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BOSTON & NEW YORK
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN.
M. A. T.
THE PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY
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
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
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
" 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
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
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
He soon reverted to the original subject
of our talk.
" Why is Miss Brandon not married ? " he
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
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
" What can I call it ? " he asked, in an
agony of impatience. " She has every
beauty, every grace, except that of expres-
" 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.
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
I asked Princess Kouragine what Rudd
was like. She said he had something rather
prim and dapper about him. I was quite
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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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.
" 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
" The little subterfuges. Having to think
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
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,
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.
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
" You see if a sensible marriage had been
arranged for her, all this would not have
happened. She would have now had a home
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
I asked the Princess whether she thought
her capable of such a thing. She seemed so
" You have never seen the lamp lit," said
the Princess, " but I have ; only for one
moment, it is true, but I shall never forget
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-
" He certainly observes nothing," said the
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
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 ! "
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
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.
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
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
She said she thought she had only met that
" 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-
" 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.
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
No, he had told her he was not a Pole.
He was not a man who explained. Explana-
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
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 ? '
" 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
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 ? "
No, she didn't. She had never met him,
but she knew of him.
I asked what Mr. Rudd thought about
" 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."
At that moment someone walked up the
" 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
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
Yes, he said, he would like to make his
acquaintance. He had never met an Eng-
" 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
Russian badly, perhaps Mr. Rudd would not
count him as a Russian.
Miss Brandon said that would make the
explanation more complicated still.
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
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-
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
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
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
" 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-
' 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.
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-
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
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
" It is evidently over," said Princess
" Why ? " I asked.
" Because he is happy. II rfa plus des
yeux qui regardent au del&."
" Was he very much in love with her ? "
" 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
' 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
a little more an obstacle than if he was a
radical and a little less of one than if he was
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
" 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
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
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."
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
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
as he is gone, she regrets having done this,
and imagines that if he came back she would
" 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
She had no business to have adventures in
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
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.
" 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,
" 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
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
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-
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
I said Princess Kouragine liked him.
" Ah," he said, " that is an interesting
type. The French character infected by the
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
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-
I said that I believed his mother was
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
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
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
Then we went out into the park and lis-
tened to the music.
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.
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
She meant to say : " She is looking much
better than she did when she arrived,"
but she did not want to talk about looks
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
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
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
I presumed he was not a Radical. I was
I said I supposed Miss Brandon could never
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
PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 67
" Of course," she said. " It was pure
I asked what had happened to the young
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
" 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."
" 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
I said that Rudd thought she would never
" 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
I asked her if she thought Rudd was always
" 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
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."
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
I asked Mrs. Summer if she knew Kranit-
" 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,"
" 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
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
" 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.
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
" One knows so little about other people."
" Nothing," I said. " Perhaps he is miser-
able. He ought to marry. I feel he is very
" 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-
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
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.
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
" 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.
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
" 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
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
" HareVille ? "
" Hareville and all of it everything."
There was another long pause. She broke
" You talked to Mabel Summer yester-
day ? "
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-
" More than that. Tragedies. One thing
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
I said I doubted whether we would ever
" 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-
" She likes him ? " I said.
" She likes him very much. She's
PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 79
very fastidious, very hard to please, very
I said everyone seemed to like Kranitski.
" Aunt Netty says he's commonplace, but
that's because Mr. Rudd said he was common-
I said Rudd always had theories about
" 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?"
" The clever people ? "
" What people ? "
" I don't know. Nice people."
44 People like "
" People like Mabel Summer and Princess
Kouragine," she interrupted.
" They are both very clever, I think," I
" Yes, but it's not that that matters."
I said I thought intelligence mattered a
" 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-
I said that Kranitski was obviously reli-
" 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
" Yes, but not to the people who want them
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
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 ? ' :
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
" 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
" 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
I said I was a good listener.
" Has he told you about his book ? "
I said that he had told me what he had
" 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
" Who is the heroine ? " I asked.
" Mabel I think," she said. " She's so
pretty. Mr. Rudd admires her. He said
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 ?"
" What made Kranitski think that ? " I
" 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,"
" 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
" 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
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
She said these last words as if she was con-
ferring an undeserved reward on a truant
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
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
" 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
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
" But does she love anyone else ? "
" 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.
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
" 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
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
books that Mr. Rudd writes. They would
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
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
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
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
The next day I left Hareville and met my
sister in Paris. We travelled to Cadenabbia
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-
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
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.
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
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.)
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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
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
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
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
more be able to make his slow honest eyes
light up and smoulder with love, admiration
" 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
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
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-
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
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,
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
' You remember him in Florence ? " said
Mrs. Knolles, reverting to Count Tilsit.
" Oh, yes, the Norwegian."
" A Swede, darling, not a Norwegian."
" I thought it was the same thing," said
" I have got a piece of news for you," said
Kathleen made an effort to prepare her
face. She was determined that it should
reveal nothing. She knew quite well what
" 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
" Was Sir James ill a long time ? " Kath-
" I believe he was," said Mrs. Knolles.
" Oh, then I suppose he won't go back to
Malta," said Kathleen, with perfectly assumed
" 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
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-
" 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
Aren't you feeling well, darling ? " she
" 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
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
" All the same," she thought, " it proves
At that moment a friendly voice called to
" What are you doing all by yourself,
Kathleen ? "
It was her friend, Mrs. Roseleigh. Kath-
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
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.
" I saw that in the newspaper some time
ago. I thought you knew," said Mrs. Rose-
" 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
striking-looking. But what extraordinary
" 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-
" 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,
" Aunt Elsie has asked a Swede to dinner.
Count Tilsit. Do you know him ? "
" I was introduced to him yesterday. He
" Do you like him ? "
" I hardly know him. I think he is nice-
looking and has good manners and looks like
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-
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
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-
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
But the sudden sight of Lancelot trans-
formed Kathleen. It was as if someone had
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
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.
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
Presently the conversation became general.
They discussed the races, the troupe at the
Casino Theatre, the latest arrivals.
" Lancelot Stukely is here," said Mrs.
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
lovely ? " she said to Arkright and the
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
" I do not think it, I am sure," said the
" Her figure is wonderful," said Mrs.
" Was she very beautiful then ? " asked
" 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
" And so do I," said Kathleen. " I could
understand anyone being in love with
" 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
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
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
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
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
" 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.
" No," he said, "she is only passing through
on her way to Italy. She leaves for Ravenna
" She is looking beautiful," said Mrs.
" 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.
" 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."
" 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
he would meet her. He had mentioned the
rarity of his letters lately. He had been so
busy, and then all that business ... his
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
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
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."
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
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-
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
facility of his race for what is their national
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-
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
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-
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."
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
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.
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
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
" 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,
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
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
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
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
Anikin remained pensive.
" What I find still more complicated," he
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
" 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
" What is the difference between an obli-
gation and a duty?" asked Arkright. He
wished to pin the elusive Slav down to some-
" 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
" 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-
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-
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,
" Why are you laughing ? " asked Ark-
" 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-
Arkright was in a sense right. What Anikin
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
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
" 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
" Cynical ? " said Anikin. " I assure you
I was not being cynical."
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.
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
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
" Yes," said Anikin, " I heard a little
" It was impossible before."
" Because of money ? "
" 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-
" 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
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
" 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."
"Ah!" said Anikin, "she realizes."
" You see," said Mrs. Roseleigh gently,
" it wasn't anyone's fault. It just hap-
" And how will she be demagnetized ? "
" 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
" Then you think," said Anikin, " that she
will marry Stukely ? "
" In time, yes ; but not at once."
Anikin remembered Stukely's conduct and
" 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
saying anything, of course, but sometimes
one can help "
" I have a dread," said Anikin, " of some
" 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
" 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
that she will marry him ? " he asked one last
" I am quite sure of it," she said, " not at
once, of course, but in time. We must give
" Very well," he said. He did not feel
quite sure that it was all right.
Mrs. Roseleigh divined his uncertainty and
' You see," she said, " what happened
was very complicated. She knows that ever
since Lancelot arrived, she was never really
" She knows ? " he asked.
" She only wants to get back to her nor-
' 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
" 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
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
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
Their conversation was interrupted by the
arrival first of Kathleen herself, then of
Kathleen had in her hands the copy of a
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,
" but I liked the story best. The story about
the brass ring."
" A sentimental story, wasn't it ? " said
" 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
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.
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
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
" He bored Princess Kouragine," I said.
" 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
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
" 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-
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-
" 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
" 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 ? "
" 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
' 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
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-
" What in the world can have been in that
letter ? " said Sabran.
I said I did not think we should ever know
" 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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
" 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
" Which one ? "
" The Englishman."
I said I had not heard of her being nmrried.
"And was there a Russian here, too?'
" 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 ? "
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 ? "
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
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.
" 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
" The marriage is announced," she said,
PAPERS OF ANTHONY KAY 193
" of Miss Brandon to a man called Sir Some-
" That," said I, " is the Englishman in the
" 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,
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
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
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-
Of course I might be quite wrong. It
might all be my imagination. The next day
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."
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
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
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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