Two CHAPTERS ...

AT THE ENTRANCE

VENUS AND THE:PAINTER

THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY

THE WITCH

SATAN’S PICTURE

THE TEMPLE OF BEAUTY

THE MILLIONAIRE

AN ENTERTAINMENT a ea
THE BANQUET OF THE DESPERATE ...
TWO STORIES

PAGE

nN
AR OF 4

DAF w ow
Or wu

64
71
79
84
88
gI



vili CONTENTS.

THE BOOK OF TRUE IDEAS ... ae Bos it a oh
THE PICTURE BOOK ,,. on eee ws ae Soar wee
THE PRINCE’S DREAMS a ar ase rei oor Bae
THE PALACE IN THE SEA eae ae ase ae oe

THE PHOTOGRAPHER ... a Br oa aoe as aes
A DAY AND A DREAM ... aie fon ie hae ae ao
BEFORE YOU WERE BORN ae ats ee te aa Be
GROTESQUES... ae oF: ie ae a ae a
THE BOOKSELLER oe oe aes she ms oa nee
FAIRYTOWN ace eee aso aes Sto wae Vas Die
THE DELIVERANCE Gee eee ee bod ao oe aes
A DAY DREAM ... aes aS ei ee wes au; ve
THE MAD MASQUERADERS Bes Bee ae

A VERY SIMPLE ADVENTURE ... ees ao at ae

THE LAND OF LAZINESS es Pe Bee we a

THE UNBUILT TOWER ... ies os Bis oS te ae
THE MISER Pe bs eee sue dee ate

A LOVE STORY ... i ate an es ee be a
THE DEPARTURE FROM FAIRYLAND: THE CONCLUDING STORY
DINNER AT A RESTAURANT: A STORY AS APPENDIX .., ee:



PAGE

172
177





LONDON FAIRY TALES

THE ENTRANCE TO FAIRYLAND:
A PREFATORY STORY.

“ UNFORTUNATELY,” I said, “you have succeeded in injuring
me. The coarse words that you have spoken and forgotten,—
I shall not be able to forget them; I will not again speak to
you nor see you, yet I shall constantly hear your evil folly
repeated in my brain.”

He stared at me‘with hatred, he smiled at me with scorn.
As he stared, my reason became dumb; I did not know what
words the strange, hard, loud voice of hate was about to speak
out of my mouth:

As he smiled at me with scorn, I changed into a dog and
I growled confused words of rage. He beat me with a stick ;
I bit him and ran into the street. I ran in and out between
legs and skirts and wheels and hoofs,—I do not know where
I ran.

Then I turned to a quieter street; the houses were dark

B



2 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

and colourless with the city’s dirt, and there was no light in
any of the windows.

Suddenly I saw a curious building; in its steeple there
was a projecting window, protected by tracery through which
light shone; over the door curved lines of iron supported an
inscribed stone, on which was written “The Entrance to Fairy-
land” ;—a faint gleam came through the pierced carving of the
half-opened door out of the darkness within.

I pushed aside a little of the curtain that hung behind the
door; then, with a joyous bark, I entered into the light.

An old man was talking to a beautiful lady; I passed
under a table and went up to her; she stroked me and even
kissed my hairy nose. Then it was good and joyful to be a
dog. As she looked at me with kind eyes I changed into a
man again. Hate was silent in my brain, and Love stretched
out his arms to embrace the universe.

“TIT am glad to see the guest,” said the old man, “who
comes to our feast.”

“ A poor beast, unworthy to sit with you,” I answered.

“That you have been a dog is unalterable,” said the lady ;
“but you are now a man and we are glad to see you.”

“Is it because I am with you that I am aman? If I
were always with you, I should be removed from all folly ; I
should be turned towards the entrance to Heaven on earth,—
I should be serious and move towards an end.”

“Let me tell you then,” said the old man, “ that he who
can read my unspoken thoughts shall marry my daughter.”

I looked at him.

Then my mouth was aera and I was astonished at my
own words.

“Take my daushter” said the old man; “he who reads the
thoughts of Wisdom shall live with Beauty.”



THE ENTRANCE TO FAIRYLAND. 3

“ My beautiful Soul,” I said, “ will you live with me?”

“T shall always love you, but you will forget me.”

Now the table was set ready for a feast ; I. took a glass
from it, I threw it violently on to the ground,—it broke into
fragments.

“May it be thus with me if ever [ forget you,’ I
said.

The guests who came to eat with us were not, as I had
expected, Kings and Princes of Fairyland, and the most
beautiful women ever on the earth—they were men and women
from the streets of London.

When we had finished eating, the old man said: “ Will not
each of our guests tell us a fairy tale, we should like to hear
them.”

But they smiled, and sat unmoved and scornful, and said
they did not know any fairy tales.

She who was to be my wife told them that she desired it,
and everyone was ready to speak.

“Before you begin,” said the old man, “I should like to
say a few words as Preface.

“The study of the Impossible is a good stimulant for all
who are burdened with the difficulties of life; but such an
audience demands a feeling of capacity for seriousness even
from the narrator of the most irregular fairy tales.

“This feeling might be attained, I fancy, if you could bring
the Impossible into contact with the routine of life, so that it
were combined with the actual serious emotions, thoughts,
questions, and surroundings of ordinary London life of to-day.”

Then each, in turn, told a tale, and most of them seemed
to heed the old man’s words.

And the Tales that follow here are what I remember of
their speech.





THE JOURNEY.

I.

I was tired of ugly walls and of colourless crowds and of the
noisy city that is usually enveloped in a cloud of smoke.

I was tired of the unmoral warfare of commerce and of the
monotonous weariness of painful circumstances and of deadly,
useless vexations that extinguish the light of the soul.

I was tired of the artistic, who, being surrounded by ugli-
ness, thirst for every mental stimulant, however maddening it
be, and who absorb themselves in a painful love of dreams.

I was tired of the well-fed society that calls itself respect-
able; it gossips about people and depicts their meanness and
absurdity without seeming to know that there is a soul of
beautiful nobility in every man. I was tired of dulness, and I
was very tired of laughter.

I was tired of starvation, and I was tired of gorging.



THE JOURNEY. 5

I was tired of reformers, who continually argue and build
perfect Utopias with words.

Il.

I was tired of my friend Misty’s didactic tales. He read me
one beginning :

“If the world rested for a few days,’ said the Reformer,
“we should see whose work is needed. Fire and force would
destroy the evil and unnecessary.

“Then we should see before us the Temple of Beauty,
whence flow the waters of Life.

“Now we sacrifice ourselves to cowardice and convenience,
and we praise our self-sacrifice; we are more moderate than
reason, and more cowardly than righteousness.”

With fire and force the crowd applauded his words.

Without skill and weapons it is impossible to kill neatly.
Many corpses looked as if they had been dragged to death
by a hook in their entrails or in their heads, rather than as if
they had been killed in a well-arranged slaughter-house.

The ugly towns danced slowly away.

All men again enjoyed “the sky above and the pure air
and the life of the fields,’ and they worked in the service of
Love.

Then the Reformer went to his beloved, and said:

“Even when men were slaves, and ugly streets surrounded
them, and the future was a doubtful, hopeless task; when men
said in the morning, ‘Would that the day’s work were done,
and that to-morrow’s never came’; even then how happy were
they who walked together with love.

“No one then knew what I desired.



6 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“T have not entirely failed, but I am lonely and tired, and
only with you is there rest.”

And she answered :

“My life was a life in which buying new clothes and wear-
ing them were great events; a life of comfortable and ugly
monotony ; I judged men and flattered them, but seldom sym-
pathised with them, because I saw so little of their lives.

“ Because of their ignorance women’s power was often evil.

“But you ” A

I was tired of such didactic tales.

II.

One night I said to myself: “I think the Recording
Angel must be very tired; he has always.to write all the dull
deeds of this London and of the rest of the world.”

At that instant, hands seized me from behind; I was
carried out of my bedroom. Beneath me, in the darkness
diapered with golden gas- ea rumbled a confusion of noisy
wheels.

I was hurried through the air.

I was placed on a rocky shelf that proceed from the side
of a precipitous cliff. My face was towards the cliff. I began
to climb upwards, panting and perspiring with fear. I placed
my feet with care, but sometimes one slipped from an
insufficient projection. A few times I looked for an instant
downwards into the darkness and trembled with the fear of
becoming giddy. Vet I said to myself in my fear, “Are you
not tired of life? If then it is signed, sealed, and determined
that you shall now die, die bravely and be at rest for ever.”

The cliff seemed endless above me. I talked aloud to my
lonely and tired self.



THE JOURNEY. 7

At last I reached the summit and saw before me a house.
I entered, and a lady advanced towards me. She was pale
and weary-looking, but her eyes and hair were dark and
gleaming.

“You are hungry and tired and stained,” she said; “when my
maidens have washed you and clothed you, we will eat and
once again be happy together; we will forget all the troubles
of the past and all the terrors of the future.”

While I ate she related to me a tale that I ean not spoil
by retelling. In it the works. of man were endowed with magic
qualities and spoke eloquently ; in it the most grotesque
monsters and the most beautiful men and women appeared
before me. The most astonishing occurrences succeeded each
other, and the most familiar events were strangely beautiful ;
so that nothing seemed so profane or so sacred that it could
not be mentioned. . . . The lady fell asleep. Patched
and faded (as I now noticed) were the fascinating patterns
on her dress and on the draperies of the room.

The broad tones of the night {that I saw outside the
house) were more definite in colour than they are in our
Western lands.

Sometimes I heard in ene distance the faint tinkling and
the wild roaring of some strange Eastern music, whose joyous
sorrow and sorrowful joy revealed the numerous and conflicting
memories of an aged race.

“Come with us and with happiness,” said voices at the
door.

They invited me to enter a kind of covered chair. Like
curling serpents were the staves on which they carried it; like
claws and haunches and breasts and hoofs and tails were the
parts of the outline of the case that enclosed the seat.



8 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

Through the dark privacy of trees and tangled growths,
where the graceful tiger softly moves; along hillsides covered
with brown leafless woods and bordering a pale river that bore
rafts. of logs; over the irregular giant steps of a snowy
mountain ; over windy darknesses under a. wide sky and by
many other beautiful places, they carried me.

At last I fell asleep.

IV.

I was in my own bed, when a clattering waked me. A cat
was seated in the middle of the window on the horizontal bar
of the window-frame ; its form was silhouetted against the dim
light that entered through the curtain. I moved; the cat
jumped to the floor, clattering the curtain.

It ran towards my clothes and then towards the chimney,
which it seemed to ascend.

I lit a match. It had disappeared.

My clothes were disordered and I began to rearrange
them. Some of my money was gone. The cat must have
taken it. I do not know exactly how much it had taken.

It had collected, I suppose, the fare for my journey. :

And I had returned to the London of which I was
so tired. I was surrounded by its innumerable mean little
houses and its innumerable large houses, by innumerable men
who make little jokes and never rejoice in joyous madness,
who pursue the nearest little aims and never conceive earnest
hopes of huge impossibilities.





VARIATIONS.

I.
“A MAN is sad; a woman causes him to rejoice: there’s a
plot for you,” Mary once said to me.

“If I treat it allegorically,’ I answered, “the woman could
stand for sin, life, spring, beauty, the imagination, the feminine,
religion, or poetry—ought a woman’s form to be used to re-
present abstract conceptions if, as is said, women conceive none?
or to typify spiritual desires, if it be true that they seldom
love ideas and pursue dreams?—or the woman could stand
for almost any virtues, or vices, or pleasureable mental con-
ditions or qualities.”

“You must not hint evil about women to me,” said Mary.

“I—I, know few women. I have no opinion about them.
You—you, like all that is pleasant and admirable, always
hasten away from me too soon. How, then, can I know your
excellence ?”

“Tf you will tell me a story, using my plot, I will stay
with you now. and listen,” she answered.

I turned towards her—I wanted to. know what colour her
eyes really are, it is often’ so difficult to determine of dark eyes
—and I told her the following tale :—



10 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

I].

Only. two.men were walking along the street; the other
figures were leaning against posts, lounging outside the public-
house, gazing into the little shop windows, or they were
old women standing together and gossiping, or children in
doorways, whose eyes were like lights burning in lamps of
worn and ill-nourished clay.

Two gleams of light fell down the houses from the bright
sky; the rest of the narrow street was shadowy and smoky.

III.

One of the two men who were walking down the street
was a fool.

When he had had work, he was employed as a_ ware-
houseman and porter; his usual duties had been wrapping’ up
parcels of goods, storing them in dark underground cellars,
carrying them, going errands, and searching out any needed
parcel from the general stock. (Noble is the work that we
love; most of us make devils that weary ourselves, injure
others, and imprison and burden the earth.)

He had neglected his work as much as he could; it was
wearisome vanity to him, and his masters (and most men)
were hostile strangers. He was sensible of their unfriendly
words; anger and pain made him silent and slow, when they
showed their contempt for him,—and they thought him stupid
and insensible, because of his awkward silence.

Every public-house attracted him because it was a place of
rest, free from the rattle and rush of the streets. And beer,
although it had sometimes made him sick and unable to eat,
enabled him to laugh carelessly and muddled his troubles. It



VARIATIONS. II

dulled the vexation of weariness, of restless inactivity and of
effort. It quieted the demon within him that rebelled and
demanded obscurely by pains “More food and better.”

His evenings had never offered him anything more soothing
than the public-house and the newspapers at his humble club.

He had taken no thought for the morrow, and sought to
ease recklessly the evils of the long to-day ; he was always
ready to lie, if thereby he could avoid trouble.

He was alone, for no one valued his life.

Hunger, cold, and a dirty dwelling—these are not the whole
of poverty, for it takes away thought and feeling also—labour,
pain, and weariness remain. To many not even the emotion
of prayer is possible; “if there be only one Cause,” they say,
“how can we seek to oppose ourselves to it by praying ?
We can only bow before the Throne of Life (through which
all is and changes). Neither-can any repentance (that we can
understand) nor any forgiveness stop the consequences of our
sinning follies.”

Books are too expensive for those who are scarcely fed and
clothed : the fool found beauty nowhere,—neither at his work
nor on the way to it.

His work needed all his time and energy.

In the summer, when out of work, he had slept in the
public parks, haunted by an ever-present vision of hunger.
The dark, quiet trees surrounded him; outside them, in the
lamp-bordered street, was the rattle of harness and wheels.

The unfriendly houses and the criticising crowd of comfort-
able and strictly condemning people had watched him loiter
in the streets by day, and with downcast face, mumbled words
and beating heart ask for work at warehouses filled with the
busy.



12 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

IV.

The other man was a designer, named Riemer, who had
attempted many kinds of work,—designs for book covers, title-
pages, headings, and tail-pieces, illustrations, posters, chairs,
painted ceilings, picture-frames, pottery, dinking fountains; and
frescoes for public buiidings.

On Sunday evening some friends were accustomed to have
supper with him; some of them were authors, who regarded
their companions as models in a (literary) studio. :

Once they read together “The Book of Job.” They read
how after Job’s friends had assured him that all is well in
the world, God asked them “ Where were you when I laid
the foundations of the earth?” He rebuked the magnitude of
their faith ; for we can neither justify nor condemn God,—to
us there is evil and it is incomprehensible why the Almighty
has not avoided it. Job’s friends reproached an upright man,
whom Satan had tortured ; they did not pity the unfortunate,
because they were judging and condemning him. His suffer-
ings are punishments and cures, they said; Job knew that man
is powerless to guide his steps and cannot understand the aim
of his journey or of his misfortunes.

Perhaps suffering is punishment, but one man suffers for
the sin of another ; the sins of the stomach are visited on the
nerves; all men, therefore, are responsible for one another, for
our actions affect the universe and our neighbour.

Two insoluble questions trouble Job: If life be an un-
avoidable gift and in so far as we cannot return it, how can
God ever give an evil gift? And if God cause us to sin,
why does He cause us to live in punishment? “ Wherefore is
light given to him that is in misery and life unto the bitter



VARIATIONS. 13

in soul; which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig
for it more than for hid treasures; which rejoice exceedingly

and are glad when they can find the grave? . . . I have
sinned; . . . why hast thou set me as a mark against
thee so that I'am a burden to myself? . . . If I wash my-

self with snow water and make my hands never so clean, yet
shalt thou plunge me into the ditch and mine own clothes
shall abhor me.”

V.

As these two men walked along the street a woman entered
it from within a house. She cast a handful of earth (of which
there was none on the road or pavement) into the air; it
seemed to spread over the sky and darken the whole street.
It fell on to the roofs; the houses broke, fell, and crumbled.

VI.

“In what kind of house and garden would you wish to live
and labour?” said the woman, who now stood on a bare plain
with the two men before her. “Would you not admire the
beauties of a heaven and earth that were new to you? Do
you not desire to create them?” -

“I fear,’ she said, turning to the fool, “I fear that the
agile and disgusting distortions of acrobatic performers, the
meanly directed physical ingenuity of jugglers, the contempla-
tion of abnormal forms that encourage lustful excitation—I fear
that such have been your most beautiful pleasures. Perhaps
you hardly know how to commence; we shall have first to
fetch materials.”

“T am getting hungry,” said the fool, for his mouth watered



14 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

his cheeks and head ached slightly, his stomach made itself
prominent to his mind.

“ Here’s satisfying food,” said she, and handed him some
lozenges; “and the money that you will need.”

Her face was at once cheerful and full of pity (an expression
never seen in a man’s face), her whole form was ruddy and
round with health, yet its definite sinuosities were delicately
shaped and did not mingle their swellings together.

“YT wish my words (like rain on parched earth) gave hope and
life, so that when I speak of beautiful houses and gardens you
would greatly desire to build and to plant. Lend me your sketch-
book, please,” she said, holding out her hand towards Riemer.

As the two men saw the skilful hand create a forest, which
continually approximated perfection, Riemer said: “ Though we
would not say so to ourselves, life has often been disgusting to
us; but in the dancing shadows of such a forest, why should
we not enjoy it?”

“Without cares, too much work or great cold or hunger,” said
the fool.

“Simplicity shall rule us,’ said Riemer. “The roughness of
our lives will be made beautiful by the vital individuality of our
minutes and of our works.”

“ As for the clothes we shall wear,” he continued, “the forms
of men’s ordinary clothes have in general been less ugly than
those of women; they have been less bounded by excrescent and
shapeless drapery. If new trousers are straight and ugly tubes,
when worn they soon cease to be so; they become, perhaps,
slightly grotesque, because their curves hang lower than those
of the leg. A long overcoat and a cylindrical high hat are in-
expressive in outline; but so are swollen sleeves and _ skirts
festooned in artificial folds. Collar, shirt, and tie (though easily



VARIATIONS. 15

treated in a picture) form a hard and ugly design; but we shall
probably be more clothed in skins than in starchy whiteness.”

“But shall we not have to make paper, colours, ink, and
brushes?” asked the woman, treating this essay on clothes as
a parenthesis.

“You have money, you said,” Riemer answered; “and we
need not live in a completely logical system, independent of, as
well as separated from, outside institutions; besides, being but
three persons, our lives cannot present all that they may
typify.”

“Here are lists of what we need to fetch,” said the woman.
“We have been together only a little time, and now we must
separate ; but I shall be with you till we are again together,
for we have greeted each other and exchanged goodwill.”

Then was satisfied in the two men the thirst for romantic
adventure that troubles the young, and the desire to be loved
that troubles most of us—the desire to come near to the heart
of humanity, to be in communication with the inmost being of
another creature; only to be pitied is irritating, since our mis-
fortunes are partly accidental; only to be admired is unsatis-
factory, since our actions are only a part of us—they do not
achieve our desires. In short, our self-estimation refuses to be
content with a love that neglects our best parts.

VII.

As the fool was about to enter London a madman tempted
him, saying:

“Vou cannot be happy in a bare Eden, where you will be
poor as Adam; come with me—in the world there is much
joy—beautiful women and pleasing. landscapes; there the cold



16 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

wind shall not eat your entrails, nor the sun drink your blood ;
there you will lie opposite to an entrancing woman, and you
will compliment each other in pretty verses, eating perfumed
and well-coloured food; a moving forest of fair forms will
gracefully dance before you, and broken-hearted voices sing
sweet sad songs that ease digestion; your chariots will be
partly softly feathered birds, partly women; jewels will light
your house, and a man’s life shall be spent in fashioning the
beauty of one of its pots; thousands shall wait for your words,
and their eyes look towards you as the eyes of a lover follow
his lady. You shall be merry, and when you call, Death shall
come to you.”
The fool smiled and walked on.

VIII.

Wet with perspiration, the two men laboured; their dreams
of the house and garden they were making—their design—
became to them every moment more perfect. Life became
serious and valuable to them, because they needed it to attain
their aim.

From her hand the woman threw into the air some water (of
which there was none upon the ground); the dew of life fell
on to the whole country.

IX.

“ A little coarse, dull, and morbid,” said Mary, when I had
finished the tale.

“T do not feel quite well, if that is an excuse,” I said.

“T am sorry,” she answered; “if you will tell me another
story using my plot, I will stay with you a little longer.”



VARIATIONS, 17

“Your pitying eyes heal; your cheeks, delicately shaded
with red, prevent me from speaking well of sadness.”

(I knew her eyes did not heal, but I was pleased with the
slight smile with which she received my admiration.)

“ Begin, then,” she said.

And I related the following tale :—

X.

The man was sad.

_He spoke softly to himself as he walked the streets, and
delighted himself with the fury of his laments. He walked
guided by an unconsidering impulse, and did not think how he
should return or how obtain food and rest.

‘The incoherent colours of the street—of dirty brick and
dirty paint—were made neutral by the twilight of a grey,
foggy sky; the monotonous, metallic sound of the church-bell
was resting for a little, and only a few people were out of
‘doors.

The long tram was almost empty—on Sunday no one
needed to hurry to work. ;

“The curse of life—why has it been pronounced against
me?” he said.

“Who kills a man is killed; who brings to life there is no
law against him; the parents who fed me and watchéd my
sickness (when I was weak and did not desire to see the life
to which I had just come), and who, with a doctor, conquered
nature, which would not have given me strength to bear the
trouble and movements of life—did they not merit that I
should kill them?

“The ways of nature—the decent man cannot think of them;

ic



18 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

when the stomach is painful and its hunger shouts for food,
the tame beast turns its eye with goodwill towards man, and
is led to the slaughter-house, and the green plant is changed
to disgust and decay within a man’s body.

“For this food he labours; when he has eaten he is alive
and has no pleasure; it may be that he hates the evil work
that he has done for his mouth, the work that is a burden to
the earth.

“All seek pleasure, if only by endeavouring to forget it; it is
the mad, oblivious pursuit of dreams; to each his neighbour’s
aims are vanity, but his own aims—he needs his life in order
to attain: them.

“Man can hardly attain his painful vital desires, yet he is
insatiable for the unattainable; he lives, supporting himself
with difficulty on feeble staves, yet he raises his eyes from the
ground towards beauty, peace, and justice.

“Or most men who can eat, drink, and laugh—are they
satisfied ?

“Tf a shop were open, if food were at hand, I should
certainly steal.” f i
His pulse, like a wanderer tired to death, sometimes almost

stopped and sometimes ran a few steps furiously.

Perhaps a definite pain (such as the cutting off of an arm)
can be more easily forgotten than months of starvation, of in-
cessant little discomforts.

He was now in a street where bare trees grew at regular
intervals out of squares of ground that were near the road and
between the paving-stones; the houses of soiled brick stood
behind low walls surmounted by railings which enclosed dismal
gardens, the grass, trees, and bushes of which seemed to live
sadly in London.



VARIATIONS. 19

The man was sad and starving; he walked inattentively,
delighting himself with the fury of his laments. . . . At
last his road enclosed a green, with feathery, wintry trees on
one side and cottages on the others. Then he passed a wood
partly obscured by a pale blueish mist that rose from low, de-
caying plants growing between the dark trees and the reddish path.
Afterwards the path began to shine like engraved silver as the
sun broke the sky’s grey with silver and blue; the silver
path went downwards between the high banks of grass, behind
which stood black lines of branching trees that netted the
bright sky.

The green was soothing; the birds sang. New fields of
green, new black branchings, new lines of hedges, succeeded to
his view; he entered a road that led upwards, through fields
of a more soothing green, past trees with more pleasing
arrangements of branches.

The man was sad and starving; “But I could yet be
happy,” thought he.

Suddenly, after a turn in the road, stood a lady before
him.

More beautiful than any human face was her face beneath
black hair; but human paint was on her superhuman cheeks.
The eyes were large and of a pale blue-grey (he feared to look
at their beautiful outlines, yet could not look away from them),
but the brows and lashes had been darkened; the tall, slender
form was clothed in a black dress.

“Food,” she said, “food, money, and health—these you
have needed; with me you shall not need them.

“ Weary of beauty, Iam amusing myself with the grotesque
and ugly developments of mankind; I am trying to be a
foolish mortal.

C2



20 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“We will hang a sign at the entrance to our lands pro-
claiming that to every man one day of pleasure is there free;
we shall see the happiness of faces in which want and care
have dug deep furrows and exposed the framework of bones,—
faces from which despairing passion or dull worry, coarse
stimulant or weariness, has worn the smooth surfaces or the
delicate forms.

“By the food with which he feeds his desire for happiness
we shall see what food life has hitherto offered to each, how
it tasted to him and what he has become by it; we shall
look at him with interest, but not with scorn, because the
diet will explain the errors of the stripped form.”

XI,

The miserable journeyed to the lady’s lands, and found
one day of joy.

There they forgot their unfulfilled desires.

“If it be in any way possible,” said one, “I would escape ;
interminable, inane stories, and laughter, and drinking, and—
myself, these are amusements for our customers; they are the
whole of my life, for I live with the public-house counter in
front of me, and the barrels, bottles, and glittering miscellany
of stores behind me.” And there she did escape and found
one day of joy.

And one forgot his sorrow; he forgot how he had sought
to cleanse himself and was not clean; how first he had
studied books to see how the perfect man would live with his
time, place, and fate; how he had been further cleansed by
Love, at sight of whom the darkest despair left him for ever;



VARIATIONS. 21

but when the earth had fallen on the coffin of his beloved, he
buried with her all his brighter hopes.

He had sought to suffer all that makes men’s lives bitter,
labouring at unwholesome labours; he had sought for the
visions on whose wings men fly away and are at peace, for
he had thought that if by these means he could cleanse away
his selfishness and dislike, he would behold in every man the
serious desire for that happiness that is only in the beautiful,
unattainable land of righteousness, that he would cease to
laugh at, hate, and condemn men (and are not all their sins
and follies in that hatred and laughter?), that he would see
and worship Love and Beauty, whose lights reveal the joy of
appearances, and the beauty and pathos of souls.

He forgot for one day that he had sought and had not
found. .

Another forgot his desire for heaven.

He had often testified his desires within the ring of the
band of music and the gaily apparelled regiment, declaring
that before he joined the Salvation Army he had been con-
scious—even in happy moments—that his happiness did not
make the whole earth well; therefore he had prayed for a
discontent that aspired to better pleasures.

“The pleasures of the earth,’ he had said, “do not make
us happy, and they lead to the gates of hell.

“The cares of the earth can be destroyed—for the blood of
the Crucified cleanses and rejoices the sinner who kneels at
His feet.”

And another forgot for one day his desire for money. And
another saw entrancing visions and was glad, although he had
spent his last penny.



ty
XN

LONDON FAIRY TALES.

XII.

“That’s better,” said Mary.

“The merits are due to the feelings you cause in me; the
faults, may I not account for them not. only by my stupidity
but also by my fear of you and by my unpremeditated speech?”

“Your matter is often insincere,” said Mary.

“J desire to please you; I desire to be rejoiced with your
kind aspect before sorrow comes, before you go, and pain and
weariness return. When a man is sad, a woman can cause
him to rejoice.”

“Can you not treat the theme shortly and simply?” said
Mary.

Then I related the following :—

XIII.

I dreamt that I was falling—as we often fall in dreams;
the hair of my head stood up, my heart stopped, my cheeks
became bloodless and stiff, my eyes stared and saw nothing;
in my terror I felt very lonely—even lovers and friends are far
apart, they do not know what to say or how to approach
when they would be very near; I was weary and disgusted ;
I hated men because they did not know that I was falling
whilst they were at peace. Suddenly the flow of blood and
fantastic thought returned; I saw a crowd of girls dancing
downstairs, they went backwards with their faces towards me;
I saw everything distinctly and I admired the cheeks, the hair,
the changing graces of swaying bodies, the delicate characterising
hands. I noticed the foreshortened appearance of one who



VARIATIONS. 23

leant back terribly while she danced downwards and backwards ;
and yet I grew weary again and disgusted.

Suddenly life ceased in me; I saw you wrapped up in a
mist: I looked long at your face. I wondered if I could
recognise it again, were it not that only in its neighbourhood
am I alive; elsewhere all is void and tasteless and there is no
difference to me between joy and terror and disgust.









}Death waits
while curves

grow swollen
or angular.

THE GAME.

“Do you fear the darkness of the grave?” said the old king.

The fountain splashed in the garden; each bird repeated
its verse.

“My lord,’ answered the young slave, “the light awakes
me daily saying: ‘Work.’ Death is better than life without
any pleasure: sun’s light, night’s mantle, and the movements
of the crowd never reveal any beauty to me. With unseeing
eyes, men pass in the streets from labour to labour like beasts
that wearily obey the whip and never hope to stand again on
grass. I wish I were like the old man, who says: ‘When I
am kissed in turn by the warm lips of the pleasures that



THE GAME. 25

love, I tremble with weakness as I dance from one to another
of them; my cup of life is almost empty, although I am still
thirsty ; Death calls me,—I -constantly hear his voice.’”

“Then play a game with me,” said the king, “and if you
win, my power and life (nothing to me) are yours; but if I
win, your life and youthful power are mine.”

In the garden the trees framed the bright sky in irregu-
lar panels; in the palace the cards fell one by one.

At first the king’s cards were the weaker, but the king’s
luck changed.

“T have won,” he said; “it is a sign that I shall win.

“TI need your brains; the physicians will make with them a
mixture that will restore my sap, a tonic;that will thoroughly
renovate my appearance.

“For until now, though I painted my face, I seemed old ;
when I spoke of love and of her beauty, she was weary of
me. But now I begin to win.”







TWO CHAPTERS.

I,

“THE fat John Bull, as conventionally drawn,” I said, “only
exists now in remote places; but the Englishman’s taste is
still generally that of a man fed on beef and beer. He wants
a book to aid digestion,—-a book that neither represents life
too truly (for therein too much would be disgusting and
terrible) nor takes him violently to a fairyland of impossi-
bilities (for therein too much would be madly absurd and
unprofitable).”

“The public is a fool, no doubt,” answered Williams, “but
I want to please it. One of my great works (as yet un-
written) is a tale of a man who one day follows through the
streets someone whose appearance greatly interests him, and
whom you may hold to be his Genius or Inspiration; and so
he is led into a certain house where he inherits the life, the
circumstances, mind, and memory of another; and whenever
he again suddenly meets his Inspiration, he is led to enter a
fresh life and inherit another's past: thus he passes through
a thousand transformations. I have in my pocket the notes for
two chapters of this tale,—the first and a later one, in which is
described one of the transformations.”



TWO CHAPTERS. 27

“Let me see them,” said I.
He gave the papers to me and I read the following :—

II.

I turned and followed him.

For sometimes when the sky is grey and the ends of the
streets closed with fog, when all the multitude seem clothed in
black or dull colours and in rigid forms that are inexpressive
of life, when I have become wearied by my cares, by the con-
fused sounds of the traffic, and by monotonous, uninteresting,
ugly buildings, suddenly I see amongst the innumerable in-
volved figures one that is so interesting to me that I should
like to follow it.

It may be the figure of one who seems to talk of vital
matters (to preach great truths or entreat great favours), or of
a girl with dreamy, weary eyes, and mouth half open as though
to sigh, who seems fit for greater things than the common
troubles to which she is fated, or of a boy whose face is full
of promises of great purposes and nobility.

“Go into the house,’ said the unknown man whom I had
followed; “you will find yourself the inheritor of a new past.
You will see me again.”

Ill.

Turning to another sheet of paper I read the following :—
Life, it is said, is a battle; if so, my contest has been like
those we read of in many fairy tales, where one or both of
them that fight changes from form to form: when you capture
the hind it changes to a bird and flies away, and when you
have wounded the lion with a sword it is a genie that pelts



28 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

you with fire ;—thus did I and my endeavours and all that
opposed me change, as I gradually journeyed through London
from house to house following the unknown man.

And now again, for the 199th time, I became a new man ;
really, I forget what his name was.

Dreading the brutalising effect of business. routine, he had,
at the age of sixteen, boldly declared that he would be
apprenticed to a handicraft; he had refused the high hat and
the tailed coat, for (with the early foresight in _ practical
matters of one who was to be a genius in realistic represen-
tation) he had felt the barrenness of a life whose activities
are confined to the arrangement of figures, the repetition of the
stale phrases of business letters and business intercourse, and
the transmission of papers; he had hated the prospect of
routine—of an automatic life, a death in life. He had rejected
the privileges of his position—desks and ledgers, letter-books
and papers,—and had chosen, like the working classes, to deal
with lathes and tools, wood and metal; he had the pleasure of
struggling with materials and fashioning them according to
their natures; the pleasure of seeing the fluttering metal fall
before his tool, and symmetry and design emerge as he bent
and hammered and chiselled and forged, though the joy
of personal design was denied to him by the conditions of
modern workmanship, by “commercial competition and whole-
sale production.”

He had attained independence earlier than if he had
remained in his own rank of society; in his lonely mind he
had conceived a great desire, the desire to write books
showing “ the little poetry that germinates in the brains and
vivifies the existences” of the multitude of drudges ; the desire
to explain the motive power that sustains them, though perhaps



TWO CHAPTERS. 29

the workhouse or the enforced holiday of helplessness is the
old age towards which they go; to find the illusions, the
beauties invisible to alien eyes, that give pleasure to bare lives;
to cause the’ nobility to speak that lies beneath forms worn
with bitterness, misery, disgust, weariness, and ignoble pleasures.
But to accomplish such a work, great experience was needed.

To gain means of obtaining greater experience of life, and
(if possible) means of writing in the future better books, he
had written a novel, which now lay before him on the table ot
his lonely lodging.

IV.

“
It was thus that his novel began.

“The senior office-boy laughed in acknowledgment of this
reference ‘to their employer,, Mr. Revelton, the managing
director of the Mutual Investment Trust Corporation, as ‘the
great R.’: amidst the aridities of business, the Se joke is
often gratefully received.

“The head clerk came out of the inner office, shutting the
door after him. ‘What’s the row?’ asked his neighbour at the
desk nearest the window.

“He cannot find securities worth £40,000; he supposes they
have been stolen; he cannot find them himself, and damus and
God bless my soul's everyone who tries to help him, answered
the head clerk.

“At a quarter-past six Mr. Revelton left the office. He
smiled once or twice as he sat in the omnibus on his way
home; he helped ladies who went past him between the knees
of the passengers by putting his hand beneath their forearms,
and he talked to ‘the conductor about the weather ; his temper



30 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

seemed as excellent as it usually was. An expression of
habitual anxiety distinguished him in appearance from other
men of his type, for the red face and neck, small, pale green
eyes, puffy eyelids, partly assumed expression of jollity, and
swollen figure fitting tightly into glossy clothes — these could
be seen on many men of business.”

Mr. Revelton reaches home, and the book describes his
wife ; then it continues thus—

“* You remember, dear, that I am dining with the Ellisons
and then going to the theatre with them,’ said she.

““When you come in, do not wait for me, he answered,
‘I shall go out too. When you are away this does not feel
like my home.’

“*Then I will say Good-night now,’ she said, smiling.

“He kissed her. Certainly her feminine presence was needed
to give him a feeling of home; but her somewhat romantic
mind had little real intercourse with his.

“She went out, wearing the diamonds that, together with
a far better position in society than his own, had beer her
only dowry.”

The novel then describes Mr. Revelton’s visit to a gambling
house, his pleasures and his losses.

It was almost four o'clock in the morning when he again
reached home. He was tired, and disgusted with life, with
himself, and with his prospects. .

His wife was not in their bedroom. Irritated, surprised, and
angry, he woke the servants; none of them had seen her since
she went out, or knew anything of her movements since then.

A fine description of Mr. Revelton’s early morning search for
his wife now follows. He goes to the Ellisons’ house and wakes
it with repeated ringing at the front-door bell. He is told that



TWO CHAPTERS. esl

his wife, after the theatre, had said that she was tired and
would go home alone, for the others had wished to go and
have supper at a restaurant. Mrs. Revelton had intended”
to take a cab. Mr. Revelton does not know where to search;
he passes men huddled together on benches, and _ bundles
of rags hiding in shadows away from the.gas-lamps; miserable
women struggle to give him the customary smile of invitation,
thinking that the red-faced, well-dressed man is a returning
reveller. “It is strange to see such creatures in my respectable,
prosperous neighbourhood,” thought Mr. Revelton, “such dismal
sights should be hidden.”

When Mrs. Revelton was left alone, so tells the next
chapter, the movements in the brightly lit streets around the
theatre and the novelty of wandering alone at night had. made
her determine to walk a little way.

Then she had left the wide thoroughfare and entered
a narrow street—a blackness faintly gemmed with gaslights.

Gradually a man became distinct to her as she approached
him through the darkness.

“«Would you,’ said he, ‘would you for ever remain bound
by such narrow limits of class and convention and circum-
stance? Would you never wish to see more, and to see more
truly? If you are contented to remain within these stupid
limitations for ever, then do not come with me.’

“Excited by his words, by the desire of adventure and for
knowledge, she answered, ‘ But if I come?’

“¢ Vou will know,’ he replied.

“She followed him past dark houses that seemed to stand
above a mystic tide of light that flowed from gas-lamps and
open doors and uncurtained panes of windows.”

The following chapter tells how the police find the body of



32 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

Mrs. Revelton. The diamonds have been taken from her
blood-stained dress. The man who formerly lodged in the
room where her body is found has not been seen since the
day before she disappeared. :

A short time afterwards a jeweller was found guilty of
selling a counterfeit diamond in place of a real one; in size,
shape, and colour this large pseudo-gem greatly resembled
(according to the newspapers) some of the diamonds stolen
from the late Mrs. Revelton.

The jewellers description of the man from whom he pur-
chased it was a description of the man who had lodged in the
room in which the dead body was found.

Some account now follows of the efforts of the police to
find this man.

Mr. Revelton becomes bankrupt; he is arrested whilst trying
to leave England ; his affairs are examined. He has misappro-
priated large sums of money; he has himself stolen from the
companies of which he was managing director amounts equiva-
lent to the properties supposed to have been taken by some
person whose guilt had till then never been discovered.

His carefully kept private account books further led to the
discovery that he had sold his wife’s jewels, replacing them
with imitation ones,

Worry and desire of money and an ingenuity in obtaining
it that was restrained more by a desire not to be considered a
swindler than by fear of injuring anyone; gambling with cards,
with shares, with commodities of unknown or of rapidly chang-
ing price, and by staking money in doubtful enterprises (but do
we not all gamble? Who does nothing, plays against the unseen
hand of Fate)—in this part of the.book these fill the mind of
the reader with a feeling of terror, anger, and anxiety.



TWO CHAPTERS. 33

Mr. Revelton was sentenced to several years’ imprisonment
for fraud and theft. Lastly the book tells how ‘the murderer of
his wife was found living in a small town near London, and
was also condemned, after having been recognised by the
jeweller who had purchased the counterfeit diamond. As he had
murdered in order to rob, he had been astonished, disappointed,
and terrified on finding that the gems were false.

V.

The whole novel now lay before the author. So long as he
had been writing it, he had always wished for solitude; he had
been impatient with his long hours of work and of the inter-
course with a narrow, well-known world.

But now he wished for a friend to encourage him to seek
beauty. He felt that the writing of books is vain. The best
book can help little in cultivating the faculties of men sur-
rounded by ugliness; and yet he hoped to help some mind.in
its efforts towards. perfection.

He began wearily yet rapidly to undress for bed. “TI have,”
thought he, “staked all and will lose it, or will succeed where
I wish to succeed; I’ll either succeed in being a genius or
will live in the solitary confinement of the most restricted
mechanic’s existence—day after day in the same streets, the
same workshop, the same lodging, the same public-house, and
without love or despair, without solitude or intimacy.”

When he was going to work next morning he saw a man
in the street, whom he began to follow.

“Go into this house,” said the unknown man whom he had

been following, “a new life awaits you there. You will see
D



34 : LONDON FAIRY TALES.

me again and inherit a new past, again see a new part of life
through other eyes and with another’s mind.”

VI.

“JT should like to see more of that story when you have
written it,” said I, when I had: finished reading these notes.

“But could it ever be made to sell?” said Williams. “It
would be a long task to describe a thousand transformations.
‘The book would have 1,coo1 chapters.”







AT THE ENTRANCE.

HIs impertinence, his dishonesty, his baseness, and his success
in making me treat him like a friend—I was disgusted because
of these things. In my haste I said, “I hate all men.”

I walked quickly through the streets, heeding no man’s face
nor any woman’s; bright skirts and smiling faces, omnibuses
that splashed mud on me, cabs that threatened to run over
me, deafening noises—my angry dreams were not disturbed by
these things. I did not notice where my feet went; I seemed
to walk along one long street of ugly houses. (In truth, how-
ever, I must have turned many times.) Sometimes the street
was crowded, sometimes there were few people in it.

At length I lifted up my eyes and saw above me a bridge
standing at the top of a hill. And the bridge went upwards
till the middle of its central arch, so that I could see nothing
that lay beyond it. And above the bridge a man flew, waving
his arms with joy; and I ran in order to stand on the bridge

and look down on the unknown shore.
D2



36 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

What shadowy shapes are these which I suddenly perceive
passing over the bridge into the unknown beyond ?

Your faces are bloodlessly pale, your forms are indistin-
guishably massed together; you are unreal as what we know
when our souls are wandering from their homes of flesh.

“We have never laughed or wept on solid earth, for in
constant labour we live.

“But the arms that on earth are torn asunder or never join
two sympathetic brains, here embrace with deepest love; the
lips that Fate forbids to speak on earth, here tell the music of
the heart’s pulsations; the songs of praise we never sing on.
earth, we live them here.”

Whom do I see above me, mounted on a winged horse?

“Riding on the Pegasus of the Imagination, I go through
the Gate of Fairyland, I see before me its secluded valleys ;.
exultant I see before me here the beauty that I never saw on
solid earth.”

O delightful land, which I too shall see when I reach the
bridge !

“Only the idle can tread on me; those who are willing to.
starve and to forget all claims of others. Those who can
forget what’s awry on earth, and forget what Custom has.
declared to be their duty. Those who can find entrances into:
a new world in the pages of a book, and can be transported.
into a new life by an emotion or an idea. Those who -wiil
give all their possessions for a minute’s peace, and for a dream
or an idea endure life’s greatest bitterness. Those who are not.
unhappy when he who calls himself Respectability says, ‘I
cannot speak to you.’ Those who are willing to be despised
and rejected by men and a cause of anger to their neigh-
bours.



AT THE ENTRANCE. 37

“Those who are not curbed by that moderation which is
part of ‘common-sense.’

“Those who can bear to live without intercourse with other
men.

“For though it be safe for others to look at them, and listen
to them, and laugh at them, and speak to them, and pity
them—and even give to them, yet their misfortunes fall on
those who feel with them and think with them.

“Cursed with their curse are all who admire them.

“And yet the greatest pleasures of life are enjoyed only
by those who enter here and tread on me.”

I turned away from the bridge and went back into the
streets.







VENUS AND THE PAINTER.

VENUS entered the studio silently, and the painter did not
see her. The painter said in his thoughts, “ Each day I think
that to-morrow will be a day of importance to me,—a day
when a great message, a gospel, or an inspiration of beauty
will come to me. And to-morrow is as empty as to-day. I
will no longer live to hear the silence of God—the mocking
silence. I have failed so often that I have now no feeling of
failure —only a weariness.”

Then Venus spoke to him thus—

“JT am come to help you.

“In former times I was a queen and men were often
loyal to me. In me is all the beauty of the earth.

“In former times, when men built a house, my name was
carved on its stones; they built temples to many gods, but my
name was carved on the stones; they made themselves gar-
ments and vessels, and these also were to my glory.

“When the monk left the world of passions to find peace
in a narrower world, he could not forget me; in illuminated
books, in pictures, in music he wrote my name.

“But now, it seems, I am by some forgotten.



VENUS AND THE PAINTER. 39

“Many things are made in factories, but not to my glory;
and my name is not written in ledgers,

“T have seen sorrow.

“In former years my hair was golden; the darkness of
sorrow has dyed it black.

“Desiring praise from them that have forgotten me, and
desiring in pity to favour you (Since no girl has smiled to see
you, no man admired any of your actions, no one listened to
you without scorn—and yet you have painted to my glory), I
am now come to you, and you shall paint me, that we may

1?

increase our fame
The painter replied: “Venus, as the flying Dutchman was.
condemned to sail the restless seas until he found a maiden
who could love him and be faithful until death, so have I
suffered on the restless sea of passion until now I find an
image that can never fade from me, that will calm my soul
until death.
“Tf I could express in a few lines how you have placed
yourself, those lines would write my name on future centuries.
“A thousand passions pass over your face in ever-chang-
ing beauty, although your face is unmoved in pose; I do not
know which image to place on the canvas; my hand trembles.”
“Let me talk to you and quiet you. Do you know there
was a man, who, when he ate a certain herb, had strange
delusions ; ill-natured fellows came to see him eat dirt thinking
it a feast; when he was sleepy, they disturbed him and
made him tell his dreams; he talked of palaces and beautiful
women, whilst they laughed to see his weak limbs trembling
beneath his rags; he lay and rolled his head to and fro on
the dirty ground, and imagined he was nodding graciously to

courtiers.”



40 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Venus, when you smile thus with pity, my soul weeps that
your beauty should have lived on this rough earth with us
and felt our sufferings. I am so sad that: my mind will not
paint.”

“Let me talk to you and quiet you. There was a lady
who loved; but the man did not know it, and did not know
love. And she used to come in the darkness of the night and
kiss him; with trembling gentleness she uncovered him and
kissed his body.”

“Venus, your eyes are terrible; your voice is changed; my
hand trembles.”

“Let me talk to you and quiet you. There was a fool,
who dreamed a dream and sought everywhere for a reality
like to it. Fame, Love, and Beauty were in the dream; and
when they came to his door, he died from joy as he opened
it to let them enter.”

“Venus, I was the man whom they mocked when I ate the
herb of poetry ; you were the lady who kissed me in the dark-
ness, so that I never saw beauty but only dreamt of it; I am
the fool to whose door Fame, Love, and Beauty (long sought
for) are come.

“ Farewell.

“Yours are the picture and all else that I have; though
truly this curious rubbish of the studio is too trifling to give
to a goddess.

“The plot of my life is finished, my interest in it is ended.
Never again could I paint like this when you have left me.
When the story is perfected, who would wish to add another
word ?”

The painter took an old dagger from the wall of the studio,
stabbed himself, and died.





THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY.

I,

THE water thundered softly and bubbled as it curled foaming
between the rocks or poured over them; it was so hot that
my eyes half closed as I looked at the brown precipitous sides
of the valley and at the green foliage within it.

One of the ladies threw grass at me to wake me.

“Tf,” said I, “a sheep said to you: ‘It is wrong to enslave
and then kill me in order to eat mutton,—to make me, who
have no voice in your state, inheritor and subject of its sys-
tem,’ what would you reply?”

“Sheep cannot reason,” said one of the ladies.

“And women cannot usually argue; they stray on by-paths,
and (to our great delight) they sacrifice us men like sheep.
You have even taken my sleep.”



42 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“How sadly you said that.”

“Life is sad, but the day of rejoicing comes to all—the
day of death.”

“T should like to live—for ever.”

“One man does.”

II.

“In his memory and hopes,” I continued, “years are as:
days, therefore he is seldom discontented; but he is exiled
from peace, for he lives by restless change,—his changing life
is a series of lives, each adapted to new men and new oppos-
ing forces. :

“Men, in his endless life, are unreal to him; even while he
perceives the little hollows beneath the bones of cheek and
chin, the radiations of light in the colour of the eyes, and the
creases of the skin,—even while he smiles in answer to a
smile, bargains, shows his teeth and is weary,—even in his
activity all his labours are vanity to him, his companions
dreams, yet though he desires solitude it is seldom granted to
him; and though intercourse is often stale and unprofitable to.
him, yet he must taste all that men drink from thirst or
desire; thus, despite his age and weariness, his heart will be
young for rejoicing, when the Lord rejoices with His people
as the bridegroom with the bride.”

III.

“When I saw him the rain and the hail were coming and
ceasing as the dark clouds now wrapped the summits of the
hills, and now rose and admitted more light.; at its farther end



THE DESIRE FOR. IMMORTALITY. 43

the pass between the hills was arched by a light cloud, beneath
which gleamed a lake.

“JT had felt discontented because the weather was bad, and
the country was not sufficiently worn to wildness, but was
covered with the greenest of grass that contrasted too gaily
with the grey sky and slate quarries; and the people at the
hotel were either noisy and silly or without fancy, and said
nothing in many slowly spoken, prosaic words.

“So when the strange traveller arrived (he had slept in the
valley under two rocks that leant on each other so as to form
a rough gable) I had told him of my discontent.

“You are English, he said, ‘and, therefore, perhaps:
happiest among’ your own mixed race. But Palestine is the
only beautiful country on earth.”

IV.

“Palestine is the only beautiful country on earth. The
snowy wildness of Lebanon looked through clouds over
varied depths of green,—of fig-tree, vine, palm, and barley ;
from the purple burning wilderness, that seemed endless, you
came quickly to the joyous multitude of Jerusalem.

“But as soon as I was old enough to compare impressions,.
Jerusalem sank into the ground, so disfigured with sufferings.
—with starvation, wounds, and weariness—that we could hardly
recognise her. But where now is Babylon, that I may curse
her?

“Because of our sins we were exiled; was it not more com-
forting, when the soul shivered and the future was full of
unseen terrors, to buy favour from an idol than to bow before



44 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

nothing, or pray turned towards a heap of dust on a distant
hill?
“Tsrael still imitated the follies of the people round her.”

V.

“T thought of our fate (then it was wonderful to us, now
a miracle) and of what Jeremiah had said concerning it (his
spirit, distant from us, had heard the voice of God); I remem-
bered him threatening with clenched hands and frowning face,
and pitying with outspread, embracing arms and sudden tears
that rolled from overflowing eyelids. While I watched my
master’s flocks in Babylon, I heard again his words ‘Thus
Saith the Lord, if you can break my covenant of the day and
my covenant of the night, so that there should not be day
and night in their season; then may also my covenant be
broken with David my servant, so that he should not have a
son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites, the priests,
my ministers. . . . If my covenant be not with day and
night, and I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and
earth, then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my
servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers
over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for I will cause
their captivity to return and have mercy on them,’

“Would then that God might afflict me, I thought, and let
me know pain, cold, hunger, heat, exhaustion, and thoughts of
pain, if with suffering I could buy life and see Israel triumph
over her enemies.”

“ and spoke): ‘You shall see it.

“


THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 45

them ; but in her affliction she shall refuse to the tyrants what
in her prosperity God and the priests in vain forbade; there-
fore her persecutors shall punish her.

“«The Lord will scatter this people that they may be a bless-
ing amongst all the nations.’”

VI.

“«Give to Caesar the things that are Cesar’s’—(a sentence
which I heard many centuries after)—that was not the patriot-
ism of my party when all who desired to defy Rome fled to
Jerusalem.

“Before then, I had already helped to cause the Roman, the
tax-gatherer, and the cursed nobles that went with them to fear
the rocks on the mountains; many fleeing from massacre in
the villages had received life from our exertions. Czesar was.
not our governor, for he was the disturber of the law—he was
murderer and robber—in his madness he said, ‘Bow and sacri-
fice to my statue or die’; the pious gave him nothing that
they could withhold.

“The streets of Jerusalem became. silent—we were too weak
to talk and had eaten all the beasts—(when a woman ate her
child, men forgot the difference betweén clean and unclean); if
our brother said ‘It were better to yield to Rome than starve,”
we slew him—(the defence of Israel’s life justified every
deed); the silence, our unimaginable pains, the smell of death,
the sudden sounds of battering, of falling walls, of fighting, of
rushing to repulse the enemy, to kill a traitor, or extinguish
fire—these made our hurried days seem like a mad_ poet’s.
dreams. When our last defeat came we thought God’s own
hand might protect the house called by His name, but God



46 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

‘shut the gates of heaven; many of us entered the burning
temple—our last defence—to be -Israel’s last burnt-offering till
‘God (in His mercy) again. rebuild His altar. Many prayed for
death, but God shut the gates of heaven, so that the Romans
‘crucified or enslaved them, or made them ornament a triumph
in their chains, or let them die in prison of hunger and fury,
or provide a show by being wounded by beasts’ teeth and
claws or by each other.

“On the day of the destruction of the first temple, the
second also sank in the ground; but where now are the
Romans that I. may curse them?”

VIL.

“The last burnt-offering on altar and with priest; but
Hadrian made rivers of blood spring up and flow to the sea;
one student of the law was burnt with vine branches, thin wet
-cotton-wool laid on his heart delaying his death; the skin
was torn from Rabbi Akiba with pincers, while he repeated
the verse ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is one,’
- until consciousness ceased. Sometimes the words were a
-defiance—‘ There is one God and us, one nation (do what you
will!) He has chosen.’ Sometimes a mystic revelation—‘ There
is one God, and the whole earth (did you think I suffered ?)
is beautiful—filled with one glory.’

“When we were in the hands of these misgovernors we
began to discuss hypothetical cases of equity, and in our con-
straint and poverty we arranged the laws of our fathers so
that they could guide all men under all conditions.

“ And though we began at that time to say that Israel grew
old and her strength failed, yet when quieter times came, I



THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 47

yet could enjoy for a lifetime the days of work in my two
fields; I watched the growing plants that blessed my oblivious
labours, and the clouds, glowing or grey, that passed in the
sky above them; sometimes I smiled as I repeated to myseif
some old ingenious, traditional argument, and when I could
take a holiday I went to the town to dispute with cheering
vigour about the traditional laws, and to speak of old tales.
But Christianity grew strong.”

VIII.

You grow weary—I will miss out the old Jew’s reminis-
-cences of a few centuries. As I know nothing about the
times of the end of the Roman Empire and the reigns of the
barbarians who succeeded, I could confidently answer his
remarks about Christian persecution. “Anyhow,” I said,
“Christians are always Christians.” “Dagobert,’ he answered,
“one of the Merovingian kings, decreed in his madness that all
the Jews of the Frankish Empire should either be baptised by
a certain date or killed.”

IX.

“T can tell little,’ said he, “of years when I wandered
as a merchant—selling slaves amongst other goods, when the
laws allowed Jews to do so, and the slaves themselves
liked Jewish. owners (who were human and not masterfully
unconscious of the servants’ humanity)—and when TI learnt to
suit myself to the manners of strangers and observed men and
races; the record of those years was blotted out by the blood
which the Crusaders shed, crying ‘Death or baptism.’



48 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Many committed suicide or killed each other, because they
knew their own weakness or preferred death from a friendly
hand; parents killed their children to save them from baptism.

“Some said ‘What must we believe to be safe?’ and were
baptised and converted by the faithful followers of Him who.
taught ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do.
good to them that hate you’—but later, when it was safe to.
do so, they returned to Israel.”

XxX,

“It was only my misfortunes that I took lightly—all else
was serious to me. My fate was not that of any other man,
and I did not precisely hate our enemies; they, like us, were
slaves of nature—of ever recurring hunger and _ irrational
impulse—and of an instituted system ; besides they were mad
when they burnt us. The Church had so often taught, when
it desired to establish its power, that we were as dangerous as.
the devil, that it could not (if it would) afterwards teach that
we were harmless. We were by our existence a protest against
their system, and are always a danger to erroneous systems
because we are born as strangers though natives, and being
dissenters are critics.

“JT was living as a physician, examining the effects of
manners of life on the constitutions of men which I tried to
restore, at the time when the Black Death destroyed a quarter
of the inhabitants of the earth; unfortunately, Jews did not
die from it nearly as much as Christians,—they began to die
because the Christians burnt them.

“For, said the Christians, the Jews poison the wells, making
poison from Christian hearts and fragments of the Host, or



THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 49

skins of basilisks, or from frogs and spiders; we will disinfect
Europe with the smell of their burning flesh; we will drive
away the few who remain, leaving them alive so that Christ
can reproach them; but they came naked into the land and
naked shall go out.

“ Almost naked we went out and said: Behold, God, how
Edom has treated your people; in the darkness women weep,
wet and shivering, and in the morning, motionless, cold, and
aching, they die; the righteous, whose words pleased you, are
taken from us, and our children are led into a new land, weep-
ing, or smiling as we look into their faces, until, starving, they
die—the enemies smile when they see us and we have no
money to buy water.

“ Answer us, Lord, answer us; yet, perhaps, if God granted
my prayers, He would destroy the world ; for if the world were
not as it is, God himself would not be; the consequences of
each cause spread in endless waves; yet He made me seem
free—and, therefore, free to pray, and free to act by my prayer
—hear our voice, Lord our God, we do not trouble you with
trifles, but speak of a nation.

“Give us knowledge that we may enter the land of righteous-
ness and beauty; with the kiss of prayer let us be joined to
You that we forget suffering and become strong to help our
people.”

XI.

“ A strange restlessness seized me, due partly to physical
disease. Sometimes I lived by singing new tunes in the
synagogues as a wandering reader of the prayers; sometimes
I trusted chiefly to the unpaid hospitality of the communities ;
sometimes I acted as agent or messenger. Thus I travelled

E



50 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

over almost the whole of Europe. I ate the bread and salt of
goodwill in many houses, and saw in them the caresses and
smiles of love; often I felt the peace that follows good wishes,
greetings, and the kind question, ‘ How is it with you?’

“T reached Portugal (it was strange for me to go there then)
about five years after the Jews had been expelled from Spain.
After every fasting monk in Spain had been refreshed with the
smell of burning Jew, every lonely and d/asé fanatic had stimu-
lated his passions with the sight of flaming, blackening, shrieking,
writhing Marranos, who, having been converted to Christianity
by flame and sword, had afterwards been found guilty of remem-
bering the sufferings and heroism of their fathers; priests and
king had grown richer by inheriting the property of the damned
and of their descendants (Spain was hell to those suspected by
the Inquisition), and at last, on the day on which both temples
had sunk into the ground, to the blood-stirring sounds of pipe
and drum, with which the Rabbis had helped the people to
forget their pain, the Jews had gone from their country. They
had gone out to eat grass in their hunger, to see their children
die from starvation, and even to return in despair to the waters of
baptism, the introduction to the saving religion of love. For a
piece of bread, some skeleton-like fugitives of Genoa had sold
themselves to baptism.

“These things I had not seen; but I took part in Lisbon in
one of the most shameful scenes ever occasioned by Christianity,
or, at any rate, by a Christian professing to further the glory
of his religion.

“Our children had been torn from us and baptised. The date
of our expulsion was past, but there were not enough ships to
carry us, the king, contrary to his promise, having left only one
port open to us.



THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 51

“Into the dark vastness of a church, in which glitter the
colours of images, banners, carvings, candles, screens, and vested -
ecclesiastics, suddenly enters a crowd of soldiers hauling resisting
Jews by ropes, by their hair, and by their clothes—the soldiers,
a little heated and disordered, laughing or brutally punishing
the vicious Jews; the Jews, mostly pale green from three days
of enforced fast in confinement, strangling themselves or each
other, or with furious faces finally dragged to the font and the
priest ; the priests, abstracted from earth, singing and reciting
Latin; the officials of his Majesty, King Manoel the Great,
solemn and medizvally magnificent. These form the scene.

“ This baptism hardly stained my soul. I took part in a few
Christian ceremonies before I could leave Portugal, but thereby
I harmed neither liberty nor Israel. They had not convinced me
that the Messiah had already been with men, that the reign of
God had already commenced.

“T left Portugal before the Inquisition was established there—
before blood-stained priests forbade the ‘new Christians’ to leave
the land and rejoiced to see them burning, or enclosed in the
dungeon’s never-lifting darkness, or racked by good _torture-
instruments. Orphans and widows were robbed of their inherit-
ance and lived in poverty; brave men thought of burning heat
and bowed before the Crucifix.”

XII.

“J journeyed to Constantinople. Ishmael was violent and
sometimes fanatical, but seldom systematically intolerant; his
violence was more easily forgiven than merely the cold insults
and moral reasonings that the Christians gave with their injuries.
After the brain-perplexing, over-elaborated Gothic architecture

E 2



52 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

and the dismal Ghettos, it was pleasant for us to be in sunny
Constantinople, where there was an amusing variety and contrast
of races, thoughts, and conditions. The rich Jewish merchants
and physicians smiled when the scornful Christians needed their
influence ; the Kabbalists dreamed about the transmigrations and
combinations of souls, the kingdoms of spirits, the connection
between the spirit spheres and God and the earth, and the con-
ditions that govern the coming of the Messiah; the Talmudists
forgot all troubles by entering through their books into an
abstract fairy world of -subtle arguments and solemn moving

fables.”
XIII.

“*Become corrupt; live in a single street shut out from all
natural life, so that your houses are ugly, dirty, overcrowded,
without trees; let the very vehemence with which you have
sought for beauty, truth, God, weaken your discretion and
change to despair and hatred; be active as money-lenders,
that our princes, by robbing you, may become rich; we will
not allow you to practise handicrafts or sell anything, except
old clothes; let money therefore be your aim---in your insecure
lives let money, if held by the gracious protection of princes
and institutions, be success; a good life be one that leads to
success, Let all aspirations be destroyed by the monotonous
weariness of dull, stupifying confinement, removed from the
sources of life, from beauty and intellect (for we'll burn your
blasphemous books ; we can’t understand them) ; let the coarse
words we say to you, that make the fairest parts of life
abominable, your imprisonments and expulsions, our mockery
of your sufferings—let these reduce you to baseness. You



THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 53

shall not even clothe your children in red or blue without
exposing them to insult and yourselves to extortion; if we
give you promises of favour sealed sixty-fold we will break
them, for law and religion command us not to keep faith
with Jews. Frankfort spoke thus to its Jews; but can the body
excommunicate the heart? Israel is the heart of the nations;
suffering teaches her to be a sympathising priest, who shares
all pains and sensations of the body.

“Though Israel was disfigured by suffering and weariness,
she was beautiful. Palestine is the most beautiful country on
earth, and the poetry of Palestine was in the dirty Ghettos:
in them on the day of rejoicing we were glad, and on the
day of mourning wept; for Israel had to live, and the calm,
happy indifference of the Stoic, that neither desires nor avoids,
would have killed her with inertness; we rejoiced when some-
one was married, or when Israel had come out of Egypt; we
repeated joyfully the wish, ‘Next year’—(or was it sorrowful,
because’ so often repeated and unfulfilled?)—‘next year in
Jerusalem’; we rejoiced because the Egyptians were drowned
in the Red Sea; but often we wept too, because our sons and
brothers and friends had been murdered (thus Edom celebrated
Easter at the same season as Passover); we sat on the ground
on the day on which both the temples were destroyed.

“Ceremonies were life to us; in fulfilling the ceremonies of
the Catholic Church the Marranos must have hated more than the
acting of a lie, because the religious ceremonies of every nation
adapt themselves to the emotions and character of the nation ;
and (if I may digress a little further) it has often seemed to me
that the exaggerated expressions employed by the Jew Jesus
have prevented Western peoples from seriously following him.”



54 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

XIV.

“The Judengasse of Frankfort was unhealthy ; I succeeded
in reaching Rome, paying a tax at nearly every frontier, like
an animal going to market. Here I became a money-lender—
I did not like the trade, but handicrafts and the owning of
land and houses had just been again forbidden to Jews there,
and of course no Christian would take them into his service.

“Italy was sad, her beautiful children pale and weary. Des-
pair silenced their passion and intellect.

“A new spirit seemed to be among us, and yet all the old
delusions revived. Doubt perplexed us with her different
gospels ; Spinoza, excommunicated by the Rabbis of Amster-
dam, had explained his pantheistic philosophy; before that,
Uriel da Costa, who had been a Catholic in Spain, had been
twice excommunicated from Judaism in the same city of
Amsterdam, had passed fifteen years of religious doubt in
almost complete solitude, and had finally committed suicide; in
Turkey the long-expected Messiah had appeared (Christians
and Jews told us so), but, though he had publicly wedded the
scroll of the Law, he became a Mohammedan; every moral
law was subjected to enquiry, and yet superstitions, beliefs in
charms, amulets, the evil eye, and tormenting spirits, became
general; mystics conversed with spirits, and in order to hasten
the coming of the Messiah, whose soul, they said, will be the
last that enters earth, they overcame sin by sin, and repealed
all the laws of chastity; others fenced the Law with innumer-
able new restrictions, and reflected on new hypothetical cases
of doubtful conduct.

“Indeed we were weary aud in despair; perhaps despair
silenced our intellect. I believe that the smell of death, lives
of feigned Christianity and of some consequent self-hatred, had



THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 55

peculiarly wearied the minds of the Marranos, who now every-
where again lived among us after generations of Catholicism.

“Every little mind that could delight in mastery, and knew
how weak we were, threw the stone of insult at us; if the
Jews dared reply, the law would neither help nor avenge him,
though fire, imprisonment, and sword and torture were no
longer quite ready to punish his impertinence.

“But the Christian Churches grew weaker; the medieval
darkness of the Gentiles began to depart.”

XV.

“Could you miss a century ? It must be tea-time.”

“No,” said another lady, “it is still too hot to move as
soon as you climb up out of the shadow of the trees. But
just pull me up, I am getting tired of this rock.”

“I shall have to move, too,” I said; “when your shadow
goes the sun burns me between the shadows of the leaves—
like a jealous lover, deserted by the delight of his eyes, but left
with a rival. And I cannot sit on rock—I«am too thin.”

“T will spread out my skirt for you to sit on. Now don’t
get excited—you disturb me too much when you do; gently
continue your dismal and disgusting lamentations till tea-
time.”

The water thundered softly and bubbled as it curled foam-
ing between the rocks or poured over them.

“J became an actor” (so the Jew said,—I have omitted
some of his reminiscences), “and not a very bad one; I had
already played many parts in life. Many Jews had at that
time to play a changeable part; some revolutionary Frenchmen
said no one should be molested on account of his religious



56 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

opinions; and Napoleon (wishing to be tolerant if possible)
had asked-an assembly of representatives summoned from the
Jews: ‘Is it true that you are a monstrous ogre, ready to
devour weak, silly Christians? Or could you love French men,
and marry French women?’ But some Germans, dressing them-
selves in medieval Catholic costume, said, ‘Purge the land
of this vermin—kill or expel them, and one day they chased
an old Christian professor through the streets because he had
said Jews ought. to be legally equal to other mammals.
Therefore many of us had to be, now, almost fellow-citizens ;
and next instant, vile slaves.”

XVI.

“The Jews began to enter the Gentile world freely when
the scientific barbarians were conquering it; when it was
generally accepted that man lives by bread and money alone,
and therefore had best work like a machine, when he makes
what he needs; that the starvation of the body is painful,
but that eye and mind may feed with impunity on ugliness,

“(The Irish, Spaniards, and Italians, who have probably
expressed their extreme characteristics in art, and amongst
whom love of beauty is spread, have grown weaker; the
Germans and English, amongst whom artists are aliens, have
grown stronger. The Dutch and French, both artistic peoples,
were already strong when the present power was established,
—when it was decided that money is success—and therefore
that they are not become small does not disprove my argu-
ment.)

“The victory of this error can be partly explained: Pro-
testants had misunderstood Judaism (or the Old Testament)
and (unconsciously) copied it badly. Palestine is the most



THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 57

beautiful country on earth; but to them beauty and vice are
too often synonymous. In Christianity the dominant philo-
sophy (for every philosophy has been found in it) is a stoicism
that avoids joy and sorrow (it often refuses even the fruits of
enjoyment that fall into its hand, and which the heathen
Stoic would have eaten), and finds the Kingdom of Heaven
in a mental peace, which shields it from all the darts that
pierce the body, and also from all the disturbing (perhaps
wicked) joys with which nature would soothe it. Now when
such a religion has taught people not to desire beauty, and
when the religion itself grows weak, the people’s aims become
coarse; then money—moncey, if held with the protection of
the law and of the whole of existing institutions—is success.
High endeavours, whether successful or not, are wasted if they
earn no money.

“In short, the virtues of the Ghetto, the pleasing visible
humanity of an essentially excitable people, are wanting in
modern Europe ; its supposed vices are spread all over
Europe.

“T do not say these were the characteristic vices of the
Ghetto; if these vices were there, they were the results ot
centuries of affliction, and the sins of despair; and if they
were only in the weaker minds, would you have me _ say
‘These are the results of Christianity.—such are the Aryans,’
when I read the reports of the police-courts ?

“These were my reflections when I entered London, and saw
its innumerable people and endless streets ; grey, straight streets
beneath a grey sky, and between them flows an endless noise
of trams, carts, omnibuses, cabs ;—trains, trams, carts, omnibuses,
cabs, people go noisily over gigantic grey bridges beneath which
flow grey, silent, dirty waters.”



58 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“XVII.

“If you want to go back a century, become a Jew and go to
Russia. When some tyrant willed it, I was driven from my
home, and, when he willed it, shut up and forbidden to go
beyond a certain frontier; my life was made uncertain by his
mysterious will; the stone of insult was cast at me, the
entrance to intelligence and honour closed to me.”

XVIII.

“Our actual history seems a parable, in which Israel stands
for humanity. All men must desire good when they perceive
it; just as Israel desires God, beauty, truth, and has not
remained alive in dangers because of her ‘wickedness. These
men who are so obstinate in their stupidities and so alien,—if
you will enter the Ghetto in which race, conditions, and history
have separated them from you,—you will find them human ;
had you been born in their Ghetto you would have their
faults, and if you search for them, they have virtues that your
mission and history have denied you. Had you been confined
by poverty and ugliness, the faults and follies you despise in
others would be your own. These women, whom you could
never love; these labourers, who never tell you their sorrows ;
these ordinary people, coarse in their manners, too ready to
laugh with every sinner, and so ugly that you find in them no
beauty ; these repeaters of one soul-destroying drudgery, to
whom the day is a constant repetition of one unintellectual
formula ; these classes who oppose you,—they have eyes, hands,
organs, senses, affections, passions (they are more human than
I,—I talk virtuously, sometimes sit alone and sigh, but I can-
not yet pity the neighbour who suffers by my side) ;—-perhaps



THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 59

their lives condemn our words, as the Ghetto denounced the
Christianity that produced it.

“In vain you maintain any wrong by might. ‘Truth is our
king, there is none besides’; all persecutions, weaknesses,
human inexorable needs, will never make men wash themselves
free from the worship of it ;—in the end it shall reign over the
whole earth,—peace will come to all (not a new dream of
peace),—all labour will be fruitful and beautiful.

“We have all sinned and done foolishly ; we are all exiled
and slaves; we all hope.

“ The light still recedes before the darkness and the dark-
ness before the light.”

XIX.

“Tt’s time for tea,” they all cried, and my hands helped
ladies to climb over the rocks and slippery grass into the road
that led along the valley to the cottage by the bridge; there
we had tea.







THE WITCH.

I,

My father was a map-draughtsman, and often he sat the whole
night intent on lines, or calculations, or relievo-modellings, that
to me were as uninteresting as is a railway time-table. But
there are people who read a time-table with interest, tracing
complex journeys in it, or comparing speeds, or studying
geography, or imagining travel-pictures. Sometimes my father
invented little contrivances which I could never understand,
despite the careful explanations that he gave me.

To my surprise he left me 4100 a year when he died. I
then began to live alone in London.

I am greatly influenced by my background, so I ought to
describe London to you—or, at least, one street as sample.

The street hawkers half despairingly attempt to sell toys
that (at best) are worthless; the pavements are crowded with
men so soulless that they seem mainly composed of a stomach
and clothes, and with women who are dressed so as to show
nothing of Nature’s beauty of form; the roads are a: babel of
vehicles that convey men from ugliness to ugliness, Like a



THE WITCH. 61

basket of roses on the head of a wretched man is the blue
sky between the roofs and chimneys of the opposite houses.

For, like a beautiful savage who wearies herself in tattooing
and painting her body and hanging ornaments on her nose and
lips, so do men seek troubles and invent ugly labours.

A man in London is only a single figure in the crowded,
restless street; his voice is insignificant in the midst of the
inharmonious babel.

And yet how often I walked through the streets dreaming
of my future glory, when I should have learnt to be a
magician, whose single presence would heal and make happy,
whose words would solve the universal purpose, whose thoughts
would make straight the crooked places, and whose soul would
destroy evil with its purity, who would open wide the cage in
which the multitude of the men in the streets are imprisoned.

It seems long ago. . . . It was before I heard the voice
of the Witch.

“Strive no longer,” she said, “you cannot prevail. You are
not starving, nor ragged, nor hated; why, then, are you not
happy ?

“Your thoughts will never fashion any forms; your soul is
worth no care.

“Enemy and friend laugh at your incomprehensible efforts ;
neither friend nor enemy praises your foolish life.

“Come with me;. forget your desires, and let us meet
happiness.

“Do not suppose that I am a she-devil; I am not an
embodiment of the corrupting influence of the world, of the
cares and riches that make the soul sleep. I shall not teach
you the incentives to dishonesty, the chains of want, the im-
possibility of virtue, the meanness of man, the insatiable desire



62 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

for pleasure, and the other bitter lessons with which the world
teaches that all nobility is vanity.

“I would bring you to the joys of life that you have never
known and always need.

“For you have lived apart from men—silently preparing to
preach madness.” :

II.

The night sky was such a clear, pale blue that it seemed
to spread a shelter of peace over the restless noisy streets; the
shadowy, gas-lit streets were crowded with figures blurred by
the darkness, who came to breathe the air after the day of
indoor labour; but the air was scarcely cooler than it had
been by day, so that many a pair of lovers were too tired to
talk, though glad to be again together. ,

The Witch opened the door of her. house; we entered and
she shut out the discords of the street.

The Witch sat down and sang the song of human life, but
instead of feeling joy, I felt a great disgust.

I was like a certain young Prince to whom it was
thought well to instruct concerning life, in order. that he
might learn to live consistently and with a purpose in all his
actions. Therefore, one day his teachers caused a procession
to pass before him. First came a man sounding a trumpet
and one bearing a banner; then one clashing cymbals and one
beating a drum; then a number of others bearing big banners
and sounding trumpets; and all these summoned the passions
of life—the insatiably starving multitude of passions, and they
summoned the dim forms of the triumphant Future. And the
trembling Prince grew wise with a wisdom that uncovers the
cruelty, the decay, and the indecency that prevade life.



THE WITCH. 63

Thus to me also there came a great disgust, as the Witch
sang the song of human life.

Half bird, half woman, were the creatures on which we flew
away over the earth; we. flew away over the mysterious
disordered masses of houses, over lines of gas-lamps, over the
winding river bordered and crossed by lights and_ reflections,
and over the whole earth.

Instead of joy I felt disgust,.as I saw the human life over
which we flew, and as the Witch spoke to me concerning it.

The Witch was wise with wisdom that terrified me.

“I show you reality,” she said, “and the real joys of life
that you have never known.” But I always wished that I
could return to my ignorant romantic dreams.







SATAN’S PICTURE.

IT seemed to William Ward as though his soul had once been
in a picture gallery, where there were pictures of nature and
of heroic deeds: the deeds which he was to do in the future
were amongst them. But gradually Fate had covered the
pictures with greyness ; and now his soul was in a bare prison.
Would it die there, and would he then continue his daily
office-work without it?

He had locked his desk, and put on his hat, and entered
the street whilst these thoughts passed through his mind.

It was too early for him to go to the art-class, where he
spent his leisure evenings, so he went into the British Museum
reading-room. There was a soothing silence in it, despite the
large number of people seated at the tables that radiate from
the walls of bookshelves.

He sat down and began to read Misty’s Prologue to
Theology, at the second chapter, entitled “The Birth of
Religion.” He read as follows :—

“And the serpent said to man: Eat of the tree of know-



SATAN’S PICTURE. | 65

ledge, and you shall live like gods, far from this. rough, un-
cultivated garden; you shall know a life far different from
your present life of unvaried simplicity.

_ “Man ate; then he began to built fortifications against
Nature.

“He then discovered that God’s primary conceptions are too
impure for man to see.

“And man began to feel that he was not free; that he was
a Word of God; that he was only an intermediary in the
chain of effects that develops from the one Great Cause; and
he began to ask for what purpose he was being used, why he
was born to suffer and to sin, and how he could best employ
his life.

“Yet despite all doubts as to right conduct and the pur-
poses of life, every effort and enthusiasm towards beauty is noble.

“Each of us helps to torture others with the cruel lash of
Fate, and each of us suffers from it; but with the other hand
each may help to advance the universe. Out of the pattern
of ordinary life, where we turn one wheel or are turned
within one wheel of the complex machine of organised indus-
try,—where even the minutes when we are most free are
uniform—out of this routine there grows the flower of un-
changeable passion,—of romance, of poetry, of faith.

“For Art, Religion, and Knowledge are flowers on one stem,
though they are not equal in beauty and brilliance.”

Ward. now turned over the pages of the book and began
to read in the middle of the fourteenth chapter, which is
entitled “Satan.” He read as follows :—

“Life is strife, and every combatant thinks that he is
fighting for the right; how varied, then, are our conceptions
of the evil Opposer,—of Satan. Your Satan is perhaps my

F



66 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

good angel. Thus to men who declare it is well to leave
established evils untouched since it is impossible to replace
them by good, to men who live by respected old-established
means, which are yet unjust in the eyes of reason, and to all
who collect solid property and hate by instinct any uninherited
ideas and idle dreams and unprofitable admirations, and to all
hypocrites who profess the feelings and opinions of their
fathers, although they reject the principles that justified them,
—to all these people, Satan, the great Opposer, is the Hater of
the tyranny of such money-bags as only fill themselves by
emptying others, and the enemy of evil and unnecessary ugliness.

“For like every artist, the Enemy of whom we are now
speaking is the enemy of unreasonable ugliness. Every artist
must give life to his creations despite the barrenness and
opposition of the wilderness of life; he must cause them to
derive their beauty from rough, common earth and impure air,
and even evil weeds and stones. He must journey over rocks
and brambles towards the temple of perfection; he must
struggle towards it although he knows that he can never
attain to it. Some poor fellows must even work like the
builders of the second temple, who ‘every one with one of his
hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a
weapon’; for with one hand they defend themselves against
the wolf at the door, and with the other they seek to accom-
plish the work of their heart.

“The spirit of poetry and progress, endowed with immor-
tality, endurance, and genius,—this is the Opposer to the heavy
immovable multitude, who are exactly as honest as the laws
and customs of their time and place.”

Ward closed the book and replaced it on the shelves of
the reference library.

The girl model was already undressed when he arrived at



SATAN’S PICTURE. 67

the school of art. She placed herself in various positions, from
which one was selected, remarkable for the fine line of the
bending body. Ward’s mind, tired by the day’s business, was
greatly distracted by the conversation of some of the students ;
gossip about models, funny stories, and disagreeable bass
undertones,—these made every line an effort to him.

After an hour of work someone called out “ Rest,’ and the
model shook her aching limbs, and the men formed into talka-
tive groups. Ward remained unmoved on his seat and found
himself staring at the man who was sitting beside him. He
saw a pale, yellow, bloodless face, which suggested great vital
force, despite this morbidness of colour; an intensely serious
and calm face, yet marked by passion. Feeling obliged to say
something to the man after having stared at him in silence,
Ward enquired whether conversation disturbed him-in his work.

“No,” answered the stranger, “a little of the cold cinders
of opposition cannot extinguish my enthusiasm.”

“ After a day’s work I am afraid that talking does disturb
me,” Ward replied ; but despite all the noise around him, when
the model had found her old position, he became entirely
absorbed in his drawing. The words of the stranger had
given him strength; he was absorbed in his work and happy.
After the end of another hour and during the next ten
minutes of rest for the model, he saw to his astonishment a
copy of Misty’s Prologue to Theology lying on a shelf, on which
pots, plates, and all kinds of picturesque rubbish were kept.
Some student must have placed it there. He commenced read-
ing it.where he had left off at the Museum, where it says:

“This Enemy possesses, it is said, certain pictures, one of
which he sometimes gives to-a favoured artist, who, when he
looks at this picture, sees a vision of beauty come over it, and
remain until he has copied it and preserved it for the world.

F 2



68 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Is it some faint picture of perfection which is given to
the genius, and which ever interests him in vain efforts to copy
all visions of beauty that come near to it; or is it likeness of
his own soul, or of Love, or of the beloved which inspires him
with visions ?

“But what is his own soul, or Love, or the beloved, save
a faint picture of perfection ?

“Or is some part of God’s perfect word given to him, and
he beholds it dimly through the beautiful veil of God’s work,
and reverently he seeks to copy the word as seen through
the veil?”

Ward was glad when, after the end of the next hour’s
and of the evening’s work, he found that the stranger was
walking in the same direction as himself.

“Of course it is hard,” said the stranger, “to oppose your-
self to the weariness of the end of a busy and monotonous
day.”

The words were perhaps trivial, but they were sympathetic,
and Ward opened the innermost chambers of his heart to him.

He told the stranger that he thought he was sacrificing
his evenings to failure; but that he could not leave off working
at Art, even though he knew that it were so.

“Usually,” he said, “I have an idea, waiting to be ex-
pressed on the Sunday of rest; but it has to wait in some
distant, inconvenient part of my brain, for during the week
I am busy with other things.

“When Sunday comes, I cannot express it without a model ;
sometimes I undress myself and stand before a looking-glass.”

“What would you give for the certainty of having great
merit and of doing good work ?—Your life?”

“Yes; but what do you mean?”

“Will you give more—your happiness, your peace, all your



SATAN’S PICTURE. 69

prosperity? Death is the end, but life without peace and
happiness is filled with terrors that wait in the future.”

“T would give my peace, all my happiness, and all my
prosperity.”

“Take this picture; gazing at it you will see visions of
beauty and give them to others; yet, what the world calls
success you shall not have.

“You will live by means of Art—your genius will at once
be sufficiently recognised to keep you from starvation; you will
at once have to express so much that there will be no hope
of your attending to your other business.”

It seemed to be a picture of a man fighting with a dragon
that Ward took; the fight with the evil, the unnecessary, the
ugly, was to move him to effort; in this everlasting struggle
he saw the presence of the perfect God, who is the source
of all change and vitality.

When Ward reached his home he looked at the picture
and saw a blackness come over it,. and white lines twisted
themselves in decorative designs upon the blackness; then
black and white melted together;, and grey figures of all the
demons that oppress mankind passed before him—Greed,
Luxury, Custom, Cruelty, Selfishness, and many others, bear-
ing lashes, the waving lines of which combined the figures into
one harmonious design; then the grey figures melted and he
saw Fate holding the universe in her hands, and, when she
touched with her body the dreams and. the thoughts of men
with which she was. clothed, they fell. on to the earth and
covered it with beautiful forms; then he saw the earth grow
larger, and he saw the great landscapes revolving on it, painted
with the endless range of God’s palette..

And this is man’s greatest happiness, when out of the
smoke and thorns of life he sees the Temple of Beauty rise.



70 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

A hand draws the curtain from the door of the temple—
the heaviness leaves our eyelids, we wonder at the beauty of
the vision. :

From that time Ward lived very happily, for he was im-
prisoned by beautiful visions ; yet many pitied him because of

his poverty, for they did not know that his mind was always
in safety





a serolls seas gleam. oft ght:
shines: upanit € hopeful: Words

God: Like strong, naked:
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of: presi stotures astar- ty
'swhalty his. Peetlaves on thee
ground: The: bright: Sevell: Lies: an-
ratled: on-hiss eaténded: arm. Guteit:
i rote ay: that: L-cannot: read

°



THE TEMPLE .OF BEAUTY.

I.

We see and feel much that is unknown to the inhabitants of
the Land of Happiness. One of them once came to London
in order to make accurate sketches of our lives, which might
help him in the design of his novels. The sketches them-
selves were framed by him in his book, Sfectimen Days in
London. In this book he tells of many of the different kinds
of people who live in London; with what occupations and feel-
ings they spend the day; who make and who destroy; who
are at peace, in beauty and in happiness, and who are in un-
rest, in ugliness, and in weariness; who are the pillars of the



72 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

State and who are its ornaments. Sometimes also we seem
to hear in this book the message of one who is native in
the Land of Happiness, and knows that the unexplored Land
of the Future may be to the Present as is his country to ours.

The traveiler from the Land of Happiness became a mem-
ber of the Disputers’ Club.

“ All human feelings,” said one of the members on a certain
evening, “are reducible to two elements.” Then he paused to
look for words with which to explain his meaning.

“J hate a picture that prezends to have been painted with
great feeling,” said an art-critic who was conversing in another
circle; “some painters do their best work when they forget
that they have souls.”

“The second path to happiness, corresponding to the
second element of human feeling,’ the moralist was now say-
ing, “is by a Stoic calm.”

“You are as metaphysical as a Persian,’ said another.
“The most stoical action I ever knew is that of a man—Sapira
is his name—who was rich by, inheritance, but who sold all he
had and gave it to the poor, and is now earning his living as
a tailor. He lives somewhere in the East End of London.”

“JT should like to know him,” said the traveller from the
Land of Happiness.

Although no one at the club knew Sapira’s address, the
traveller at last succeeded on a Sunday morning in finding his
room.

He has pushed his way through a narrow street in White-
chapel that was filled with barrows and foreign bargainers—
they were Jews from the East of Europe. A few English
workmen were walking through the noisy street, in which
everyone expressed himself with Oriental exaggeration; the



THE TEMPLE OF BEAUTY. 73

Britons were completely prejudiced against everything foreign to
them, and in practice completely indulgent to all foreigners.

A narrow street of small houses branched out of this
market-street ; some of the children who were playing in its
roadway showed the traveller the house that he was seeking,
and guided him up the dark stairs to the right door.

He knocked on the door panel and then entered.

“T hope you will forgive the intrusion of a stranger. I have
been told that if I dared ask you, you could do me a great
service.”

“What is it that I can do for you?” asked Sapira.

“T come from the Land of Happiness; I am studying
London life. You can give me much information.”

“Something I have seen of life, but my memory has few
pictures worthy to be exhibited.”

“Concerning the present manner of your life,’ continued the
interviewer. ;

“The noise of joking stupidity irritates me in the workshop ;
a periodical groaning that comes through the wall from an
adjacent room disturbs me here—it is the complaint of some-
one sitting in lonely pain.”

He told him of many other things: of a thirst for
colour, at times when the streets are grey and shortened by
a closing mist, into which the brightly painted omnibuses
soon retreat and become only moving shadows; of wanderers
in the streets, whose faces show the sallow passion of the
South and who sell ice-creams to little red-cheeked boys; of
the unreasoning emotions of the Salvation Army meeting ;
of the docks, and the ships, and the processions of men who
unload them; of starvation; of the awakening of a great
machine, when its wheels and belts and bars return to their



74 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

noisy, monotonous life; of red-hot gleaming metal poured into
moulds in the dark dusty workshop ; of the anxieties of seeking
work; and of huge cart-horses that crowd the narrow City
streets of warehouses.

These are a few of the subjects of which they spoke.

“T cannot find words with which to thank you,” said the
traveller. “May I leave with you a Stone of Good Luck
which I have with me?”

Sapira thanked him, took the stone, and showed him the
way to the street.

Now Beauty sees all things from her temple, where she rules
over all that is beautiful.

Her temple is in the air and quite near to all of us;
whoever possesses the Stone of Good Luck will be carried
there.

Therefore the wind took Sapira and carried him to the
entrance of the Temple of Beauty.

Beauty was standing at the entrance. She was dressed in
modern clothes—for the garments of Beauty are infinite, and
she need never clothe herself in the forms of the distant past.

She held in her hand the torch by whose light she reveals
to us the joy of appearances,

She led him into the temple in silence; and although she
gave him no gold of learning, wit, or morality, yet he greatly
rejoiced to see her. For when the poor man sees her, he for-
gets the length of his drudgery, and the thinness of his life ;
when the sick man sees her, he forgets the unceasing tortures
of pain, and the despairing forgets the terror of the future.

With the light of her torch she illumined the pictures that
are within the temple.



THE TEMPLE OF BEAUTY. 75

Il.

He saw Venus looking at sleeping Mars. The boy-satyrs
are boldly playing with the weapons of the sleeper; one hides
his small head in the great helmet, and helps another thrust
the lance they can scarcely raise from the ground. A third
one sounds révezl/é on a large sea shell close to the sleeping
ear of the god.

Like one who, after years spent in a whitewashed cell,
looks again at the sky and the earth, thus intently does Venus
gaze at sleeping Mars.

She lies upon the grass, raising her body on her bent arm,
and gazing at his naked form. ‘

In the next picture that Beauty showed to him he saw the
slave, looking into the dark night. The slave’s neck is chained
to his cage; his weary mind cannot go far’ from the bars.

In the darkness an angel appears to him—a messenger
from God, from the great life that is in him and in the whole
universe.

The angel holds an unrolled scroll, and a gleam of light
shines on the hopeful words of God.

Like a strong naked man the angel seems; he is very tall
and a star is on his hair.

The bright scroll- lies unrolled on his°extended arm, but it
is so far away that the slave cannot read the words on
tse ie shee

In the next picture Sapira saw Death endeavouring in vain
to blow out the light of Israel. The light is enclosed in a large
lantern with a small pointed dome on the roof, and little
tinkling bells hanging from the eaves. The sides of the
lantern are formed of fantastically shaped pieces of metal,



70 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

connected to each other by bars, some of which are of great
curvature and some of the most rigid straightness.

Death lays his destructive hand on the lantern-case, and
blows into the brightness; in vain he swells out his bony
cheeks. and draws his hairless brows down over his eye-
holes.

He saw pleasant pictures of the impossible ; pictures
abstracted from actual life, and unconcerned with human
action.

He saw the Devil carefully folding up poor Schlemihl’s
shadow as he lifts it from the grass; he saw the Enchantress
spitting in the face of the amorous king and changing him
into a white bird with a long red beak and red feet; he saw
the man digging a grave by the light of a single candle in the
half ruined church—a grave for the corpse that sits on his
back and clasps him with dead arms and legs; he saw Fame
crowning the ghost of a genius, who had been said to fail.

He saw the gardens of Pleasure, where all labour is play,
and where Beauty sits in nakedness.

“T think it is wrongly sensual and degrading to depict
the nude,” said Sapira.

“JT have a servant, called Criticism,’ said Beauty, “and he
shall speak to you about that.”

Ill.

“T wish I had considered what I desire to say to you,”
said Criticism ; “digressions and disorders in a critic’s remarks
are as inappropriate as fairies would be in the streets of
London.

“You are probably in an inconsistent position to which
you have been led by retaining some Puritan opinions whilst



THE TEMPLE OF BEAUTY. 77

rejecting many others, and rejecting also all the larger prin-
ciples of which they were the logical consequences.

“It seems to me that there are only two rational views as
to the morality of looking at naked figures.

“You may say: All the things of this world, all nature as we
see it with our material eyes, are sinful ; all matter is Satan’s—
it is wrong either to listen with pleasure to the singing of a
bird or to look with pleasure at a naked human form.
Although we cannot be consistent in avoiding all physical
pleasure (for we live by it, and are ‘all naked within our
clothes’), we are able to interfere with the satisfaction of every
carnal appetite, so as to deny to the body the greater number
of its desires.

“But there is another safe position besides this one.

“You may say: In the body as well as in the mind, in the
material as well as in the spiritual, we may perceive God.
Physical pleasure is not sinful, except when it harms the mind
or the body.”

IV.

Sapira lived happily in the Temple of Beauty. But when
the man from the Land of Happiness desired to return home,
he could no longer find the way to it. Many gave him
instructions concerning the road, but none had ever been there
themselves. Perhaps without the Stone of Good Luck no one
can go there, and with foolish generosity he had given it away.
(“Foolish generosity ” is no doubt a pleonasm.)

The pleasant face of the cheerful gold coin was becoming
strange to him; he was obliged to remain in London and
work for his bread. He never despaired in the midst of his
troubles of returning to the Land of Happiness.



78 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

For on this weary voyage of life the most hopeless some-
times think that they see in the distance some Land of
Happiness, some island of Bimini, where the waters of youth
are flowing, and where winter is unknown. There the faded
flower returns to bloom, and the weary feet to careless joy.

At length we all do come to a silent land of peace.

For surely when we are in the grave, no hateful discordant
trumpet will call us to stand up again and put on our clothes
and boots. Our restless dust will be moulded into new forms,
our worn souls will return and pass again through the
Entrance into Life; but we shall sleep the sleep without end
—undisturbed, unwearied by any earthly noise, or heavenly
song, or infernal groaning.*

* See Heine’s Bimini (Letzte Gedichte)



En a EE my

RS SES

RR oN IR Sar Ti



THE MILLIONAIRE.
I.

A POOR man once visited a millionaire. In answer to the
poor man’s questions, the millionaire admitted that since he
had already travelled as much and entered as many spheres of
activity as he desired, and was already becoming dulled by
age, he expected that his future life would now mostly repeat
his past; therefore, although he was not tired of life, he was
no longer greatly interested in it; and one intense hour would
please him more than all the drowsy years that probably
remained for him.

“An hour of intense life—of active preparation and of
absorbing oblivion of your usual cares—this I can give you,”



80 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

said the poor man. “ You may enjoy it,if you now determine
to commit suicide after another hour; because to you this
deed would be motiveless, unexpected, and important,—to
prepare for it will be exciting.”

The millionaire was pleased with this logic.

The millionaire admitted that he was troubled by the
difficulty of making his will ; the poor man said, “ You should
leave your property to me. I am exceptionally capable both
of spending money well and of enjoying myself.”

When this was settled, it was difficult to decide the method
of suicide. To hang oneself needs skill; besides, there seemed
to be neither a strong rope nor a suitable sustainer for it.
The millionaire disliked violence or great exertion; he would
not therefore stab or shoot himself, of cut his own _ throat,
or keep his head in a basin of water, or suffocate himself in
an air-tight room. Pleasant poisons are troublesome to buy;
—chemists ask questions and only sell small quantities. To
die by holding one’s breath or by drinking several bottles of
pure brandy would be attractive; but the poor man and the
millionaire were not sure that either of these is really a
possible method of suicide.

At last a sword with a letter-weight tied to its handle was
hung so that the millionaire could make it drop down and
kill him in an instant.

The poor man superintended, the millionaire did the work.
: Thus the poor man became a millionaire. He
now ate all that he needed; he lived in a country house
far from the enervating irritation of the streets. He ceased
to devote his days to the service of hunger; he no_ longer
spent about ten hours a day in the little counting-house
of a small wholesale tailor; he no longer calculated the prices



THE MILLIONAIRE. 81

of each garment, according to: the measurements sent by the
retail shops, and wrote these measurements on. tickets for the
use of “hands” who make the clothes at their houses; he was
no longer confined with the persons (of which he was very
weary) of the clerk who kept the ledger and made up the
accounts, and of the head clerk, whom he had obeyed, hated,
and despised. The head clerk had to pay the “hands” at a
little sliding window, after they had brought in the work and
the head cutter had “passed” it as satisfactory; he had to
cheat so as to reduce prices wherever it was possible, and in
general he acted as cashier and sub-manager; for the men in
the warehouse who sought out. rolls of cloth from the stacks
that were piled up to the ceiling and cut off from them the
needed lengths, and who took down verbal orders from. cus-
tomers, the cutters, in the hot gas-lit room. upstairs, and
sometimes the machinists, whose female chatter and clattering
wheels filled the top room—all these often referred to the head
clerk for instructions. \
The millionaire was no. longer confined to the companion-
ship of such people from whom his soul had derived “no
benefit ; he was no longer employed in the wearisome repetition
of actions that needed neither sense nor spirit ; the present was
without haste or hunger, the future was without dread for him.
He endeavoured to become strong and healthy; he rode,
walked, boated, swum, skated, fenced, bicycled, and hunted.
But soon, although free from the: whip of need and the
vexations of lifeless servitude, he grew weary ; he was too
restless and unemotional to enjoy the beauties of the country
and of a healthy life.
In his new leisure he found the shelter of reading; he
was chiefly interested by the most artificial element in books
G



82 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

(as might have been expected from his pessimism)—by the
ingenuity of the plot more than by descriptions, characters, or
emotions—by the inventiveness shown in the succession ot
incidents more than by any resemblance to actuality.

Il,

Once. the: millionaire’ returned to London.

But suddenly London was not London, the streets were
not streets; moving without an effort, he walked rapidly,
absorbed in the memory of a face that he had seen in the
darkness. “Would that I had had courage to shout to her,” he
said to himself, “to stop her in the entanglement of moving
faces.” But when he had turned backwards she had _ passed
away—he could not find her among the stream of traffic that
divided the pavement, and among the tumult of walkers, :

At length, near where Nelson’s statue stood on a tall black
pillar (at that moment Nelson was looking on to a sky growing
red with sunset as smoke and cloud were blown away, for he
stands high above the noisy traffic of converging streets, and
high above the grey heights of the buildings that form a
square around him)—near there he again found her.

“T greatly desire to hear you speak—I mean, since I once
saw you pass I have been afraid that I should never meet you.”

“TI shall grow taller with vanity,” she answered; “but I am
glad to talk to someone to whom I am not a machine with
which to make money.”

She spoke to him of the troubles and pleasures and weari-
nesses of her work—she was employed in a factory; she
related the incidents of her short holidays and of her times of
freedom ; he looked with pleasure at the hardly-earned adorn-
ments of her dress.



THE MILLIONAIRE. 83

He asked her to become his companion; not to marry him,
for, as he said, he was too tired to love; with all his wealth
he did not live happily, and would not bring children to life;
to see her sometimes smile, to hear her talk, to sit near her, to
see her happy (sometimes, perhaps, to be alone wéthout her),—
this was all he desired.

“T shall no longer be constantly sad. Is it selfish to
think in that way?”

“You are flattering,’ she answered ; “but why are you sad?
I am not worried by my cares.”

“And perhaps I shall be happy,” he said, “when you walk
beside me, and, in the silent darkness of my garden, the
moon kindly shows me a glimmer of your face.”





aD

AN ENTERTAINMENT.

I, OVERTURE.

AFTER the Necromancer had told me some’ parts of my
future, he said he would give me some new views of the
world.

He did not merely cause my soul to transmigrate ; that is,
my old self did not merely pass into new bodies, but I
became another man, with other ideas and other knowledge,
with a new mind looking out of new eyes. I gained a new
past and a new present, and lost my former past and present ;
but afterwards, when I returned here into my old self, I
remembered all that I had experienced when the Necromancer
played with me, when he made me his doll.

Like a tune that repeats itself in the brain, the fragments
of life that I lived when I was outside myself are now con-
stantly reacted in my thoughts.



AN ENTERTAINMENT. 35

To tell the story is my greatest relief from the torture of
this everlasting mental drama.

It was to .the sound of music (the great disturber of the
soul) that I lost myself; the music seemed like a joyous tune
sung in great sorrow; it reminded me of my life, which is
covered with a foolish joy, and inwardly there is disappoint-
ment, ‘weariness, and disgust.

Il, FAILURE,

A buzzing sound—the carbons separated, the (electric) arc
was formed, and for the first time my invention was visible
in wire and wheel and dazzling brilliance before my delighted
eyes.

But soon I heard a hissing in the light, and the brilliance
became variable, and the craters of the carbons, between which
the arc was situated, became misshapen; I peered anxiously
into my complicated arrangement of wires and_ wheels by
which the “feed” of the carbons was regulated.

A hissing, then darkness—the darkness of, failure.

The experiments, each accompanied by a rotation of. hope,
despair, and_ success, the gradual construction of the idea’s
metallic mechanical body, the consultations, the patenting, the
cost, the labour-—even the obtaining of the experimenting room
in which I was—they had all been in. vain.

For the invention was a failure and—I was its inventor.

Ill. JOY.

Like a sad tune sung in great joy seemed the music that
the fairy played on the violin while we wildly danced round



86 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

her. The tune reininded me of our fairy life, which has a
likeness to sad human life, but is acted lightly without foolish
human toils and ugly, useless human cares.

I was the only male fairy there.

The light skirts whirled far from the swift bare legs; the
bare arms rose and fell, and bent and straightened to keep
hand joined to hand, despite their owners’ different whims in
dancing.

IV. TORMENT.

I ached with hunger and thirst. An empty desert was
around me. Suddenly I saw in the distance beautiful trees,
and under them, tables bearing food. I struggled to hasten
towards them; they disappeared slowly. It became so cold
that I seemed covered with ice. I saw naked women, lying
on soft cushions and smiling to invite me; I went towards
them, and when I expected to touch them, they slowly
disappeared.

I said: “Although my brains burn, and the worm and
the fire devour my entrails, my mind in poetry shall. peace-
fully describe my feelings.” But Death came, and with nerve-
destroying music he mowed down my thoughts, The music
seemed like a sad tune sung in great joy; as though devils
joyfully mocked me with fictitious sympathetic sorrow.

This is hell, where you are in pain while healing pleasure

is near to you; healing pleasure is near, but it is not per-
mitted to you. ;

V. FINALE.

Gradually I came back to myself, and to the sound of the
music which I had heard when I lost myself.



AN ENTERTAINMENT. 87

Like a sad tune sung in great sorrow the music now
seemed ; it was like the life which I have lived, without pur-
pose, will-power, or any guiding seriousness, since the Necro-
mancer disturbed my brain by using me for what he termed
“an interesting experiment in the disintegration of the soul.”







THE BANQUET OF THE DESPERATE.

THE last shall be first,’ said one man, and with a sweep of
his arm he overturned the dishes of meat, sweets, and fruit
that lay before him; “the fulfiller of one life-destroying formula
of work shall sit in the seat of leisure, the profitable seat of
the manager; the murderer shall solemnly condemn the judge
to be hanged by the neck; the sheep shall roast the cook ;
and the disreputable instruct people of good position.”

“Listen to none of them,” said a woman, flinging the
tendrils of her hair into beautiful disorder. “See by what
charming arts my dress has been made a net for the minds of



THE BANQUET OF THE DESPERATE, 89

men; come closer that I may speak,—for how-can I flatter
you in a ctowd ?” :
‘But he to whom she had spoken was stabbing again the
dead body of his enemy, and in his joy he had understood
nothing that she had said; he still pantéd with rage. i

His neighbour was silent, almost motionless, and naked, as
though he had cast off all worldly distractions; he was staring
at the vision of beauty that he at length clearly beheld.

In characterless dress clothes sat another and smiled, as he
ate and drank with the oblivious satisfaction of one who loves
and possesses a good dinner.

A doctor dissected the diseased parts of a corpse, and
another learned man was intently meditating a scheme for
bringing the world and all that is therein into agreement with
a diagram that he was inventing.

Innumerable were the ways in which the different people
satisfied a little of their desires.

When the banquet was nearly concluded, the master of the
ceremonies rose, obtained silence, and said:

“Ladies and gentlemen, at this moment, when we, who are
desperate, are draining the only cups of pleasure that we can
attain, I do not wish to weary you with my after-dinner
speech; but I cannot let you depart without some ceremony.
_I think that here in England we deprive ourselves of pleasure
by avoiding symbols and signs of feeling ; even ‘pleases’ and
‘thank-yous, and greetings and words of suitable civility and
motions of endearment often seem much,—they add ideas and
emotions to the struggle for more solid things—they make less
material the relations between masters and servants, between
lovers, friends, and companions. Therefore we are come to-
gether, and shall together drink the waters of forgetfulness—



gO LONDON FAIRY TALES.

the end of weariness. Drink joyfully, ladies and gentlemen,
and die in a happy moment, and with the hope that the in-
destructible. elements, of which we are composed, may (if it be
possible), in the shapes into which they will be moulded, assume
ever increasing beauty.”

Bowing a farewell one to another, the banqueters drank
glasses of poison.







TWO STORIES.

I. A LEGEND.

AN old woman, dirty and dressed in rags, fell fainting in the
street. I took her in my arms and carried her into my room.
She opened her eyes, and I gave her some wine.

The room was dark; a beautiful old crucifix hung on the
wall. The blood from the hands and ~ feet and side seemed to
fall into the wine-glass when she put it on the table.

The deadly sufferings of the past fell into our life-giving
wine, and the signs of their cruelty taught me pity. I kissed
the old woman, although she was dirty, ugly, and disreputable.

Then the city was disenchanted, and its ugliness changed
to beauty ; even the old woman became beautiful.

Il, AN IMPRESSION OF THE IMPOSSIBLE.
It was too dark to read; I closed my book of fairy tales.
Then I saw a procession of the princesses of Fairyland pass

before me.
The shrouded princess from the east, the black-haired



92 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

maiden with the dark cloak clasped at the throat and falling
over her pale dress and naked feet, the golden-haired one with
the embroidered dress and cap, the enchantress with mystic
signs on her dress and carrying the magic wand, and other
skirts and faces dimly seen in the darkness,—they passed
before me.

I said: “Princesses of Fairyland, what service may I
seriously do for you?”
They answered: “Be as merry as you may, for by us

your services are thrown aside.”





Full Text





Ex Libris



Entrance:to Land-of- Romance. *





ae 4 rere
ae

iki
Lal





(EES
Lg pron G leg re)
<> ark ——s
London Fairy Tales 7
By Arthur W. Lewis

With Decorations
By the Author



LONDON

LEONARD SMITHERS AND CO
5 OLD BOND STREET W

1899


THE ENTRANCE TO FAIRYLAND: A PREFATORY STORY
THE JOURNEY

VARIATIONS

THE GAME

Two CHAPTERS ...

AT THE ENTRANCE

VENUS AND THE:PAINTER

THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY

THE WITCH

SATAN’S PICTURE

THE TEMPLE OF BEAUTY

THE MILLIONAIRE

AN ENTERTAINMENT a ea
THE BANQUET OF THE DESPERATE ...
TWO STORIES

PAGE

nN
AR OF 4

DAF w ow
Or wu

64
71
79
84
88
gI
vili CONTENTS.

THE BOOK OF TRUE IDEAS ... ae Bos it a oh
THE PICTURE BOOK ,,. on eee ws ae Soar wee
THE PRINCE’S DREAMS a ar ase rei oor Bae
THE PALACE IN THE SEA eae ae ase ae oe

THE PHOTOGRAPHER ... a Br oa aoe as aes
A DAY AND A DREAM ... aie fon ie hae ae ao
BEFORE YOU WERE BORN ae ats ee te aa Be
GROTESQUES... ae oF: ie ae a ae a
THE BOOKSELLER oe oe aes she ms oa nee
FAIRYTOWN ace eee aso aes Sto wae Vas Die
THE DELIVERANCE Gee eee ee bod ao oe aes
A DAY DREAM ... aes aS ei ee wes au; ve
THE MAD MASQUERADERS Bes Bee ae

A VERY SIMPLE ADVENTURE ... ees ao at ae

THE LAND OF LAZINESS es Pe Bee we a

THE UNBUILT TOWER ... ies os Bis oS te ae
THE MISER Pe bs eee sue dee ate

A LOVE STORY ... i ate an es ee be a
THE DEPARTURE FROM FAIRYLAND: THE CONCLUDING STORY
DINNER AT A RESTAURANT: A STORY AS APPENDIX .., ee:



PAGE

172
177


LONDON FAIRY TALES

THE ENTRANCE TO FAIRYLAND:
A PREFATORY STORY.

“ UNFORTUNATELY,” I said, “you have succeeded in injuring
me. The coarse words that you have spoken and forgotten,—
I shall not be able to forget them; I will not again speak to
you nor see you, yet I shall constantly hear your evil folly
repeated in my brain.”

He stared at me‘with hatred, he smiled at me with scorn.
As he stared, my reason became dumb; I did not know what
words the strange, hard, loud voice of hate was about to speak
out of my mouth:

As he smiled at me with scorn, I changed into a dog and
I growled confused words of rage. He beat me with a stick ;
I bit him and ran into the street. I ran in and out between
legs and skirts and wheels and hoofs,—I do not know where
I ran.

Then I turned to a quieter street; the houses were dark

B
2 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

and colourless with the city’s dirt, and there was no light in
any of the windows.

Suddenly I saw a curious building; in its steeple there
was a projecting window, protected by tracery through which
light shone; over the door curved lines of iron supported an
inscribed stone, on which was written “The Entrance to Fairy-
land” ;—a faint gleam came through the pierced carving of the
half-opened door out of the darkness within.

I pushed aside a little of the curtain that hung behind the
door; then, with a joyous bark, I entered into the light.

An old man was talking to a beautiful lady; I passed
under a table and went up to her; she stroked me and even
kissed my hairy nose. Then it was good and joyful to be a
dog. As she looked at me with kind eyes I changed into a
man again. Hate was silent in my brain, and Love stretched
out his arms to embrace the universe.

“TIT am glad to see the guest,” said the old man, “who
comes to our feast.”

“ A poor beast, unworthy to sit with you,” I answered.

“That you have been a dog is unalterable,” said the lady ;
“but you are now a man and we are glad to see you.”

“Is it because I am with you that I am aman? If I
were always with you, I should be removed from all folly ; I
should be turned towards the entrance to Heaven on earth,—
I should be serious and move towards an end.”

“Let me tell you then,” said the old man, “ that he who
can read my unspoken thoughts shall marry my daughter.”

I looked at him.

Then my mouth was aera and I was astonished at my
own words.

“Take my daushter” said the old man; “he who reads the
thoughts of Wisdom shall live with Beauty.”
THE ENTRANCE TO FAIRYLAND. 3

“ My beautiful Soul,” I said, “ will you live with me?”

“T shall always love you, but you will forget me.”

Now the table was set ready for a feast ; I. took a glass
from it, I threw it violently on to the ground,—it broke into
fragments.

“May it be thus with me if ever [ forget you,’ I
said.

The guests who came to eat with us were not, as I had
expected, Kings and Princes of Fairyland, and the most
beautiful women ever on the earth—they were men and women
from the streets of London.

When we had finished eating, the old man said: “ Will not
each of our guests tell us a fairy tale, we should like to hear
them.”

But they smiled, and sat unmoved and scornful, and said
they did not know any fairy tales.

She who was to be my wife told them that she desired it,
and everyone was ready to speak.

“Before you begin,” said the old man, “I should like to
say a few words as Preface.

“The study of the Impossible is a good stimulant for all
who are burdened with the difficulties of life; but such an
audience demands a feeling of capacity for seriousness even
from the narrator of the most irregular fairy tales.

“This feeling might be attained, I fancy, if you could bring
the Impossible into contact with the routine of life, so that it
were combined with the actual serious emotions, thoughts,
questions, and surroundings of ordinary London life of to-day.”

Then each, in turn, told a tale, and most of them seemed
to heed the old man’s words.

And the Tales that follow here are what I remember of
their speech.


THE JOURNEY.

I.

I was tired of ugly walls and of colourless crowds and of the
noisy city that is usually enveloped in a cloud of smoke.

I was tired of the unmoral warfare of commerce and of the
monotonous weariness of painful circumstances and of deadly,
useless vexations that extinguish the light of the soul.

I was tired of the artistic, who, being surrounded by ugli-
ness, thirst for every mental stimulant, however maddening it
be, and who absorb themselves in a painful love of dreams.

I was tired of the well-fed society that calls itself respect-
able; it gossips about people and depicts their meanness and
absurdity without seeming to know that there is a soul of
beautiful nobility in every man. I was tired of dulness, and I
was very tired of laughter.

I was tired of starvation, and I was tired of gorging.
THE JOURNEY. 5

I was tired of reformers, who continually argue and build
perfect Utopias with words.

Il.

I was tired of my friend Misty’s didactic tales. He read me
one beginning :

“If the world rested for a few days,’ said the Reformer,
“we should see whose work is needed. Fire and force would
destroy the evil and unnecessary.

“Then we should see before us the Temple of Beauty,
whence flow the waters of Life.

“Now we sacrifice ourselves to cowardice and convenience,
and we praise our self-sacrifice; we are more moderate than
reason, and more cowardly than righteousness.”

With fire and force the crowd applauded his words.

Without skill and weapons it is impossible to kill neatly.
Many corpses looked as if they had been dragged to death
by a hook in their entrails or in their heads, rather than as if
they had been killed in a well-arranged slaughter-house.

The ugly towns danced slowly away.

All men again enjoyed “the sky above and the pure air
and the life of the fields,’ and they worked in the service of
Love.

Then the Reformer went to his beloved, and said:

“Even when men were slaves, and ugly streets surrounded
them, and the future was a doubtful, hopeless task; when men
said in the morning, ‘Would that the day’s work were done,
and that to-morrow’s never came’; even then how happy were
they who walked together with love.

“No one then knew what I desired.
6 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“T have not entirely failed, but I am lonely and tired, and
only with you is there rest.”

And she answered :

“My life was a life in which buying new clothes and wear-
ing them were great events; a life of comfortable and ugly
monotony ; I judged men and flattered them, but seldom sym-
pathised with them, because I saw so little of their lives.

“ Because of their ignorance women’s power was often evil.

“But you ” A

I was tired of such didactic tales.

II.

One night I said to myself: “I think the Recording
Angel must be very tired; he has always.to write all the dull
deeds of this London and of the rest of the world.”

At that instant, hands seized me from behind; I was
carried out of my bedroom. Beneath me, in the darkness
diapered with golden gas- ea rumbled a confusion of noisy
wheels.

I was hurried through the air.

I was placed on a rocky shelf that proceed from the side
of a precipitous cliff. My face was towards the cliff. I began
to climb upwards, panting and perspiring with fear. I placed
my feet with care, but sometimes one slipped from an
insufficient projection. A few times I looked for an instant
downwards into the darkness and trembled with the fear of
becoming giddy. Vet I said to myself in my fear, “Are you
not tired of life? If then it is signed, sealed, and determined
that you shall now die, die bravely and be at rest for ever.”

The cliff seemed endless above me. I talked aloud to my
lonely and tired self.
THE JOURNEY. 7

At last I reached the summit and saw before me a house.
I entered, and a lady advanced towards me. She was pale
and weary-looking, but her eyes and hair were dark and
gleaming.

“You are hungry and tired and stained,” she said; “when my
maidens have washed you and clothed you, we will eat and
once again be happy together; we will forget all the troubles
of the past and all the terrors of the future.”

While I ate she related to me a tale that I ean not spoil
by retelling. In it the works. of man were endowed with magic
qualities and spoke eloquently ; in it the most grotesque
monsters and the most beautiful men and women appeared
before me. The most astonishing occurrences succeeded each
other, and the most familiar events were strangely beautiful ;
so that nothing seemed so profane or so sacred that it could
not be mentioned. . . . The lady fell asleep. Patched
and faded (as I now noticed) were the fascinating patterns
on her dress and on the draperies of the room.

The broad tones of the night {that I saw outside the
house) were more definite in colour than they are in our
Western lands.

Sometimes I heard in ene distance the faint tinkling and
the wild roaring of some strange Eastern music, whose joyous
sorrow and sorrowful joy revealed the numerous and conflicting
memories of an aged race.

“Come with us and with happiness,” said voices at the
door.

They invited me to enter a kind of covered chair. Like
curling serpents were the staves on which they carried it; like
claws and haunches and breasts and hoofs and tails were the
parts of the outline of the case that enclosed the seat.
8 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

Through the dark privacy of trees and tangled growths,
where the graceful tiger softly moves; along hillsides covered
with brown leafless woods and bordering a pale river that bore
rafts. of logs; over the irregular giant steps of a snowy
mountain ; over windy darknesses under a. wide sky and by
many other beautiful places, they carried me.

At last I fell asleep.

IV.

I was in my own bed, when a clattering waked me. A cat
was seated in the middle of the window on the horizontal bar
of the window-frame ; its form was silhouetted against the dim
light that entered through the curtain. I moved; the cat
jumped to the floor, clattering the curtain.

It ran towards my clothes and then towards the chimney,
which it seemed to ascend.

I lit a match. It had disappeared.

My clothes were disordered and I began to rearrange
them. Some of my money was gone. The cat must have
taken it. I do not know exactly how much it had taken.

It had collected, I suppose, the fare for my journey. :

And I had returned to the London of which I was
so tired. I was surrounded by its innumerable mean little
houses and its innumerable large houses, by innumerable men
who make little jokes and never rejoice in joyous madness,
who pursue the nearest little aims and never conceive earnest
hopes of huge impossibilities.


VARIATIONS.

I.
“A MAN is sad; a woman causes him to rejoice: there’s a
plot for you,” Mary once said to me.

“If I treat it allegorically,’ I answered, “the woman could
stand for sin, life, spring, beauty, the imagination, the feminine,
religion, or poetry—ought a woman’s form to be used to re-
present abstract conceptions if, as is said, women conceive none?
or to typify spiritual desires, if it be true that they seldom
love ideas and pursue dreams?—or the woman could stand
for almost any virtues, or vices, or pleasureable mental con-
ditions or qualities.”

“You must not hint evil about women to me,” said Mary.

“I—I, know few women. I have no opinion about them.
You—you, like all that is pleasant and admirable, always
hasten away from me too soon. How, then, can I know your
excellence ?”

“Tf you will tell me a story, using my plot, I will stay
with you now. and listen,” she answered.

I turned towards her—I wanted to. know what colour her
eyes really are, it is often’ so difficult to determine of dark eyes
—and I told her the following tale :—
10 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

I].

Only. two.men were walking along the street; the other
figures were leaning against posts, lounging outside the public-
house, gazing into the little shop windows, or they were
old women standing together and gossiping, or children in
doorways, whose eyes were like lights burning in lamps of
worn and ill-nourished clay.

Two gleams of light fell down the houses from the bright
sky; the rest of the narrow street was shadowy and smoky.

III.

One of the two men who were walking down the street
was a fool.

When he had had work, he was employed as a_ ware-
houseman and porter; his usual duties had been wrapping’ up
parcels of goods, storing them in dark underground cellars,
carrying them, going errands, and searching out any needed
parcel from the general stock. (Noble is the work that we
love; most of us make devils that weary ourselves, injure
others, and imprison and burden the earth.)

He had neglected his work as much as he could; it was
wearisome vanity to him, and his masters (and most men)
were hostile strangers. He was sensible of their unfriendly
words; anger and pain made him silent and slow, when they
showed their contempt for him,—and they thought him stupid
and insensible, because of his awkward silence.

Every public-house attracted him because it was a place of
rest, free from the rattle and rush of the streets. And beer,
although it had sometimes made him sick and unable to eat,
enabled him to laugh carelessly and muddled his troubles. It
VARIATIONS. II

dulled the vexation of weariness, of restless inactivity and of
effort. It quieted the demon within him that rebelled and
demanded obscurely by pains “More food and better.”

His evenings had never offered him anything more soothing
than the public-house and the newspapers at his humble club.

He had taken no thought for the morrow, and sought to
ease recklessly the evils of the long to-day ; he was always
ready to lie, if thereby he could avoid trouble.

He was alone, for no one valued his life.

Hunger, cold, and a dirty dwelling—these are not the whole
of poverty, for it takes away thought and feeling also—labour,
pain, and weariness remain. To many not even the emotion
of prayer is possible; “if there be only one Cause,” they say,
“how can we seek to oppose ourselves to it by praying ?
We can only bow before the Throne of Life (through which
all is and changes). Neither-can any repentance (that we can
understand) nor any forgiveness stop the consequences of our
sinning follies.”

Books are too expensive for those who are scarcely fed and
clothed : the fool found beauty nowhere,—neither at his work
nor on the way to it.

His work needed all his time and energy.

In the summer, when out of work, he had slept in the
public parks, haunted by an ever-present vision of hunger.
The dark, quiet trees surrounded him; outside them, in the
lamp-bordered street, was the rattle of harness and wheels.

The unfriendly houses and the criticising crowd of comfort-
able and strictly condemning people had watched him loiter
in the streets by day, and with downcast face, mumbled words
and beating heart ask for work at warehouses filled with the
busy.
12 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

IV.

The other man was a designer, named Riemer, who had
attempted many kinds of work,—designs for book covers, title-
pages, headings, and tail-pieces, illustrations, posters, chairs,
painted ceilings, picture-frames, pottery, dinking fountains; and
frescoes for public buiidings.

On Sunday evening some friends were accustomed to have
supper with him; some of them were authors, who regarded
their companions as models in a (literary) studio. :

Once they read together “The Book of Job.” They read
how after Job’s friends had assured him that all is well in
the world, God asked them “ Where were you when I laid
the foundations of the earth?” He rebuked the magnitude of
their faith ; for we can neither justify nor condemn God,—to
us there is evil and it is incomprehensible why the Almighty
has not avoided it. Job’s friends reproached an upright man,
whom Satan had tortured ; they did not pity the unfortunate,
because they were judging and condemning him. His suffer-
ings are punishments and cures, they said; Job knew that man
is powerless to guide his steps and cannot understand the aim
of his journey or of his misfortunes.

Perhaps suffering is punishment, but one man suffers for
the sin of another ; the sins of the stomach are visited on the
nerves; all men, therefore, are responsible for one another, for
our actions affect the universe and our neighbour.

Two insoluble questions trouble Job: If life be an un-
avoidable gift and in so far as we cannot return it, how can
God ever give an evil gift? And if God cause us to sin,
why does He cause us to live in punishment? “ Wherefore is
light given to him that is in misery and life unto the bitter
VARIATIONS. 13

in soul; which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig
for it more than for hid treasures; which rejoice exceedingly

and are glad when they can find the grave? . . . I have
sinned; . . . why hast thou set me as a mark against
thee so that I'am a burden to myself? . . . If I wash my-

self with snow water and make my hands never so clean, yet
shalt thou plunge me into the ditch and mine own clothes
shall abhor me.”

V.

As these two men walked along the street a woman entered
it from within a house. She cast a handful of earth (of which
there was none on the road or pavement) into the air; it
seemed to spread over the sky and darken the whole street.
It fell on to the roofs; the houses broke, fell, and crumbled.

VI.

“In what kind of house and garden would you wish to live
and labour?” said the woman, who now stood on a bare plain
with the two men before her. “Would you not admire the
beauties of a heaven and earth that were new to you? Do
you not desire to create them?” -

“I fear,’ she said, turning to the fool, “I fear that the
agile and disgusting distortions of acrobatic performers, the
meanly directed physical ingenuity of jugglers, the contempla-
tion of abnormal forms that encourage lustful excitation—I fear
that such have been your most beautiful pleasures. Perhaps
you hardly know how to commence; we shall have first to
fetch materials.”

“T am getting hungry,” said the fool, for his mouth watered
14 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

his cheeks and head ached slightly, his stomach made itself
prominent to his mind.

“ Here’s satisfying food,” said she, and handed him some
lozenges; “and the money that you will need.”

Her face was at once cheerful and full of pity (an expression
never seen in a man’s face), her whole form was ruddy and
round with health, yet its definite sinuosities were delicately
shaped and did not mingle their swellings together.

“YT wish my words (like rain on parched earth) gave hope and
life, so that when I speak of beautiful houses and gardens you
would greatly desire to build and to plant. Lend me your sketch-
book, please,” she said, holding out her hand towards Riemer.

As the two men saw the skilful hand create a forest, which
continually approximated perfection, Riemer said: “ Though we
would not say so to ourselves, life has often been disgusting to
us; but in the dancing shadows of such a forest, why should
we not enjoy it?”

“Without cares, too much work or great cold or hunger,” said
the fool.

“Simplicity shall rule us,’ said Riemer. “The roughness of
our lives will be made beautiful by the vital individuality of our
minutes and of our works.”

“ As for the clothes we shall wear,” he continued, “the forms
of men’s ordinary clothes have in general been less ugly than
those of women; they have been less bounded by excrescent and
shapeless drapery. If new trousers are straight and ugly tubes,
when worn they soon cease to be so; they become, perhaps,
slightly grotesque, because their curves hang lower than those
of the leg. A long overcoat and a cylindrical high hat are in-
expressive in outline; but so are swollen sleeves and _ skirts
festooned in artificial folds. Collar, shirt, and tie (though easily
VARIATIONS. 15

treated in a picture) form a hard and ugly design; but we shall
probably be more clothed in skins than in starchy whiteness.”

“But shall we not have to make paper, colours, ink, and
brushes?” asked the woman, treating this essay on clothes as
a parenthesis.

“You have money, you said,” Riemer answered; “and we
need not live in a completely logical system, independent of, as
well as separated from, outside institutions; besides, being but
three persons, our lives cannot present all that they may
typify.”

“Here are lists of what we need to fetch,” said the woman.
“We have been together only a little time, and now we must
separate ; but I shall be with you till we are again together,
for we have greeted each other and exchanged goodwill.”

Then was satisfied in the two men the thirst for romantic
adventure that troubles the young, and the desire to be loved
that troubles most of us—the desire to come near to the heart
of humanity, to be in communication with the inmost being of
another creature; only to be pitied is irritating, since our mis-
fortunes are partly accidental; only to be admired is unsatis-
factory, since our actions are only a part of us—they do not
achieve our desires. In short, our self-estimation refuses to be
content with a love that neglects our best parts.

VII.

As the fool was about to enter London a madman tempted
him, saying:

“Vou cannot be happy in a bare Eden, where you will be
poor as Adam; come with me—in the world there is much
joy—beautiful women and pleasing. landscapes; there the cold
16 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

wind shall not eat your entrails, nor the sun drink your blood ;
there you will lie opposite to an entrancing woman, and you
will compliment each other in pretty verses, eating perfumed
and well-coloured food; a moving forest of fair forms will
gracefully dance before you, and broken-hearted voices sing
sweet sad songs that ease digestion; your chariots will be
partly softly feathered birds, partly women; jewels will light
your house, and a man’s life shall be spent in fashioning the
beauty of one of its pots; thousands shall wait for your words,
and their eyes look towards you as the eyes of a lover follow
his lady. You shall be merry, and when you call, Death shall
come to you.”
The fool smiled and walked on.

VIII.

Wet with perspiration, the two men laboured; their dreams
of the house and garden they were making—their design—
became to them every moment more perfect. Life became
serious and valuable to them, because they needed it to attain
their aim.

From her hand the woman threw into the air some water (of
which there was none upon the ground); the dew of life fell
on to the whole country.

IX.

“ A little coarse, dull, and morbid,” said Mary, when I had
finished the tale.

“T do not feel quite well, if that is an excuse,” I said.

“T am sorry,” she answered; “if you will tell me another
story using my plot, I will stay with you a little longer.”
VARIATIONS, 17

“Your pitying eyes heal; your cheeks, delicately shaded
with red, prevent me from speaking well of sadness.”

(I knew her eyes did not heal, but I was pleased with the
slight smile with which she received my admiration.)

“ Begin, then,” she said.

And I related the following tale :—

X.

The man was sad.

_He spoke softly to himself as he walked the streets, and
delighted himself with the fury of his laments. He walked
guided by an unconsidering impulse, and did not think how he
should return or how obtain food and rest.

‘The incoherent colours of the street—of dirty brick and
dirty paint—were made neutral by the twilight of a grey,
foggy sky; the monotonous, metallic sound of the church-bell
was resting for a little, and only a few people were out of
‘doors.

The long tram was almost empty—on Sunday no one
needed to hurry to work. ;

“The curse of life—why has it been pronounced against
me?” he said.

“Who kills a man is killed; who brings to life there is no
law against him; the parents who fed me and watchéd my
sickness (when I was weak and did not desire to see the life
to which I had just come), and who, with a doctor, conquered
nature, which would not have given me strength to bear the
trouble and movements of life—did they not merit that I
should kill them?

“The ways of nature—the decent man cannot think of them;

ic
18 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

when the stomach is painful and its hunger shouts for food,
the tame beast turns its eye with goodwill towards man, and
is led to the slaughter-house, and the green plant is changed
to disgust and decay within a man’s body.

“For this food he labours; when he has eaten he is alive
and has no pleasure; it may be that he hates the evil work
that he has done for his mouth, the work that is a burden to
the earth.

“All seek pleasure, if only by endeavouring to forget it; it is
the mad, oblivious pursuit of dreams; to each his neighbour’s
aims are vanity, but his own aims—he needs his life in order
to attain: them.

“Man can hardly attain his painful vital desires, yet he is
insatiable for the unattainable; he lives, supporting himself
with difficulty on feeble staves, yet he raises his eyes from the
ground towards beauty, peace, and justice.

“Or most men who can eat, drink, and laugh—are they
satisfied ?

“Tf a shop were open, if food were at hand, I should
certainly steal.” f i
His pulse, like a wanderer tired to death, sometimes almost

stopped and sometimes ran a few steps furiously.

Perhaps a definite pain (such as the cutting off of an arm)
can be more easily forgotten than months of starvation, of in-
cessant little discomforts.

He was now in a street where bare trees grew at regular
intervals out of squares of ground that were near the road and
between the paving-stones; the houses of soiled brick stood
behind low walls surmounted by railings which enclosed dismal
gardens, the grass, trees, and bushes of which seemed to live
sadly in London.
VARIATIONS. 19

The man was sad and starving; he walked inattentively,
delighting himself with the fury of his laments. . . . At
last his road enclosed a green, with feathery, wintry trees on
one side and cottages on the others. Then he passed a wood
partly obscured by a pale blueish mist that rose from low, de-
caying plants growing between the dark trees and the reddish path.
Afterwards the path began to shine like engraved silver as the
sun broke the sky’s grey with silver and blue; the silver
path went downwards between the high banks of grass, behind
which stood black lines of branching trees that netted the
bright sky.

The green was soothing; the birds sang. New fields of
green, new black branchings, new lines of hedges, succeeded to
his view; he entered a road that led upwards, through fields
of a more soothing green, past trees with more pleasing
arrangements of branches.

The man was sad and starving; “But I could yet be
happy,” thought he.

Suddenly, after a turn in the road, stood a lady before
him.

More beautiful than any human face was her face beneath
black hair; but human paint was on her superhuman cheeks.
The eyes were large and of a pale blue-grey (he feared to look
at their beautiful outlines, yet could not look away from them),
but the brows and lashes had been darkened; the tall, slender
form was clothed in a black dress.

“Food,” she said, “food, money, and health—these you
have needed; with me you shall not need them.

“ Weary of beauty, Iam amusing myself with the grotesque
and ugly developments of mankind; I am trying to be a
foolish mortal.

C2
20 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“We will hang a sign at the entrance to our lands pro-
claiming that to every man one day of pleasure is there free;
we shall see the happiness of faces in which want and care
have dug deep furrows and exposed the framework of bones,—
faces from which despairing passion or dull worry, coarse
stimulant or weariness, has worn the smooth surfaces or the
delicate forms.

“By the food with which he feeds his desire for happiness
we shall see what food life has hitherto offered to each, how
it tasted to him and what he has become by it; we shall
look at him with interest, but not with scorn, because the
diet will explain the errors of the stripped form.”

XI,

The miserable journeyed to the lady’s lands, and found
one day of joy.

There they forgot their unfulfilled desires.

“If it be in any way possible,” said one, “I would escape ;
interminable, inane stories, and laughter, and drinking, and—
myself, these are amusements for our customers; they are the
whole of my life, for I live with the public-house counter in
front of me, and the barrels, bottles, and glittering miscellany
of stores behind me.” And there she did escape and found
one day of joy.

And one forgot his sorrow; he forgot how he had sought
to cleanse himself and was not clean; how first he had
studied books to see how the perfect man would live with his
time, place, and fate; how he had been further cleansed by
Love, at sight of whom the darkest despair left him for ever;
VARIATIONS. 21

but when the earth had fallen on the coffin of his beloved, he
buried with her all his brighter hopes.

He had sought to suffer all that makes men’s lives bitter,
labouring at unwholesome labours; he had sought for the
visions on whose wings men fly away and are at peace, for
he had thought that if by these means he could cleanse away
his selfishness and dislike, he would behold in every man the
serious desire for that happiness that is only in the beautiful,
unattainable land of righteousness, that he would cease to
laugh at, hate, and condemn men (and are not all their sins
and follies in that hatred and laughter?), that he would see
and worship Love and Beauty, whose lights reveal the joy of
appearances, and the beauty and pathos of souls.

He forgot for one day that he had sought and had not
found. .

Another forgot his desire for heaven.

He had often testified his desires within the ring of the
band of music and the gaily apparelled regiment, declaring
that before he joined the Salvation Army he had been con-
scious—even in happy moments—that his happiness did not
make the whole earth well; therefore he had prayed for a
discontent that aspired to better pleasures.

“The pleasures of the earth,’ he had said, “do not make
us happy, and they lead to the gates of hell.

“The cares of the earth can be destroyed—for the blood of
the Crucified cleanses and rejoices the sinner who kneels at
His feet.”

And another forgot for one day his desire for money. And
another saw entrancing visions and was glad, although he had
spent his last penny.
ty
XN

LONDON FAIRY TALES.

XII.

“That’s better,” said Mary.

“The merits are due to the feelings you cause in me; the
faults, may I not account for them not. only by my stupidity
but also by my fear of you and by my unpremeditated speech?”

“Your matter is often insincere,” said Mary.

“J desire to please you; I desire to be rejoiced with your
kind aspect before sorrow comes, before you go, and pain and
weariness return. When a man is sad, a woman can cause
him to rejoice.”

“Can you not treat the theme shortly and simply?” said
Mary.

Then I related the following :—

XIII.

I dreamt that I was falling—as we often fall in dreams;
the hair of my head stood up, my heart stopped, my cheeks
became bloodless and stiff, my eyes stared and saw nothing;
in my terror I felt very lonely—even lovers and friends are far
apart, they do not know what to say or how to approach
when they would be very near; I was weary and disgusted ;
I hated men because they did not know that I was falling
whilst they were at peace. Suddenly the flow of blood and
fantastic thought returned; I saw a crowd of girls dancing
downstairs, they went backwards with their faces towards me;
I saw everything distinctly and I admired the cheeks, the hair,
the changing graces of swaying bodies, the delicate characterising
hands. I noticed the foreshortened appearance of one who
VARIATIONS. 23

leant back terribly while she danced downwards and backwards ;
and yet I grew weary again and disgusted.

Suddenly life ceased in me; I saw you wrapped up in a
mist: I looked long at your face. I wondered if I could
recognise it again, were it not that only in its neighbourhood
am I alive; elsewhere all is void and tasteless and there is no
difference to me between joy and terror and disgust.






}Death waits
while curves

grow swollen
or angular.

THE GAME.

“Do you fear the darkness of the grave?” said the old king.

The fountain splashed in the garden; each bird repeated
its verse.

“My lord,’ answered the young slave, “the light awakes
me daily saying: ‘Work.’ Death is better than life without
any pleasure: sun’s light, night’s mantle, and the movements
of the crowd never reveal any beauty to me. With unseeing
eyes, men pass in the streets from labour to labour like beasts
that wearily obey the whip and never hope to stand again on
grass. I wish I were like the old man, who says: ‘When I
am kissed in turn by the warm lips of the pleasures that
THE GAME. 25

love, I tremble with weakness as I dance from one to another
of them; my cup of life is almost empty, although I am still
thirsty ; Death calls me,—I -constantly hear his voice.’”

“Then play a game with me,” said the king, “and if you
win, my power and life (nothing to me) are yours; but if I
win, your life and youthful power are mine.”

In the garden the trees framed the bright sky in irregu-
lar panels; in the palace the cards fell one by one.

At first the king’s cards were the weaker, but the king’s
luck changed.

“T have won,” he said; “it is a sign that I shall win.

“TI need your brains; the physicians will make with them a
mixture that will restore my sap, a tonic;that will thoroughly
renovate my appearance.

“For until now, though I painted my face, I seemed old ;
when I spoke of love and of her beauty, she was weary of
me. But now I begin to win.”




TWO CHAPTERS.

I,

“THE fat John Bull, as conventionally drawn,” I said, “only
exists now in remote places; but the Englishman’s taste is
still generally that of a man fed on beef and beer. He wants
a book to aid digestion,—-a book that neither represents life
too truly (for therein too much would be disgusting and
terrible) nor takes him violently to a fairyland of impossi-
bilities (for therein too much would be madly absurd and
unprofitable).”

“The public is a fool, no doubt,” answered Williams, “but
I want to please it. One of my great works (as yet un-
written) is a tale of a man who one day follows through the
streets someone whose appearance greatly interests him, and
whom you may hold to be his Genius or Inspiration; and so
he is led into a certain house where he inherits the life, the
circumstances, mind, and memory of another; and whenever
he again suddenly meets his Inspiration, he is led to enter a
fresh life and inherit another's past: thus he passes through
a thousand transformations. I have in my pocket the notes for
two chapters of this tale,—the first and a later one, in which is
described one of the transformations.”
TWO CHAPTERS. 27

“Let me see them,” said I.
He gave the papers to me and I read the following :—

II.

I turned and followed him.

For sometimes when the sky is grey and the ends of the
streets closed with fog, when all the multitude seem clothed in
black or dull colours and in rigid forms that are inexpressive
of life, when I have become wearied by my cares, by the con-
fused sounds of the traffic, and by monotonous, uninteresting,
ugly buildings, suddenly I see amongst the innumerable in-
volved figures one that is so interesting to me that I should
like to follow it.

It may be the figure of one who seems to talk of vital
matters (to preach great truths or entreat great favours), or of
a girl with dreamy, weary eyes, and mouth half open as though
to sigh, who seems fit for greater things than the common
troubles to which she is fated, or of a boy whose face is full
of promises of great purposes and nobility.

“Go into the house,’ said the unknown man whom I had
followed; “you will find yourself the inheritor of a new past.
You will see me again.”

Ill.

Turning to another sheet of paper I read the following :—
Life, it is said, is a battle; if so, my contest has been like
those we read of in many fairy tales, where one or both of
them that fight changes from form to form: when you capture
the hind it changes to a bird and flies away, and when you
have wounded the lion with a sword it is a genie that pelts
28 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

you with fire ;—thus did I and my endeavours and all that
opposed me change, as I gradually journeyed through London
from house to house following the unknown man.

And now again, for the 199th time, I became a new man ;
really, I forget what his name was.

Dreading the brutalising effect of business. routine, he had,
at the age of sixteen, boldly declared that he would be
apprenticed to a handicraft; he had refused the high hat and
the tailed coat, for (with the early foresight in _ practical
matters of one who was to be a genius in realistic represen-
tation) he had felt the barrenness of a life whose activities
are confined to the arrangement of figures, the repetition of the
stale phrases of business letters and business intercourse, and
the transmission of papers; he had hated the prospect of
routine—of an automatic life, a death in life. He had rejected
the privileges of his position—desks and ledgers, letter-books
and papers,—and had chosen, like the working classes, to deal
with lathes and tools, wood and metal; he had the pleasure of
struggling with materials and fashioning them according to
their natures; the pleasure of seeing the fluttering metal fall
before his tool, and symmetry and design emerge as he bent
and hammered and chiselled and forged, though the joy
of personal design was denied to him by the conditions of
modern workmanship, by “commercial competition and whole-
sale production.”

He had attained independence earlier than if he had
remained in his own rank of society; in his lonely mind he
had conceived a great desire, the desire to write books
showing “ the little poetry that germinates in the brains and
vivifies the existences” of the multitude of drudges ; the desire
to explain the motive power that sustains them, though perhaps
TWO CHAPTERS. 29

the workhouse or the enforced holiday of helplessness is the
old age towards which they go; to find the illusions, the
beauties invisible to alien eyes, that give pleasure to bare lives;
to cause the’ nobility to speak that lies beneath forms worn
with bitterness, misery, disgust, weariness, and ignoble pleasures.
But to accomplish such a work, great experience was needed.

To gain means of obtaining greater experience of life, and
(if possible) means of writing in the future better books, he
had written a novel, which now lay before him on the table ot
his lonely lodging.

IV.

“
It was thus that his novel began.

“The senior office-boy laughed in acknowledgment of this
reference ‘to their employer,, Mr. Revelton, the managing
director of the Mutual Investment Trust Corporation, as ‘the
great R.’: amidst the aridities of business, the Se joke is
often gratefully received.

“The head clerk came out of the inner office, shutting the
door after him. ‘What’s the row?’ asked his neighbour at the
desk nearest the window.

“He cannot find securities worth £40,000; he supposes they
have been stolen; he cannot find them himself, and damus and
God bless my soul's everyone who tries to help him, answered
the head clerk.

“At a quarter-past six Mr. Revelton left the office. He
smiled once or twice as he sat in the omnibus on his way
home; he helped ladies who went past him between the knees
of the passengers by putting his hand beneath their forearms,
and he talked to ‘the conductor about the weather ; his temper
30 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

seemed as excellent as it usually was. An expression of
habitual anxiety distinguished him in appearance from other
men of his type, for the red face and neck, small, pale green
eyes, puffy eyelids, partly assumed expression of jollity, and
swollen figure fitting tightly into glossy clothes — these could
be seen on many men of business.”

Mr. Revelton reaches home, and the book describes his
wife ; then it continues thus—

“* You remember, dear, that I am dining with the Ellisons
and then going to the theatre with them,’ said she.

““When you come in, do not wait for me, he answered,
‘I shall go out too. When you are away this does not feel
like my home.’

“*Then I will say Good-night now,’ she said, smiling.

“He kissed her. Certainly her feminine presence was needed
to give him a feeling of home; but her somewhat romantic
mind had little real intercourse with his.

“She went out, wearing the diamonds that, together with
a far better position in society than his own, had beer her
only dowry.”

The novel then describes Mr. Revelton’s visit to a gambling
house, his pleasures and his losses.

It was almost four o'clock in the morning when he again
reached home. He was tired, and disgusted with life, with
himself, and with his prospects. .

His wife was not in their bedroom. Irritated, surprised, and
angry, he woke the servants; none of them had seen her since
she went out, or knew anything of her movements since then.

A fine description of Mr. Revelton’s early morning search for
his wife now follows. He goes to the Ellisons’ house and wakes
it with repeated ringing at the front-door bell. He is told that
TWO CHAPTERS. esl

his wife, after the theatre, had said that she was tired and
would go home alone, for the others had wished to go and
have supper at a restaurant. Mrs. Revelton had intended”
to take a cab. Mr. Revelton does not know where to search;
he passes men huddled together on benches, and _ bundles
of rags hiding in shadows away from the.gas-lamps; miserable
women struggle to give him the customary smile of invitation,
thinking that the red-faced, well-dressed man is a returning
reveller. “It is strange to see such creatures in my respectable,
prosperous neighbourhood,” thought Mr. Revelton, “such dismal
sights should be hidden.”

When Mrs. Revelton was left alone, so tells the next
chapter, the movements in the brightly lit streets around the
theatre and the novelty of wandering alone at night had. made
her determine to walk a little way.

Then she had left the wide thoroughfare and entered
a narrow street—a blackness faintly gemmed with gaslights.

Gradually a man became distinct to her as she approached
him through the darkness.

“«Would you,’ said he, ‘would you for ever remain bound
by such narrow limits of class and convention and circum-
stance? Would you never wish to see more, and to see more
truly? If you are contented to remain within these stupid
limitations for ever, then do not come with me.’

“Excited by his words, by the desire of adventure and for
knowledge, she answered, ‘ But if I come?’

“¢ Vou will know,’ he replied.

“She followed him past dark houses that seemed to stand
above a mystic tide of light that flowed from gas-lamps and
open doors and uncurtained panes of windows.”

The following chapter tells how the police find the body of
32 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

Mrs. Revelton. The diamonds have been taken from her
blood-stained dress. The man who formerly lodged in the
room where her body is found has not been seen since the
day before she disappeared. :

A short time afterwards a jeweller was found guilty of
selling a counterfeit diamond in place of a real one; in size,
shape, and colour this large pseudo-gem greatly resembled
(according to the newspapers) some of the diamonds stolen
from the late Mrs. Revelton.

The jewellers description of the man from whom he pur-
chased it was a description of the man who had lodged in the
room in which the dead body was found.

Some account now follows of the efforts of the police to
find this man.

Mr. Revelton becomes bankrupt; he is arrested whilst trying
to leave England ; his affairs are examined. He has misappro-
priated large sums of money; he has himself stolen from the
companies of which he was managing director amounts equiva-
lent to the properties supposed to have been taken by some
person whose guilt had till then never been discovered.

His carefully kept private account books further led to the
discovery that he had sold his wife’s jewels, replacing them
with imitation ones,

Worry and desire of money and an ingenuity in obtaining
it that was restrained more by a desire not to be considered a
swindler than by fear of injuring anyone; gambling with cards,
with shares, with commodities of unknown or of rapidly chang-
ing price, and by staking money in doubtful enterprises (but do
we not all gamble? Who does nothing, plays against the unseen
hand of Fate)—in this part of the.book these fill the mind of
the reader with a feeling of terror, anger, and anxiety.
TWO CHAPTERS. 33

Mr. Revelton was sentenced to several years’ imprisonment
for fraud and theft. Lastly the book tells how ‘the murderer of
his wife was found living in a small town near London, and
was also condemned, after having been recognised by the
jeweller who had purchased the counterfeit diamond. As he had
murdered in order to rob, he had been astonished, disappointed,
and terrified on finding that the gems were false.

V.

The whole novel now lay before the author. So long as he
had been writing it, he had always wished for solitude; he had
been impatient with his long hours of work and of the inter-
course with a narrow, well-known world.

But now he wished for a friend to encourage him to seek
beauty. He felt that the writing of books is vain. The best
book can help little in cultivating the faculties of men sur-
rounded by ugliness; and yet he hoped to help some mind.in
its efforts towards. perfection.

He began wearily yet rapidly to undress for bed. “TI have,”
thought he, “staked all and will lose it, or will succeed where
I wish to succeed; I’ll either succeed in being a genius or
will live in the solitary confinement of the most restricted
mechanic’s existence—day after day in the same streets, the
same workshop, the same lodging, the same public-house, and
without love or despair, without solitude or intimacy.”

When he was going to work next morning he saw a man
in the street, whom he began to follow.

“Go into this house,” said the unknown man whom he had

been following, “a new life awaits you there. You will see
D
34 : LONDON FAIRY TALES.

me again and inherit a new past, again see a new part of life
through other eyes and with another’s mind.”

VI.

“JT should like to see more of that story when you have
written it,” said I, when I had: finished reading these notes.

“But could it ever be made to sell?” said Williams. “It
would be a long task to describe a thousand transformations.
‘The book would have 1,coo1 chapters.”




AT THE ENTRANCE.

HIs impertinence, his dishonesty, his baseness, and his success
in making me treat him like a friend—I was disgusted because
of these things. In my haste I said, “I hate all men.”

I walked quickly through the streets, heeding no man’s face
nor any woman’s; bright skirts and smiling faces, omnibuses
that splashed mud on me, cabs that threatened to run over
me, deafening noises—my angry dreams were not disturbed by
these things. I did not notice where my feet went; I seemed
to walk along one long street of ugly houses. (In truth, how-
ever, I must have turned many times.) Sometimes the street
was crowded, sometimes there were few people in it.

At length I lifted up my eyes and saw above me a bridge
standing at the top of a hill. And the bridge went upwards
till the middle of its central arch, so that I could see nothing
that lay beyond it. And above the bridge a man flew, waving
his arms with joy; and I ran in order to stand on the bridge

and look down on the unknown shore.
D2
36 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

What shadowy shapes are these which I suddenly perceive
passing over the bridge into the unknown beyond ?

Your faces are bloodlessly pale, your forms are indistin-
guishably massed together; you are unreal as what we know
when our souls are wandering from their homes of flesh.

“We have never laughed or wept on solid earth, for in
constant labour we live.

“But the arms that on earth are torn asunder or never join
two sympathetic brains, here embrace with deepest love; the
lips that Fate forbids to speak on earth, here tell the music of
the heart’s pulsations; the songs of praise we never sing on.
earth, we live them here.”

Whom do I see above me, mounted on a winged horse?

“Riding on the Pegasus of the Imagination, I go through
the Gate of Fairyland, I see before me its secluded valleys ;.
exultant I see before me here the beauty that I never saw on
solid earth.”

O delightful land, which I too shall see when I reach the
bridge !

“Only the idle can tread on me; those who are willing to.
starve and to forget all claims of others. Those who can
forget what’s awry on earth, and forget what Custom has.
declared to be their duty. Those who can find entrances into:
a new world in the pages of a book, and can be transported.
into a new life by an emotion or an idea. Those who -wiil
give all their possessions for a minute’s peace, and for a dream
or an idea endure life’s greatest bitterness. Those who are not.
unhappy when he who calls himself Respectability says, ‘I
cannot speak to you.’ Those who are willing to be despised
and rejected by men and a cause of anger to their neigh-
bours.
AT THE ENTRANCE. 37

“Those who are not curbed by that moderation which is
part of ‘common-sense.’

“Those who can bear to live without intercourse with other
men.

“For though it be safe for others to look at them, and listen
to them, and laugh at them, and speak to them, and pity
them—and even give to them, yet their misfortunes fall on
those who feel with them and think with them.

“Cursed with their curse are all who admire them.

“And yet the greatest pleasures of life are enjoyed only
by those who enter here and tread on me.”

I turned away from the bridge and went back into the
streets.




VENUS AND THE PAINTER.

VENUS entered the studio silently, and the painter did not
see her. The painter said in his thoughts, “ Each day I think
that to-morrow will be a day of importance to me,—a day
when a great message, a gospel, or an inspiration of beauty
will come to me. And to-morrow is as empty as to-day. I
will no longer live to hear the silence of God—the mocking
silence. I have failed so often that I have now no feeling of
failure —only a weariness.”

Then Venus spoke to him thus—

“JT am come to help you.

“In former times I was a queen and men were often
loyal to me. In me is all the beauty of the earth.

“In former times, when men built a house, my name was
carved on its stones; they built temples to many gods, but my
name was carved on the stones; they made themselves gar-
ments and vessels, and these also were to my glory.

“When the monk left the world of passions to find peace
in a narrower world, he could not forget me; in illuminated
books, in pictures, in music he wrote my name.

“But now, it seems, I am by some forgotten.
VENUS AND THE PAINTER. 39

“Many things are made in factories, but not to my glory;
and my name is not written in ledgers,

“T have seen sorrow.

“In former years my hair was golden; the darkness of
sorrow has dyed it black.

“Desiring praise from them that have forgotten me, and
desiring in pity to favour you (Since no girl has smiled to see
you, no man admired any of your actions, no one listened to
you without scorn—and yet you have painted to my glory), I
am now come to you, and you shall paint me, that we may

1?

increase our fame
The painter replied: “Venus, as the flying Dutchman was.
condemned to sail the restless seas until he found a maiden
who could love him and be faithful until death, so have I
suffered on the restless sea of passion until now I find an
image that can never fade from me, that will calm my soul
until death.
“Tf I could express in a few lines how you have placed
yourself, those lines would write my name on future centuries.
“A thousand passions pass over your face in ever-chang-
ing beauty, although your face is unmoved in pose; I do not
know which image to place on the canvas; my hand trembles.”
“Let me talk to you and quiet you. Do you know there
was a man, who, when he ate a certain herb, had strange
delusions ; ill-natured fellows came to see him eat dirt thinking
it a feast; when he was sleepy, they disturbed him and
made him tell his dreams; he talked of palaces and beautiful
women, whilst they laughed to see his weak limbs trembling
beneath his rags; he lay and rolled his head to and fro on
the dirty ground, and imagined he was nodding graciously to

courtiers.”
40 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Venus, when you smile thus with pity, my soul weeps that
your beauty should have lived on this rough earth with us
and felt our sufferings. I am so sad that: my mind will not
paint.”

“Let me talk to you and quiet you. There was a lady
who loved; but the man did not know it, and did not know
love. And she used to come in the darkness of the night and
kiss him; with trembling gentleness she uncovered him and
kissed his body.”

“Venus, your eyes are terrible; your voice is changed; my
hand trembles.”

“Let me talk to you and quiet you. There was a fool,
who dreamed a dream and sought everywhere for a reality
like to it. Fame, Love, and Beauty were in the dream; and
when they came to his door, he died from joy as he opened
it to let them enter.”

“Venus, I was the man whom they mocked when I ate the
herb of poetry ; you were the lady who kissed me in the dark-
ness, so that I never saw beauty but only dreamt of it; I am
the fool to whose door Fame, Love, and Beauty (long sought
for) are come.

“ Farewell.

“Yours are the picture and all else that I have; though
truly this curious rubbish of the studio is too trifling to give
to a goddess.

“The plot of my life is finished, my interest in it is ended.
Never again could I paint like this when you have left me.
When the story is perfected, who would wish to add another
word ?”

The painter took an old dagger from the wall of the studio,
stabbed himself, and died.


THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY.

I,

THE water thundered softly and bubbled as it curled foaming
between the rocks or poured over them; it was so hot that
my eyes half closed as I looked at the brown precipitous sides
of the valley and at the green foliage within it.

One of the ladies threw grass at me to wake me.

“Tf,” said I, “a sheep said to you: ‘It is wrong to enslave
and then kill me in order to eat mutton,—to make me, who
have no voice in your state, inheritor and subject of its sys-
tem,’ what would you reply?”

“Sheep cannot reason,” said one of the ladies.

“And women cannot usually argue; they stray on by-paths,
and (to our great delight) they sacrifice us men like sheep.
You have even taken my sleep.”
42 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“How sadly you said that.”

“Life is sad, but the day of rejoicing comes to all—the
day of death.”

“T should like to live—for ever.”

“One man does.”

II.

“In his memory and hopes,” I continued, “years are as:
days, therefore he is seldom discontented; but he is exiled
from peace, for he lives by restless change,—his changing life
is a series of lives, each adapted to new men and new oppos-
ing forces. :

“Men, in his endless life, are unreal to him; even while he
perceives the little hollows beneath the bones of cheek and
chin, the radiations of light in the colour of the eyes, and the
creases of the skin,—even while he smiles in answer to a
smile, bargains, shows his teeth and is weary,—even in his
activity all his labours are vanity to him, his companions
dreams, yet though he desires solitude it is seldom granted to
him; and though intercourse is often stale and unprofitable to.
him, yet he must taste all that men drink from thirst or
desire; thus, despite his age and weariness, his heart will be
young for rejoicing, when the Lord rejoices with His people
as the bridegroom with the bride.”

III.

“When I saw him the rain and the hail were coming and
ceasing as the dark clouds now wrapped the summits of the
hills, and now rose and admitted more light.; at its farther end
THE DESIRE FOR. IMMORTALITY. 43

the pass between the hills was arched by a light cloud, beneath
which gleamed a lake.

“JT had felt discontented because the weather was bad, and
the country was not sufficiently worn to wildness, but was
covered with the greenest of grass that contrasted too gaily
with the grey sky and slate quarries; and the people at the
hotel were either noisy and silly or without fancy, and said
nothing in many slowly spoken, prosaic words.

“So when the strange traveller arrived (he had slept in the
valley under two rocks that leant on each other so as to form
a rough gable) I had told him of my discontent.

“You are English, he said, ‘and, therefore, perhaps:
happiest among’ your own mixed race. But Palestine is the
only beautiful country on earth.”

IV.

“Palestine is the only beautiful country on earth. The
snowy wildness of Lebanon looked through clouds over
varied depths of green,—of fig-tree, vine, palm, and barley ;
from the purple burning wilderness, that seemed endless, you
came quickly to the joyous multitude of Jerusalem.

“But as soon as I was old enough to compare impressions,.
Jerusalem sank into the ground, so disfigured with sufferings.
—with starvation, wounds, and weariness—that we could hardly
recognise her. But where now is Babylon, that I may curse
her?

“Because of our sins we were exiled; was it not more com-
forting, when the soul shivered and the future was full of
unseen terrors, to buy favour from an idol than to bow before
44 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

nothing, or pray turned towards a heap of dust on a distant
hill?
“Tsrael still imitated the follies of the people round her.”

V.

“T thought of our fate (then it was wonderful to us, now
a miracle) and of what Jeremiah had said concerning it (his
spirit, distant from us, had heard the voice of God); I remem-
bered him threatening with clenched hands and frowning face,
and pitying with outspread, embracing arms and sudden tears
that rolled from overflowing eyelids. While I watched my
master’s flocks in Babylon, I heard again his words ‘Thus
Saith the Lord, if you can break my covenant of the day and
my covenant of the night, so that there should not be day
and night in their season; then may also my covenant be
broken with David my servant, so that he should not have a
son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites, the priests,
my ministers. . . . If my covenant be not with day and
night, and I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and
earth, then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my
servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers
over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for I will cause
their captivity to return and have mercy on them,’

“Would then that God might afflict me, I thought, and let
me know pain, cold, hunger, heat, exhaustion, and thoughts of
pain, if with suffering I could buy life and see Israel triumph
over her enemies.”

“ and spoke): ‘You shall see it.

“ THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 45

them ; but in her affliction she shall refuse to the tyrants what
in her prosperity God and the priests in vain forbade; there-
fore her persecutors shall punish her.

“«The Lord will scatter this people that they may be a bless-
ing amongst all the nations.’”

VI.

“«Give to Caesar the things that are Cesar’s’—(a sentence
which I heard many centuries after)—that was not the patriot-
ism of my party when all who desired to defy Rome fled to
Jerusalem.

“Before then, I had already helped to cause the Roman, the
tax-gatherer, and the cursed nobles that went with them to fear
the rocks on the mountains; many fleeing from massacre in
the villages had received life from our exertions. Czesar was.
not our governor, for he was the disturber of the law—he was
murderer and robber—in his madness he said, ‘Bow and sacri-
fice to my statue or die’; the pious gave him nothing that
they could withhold.

“The streets of Jerusalem became. silent—we were too weak
to talk and had eaten all the beasts—(when a woman ate her
child, men forgot the difference betweén clean and unclean); if
our brother said ‘It were better to yield to Rome than starve,”
we slew him—(the defence of Israel’s life justified every
deed); the silence, our unimaginable pains, the smell of death,
the sudden sounds of battering, of falling walls, of fighting, of
rushing to repulse the enemy, to kill a traitor, or extinguish
fire—these made our hurried days seem like a mad_ poet’s.
dreams. When our last defeat came we thought God’s own
hand might protect the house called by His name, but God
46 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

‘shut the gates of heaven; many of us entered the burning
temple—our last defence—to be -Israel’s last burnt-offering till
‘God (in His mercy) again. rebuild His altar. Many prayed for
death, but God shut the gates of heaven, so that the Romans
‘crucified or enslaved them, or made them ornament a triumph
in their chains, or let them die in prison of hunger and fury,
or provide a show by being wounded by beasts’ teeth and
claws or by each other.

“On the day of the destruction of the first temple, the
second also sank in the ground; but where now are the
Romans that I. may curse them?”

VIL.

“The last burnt-offering on altar and with priest; but
Hadrian made rivers of blood spring up and flow to the sea;
one student of the law was burnt with vine branches, thin wet
-cotton-wool laid on his heart delaying his death; the skin
was torn from Rabbi Akiba with pincers, while he repeated
the verse ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is one,’
- until consciousness ceased. Sometimes the words were a
-defiance—‘ There is one God and us, one nation (do what you
will!) He has chosen.’ Sometimes a mystic revelation—‘ There
is one God, and the whole earth (did you think I suffered ?)
is beautiful—filled with one glory.’

“When we were in the hands of these misgovernors we
began to discuss hypothetical cases of equity, and in our con-
straint and poverty we arranged the laws of our fathers so
that they could guide all men under all conditions.

“ And though we began at that time to say that Israel grew
old and her strength failed, yet when quieter times came, I
THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 47

yet could enjoy for a lifetime the days of work in my two
fields; I watched the growing plants that blessed my oblivious
labours, and the clouds, glowing or grey, that passed in the
sky above them; sometimes I smiled as I repeated to myseif
some old ingenious, traditional argument, and when I could
take a holiday I went to the town to dispute with cheering
vigour about the traditional laws, and to speak of old tales.
But Christianity grew strong.”

VIII.

You grow weary—I will miss out the old Jew’s reminis-
-cences of a few centuries. As I know nothing about the
times of the end of the Roman Empire and the reigns of the
barbarians who succeeded, I could confidently answer his
remarks about Christian persecution. “Anyhow,” I said,
“Christians are always Christians.” “Dagobert,’ he answered,
“one of the Merovingian kings, decreed in his madness that all
the Jews of the Frankish Empire should either be baptised by
a certain date or killed.”

IX.

“T can tell little,’ said he, “of years when I wandered
as a merchant—selling slaves amongst other goods, when the
laws allowed Jews to do so, and the slaves themselves
liked Jewish. owners (who were human and not masterfully
unconscious of the servants’ humanity)—and when TI learnt to
suit myself to the manners of strangers and observed men and
races; the record of those years was blotted out by the blood
which the Crusaders shed, crying ‘Death or baptism.’
48 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Many committed suicide or killed each other, because they
knew their own weakness or preferred death from a friendly
hand; parents killed their children to save them from baptism.

“Some said ‘What must we believe to be safe?’ and were
baptised and converted by the faithful followers of Him who.
taught ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do.
good to them that hate you’—but later, when it was safe to.
do so, they returned to Israel.”

XxX,

“It was only my misfortunes that I took lightly—all else
was serious to me. My fate was not that of any other man,
and I did not precisely hate our enemies; they, like us, were
slaves of nature—of ever recurring hunger and _ irrational
impulse—and of an instituted system ; besides they were mad
when they burnt us. The Church had so often taught, when
it desired to establish its power, that we were as dangerous as.
the devil, that it could not (if it would) afterwards teach that
we were harmless. We were by our existence a protest against
their system, and are always a danger to erroneous systems
because we are born as strangers though natives, and being
dissenters are critics.

“JT was living as a physician, examining the effects of
manners of life on the constitutions of men which I tried to
restore, at the time when the Black Death destroyed a quarter
of the inhabitants of the earth; unfortunately, Jews did not
die from it nearly as much as Christians,—they began to die
because the Christians burnt them.

“For, said the Christians, the Jews poison the wells, making
poison from Christian hearts and fragments of the Host, or
THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 49

skins of basilisks, or from frogs and spiders; we will disinfect
Europe with the smell of their burning flesh; we will drive
away the few who remain, leaving them alive so that Christ
can reproach them; but they came naked into the land and
naked shall go out.

“ Almost naked we went out and said: Behold, God, how
Edom has treated your people; in the darkness women weep,
wet and shivering, and in the morning, motionless, cold, and
aching, they die; the righteous, whose words pleased you, are
taken from us, and our children are led into a new land, weep-
ing, or smiling as we look into their faces, until, starving, they
die—the enemies smile when they see us and we have no
money to buy water.

“ Answer us, Lord, answer us; yet, perhaps, if God granted
my prayers, He would destroy the world ; for if the world were
not as it is, God himself would not be; the consequences of
each cause spread in endless waves; yet He made me seem
free—and, therefore, free to pray, and free to act by my prayer
—hear our voice, Lord our God, we do not trouble you with
trifles, but speak of a nation.

“Give us knowledge that we may enter the land of righteous-
ness and beauty; with the kiss of prayer let us be joined to
You that we forget suffering and become strong to help our
people.”

XI.

“ A strange restlessness seized me, due partly to physical
disease. Sometimes I lived by singing new tunes in the
synagogues as a wandering reader of the prayers; sometimes
I trusted chiefly to the unpaid hospitality of the communities ;
sometimes I acted as agent or messenger. Thus I travelled

E
50 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

over almost the whole of Europe. I ate the bread and salt of
goodwill in many houses, and saw in them the caresses and
smiles of love; often I felt the peace that follows good wishes,
greetings, and the kind question, ‘ How is it with you?’

“T reached Portugal (it was strange for me to go there then)
about five years after the Jews had been expelled from Spain.
After every fasting monk in Spain had been refreshed with the
smell of burning Jew, every lonely and d/asé fanatic had stimu-
lated his passions with the sight of flaming, blackening, shrieking,
writhing Marranos, who, having been converted to Christianity
by flame and sword, had afterwards been found guilty of remem-
bering the sufferings and heroism of their fathers; priests and
king had grown richer by inheriting the property of the damned
and of their descendants (Spain was hell to those suspected by
the Inquisition), and at last, on the day on which both temples
had sunk into the ground, to the blood-stirring sounds of pipe
and drum, with which the Rabbis had helped the people to
forget their pain, the Jews had gone from their country. They
had gone out to eat grass in their hunger, to see their children
die from starvation, and even to return in despair to the waters of
baptism, the introduction to the saving religion of love. For a
piece of bread, some skeleton-like fugitives of Genoa had sold
themselves to baptism.

“These things I had not seen; but I took part in Lisbon in
one of the most shameful scenes ever occasioned by Christianity,
or, at any rate, by a Christian professing to further the glory
of his religion.

“Our children had been torn from us and baptised. The date
of our expulsion was past, but there were not enough ships to
carry us, the king, contrary to his promise, having left only one
port open to us.
THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 51

“Into the dark vastness of a church, in which glitter the
colours of images, banners, carvings, candles, screens, and vested -
ecclesiastics, suddenly enters a crowd of soldiers hauling resisting
Jews by ropes, by their hair, and by their clothes—the soldiers,
a little heated and disordered, laughing or brutally punishing
the vicious Jews; the Jews, mostly pale green from three days
of enforced fast in confinement, strangling themselves or each
other, or with furious faces finally dragged to the font and the
priest ; the priests, abstracted from earth, singing and reciting
Latin; the officials of his Majesty, King Manoel the Great,
solemn and medizvally magnificent. These form the scene.

“ This baptism hardly stained my soul. I took part in a few
Christian ceremonies before I could leave Portugal, but thereby
I harmed neither liberty nor Israel. They had not convinced me
that the Messiah had already been with men, that the reign of
God had already commenced.

“T left Portugal before the Inquisition was established there—
before blood-stained priests forbade the ‘new Christians’ to leave
the land and rejoiced to see them burning, or enclosed in the
dungeon’s never-lifting darkness, or racked by good _torture-
instruments. Orphans and widows were robbed of their inherit-
ance and lived in poverty; brave men thought of burning heat
and bowed before the Crucifix.”

XII.

“J journeyed to Constantinople. Ishmael was violent and
sometimes fanatical, but seldom systematically intolerant; his
violence was more easily forgiven than merely the cold insults
and moral reasonings that the Christians gave with their injuries.
After the brain-perplexing, over-elaborated Gothic architecture

E 2
52 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

and the dismal Ghettos, it was pleasant for us to be in sunny
Constantinople, where there was an amusing variety and contrast
of races, thoughts, and conditions. The rich Jewish merchants
and physicians smiled when the scornful Christians needed their
influence ; the Kabbalists dreamed about the transmigrations and
combinations of souls, the kingdoms of spirits, the connection
between the spirit spheres and God and the earth, and the con-
ditions that govern the coming of the Messiah; the Talmudists
forgot all troubles by entering through their books into an
abstract fairy world of -subtle arguments and solemn moving

fables.”
XIII.

“*Become corrupt; live in a single street shut out from all
natural life, so that your houses are ugly, dirty, overcrowded,
without trees; let the very vehemence with which you have
sought for beauty, truth, God, weaken your discretion and
change to despair and hatred; be active as money-lenders,
that our princes, by robbing you, may become rich; we will
not allow you to practise handicrafts or sell anything, except
old clothes; let money therefore be your aim---in your insecure
lives let money, if held by the gracious protection of princes
and institutions, be success; a good life be one that leads to
success, Let all aspirations be destroyed by the monotonous
weariness of dull, stupifying confinement, removed from the
sources of life, from beauty and intellect (for we'll burn your
blasphemous books ; we can’t understand them) ; let the coarse
words we say to you, that make the fairest parts of life
abominable, your imprisonments and expulsions, our mockery
of your sufferings—let these reduce you to baseness. You
THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 53

shall not even clothe your children in red or blue without
exposing them to insult and yourselves to extortion; if we
give you promises of favour sealed sixty-fold we will break
them, for law and religion command us not to keep faith
with Jews. Frankfort spoke thus to its Jews; but can the body
excommunicate the heart? Israel is the heart of the nations;
suffering teaches her to be a sympathising priest, who shares
all pains and sensations of the body.

“Though Israel was disfigured by suffering and weariness,
she was beautiful. Palestine is the most beautiful country on
earth, and the poetry of Palestine was in the dirty Ghettos:
in them on the day of rejoicing we were glad, and on the
day of mourning wept; for Israel had to live, and the calm,
happy indifference of the Stoic, that neither desires nor avoids,
would have killed her with inertness; we rejoiced when some-
one was married, or when Israel had come out of Egypt; we
repeated joyfully the wish, ‘Next year’—(or was it sorrowful,
because’ so often repeated and unfulfilled?)—‘next year in
Jerusalem’; we rejoiced because the Egyptians were drowned
in the Red Sea; but often we wept too, because our sons and
brothers and friends had been murdered (thus Edom celebrated
Easter at the same season as Passover); we sat on the ground
on the day on which both the temples were destroyed.

“Ceremonies were life to us; in fulfilling the ceremonies of
the Catholic Church the Marranos must have hated more than the
acting of a lie, because the religious ceremonies of every nation
adapt themselves to the emotions and character of the nation ;
and (if I may digress a little further) it has often seemed to me
that the exaggerated expressions employed by the Jew Jesus
have prevented Western peoples from seriously following him.”
54 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

XIV.

“The Judengasse of Frankfort was unhealthy ; I succeeded
in reaching Rome, paying a tax at nearly every frontier, like
an animal going to market. Here I became a money-lender—
I did not like the trade, but handicrafts and the owning of
land and houses had just been again forbidden to Jews there,
and of course no Christian would take them into his service.

“Italy was sad, her beautiful children pale and weary. Des-
pair silenced their passion and intellect.

“A new spirit seemed to be among us, and yet all the old
delusions revived. Doubt perplexed us with her different
gospels ; Spinoza, excommunicated by the Rabbis of Amster-
dam, had explained his pantheistic philosophy; before that,
Uriel da Costa, who had been a Catholic in Spain, had been
twice excommunicated from Judaism in the same city of
Amsterdam, had passed fifteen years of religious doubt in
almost complete solitude, and had finally committed suicide; in
Turkey the long-expected Messiah had appeared (Christians
and Jews told us so), but, though he had publicly wedded the
scroll of the Law, he became a Mohammedan; every moral
law was subjected to enquiry, and yet superstitions, beliefs in
charms, amulets, the evil eye, and tormenting spirits, became
general; mystics conversed with spirits, and in order to hasten
the coming of the Messiah, whose soul, they said, will be the
last that enters earth, they overcame sin by sin, and repealed
all the laws of chastity; others fenced the Law with innumer-
able new restrictions, and reflected on new hypothetical cases
of doubtful conduct.

“Indeed we were weary aud in despair; perhaps despair
silenced our intellect. I believe that the smell of death, lives
of feigned Christianity and of some consequent self-hatred, had
THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 55

peculiarly wearied the minds of the Marranos, who now every-
where again lived among us after generations of Catholicism.

“Every little mind that could delight in mastery, and knew
how weak we were, threw the stone of insult at us; if the
Jews dared reply, the law would neither help nor avenge him,
though fire, imprisonment, and sword and torture were no
longer quite ready to punish his impertinence.

“But the Christian Churches grew weaker; the medieval
darkness of the Gentiles began to depart.”

XV.

“Could you miss a century ? It must be tea-time.”

“No,” said another lady, “it is still too hot to move as
soon as you climb up out of the shadow of the trees. But
just pull me up, I am getting tired of this rock.”

“I shall have to move, too,” I said; “when your shadow
goes the sun burns me between the shadows of the leaves—
like a jealous lover, deserted by the delight of his eyes, but left
with a rival. And I cannot sit on rock—I«am too thin.”

“T will spread out my skirt for you to sit on. Now don’t
get excited—you disturb me too much when you do; gently
continue your dismal and disgusting lamentations till tea-
time.”

The water thundered softly and bubbled as it curled foam-
ing between the rocks or poured over them.

“J became an actor” (so the Jew said,—I have omitted
some of his reminiscences), “and not a very bad one; I had
already played many parts in life. Many Jews had at that
time to play a changeable part; some revolutionary Frenchmen
said no one should be molested on account of his religious
56 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

opinions; and Napoleon (wishing to be tolerant if possible)
had asked-an assembly of representatives summoned from the
Jews: ‘Is it true that you are a monstrous ogre, ready to
devour weak, silly Christians? Or could you love French men,
and marry French women?’ But some Germans, dressing them-
selves in medieval Catholic costume, said, ‘Purge the land
of this vermin—kill or expel them, and one day they chased
an old Christian professor through the streets because he had
said Jews ought. to be legally equal to other mammals.
Therefore many of us had to be, now, almost fellow-citizens ;
and next instant, vile slaves.”

XVI.

“The Jews began to enter the Gentile world freely when
the scientific barbarians were conquering it; when it was
generally accepted that man lives by bread and money alone,
and therefore had best work like a machine, when he makes
what he needs; that the starvation of the body is painful,
but that eye and mind may feed with impunity on ugliness,

“(The Irish, Spaniards, and Italians, who have probably
expressed their extreme characteristics in art, and amongst
whom love of beauty is spread, have grown weaker; the
Germans and English, amongst whom artists are aliens, have
grown stronger. The Dutch and French, both artistic peoples,
were already strong when the present power was established,
—when it was decided that money is success—and therefore
that they are not become small does not disprove my argu-
ment.)

“The victory of this error can be partly explained: Pro-
testants had misunderstood Judaism (or the Old Testament)
and (unconsciously) copied it badly. Palestine is the most
THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 57

beautiful country on earth; but to them beauty and vice are
too often synonymous. In Christianity the dominant philo-
sophy (for every philosophy has been found in it) is a stoicism
that avoids joy and sorrow (it often refuses even the fruits of
enjoyment that fall into its hand, and which the heathen
Stoic would have eaten), and finds the Kingdom of Heaven
in a mental peace, which shields it from all the darts that
pierce the body, and also from all the disturbing (perhaps
wicked) joys with which nature would soothe it. Now when
such a religion has taught people not to desire beauty, and
when the religion itself grows weak, the people’s aims become
coarse; then money—moncey, if held with the protection of
the law and of the whole of existing institutions—is success.
High endeavours, whether successful or not, are wasted if they
earn no money.

“In short, the virtues of the Ghetto, the pleasing visible
humanity of an essentially excitable people, are wanting in
modern Europe ; its supposed vices are spread all over
Europe.

“T do not say these were the characteristic vices of the
Ghetto; if these vices were there, they were the results ot
centuries of affliction, and the sins of despair; and if they
were only in the weaker minds, would you have me _ say
‘These are the results of Christianity.—such are the Aryans,’
when I read the reports of the police-courts ?

“These were my reflections when I entered London, and saw
its innumerable people and endless streets ; grey, straight streets
beneath a grey sky, and between them flows an endless noise
of trams, carts, omnibuses, cabs ;—trains, trams, carts, omnibuses,
cabs, people go noisily over gigantic grey bridges beneath which
flow grey, silent, dirty waters.”
58 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“XVII.

“If you want to go back a century, become a Jew and go to
Russia. When some tyrant willed it, I was driven from my
home, and, when he willed it, shut up and forbidden to go
beyond a certain frontier; my life was made uncertain by his
mysterious will; the stone of insult was cast at me, the
entrance to intelligence and honour closed to me.”

XVIII.

“Our actual history seems a parable, in which Israel stands
for humanity. All men must desire good when they perceive
it; just as Israel desires God, beauty, truth, and has not
remained alive in dangers because of her ‘wickedness. These
men who are so obstinate in their stupidities and so alien,—if
you will enter the Ghetto in which race, conditions, and history
have separated them from you,—you will find them human ;
had you been born in their Ghetto you would have their
faults, and if you search for them, they have virtues that your
mission and history have denied you. Had you been confined
by poverty and ugliness, the faults and follies you despise in
others would be your own. These women, whom you could
never love; these labourers, who never tell you their sorrows ;
these ordinary people, coarse in their manners, too ready to
laugh with every sinner, and so ugly that you find in them no
beauty ; these repeaters of one soul-destroying drudgery, to
whom the day is a constant repetition of one unintellectual
formula ; these classes who oppose you,—they have eyes, hands,
organs, senses, affections, passions (they are more human than
I,—I talk virtuously, sometimes sit alone and sigh, but I can-
not yet pity the neighbour who suffers by my side) ;—-perhaps
THE DESIRE FOR IMMORTALITY. 59

their lives condemn our words, as the Ghetto denounced the
Christianity that produced it.

“In vain you maintain any wrong by might. ‘Truth is our
king, there is none besides’; all persecutions, weaknesses,
human inexorable needs, will never make men wash themselves
free from the worship of it ;—in the end it shall reign over the
whole earth,—peace will come to all (not a new dream of
peace),—all labour will be fruitful and beautiful.

“We have all sinned and done foolishly ; we are all exiled
and slaves; we all hope.

“ The light still recedes before the darkness and the dark-
ness before the light.”

XIX.

“Tt’s time for tea,” they all cried, and my hands helped
ladies to climb over the rocks and slippery grass into the road
that led along the valley to the cottage by the bridge; there
we had tea.




THE WITCH.

I,

My father was a map-draughtsman, and often he sat the whole
night intent on lines, or calculations, or relievo-modellings, that
to me were as uninteresting as is a railway time-table. But
there are people who read a time-table with interest, tracing
complex journeys in it, or comparing speeds, or studying
geography, or imagining travel-pictures. Sometimes my father
invented little contrivances which I could never understand,
despite the careful explanations that he gave me.

To my surprise he left me 4100 a year when he died. I
then began to live alone in London.

I am greatly influenced by my background, so I ought to
describe London to you—or, at least, one street as sample.

The street hawkers half despairingly attempt to sell toys
that (at best) are worthless; the pavements are crowded with
men so soulless that they seem mainly composed of a stomach
and clothes, and with women who are dressed so as to show
nothing of Nature’s beauty of form; the roads are a: babel of
vehicles that convey men from ugliness to ugliness, Like a
THE WITCH. 61

basket of roses on the head of a wretched man is the blue
sky between the roofs and chimneys of the opposite houses.

For, like a beautiful savage who wearies herself in tattooing
and painting her body and hanging ornaments on her nose and
lips, so do men seek troubles and invent ugly labours.

A man in London is only a single figure in the crowded,
restless street; his voice is insignificant in the midst of the
inharmonious babel.

And yet how often I walked through the streets dreaming
of my future glory, when I should have learnt to be a
magician, whose single presence would heal and make happy,
whose words would solve the universal purpose, whose thoughts
would make straight the crooked places, and whose soul would
destroy evil with its purity, who would open wide the cage in
which the multitude of the men in the streets are imprisoned.

It seems long ago. . . . It was before I heard the voice
of the Witch.

“Strive no longer,” she said, “you cannot prevail. You are
not starving, nor ragged, nor hated; why, then, are you not
happy ?

“Your thoughts will never fashion any forms; your soul is
worth no care.

“Enemy and friend laugh at your incomprehensible efforts ;
neither friend nor enemy praises your foolish life.

“Come with me;. forget your desires, and let us meet
happiness.

“Do not suppose that I am a she-devil; I am not an
embodiment of the corrupting influence of the world, of the
cares and riches that make the soul sleep. I shall not teach
you the incentives to dishonesty, the chains of want, the im-
possibility of virtue, the meanness of man, the insatiable desire
62 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

for pleasure, and the other bitter lessons with which the world
teaches that all nobility is vanity.

“I would bring you to the joys of life that you have never
known and always need.

“For you have lived apart from men—silently preparing to
preach madness.” :

II.

The night sky was such a clear, pale blue that it seemed
to spread a shelter of peace over the restless noisy streets; the
shadowy, gas-lit streets were crowded with figures blurred by
the darkness, who came to breathe the air after the day of
indoor labour; but the air was scarcely cooler than it had
been by day, so that many a pair of lovers were too tired to
talk, though glad to be again together. ,

The Witch opened the door of her. house; we entered and
she shut out the discords of the street.

The Witch sat down and sang the song of human life, but
instead of feeling joy, I felt a great disgust.

I was like a certain young Prince to whom it was
thought well to instruct concerning life, in order. that he
might learn to live consistently and with a purpose in all his
actions. Therefore, one day his teachers caused a procession
to pass before him. First came a man sounding a trumpet
and one bearing a banner; then one clashing cymbals and one
beating a drum; then a number of others bearing big banners
and sounding trumpets; and all these summoned the passions
of life—the insatiably starving multitude of passions, and they
summoned the dim forms of the triumphant Future. And the
trembling Prince grew wise with a wisdom that uncovers the
cruelty, the decay, and the indecency that prevade life.
THE WITCH. 63

Thus to me also there came a great disgust, as the Witch
sang the song of human life.

Half bird, half woman, were the creatures on which we flew
away over the earth; we. flew away over the mysterious
disordered masses of houses, over lines of gas-lamps, over the
winding river bordered and crossed by lights and_ reflections,
and over the whole earth.

Instead of joy I felt disgust,.as I saw the human life over
which we flew, and as the Witch spoke to me concerning it.

The Witch was wise with wisdom that terrified me.

“I show you reality,” she said, “and the real joys of life
that you have never known.” But I always wished that I
could return to my ignorant romantic dreams.




SATAN’S PICTURE.

IT seemed to William Ward as though his soul had once been
in a picture gallery, where there were pictures of nature and
of heroic deeds: the deeds which he was to do in the future
were amongst them. But gradually Fate had covered the
pictures with greyness ; and now his soul was in a bare prison.
Would it die there, and would he then continue his daily
office-work without it?

He had locked his desk, and put on his hat, and entered
the street whilst these thoughts passed through his mind.

It was too early for him to go to the art-class, where he
spent his leisure evenings, so he went into the British Museum
reading-room. There was a soothing silence in it, despite the
large number of people seated at the tables that radiate from
the walls of bookshelves.

He sat down and began to read Misty’s Prologue to
Theology, at the second chapter, entitled “The Birth of
Religion.” He read as follows :—

“And the serpent said to man: Eat of the tree of know-
SATAN’S PICTURE. | 65

ledge, and you shall live like gods, far from this. rough, un-
cultivated garden; you shall know a life far different from
your present life of unvaried simplicity.

_ “Man ate; then he began to built fortifications against
Nature.

“He then discovered that God’s primary conceptions are too
impure for man to see.

“And man began to feel that he was not free; that he was
a Word of God; that he was only an intermediary in the
chain of effects that develops from the one Great Cause; and
he began to ask for what purpose he was being used, why he
was born to suffer and to sin, and how he could best employ
his life.

“Yet despite all doubts as to right conduct and the pur-
poses of life, every effort and enthusiasm towards beauty is noble.

“Each of us helps to torture others with the cruel lash of
Fate, and each of us suffers from it; but with the other hand
each may help to advance the universe. Out of the pattern
of ordinary life, where we turn one wheel or are turned
within one wheel of the complex machine of organised indus-
try,—where even the minutes when we are most free are
uniform—out of this routine there grows the flower of un-
changeable passion,—of romance, of poetry, of faith.

“For Art, Religion, and Knowledge are flowers on one stem,
though they are not equal in beauty and brilliance.”

Ward. now turned over the pages of the book and began
to read in the middle of the fourteenth chapter, which is
entitled “Satan.” He read as follows :—

“Life is strife, and every combatant thinks that he is
fighting for the right; how varied, then, are our conceptions
of the evil Opposer,—of Satan. Your Satan is perhaps my

F
66 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

good angel. Thus to men who declare it is well to leave
established evils untouched since it is impossible to replace
them by good, to men who live by respected old-established
means, which are yet unjust in the eyes of reason, and to all
who collect solid property and hate by instinct any uninherited
ideas and idle dreams and unprofitable admirations, and to all
hypocrites who profess the feelings and opinions of their
fathers, although they reject the principles that justified them,
—to all these people, Satan, the great Opposer, is the Hater of
the tyranny of such money-bags as only fill themselves by
emptying others, and the enemy of evil and unnecessary ugliness.

“For like every artist, the Enemy of whom we are now
speaking is the enemy of unreasonable ugliness. Every artist
must give life to his creations despite the barrenness and
opposition of the wilderness of life; he must cause them to
derive their beauty from rough, common earth and impure air,
and even evil weeds and stones. He must journey over rocks
and brambles towards the temple of perfection; he must
struggle towards it although he knows that he can never
attain to it. Some poor fellows must even work like the
builders of the second temple, who ‘every one with one of his
hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a
weapon’; for with one hand they defend themselves against
the wolf at the door, and with the other they seek to accom-
plish the work of their heart.

“The spirit of poetry and progress, endowed with immor-
tality, endurance, and genius,—this is the Opposer to the heavy
immovable multitude, who are exactly as honest as the laws
and customs of their time and place.”

Ward closed the book and replaced it on the shelves of
the reference library.

The girl model was already undressed when he arrived at
SATAN’S PICTURE. 67

the school of art. She placed herself in various positions, from
which one was selected, remarkable for the fine line of the
bending body. Ward’s mind, tired by the day’s business, was
greatly distracted by the conversation of some of the students ;
gossip about models, funny stories, and disagreeable bass
undertones,—these made every line an effort to him.

After an hour of work someone called out “ Rest,’ and the
model shook her aching limbs, and the men formed into talka-
tive groups. Ward remained unmoved on his seat and found
himself staring at the man who was sitting beside him. He
saw a pale, yellow, bloodless face, which suggested great vital
force, despite this morbidness of colour; an intensely serious
and calm face, yet marked by passion. Feeling obliged to say
something to the man after having stared at him in silence,
Ward enquired whether conversation disturbed him-in his work.

“No,” answered the stranger, “a little of the cold cinders
of opposition cannot extinguish my enthusiasm.”

“ After a day’s work I am afraid that talking does disturb
me,” Ward replied ; but despite all the noise around him, when
the model had found her old position, he became entirely
absorbed in his drawing. The words of the stranger had
given him strength; he was absorbed in his work and happy.
After the end of another hour and during the next ten
minutes of rest for the model, he saw to his astonishment a
copy of Misty’s Prologue to Theology lying on a shelf, on which
pots, plates, and all kinds of picturesque rubbish were kept.
Some student must have placed it there. He commenced read-
ing it.where he had left off at the Museum, where it says:

“This Enemy possesses, it is said, certain pictures, one of
which he sometimes gives to-a favoured artist, who, when he
looks at this picture, sees a vision of beauty come over it, and
remain until he has copied it and preserved it for the world.

F 2
68 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Is it some faint picture of perfection which is given to
the genius, and which ever interests him in vain efforts to copy
all visions of beauty that come near to it; or is it likeness of
his own soul, or of Love, or of the beloved which inspires him
with visions ?

“But what is his own soul, or Love, or the beloved, save
a faint picture of perfection ?

“Or is some part of God’s perfect word given to him, and
he beholds it dimly through the beautiful veil of God’s work,
and reverently he seeks to copy the word as seen through
the veil?”

Ward was glad when, after the end of the next hour’s
and of the evening’s work, he found that the stranger was
walking in the same direction as himself.

“Of course it is hard,” said the stranger, “to oppose your-
self to the weariness of the end of a busy and monotonous
day.”

The words were perhaps trivial, but they were sympathetic,
and Ward opened the innermost chambers of his heart to him.

He told the stranger that he thought he was sacrificing
his evenings to failure; but that he could not leave off working
at Art, even though he knew that it were so.

“Usually,” he said, “I have an idea, waiting to be ex-
pressed on the Sunday of rest; but it has to wait in some
distant, inconvenient part of my brain, for during the week
I am busy with other things.

“When Sunday comes, I cannot express it without a model ;
sometimes I undress myself and stand before a looking-glass.”

“What would you give for the certainty of having great
merit and of doing good work ?—Your life?”

“Yes; but what do you mean?”

“Will you give more—your happiness, your peace, all your
SATAN’S PICTURE. 69

prosperity? Death is the end, but life without peace and
happiness is filled with terrors that wait in the future.”

“T would give my peace, all my happiness, and all my
prosperity.”

“Take this picture; gazing at it you will see visions of
beauty and give them to others; yet, what the world calls
success you shall not have.

“You will live by means of Art—your genius will at once
be sufficiently recognised to keep you from starvation; you will
at once have to express so much that there will be no hope
of your attending to your other business.”

It seemed to be a picture of a man fighting with a dragon
that Ward took; the fight with the evil, the unnecessary, the
ugly, was to move him to effort; in this everlasting struggle
he saw the presence of the perfect God, who is the source
of all change and vitality.

When Ward reached his home he looked at the picture
and saw a blackness come over it,. and white lines twisted
themselves in decorative designs upon the blackness; then
black and white melted together;, and grey figures of all the
demons that oppress mankind passed before him—Greed,
Luxury, Custom, Cruelty, Selfishness, and many others, bear-
ing lashes, the waving lines of which combined the figures into
one harmonious design; then the grey figures melted and he
saw Fate holding the universe in her hands, and, when she
touched with her body the dreams and. the thoughts of men
with which she was. clothed, they fell. on to the earth and
covered it with beautiful forms; then he saw the earth grow
larger, and he saw the great landscapes revolving on it, painted
with the endless range of God’s palette..

And this is man’s greatest happiness, when out of the
smoke and thorns of life he sees the Temple of Beauty rise.
70 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

A hand draws the curtain from the door of the temple—
the heaviness leaves our eyelids, we wonder at the beauty of
the vision. :

From that time Ward lived very happily, for he was im-
prisoned by beautiful visions ; yet many pitied him because of

his poverty, for they did not know that his mind was always
in safety


a serolls seas gleam. oft ght:
shines: upanit € hopeful: Words

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THE TEMPLE .OF BEAUTY.

I.

We see and feel much that is unknown to the inhabitants of
the Land of Happiness. One of them once came to London
in order to make accurate sketches of our lives, which might
help him in the design of his novels. The sketches them-
selves were framed by him in his book, Sfectimen Days in
London. In this book he tells of many of the different kinds
of people who live in London; with what occupations and feel-
ings they spend the day; who make and who destroy; who
are at peace, in beauty and in happiness, and who are in un-
rest, in ugliness, and in weariness; who are the pillars of the
72 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

State and who are its ornaments. Sometimes also we seem
to hear in this book the message of one who is native in
the Land of Happiness, and knows that the unexplored Land
of the Future may be to the Present as is his country to ours.

The traveiler from the Land of Happiness became a mem-
ber of the Disputers’ Club.

“ All human feelings,” said one of the members on a certain
evening, “are reducible to two elements.” Then he paused to
look for words with which to explain his meaning.

“J hate a picture that prezends to have been painted with
great feeling,” said an art-critic who was conversing in another
circle; “some painters do their best work when they forget
that they have souls.”

“The second path to happiness, corresponding to the
second element of human feeling,’ the moralist was now say-
ing, “is by a Stoic calm.”

“You are as metaphysical as a Persian,’ said another.
“The most stoical action I ever knew is that of a man—Sapira
is his name—who was rich by, inheritance, but who sold all he
had and gave it to the poor, and is now earning his living as
a tailor. He lives somewhere in the East End of London.”

“JT should like to know him,” said the traveller from the
Land of Happiness.

Although no one at the club knew Sapira’s address, the
traveller at last succeeded on a Sunday morning in finding his
room.

He has pushed his way through a narrow street in White-
chapel that was filled with barrows and foreign bargainers—
they were Jews from the East of Europe. A few English
workmen were walking through the noisy street, in which
everyone expressed himself with Oriental exaggeration; the
THE TEMPLE OF BEAUTY. 73

Britons were completely prejudiced against everything foreign to
them, and in practice completely indulgent to all foreigners.

A narrow street of small houses branched out of this
market-street ; some of the children who were playing in its
roadway showed the traveller the house that he was seeking,
and guided him up the dark stairs to the right door.

He knocked on the door panel and then entered.

“T hope you will forgive the intrusion of a stranger. I have
been told that if I dared ask you, you could do me a great
service.”

“What is it that I can do for you?” asked Sapira.

“T come from the Land of Happiness; I am studying
London life. You can give me much information.”

“Something I have seen of life, but my memory has few
pictures worthy to be exhibited.”

“Concerning the present manner of your life,’ continued the
interviewer. ;

“The noise of joking stupidity irritates me in the workshop ;
a periodical groaning that comes through the wall from an
adjacent room disturbs me here—it is the complaint of some-
one sitting in lonely pain.”

He told him of many other things: of a thirst for
colour, at times when the streets are grey and shortened by
a closing mist, into which the brightly painted omnibuses
soon retreat and become only moving shadows; of wanderers
in the streets, whose faces show the sallow passion of the
South and who sell ice-creams to little red-cheeked boys; of
the unreasoning emotions of the Salvation Army meeting ;
of the docks, and the ships, and the processions of men who
unload them; of starvation; of the awakening of a great
machine, when its wheels and belts and bars return to their
74 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

noisy, monotonous life; of red-hot gleaming metal poured into
moulds in the dark dusty workshop ; of the anxieties of seeking
work; and of huge cart-horses that crowd the narrow City
streets of warehouses.

These are a few of the subjects of which they spoke.

“T cannot find words with which to thank you,” said the
traveller. “May I leave with you a Stone of Good Luck
which I have with me?”

Sapira thanked him, took the stone, and showed him the
way to the street.

Now Beauty sees all things from her temple, where she rules
over all that is beautiful.

Her temple is in the air and quite near to all of us;
whoever possesses the Stone of Good Luck will be carried
there.

Therefore the wind took Sapira and carried him to the
entrance of the Temple of Beauty.

Beauty was standing at the entrance. She was dressed in
modern clothes—for the garments of Beauty are infinite, and
she need never clothe herself in the forms of the distant past.

She held in her hand the torch by whose light she reveals
to us the joy of appearances,

She led him into the temple in silence; and although she
gave him no gold of learning, wit, or morality, yet he greatly
rejoiced to see her. For when the poor man sees her, he for-
gets the length of his drudgery, and the thinness of his life ;
when the sick man sees her, he forgets the unceasing tortures
of pain, and the despairing forgets the terror of the future.

With the light of her torch she illumined the pictures that
are within the temple.
THE TEMPLE OF BEAUTY. 75

Il.

He saw Venus looking at sleeping Mars. The boy-satyrs
are boldly playing with the weapons of the sleeper; one hides
his small head in the great helmet, and helps another thrust
the lance they can scarcely raise from the ground. A third
one sounds révezl/é on a large sea shell close to the sleeping
ear of the god.

Like one who, after years spent in a whitewashed cell,
looks again at the sky and the earth, thus intently does Venus
gaze at sleeping Mars.

She lies upon the grass, raising her body on her bent arm,
and gazing at his naked form. ‘

In the next picture that Beauty showed to him he saw the
slave, looking into the dark night. The slave’s neck is chained
to his cage; his weary mind cannot go far’ from the bars.

In the darkness an angel appears to him—a messenger
from God, from the great life that is in him and in the whole
universe.

The angel holds an unrolled scroll, and a gleam of light
shines on the hopeful words of God.

Like a strong naked man the angel seems; he is very tall
and a star is on his hair.

The bright scroll- lies unrolled on his°extended arm, but it
is so far away that the slave cannot read the words on
tse ie shee

In the next picture Sapira saw Death endeavouring in vain
to blow out the light of Israel. The light is enclosed in a large
lantern with a small pointed dome on the roof, and little
tinkling bells hanging from the eaves. The sides of the
lantern are formed of fantastically shaped pieces of metal,
70 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

connected to each other by bars, some of which are of great
curvature and some of the most rigid straightness.

Death lays his destructive hand on the lantern-case, and
blows into the brightness; in vain he swells out his bony
cheeks. and draws his hairless brows down over his eye-
holes.

He saw pleasant pictures of the impossible ; pictures
abstracted from actual life, and unconcerned with human
action.

He saw the Devil carefully folding up poor Schlemihl’s
shadow as he lifts it from the grass; he saw the Enchantress
spitting in the face of the amorous king and changing him
into a white bird with a long red beak and red feet; he saw
the man digging a grave by the light of a single candle in the
half ruined church—a grave for the corpse that sits on his
back and clasps him with dead arms and legs; he saw Fame
crowning the ghost of a genius, who had been said to fail.

He saw the gardens of Pleasure, where all labour is play,
and where Beauty sits in nakedness.

“T think it is wrongly sensual and degrading to depict
the nude,” said Sapira.

“JT have a servant, called Criticism,’ said Beauty, “and he
shall speak to you about that.”

Ill.

“T wish I had considered what I desire to say to you,”
said Criticism ; “digressions and disorders in a critic’s remarks
are as inappropriate as fairies would be in the streets of
London.

“You are probably in an inconsistent position to which
you have been led by retaining some Puritan opinions whilst
THE TEMPLE OF BEAUTY. 77

rejecting many others, and rejecting also all the larger prin-
ciples of which they were the logical consequences.

“It seems to me that there are only two rational views as
to the morality of looking at naked figures.

“You may say: All the things of this world, all nature as we
see it with our material eyes, are sinful ; all matter is Satan’s—
it is wrong either to listen with pleasure to the singing of a
bird or to look with pleasure at a naked human form.
Although we cannot be consistent in avoiding all physical
pleasure (for we live by it, and are ‘all naked within our
clothes’), we are able to interfere with the satisfaction of every
carnal appetite, so as to deny to the body the greater number
of its desires.

“But there is another safe position besides this one.

“You may say: In the body as well as in the mind, in the
material as well as in the spiritual, we may perceive God.
Physical pleasure is not sinful, except when it harms the mind
or the body.”

IV.

Sapira lived happily in the Temple of Beauty. But when
the man from the Land of Happiness desired to return home,
he could no longer find the way to it. Many gave him
instructions concerning the road, but none had ever been there
themselves. Perhaps without the Stone of Good Luck no one
can go there, and with foolish generosity he had given it away.
(“Foolish generosity ” is no doubt a pleonasm.)

The pleasant face of the cheerful gold coin was becoming
strange to him; he was obliged to remain in London and
work for his bread. He never despaired in the midst of his
troubles of returning to the Land of Happiness.
78 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

For on this weary voyage of life the most hopeless some-
times think that they see in the distance some Land of
Happiness, some island of Bimini, where the waters of youth
are flowing, and where winter is unknown. There the faded
flower returns to bloom, and the weary feet to careless joy.

At length we all do come to a silent land of peace.

For surely when we are in the grave, no hateful discordant
trumpet will call us to stand up again and put on our clothes
and boots. Our restless dust will be moulded into new forms,
our worn souls will return and pass again through the
Entrance into Life; but we shall sleep the sleep without end
—undisturbed, unwearied by any earthly noise, or heavenly
song, or infernal groaning.*

* See Heine’s Bimini (Letzte Gedichte)
En a EE my

RS SES

RR oN IR Sar Ti



THE MILLIONAIRE.
I.

A POOR man once visited a millionaire. In answer to the
poor man’s questions, the millionaire admitted that since he
had already travelled as much and entered as many spheres of
activity as he desired, and was already becoming dulled by
age, he expected that his future life would now mostly repeat
his past; therefore, although he was not tired of life, he was
no longer greatly interested in it; and one intense hour would
please him more than all the drowsy years that probably
remained for him.

“An hour of intense life—of active preparation and of
absorbing oblivion of your usual cares—this I can give you,”
80 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

said the poor man. “ You may enjoy it,if you now determine
to commit suicide after another hour; because to you this
deed would be motiveless, unexpected, and important,—to
prepare for it will be exciting.”

The millionaire was pleased with this logic.

The millionaire admitted that he was troubled by the
difficulty of making his will ; the poor man said, “ You should
leave your property to me. I am exceptionally capable both
of spending money well and of enjoying myself.”

When this was settled, it was difficult to decide the method
of suicide. To hang oneself needs skill; besides, there seemed
to be neither a strong rope nor a suitable sustainer for it.
The millionaire disliked violence or great exertion; he would
not therefore stab or shoot himself, of cut his own _ throat,
or keep his head in a basin of water, or suffocate himself in
an air-tight room. Pleasant poisons are troublesome to buy;
—chemists ask questions and only sell small quantities. To
die by holding one’s breath or by drinking several bottles of
pure brandy would be attractive; but the poor man and the
millionaire were not sure that either of these is really a
possible method of suicide.

At last a sword with a letter-weight tied to its handle was
hung so that the millionaire could make it drop down and
kill him in an instant.

The poor man superintended, the millionaire did the work.
: Thus the poor man became a millionaire. He
now ate all that he needed; he lived in a country house
far from the enervating irritation of the streets. He ceased
to devote his days to the service of hunger; he no_ longer
spent about ten hours a day in the little counting-house
of a small wholesale tailor; he no longer calculated the prices
THE MILLIONAIRE. 81

of each garment, according to: the measurements sent by the
retail shops, and wrote these measurements on. tickets for the
use of “hands” who make the clothes at their houses; he was
no longer confined with the persons (of which he was very
weary) of the clerk who kept the ledger and made up the
accounts, and of the head clerk, whom he had obeyed, hated,
and despised. The head clerk had to pay the “hands” at a
little sliding window, after they had brought in the work and
the head cutter had “passed” it as satisfactory; he had to
cheat so as to reduce prices wherever it was possible, and in
general he acted as cashier and sub-manager; for the men in
the warehouse who sought out. rolls of cloth from the stacks
that were piled up to the ceiling and cut off from them the
needed lengths, and who took down verbal orders from. cus-
tomers, the cutters, in the hot gas-lit room. upstairs, and
sometimes the machinists, whose female chatter and clattering
wheels filled the top room—all these often referred to the head
clerk for instructions. \
The millionaire was no. longer confined to the companion-
ship of such people from whom his soul had derived “no
benefit ; he was no longer employed in the wearisome repetition
of actions that needed neither sense nor spirit ; the present was
without haste or hunger, the future was without dread for him.
He endeavoured to become strong and healthy; he rode,
walked, boated, swum, skated, fenced, bicycled, and hunted.
But soon, although free from the: whip of need and the
vexations of lifeless servitude, he grew weary ; he was too
restless and unemotional to enjoy the beauties of the country
and of a healthy life.
In his new leisure he found the shelter of reading; he
was chiefly interested by the most artificial element in books
G
82 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

(as might have been expected from his pessimism)—by the
ingenuity of the plot more than by descriptions, characters, or
emotions—by the inventiveness shown in the succession ot
incidents more than by any resemblance to actuality.

Il,

Once. the: millionaire’ returned to London.

But suddenly London was not London, the streets were
not streets; moving without an effort, he walked rapidly,
absorbed in the memory of a face that he had seen in the
darkness. “Would that I had had courage to shout to her,” he
said to himself, “to stop her in the entanglement of moving
faces.” But when he had turned backwards she had _ passed
away—he could not find her among the stream of traffic that
divided the pavement, and among the tumult of walkers, :

At length, near where Nelson’s statue stood on a tall black
pillar (at that moment Nelson was looking on to a sky growing
red with sunset as smoke and cloud were blown away, for he
stands high above the noisy traffic of converging streets, and
high above the grey heights of the buildings that form a
square around him)—near there he again found her.

“T greatly desire to hear you speak—I mean, since I once
saw you pass I have been afraid that I should never meet you.”

“TI shall grow taller with vanity,” she answered; “but I am
glad to talk to someone to whom I am not a machine with
which to make money.”

She spoke to him of the troubles and pleasures and weari-
nesses of her work—she was employed in a factory; she
related the incidents of her short holidays and of her times of
freedom ; he looked with pleasure at the hardly-earned adorn-
ments of her dress.
THE MILLIONAIRE. 83

He asked her to become his companion; not to marry him,
for, as he said, he was too tired to love; with all his wealth
he did not live happily, and would not bring children to life;
to see her sometimes smile, to hear her talk, to sit near her, to
see her happy (sometimes, perhaps, to be alone wéthout her),—
this was all he desired.

“T shall no longer be constantly sad. Is it selfish to
think in that way?”

“You are flattering,’ she answered ; “but why are you sad?
I am not worried by my cares.”

“And perhaps I shall be happy,” he said, “when you walk
beside me, and, in the silent darkness of my garden, the
moon kindly shows me a glimmer of your face.”


aD

AN ENTERTAINMENT.

I, OVERTURE.

AFTER the Necromancer had told me some’ parts of my
future, he said he would give me some new views of the
world.

He did not merely cause my soul to transmigrate ; that is,
my old self did not merely pass into new bodies, but I
became another man, with other ideas and other knowledge,
with a new mind looking out of new eyes. I gained a new
past and a new present, and lost my former past and present ;
but afterwards, when I returned here into my old self, I
remembered all that I had experienced when the Necromancer
played with me, when he made me his doll.

Like a tune that repeats itself in the brain, the fragments
of life that I lived when I was outside myself are now con-
stantly reacted in my thoughts.
AN ENTERTAINMENT. 35

To tell the story is my greatest relief from the torture of
this everlasting mental drama.

It was to .the sound of music (the great disturber of the
soul) that I lost myself; the music seemed like a joyous tune
sung in great sorrow; it reminded me of my life, which is
covered with a foolish joy, and inwardly there is disappoint-
ment, ‘weariness, and disgust.

Il, FAILURE,

A buzzing sound—the carbons separated, the (electric) arc
was formed, and for the first time my invention was visible
in wire and wheel and dazzling brilliance before my delighted
eyes.

But soon I heard a hissing in the light, and the brilliance
became variable, and the craters of the carbons, between which
the arc was situated, became misshapen; I peered anxiously
into my complicated arrangement of wires and_ wheels by
which the “feed” of the carbons was regulated.

A hissing, then darkness—the darkness of, failure.

The experiments, each accompanied by a rotation of. hope,
despair, and_ success, the gradual construction of the idea’s
metallic mechanical body, the consultations, the patenting, the
cost, the labour-—even the obtaining of the experimenting room
in which I was—they had all been in. vain.

For the invention was a failure and—I was its inventor.

Ill. JOY.

Like a sad tune sung in great joy seemed the music that
the fairy played on the violin while we wildly danced round
86 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

her. The tune reininded me of our fairy life, which has a
likeness to sad human life, but is acted lightly without foolish
human toils and ugly, useless human cares.

I was the only male fairy there.

The light skirts whirled far from the swift bare legs; the
bare arms rose and fell, and bent and straightened to keep
hand joined to hand, despite their owners’ different whims in
dancing.

IV. TORMENT.

I ached with hunger and thirst. An empty desert was
around me. Suddenly I saw in the distance beautiful trees,
and under them, tables bearing food. I struggled to hasten
towards them; they disappeared slowly. It became so cold
that I seemed covered with ice. I saw naked women, lying
on soft cushions and smiling to invite me; I went towards
them, and when I expected to touch them, they slowly
disappeared.

I said: “Although my brains burn, and the worm and
the fire devour my entrails, my mind in poetry shall. peace-
fully describe my feelings.” But Death came, and with nerve-
destroying music he mowed down my thoughts, The music
seemed like a sad tune sung in great joy; as though devils
joyfully mocked me with fictitious sympathetic sorrow.

This is hell, where you are in pain while healing pleasure

is near to you; healing pleasure is near, but it is not per-
mitted to you. ;

V. FINALE.

Gradually I came back to myself, and to the sound of the
music which I had heard when I lost myself.
AN ENTERTAINMENT. 87

Like a sad tune sung in great sorrow the music now
seemed ; it was like the life which I have lived, without pur-
pose, will-power, or any guiding seriousness, since the Necro-
mancer disturbed my brain by using me for what he termed
“an interesting experiment in the disintegration of the soul.”




THE BANQUET OF THE DESPERATE.

THE last shall be first,’ said one man, and with a sweep of
his arm he overturned the dishes of meat, sweets, and fruit
that lay before him; “the fulfiller of one life-destroying formula
of work shall sit in the seat of leisure, the profitable seat of
the manager; the murderer shall solemnly condemn the judge
to be hanged by the neck; the sheep shall roast the cook ;
and the disreputable instruct people of good position.”

“Listen to none of them,” said a woman, flinging the
tendrils of her hair into beautiful disorder. “See by what
charming arts my dress has been made a net for the minds of
THE BANQUET OF THE DESPERATE, 89

men; come closer that I may speak,—for how-can I flatter
you in a ctowd ?” :
‘But he to whom she had spoken was stabbing again the
dead body of his enemy, and in his joy he had understood
nothing that she had said; he still pantéd with rage. i

His neighbour was silent, almost motionless, and naked, as
though he had cast off all worldly distractions; he was staring
at the vision of beauty that he at length clearly beheld.

In characterless dress clothes sat another and smiled, as he
ate and drank with the oblivious satisfaction of one who loves
and possesses a good dinner.

A doctor dissected the diseased parts of a corpse, and
another learned man was intently meditating a scheme for
bringing the world and all that is therein into agreement with
a diagram that he was inventing.

Innumerable were the ways in which the different people
satisfied a little of their desires.

When the banquet was nearly concluded, the master of the
ceremonies rose, obtained silence, and said:

“Ladies and gentlemen, at this moment, when we, who are
desperate, are draining the only cups of pleasure that we can
attain, I do not wish to weary you with my after-dinner
speech; but I cannot let you depart without some ceremony.
_I think that here in England we deprive ourselves of pleasure
by avoiding symbols and signs of feeling ; even ‘pleases’ and
‘thank-yous, and greetings and words of suitable civility and
motions of endearment often seem much,—they add ideas and
emotions to the struggle for more solid things—they make less
material the relations between masters and servants, between
lovers, friends, and companions. Therefore we are come to-
gether, and shall together drink the waters of forgetfulness—
gO LONDON FAIRY TALES.

the end of weariness. Drink joyfully, ladies and gentlemen,
and die in a happy moment, and with the hope that the in-
destructible. elements, of which we are composed, may (if it be
possible), in the shapes into which they will be moulded, assume
ever increasing beauty.”

Bowing a farewell one to another, the banqueters drank
glasses of poison.




TWO STORIES.

I. A LEGEND.

AN old woman, dirty and dressed in rags, fell fainting in the
street. I took her in my arms and carried her into my room.
She opened her eyes, and I gave her some wine.

The room was dark; a beautiful old crucifix hung on the
wall. The blood from the hands and ~ feet and side seemed to
fall into the wine-glass when she put it on the table.

The deadly sufferings of the past fell into our life-giving
wine, and the signs of their cruelty taught me pity. I kissed
the old woman, although she was dirty, ugly, and disreputable.

Then the city was disenchanted, and its ugliness changed
to beauty ; even the old woman became beautiful.

Il, AN IMPRESSION OF THE IMPOSSIBLE.
It was too dark to read; I closed my book of fairy tales.
Then I saw a procession of the princesses of Fairyland pass

before me.
The shrouded princess from the east, the black-haired
92 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

maiden with the dark cloak clasped at the throat and falling
over her pale dress and naked feet, the golden-haired one with
the embroidered dress and cap, the enchantress with mystic
signs on her dress and carrying the magic wand, and other
skirts and faces dimly seen in the darkness,—they passed
before me.

I said: “Princesses of Fairyland, what service may I
seriously do for you?”
They answered: “Be as merry as you may, for by us

your services are thrown aside.”




THE BOOK OF TRUE IDEAS.

BALDWIN had finished his day’s work.
He was lying on his back on the floor of his lodging with

closed eyes.
He half unclosed his eyes and then started up wide awake.

An ugly old woman, whose nose and chin and lower lip
projected far from-her cheeks, stood before him and said :

“This is the book of true ideas; whatever you ask, you
will find the answer written in it, although when the book is
closed its) pages. are blank. But concerning future events,
‘nothing will be told to you.”

“What ought we to know?” he asked, and opened the
-book,

(Unfortunately I can only tell you such parts of the
answers as Baldwin has remembered and repeated to me. I
ifeel certain that what he found in the book was much better
94. LONDON FAIRY TALES.

than what I can tell you, and much less disconnected.) This
is what he remembers of the first answer :

“Do not compel boys in their learning, but discern to
what the genius of each tends. Having learned to read and
write, if the genius of one is inclined to manual labour, let
him learn no more from books. ;

“Each child should learn what it chooses, since it cannot
truly learn what its mind does not choose.

“Tt is more useful to learn the beauties of the earth and
the motives that have moved mankind than the names of dots
and lines on a map, and the dates of kings’ accessions and
the localities of battles.

“It is more useful to learn how to give men just wages
than how to govern them when they have unjust ones. For
when wages are just, governors and laws and crimes are
Wie “pee”

When he took his eyes from the book he saw instead of
an ugly old woman, a maiden with a dark cloak clasped at
the throat and falling over her pale dress and naked feet..

“T am no mortal, but a fairy,” she said; “and I am not
confined to a single form,”

He next asked, “What ought I to have?”

“All that can make perfect your body and your mind.

“But many luxuries do not do this.

“They are bought with the life of others. :

“Above the chair of Luxury I see a cross on which the
multitude is stretched as one man; his body is stiff and worn
that she may be in comfort; his life drops slowly away, and
he is in darkness ; the chastisement of her peace is upon him.

“If a man came into the Venusberg he might live there
in the midst of a wonderful supernatural beauty, if he could
THE BOOK OF TRUE IDEAS. 95

only forget the open-air world; he might live there with the
goddess of beauty, protected from all disease, if he could only
forget the strife, the troubles, and the eee of the world
outside,

: Dees such circumstances comtarts should be uncom-
fortable

i What ought I to do?” he now peed

This is, I think, the most important of his Bustin, and
he remembers very little of the answer.

“A man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his
time well.” For it is only the few producers of things neces-
sary for the health of mind and body. who are needed in a
perfect state. oo

“You have to complete an image of God, a manifestation
of his glory, by making the earth perfect, , . . The stomach
of each demands what his hands can easily supply if he be
allowed to trespass on private property.

“Now I must leave you,’ said the fairy. “Perhaps you
feel rather like the children of Israel at the Red Sea, when
they said, ‘Better for us to serve our task-masters than pass
into the untrodden wilderness of theories with Quixotic Moses,’

“A page from the book I tear and give to you. The
answers that you find on it will remain written there; be care-
ful therefore what you ask, for when both sides are covered it
will tell you no more.”

Yet Baldwin wasted the sheet with frivolous questions.

Seven years after the fairy had given it to him, he con-
sulted me as to what he should ask to fill the one line that
- remained empty on it.

I was afraid to advise him, for I knew that it is more
blessed to give advice than to receive it.
96 LONDON FAIRY TALES. :

But I thought that on one question depended the’ purpose
of the world, and even of the universe; and that on’ it also
depended the purpose of life and.the right use of every second
of it. :

He followed my advice and asked:

“Ts there a God?”

“This everlasting universe is ever changing; the final i

This was the incomplete answer he ‘received; the page was
then filled.

I have sometimes read books which seem to say on every
page, “If you will read a little further: you will find ‘something
very important.” And finally I fancied that:it:must be written
after the last word.






THE PICTURE BOOK.



SHADOWS and ‘the lights on vehicles
passed along the streets over sha,
dows and lights; along the pave-
ments, to and from the dark distance,
moved dark eyes set in pale, glim-
mering ovals, and ugly, immovable faces, moulded into strange
swellings and trenches, or spectacled, or patterned with curiously
cut whiskers, and innumerable other shadows behind shadows.
A concert of discords sounded,—chains and harness rattled,
feet and hoofs clattered, tongues murmured and shouted, tools
squealed and hammered, laughter screamed and ha-ha’d and
died away, and little bells jingled on moving harness.

“Good Lord, where shall I dine?” thought one man, turn-
ing his only penny in his pocket. “Since I can have no bed,
it should be where I-can dine slowly; wherever I go, [ shall
forget too soon that I have eaten.”

He entered a narrower street. Lights shone out of little
shop-windows, half obscured by the wares that hung in them;
near a merry piano-organ danced a ballet of children in pina-
fores and feathered hats and draggled skirts.

This street led him to a quiet square, round whose four

sides stood decaying houses; branches of trees faintly crossed
H
98 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

. the dark sky, and a few gas-lamps flickered. Beside him dim
figures seemed to uphold a doorway and to stretch upwards
towards ceiling and_ roof.

He entered the doorway: candles made islands of light in
which he saw many tables, big and little, and many. people
round them; grey-faced, skeleton-like figures, and ruddy men
smiling at their glasses of wine; pale, yellow, thoughtful faces,
deeply marked with pits and trenches, and smiling girls, seated
opposite to happy young men, who were thinking of nothing,
smoking. good cigars.and warm with wine,—perhaps a little
too grey in the whites of their eyes; old women in shawls,
swollen to mountains in every part, or shrunken and revealing
their quivering tendons and muscles; pretty mouths, curved
upward. toward the corners to smile, and grimacing faces,
swollen, wrinkled, and painted—yet unrestored ; glittering dra-
peries, brightly. spotted and striped, and evil-smelling rags.

“A penn’orth of beer,’ said the. man to a. waiter, whom he
saw near him: he then sat down at one of the tables and
listened to a man, who was speaking thus—

“< Better to seek in vain her of whom I have heard and
whom I.love than to find another; better to die on my own
road than live (as you would have me live) without aim, with-
out service; she will be .my guide and _ miracle-working
redeemer. Better to die seeking truth, God, Beauty, than live
to serve expediences, conventions of erring men, and the
world’s opinion of what it sees falsely.’ I told them this, and
left them; but Satan met me—hungry, half-hearted, weary and
stupid, and he bought my day.”

“Woman ,. answered another, “happy is he who, like
you, pursues her i1 dreams and flees from her embrace. When
I.-was solitary, studying for examinations, or for my own


THE PICTURE BOOK. 99

amusement reading theologists of every religion or the scarcely
less obscurely expressed fancies of the vaguest poetry, where
(for example) many similes are compared to something dis-
similar to all of them, and where metaphor enters metaphor
then—then I was perhaps not happy. But a little strong
‘drink, a girl’s smile, a boat that bows beneath me to the
wind, some subordinates to be commanded, a new suit of
‘clothes—these are happiness; so unreal, fantastic, and base is
it, that I would return to the days when my eyes refused
to see, when I longed to be at rest, and saw with terror that
life is unceasing labour, when [ feared life and hoped for
death. Even if thinking make all things (unless the madman’s
world be as real as God’s) there must be a right thinking, an
absolute truth, unseen by us who are now joyous, now sad;
but do we come nearest to seeing truth when we are drunk
with joy? In an ecstatic and feverish gravity I am inspired
with poetry ; when I behold a beautiful girl or landscape, tears
almost reach my eyes: perhaps I feel that God is near and
yet I cannot perceive Him—He is always so far from me;
though He is in the material and in the spirit, in both I per-
ceive evil and ugliness.

“T was not happy then, but I hate happiness.

“A more empty-headed person than the barmaid NG first
sat on my throne could nowhere be found; but when she
smiled or said ‘Yes, or ‘No, or ‘You are right, or some-
thing else insanely commonplace, I was charmed ; I sought in
all the chambers of my brain for compliments to please and
to refresh her; I crowned her with my fancies and embraced
her with my affections—the weed of love overgrew my mind.
When I was ordained and a lady with some intelligence was

enthroned in my imagination, her fluent frivolous talk finally
THie2
100 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

expelled all seriousness, all thought, from. me, -I fled from her
to London, but tedious hours of.-work cannot restore’ me—
an. unthinking, unconscious happiness: binds me; she embraces
me in imagination and I forget. the world.”

“T perceive,” .said he who had first spoken, “that one
event .has happened to both of us; our only reality was the
perception. of beauty.; with. laughter, joking, and drudgery the
world . distracted -us from it; the world taught our minds to
seek evil-and we blame our’senses because they find it. :
When I searched. for -her I was holy—that.is, exclusive ; with-
out laughter I went, admiring the beauty of the landscapes
and. girls that I passed.”

“Silly. fools,” thought the man, who had now drunk his:
pennyworth of beer ; he was one of those who, if they ever go
to. Heaven, will be embarrassingly in want of conversation.

“Every noble attempt fails,’ said another. “Why do we
continue to live?”

“ T must work that my mother may eat; though when my
work is over my mind is empty and dull,’ said someone.

“Ts it not an habitual continuance of instincts? Conventions
around us and unreasoned traditions command us to live; yet
I see, hear, feel, little (for much is repetition), and most of that
little is ugly; my thoughts are mostly vain, and seldom does
my mind hold anything clear and fresh; I am weary of see-
ing, | know I am weary of what lies before me; yet I know
nothing—all! is unreal and a dream.”

Then there were revealed to that assembly in a book, lit
by a few candles and obscurely seen.as a woman quickly
turned the pages, pictures of all that is in the world—waves
purple and blue, striped) with white as they neared the dark
rocks ; naked brown figures, burnished and with strongly con-
THE PICTURE BOOK. IOI

trasting curves in their limbs, came out of dark woods; out of
the dark interiors of shops, that supported houses of carved
and fretted wood, gleamed copper, and brass, and coloured
stuffs ; brown sails bowed before the wind, rising and falling
with the grey-green waves, that scattered white foam; camels
guarded by tall figures, hooded and cloaked, rested beneath
palm trees—behind them a sky of burning blue ; girls’ faces
gleamed out of lace and furs and feathers or patches of red,
black, and purple; terrace above terrace of buildings, yellow
and grey and white, decaying in the sun; dream images—
fair forms of things beyond: our sun’s influence—heroes con-
quering dragons—pearly pink and yellow naked men and
women, hurrying and running, drunk with joy; and many
other pictures blurred by the quick movement of the leaves of
the book.

“No, no,” exclaimed a voice, “rack me with tortures, take
away my cyes, ears, nose, legs; arms ; root me to a’ dungeon,
take away my reason, pelt me with fire; let me expect my
inevitable fears, let me serve the Devil, let me love him—only
let me live. Tear up the world around me and all the men
I know in it; while I live there may be change, and a
moment of happiness blots out all pain.”

Applause followed his words ; then gradually all returned to
the streets refreshed.

shit

”






The multitude Beet the oes

car in which the demon luxury

vives with his private
infec ung

Jar of dis-

erfu me





THE PRINCE’S- DREAMS.

IN one of the kingdoms of Fairyland there was a revolt.

After the reformation of the State everyone became so
happy that the deposed Prince went away from there because
he thought it was not good to be perfectly happy.

At length he reached London. He had no money in his
pockets and he knew nobody in the whole town. He walked
through innumerable streets; but so little seemed to him to
have been built beautifully, or even with intelligence, that
nothing impressed itself on his mind, and London seemed un-
real to him. At first he felt. invigorated by the neighbour-
hood of a restless multitude, but soon he was wearied by the
constant and unaccustomed care of avoiding collision with the
passers-by. He had no capacity for observing the innumerable
faces. The tramp of fect, the clatter of hoofs, the rolling
THE PRINCE’S DREAMS. 103

sound made by the wheels helped to tire him, as did also in
the quieter suburbs the constant. repetition, side by .side, of one
unsuitable form of house. He read the situations advertised
as vacant in a newspaper; but they all seemed distasteful to
him, and he was unqualified for all of them.

French, German, shorthand, typewriting, book-keeping, wait-
ing at table, driving, and all the rest of the. abilities required,
were as unknown to him as the language of the dogs.

Next day he felt the old weariness and a new degree of.
unappeasable hunger. In the evening he succeeded in obtain-
ing work as a shop-assistant. .

When the Prince was busy with work he disliked the fret-
ting activity; and when idle he disliked the dull confinement
of the shop.

“Dullness took him in her leaden arm and crushed his
heart.”

Monotony lulled his soul to sleep.

One evening, as he was returning to his solitary lodgings
on an omnibus, he said to himself in his thoughts :

“In fairy tales we see beings who change the outward forms
of things. It would be easy for such a being to make London
disappear now. I see nothing except bright lights in shop-
windows, and in the gas-lamps, and on the moving vehicles
and some dark moving masses, and some dark stationary ones.

“The enchanter need only darken a few shadows and there
would be one slightly luminous darkness (if I may use such a
mystic expression) with bright lights in it.”

As he spoke, his words were fulfilled, and the lights of the
street were dotted on one background of blackness. And.
then the bright lights joined together into one bright halo, and
in the halo there was a beautiful fairy.
104 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Poetry seemed to have left. me,” said the Prince, “a grey
aching spider’s-web seemed to be in my brain; but now that
I tell you the troubles that I had- determined not to feel, they
become joys. even whilst you hear about them. My feelings
and thoughts had become only playthings for me, but to be
with you.is a joy too great for insane levity.”

Suddenly the halo broke into little. lights again; the dark
masses became lighter; the Prince was on the omnibus and the
lights of the street. were around him.

The man, who was seated next to him, turned to him and
said, “I hope you will pardon my impertinent experiment.
You see I. am the Devil, and although I like my work very
much, I need some amusement, and I have always been fond
of scientific experiments.”

The Prince felt as though the Devil. were an old friend.
“How did you deceive me?” he enquired.

“JT opened this bottle and you smelt the perfume in it.
That brings dreams. Would you care to keep the bottle?”

The astonished Prince thanked him and took it.

As soon, as he was alone in his lodging he peace the
bottle and smelt the perfume.

He saw a procession of heroes pass hefore him. ,

The Prophet hearing the word of God’s messenger and
striving to tell it to the multitude, who hear and distort their
faces with ugly laughter; the Saint, tired, ragged, bleeding
from the wounds that the world has inflicted on him, and
begging now for the bread of charity which he had so often
given to others, yet seeing flowers spring from his spilt blood
-—for all that he suffers is useful to the universe; the Poet,
beholding visions of beauty in the midst of smoke and thorns;
the Reformer, bearing the torch of Destruction and -the seeds
of Perfection—they passed before him.
THE PRINCE’S DREAMS. 105

The Prince said: “Let me go with you; Jet me serve
you.”

And they answered: “Live as lightly as you may, for. by
us your services are rejected.”

The tears of disappointment rolled down the Prince’s face.

He remembered his other sorrows.

He remembered how he had been born a Prince and the
rebels had made a man of him; how he had wandered into
the world and been home-sick in the midst of its beauties ;
and how he had reached London and been forced to become
a shop-assistant.

And then he saw a vision of London’s ugliness.

He saw the multitude draw the heavy car, in which the
demon Luxury drives with his private jar of the disinfecting
perfume of privileges.

He saw the weary mind at night throw off the last garment
of restraint and wildly dance; he saw avarice: with grasping
hands afflicting the lives of the poor with constant labour and
destroying their souls.

The tears rolled down the Prince’s face.

Bitterly he said, “The Devil has been my best friend; for
he gave me the vision of the fairy who now to my joy again
approaches. ;

“JT. have been alone so much that I am become selfish, and
when I last saw you, I. spoke only of myself. Yet I have
entirely lost my self; for you are my life, and all of me is
dead save that which lives for you,—all my old ambitions,
hopes, and fears .are dead.

“Are you well—you-look pale as the dead.” :

“J shall no longer be pale, for I am now with you. But
in truth I am only. a pale dream; and when -I. have become as
unreal to you as your home in Fairyland, you will wish you
106 LON DON FAIRY TALES.

had never dreamt of one who then will be as distant as the
dead from you.”

“The present is ours.”

“But when you see that I was a lure of the Devil’s to lead
you to destruction; when you have spent your life in searching
the world to find me again; when you are idly loitering in the
streets in rags and starving, yet unable to do anything except
think of me; when all your life has been a fading dream of
me, oppressed by outward poverty,—then you will curse me
as men (in times of faith) cursed the Devil, who sent me to you.”

“Tt is not so; for your sake I should enjoy to slowly bleed
to death.”

“Don Quixote de la Mancha suffered for the sake of such
an imaginary lady as I am.”

“And happy is the madman who, like Don Quixote, sees
castles where there are poor inns, princesses where there are
prostitutes, armies where there are flocks of sheep, adventures
in which he rights the wrong, where there are only mistakes
in which his back needlessly suffers. Happy is he who, like
Don Quixote, feels certain of his own great nobility, worth, and
valour, however much the multitude may laugh and scoff at
him. But Don Quixote had never seen his Dulcinea, and
I ”

“See me only when your eyes are shut, as now they are.”

“Then [ have seen better with my eyes closed than with
them open.

“In the Arabian Nights there is a tale of a , Vizier's
daughter who was about to be compelled by the Sultan to
marry a hideous hunchback, but a Genie and a Peri placed a
most beautiful husband in her bedroom, and made the hunch-
back stand all night on his head in a stable. In the morning
they removed the young lover very far from his bridal bed


THE PRINCE’S DREAMS. 107

and when he awoke and told the true story of what had
happened to him, all believed that he was mad.

“The fate of the Vizier’s daughter somewhat resembles my:
own.

“T was about to marry a most hideous creature—I thought
I should always have to live with prosaic drudgery; but the
Devil, with his perfume, brought me to you; soon I shall be.
again in the shop, and I shall be called mad, if ever I am’
foolish enough to tell anyone about your beauty, which I saw
with my eyes shut. “

From that time there was no real joy in the Prince’s
waking life; his only relief when his eyes were open was a
blind oblivion, that laughed with desperate thoughtlessness.

And the perfume grew gradually feebler, and although
(even to the end of his life) he sometimes saw the fairy- in
his dreams, her form grew gradually more shadowy.




THE PALACE IN THE SEA.
I.

STREETS of houses covered with painted stucco, each house
of the same pattern, so that porticos and balconies were weari-
somely repeated on each and decorated none of them ; houses
of yellow and brown brick, each of the same pattern, with
bow-windows in the ground floor ; two-storied: houses that formed
one long wall on either side of the street, only broken by
square windows, and doors, regularly repeated; railway bridges
and signals crossing overhead ; shops, one story high, project-
ing forward from dirty brick dwellings with three floors of cur-
tained windows; omnibuses and trams with jingling bells on
the horses, and many wrapped-up people ; tall model dwellings
with staircases exposed to view that crossed from story to
story of square windows,—these dull sights and the grey and
foggy day spoilt all my fancies that on the night before, when
painted with excitement, had seemed the beauties that they
were not.
THE PALACE IN THE SEA. ‘TOQ

I was looking for work ; I found none; I saw none that
I liked.

I had said the night before that I would keep a Punch
and Judy show, that tells how Punch, with joyous antics
hangs the hangman Care, to whose hollowed cheeks the hairs
can scarcely cling, and whose words recall the sins and _ follies
of yesterday.

They had not heeded my excited words, nor known that
we were eating, smoking, and drinking the end of my money.

I am surprised how the five millions who dwell in these
streets contrive to live; for few make anything at all (whether
it help men to live or burden their lives); most only buy
to sell, or are swindlers selling nothing wrapped in words,
though they themselves perhaps think it more. :

At last I saw a public-house. A curling bracket of iron
came from its walls and supported a large lamp; panels,
painted so as to look like wood or marble, surrounded the
windows, the lower parts of which were fitted with stained
glass joined by gilded leads, and the upper parts with clear
glass, behind which was a brass rod that supported gas-lamps,
I entered : in one corner there was an ordinary bar-counter,
behind it a girl, pots, bottles, casks—liquid consolations, But
in the rest of the room, whose walls were scored with mazy
abstract lines designed by some dreamer, men and women,
weary of the fuss of business and the streets, listened to some
madman’s tales of fairyland—fairyland where beauty and virtue
are rewarded and become princesses and princes, where ugli-
ness and wickedness, and avaricious, clever, and cruel men do.
not succeed; where the fool who is gentle and generous meets
some old man or woman or fairy or animal of Good Luck
and wins the Princess or the kingdom that his brothers, who.
110 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

so long despised him, could not win; where the beasts re-
member and repay the services once done for them. And he
related also the following tale :—

Il.

“ How could I spend the day?” said the King. “There is
nothing new: the whole of art and life are but a little book ;
with repetitions and varying combinations of the parts the
whole huge history of mankind is made; yet in one single
life we always hope to find a more beautiful line than any
we have read, and ‘so are tricked from day to day.

“Day after day the same beauties surround me—the same
fair women, the same palace, the same forest.”

“In the adjacent kingdom across the sea is a princess, the
most beautiful of women, and not without intellect, it is said.
We will send ambassadors, and gather soldiers to escort you
and you shall visit her.”

“T have before heard tales of what shall be done to-morrow.
No, I shall at once walk straight through the forests and down
the mountain’s side, and along the valley to St. David’s Port ;
there I will hire a fishing vessel and go across to her.”

“TI beg you to remember how the people, seeing that they
lose their souls to drive the wheels that manufacture means to
build and furnish your palaces, and that the vast and beautiful
lands around your palaces are uninhabited and unpathed whilst
they are ill-fed and enclosed in smoky fetid cities, have at last
rebelled against their master and their untaught minds conceive
most wicked plans against you; in the forests and on the
rocky mountains through which you would go, untracked as
yet by law and death, men gather without food, doing no
THE PALACE IN THE SEA. I1I

work, but providing one another with weapons and preaching
war”

‘: Danger adds pleasure to the walk,” said the King. “I
shall go alone ; seek out fresh girls to please my eyes, and
new tales and pictures to refresh me when I return. Y

Breaking down the high ferns that hid his way, erating
beneath branches and lifting brambles from his clothes, the
sweating King toiled through the forest, doubtful as to the
way, and sometimes fighting with an axe against the tangled
mystery of leaves and branches. At length he stood again
under the bright sky and saw an open level space, and beyond
that a steep descent down to what seemed an enclosed valley.
He descended ; sometimes he slipped, sometimes he had to
turn back, not daring to go farther without more visible foot-
hold, sometimes he crept, sometimes was caged in bushes with
no ground under his feet ; suddenly a rock came bounding
down the cliff before him. He saw enemies far above him;
luckily the uneven surface of the cliff diverted their rolling
missiles, and the wind and their position prevented them from
aiming truly through the air. Sometimes the King hurried,
sometimes stood still; the brambles asked him to wait, and
the stones tripped him; he slid, he clung with his hands, and,
trembling, felt for footholds. These small figures climbing up
from the valley, are they not enemies coming to enclose with
those who descend from above? | Breathless and bent they
hurry upwards. _ ;

“ Danger adds no pleasure to this hunt,’ thought the King.

Then he saw a hollow in the side of the cliff and hid in
it; soon the clouds came down and covered cverything round
him so that his pursuers could not find him. The clouds
gradually grew dark as the day declined, and then moved
112 " LONDON FAIRY TALES.

away up the valley. The King descended and forced: his: in-
active feet to follow by the side of the chattering river that
lay hidden in the darkness till he reached the village, whose
houses, seen’ now only as faint smears of light, lay heaped
confusédly on the two hills that faced sea and river; he
entered the inn and saw a room of bare boards and stone
furnished with one wooden bench, and having an inner window
that opened on to a storeroom; ‘but the stores were few, for
the fleshless, wrinkled old woman could not give him eggs or
meat or fish or cheese.

III,

“The night is squally; we have not slept,” said the fisher-
man standing by .the sea; but the King remembered that he
had decided not to listen to Reason, since he had seen that
all is vanity, and since Fate had said to him, “I will give
you little pleasure”; and therefore he unreasonably replied, “I
must go to-night.”

The boat struggled with the surf; a wave fell into it and
covered the King.

“You have sailed Bee oes I suppose?” said the King
to one of the fishermen.

“T have been far and in many dangers; J have often seen
death.- It is quiet beneath the sea, though wind and waves
storm above ; scales gleam on waving fins and turning bodies;
shadows move mongst the dark forests; there are also
brightly-lit palaces beneath the sea.

-“JT remember once when we were far from land. .°. .”

He spoke in snatches as his work allowed ; the weary’ King
gradually fell asleep.
THE PALACE IN THE SEA. II3

When he awoke a palace stood in the blue, calm, sunny
sea; a huge and boldly domed palace, decorated with mosaics
of dark blue and opaque green, and dull brownish gold, that
were lit here and there with a small bright stone, like some
blue glittering beetle’s wing or fish’s silver scale. Behind the
palace were grey cliffs, faintly veined with green and red. A
small door and a dark passage received them from the landing-
steps ; beyond was a hall, whose floor was made of translucent
pearly-white stones that shimmered with blue and green and
pink; the pillars that supported the roof were of pink crystal,
and often wound round in spiral or loop on their upward
course; the walls were of gold that seemed soiled by time, and
were veined with pearl and with fish-scales.

Then came maidens towards him: some with sad faces of
pale gold and brown, lit with the glitter of dark eyes and hair ;
some with hair like the rimless, silvery golden sun of a western
winter, and with fair pink faces and cold blue eyes; and some
more swarthy, on whose cheeks beneath the brown skin was
seen the scarlet blood, and in the dark pools of whcse eyes
palaces gleamed and shadowy monsters moved.

“In the adjacent land across the sea I am a king, but
here I stand a beggar; I have heard that Beauty is your mis-
tress, and I would be your servant.”

“You are muddy and wet with travel; and have you had
breakfast ?”

They brought clothes embroidered with gold and colours ;
amongst the well-ordered maze of lines, birds and flowers and
men and women seemed to hide.

They brought him rich romantic food; amongst the well-
ordered maze of flavours, spices and honey and peppers and
oil and fruits seemed hidden.
114 LONDON FAIRY TALES,

Then the Princess entered; she was not tall, but very
graceful and quick in her movements; her eyes were dark
blue, but when they darkened with gravity they seemed brown,
and when they were bright there was a greenish light in them ;
the outline of their enclosing lids was more round than oval ;
the nose was somewhat short, the chin broad, and the mouth
firm but easily bowed into a smile; the cheeks were full, yet
delicately modelled, and changing and expressive; her brown
hair was neither dark nor very fair, her cheeks neither pale
nor red.

“I came across the sea to find you; I love you, beautiful
illusion ;—you are an illusion, because you are not so beautiful
as you now seem to me. I love illusions because, cross-
breeding fragments of the world, they extend our narrow life;
I love beauty because it is our highest refuge and best death
in life; I love you because you, like all of us, are also cursed
with life.”

“Come and see my palace,” answered the Princess. “So
you can love women also?”

“When they are deceptions, beautiful and human.”

“Then why. be so gloomy? Can you not look at me and
be happy? You need not talk so wisely.”

“J will be happy. The priest only offers happiness who
says, ‘Believe, even though you see no reason, no purpose in
my creed ; pray to the unknown for impossibilities, and believe
that it is for you that the whole immeasurable universe was
made,—for you and for the human race,—who seem helpless
dwellers on a point of light; believe and pray in order to
be happy,

“Yet perhaps I should prefer to sacrifice my best hopes,
could I clearly hear the voice of God asking for them for
THE PALACE IN THE SEA. 115

the furtherance of some aim; for at Heaven’s gate I should
hesitate, if in Heaven I should cease to think and to enquire
about this, which so much concerns me, and if there (as on
earth) only an aimless happiness could be mine.”

“Let us sit down and talk,” said the Princess.

“Tf you speak only with your eyes, it will be magnificent,”
said the King; “for all they say is marvellous and true.”

“That’s nicely said,” answered the Princess,

“T think I am weary of passion. I wish I could be gentle
and talk prettily.”

“These are my favourite seats,” said the Princess; “on
one side a window looks out on to the sea, and on the other
another window looks over the little harbour and up the sway-
ing path that leads into my kingdom.”

While they were together they saw a chariot approaching
through the sea: its attendants and postilions rode on walruses
and dolphins and porpoises and sea-horses; sometimes the
chariot swam, rising and falling with the waves; sometimes, at
command of the Emperor, who sat in it, it dived, and the
warm waves embraced him; but the wet garments became
dry as soon as the air touched them.

Soon the Emperor entered the room where the Princess
was sitting ;—his pink face gleamed out from his green gar-
ments like a flower’ among leaves.

“JT have come to rest and have something to eat; I slept
badly last night. The marriage laws of my country have
been much criticised; I have been thinking about them, and
last night I saw on what system men and women should live
together; this morning I rewrote the laws. I feel as old as
the world and as if I had never been to sleep; my eyelids

fall, my eyes ache.”
116 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Why do you not go to bed?” said the Princess.

“This afternoon I must sit in judgment,” he answered.

While they were talking they saw a chariot approaching
along the road: ten thousand horses drew the tiny car and
went faster than the wind; the driver guided them with reins
fastened to their necks; their heads were freely stretched for-
wards; by the driver’s side, and sometimes steadying herself
with him, was a maiden dressed in a garment like red-hot
flameless fire.

“ He who has been here is happy, and never will he know
unhappiness who has seen you,” so said the last traveller,
when he stood before the Princess. “One day, in the midst of
our happiness, my soul and I were a little sad; the sky was
faded, the earth soiled; therefore, said my soul, let us visit
our Princess.”

“T am very pleased to see you.”

“Then our soul revives,” he said.

“Who comes now,” said the Emperor, “with elephants, like
rocky mountains on which turrets stand, and with horses with
riders and with banners.”

They all turned towards the window and saw banners of
dark blue and opaque green, lit here and there with bright
embroidery ; and men riding on horses, the yellow light flowing
through brownish shadows where a bare limb lay between
robes of blue and gold and scarlet; women beneath canopies
that glittered with rubies, with little bells and with diamonds ;
and finally a carriage in which lay a pale man covered with
precious stones.

They carried him into the presence of the Princess; then
the brilliance of health returned to the shaded radiating colours
THE PALACE IN THE SEA. II7

‘ot his eyes, and his face became unwrinkled and was no longer
‘green. He stood up and said:

“JT hated the sun, my aching head refused to move; the
hand of wisdom felt my pulse, the eyes of penetration saw
my hidden parts; but they cast their medicines into an obscure
country, and the sweet flowers of health refused to blossom ;
my breath stank, the lions of strength withered in my arms;
the birds of thought slept in my brains, the elephants of firm-
ness trembled in my breast; when my women saw me they
hated me, because I was so very ugly. At length an old
doctor came to me,—he was white-bearded, and worn with
fasting and with thought.

“He told me that in the western ocean there is a palace,
and in the palace there is a Princess, and if I gazed on you,
the birds would awaken in my brain and the beasts in my
body arise and be eager for the day.”

“T am so glad if you are better,” said the Princess.

And she made gracious signs of welcome to all who were
with him ; many of them were clothed in transparent garments,
through the shimmering folds of which were seen delicately-
modelled limbs; for it is in man’s body that we perhaps per-
ceive most: of the infinite completion of nature’s work—a
‘completion that cannot be represented with the few and inde-
finite colours in the dictionary.

- But the King (he of whom I first began to tell) now felt
‘himself neglected.

“Was my body carved and coloured, and my mind filled
‘with nimble birds that I might be silent and unseen, and all
the birds caged in darkness?” he thought. And further he
complained in his thoughts:

“Such is the fate of the majority; and when before the
118 ‘ LONDON FAIRY TALES,

throne of judgment pass the souls that are about to enter the
earth, the Lord perhaps says to one who sighs: Here I and
your parents condemn and create,—on earth you may com-
plain and criticise. But would you not be satisfied to. help a
great poet? Perhaps your life may place something near him
that will suggest a word that he needs. I am not writing an
entirely joyous history, and if. I changed your fate it would
alter a conjunction or a shade.

“But I—I will not stay to be an undistinguished unit in a
crowd, a mere specimen of human beings, an actor of an

‘unnamed part.”

IV,

It was misty and cold. The shivering King walked quickly
when he had left the boat that had brought him back to his
rebellious kingdom, After he had passed outside the confining
protection of the little street, the vague grey mist oppressed
him like a mental labour, through whose forest of difficult
deductions, or abstract conceptions, or disagreeable possibilities,
the mind can see no conclusion, no open and harmonious pros-
pect, no hope.

As he walked four men gradually became distinct to him ;
they changed from grey shadows to men of blood and flesh.

After he had passed them, one ran and seized his throat,
and two others held his struggling arms.

“ How shall we kill him?” said the fourth man, who held

a knife.
THE PALACE IN THE SEA. 119g

V.

Here the madman ended, though his tale seemed’ incom-
plete; he did not let us see the King’s blood squirt out.

And I returned to the street; it was grey with a slight
fog, and rain was falling; the people were shapeless blots
sheltered by overcoats, macintoshes, shawls, and umbrellas.

When we consider how the empty mind is first fed with
dullness, with facts and formule and rules that help us neither
to reason, love, nor eat (who would be a classic, to point gram-
matical morals, and adorn scholastic criticisms and commen-
taries, to be learned by heart by unwilling scholars who
understand your sentences, but not your emotions, which they
have not yet any capacity for feeling?); when we consider
how often men earn their living with labours that imprison
them from pure sky, unpaved, untunnelled earth, and all. on
which true taste can feed and grow (who would be for ever
in offices with squealing pens and whistling clerks, ready to
receive gratefully the smallest joke that hastens the slow
minutes, or perhaps a waitress or a barmaid, and the play-
thing of sex’s stale conventional habits till she wishes that
men and women dwelled apart?); when we consider that
most minds are become too tired to read or look at pictures,
and that most of us are surrounded by ugliness, then we
understand why our art is good, and why we are so familiar
with beauty.

But I must find some work, thought I.

Who will buy me? I will laugh or look serious just as it
pleases my master; I will suit myself to him; I would be to
his customers as agreeable as a prostitute is to hers ; whatever
120 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

it can do, my mind would do to please him—for if our cheeks
are not all painted, our manners mostly are, and if no one
touches our bodies, they sometimes use our minds nearly our

whole life long.
Any service that is legal, I would sell.




(a

THE PHOTOGRAPHER.
I,

ON a raised road he had set up his camera and tripod near
the box on wheels, the inside of which was his dark. room and
on the outside of which he exhibited specimens of his work ;
below him on one side children rolled down rough slopes of
brownish grass or wandered between the bushes and budding
trees singing together, and men and women turned towards
each other and quietly talked; on the other side a gravel
path led down towards a blue distance, and a noisy multitude
walked along it, squirting water at’ each other or throwing
paper; or, stepping off the path on either side, they aimed at
targets or cocoa-nuts (if you hit a mark it is yours, and so is
a sudden view of a grotesque doll’ concealed behind the flap-
ping target if your bullet finds the bull’s-eye); or they tested
their strength by hammering a spring which sent a ring up-
122 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

wards over a scale; or danced, or swung up and down through
a whir of wind.

Laughing and joking, Henry Frost, the photographer,
attracted customers. Some day, thought he, silent trees and
rocks shall also be my models: pictures, not records of unin-
teresting faces, shall be my aim.

As evening came, he left Hampstead Heath and had supper
in a public-house; workmen with faces worn to thinness
laughed and talked loudly, and a few leaned against the bar,
speechless from drunkenness.

At last all pairs of lovers ned kissed and said the sad
words of farewell; the music-halls and theatres were dark—
their lights extinguished; the last public-house had been left
by the last waggon-load returning home shouting with joy ;
nothing but sleep lay between the Bank Holiday and the com-
mon working-days. :

That night the photographer dreamed that it was one of
those: days when the world is full of girls and all of them are
pretty; when all skirts seem to swing in a unison of dance;
when. horses skip with joy beneath the whip, as they pull the
omnibuses, cabs, and carriages; when starving men laugh
when they can find no work ;—in short, Henry dreamt that
he himself was very happy: he sang afd hummed as he
walked along the street and passed his large shop with the ex-
cellent photographs in its windows, and a crowd was looking at
them from the pavement.

Then the photographer heard music in his dream, that grew
louder as solemn feet came nearer; he had left the street and
was in a church; a coffin, on which were many wreaths, was
placed in the midst of the silent waiting church; (the music
ceased) sobs accompanied the minister’s words.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER. 123 3

The photographer smiled as he saw his future coffin
honoured; he smiled to see the reverence, love, and sorrow
bestowed on his famous corpse.



I have sworn, and looked everywhere; but no oath. will
frighten that half-sheet of note-paper out of its concealment.
I have lost the second piece of this story. ,

I have often wanted to. write a story about a swindler,—
telling how he penetrated into -strangers’ offices, suited his
manner to them, and sold stolen goods; how he advertised
offering work to unemployed and sent. worthless samples to
them, for which he charged too much, and promised them a
commission on the orders which they were to obtain with these
samples; how he was paid for negotiating loans and for
teaching a pupil such mysteries as addressing envelopes and
posting letters; how he formed companies that professed
various eccentric purposes, and found persons who acted as
managers and secretaries after having taken shares in them ;
and how he swindled in many amusing ways. His gypsy-like
wanderings through the conventional. ways of London, his
changeable life, his criticisms and mockery of human institutions
—these attract me; but when I try to write about him (he is
a hypocrite, a lar,—looks so respectable in his high hat) it
disgusts and wearies me to think of him.

So, also, Henry Frost seemed, when I wrote about it, to
live a pleasant wandering life, from one holiday resort to
another; but now, when I try to recover those lost sentences,
it does not seem pleasant. After ali, how dull much of his
life was —how little innocent, healthy pleasure he had. Some-
124 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

times tales of the meeting between a man and a pretty inno-
cent-looking girl, who invites him to further hinted adventures,
tales of drunkenness and quarrels between husbands and wives
—sometimes even these, the favourite subjects for the jokes of
music-hall performers, do not seem very funny to me,—they
seem disgusting and wearisome.

Even observations of how people talk, dress, move—of little
external details that reveal no character or aims, that show
nothing of the great human plan (for all men are made from
one material and all aim at that in which they think is their
chief good, so that if the villain in a book is not like me,
I know he is not natural), and even the Jaughing at nothing,
with which we enliven each other when we meet—to me, even
these sometimes seem dull.

IV.

The photographer lay awake in the darkness and was
troubled.

“What subtlety, what faint mood is entirely gone from me
that now makes my life seem so tasteless? Is it some dis-
content that has left me? My wife loves me (her attitude
asleep now shows it), yet her love does not improve me.
‘Why do you look so serious?’ she said to-day, as I looked at
her, though my thoughts were far away, while she softened the
shadows of a negative with a brush; then I smiled in answer
to her smile, and went away to tidy my studio. But is my
life to consist only of a cheerful activity that prevents the
mind wearying of its own vacuity? Is it to consist of nothing
except eating, smiling, politely talking about nothing, putting
slides into the camera, asking absurdly self-conscious cus-
THE PHOTOGRAPHER. 125

tomers to smile, but not grin—(I should not express it so to.
them),—pouring liquids on to the plates and drying them,
playing a little with my children—what more should be in
my life?”

Vv,

So the photographer thought himself a little ill in mind,
and sought a cure. (Did you think the lower animals without
feelings because they do not talk good English, like you ?)

When you praise Paganism, I too can find virtues in it;
but when I read of Pagan times, or look at the Paganism of
to-day, that enjoys music-hall songs and scoffs at a Bible
which is too alien for its imagination, I perceive that you, who
have enough leisure and quietness to read in the evenings, or
who, perhaps, search all day for phrases, or study the beauties
of a model, are helped by what is not good for common
drudges.

I can admire the fascination with which you experiment, the
satisfaction with which you unfold your discoveries and theories.
and investigations to puzzled and astonished fellow-scientists,.
the pleasure with which you add a little, line upon line, to the
facts that are certain, to the precepts that govern our world, to-
the faculties that man commands; but when I look into the
mean streets of a large city I see that Science has made it
possible to remove men farther than ever before from nature:
and from thought,—to let them live like parts of a machine.

When living without much sweat, I can use your ingenious
philosophy ; but Mary, my. Iandlady’s servant in the kitchen,
who lights the fire at a quarter-past six in the morning, cleans,
cooks, and waits,—it could not lessen her troubles.
126 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

For in this age we have no faith, no seriousness lying
beneath the laughing details of ‘life, no feeling that every act
helps to make the universe an image of God, no hope, no God ;
our pleasures are mad, yet when we are in pain we desire that
madness; sometimes all of us desire a system of law that
should determine every moment’s act, if that law were indeed
a tree of life, whose ways were ways of pleasantness, and all its
paths peace.

To be happy is nothing; it were enough if the direction of
our efforts were pleasing to us: but now we hate our deeds.

VI.

The photographer went out into the dark streets and
expected to find a cure; he returned with disappointment.
Then gloom began to cover his life. His will died. Certain
ideas haunted him. “The world,” thought he, “is full of beauty ;
why is my world ugly? What beauty should there be in my
life?”

The photographer was unread, and knew no _ intellectual
refuge from the ideas that haunted him. Gloom covered his
days—he was happiest when he wept in pity of himself. “If
I go mad,” he thought, “would my wife visit me? If my will
were still alive I would kill myself. If I go mad shall I be-
come happier?”

His shop was open till late, for many women who were
at work all day were his customers. One evening, after it had
closed, he went out. Blurred forms hurried between the dark
houses, entering distinctness as he saw them pass the nearest
of the row of gas-lamps that lined the street before him.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER. 127

Suddenly pillars arose from “the pavements and intertwined
with each other and wove themselves: above him into a dome;
they dropped down again to form walls; again rising from
the ground, they again intertwined and formed domes and
minarets beneath the uppermost roof; growing up and along
and then again falling to the ground they formed steps on
which the photographer went up and entered galleries and
rooms walled with pillars.

Before him all was beautiful; but neither the mysteries of
‘dark distances nor the confusion of innumerable bright details,
nor the contrasts between light and darkness, could feed his
eyes, that would not observe beauty,

As he passed he left a track of ruin; all was fragments,
stained, mildewed, decayed.

Outside the windows he saw, as a sea of clouds moved on,
a distance of pale green and brown and grey; mountains,
valleys, and lakes stained by shadows of passing clouds. As
he looked, the grass dried and grew black; the sky was
soiled, the valleys filled with smoke and ugly houses, and with
circular iron structures, and chimneys and bare brick walls ;
the mountains were cut and quarried and blasted.

As he passed through the rooms he saw beautiful female
forms, not changed by confusing the shapes of the breasts and
legs, not exaggerated towards the waist to compensate for
the hiding of lines and of the changes of line with every
movement—but naked and covered with meaning and beauty.
To him they were indecent and suggestive of nastiness.

Since childhood the photographer’s mind has been corrupted.
Children, it is true, only gradually cease to be lower animals;
but they obey their animal impulses without considering, they
have not thought of evil, nor known coarse men or shallow-
128 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

minded women. They have not refused to pity, nor been
worried by incoherent cares or yielded unselfishly to those who
made them serve vanity.

The pillars returned as they had come, and Henry was
left in the street.











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A DAY AND
A DREAM.

“Behold, I wil). send you Elijah the Prophet.”—Malachi iv. 5.

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CUTTS nn PETE

JAMES ISRAELS was then of that sad age when the hopeful drunk-
enness of boyhood changes to the sad sobriety of manhood.

He was travelling by train from the quiet monotonous
streets of uniform suburban houses to the noisy stream of
grotesque traffic in the centre of the City of London. It was
nine in the morning.

While he was seated in the train he took from his pocket
a book, Misty’s Jimpresstons of the Impossible, and commenced
to read at the place where he had last left off: where it tells
how “the fairies sometimes stop to dance on the roofs when
they pass over the town by night. Dark fog may hide the
moon and shut out the varied chimney architecture, but, free
from care, they fearlessly pirouette on the telegraph wires, or,

joining hands, circle round the black chimney-stacks, or whirl
‘ K
130 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

over the slippery slates.” Closing the book, he left the train
and passed through the noisy streets to the bank where he
was employed.

James copied certain figures out of one book into another

The work was dull.

When James rested he considered whether these transactions
that he was reading, which involve the payment of interest, are
just.

“What would you like for lunch?” asked the waitress when
he was seated at the restaurant where he spent his mid-day
hour of rest.

“Anything that you brought to me would be too good for
me. It seems a reversal that a beautiful girl should be waiting
on a man. But perhaps it is well that women should have
some conception of work and the world’s life.”

When she left him to attend to another customer, James
teopened his book and began to read it where he had left off
in the morning: where it says, “For at night the forms of
_the imagination awaken. The workers, like Abou Hassan, may
leave their prosaic lives and find themselves in the palace of a
Caliph.”

He returned to his work.

He had at that time no feeling of responsibility with refer-
ence to his work; he did it solely because his parents ordered
him to do it. The desire to be independent, which is a kind
of selfishness, was not yet developed in him. The need of
money was unknown to him; except the vague need of many
millions with which to set the world in order and live in
Paradise. The fear of the need of money was unknown to him.
His masters seemed to him in no way people to be respected,
far less to be admired or loved. He did not believe that he
A DAY AND A DREAM. 131

profited anyone by his labour; he feared that it did harm.
This motiveless work seemed in his eyes to continue through-
out his life.

He feared the future. But what can the future do to us?
It can take away all that is not ours. If it lay us on a
““mattress-grave” of many years’ agony, it cannot touch our
mind. It is not the future that harms us, it is fear.

When he was seated in the train and travelling homewards
he took the book from his pocket and began to read it where
he had last left off: where it says,—

“For, if they will, they may send out their ideas as emirs,
as viziers or as officers of the police, to reform the world ; or,
if they will, they may hear concerts of various sweet-toned
instruments; or, if they will, they may see beautiful damsels,
Eye’s Desire, Heart’s Delight, and Moonshine.”

After dinner he reopened his book and read—

“The cymbals clash and call us, the jewelled lantern guides
us with coloured light; we hasten towards the brilliance that
breaks from the Temple of Beauty. Lines of ironwork on its
stairways, balconies, and turrets fret the light, and figures of
hammered iron are fastened to them.

“Like the fairy who, in an instant, changes the most
prosaic objects into the most glittering ideals, the imagina-
tion x

When the warm unconsciousness of sleep had overcome
him he became conscious in a dream of a great weariness ;
but his mind was at peace. He was seated on the ground in
a bare undulating country; a cloudless sky was above him.

Suddenly he heard the sound of a trumpet, at first uttering
short cries, as though from quivering astonishment, then raised
to a long shout of joy and triumph. Immediately a great

K 2
132 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

crowd hurried past him; he was swept along with it. Numerous
as the sands of the sea and diverse as the fates of men were
his companions: rich and poor, clean and dirty, convicts and
priests, prostitutes and princesses, black and white, naked and
clothed, drunkards and dreamers,—people of every race and
every condition and in every costume were there. But no one
was pressed upon.

They entered a desolate city,

Before them stood a man who said, “Some of you have
waited long for me, but I, Elijah, have waited long for you,
most weary centuries, until you were ready, lest I should
come before you could obey me. Come now, and I will give
to each his work.”

He called the names of all and gave to each his work
to some he gave work in the town, and to some work in the
country.

The list of names was long, but none that waited grew
tired.

And the workers “helped everyone his neighbour, and every-
one said to his brother, Be of good courage.” And _ at last
the prophet called to James Israels. And he awoke at that
instant to a new day.

And this day was very much like the one that I have
described. His work was dull and he again doubted whether it
had been appointed for the service of the world.


BEFORE YOU WERE BORN.

THE Prince’s army defeated the enemy, and in their camp was
found the beautiful Princess Lulu.

The Prince knelt before her, held out his arms, and said,
“These strong arms, that slew my enemies, are powerless
now, for I am more enslaved than my captives; but if you
would guide my arms, my soul would rejoice to be your slave.”

His palace was soon stirred with preparation for the wed-
ding. One day, as the Prince watched the hand of one of
the maidens who was making wedding garments for the Prin-
cess, and saw it journey far back over her shoulder with the
long thread, he noticed that tears dropped from her downcast
face on to her work. He asked her why she wept. She told
him how a dragon had enchanted the city in which her
parents dwelt, so that all things in it were now of a most
evil appearance, and how it had killed many of the inhabi-
tants; alas! even her old father had been slain by it.

Then the Prince armed himself and went to slay the
dragon. He would not even wait to first marry the Princess
Lulu, much as he wished to do so. At last he saw the glitter-
ing of its coils in the distance. In suddenly flowing waves
its creeping length and horrid, shapeless limbs surrounded him ;
134 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

he stood beneath the shade of its grasping hands that were
outstretched from its scaly trunk. Its eyes glittered from out
of their dark caves, and its curling lower lip seemed scarcely
able to close on its million mocking tongues. The Prince
fought and did not answer its mocking words; he snatched
his sword from the hand that descended to grasp it, and tore
rough flaps of flesh apart in order to retain it. The monster
would not withdraw all its arms from their widespread readiness.
to seize their prey; else it had crushed the Prince before he
had injured it: He opened rivers and deep springs of blood
that fed a widening pool; he severed a curling tail, and a
wave of pain flowed down the’ dragon’s length ; he cut down
a branch of arms, which fell before the blood could drop from
them ; he made scales and fingers spring into the air.

Seven days they fought. At»length the dragon seemed
weakened. “When I am dead,” it said, “my corpse shall
trouble you,” and with horror the Prince saw himself im-
prisoned by the coils. He had to chop a path through the
decaying monster; worms, flies, carrion birds, and innumer-
able serpents (that split themselves off from the dead dragon’s
tails) fled from his axe. For seven years he hacked off putrid
lumps, and cast them out of his pathway.

“How I wish,’ exclaimed the Court Historian, “that I had
a pen that could draw illustrations of His Highness’ most
wonderful adventures; my poor words will only excite the
curiosity of Eternity, and leave it straining its ears to hear
more of his deeds, and its eyes to see further signs of them.”
And in a certain shop in that town they sold him a pen that
would draw any subject of which you thought whilst holding
it in your hand, and draw it most perfectly.

One day, however, his hand tried to compete with the
BEFORE YOU WERE BORN. 135

Magic Pen; he redrew certain designs with an ordinary pen
after having used the Magic Pen to draw them. His work
then seemed a failure, even in his own eyes. He threw the
Magic Pen away in disgust.

How the Princess Lulu rejoiced that the Prince was come
back at last (he had been away about eight years, you know)!
And what a splendid wedding it was!

One of the fairies who came to it presented to them a
bottle of the strongest Sympathy, which possesses the magic
property of enabling him who drinks it to read the thoughts
of others. It was a very useful present for a Prince.

When I know, I will tell you what happened to them
after they were married.




DARKNESS veiled my eyes; the earth reeled like a drunkard.
“Give me a little longer,” I said. :

The barber warmed his cold hands by a long rubbing of
the lather on my cheek. As soon as he used the razor, he
cut me; he panted, sighed, and moved his eyebrows as he
slowly cut away soap and hairs. I longed to shiver with im-
patience. He squirted all over my face and into my eyes;
he dabbed me often with a towel, as softly as if I were made
of dust. :

“At last I am ready,’ I said; “I am so amiable that I
wished to be a good-looking meal for worms; I am ready at
last, O angel.”

IT.

I rose early and reflected all day on life, and read what
has been written about it: how all is vanity, and why and
how we exist, and whither we go; at length my head ached
—I knew not why. I went out, and at first saw little of the
GROTESQUES. 137

street, for the smallest objects suggested to me endless reflec-
tions. At last I noticed many couples of men and women
who walked close to each other; but I was alone, though I
saw many pretty faces. On the roof of a passing omnibus, on
one of the little seats that hold two persons, there sat a girl,
and no one was by her side; I ran and mounted to the top
of that omnibus; I sat down by her side, and saw that her
eyes were grey and sad, her nose delicately aquiline, her mouth
soft and subtly curved. She looked straight at me and smiled
slightly. “It is a fine evening, is it not?” J said, and my
heart beat more strongly because she looked (as people say)
perfectly respectable, and I do not like to be treated with dis-
dain. “It is fine,’ she answered; “later in the evening this
street will be busy; there will be a crowd round the barrows.”
I looked down on the people who were buying their Saturday
evening provisions; high above them, against the dark sky, the
globes of electric light were white and unflickering ; but below,
oil lamps, fastened to the awnings that sheltered the wares on
the costermongers’ barrows, burned red and flaring.

“And what,” said I, looking at the buyers, “would you
buy if you were a millionaire?” As she answered IJ turned
towards her pale face, like a head of Tragedy covered with a
black veil; stray curls of hair wandered over the forehead and
down the long pale neck. “I should live on the sea until I was
tired of it,’ she answered. “I get down here,” she added, and
I asked the driver to stop, and wished her a good-night. I
noticed that there were many pairs of men and women on the
omnibus and in the street near to each other and with their
arms on each other; they were free for a little while from
the voice of the master, and their unchanging mind-destroying
labours. “But none of them,” I thought, remembering the work
138 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

that I had done during the day, “is as wise as I; I, too, am
happy now. Is not the wisest a fool?”

Ill.

Death and a priest entered.

“Heaven is near,” said the priest.

“T fear,” said my father. “I want to sell some shares; I
should make a great profit. Life is so short.”

“And full of trouble,” said Death. “ With drink, with
books, woman, laughter and talk, man shelters and consoles
himself. The rich dresses himself in fine clothes, and his mind
looks at day-dreams, music, and pictures; but the mind which
is crooked can never be made straight. The clean and the
dirty, the foolish and the wise, the righteous and the wicked,
are ail alike. [ can only see a little superficial difference
between the lady and her servant, and even between the bar-
maid and the scrubber of floors. The meanest drudge, though
he harden his heart to protect it, and though his mind be
empty, may know Love as well as your most refined poet; your
fool may chance to know every emotion that there is—lust
and hope, and the ‘oy of inspiration. Whatever you do, it is
all vanity.”

“God is good,” said the priest.

“T am old, and accustomed to pain and weariness; I have
a wife and children; I have, no doubt, over-estimated the only
pleasures that were permitted to me; I struggled to obtain
them; I am acclimatised to some evil,’ said my father.

“Could you take me in his stead,” I asked. “Love and
pleasure are unreasonable; when illusions left me, the world
disgusted me ; when I have done good, I repent because I
GROTESQUES. 139

receive no reward; when I have sinned, I hate sin, because
afterwards it sets my teeth on edge; the stale scent of past
pleasure is disgusting.”

“You are kind,” said my father; “I did not know you would
do so much for me.”

“T hate you,” I answered. “No service you have done me
outweighs this cruelty—that you caused me to live. To please
you, I am born slave of the time, fate and character you ap-
pointed. You expect me to give you immortality by adding to
the money, the power, and social position that I inherit from
you; you wish me to add interest, by my industry, abilities, and
vigour, to the capital you invest in me; thus through each of
your children you hope to construct a branching family, ever
increasing in strength. You have done much for me—I was a
servant, to be taught and fed, to help and to amuse you; but
when did you sympathise with me, when encourage my best
desires? However, we will not talk. Will you come now, dear
Death ?”

IV.

I started and drew in my breath noisily when I saw that I
had almost pushed against a man who had come on to me round
a corner. I passed on with my eyes again towards the wet
pavement; but he turned and followed me. “What is love,
then?” he asked me. I found no answer, and he continued
thus: “ Here some say that men’s desires brought most ot our
woes into the world, and that women are as intelligent and
virtuous as men; but my father was a king in an eastern land,
and though he had daughters, he wanted a son. He studied
continually how his son should be educated, and planned a life
140 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

for him if he ever were born. At last I was born. When I was
fourteen I answered, ‘Yes, father, after he had told me to
marry a suitable wife. Soon I had all that I could desire—
palaces and servants, gardens and wives ; but one day I observed
two of the common people—their eyes, voices, and hands spoke
of love. And I went to my father and said, ‘ What, then, is love?
I have not felt it as some feel it.’ Then it was proclaimed that
all the pretty girls should come to my palace; some came in
carriages, and some in torn boots, avoiding the mud. We talked
prettily, but I did not find out what love is. Then it was pro-
claimed that all the ugly girls should come to my palace,—the
weary, sick, pale, the starving, and the wretched came. ‘ Perhaps,
said my father, ‘there is greater charm for him in their faces
marked with misfortune, weariness and desire, and men’s con-
tempt than in smooth and smiling beauty.’ Some of them
came on foot, saying, ‘Perhaps we shall escape drudgery’ ;
and some in carriages, with rattle of harness and glitter of
liveries. We talked prettily, but I learnt nothing of love
Therefore I am now travelling into all the lands until I dis-
cover what love is.” “J do not know; at least, not now. I am
in a hurry,” I answered. I had been looking anxiously at every
passer-by, thinking that someone might recognise me as the
murderer. Suddenly I turned away from my questioner, and
hurried through the blackness of the narrow street—a_black-
ness gemmed with gas-lamps and with serpentine golden reflec-
tions. It seemed a safe street for me, but I did not think ot
my safety. Losing myself in gloomy reflections, I left him, and
he was involved in the multitude of dark figures.

But afterwards again I saw him in the darkness that clothed
all of him except his face. Again the Prince asked, “ What
then, is love?”
GROTESQUES. 141

After reflecting and scratching his head, the Professor, to
whom he had spoken, answered: “Love is the instinctive con-
sciousness in any individual of having found a person suitable
to be joined to him or her in marriage. This instinct should
not be contradicted by further acquaintance if the love is to.
continue or augment.”

Vv.

“A cup of coffee, please,” said I.

My waitress was pretty; her face serious, as though she
were intent on life; her movements gave majesty to common
duties ; her eyes were large and bluish grey and dreamy; yet
the pink flush seemed to be leaving her cheeks, though the
slightly parted lips were bright red; weariness and care and
a confined life had made her oval face somewhat yellow
and raised its muscles a little so that they prepared to wrinkle
the skin. So, too, the clay had worn through the varnish of
beauty on the faces of the customers in the shop; they talked
eagerly of business or looked with anxiety on their first
struggles with an indifferent world; hats with bright feathers.
and ribbons rested on faces that were pale, even though paint
or the excitement of hurry now enlivened them. I, too, knew
weariness and care. I returned to the street. Dark forms—
hoofs and wheels and innumerable people, going this way and.
that—passed over the gaslights.

“Shoot again where you have shot before; let once more
something in my life be worth much trouble;” this I said
as I saw Cupid with bent bow and hasty wings passing above:
the street.
142 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

VI.

I dreamt I was King Solomon. My mind’s eye gazed on
the heavens; like the glare of the sun on which I could not
look, I felt the presence of the Holy One—the everlasting
unchanging—the everchanging,

Regiments of angels surrounded Him—the stars rested on
their. heads. :

Suddenly the music ceased. I applauded my dancers
They placed their draperies in elegant folds. I turned to look
again at the beautiful figures of the women seated around me.
My mouth was humming a psalm, but I did not think of its
meaning.



areca E
iy




THE BOOKSELLER.

“T AM sorry, sir, but we do business in our own way; and
when I cannot I will deal in cat’s meat.”

These words concluded the dialogue; the bookseller, Field,
was left alone in his shop.

He seemed as though it might still be possible to dust
away from him the wrinkles and greyness of age, as though
youth still flowed beneath his earth-worn yet fresh-coloured skin.

And he spoke as though he enjoyed the freedom of having
no master over him. é

When first he left school he had become errand-boy to a
bookseller, and had been mainly employed to push a truck:
then he had been promoted to the rank of “collector,” and
had been employed to.go to publishers’ offices, call out the
titles of the books that were needed, note their prices, and
either carry them himself in a bag or give them to his truck-
boy. Sometimes the bag was heavy, but each burden that he
added to it decreased the list of addresses towards which he
had still to journey ; sometimes he was troubled by not know-
. 144 LONDON FAIRY TALES:

ing where to seek them, or by having made some mistake
with the money entrusted to him, or by the noisy, changing
confusion of dark figures spotted over his unchanging, oft-
trodden district. ;

Then he had been promoted to the rank of “ counter-hand,”
and by slow degrees he became manager; he had enjoyed the
honour of being called “ sir,’ of giving orders, and of receiving
the travellers who brought books for “subscription”; he had
gradually progressed from sticking labels to writing the most
secret ledgers: But most of his labours had been as weari-
some as the copying of a tale of doubtful value written in an
unknown language.

And now he possessed his own “second-hand book” shop.

The shop was crossed by screens of bookshelves, and the
walls and the window were also covered by them:

There were modern novels which dissect the life ot the
world—(although sometimes the authors are frightened or dis-
gusted by what they see and reveal)—and which unroof houses
and show the effect of mind on mind. Sometimes such books
seem as dull as life.

There were funny books—but perhaps humour (like butter)
is unwholesome except when it moistens more serious food.

There were many novels that depict meanness, folly, and
absurdity, but cannot depict the nobility that is in every soul.

There were grammars and dictionaries; heaps of magazines ;
thick works on theology, mechanics, engineering, anatomy,
ethics, and diseases; poems, Latin and Greek classics, foreign
books in paper wrappers, and old folios.

Indeed, there were books of every kind: it was a valuable
stock, ;

In wife and son Field had been as fortunate as in business.
Certainly towards his wife the mysterious ecstacy of love
THE BOOKSELLER. 145

had changed to some extent to informed admiration. Each
evening in her company peace erased from him the irritation
caused by the day’s restless inactivity.

Field had brought up his son George with unusually little
restraint; he had not even allowed religious dogmas to be
taught to the boy, which he himself did not entirely believe.
George had chosen to avoid the life of a clerk, which seemed
to him morbid and unmanly; he had gone to sea, and had
by now risen to be second in command of a pleasure steamer.

“T suppose,” thought Field, “that he is mad enough to be
habitually happy; and perhaps I am not unhappy. But I hate
books.

“Reading. is a means to restore the weary and _ ifritated
mind to peace; but the excitement needed in more pleasur-
able kinds of books is decreased by any reflections, descriptions,
and details, so that a reader is almost always either exhilar-
ated by a rapid whirl of mental impressions, in which he dis-
tinguishes no clear form, or he is satiated without being ex
hilarated.

“Books (like comfortable furniture) do not compensate us
for the incompleteness of our lives; and a public street of
mean, dirty houses without form or interest would disturb my
private enjoyment of embroidered coverings and inlaid woods
and rare editions.

“And, further, if I am not now possessed by the spirit of
melancholy, I feel that I am no longer protected by good
luck; I am still ready for adventure, but none will now en-
counter my aged and regular life.

“JT have noticed lately in looking at illustrated books that
I am greatly pleased with a beauty composed of abstract lives
and unnatural objects; for Nature has long been distant from
my eyes, and I am prisoned by streets and crowds.

L
146 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“To my tired mind the lines of a picture at first appear
like mazes that have to be unravelled into figures; often the
whole of a street seems a patchwork of datks and lights, which
I have, with effort, to identify with the definite images most
like them, @

Leaving the shop in the care of a boy, Field went out to
get some tea.

The street was dark with fog; men and vehicles were so
unreal that though they were violently illuminated by the
lights in the shops, yet at a little distance from the eye they
became undefined shadows disappearing into foggy nothing.

“T have earned,” thought Field, “the power to continue my
past life and to repeat its labours; my past life, which seems
like a tale of doubtful value, whose significance and purpose
are hidden as in an unknown language, must be wearisomely
re-copied.”

Suddenly a very old woman stopped in front of him.

She was worn by weather, time, thought, and labour so that
only the essential structure of her form and face remained.

Nothing remained except her inmost beauty. Her eyes
were of black fire; her bony nose and chin were bold and
beautiful. . Her thin, strong limbs revealed the bones and

moving muscles within them.

“T will take you,” said she, “to a land where you will feel
neither the mad joy nor the paralysing disgust nor the inter-
linking tedium of life; life that is smooth and soft like a
woman and moist and with tangled fur like a diseased beast ;
and that sometimes comforts men by saying (as I say to you),
‘Do not be afraid of me, I am a fairy-tale hobgoblin.’”

Putting one arm round the bookseller, she jumped and lifted
him over the houses.
THE BOOKSELLER. 147

“In this manner,” she said, ‘“ we avoid a long and tortuous
walk through the streets.”

When they descended the fog, Field was expecting strange
events; and to him it was strange when the fog separated and
revealed a sunny garden, in which figures moved.

It seemed as though there almost ceased in him that series
of mental impressions which is independent of those received
from the senses, that series by which we like and dislike, desire
and avoid. His whole mind was occupied by what he saw: by
a beauty in which lines were connected together and masses
harmonised, so that the eye was satisfied by a coherent prospect;
by the beauty of the graduated tones that rounded the un-
dulating figures and subtly denoted the infinite complexity of
their flesh-modelling ; by the beauty of movements and of
the changing curves of the body that expressed the intention
of the mind; by the shimmering lights reflected in the shadows
of glittering drapery and by its curving folds; by the metallic
gleam of hair; by the delicate celours (strange to him after
London streets) of the garden, of the grass, the trees with inter-
secting branches, and of the unsoiled sky.

Field wandered into the forest that bordered the garden on
one side; under the trees he walked and under them he slept.
He never felt again the pain of hunger or the labour of effort,
digestion and restless inactivity ; his eyes were fed with plea-
sures, and he never felt dullness or the fear of long hours of
dullness ; he needed no emotions of joy or of sorrow to remove
scars of weariness and trouble; he always wandered past the
unexpected variations of tree, bush, fern, and weed that furnish
the forest’s innumerable pillared seclusions ; he heard hidden
waters clash down the rock in their house of trees; he fed
his eyes on pleasure, and was always expectant of new beauties,

Tepe?
148 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

until he gently became constantly sleepy—then his eyes half
closed and he became more sleepy yet; at last he grew tired,
lay down to rest, and died.

His wife and son wept when he did not return; but after a
short time they forgot him.

He had endeavoured to amuse them when they were dull ;
he had pitied their sorrows, and when they smiled, he had
rejoiced ; they would not see him again—but he had left them
his money ; and each of them had to continue selfishly to walk
alone, to take trouble, eat, and labour, and move in order (as
usual) to live.




FAIRYTOWN.

HE wandered on high roads and up mountains, on yielding
snow and through still more yielding swamps; he pushed
_ his way through tall grass and through prickly bushes, and
cut a path in the dense growths of the dark forest; he battled
with the waves and the wind, and he crossed wide hot deserts ;
he walked cheerfully through strange crowds of mockers, and
he fought against angry multitudes.

Why did he journey thus?

He had worked until he had become a director of many
‘commercial companies; and he had (after his daily work was
done) investigated the conditions of applicants for charitable
aid until he had been elected a member of the committees of
many charitable societies.

Having amassed sufficient money, he began to live with-
out further labour.

And in his new leisure he found that there was one thing
that he had never possessed—an idea of his own.
150 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

He went to seek where he could obtain one.

At length he came to some grassy hills, and whenever he
reached one summit other bare heights were before him; and
he climbed all day without food.

It rained ; when he trod on his boots they squeaked with
flowing water. He was empty of food; his stomach growled
as he walked. He was tired; his legs ached and his knees
protested against every movement. His brain ‘ached, his soul
shivered ; he did not know where he was going to, and he
was tired. Suddenly he was lifted from the ground; fairy
wings were bearing him through the air, and many fairy hands,
caressing, helped to carry him. Into a thick forest they went,
where no rain could fall; the stems of twining plants dis-
entangled themselves and left an open passage for them.

Suddenly he saw beneath him in the darkness of a valley
dim spires and turrets, and in them bright openings of
tracery.

Then they carried him down into the darkness of the
street and into the light of a doorway.

Then he saw with delight the naked female forms with
fairy wings that had been burdened with his weight, and he
scarcely saw the food that gave him fresh life.

He slept and dreamed; he was again in the past—the
miserable past, with its barren work and_ feeble-minded
pleasure ; he came quickly into the present and lay in the un-
real laps of fairies ; they touched him on every side, he faintly
heard them singing while he slept ; they were carrying him
into the future—the glorious future.

He awoke in an unfurnished room with smooth walls;
some powerful male fairies were working busily—with silent
strokes they seemed to hammer the air. Then a fairy entered,
who was more beautiful than all the rest; he could not look
FAIRYTOWN. I5f

away from her, for in looking at her he felt the greatest joy
that he had ever known. The marks of thought were on her
brow and cheeks, and traces of effort were on all her limbs,
as though fairyland itself wearied her, and she were striving
after something even better than its simple perfect joys.

She kissed the places where the men had seemed to
hammer air, and there appeared figures shrouded in coverings
that altogether concealed them. Then she spoke, and her
voice—who can describe a voice? Every feeling in him re-
sponded and trembled when she spoke.

“Come here, poor pretty child,” she said, and made a sign
to one of the shrouded creatures; “I give you to this
stranger. I love you all, and yet to men I give you. Here
you are shrouded, but in human countries you are invisible
Ideas. Here you are perfect, but their foolish unseeing eyes
mistake and see sorrow where there is only joy, evil where
only good. And, seeing falsely, they sin.”

Moved by an irresistible sudden impulse he stooped and
kissed the Idea; he /e/¢ its warm beauty, no longer did he only
see and know it. He took it in his arms, as a father takes
his child.

Quicker than the magic carpet transported the three princes
to their father’s palace he found himself again on the hill
from which the fairies had carried him. But his Idea was not
to be seen, only the memory of it was in his brain.

He travelled home—to where the newspaper was daily
given him, damp from the press; and during more than half
of every day he read its pages.

By one sign you might know that he had been to Fairy-
town and had obtained one Idea. When the millionaires of
thought speak, he does not laugh at them or hate them as do
the men with no ideas.


THE DELIVERANCE.

“As soon as it is night the mistress of the house lights the
lamps, spreads the table-cloth over the table, lays on it three
of the flat cakes of unleavened bread, covers them with a
napkin, and places on this raised space six little plates con-
taining the following symbolical food: an egg, lettuce, horse-
radish, a lamb-bone, and a brown mixture of raisins, cinnamon,
and nuts. The master of the house seats himself at this table
with all his relations and friends, and reads to them out of a
book called Zhe Hagoda, the contents of which are a mixture
of traditions, stories of the wonders in Egypt, curious tales,
disputes, prayers, and praises. A plentiful supper is inserted
in the middle of this celebration ; and during the recital itself
each person eats at certain times a little of the symbolical
dishes as well as a piece of unleavened bread, and drinks four
glasses of wine. Sadly joyous, seriously playful, and fabu-
jously mysterious is the character of this evening celebration,
and the traditional singing tone in which Zhe Hagoda is read
by the master of the house, and sometimes repeated by the
listeners in chorus, sounds so terribly fervid, so maternally
THE DELIVERANCE. 153

soothing and yet so hurriedly rousing, that even those Jews.
that have fallen away from the faith of their fathers and gone
after strange joys and honours are shaken in their innermost
hearts, when the well-known ancient- sounds of the Passover
chance to reach their ears.”

I felt the truth and the beauty of these words of Heine’s
as I read them on the evening on which the last Passover
commenced. Although I eat pig, and smoke on the Sabbath,
and do not fast on the day of Atonement, although I do not
think that the Bible is God’s word and my guidance, or indeed
that any rules can tell us our duty—yet Israel is my people,
and I feel that God has never forsaken us: In every age men
have arisen to destroy us (for in our own time Pharaoh and
Haman live in Russia), but in spite of them Israel is alive and
will live to dwell in peace, ruled by perfect justice and teach-
ing by her example all the nations of the earth. But I am
sorry for the prophets who will have in the future to move
Isracl; as I am sorry for Moses, who said, when God first
sent him to speak to His peopte, “I cannot show them signs
and wonders and eloquence that will move them,” and always,
when he was speaking to them of the way through the
wilderness of difficulty and error into the Land of Perfection,
their stomachs remembered the flesh-pots of ignoble Egypt.

Yet despite this materialism the Jews are a proof of the
power of poetry, for they are preserved as a nation by ideas
and feelings.

And I believe this idea true, that it is not in vain that we
have followed the cloud of conviction and the fire of passion
through the wilderness of exile, for we are held apart to
bring, in reality, every nation to a life of peace and happiness,
where the bondage of evil and erroneous desires and afflictions
154 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

will cease, even as the afflictions of Egypt ceased when the
Lord stretched out His hand.

But, I continued to say in my thoughts, I am a stranger
amongst my own people; this is the evening on which the
Lord smote all the first-born of Egypt and brought out His
people Israel from amongst them to everlasting freedom; but
there is no one with whom I can rejoice and talk of the
deliverance.

Whilst I thought of these things I put on my hat and
went into the streets; the noise of horses and wheels did
not disturb me, sometimes I hummed to myself fragments of
synagogal tunes, and I thought to myself, when will your
deliverance come from the whip and from the heavy burdens,
enslaved race of horses? Often your lives are made bitter
with work, which each day ends only when every step is a
fresh pain, and the whip on side and stomach can hardly give
you strength to hasten.

Meantime I had passed into a quiet street of ugly and
uniform houses ; a light came from an open window, I heard
a voice intoning, and the words were Hebrew.

All Israel, I thought, are responsible one for another (per-
haps in some future day, when men and nations are equal in
one another’s eyes, we shali say all sex are responsible for
one another), therefore I rang the bell of the heuse.

The Christian maid, seeing my Jewish face, thought that I
had been invited to the celebration, and showed me into the
room in which the family were sitting.

“This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in
Egypt, let all who are hungry enter and eat; let all who are
in need enter and rejoice with us. This year we are here,
but next year in the land of Israel; this year. we are slaves,
but next year sons of freedom.”
THE DELIVERANCE. 155

These were the first words I heard.

“Tam a Jew, but a stranger amongst Jews; my _ heart
was rejoicing because of the deliverance from Egypt and—but
I] will go, it was very impertinent.”

“T am glad to see you, you are almost as welcome as the
prophet Elijah would be,” said the host as he looked with-a
smile at the chair and the wine that were ready for the pro-
phet—for he will come at Passover-time.

When I was seated the youngest child there present asked
the customary questions concerning the meaning of the festival,
beginning —

“Why is this night distinguished from all other nights?
On all other nights we eat leavened and unleavened, whilst on
this night all is leavened. . . .” And the father answered,
beginning with the words—

“Because we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the
Lord our God brought us from there with a mighty hand and

th

an outstretched arm.

Much of the ritual seems dry and prosaic to the stranger
in the synagogue, and he is surprised that the most prosaic
matter is sung; as the tune has feeling where the words are
formal, so have love and reverence wrapped all the prose in
poetry. And the listener can dream of many things, whilst the
reader intones his words; just as I, reading to myself from
the book before me, had time to dream whilst the service pro-
ceeded aloud. And I said in my thoughts that all who are
now in poverty are still not free; often they do work, like
that making of magnificent tombs for dead kings, which Israel
may have done in Egypt—work that gives joy to no one.

But if we attempt to deliver them, there are many who
ask, “What do you mean by this service?” just as the wicked
son asks in The Hagoda.
156 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“What does the wicked son ask? He says, what do you
mean by your service? Your service and not “zs, and he
shuts himself out of the congregation of Israel; and you shall
set his teeth on edge, and answer: This is done because of
what the Lord did for me when I came forth from Egypt.
For me and not for him; had he been there, he would not
have been redeemed.”

But we need not be afraid because of- wicked men; the
bitterness of four hundred years in Egypt is now less to
Israel than the bitterness of the little piece of horseradish
which is eaten in remembrance of it.

When the end of the first part of the service came, my
host introduced himself to me. He talked of the future
deliverance, when Israel will return to the land promised to
her. “If,” he said, “the Jewish State were now established,
it would, I fear, be fearfully Conservative in my eyes. What
would be the advantage of living in Palestine if the govern-
ment endeavoured to resemble that of Western Europe as
much as possible ?”

“But the national laws are those of Moses, as interpreted
by the rabbinical authorities, are they not?” I asked.

“In that case, the land would be divided equally among
the people, and the equality would return periodically. Sim-
plicity of life would then be a necessity; for, if the chief
means of life are equally divided, great luxury is impossible.
And as for those slaves who could not leave the Stock
Exchanges of Europe, which they have so long served, take
hammer and nails and fasten their ears to the doors of their
places of business, as Moses commands; then their attention
will be firmly fastened to their work; keep them from the
land of Israel, where usury is forbidden. Most money-lenders
THE DELIVERANCE. 157

of our day lend to companies and call themselves inves-
tors.” ;

I also remember that he said that it might be hoped that
Israel (when gathered together) would give an example of a
nation combined by fellow feeling, yet without any hate or
scorn of other nations.

During this conversation, we had caten supper.

After the end of supper the second part of the service
began; this is less playful than the first part. Israel rejoices
on account of the deliverance from baser forms of slavery, but
prays for further deliverance.

For “I shall not die yet, but live,” says Israel.

“The Lord hath chastised me, but He has not given me
unto death.

“Open the gates of righteousness for me, I will go through
them, and I will praise the Lord.”

And Israel sees in the future the gates of righteousness
opened ; they alone can lead to the land of happiness. For
in that land all work is beautiful, and all life praises the
Lord.

“JT will praise thee,’ continues Israel, speaking out of
the future, “Thou hast answered me and art become my
salvation.

“The stone which the builders rejected is become the
head stone of the corner.”

I, Israel, who was not thought fit for any clean work,—it -
is I who have designed the Perfect State.

But suddenly looking round, Israel sees that the future is
not yet come; the joyous tune is changed to sorrow.

“We beseech thee, O Lord, save us now; we beseech thee,
O Lord, send us prosperity.”
158 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

It is no selfish groaning to the Lord because of one man’s
troubles, but a prayer for Israel, and through Israel, for all
men, as it is said farther on in 7he Hagoda:

“Be merciful, O Lord our God, to Israel thy people, and
to Jerusalem thy city, and to Zion, the place of thy glory,
and to thy altar, and to thy temple; rebuild Jerusalem, the
holy city—quickly, in our days.”

When my. host had read these words, he paused and then
said in English:

“Let us pray no more; let us speak. clearly, and our words
will be accomplished. Thirty of us are here; let each speak
to friends who will listen to him. We are not rich, but we
could take with us a few of the unhappy wanderers who have
been driven from Russia, and have no home, no country,
perhaps no means of living.

“ Casting all evil out of our lives, let us live only for the
sake of the happiness of our little community; all that helped,
that we would do, and nothing else.

“Towards Palestine we will go; we will buy land there
and cultivate it.”


A DAY DREAM.

Ir was Sunday. James Arnold had walked into the country
from London.

He said in his thoughts as he returned homewards:

In the streets of London there is no day of rest; each
day the weary horses pull the heavy omnibuses, and each day
the houses look down on a hurrying multitude who have no
pleasant resting-places. There is no day of delight and inter-
mission from every sign of sorrow and of toil.

Where, then, may you be found, Princess Sabbath? Your
presence (it is said) changes a dog into a man; your words
make us ready for working days that are sinless, peaceable,
and industrious in pleasureable works. How such days could
be we need to know.

I am nearer to the Princess here than I should be in Lon-
don. The only sounds are the songs of birds from the leafy lace-
work of light and dark, and the whir of the bicycles that
leave a smoking track of dust on the winding hedged-in road.

With minds intent on the condition and levels of the road
and the distances of their journey, and often with aching
knees and feet that dislike each down-stroke of the pedal, the
cyclists pass far away from the city’s houses of labour.

They forget the houses of weariness to which they are
chained during the week-days, where they anxiously watch the
slow steps of Time, and wearily follow the guidance of Drudgery.
160 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

The hedges end; London begins.

A few trees stand near most of the houses in this sub-
urban district; to me (coming from the country) they seemed
soiled by dirt, and their green deadened by the atmosphere
through which I see them.

Soon the signs of the corpse of murdered Nature become
fewer ; they are hidden. by houses, which are ugly and coloured
with uninteresting dirt, and by the multitude of wheels and
people, who are all occupied with themselves.

Therefore the people do not see what I see.

I see in the midst of the traffic a procession moving
calmly, and I hear such joyous music that I should see
imaginary rejoicers were there no real skirts swaying in a
unison of joyous motions. I rejoice as I see them.

Then come the wandering ghosts of trees, the ghosts of
nymphs and nixies, then the ghosts of insects and birds, of
wild flowers and weeds.

They speak, saying :

“Here we lived and were murdered; we go to meet the
Princess Sabbath, and she will avenge us. For with her our
simple life returns and conquers.”

Science will be conquered, that desired to see in the
future the earth without any inedible flowers on it. For the
forces of Nature are limited, Science said, and should not be
allowed to waste themselves. And wealth shall in the future
be enormous, Science said, owing to the skill of machines ;
and men shall be skilled machines that will work without
morbid irregularities (which decrease their efficiency), and with-
out spasmodic attempts at freedom.

But the Princess Sabbath will conquer Science; joy and
nature shall return.


THE MAD MASQUERADERS.
THE music expressed the terror and_ self-dissatisfaction of
repentance; all the rituals of: the earth had contributed
melodies to it.

The dancers danced the wildest dances, expressing complete
oblivion of all’ care.

The Prince fixed a smile on his face as he looked at the
glittering scene, but inwardly he felt the mysterious fear and
sorrow of the music.

London did not know whether the Prince was mad or not;
but it knew that he and his entertainments were amusing, and
the whole of his: house was crowded with costumes of every
time and place, with masks and _ faces.

“Can you pretend to be in love with me?” said Lady

Catherine, turning to the Prince. “The wailing of the music
disturbs my nerves, despite the joy of your dancers. But pre-
tend neither mockingly nor too gravely, so that I am able to
answer you.”

“You will find me a silent lover this evening, I fear; but

M
162 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

give me a service to perform for you, and I hope to prove
myself a useful one.”

“Would it be too much if .I requested you to fetch my
fan; I left it downstairs.”

“And were it a dangerous, fearful labour, I should enjoy
doing it for you.”

“Such words deserve reward, Take this rose; it has been
climbing over my dress to kiss me.”

The Prince took the rose.

He put on his mask as he went downstairs, for everybody
in the lower rooms was masked.

A reciter was describing the death of a comedian on the
stage from heart disease; he told how the comedian had just
laughed a splendid laugh of counterfeited’ merriment, when, with
a faint cry, he fell—and, after, the sound of his fall, there was
silence in the theatre. i,

“T thank heaven, you have returned with the fan,” said
Lady Catherine. “I have been groaning in sympathy with the
music.

“Do you see those melancholy eyes looking out .of a laugh-
ing mask, and near them that barbarously healthy, red chin
and forehead and hard eyes covered by a pale, weary, noble
pasteboard face ?”

The Prince took the mask from his face.

“And do you not see beside you the soul’s passionate love
looking out from the politely smiling flesh-mask ?”

“T have no more roses to give away; but you may dance
with me in some other room where the music is more cheerful
than it is here.”

They went to where the music was more cheerful; the
Prince seemed to become more sericus, ;
THE MAD MASQUERADERS. 163

He was serious and he loved her; but she was not serious
and did not love him, and took all his love-words for play.

He unmasked his heart to her; but she took all his words
for play.

When they returned to the room where the music and the
dancing contradicted each other, the music was loud and exult-
ing, but terrible figures danced to it. Penitents scourged them-
selves till they bled; men cast themselves on to the ground,
covering their heads to shut out the light that could never
again reveal the beloved to them; madmen cut themselves
with knives in a bounding dance, seeking any activity (how-
ever destructive) now that the great purpose of their life was
gone; some flourished their arms in frenzied, meaningless ges-
tures, and some distorted their strong faces with irrepressible
weeping ; some struggled with death for the last breath of life,
and some with the fixed face of despair stood calmly in the
midst of the wildness.

“My God!” exclaimed Lady Catherine, irresistibly moved by
the sudden terror of the sight.

The Prince sobbed—a single, half-suppressed sob.

“What is the matter?” asked Lady Catherine.

“T am serious—I love you beyond all words of love; you
thought I was only playing, but I unmasked my heart to:

”

you.
“1 did not know; I am sorry, but I can never

“Put on your mask, it will cover your face.”
The music exulted; the dancers swayed to and fro, as
though moved by agony.



ae

M


A VERY SIMPLE ADVENTURE.

THERE is little to tell.

There was only one other English boy who boarded at the
Professor’s house, and went every day to the school; he was
handsome, he had curling hair and lively eyes, and was popu-
lar: I was ugly and ridiculous. He used to leave English
newspapers that he had received from home near me, and
when I read them he would ask who had lent them to me;
once he threw my hat into a pail of water when I wanted
to go out; he imitated my manner of speaking and liked to
vex me. ;

Without knowing it, I must have felt very lonely. I
would pray fervently to God before going to bed, but on the
next evening, because He still let me feel wretched, I would
not honour Him with my reverence.

I wish I still had some of the letters I wrote home. They
were my chief pleasure; on Saturday night in bed I thought
A VERY SIMPLE ADVENTURE. 165

of new ways to begin and end them; on Sunday morn-
ing I wrote them. They were chiefly about the walks that
I took on Saturday and Sunday afternoons: for on all the
other days I only went to and from school—a ten minutes’
distance; but on these afternoons if it did not rain the Frau
Professor let me walk over the hills covered with forests.
On most of the summits there were little towers from the
top of which you could. look over the trees upon the circle
of hills; the winding river reflected the varying heights
around it. Sometimes there was a.clearing in the forest
where regular rows of trees as small as weeds formed a “tree-
School,’—for that is literally how the Germans call a nursery
garden,—or where there was a village, usually one full of
geese, with a stream flowing down its main street, or simply a
restaurant surrounded by tables and beer-drinkers.

I think most of the walks began and ended at the castle
which stood on one side. of the river above the roofs of the
little town. The town itself filled the entrance to the valley
and the beginning of the wide hedgeless plain beyond.

How pretty the castle looked when it was illuminated.
Above were faint twinkling stars, below flaring torches and
crowds and faint lights fastened to the sides of the court-yard
so that they revealed flickering statues between the windows.
Over the entrance to the court-yard two stone knights held a
shield, and beyond the drawbridge the faint glow-worms
wandered in the forest. On the other side of the quadrangle a
gate led to the terrace which looked down on the meandering
street-lamps, the serpentine reflections in the river, and the
dark hills.

How dull it was in the evenings, or in the time between
morning school and mid-day meal. Then it was, I .think, that
166 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

I first knew dullness. At school the master walked up and
down. between the benches, and when I ceased to be a “guest,”
I wished someone from home could have seen me stand up and
answer his questions in German.

In the evening the Frau Professor slept on. the sofa; (a
fat vast head, resting on three waves of fat); “Go, child, leave
me in peace,” she murmured, when one of her children
troubled her with pettish complaints.. The clock ticked, the
table creaked as the Frau Professor leaned her elbow on it,
the children quarrelled, I sat still on one of the chairs and
finished my lessons and looked at the bookshelf,—the only
piece of furniture in the room that I had not before men-
tioned. .I had read all the books I cared for that were on it.
When I go home, I thought, I will enjoy myself.

The Herr Professor sat alone upstairs, sternly intent on
his writings about ancient Egypt.

I worked hard and grew irritable. As for my thoughts of
the future, I expected to go home and enjoy myself, and be-
come a great man. I should be an architect, and build a
marvellous temple; or an actor, and be applauded and whirl
the minds of my audience from emotion to emotion; or per-
haps a great landscape painter, or the author of a new world
of romance.

After two years I returned home. My father told me that
he had found employment for me in my uncle’s warehouse.
“You can go there in a few days. It is likely to become a
good business, and, owing to certain family arrangements, we
can make you a partner in it.”

The days became very long to me. In the morning I
hurried to the underground railway station through ugly streets
of houses, each of them covered with stucco and like to its
A VERY SIMPLE: ADVENTURE. 167

neighbour. I went past the poulterer’s shop where birds hung
with hooks through their necks, and past a warm smell of
baking, and past flayed carcases and red flesh. The train was
crowded with men, most of them reading newspapers.

‘I hated the. little counting-house with its furniture of
yellow wood. I found that I might forget most of what I
knew and cease to think. My work was that of an office
boy,—I wrote labels and entered the letters that were received
and posted, and checked accounts. I never saw the “hands”
for I was always shut in the little office. I was surprised that
others could so calmly work long after I had left, and be so
little irritated by mechanical routine.

I should have liked to talk to the waitress when I went
to a restaurant for lunch; but I was nervous and ready to
blush, and she was hurried by the multitude of customers,
many of whom loudly joked with her.

It was dinner-time when I:again reached home, after read-
ing the evening newspaper on my way by the light of the
lamp in the railway carriage, as it rumbled through the black
underground tunnels.

My family talked cheerfully of politics and police-court
news, and marriages and betrothals, and bankruptcies, and of
how much money different people possessed. After dinner we
read the newspaper aloud to one another and talked and
yawned and played comic songs on the piano or fragments
of dance music.. At about ten o’clock I went to bed.

My liver became lazy. My life was only half-witted; I
-was always half asleep.

I soon refused entirely to go to dances and dinners and
other social entertainments open to me. I did not feel
friendly with the world; I wanted to find out how I ought
168 _ LONDON FAIRY TALES.

to live, and therefore would not be distracted when I could
avoid it; women frightened me a little; and, besides, I thought
my family. only liked me to be well in health and to look
well dressed,—they did not care whether my mind was con-
tented or not,—and therefore I would not accompany my
sisters and go where they wished me to go.

One evening, and nct long after dinner, I felt exceedingly
hungry. It was, of course, no meal-time; but I wanted some-
thing warm and interesting. The suburban houses and shops
were dark, no sound of life came from them; the public-houses
at a few street corners were open, all other eating-places were
miles away.

“Can. you tell me which is the way to Shakespeare Street?”
said a tall, bearded man, who came up to me. “I will show
you,” I said.

“T don’t know London well,—wish I had never seen it ; these
streets. are enough to make one die with weariness,—the gas-
lamps burn so steadily, everyone standing the same distance
from his neighbour. I tell you, when I meet a man and a maid,
—he perhaps with an arm round her waist, she smiling and
looking at his solemn face that admires and seeks fresh beauty ;
and at one time and another no doubt a little more does
become visible to his eyes, and yet how easily he forgets
how hard it is to find or to seek amongst the wearisome
dull burdens of ugly life: when I see them, I could kneel
and worship ; I could say, ‘Blessed be God, who causes the
rose to blossom in waste places and in the streets—in these
ugly lifeless streets —love. It’s number fifteen that I want.
Will you come in? Or are. you in a hurry?”

“Well, I really only came out because I was hungry.”

“Come in and eat.”
A VERY SIMPLE ADVENTURE. 169

“ Allow me to introduce you,” (he had taken me by the arm.
and led me in), “my friend—I do not know his name, only
just met him—Mr. Welsford.”

All round the room men and women were drawing; some-
before easels, some in sketch-books. The walls were covered
with paintings and sketches and illustrations cut out of books
or papers. On a low platform stood the model—a girl wearing
a large hat with a veil.

“It’s time for a rest,” said Mr. Welsford.

“We're trying modern costume—the things people work in,.
‘not what’s in shop-windows and on fashion-plates.”

“At present my real work is chiefly the nude in pen and
ink,” said the man whom I had guided. “But I don’t need to
sell,” he continued turning to me. “I have just come from the-
Pacific ; I came because I felt that I was needed here. When I
last felt discouraged and tired of my work, I bought a kingdom.
there—a little island. I saw that I was incapable ; I saw that
beauty cannot be represented: if you depict shadows, you lose
colour ; if you show the swing of the big lines, you cannot show
the fine detail and the infinite modelling ; and I commanded my
subjects to wear -no clothes, so that I saw beauty constantly
and I studied form under all natural conditions of light. I
also had interesting men and women in my house; and, in.
order that I should not be distracted, I forbade them to speak
to me,—l studied, I did not draw a line. But you are hungry,
I was forgetting that.”

“Then it would be best for him to come to my room,”’
said a thin-faced man. :

We passed through some passages.

The. room was full of tools and metal-work and_half-.

finished furniture.
170 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Tt seems so peaceful here,” I said,

They smiled. The floor was covered with shavings; the
room was very untidy.

“Ts it more peaceful than life usually is with you?” they
asked.

I was now: drinking coffee and eating bread.

-I told them about my life; I told them I wished to feel
discontented with it.

“But,” I said, “I am no genius.”

“This sudden hunger is like genius. Genius does not ‘eat
regularly and every day the same amount,” said the king of an
island. “You need to connect yourself to human lives. Ask
your uncle whether he thinks you will be able to fulfil a useful
place there—to do work that the business needs; ask him to
let you see everything there—let you go into the work-rooms
and pay the hands and try all the kinds of work that there are.
Come here every evening: if you cannot write, you .may be
better able to think here; if you cannot draw, you can adinire.
I tell. you no face or figure is ugly: if the shade is rightly
placed, all is beautiful ; when the nose is bright, and a wave of
darkness falls on each cheek, who knows whether the outlines
of the face are swollen? If we attend when the light is right,
earth can show all the beauties that imagination can create.
Every day—well, not quite every day in London—the light of
the sun appears, and patterns of shadows move over everything,
tor His mercy endureth for ever.”

II.
I have heard that Bohemia is where people talk too much.
I refer, of course, to the Bohemia that has no frontiers. But I
believe that a Bohemian is one who hastens to assume that
A VERY SIMPLE ADVENTURE. 171

everyone—whatever be his appearance, dress, or pronunciation
—is his equal, and has human feelings; but he finds ¢/e# most
like himself, who desire nobly and who love and can feel ex-
cited when nothing is being paid for. Was it aspiration and
goodwill that brought many to. the house of which I have
‘been speaking ?

The vivacious man from the Pacific almost established a
new monastic order there. He found a man who was a clerk,
and who had a great love of carpentering; he arranged that
we should lend money to this man while he became a cabinet-
‘maker, and so forsook a drudgery that he disliked and learnt
‘to become a craftsman, and to rejoice because of the forms
that grew beneath his tools. A bank-clerk who had been in
the habit of going into the country by train on Sundays and
painting landscapes, we encouraged and helped to find work in
the country; with greater opportunities his painting improved
and he became able to live by the art that he loved.

To many others, as to me, the house gave greater freedom
of development. It gave me freer conversation with women
and men; it showed me new pleasures,—the pleasure of a fine
sunny day when colours are bright.

It is noteworthy that few of us who went there married.
We had already something to live for,—we were afraid of
-being hindered in our best endeavours. We had already much
for which people marry. For with us was love. Where love
is, there is some happiness.
{



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THE LAND OF LAZINESS.

I.
I DID not pay too much for the labour that I employed.

With the help of a few lies about the prices for which other
firms would supply them, I did not pay too much to those
from whom I bought materials.

I had influence by means of which I could discover the
prices tendered by some of my competitors. Hence I obtained
profitable contracts.

But each morning I rose unwillingiy to the toils and evils
of the day.

Tle

I was weary.

The few half-thoughts I had were occupied with my pains
and my weariness. All that once had pleased me was now
without interest for me. All emotions were unknown to me
except pain and disgust.
THE LAND OF LAZINESS. 173

I cheated men in order to earn ease from pain and
weariness.

“Pain and weariness are pleasant,” said a friend who desired
to comfort me; “they purge us ready for heaven.”

But for what purpose shall I live when in heaven? ‘A life
of perfect pleasure in heaven (with all my desires satisfied)
might still be purposeless.

But since the earth will always threaten to revert, and
human beings will always be tempted to seek new and evil
inventions, we should still have to live and labour with the
purpose of maintaining perfection, if it were ever ‘established
on earth.

And it is not entirely our faults that keep us away from
such a land of happiness. Time, place, character, and fate are
chiefy unavoidable gifts. All seek that which seems best to
them; so that when money seems better to me than peace
of mind and better than love, and when punishment seems
uncertain or impossible, I steal.

Conscience is almost identical with prejudice.

IIT.

My mind was disordered, my body was ill.

Always to wander and never to return to any place; always
to be surrounded by lovers and laughter and by people who
have never known causeless paralysing melancholy; to be
always strong and desirous of wandering—this would be happi-
ness.

But I returned to where I had once been happy.

I found everywhere pain and weariness. I pitied and was
pitied.
174 LONDON FAIRY TALES, ~

The sea seemed to moan with pity as it cut openings in
the cliffs; it left brown wrinkled wounds on them and ampu-
tated, dark, jagged masses; above the precipices, beyond reach
of the sea, man had enslaved the earth. His fields were
clothed with a covering of brownish grass and enclosed by
walls; but over the sad green of the summits of the hills
clouds of palest purple and white hung under a glad sky of
delicate blue. ‘

IV.

All day I had walked along the cliffs. I had descended
into green valleys, and climbed up again through ferns and
weeds and brambles, to fresh views of bays and of dark cliffs ;
I had. passed along the edge of precipices above roaring con-
flicting waves; I had been shut in by ‘projecting slaty rocks
that hid all the coast I had seen and all towards which I was
coming; I had hastened up slippery, grassy hills to see what
future lay beyond them under the sky; and at length I passed
on a narrow neck of land and came to a sea-girt hill; and as
I climbed up its rocky sides I saw on it battlements, cracked,
and dotted with tufts of grass and weed like the unhewn
rocks beside them.

A girl walked up the rock to a gate in the battlemented
wall and stood there beneath its giant shadow. Her feet had
moved so lightly from the earth that it was pleasant to see
her walk. Her eyes were dark bluc-grey and glittered merrily.
When she smiled a pretty line came in her pink cheeks. Her
hair was dark yet streaked with light; her mouth was firm-set
yet gentle.

Her rough dark skirts were carelessly shaped and cunningly
tied up to keep them from the wet earth.
THE LAND OF LAZINESS. 175

Her voice ‘made the words she spoke seem a more beautiful
language than English. Her words I cannot clearly remember.

“Come into the Land of Laziness,’ I think she said.
“Passion and laughter are not heard here; we forget the
questions that the world discusses. Trouble and pain come to
us, but we do not seek them. Death visits us, and we cast
the dead into the sea in silence and without a priest.

“We work only enough to keep ourselves alive: Sometimes
we plant and sometimes pluck; we gather in a little corn, we
grind it with stones; we bake, we milk our cows, we feed our
poultry, we cut the throats of our sheep, we fetch ourselves
water, we mould pottery, we clothe ourselves, we build with
stones and rocks. Our cottages are bare—uncarpeted, without
clocks, or chairs or tables, shelves or china vessels. Yet these
walls resist the storms, and through their narrow windows last
night we saw the red line of sunset between the foam-flecked
darkness of the sea and the darkness of the cloud-covered sky.

“We watch the calm blue sea grow white as it nears the
rocky coast, or the stormy sea rise and hide the misty cliffs.

“Tn the fields under the changing beauties of the sky, men
work all day; in the distant village hidden from the world by
the folds of the hills, men work all day; in the unceasing
noise of the city’s streets and houses, all day men work ; but
in this land we sometimes starve (when the year is bad), but
never work for long.”

I followed her through the door into the Land of Laziness.

Vv.

The day was stormy. I seemed to hear a cry for help
among the sounds of the wind and waves.
176 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

I opened the door in the battlements that enclosed our
Jand. If I had not grasped the wall, a sudden increase of the
‘wind would have blown me down into the foam of the sea.
Those who stood before me were forced to stagger backwards
into the mist that hid the world behind them, or to seize hold
-of the rocks for support.

“May we enter here and rest,” said one of them. “We
-are weary; in the world there is much misery.”

I led them into our land.

VI.

Among those who came on that day to rest in our land
‘was a man who was old in years but young in courage, bitter
-of speech but benevolent of heart.

And he constantly rebuked my life.

He said that it was as self-indulgent as that of a drunkard.

“You get food for yourself,” he said, “and watch sea and
sky and cliffs change from gloom to brightness; and this is
all that you do for your fellows.”

He said that an inactive man is like stagnant water.

I told him that if it comes to pass that a ship is wrecked
near our rocks, we try to help the men who are aboard; but
we ourselves do not desire to go into the world’s storms.

We give happiness to ourselves but harm to no one.

Like a half-dry waterfall in a gale, is a man blown about
(without a course) by the world’s forces.

And what are we and what is our life that we should use
ourselves so carefully ?

For the majority of our actions are always vanity.


THE UNBUILT TOWER,

le

WHEN we look at a palace or cathedral that has been built
with human hands, we feel that not all the sweat of brow and
brain that has been bestowed on it is of sweet savour to us—
for not all of it was given with eagerness and understanding.

Time and folly, destruction and enlargement, decay and
restoration, whitewash and dirt—all these destroy its original
beauty.

But my palace had been built by fairies without effort and
not with heavy, fading, human materials.

When the English colonised the island (under my governor-
ship) the fairies fled.

But it was a great misfortune that they had not quite
finished the palace before we came. One tower was unfinished,
and no human hands could finish it fitly. I was unable either

N
178 LONDON FAIRY TALES,

to leave it unfinished or to build it in the one unalterable
form that would have made the palace perfect.

I ceased (after years of effort) to feel alternately in heaven
or hell as I alternately built a tower which seemed to me so
good that the angels should call heaven and earth to look
at it, and then tore down the same tower because it seemed
so bad that concerning it rude and filthy language would be
allowable.

I ceased to build and merely designed towers on paper.
I worked as calmly as a clerk at his ledger, and with a similar
sense of the endlessness of the work; each day new business
gave him fresh figures to add to what had been a completed
record, and each day a new destruction of my last design
renewed my task.

At length (having obtained leave of absence) I returned to
England for a holiday.

II.

The windows of the railway carriage that was taking us to
London were so wet that we could a seen nothing through
them even had it been day.

The two men who had been whispering indecent stories to
each other had fallen asleep.

But the girl who sat opposite to me remained awake and
nervous ; sometimes she closed her tired eyes.

She was travelling alone towards an unknown and _ fearful
future; the way was cold and dark; she thought that perhaps
her unknown companions were robbers.

“Shall I ever,” she thought, “have a lover to sympathise with
me and to’earn a more secure life for me?”
THE UNBUILT TOWER. 179

PE

It was night when I walked into the streets of London.

I saw again the two yellow lines of street lamps between
two shadowy walls of innumerable houses that ended with a
misty darkness like a steam rising from the perspiration of the
manifoldly active town now that it began to be still; and |
saw the dark carriages move over the golden reflections of the
lights (which lay on the muddy roads and pavements), as dark
clouds float over the bright white and blue beneath them ; and
I saw the multitude of people on the pavement who no longer
seemed like clerks and shop-assistants and such prosaic, clearly
drawn creatures, for they were made of shadows ard of half-
tones, and were clad in misty garments.

I felt as though I had never been away from London.

It seemed a lifetime since [I had picked a weed and ad-
mired the curling beauty of the leaves; or since I had noticed
a curved bramble that rose against the sky from an. intricacy
of varied leaves and stems.

For the walls and crowds of London imprisoned me, and
Nature’s beauty—(the earth at first sight of which the sons of
God shouted for joy)—was far from me.

My soul grew old and feelingless, and I regretted that even
my old sorrows had departed from me. For “this entire serious-
ness of all things, this gigantic uniformity, this machine-like
restlessness, this fretfulness of joy itself, this exaggerated London,
crushes the imagination and destroys the heart.”

And it was a bitterness to me that my sorrows were changed
so soon and without cause to laughter. I feared that I might
walk joyfully by graves that I had once sprinkled with my tears.

I forgot the unbuilt tower.

N

bv
180 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

IV.

I saw again the dull suburb whose houses have each the
same numbcr of similar windows set in the same places, so
that the two sides of the street each look like one long barrack.

Although it grew late, a few servants still came up from
their underground rooms to taste the open air after their day
of indoor work; but otherwise the pavements were deserted.

“Dance with me,” said a lady whom I passed in such a
deserted street, and without waiting for my reply she took my
hand and we began to dance.

Her features seemed beautiful Braden: set in a glimmering
oval; her clothes were like dark clouds made bright here and
there by the hidden moon.

She danced in silence; but, just as the world by night often
suggests a beauty that it does not possess by day, so do the
people whom we pass in silence on the journey of life, whom
we do not know and with whom we cannot linger, often charm
us more than those with whom we walk long distances.

It is more pleasant to dance to silence than to music, for
if there be no music the feet are free to speak the varying
emotions of the moment.

At last she stood ‘still and said, “I am a fairy, and not
without power to thank you for your dancing. May I send
the unbuilt tower to be placed on your palace?”
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THE MISER..
I,

THE old man said in his thoughts :

“The gates of Fairyland are closed to me; I am too old
and too heavy with worldly cares to ride the Pegasus that
used to carry me through them.

“When I was younger my soul would be one day afflicted,
but next day it would skip like a ram; but now I am deeply
wounded with cares, and a moment of pleasure does not heal
me.

“As for the son whom I hoped to see succeed where I had
failed and gain what I had missed, he said he hated my life
and not a day longer would he live with me and spend my
gold.

“As for the gods whom 1 once worshipped, they are all
dead or so’ far away that they are powerless. I devote my
life to the collecting of gold, spending nothing since I can buy
no happiness.

“Having money, a potential power and pleasure seem to be
mine in my misery and confinement and semi-death and soli-
182 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

tude ; [ am too weary of men and of the poisonous human
mind to read or to look at pictures. I read my pass-book
and my list of investments, and think of my increasing power,
and of my slaves who do not know that I am their master,
and who yet earn money for me while I sleep, and put money
in my purse by their long labour and little wages; and when
I am weary of these things I argue with an imaginary antago-
nist.

“T and the imaginary antagonist have often constructed
together what he calls the Perfect State, where only those
labours are performed that make mind and body healthy and
beautiful; for neither of us is satisfied with that religious con-
tent which says:

“« Suffering, sin, and ugliness are parts of God’s good and
beautiful design ; wherever He has placed you, and whatever
' He has given you to do (by the hand of our social system),
you are in His Temple of Beauty, and your work is adorn-
ing it?

“When I was first stopped by hunger on my pilgrimage
towards the Temple of Beauty, I did not think that I had
already reached it whilst earning a living in the packing-room
of a warehouse.

“*In the Perfect City, my imaginary opponent says, ‘is
happiness for all who now labour in vain and have no
pleasant resting-places, no wooded walks. Each helps to keep
the city perfect, and each receives that which he needs in order
to become perfect.’ :

“Meantime what prospect does life now offer to other eyes ?

“Probably the succession of slight physical sensations makes
life enjoyable to many, and compensates for the accustomed
vanity and vexation of their labour. They suppose that all

¢
THE MISER. 183

their industry is virtuous, forgetting that the Devil is indus-
trious and that industrious hands do his work.

“Many disembark on the noisy shore from the sleep’ that
has taken them far from the town, without hope of seeing any-
thing worthy of remembrance; they are active, and yet the
well-known, oft-trodden ways of the day are as shapeless and
dark to them as dreamless sleep.”

Il.

It was now dusk in the miser’s room.

Outside his window a curtain of smoke from the chimneys
hid the sky; a soiled red light showed where the sun had
set.

There entered into the dark room a sad, pale, and weary
woman, dressed partly in rags and partly in splendour.

“T journey through the world, always desiring and striving,
never attaining.

“Hardly do I ever begin to rejoice, before the resting-place
of my beauty is destroyed, and my most joyous days are with-
out hope.

“Sometimes [ pray, and angels bear my prayers to the
Throne of Life; sometimes I industriously daub myself with
mud, and admire my own dirtiness.

“But this is industry ; you are only an idle robber.”

“What am I to do?” said the old man.

“Be active; go out and buy a chess-board and men.”

When they were seated at the board, the room was filled
with dark formlessness ; to his intent mind, all the world dis-
appeared except the game of chess.

The necessary consequences of any possible move, the
184 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

search for the best of these possibilities, for the true path of
thought, formed of consistent, systematic steps, which must
lead to complete triumph over all opponent plans—this was
his world.

Suddenly he became weary of it; he swept the pieces
from the board.

The woman lit a candle.

Her face, that before was undistinguished and sad, was now
beautiful and youthful; as the shadows flickered on it with
the movements of the candle-flame, he searched joyfully for
its form, feeling the joy of appearances which had long
been strange to him. Her clothes, that before had been half
rags, were now sweet records of her form and of her past
actions. :

“Take your cheque-book,” she said, “and come with me
to the Palace of Pleasure. There laughter suppresses the quiet
words of the heart ‘and the complaints of the brain; there
you will seek among the dancing glittering multitude for her
who always hastens away—for her who might lead you at last
to the Temple of Beauty.”

“J fear the expense,” said the miser. And suddenly be-
coming weary of her, he said:

“Pardon my rudeness if I say. that I. am not paid for
listening to you; and where I cannot possibly find any money
I can find neither pleasure nor a just claim to existence.

“Thus, since no one can be made to pay before looking at
the sky, I would destroy its silver islands and its blue seas
with smoke.

“Tf the flowery carpet of the earth is full of unsaleable
weeds, if the ocean and the rivers and lakes are not entirely
cheap carriers and cisterns and bath-rooms, if the forests are
THE MISER. : Hrs
not entirely timber-yards and fire-wood stacks, if the beasts
and the birds cannot all be hung in the larder and the ward-
robe, or placed in situations as in- or out-door servants, if the
forces of Nature cannot all be made the slaves of man—yet
our powers of destruction are increasing so wonderfully that
we may’ expect that the Future will make perfect all that is
weak in the Present.”

With this foolish rudeness he shut out his

last communion
with humanity.




A LOVE STORY.

I.

“ ANOTHER?” said the Puritan with sad disgust.

But, I answered, had I been a woman, my whole life
would have been different. A reader often wishes to be trans-
ported to land where his petty cares and follies are shut out
from him; the lover (so they say
land in his mistress’s eyes.

At any rate the author often does not know where to show
happiness, if not where lovers are.

But they, too, have their troubles.

“Do I love her?” he says to himself. “Is she too rich,
too old, too foreign; after all,do I know her? Why did she
say that? I must try to look at her coolly and see what she
is; is her nose pretty? Is she a lady? What do they say
about her? About me? Do I not hear reproaches? Does



is it true?) finds such a
A LOVE STORY, 187

she love me? Am I tired of her? Will she marry me? Is
her temper good? Is she changed? Why did she do that?
What does she mean? Do I feel irritated when she is with
me? Co I hate her?”

You could write a library with the help of those questions.

“But,” answered the Puritan, “see Misery with pouches
surrounded by wrinkles beneath his eyes, and with triangular
hollows beneath his cheek-bones, struggling to obtain a pre-
carious living; see Industry, even when the eleventh hour of
freedom comes, forcing his weary body to fresh efforts—how do
you help them with your tales of love?”

I am unstable as water (damn that clock, its persistent
ticking annoys me) and too ready to say, If fate does not give
what I want, I shall not care what I do. I cannot confirm
their efforts. Let me begin.

It was Sunday. In the country the grey lines of the
branches of trees filled a space with meandering edges and
stood on a background of silvery mist; despite the mist the
trunks maintained their brownness and the grass its green; but
in the street the little two-storied houses, each with a sunken
basement and a few steps before its front door, and the little
shops, with shuttered windows, were all grey with fog; only
the brightly coloured wares glowed in the window of the sweet-
shop. But suddenly a pale small sun appeared in a sky of
silver and grey, and there were red bricks in houses and green
plants in windows.

James Kent passed her.

Red and rounded were her cheeks; as she smiled they nar-
rowed towards the chin and were shaded with brown shadows ;
her eyes and hair were dark brown.

He did not notice her clothes, but would have supposed
188 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

them not very exquisite. Some people are not very observant
—I mean they observe nothing valuable.

But now, heavenly muse, queen of fairyland, guide my pen
and animate my thoughts, for I must turn to more solemn
scenes and enter places of business. :

Next day James Kent was copying a notice intended to
appear in various papers; thirty-six copies were needed, and it
was written in involved sentences of long words.

Mr. Heaton entered and_ said, ‘‘Good-morning”; it was a
trifle, but politeness from employer to servant is much. He
had one visitor before he went out to lunch, to whom he
genially said, “We are only waiting for a secretary. You see
the prospectus of the Company is ready—we only need to add
that name to the proof. We should wish him to take shares
to the value of 4200; but at any time he could resign his
position on giving proper notice, and we would re-purchase his
interest in the business. What have you bcen doing up to the
present?” He professed to be pleased with the manner, social
position, and business experience of the indeterminate young
man before him. It would be foolish to be angry because he
lied; he could not consider other people when he wanted
money for himself; he had read novels and newspapers and
heard people talk, and had let fragments of great teaching pass
through his mind and leave no trace; self-interest and popular
estimations and chance guided him.

Unlike his partner Mr. Wardsley, Mr. Heaton did not lie
when to tell the truth was better policy. Mr. Wardsley stared
every man in the face and lied distinctly, carefully, and per-
emptorily—but unfortunately he lied too much.

Kent copied the notice for the fifteenth time.

I pause to praise contented industry ; sweet is the death-in-
A LOVE STORY, 189

life of automatic activity, routine for the fingers and will, rest
for the spirit; pleasant is the sleeping industry of them that
stand and wait for purchasers of goods that sell not.

This is an incomplete essay, but the reader may ‘have the
pleasure of industriously considering the matter further,

Where to have lunch? That was the question that Kent
thought of, when he found himself in the stream of traffic; he
entered a shop whose windows displayed framed bills of fare
and pastry. Within, it had an air of the most gloomy dissipa-
tion; round the walls a modelled rococo frame was repeated,
containing looking-glasses and paintings of fruit, flowers, and
game; the walls were coloured with gold and cream-coloured
paint and with dust; the pictures appeared sticky, and the
room was dark, hot, smelly, and lit with gas.

A half-suppressed smile of recognition appeared on the face
of the waitress. It was the girl he had noticed in the street
on the day before.

“How pretty your flowers look,” he said, referring to the
violets in her bodice.

“Would you like some?” she asked.

The woman seated at the end of the counter, at the place
where customers paid their bills, rang a small bell.

“JT have told you before not to talk to customers; you
are too familiar,’ she said to the waitress.

“T have met him before—not here; he spoke to me and
I answered.”

The manageress said nothing and looked at the ground.

“She told me not to speak to you; all day she orders
and scolds; she makes it very difficult for me.”

“T saw you yesterday.”

“T had two hours free ; we work on Sundays here.” When
Igo LONDON FAIRY TALES.

she came to him again to give him his bill, she said, “I
must not talk,’ and mischievously opened her brown eyes a
little wider to tempt him to desire conversation.

“ How long the morning alone has seemed,” she thought, as
she stood waiting for further work. “I shall grow used to it,
I suppose, and the days will no longer seem unending. |
must stay here till I can get a reference good enough to help
me to a better situation.”

“Did you notice how untidy that woman’s hair was?”
said another waitress, who came up to her.

“No,” she answered roughly.

“You are grumpy.”

She hated those marble tables, those dark rooms, the
frames with meaningless curling shapes, the paintings of
tomatoes and overgrown apples and extravagant vases and
baskets and glittering falsely-coloured flowers; she hated the
urns on the counter, with blue flames beneath them and with
hot unpleasant breath; and she hated the pastry, coloured
pink and dirty white and greasy yellow; when she went to
work she was hardly awake, and she could cry with weari-
ness when she returned home; eight to eight were her work-
ing hours during one week, and every alternate week they
were ten in the morning to twelve at night, with two hours
in the afternoon free to enjoy air and independence.

But she was sometimes kept till twelve when she should

have gone at eight.

Il.
It is comforting to suppose that the rules under which
you live may be prefixed with “Thus saith the Lord”; but
Maud Pearson (that was the name of the girl of whom I am
A LOVE STORY. IQI
writing) now felt no longer that her work and her pay were
ordained by God and ought never to be criticised; she re-
fused to comfort herself with a fallacy and to say prayers.

The aim of each day was to continue such days of weari-
ness, and even to earn, if it were possible, something to send
to her mother—a mother whose love she had never noticed
(for they had seldom embraced or used words of endearment)
until she was living far away from her and without friends.

Kent’s friendliness was pleasant to her; he spoke little to
her, for till then he had always avoided women and amusements,
partly because he was without perception of humour and
erimly desirous of earning an independence. Now, however,
compliments entered his mind though he never could speak
them; her form and face occurred to him in moments of idle-
ness and in the darkness before he slept.

With feminine readiness, Maud made slight remarks to him
whenever she came to his table, for he saw her every’ day
when he had his lunch; but the eves of the manageress were
constantly on her, and she dared not speak much to him.

“She never liked me,” said Maud; “we are not allowed to
sit down; it is impossible to stand for twelve hours.”

Her face was incomprehensible to him—that was its charm;
he would have grown tired of a mere regular arrangement of
well-formed features. He waited for her form, moving through
the dark shop; he watched the mouth smiling sadly, or the
sad downdrawn ends trembling towards a smile; sometimes he
felt sorry because the brownish redness of her cheeks was
flecked with paler and more earth-coloured patches, or because
there was greyness beneath her eyes ; sometimes he was glad
to see the cheeks again buoyantly rounded.

It may be that the weather was more pleasant, or that his
192 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

senses awoke, or his spirit, but there were times when the
light falling on the sides of faces, and the variety of light and
dark tones on them, when the soft modelling of cheeks and
eyelids, the movements of sixirts and legs, the colours of per-
haps a few golden~chrysanthemums, or of lips and hair—when
these appearances gave him great pleasure as he walked
through the streets on his way back to work after seeing
her,

“She needs more air, less confinement and less work,” he
thought.

She met him one Saturday afternoon; he left off work
earlier on that day, and it was a week when she had two
hours free in the afternoon.

“T hope you will enjoy yourself,” he said. “It is so kind
of you to be friendly with me. How bitter it must be to
work on Sundays!”

“Do you know the manageress just gave me notice to
leave there.”

“What reason did she give?”

“None; she hates me. So it is my last day there.”

“Do you know where to find work?” he asked.

“No,” she answered. “This is only my second situation.
We had three shops; and then business was bad, so I came
to London. For three months I found no work.”

“And you knew few people in London?”

“None. J did not care—not for a long while; I had some
money. This time I must get work soon—somewhere.”

“Come in here and have some tea. I will write a list of
places that I know where you might get work.”

“No, I do not want any tea; it seems as though I just
had lunch,”
A LOVE STORY. 193

“But you must. I want to talk to you; we must sit down
in a quieter place.

“How foolish it is that people are afraid to en others
sympathise with them. I am a fool, and you need not take
my advice; but fools give good advice; the best chancellors
of exchequers are bankrupts. I have read that a genius is a
man who cannot manage his own affairs; he has more im-
portant things to think about.”

“T must do as you say?”

“T say ‘you must, because you are so obstinate, so proud;
it's only on a few days of humility that you admit that you
feel tired.”

“These girls are strange,” she said, referring to the wait-
resses in the shop, while James wrote the list, after having
ordered their tea. “They are obliged to wear their hair like
that—those little pockets hung on their backs amuse me.”

“Tt is absurd,” answered Kent. “The simplest pleasures are
forbidden ; I am afraid to Ilcok at a pretty face as long as I
wish to.”

“TI do not like being stared at,” she answered.

“In the City the hours of work are generally shorter ; they
do not pay much, but there are more customers.”

They returned to the street.

Each intent on his own business, solitary men _ passed
them, who observed little ; around them was a flutter of skirts,
and laughter, and movement of legs—one always swinging
forward and leaving its companion stretched out behind it ;
face after face emerged from behind the involved figures on
the pavement, and revealed its pattern of shadows set around
the features and falling towards the side where -the houses

stood, for it was a grey day without strong sunshine from any
O
194 LONDON FAIRY TALES,

quarter. James and- Maud. walked together arm in arm, and
many may have envied them.

ITI.

Unless this is it, where is there a good love story about
people in ordinary modern circumstances? When the leisured
classes make love they know that they must be imitating
Romeo and fuliet or some other great book, and therefore a
truthful love story about them must be dull.

I want a tale as simple as everyday talk, and as erated
as the precious moments when we admire or love; a tale
that without effort convinces the reader of the lover's passion,
as does the tale of Federigo and the Falcon in Boccaccio’s
Decameron. (“But that’s’ a book you have surely not read ?”
I said to the Puritan.)

Had I ever taken any interest in ordinary life, or ever had
experience of it, were I capable of passion, or had I ever
been in love, had I a little imagination or a little power of
observing, I might write such a story.

Fate is cruel.

How cruel it seemed to Maud that Fate should prevent
her from attaining her little aims; just as she had almost
repaid the debt incurred in her three months of disappoint-
ments, mere capricious ill-will cast her again into freedom and
a doubtful future.

Maud was not nervous when she interviewed those in
command of restaurants,—indeed, she seemed quite at her
ease; but she disliked being stared at, and having to answer
questions, and to be a humble suppliant ; her heart beat. faster
as she stood outside each place where she meant to ask for
A LOVE STORY. 195

work. It rained, and she was afraid she would look wet and
disordered, for she had no umbrella. Some of the men in
authority spoke to her with caressing familiarity, and others
with stern superiority; but on her first day of effort none would
buy her services.

It was as though she had written a book, and wanted to
find a publisher for it.

Tired and hungry she returned to her dull peaceful lodging.
She had wished for strong-tasting food at luncheon time and
had eaten an unsustaining meal.

On the table lay a letter; her heart beat faster with joy;
it was a kind surprise. This is what she read :

“ Dear Maup,

“Tt is only the second day since I saw you, and yester-
day was a Sunday, yet already I want a letter from you. I con-
stantly feel that you are coming along the street outside; I expect
to see you enter this dull office,—a most incongruous graceful figure
amidst the confused signs of work.

“All this is childish, and I should not dare to say it to you;
the pen is braver than the mouth.

“But then again I say to myself: ‘She has faded from you; all
the rest of your life will be wearisome and dry as a_ blue-book ;
you will live and you will work, but you will have no aim.’

“Tf I see any sign of sorrow, I am sad, because you: too may
be sorrowful; if I see a woman, I give her a little love, because
you are worthy of more than I may tell you of.

“ Hoping always for your welfare,

“T am, yours,
“JaMES KENT.”

The answer to the letter that James received somewhat dis-
O 2
196 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

appointed him. It was stiff, and contained some errors of
spelling and grammar; its one touch of feminine charm was
in an apology for bad writing due to a bad pen; “but I
know,” she said, “you would rather have a badly written
letter from me than not one at all.” :

“T should have expected her to spell better,’ thought
James, feeling a little contempt for one poorer than himself in
literary knowledge.

IV.

It had been a fine day. The sun had struggled to make the
traffic, the figures, and the buildings of London beautiful ; but
all day James Kent had tired himself indoors at work. But
red and gold still lingered in the sky above the grey houses.

“JT wish I could make you happy,—I would suffer any-
oe to make you Bae ee only in order to be pitied by

> he said.

& cuhen you like me to be sad,” she said, kissing him.

“No; such little things could make us happy. I have found
it so lately—-I do not know if it is right to be made so happy.
Such little things—your kiss—a pretty face that I pass in the
streets—a bright sky.”

“Yes, you live more easily. The day seemed shorter when
l thought that I should tell you about it.” :

“The day seemed shorter when I remembered your face.”

“You are a brave talker.”

The last rays of the sun made faces shine; it touched the
rounded meeting-place where the planes above and beside the
cheek-bones join, or on another face it lighted the two sides,
and left a dark central line of features; or on others, restricted
by the ‘town’s many barriers, it only gilded the tip of a nose
A LOVE STORY. 197

or a few spots on the cheeks; it raised the modelling of
the parts that it touched and left the shaded parts in lower
relief.

There are wise heathen (I believe) who greet the sun in the
morning with praise and adoration ; we could not greet it every
day,—some days we only see a diffused light without visible
source; should we not watch for it and enjoy every ray it
sends us?

(Our religions came from lands where the .sun shines almost
always ; we pray for rain and praise Him who causes the wind
to blow and the rain to descend ;—but if the great Hebrew
religious poets had lived here, they, and therefore we, might
have praised the return of the clear spring sun and magnified
Him who restores bright sky to them who dwell in the darkest
streets.)

The stupefying multitudes of moving faces, the eternal noise,
the unending discussions of unprofitable matters, the prosaic
arguments of unimaginative people about mystics and dreamers
whom they reverence and misunderstand, the unthinking
energy around them,—James and Maud forgot all these worrying
things. “Women are angels,” he said, and laid his arm on her
waist. =

“Be careful,” said the Puritan. “Who invented the dirty
stories?” I answered. Was it poor scoffing doubters in ages of
tyrants and faith? I do not know myself; but I hate the
dull, senseless, stale, disgusting things. Dirty imaginations and
Puritanism—these withhold us from natural pleasures.

From beginning to end we live a physical life; and the
accompanying consciousness—the life of the soul—ceases some-
times. Without investigation and reason you have no morality ;
but you are little susceptible to visible beauty, to pleasant
198 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

sounds, interesting tastes, smooth warm surfaces, therefore you
think yourself able to judge between body and mind. I am no
mystic who says, “there is no evil”; that contradicts all my
observations; but seek goodness and beauty for they are
mingled with ugliness and evil, and cannot be found so easily
as you suppose; sin and disease may be beautiful ; admire the
beauty, avoid the evil.

An appearance of healthy vital energy is not beauty ;—do
you see that old man? He is pale as a corpse; the yellow skin
is stretched tight and unwrinkled,—only one small hollow
marks each cheek with a slight shadow; the weary lids almost
close over the pale eyes. Age and weakness have improved the
colour by bleaching hair and eyes and lips and leaving almost
all in tones of yellow, and they have simplified the modelling by
making the cheeks smooth and thin.

Disease and beauty, ugliness and virtue,—all are mingled:
seek.

Or perhaps you had better not. . Every departure from the
manner of your surroundings increases the difficulty of living.
Law is more important to the State than justice; the units must
submit to the majority. Be like your neighbours, take their
morality. Even to seem happier than them is to be more
miserable. The healthy man does not feel so very happy—to
exist suffices for him; great happiness is madness; it is the.
body that foresees its decay that prompts us to enjoy life more
quickly. To differ from the majority is to criticise them and
they do not like it.

Vv.
Next day James received a letter from her. It said that
she had obtained a situation in Paris; the work is light, the
A LOVE STORY. 199

hours short. She could not see him again before she left
London.

“Women are devils,’ he thought. “All is vanity and weari-
ness ; we seek beauty, first here and then there: what end and
what hope can sustain us while we labour with aimless efforts
and amid infinite monotony? We dream, we think we are
in love and are in heaven; but next instant weariness darkens
our eyes; around us ugliness admires himself; our heavy eyes
turn from labour to labour. I love hatred: it destroys.”

So is it with many of us. We have no hopes; therefore
we are merry wherever we may be. With happiness we most
quickly live and die; the aim of life is to waste life.

VI.

Death is a suitable end to a tale of self-sacrificing love.
Long life brings banishment from such a love; the lover’s
eyes, that once followed his mistress, grow dim with age, care,
disgust, weariness, and bitterness.

Or perhaps there ought to be no love tales at all. “ Passion
is not the best sentiment with which to begin housekeeping,
and this is being acknowledged now as it has never been before,”
so I read recently, “Once married, it is only in exceptional
cases that kindly, considerate, and intelligent people have no
power to win each other’s affections.” Therefore, act no more
love tales. Seek a suitable wife : do not be deceived by passion.
Seek coolly; not too ugly should she be—you will have to go
to bed with her. Do not tell her lies; say “I think you
would be a.suitable wife for me.”

Have I not said, If you would be happy, be like your
neighbours ?


THE DEPARTURE FROM FAIRYLAND:
THE CONCLUDING STORY.

IN the first pages of this book I told how my enemy’s look
of hatred changed me into a dog; how I ran into the streets
and found the Entrance to Fairyland; how I entered and saw
the old man and the beautiful lady; how, when she looked at
me with kindmess, I returned to my human form; how the
old man told me that whoever could read his thoughts should
marry the lady; how I read them and wished evil to myself
if I ever even forgot the beautiful lady who was to be my
wife; how people came from the streets of London and feasted
with us, and how, as soon as she who was to be my wife
asked them to tell us fairy tales, these commonplace people
told us all that I have written here.

In the morning they left us and returned to their business
in London; and my wife took me to the Hill of Views.

This hill stands still, whilst the rest of the earth moves past
it, so that anyone who is on it seems like one who is moved
silently by the current of an endless river, past all the world.

I saw monstrous mountains made bony by battling with
storms ; white villages slipping into the sea from the steep hill-
side; silent streets in the East under a burning blue, distractingly
THE DEPARTURE FROM FAIRYLAND. 201

covered with carving and colour ;—but no one could describe
all that I saw.

On the Hill of Views, and in the Gardens of Simplicity,
and in the house by the Entrance to Fairyland, I lived so
happily that IT never thought of any end to my happiness.

One day I sat on the Hill of. Views and a giant came and
stood in front of me so that I could see nothing.

Instead of moving, or asking him to move, I became
enraged. I cursed him, shouting and waving my arms.

He changed into a woman: she was not beautiful, but she
smiled at me, and lay down beside me.

I stretched out my arms towards her; she changed into a
slimy winged serpent. I ran away. All the country was
covered with open mouths and clutching claws,—my heart stood
still with terror.

I was almost seized, when the serpent changed into a
glittering red stone; I ran eagerly to catch it, as it rolled
down the hill. Under all the earth I saw gleams of gold, and
digging dwarfs, and palaces of precious stones.

I had almost seized the stone, when it changed into a
laughing dwarf; he carried wine and a glass; all that he
poured out for me I took and drank. Bacchanals and
witches wildly danced: I saw the worshippers of the Goat
circling round it with their faces turned outwards.

I had almost fallen to the ground, and was grasping the
dwarf’s beard as I fell, when he changed into a demon, and
whipped me with a red-hot whip. I ran; all the country was
full of red-hot hands.

I fainted:

I returned to myself, and I was in the street where I had
found the Entrance to Fairyland.
202 ‘ LONDON FAIRY TALES...

My wife’s Voice was quietly speaking to me, and it said:

“Silent tempters led you to entirely forget me; since
trifling feelings led you from the remembrance of Beauty, you
shall never see her again.”

I. could see neither the Entrance to Fairyland ner my wife.

“She is no longer my. wife,” I said to myself. “I am
weary of Beauty; I am weary of fairy tales or of any tales.
Consecutive. sentences and composed pictures make my head
ache. I must now work in order to live, but I will not use
a pen, and I will let my brains rest.

“Lifting and carrying will feed my body and cause my
brain to sleep.

“In the beginning of. the journey of life, whatever I did
I did with all my mind; for I thought that each day’s work
and each day’s play was a step towards the great work which
I had been sent into life to perform.

“Now I enjoy all that is given to me and desire nothing
more—no greater work and no greater joy; the journey is
only a random ramble.

“When I was younger I tried to force my way through
all thorns and brambles because I thought that there was a
beautiful Princess hidden in the midst of them, and if I could
reach and love her, then the sleeping beauty of the earth
would awaken and all thorns would vanish.

“But now I am wiser; I do not go into the thorns (I am
more inclined to keep to the main roads of Custom); I do
not try to awaken the sleeping beauty of the earth,—that
great work is not for me; I keep my mind at peace and
therefore I am happy.

“T never now see the Entrance to Fairyland; I desire
nothing that London does not give me.”














me

‘tracer
ad

a

oR





DINNER AT A RESTAURANT:
A STORY AS APPENDIX.

Lucy was dining with me.

“A girl,” said I, “has often no other means of advancing
than marriage; she is tied, perhaps, to one routine, her wages
decrease with length of service, and when she is old no one
will employ her. And yet I cannot marry; I have not money
enough.”

“In the country,”’—answered Lucy.

“Besides the world has corrupted me; I am not fit for
marriage. By what means does the soul’s stain become so fixed
that it can never again be cleansed away? What labours—
drudgeries, useless, wearisome, and unintellectual—wear out the
heart and the imagination? When does a man cease to seek
beauty and begin to desire ugliness and folly? What desire
for money—money gained without effort—changes the idea of
honesty, until it is dishonourable ?



204 LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Hunger, despair, tyranny, disgust, mad pleasures, disap-
pointments—these teach that all is vanity, good and evil.”

“You blame yourself too much; you are too serious.”

“I try to be serious.”

“If you were I, you would hasten to be happy,’ answered
Lucy. “When I go home earlier than usual mother says,
‘Do not go to bed, even if you are tired; I see you so
seldom, you are always at work.’”

“We all hasten to be happy,” I answered; and I thought
that I now hastened in vain, for all my happiness—it had
been made up of trifles—had now disappeared on the bridge
from here to far away; and all my best feelings. Kate, the
innkeeper’s daughter, who used to sit with me in the living-
room whilst from the kitchen came sounds of the endless
stories and laughter of the country drinkers; and the friend
who opened the secret places of my brain and healed all
troubles; and Eugenie with her excited tongue and artificial
charms ; and the Countess (her ring carried a jewel like a spot
of blood pricked from her beautiful hand);. and dreams of
imaginary Venuses, of unattainable beauty and of rebellion
against evil and oppression—all of them were now far away
from me.

“ Are you sleepy, dear?” said Lucy.

I looked up. An Indian was sitting down at our table op-
posite to me. He wore a turban, but the rest of his clothes
seemed to be from fashionable London shops. I passed the
water to him at his request, and he began to talk to me. - I
asked him how he liked London.

“One night only I liked it. Seated on one of the little
benches on the roof of an omnibus, with my arm on a girl’s

waist, carried away by love and the unchangeable orbit of the
DINNER AT A RESTAURANT. 205

omnibus, I sat above the conflicting souls that hurried through
the streets. I needed neither to seek the open ways of -happi-
ness nor to avoid the crowd of noisy wheels that could have
crushed me; darkness hid the dull lines of your straight streets
which are unrelieved by carving or cupolas; the white and
gold of gas and electricity only revealed a mysterious hurry,
concerning which I asked: Who are they all? How do they
live? Which amongst these roofs receives them? What em-
ployment—loved or hated-—fills their days? English literature
does not tell me; besides, it seems to have been chiefly
written after dining well—I mean it seems that the authors
did not dislike most men, but thought them rather foolish.
I believe that a wide love of mankind,. desire of adventure,
and the habits of bold thinking and dreaming are not en-
couraged by unintellectual industry, and by monogamy ; there-
fore, dullness infects your art. Besides, without my friends,
servants, and wives, I myself feel. dull; I miss the beauty and
romance of my country, and the society of my wise, witty,
and imaginative courtiers; yet I should like to understand you
people if the study did not weary me.”

“Perhaps I could help you,” I answered. “You have not
read my book, LONDON Farry TALES; ‘it has not been
published yet. Three weeks ago I heard by a postcard that
it would receive careful attention from a firm of publishers—
about four other firms have already greatly regretted that it
is not quite suitable to their style of publication.

“In it I attempt to combine the impossible with the actual
London of to-day—in fact, with the answers to your ques-
tions,—but, unfortunately, I have now described all of London
that I have seen; if I had leisure I could find new tales to
tell, new characters and manners of life to describe.”
206 - LONDON FAIRY TALES.

“Vou have not the book here?” asked the Prince.

“Tt-is at the publishers’—at least a typewritten copy; |
have a written one at home that I could show you.”

“Well,” said the Prince, “tell me a few other tales. I shall
see. whether you would be useful to me.”

Then I had the honour of submitting to his Royal High-
ness many tales; his charity forgave my folly, and the kind
praise of his Excellence changed it to wisdom; as is said of
another by Sadi: “Thou didst deign to look graciously on
wretched me, and my merits are become manifest as the
Sing eres
“Engaged one day in the public bath, I had a piece of
scented clay handed: me by my mistress. I addressed it,
saying, ‘Art thou ambergris or musk, for I] am charmed by
thy grateful odour?’ It replied, ‘I was a worthless piece of
clay, but for a while associated with the rose, thence I par-
took of the sweetness of my companion; otherwise, I am that
vile piece of earth I seem.’”

I also was as a colourless rock until the sun shone on
me. Therefore, may his enemies fall beneath his feet ; when
the lion (of England) and the eagles and the bear and the
other base beasts have been devoured, may his favoured
people live; may that nation whose crown protected me,
whose wise and beneficent ruler (may Heaven bless him)
granted me life, increase in might, in prosperity and in
empire, until the angel of Death destroys the last of the
children of men.

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xml record header identifier oai:www.uflib.ufl.edu.ufdc:UF0008755500001datestamp 2008-11-13setSpec [UFDC_OAI_SET]metadata oai_dc:dc xmlns:oai_dc http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc xmlns:dc http:purl.orgdcelements1.1 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc.xsd dc:title London fairy talesdc:creator Lewis, Arthur WNaumann, Paul ( Printer )dc:subject Conduct of life -- Fiction ( lcsh )Storytelling -- Fiction ( lcsh )Love ( lcsh )Possibility -- Fiction ( lcsh )Short stories ( lcsh )Fiction -- London (England) ( lcsh )Allegories -- 1899 ( rbgenr )dc:description b Statement of Responsibility by Arthur W. Lewis ; with decorations by the author.dc:publisher Leonard Smithers and Co.dc:date 1899dc:type Bookdc:format viii, 206 p. : ill. ; 21 cm.dc:identifier http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?b=UF00087555&v=00001002232990 (ALEPH)13417827 (OCLC)ALH3390 (NOTIS)dc:source University of Floridadc:language English