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bye. Two miles are but two miles,if one is aware of the fact; but if he merely disappeared without informing them that he was going they would not be aware of the fact, and then two miles are no better than two hundred, --and besides, they might feel hurt.

Some such thoughts as these passed through his mind as he followed in Cicely's track rather later. He walked past the little holly-tree and the useful pollard without suspecting what secrets of Cicely's they could reveal, and when he reached the mill he turned to the left instead of to the right or he might have discovered yet more of her secrets. But at that moment Mr. Lauriston was fully occupied with his own. When he reached the house-boat he was disappointed to find it deserted. Even the faithful William, whom somehow he had come to regard as a kind of fixture like the fire-place, was absent. Mr. Lauriston went close to the vessel and coughed rather loudly, thinking that some one might be inside, but in vain.

He wondered whether he should leave a card on the table to show that he had intended to do the right thing; but there were several objections to that course. A plain card might be taken as an invitation to return his call, as a sign that the domestic disabilties, so tactfully appreciated, had been removed, and that was far from being the case; he might put P. P. C. in the corner, but that would not be strictly true, and he did not want to take formal leave; he might scribble a line or two to explain matters, but a scribbled line or two have often constituted an incriminating document before now, especially to married men. No, Mr. Lauriston decided that he could not leave a card.

Rather disconsolate he determined to ascend the knoll and gain the high road; his walk must be a real one after all. The ascent was steep, and he

stopped more than once to mop his brow and rest. About two-thirds of the way up he paused under the shade of a small spreading oak, and turned to glance at the view before him. Suddenly he became conscious that something was moving over his head and looked up. To his surprise he saw a pair of white canvas shoes dangling over a branch some twenty feet above him. Allowing his eye to travel upwards he made out the figure of a man, whose face in the shadow he could not at first distinguish; presently, however, his eyes became more accustomed to the shade and he was able to trace the features of Sir Seymour Haddon, who appeared to be about to light a cigarette.

"Hullo," said Mr. Lauriston more than a little astonished.

Charles paused in the lighting of his cigarette and looked down. "Hullo." he returned. "Oh, it's Mr. Lauriston. How are you? It's a nice day, isn't it?"

Mr. Lauriston felt a natural curiosity as to Charles's movements. He could not remember ever to have seen any person of mature age up in a tree before; and Charles, though fairly young, was certainly no longer a boy. "Are you-bird-nesting?" he asked doubtfully.

"No," said Charles, "I'm looking for a Gladstone bag."

"A what?" said Mr. Lauriston more astonished than ever.

"A Gladstone bag," returned Charles, "but it isn't here. Wait a minute; I'm coming down." He quickly descended from his perch, letting himself down from branch to branch with an agility that Mr. Lauriston envied.

"You haven't seen a Gladstone bag about, I suppose?" said Charles as he regained the earth. Mr. Lauriston denied having seen such a thing rather emphatically and cast a dubious eye on his interrogator. "I have mislaid

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in explanation.

one," said Charles a moment as to He hesitated for whether he should take Mr. Lauriston But more fully into his confidence. after all, perhaps, he hardly knew him The victim of a consufficiently well. spiracy may be interesting but he is hardly heroic, and Charles wished to be heroic in his relations with the other camp. He decided not to be too expansive, though there was no harm in enlisting Mr. Lauriston's scious aid; in a case of this sort every "If you pair of eyes is of value. should see a Gladstone bag anywhere round here," he said nonchalantly, "you'll know it belongs to me."


Mr. Lauriston promised hurriedly; he was not sure whether Charles was intoxicated or mad, but in either case it seemed wise to humor him. "Are you going anywhere in particular?" asked the object of suspicion. come back and have a drink."

"If not,


Mr. Lauriston did not refuse.
one is doubtful of the sobriety or san-
ity of a man whose physical strength
is at least twice as great as one's
own, one does not refuse to oblige him
Mr. Lauriston, moreover,
in trifles.
They soon reached the
was thirsty.
encampment and seated themselves
comfortably each with a cooling bever-
Mr. Lauriston
age in a long glass.
accepted a cigarette, and soon forgot
his suspicions of Charles's mental
His host showed him-

self eminently sane, and told him one
or two things connected with the City
that were new to him; he did not
of course know that they were also
new to Charles.
Lauriston reached
Finally Mr.
point at which he could say that which
"We are moving our
he came to say.
camp to another spot to-morrow," he
announced casually.


cal sketch of the position they proposed
to occupy, which Charles faithfully
"Two miles
committed to memory.

is no distance," commented Charles.
"You'll always know where to find
us. It'll be just far enough to make
you thirsty." Charles spoke from his
head rather than his heart; he himself
had no objection to running or swim-
ming one mile, but he hated walking


Mr. Lauriston was pleased.
was exactly the spirit in which he
"Thanks very
had hoped to be met.

much," he said; "you may be sure I
shall turn up again some fine day."
Then in the generosity of his heart in-
spired perhaps by a sip of the cooling
beverage he added: "If you should
ever be in our neighborhood, of course,
Mr. Lauriston real-
-you know,—"
ized almost at once what he was say-
ing and swallowed the rest of the sen-
tence hurriedly.


Charles, however, faithfully
mitted the semi-invitation to memory,
though he had no immediate intention
of availing himself of it; but the time,
he fondly reflected, would come and
when it did-a thought struck him.
"By the way, if we should happen to
move too, you'll always be able to find
A houseboat can't be hidden very

"Have you thought of moving?" Mr.
Lauriston asked.

"Oh, only some vague talk." Charles dismissed the notion with a shrug. "It isn't probable, but one never knows."

"Well, I must be going back," said Mr. Lauriston getting up slowly. Charles accompanied him as far as "There's always a chair, a the stile. a glass, and a cigarette here," he said; Oh and, I say, if you "don't forget. should happen upon a Gladstone bag let me know, will you? I should be awfully obliged."

"Really?" said Charles. "Are you going far away?"

Mr. Lauriston gave a brief geographi

Mr. Lauriston promised again and returned to his camp slowly, wonder

ing what on earth he meant. Was the young man a little touched? And yet he had talked sensibly enough and even told him one or two new things about the City. Then it occurred to him that the words Gladstone bag might

be some new slang that he had not heard, might mean cigarette-case or something. And yet, a cigarette-case in an oak-tree! Mr. Lauriston was decidedly puzzled.

(To be continued.)


Readers of foreign books upon English literature must surely have been struck by the conspicuous place which, in most of them, is assigned to Byron. In the volume by Professor Brandes1 which deals with Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Coleridge, Scott, Landor, Moore, as well as the lesser stars of the early nineteenth century, one hundred and fifty pages out of three hundred and fifty are occupied with Byron. To this foreign critic, Byron is the true "passionate personality" of the English movement, the man who was in the main stream of the world's thought, and who is the final expression of the British poetic spirit of this period. In his closing summary he tells us that, while Wordsworth, Scott, Keats, Shelley, and Coleridge were all in their different degrees limited and provincial, Byron broke all bounds and flooded the world with his song.

What language! What tones breaking the death-like silence of oppressed Europe! The political air rang with the shrill notes; for no word uttered by Lord Byron fell unheard to the ground. The legions of the fugitives, the banished, the oppressed, the conspirators of every nation, kept their eyes fixed on the one man who, amidst the universal debasement of intelligences and characters to a low standard, stood upright, beautiful as Apollo, brave as an Achilles, prouder than all the kings of Europe together.

1 "Naturalism in England." English translation (Heinemann). 2 Ibid. p. 356.

Taine is no less enthusiastic. Byron is to him "the greatest and most English" of the men of his time-"so great and so English that from him alone we shall learn more truths of his country and his age than from all the rest together." "Into what mediocrity and platitude," he cries, "sinks the Faust of Goethe compared with Byron's Manfred!" Here are judgments which in certain striking respects run counter to modern criticism in this country. If one must not say that Byron is under a cloud, he is at all events counted to be one of the faultiest of great poets, and many modern writers speak of his vehement and ill-balanced opinions as fatal or, at least, a serious drawback to the true spirit of poetry. These foreign critics, however, sweep aside mere literary criticism and apply a test of character and energy which not only puts Byron at the head of the English movement, but makes him a supreme leader of European thought.

Which of these judgments is more likely to stand the test of time need not be discussed at this moment. But the fact that foreign writers of eminence take this exalted view of Byron's place in literature, and take it by appealing to the substance of his poetry, surely suggests certain reflections on the literature and criticism of our own day. For it is precisely these qualities that Taine and Brandes find so admirable in Byron which have for some years past been in disrepute

among English writers. No one in these days "breaks the silence with shrill notes which make the air ring." The modern man of letters, on the contrary, is at special pains to disclaim the idea that he has a mission in life or anything momentous to say which is not already familiar to the man in the street. Moralizing, we are perpetually told, is fatal to literature, as of course it is, if by moralizing we mean the dull and unskillful hammering of the commonplace.

The axiom, however, takes

on a meaning which actually shuts off the literary artist from the greater matters of life and conduct. Books on style proceed from beginning to end on the assumption that the literary art consists wholly in the light choice of words and their scholarly arrangement in graceful patterns. And being thus preoccupied with word-craft, a great many modern writers find it easier to write good sentences than good chapters or good books. They lack what Frenchmen call the esprit de suite, that grasp of the whole and sense of orderly development which belong to the great theme in the hands of the master. The critic, meanwhile, judges not of what is said, but of how it is said, and is even apt to take the narrowest view of this accomplishment.

It follows almost inevitably from this conception of the writer's art that the great mass of the public become estranged from literature. In these days we have writers with immense circulations whom the literary people declare to be of no account, and literary people of high accomplishment whom the great public refuses to consider. A small minority speak habitually of the literary art as if it were a secret process which is hidden from their neighbors, and their neighbors retaliate by showing complete indifference to what this minority calls literature. That this gulf must necessarily be fixed between the few and the many

in their appreciation of literature, and that the common people must demand common things while the men of letters cultivate subtleties and delicacies which the great majority cannot appreciate, is an assumption SO frequently made that it has come to be regarded as an axiom of criticism; and the writings of the elect are full of lamentation and woe at the alleged narrowing of the circle in which their refined wares find acceptance.

And yet, if one looks back on the history of literature, it is an assumption for which there is very little warrant; so little, indeed, that to insist on it seems, if one may judge from the past, to be the note of an inferior school, and not, as so many writers appear to take for granted, of the great schools-a note of Euphuism rather than of Elizabethanism. Judged by its power of surviving, Euphuism has no advantage over the most popular method in authorship. The stylists of the year before last are in the same grave with the popular novelists whom they despised, and the critic of to-day scarcely troubles even to drop a tear over them. For though style is, as Stevenson truly said, a great antiseptic, it can only do its work if there is a body worth preserving, and then it acts silently and imperceptibly. Of course, it is true that the mass of people look first to the thing said rather than to the manner in which it is said; but it is a mistake to suppose that the manner does not make its appeal to the reader because he is unable to analyze its virtues. Style in its perfection is like the sword in the Arabian Nights, which decapitated its victim, and left him unaware of what had happened, till he shook his head, and it rolled on to the floor.

So far then, as it depends upon style, the virtue of being above the heads of the people belongs not to the best. but only to the second-best literature.

With that reservation we may concede it. If a writer cannot ascend to the heights, it is well for him not to descend to the depths, but to work on the middle plane where he may make a cultivated appeal to the people of culture. Here he may legitimately rely on accomplishments which will be "caviare to the general" who have been educated in the various kinds of public schools; here, too, he may give himself reasonable airs of superiority over lower mortals who frankly bid for the largest circulation with wares that are wholly commercial. Genius, however, is not limited by these conditions. The appeal which genius makes to the heart and imagination may carry it to vast masses of people who have no opinion at all about the literary form that it uses. And for this reason, an exaggerated concern with the mechanism of literature is almost invariably a sign of the absence of genius, though it may also very well be the sign of a high degree of accomplishment.

The rise and fall of English literature in the nineteenth century brings this home to us. Glancing back over those years we find at the beginning of them a whole school of writers in revolt against the stylistic conception of writing-Wordsworth, in particular, asserting that there is no such thing as a literary language as distinguished from ordinary speech, and carrying his theory to excess in a studied, and occasionally somewhat ridiculous homeliness of speech. The mark of this school is what Professor Brandes calls its "naturalism," that is, its contact with nature and human nature as opposed to the formalism of its predecessors. Yet this school, without any labored pursuit of style, did, as a matter of fact, achieve the highest form of expression, as in Keats and Shelley, and Wordsworth himself. Descending to the next generation, we find a powerful band of prose-writers, the chief

of whom are Carlyle and Ruskin in one field, and Dickens and Thackeray in another field, whose main purpose is to say what they feel about life, and who are so filled with their subject that they have no time to consider themselves as literary craftsmen, superb as they very often are in that respect. With all his professed contempt for the thirty millions, mostly fools, Carlyle's ambition was to reach them and to influence them, and not to tickle the palates of the literary hundred, whom he probably considered the greatest fools of all. Ruskin, too, resented nothing so much as the imputation that he was a mere literary artist or artistic critic, and year by year addressed his vehement exhortations on life and conduct to a larger and larger audience of simple people. These two men between them reached hundreds of thousands of working-class and middle-class folk in the days before school boards, without ever forfeiting the respect of the literary élite. An even more remarkable instance is Tennyson, who was at once the conscious literary artist and the most popular of poets. Browning and Meredith are in a different category; but, though their appeal was to a smaller class, both of them are entirely removed from the esoteric and æsthetic. Here we are in presence of men with imagination so vivid and ideas so rich that they break the bounds of speech in the effort to overtake their own thoughts. Hence a certain obscurity for less nimble minds, but it is, if one may express it, a natural obscurity arising out of the breathlessness of this pursuit, not the artificial obscurity by which smaller men conceal the poverty of their thoughts. Both these men are in the main stream of human nature, rejoicing in life and all its manifestations, sane. robust, and optimistic. without a touch of that intellectual vanity which makes the work of some

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