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Full text of "Overlooked"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



Overlooked 



Overlooked 



By 

Maurice Baring 



BOSTON & NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

1922 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN. 



7JC 

603 



To 
M. A. T. 



OVERLOOKED 

PART I 

THE PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 

CHAPTER I 

WHEN my old friend and trusted adviser, 
Doctor Kennaway, told me that I must go to 
Hareville and stay there a month or, still 
better, two months, I asked him what I 
could possibly do there. The only possible 
pastime at a watering-place is to watch. A 
blind man is debarred from that pastime. 

He said to me : " Why don't you write a 
novel ? " 

I said that I had never written anything 
in my life. He then said that a famous edi- 
tor, of the Figaro, I think, had once said 
that every man had one newspaper article 
in him. Novel could be substituted for news- 
paper article. I objected that, although I 
found writing on my typewriter a soothing 



io OVERLOOKED 

occupation, I had always been given to under- 
stand by authors that correcting proofs was 
the only real fun in writing a book. I was 
debarred from that. We talked of other 
things and I thought no more about this till 
after I had been at HareVille a week. 

When I arrived there, although the season 
had scarcely begun, I made acquaintances 
more rapidly than I had expected, and most 
of my time was taken up in idle conversation. 

After I had been drinking the waters for a 
week, I made the acquaintance of James 
Rudd, the novelist. I had never met him 
before. I have, indeed, rarely met a novelist. 
When I have done so they have either been 
elderly ladies who specialized in the life of 
the Quartier-Latin, or country gentlemen 
who kept out all romance from their general 
conversation, which they confined to the 
crops and the misdeeds of the Government. 

James Rudd did not certainly belong to 
either of these categories. He was passion- 
ately interested in his own business. He did 
not seem in the least inclined to talk about 
anything else. He took for granted I had 
read all his works. I think he supposed that 
even the blind could hardly have failed to do 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY n 

that. Some of his works have been read to 
me. I did not like to put it in this way, lest 
he should think I was calling attention to the 
absence of his books in the series which have 
been transcribed in the Braille language. But 
he was evidently satisfied that I knew his 
work. I enjoyed the books of his which 
were read to me, but then, I enjoy any novel. 
I did not tell him that. I let him take for 
granted that I had taken for granted all 
there was to be taken for granted. I imagine 
him to wear a faded Venetian-red tie, a low 
collar, and loose blue clothes (I shall find out 
whether this is true later), to be a non- 
smoker I am, in fact, sure of that a prac- 
tical teetotaler, not without a nice discrimina- 
tion based on the imagination rather than 
on experience, of French vintage wines, and 
a fine appreciation of all the arts. He is 
certainly not young, and I think rather 
weary, but still passionately interested in the 
only thing which he thinks worthy of any 
interest. I found him an entertaining com- 
panion, easy and stimulating. He had been 
sent to HareVille by Kennaway, which gave 
us a link. Kennaway had told him to leave 
off writing novels for five weeks if he possibly 



12 OVERLOOKED 

could. He was finding it difficult. He told 
me he was longing to write, but could think 
of no subject. 

I suggested to him that he should write a 
novel about the people at Hareville. I said 
I could introduce him to three ladies and that 
they could form the nucleus of the story. He 
was delighted with the idea, and that same 
evening I introduced him to Princess Koura- 
gine, who is not, as her name sounds, a 
Russian, but a French lady, nee Robert, who 
married a Prince Serge Kouragine. He died 
some years ago. She is a lady of so much 
sense, and so ripe in wisdom and experience, 
that I felt her acquiantance must do any 
novelist good. I also introduced him to Mrs. 
Lennox, who is here with her niece, Miss 
Jean Brandon. Mrs. Lennox, I knew, would 
enjoy meeting a celebrity ; she sacrificed an 
evening's gambling for the sake of his society, 
and the next day, she asked him to luncheon. 
In the evening he told me that Miss Brandon 
would be a suitable heroine for his novel. 

I asked him if he had begun it. He said 
he was planning it, but as it was a holiday 
novel, and as he had been forbidden to work, 
he was not going to make it a real book. He 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 13 

was going to write this novel for his own en- 
joyment, and not for the public. He would 
never publish it. He would be very grateful, 
all the same, if I allowed him to discuss it with 
me, as he could not write a story without 
discussing it with someone. 

I said I would willingly discuss the story 
with him, and I have determined to keep a 
record of our conversations, and indeed of 
everything that affects this matter, in case 
he one day publishes the novel, or publishes 
what the novel may turn into ; for I feel that 
it will not remain unpublished, even though 
it turns into something quite different. I shall 
thus have all the fun of seeing a novel planned 
without the trouble of writing one myself. 

" Of course you have the advantage of 
knowing these people quite well," he said. 
I told him that he was mistaken. I had 
never met any of them, except Princess 
Kouragine, before. And it was years since I 
had seen her. 

" The first problem is," he said, " Why is 
Miss Brandon not married ? She must be 
getting on for thirty, if she is not thirty yet, 
and it is strange that a person with her 
looks " 



14 OVERLOOKED 

" I have often wondered what she looks 
like," I said, " and I have made my picture 
of her. Shall I tell it you, and you can tell 
me whether it is at all like the reality ? " 

He was most anxious to hear my descrip- 
tion. I said that I imagined Miss Brandon 
to be as changeable in appearance as the sky. 
I explained to him that I had not always been 
blind, that my blindness had come compara- 
tively late in life from a shooting accident, 
in which I lost one eye the sight of the other 
I lost gradually afterwards. I had imagined 
her as the lady who walked in the garden in 
Shelley's Sensitive Plant (I could not remem- 
ber all the quotation) : 

"A sea-flower unfolded beneath the ocean." 

Still, and rather mysterious, elusive and 
rare. He said I was right about the varia- 
bility, but that he saw her differently. It 
was true she was pale, delicate, and extremely 
refined, but her eyes were the interesting 
thing about her. She was like a sapphire. 
She looked better in the daytime than in 
the evening. By candle-light she seemed to 
fade. She did not remind him of Shelley at 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 15 

all. She was not ethereal nor diaphanous. 
She was a sapphire, not a moonstone. She 
belonged to the world of romance, not to the 
world of lyric poetry. Something had been 
left out when she had been created. She was 
unfinished. What had been left out ? Was 
it her soul ? Was it her heart ? Was she 
Undine ? No. Was she Lilith ? No. All 
the same she belonged to the fairy-tale 
world ; to the Hans Andersen world, or to 
Perrault. The Princess without . . . with- 
out what ? She was the Sleeping Beauty in 
the wood, who had woken up and remembered 
nothing, and could never recover from the 
long trance. She would never be the same 
again. Never really awake in the world. 
And yet she had brought nothing back from 
fairyland except her looks. 

" She reminds me," he said, " of a line of 
Robert Lytton's : * All her looks are poetry 
and all her thoughts are prose.' It is not 
that she is prosaic, but she is muffled. You 
see, during that long slumber which lasted a 

hundred years " Rudd had now quite 

forgotten my presence and was talking or, 
rather, murmuring to himself. He was com- 
posing aloud. " During that long exile which 



i6 OVERLOOKED 

lasted a hundred years, and passed in a flash, 
she had no dreams." 

" You mean she has no heart," I said. 

" No, not that," he answered, " heart as 
much as you like. She is kind. She is 
affectionate. But no passion, no dreams. 
Above all, no dreams. That is what she is. 
The Princess without any dreams. Do you 
think that would do as a title ? No, it is 
not quite right. The Sleeping Beauty in the 
World ? No. Why did Rostand use the 
title, La Princesse Lointaine ? That would 
have done. No, that is not quite right 
either. She is not far away. She is here. 
She looks far away and isn't. I must think 
about it. It will come." 

Then, quite abruptly, he asked me what I 
imagined the garden of the hotel looked like. 
I said that I had never been here before and 
that I had only heard descriptions of the 
place from my acquaintances and from my 
servant, but I imagined the end of the garden, 
where I had often walked, to be rather like 
a Russian landscape. I had never been to 
Russia, but I had read Russian books, and 
what I imagined to be a rather untidy piece 
of long grass, fringed with a few birch trees 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 17 

and some firs, the whole rather baked and 
dry, reminded me of the descriptions in 
Tourgenev's books. 

Rudd said it was not like Russia. Russia 
had so much more space. So much more 
atmosphere. This little garden might be a 
piece of Scotland, might be a piece of Den- 
mark, but it was not Russian. 

I asked him whether he had been to Russia. 
Not in the flesh, he said, but in the spirit he 
had lived there for years. 

Perhaps he wanted to see how much the 
second-hand impressions of a blind man were 
worth. 

He soon reverted to the original subject 
of our talk. 

" Why is Miss Brandon not married ? " he 
said. 

I said I knew nothing about her, nothing 
about her life. I presumed her parents were 
dead. She was travelling with her aunt. 
They came here every year for her aunt's 
rheumatism. Mrs. Lennox had a house in 
London. She was a widow, not very well 
off, I thought. I told him I knew nothing 
of London life. I have lived in Italy for the 
last twenty years. I very seldom went to 



i8 OVERLOOKED 

London, only, in fact, to see Kennaway. I 
told him he must find out about Miss Bran- 
don's early history himself. 

" She is very silent," he said. 

" Mrs. Lennox is very talkative," I told 
him. 

" What can I call it ? " he asked, in an 
agony of impatience. " She has every 
beauty, every grace, except that of expres- 



sion." 



" The Dumb Belle ? ' The words escaped 
me and I immediately regretted them. 

" No," he said, quite seriously, " she is not 
dumb, that is just the point. She talks, but 
she cannot express herself. Or rather, she 
has nothing to express. At least, I think she 
has nothing to express : or what she has got 
to express is not what we think it is. I 
imagine a story like Pygmalion and Galatea. 
Somebody waking her to life and then finding 
her quite different from what the stone image 
seemed to promise, from what it did promise. 
At any rate I have got my subject and I am 
extremely grateful. It is a wonderful subject." 

" Henry James," I ventured. 

" Ah, James," said Rudd, " yes, James, a 
wonderful intellect, but a critic, not a novel- 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 19 

ist. The French could do it. What would 
they have called it ? La Princesse destn- 
chantee, or La Belle revenue du Bois ? You 
can't say that in English." 

" Nor in French either," I thought to 
myself, but I said aloud, " Out of the Wood 
would suggest quite a different kind of book." 

" A very different kind of book," said 
Rudd, quite gravely. " The kind of book 
that sells by the million." 

Rudd then left me. He was enchanted 
with the idea of having something to write 
about. I felt that a good title for his novel 
would be Eurydice Half -regained, but I was 
diffident about suggesting a title to him, 
besides which I felt he would not like it. 
Miss Brandon, he would explain, was not like 
Eurydice, and if she was, she had forgotten 
her experiences beyond the Styx. 



CHAPTER II 

I AM going to divide my record into chapters 
just as if I were writing a novel. The length 
of the chapters will be entirely determined by 
my inclination at the moment of writing. 
When I am tired the chapter will end. I 
don't know if this is what novelists do. It 
does not matter, as I am not writing a novel. 
I know it is not what Rudd does. He told 
me he planned out his novel before writing 
a line, and decided beforehand on the length 
of each chapter, but that he often made them 
longer in the first draft, and then eliminated. 
If you want to be terse, he said, you must not 
start by trying to be terse, by leaving out. 
You must say everything first. You can 
rub out afterwards. He told me he worked 
in charcoal, as it were, at first. 

I shall not work in charcoal. I have no 
plan. 

I asked Princess Kouragine what Rudd 
was like. She said he had something rather 
prim and dapper about him. I was quite 

20 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 21 

wrong about his appearance. He wears a 
black tie. Princess Kouragine said, " II 
a Pair comme tout le monde, plutot comme un 
medecin de campagne." 

I asked her if she liked him. She said she 
did not know. She said he was agreeable, 
but she found no real pleasure in his society. 

" You see," she said, " I like the society 
of my equals, I hate being with my superiors ; 
that is why I hate being with royalties, 
authors and artists. Mr. Rudd can talk of 
nothing except his art, and I like Tauchnitz 
novels that one can read without any trouble. 
I hate realistic novels, especially in English." 

I told her his novels were more often fan- 
tastic, with a certain amount of psychology 
in them. 

" That is worse," she said, " I am old- 
fashioned. It is no use to try and convert 
me. I like Trollope and Ouida." 

I offered to lend her a novel by Rudd, but 
she refused. 

" I would rather not have read it," she said. 
" It would make me uncomfortable when I 
talked to him. As it is, as the idiot who has 
read nothing newer than Ouida, I am quite 
comfortable." 



22 OVERLOOKED 

I said he was writing something now which 
I thought would interest her. I told her 
how Rudd was making Miss Brandon the 
pivot of a story. 

" Ah ! " she said. " He told me he was 
writing something for his own pleasure. I 
will read that book." 

I said he did not intend to publish it. 

" He will publish it," she said. " It will 
be very interesting. I wonder what he will 
make of Jean Brandon. I know her well. 
I have known her for five years. They come 
here every year. They stay a long time. 
It is economical. She is a good girl. I like 
her. Elle me plait." 

I asked whether she was pretty. 

The Princess said she was changeable 
journaliere, " Elle a souvent mauvaise mine." 
Not tall enough. A beautiful skin like ivory, 
but too pale. Eyes. Yes, she had eyes. 
Most remarkable eyes. You could not tell 
whether they were blue or grey. Graceful. 
Pretty hands. Badly dressed, but from 
poverty and economy more than from mau- 
vais gout. A very English beauty. " You 
will probably tell me she is Scotch or Irish. 
I don't care. I don't mean Keapsake or 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 23 

Gainsborough, nor Burne-Jones, but English 
all the same. But I can't describe her. She 
has charm and it escapes one. She has 
beauty, but it doesn't fit into any of the 
categories. 

" One feels there is a lamp inside her which 
has gone out, for the time being, at any rate. 
She reminds me of some lines of Victor 
Hugo : 

" Et les plus sombres d'entre nous 
Ont eu leur aube eblouissante." 

" I can imagine her having been quite 
dazzling when she was a young girl. I can 
imagine her still being dazzling now if some- 
one were to light the lamp. It could be lit, 
I know. Once, two years ago, at the races 
here at Bavigny, I saw her excited. She 
wanted a friend to win a steeplechase and he 
won. She was transfigured. At that mo- 
ment I thought I had seldom seen anyone 
more Eblouissante. Her face shone as though 
it had been transparent." 

Of course the poor girl was unhappy, 
and why was she unhappy ? The reason was 
a simple one, she was poor, and Mrs. Lennox 
economized and used her as an economy. 



24 OVERLOOKED 

" You see that the poor girl is obliged to 
make de petites economies in her clothes. 
She suffers from it I'm sure. Who wouldn't? 
This all comes from your silly system of 
marriage in England. You let two totally 
inexperienced beings with nothing to help 
them settle the question on which the whole 
of their lives is to depend. You let a girl 
marry her first love. It is too absurd. It 
never lasts. I do not say that marriages in 
our country do not often turn out very badly. 
No one knows that better than I do, Heaven 
knows; but I say that at least we give the 
poor children a chance. We at least do not 
build marriages on a foundation which we 
know to be unsound beforehand, or not there 
at all. We do not let two people marry 
when we know that the circumstances cannot 
help leading to disaster." 

I said I did not think there was much to 
choose between the two systems. In France 
the young people had the chance of making a 
satisfactory marriage ; in our country the 
young people had the chance of marrying 
whom they chose, of making the right choice. 
It was sometimes successful. Besides, when 
there were real obstacles the marriages did 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 25 

not as a rule come off. Mrs. Lennox had 
told me that Miss Brandon had been engaged 
when she was nineteen to a man in the army. 
He was too poor. The engagement had 
been broken off. The man had left the army 
and gone to the colonies, and there the matter 
had remained. I didn't think she would 
have been happier if she had been married 
off to a parti. 

" She would not have been poor," said 
Princess Kouragine. " And she would have 
been more independent. She would have 
had a home." 

She said she did not attach an enormous 
importance to riches, but she didjattach 
great importance to real poverty, especially 
to poverty in the class of people with whom 
Miss Brandon lived. She said the worst 
kind of poverty was to live with people richer 
than yourself. It was a continual strain, 
she knew it from experience. She had been 
through it herself soon after she was married, 
after the first time her husband had been 
ruined. And nobody who had not been 
through it knew what it meant, the constant 
daily fret. 

" The little subterfuges. Having to think 



26 OVERLOOKED 

of every cab and every box of cigarettes. 
Not that I thought of those," she said. " But 
it was clothes which were the trouble. I 
can see that that poor Jean suffers in the 
same way. And then, what a life! To 
spend all one's time with that Mrs. Lennox, 
who is as hard as a stone and ruthlessly sel- 
fish. She does not want Jean to marry. 
Jean is too useful to her." 

I said I wondered why she had not married. 
Surely lots of men must have wanted to 
marry her. 

Princess Kouragine said that Mrs. Lennox 
was quite capable of preventing it. She 
rarely took her out in London. She brought 
her to Hareville when the London season 
began and they stayed here two months. It 
was cheaper. In the winter they went to 
Florence or Nice. 

I said I wondered whether she was still 
faithful to the man she had been engaged to, 
and what he was like. 

Princess Kouragine said she did not know 
him. She had never seen him, but she had 
heard he was charming, ires bien, but he 
hadn't a penny. It appeared, however, that 
he had a relation, possibly an uncle, who was 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 27 

well off, and who would probably leave him 
money. But he was not an old man and 
might live for years. 

I said that perhaps Miss Brandon was 
waiting for him. 

" Perhaps," said Princess Kouragine, " but 
she was only nineteen when they were 
engaged, and he has been away for the 
last five years. People change. She is no 
longer now what she was then, nor he, 
probably." 

She did not think this episode was a real 
obstacle ; she was convinced Miss Brandon 
did not feel bound, but she thought she had 
not yet met anyone whom she felt she would 
like to marry. Nor was it likely for her to do 
so considering the milieu in which she lived, 
in which she was obliged to live. 

Mrs. Lennox liked the continental, inter- 
national world. The world in which every- 
one spoke English and hardly anyone was 
English. It was not even the best side of the 
continental world she liked. She did not 
mean it was the shady side, not the world of 
adventurers and gamblers, but the world of 
international " culture." All the intellectual 
snobs were drawn instinctively to Mrs. 



28 OVERLOOKED 

Lennox. People who discovered new musi- 
cians, new novelists, and new painters, who 
suddenly pronounced as a dogma that Beet- 
hoven couldn't compose and that the old 
masters did not know how to draw, and that 
there was a new music, a new science, and, 
above all, a new religion. 

" She is always surrounded just by those 
one or two men and women ' qui rendent 
V Europe insupportable et qui la gobent,' they 
swallow everything in her, her views on art, 
her dyed hair, and her ridiculous hats. Is 
it likely that Miss Brandon, the daughter of 
an old general, brought up in the Highlands 
of Scotland, and passionately fond of out- 
door life, would find a husband among people 
who were discussing all day long whether 
Wagner was not better as a writer than a 
musician ? She never complains of it, poor 
child, but I know quite well that she is 
ecoeure'e. She has had five years of it. Her 
father died five years ago. Till he died she 
used to look after him and that was probably 
not an easy life, either, as I believe he was a 
very exacting old man. Her mother had 
died years before, and she had no brothers 
and no sisters. No relations who were 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 29 

friends, and few women friends. She is 
alone in a world she hates." 

I said I wondered that she had not left it. 
Girls often struck out a line for themselves 
now and found occupations. 

Princess Kouragine said that Miss Brandon 
was not that sort of girl. She was shy and 
apathetic as far as that kind of thing was 
concerned, apathetic now about everything. 
She had just given in. What else could she 
do ? Where could she live ? She had not a 
penny. 

" You see if a sensible marriage had been 
arranged for her, all this would not have 
happened. She would have now had a home 
and children." 

I said that perhaps she was being faithful 
to the young man. 

Princess Kouragine said I could take it 
from her that she had never loved, " elle n'a 
jamais aimd." She had never had a grande 
passion. 

I asked the Princess whether she thought 
her capable of such a thing. She seemed so 
quiet. 

" You have never seen the lamp lit," said 
the Princess, " but I have ; only for one 



30 OVERLOOKED 

moment, it is true, but I shall never forget 
it." 

She wondered what Rudd would make of 
the character. He hardly knew her. Did 
he seem to understand her ? 

I said I thought he spun people out of his 
own inner consciousness. A face gave him 
an idea and he made his own character, but 
he thought he was being very analytical, 
and that all he created was based on observa- 
tion. 

" He certainly observes nothing," said the 
Princess. 

She asked who would be the hero. I said 
we had not got as far as the hero when he had 
discussed it with me. 

"And what will he call the novel?" she 
asked. 

Ah, that was just the question. He had 
discussed that at length. He had not found 
a title that satisfied him. He had got so far 
as " The Princess without any Dreams" 

" Dieu qu'il est Mte" she said. " Cette 
enfant ne fait que rever" 

She told me I must get Rudd to discuss it 
with me again. 

" Perhaps he will talk to me about it, too. 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 31 

I will make him do so, in fact. It will not 
be difficult. Then we will compare notes. 
It will be most amusing. The Princess 
without any dreams, indeed! He might just 
as well call her the Princess without any 
eyes ! " 



CHAPTER III 

THIS afternoon I was sitting on a bench in 
the most secluded part of the park when I 
heard someone approach, and Miss Brandon 
asked if she might sit down near me and talk 
a little. Mrs. Lennox had gone for a motor 
drive with Mr. Rudd. 

" He is our new friend," she explained. 
" That is to say, more Aunt Netty's friend 
than mine." 

I asked her whether she liked him. 

" Yes, but he doesn't take much notice of 
me. He asks me questions, but never waits 
for the answer. I feel he has made up his 
mind about me, that I am labelled and pigeon- 
holed. He loves Aunt Netty." 

I asked what they talked about. 

" Books," she said. 

" His books, I suppose," I said. 

I wondered whether Mrs. Lennox had read 
them. I could feel Miss Brandon guessing 
my inward question. 

32 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 33 

" Aunt Netty is very clever," she said. 
" She makes people enjoy themselves, espe- 
cially those kind of people. . . . Last night 
he dined at our table, and so did Mabel Sum- 
mer. You don't know her ? You must know 
her, you would like her. She is going away 
to-morrow, for a fortnight to the Lakes, but 
she is coming back then. We nearly laughed 
at one moment. It was awful. They were 
discussing Balzac, and Aunt Netty said that 
Balzac was a snob like all and she was just 
going to say like all novelists, when she 
caught herself up and said : ' like Thacker- 
ay.' Mr. Rudd said that Balzac and Thac- 
keray had nothing in common, and Mabel, 
who had caught my eye, and I, were speech- 
less. Just for a moment I was shaking, and 
Mr. Rudd looked at us. It was awful, but 
Mabel recovered and said she didn't think we 
could realize now the kind of atmosphere that 
Thackeray lived in." 

I said I didn't suppose that Rudd had 
noticed anything. He didn't seem to me to 
notice that kind of thing. 

She agreed, but said he had moments of 
lucidity which were unexpected and discon- 
certing. " For one second," she said, " he 



34 OVERLOOKED 

suspected we were laughing at him. Aunt 
Netty manages him perfectly. He loves 
her. She knows exactly what to say to him. 
He knows she is not critical. I think he is 
rather suspicious. How funny clever men 
are! " she said, after a pause. 

I said she really meant to say, " How 
stupid clever men are ! " I reminded her of 
the profound saying of one of Kipling's 
women, that the stupidest woman could 
manage a clever man, but it took a very 
clever woman to manage a fool. 

She said she had always found the most 
disconcerting element in stupid people or 
people who were thought to be stupid was 
their sudden flashes of lucidity, when they 
saw things quite plainly. Clever men didn't 
have these flashes, but the curious thing was 
that Rudd did. 

I said I thought this was because, apart 
from his literary talent, which was an accom- 
plishment like conjuring or acting, quite 
separate from the rest of his personality, 
Rudd was not a clever man. All his clever- 
ness went into his books. I said I thought 
there were two kinds of writers: those who 
were better than their books, and of whom the 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 35 

books were only the overflow, and those who 
put every drop of their being into the books 
and were left with a dry and uninteresting 
shell. 

She said she thought she had only met that 
kind. 

" Aunt Netty," she said, " loves all authors 
and it's odd considering " 

She stopped, but I ended her sentence : 
" She has never read a book in her life." 

Miss Brandon laughed and said I was un- 
fair. 

" Reading tires her. I don't think anyone 
has time to read a book after they are 
eighteen. I haven't. But I feel I am a 
terrible wet blanket to all Aunt Netty's 
friends. I can't even pretend to be enthus- 
iastic. You see I like the other sort of 
people so much better." 

I said I was afraid the other sort of people 
were poorly represented here just now. 

" We have another friend," she said, " at 
least, I have." 

" Also a new friend ? " I asked. 

" I have known him in a way a long time," 
she said. " He is a Russian called Kranitski. 
We met him first two years ago at Florence. 



36 OVERLOOKED 

He was looking after his mother, who was ill 
and who lived at Florence. We used to meet 
him often, but I never got to know him. We 
never spoke to each other. We saw him, 
too, in the distance once on the Riviera." 

I asked what he was like. 

" He is all lucid intervals," she said, " it 
is frightening. But he is very easy to get 
on with. Of course I don't know him at all 
really. I have only seen him twice. But one 
didn't have to plough through the usual 
commonplaces. He began at once as if we 
had known each other for years, and I felt 
myself doing the same thing." 

I asked what he was. 

She didn't quite know. 

I said I thought I knew the name. It 
reminded me of something, but I certainly 
did not know him. Miss Brandon said she 
would introduce me to him. I asked what 
he looked like. 

" Oh, an untidy, comfortable face," she 
said. " He is always smiling. He is not at 
all international. He is like a dog. The kind 
of dog that understands you in a minute. 
The extraordinary thing is that after the 
first time we had a talk I felt as if I knew him 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 37 

intimately, as if I had met him on some other 
planet, as if we were going on, not as if we 
were beginning. I suddenly found myself 
telling him things I had never told anyone. 
Of course, this does happen to one sometimes 
with perfect strangers, at least it does to me. 
Don't you think it easy sometimes to pour 
out confidences to a perfect stranger ? But 
I don't expect people give you the oppor- 
tunity. They tell you things." 

I said this did happen sometimes, probably 
because people thought I didn't count, and 
that as I couldn't see their faces they needn't 
tell the truth. 

" I would find it as difficult to tell you a 
lie," she said, " as to tell a lie on the tele- 
phone. You know how difficult that is. I 
should think people tell you the truth as they 
do in the Confessional. The priest shuts his 
eyes, doesn't he ? " 

I said I believed this was the case. 

" This Russian is a Catholic," she said. 
" Isn't that rare for a Russian ? " 

I said he was, perhaps, a Pole. The name 
sounded Polish. 

No, he had told her he was not a Pole. 
He was not a man who explained. Explana- 



38 OVERLOOKED 

tions evidently bored him. He was not a 
soldier, but he had been to the Manchurian 
War. He had lived in the Far East a great 
deal, and in Italy. Very little in Russia 
apparently. He had come to Hareville for 
a rest cure. 

" I asked him," she said, " if he had been 
ill, and he said something had been cut out 
of his life. He had been pruned. The 
rest of him went on sprouting just the 



same." 



I said I supposed he spoke English. 

Yes, he had had an English nurse and an 
English governess. He had once been to 
England as a child for a few weeks to the 
Isle of Wight. He knew no English people. 
He liked English books. 

" Byron, and Jerome K. Jerome ? ' 
suggested. 

" No," she said, " Miss Austen." 

I asked whether he had made Mrs. 
Lennox's acquaintance. Yes, they had 
talked a little. 

" Aunt Netty talked to him about 
Tolstoi. Tolstoi is one of Mr. Rudd's stock 
topics." 

I said I supposed she had retailed Rudd's 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 39 

views on the Russian. Was he astonished ? 

" Not a bit. I could see he had heard it 
all before," she said. " He was angelic. 
He shook his ears now and then like an Aire- 
dale terrier. Aunt Netty doesn't want him. 
Mr.Rudd is enough for her and she is enjoy- 
ing herself. She always finds someone here. 
Last year it was a composer." 

" Does Princess Kouragine know him ? " 
I asked. 

No, she didn't. She had never met him, 
but she knew of him. 

I asked what Mr. Rudd thought about 
Princess Kouragine. 

" Mr. Rudd and Aunt Netty discuss her 
for hours. He has theories about her. He 
began by saying she had the Slav indifference. 
Then Aunt Netty said she was French. But 
Mr. Rudd said it was catching. People who 
lived in Ireland became Irish, and people 
who lived in Russia became Russian. Then 
Aunt Netty said Princess Kouragine had 
lived in France and Italy. Mr. Rudd said 
she had caught the microbe, and that she 
was a woman who lived only by half-hours. 
He meant she was only alive for half-an-hour 
at a time." 



40 OVERLOOKED 

At that moment someone walked up the 
path. 

" Here is Monsieur Kranitski," she said. 
She introduced us. 

" I have been walking to the end of the 
park," he said. " It is curious, but that side 
of the park with the dry lawn-tennis court, 
those birch trees and some straggling fir 
trees on the hill and the long grass, reminds 
me of a Russian garden which I used to know 
very well." 

I said that when people had described that 
same spot to me I had imagined it like the 
descriptions of places in Tourgenev's books. 

He said I was quite right. 

I said it was a wonderful tribute to an 
author's powers that he could make the 
character of a landscape plain, not only to a 
person who had never been in his country, 
but even to a blind man. 

Kranitski said that Tourgenev described 
gardens very well, and a particular kind of 
Russian landscape. " What I call the ortho- 
dox kind. I hear James Rudd, the writer, 
is staying here. He has a gift for describing 
places : Italian villages, journeys in France, 
little canals at Venice, the Campagna." 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 41 

" You like his books ? " I asked. 

" Some of them ; when they are fantastic, 
yes. When he is psychological I find them 
annoying, but one says I am wrong." 

" He is too complicated," Miss Brandon 
said. " He spoils things by seeing too much, 
by explaining too much." 

I asked Kranitski if he was a great novel 
reader. He said he liked novels if they were 
very good, like Miss Austen and Henry 
James, or else very, very bad ones. He 
could not read any novel because it was a 
novel. On the other hand he could read any 
detective story, good, bad or middling. 

Miss Brandon asked him if he would like 
to know Rudd. 

" Is he very frightful ? " he asked. 

I said I did not think he was at all 
alarming. 

Yes, he said, he would like to make his 
acquaintance. He had never met an Eng- 
lish author. 

" You won't mind his explaining the Rus- 
sian character to you ?" I said. 

Kranitski said he would not mind that, 
and that as his mother was Italian, and as 
he had lived very little in Russia and spoke 



42 OVERLOOKED 

Russian badly, perhaps Mr. Rudd would not 
count him as a Russian. 

Miss Brandon said that would make the 
explanation more complicated still. 



CHAPTER IV 

LIFE begins very early in the morning here. 
The water-drinkers and the bathers begin 
their day at half-past six. My day does not 
begin till half-past seven, as I don't drink 
many glasses of the water. 

At seven o'clock the village bell rings for 
Mass. 

It was some days after the conversations 
I recorded in my last chapter I woke one 
morning early at half-past six and got up. 
I asked my servant, Henry, to lead me to the 
village church. I went in and sat down at 
the bottom of the aisle. Early Mass had not 
yet begun. The church seemed to me empty. 
But from a corner I heard the whispered 
mutter of a confession. Presently two people 
walked past me, the priest and the penitent, 
I surmised. Someone walked upstairs. A 
boy'& footsteps then clattered past me. The 
church bell was rung. Someone walked 
downstairs and up the aisle ; the priest 
again, I thought. Then Mass began, To- 

43 



44 OVERLOOKED 

wards the end someone again walked up the 
aisle. I remained sitting till the end. 

At the door, outside the church, someone 
greeted me. It was Kranitski. He walked 
back with me to the hotel. He asked me 
whether I was a Catholic. I told him that 
Catholic churches attracted me, but that I 
was an agnostic. He seemed slightly aston- 
ished at this ; astonished at the attraction 
in my case, I supposed. He said something 
which indicated surprise. 

I told him I could not explain it. It was 
certainly not the exterior panoply and trap- 
pings of the church which attracted me, for 
of those I saw nothing. Nor was it the music, 
for although I was not a musician, my long 
blindness had made me acutely sensitive to 
sound, and the sounds in churches were 
often, I found, painful. 

I asked him if he was a Catholic. 

"I was born a Catholic," he said, "but 
for years I have not been pratiquant, until 
I came here. Not for seven years." 

" You have not been inside a church for 
seven years ? " I said. 

" Oh yes," he said, " inside a church very 
often." 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 45 

I said most people lost their faith as young 
men. Sometimes it came back. 

" I was not like that," he said, " I never 
lost my faith, not for a day, not for an hour." 

I said I didn't understand. 

" There were reasons an obstacle," he 
said. " But now they are not there any 
more. Now I am once more inside." 

" Inside what ? " I asked. 

" The church. During those seven years 
I was outside." 

" But as you went to church when you 
liked," I said, " I do not see the difference." 

" I cannot explain it to you," he said. 
" You would not understand. At least, you 
would understand if you knew and I could 
explain, only it would be too long. But as 
it was it was like knowing you couldn't have 
a bath if you wanted one like feeling always 
starved. You see I am naturally believing. 
If I had not been, it would have been no 
matter. I cannot help believing. Many 
times I should have liked not to believe. 
Many times I was envying people who feel 
you go out like a candle when you die. I 
am not mystique or anything like that ; but 
something at the back of my mind is keeping 



46 OVERLOOKED 

on saying to me : c You know it is true,' just 
as in some people there is something inside 
them which is keeping on saying : ' You know 
it is not true.' And yet I couldn't do other- 
wise. That is to say, I resolved not to do 
otherwise. Life is complicated. Things are 
so mixed up sometimes. One has to sacrifice 
what one most cares for. At least, I had to. 
I was caring for my religion more than I can 
describe, but I had to give it up. No, that 
is wrong, I didn't have to, but I gave it up. 
It was all very embarrassing. But now the 
obstacle is not there. I am free. It is a 
relief." 

" But if you never lost your faith and went 
on going to church, and could go to church 
whenever you liked, I cannot see what you 
had to give up. I don't see what the ob- 
stacle prevented." 

' To explain you that I should have to 
tell too long a story," he said. " I will tell 
you some day if you have patience to listen. 
Not now." 

We had got back to the park. I went 
into the pavilion to drink the water. I asked 
Kranitski if he was going to have a glass. 

" No," he said, " I do not need any waters 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 47 

or any cure. I am cured already, but I need 
a long rest to forget it all. You know some- 
times after illness you regret the maladie, and 
I am still a little bit dizzy. After you have 
had a tooth out, in spite of the relief from 
pain you mind the hole." 

He went into the hotel. 

Later in the morning I met Princess Kour- 
agine. 

She asked me how Rudd's novel was get- 
ting on. I said I had not seen him, and had 
had no talk with him about it. I told her 
I had made the acquaintance of Kranitski. 

" I too," she said. " I like him. I never 
knew him before, but I know a little of his 
history. He has been in love a very long 
time with someone I knew and still know, 
I won't say her name. I don't want to rake 
up old scandals, but she was Russian, and 
she lived, a long time ago, in Rome, and she 
was unhappy with her husband, whom I 
always liked, and thought extremely comme 
il faut, but they were not suited." 

" Why didn't she divorce him ? " I asked. 

"The children," she said; "three children, 
two boys and a girl, and she adored them, 
so did the father, and he would never have 



48 OVERLOOKED 

let them go, nor would she have left them for 
anyone in the world." 

" If she lived at Rome, I may have met 
her," I said. 

" It is quite possible," said the Princess. 
" My friend was a charming person, a little 
vague, very gentle, very graceful, very 
musical, very attractive." 

" Is the husband still alive ? " I asked. 

" Yes, he is alive. They do not live at 
Rome any more, but in the Caucasus, and at 
Paris in the winter. I saw them both in 
Paris this winter." 

I asked if the Kranitski episode was still 
going on. 

" It is evidently over," said Princess 
Kouragine. 

" Why ? " I asked. 

" Because he is happy. II rfa plus des 
yeux qui regardent au del&." 

" Was he very much in love with her ? " 
I asked. 

" Yes, very much. And she too. He will 
be a character for Mr. Rudd," she went on. 
" I saw him talking to him yesterday, with 
Mrs. Lennox and Jean. Jean likes him. 
She looks better these last two days." 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 49 

I said I had noticed she seemed more lively. 

" Ah, but physically she looks different. 
That child wants admiration and love." 

" Love ? " I said. " Won't it be rather 
unfortunate if she looks for love in that 
quarter ? He won't love again, will he ? 
Or not so soon as this." 

' You are like the people who think one 
can only have measles once," she said. " One 
can have it over and over again, and the 
worse you have it once, the worse you may 
get it again. He is just in the most suscep- 
tible state of all." 

I said they both seemed to me in the same 
position. They were both of them bound by 
old ties. 

' That is just what will make it easier." 

I asked whether there would be any other 
obstacles to a marriage between them, such 
as money. Princess Kouragine said that 
Kranitski ought to be quite well off. 

' There was no obstacle of that kind," she 
said. " He is a Catholic, but I do not sup- 
pose that will make any difference." 

" Not to Miss Brandon," I said, " nor 
really to her aunt : Mrs. Lennox might, I 
think, look upon it as a kind of obstacle ; but 



50 OVERLOOKED 

a little more an obstacle than if he was a 
radical and a little less of one than if he was 
socialist." 

She said she did not think that Mrs. 
Lennox would like her niece to marry anyone. 

" But if they want to get married nothing 
will stop them. That girl has a character 
of iron." 

" And he ? " I asked. 

" He has got some character." 

" Would the other person mind the lady 
at Rome ? " 

" She probably will mind, but she would 
not prevent it. Elle est jonderement bonne. 
Besides which she knows that it is over, 
there is nothing more to be said or done. She 
is philosophe too. A sensible woman. She 
insisted on marrying her husband. She was 
in love with him directly she came out, and 
they were married at once. He would have 
been an excellent husband for almost anyone 
else except for her, and if she had only waited 
two years she would have known this herself. 
As it was, she married him, and found she 
had married someone else. The inevitable 
happened. She is far too sensible to com- 
plain now. She knows she has made a 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 51 

gdchis of her life, and that she only has her- 
self to thank. As it is, she has her children 
and she is devoted to them. She will not 
want to make a gdchis of Kranitski's life as 
well as of her own, and she nearly did that 
too. If he marries and is happy she ought 
to be pleased, and she will be." 

44 And what about the young man who 
was engaged to Miss Brandon ? " I asked. 

" I do not give that story a thought," said 
the Princess. " They were probably in the 
same situation towards each other as the 
Russian couple I told you of were before they 
were married, only Jean had the good fortune 
to do nothing in a hurry. She is probably 
now profoundly grateful. How can a girl of 
eighteen know life ? How can she even know 
her own mind ? " 

44 It depends on the young man," I said. 
44 We know nothing about him." 

44 Yes, we know nothing about him ; but 
that probably shows there is nothing to 
know. If there were something to know we 
should know it by now. It was all so long 
ago. They are both different people now, 
and they probably know it." 

I said I would not like to speculate or even 



52 OVERLOOKED 

hazard a guess on such a matter. It might 
be as she said, but the contrary might just 
as well be true. I did not think Miss Bran- 
don was a person who would change her mind 
in a hurry. I thought she was one of the 
rare people who did know her own mind. I 
could imagine her waiting for years if it was 
necessary. 

As I was saying this, Princess Kouragine 
said to me : 

" She is walking across the park now with 
Kranitski. They have sat down on a seat 
near the music kiosk. They are talking hard. 
The lamp is being lit she looks ten years 
younger than she did last week, and she has 
got on a new hat." 



CHAPTER V 

DURING the rest of that day I saw nobody. 
I gathered there were races somewhere, 
and Mrs. Lennox had taken a large party. 
Just before dinner I got a message from Rudd 
asking whether he might dine at my table. 

I do not dine in the big dining-room, as I 
find the noise and the bustle trying, but in a 
smaller room where some of the visitors have 
their petit dejeuner. 

So we were alone and had the room to our- 
selves. I asked him if he had been working. 

He said he had been making notes, plans 
and sketches, but he could not get on unless 
he could discuss his work with someone. 

" The story is gradually taking shape," he 
said. ' l I haven't made up my mind what 
the setting is to be. But I have got the ker- 
nel. My story is what I told you it would 
be. The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, 
but when the Prince wakes her up she is no 
longer the same person as she was when 

53 



54 OVERLOOKED 

she went to sleep. The enchantment has 
numbed her. She will have none of the Fairy 
Prince ; she doesn't recognize him as a Fairy 
Prince, and she lets him go away. As soon 
as he is gone she regrets what she has done 
and begins to hope he will come back some 
day. Time passes and he does come back, 
but he has forgotten her and he does not 
recognize her. Someone else falls in love 
with her, and she thinks she loves him ; but, 
at the first kiss he gives her, the forest closes 
round her and she falls asleep again." 

I asked him if it was going to be a fairy-tale. 

He said, No, a modern story with perhaps 
a mysterious lining to it. 

He imagined this kind of story. A girl 
brought up in romantic surroundings. She 
meets a boy who falls in love with her. This, 
in a way, wakens her to life, but she will not 
marry him ; and he goes away for years. 
Time passes. She leads a numbed existence. 
She travels, and somewhere abroad she meets 
the love of her youth again. He has forgot- 
ten her and loves someone else. Someone 
else wants to marry her. They are engaged 
to be married. But as soon as things get as 
far as this the man finds that in some inex- 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 55 

plicable way she is different, and he breaks 
off the engagement, and she goes on living 
as she did before, apparently the same, but 
in reality dead. 

" Then," I said, " she always loves the 
Fairy Prince of her youth." 

He said : " She thinks she loves him when 
it is too late, but in reality she never loves 
anyone. She is only half-awake in life. She 
never gets over the enchantment which 
numbs her for life." 

I asked what would correspond to the 
enchantment in real life. 

He said perhaps the romantic surroundings 
of her childhood. 

I said I thought he had not meant her to 
be a romantic character. 

" No more she is," he explained. ' The 
romance is all from outside. She looks 
romantic, but she isn't. She is like a person 
who has been bewitched. She always thinks 
she is going to behave like an ordinary, person, 
but she can't. She has no dreams. She 
would like to marry, to have a home, to be 
comfortable and free, but something prevents 
it. When the young man proposes to her 
she feels she can never marry him. As soon 



56 OVERLOOKED 

as he is gone, she regrets having done this, 
and imagines that if he came back she would 
love him." 

" And when he does come back, does she 
love him ? " I asked. 

" She thinks she does, but that is only 
because he has forgotten her. If he hadn't 
forgotten her, and had asked her to marry 
him, she would have said 4 No ' a second time. 
Then when the other person who is in love 
with her wants to marry her, she thinks 
she is in love with him ; she thinks he is 
the Fairy Prince ; but as soon as they are 
engaged, he feels that his love has gone. It 
has faded from the want of something in her 
which he discovers at the very first kiss ; 
he breaks off the engagement, and she is 
grateful at being set free, and glad to go back 
to her forest." 

I asked if she is unhappy when it is over. 

He said, " Yes, she is unhappy, but she 
accepts it. She is not broken-hearted be- 
cause she never loved him. She realizes 
that she can't love and will never love, and 
accepts the situation." 

I said that I saw no mysterious lining in 
the story as told that way. 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 57 

He said there was none ; but the lining 
would come in the manner the story was told. 
He would try and give the reader the im- 
pression that she had come into touch with 
the fairy world by accident and that the 
adventure had left a mark that nothing could 
alter. 

She had no business to have adventures in 
fairy land. 

She had strayed into that world by mistake. 
She was not native to it, although she looked 
as if she were. 

I said I thought there ought to be some 
explanation of how and why she got into 
touch with the fairy world. 

He said it was perhaps to be found in the 
surroundings of her childhood. She perhaps 
inherited some strange spiritual, magic 
legacy. But whatever it was it must come 
from the outside. Perhaps there was a 
haunted wood near her home, and she was 
forbidden to go into it. Perhaps the legend 
of the place said that anyone of her family 
who visited that wood before they were 
fifteen years old, went to sleep for a hundred 
years. Perhaps she visited the wood and 
fell asleep and had a dream. That dream 



58 OVERLOOKED 

was the hundred years' sleep, but she forgot 
the dream as soon as she was awake. 

I asked him if he thought this story fitted 
on to Miss Brandon's character or to the 
circumstances of her life. 

He said he knew little about the circum- 
stances of her life. Mrs. Lennox had told 
him that her niece had once nearly married 
someone, but that it had been an impossible 
marriage for many reasons, and that she did 
not think her niece regretted it. That several 
people had wanted to marry her abroad, but 
that she had never fallen in love. 

" As to her character, I am confirmed," 
he said, " in what I thought about her the 
first time I saw her. All her looks are poetry 
and all her thoughts are prose. She is 
practical and prosaic and unimaginative and 
quite passionless. But I should not be in the 
least surprised if she married a fox-hunting 
squire with ten thousand a year. All that 
does not matter to me. I am not writing 
her story, but the story of her face. What 
might have been her story. And not the 
story of what her face looks like, but the story 
of what her face means. The story of her 
soul, which may be very different from the 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 59 

story of her life. It is the story of a numbed 
soul. A soul that has visited places which 
it had no business to visit and had had to pay 
the price in consequence. 

" She reminds me of those lines of Heine : 

" Sie waren langst gestorben und wussten 
es selber kaum." 

" That is, of course, only one way of writing 
the story I have planned to you. I shall not 
begin at the beginning at any rate. Perhaps 
I shall never write the story at all. You 
see, I do not intend to publish it in any case. 
People would say I was making a portrait. 
As if an artist ever made a portrait from one 
definite real person. People give him ideas. 
But on the other hand it is my holiday, and 
I do not want to have all the labour of plan- 
ning a real story, and at the same time I want 
an occupation. This will keep me busy. I 
shall amuse myself by sketching the story 
as I see it now." 

I asked who the hero would be. 

" The man who wants to marry her and 
whom she consents to marry will be a 
foreigner," he said. 

" An Italian ? " I asked. 



60 OVERLOOKED 

" No," he said, " not an Italian. Not a 
southerner. A northerner. Possibly a Nor- 
wegian. A Norwegian or a Dane. That 
would be just the kind of person to be at- 
tracted by this fairy-tale-looking, in reality, 
prosaic being." 

" And who would the original Fairy Prince 
be ? " I asked. 

44 He would be an ordinary Englishman. 
Any of the young men I saw here would do 
for that. The originality of his character 
would be in this : that he would look and 
be considered the type of dog-like fidelity 
and unalterable constancy, and in reality he 
would forget all about her directly he met 
someone else he loved. He would have been 
quite faithful till then. Faithful for two 
or three years. Then he would have met 
someone else : a married woman. Someone 
out of his reach, and he would have been 
passionately devoted to her and have for- 
gotten all about the Fairy Princess. 

" The Norwegian would be attracted by 
her very apathy and seeming coldness and 
aloofness. He would imagine that this would 
all melt and vanish away at the first kiss. 
That she would come to life like Galatea. 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 61 

It would be the opposite of Galatea. The 
first kiss would turn her to stone once 



more. 
t< 



Then being a very nice honest fellow he 
would be miserable. He would not know 
what to do. He would be a sailor perhaps, 
and be called away. That would have to be 
thought about." 

Then we talked of other things. I asked 
Rudd if he had made Kranitski's acquain- 
tance. He said, Yes, he had. He was quite 
a pleasant fellow, no brains and very com- 
monplace and rather reactionary in his 
ideas; not politically, he meant, but intel- 
lectually. 

He had not got further than Miss Austen 
and he was taken in by Chesterton. All that 
was very crude. But he was amiable and 
good-natured. 

I said Princess Kouragine liked him. 

" Ah," he said, " that is an interesting 
type. The French character infected by the 
Slav microbe. 

4 What a powerful thing the Slav microbe 
is ; more powerful even than the Irish mi- 
crobe. Her French common sense and her 
Latin logic had been stricken by that curious 



62 OVERLOOKED 

Russian intellectual malaria. She will never 
get it out of her system." 

I asked him if he thought Kranitski had 
the same malaria. 

" It is less noticeable in him," Rudd said, 
" because he is Russian ; there is no contrast 
to observe, no conflict. He is simply a Slav 
of a rather conventional type. His Slav- ness 
would simply reveal itself in his habits ; his 
incessant cigarette-smoking ; his good head 
for cards he was an admirable card-player 
his facility for playing the piano, and per- 
haps singing folk-songs I don't know if he 
does, but he well might ; his good-natured 
laziness ; his social facility ; his quick super- 
ficiality. There is nothing interesting psy- 
chologically there." 

I said that I believed his mother was 
Italian. 

Rudd said this was impossible. She might 
be Polish, but there was evidently no south- 
ern strain in him. Although I knew for a 
fact that Rudd was wrong, I could not 
contradict him ; greatly as I wished to 
do so I could not bring the words across my 
lips. 

I said he had made Mrs. Lennox's acquain- 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 63 

tance. He said he knew that he had met him 
in their rooms. 

I asked whether he thought Miss Brandon 
liked him. 

Rudd said that Miss Brandon was the same 
towards everyone. Profoundly indifferent, 
that is to say. He did not think, he was, in 
fact, quite certain that there was not a soul 
at Hareville who raised a ripple of interest 
on the perfectly level surface of her resigned 
discontent. 

Then we went out into the park and lis- 
tened to the music. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE day after Rudd dined with me I was 
summoned by telegram to London. My 
favourite sister, who is married and whom I 
seldom see, was seriously ill. She wanted to 
see me. I started at once for London and 
found matters better than I expected, but 
still rather serious. I stayed with my sister 
nearly a month, by which time she was con- 
valescent. Kennaway insisted on my going 
back to Hareville to finish my cure. 

When I got back, I found all the members 
of the group to which I had become semi- 
attached still there, and I made a new 
acquaintance : Mrs. Summer, who had just 
come back from the Lakes. I know little 
about her. I can only guess at her appear- 
ance. I know that she is married and that 
she cannot be very young and that is all. 
On the other hand, I feel now that I know a 
great deal about her. 

6 4 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 65 

We sat after dinner in the park. She is a 
friend of Miss Brandon's. We talked of 
her. Mrs. Summer said : 

" The air here has done her such a lot of 
good." 

She meant to say : " She is looking much 
better than she did when she arrived," 
but she did not want to talk about looks 
to me. 

I said : " She must get tired of coming 
here year after year." 

Mrs. Summer said that Miss Brandon 
hated London almost as much. 

I said : " You have known her a long time?" 

She said : " All her life. Ever since she 
was tiny." 

I asked what her father was like. 

" He was very selfish, violent-tempered, 
and rather original. When he dined out he 
always took his champagne with him in a 
pail and in a four-wheeler. He lived in an 
old house in the south of Ireland. He was 
not really Irish. He had been a soldier. He 
played picquet with Jean every evening. 
He went up to London two months every 
year not in the summer. He liked seeing 
the Christmas pantomime. He was devoted 



66 OVERLOOKED 

to Jean, but tyrannized over her. He never 
let her out of his sight. 

When he died he left nothing. The house 
in Ireland was sold, and the house in London, 
a house in Bedford Square. I think there 
were illegitimate children. In Ireland he 
entertained the neighbours, talked politics, 
and shouted at his guests, and quarrelled 
with everyone." 

I presumed he was not a Radical. I was 
right. 

I said I supposed Miss Brandon could never 
escape. 

She had been engaged to be married once, 
but money the want of it made the mar- 
riage impossible. Even if there had been 
money she doubted. 

" Because of the father ? " I said. 

" Yes, she would never have left him. 
She couldn't have left him." 

" Did the father like the young man ? " 

" Yes, he liked him, but regarded him as 
quite impossible, quite out of the question 
as a husband." 

I said I supposed he would have 
thought anyone else equally out of the 
question. 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 67 

" Of course," she said. " It was pure 
selfishness ' 

I asked what had happened to the young 
man. 

He was in the army, but left it because it 
was too expensive. He went out to the 
Colonies South Africa as A.D.C. He was 
there now. 

" Still unmarried ? " I asked. 

Mrs. Summer said he would never marry 
anyone else. He had never looked at anyone 
else. He was supposed, at one time, to have 
liked an Italian lady, but that was all nonsense. 

She felt I did not believe this. 

"You don't believe me," she said. "But 
I promise you it's true. He is that kind of 
man terribly faithful ; faithful and con- 
stant. You see, Jean isn't an ordinary girl. 
If one once loved her it would be difficult to 
love anyone else. She was just the same 
when he knew her as she is now." 

" Except younger " 

" She is just as beautiful now, at least she 
could be " 

" If someone told her so." 

" Yes, if someone thought so. Telling 
wouldn't be necessary." 



68 OVERLOOKED 

" Perhaps someone will." 

Mrs. Summer said it was extremely un- 
likely she would ever meet anyone abroad 
who would be the kind of man. 

I said I thought life was a play in which 
every entrance and exit was arranged before- 
hand, and the momentous entrance and the 
scene a faire might quite as well happen at 
Hareville as anywhere else. 

Mrs. Summer made no comment. I 
thought to myself : " She knows about 
Kranitski and doesn't want to discuss it." 

" The man who marries Jean would be 
very lucky," she said. " Jean is well 
there is no one like her. She's more than 
rare. She'sintrouvable." 

I said that Rudd thought she would never 
marry anyone. 

" Perhaps not," she said, " but if Mr. Rudd 
is right about her he will be right for the 
wrong reasons. Sometimes the people who 
see everything wrong are right. It is very 
irritating." 

I asked her if she thought Rudd was always 
wrong. 

" I don't know," she said, " but he would 
be wrong about Jean. Wrong about you. 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 69 

Wrong about me. Wrong about Princess 
Kouragine, and wrongest of all about Netty 
Lennox. Perhaps his instincts as an artist 
are right. I think people's books are some- 
times written by someone else, a kind of 
planchette. All the authors I have met have 
been so utterly and completely wrong about 
everything that stared them in the face." 

I asked whether she liked his books. 

Yes, she liked them, but she thought they 
were written by a familiar spirit. She couldn't 
fit him into his books. 

" Then," I said, " supposing he wrote a 
book about Miss Brandon, however wrong he 
might be about her, the book might turn out 
to be true." 

She didn't agree. She thought if he wrote 
a book about an imaginary Miss Jones it 
might turn out to be right in some ways 
about Jean Brandon, and in some ways about 
a hundred other people ; but if he set out 
to write a book about Jean it would be 
wrong. 

4 You mean," I said, " he is imaginative 
and not observant ? " 

44 1 mean," she said, 44 that he writes by 
instinct, as good actors act." 



70 OVERLOOKED 

She said there was a Frenchman at the 
hotel who had told her that he had seen a 
rehearsal of a complicated play, in which a 
great actress was acting. The author was 
there. He explained to the actress what he 
wanted done. She said : " Yes, I see this, 
and this, and this." Everything she said 
was terribly wide of the mark, the opposite 
of what he had meant. He saw she hadn't 
understood a word he had said. Then the 
actress got on to the stage and acted it 
exactly as if she understood everything." 

" I think," she said, " that Mr. Rudd is 
like that." 

I asked Mrs. Summer if she knew Kranit- 
ski. 

" Just a little" she said. " What do you 
think about him ? " 

I said I liked him. 

" He's very quick and easy to get on with," 
she said. 

" Like all Russians." 

" Like all Russians, but I don't think he's 
quite like all Russians, at least not the kind 
of Russians one meets." 

" No, more like the Russians one doesn't 
meet." 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 71 

" Tolstoi's Russians. Yes. It's a pity 
they have such a genius for unhappiness." 

I said I thought Kranitski did not seem 
unhappy. 

" No, but more as if he had just recovered 
than if he was quite well." 

I said I thought he gave one the impression 
that he was capable of being very happy. 
There was nothing gloomy about him. 

" All people who are unhappy are generally 
very happy, too," she said, " at least they 
are often very ..." 

"Gay?" I suggested. 

She agreed. 

I said I thought he was more than an 
unhappy person with high spirits, which one 
saw often enough. He gave me the impres- 
sion of a person capable of solid happiness, the 
kind of business-like happiness that comes 
from a fundamental goodness. 

" Yes, he might be like that," she said, 
" only one doesn't know quite what his life 
has been and is." 

She meant she knew all too well that his 
life had not been one in which happiness was 
possible. 

I agreed. 



72 OVERLOOKED 

" One knows so little about other people." 

" Nothing," I said. " Perhaps he is miser- 
able. He ought to marry. I feel he is very 
domestic." 

" I sometimes think," she said, " that the 
people who marry the men I mean are 
those who want the help and support of a 
woman, women are so far stronger and 
braver than men*; and that those who don't 
marry are sometimes those who are strong 
enough to face life without this help. Of 
course, there are others who aren't either 
strong enough or weak enough to need it, 
but they don't matter." 

I said I supposed she thought Kranitski 
would be strong enough to do without mar- 
riage. 

" I think so," she said, " but then, I 
hardly know him." 

" Does your theory apply to women, too? " 
I asked. " Are there some women who are 
strong enough to face life alone ? " 

She said women were strong enough to do 
either. In either case life was for them just 
as difficult. 

I asked if she thought Miss Brandon would 
be happier married or not married. 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 73 

" Jean would never marry unless she 
married the right person, the man she wanted 
to marry," she said. 

" Would the person she wanted to marry," 
I said, " necessarily be the right person ? ' : 

" He would be more right for her, whatever 
the drawbacks, than anyone else." 

I said I supposed nearly everyone thought 
they were marrying the right person, and 
yet how strangely most marriages turned 
out. 

" Nothing better than marriage has been 
invented, all the same," she said, " and if 
people marry when they are old enough . . ." 

" To know better," I said. 

" Yes, it doesn't then turn out so very 
badly as a rule." 

I said that as things were at present Miss 
Brandon's life seemed to me completely 
wasted. 

" So it is, but it might be worse. It might 
be a tragedy. Supposing she married some- 
one who became fond of someone else." 

" She would mind," I said. 

" She would mind terribly." 

I said I thought people always got what 
they wanted in the long run. If she wanted 



74 OVERLOOKED 

a marriage of a definite kind she would prob- 
ably end by getting it. 

Mrs. Summer agreed in the main, but she 
thought that although one often did get 
what one wanted in the long run, it often 
came either too late or not quite at the mo- 
ment when one wanted it, or one found when 
one had got it that it was after all not quite 
what one had wanted. 

" Then," I said, " you think it is no use 
wanting anything ? " 

44 No use," she said, " no use whatever." 

44 You are a pessimist." 

44 1 am old enough to have no illusions." 

44 But you want other people to have 
illusions ? " 

44 1 think there is such a thing as happiness 
in the world, and that when you see someone 
who might be happy, missing the chance of 
it, it's a pity. That's all." 

Then I said : 

44 You want other people to want things." 

44 Other people ? Yes," she said. il Quite 
dreadfully I want it." 

At that moment Mrs. Lennox came up to 
us and said : 

44 1 have won five hundred francs, and I 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 75 

had the courage to leave the Casino. I can't 
think what has happened to Jean. I have 
been looking for her the whole evening." 
I left them and went into the hotel. 



CHAPTER VII 

IT was the morning after the conversation 
I had with Mrs. Summer that I received a 
message from Miss Brandon. She wanted 
to speak to me. Could I be, about five 
o'clock, at the end of the alley ? I was 
punctual at the rendezvous. 

" I wanted to have a talk," she said, " to- 
day, if possible, because to-morrow Aunt 
Netty has organized an expedition to the 
lakes, and the day after we are all going to 
the races, so I didn't know when I should see 
you again." 

" But you are not going away yet, are 
you ? }! I asked. 

No, they were not going away, they would 
very likely stay on till the end of July. Then 
there was an idea of Switzerland ; or perhaps 
the Mozart festival at Munich, followed by 
a week at Bayreuth. Mr. Rudd was going to 
Bayreuth, and had convinced Mrs. Lennox 
that she was a Wagnerite. 

7 6 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 77 

" I thought you couldn't be going away 
yet but one never knows, here people dis- 
appear so suddenly, and I wanted to see you 
so particularly and at once. You are going 
to finish your cure ? ' 

I said my time limit was another fortnight. 
After that I was going back to my villa at 
Cadenabbia. 

" Shall you come here next year ? " 

I said it depended on my doctor. I asked 
her her plans. 

" I don't think I shall come back next 
year." 

There was a slight note of suppressed exul- 
tation in her voice. I asked whether Mrs. 
Lennox was tired of Hareville. 

" Aunt Netty loves it, better than ever. 
Mr. Rudd has promised her to come too." 

There was a long pause. 

" I can't bear it any longer," she said at 
last. 

" HareVille ? " 

" Hareville and all of it everything." 

There was another long pause. She broke 
it. 

" You talked to Mabel Summer yester- 
day ? " 



78 OVERLOOKED 

I said we had had a long talk. 

" I'm sure you liked her ? " 

I said I had found her delightful. 

" She's my oldest friend, although she's 
older than I am. Poor Mabel, she's had a 
very unhappy life." 

I said one felt in her the sympathy that 
came from experience. 

" Oh yes, she's so brave ; she's wonderful." 

I said I supposed she'd had great disap- 
pointments. 

" More than that. Tragedies. One thing 
after another." 

I asked whether she had any children. 

" Her two little girls both died when 
they were babies. But it wasn't that. 
She'll tell you all about it, perhaps, some 
day." 

I said I doubted whether we would ever 
meet again. 

" Mabel always keeps up with everybody 
she makes friends with. She doesn't often 
make new friends. She told me she had 
made two new friends here. You and Kranit- 
ski." 

" She likes him ? " I said. 

" She likes him very much. She's 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 79 

very fastidious, very hard to please, very 
critical." 

I said everyone seemed to like Kranitski. 

" Aunt Netty says he's commonplace, but 
that's because Mr. Rudd said he was common- 
place." 

I said Rudd always had theories about 
people. 

" You like Mr. Rudd ? " she asked. 

I said I did, and reminded her that she had 
told me she did. 

" If you want to know the truth," she said, 
" I don't. I think he's awful." She laughed. 
" Isn't it funny ? A week ago I would have 
rather died than admit this to you, but now 
I don't care. Of course I know he's a good 
writer and clever and subtle, and all that 
but I've come to the conclusion " 

" To what conclusion ? " 

" Well, that I don't that I like the other 
sort of people better." 

"The stupid people?" 

" No." 

" The clever people ? " 

" No." 

" What people ? " 

" I don't know. Nice people." 



8o OVERLOOKED 

44 People like " 

" People like Mabel Summer and Princess 
Kouragine," she interrupted. 

" They are both very clever, I think," I 
said. 

" Yes, but it's not that that matters." 

I said I thought intelligence mattered a 
great deal. 

" When it's natural," she said. 

" Do you think people can become religious 
if they're not ? " she asked suddenly. 

I said that I didn't feel that I could, but it 
certainly did happen to some people. 

" I'm afraid it will never happen to me," 
she said. " I used to hope it might never 
happen, but now I hope the opposite. Last 
night, after you went in, Aunt Netty took us 
to the cafe, and we all sat there : Mr. Rudd, 
Mabel, a Frenchman whose name I don't 
know, and M. Kranitski. The Frenchman 
was talking about China, and said he had 
stayed with a French priest there. The priest 
had asked him why he didn't go to Mass. 
The Frenchman said he had no faith. The 
priest had said it was quite simple, he had 
only to pray to the Sainte Vierge for faith. 
4 Mon enfant, c'est Men simple : il faut 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 81 

demander la foi a la Sainte Vierge? He said 
this, imitating the priest, in a falsetto voice. 
They all laughed except M. Kranitski, who 
said, seriously, ' Of course, you should ask 
the Sainte Vierge.' When the Frenchman 
and M. Kranitski went away, Mr. Rudd said 
that in matters of religion Russians were 
childish, and that M. Kranitski has a sim- 
pliste mind." 

I said that Kranitski was obviously reli- 
gious. 

" Yes," she said, " but to be like that, one 
must be born like that." 

I said that curious explosions often hap- 
pened to people. I had heard people talk of 
divine dynamite. 

" Yes, but not to the people who want them 
to happen." 

I said perhaps the method of the French 
priest in China was the best. 

4 Yes, if only one could do it I can't." 

I said that I felt as she did about these 
things. 

14 1 know so many people who are just in 
the same state," she said. " Perhaps it's 
like wishing to be musical when one isn't. 
But after all one does change, doesn't one ? ' : 



82 OVERLOOKED 

I said some people did, certainly. When 
one was in one frame of mind one couldn't 
imagine what it would be like to be in another. 

" Yes," she said, " but I suppose there's 
a difference between being in one frame of 
mind and not wishing ever to be in another, 
and in being in the same frame of mind but 
longing to be in another." 

I asked if she knew how long Kranitski 
was going to stay at HareVille. 

"Oh, I don't know," she said, "it all 
depends." 

" On his health ? " 

" I don't think so. He's quite well." 

"Religion must be all or nothing," I said, 
going back to the topic. 

" Yes, of course." 

" If I was religious I should " 

She interrupted me in the middle of my 
sentence. 

" Mr. Rudd is writing a book," she said. 
" Aunt Netty asked him what it was about, 
and he said it was going to be a private book, 
a book that he would only write in his holi- 
days for his own amusement. She asked 
him whether he had begun it. He said he 
was only planning it, but he had got an idea. 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 83 

He doesn't like Mabel Summer. He thinks 
she is laughing at him. She isn't really, but 
she sees through him. I don't mean he 
pretends to be anything he isn't, but she 
sees all there is to see, and no more. He 
likes one to see more. Aunt Netty sees a 
great deal more. I see less probably. I'm 
unfair to him, I know. I know I'm very in- 
tolerant. You are so tolerant." 

I said I wasn't really, but kept my intoler- 
ances to myself out of policy. It was a 
prudent policy for one in my position. 

" Mr. Rudd adores you," she said. " He 
says you are so acute, so sensitive and so 
sensible." 

I said I was a good listener. 

" Has he told you about his book ? " 

I said that he had told me what he had 
told them. 

" M. Kranitski has such a funny idea about 
it," she said. 

I asked what the idea was. 

" He thinks he is writing a book about all 
of us." 

" Who is the heroine ? " I asked. 

" Mabel I think," she said. " She's so 
pretty. Mr. Rudd admires her. He said 



84 OVERLOOKED 

she was like a Tanagra, and I can see she 
puzzles him. He's afraid of her." 

" And who is the hero ? " I asked. 

" I can't imagine," she said. " I expect 
he has invented one." 

" Why is the book private ? " 

" Because it's about real people." 

" Then we may all of us be in it ?" 

" Yes." 

" What made Kranitski think that ? " I 
asked. 

" The way he discusses all our characters. 
Each person who isn't there with all the others 
who are there. For instance, he discusses 
Princess Kouragine with Aunt Netty, and 
Mabel with Princess Kouragine, and you 
with all of us ; and M. Kranitski says he talks 
about people like a stage manager settling 
what actors must be cast for a particular 
play. He checks what one person tells him 
with what the others say. I have noticed it 
myself. He talked to me for hours about Mabel 
one day, and after he had discussed Princess 
Kouragine with us, he asked Mabel what she 
thought of her. That is to say, he told her 
what he thought, and then asked her if she 
agreed. I don't think he listened to what 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 85 

she said. He hardly ever listens. He talks 
in monologues. But there must be someone 
there to listen." 

" You have left out one of the characters," 
I said. 

" Have I ? " 

" The most important one." 

" The hero ? " 

" And the heroine." 

" He's sure to invent those." 

" I'm not so sure, I think you have left out 
the most important character." 

" I don't think so." 

" I mean yourself." 

41 Oh no, that's nonsense ; he never pays 
any attention to me at all. He doesn't talk 
about me to Aunt Netty or to the others." 

" Perhaps he has made up his mind." 

' Yes," she said slowly, " that's just it. 
He has made up his mind. He thinks I'm 
a well, just a lay figure." 

I said I was certain she would not be left 
out if he was writing that kind of book. 

She laughed happily so happily that I 
imagined her looking radiant and felt that 
the lamp was lit. I asked her why she was 
laughing. 



86 OVERLOOKED 

" I'm laughing," she said, " because in 
one sense my novel is over with the ordi- 
nary happy, conventional ending the reason 
I wanted to talk to you to-day was to tell 
you " 

At that moment Mrs. Lennox joined us. 
Miss Brandon's voice passed quite naturally 
into another key, as she said : 

" Here is Aunt Netty. " 

" I have been looking for you everywhere," 
said Mrs. Lennox, " I've got a headache, and 
we've so many letters to write. When 
we've done them you can watch me doing 
my patience." 

She said these last words as if she was con- 
ferring an undeserved reward on a truant 
child. 



CHAPTER VIII 

LATER on in the evening, about six o'clock, 
as I was drinking a glass of water in the 
Pavilion, someone nearly ran into me and 
was saved from doing so by the intervention 
of a stranger who saw at once I was blind, 
although the other person had not noticed it. 
He shepherded me away from the danger and 
apologized. He said he supposed I was an 
Englishman, and that he was one too. He 
told me his name was Canning. We talked 
a little. He asked me if I was staying at the 
Splendide. I said I was. He said he had 
hoped to meet some friends of his, who he 
had understood were staying there too, but 
he could not find their names on the list of 
visitors. A Mrs. Lennox, he said, and her 
niece, Miss Brandon. Did I know them ? 
I told him they were staying at the hotel ; 
not at the hotel proper, but at the annexe, 
which was a separate building. I described 
to him where it was. The man's voice 

87 



88 OVERLOOKED 

struck me. It was so gentle, so courteous, 
with a tinge of melancholy in it. I asked him 
if he was taking the waters ? He said he 
hadn't settled. He liked watering places. 
Then our brief conversation came to an end. 

After dinner, Rudd fetched me and I 
joined the group. I was introduced to the 
stranger I met in the morning : Captain 
Canning they called him. Mrs. Summer and 
Princess Kouragine were sitting with them. 
They all talked a great deal, except Miss 
Brandon, who said little, and Captain Can- 
ning who said nothing. 

The next morning Kranitski met me at 
the Pavilion, and we talked a great deal. He 
was in high spirits and looking forward to 
an expedition to the lakes which Mrs. 
Lennox had organized. He was going with 
her, Miss Brandon and others. While we 
were sitting on a seat in the Galeries the 
postman went by with the letters. There 
was a letter for Kranitski, and he asked me 
if I minded his reading it. He read it. There 
was a silence and then suddenly he laughed : 
a short rather mirthless chuckle. We neither 
of us said anything for a moment, and I felt, 
I knew, something had happened. There 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 89 

was a curious strain in his voice which seemed 
to come from another place, as he said : "It 
is time for my douche. I shall be late. I 
will see you this evening." He then left me. 
I saw nobody for the rest of the day. 

The next day I saw some of the group in 
the morning just before dejeuner. Rudd 
read out a short story to us from a magazine. 
After luncheon Rudd came up to my room. 
He wished to have a talk. He had been so 
busy lately. 

" With your book ? " I asked. 

" No. I have had no time to touch it," 
he said. " It's all simmering in my mind. 
I daresay I shall never write it at all." 

I asked him who Captain Canning was. He 
knew all about him. He was the young man 
who had once been engaged to Miss Brandon, 
so Mrs. Lennox had told him. But it was 
quite obvious that he no longer cared for her. 

" Then why did he come here ? " I asked. 

" He caught fever in India and wanted to 
consult Doctor Sabran, the great malaria 
expert here. He was not staying on. He 
was going away in a few days' time. That 
was one reason. There was another. Donna 
Maria Alberti, the beautiful Italian, had been 
G 



9 o OVERLOOKED 

here for a night on her way to Italy. Can- 
ning had met her in Africa and was said to be 
devoted to her. 

I asked him why he thought Canning no 
longer cared for Miss Brandon. 

" Because," he said, " if he did he would 
propose to her at once." 

44 But money," I said. 

That was all right now. His uncle had 
died. He was quite well off. He could 
marry if he wanted to. He had not paid the 
slightest attention to Miss Brandon. 

" And she ? " I asked. 

" He is a different person now to what he 
was, but she is the same. She accepts the 
fact." 

" But does she love anyone else ? " 

"Oh! that" 

" Is * another story ' ? " I said. 

" Quite a different story," he said gravely. 

Rudd then left me. He was going out 
with Mrs. Lennox. Not long after he had 
gone, Canning himself came and talked to me. 
He said he was not staying long. He had 
not much leave and there was a great deal he 
must do in England. He had come here to 
see a special doctor who was supposed to 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 91 

know all about malaria. But he had found 
this doctor was no longer here. He had meant 
to have a holiday, as he liked watering-places 
they amused him but he found he had 
had so much to do in England. He kept 
on getting so many business letters that he 
would have to go away much sooner than he 
intended. He was going back to South 
Africa at the end of the month. 

" I have still got another year out there," 
he said. " After that I shall take up the 
career of a farmer in England, unless I settle 
in Africa altogether. It is a wonderful place. 
I have been so much away that I hardly feel 
at home in England now. At least, I think 
I shall hardly feel at home there. I only 
passed through London on my way out here." 

I told him that if he ever came to Italy he 
must stay with me at Cadenabbia. He said 
he would like to come to Italy. He had 
several Italian friends. One of them, Donna 
Maria Albert!, had been here yesterday, but 
she had gone. He sat for some time with 
me, but he did not talk much. 

After dinner I found the usual group, all 
but Miss Brandon who had got a headache, 
and Kranitski who was playing in the Casino. 



92 OVERLOOKED 

Canning joined us for a moment, but he did 
not stay long. 

The next day I saw nothing of any of the 
group. There were races going on not far 
off, and I had gathered that Mrs. Lennox was 
going to these. 

It was two or three days after this that 
Kranitski came up to my room at ten o'clock 
in the morning, and asked whether he could 
see me. He said he wanted to say " Good- 
bye," as he was going away. 

" My plans have been changed," he said. 
" I am going to London, and then probably 
to South Africa at the end of the month. I 
have been making the acquaintance of that 
nice Englishman, Canning. I am going with 
him." 

" Just for the sea voyage ? " I asked. 

" No ; I shall stay there for a long time. 
I am Europamude, if you know what that 
means tired of Europe." 

" And of Russia ? " I asked. 

" Most of all of Russia," he said. 

" I want to tell you one thing," he went 
on. " After our meeting the other day I 
have been thinking you might think wrong. 
You are what we call in Russia very chutki, 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 93 

with a very keen scent in impressions. I 
want you not to misjudge. You may be 
thinking the obstacle has come back. It 
hasn't. I am free as air, as empty air. That 
is what I have been wanting to tell you. If 
you are understanding, well and good. If 
you are not understanding, I can tell you no 
more. I have enjoyed our acquaintance. 
We have not been knowing each other much, 
yet I know you very well now. I w r ant to 
thank you and go." 

I asked him if he would like letters. I said 
I wrote letters on a typewriter. 

He said he would. I told him he could 
write to me if he didn't mind letters being 
read out. My sister generally read my let- 
ters to me. She stayed with me whenever 
she could at Cadenabbia. But now she was 
busy. 

He said he would write. He didn't mind 
who read his letters. I told him I lived all 
the year in Italy, and very seldom saw any- 
one, so that I should have little news to send 
him. " Tell me what you are thinking," he 
said. " That is all the news I want." 

I asked if there was anything else I could 
do for him. He said, " Yes, send me any 



94 OVERLOOKED 

books that Mr. Rudd writes. They would 
interest me." 

I promised him I would do this. Then he 
said " Good-bye." He went away by the 
seven o'clock train. 

That evening I saw no one. The next 
morning I learnt that Canning had gone too. 

Rudd came up to my rooms to see me, but 
I told Henry I was not well and he did not let 
him come in. 

The next morning I talked to Princess 
Kouragine at the door of the hotel. She was 
just leaving. I asked after Miss Brandon. 

44 They have gone," said the Princess. 
44 They went last night to Paris. They are 
going to Munich and then to Bayreuth. Jean 
asked me to say 4 Good-bye ' to you. She 
said she hopes you will come here next year." 

44 Has Rudd gone with them ? " I asked. 

44 He will meet them at Bayreuth later. 
He does not love Mozart. And there is a 
Mozart festival at Munich." 

I asked after Miss Brandon. 

44 The same as before," said the Princess. 
44 The lamp was lit for a moment, but they 
put it out. It is a pity. The man behaved 
well." 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 95 

At that moment we were interrupted. I 
wanted to ask her a great deal more. But 
the motor-bus drove up to the door. She 
said " Good-bye " to me. She was going to 
Paris. She would spend the winter at Rome. 

In the afternoon I saw Mrs. Summer, but 
only for a moment. She told me Miss 
Brandon had sent me a lot of messages, and 
I wanted to ask her what had happened and 
how things stood, but she had an engagement. 
We arranged to meet and have a long talk 
the next morning. 

But when the next morning came, I got a 
message from her, saying she had been ob- 
liged to go to London at once to meet her 
husband. 

A little later in the day, I received a letter 
by post from my unmarried sister, saying she 
would meet me in Paris and we could both 
go back to Italy together. So I decided to 
do this. I saw Rudd once before I left. He 
dined with me on my last night. He said 
that his holiday was shortly coming to an 
end. He would spend three days at Bay- 
reuth and then he would go back to work. 

" On the Sleeping Beauty ? " I asked. 

" No, not on that." He doubted whether 



96 OVERLOOKED 

he would ever touch that again. The idea 
of it had been only a holiday amusement at 
first. " But now," he said, " the idea has 
grown. If I do it, it will have to be a real 
book, even if only a short one, a nouvelle. 
The idea is a fascinating one. The Sleeping 
Beauty awake and changed in an alien world. 
Perhaps I may do it some day. If I do, I 
will send it to you. In any case I was right 
about Miss Brandon. She would be a better 
heroine for a fairy tale than for a modern 
story. She is too emotionless, too calm for 
a modern novel." 

" I have got another idea," he went on, 
" I am thinking of writing a story about a 
woman who looked as delicate as a flower, 
and who crushed those who came into con- 
tact with her and destroyed those who loved 
her. The idea is only a shadow as yet. But 
it may come to something. In any case I 
must do some regular work at once. I have 
had a long enough holiday. I have been 
wasting my time. I have enjoyed it, it has 
done me good, and conversations are never 
wasted, as they are the breeding ground of 
ideas. Sometimes the ideas do not flower 
for years. But the seed is sown in talk. I 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 97 

am grateful to you too, and I hope I shall 
meet you here again next year. I can't 
invent anything unless I am in sympathetic 
surroundings." 

The next day I left Hareville and met my 
sister in Paris. We travelled to Cadenabbia 
together. 



OVERLOOKED 
PART II 

FROM THE PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY. 



Two years after I had written these few 
chapters, I was sent once more to HareVille. 
Again I went early in the season. There 
was nobody left of the old group I had known 
during my first visit. Mrs. Lennox and her 
niece were not there, and they were not 
expected. They had spent some months at 
HareVille the preceding year. 

I had spent the intervening time in Italy. 
I had heard once or twice from Mrs. Summer, 
and sometimes from Kranitski. He had 
gone to South Africa with Canning and had 
stayed there. He liked the country. Miss 
Brandon was not yet married. Princess 
Kouragine I had not seen again. Rudd I had 
neither heard from nor of. Apparently he 
had published one book since he had been 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 99 

to HareVille and several short stories in 
magazines. The book was called The Silver 
Sandal, and had nothing to do with any of 
his experiences here or with any of the fancies 
which they had called up. It was, on the 
contrary, a semi-historical romance of a fan- 
tastic nature. 

During the first days of my stay here I 
made no acquaintances, and I was already 
counting on a dreary three weeks of unre- 
lieved dullness when my doctor here intro- 
duced me to Sabran, the malaria specialist, 
who had been away during my first cure. 

Dr. Sabran, besides being a specialist with 
a reverberating reputation and a widely 
travelled man of great experience and Euro- 
pean culture, had a different side to his 
nature which was not even suspected by many 
of his patients. 

Under the pseudonym of Gaspard Lautrec 
he had written some charming stories and 
some interesting studies in art and literature. 
Historical questions interested him ; and 
still more, the quainter facts of human nature, 
psychological puzzles, mysterious episodes, 
unvisited by-ways, and baffling and unsolved 
problems in history, romance and everyday 



ioo OVERLOOKED 

life. He was a voracious reader, and there 
was little that had escaped his notice in the 
contemporary literature of Europe. 

I found him an extraordinarily interesting 
companion, and he was kind enough, busy as 
I knew him to be, either to come and see 
me daily, or to invite me to his house. I 
often dined with him, and we would remain 
talking in his sitting-room till late in the 
night, while he would tell me of some of the 
remarkable things that had come under his 
notice or sometimes weave startling and para- 
doxical theories about nature and man. 

I asked him one day if he knew Rudd's 
work. He said he admired it, but it had 
always struck him as strange that a writer 
could be as intelligent as Rudd and yet, at the 
same time, so obviously a coti with regard 
to some of the more important springs and 
factors of human nature. 

I asked him what made him think that. 

" All his books," he said, " any of them. 
I have just been reading his last book in the 
Tauchnitz edition, a book of stories, not short 
stories : nouvelles. It is called Unfinished 
Dramas. I will lend it you if you like." 

We talked of other things, and I took the 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 101 

book away with me when I went away. The 
next day I received a letter from Rudd, 
sending me a privately printed story (one of 
500 signed copies) called Overlooked, which, he 
said, completed the series of his " Unfinished 
Dramas," but which he had not published 
for reasons which I would understand. 

Henry read out Rudd's new book to me. 
There were three stories in the book. They 
did not interest me greatly, and I made 
Henry hurry through them ; but the pri- 
vately printed story Overlooked was none 
other than the story he had thought of writ- 
ing when we were at Hareville together. 

He had written the story more or less as he 
had said he had intended to. All the charac- 
ters of our old group were in it. Miss Bran- 
don was the centre, and Kranitski appeared, 
not as a Swede but as a Russian. I myself 
flitted across the scene for a moment. 

The facts which he related were as far as 
I knew actually those which had occurred to 
that group of people during their stay at 
Hareville two years ago, but the deductions 
he drew from them, the causes he gave as 
explaining them, seemed to me at least wide 
of the mark. 



102 OVERLOOKED 

His conception of such of his characters 
as I knew at all well, and his interpretation 
of their motives were, in the cases in which I 
had the power of checking them by my own 
experience, I considered quite fantastically 
wrong. 

When I had finished reading the book, I 
sent it to Sabran, and with it the MS. I had 
written two years ago, and I begged the doc- 
tor to read what I had written and to let me 
know when he had done so, so that we might 
discuss both the documents and their relation 
one to the other and to the reality. 

(Note. Here, in the bound copy of Anthony 
Kay's Papers, follows the story called Over- 
looked, by^James Rudd.) 



OVERLOOKED 

By JAMES RUDD. 



IT was the after-luncheon hour at Saint- 
Yves-les-Bains. The Pavilion, with its large 
tepid glass dome and polished brass fountains, 
where the salutary, and somewhat steely, 
waters flowed unceasingly, the Pompeian 
pillared " Galeries " were deserted ; so 
were the trim park with its kiosk, where a 
scanty orchestra played rag-time in the 
morning and in the evenings ; the florid 
Casino, which denoted the third of the three 
styles of architecture that distinguished the 
appendages of the Hotel de La Source, where 
a dignified, shabby, white Louis-Philippe 
nucleus was still to be detected half-concealed 
and altogether overwhelmed by the elegant 
improvements and dainty enlargements of 
the Second Empire and the over-ripe Art 
Nouveau excrescences of a later period. 
Kathleen Farrel had the park to herself. 
103 



104 OVERLOOKED 

She was reading the Morning Post, which her 
aunt, Mrs. Knolles, took in for the literary 
articles, and which you would find on her 
table side by side with newspapers and jour- 
nals of a widely different and sometimes, 
indeed, of a startling and flamboyant charac- 
ter ; for Mrs. Knolles was catholic in her 
ideas and daring in her tastes. 

Kathleen Farrel was reading listlessly 
without interest. She had lived so much 
abroad that English news had little attraction 
for her, and she was no longer young enough 
to regret missing any of the receptions, race- 
meetings, garden-parties, and other social 
events which she was idly skimming the record 
of. For it was now the height of the London 
season, but Mrs. Knolles had let the London 
house in Hill Street. She always let it 
every summer, and in the winter as well, 
whenever she could find a tenant. 

A paragraph had caught Kathleen's eye 
and had arrested her attention. It began 
thus : " The death has occurred at Monks- 
well Hall of Sir James Stukely." 

Sir James Stukely was Lancelot Stukely's 
uncle. Lancelot would inherit the baronetcy 
and a comfortable income. He had left the 



OVERLOOKED 105 

army some years ago. He was at present 
abroad, performing some kind of secretarial 
duties to the Governor of Malta. He would 
give up that job, which was neither lucrative 
nor interesting, he would come home, and 

then 

At any rate, he had not altogether forgot- 
ten her. His monthly letters proved that. 
They had been unfailingly regular. Only 
well, for the last year they had been unde- 
finably different. Ever since that visit to 
Cairo. She had heard stories of an attach- 
ment, a handsome Italian lady, who looked 
like a Renaissance picture and who was said 
to be unscrupulous. But she really knew 
nothing, and Lancelot had always been so 
reserved, so reticent ; his letters had always 
been so bald, almost formal, ever since their 
brief engagement six years before had been 
broken off. Ever since that memorable 
night in Ireland when she confessed to her 
father, who was more than usually violent 
and had drunk an extra glass of old Madeira, 
that she had refused to marry Lancelot. At 
first she had asked him not to write, and he 
had dutifully accepted the restriction. But 
later, when her father died, he had written 
H 



io6 OVERLOOKED 

to her and she had answered his letter. Since 
then he had written once a month without 
fail from India, where his regiment had been 
quartered, and then from Malta. But never 
had there been a single allusion to the past 
or to the future. The tone of them would be : 
" Dear Miss Farrel, We are having very good 
sport." Or " Dear Miss Farrel, We went to 
the opera last night. It was too classical 
for me." And they had always ended : 
" Yours sincerely, Lancelot Stukely." 

And yet she could not believe he was really 
different. Was she different ? " Am I per- 
haps different ? " she thought. She dis- 
missed the idea. What had happened to 
make her different ? Nothing. For the last 
five years, ever since her father had died, she 
had lived the same life. The winter at her 
aunt's villa at Bordighera, sometimes a week 
or two at Florence, the summer at Saint- 
Yves-les-Bains, where they lived in the hotel, 
on special terms, as Mrs. Knolles was such a 
constant client. Never a new note, always the 
same gang of people round them; the fashion- 
able cosmopolitan world of continental water- 
ing-places, the English and foreign colonies 
of the Riviera and North Italy. She had 



OVERLOOKED 107 

never met anyone who had roused her inter- 
est, and the only persons whose attention 
she had seemed to attract were, in her Aunt 
Elsie's words, " frankly impossible." 

She would be thirty next year. She 
already felt infinitely older. " But perhaps," 
she thought, " he will come back the same as 
he was before. He will propose and I will 
accept him this time." Why had she refused 
him ? Their financial situation her poverty 
and his own very small income had had 
nothing to do with it, because Lancelot had 
said he was willing to wait for years, and 
everyone knew he had expectations. She 
could not have left her father, but then her 
father died a year after she refused Lancelot. 

No, the reason had been that she thought 
she did not love him. She had liked Lance- 
lot, but she hoped for something more and 
something different. A fairy prince who 
would wake her to a different life. As soon 
as he had gone away, and still more when his 
series of formal letters began, she realized 
that she had made a mistake, and she had 
never ceased to repent her action. The fact 
was, she said to herself, I was too young to 
make such a decision. I did not know my 



io8 OVERLOOKED 

own mind. If only he had come back when 
father died. If only he had been a little more 
insistent. He had accepted everything with- 
out a murmur. And yet now she felt certain 
he had been faithful and was faithful still, 
whatever anyone might say to the contrary. 
" Perhaps I am altered," she thought. 
" Perhaps he won't even recognize me." 
And yet she knew she did not believe this. 
For although her Aunt Elsie used to be seri- 
ously anxious about her niece's looks fear- 
ing anaemia, so much so that they sometimes 
visited dreary places on the sea- coasts of 
England and France she knew her looks 
had not altered sensibly. People still stared 
at her when she entered a room, for although 
there was nothing classical nor brilliant about 
her features and her appearance, hers was a 
face you could not fail to observe and which 
it was difficult to forget. It was a face that 
appealed to artists. They would have liked 
to try and paint that clear white, delicate 
skin, and those extraordinarily haunting 
round eyes which looked violet in some lights 
and a deep sea-blue in others, and to try and 
render the romantic childish glamour of her 
person, that wistful, fairy-tale-like expres- 



OVERLOOKED 109 

sion. It was extraordinary that with such 
an appearance she should have been the 
inspirer of no romance, but so it was. Pain- 
ters had admired her ; one or two adven- 
turers had proposed to her ; but with the 
exception of Lancelot Stukely no one had 
fallen in love with her. Perhaps she had 
frightened people. She could not make con- 
versation. She did not care for books. She 
knew nothing of art, and the people her aunt 
saw most of whom were foreigners talked 
glibly and sometimes wittily of all these 
things. 

Kathleen had been born for a country life, 
and she was condemned to live in cities and 
in watering-places. She was insular ; though 
she had lived a great deal in Ireland, she was 
not Irish, and she had been cast for a conti- 
nental part. She was matter-of-fact, and 
her appearance promised the opposite. She 
was in a sense the victim of her looks, which 
were so misleading. 

But perhaps the solution, the real solution 
of the absence of romance, or even of suitors, 
was to be found in her unconquerable listless- 
ness and apathy. She was, as it were, only 
half-alive. 



no OVERLOOKED 

Once, when she was a little girl, she had 
gone to pick flowers in the great dark wood 
near her home, where the trees had huge 
fantastic trunks, and gnarled boles, and where 
in the spring-time the blue-bells stretched 
beneath them like an unbroken blue sea. 
After she had been picking blue-bells for 
nearly an hour, she had felt sleepy. She lay 
down under the trunk of a tree. A gipsy 
passed her and asked to tell her fortune. She 
had waved her away, as she had no sympathy 
with gipsies. The gipsy had said that she 
would give her a piece of good advice un- 
asked, and that was, not to go to sleep in the 
forest on the Eve of St. John, for if she did 
she would never wake. She paid no atten- 
tion to this, and she dozed off to sleep and 
slept for about half-an-hour. She was an 
obstinate child, and not at all superstitious. 
When she got home, she asked the house- 
keeper when was the Eve of St. John. It 
happened to fall on that very day. She said 
to herself that this proved what nonsense the 
gipsies talked, as she had slept, woken up, 
come back to the house, and had high 
tea in the schoolroom as usual. She never 
gave the incident another thought ; but the 



OVERLOOKED in 

housekeeper, who was superstitious, told one 
of the maids that Miss Kathleen had been 
overlooked by the fairy-folk and would never 
be quite the same again. When she was 
asked for further explanations, she would not 
give any. But to all outward appearances 
Kathleen was the same, and nobody noticed 
any difference in her, nor did she feel that she 
had suffered any change. 

As long as she had lived with her father in 
Ireland, she had been fairly lively. She had 
enjoyed out-door life. The house, a ram- 
shackle, Georgian grey building, was near the 
sea, and her father who had been a sailor 
used sometimes to take her out sailing. 
She had ridden and sometimes hunted. All 
this she had enjoyed. It was only after she 
dismissed Lancelot, who had known her ever 
since she was sixteen, that the mist of apathy 
had descended on her. After her father's 
death, this mist had increased in thickness, 
and when her continental life with her aunt 
had began, she had altogether lost any par- 
ticle of joie de vivre she had ever had. 
Nor did she seem to notice it or to regret 
the past. She never complained. She ac- 
cepted her aunt's plans and decisions, and 



H2 OVERLOOKED 

never made any objection, never even a sug- 
gestion or a comment. 

Her aunt was truly fond of her, and she 
tried to devise treats to please her, and tried 
to awaken her interest in things. One year 
she had taken Kathleen to Bayreuth, hoping 
to rouse her interest in music, but Kathleen 
had found the music tedious and noisy, 
although she listened to it without complain- 
ing, and when her aunt suggested going there 
another year, she agreed to the suggestion 
with alacrity. The only thing which ever 
roused her interest was horse-racing. Some- 
times they went to the races near Saint- Yves, 
andjthen Kathleen would become a different 
girl. She would be, as long as the racing 
lasted, alive for the time being, and sink back 
into her dreamless apathy as soon as they 
were over. 

At the same time, whenever she thought of 
Lancelot Stukely she felt a pang of regret, 
and after reading this paragraph in the 
Morning Post, she hoped, more than ever she 
had hoped before, that he would come back, 
and come back unchanged and faithful, and 
that she would be the same for him as she 
had been before, and that she would once 



OVERLOOKED 113 

more be able to make his slow honest eyes 
light up and smoulder with love, admiration 
and passion. 

" This time I will not make the same mis- 
take," she said to herself. " If he gives me 
the chance " 



Her reverie was interrupted by the ap- 
proach of an hotel acquaintance. It was 
Anikin, the Russian, who had in the last 
month become an accepted and established 
factor in their small group of hotel acquaint- 
ances. Kathleen had met him first some 
years ago at Rome, but it was only at Saint- 
Yves that she had come to know him. 

As he took off his hat in a hesitating man- 
ner, as if afraid of interrupting her thoughts, 
she registered the fact that she knew him, not 
only better than anyone else at the hotel, 
but better almost than anyone anywhere. 

4 Would you like a game ? " he asked. He 
meant a game which was provided in the 
park for the distraction of the patients. It 
consisted in throwing a small ring, attached 
to a post by a string, on to hooks which were 



H4 OVERLOOKED 

fixed on an upright sloping board. The 
hooks had numbers underneath them, which 
varied from one to 5,000. 

" Not just at present," she said, " I am 
waiting for Aunt Elsie. I must see what she 
is going to do, but later on I should love a 
game." 

He smiled and went on. He understood 
that she wanted to be left alone. He had 
that swift, unerring comprehension of the 
small and superficial shades of the mind, the 
minor feelings, social values, and human rela- 
tions that so often distinguishes his country- 
men. 

He might, indeed, have stepped out of a 
Russian novel, with his untidy hair, his 
short-sighted, kindly eyes, his colourless 
skin, and nondescript clothes. Kathleen had 
never reflected before whether she liked him 
or disliked him. She had accepted him as 
part of the place, and she had not noticed the 
easiness of relations with him. It came upon 
her now with a slight shock that these rela- 
tions were almost peculiar from their ease 
and naturalness. It was as if she had known 
him for years, whereas she had not known 
him for more than a month. All this flashed 



OVERLOOKED 115 

through her mind, which then went back to 
the paragraph in the Morning Post, when her 
aunt rustled up to her. 

Mrs. Knolles had the supreme elegance of 
being smart without looking conventional, 
as if she led rather than followed the fashion. 
There was always something personal and 
individual about her Parisian hats, her jewels, 
and her cloaks ; and there was something 
rich, daring and exotic about her sumptuous 
sombre hair, with its sudden gold-copper glints 
and her soft brown eyes. There was nothing 
apathetic about her. She was filled to the 
brim with life, with interest, with energy. 
She cast a glance at the Morning Post, and 
said rather impatiently : 

" My dear child, what are you reading ? 
That newspaper is ten days old. Don't you 
see it is dated the first ? " 

" So it is," said Kathleen apologetically. 
But that moment a thought flashed through 
her : " Then, surely, Lancelot must be on his 
way home, if he is not back already." 

'' I've brought you your letters," said her 
aunt. " Here they are." 

Kathleen reached for them more eagerly 
than usual. She expected to see, she hoped, 



n6 OVERLOOKED 

at least, to see, Lancelot's rather childish 
hand- writing, but both the letters were bills. 

" Mr. Arkright and Anikin are dining with 
us," said her aunt, " and Count Tilsit." 

Kathleen said nothing. 

" You don't mind ? " said her aunt. 

" Of course not." 

" I thought you liked Count Tilsit." 

41 Oh, yes, I do," said Kathleen. 

Kathleen felt that she had, against her in- 
tention, expressed disappointment, or rather 
that she had not expressed the necessary 
blend of surprise and pleasure. But as 
Arkright and Anikin dined with them fre- 
quently, and as she had forgotten who Count 
Tilsit was, this was difficult for her. Ark- 
right was an English author, who was a friend 
of her aunt's, and had sufficient penetration 
to realize that Mrs. Knolles was something 
more than a woman of the world ; to appre- 
ciate her fundamental goodness as well as 
her obvious cleverness, and to divine that 
Kathleen's exterior might be in some ways 
deceptive. 

' You remember him in Florence ? " said 
Mrs. Knolles, reverting to Count Tilsit. 

" Oh, yes, the Norwegian." 



OVERLOOKED 117 

" A Swede, darling, not a Norwegian." 

" I thought it was the same thing," said 
Kathleen. 

" I have got a piece of news for you," said 
Mrs. Knolles. 

Kathleen made an effort to prepare her 
face. She was determined that it should 
reveal nothing. She knew quite well what 
was coming. 

" Lancelot Stukely is in London," her aunt 
went on. "He came back just in time to see 
his uncle before he died. His uncle has left 
him everything." 

" Was Sir James ill a long time ? " Kath- 
leen asked. 

" I believe he was," said Mrs. Knolles. 

" Oh, then I suppose he won't go back to 
Malta," said Kathleen, with perfectly assumed 
indifference. 

" Of course not," said Mrs. Knolles. " He 
inherits the place, the title, everything. He 
will be very well off. Would you like to 
drive to Batigny this afternoon ? Princess 
Oulchikov can take us in her motor if you 
would like to go. Arkright is coming." 

" I will if you want me to," said Kathleen. 

This was one of the remarks that Kathleen 



n8 OVERLOOKED 

often made, which annoyed her aunt, and 
perhaps justly. Mrs. Knolles was always 
trying to devise something that would amuse 
or distract her niece, but whenever she 
suggested anything to her or arranged any 
expedition or special treat which she thought 
might amuse, all the response she met with 
was a phrase that implied resignation. 

" I don't want you to come if you would 
rather not," she said with beautifully con- 
cealed impatience. 

" Well, to-day I would rather not," said 
Kathleen, greatly to her aunt's surprise. 
It was the first time she had ever made such 



an answer. 

M 



Aren't you feeling well, darling ? " she 
asked gently. 

" Quite well, Aunt Elsie, I promise," 
Kathleen said smiling, " but I said I would 
sit and talk to Mr. Asham this afternoon." 

Mr. Asham was a blind man who had been 
ordered to take the waters at Saint- Yves. 
Kathleen had made friends with him. 

" Very well," said Mrs. Knolles, with a 
sigh. " I must go. The motor will be there. 
Don't forget we've got people dining with us 
to-night, and don't wear your grey. It's too 



OVERLOOKED 119 

shabby." One of Miss Farrel's practices, 
which irritated her aunt, was to wear her 
shabbiest clothes on an occasion that called 
for dress, and to take pains, as it were, not 
to do herself justice. 

Her aunt left her. 

Kathleen had made no arrangement with 
Asham. She had invented the excuse on the 
spur of the moment, but she knew he would 
be in the park in the afternoon. She wanted 
to think. She wanted to be alone. If 
Lancelot had been in England when Sir 
James died, then he must have started home 
at least a fortnight ago, as the news that she 
had read was ten days old. She had not 
heard from him for over a month. This 
meant that his uncle had been ill, he had 
returned to London, and had experienced a 
change of fortune without writing her one 
word. 

" All the same," she thought, " it proves 
nothing." 

At that moment a friendly voice called to 
her. 

" What are you doing all by yourself, 
Kathleen ? " 

It was her friend, Mrs. Roseleigh. Kath- 



120 OVERLOOKED 

leen had known Eva Roseleigh all her life, 
although her friend was ten years older than 
herself and was married. She was staying 
at Saint- Yves by herself. Her husband was 
engrossed in other occupations and complica- 
tions besides those of his business in the city, 
and of a different nature. Mrs. Roseleigh 
was one of those women whom her friends 
talked of with pity, saying " Poor Eva " ! 
But " Poor Eva " had a large income, a 
comfortable house in Upper Brook Street. 
She was slight, and elegant ; as graceful as 
a Tanagra figure, fair, delicate-looking, ap- 
pealing and plaintive to look at, with sym- 
pathetic grey eyes. Her husband was a 
successful man of business, and some people 
said that the neglect he showed his wife and 
the publicity of his infidelities was not to be 
wondered at, considering the contempt with 
which she treated him. It was more a case 
of " Poor Charlie," they said, than " Poor 
Eva." 

Kathleen would not have agreed with these 
opinions. She was never tired of saying 
that Eva was " wonderful." She was cer- 
tainly a good friend to Kathleen. 

" Sir James Stukely is dead," said Kathleen. 



OVERLOOKED 121 

" I saw that in the newspaper some time 
ago. I thought you knew," said Mrs. Rose- 
leigh. 

" It was stupid of me not to know. I read 
the newspapers so seldom and so badly." 

" That means Lancelot will come home." 

" He has come home." 

" Oh, you know then ? " 

" Know what ? " 

" That he is coming here ? " 

Kathleen blushed crimson. " Coming 
here! How do you know ? " 

" I saw his name," said Mrs. Roseleigh, 
" on the board in the hall of the hotel, and I 
asked if he had arrived. They told me they 
were expecting him to-night." 

At that moment a tall dark lady, elegant 
as a figure carved by Jean Goujon, and 
splendid as a Titian, no longer young, but 
still more than beautiful, walked past them, 
talking rather vehemently in Italian to a 
young man, also an Italian. 

" Who is that ? " asked Kathleen. 

" That," said Mrs. Roseleigh, " is Donna 
Laura Bartolini. She is still very beautiful, 
isn't she ? The man with her is a diplomat." 

" I think," said Kathleen, " she is very 



122 OVERLOOKED 

striking-looking. But what extraordinary 
clothes." 

" They are specially designed for her." 

" Do you know her ? " 

" A little. She is not at all what she 
seems to be. She is, at heart, matter-of-fact, 
and domestic, but she dresses like a Bac- 
chante. She has still many devoted adorers." 

" Here ? " 

"Everywhere. But she worships her hus- 
band." 

" Is he here ? " 

" No, but I think he is coming." 

" I remember hearing about her a long 
time ago. I think she was at Cairo once." 

" Very likely, Her husband is an archaeo- 
logist, a savant" 

Was that the woman, thought Kathleen, 
to whom Lancelot was supposed to have been 
devoted ? If so, it wasn't true. She was 
sure it wasn't true. Lancelot would never 
have been attracted by that type of woman, 
and yet 

" Aunt Elsie has asked a Swede to dinner. 
Count Tilsit. Do you know him ? " 

" I was introduced to him yesterday. He 
admired you." 



OVERLOOKED 123 

" Do you like him ? " 

" I hardly know him. I think he is nice- 
looking and has good manners and looks like 
an Englishman." 

But Kathleen was no longer listening. 
She was thinking of Lancelot, of his sudden 
arrival. What could it mean ? Did he 
know they were here ? The last time he had 
written was a month ago from London. Had 
she said they were coming here ? She thought 
she had. Perhaps she had not. In any 
case that would hardly make any difference, 
as he knew they went abroad every year, 
knew they went to Saint- Yves most years, 
and if he didn't know, would surely hear it in 
London. Yes, he must know. Then it 
meant either that or perhaps it meant 
something quite different. Perhaps the doc- 
tor had sent him to Saint- Yves. He had 
suffered from attacks of Malta fever several 
times. Saint- Yves was good for malaria. 
There was a well-known malaria specialist 
on the medical staff. He might be coming 
to consult him. What did she want to be 
the truth ? What did she feel ? She scarcely 
knew herself. She felt exhilarated, as if life 
had suddenly become different, more inter- 



124 OVERLOOKED 

esting and strangely irridescent. What 
would Lancelot be like ? Would he be the 
same ? Or would he be someone quite differ- 
ent ? She couldn't talk about it, not even 
to Eva, although Eva had known all about 
it, and Mrs. Roseleigh with her acute intui- 
tion guessed that, and guessed what Kathleen 
was thinking about, and said nothing that 
fringed the topic ; but what disconcerted 
Kathleen and gave her a slight quiver of 
alarm was that she thought she discerned 
in Eva's voice and manner the faintest note 
of pity ; she experienced an almost imper- 
ceptible chill in the temperature ; an inkling, 
the ghost of a warning, as if Eva were think- 
ing. " You mustn't be disappointed if 
Well, she wouldn't be disappointed if. At 
least nobody should divine her disappoint- 
ment : not even Eva. 

Mrs. Roseleigh guessed that her friend 
wanted to be alone and left her on some 
quickly invented pretext. As soon as she 
was alone Kathleen rose from her seat and 
went for a walk by herself beyond the park 
and through the village. Then she came 
back and played a game with Anikin at the 
ring board, and at five o'clock she had a talk 



OVERLOOKED 125 

with Asham to quiet her conscience. She 
stayed out late, until, in fact, the motor-bus, 
which met the evening express, arrived from 
the station at seven o'clock. She watched 
its arrival from a distance, from the galleries, 
while she simulated interest in the shop 
windows. But as the motor-bus was emp- 
tied of its passengers, she caught no sight of 
Lancelot. When the omnibus had gone, and 
the new arrivals left the scene, she walked 
into the hall of the hotel, and asked the 
porter whether many new visitors had ar- 
rived. 

" Two English gentlemen," he said, " Lord 
Frimhurst and Sir Lancelot Stukely." She 
ran upstairs to dress for dinner, and even her 
Aunt Elsie was satisfied with her appearance 
that night. She had put on her sea-green 
tea-gown : a present from Eva, made in 
Paris. 

" I wish you always dressed like that," 
said Mrs. Knolles, as they walked into the 
Casino dining-room. " You can't think 
what a difference it makes. It's so foolish 
not to make the best of oneself when it needs 
so very little trouble." But Mrs. Knolles had 
the untaught and unlearnable gift of looking 



126 OVERLOOKED 

her best at any season, at any hour. It was, 
indeed, no trouble to her ; but all the trouble 
in the world could not help others to achieve 
the effects which seemed to come to her by 
accident. 



As they walked into the large hotel dining- 
room, Kathleen was conscious that everyone 
was looking at her, except Lancelot, if he was 
there, and she felt he was there. Arkright 
and Count Tilsit were waiting for them at 
their table and stood up as they walked in. 
They were followed almost immediately by 
Princess Oulchikov, whose French origin and 
education were made manifest by her mauve 
chiffon shawl, her buckled shoes, and the 
tortoise-shell comb in her glossy black hair. 
Nothing could have been more unpreten- 
tious than her clothes, and nothing more 
common to hundreds of her kind, than her 
single row of pearls and her little platinum 
wrist-watch, but the manner in which she 
wore these things was French, as clearly 
and unmistakably French and not Russian, 
Italian, or English, as an article signed Jules 



OVERLOOKED 127 

Lemaitre or the ribbons of a chocolate Easter 
Egg from the Passage des Panoramas. She 
looked like a Winterhalter portrait of a lady 
who had been a great beauty in the days of 
the Second Empire. 

Her married life with Prince Oulchikov, 
once a brilliant and reckless cavalry officer, 
and not long ago deceased, after many vicis- 
situdes of fortune, ending by prosperity, 
since he had died too soon after inheriting 
a third fortune to squander it, as he had 
managed to squander two former inherit- 
ances, and her at one time prolonged 
sojourns in the country of her adoption 
had left no trace on her appearance. As 
to their effect on her soul and mind, that 
was another and an altogether different 
question. 

Mrs. Knolles, whose harmonious draperies 
of black and yellow seemed to call for the 
brush of a daring painter, sat at the further 
end of the table next to the window, on her 
left at the end of the table Arkright, whom 
you would never have taken for an author, 
since his motto was what a Frenchman once 
said to a young painter who affected long 
hair and eccentric clothes : " Ne savez-vous 



128 OVERLOOKED 

pas qu'il faut s'habiller comme tout le monde et 
peindre comme personne ? " On his other 
side sat Princess Oulchikov ; next to her 
at the end of the table, Kathleen, and then 
Count Tilsit (fair, blue-eyed, and shy) on 
Mrs. Knolles's right. 

Kathleen, being at the end of the table, 
could not see any of the tables behind her, 
but in front of her was a gilded mirror, and 
no sooner had they sat down to dinner than 
she was aware, in this glass, of the reflection 
of Lancelot Stukely's back, who was sitting 
at a table with a party of people just opposite 
to them on the other side of the room. There 
was nothing more remarkable about Lancelot 
Stukely's front view than about his back view, 
and that, in spite of a certain military square- 
ness of shoulder, had a slight stoop. He was 
small and seemed made to grace the front 
windows of a club in St. James's Street ; 
everything about him was correct, and 
his face had the honest refinement of a 
well-bred dog that has been admirably 
trained and only barks at the right kind of 
stranger. 

But the sudden sight of Lancelot trans- 
formed Kathleen. It was as if someone had 



OVERLOOKED 129 

lit a lamp behind her alabaster mask, and 
in the effort to conceal any embarrassment, 
or preoccupation, she flushed and became 
unusually lively and talked to Anikin with a 
gaiety and an uninterrupted ease, that seemed 
not to belong to her usual self. 

And yet, while she talked, she found time 
every now and then to study the reflections 
of the mirror in front of them, and these told 
her that Lancelot was sitting next to Donna 
Laura Bartolini. The young man she had 
seen talking to Donna Laura was there 
also. There were others whom she did not 
know. 

Mrs. Knolles was busily engaged in thawing 
the stiff coating of ice of Count Tilsit's shy- 
ness, and very soon she succeeded in putting 
him completely at his ease ; and Arkright 
was trying to interest Princess Oulchikov in 
Japanese art. But the Princess had lived 
too long in Russia not to catch the Slav 
microbe of indifference, and she was a woman 
who only lived by half-hours. This half- 
hour was one of her moment of eclipse, and 
she paid little attention to what Arkright 
said. He, however, was habituated to her 
ways and went on talking. 



130 OVERLOOKED 

Mrs. Knolles was surprised and pleased at 
her niece's behaviour. Never had she seen 
her so lively, so gay. 

" Miss Farrel is looking extraordinarily 
well to-night," Arkright said, in an under- 
tone, to the Princess. 

" Yes," said Princess Oulchikov, " she is 
at last taking waters from the right source." 
She often made cryptic remarks of this kind, 
and Arkright was puzzled, for Kathleen never 
took the waters, but he knew the Princess 
well enough not to ask her to explain. 
Princess Oulchikov made no further com- 
ment. Her mind had already relapsed into 
the land of listless limbo which it loved to 
haunt. 

Presently the conversation became general. 
They discussed the races, the troupe at the 
Casino Theatre, the latest arrivals. 

" Lancelot Stukely is here," said Mrs. 
Knolles. 

44 Yes," said Kathleen, with great calm, 
44 dining with Donna Laura Bartolini." 

44 Oh, Laura's arrived," said Mrs. Knolles. 
" I am glad. That is good news. What fun 
we shall all have together. Yes. There she 
is, looking lovely. Don't you think she's 



OVERLOOKED 131 

lovely ? " she said to Arkright and the 
Princess. 

Arkright admired Donna Laura unreser- 
vedly. Princess Oulchikov said she would 
no doubt think the same if she hadn't known 
her thirty years ago, and then " those clothes," 
she said, " don't suit her, they make her 
look like an art nouveau poster." Anikin 
said he did not admire her at all, and as for 
the clothes, she was the last person who 
should dare those kind of clothes; her beauty 
was conventional, she was made for less 
fantastic fashions. He looked at Kathleen. 
He was thinking that her type of beauty 
could have supported any costume, however 
extravagant ; in fact he longed to see her 
draped in shimmering silver and faded gold, 
with strange stones in her hair. Count 
Tilsit, who was younger than anyone present, 
said he found her young. 

" She is older than you think," said Prin- 
cess Oulchikov. " I remember her coming 
out in Rome in 1879." 

" Do you think she is over fifty ? " said 
Kathleen. 

" I do not think it, I am sure," said the 
Princess. 



132 OVERLOOKED 

" Her figure is wonderful," said Mrs. 
Knolles. 

" Was she very beautiful then ? " asked 
Anikin. 

" The most beautiful woman I have ever 
seen," said the Princess. " People stood on 
chairs to look at her one night at the French 
Embassy. It is cruel to see her dressed as 
she is now." 

Count Tilsit opened his clear, round, blue 
eyes, and stared first at the Princess and then 
at Donna Laura. It was inconceivable to his 
young Scandinavian mind that this radiant 
and dazzling creature, dressed up like the 
Queen in a Russian ballet, could be over fifty. 

" To me, she has always looked exactly 
the same," said Arkright. " In fact, I ad- 
mire her more now than I did when I first 
knew her fifteen years ago." 

" That is because you look at her with the 
eyes of the past," said the Princess, " but 
not of a long enough past, as I do. When 
you first saw her you were young, but when 
I first saw her she was young. That makes 
all the difference." 

" I think she is very beautiful now," said 
Mrs. Knolles. 



OVERLOOKED 133 

" And so do I," said Kathleen. " I could 
understand anyone being in love with 
her." 

" That there will always be people in love 
with her," said the Princess, " and young 
people. She has charm as well as beauty, 
and how rare that is! " 

" Yes," said Anikin, pensively, " how rare 
that is." 

Kathleen looked at the mirror as if she was 
appraising Donna Laura's beauty, but in 
reality it was to see whether Lancelot was 
talking to her. As far as she could see he 
seemed to be rather silent. General con- 
versation, with a lot of Italian intermixed 
with it, was going up from the table like 
fireworks. Kathleen turned to Count Tilsit 
and made conversation to him, while Anikin 
and the Princess began to talk in a passion- 
ately argumentative manner of all the beau- 
ties they had known. The Princess had come 
to life once more. Mrs. Knolles, having done 
her duty, relapsed into a comfortable conver- 
sation with Arkright. They understood each 
other without effort. 

The Italian party finished their dinner first, 
and went out on to the terrace, and as they 



134 OVERLOOKED 

walked out of the room the extraordinary 
dignity of Donna Laura's carriage struck the 
whole room. Whatever anyone might think 
of her looks now, there was no doubt that 
her presence still carried with it the authority 
that only great beauty, however much it may 
be lessened by time, confers. 

" Elle est encore ires belle" said Princess 
Oulchikov, voicing the thoughts of the whole 
party. 

Mrs. Knolles suggested going out. Shawls 
were fetched and coffee was served just 
outside the hotel on a stone terrace. 

Soon after they had sat down, Lancelot 
Stukely walked up to them. He was not 
much changed, Kathleen thought. A little 
grey about the temples, a little bit thinner, 
and slightly more tanned his face had been 
burnt in the tropics but the slow, honest 
eyes were the same. He said how-do-you-do 
to Mrs. Knolles and to herself, and was pre- 
sented to the others. 

Mrs. Knolles asked him to sit down. 

" I must go back presently," he said, " but 
may I stay a minute ? " 

He sat down next to Kathleen. 

They talked a little with pauses in between 



OVERLOOKED 135 

their remarks. She did not ask him how 
long he was going to stay, but he explained 
his arrival. He had come to consult the 
malaria specialist. 

" We have all been discussing Donna Laura 
Bartolini," said Mrs. Knolles. " You were 
dining with her ? " 

" Yes," he said, " she is an old friend of 
mine. I met her first at Cairo." 

" Is she going to stay long ? " asked Mrs. 
Knolles. 

" No," he said, "she is only passing through 
on her way to Italy. She leaves for Ravenna 
to-morrow morning." 

" She is looking beautiful," said Mrs. 
Knolles. 

" Yes," he said, " she is very beautiful, 
isn't she ? " 

Then he got up. 

" I hope we shall meet again to-morrow," 
he said to Kathleen and to Mrs. Knolles. 

" Are you staying on ? )! asked Mrs. 
Knolles. 

" Oh, no," he said. " I only wanted to 
see the doctor. I have got to go back to 
England at once. I have got so much busi- 
ness to do." 



136 OVERLOOKED 

" Of course," said Mrs. Knolles. " We 
will see you to-morrow. Will you come to 
the lakes with us ? " 

Lancelot hesitated and then said that he, 
alas, would be busy all day to-morrow. 
He had an appointment with the doctor he 
had so little time." 

He was slightly confused in his explana- 
tions. He then said good-night, and went 
back to his party. They were sitting at a 
table under the trees. 

Kathleen felt relieved, unaccountably re- 
lieved, that he had gone, and she experienced 
a strange exhilaration. It was as if a curtain 
had been lifted up and she suddenly saw a 
different and a new world. She had the 
feeling of seeing clearly for the first time for 
many years. She saw quite plainly that as 
far as Lancelot was concerned, the past was 
completely forgotten. She meant nothing to 
him at all. He was the same Lancelot, but 
he belonged to a different world. There 
were gulfs and gulfs between them now. He 
had come here to see Donna Laura for a few 
hours. He had not minded doing this, 
although he knew that he would meet Kath- 
leen. He had told her himself that he knew 



OVERLOOKED 137 

he would meet her. He had mentioned the 
rarity of his letters lately. He had been so 
busy, and then all that business ... his 
uncle's death. 

The situation was quite simple and quite 
clear. But the strange thing was that, 
instead of feeling her life was over, as she had 
expected to feel, she felt it was, on the con- 
trary, for the first time beginning. 

" I have been waiting for years," she 
thought to herself, " for this fairy Prince, and 
now I see that he was not the fairy Prince, 
after all. But this does not mean I may not 
meet the fairy Prince, the real one," and her 
eyes glistened. 

She had never felt more alive, more ready 
for adventure. Anikin suggested that they 
should all walk in the garden. It was still 
daylight. They got up. The Princess, Ark- 
right, Mrs. Knolles, and Count Tilsit walked 
down the steps first, and passed on down an 
avenue. 

Kathleen delayed until the others walked 
on some way, and then she said to Anikin, 
who was waiting for her : 

" Let us stay and talk here. It is quieter. 
We can go for a walk presently." 



138 OVERLOOKED 

4 

THEY did not stay long on the terrace. As 
soon as they saw which direction the rest 
of the party had taken they took another. 
They walked through the hotel gates across 
the street as far as a gate over which 
Bellevue was written. They had never been 
there before. It was an annexe of the 
hotel, a kind of detached park. They 
climbed up the hill and passed two deserted 
and unused lawn-tennis courts and a dusty 
track once used for skittles, and emerged 
from a screen of thick trees on to a little 
plateau. Behind them was a row of trees 
and a green corn-field, beneath them a steep 
slope of grass. They could see the red roofs 
of the village, the roofs of the hotels, the 
grey spire of the village church, the park, the 
green plain and, in the distance rising out of 
the green corn, a large flat-topped hill. The 
long summer daylight was at last fading 
away. The sky was lustrous and the air was 
quite still. 

The fields and the trees had that peculiar 
deep green they take on in the twilight, as if 
they had been dyed by the tints of the even- 



OVERLOOKED 139 

ing. Anikin said it reminded him of Russia. 

Kathleen had wrapped a thin white shawl 
round her, and in the dimness of the hour she 
looked as white as a ghost, but in the pallor 
of her face her eyes shone like black diamonds. 
Anikin had never seen her look like that. 
And then it came to him that this was the 
moment of moments. Perhaps the moon had 
risen. The cloudless sky seemed all of a 
sudden to be silvered with a new light. 
There was a dry smell of sun-baked roads 
and of summer in the air, and no sound at 
all. 

They had sat down on the bench and Kath- 
leen was looking straight in front of her out 
into the west, where the last remains of the 
sunset had faded some time ago. 

This Anikin felt was the sacred minute ; 
the moment of fate ; the imperishable in- 
stant which Faust had asked for even at the 
price of his soul, but which mortal love had 
always denied him. In a whisper he asked 
Kathleen to be his wife. She got up from 
the seat and said very slowly : 

" Yes, I will marry you." 

The words seemed to be spoken for her by 
something in her that was not herself, and 



I 4 o OVERLOOKED 

yet she was willing that they should be 
spoken. She seemed to want all this to 
happen, and yet she felt that it was being 
done for her, not of her own accord, but by 
someone else. Her eyes shone like stars. 
But as he touched her hand, she still felt 
that she was being moved by some alien 
spirit separate from herself and that it was 
not she herself that was giving herself to him. 
She was obeying some exterior and foreign 
control which came neither from him nor 
from her some mysterious outside influence. 
She seemed to be looking on at herself as 
she was whirled over the edge of a planet, but 
she was not making the effort, nor was it 
Anikin's words, nor his look, nor his touch, 
that were moving her. He had taken her 
in his arms, and as he kissed her they heard 
footsteps on the path coming towards them. 
The spell was broken, and they gently moved 
apart one from the other. It was he who 
said quietly : 

" We had better go home." 

Some French people appeared through the 
trees round the corner. A middle-aged man 
in a nankin jacket, his wife, his two little 
girls. They were acquaintances of Anikin 



OVERLOOKED 141 

and of Kathleen. It was the man who kept 
a haberdasher's shop in the Galeries. Brief 
mutual salutations passed and a few civilities 
were bandied, and then Kathleen and Anikin 
walked slowly down the hill in silence. It 
had grown darker and a little chilly. There 
was no more magic in the sky. It was as 
if someone had somewhere turned off the 
light on which all the illusion of the scene 
had depended. They walked back into the 
park. The band was playing an undulating 
tango. Mrs. Knolles and the others were 
sitting on chairs under the trees. Anikin 
and Kathleen joined them and sat down. 
Neither of them spoke much during the rest 
of the evening. Presently Mrs. Roseleigh 
joined them. She looked at Kathleen closely 
and there was a slight shade of wonder in her 
expression. 

The next day Mrs. Knolles had organized 
an expedition to the lakes. Kathleen, Ani- 
kin, Arkright, Princess Oulchikov and Count 
Tilsit were all of the party. When they 
reached the first lake, they separated into 
groups, Anikin and Kathleen, Count Tilsit 
and Mrs. Roseleigh, while Arkright went 
with the Princess and Mrs. Knolles. 



I 4 2 OVERLOOKED 

Ever since the moment of magic at Belle- 
vue, Kathleen had been like a person in a 
trance. She did not know whether she was 
happy or unhappy. She only felt she was 
being irresistibly impelled along a certain 
course. It is certain that her strange state 
of mind affected Anikin. It began to affect 
him from the moment he had held her in his 
arms on the hill and that the spell had so 
abruptly been broken. He had thought this 
had been due to the sudden interruption and 
the untimely intervention of the prosaic 
realities of life. But was this the explana- 
tion ? Was it the arrival of the haber- 
dasher on the scene that had broken the 
spell ? Or was it something else ? Some- 
thing far more subtle and mysterious, some- 
thing far more serious and deep ? 

Curiously enough Anikin had passed 
through, on that memorable evening, emo- 
tions closely akin to those which Kathleen 
had experienced. He said to himself : " This 
is the Fairy Princess I have been seeking all 
my life." But the morning after his moment 
of passion on the hill he began to wonder 
whether he had dreamed this. 

And now that he was walking beside her 



OVERLOOKED 143 

along the broad road, under the trees of the 
dark forest, through which, every now and 
then, they caught a glimpse of the blue lake, 
he reflected that she was like what she had 
been before the decisive evening, only if 
anything still more aloof. He began to 
feel that she was eluding him and that he 
was pursuing a shadow. Just as he was 
thinking this ever so vaguely and tentatively, 
they came to a turn in the road. They were 
at a cross-roads and they did not know which 
road to take. They paused a moment, and 
from a path on the side of the road the other 
members of the party emerged. 

There was a brief consultation, and they 
were all mixed up once more. When they 
separated, Anikin found himself with Mrs. 
Roseleigh. Mrs. Knolles had sent Kathleen 
on with Count Tilsit. 

Anikin was annoyed, but his manners 
were too good to allow him to show it. They 
walked on, and as soon as they began to talk 
Anikin forgot his annoyance. They talked 
of one thing and another and time rushed 
past them. This was the first time during 
Anikin's acquaintance with Mrs. Roseleigh 
that he had ever had a real conversation with 



I 4 4 OVERLOOKED 

her. He all at once became aware that they 
had been talking for a long time and talking 
intimately. His conscience pricked him ; 
but, so far from wanting to stop, he wanted to 
go on ; and instead of their intimacy being 
accidental it became on his part intentional. 
That is to say, he allowed himself to listen 
to all that was not said, and he sent out 
himself silent wordless messages which he 
felt were received instantly on an invisible 
aerial. 

For the moment he put all thoughts of 
what had happened away from him, and 
gave himself up to the enchantment of under- 
standing and being understood so easily, 
so lightly. He put up his feet and coasted 
down the long hill of a newly discovered inti- 
macy. 

Presently there was a further meeting and 
amalgamation of the group as they reached 
a famous view, and the party was reshuffled. 
This time Anikin was left to Kathleen. Was 
it actually disappointment he was feeling ? 
Surely not ; and yet he could not reach her. 
She was further off than ever and in their 
talk there were long silences, during which he 
began to reflect and to analyse with the fatal 



OVERLOOKED 145 

facility of his race for what is their national 
moral sport. 

He reflected that except during those brief 
moments on the hill he had never seen Kath- 
leen alive. He had known her well before, 
and their friendship had always had an ele- 
ment of easy sympathy about it, but she had 
never given him a glimpse of what was hap- 
pening behind her beautiful mask, and no 
unspoken messages had passed between them. 
But just now during that last walk with Mrs. 
Roseleigh, he recognized only too clearly 
that notes of a different and a far deeper 
intimacy had every now and then been struck 
accidently and without his being aware of it 
at first, and then later consciously, and the 
response had been instantaneous and unerr- 
ing. 

And something began to whisper inside 
him : " What if she is not the Fairy Princess 
after all, not your Fairy Princess ? ' : And 
then there came another more insidious 
whisper which said : " Your Fairy Princess 
would have been quite different, she would 
have been like Mrs. Roseleigh, and now that 
can never be." 

The expedition, after some coffee at a 



146 OVERLOOKED 

wayside hotel, came to an end and they drove 
home in two motor cars. 

Once more he was thrown together with 
Mrs. Roseleigh, and once more the soul of 
each of them seemed to be fitted with an 
invisible aerial between which soundless 
messages, which needed neither visible chan- 
nel nor hidden wire, passed uninterruptedly. 

Anikin came back from that expedition a 
different man. All that night he did not 
sleep. He kept on repeating to himself : 
" It was a mistake. I do not love her. I 
can never love her. It was an illusion : the 
spell and intoxication of a moment." And 
then before his eyes the picture of Mrs. Rose- 
leigh stood out in startling detail, her melan- 
choly, laughing, mocking eyes, her quick ner- 
vous laugh, her swift flashes of intuition. 
How she understood the shade of the shadow 
of what he meant ! 

And that mocking face seemed to say to 
him : " You have made a mistake and you 
know it. You were spellbound for a moment 
by a face. It is a ravishing face, but the soul 
behind it is not your soul. You do not 
understand one another. You never will 
understand one another. There is an un- 



OVERLOOKED 147 

passable gulf between you. Do not make 
the mistake of sacrificing your happiness and 
hers as well to any silly and hollow phrases 
of honour. Do not follow the code of con- 
vention, follow the voice of your heart, your 
instincts that cannot go wrong. Tell her 
before it is too late. And she, she does not 
love you. She never will love you. She 
was spellbound, too, for the moment. But 
you have only to look at her now to see that 
the spell is broken and it will never come 
back, at least you will never bring it back. 
She is English, English to the core, although 
she looks like the illustration to some strange 
fairy-tale, and you are a Slav. You cannot 
do without Russian comfort, the comfort of 
the mind, and she cannot do without English 
solidity. She will marry a squire or, perhaps, 
who knows, a man of business ; but someone 
solid and rooted to the English soil and 
nested in the English conventions. What 
can you give her ? Not even talent. Not 
even the disorder and excitement of a Bohe- 
mian life ; only a restless voyage on the sur- 
face of life, and a thousand social and intel- 
lectual problems, only the capacity of under- 
standing all that does not interest her." 



148 OVERLOOKED 

That is what the conjured-up face of 
Mrs. Roseleigh seemed to say to him. 

It was not, he said to himself, that he was 
in love or that he ever would be in love with 
Mrs. Roseleigh. It was only that she had, 
by her quick sympathy, revealed his own 
feelings to himself. She had by her presence 
and her conversation given him the true 
perspective of things and let him see them in 
their true light, and in that perspective and 
in that light he saw clearly that he had made 
a mistake. He had mistaken a moment of 
intoxication for the authentic voice of pas- 
sion. He had pursued a shadow. He had 
tried to bring to life a statue, and he had 
failed. 

Then he thought that he was perhaps after 
all mistaken, that the next morning he 
would find that everything was as it had been 
before ; but he did not sleep, and in the clear 
light of morning he realized quite clearly that 
he did not love Kathleen. 

What was he to do ? He was engaged to 
be married. Break it off? Tell her at once ? 
It sounded so easy. It was in reality it 
would be to him at any rate so intensely 
difficult. He hated sharp situations. 



OVERLOOKED 149 

He felt that his action had been irrevocable: 
that there was no way out of it. The chain 
around him was as thin as a spider's web. But 
would he have the necessary determination 
to make the effort of will to snap it ? Noth- 
ing would be easier. She would probably 
understand. She would perhaps help him, 
and yet he felt he would never be able to 
make the slight gesture which would be 
enough to free him for ever from that delicate 
web of gossamer. 



WHEN Anikin got up after his restless and 
sleepless night he walked out into the park. 
The visitors were drinking the waters in the 
Pavilion and taking monotonous walks be- 
tween each glass. Asham was sitting in a 
chair under the trees. His servant was 
reading out the Times to him. Anikin 
smiled rather bitterly to himself as he reflec- 
ted how many little dramas, comedies and 
tragedies might be played in the immediate 
neighbourhood of that man without his being 
aware even of the smallest hint or suggestion 



150 OVERLOOKED 

of them. He sat down beside him. The ser- 
vant left off reading and withdrew. 

" Don't let me interrupt you," said Anikin, 
but after a few moments he left Asham. He 
found he was unable to talk and went back 
to the hotel, where he drank his coffee and 
for a time he sat looking at the newspapers 
in the reading room of the Casino. Then he 
went back to the park. One thought pos- 
sessed him, and one only. How was he to do 
it ? Should he say it, or write ? And what 
should he say or write ? He caught sight of 
Arkright who was in the park by himself. 
He strolled up to him and they talked of 
yesterday's expedition. Arkright said there 
were some lakes further off than those they 
had visited, which were still more worth 
seeing. They were thinking of going there 
next week perhaps Anikin would come too. 

" I'm afraid not," said Anikin. " My 
plans are changed. I may have to go 
away." 

" To Russia ? " asked Arkright. 

" No, to Africa, perhaps," said Anikin. 

" It must be delightful," said Arkright, 
"to be like that, to be able to come and go 
when one wants to, just as one feels inclined, 



OVERLOOKED 151 

to start at a moment's notice for Rome or 
Moscow and to leave the day after one has 
arrived if one wishes to to have no obliga- 
tions, no ties, and to be at home everywhere 
all over Europe." 

Arkright thought of his rather bare flat in 
Artillery Mansions, the years of toil before 
a newspaper, let alone a publisher, would 
look at any of his manuscripts, and then the 
painful, slow journey up the stairs of recog- 
nition and the meagre substantial rewards 
that his so-called reputation, his " place " in 
contemporary literature, had brought him ; 
he thought of all the places he had not seen 
and which he would give worlds to see 
Rome, Venice, Russia, the East, Spain, 
Seville ; he thought of what all that would 
mean to him, of the unbounded wealth which 
was there waiting for him like ore in quarries 
in which he would never be allowed to dig ; 
he reflected that he had worked for ten years 
before ever being able to go abroad at all, and 
that his furthest and fullest adventure had 
been a fortnight spent one Easter at a fireless 
Pension in Florence. Whereas here was this 
rich and idle Russian who, if he pleased, 
could roam throughout Europe from one end 



152 OVERLOOKED 

to the other, who could take an apartment in 
Rome or a palace in Venice, for whom all the 
immense spaces of Russia were too small, 
and who could talk of suddenly going to 
Africa, as he, Arkright, could scarcely talk of 
going to Brighton. 

" Life is very complicated sometimes," 
said Anikin. " Just when one thinks things 
are settled and simple and easy, and that one 
has turned over a new leaf of life, like a new 
clean sheet of blotting-paper, one suddenly 
sees it is not a clean sheet ; blots from the 
old pages come oozing through one can't 
get rid of the old sheets and the old blots. 
All one's life is written in indelible ink that 
strong violet ink which nothing rubs out and 
which runs in the wet but never fades. The 
past is like a creditor who is always turning 
up with some old bill that one has forgotten. 
Perhaps the bill was paid, or one thought it 
was paid, but it wasn't paid wasn't fully 
paid, and there the interest has gone on 
accumulating for years. And so, just as one 
thinks one is free, one finds oneself more 
caught than ever and obliged to cancel all 
one's new speculations because of the old 
debts, the old ties. That is what you call 



OVERLOOKED 153 

the wages of sin, I think. It isn't always 
necessarily what you would call a sin, but is 
the wages of the past and that is just as bad, 
just as strong at any rate. They have to be 
paid in full, those wages, one day or other, 
sooner or later." 

Arkright had not been an observer of 
human nature and a careful student of minute 
psychological shades and impressions for 
twenty years for nothing. He had had his 
eyes wide open during the last weeks, and 
Mrs. Knolles had furnished him with the 
preliminary and fundamental data of her 
niece's case. He felt quite certain that 
something had taken place between Anikin 
artd Kathleen. He felt the peculiar, the 
unmistakeable relation. And now that the 
Russian had served him up this neat discourse 
on the past he knew full well that he was not 
being told the truth. Anikin was suddenly 
going away. A week ago he had been per- 
fectly happy and obviously in an intimate 
relation to Miss Farrel. Now he was sud- 
denly leaving, possibly to Africa. What had 
happened ? What was the cause of this 
sudden change of plan ? He wanted to get 
out of whatever situation he found himself 



154 OVERLOOKED 

bound by. But he also wanted to find for 
others, at any rate, and possibly for himself 
as well, some excuse for getting out of it. 
And here the fundamental cunning and ingen- 
ious subtlety of his race was helping him. He 
was concocting a romance which might have 
been true, but which was, as a matter of fact, 
untrue. He was adding " the little more." 
He was inventing a former entanglement as 
an obstacle to his present engagements which 
he wanted to cancel. 

Arkright knew that there had been a for- 
mer entanglement in Anikin's life, but what 
Anikin did not know was that Arkright also 
knew that this entanglement was over. 

" It is very awkward," said Arkright, 
" when the past and the present conflict." 

"Yes," said Anikin, "and very awkward 
when one is between two duties." 

I think I have got him there, thought Ark- 
right. " A French writer," he said aloud, 
" has said, ' de deux devoirs, il faut choisir 
le plus d^sagreable ; that in chosing the 
disagreeable course you were likely to be 
right." 

Anikin remained pensive. 

" What I find still more complicated," he 



OVERLOOKED 155 

said, " is when there is a right reason for 
doing a thing, but one can't use it because the 
right reason is not the real reason ; there is 
another one as well." 

" For doing a duty," said Arkright. " Is 
that what you mean ? " 

4 There are circumstances," said Anikin, 
" in which one could point to duty as a motive, 
but in which the duty happens to be the same 
as one's inclinations, and if one took a certain 
course it would not be because of the duty 
but because of the inclinations. So one can't 
any more talk or think of duty." 

" Then," said Arkright, a little impatiently, 
" we can cancel the word duty altogether. It 
is simply a case of choosing between duty and 
inclination." 

" No," said Anikin, " it is sometimes a 
case of choosing between a pleasure which is 
not contrary to duty (et qui pourrait meme 
avoir V excuse du devoir)" he lapsed into 
French, which was his habit when he found it 
difficult to express himself in English, " and 
an obligation which is contrary both to duty 
and inclination." 

" What is the difference between an obli- 
gation and a duty?" asked Arkright. He 



156 OVERLOOKED 

wished to pin the elusive Slav down to some- 
thing definite. 

" Isn't there in life often a conflict between 
them?" asked Anikin. "In practical life, 
I mean. You know Tennyson's lines : 

" His honour rooted in dishonour stood 
And faith unfaithful made him falsely true." 

" Now I understand," thought Arkright, 
" he is going to pretend that he is in the 
position of Lancelot to Elaine, and plead a 
prior loyalty to a Guinevere that no longer 
counts." 

" I think," he said, " in that case one can- 
not help remaining ' falsely true.' ' That is, 
he thought, what he wants me to say. 

" One cannot, that is to say, disregard the 
past," said Anikin. 

" No, one can't," said Arkright, as if he 
had entirely accepted the Russian's compli- 
cated fiction. 

He wanted, at the same time, to give him 
a hint that he was not quite so easily deceived 
as all that. 

" Isn't it a curious thought," he said, " how 
often people invoke the engagements of a 
past which they have comfortably disre- 



OVERLOOKED 157 

garded up to that moment when they no 
longer wish to face an obligation in the pre- 
sent, like a man who in order to avoid meeting 
a new debt suddenly points to an old debt as 
something sacred, which up till that moment 
he had completely disregarded, and indeed, 
forgotten?" 

Anikin laughed. 

" Why are you laughing ? " asked Ark- 
right. 

" I am laughing at your intuition," said 
Anikin. " You novelists are terrible people." 

" He knows I have seen through him," 
thought Arkright, " and he doesn't mind. 
He wanted me to see through him the 
whole time. He wants me to know that 
he knows I know, and he doesn't mind. 
I think that all this elaborate romance 
was perhaps only meant for me. He 
will choose some simpler means of breaking 
off his engagement with Miss Farrel than 
by pleading a past obligation. He is far 
subtler and deeper than I thought, subtler 
and deeper in his simplicity. I should not 
be surprised if he were to give her no ex- 
planation whatsoever." 

Arkright was in a sense right. What Anikin 



158 OVERLOOKED 

had said to Arkright was meant for him and 
not for Miss Farrel. It was not a rehearsal 
of a possible explanation for her, but it was 
the testing of a possible justification of him- 
self to himself. He had not thought out 
what he was going to say before he began to 
talk to Arkright. He had begun with fact 
and had involuntarily embroidered the fact 
with fiction. It was Wahrheit und Dichtung 
and the Dichtung had got the better of the 
Wahrheit. His passion for make-belief and 
self-analysis had carried him away, and he 
had said things which might easily have 
been true and had hinted at difficulties which 
might have been his, but which, in reality, 
were purely imaginary. When he saw that 
Arkright had divined the truth, he laughed at 
the novelist's acuteness, and had let him see 
frankly that he realized he had been found 
out and that he did not mind. 

It was cynical, if you called that cynicism. 
Anikin would not have called it something 
else: the absence of cement, which a Rus- 
sian writer had said was the cardinal fea- 
ture of the Russian character. He did not 
mean to say or do anything to Kathleen 
that could possibly seem slighting. He 



OVERLOOKED 159 

was far too gentle and far too easy-going, 
far too weak, if you will, to dream of doing 
anything of the kind. With her, infinite 
delicacy would be needed. He did not know 
whether he could break off his engagement 
at all, so great was his horror of ruptures, of 
cutting Gordian-knots. This knot, in any 
case, could not be cut. It must be patiently 
unravelled if it was to be untied at all. 

" I think," said Arkright, " that all these 
cases are simple to reason about, but difficult 
to act on." Anikin was once more amazed 
at the novelist's perception. He laughed 
again, the same puzzling, quizzical Slav 
laugh. 

" You Russians," said Arkright, " find all 
these complicated questions of conflicting 
duties, divided conscience and clashing obli- 
gations, much easier than we do." 

" Why ? " asked Anikin. 

" Because you have a simple directness 
in dealing with subtle questions of this kind 
which is so complete and so transparent that 
it strikes us Westerners as being sometimes 
almost cynical." 

" Cynical ? " said Anikin. " I assure you 
I was not being cynical." 



160 OVERLOOKED 

He said this smiling so naturally and 
frankly that for a moment Arkright was 
puzzled. And Anikin had been quite honest 
in saying this. He could not have felt less 
cynical about the whole matter ; at the same 
time he had not been able to help taking 
momentary enjoyment in Arkright 's acute 
diagnosis of the case when it was put to him, 
and at his swift deciphering of the hierogly- 
phics and his skilful diagnosis, and he had 
not been able to help conveying the impression 
that he was taking a light-hearted view of the 
matter, when, in reality, he was perplexed 
and distressed beyond measure ; for he still 
had no idea of what he was to do, and the 
threads of gossamer seemed to bind him more 
tightly than ever. 

6 

ANIKIN strolled away from Arkright, and as 
he walked towards the Pavilion he met Mrs. 
Roseleigh. She saw at a glance that he had 
a confidence to unload, and she determined to 
take the situation in hand, to say what she 
wanted to say to him before he would have 
time to say anything to her. After he had 
heard what she had to say he would no longer 



OVERLOOKED 161 

want to make any more confidences, and if he 
did, she would know how to deal with them. 
They strolled along the Galeries till they 
reached a shady seat where they sat down. 

" You are out early," he said, " I particu- 
larly wanted " 

" I particularly wanted to see you this 
morning," she said. " I wanted to talk to 
you about Lancelot Stukely. You know his 
story ? " 

" Some of it," said Anikin. 

" He is going away." 

" Because of Donna Laura ? " 

" Oh, it's not that." 

" I thought he was devoted to her." 

" He likes her. He thinks she's a very 
good sort. So she is, but she's a lot of 
other things too." 

" He doesn't know that ? " 

" No, he doesn't know that." 

" You know how he wanted to marry Kath- 
leen Farrel ? " she said, after a moment's 
pause. 

" Yes," said Anikin, " I heard a little 
about it." 

" It was impossible before." 

" Because of money ? " 



162 OVERLOOKED 

" Yes, but now it is possible. He's been 
left money," she explained. " He's quite 
well off, he could marry at once." 

" But if he doesn't want to ? " 

" He does want to, that is just it." 

" Then why not ? Because Miss Farrel 
does not like him ? " 

" Kathleen does like him really ; at least 
she would like him really only " 

" There has been a misunderstanding," 
said Mrs. Roseleigh. She put an anxious 
note into her voice, slightly lowering it, and 
pressing down as it were the soft pedal of 
sympathy and confidential intimacy. 

" They have both misunderstood, you see ; 
and one misunderstanding has reacted on the 
other. Perhaps you don't know the whole 
story ? " 

" Do tell it me," he said. Once more he 
had the sensation of coasting or free-wheeling 
down a pleasant hill of perfect companion- 
ship. 

" Many years ago," said Mrs. Roseleigh, 
" she was engaged to Lancelot Stukely. She 
wouldn't marry him because she thought she 
couldn't leave her father. She couldn't have 
left him then. He depended on her for 



OVERLOOKED 163 

everything. But he died, and Lancelot, who 
was away, didn't come back and didn't write. 
He didn't dare, poor man! It was very silly 
of him. He thought he was too poor to offer 
her to share his poverty, but she wouldn't 
have minded. Anyhow he waited and time 
passed, and then the other day his uncle died 
and left him money, and he came back at 
once, and came here at once, to see her, not 
to see Donna Laura. That was just an acci- 
dent, Donna Laura being here, but when he 
came here he thought Kathleen no longer 
cared, so he decided to go away without 
saying anything. 

" Kathleen had been longing for him to 
come back, had been expecting him to come 
back for years. She had been waiting for 
years. She was not normal from excitement, 
and then she had a shock and disappointment. 
She was not, you see, herself. She was sus- 
ceptible to all influences. She was magnetic 
for the moment, ready for an electric dis- 
turbance ; she was like a watch that is taken 
near a dynamo on board ship, it makes it go 
wrong. And now she realizes that she is 
going wrong and that she won't go right till 
she is demagnetized." 



164 OVERLOOKED 

"Ah!" said Anikin, "she realizes." 

" You see," said Mrs. Roseleigh gently, 
" it wasn't anyone's fault. It just hap- 
pened." 

" And how will she be demagnetized ? " 
asked Anikin. 

" Ah, that is just it," said Mrs. Roseleigh. 
" We must all try and help her. We must 
all try to show her that we want to help. 
To show her that we understand." 

Anikin wondered whether Mrs. Roseleigh 
was speaking on a full knowledge of the case, 
or whether she knew something and had 
guessed the rest. 

" I suppose," he said, " you have always 
known what has happened to Miss Farrel ? " 

" I know everything that has happened 
to Kathleen," she said. " You see, I have 
known her for years. She's my best friend. 
And now I can judge just as well from what 
she doesn't say, as from what she says. She 
always tells me enough for it not to be neces- 
sary to tell me any more. If it was necessary, 
if I had any doubt, I could, and should 
always ask." 

" Then you think," said Anikin, " that she 
will marry Stukely ? " 



OVERLOOKED 165 

" In time, yes ; but not at once." 

Anikin remembered Stukely's conduct and 
was puzzled. 

" I am sure," he said, " that since he has 
been here he has made no effort." 

" Of course he didn't," she said, " He 
saw that it was useless. He knew at once." 

"Is he that kind of man, that knows at 
once ? " 

" Yes, he's that kind of man. He saw 
directly ; directly he saw her, and he didn't 
say a word. He just settled to go." 

Anikin felt this was difficult to believe ; 
all the more difficult because he wanted to 
believe it. Was Mrs. Roseleigh making it 
easy, too easy ? 

44 But he's going back to Africa," he said. 

44 How do you know ? " she asked. 

44 He told Mr. Asham, and he told me." 

44 He will go to London first. Kathleen 
will not stay here much longer either. I am 
going soon to London, too, and I shall see 
Lancelot Stukely there before he goes away, 
and do my best. And if you see him " 

44 Before he goes ? " 

44 Before he goes," she went on, 44 if you 
see him, perhaps you could help too, not by 



i66 OVERLOOKED 

saying anything, of course, but sometimes 
one can help " 

" I have a dread," said Anikin, " of some 
explanations." 

" That is just what she doesn't want 
explanations, neither he nor she," said Mrs. 
Roseleigh. " Kathleen wants us to under- 
stand without explanations. She is praying 
we may understand without her having to 
explain to us, or without our having to ex- 
plain to her. She wants to be spared all 
that. She has already been through such 
a lot. She is ashamed at appearing so con- 
tradictory. She knows I understand, but 
she doubts whether any one else ever could, 
and she does not know where to turn, nor 
what to do." 

" And when y*u go to London," he asked, 
" will you make it all right ? " 

" Oh yes," she said. 

" Are you quite sure you can make it all 
right ? I mean with Stukely, of course," he 
said. 

" Of course," said Mrs. Roseleigh, but she 
knew perfectly well that he really meant all 
right with Kathleen. 

" And you think he will marry her, and 



OVERLOOKED 167 

that she will marry him ? " he asked one last 
time. 

" I am quite sure of it," she said, " not at 
once, of course, but in time. We must give 
them time." 

" Very well," he said. He did not feel 
quite sure that it was all right. 

Mrs. Roseleigh divined his uncertainty and 
his doubts. 

' You see," she said, " what happened 
was very complicated. She knows that ever 
since Lancelot arrived, she was never really 
herself " 

" She knows ? " he asked. 

" She only wants to get back to her nor- 
mal self." 

' Well," he said, " I believe you know best. 
I will do what you tell me. I was thinking 
of going to London myself," he added. " Do 
you think that would be a good plan ? I 
might see Stukely. I might even travel with 
him." 

" That," said Mrs. Roseleigh, " would be 
an excellent plan." 

Mrs. Roseleigh's explanation, the explana- 
tion she had just served out to Anikin, was, 
as far as she was concerned, a curious blend 



168 OVERLOOKED 

of fact and fiction ; of honesty and disin- 
genuousness. She was convinced that both 
Kathleen and Anikin had made a mistake, 
and that the sooner the mistake was rectified 
the better for both of them. She thought if 
it was rectified, there was every chance of 
Stukely marrying Kathleen, but she had no 
reason to suppose that her explanation of his 
conduct was the true one. She thought 
Stukely had forgotten all about Kathleen, 
but there was no reason that he should not 
be brought back into the old groove. A little 
management would do it. He would have to 
marry now. He would want to marry ; and 
it would be the natural, normal thing for 
him to marry Kathleen, if he could be per- 
suaded that she had never cared for anyone 
else ; and Mrs. Roseleigh felt quite ready to 
undertake the explanation. She was quite 
disinterested with regard to Kathleen and 
quite disinterested towards Stukely. Was 
she quite disinterested towards Anikin ? 

She would not have admitted to her dearest 
friend, not even to herself, that she was not ; 
but as a matter of fact she had consciously 
or unconsciously annexed Anikin. He was 
made to be charmed by her. She was not 



OVERLOOKED 169 

in the least in love with him, and she did not 
think he was in love with her ; she was not 
a dynamo deranging a watch ; she was a 
magnet attracting a piece of steel ; but she 
had not done it on purpose. She had done 
it because she couldn't help it. Her con- 
science was quite clear, because she was 
convinced she was helping Kathleen, Stukely 
and Anikin out of a difficult and an impossible 
situation ; but at the same time (and this is 
what she would not have admitted) she was 
pleasing herself. 

Their conversation was interrupted by the 
arrival first of Kathleen herself, then of 
Arkright. 

Kathleen had in her hands the copy of a 
weekly review. 

After mutual salutations had passed, Kath- 
leen and Arkright sat down near Mrs. Rose- 
leigh and Anikin. 

" Aunt Elsie," said Kathleen to Arkright, 
44 asked me to give you back this. She is 
not coming down yet, she is very busy." She 
handed Arkright the review. 

44 Ah! " said Arkright. 4< Did the article 
on Nietzsche interest her ? " 

44 Very much, I think," said Kathleen, 

M 



i;o OVERLOOKED 

" but I liked the story best. The story about 
the brass ring." 

" A sentimental story, wasn't it ? " said 
Arkright. 

" What was it about ? " asked Anikin. 

" Mr. Arkright will tell it you better than 
I can," said Kathleen. 

" I am afraid I don't remember it well 
enough," said Arkright. 

He remembered the story sufficiently well, 
although being of no literary importance, it 
had small interest for him ; but he saw that 
Miss Farrel had some reason for wanting it 
told, and for telling it herself, so he pressed 
her to indicate the subject. 

" Well," she said, " it's about a man who 
had been all sorts of things : a soldier, a 
king, and a savant, and who wants to go into 
a monastery, and says he had done with all 
that the world can give, and as he says this 
to the abbot, a brass ring, which he wears 
round his neck, falls on to the floor of the 
cell. The ring had been given him by a 
queen whom he had loved, a long time ago, at 
a distance and without telling her or anyone, 
and who had been dead for years. The abbot 
tells him to throw it away and he can'tt 



OVERLOOKED 171 

gives up the idea of entering the monastery 
and goes away to wander through the world. 
I think he was right not to throw away the 
ring, don't you ? " she said. 

" Do you think one ought never to throw 
away the brass ring ? " said Anikin, with the 
incomparable Slav facility for " catching on," 
who instantly adopted the phrase as a symbol 
of the past. 

44 Never," said Kathleen. 

" Whatever it entails ? " Anikin asked. 

" Whatever it entails," she answered. 

" Have you never thrown away your brass 
ring ? " asked Anikin, smiling. 

44 1 haven't got one to throw away," she said. 

44 Then I will send you one from London. 
I am going there in a day or two," he said. 

44 Mrs. Roseleigh was right," he said to 
himself, 44 no explanations are necessary." 

Mrs. Roseleigh looked at him with approval. 
Kathleen Farrel seemed relieved too, as 
though a weight too heavy for her to bear 
had been lifted from her, as though after 
having forced herself to keep awake in an 
alien world and an unfamiliar sunlight, she 
was now allowed to go back once more to the 
region of dreamless limbo. 



172 OVERLOOKED 

44 Yes," she said, " please send me one from 
London," as if there were nothing surprising 
or unexpected about his departure. 

In truth she was relieved. The episode at 
Bellevue was as far away from her now as the 
dreams and adventure of her childhood. She 
felt no regret. She asked for no explanation. 
Anikin's words gave her no pang ; nothing 
but a joyless relief; but it was with the 
slightest tinge of melancholy that she realized 
that she must be different from other people, 
and she would not have had things otherwise. 

As Arkright looked at her dark hair, her 
haunting eyes and her listless face, he thought 
of the Sleeping Beauty in the wood ; and 
wondered whether a Fairy Prince would one 
day awaken her to life. He did not know her 
full story ; he did not know that she was a 
mortal who had trespassed in Fairyland and 
was now paying the penalty. 

The enchanted thickets were closing round 
her, and the forest was taking its revenge on 
the intruder who had once rashly dared to 
violate its secrecy. 

He did not know that Kathleen Farrel had 
in more senses than one been overlooked. 



THE PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY. PART II 

II 

DR. SABRAN read the papers I sent him the 
very same night lie received them, and the 
following evening he asked me to dinner, and 
after dinner we sat on the verandah of his 
terrace and discussed the story. 

" I recognized Hareville," said Dr. Sabran, 
" of course, although his Saint-Yvcs-les- 
Bains might just as well have been any other 
watering-place in the world. I do not know 
his heroine, nor her aunt, even by sight, 
because I only arrived at Ilarevillc two years 
ago after they had left, and last year I was 
absent. Princess Kouragine I have met in 
Paris. She and yourself therefore are the 
only two characters in the book whom I 
know." 

" He bored Princess Kouragine," I said. 
173 



174 OVERLOOKED 

" Yes," said Sabran, " that is why he has 
to invent a Slav microbe to explain her indif- 
ference. But Mrs. Lennox flattered him ? " 

" Very thoroughly," I said. 

" Well, the first thing I want to know is," 
said Sabran, " what happened ? What hap- 
pened then ? but first of all, what happened 
afterwards ? " 

I said I knew little. All I knew was that 
Miss Brandon was still unmarried ; that 
Canning went back to Africa, stayed out 
his time, and had then come back to England 
last year ; and that I had heard from Kranit- 
ski once or twice from Africa, but for the 
last ten months I had heard nothing, either 
from or of him. 

" But," I said, " before I say anything, I 
want you to tell me what you think hap- 
pened and why it happened." 

" Well," said the doctor, " to begin with, 
I understand, both from your story as well 
as from his, that Kranitski and Miss Brandon 
were engaged to be married and that the 
engagement was broken off. But I also 
understood from your MS. that the man 
Canning was for nothing in the rupture of 
the engagement. It happened before he 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 175 

arrived. It was due, in my opinion, to 
something which happened to Kranitski. 

" Now, what do we know about Kranitski 
as related by you ? First of all, that he was 
for a long time attached to a Russian lady 
who was married, and who would not divorce 
because of her children. 

' Then, from what he told you, we know 
that although a believing Catholic he said 
he had been outside the Church for seven 
years. That meant, obviously, that he had 
not been pratiquant. That is exactly what 
would have happened if he had been living 
with a married woman and meant to go on 
doing so. Then when he arrives at Hare- 
ville, he tells you that the obstacle to his 
practising his religion no longer exists. Kran- 
itski makes the acquaintance of Miss Bran- 
don, or rather renews his old acquaintance 
with her, and becomes intimate with her. 
Princess Kouragine finds she is becoming a 
different being. You go away for a month, 
and when you come back she almost tells you 
she is engaged it is the same as if she told 
you. The very next day Kranitski meets 
you, about to spend a day at the lakes with 
Miss Brandon and evidently not sad on the 



176 OVERLOOKED 

contrary. He received a letter in your pre- 
sence. You are aware after he has read this 
letter of a sudden change in him. 

" Then a few days later he comes to see you 
and announces a change of plans, and says 
he is going to Africa. He also gives you to 
understand that the obstacle has not come 
back into his life. What obstacle ? It can 
only be one thing, the obstacle he told you of, 
which was preventing him from practising 
his religion. 

" Now, what do we learn from the novel ? 

" We learn from the novel that the day after 
that expedition to the lakes, Rudd describes 
the Russian having a conversation with the 
novelist (himself) in which he tells the nove- 
list, firstly, that he is going away, probably 
to Africa. So far we know that he was telling 
the truth. Then he says that just as he 
found himself, as he thought, free, an old 
debt or tie or obligation rises up from the 
past which has to be paid or regarded or met. 
Rudd, in the person of Arkright, thinks he is 
inventing. They talk of conflicts and divided 
duties and the choice between two duties. 
The Russian is made to say that the most 
difficult complication is when duty and 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 177 

pleasure are both on one side and an obliga- 
tion is on the other side, and one has to choose 
between them. The novelist gives no ex- 
planation of this, he treats it merely as a 
gratuitous piece of embroidery a fantasy. 

" Now, I believe the Russian said what 
Rudd makes him say, because if he didn't 
it doesn't seem to me like the kind of fantasy 
the novelist would have invented had he been 
inventing. If he had been inventing, I think 
he would have found something else." 

" All the same," I interrupted, " we don't 
know whether he said that." 

" We don't know whether he said anything 
at all," said Sabran. 

" I know they had a conversation," I said, 
" because I was in the park all that morning 
and someone told me they were talking to 
each other. On the other hand, he may have 
invented the whole thing, as Rudd says that 
the novelist in his story knew about the 
Russian's former entanglement, and lays 
stress on the fact that the Russian did not 
know that he knew. So it may have been on 
that little basis of fact that all this fancy- 
work was built." 

" I think," said Sabran, " that the conver- 



178 OVERLOOKED 

sation did take place. And I think that it 
happened so. I think he spoke about the 
past and said that thing about the blotting 
paper. There is a poem of Pushkin's about 
the impossibility of wiping out the past." 

" And I think," I said, " that the Russian 
laughed, and said, ' You novelists are terrible 
people.' Only he was laughing at the novel- 
ist's density and not applauding his intui- 
tion." 

" Well, then," said Sabran, " let us postu- 
late that the Russian did say what he was 
reported to have said to the novelist, and let 
us conclude that what he said was true." 

" In that case, the Russian said he was in 
the position of choosing between a pleasure, 
that is to say, something he wanted to do 
which was not contrary to his duty " 

" For which duty might even be pleaded 
as an excuse," said Sabran, quoting the 
very words said to have been used by the 
Russian. 

" And an obligation which was contrary 
both to duty and to inclination. That is to 
say, there is something he wants to do. He 
could say it was his duty to do it. And there 
is something he doesn't want to do, and he 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 179 

can say it is contrary to his duty. And yet 
he feels he has got to do it. It is an obliga- 
tion, something which binds him." 

"It is the old liaison," said Sabran. 

" In that case," I said, " why did he go to 
Africa ? " 

" Yes, why did he go to Africa ? And 
stay there at any rate such a long time. Did 
he talk of coming back ? " 

" No, he said nothing about coming back. 
He said he liked the country and the life, 
but he said little about either. He wrote 
chiefly about books and abstract ideas." 

" Perhaps," said Sabran, " there is some- 
thing else in his life which we know nothing 
about. There is another reason why I do 
not think that the old liaison is the obliga- 
tion. He took the trouble to come and see 
you before he went away and to tell you that 
the obstacle which had prevented his practis- 
ing his religion had not reappeared in his life. 
It is probable that he was speaking the truth. 
And he knew he was going to Africa. So it 
must be something else." 

" Perhaps," I said, " it was something to 
do with Canning. What are your theories 
about Canning, the other man ? " 



i8o OVERLOOKED 

" What are yours ? " he said. " I heard 
nothing about him." 

I said I thought that all Mrs. Summer had 
told me about Canning was true. Rudd, I 
explained to Sabran, disliked Mrs. Summer, 
and had drawn a portrait of her as a swoop- 
ing gentle harpy, which I knew to be quite 
false. " Although," I said, " I think the 
things he makes her say about Canning are 
quite true. I think he reports her thoughts 
correctly but attributes to her the wrong 
motives for saying them. I don't believe she 
ever talked to him about Canning ; but he 
knew her ideas on the subject, through Mrs. 
Lennox. I believe that Canning arrived 
at Hareville on purpose to see Miss Brandon. 
I know that the Italian lady had played no 
part in his life and that it was just a chance 
that they met at HareVille. I believe he 
arrived full of hope, and that when he saw 
Miss Brandon he realized the situation as 
soon as he had spoken to her. This is what 
Rudd makes Mrs. Summer say, and I believe 
that is what happened. In Rudd's version 
of Mrs. Summer she is lying. Rudd had 
already a preconceived notion that Miss 
Brandon's first love was to forget her. He 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 181 

had made up his mind about that long before 
the young man came upon the scene, before 
he knew he was coming on the scene, and 
when he did, he distorted the facts to suit his 
fiction." 

' Then," said Sabran, " his ideas about 
Miss Brandon. All that idea of her being the 
4 Princess without dreams,' without passion, 
being muffled and half-awake ' overlooked,' 
as he says, which I suppose means ensorcelee" 

I told him I thought that was not only 
fiction but perfectly baseless fiction. I re- 
minded him of what Princess Kouragine had 
said about Miss Brandon. 

" I must think it over," said Sabran. " For 
the present I do not see any completely satis- 
factory solution. I am convinced of one thing 
only, and that is that the novelist drew false 
deductions from facts which were perhaps 
sometimes correctly observed." 

I said I agreed with him. Rudd's deduc- 
tions were wrong ; his facts were probably 
right in some cases ; Sabran's deductions 
were right, I thought, as far as they went ; 
but we either had not enough facts or not 
enough intuition to arrive at a solution of 
the problem. 



182 OVERLOOKED 

As I was saying this, Sabran interrupted 
me and said : 

"If we only knew what was in the letter 
that the Russian received when he was with 
you we should have the key of the enigma. 
It was from the moment that he received 
that letter that he was different, wasn't it ? " 

I said this was so, and what happened 
afterwards proved that it was not my imagi- 
nation. 

" What in the world can have been in that 
letter ? " said Sabran. 

I said I did not think we should ever know 
that. 

" Probably not," he said, musingly. " And 
that incident about the story of the Brass 
Ring. Do you think that happened ? Did 
they say all that ? " 

I was able to tell him exactly what had 
happened with regard to that incident. 

" I was sitting in the garden. It was, I 
think, the morning after they had all been 
to the lakes, and about the middle of the day, 
after the band had stopped playing, shortly 
before dejeuner, that Rudd, Miss Brandon, 
Kranitski and Mrs. Summer all came and 
talked to me before I went into the hotel. 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 183 

" Miss Brandon gave the copy of the 
Saturday Review, or whatever the newspaper 
was, back to Rudd, and mentioned the story 
of the 4 Brass Ring,' and they discussed it, 
and I asked what it was about. Rudd was 
asked to read it aloud to us, and he did. 
Miss Brandon and Kranitski made no com- 
ments ; and Rudd asked Kranitski if he 
thought the man had done right to throw 
away his ring, and Kranitski said : 'A chain 
is no stronger than its weakest link.' 

" Rudd said : ' Perhaps the brass ring was 
the strongest link.' 

" Kranitski and Miss Brandon said nothing, 
and Mrs. Summer said she was glad the man 
had not thrown the ring away. Then Rudd 
asked Miss Brandon whether she had ever 
thrown away her brass ring. 

" Miss Brandon said she hadn't got one, 
and changed the subject. Then they all left 
me. That was all that happened." 

"I understand," said Sabran; "that is 
interesting, and it helps us to understand the 
methods of the novelist. But we are still no 
nearer a solution. I must think it over. 
Que diable y avait-il dans cette lettre ? " 



THE PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY PART II 
III 

THE more I thought over the whole story the 
more puzzling it seemed to me. The puzzle 
was increased rather than simplified by a 
letter which I received from Kranitski from 
Africa, in which he expressed no intention 
of coming back, but said he was living by 
himself, quite contented in his solitude. 

I told Sabran of this letter and the Doctor 
said we were without one important donnee, 
some probably quite simple fact which would 
be the clue of the whole situation : the con- 
tents of the letter Kranitski had received 
when he was with me 

" What we want," he said, " is a moral 
Sherlock Holmes, to deduce what was in that 
letter- 
It was after I had been at Hareville about 
ten days, that Sabran asked me whether I 
would like to make the acquaintance of a 
Countess Yaskov. She was staying at Hare- 
ville and was taking the waters. He had 
only lately made her acquaintance himself, 

184 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 185 

but she was dining with him and he wanted 
to ask a few people to meet her. I asked 
him what she was like. He said she was not 
exactly pretty, but gentle and attractive. 
He said : " Elle rfext pas vraiment jolie, 
mais elle a une jolie taillc, de beaux yeux, et 
des perles." 

She had been divorced from her husband 
for years and lived generally at Rome, so 
he had been told. 

I went to Sabran's dinner. There were 
several people there. I had never met 
Countess Yaskov before. She seemed to be a 
very pleasant and agreeable lady. I sat next 
to her. She was an accomplished musician, 
and she played the pianoforte after dinner 
with a ravishing touch. She was certainly 
gentle, intelligent, and natural. We were 
talking of Italy, when she astonished me by 
saying she had not been there for some time. 
Later on she astonished me still more by 
talking of her husband in the most natural 
way in the world. But I had heard cases of 
Russians beng divorced and yet continuing 
to be good friends. I longed to ask her if 
she knew Kranitski, but I could not bring his 
name across my lips. I asked her if she knew 



186 OVERLOOKED 

Princess Kouragine. She said, "Which one ? " 
And when I explained or tried to describe 
the one I knew, there turned out to be about 
a dozen Princess Kouragines scattered all 
over Europe ; some of them Russian and 
some of them not, so we did not get any 
further, and Countess Yaskov was vagueness 
itself. 

We talked of every conceivable subject. 
As she was going away she asked Sabran if 
he could lend her a book. He lent her 
Rudd's Unfinished Dramas, and asked me if 
he might lend her Overlooked. I said cer- 
tainly, but I explained that it was more or 
less a private book about real people. 

Two or three days later I met her in the 
park. She asked me if I had read Rudd's 
story. I told her it had been read to me. 

" But it is meant to happen here, isn't it ? " 
she said. " And aren't you one of the 
characters ? ' : 

I said this was, I believed, the case. 

" Then you were here when all that hap- 
pened ? '' she said. " Did it happen like 
that, or was it all an invention ? " 

I said I thought there was some basis of 
fact in the story, and a great deal of fancy, 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 187 

but I really didn't know. I did not wish to 
let her know at once how much I knew. 

" Novelists," I said, " invent a great deal on 
a very slender basis, especially James Rudd.'' 

" You know him ? " she said. " He was 
here with you, of course ? ' : 

1 told her I had made his acquaintance 
here, but that I had never seen him before 
or since. 

" What sort of man is he ? " she asked. 

I gave her a colourless, but favourable 
portrait of Rudd. 

" And the young lady ? " she said, " Miss 
I've forgotten her name." 

"The heroine?" I asked. 

" Yes, the heroine who is ' overlooked. 1 
Do you think she was ' overlooked ' ? ' 

"In what sense?" 

" In the fairy-tale sense/' 

I said I thought that was all fancy-work. 

" I wonder," she said, " if she married the 
young man." 

" Which one ? " 

" The Englishman." 

I said I had not heard of her being nmrried. 

"And was there a Russian here, too?' 
she asked. 



i88 OVERLOOKED 

" Yes," I said, " his name was Kranitski." 

" That sounds like a Polish name." 

I said he was a Russian. 

" You knew him, too ? " 

" Just a little." 

4 ' It is an interesting story," she said, " but 
I think Rudd makes all the characters more 
complicated than they probably were. Does 
Mr. Rudd know Russia ? 5! 

I said I believed not at all. 

" I thought not," she said. 

I said that Kranitski seemed to me a far 
simpler character than Rudd's Anikin. 

" Did Dr. Sabran know all those people ? " 
she asked. 

I said Dr. Sabran had not been here while 
it was going on. 

" It would be very annoying for that poor 
girl to find herself in a book," she said, " if 
he published it." 

I said that Rudd would probably never 
publish it although he would probably deny 
that he had made portraits, and to some 
extent with reason, as his Kathleen Farrel 
was quite unlike Miss Brandon. 

" Oh, her name was Miss Brandon," Coun- 
tess Yaskov said, pensively. " If she comes 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 189 

here this year you must introduce me to her. 
I think I should like her." 

44 Everyone said she was beautiful," I said. 

" One sees that from the novel. I suppose 
James Rudd invented a character which he 
thought suited her face." 

I said that that was exactly what had 
happened. Rudd had started with a theory 
about Miss Brandon, that she was such and 
such person, and he distorted the facts till 
they fitted with his theory. At least, that 
was what I imagined to have been the case. 

I "asked Countess Yaskov what she thought 
of the psychology of Rudd's Russian. I 
said she ought to be a good judge. She 
laughed and said : 

" Yes, I ought to be a good judge. I think 
he is rather severe on the Slavs, don't you ? 
He makes that poor Anikin so very compli- 
cated, and so very sly and fickle as well." 

I said I thought the excuses which Rudd 
credited the Russian with making to himself 
for breaking off the engagement with the 
heroine of the book, were absurd. 

44 Do you think the Russian said those 
things or that the novelist invented them ? " 
she asked. 



igo OVERLOOKED 

I said I thought he had said what he was 
reported to have said. 

" If he said that, he was not lying," she said. 

I agreed, and I also thought he had said all 
that ; but that Rudd's explanation of his 
words was wrong. If that was true he must 
have broken off his engagement. 

" There is nothing very improbable in that, 
is there ? " she asked. 

" Nothing," I said. And yet I thought 
that Kranitski had finished with whatever 
there was in the past that might have been 
an obstacle to his present. 

" Did he tell you that ? " she asked. 

As she said that, although the tone of her 
voice was quite natural, almost too natural, 
there was a peculiar intonation in the way 
she said the word " he," in that word and that 
word only, which gave me the curious sensa- 
tion of a veil being lifted. I felt I was looking 
through a hole in the clouds. I felt certain 
that Countess Yaskov had known Kranitski. 

" He never told me one word that had 
anything to do with what Rudd tells in his 
novel," I said. 

I felt that my voice was no longer natural 
as I said this. There was a strain in it. 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 191 

There was a pause. I do not know why I 
now felt certain that Countess Yaskov pos- 
sessed the key of the mystery. I suddenly 
felt she was the woman whom Kranitski had 
known and loved for seven years, so much so, 
that I could say nothing further. I also felt 
that she knew that I knew. We talked of 
other things. In the course of the conversa- 
tion I asked her if she thought of staying a 
long time at Hareville. 

" It depends on my husband," she said. 
" I don't know yet whether he is coming here 
to fetch me, or whether he wants me to meet 
him. At any rate I shall go back to Russia 
for my boys' holidays. I have two sons at 
school." 

The next time I saw Sabran I asked him 
what he had meant by telling me that Coun- 
tess Yaskov was divorced from her husband. 
I told him what she had said to me about her 
husband and her sons. He did not seem 
greatly surprised ; but he stuck to his point 
that she was divorced. 

The next time I saw Countess Yaskov, she 
told me she had told a friend of hers about 
Rudd's story. Her friend had instantly 
recognized the character of Anikin. 



192 OVERLOOKED 

" My friend tells me," she said, " that the 
novelist is quite false as far as that character 
is concerned, false and not fair. She said 
what happened was this : The man whom 
Rudd describes as Anikin had been in love 
for many years with a married woman. She 
was in love with him, too, but she did not 
want to divorce her husband, for various 
reasons. So they separated. They separ- 
ated after having known each other a long 
time. Then the woman changed her mind 
and she settled she would divorce, and she let 
Anikin know. She wrote to him and said 
she was willing, at last, to divorce. My 
friend says it was complicated by other things 
as well. She did not tell me the whole story, 
but the man went to Africa and the woman 
did not divorce. What Anikin was supposed 
to have said to the novelist was true. He 
told the truth, and the novelist thought he 
was saying false things. That is what you 
thought, too. But all has been for the best 
in the end, because do you know what there 
is in to-day's Daily Mail ? " she asked. 

I said no one had read me the newspaper 
as yet. 

" The marriage is announced," she said, 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 193 

" of Miss Brandon to a man called Sir Some- 
body Canning." 

" That," said I, " is the Englishman in the 
book." 

" So Mr. Rudd was wrong altogether," she 
said, and she laughed. 

That is all that passed between us on this 
occasion, and I think this is a literal and com- 
plete transcription of our conversation. Coun- 
tess Yaskov told me her story, the narrative 
of her friend, with perfect naturalness and 
with a quiet ease. She talked as if she were 
relating facts that had no particular personal 
interest for her. There was not a tremor in 
her voice, not an intonation, either of satis- 
faction or pain, nothing but the quiet imper- 
sonal interest one feels for people in a book. 
She might have been discussing Anna Kare- 
nina, or a character of Stendhal. She was 
neutral and impartial, an interested but 
completely disinterested spectator. 

The tone of her voice was subtly different 
from what it had been the other day towards 
the end of our conversation. For during 
that conversation, admirably natural as she 
had been, and although her voice only be- 
trayed her in the intonation of one syllable, 



194 OVERLOOKED 

I feel now, looking back on it, that she was 
not sure of herself, that she knew she was 
walking the whole time on the edge of a 
precipice. 

This time I felt she was quite sure of her- 
self ; sure of her part. She was word-perfect 
and serenely confident. 

Of course, what she said startled me. First 
of all, the soidisant explanation of her friend. 
Had she told a friend about the story ? I 
thought not. Indeed, I feel now quite cer- 
tain that the friend was an invention, quite 
certain that she knew I had recognized her 
as the missing factor in the drama, and that 
she had wished me not to have a false im- 
pression of Kranitski. But at the time, 
while she was talking she seemed so natural 
that for the moment I believed, or almost 
believed, in the friend. But when she told 
me of Miss Brandon's marriage she furnished 
me with the explanation of her perfect acting, 
if it was acting. I thought it was the pos- 
session of this piece of news which enabled 
her to tell me that story so calmly and so 
dispassionately. 

Of course I may still be quite wrong. I 
may be seeing too much. Perhaps she had 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 195 

nothing to do with Kranitski, and perhaps 
she did tell a friend. She has friends here. 

Nevertheless I felt certain during our first 
conversation, at the moment I felt I was 
looking through the clouds, that she had 
been aware of it ; aware that I had not been 
able to go on talking of the story as naturally 
as I had done before. Her explanation, 
what her friend was supposed to have said, 
fitted in exactly with my suppositions, and 
with what I already knew. Sabran had been 
right. The clue to the whole thing was the 
letter. The letter that Kranitski had re- 
ceived when he was talking to me and which 
had made so sudden a change in him was the 
letter from her, from Countess Yaskov, saying 
she was ready to divorce and to marry him. 
He received this letter just after he was 
engaged to be married to Miss Brandon. It 
put him in a terrible situation. This situa- 
tion fitted exactly with what Rudd made him 
say to the novelist in the story : his obliga- 
tion to the past conflicted with his inclina- 
tion, namely, his desire to marry Miss Bran- 
don. 

Of course I might be quite wrong. It 
might all be my imagination. The next day 



196 OVERLOOKED 

I got a belated letter, from Miss Brandon, 
forwarded from Cadenabbia, telling me of her 
engagement. She said they were to be 
married at once, quite quietly. She knew it 
was no use asking me, but if I had been in 
London, etc. She made no other comments. 

That evening I dined with Sabran. I told 
him the news about Miss Brandon, and I told 
him what Countess Yaskov had told me her 
friend had told her about the story. 

" Half the problem is solved," he said. 
" The story of Countess Yaskov's friend 
explains the words which Rudd lends to the 
Russian. His inclination, which was to 
marry Miss Brandon, coincides with the 
religious duty of a croyant, which is not to 
marry a divorcee, and not to put himself once 
more outside the pale of the Church, but it 
clashes with his obligation, which is to be 
faithful to his friend of seven years. His 
inclination coincides with his duty, but his 
duty is in conflict with his obligation. What 
does he do ? He goes away. Does he ex- 
plain ? Who knows ? He was, indeed, in a 
fichu situation. And now Miss Brandon 
marries the young man. Either she had 
loved him all the time, or else, feeling her 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 197 

romance was over, she was marrying to be 
married. In any case, her novel, so far from 
being ended, is only just beginning. And the 
Russian ? Was it a real amour or a coup- 
de-tSte ? Time will show. For himself he 
thought it was only a coup-de-tete : he will go 
back to his first love, but she will never divorce. 

I asked him again whether he was sure that 
Countess Yaskov was divorced from her hus- 
band. He was quite positive. He knew it 
de source certaine. She had been divorced 
years ago, and she lived at Rome. I was 
puzzled. In that case, why did she try and 
deceive me, and at the same time if she wanted 
to deceive me why did she tell me so much ? 
Why did she give me the key of the problem ? 
I said nothing of that to Sabran. I saw it 
was no use. 

A few days later, Countess Yaskov left 
Hareville. She told me she was going to 
join her husband. I did not remain long at 
Hareville after that. A few days before I left, 
Princess Kouragine arrived. I told her about 
Miss Brandon's marriage. She said she was 
not surprised. Canning deserved to marry 
her for having waited so long. " But," she 
said, " he will never light that lamp." 



ig8 OVERLOOKED 

I asked her if she was sorry for Kranitski. 
She said : 

" Very, but it could not be otherwise." 

That is all she said. When I told her that 
I had made the acquaintance of Countess 
Yaskov, she said : 

" Which one ? " 

I said it was the one who lived in Rome and 
who was separated from her husband. 

The next day she said to me : " You were 
mistaken about Countess Yaskov. The Coun- 
tess Yaskov who was here is Countess Irina 
Yaskov. She is not divorced, and she lives 
in Russia now. The one you mean is Countess 
Helene Yaskov. She lives at Rome. They 
are not relations even. You confused the two, 
because they both at different times lived at 
Rome." I now saw why I had been put off 
the scent for a moment by Sabran. I asked 
her if she knew my Countess Yaskov. She said 
she had met her, but did not know her well. 

" She is a quiet woman," she said. On dit 
qtfelle est charmante." 

Just about this time I received a long letter 
from Rudd. He said he must publish Over- 
looked. He had been told he ought to pub- 
lish it by everybody. He might, he^said, just 



PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 199 

as well publish it, since printing five hundred 
copies and circulating them privately was in 
reality courting the maximum of publicity : 
the maximum in quality if not in quantity. 
By doing this, one made sure that the only 
people it might matter reading the book, read 
it. He did not care who saw it, in the pro- 
vinces, in Australia, or in America. The 
people who mattered, and the only people 
who mattered, were friends, acquaintances 
and the London literary world, and now they 
had all seen it. Besides which, his series of 
unfinished dramas would be incomplete with- 
out it ; and he did not think it was fair on 
his publisher to leave out Overlooked. " Be- 
sides which," he said, "it is not as if the 
characters in the books were portraits. You 
know better than anyone that this is not so." 
He ended up, after making it excruciatingly 
clear that he had irrevocably and finally made 
up his mind to publish, by asking my advice ; 
that is to say, he wanted me to say that I 
agreed with him. I wrote to him and said 
that I quite understood why he had settled 
to publish the story, and I referred to Miss 
Brandon's marriage at the end of my letter. 
Before I heard from him again, I was called 



200 OVERLOOKED 

away from Hareville, and I had to leave in a 
hurry. It was lucky I did so, because I got 
away only just in time, either to avoid being 
compelled to remain at Hareville for a far 
longer time than I should have wished to do, 
or from having to take part in a desperate 
struggle for escape. The date of my depar- 
ture was July 27th, 1914. 

The morning I left I said good-bye to Prin- 
cess Kouragine, and I reminded her that 
when I had said good-bye to her two years ago 
she had said to me, talking of Miss Brandon : 
" The man behaved well." I asked her which 
man she had meant. She said : 

" I meant the other one." 

" Which do you call the other one ? " I 
asked. 

She said she meant by the other one : 

" Le grand amoureux." 

I said I didn't know which of the two was 
the " grand amourette." 

" Oh, if you don't know that you know 
nothing," she said. 

At that moment I had to go. The motor- 
bus was starting. 

I feel that Princess Kouragine was right and 
that, after all, perhaps I know nothing. 

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