Pictures and Books 99 to the next best, and so on downwards, never eating a worse grape while a better one remains uneaten. Personally, I think that, as the painter cannot go the whole way, the sooner he makes it clear that he has no inten- tion of trying to do so the better. When we look at a very highly finished picture (so called), unless we are in the hands of one who has attended successfully to the considerations insisted on above, we feel as though we were with a trouble- some cicerone who will not let us look at things with our own eyes but keeps intruding himself at every touch and turn and trying to exercise that undue influence upon us which generally proves to have been the accompaniment of concealment and fraud. This is exactly what we feel with Van Mieris and, though in a less degree, with Gerard Dow ; whereas with Jean Van Eyck and Metsu, no matter how far they may have gone, we find them essentially as impressionist as Rembrandt or Velasquez. For impressionism only means that due attention has been paid to the relative importances of the impressions made by the various characteristics of a given subject, and that they have been presented to us in order of precedence. Eating Grapes Downwards Always eat grapes downwards—that is, always eat the best grape first; in this way there will be none better left on the bunch, and each grape will seem good down to the last. If you eat the other way, you will not have a good grape in the lot. Besides, you will be tempting Providence to kill you before you come to the best. This is why autumn seems better than spring : in the autumn we are eating our days downwards, in the spring each day still seems " very bad." People should live on this principle more than they do, but they do live on it a good deal; from the age of, say, fifty we eat our days downwards. In New Zealand for a long time I had to do the washing-up after each meal. I used to do the knives first, for it might please God to take me before I came to the forks, and then what a sell it would have been to have done the forks rather than the knives!