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Full text of "Under the hill : and other essays in prose and verse"

^ 



. AUBREY ^ 
BEARDSLEY 





MMojm'iNeweir^ 



UNDER THE HILL 

AND OTHER ESSAYS IN 
PROSE AND VERSE ^^ 




Aubrey Beardsley at Mentone, in the 
room in which he died 



UNDER THE HILL 

AND OTHER ESSAYS IN 
PROSE AND VERSE BY 
AUBREY BEARDSLEYf^ 
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 



JOHN LANE PUBLISHER THE BODLEY HEAD 
LONDON &• NEW YORK MDCCCCIV 



'The Publisher hopes at a later date to issue a volume 

of <iAubrey Beardslef s Letters. He will be pleased 

to hear from any one who 'possesses such and is 

willing to -permit their publication 



Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson b' Co. 
London &" Edinburgh 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

To those who are acquainted with Aubrey Beardsley's essays 
into the domain of hterature no apology for this re-puWica- 
tion is needed — indeed Beardsley's most intimate friends have 
averred that if his master genius had been turned seriously 
towards the world of letters, his success would have been as 
undoubted there as it was in the world of art. 

Admirers frequently have expressed a wish to see the 
literary remains of Beardsley. This volume, in which are 
gathered together various fragments and personalia, will, I 
trust, meet the case. 

A few of my random recollections of Beardsley's associa- 
tion with " The Yellow Book " perhaps will not be amiss. 

Until the publication of the first volume of " The Yellow 
Book" in 1894, Beardsley was practically unknown, his draw- 
ings for " Le Morte D'Arthur " and his marvellous designs 
illustrating " Salome " constituting his artistic record. It was at 
this time, then, that one morning he, with Mr. Henry Harland 
and myself, during half an hour's chat over our cigarettes at the 
Hogarth Club, founded the much discussed " Yellow Book." 
Beardsley became Art Editor, whilst Mr. Harland accepted 
the post of Literary Editor. 



vi PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

Many will remember the sensation caused by the appear- 
ance of the first volume. Perhaps the Westminster Gazette 
and the Times were the most severe in their strictures, at 
any rate on the Art in general and on Beardsley in particular. 

The Westminster Gazette said : 

" Mr. Aubrey Beardsley achieves excesses hitherto undreamt 
of. He seems to have conceived the disagreeable idea of 
taking certain arrangements of lines invented by the Japanese, 
and specially suited to blithe and pleasant peaks of decoration, 
and applying them to the most morbid of grotesque. His 
offence is the less to be condoned because he has undoubted 
skill as a line draughtsman and has shown himself capable of 
refined and delicate work. But as regards certain of his in- 
ventions in this number, the thing called ' The Sentimental 
Education,' and that other thing to which the name of Mrs. 
Patrick Campbell has somehow become attached, we do not 
know that anything would meet the case except a short Act of 
Parliament to make this kind of thing illegal." 

The Times said : 

*' ' The Yellow Book ' is, we suppose, destined to be the 
organ of the New Literature and the New Art. If the New 
Art is represented by the cover of this wonderful volume, it is 
scarcely calculated to attract by its intrinsic beauty or merit ; 
possibly, however, it may be intended to attract by its very 
repulsiveness and insolence, and in that case it is not unlikely 
to be successful. Its note appears to be a combination of 
English rowdyism with French lubricity. ... Sir Frederick 
Leighton, who contributes two graceful studies, finds himself 
cheek by jowl with such advanced and riotous representatives 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE vii 

of the New Art as Mr. Aubrey Beardsley and Mr. Walter 
Sickert. On the whole the New Art and the New Literature 
appear to us to compare in this singular volume far from 
favourably with the old." 



It may interest the Thnes critic to know that Sir Frederick 
Leighton was a great admirer of Beardsley 's work. At one ot 
Sir Frederick's periodical visits to the Bodley Head to see 
how the New Art and the New Literature were developing, 
he playfully suggested that if he was not " performing an 
R.A. duty he was doing a neighbourly one." He asked to 
see the originals of Beardsley 's "Yellow Book" pictures 
(Vol. I.), and then remarked: "Ah! what wonderful line! 
What a great artist ! " and then sotto voce, " if he could 
only draw." My retort was, " Sir Frederick, I am tired of 
seeing men who can only draw." " Oh ! yes," said Sir 
Frederick, " I know what you mean, and you are quite right 
too." 

There was indeed a universal howl against the cover and 
title-page designs, which it will be remembered were both the 
work of Beardsley. However the conductors of " The Yellow 
Book " were nothing daunted and proceeded to announce that 
for each volume in the future Mr. Beardsley would complete 
new cover and title-page designs. This was an entirely fresh 
idea, and has since been adopted by most of the leading 
illustrated magazines both in England and America. 

An interesting and original contribution to Volume II. of 
"The Yellow Book," one which did not fulfil its object 



viii PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

however, was a criticism of the contents of Volume I. by the 
late P. G. Hammerton. Mr. Hammerton, being merely an art 
critic and not a humorist, did not fulfil the commission quite 
in the spirit in which it was given him ; the conductors of 
the quarterly desired criticism, even though adverse to them- 
selves. I am sure that nothing would have delighted the two 
editors more than a good slating in their own pages, but Mr. 
Hammerton, always conscientious, found nothing but praise for 
its contents, especially for Beardsley's work. 

Beardsley's defect as Art Editor was youth. He would not 
take himself seriously : as an editor and draughtsman he was 
almost a practical joker, for one had, so to speak, to place his 
drawings under a microscope, and look at them upside down. 
This tendency on the eve of the production of Vol. V., during 
my first visit to the United States, rendered it necessary to 
omit his work from that volume. 

Beardsley was responsible for the art of the first four 
volumes, and it must be frankly confessed that, when he severed 
his connection with the magazine, the quarterly suff^ered an 
irretrievable loss. 

Soon after this period, Mr. Arthur Symonds started 
" The Savoy," as a rival, to which Beardsley, again as Art 
Editor, contributed another fine series of drawings. 

I well remember being interviewed in New York regard- 
ing the alleged decadence in Beardsley's work. I said then, 
and repeat now, that he merely lashed the follies of his time, 
that he was the Hogarth of his day, and that he had no more 
sympathy with decadence than Hogarth had for the vices 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE ix 



^ \ 



depicted in '^ Tiie Rake's Progress " and " Marriage a la 
Mode." Knowledge must never be confounded with sym- 
pathy. I will go farther, and declare that Beardsley, by his 
grotesque and powerful pictures of several hideous phases of 
life, dealt a death blow to decadence. Had he lived till now, 
it is quite possible that the Roval Academy might have Justi- 
fied its existence bv recognising in him the greatest exponent 
of the most vital of the graphic arts — namely. Black and 
White. In support of this theorv it mav be well to point out 
that Mr. Harland is now the dehght of millions by his charm- 
ing love romances, and that " Max" in his brilliant weekly 
articles in the Saturday Review pleads eloquentlv for an intelli- 



gent arama. 



It was not often that Beardslev took up his pen to write to 
the newspapers, preferring to allow the hostile and adverse 
criticism with which he was continuaUv assailed to confute 
themselves. On two occasions, however, he did so. and the 
letters he wrote will be found included in this volume. The 
fiKt, I thiiik, with the accompanying illustration, explains 
itself The second was the outcome of the following criticism 
bv the Daily Chronicle^ March i, 1S94, on the frontispiece or 
Mr. John Davidson's '• Plays ' . 

**AN ERROR OF TASTE" 

'• Mr. Beardsley has contributed a irontispiece a propos of 
'Scaramouch in Naxos' in which one or two well-known 

faces of the ' e to Se -ec:r hri — an error of taste which 

is to be regre::-_. 



X PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

The subjects of Beardsley's two portraits were Mr. Wilde 
and Sir Augustus Harris ; the latter Beardsley considered his 
debtor by virtue of his having taken half a crown at Covent 
Garden Theatre without providing him with a seat. 

Aubrey Beardsley was born on August 21, 1872, and died 
on March 16, 1898. During his short life he carried the art 
of Black and White further than any man since Albert Diirer. 
On his death prophetic assurances were not wanting that the 
" Beardsley cult " or " craze," as it was generally called, was 
doomed to extinction with the death of its high priest, but so 
far from this anticipation being realised, his work now enjoys 
a greater appreciation and more intelligent sympathy than was 
granted to it, save by an esoteric few, during his lifetime. 

Although it is impossible, with any degree of accuracy, to 
state to what extent Beardsley's popularity has increased during 
the last few years, evidence is not wanting to show that 
his following is both enthusiastic and loyal. This applies 
not only to Great Britain, but equally to America, whilst in 
Germany, France, Belgium, Russia and Holland, it is safe to 
affirm that his reputation is steadily growing, especially in 
Germany. Indeed, it is obvious to the most superficial observer 
that there is hardly a Black and White artist working to-day 
who has not in some subtle way been influenced by the 
master. 

More than three-fourths of Beardsley's work passed through 
my hands, and to my knowledge he never used Chinese White. 
I am the fortunate possessor of the originals of over eighty of 
his principal drawings. I get applications from would-be 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE xi 

purchasers of these from different parts of the world ahnost 
daily, but as yet I have withstood all temptations to part with 
these treasures, which I regard as the chief monument of the 
greatest, most brilliant, the wittiest, and the most lovable man 
it has ever been my privilege to know. 

JOHN LANE. 

The Bodley Head, 

Vigo Street, W. 
July 1903. 



CONTENTS 



DEDICATION TO "UNDER THE HILL" 



UNDER THE HILL 



THE THREE MUSICIANS 



THE BALLAD OF A BARBER 



TRANSLATION OF CATULLUS : CARMEN CI 



TABLE TALK OF AUBREY BEARDSLEY . 



TWO LETTERS OF AUBREY BEARDSLEY 



Page 
3 

7 

39 

49 

57 

63 
69 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



AUBREY BEJRDSLET AT MENTONE, IN THE ROOM IN 

WHICH HE DIED Frontispiece 

THE ABBE 

THE TOILET OF HELEN 

THE FRUIT BEARERS 

THE ASCENSION OF SAINT ROSE OF LIMA 

FOR THE THIRD TABLEAU OF "DAS RHEINGOLD' 

THE THREE MUSICIANS 

THE THREE MUSICIANS 

TAILPIECE TO "THE THREE MUSICIANS" 

THE COIFFING 

CUL-DE-LAMPE TO ''THE BARBER" . 

AFE ATOUE VALE 

TITLE-PAGE TO VOL. I. OF "THE TEL LOW BOOK' 
FRONTISPIECE TO "PLATS'' BT JOHN DAVIDSON 

ARBUSCULA 

PORTRAIT SKETCHES 

VABBE MOURET 



Page 



9 

13 

21 

27 

33 
41 
43 
45 
51 
54 
59 
71 
73 
75 
77 
79 



UNDER THE HILL 

A ROMANTIC NOVEL 



TO 
THE MOST EMINENT AND REVEREND PRINCE 

GIULIO POLDO PEZZOLI 

CARDINAL OF THE HOLY ROMAN CHURCH 

TITULAR BISHOP OF S. MARIA IN TRASTAVERE 

ARCHBISHOP OF OSTIA AND VELLETRI 

NUNCIO TO THE HOLY SEE 

IN 

NICARAGUA AND PATAGONIA 

A FATHER TO THE POOR 

A REFORMER OF ECCLESIASTICAL DISCIPLINE 

A PATTERN OF LEARNING 

WISDOM AND HOLINESS OF LIFE 

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED WITH DUE REVERENCE 

BY HIS HUMBLE SERVITOR 

A SCRIVENER AND LIMNER OF WORLDLY THINGS 

WHO MADE THIS BOOK 

AUBREY BEARDSLEY 



3\dost E?ninent Prince^ 

I know not by what mischance the writing of epistles dedicatory 
has fallen into disuse, whether through the vanity of authors or the 
humility of patrons. But the practice seems to me so very beautiful 
and becoming that I have ventured to make an essay in the modest 



4 DEDICATION 

art, and lay with formalities my first book at your feet. I have it 
must be confessed many fears lest I shall be arraigned of presumption 
in choosing so exalted a name as your own to place at the beginning of 
this history ; but I hope that such a censure will not be too lightly 
passed upon me, for if I am guilty it is but of a most natural pride 
that the accidents of my life should allow me to sail the little pinnace 
of my wit under your protection. 

But though I can clear myself of such a charge, I am still minded 
to use the tongue of apology, for with what face can I offer you a book 
treating of so vain and fantastical a thing as love ? I know that in the 
judgment of many the amorous passion is accounted a shameful thing 
and ridiculous ; indeed it must be confessed that more blushes have 
risen for love's sake than for any other cause and that lovers are 
an eternal laughing-stock. Still, as the book will be found to contain 
matter of deeper import than mere venery, inasmuch as it treats of the 
great contrition of its chiefest character, and of canonical things in 
certain pages, I am not without hopes that your Eminence will pardon 
my writing of a loving Abbe, for which extravagance let my youth 
excuse me. 

Then I must crave your forgiveness for addressing you in a lan- 
guage other than the Roman, but my small freedom in Latinity forbids 
me to wander beyond the idiom of my vernacular. I would not for 
the world that your delicate Southern ear should be offended by a 
barbarous assault of rude and Gothic words ; but methinks no language 
is rude that can boast polite writers, and not a few such have flourished 
in this country in times past, bringing our common speech to very 
great perfection. In the present age, alas ! our pens are ravished by 
unlettered authors and unmannered critics, that make a havoc rather 
than a building, a wilderness rather than a garden. But, alack ! what 
boots it to drop tears upon the preterit ? 



DEDICATION 5 

It is not of our own shortcomings though, but of your own great 
merits that I should speak, else I should be forgetful of the duties 1 
have drawn upon myself in electing to address you in a dedication. It 
is of your noble virtues (though all the world know of 'em), your taste 
and wit, your care for letters, and very real regard for the arts that I 
must be the proclaimer. 

Though it be true that all men have sufficient wit to pass a judg- 
ment on this or that, and not a {qw sufficient impudence to print the 
same (these last being commonly accounted critics), I have ever held 
that the critical faculty is more rare than the inventive. It is a faculty 
your Eminence possesses in so great a degree that your praise or blame 
is something oracular, your utterance infallible as great genius or as a 
beautiful woman. Your mind, I know, rejoicing in fine distinctions 
and subtle procedures of thought, beautifully discursive rather than 
hastily conclusive, has found in criticism its happiest exercise. It is a 
pity that so perfect a Mecaenas should have no Horace to befriend, no 
Georgics to accept ; for the offices and function of patron or critic 
must of necessity be lessened in an age of little men and little work. 
In times past it was nothing derogatory for great princes and men of 
State to extend their loves and favour to poets, for thereby they 
received as much honour as they conferred. Did not Prince Festus 
with pride take the masterwork of Julian into his protection, and was 
not the ^neis a pretty thing to offer Caesar ? 

Learning without appreciation is a thing of naught, but I know 
not which is greatest in you — your love of the arts, or your knowledge 
of 'em. What wonder then that I am studious to please you, and 
desirous of your protection. How deeply thankful I am for your past 
affections you know well, your great kindness and liberality having far 
outgone my slight merits and small accomplishment that seemed scarce 
to warrant any favour. Alas ! 'tis a slight offering I make you now, 



6 DEDICATION 

but if after glancing into its pages (say of an evening upon your 
terrace) you should deem it worthy of the remotest place in your 
princely library, the knowledge that it rested there would be reward 
sufficient for my labours, and a crowning happiness to my pleasure in 
the writing of this slender book. ^ . 

The humble and obedient servant of your Eminence, 

AUBREY BEARDSLEY. 






UNDER THE HILL 

A ROMANTIC NOVEL 

CHAPTER I 

The Abbe Fanfreluche, having lighted off his horse, stood 
doubtfully for a moment beneath the ombre gateway of the 
mysterious Hill, troubled with an exquisite fear lest a day's 
travel should have too cruelly undone the laboured niceness of 
his dress. His hand, slim and gracious as La Marquise du 
Deffand's in the drawing by Carmontelle, played nervously 
about the gold hair that fell upon his shoulders like a finely- 
curled peruke, and from point to point of a precise toilet the 
fingers wandered, quelling the little mutinies of cravat and 
ruffle. 

It was taper-time ; when the tired earth puts on its cloak 
of mists and shadows, when the enchanted woods are stirred 
with light footfalls and slender voices of the fairies, when all 
the air is full of delicate influences, and even the beaux, seated 
at their dressing-tables, dream a little. 

A delicious moment, thought Fanfreluche, to slip into 
exile. 

The place where he stood waved drowsily with strange 
flowers, heavy with perfume, dripping with odours. Gloomy 
and nameless weeds not to be found in Mentzelius. Hu^e 



8 UNDER THE HILL 

moths, so richly winged they must have banqueted upon 
tapestries and royal stuffs, slept on the pillars that flanked 
either side of the gateway, and the eyes of all the moths 
remained open and were burning and bursting with a mesh of 
veins. The pillars were fashioned in some pale stone and rose 
up like hymns in the praise of pleasure, for from cap to base, 
each one was carved with loving sculptures, showing such a 
cunning invention and such a curious knowledge, that 
Fanfreluche lingered not a little in reviewing them. They 
surpassed all that Japan has ever pictured from her maisons 
vertes, all that was ever painted in the cool bath-rooms of 
Cardinal La Motte, and even outdid the astonishing illustra- 
tions to Jones's " Nursery Numbers." 

" A pretty portal," murmured the Abbe, correcting his 
sash. 

As he spoke, a faint sound of singing was breathed out 
from the mountain, faint music as strange and distant as sea- 
legends that are heard In shells. 

" The Vespers of Helen, I take it," said Fanfreluche, and 
struck a few chords of accompaniment, ever so Hghtly, upon 
his little lute. Softly across the spell-bound threshold the 
song floated and wreathed itself about the subtle columns, till 
the moths were touched with passion and moved quaintly In 
their sleep. One of them was awakened by the Intenser notes 
of the Abbe's lute-strings, and fluttered into the cave. Fan- 
freluche felt it was his cue for entry. 

" Adieu," he exclaimed with an Inclusive gesture, and 
"good-bye. Madonna," as the cold circle of the moon began 



"The Abbe" 



UNDER THE HILL ii 

to show, beautiful and full of enchantments. There was a 
shadow of sentiment in his voice as he spoke the words. 

"Would to heaven," he sighed, "I might receive the 
assurance of a looking-glass before I make my debut ! How- 
ever, as she is a Goddess, I doubt not her eyes are a little sated 
with perfection, and may not be displeased to see it crowned 
with a tiny fault." 

A wild rose had caught upon the trimmings of his ruff, 
and in the first flush of displeasure he would have struck it 
brusquely away, and most severely punished the offending 
flower. But the ruffled mood lasted only a moment, for there 
was something so deliciously incongruous in the hardy petal's 
invasion of so delicate a thing, that Fanfreluche withheld the 
finger of resentment and vowed that the wild rose should stay 
where it had clung — a passport, as it were, from the upper to 
the under world. 

" The very excess and violence of the fault," he said, " will 
be its excuse ; " and, undoing a tangle in the tassel of his stick, 
stepped into the shadowy corridor that ran into the bosom of 
the wan hill — stepped with the admirable aplomb and un° 
wrinkled suavity of Don John. 



CHAPTER II 

Before a toilet that shone like the altar of Notre Dame des 
Victoires, Helen was seated in a little dressing-gown of black 
and heliotrope. The coiffeur Cosme was caring for her 
scented chevelure, and with tiny silver tongs, warm from the 
caresses of the flame, made delicious intelligent curls that fell 
as lightly as a breath about her forehead and over her eye- 
brows, and clustered like tendrils round her neck. Her three 
favourite girls, Pappelarde, Blanchemains and Loreyne, waited 
immediately upon her with perfume and powder in delicate 
fla9ons and frail cassolettes, and held in porcelain jars the 
ravishing paints prepared by Chateline for those cheeks and 
lips that had grown a little pale with anguish of exile. Her 
three favourite boys, Claud, Clair and Sarrasine, stood 
amorously about with salver, fan and napkin. Millamant held 
a slight tray of slippers, Minette some tender gloves. La 
Popeliniere — mistress of the robes — was ready with a 
frock of yellow and white. La Zambinella bore the jewels, 
Florizel some flowers, Amadour a box of various pins, 
and Vadius a box of sweets. Her doves, ever in attendance, 
walked about the room that was panelled with the gallant 
paintings of Jean Baptiste Dorat, and some dwarfs and 
doubtful creatures sat here and there lolling out their tongues. 



• " The Toilet of Helen " 



UNDER THE HILL 15 

pinching each other, and behaving oddly enough. Sometimes 
Helen gave them little smiles. 

As the toilet was in progress, Mrs. Marsuple, the fat 
manicure and fardeuse, strode in and seated herself by the side 
of the dressing-table, greeting Helen with an intimate nod. 
She wore a gown of white watered silk with gold lace trim- 
mings, and a velvet necklet of false vermilion. Her hair 
hung in bandeaux over her ears, passing into a huge chignon 
at the back of her head, and the hat, wide-brimmed and hung 
with a vallance of pink muslin, was floral with red roses. 

Mrs. Marsuple's voice was full of salacious unction ; she 
had terrible little gestures with the hands, strange movements 
with the shoulders, a short respiration that made surprising 
wrinkles in her bodice, a corrupt skin, large horny eyes, a 
parrot's nose, a small loose mouth, great flaccid cheeks, and 
chin after chin. She was a wise person, and Helen loved 
her more than any other of her servants, and had a hundred 
pet names for her, such as Dear Toad, Pretty Poll, Cock 
Robin, Dearest Lip, Touchstone, Little Cough Drop, Bijou, 
Buttons, Dear Heart, Dick-dock, Mrs. Manly, Little Nipper, 
Cochon-de-lait, Naughty-naughty, Blessed Thing, and Trump. 
The talk that passed between Mrs. Marsuple and her mistress 
was of that excellent kind that passes between old friends, a 
perfect understanding giving to scraps of phrases their full 
meaning, and to the merest reference a point. Naturally 
Fanfreluche the newcomer was discussed a little. Helen had 
not seen him yet, and asked a score of questions on his 
account that were delightfully to the point. 



i6 UNDERTHEHILL 

The report and the coiffing were completed at the same 
moment. 

" Cosme," said Helen, " you have been quite sweet and 
quite brilliant, you have surpassed yourself to-night." 

" Madam flatters me," replied the antique old thing, with 
a girlish giggle under his black satin mask. " Gad, Madam ; 
sometimes I believe I have no talent in the world, but to- 
night I must confess to a touch of the vain mood." 

It would pain me horribly to tell you about the painting of 
her face ; suffice it that the sorrowful work was accomplished ; 
frankly, magnificently, and without a shadow of deception. 

Helen slipped away the dressing-gown, and rose before 
the mirror in a flutter of frilled things. She was adorably tall 
and slender. Her neck and shoulders were wonderfully drawn, 
and the little malicious breasts were full of the irritation of 
loveliness that can never be entirely comprehended, or ever 
enjoyed to the utmost. Her arms and hands were loosely, 
but delicately articulated, and her legs were divinely long. 
From the hip to the knee, twenty-two inches ; from the knee 
to the heel, twenty-two inches, as befitted a Goddess. Those 
who have seen Helen only in the Vatican, in the Louvre, in 
the Uffizi, or in the British Museum, can have no idea how 
very beautiful and sweet she looked. Not at all like the lady 
in " Lempriere." 

Mrs. Marsuple grew quite lyric over the dear little person, 
and pecked at her arms with kisses. 

" Dear Tongue, you must really behave yourself," said 
Helen, and called Millamant to bring her the slippers. 



UNDER THE HILL 17 

The tray was freighted with the most exquisite and shapely 
pantoufles, sufficient to make Cluny a place of naught. There 
were shoes of grey and black and brown suede, of white silk 
and rose satin, and velvet and sarcenet ; there were some of 
sea-green sewn with cherry blossoms, some of red with willow 
branches, and some of grey with bright-winged birds. There 
were heels of silver, of ivory, and of gilt ; there were buckles 
of very precious stones set in most strange and esoteric devices ; 
there were ribbons tied and twisted into cunning forms ; there 
were buttons so beautiful that the button-holes might have no 
pleasure till they closed upon them ; there were soles of 
delicate leathers scented with marechale, and linings of soft 
stuffs scented with the juice of July flowers. But Helen, 
finding none of them to her mind, called for a discarded pair 
of blood-red maroquin, diapered with pearls. These looked 
very distinguished over her white silk stockings. 

Meantime, La Popeliniere stepped forward with the 
frock. 

" I shan't wear one to-night," said Helen. Then she 
slipped on her gloves. 

When the toilet was at an end all her doves clustered 
round her feet loving to froler her ankles with their plumes, 
and the dwarfs clapped their hands, and put their fingers 
between their lips and whistled. Never before had Helen 
been so radiant and compelling. Spiridion, in the corner, 
looked up from his game of Spellicans and trembled. 

Just then, Pranzmungel announced that supper was ready 
upon the fifth terrace, "Ah ! " cried Helen, " I'm famished ! " 



CHAPTER III 

She was quite delighted with Fanfreluche, and, of course, 
he sat next her at supper. 

The terrace, made beautiful with a thousand vain and 
fantastical things, and set with a hundred tables and four 
hundred couches, presented a truly splendid appearance. In 
the middle was a huge bronze fountain with three basins. 
From the first rose a many-breasted dragon and four little 
loves mounted upon swans, and each love was furnished with 
a bow and arrow. Two of them that faced the monster 
seemed to recoil in fear, two that were behind made bold 
enough to aim their shafts at him. From the verge of the 
second sprang a circle of slim golden columns that supported 
silver doves with tails and wings spread out. The third, held 
by a group of grotesquely attenuated satyrs, was centered with 
a thin pipe hung with masks and roses and capped with 
children's heads. 

From the mouths of the dragon and the loves, from the 
swans' eyes, from the breasts of the doves, from the satyrs' 
horns and lips, from the masks at many points, and from the 
childrens' curls, the water played profusely, cutting strange 
arabesques and subtle figures. 

The terrace was lit entirely by candles. There were four 



UNDER THEHILL 19 

thousand of them, not numbering those upon the tables. The 
candlesticks were of a countless variety, and smiled with 
moulded cochonneries. Some were twenty feet high, and 
bore single candles that flared like fragrant torches over the 
feast, and guttered till the wax stood round the tops in tall 
lances. Some, hung with dainty petticoats of shining lustres, 
had a whole bevy of tapers upon them devised in circles, in 
pyramids, in squares, in cuneiforms, in single lines regimen- 
tally and in crescents. 

Then on quaint pedestals and Terminal Gods and gracious 
pilasters of every sort, were shell-like vases of excessive fruits 
and flowers that hung about and burst over the edges and 
could never be restrained. The orange-trees and myrtles, 
looped with vermilion sashes, stood in frail porcelain pots, and 
the rose-trees were wound and twisted with superb invention 
over trellis and standard. Upon one side of the terrace a long 
gilded stage for the comedians was curtained off with Pagonian 
tapestries, and in front of it the music-stands were placed. 

The tables arranged between the fountain and the flight 
of steps to the sixth terrace were all circular, covered with 
white damask, and strewn with irises, roses, kingcups, 
colombines, daffodils, carnations and lilies ; and the couches, 
high with soft cushions and spread with more stuffs than 
could be named, had fans thrown upon them. 

Beyond the escalier stretched the gardens, which were 
designed so elaborately and with so much splendour that the 
architect of the Fetes d'Armailhacq could have found in them 
no matter for cavil, and the still lakes strewn with profuse 



20 UNDERTHEHILL 

barges full of gay flowers and wax marionettes, the alleys of 
tall trees, the arcades and cascades, the pavilions, the grottoes 
and the garden-gods — all took a strange tinge of revelry 
from the glare of the light that fell upon them from the 
feast. 

The frockless Helen and Fanfreluche, with Mrs. Marsuple 
and Claude and Clair, and Farcy, the chief comedian, sat at 
the same table. Fanfreluche, who had doffed his travelling 
suit, wore long black silk stockings, a pair of pretty garters, a 
very elegant ruffled shirt, slippers and a wonderful dressing- 
gown ; and Farcy was in ordinary evening clothes. As for 
the rest of the company, it boasted some very noticeable 
dresses, and whole tables of quite delightful coiffures. There 
were spotted veils that seemed to stain the skin, fans with 
eye-slits in them, through which the bearers peeped and 
peered ; fans painted with figures and covered with the 
sonnets of Sporion and the short stories of Scaramouch ; and 
fans of big, living moths stuck upon mounts of silver sticks. 
There were masks of green velvet that make the face look 
trebly powdered ; masks of the heads of birds, of apes, of 
serpents, of dolphins, of men and women, of little embryons 
and of cats ; masks like the faces of gods ; masks of coloured 
glass, and masks of thin talc and of india-rubber. There were 
wigs of black and scarlet wools, of peacocks' feathers, of gold 
and silver threads, of swansdown, of the tendrils of the vine, 
and of human hair ; huge collars of stiff muslin rising high 
above the head ; whole dresses of ostrich feathers curling 
inwards ; tunics of panthers' skins that looked beautiful over 



" The Fruit Bearers " 



UNDER THE HILL 23 

pink tights ; capotes of crimson satin trimmed with the 
wings of owls ; sleeves cut into the shapes of apocryphal 
animals ; drawers flounced down to the ankles, and flecked 
with tiny, red roses ; stockings clocked with fetes galantes, 
and curious designs ; and petticoats cut like artificial flowers. 
Some of the women had put on delightful little moustaches dyed 
in purples and bright greens, twisted and waxed with absolute 
skill ; and some wore great white beards, after the manner ot 
Saint Wilgeforte. Then Dorat had painted extraordinary 
grotesques and vignettes over their bodies, here and there. 
Upon a cheek, an old man scratching his horned head ; upon 
a forehead, an old woman teased by an impudent amor ; upon 
a shoulder, an amorous singerie ; round a breast, a circlet of 
satyrs ; about a wrist, a wreath of pale, unconscious babes ; 
upon an elbow, a bouquet of spring flowers ; across a back, 
some surprising scenes of adventure ; at the corners of a mouth, 
tiny red spots ; and upon a neck, a flight of birds, a caged 
parrot, a branch of fruit, a butterfly, a spider, a drunken 
dwarf, or, simply, some initials. 

The supper provided by the ingenious Rambouillet was 
quite beyond parallel. Never had he created a more exquisite 
menu. The consomme impromptu alone would have been 
sufficient to establish the immortal reputation of any chef. 
What, then, can I say of the Dorade bouillie sauce marechale^ 
the ragout aux Ia?igues de carpes, the ramereaux a la charmer e^ 
the ciboulette de gibier a Pespagnole^ the pate de cuisses d'oie aux 
pais de Monsahie, the queues d'agneau au clair de lune^ the arti- 
chauts a la grecque^ the charlotte de pommes a la Lucy Waters^ 



24 UNDERTHEHILL 

the bombes a la marie ^ and the glaces aux rayons (for? A 
veritable tour de cuisine that surpassed even the famous little 
suppers given by the Marquis de Rechale at Passy, and which 
the Abbe Mirliton pronounced " impeccable, and too good to 
be eaten." 

Ah ! Pierre Antoine Berquin de Rambouillet ; you are 
worthy of your divine mistress! 

Mere hunger quickly gave place to those finer instincts of 
the pure gourmet, and the strange wines, cooled in buckets of 
snow, unloosed all the decollete spirits of astonishing conver- 
sation and atrocious laughter. 

As the courses advanced, the conversation grew bustling 
and more personal. Pulex and Cyril, and Marisca and 
Cathelin, opened a fire of raillery, and a thousand amatory 
follies of the day were discussed. 

From harsh and shrill and clamant, the voices grew 
blurred and inarticulate. Bad sentences were helped out by 
worse gestures, and at one table Scabius expressed himself like 
the famous old knight in the first part of the " Soldier's 
Fortune " of Otway. Bassalissa and Lysistrata tried to pro- 
nounce each other's names, and became very afl^ectionate in 
the attempt ; and Tala, the tragedian, robed in roomy purple, 
and wearing plume and buskin, rose to his feet, and, with 
swaying gestures, began to recite one of his favourite parts. 
He got no further than the first line, but repeated it again 
and again, with fresh accents and intonations each time, and 
was only silenced by the approach of the asparagus that was 
being served by satyrs dressed in white. 



CHAPTER IV 

It is always delightful to wake up in a new bedroom. The 
fresh wall-paper, the strange pictures, the positions of doors 
and windows, imperfectly grasped the night before, are 
revealed with all the charm of surprise when we open our 
eyes the next morning. 

It was about eight o'clock when Fanfreluche awoke, 
stretched himself deliciously in his great plumed four-post 
bed, murmured " What a pretty room ! " and freshened the 
frilled silk pillows behind him. Through the slim parting ot 
the long flowered window curtains, he caught a peep of the 
sun-lit lawns outside, the silver fountains, the bright flowers, the 
gardeners at work, and beneath the shady trees some early break- 
fasters, dressed for a day's hunting in the distant wooded valleys. 

" How sweet it all is," exclaimed the Abbe, yawning with 
infinite content. Then he lay back in his bed, stared at the 
curious patterned canopy above him and nursed his waking 
thoughts. 

He thought or the " Romaunt de la Rose," beautiful, but 
all too brief. 

Of the Claude in Lady Delaware's collection.* 

* The chef d'oeuvre, it seems to me, of an adorable and impeccable inaster, zvho 
more than any other landscape-painter puts us out of conceit with our cities^ and makes 



26 UNDERTHEHILL 

Of a wonderful pair of blonde trousers he would get 
Madame Belleville to make for him. 

Of a mysterious park full of faint echoes and romantic 
sounds. 

Of a great stagnant lake that must have held the subtlest 
frogs that ever were, and was surrounded with dark unreflected 
trees, and sleeping fleurs de luce. 

Of Saint Rose, the well-known Peruvian virgin ; how she 
vowed herself to perpetual virginity when she was four years 
old*; how she was beloved by Mary, who from the pale 
fresco in the Church of Saint Dominic, would stretch out her 
arms to embrace her; how she built a little oratory at the end 
of the garden and prayed and sang hymns in it till all the 
beetles, spiders, snails and creeping things came round to 

US forget the country can be graceless and dull and tiresome. That he should ever have 
been compared unfavourably with Turner — the TFiertx of landscape-painting — seems 
almost incredible. Corot is Claude'' s only worthy rival^ but he does not eclipse or 
supplant the earlier master. A painting of Corot'' s is like an exquisite lyric poem^ full 
of love and truth ; whilst one of Claude'' s recalls soine noble eclogue gloiv'ing with rich 
concentrated thought. 

* " At an age" writes Dubonnet^ " when girls are for the ynost part zuell 
confirmed in all the hateful practices of coquetry^ and attend with gusto^ rather than 
with distaste^ the hideous desires and terrible satisfactions of men.'''' 

All who would respire the perfumes of Saint Rose's sanctity^ and enjoy the story of 
the adorable intimacy that subsisted between her and Our Lady, should read Mother 
Ursula's " Ineffable and Miraculous Life of the Flower of L'lma^'' published shortly 
after the canonization of Rose by Pope Clement X /« 1671. " Truly" exclaims the 
famous nun^ " to chronicle the girlhood of this holy virgin ?nakes as delicate a task as to 
trace the forms of some slim, sensitive plant, whose lightness, sweetness, and simplicity 
defy and trouble the most cunning pencil.'" Mother Ursula certainly acquits herself of 
the task with wonderful delicacy and taste. A cheap reprint of the biography has 
lately been brought out by Chaillot and Son. 



" St. Rose of Lima " 



UNDER THE HILL 29 

listen; how she promised to marry Ferdinand de Flores, and 
on the bridal morning perfumed herself and painted her lips, 
and put on her wedding frock, and decked her hair with roses, 
and went up to a little hill not far without the walls of Lima ; 
how she knelt there some moments calling tenderly upon Our 
Lady's name, and how Saint Mary descended and kissed Rose 
upon the forehead and carried her up swiftly into heaven. 

He thought of the splendid opening of Racine's " Britan- 
nicus." 

Of a strange pamphlet he had round in Helen's library, 
called " A Plea for the Domestication of the Unicorn." 

Of the " Bacchanals of Sporion." "'^ 

* A comedy ballet in one act by Philippe Savarai and Titurei de Schentefleur. 
The Marquis de Fandesir^ tuho was present at the first performance^ has left us a 
short impression of it in his Mcmoires : 

"The curtain rose upon a scene of rare beauty, a remote Arcadian valley, a 
delicious scrap of Tempe, gracious with cool woods and watered with a little 
river as fresh and pastoral as a perfect fifth. It was early morning and the re- 
arisen sun, like the prince in the Sleeping Beauty, woke all the earth with his 
lips. 

" In that golden embrace the night dews were caught up and made splendid, 
the trees were awakened from their obscure dreams, the slumber of the birds was 
broken, and all the flowers of the valley rejoiced, forgetting their fear of the 
darkness. 

"Suddenly to the music of pipe and horn a troop of satyrs stepped out 
from the recesses of the woods bearing in their hands nuts and green boughs and 
flowers and roots, and whatsoever the forest yielded, to heap upon the altar of the 
mysterious Pan that stood in the middle of the stage ; and from the hills came 
down the shepherds and shepherdesses leading their flocks and carrying garlands 
upon their crooks. Then a rustic priest, white robed and venerable, came slowly 
across the valley followed by a choir of radiant children. The scene was admir- 
ably stage-managed and notliing could have been more varied yet harmonious 



30 UNDER THE HILL 

Of Morales' Madonnas with their high egg-shaped creamy 
foreheads and well-crimped silken hair. 

Of Rossini's " Stabat Mater" (that delightful donode yv^o,^ 
of decadence, with a quality in its music like the bloom upon 
wax fruit). 

Of love, and of a hundred other things. 

than this Arcadian group. The service was quaint and simple, but with suffi- 
cient ritual to give the corps de ballet an opportunity of showing its dainty skill. 
The dancing of the satyrs was received with huge favour, and when the priest 
raised his hand in final blessing, the whole troop of worshippers made such an 
intricate and elegant exit, that it was generally agreed that Titurel had never 
before shown so fine an invention. 

" Scarcely had the stage been empty for a moment, when Sporion entered, 
followed by a brilliant rout of dandies and smart women. Sporion was a tall, 
slim, depraved young man with a slight stoop, a troubled walk, an oval impass- 
able face with its olive skin drawn lightly over the bone, strong, scarlet lips, long 
Japanese eyes, and a great gilt toupet. Round his shoulders hung a high- 
collared satin cape of salmon pink with long black ribbands untied and floating 
about his body. His coat of sea green spotted muslin was caught in at the 
waist by a scarlet sash with scalloped edges and frilled out over the hips for about 
six inches. His trousers, loose and wrinkled, reached to the end of the calf, and 
were brocaded down the sides and ruched magnificently at the ankles. The 
stockings were of white kid with stalls for the toes, and had delicate red sandals 
strapped over them. But his little hands, peeping out from their frills, seemed 
quite the most insinuating things, such supple fingers tapering to the point with 
tiny nails stained pink, such unquenchable palms lined and mounted like Lord 
Fanny's in ' Love at all Hazards,' and such blue-veined hairless backs ! In his 
left hand he carried a small lace handkerchief broidered with a coronet. 

" As for his friends and followers, they made the most superb and insolent 
crowd imaginable, but to catalogue the clothes they had on would require a 
chapter as long as the famous tenth in Penilliere's ' History of Underlinen.' On 
the whole they looked a very distinguished chorus. 

"Sporion stepped forward and explained with swift and various gesture that 
he and his friends were tired of the amusements, wearied with the poor 



UNDER THE HILL 31 

Then his half-closed eyes wandered among the prints that 
hung upon the rose-striped walls. Within the delicate curved 
frames lived the corrupt and gracious creatures of Dorat and 
his school, slender children in masque and domino smiling 
horribly, exquisite letchers leaning over the shoulders of 
smooth doll-like girls and doing nothing in particular, terrible 
little Pierrots posing as lady lovers and pointing at something 
outside the picture, and unearthly fops and huge bird-like 

pleasures offered by the civil world, and had invaded the Arcadian valley hoping 
to experience a new frisson in the destruction of some shepherd's or some satyr's 
naivete^ and the infusion of their venom among the dwellers of the woods. 

" The chorus assented with languid but expressive movements. 

" Curious and not a little frightened at the arrival of the worldly company, 
the sylvans began to peep nervously at those subtle souls through the branches of 
the trees, and one or two fauns and a shepherd or so crept out warily. Sporion 
and all the ladies and gentlemen made enticing sounds and invited the rustic 
creatures with all the grace in the world to come and join them. By little 
batches they came, lured by the strange looks, by the scents and the drugs, and 
by the brilliant clothes, and some ventured quite near, timorously fingering the 
delicious textures of the stuffs. Then Sporion and each of his friends took a 
satyr or a shepherdess or something by the hand and made the preliminary steps 
of a courtly measure, for which the most admirable combinations had been 
invented and the most charming music written. The pastoral folk were entirely 
bewildered when they saw such restrained and graceful movements, and made the 
most grotesque and futile efforts to imitate them. Dio mio, a pretty sight ! A 
charming effect too, was obtained by the intermixture of stockinged calf and 
hairy leg, of rich brocaded bodice and plain blouse, of tortured head-dress and 
loose untutored locks. 

" When the dance was ended the servants of Sporion brought on champagne, 
and with many pirouettes poured it magnificently into slender glasses, and tripped 
about plying those Arcadian mouths that had never before tasted such a royal 
drink. 

" Then the curtain fell with a pudic rapidity." 



32 UNDER THE HILL 

women mingling in some rococo room, lighted mysteriously 
by the flicker of a dying fire that throws great shadows upon 
wall and ceiling. 

Fanfreluche had taken some books to bed with him. One 
was the witty, extravagant, "Tuesday and Josephine," another 
was the score of " The Rheingold." Making a pulpit of his 
knees he propped up the opera before him and turned over 
the pages with a loving hand, and found it delicious to attack 
Wagner's brilliant comedy with the cool head of the morning.* 
Once more he was ravished with the beauty and wit of the 
opening scene; the mystery of its prelude that seems to come 
up from the very mud of the Rhine, and to be as ancient, the 
abominable primitive wantonness of the music that follows 
the talk and movements of the Rhine-maidens, the black, 
hateful sounds of Alberic's love-making, and the flowing 
melody of the river of legends. 

But it was the third tableau that he applauded most that 
morning, the scene where Loge, like some flamboyant primeval 
Scapin, practises his cunning upon Alberic. The feverish 
insistent ringing of the hammers at the forge, the dry staccato 
restlessness of Mime, the ceaseless coming and going of the 
troup of Niblungs, drawn hither and thither like a flock of 
terror-stricken and infernal sheep, Alberic's savage activity 
and metamorphoses, and Loge's rapid, flaming tongue-like 

* // is a thousand pities that concerts should only be given either in the afternoon^ 
when you are torpidy or in the evening, when you are nervous. Surely you should 
assist at fine ?nusic as you assist at the Mass — before noon — when your brain and heart 
are not too troubled and tired with the secular influences of the growing day. 



For the Third Tableau of 
" Das Rheingold " 



UNDER THE HILL 35 

movements, make the tableau the least reposeful, most troubled 
and confusing thing in the whole range of opera. How the 
Abbe rejoiced in the extravagant monstrous poetry, the heated 
melodrama, and splendid agitation of it all I 

At eleven o'clock Fanfreluche got up and slipped ofF his 
dainty night-dress. 

His bathroom was the largest and perhaps the most 
beautiful apartment in his splendid suite. The well-known 
engraving by Lorette that forms the frontispiece to Millevoye's 
" Architecture du XVHI™^ siecle " will give you a better idea 
than any words of mine of the construction and decoration of 
the room. Only in Lorette's engraving the bath sunk into 
the middle of the floor is a little too small. 

Fanfreluche stood for a moment like Narcissus gazing at 
his reflection in the still scented water, and then just ruffling 
its smooth surface with one foot, stepped elegantly into the 
cool basin and swam round it twice very gracefully. How- 
ever, it is not so much at the very bath itself as in the drying 
and delicious frictions that a bather finds his chiefest joys, and 
Helen had appointed her most tried attendants to wait upon 
Fanfreluche. He was more than satisfied with their attention, 
that aroused feelings within him almost amounting to gratitude, 
and when the rites were ended any touch of home-sickness he 
might have felt was utterly dispelled. After he had rested a 
little, and sipped his chocolate, he wandered into the dressing- 
room, where, under the direction of the superb Dancourt, his 
toilet was completed. 

As pleased as Lord Foppington with his appearance, the 

D 



36 UNDERTHEHILL 

Abbe tripped off to bid good-morning to Helen. He found 
her in a sweet white muslin frock, wandering upon the lawn, 
and plucking flowers to deck her breakfast table. He kissed 
her lightly upon the neck. 

" I'm just going to feed Adolphe," she said, pointing to a 
little reticule of buns that hung from her arm. Adolphe was 
her pet unicorn. " He is such a dear," she continued ; " milk 
white all over, excepting his nose, mouth, and nostrils. T/its 
way." The unicorn had a very pretty palace of its own made 
of green foliage and golden bars, a fitting home for such a 
delicate and dainty beast. Ah, it was a splendid thing to 
watch the white creature roaming in its artful cage, proud and 
beautiful, knowing no mate, and coming to no hand except 
the queen's itself. As Fanfreluche and Helen approached, 
Adolphe began prancing and curvetting, pawing the soft turf 
with his ivory hoofs and flaunting his tail like a gonfalon. 
Helen raised the latch and entered. 

" You mustn't come in with me, Adolphe is so jealous," she 
said, turning to the Abbe, who was following her, " but you 
can stand outside and look on ; Adolphe likes an audience." 
Then in her delicious fingers she broke the spicy buns and 
with affectionate niceness breakfasted her snowy pet. When 
the last crumbs had been scattered, Helen brushed her hands 
together and pretended to leave the cage without taking any 
further notice of Adolphe. Adolphe snorted. 

Aubrey Beardsley. 



THE THREE MUSICIANS 



THE THREE MUSICIANS 

Along the path that skirts the wood, 

The three musicians wend their way, 
Pleased with their thoughts, each other's mood, 
Franz Himmel's latest roundelay, 
The morning's work, a new-found theme, their breakfast and 

the summer day. 

One's a soprano, lightly frocked 

In cool, white muslin that just shows 
Her brown silk stockings gaily clocked, 
Plump arms and elbows tipped with rose. 
And frills of petticoats and things, and outlines as the warm 
wind blows. 

Beside her a slim, gracious boy 

Hastens to mend her tresses' fall, 
And dies her favour to enjoy. 

And dies for reclame and recall 
At Paris and St. Petersburg, Vienna and St. James's Hall. 



40 THE THREE MUSICIANS 

The third's a Polish Pianist 

With big engagements everywhere, 
A light heart and an iron wrist, 

And shocks and shoals of yellow hair. 
And fingers that can trill on sixths and fill beginners with 

despair. 

The three musicians stroll along 

And pluck the ears of ripened corn, 
Break into odds and ends of song, 

And mock the woods with Siegfried's horn. 
And fill the air with Gluck, and fill the tweeded tourist's soul 

with scorn. 

The Polish genius lags behind. 

And, with some poppies in his hand. 
Picks out the strings and wood and wind 
Of an imaginary band. 
Enchanted that for once his men obey his beat and under- 
stand. 

The charming cantatrice reclines 

And rests a moment where she sees 
Her chateau's roof that hotly shines 
Amid the dusky summer trees. 
And fans herself, half shuts her eyes, and smoothes the frock 
about her knees. 



^' The Three Musicians " 



" The Three Musicians 



99 



THE THREE MUSICIANS 



45 



The gracious boy is at her feet, 

And weighs his courage with his chance ; 
His fears soon melt in noonday heat. 
The tourist gives a furious glance, 
Red as his guide-book grows, moves on, and offers up a prayer 
for France. 

Aubrey Beardsley. 




THE BALLAD OF A BARBER 



THE BALLAD OF A BARBER 

Here is the tale of Carrousel, 

The barber of Meridian Street. 

He cut, and coiffed, and shaved so well, 

That all the world was at his feet. 

The King, the Queen, and all the Court, 
To no one else would trust their hair, 
And reigning belles of every sort 
Owed their successes to his care. 



With carriage and with cabriolet 
Daily Meridian Street was blocked. 
Like bees about a bright bouquet 
The beaux about his doorway flocked. 

Such was his art he could with ease 
Curl wit into the dullest face ; 
Or to a goddess of old Greece 
Add a new wonder and a grace. 



50 THE BALLAD OF A BARBER 

All powders, paints, and subtle dyes. 
And costliest scents that men distil. 
And rare pomades, forgot their price 
And marvelled at his splendid skill. 

The curling irons in his hand 
Almost grew quick enough to speak. 
The razor was a magic wand 
That understood the softest cheek. 

Yet with no pride his heart was moved ; 
He was so modest in his ways ! 
His daily task was all he loved. 
And now and then a little praise. 

An equal care he would bestow 
On problems simple or complex ; 
And nobody had seen him show 
A preference for either sex. 

How came it then one summer day, 
Coiffing the daughter of the King, 
He lengthened out the least delay 
And loitered in his hairdressing ? 

The Princess was a pretty child, 
Thirteen years old, or thereabout. 
She was as joyous and as wild 
As spring flowers when the sun is out. 



"The Coiffine" 







Au8f\,EY BEAt^OSLEr. 



THE BALLAD OF A BARBER 53 

Her gold hair fell down to her feet 
And hung about her pretty eyes; 
She was as lyrical and sweet 
As one of Schubert's melodies. 

Three times the barber curled a lock, 
And thrice he straightened it again ; 
And twice the irons scorched her frock. 
And twice he stumbled in her train. 

His fingers lost their cunning quite, 
His ivory combs obeyed no more; 
Something or other dimmed his sight. 
And moved mysteriously the floor. 

He leant upon the toilet table. 
His fingers fumbled in his breast ; 
He felt as foolish as a fable, 
And feeble as a pointless jest. 

He snatched a bottle of Cologne, 

And broke the neck between his hands ; 

He felt as if he was alone, 

And mighty as a king's commands. 

The Princess gave a little scream, 
Carrousel's cut was sharp and deep ; 
He left her softly as a dream 
That leaves a sleeper to his sleep. 



54 



THE BALLAD OF A BARBER 

He left the room on pointed feet ; 
Smiling that things had gone so well. 
They hanged him in Meridian Street. 
You pray in vain for Carrousel. 

Aubrey Beardsley. 




AB 



CATULLUS 

Carmen CI 



CATULLUS 

Carmen CI 

By ways remote and distant waters sped, 
Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come. 
That I may give the last gifts to the dead. 
And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb : 
Since she who now bestows and now denies 
Hath ta'en thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes. 

But lo ! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years. 
Are made sad things to grace thy coffin shell. 
Take them, all drenched with a brother's tears. 
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell ! 

Aubrey Beardsley. 



u 



Ave atque Vale 



99 




AB. 



TABLE TALK OF AUBREY 
BEARDSLEY 



TABLE TALK OF AUBREY 
BEARDSLEY 

GEORGE SAND, etc. 

After all the Muses are women, and you must be a man 
to possess them — properly. 

MENDELSSOHN 

Mendelssohn has no gift for construction. He has only 
a feeling for continuity. 

THE BROMPTON ORATORY 

The only place in London where one can forget that it is 
Sunday. 

WEBER 

Weber's pianoforte pieces remind me of the beautiful glass 
chandeliers at the Brighton Pavilion. 

SHAKESPEARE 

When an Englishman has professed his belief in the 
supremacy of Shakespeare amongst all poets, he feels himself 



64 TABLE TALK 

excused from the general study of literature. He also feels 
himself excused from the particular study of Shakespeare. 

ROSSINI'S "STABAT MATER" 

The dolorous Mother should be sung by a virgin of 
Morales, one of the Spanish painter's unhealthy and hardly 
deiparous creatures, with high, egg-shaped, creamy forehead 
and well-crimped silken hair. 

ALEXANDER POPE 

Pope has more virulence and less vehemence than any 
of the great satirists. His character of Sporus is the perfec- 
tion of satirical writing. The very sound of words scarify 
before the sense strikes. 

IMPRESSIONISTS 

How few of our young English impressionists knew the 
difference between a palette and a picture ! However, I 
believe that Walter Sickert did — sly dog ! 

TURNER 

Turner is only a rhetorician in paint. 

ENGLISH LITERATURE 

What a stay-at-home literature is the English ! It would 
be easy to name fifty lesser French writers whose names and 



TABLE TALK 65 

works are familiar all over the world. It would be difficult 
to name four of our greatest whose writings are read to any 
extent outside England. 

THE WOODS OF AUFFRAY 

In the distance, through the trees, gleamed a still argent 
lake, a reticent water that must have held the subtlest fish 
that ever were. Around its marge the trees and flags and 
fleurs-de-luce were unbreakably asleep. 

I fell into a strange mood as I looked at the lake, for it 
seemed to me that the thing would speak, reveal some curious 
secret, say some beautiful word, if I should dare to wrinkle 
its pale face with a pebble. 

Then the lake took fantastic shapes, grew to twenty times 
its size, or shrank into a miniature of itself, without ever 
losing its unruffled calm and deathly reserve. When the 
waters increased I was very frightened, for I thought how 
huge the frogs must have become, I thought of their big eyes 
and monstrous wet feet ; but when the water lessened I 
laughed to myself, for I thought how tiny the frogs must 
have grown, I thought of their legs that must look thinner 
than spiders', and of their dwindled croaking that never could 
be heard. 

Perhaps the lake was only painted after all ; I had seen 
things like it at the theatre. Anyhow it was a wonderful 
lake, a beautiful lake. 



TWO LETTERS OF AUBREY 

BEARDSLEY 



O 



TWO LETTERS OF AUBREY 

BEARDSLEY 

Beardsley unfortunately wrote but few letters. The following 
is characteristic of the humorous courtesy with which he 
received criticism : 

To the Editor of the Pall Mall Budget, 

" Sir, — So much exception has been taken, both by 
the Press and by private persons, to my title-page of 
' The Yellow Book,'* that I must plead for space in your 
valuable paper to enlighten those who profess to find 
my picture unintelligible. It represents a lady playing 
the piano in the middle of a field. Unpardonable affec- 
tation ! cry the critics. But let us listen to Bomvet. 
' Christopher Willibald Ritter von Gliick, in order to 
warm his imagination and to transport himself to Aulis 
or Sparta, was accustomed to place himself in the middle 
of a field. In this situation, with his piano before him, 
and a bottle of champagne on each side, he wrote in the 
open air his two "Iphigenias," his "Orpheus," and 
some other works.' I tremble to think what critics 
would say had I introduced those bottles of champagne. 
And yet we do not call Gliick a decadent. 

" Yours obediently 

" Aubrey Beardsley. 
"The Bodley Head, 

" Vigo Street, W. 
" <Apnl 27." 

* A reproduction of this appears on page 71. 



70 LETTERS OF AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

The Daily Chronicle on the occasion of the publication of 
"Plays" by John Davidson, in criticising Beardsley's frontis- 
piece,^ deplored the introduction of " two well-known faces of 
the day." In the following day's issue Beardsley wittily 
excused himself in the following letter to the editor : 

"AN ERROR OF TASTE" 

" Sir, — In your review of Mr. Davidson's plays, I 
find myself convicted of an error of taste, for having 
introduced portraits into my frontispiece to that book. 
I cannot help feeling that your reviewer is unduly 
severe. One of the gentlemen who forms part of my 
decoration is surely beautiful enough to stand the test 
even of portraiture, the other owes me half a crown. 

" I am, yours truly, 

" Aubrey Beardsley. 

"114 Cambridge Street, S.W. 
"Jfr/rJ; I, 1894." 

* A reproduction of this appears on page 73. 



Design for Title- Page of 
"The Yellow Book" 



Volume I 



Frontispiece to " Plays " by 
John Davidson 



" Arbuscula " 

From " A History of Dancing," by Gaston Vuillier 
Reproduced by permission of Mr. William Heinemann 



,ir 




UL. 






Portrait 
And other Sketches 

Hitherto Unpublished 
Reproduced by permission of Miss Nellie Syrett 



fil, <j( k iiSii*' I c 




■:*■ 
1/ 



y.^ 






v' ./ 






Design for Frontispiece to Zola's 
"L'Abbe Mouret" 

Hitherto Unpublished 



LIST OF VOLUMES 
ILLUSTRATED BY 
AUBREY BEARDSLEY 



THE EARLY WORK OF 
AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY H. C. MARILLIER 
Price 42s. net (originally published at 31s. 6d. net) 



* * 



Also on Edition printed upon Japanese Vellum^ limited to one hundred 
and twenty copies for England and America. Price 845. net {originally 
published at 63^. net). Now out of print. 

This handsome volume was published soon after Beardsley's death. 
It contains most of his work up to the time of his ceasing to be 
associated with the art editorship of " The Yellow Book," and includes 
the remarkable designs illustrating " Salome," a volume long since out 
of print. These are considered by the critics as among the best and 
most individual work he did. There are in all upwards of 180 repro- 
ductions, in addition to two characteristic photographs of Beardsley, 
taken by Mr. Frederick H. Evans. 



THE LATER WORK OF 
AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

Demy 4to. Price 42s. net 



* * 
* 



Also a Limited Edition of one hundred and twenty copies for England 
and America^ printed on "Japanese Vellum. 105^. net [originally 
published at 84J. net). 

This collection was not published until nearly three years after 
Beardsley's death, and contains most of the designs not included in 
" The Early Work." The two volumes thus form an almost complete 
record of his artistic production. In all there are upwards of 170 
reproductions, including three in colour and eleven in photogravure. 

In the Japanese Vellum edition several illustrations are reproduced 
in photogravure, instead of half-tone as in the ordinary edition, whilst 
the frontispiece is hand-coloured. 

H 



A SECOND BOOK OF 
FIFTY DRAWINGS 

BY AUBREY BEARDSLEY 
Crown 4to. Price los. 66. net 



* * 
* 



This Edition is limited to one thousand copies of the ordinary issue, and 
fifty copies printed on Japanese Vellum [exhausted on publication). 



The First Book of Fifty Drawings, which preceded this volume, is 
now selling at a greatly enhanced price. The present volume is 
remarkable as containing several reproductions from very early 
sketches, as well as many executed in the artist's most individual 
style, among which is a photogravure of " Mademoiselle de Maupin," 
one design in colour, and three photogravures which show how 
strong, at one time, was the Burne-Jones influence upon Beardsley. 



THE RAPE OF THE LOCK 

BY ALEXANDER POPE 

With Nine Full-page Illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley 
Crown 4to. Price los. 6d. net 



* * 
* 



Very few copies remain of this volume, which was originally published 
at ']s. 6d. net. The 'Japanese Vellum Edition is exhausted. 

Perhaps, with the exception of the series of drawings illustrating 
" Salome," no designs are more characteristic, more strikingly original, 
than those contained in " The Rape of the Lock." The edition is 
now rapidly nearing exhaustion and the publisher has decided not to 
re-issue it in the original form. This work with the original illus- 
trations is included as Vol. IX. of " The Flowers of Parnassus." 
Demy i6mo (5!^ x 4^- inches). Bound in Cloth, Price is. net. Bound 
in Leather, Price is. 6d. net. 



VOLPONE: OR THE FOX 

BY BEN lONSON 
A NEW EDITION, WITH A CRITICAL ESSAY 
ON THE AUTHOR BY VINCENT O'SULLIVAN 

And Illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley 

Together with an Eulogy of the Artist by Robert Ross 

Demy 4to. Price los. 6d. net (originally published at 7s. 6d. net) 

Mr. Robert Ross in his eulogy considers 1896 as Beardsley's annus 
mirabilts^ and remarks that it would be impossible to believe he could 
have surpassed the work of that year but for the illustrations to 
*' Volpone." They characterise in a very marked manner the singular 
genius both in creative faculty and draughtsmanship of the artist. 

THE PIERROT OF 
THE MINUTE 

A DRAMATIC PHANTASY IN ONE ACT 
BY ERNEST DOWSON 

With Illustrations and a Cover-Design by Aubrey Beardsley 
Crown 4to. Price los. 6d. net (originally published at 7s. 6d. net) 
*^* Limited to three hundred copies of the ordinary issue [of which very few remain) 

A peculiar and pathetic interest attaches itself to this volume on 
account of the sad, even tragic end of Ernest Dowson. The obituary 
notices following his death were to many the first intimation of his 
existence, but to those who knew him there was little room for doubt 
that he possessed a genius which was as remarkable as it was ill-starred. 

PLAYS 

BY JOHN DAVIDSON 

With Frontispiece and Cover-Design by Aubrey Beardsley 
Small 4to. Price 7s. 6d. net 

*^* The Edition is limited to five hundred copies 

This volume has a special interest, as Beardsley was induced by the 
Daily Chronicle's criticism of his illustration to "Scaramouch in Naxos" 
to write the letter mentioned in this volume. 



THE YELLOW BOOK 

AN ILLUSTRATED QUARTERLY 

Literary Editor— HENRY HARLAND 

Art Editor (Vols. L to IV.)— AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

Fcap. 4to. Price 5s. net. 13 Volumes 



I. 


April 1894 


272 pp. 


15 Illus. 


VII. 


October 1895 


320 pp. 


20 Illus. 






[Out 0/ print. 


VIII. 


January 1896 


406 pp. 


26 Illus. 


II. 


July 1894 


364 PP- 


23 Illus. 


IX. 


April 1896 


256 pp. 


17 Illus. 


III. 


October 1894 


280 pp. 


15 Illus. 


X. 


July i8g6 


340 PP 


13 Illus. 


IV. 


January 1895 


285 pp. 


16 Illus. 


XI. 


October i8g6 


342 PP- 


13 Illus. 


V. 


April 1895 


317 PP- 


14 Illus. 


XII. 


January 1897 


350 pp. 


14 Illus. 


VI. 


July 1895 


335 PP- 


16 Illus. 


XIII. 


April 1897 


316 pp. 


18 Illus. 



It was in his capacity as art-editor of " The Yellow Book " that 
Beardsley made his first claim to public notice. The earlier volumes 
contain twenty designs from his pencil, in addition to a number of 
others from the best known black and white artists of the day. 
Volume I. is now out of print, but the publisher has been fortunate in 
securing several second-hand copies which he supplies only with sets. 

THE SAVOY 

AN ILLUSTRATED QUARTERLY 

Literary Editor— ARTHUR SYMONS 

Art Editor— AUBREY BEARDSLEY 

Crown 4to. Price 21s. net a Set 
Vol. I. 274 pp. 43 Illus. I Vol. II. 286 pp. 29 Illus. I Vol. III. 280 pp. 30 Illus. 
After ceasing to hold the post of art-editor of " The Yellow Book," 
Beardsley became associated in a similar capacity with *' The Savoy," 
at the same time contributing the lion's share of the illustrations. In 
the three volumes that appeared he had to his credit forty-nine designs, 
in addition to a poem and a story entitled "Under the Hill." In 
addition to Beardsley's own work, " The Savoy " contains many 
notable contributions both literary and artistic. 

POSTERS IN MINIATURE 

Over 250 reproductions, including several designs by Aubrey 
Beardsley, of French, English, and American Posters, with an 
Introduction by Edward Pen field. Large Crown 8vo. Price 5s. net. 

*** Very feiu remain.