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fencible; tliere, your Corsican, cosmic to the
utter of belHcose. insatiate of a shackled
hemisphere one link short ; labefact each
before a like Necessitated, merging extremes.

^ jS; ^ ;(c

[Lines on Mr. Chamberlain's return from
an excursion to the Mediterranean.]

Bronze-ardent with meridian suns,

Scent of Italia's flowers about his boots,

Behold the Ineluctable leap to land !

Still salt by briny converse with the fleet,

A tar in being. Dover's silent guns

A little irk him, hardened to salutes.

Behold him stand,

Brummagem-factured, monocled, aloof.

Unspoiled of admiration, envy-proof,

Intolerably self-complete :

Janus of War to ope or shut at will ;

An orb of circuinvolvent satellites.

Portentous past belief ; of good and ill

Bodeful to measureless of mortal ken ;

Now off the swung machine a bounding god.

And now the ditchward guide of blinded men.

So sees him Europe planted, she, at gaze ;

Sees him that Britain Greater by his nod,

Mr. George Meredith 125

Addressed to undreamed acrobatic flights,

Bent to negotiate

The sundering bar of centuries both in blaze ;

A salamander in asbestos-tights

Armoured against the igneous of Fate.

IjC 3fC >lC ^.

A strange irruption of brute atavism, this
gallery clamour of the Hooligan loud to
extinguish the favourable of stalled Intelli-
gence; percipient Judgment merged in the
boo of Premeditation. Not without reason
was it recorded in the Pilgrim's Scrip : " The
last thing to be civilised by man is the gods."


(Lord Avebury).

Originality is the mark of genius ; but a
love of common-place, or " a firm grasp of
the obvious," may be acquired by the hum-
blest among us.

* * >!t >K

Poverty is not necessarily shameful. It
was once remarked of a great man that " he
came of poor but honest parents." As Burns
so beautifully said : " For a' that and a'
that ! "

if: ^ ^ ^

Childhood, both in man and beast, is the
period of innocence. Of Mary's " little
lamb " it was said that " its fleece was
white as snow."

How interesting is the present century!

Sir John Lubbock 127

A hundred years ago there were fewer
books. The population has also increased.

jjc ^ ^ ^

It is best not to follow two points of the
compass at the same time. The pilot that
steers both for Scylla and Charybdis is in
danger of missing them both (Homer).

>|< ^ :1c ^

A man's work will often outlive him.
Thus, Shakspeare and Watt are dead; but
Hamlet and the steam-engine survive.

* H« * *

It is generally recognised that in great
danger you may show presence of mind, even
though you are absent in body. Some of
our best military criticisms are produced in
Fleet Street.

3jC ^ 5j< ^

Botany brings us into relationship with
flowers. Many people consider that the
study of Nature is best pursued in the open
air. This view applies also to hunting,
shooting and fishing.

* * * *

And then the weather ! How much of
true happiness depends upon conversation,

128 Borrowed Plumes

and how much of this on the weather ! Yet
" there is no such thing as bad weather, only
different kinds of good weather " (Ruskin).
This true thought has often helped me in a
London fog.

* i|c ^ >|s

Water is recognised as a necessity to
ships. What should we do if anything went
wrong with the ocean? Suppose " the deep
did rot!" (Coleridge).

^ >1< ;!; ^

In Art it is not enough to copy Nature:
the Ideal should come from within. That
is why models are so unimportant. There
was once a great painter who always had
the hangman to sit for his pictures of Venus.

* >|s * *

The power of Music is proverbial. It
"soothes the savage breast" (Congreve),
including snakes. It was Cleopatra who
said, "Give me some music;" on which
her attendant remarked as follows : " The
music, ho! " Both these last passages may
be found in Shakspeare.

Sir John Lubbock 129

" Home, sweet home ! " I forget who said

T* ^ 5jC 5}C

It would be difficult to name a single truly
great poet who has not, at one time or
another, referred to Love. It is Love that
gives pinions even to the caterpillar. But
we must beware of Sirens (Homer.)

* * * *

In reading we ought to employ selection.
It is almost impossible to read every book
that has been written. Scott's Novels is one
of the Hundred Best Books.

* * * *

Birds are meant to be our companions.
There is something very human in the par-
rot's voice. And how superb is the plumage
of the peacock !

^ ^ :Jc H^

A Frenchman has said that " to know
all is to pardon all" (this is the English
version). It shows that we ought not to
judge hastily. The story is told of a short-
sighted person that he once saw in the dis-
tance what he took to be a man, but when he

I 3© Borrowed Plumes

came closer it turned out to be his own

* * * *
Virtue is the happy mean (Aristotle).

Thus, there is the highest authority for mar-
riage. But with Solomon, and, in a less
degree, with Henry the Eighth, it degene-
rated into a habit.

■'fi ^ ^ ^

Friends are a great blessing. Cicero wrote
an entire essay " concerning friendship."

>[t ^ ^ ^

Who can foretell the Future with any
degree of accuracy ? " To be or not to be,"
as Shakspeare said.

>jc ;jc ^ ;(c

" By that sin fell the angels," was said of
Ambition. Yet a moderate ambition is com-
mendable. Every private soldier was at one
time understood to " carry a Field-Marshal's
baton in his knapsack," but this is now for-
bidden in the regulations for field-service.

* * * *
Euripides said something cynical about

riches. Yet many things can be bought with
money. This is one reason why the posses-

Sir John Lubbock 131

sion of wealth adds to the comfort of Hfe.
"If thou art rich, thou'rt poor" (Shaks-
peare) is on the face of it an untruth.

* * ;|c Hs

Much has been written about the " uses of
adversity." Let us hope it is true.

'K ^ ^ ^

There is a saying (based upon the Coper-
nican theory) that Love " makes the world
go round." It was for Love that Leander
swam across the Hellespont, which is wider
than the Serpentine.

* * * *
Many people cannot say " No ! " Others

early learn to say it when asked to do dis-
agreeable things. " Mens sana in corpore
sano." If the last word is pronounced say
no, this, taken with my context, is tanta-
mount to a joke,

* * * *
Nature is governed by unvarying laws.

Every day the sun rises; every evening it
sets. The only local exception to this last
rule is the British Empire.



Out there on the terrace of the Villa
Prighi the last of the sunset had ceased to
illumine the intellectual brow of Hellsmere
Bannisty. " Modelled by Praxiteles, tinted
by Botticelli " ; so his head had been de-
scribed by an artist. Throug^h the well-
preserved growth that clustered round this
noble organ he ran his long nervous fingers
as he pored, with critical rapture, over the
final proofs of his great opus: — Italian Lib-
erty: its Cause and Cure.

Immersed in the splendour of one of
those scenic descriptions which reflect a con-
scientious observation in situ — had he not
rented the Villa Prighi largely for the very
uses of local colour? — he could still appre-
ciate the humorous exhalations that stole up
from the old-world soil of the Campagna

Mrs. Humphry Ward 133

through the sentinel hnes of prophylactic
eucalyptus. Yet in a general way it was
not consonant with his detached personality
to be affected by anything of a strictly
humorous character.

Nor would a nature less absorbed in its
own identity have put so severe a strain on
the devotion of its audience. But to a type
like Hellsmere's it did not occur that Euphe-
mia was laying more surely every minute
the foundation of an incurable catarrh. It
only seemed natural that she should want
to sit shivering in this deadly air for mere
joy of hearing the following passage for the
twenty-third time : —

" Above me, as I write, stretches the mid-
summer cobalt of an Italian sky in the full
sense of that expression. Below, beneath,
before, behind, to right, to left, lies the vast
sweep of the Campagna. To have seen
Rome apart from the Campagna — rich
though the Eternal City undoubtedly is in
classical and ecclesiastical traditions, contin-
uously maintained from the era of Romulus
and Rhea Silvia down to that of Marie
Corelli and Hall Caine, not excluding the

I 34 Borrowed Plumes

Pontiffs — is to have missed the intrinsic
force of Italy's association with her own soil.

" Here from the terrace of the Villa
Prighi I look out over avenues of ilex and
stone-pine, over a wide largesse of rose and
lilac and cyclamen, and other growths
whether perennial or appropriate to the sea-
son, to where, like a phantom balloon, rises
the airy dome of Peter, and, beyond^ on the
faint horizon, Soracte stands up and drinks
the noontide. And everywhere, and always,
always, always, the Campagna. Hour by
hour, day by day, week by week, under vary-
ing conditions of light and weather, I have
remarked the view from my terrace at Villa
Prighi; and I can recall no occasion, how-
ever apparently trivial, when the Campagna
in some form or other has not met my
astonished eyes.

" But when the dying splendour falls on
vineyard and ploughland, on broom and
cytisus and aromatic bean; when waves of
pellucid amethyst and purple come tumbling-
out of the wild west, and throw a reflected
glory on the dazzling gleam of stucco an-
tiques and sombre lichen-crusted travertine ;

Mrs. Humphry Ward 135

and the love-lorn nightingale prepares to
grow eloquent in cypress-bowers; then the
Campagna is her truest self; then from her
ghostly soil, a teeming hot-bed of forgotten
effigies, uprise those effluvia of the shadowy
past which intoxicate the lizard and other
native fauna, and to an impressionist, like
myself, are a most lively source of literary

* * * *

From the Campagna to the moors of Bal-
liemet ; what a change of milieu! And it was
characteristic of Hellsmere that his spiritual
condition always took on something of the
colour of his physical environment. He was
cognisant of a recrudescence of feeling in
favour of the strait tenets of his childhood's
orthodoxy. The very air, wafting warm
scents of moorland, seemed heavy with
Presbyterian conviction.

Almost involuntarily he found himself
reviewing the processes, now logical, now
arbitrary, by which he had arrived at his
present tolerance of the principles of Chris-
tian Science, qualified by an obscurantist
Panatheism. His early unreasoning accept-

136 Borrowed Plumes

ance of U. P. dogma; his tentative excur-
sions in Kant, followed by a sudden and
glorious emancipation from the school of
Peebles; his reaction from the strain of the
larger Secularism under the Pagan teaching
of Barbizon and La Bohemc; then, at first
sight of the Eternal City, his volte-face from
the doctrines of the Latin Quarter to those
of the Latin Fathers ; the yearning, out of a
confused memory of Crockett, John Stuart
Mill, and the Contcs Drolatiques, to find in
traditional Authority a sure euthanasia of
speculative thought; and, finally, the attrac-
tion towards the new Occidental creed of
Faith-healing, culminating in an attitude of
reservation and eclectic detachment.

Yet the chains of heredity were not to be
so lightly thrown ofif. He had been reminded
of their force as he swallowed his bowl of
porridge at breakfast. And now, what the
Scots oatmeal had begun, the heather and
the gillies and the whining of the Gordon
setters seemed likely to confirm. For a
w^hile he almost trembled to think that he
was on the eve of an atavism.

The path up to the moor lay through

Mrs. Humphry Ward 137

hanging woods lush with dew, aHve with the
stir of nature. Hellsmere's eyes, hfted from
the page of Hume's Essays, fell on a great
fir-trunk with its russet-red that seemed,
under a cloudy sky, to retain the fire of
departed suns. How was that for an image
of the survival of religious emotions still
aglow with the colour of discarded creeds?
The train of thought to which this figure
gave an impulse was disturbed by a flash of
gold plumage, A cock-pheasant went whir-
ring through the brake. A squirrel, beady-
eyed and tawny-brushed, peered from a pine
and pursued his spiral ascent. Here and
there went the bobbing of rabbits' tails
speeding to shelter. Over the broad leaves
of water-lilies lying flat on the surface of a
dusky pool, a moor-hen hurried, dryfoot, like
Israel's host, to the further bank. Hellsmere
became subconsciously aware that all these
furred and feathered creatures were actuated
by a common passion for self-preservation,
expressing itself in various manifestations
according to their respective shapes and
habits. What more natural! What else,
indeed, was the human cry for immortality

138 Borrowed Plumes

but this same instinct in a form perhaps
more spiritual, certainly more sanguine?
Could it be possible, he asked himself, that
the analogy went further ? That the Powers
above, in the careless calm attributed to
them by the Lucretian philosophy, had no
deeper designs on our existence than he,
Hellsmere, had at that moment on these
denizens of the woods?

And yet with them it was not mere
untutored instinct that warned them to seek
safety. There had been rude and bitter
experience. Pheasants had been killed;
though not, he hoped, in August. As for
rabbits, they were a perpetual prey. What,
indeed, was his objective at that moment?
Was it not the destruction of certain forms
of life? primarily the grouse, incidentally
the hare, and, conceivably, the snipe? A
divine shame smote his heart as he felt in the
game-pocket of his coat and brought out a
copy of the Canticle of the Creatures.

And now the moor stretched before him,
sweeping up the long low braes of Atho!,
chequered with purple patches, here flaunt-
ing the conscious symmetry of a draught-

Mrs. Humphry Ward 139

board, there counterfeiting the dappled
shadows of the milch-kine of Apollo. The
guns spread out into line. The dogs,
unleashed, bounded forward with drooped
necks and sentient nostrils lifted up the wind.
Not even then could Hellsmere escape from
his attitude of mental absorption. Though
an early predilection for ratting had
remained among the most poignant mem-
ories of his childhood, his subsequent trend
had been towards metaphysics rather than
pure animalism. Of a disposition too ana-
lytical for the comparative directness and
simplicity of vision required in a perfect
sportsman, he had sometimes, on occasions
like the present, been tempted to follow up a
line of abstract reasoning — associated, per-
haps, with the identity of his ego — even
when a crisis, such as the opportunity for a
right and left, had seemed to demand instan-
taneous action. This tendency had from
time to time been detrimental in its effects
upon the bag.

And to-day he could not throw off a
certain obsession of mind caused by his
reflections upon the Canticle of St. Francis.

140 Borrowed Plumes

On reaching the commencement of the beat
he had handed this work, along with Hume's
Essays, Bishop Berkeley's Sermons, and
Sesame and Lilies,to the man who was carry-
ing his cartridges ; but the words, " Praise
Heaven for our sister the grouse," kept
ringing in his ears.

The question, too, of intuition in dogs
arrested his fancy. He derived an appreci-
able ecstasy from differentiating between the
instinct of a pointer for the scent of the
living, and that of a retriever for the scent of
the dead or dying. How far were these
qualities inherent in their natures, and how
far were they a matter of training ? And
why, in w^hatever proportions inherited and
acquired, were they more permanent in
animals than in men? Why, for instance,
had he outgrown his taste for Presbyterian-
ism ? and was it possible for him to revert
to it by the mere process of reproducing the
geographical conditions which evolved it ?

Fascinated by the field of argument opened
up by these enigmas, he was dimly conscious
of the subdued voice of the head-keeper
inviting him to " take a point." Mechani-

Mrs. Humphrey Ward 141

cally he walked towards the dog, that stood
poised Hke a rigid simulacrum of itself;
mechanically he advanced beyond it, moving
as in a dream ; faintly murmuring, *' For our
sister the grouse."

A sudden nausea seized him, to the partial
obliteration of the landscape. Was it to be
tolerated that humanity, not content with
the use of lethal weapons diabolically pre-
cise, must needs employ the instincts of one
of the lower orders of creation for the anni-
hilation of a sister existence? Surely the
whole question of our moral responsibility
to these lower forms, whether w^e label our-
selves Positivist, Deist, or Orthodox, was
here involved. If we hypothecate the exist-
ence of higher powers, can we count it
consistent wath their Divine nature to play
off humanity against humanity for their own
better sport? A Pagan doctrine, only ex-
cusable in the makers of Trojan and col-
lateral myths.

And yet — but it was at this point of his
internal argument that the birds got up and
went away unscathed. Nor was this all; for
the lamentable accident which ensued was a

142 Borrowed Plumes

further tribute to the complexity of Hells-
mere's org-anism. The desperate character
of his reflections had reduced him to a state
of acute scepticism, in which he even per-
mitted himself to doubt the actuality of all
phenomena. A wave of subjectivity passed
over him. Meanwhile he had, as if auto-
matically, raised his gun in the direction of
one of the rising birds and placed his finger
on the trigger of the right barrel. The
natural completion of this action was ar-
rested by an inanition of will-power conse-
quent upon the absence of his mind. The
arrest was, however, only temporary. Be-
fore he could disengage his mind from the
conclusion that all phenomena were alike in
the quality of non-existence, he had per-
formed a kind of reflex movement — the
result of associated ideas — and pressed the
trigger home. This happened — in even less
time than has been required for the narration
of events — at the moment when his gillie,
after remarking "Hoot! mon; they're
awa'," and advancing without further com-
ment, had reached the position vacated by

Mrs. Humphry Ward 143

the bird at which Hellsmere had pointed his

By great good fortune, the major and
more crowded portion of the discharge was
intercepted by Bishop Berkeley's Sermons,
which the man was carrying in an empty
game-bag slung across his back. Only the
outlying shot lodged in his actual body. To
the inconvenience caused by these pellets
Hellsmere alluded coldly in the language of
Christian Science, urging that the injury was
apparent rather than real ; but when repre-
sentations were made to him subsequently in
the gun-room he cancelled his obligations in
conformity with the usual tariff arranged
for these regrettable incidents, the scale of
charges being regulated according to the part
of the person affected.

The account of this contretemps, appear-
ing in the North British papers on the very
day of the publication of his work on Italian
Liberty, created a great sensation in the lit-
erary world, and established the success of
the volume. It was natural, therefore, that
his immediate accession to the ranks of the
Broader Vegetarianism should have been a

144 Borrowed Plumes

painful shock to the friends who had
prophesied for him a poHtical career. Later,
his assumption of friar's orders in the
Brotherhood of Assisi caused Httle surprise.
The transition was regarded as the logical
issue of his previous departure.


Out of the large-limbed night,

Dewy and lush by tasselled glade and lawn,

The rumble and roar of roistering carts,

Insistent as the unconsolable sea,

Rolls in to Covent's ducal marts.

Groaning with vegetable greenery.

And, look, the eloquent lark

Urges his upward indeterminate flight,

Thus early drunk with joy. Nay, do but hark

How the lithe milkman at his watery trade

Maddens the slumber-sodden kitchen-maid

With virile voluntaries to the dawn !

Now, while the City wakes

To the old implacable game once more,

To the lucre-lust too hoary for life to slake.

Let us afield. Dear Boy, and briefly skirt

The pungent fumes of Piccadilly's floor,

And press to where the boon and buxom Park

Trembles through all her shimmering trees,


10 I4S

146 Borrowed Plumes

To breathe the inviolate incense borne

On virgin airs of morn.

But lo ! what artless cavalcade is here

That spurns the Rotten Way

With strenuous four-foot thud and glimpses seen

Of middle distance, saddle and thigh between,

Worshipping, Orient-wise, the risen day ?

Be still, poor fluttering heart, and vail thy fear !

This is no heathen orgie ; in their eyes

I trace no hint of hierophantic mirth ;

No passionate impulse fires the sombre cheek,

Sallow with crude

And unassimilated food ;

Insane of appetite, but otherwise

Comparatively sane,

In these consenting solitudes.

Ere Fashion's tardier foot invade

A peace designed for penitential moods,

Unvexed of the vulgar gaze, they seek

To blood the anaemic vein

And stem the stomach's irrepressible girth.

Behold, it is the Fatty-Liver Brigade !

The Turf

Ritigifig —

The state of the odds by the layers of odds

Bruited preposterous

Mr. W. E. Henley 147

Over the railings

Into the plunger's infatuate ear.

In days that succeeded

The purely chaotic

Condition of Nature,

Rhymeless, amorphous,

Much like the metre

These verses are made in —

In the commencement.

As I was remarking.

Turf was a feature

In Eden, the well-known

Site of Creation.

There lay the prime horse,

Absolute, thoroughbred,

Showing no blot

In his family 'scutcheon.

Unbridled, unpaddocked,

Unnoted of tipsters,

He took through the Garden

His usual canter.

Or sat on me, downy, absorbing his meal.

Then spake our Parent :
" Ho 1 what a noble beast !
He, on his backbone,
Unless I'm mistaken,
Will carry posterity

148 Borrowed Plumes

Over green places
On wings of the morning ;
The joy of my offspring and pride of the
Race !

Such was our Forefather's
Dim adumbration ;
There have been other
More recent allusions
To sport on the flat ;
This was the first of them ;
Then and thenceforward
I am the Turf.

Circling and sweeping
Round Tattenham corner,
Prone down the hillside,
The hell-trap of Holocaust,
Flashes the field.
Out on the home-straight
(Lo ! where the Derby dog,
Openly imbecile,
Seizes this crucial
Occasion for crossing)
Forth fares the favourite
(Cannon to rear of him)
Rightly ignoring
The weight on his withers,
The subtly prehensile

Mr. W. E. Henley 149

Midget from over there ;
And to the manifest
Mirth of his backers,
Lifts his homunculus
First past the post.
That is my moment,
Crowded, delirious !
What did I tell you ?
I am the Turf.

The Turf


The state of the odds by the layers of odds

Bruited preposterous

Over the railings

Ifito the plunger^ s infatuate tympanum —

I a7n the Turf.

* # * *

Night and the starless Void,
And cloud-rack canopies that veil
The undiscoverable vault of heaven ;
And, over the City's coruscating gloom,
High in his beetling four-square tower.
Big Ben, the buU's-eyed Constable,
Flashing his sentinel beam for sign
How, underneath, the nation's tireless brain
Seethes at its sacerdotal task of framing laws.
With swirl of oozy ebb the River goes

150 Borrowed Plumes

Bedridden, bargee-blasphemous,

Lipping the terraced stones

Outworn with commerce of tea and cakes

And jaunty legislators' junketings.

Within, the uncommunicative mace

(Symbol of that portentous sovereignty

Which stamps the people's choice.

Arch-progeny of the proletariate Will)

Watches the tragic comedy

Play out its tardy length to stertorous stalls.

Hark where in windy platitudes,

Compound of the froth of undigested fact

And ponderous tub-thump wit of the hustings-

Each for his own advertisement.

They rant — they bellow — they abuse.

Here sits the Chief, disturbed

From healthy spasms of philosophic doubt,

Politely querulous of his truant ranks

Once counted adequate

To play the not-too-exigent part

Of gentlemanly walkers-on —

Now damned for irredeemable diners-out.

There lies the Opposition's fold

Incurably divided from itself —

These, ralliant to their country, right or wrong,

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