Part 04 - Of Human Bondage Audiobook by W. Somerset Maugham (Chs 40-48)

Uploaded by CCProse on 06.02.2012

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